I’m Playing Dad to the Trend Family! – an Internet Safety Community Initiative

I know it’s been pretty quiet here lately, primarily because I just made a career switch into full-time writing at The Asian Parent, but also because I’ve been making preparations for Trend Micro’s latest family cyber-security awareness campaign.

It’s not the norm for Blogfathers! to endorse brands, and neither is the site into the advertising game (notice there are no more ads; I was going through a phase back then). But Trend Micro approached me with a very interesting proposition: there are no products to push, no services to promote, just a community cause to bring Internet safety awareness to families (so no, I’m not getting paid to do this – as usual).

Why I’m Paying Attention

Blogfathers! is primarily a community cause too; I’m basically a dad trying to help dads too, and learning from other dads in the process. Having been involved in tech for a number of years, I also know exactly where Trend Micro is coming from with this initiative. That’s why I said yes.

20120802-221648.jpgI’ve run and managed a number of websites throughout my working life, and have both seen and experienced identity theft and hacking first-hand. It’s not a nice feeling when you go to your blog and find a black screen with a dimly-lit red skull proudly proclaiming your`website has been compromised by r4nd0mh4ck37, complete with shoutouts to all of r4nd0mh4ck37’s friends with similarly L337 monikers.

Then there’s the cleanup; if the attack was malicious (files get deleted and databases get wiped) and you don’t have a recent enough backup of your website, it really is game over for the most part.

The worst part of all this is, it can be completely random; hackers don’t necessarily pick targets because of government affiliations or controversial values. They just find sites and servers that are the easiest to get into, and have a party with your work, at your expense. And when it’s happened to me, I’m extremely aware of what my website’s readers and users must be feeling and thinking about me or my company when they see that red skull smiling back at them.

Why You Should Pay Attention, Too

Sharing your family life through social media and blogging comes with a similarly sinister danger, as I previously mentioned here. It is ridiculously easy to find personal information given the popularity of social networking – personal information that you might use as passwords, or to verify forgotten passwords, or to authenticate bank and credit card accounts over phone banking.

Any hardworking novice hacker may be able to find out where you are (e.g. by tracking your FourSquare check-in) or where you’re going next (when you update on Twitter), and tail you just so he can peep over your shoulder when you’re making a credit card payment, and with all this information at hand (including your Facebook history or LinkedIn profile), he can just as easily pass off as you whilst speaking with your bank’s customer service officer (all it takes is a phone).

So keep an eye out for new stuff over the following months, where I’ll be sharing experiences, research and tips on keeping you and your family safe in this increasingly online world. I’m happy and honoured to be a part of the Trend Family, and I do expect I’ll be learning as much as I’ll be sharing through this initiative.

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