Malware Hosted On Children’s Websites

Avast says it has detected malware threats at more than 60 sites that contained “game” or “arcade” in their title, in the last 30 days.  The pages attempt to download Javascript infections, redirectors and other unwanted software.  Young children are more likely to click on anything and everything at a website that is showing their favorite animated characters.

The sites are built to encourage interaction.  They contain mini-games, including flash applications and simple online apps.  One example allows children to dress and change the clothes of characters.  Avast says the most visited site affected – – had generated more than 12,600 infection reports from its protection software as of last week.

Avast believes most of the sites are legitimate businesses that have fallen victim to hackers.  It bases this judgement on the fact that affected pages were online for many months or years before its anti-virus software began detecting threats.

Since it is highly unlikely that a child of the age group to be interested in these sites would understand the online threat presented, it is more useful in my opinion to put in place safeguards rather to try to educate.  If you are going to allow young children to be using the Internet, supervise them first and foremost.

  • Update your anti-virus protection.
  • Subscribe to K-9 and/or OpenDNS to filter your web content.
  • Turn off active scripting and other content in the browser.  If the content isn’t presented, there is less interest in clicking.
  • Preview the site yourself to ensure that it operates as expected, and that you have had a chance to assess the risks.
  • Check the site occassionally to see if there have been any changes.

They’re your kids.  Take good care of them.