Category Archives: Consumer

It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work

As part of our effort to support National Cyber Security Awareness Month I wanted to provide information on the need for everyone within a business to be aware of their role in keeping the organization safe from cyber attacks.  Let’s discuss some of the areas where we see existing organizations employees may be lacking in their efforts:

1. Email Security – Email is by far the biggest threat to organizations and their employees still today. Cybercriminals are inherently lazy and don’t want to have to exert a lot of effort in creating attacks. Also, email is still the predominate communication tool used by businesses. That is why we continue to see email being abused and used by threat actors. One of the challenges is the authenticity of socially engineered emails today makes it difficult for employees to identify them as malicious. A few things that they can do:

  • Check the domain the email is coming from. Many times these are spoofed domains to look similar to the legitimate one. So look closely at the from address.
  • If there are any embedded URLs, hover the mouse over them to see if the URL matches what is used within the email message. For example, the company domain sending the email message may not be the same domain used in the URL.
  • Check the message itself, if it is urgently trying to get you to open the attachment or click on the URL, it may be suspicious
  • Save any attachments and scan them versus simply opening them from within the email message

2. Web Security – The web is the next way many employees and organizations get compromised. Many threat actors will use popular websites or advertisements within webpages to infect users. Phishing webpages are very popular right now as cybercriminals look to steal user login credentials for popular applications. A few things users can do:

  • If you receive a pop-up login page you weren’t expecting, be wary of it and don’t log in. Use a bookmarked page you’ve saved instead.
  • Be wary of advertisements as many threat actors use malvertisements to infect users.
  • Make sure your system or organization has web filtering in place to block access to malicious sites and pages.
  • Use bookmarked sites as much as possible or type in the URL versus clicking on a link within an email or text message.

3. Training Employees – Many organizations are seeing improved security when they make an investment in training their employees around cybersecurity. This needs to be continuous training both new employees and long term employees since the threat landscape changes quite frequently. This can be done with regular video training on how threats work or using a phishing simulation program that regularly tests employees clicking on phishing emails crafted by the organization. Another thing organizations can do is create a standard email address where employees can submit suspicious emails to IT. The only thing with this, the organization needs to ensure a fast response to the users to show them that they will be alerted if one is in fact malicious.

All employees need to remember that they could at any time be the subject of an attack. Many employees may think they won’t be targeted, but threat actors are persistent and if they cannot get an employee to take their bait, they will try others until one happens to fall for their socially engineered attack. Organizations, especially small businesses need to remember this too, they will be targeted at some point.

Threat actors and cybercriminals continue to target organizations and their employees around the world and this means everyone within an organization needs to be rigorous in examining their online actions to ensure they try to stay safe. But Trend Micro also knows that we need to do more and so we continue to invest in newer technologies to protect our customers against the threats targeting them as we look to make the world safe for exchanging digital information.

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The Importance of Security Awareness in Our Connected Lifestyle

Not very long ago, people could be seen walking around waving their mobile phones in the air, looking for a network connection. Today, we are talking 5G! Our kids just can’t imagine a world without gadgets and internet! Little kids as young as four can turn on and instruct Alexa, search for new games on smartphones and talk to digital devices.

Moving Toward an Increasingly Connected Lifestyle

Ours is a connected world and we are constantly connected to the internet- be it through our smartphones, digital assistants, gaming and reading devices, laptops, wearable devices, remote monitoring devices like CCTV and many more. While this leads to time saving, higher efficiency, and greater comfort, there are a few safety checks, which if ignored, may lead to data and ID thefts.

I was recently reading an article on the 5G revolution. South Korea, I believe, already enjoys phenomenal browsing and download speeds, and so will rest of the world very soon. It will also hopefully reduce lags and connectivity disruptions that we currently experience. More IoT (Internet of Things) devices will come into play and home Wi-Fi routers will have a larger count of devices connected to it. Needless to say, this calls for ensuring maximum security for the router as well as all our devices.

Moreover, we often use public Wi-Fi connections to browse; which expose us to possible cyber attacks. Often, something as innocuous as using external storage devices or delaying the installation of updates can lead to malware entering the device system. What happens if cyber attackers worm into our systems? They can spy on us, regulate our smart devices, and even listen in on our baby monitor, to name a few.

As many countries observe October as Cybersecurity Month, it is the right time to have a discussion on how we can keep our connected homes safe.

Let’s discuss some of the common causes that can lead to device hacking:

  • Software updating not done: Security companies and your OS vendors keep sending patches to give cover for latest viruses and thus enhance protection against cyberattacks. Delay in patch installation exposes our device to attacks. It is therefore advisable to set updates to automatic.
  • Increasing use of IoT devices: Our smartwatch or smartphone, digital assistants or digital toys are all connected to Wi-Fi. This offers cyber criminals a bigger hunting ground. They try to find and exploit vulnerabilities in these devices
  • Outdated security: Despite being aware of safety issues related to not securing devices with licensed comprehensive software, we often neglect this very important step. At best, we download and use free security tools which may not offer cover against more sophisticated attacks.
  • Carelessness of users: But the security chain also includes us, the users. We may click on malicious links or download infected files. We may also visit unsafe websites, making it easy for cyber criminals to target us

How to use smart devices safely:

  • Use unique, complex passphrases: Strong passphrases (not passwords you will notice) will go a long way in keeping hackers at bay. If the thought of remembering several passphrases daunts you, go for a password manager
  • Set up autolock: Set up autolock and PIN protect your devices. Modern devices offer biometric locks as well. Make use of them
  • Keep auto update turned on: This way your OS and security tool would always receive patches and updates on time and you will receive maximum protection
  • Check security settings before buying IoT devices: Before buying any connected toy or device, research the manufacturer to find out if they give security top priority. Check out the security they offer and change default passcodes. Also, do read the terms and conditions to know how the vendor plans to secure your data
  • Secure your home Wi-Fi router: As this will be the point for connecting with the net, this device needs to be secured with a strong passphrase. It’s a good idea to change the passphrase from time to time. Keep an eye on data consumption too
  • Install and run licensed comprehensive security software: Don’t go for free, your devices and your personal data are at stake here. Instead, use a comprehensive security solutionto protect your technology
  • Be aware: Awareness pays. If you know of the latest threats doing the round, you would take necessary precautions and share your knowledge with friends and family accordingly

We can do it, can’t we? A few simple measures help secure our digital lives and allow us to take full advantage of what tech has to offer. Let us be ready to welcome 5G in our lives.

Stay safe, stay secure!

 

The post The Importance of Security Awareness in Our Connected Lifestyle appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Working Together to Ensure Better Cybersecurity

For many, it’s hard to picture a work environment that doesn’t revolve around the use of technology. Digital, cloud-based services coupled with access through mobile and IoT devices have completely reshaped organizations by streamlining business processes and enabling people to work anywhere, anytime. Thanks to these advances, there have also been a variety of recent shifts in how employers and employees interact with each other, ranging from liberal remote work policies companies asking employees to bring their own devices to work.

Often these changes feel remarkable, efficient and convenient, as they make our work lives much more efficient – but these advancements also create concerns around cybersecurity. Many devices contain both personal and professional data , and when we take our work home or on the go with us, we’re not constantly protected by a company firewall, safe Wi-Fi, or other standard cybersecurity measures. Regardless of what industry you are in, online safety is no longer just IT’s problem. Cybersecurity is now a shared responsibility between an organization and its employees.

Naturally, these changes require education and communication around cybersecurity best practices in order to develop positive habits that will keep both employers and employees safe. Getting a habit to stick also requires an organization to develop culture of security in tandem, in which every individual and department is accountable for cybersecurity and bands together with the shared objective of staying secure.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is a great time to look at how everyone can be a part of the cybersecurity solution within their organization. If cybersecurity has not historically not been a priority within an organization, starting a conversation about it can be difficult, whether you’re an employee or an employer. Consider using these tips to start thinking about personal cybersecurity and how that translates into an overall cybersecurity plan within your organization.

Employers can take the following steps:

  • Identify which company assets are of greatest value, then ensure security measures are in place. Employee, customer, and payment data are all assets that cybercriminals could leverage via phishing, malware, password breaches, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Begin to develop a formal cybersecurity plan based on your specific needs.
  • Set up an alert system. Put a system into place that will alert employees and your organization of an incident. This also includes an avenue for employees to report problems they might notice before they become widespread. The sooner people know about a vulnerability, the faster they can respond and take action.
  • Develop a response plan. Practice an incident response plan to contain an attack or breach. Keep in mind the goal of maintaining business operations in the short term while assessing the long-term effects of the cyber incident.

Employees can follow these guidelines:

  • Regularly update your device’s software. This is the easiest way to ensure your devices are equipped with vital patches that protect against flaws and bugs that cybercriminals can exploit.
  • Take security precautions, even if your company isn’t there yet. Professional and personal information is often intertwined on our devices – especially our mobile phones. Keep all your data secure with comprehensive mobile security, such as McAfee® Mobile Security. Then work within your organization to develop a cybersecurity plan that works for all.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security trends and information? Follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Working Together to Ensure Better Cybersecurity appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

McAfee Blogs: Together is Power: Why McAfee Partnered with British Telecom Group

Cybersecurity threats are growing in both number and strength day by day, making it almost impossible for any one person or organization to maintain a secure environment. This threat is potent, often indiscriminate, and puts both organizations and consumers at risk. Protection, therefore, requires an equally powerful and robust response.

But building a strong response to modern cybersecurity threats requires a concerted and distributed effort. That’s why we’ve partnered with British Telecom Group (BT), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United Kingdom, to provide a comprehensive security solution that helps BT Broadband customers protect themselves against viruses with McAfee as the underlying cybersecurity technology.

The shift to the focus on security was due in part to a recent survey BT conducted to customers, asking about their digital landscape and what concerns they have over the future. The results were fairly surprising. Overall, BT customers used an average of two devices each — 25 percent higher than average for other high-speed channels. A significant portion of those who participated in the survey (60 percent) said they also see the value in cybersecurity protection and would recommend the service.

That’s reassuring for us at McAfee to hear, but it underlines the point that folks around the world are waking up to the need to join forces, orchestrate, and fight against cyberattacks. This need for additional protection also provides businesses with the opportunity to differentiate themselves as adding a security benefit to their offerings also enhances consumer appeal and trust.

BT, in particular, will give its subscribers McAfee protection that includes BT Virus Protect, which supports up to 15 devices including computers and Android phones and tablets. It also automatically keeps kids safe with build-in parental controls. This package includes network and device security, call blocking, cloud backup and McAfee Password Manager. It’s a holistic solution for, as BT puts it, a simple reason.

“Keeping our customers safe online is a key priority for BT. That’s why we provide the most comprehensive free online security tools of any major UK broadband provider,” Andrew Kirkpatrick General Manager of Digital Products and Security for BT Consumer said. “To help us achieve this, we have a long-standing partnership with McAfee to provide their award-winning anti-virus to our customers.”

Every time we join forces against cybercriminals, we create the right conditions for a more secure digital world. That’s because a collective response to cyberthreats is better than going alone. Because together is power.

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McAfee Blogs

Together is Power: Why McAfee Partnered With British Telecom Group

Cybersecurity threats are growing in both number and strength day by day, making it almost impossible for any one person or organization to maintain a secure environment. This threat is potent, often indiscriminate, and puts both organizations and consumers at risk. Protection, therefore, requires an equally powerful and robust response.

But building a strong response to modern cybersecurity threats requires a concerted and distributed effort. That’s why we’ve partnered with British Telecom Group (BT), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United Kingdom, to provide a comprehensive security solution that helps BT Broadband customers protect themselves against viruses with McAfee as the underlying cybersecurity technology.

The shift to the focus on security was due in part to a recent survey BT conducted to customers, asking about their digital landscape and what concerns they have over the future. A significant portion of those who participated in the survey (60 percent) said they see the value in cybersecurity protection and would recommend the service.

That’s reassuring for us at McAfee to hear, but it underlines the point that folks around the world are waking up to the need to join forces, orchestrate, and fight against cyberattacks. This need for additional protection also provides businesses with the opportunity to differentiate themselves as adding a security benefit to their offerings also enhances consumer appeal and trust.

BT, in particular, will give its subscribers a complete Security solution which includes McAfee protection called BT Virus Protect, which supports up to 15 devices including computers and Android phones and tablets. The BT Security offering also  automatically keeps kids safe with built-in parental controls. This package incorporates network and device security, call blocking, cloud backup and McAfee Password Manager – TrueKey. It’s a holistic solution for, as BT puts it, a simple reason.

“Keeping our customers safe online is a key priority for BT. That’s why we provide the most comprehensive free online security tools of any major UK broadband provider,” Andrew Kirkpatrick General Manager of Digital Products and Security for BT Consumer said. “To help us achieve this, we have a long-standing partnership with McAfee to provide their award-winning anti-virus to our customers.”

Every time we join forces against cybercriminals, we create the right conditions for a more secure digital world. That’s because a collective response to cyberthreats is better than going alone. Because together is power.

The post Together is Power: Why McAfee Partnered With British Telecom Group appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

McAfee Blogs: The VORACLE OpenVPN Attack: What You Need to Know

Many of us know that using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) adds an extra layer of security to our Wi-Fi networks. But VORACLE, a recently discovered vulnerability that was announced at a security conference by security researcher Ahamad Nafeez, is making some people reconsider this this steadfast safety tip. Let’s look under the hood at this vulnerability to understand what was impacted and why, and what we should do in the future when it comes to safely connecting to Wi-Fi.

Under the Hood of a VPN

A VPN is a connection between a secure server and your mobile device or computer. Through the VPN your activity and information on the internet is encrypted, making it difficult for anyone else to see your private information. Many of us use a VPN for work when we travel, some of us use them to watch videos online, and more and more of us use them as a best practice to help keep our information safe any time we want to use a Wi-Fi connection that we’re not sure about.

About the VORACLE VPN Vulnerability

At a high level, VORACLE leverages a vulnerability found in the open-source OpenVPN protocol. OpenVPN is an open-source protocol used by the majority of VPN providers, meaning many VPN products are affected.

The VORACLE attack can recover HTTP traffic sent via encrypted VPN connections under certain conditions, the first being that the VPN app in use enables compression via the OpenVPN protocol. A  hacker must be on the same network and able to lure you to an HTTP (not HTTPS) site with malicious code through phishing or a similar other tactic. The attack can happen on all web browsers but Google Chrome, due to the way in which HTTP requests are made.

Luckily the McAfee Safe Connect VPN was not built on the vulnerable OpenVPN code. That said, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of something we talk about a lot in the security industry: relying on only one layer of security is simply not enough today. Here are some tips and best practices to stay safe.

  • Set up multi-factor authentication whenever possible. This tip is especially important for valuable accounts like email or social media, which might be connected to financial information. With multi-factor authentication in place, you’ll be better protected by combining your usual login information with another layer of protection, such as a one-time-password sent to your phone, bio metrics (say, a thumb print), or a security token that you’ll need to confirm before getting access to your account.
  • Use secure websites (HTTPS) whenever possible. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Most websites are moving toward this standard practice, so if you notice yourself landing on a website with just HTTP, stay alert.
  • Avoid making financial transactions until you’re on a network you trust. Sharing personal data like your credit card information can lead to unnecessary vulnerabilities. The best bet is to wait until you’re on your home network with additional layers of security such as McAfee’s Secure Home Platform already in place.
  • Consider using your mobile network and being your own hotspot. If your mobile or IoT data plan includes a hot spot, consider using that over Wi-Fi to avoid some of the challenges that come with it in the first place.
  • Do continue to use a personal VPN when you’re on the go and using Wi-Fi– just be sure to do so while having an additional layer of security in place so that if a similar vulnerability is discovered, you’ll already have a backup.

Looking for more mobile security tips and trends? Be sure to follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

The post The VORACLE OpenVPN Attack: What You Need to Know appeared first on McAfee Blogs.



McAfee Blogs

The VORACLE OpenVPN Attack: What You Need to Know

Many of us know that using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) adds an extra layer of security to our Wi-Fi networks. But VORACLE, a recently discovered vulnerability that was announced at a security conference by security researcher Ahamad Nafeez, is making some people reconsider this this steadfast safety tip. Let’s look under the hood at this vulnerability to understand what was impacted and why, and what we should do in the future when it comes to safely connecting to Wi-Fi.

Under the Hood of a VPN

A VPN is a connection between a secure server and your mobile device or computer. Through the VPN your activity and information on the internet is encrypted, making it difficult for anyone else to see your private information. Many of us use a VPN for work when we travel, some of us use them to watch videos online, and more and more of us use them as a best practice to help keep our information safe any time we want to use a Wi-Fi connection that we’re not sure about.

About the VORACLE VPN Vulnerability

At a high level, VORACLE leverages a vulnerability found in the open-source OpenVPN protocol. OpenVPN is an open-source protocol used by the majority of VPN providers, meaning many VPN products are affected.

The VORACLE attack can recover HTTP traffic sent via encrypted VPN connections under certain conditions, the first being that the VPN app in use enables compression via the OpenVPN protocol. A  hacker must be on the same network and able to lure you to an HTTP (not HTTPS) site with malicious code through phishing or a similar other tactic. The attack can happen on all web browsers but Google Chrome, due to the way in which HTTP requests are made.

Luckily the McAfee Safe Connect VPN was not built on the vulnerable OpenVPN code. That said, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of something we talk about a lot in the security industry: relying on only one layer of security is simply not enough today. Here are some tips and best practices to stay safe.

  • Set up multi-factor authentication whenever possible. This tip is especially important for valuable accounts like email or social media, which might be connected to financial information. With multi-factor authentication in place, you’ll be better protected by combining your usual login information with another layer of protection, such as a one-time-password sent to your phone, bio metrics (say, a thumb print), or a security token that you’ll need to confirm before getting access to your account.
  • Use secure websites (HTTPS) whenever possible. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Most websites are moving toward this standard practice, so if you notice yourself landing on a website with just HTTP, stay alert.
  • Avoid making financial transactions until you’re on a network you trust. Sharing personal data like your credit card information can lead to unnecessary vulnerabilities. The best bet is to wait until you’re on your home network with additional layers of security such as McAfee’s Secure Home Platform already in place.
  • Consider using your mobile network and being your own hotspot. If your mobile or IoT data plan includes a hot spot, consider using that over Wi-Fi to avoid some of the challenges that come with it in the first place.
  • Do continue to use a personal VPN when you’re on the go and using Wi-Fi– just be sure to do so while having an additional layer of security in place so that if a similar vulnerability is discovered, you’ll already have a backup.

Looking for more mobile security tips and trends? Be sure to follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

The post The VORACLE OpenVPN Attack: What You Need to Know appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Stay Safe Online Week 2018

Time for a Cyber Safety Check-Up?

Aussies love the internet. And the statistics just confirm it. In 2018, 88% of us describe ourselves as active internet users. And our social media usage is up there with some of the most prolific users worldwide with 60% of us active users on Facebook and 50% of us logging in at least once a day.

So, an annual reminder to take stock of our digital lives is a very good idea! Stay Safe Online Week is an initiative from the Australian Government designed to ensure we are all up to date with the latest cyber safety know-how. Kicking off from the 8th of October, I believe this annual event is the ideal opportunity for a yearly cyber safety check up.

We Are Choosing to Ignore the Risks

Research conducted by McAfee shows that many of us are very aware of the risks associated with our online behaviour but simply choose to ignore them. For example, 30% of Aussie parents are continuing to regularly post pics of their kids online despite 50% of us being concerned by the associated risks including paedophilia, stalking and cyberbullying. Is it the lure of likes, the surge of dopamine or just the face we are all time poor that affects our rational brain?

Keeping It Simple

I know many of us feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of staying on top of our online safety. We don’t know where to start, have very little time and, quite frankly, we’d rather be doing something else! But not taking your online safety seriously is a little like leaving like leaving your house unlocked. It puts your privacy and even your financial safety at risk.

But the good news is there are a host of simple, quick, steps you can take to ensure you are doing all you can to protect yourself online. So, make yourself a cuppa and let’s get to work. Here are 3 three things you can start to put in place today to secure yourself and your devices.

1. Protect ALL Your Devices

I bet if you added up the internet connected devices in your household, you’d be staggered at the figure. My latest count was over 30! And the figure is only going to increase. Research shows that by 2025 there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices worldwide from wearables and pacemakers to thermometers and smart plugs.

These devices will absolutely make our lives easier, but the reality is that many internet-connected devices (IoT) lack built in security features making them vulnerable to hacking and malware. In 2018 alone, McAfee uncovered numerous major security flaws in virtual assistants and smart plugs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Install comprehensive security software on your laptops, tablets and smartphones. McAfee’s Total Protection software will ensure you and your devices are protected against viruses, malware spyware and ransomware.
  • Secure your Internet Connected Devices. While there is no security software for Internet Connected (IoT) devices, you can still minimise the risks by changing the default password on your devices straight after purchasing and ensure you keep the device’s software up to date. And spend some time researching your purchases before committing. Focus on devices that have been on the market for a while, have a name brand, or have a lot of online reviews. Chances are that the device’s security standards will be higher, due to being vetted by the masses.

2. Think Before You Click

Our love of ‘all things celebrity’ has not escaped the attention of online scammers. In fact, these scammers spend a lot of time creating celebrity based professional looking websites that promise celebrity news stories or movie downloads. Unfortunately, the promised content requires a malicious link to be clicked that usually contains spyware or malicious software. These sites may also require users to set up an account. Unsuspecting visitors will then provide their email addresses and passwords to the site not realising that their details have been compromised.

New McAfee research reveals that Aussie model, MTV VJ and Orange is the New Black actress, Ruby Rose is the most dangerous celebrity to search for online. Using terms such as ‘free torrent’, ‘sex tape’ and ‘free pics’, McAfee was able to determine the riskiest celebrities to search for across the globe, as consumers often drop their guard in the name of convenience and speed to access content from their favorite celebs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of Ruby Rose starring in Batwoman should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Apply system and application updates as soon as they are available. Very often the operating system and application updates include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set on the child’s device and use software that can help minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

3. Protect Your Personal Information Online

Most consumers would think twice when asked for their credit card information or address online but don’t take the same precautions when posting photos of themselves and their children online.

Recent McAfee research shows that despite 50 percent of parents being concerned by the risks such as pedophilia, stalking and cyberbullying when posting photos of their children online, 30 percent post a picture of their child online once a week, and 40 percent post photos of their child in school uniform on a regular basis.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Set Ground Rules with Friends and Family. Be clear with friends and family about your expectations when they post images of your kids. If you are uncomfortable with anything they post, you are well within your rights to ask them to remove it.
  • Don’t Forget About Your Child’s Digital Reputation. Everything that is posted about someone forms part of their digital reputation. Always consider whether what you are considering posting could negatively impact this. And encourage your teens to regularly check the posts and images they are tagged in online too.
  • Ask for Consent But Be Prepared for Your Child to Say NO. Asking for an older child’s consent before you post pics is essential but be prepared for them to say NO! Remember, a good relationship is built on trust and respect!

So, go forth and continue to enjoy everything the internet has to offer BUT please take some time this Stay Safe Online Week to check in and see whether you may need to ‘tweak’ any of your online behaviours. And while you are at it – don’t forget about the kids. Why not put it on the agenda to discuss around the dinner table this week? Some of the most important conversations you will ever have with your kids will be around the dinner table!

Take Care

Alex xx

 

The post Stay Safe Online Week 2018 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

McAfee Blogs: Stay Smart Online Week 2018

Time for a Cyber Safety Check-Up?

Aussies love the internet. And the statistics just confirm it. In 2018, 88% of us describe ourselves as active internet users. And our social media usage is up there with some of the most prolific users worldwide with 60% of us active users on Facebook and 50% of us logging in at least once a day.

So, an annual reminder to take stock of our digital lives is a very good idea! Stay Smart Online Week is an initiative from the Australian Government designed to ensure we are all up to date with the latest cyber safety know-how. Kicking off from the 8th of October, I believe this annual event is the ideal opportunity for a yearly cyber safety check up.

We Are Choosing to Ignore the Risks

Research conducted by McAfee shows that many of us are very aware of the risks associated with our online behaviour but simply choose to ignore them. For example, 30% of Aussie parents are continuing to regularly post pics of their kids online despite 50% of us being concerned by the associated risks including paedophilia, stalking and cyberbullying. Is it the lure of likes, the surge of dopamine or just the face we are all time poor that affects our rational brain?

Keeping It Simple

I know many of us feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of staying on top of our online safety. We don’t know where to start, have very little time and, quite frankly, we’d rather be doing something else! But not taking your online safety seriously is a little like leaving like leaving your house unlocked. It puts your privacy and even your financial safety at risk.

But the good news is there are a host of simple, quick, steps you can take to ensure you are doing all you can to protect yourself online. So, make yourself a cuppa and let’s get to work. Here are 3 three things you can start to put in place today to secure yourself and your devices.

1. Protect ALL Your Devices

I bet if you added up the internet connected devices in your household, you’d be staggered at the figure. My latest count was over 30! And the figure is only going to increase. Research shows that by 2025 there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices worldwide from wearables and pacemakers to thermometers and smart plugs.

These devices will absolutely make our lives easier, but the reality is that many internet-connected devices (IoT) lack built in security features making them vulnerable to hacking and malware. In 2018 alone, McAfee uncovered numerous major security flaws in virtual assistants and smart plugs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Install comprehensive security software on your laptops, tablets and smartphones. McAfee’s Total Protection software will ensure you and your devices are protected against viruses, malware spyware and ransomware.
  • Secure your Internet Connected Devices. While there is no security software for Internet Connected (IoT) devices, you can still minimise the risks by changing the default password on your devices straight after purchasing and ensure you keep the device’s software up to date. And spend some time researching your purchases before committing. Focus on devices that have been on the market for a while, have a name brand, or have a lot of online reviews. Chances are that the device’s security standards will be higher, due to being vetted by the masses.

2. Think Before You Click

Our love of ‘all things celebrity’ has not escaped the attention of online scammers. In fact, these scammers spend a lot of time creating celebrity based professional looking websites that promise celebrity news stories or movie downloads. Unfortunately, the promised content requires a malicious link to be clicked that usually contains spyware or malicious software. These sites may also require users to set up an account. Unsuspecting visitors will then provide their email addresses and passwords to the site not realising that their details have been compromised.

New McAfee research reveals that Aussie model, MTV VJ and Orange is the New Black actress, Ruby Rose is the most dangerous celebrity to search for online. Using terms such as ‘free torrent’, ‘sex tape’ and ‘free pics’, McAfee was able to determine the riskiest celebrities to search for across the globe, as consumers often drop their guard in the name of convenience and speed to access content from their favorite celebs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of Ruby Rose starring in Batwoman should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Apply system and application updates as soon as they are available. Very often the operating system and application updates include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set on the child’s device and use software that can help minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

3. Protect Your Personal Information Online

Most consumers would think twice when asked for their credit card information or address online but don’t take the same precautions when posting photos of themselves and their children online.

Recent McAfee research shows that despite 50 percent of parents being concerned by the risks such as pedophilia, stalking and cyberbullying when posting photos of their children online, 30 percent post a picture of their child online once a week, and 40 percent post photos of their child in school uniform on a regular basis.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Set Ground Rules with Friends and Family. Be clear with friends and family about your expectations when they post images of your kids. If you are uncomfortable with anything they post, you are well within your rights to ask them to remove it.
  • Don’t Forget About Your Child’s Digital Reputation. Everything that is posted about someone forms part of their digital reputation. Always consider whether what you are considering posting could negatively impact this. And encourage your teens to regularly check the posts and images they are tagged in online too.
  • Ask for Consent But Be Prepared for Your Child to Say NO. Asking for an older child’s consent before you post pics is essential but be prepared for them to say NO! Remember, a good relationship is built on trust and respect!

So, go forth and continue to enjoy everything the internet has to offer BUT please take some time this Stay Smart Online Week to check in and see whether you may need to ‘tweak’ any of your online behaviours. And while you are at it – don’t forget about the kids. Why not put it on the agenda to discuss around the dinner table this week? Some of the most important conversations you will ever have with your kids will be around the dinner table!

Take Care

Alex xx

 

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Digital Assistants, Cryptocurrency, Mobile Malware: Trends from ‘McAfee Labs Threats Report’

Every three months, our team crafts the McAfee Labs Threats Report. The quarterly report ranges in topic and severity but always touches on the most important and impactful threats afflicting consumers and companies alike. This year, the McAfee Labs team analyzed an average of 1,800,000 URLs, 800,000 files and 200,000 high-risk files to produce the McAfee Labs Threats Report: September 2018, which features digital assistants, cryptocurrencies, and cybercriminal gangs up to no good. Overall, it’s been an eventful quarter.

So, what are the key takeaways for you? Notably, our team has continued to track a downward trend in new malware attacks for the second successive quarter. Good news on the surface, but that trend may not be indicative of much; as we also saw a spike in new malware in Q4 2017. We’ll continue to watch this into next year. Significantly, we found that a good portion of net new malware is designed for mobile, which increased 27 percent over the previous quarter. In addition, here’s a look at the other trending stories we uncovered.

Digital Assistants

Digital assistants are advanced programs that we can converse with to research, act on our behalf and overall help make our digital lives more comfortable. Siri, Bixby and Google Assistant are few. But one digital assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, is a little too helpful. The good news, Microsoft quickly rolled out a fix for this vulnerability to protect your Windows 10 computer. Be sure your software is up to date.

Cryptocurrency

The second story involves cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are digital tokens generated by a computer after solving complex mathematical functions. These functions are used to verify the authenticity of a ledger, or blockchain. Blockchains, by their nature, are relatively secure. But an account that is connected to a blockchain — usually, in this case, associated with a cryptocurrency — is not. And that’s where cybercriminals are focusing their efforts, with coin miner malware up 86% in Q2 2018.

Our report found cybercriminals are chasing after access to cryptocurrencies and they’re doing so using familiar tactics. For example, phishing attacks — where cybercriminals pose as someone else online — are popular tools to take over a cryptocurrency-related account. Malicious programs are also deployed to collect passwords and other information related to an account before stealing virtual currency. You can read more about blockchain and cryptocurrency vulnerabilities here. 

Malicious Apps

Finally, the McAfee Mobile Research team found a collection of malicious applications facilitating a scam in the Google Play store. The apps in question siphon money from unwary users through billing-fraud. Billing-fraud collects money from victims for “using” a “premium” service, such as sending texts to a particular number.

In this case, the cybercriminal ring known as the AsiaHitGroup Gang attempted to charge at least 20,000 victims for downloading fake or copied versions of popular applications. To increase its potential, AsiaHitGroup Gang is using geolocation to target vulnerable populations.

So, what can you do to stay safe in the face of these threats? Here are three quick tips:

  • Limit device access. If you can, limit the ability and access a digital assistant has to your device. Often, you can adjust where and how an assistant is activated through your settings. Otherwise, update your software regularly, as many updates contain security fixes.
  • Create strong passwords. If you’re participating in the cryptocurrency market, then make sure you use strong, robust passwords to protect your accounts. This means using upper case, lower case, symbols and numbers for passwords that are 12 characters long. Afraid you might forget the key to your account? Consider using a password manager.
  • Be careful what you download. Always do some light research on the developer of a mobile application. If the information is hard to come across or absent, consider using an alternative program. Additionally, never download mobile applications from third-party app stores. Genuine stores, like Google Play and Apple’s App Store, should provide you with what you need.

And, of course, stay informed. To keep atop of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Keeping Kids Safe Online Starts with Good Habits at Home

During the month of October, we celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). This long-running annual event is all about raising awareness about the importance of protecting our information and privacy online. And for some of us who may have allowed our good habits to lapse, it offers a chance to refresh our knowledge. Although the initiative covers a range of areas — from protecting national critical infrastructure to getting more kids into cybersecurity careers — it begins in week one with a focus on cybersecurity in the home.

For families of school-aged kids, this is a great time to ensure the environment you’ve set up at home means they have the best and safest online experience possible.

From then to now

We’ve come a long way since NCSAM was first launched in 2004. Back then, Facebook had just been created and was years away from becoming a household name. Internet threats were relatively unsophisticated, and limited in scope and volume. Your kids were more likely to be playing hand-held gaming devices in the school yard than fiddling with their cell phones. In fact, it’s unlikely they would have had on-the-go internet access at all, with clunky feature phones still the norm.

How times have changed. Today we live in a mobile-centric, hyper-connected world where online threats are never far away. Trend Micro blocked over 20.4 billion in the first six months of 2018 alone. Smartphones are a great tool for kids to stay connected with parents and friends, but we also want to keep them safe: not just from malware and identity theft but inappropriate content, cyber-bullying, grooming and other online threats. With the average American teenager spending 4.5 hours each day on their phone, legitimate concerns have also been raised over how much screen time we should be allowing them.

This isn’t meant to shock you into action. As a concerned parent you’ll already no doubt be aware of some of the negative aspects of our increasingly digital-centric lifestyles. Let’s instead take a look at some concrete actions you can take to make things better for your family.

A safer home

This year, the theme of NCSAM is Our Shared Responsibility. With that in mind, we’d like to do our part by offering up a few ideas to help you improve online safety at home:

  1. Set up a good place in the home for kids to access the internet

A family area with the home PC in the living room or kitchen can help as it will enable you to monitor internet use directly. Similarly, if you create charging rooms in the shared areas, it reduces the likelihood of devices being used in bedrooms all night. If they have friends over, make sure these visitors also know the rules.

  1. Technology can help

Make the most of the built-in security and privacy protections that come with many consumer electronics, apps and web services today:

  • Use parental controls via router or security software on each device to ensure kids only access sites/services appropriate for them
  • Switch on restrictions native to devices, apps or websites to ensure kids only download games/apps appropriate for their age. Sites like Google and YouTube, stores like iTunes, services like Spotify, and gaming consoles like Xbox have their own settings to help you
  • Turn off access to mobile device cameras, microphones and location services on your kids’ apps, games, etc. if they’re not functionally necessary
  1. Set the rules

It’s important before you start to set some ground rules around the use of technology and the internet at home. These could include:

  • Ask before downloading/using/connecting
  • Don’t connect with strangers online, or give out any personal information
  • Tell parents if a stranger contacts you
  1. Use technology together

Technology should be an opportunity to bring the family closer together, rather than building yet another wall between parents and their children. Try the following:

  • Learn a new app or play a new game as a family
  • When your kids make a mistake, be sure to use it as a moment to teach, not take away

After a decade, Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families (ISKF) initiative has reached nearly two million parents, teachers and kids over that time.  We are proud to help celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. But we believe that any month in any home is a good time and place to help our kids practice habits that will help them be safe and responsible online well into adulthood.

For more topics and tips on keeping your kids safe online, check out our extensive resources. Have a great National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

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How to Protect Your Connected Devices from Common Cyberattacks

When it comes to internet security, we all suffer from a condition known as optimism bias. It’s the simple idea that we, individually, won’t be affected negatively by an externality compared to others. The same mental distortion happens in the digital world. We read a lot about cybercrime and assume the consequences of those attacks won’t reach or affect us. The problem is, that’s optimism bias at work — and it is what fuels a cybercriminal’s success.

No one expects to lose control over their digital lives, but it does happen, and it can happen to you. And securing your information after a cyberattack is becoming less tenable. In fact, the total number of malware samples has grown almost 34%, more than 774 million, over the past four quarters according to the latest McAfee Labs Threats Report, hitting all-time highs in the second quarter of 2018. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to secure yourself from the most active cyberattack methods.

Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals use phishing attacks try to and trick you into clicking on a malicious link or download a malicious file. And they have pretty good odds of succeeding if they’re persistent. That’s because phishing attacks try to come across as trustworthy, appearing from a source a victim knows or trusts, like authoritative organization. It’s a common and powerful technique.

A few simple steps can protect you. Examine an email’s sending address if you suspect anything. If you don’t know the sender, or the email’s content doesn’t seem familiar, remain wary and avoid interacting with the message. If you’re unsure, simply reach out to the apparent sender through a different channel, like a phone call or a different email account, that you found through your own research.

Unpatched Software

Unpatched, un-updated, and old software is one the most exploited attack avenues by far. That’s because new software vulnerabilities or bugs are found all of the time, and cybercriminals can use them to compromise a device. The longer software goes without an update, the long cybercriminals have to find these vulnerabilities and exploit them.

The best way to stay a step ahead of active cybercriminals is to update your device’s software as often as possible. Updates often contain security patches blocking newly discovered attack avenues. Getting into a good update habit, too, is becoming increasingly critical as more and more devices connect to the internet. Speaking of which…

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is officially here — and we’re not just talking about internet-connected refrigerators or television sets. IoT devices encompass toys and cars to watches and even clothing. All this available computing means cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever before to find and exploit vulnerabilities in everyday objects.

But, again, there are reliable, proactive defenses. First, make sure that, if your smart device or service requires an account, you use a complex and unique password. This means using numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters. A password manager can help you create strong and unique passwords. Second, typically, if there’s software, there’s an update. Make sure you’re aware of any and all updates to your IoT devices and apply them as soon as you can. If you have an IoT device where updating is difficult, such as a thermostat, you’ll need a more holistic approach. Look for security services, like McAfee Secure Home Platform, designed for a home connected through a protected router that’s enhanced with advanced security analytics.

Finally, and this is a good rule in general, use a comprehensive security solution to protect your technology landscape. It’s a lot bigger than you think and growing every day with each new user account, IoT device or computer you use.

To learn more about securing your personal devices from cyberattacks, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Ileana D’Cruz Tops ‘McAfee Most Sensational Celebrity’ List for 2018

We Indians love our movies and actors and voraciously consume all Page 3 gossip tidbits on them. Our love affair with the celluloid world knows no boundaries – we love our old movies and new; masala movies and art movies. When we hang out, movies will find their way into our discussions. When we organize cultural events, we resort to the latest Bollywood flicks for dance ideas and our fashion is also heavily influenced by our screen idols. Of course, we also search for artists and musicians, Olympics and Asiad winners, writers and poets. But the screen gods and goddesses dominate all searches.

Cyber criminals are well aware of this trait and make full use of it to send across malware or to launch phishing attacks. An innocent search for celeb news could land a user in the murky world of viruses, hacking and scam. In the interest of cyber security, McAfee researches famous individuals globally to reveal which celebrities generate the riskiest search results that could potentially expose their fans to malicious websites. The aim is to stress on the dangers of clicking on suspicious links when searching for celebrity-focused content.

The McAfee survey reveals that the svelte actor, Ileana D’Cruz, as the Most Sensational Celebrity in India, in 2018!

For those new to the survey, the term ‘sensational’ indicates the level of risks linked to online searches involving their names. Which basically means that if you were looking up more details on Ileana D’Cruz and keyed in ‘Ileana + movies’, there is a chance of the search showing unsafe pages and links. The prudent thing to do, is to be aware of what you are clicking on, and use tools like a website reputation checker and a comprehensive security solution.

Let’s end the suspense, readers. You already know Ileana D’Cruz tops the list. Surprisingly, both the 2016 and 2017 toppers, Sonakshi Sinha and comedian Kapil Sharma, failed to make it to the Top 10 this year. Another significant finding is that female actors reign supreme, taking the top three ranks, in contrast to last year, when male actors dominated the top three spots.

Announcing the Top 10 Sensational Celebs from the 2018 McAfee Study:

Now that we are aware and informed, it’s time to learn a few tricks to safeguard our online searches.

Quick Tips on How to Search Safely –

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for latest movies of Ileana D’Cruz should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. Do not give in to temptation and click on links or websites that promise ‘free’ downloads of movies/songs/posters etc. It is better to wait for the official release instead.
  • Turn Auto Updates on for your security solutions and OS: Prevention is way better than cure – your OS and security solution providers keep sending updates to plug vulnerabilities and enhance security. Do not fail to apply these updates, for they are needed to protect your device.
  • Browse with security protection: I have already referred to this above when explaining how cyber criminals capitalize on searches for celebs online. Avoid their trap- use McAfee Total Protection which will offer comprehensive protection against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can help protect against going to malicious websites.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set on the child’s device and use software that can help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

 

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Aussie Ruby Rose is McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity

Keeping up to date with celebrity gossip is a sport for many of us. Staying on top of what your favourite celebrity wore to the latest Hollywood shindig and, of course who they were with can be very time consuming and often require extensive searching! But did you know that searching for your favourite celebrity can actually put your personal security at risk?

Every year McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, undertakes global research, entitled Most Dangerous Celebrities, to identify which celebrities generate the riskiest search results which could potentially expose fans to malicious websites and risky downloads. And in 2018, the top spot was filled for the first time ever by an Australian celebrity: actress and television presenter Ruby Rose.

The very talented Ruby Rose kicked off her career as a hugely popular VJ (video jockey) on MTV. Before long, she went on to enjoy great success as a model, television presenter and then actress with her role as Stella Carlin in the cult series Orange Is The New Black. Ruby’s casting as Batwoman in the upcoming television series would have no doubt assisted in propelling her to first position.

Who Are the Most Dangerous Celebrities to Search For in 2018?

In the global list of Most Dangerous Celebrities, American reality TV star, Kristin Cavallari finished behind Rose at No. 2, followed by French actress Marion Cotillard (No. 3), the original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter (No. 4), Aussie actress Rose Byrne (No. 5), star of Will and Grace Debra Messing (No. 6), reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian (No. 7), actress Amber Heard (No. 8), American morning TV show host Kelly Ripa (No. 9), and finally Orange Is The New Black actor, Brad William Henke round out the top 10.

American actress Lucy Liu topped Australia’s list of the Most Dangerous Celebrities to search for. The top 10 list was littered with Aussie celebrities as well, including Naomi Watts (No. 2), Cate Blanchett (No 4.), Elle Macpherson (No.9) and Margot Robbie (No.10).

Interestingly, Aussie morning TV show host Sonya Kruger came in at number 17 on the list, a notable mention after appearing alongside other Australian TV stars, such as Carrie Bickmore and Georgie Gardiner in the recent fake Facebook ads scamming unsuspecting victims into purchasing face cream subscriptions. The recent Facebook scam demonstrates how cybercriminals capitalise on our love of celebrity when trying to trap unsuspecting consumers into scams.

Cybercriminals Capitalise on our ‘Celebrity Culture’

Online scammers and cybercriminals are always looking at new ways to get their hands on our private information with the aim of making big bucks. Tapping into our love of celebrity, cybercriminals will create professional looking websites that contain downloads which contain spyware or malware. These malicious celebrity sites may also require users to set up an account. Unsuspecting visitors will then provide their email addresses and passwords to the site not realising that their details have been compromised.

Our fast-paced modern lives mean that we often cut corners in the name of speed and convenience. Some of us are just so keen to view the promised content about our favourite celebrity that we drop our guard and don’t take the time to ensure the site is legitimate.

But not taking the time to ensure a link is safe means fans are not only putting their devices at risk of infection from viruses, but themselves at risk of identity theft.

How to Avoid Being Targeted by a Cyber Criminal

One of the best ways of staying safe online and avoiding falling victim to a scam is to adopt safe searches practices. Here are my top tips to ensure you stay out of trouble!

1. Think Before You Click

Users looking for a sneak-peek of Ruby Rose’s upcoming Batwoman series should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.

2. Apply Updates as Soon as they are Available

Device and app updates will often include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.

3. Browse with Security Protection

Searching and browsing without security software is a little like navigating a foreign city with any guidelines. McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive security solution that can help keep devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can help identify malicious websites – very helpful!

4. Use Parental Control Software

Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set on the child’s device and use software that can help minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

Whether you celebrity watch because you are enamoured, envious or inspired, please don’t let your hobby put you at risk of identity theft. Ensure you (and your kids) search safely so you can stay out of the way of cybercrims and their scams!

Alex x

 

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McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrities Study 2018: Ruby Rose Takes Center Stage

Every rose has its thorn, right? Apparently, the same goes for actress Ruby Rose, as her newfound popularity from “Orange is the New Black” has made her both famous, and maybe even dangerous. At least when it comes to online interactions. You heard correctly, the newly announced Batwoman has also been crowned McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity this year. For the twelfth year in a row, McAfee researched famous individuals to reveal the riskiest celebrity to search for online, or, which search results could expose fans to malicious sites. Ruby Rose took home the top spot in 2018, but curious about who the runner-ups are? Here’s the full list:

Recent popular reality and sitcom shows have driven some stars (Kristin Cavallari, Debra Messing, Kourtney Kardashian) to the top of our list. Which is one of the few reasons this list is so different than last year’s. Unlike 2017’s list of Most Dangerous Celebrities, musicians ranked low on this year’s list. Adele was the highest ranked musician at No. 21 followed by Shakira (No. 27), 2017’s top celebrity Avril Lavigne (No. 30), and Lady Gaga (No. 35).

So, whether you’re looking up what Ruby did on the latest “Orange is the New Black” episode, or what Kristin Cavallari wore the latest awards show, make sure you’re searching the internet safely. To keep your internet activity secure and danger-free, follow these tips:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of the CW series, Batwoman starring Ruby Rose should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Apply system and application updates as soon as they are available. Very often the operating system and application updates include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.
  • Browse with security protection. McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive security solution that can help keep devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can help protect against going to malicious websites.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set on the child’s device and use software that can help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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McAfee Blogs: McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrities Study 2018: Ruby Rose Takes Center Stage

Every rose has its thorn, right? Apparently, the same goes for actress Ruby Rose, as her newfound popularity from “Orange is the New Black” has made her both famous, and maybe even dangerous. At least when it comes to online interactions. You heard correctly, the newly announced Batwoman has also been crowned McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity this year. For the twelfth year in a row, McAfee researched famous individuals to reveal the riskiest celebrity to search for online, or, which search results could expose fans to malicious sites. Ruby Rose took home the top spot in 2018, but curious about who the runner-ups are? Here’s the full list:

Recent popular reality and sitcom shows have driven some stars (Kristin Cavallari, Debra Messing, Kourtney Kardashian) to the top of our list. Which is one of the few reasons this list is so different than last year’s. Unlike 2017’s list of Most Dangerous Celebrities, musicians ranked low on this year’s list. Adele was the highest ranked musician at No. 21 followed by Shakira (No. 27), 2017’s top celebrity Avril Lavigne (No. 30), and Lady Gaga (No. 35).

So, whether you’re looking up what Ruby did on the latest “Orange is the New Black” episode, or what Kristin Cavallari wore the latest awards show, make sure you’re searching the internet safely. To keep your internet activity secure and danger-free, follow these tips:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of the CW series, Batwoman starring Ruby Rose should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Apply system and application updates as soon as they are available. Very often the operating system and application updates include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.
  • Browse with security protection. McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive security solution that can help keep devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can help protect against going to malicious websites.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set on the child’s device and use software that can help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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#CyberAware: Will You Help Make the Internet a Safe Place for Families?

National Cyber Security Awareness MonthDon’t we all kinda secretly hope, even pretend, that our biggest fears are in the process of remedying themselves? Like believing that the police will know to stay close should we wander into a sketchy part of town. Or that our doors and windows will promptly self-lock should we forget to do so. Such a world would be ideal — and oh, so, peaceful — but it just isn’t reality. When it comes to making sure our families are safe we’ve got to be the ones to be aware, responsible, and take the needed action.

Our Shared Responsibility

This holds true in making the internet a safe place. As much as we’d like to pretend there’s a protective barrier between us and the bad guys online, there’s no single government entity that is solely responsible for securing the internet. Every individual must play his or her role in protecting their portion of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. And, that’s what October — National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) — is all about.

At McAfee, we focus on these matters every day but this month especially, we are linking arms will safety organizations, bloggers, businesses, and YOU — parents, consumers, educators, and digital citizens — to zero in on ways we can all do our part to make the internet safe and secure for everyone. (Hey, sometimes the home team needs a huddle, right!?)

8 specific things you can do!

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

  1. Become a NCSAM Champion. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSAM) is encouraging everyone — individuals, schools, businesses, government organizations, universities — to sign up, take action, and make a difference in online safety and security. It’s free and simple to register. Once you sign up you will get an email with a toolbox packed with fun, shareable memes to post for #CyberAware October.
  2. Tap your social powers. Throughout October, share, share, share great content you discover. Use the hashtag #CyberAware, so the safety conversation reaches and inspires more people. Also, join the Twitter chat using the hashtag #ChatSTC each Thursday in October at 3 p.m., ET/Noon, PT. Learn, connect with other parents and safety pros, and chime in.National Cyber Security Awareness Month
  3. Hold a family tech talk. Be even more intentional this month. Learn and discuss suggestions from STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ on how each family member can protect their devices and information.
  4. Print it and post it: Print out a STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ tip sheet and display it in areas where family members spend time online.
  5. Understand and execute the basics. Information is awesome. But how much of that information do we truly put into action? Take 10 minutes to read 10 Tips to Stay Safe Online and another 10 minutes to make sure you take the time to install a firewall, strengthen your passwords, and make sure your home network as secure as it can be.National Cyber Security Awareness Month
  6. If you care — share! Send an email to friends and family informing them that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and encourage them to visit staysafeonline.org for tips and resources.
  7. Turn on multi-factor authentication. Protect your financial, email and social media accounts with two-step authentication for passwords.
  8. Update, update, update! This overlooked but powerful way to shore up your devices is crucial. Update your software and turn on automatic updates to protect your home network and personal devices.

Isn’t it awesome to think that you aren’t alone in striving to keep your family’s digital life — and future — safe? A lot of people are working together during National Cyber Security Awareness Month to educate and be more proactive in blocking criminals online. Working together, no doubt, we’ll get there quicker and be able to create and enjoy a safer internet.

 

 

Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her onTwitter @McAfee_Family. (Disclosures)

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Report: Hacking Risk for Connected Vehicles Shows Significant Decline

Smart vehicles are less vulnerable than they were a few years ago, thanks to improvements in security according to a new report from the security firm IOActive. IOActive conducted vulnerability assessments of real-world vehicle systems for its “Commonalities in Vehicle Vulnerabilities 2018 Remix” paper, and found that both the...

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McAfee Blogs: Understanding Your Kid’s Smart Gadgets

When people think about IoT devices, many often think of those that fill their homes. Smart lights, ovens, TVs, etc. But there’s a whole other type of IoT devices that are inside the home that parents may not be as cognizant of – children’s toys. In 2018, smartwatches, smart teddy bears, and more are all in kids’ hands. And though parents are happy to purchase the next hot item for their children, they sometimes aren’t fully aware of how these devices can impact their child’s personal security. IoT has expanded to children, but it’s parents that need to understand how these toys affect their family, and what they can do to keep their children protected from an IoT-based cyberthreat.

How IoT has become kid-friendly

Being connected to the internet has become second nature to the kids of today. Starting at a fairly young age, kids are already leveraging tablets and phones for games. In fact, a recent McAfee survey revealed that 48% of parents allow their children a solid one to two hours of screen time a day.

Now, add IoT into the mix. The reason people are commonly adopting IoT devices is for one reason – convenience. And that’s the same reason these devices have gotten into children’s hands as well. They’re convenient, engaging, easy-to-use toys, some of which are even used to help educate kids.

But this adoption has changed children’s online security. Now, instead of just limiting their device usage and screen time, parents have to start thinking about the types of threats that can emerge from their child’s interaction with IoT devices. For example, smartwatches have been used to track and record kids’ physical location. And children’s data is often recorded with these devices, which means their data could be potentially leveraged for malicious reasons if a cybercriminal breaches the organization behind a specific connected product or app. The FBI has even previously cautioned that these smart toys can be compromised by hackers.

Keeping connected kids safe  

Fortunately, there are many things parents can do to keep their connected kids safe. First off, do the homework. Before buying any connected toy or device for a kid, parents should look up the manufacturer first and see if they have security top of mind. If the device has had any issues with security in the past, it’s best to avoid purchasing it. Additionally, always read the fine print. Terms and conditions should outline how and when a company accesses a kid’s data. When buying a connected device or signing them up for an online service/app, always read the terms and conditions carefully in order to remain fully aware of the extent and impact of a kid’s online presence and use of connected devices.

Mind you, these IoT toys must connect to a home Wi-Fi network in order to run. If they’re vulnerable, they could expose a family’s home network as a result. Since it can be challenging to lock down all the IoT devices in a home, utilize a solution like McAfee Secure Home Platform to provide protection at the router-level. Also, parents can keep an eye on their kid’s online interactions by leveraging a parental control solution like McAfee Safe Family. They can know what their kids are up to, guard them from harm, and limit their screen time by setting rules and time limits for apps and websites.

To learn more about IoT devices and how your children use them, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

The post Understanding Your Kid’s Smart Gadgets appeared first on McAfee Blogs.



McAfee Blogs

Understanding Your Kid’s Smart Gadgets

When people think about IoT devices, many often think of those that fill their homes. Smart lights, ovens, TVs, etc. But there’s a whole other type of IoT devices that are inside the home that parents may not be as cognizant of – children’s toys. In 2018, smartwatches, smart teddy bears, and more are all in kids’ hands. And though parents are happy to purchase the next hot item for their children, they sometimes aren’t fully aware of how these devices can impact their child’s personal security. IoT has expanded to children, but it’s parents that need to understand how these toys affect their family, and what they can do to keep their children protected from an IoT-based cyberthreat.

How IoT has become kid-friendly

Being connected to the internet has become second nature to the kids of today. Starting at a fairly young age, kids are already leveraging tablets and phones for games. In fact, a recent McAfee survey revealed that 48% of parents allow their children a solid one to two hours of screen time a day.

Now, add IoT into the mix. The reason people are commonly adopting IoT devices is for one reason – convenience. And that’s the same reason these devices have gotten into children’s hands as well. They’re convenient, engaging, easy-to-use toys, some of which are even used to help educate kids.

But this adoption has changed children’s online security. Now, instead of just limiting their device usage and screen time, parents have to start thinking about the types of threats that can emerge from their child’s interaction with IoT devices. For example, smartwatches have been used to track and record kids’ physical location. And children’s data is often recorded with these devices, which means their data could be potentially leveraged for malicious reasons if a cybercriminal breaches the organization behind a specific connected product or app. The FBI has even previously cautioned that these smart toys can be compromised by hackers.

Keeping connected kids safe  

Fortunately, there are many things parents can do to keep their connected kids safe. First off, do the homework. Before buying any connected toy or device for a kid, parents should look up the manufacturer first and see if they have security top of mind. If the device has had any issues with security in the past, it’s best to avoid purchasing it. Additionally, always read the fine print. Terms and conditions should outline how and when a company accesses a kid’s data. When buying a connected device or signing them up for an online service/app, always read the terms and conditions carefully in order to remain fully aware of the extent and impact of a kid’s online presence and use of connected devices.

Mind you, these IoT toys must connect to a home Wi-Fi network in order to run. If they’re vulnerable, they could expose a family’s home network as a result. Since it can be challenging to lock down all the IoT devices in a home, utilize a solution like McAfee Secure Home Platform to provide protection at the router-level. Also, parents can keep an eye on their kid’s online interactions by leveraging a parental control solution like McAfee Safe Family. They can know what their kids are up to, guard them from harm, and limit their screen time by setting rules and time limits for apps and websites.

To learn more about IoT devices and how your children use them, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

The post Understanding Your Kid’s Smart Gadgets appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Report: Financial industry in crosshairs of credential-stuffing botnets

Botnets mounting credential-stuffing attacks against the financial industry are on the rise, with a more than 20-percent uptick in a two-month period, a new report from Akamai has found. Bad actors from the United States, Russia and Vietnam are using credential stuffing attacks to try to compromise financial services firms, Akamai says in its...

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McAfee Blogs: Mobile and Digital Payments: Worth the Risk?

Thanks in part to the convenience that our mobile devices provide for us, much of the world operates now on instant gratification. From accessing information on the web to doing work –and now sending and receiving digital payments– our devices and applications support us while we’re on the go. Whether we’re paying a friend for dinner, our roommate for rent, or otherwise, many of us use peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile and digital payment apps rather than cash to settle our bills.

P2P mobile and digital payment apps like Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle have changed the way we transfer money; today it’s faster, simpler, and easier than ever. In fact, they’re so popular that it’s estimated that in 2018, $700 billion will be transferred in this manner. With so much money being sent and received in this way, the ease of transfer begs the question, how secure are these apps?

While some have turned to using cryptocurrency and blockchain to curtail the known dangers of traditional mobile payment apps, recent cryptojacking incidents have proven that even this new technology is not foolproof when it comes to cybersecurity and the determination of cybercriminals. And while the convenience of digital payments can’t be denied, we seem to be prioritizing ease of use over security. Let’s take a look at how digital payments work, as well as their security implications.

How Digital Payments Work

P2P apps like Venmo, Cash App, and others essentially all work in the same way.  Functioning as a digital wallet, users link the app to their bank accounts or credit and debit cards. Then the app adds or subtracts money based on when users receive or send a payment. From there, users can “cash out” their balance to their preferred digital property, such as the account attached to a card or bank account.

P2P Money Transfer Apps and Cybersecurity Concerns

On the surface, digital money transfers may seem harmless, when in fact, they could lead to a headache of unforeseen cybersecurity concerns. The good news is that most money transfer apps will reimburse you for fraudulent charges. However, if someone has physical access to your phone and you don’t keep it locked, they can send money to themselves or others and you won’t get that money back.

Aside from the obvious concern of losing your phone, if you use an unsecured network to transfer money, it’s easier for someone to launch a phishing attack to gain access to your data. That’s because some payment apps will send request links from other users to download the app on their device. These links can be manipulated by cybercriminals and often contain just a letter or number off so that these changes go unnoticed by day-to-day users. When clicked on, a user can be redirected to a web page and presented with malware or a virus and might be prompted to download it– giving an unfriendly host access to your financial information. Thankfully, leveraging your data plan or a VPN rather than an unsecured or pubic Wi-Fi network can help create an extra layer of protection, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to access your sensitive data.

Lastly, there are often unforeseen holes in software that provide backdoor access to your financial information. Meticulously updating the software on your mobile device can help patch up known security issues, also making it easier to protect your data.

Tips to Stay Safe While Using Peer-to-Peer Money Transfer Apps

If you already use a peer-to-peer money transfer app or are on the fence about downloading one, here are some tips to take into account. By practicing multiple security habits simultaneously, your financial information is much more likely to remain safe on your devices and apps:

  • Set up additional security measures. P2P payment platforms require access to sensitive financial information. Check your account settings to see if you can enable multi-factor authentication, PIN/Password requirement, or use fingerprint recognition.
  • Check your preferred app’s permission or settings. Some might share information about your transactions on social media or on the platform itself, like Venmo. Make adjustments to these settings if and when you see fit.
  • Update your software and apps. It’s a best practice to update software and apps when prompted to help seal vulnerabilities when they’re found.
  • Be aware of where you are conducting your money transfers. Opt to use your data plan or a secure, private Wi-Fi network when using a P2P payment app. If you connected to public Wi-Fi, cybercriminals could use the holes in these networks to access your personal banking information and possibly access your P2P app account. If you must use public Wi-Fi, then it’s a good idea to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Confirm the deposit went through. When you receive a payment, that money is added to your in-system balance. This is where it will remain until you initiate the transfer to your bank account or use it for another transaction within the app. If you transfer the balance to your bank, confirm it went through. This could take anywhere from a few days to a week. If it takes longer, it’s worth investigating to stop suspicious behavior in its tracks.
  • Be wary of scammers and cybercriminals. If you don’t know the person to which you are sending a digital transfer (say to purchase tickets to an event), look for poor spelling or grammar from them and read links carefully. If something doesn’t look right, that’s often a tell-tale sign that you’re being led astray. Try to find an alternative way to pay, or better yet – find someone who is more trustworthy.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Mobile and Digital Payments: Worth the Risk? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.



McAfee Blogs

Mobile and Digital Payments: Worth the Risk?

Thanks in part to the convenience that our mobile devices provide for us, much of the world operates now on instant gratification. From accessing information on the web to doing work –and now sending and receiving digital payments– our devices and applications support us while we’re on the go. Whether we’re paying a friend for dinner, our roommate for rent, or otherwise, many of us use peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile and digital payment apps rather than cash to settle our bills.

P2P mobile and digital payment apps like Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle have changed the way we transfer money; today it’s faster, simpler, and easier than ever. In fact, they’re so popular that it’s estimated that in 2018, $700 billion will be transferred in this manner. With so much money being sent and received in this way, the ease of transfer begs the question, how secure are these apps?

While some have turned to using cryptocurrency and blockchain to curtail the known dangers of traditional mobile payment apps, recent cryptojacking incidents have proven that even this new technology is not foolproof when it comes to cybersecurity and the determination of cybercriminals. And while the convenience of digital payments can’t be denied, we seem to be prioritizing ease of use over security. Let’s take a look at how digital payments work, as well as their security implications.

How Digital Payments Work

P2P apps like Venmo, Cash App, and others essentially all work in the same way.  Functioning as a digital wallet, users link the app to their bank accounts or credit and debit cards. Then the app adds or subtracts money based on when users receive or send a payment. From there, users can “cash out” their balance to their preferred digital property, such as the account attached to a card or bank account.

P2P Money Transfer Apps and Cybersecurity Concerns

On the surface, digital money transfers may seem harmless, when in fact, they could lead to a headache of unforeseen cybersecurity concerns. The good news is that most money transfer apps will reimburse you for fraudulent charges. However, if someone has physical access to your phone and you don’t keep it locked, they can send money to themselves or others and you won’t get that money back.

Aside from the obvious concern of losing your phone, if you use an unsecured network to transfer money, it’s easier for someone to launch a phishing attack to gain access to your data. That’s because some payment apps will send request links from other users to download the app on their device. These links can be manipulated by cybercriminals and often contain just a letter or number off so that these changes go unnoticed by day-to-day users. When clicked on, a user can be redirected to a web page and presented with malware or a virus and might be prompted to download it– giving an unfriendly host access to your financial information. Thankfully, leveraging your data plan or a VPN rather than an unsecured or pubic Wi-Fi network can help create an extra layer of protection, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to access your sensitive data.

Lastly, there are often unforeseen holes in software that provide backdoor access to your financial information. Meticulously updating the software on your mobile device can help patch up known security issues, also making it easier to protect your data.

Tips to Stay Safe While Using Peer-to-Peer Money Transfer Apps

If you already use a peer-to-peer money transfer app or are on the fence about downloading one, here are some tips to take into account. By practicing multiple security habits simultaneously, your financial information is much more likely to remain safe on your devices and apps:

  • Set up additional security measures. P2P payment platforms require access to sensitive financial information. Check your account settings to see if you can enable multi-factor authentication, PIN/Password requirement, or use fingerprint recognition.
  • Check your preferred app’s permission or settings. Some might share information about your transactions on social media or on the platform itself, like Venmo. Make adjustments to these settings if and when you see fit.
  • Update your software and apps. It’s a best practice to update software and apps when prompted to help seal vulnerabilities when they’re found.
  • Be aware of where you are conducting your money transfers. Opt to use your data plan or a secure, private Wi-Fi network when using a P2P payment app. If you connected to public Wi-Fi, cybercriminals could use the holes in these networks to access your personal banking information and possibly access your P2P app account. If you must use public Wi-Fi, then it’s a good idea to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Confirm the deposit went through. When you receive a payment, that money is added to your in-system balance. This is where it will remain until you initiate the transfer to your bank account or use it for another transaction within the app. If you transfer the balance to your bank, confirm it went through. This could take anywhere from a few days to a week. If it takes longer, it’s worth investigating to stop suspicious behavior in its tracks.
  • Be wary of scammers and cybercriminals. If you don’t know the person to which you are sending a digital transfer (say to purchase tickets to an event), look for poor spelling or grammar from them and read links carefully. If something doesn’t look right, that’s often a tell-tale sign that you’re being led astray. Try to find an alternative way to pay, or better yet – find someone who is more trustworthy.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Mobile and Digital Payments: Worth the Risk? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Inside a Modern-Day Smart Home

Ever wonder how the Internet of Things (IoT) first began? Often regarded as the first IoT device, John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off over the internet for the October ’89 INTEROP conference. Then in 2000, LG announced its first internet refrigerator plans. So on and so forth IoT grew and grew, populating homes everywhere. Soon enough, we got the smart home. Though the name itself has become household, many people may not fully understand the ins and outs of a smart home. And beyond that, many don’t know the security implications tied to it. Let’s take a look.

Popularity via Convenience

According to Gartner, 20.8 billion connected devices are predicted to exist in consumer homes by 2020. So why have these devices and the smart homes they fill boomed so drastically in popularity in the past few years? One word: convenience.

If we use enough of them, these devices automate our daily existence. They turn our lights on for us, flip music on at the sound of our voice, even change the temperature in our house. And they’ve become all too easy to accumulate since the technology has started to become more affordable. A few of the key and common smart devices that can be found in a modern smart home include smart refrigerators, smart lights, smart speakers, smart TVs. Beyond that, more family-oriented devices are becoming smart — including baby cams, thermometers, and children’s toys.

As we look ahead, it’s been predicted that the type of devices that are “smart” will grow to become more diverse, driving wider adoption. And that will cause more businesses to jump on the IoT train — builders, developers and anyone in the world of residential life are going to link up with smart tech.

The Digital (and Physical) Impact of IoT

But the continuous growth of these devices, now and in the future, is something we all have to smart about. These IoT devices are convenient, but their build makes them a convenient target for cybercriminals. This is because many IoT devices aren’t built with security in mind, and users often leave default settings on, which makes it easy for hackers to breach them. Just take the McAfee ATR team’s recent discovery about the Wemo Insight Smart Plug for example – the device was found to contain a crucial vulnerability that could allow hackers to manipulate it. Not to mention, digital assistants are susceptible to something called a ‘Dolphin Attack,’ which can be leveraged by cybercriminals to potentially breach a user.

And since all these IoT devices must connect to Wi-Fi, they can expose an entire network to threats. In fact, according to a recent McAfee survey, the biggest worry among recent respondents about having their wireless home network hacked is that cybercriminals could steal personal information and make them a victim of identity theft (63%).

There are physical repercussions to a vulnerable IoT device as well. Once they’ve hacked a connected device, cybercriminals can also manipulate the device itself and can flip the lights off, listen in on your smart baby monitor, the list goes on.

Connecting With Care

The good news is there are a few things we can all do to prevent IoT attacks and still enjoy our smart homes. First things first, we must all buy IoT devices with security in mind. Just by doing some basic research and looking up the manufacturers, we can get a feel if they have security top of mind. Most importantly, we have to change default settings and use a security solution that protects our homes at the router-level, such as McAfee Secure Home Platform.

By following these best practices, we can live our connected lives with confidence and enjoy the convenience of our high-tech homes. Both our homes and our personal security will remain smart.

To learn more about smart homes and IoT, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

The post Inside a Modern-Day Smart Home appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Digital Literacy Decoded – Time to Reprise Our Roles as Digital Citizens

Celebrated every year on September 8, this year’s theme for International Literacy Day focused on “Literacy and Skills Development.” And this made me instantly think of digital literacy and why we need to push digital skill development among the populace. It does not take much time to move from pen and paper to keyboard and screen. After all, low-cost smartphones, wide penetration of the internet and cheap data have made it possible for even the less-educated to join the digital world.

I think we all will benefit from a refresher on digital literacy- what it means, what it entails and what are the requisite skills. Let’s start by understanding the term “digital literacy.”

What is digital literacy?

Literacy, stated simply, means the ability to read and write. Digital literacy goes a step ahead and encompasses a variety of skills necessary to be part of the digital world. So basically, a digital literate can use devices to communicate, transact, create, research and/or evaluate content and network with other digital citizens.

If we break it down further, to simplify matters, we can say that a digital literate is one who:

  • Can operate a device: Use an internet-enabled device, understand and use the different functions, know how to secure the device and importance of security tools
  • Has basic computer literacy: Can search the web, book an app cab; buy or sell things online; use the digital medium for work, entertainment, education or to create awareness
  • Knows how to search for and create content: Uses devices to research, evaluate and compare data and also to create and share content
  • Communicates via social media: Understands and uses various social media platforms for purposes ranging from education, entertainment, collaborations to networking
  • Is aware of online threats and knows safe surfing habits: Stays aware of the digital environment and takes basic precautions when online

We all know why digital literacy has become such an important aspect of modern life. Technological advancement and increasing use of machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) has made it necessary for all to join the digital literacy bandwagon to understand how things work, communicate correctly, and know how to stay safe online.

Blackboards in schools are already a thing of the past with digital boards making their way into classrooms. Children do not need to go to the library to work on their projects, they simply ‘Google’ for the information. Teachers use available resources to make learning interesting and long-lasting. Children are also using apps to learn at their own pace and subjects customized to suit their interest. Homework assignments are more likely to be found in the WhatsApp messages from school than in school diaries. Digital literacy helps children to know how to select safe search sites, separate truth from falsity, be aware of the latest malware and phishing strategies and the need to avoid strangers and aggressive people online. They will also be adept at taking the right actions if they face negative behavior online.

Children are also on social media, using a plethora of devices. A digital literate would understand the implications of online actions and the probable consequences. They would also be well-versed in cyber etiquette, cyber ethics and cyber hygiene. Not only would they be moderate in their comments and posts, they would also show more diplomacy and empathy online. Importantly, they would know how to handle negative behavior like cyberbullying and trolling.

At home and work, we use a number of IoT devices. Hackers can break into these to steal our data or send us ransomware. Digital literacy arms us with the right skills to secure our online presence and keep our dear ones and our data safe.

As a parent your first question is likely to be- OK, so what are the skills that my child needs to have to be called a digital literate?

As you prepare your little tykes to become responsible digital citizens and take ownership of their online lives, do remember to reinforce time and again, the need for installing and running licensed security software like McAfee LiveSafe and McAfee Total in all their devices. Discuss and list the different ways the security tools help users to stay safe online and why skipping this step can lead to problems later.

Cheers to all you digital citizens. Ciao!

The post Digital Literacy Decoded – Time to Reprise Our Roles as Digital Citizens appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Salute to Teachers – The Architects of Tomorrow’s Digital India

The digital whiteboards have long replaced the squeaky blackboards, while emails and text messages are replacing messages pinned on the display boards in the corridors. Today, many schools have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, making notebooks redundant. The education pattern is itself changing from general rote learning for all to the ‘Discovery’ methods. Children are encouraged to participate in  group activities, brainstorming etc. to make learning easier, more interesting and long-lasting. As the academic system is being revolutionized by technology, the teachers, who have the task of making tech work in schools, are working hard to adapt to the changing scenario.

Technology offers an enormous range of possibilities within the confines of the same old classroom, and teachers now have greater access to reading material on the internet to do fact checks, organize presentations, get students to prepare slide shows or study at their own pace – something that was not possible even a decade ago, when I was a full-time teacher.

I feel so excited therefore when educationists talk about new strategies and concepts to enable wholesome learning and development. What’s more wonderful is that parents too, are getting to be a constant part of their child’s daily activities in schools, thanks to videos and emails. Further, the internet has made the world a global village and teachers are smartly making the most of it. Tweet chats and dedicated discussion platforms on education have allowed teachers to share findings and learn from each other. Such forums allow teachers to stay abreast of new digital learning tools and ensure that their students are making the most of what tech has to offer. After all, only an aware teacher can impart the right knowledge to our digital children.

Therefore, it’s a win-win situation for both teachers and students, leading to vastly improved academic environment and global outlook in students.

If anyone argues (and we used to write essays on this in school) would robots replace teachers in the near future or are teachers becoming irrelevant, then my answer is an emphatic “NO” and I will tell you why.

Why do students need human teachers in the digital age?

  • The human touch and attention
  • To instill the right values and cyber etiquette
  • To teach discipline and responsibility
  • Offer the right guidance on web surfing in the age of fake profiles and fake news
  • Guidance on searching for information online

It’s not an easy task. If you examine what being a teacher in the digital age entails, here are some of the skills they need to have.

Digital Age teachers should be able to:

  • Bring about required changes to move towards digitalization of education
  • Think critically or think out of the box and encourage this trait in children too
  • Stay updated with the latest tech developments and familiarize themselves with current trends to be able to establish classroom order
  • Help students select the right digital tools and use them responsibly
  • Teach kids to safeguard their devices and their online environment
  • Understand digital literacy and teach kids digital etiquette and digital hygiene
  • Use social media effectively to connect with other educationists, parents and children
  • Assist parents to become tech-savvy and cybersafety aware

Three things that every teacher needs to tackle in school:

  • Cyberbullying: Classroom bullying has gone online. It has become quite rampant- ranging from the harmless leg-pulling to serious threats and abuse. Teachers need to keep an eagle eye out for such activities, educate children on future consequences and organize peer support groups for victims of bullying so that children can learn how to deal with bullies.
  • Online dares and risky challenges: Teens especially are attracted by such competitive tasks where they can prove themselves and earn peer approval. Children need to be educated early on about the associated risks so that know where to draw the line.
  • Oversharing: Children need constant guidance on what and how much to share for they lack the foresight to think of future consequences.

Sanitization and security of the digital world of children are of paramount interest and teachers are best placed to guide them on this. This includes using only those devices that have running licensed security tools like McAfee Total Protection, using strong passphrases or better still, password managers, and being mindful of their digital actions.

Teachers are truly the nation builders; they are moulding the future digital age citizens with the right knowledge and guidance. It’s a tough task, but they do it with elegance and a smile. Wishing all you teachers a very Happy Teacher’s Day, may your tribe flourish.

The post Salute to Teachers – The Architects of Tomorrow’s Digital India appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Trending: IoT Malware Attacks of 2018

Since January 1st of 2018, a barrage of cyberattacks and data breaches have hit almost every industry, targeting businesses large and small, many of which are now from IoT devices. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices around the world. With more IoT devices ­–from wearables and pacemakers to thermometers and smart plugs–on the market and in the home, cybercriminals are keen to leverage them in attacks. This heightened interest is due to the vulnerabilities in many IoT devices, not to mention their ability to connect to each other, which can form an IoT botnet.

In a botnet scenario, a network of internet-connected devices is infected with malware and controlled without the users’ knowledge, in order to launch ransomware and DDoS attacks (distributed denial-of-service). Once unleashed, the consequences of botnet attacks can be devastating. This possible reality sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie, one which we hypothesized in our 2018 Threats Prediction Report. As we head into this year’s final months, we take a look at how this year’s threats compared to our predictions for you, the consumer.

At the end of 2017, we predicted that the convenience and ease of a connected home could lead to a decrease in privacy. Our devices already transmit significant data, with or without the knowledge of the consumer, back to the corporations the devices are made. This unprecedented access to consumer data is what is driving cybercriminals to become more familiar with IoT botnet attacks. Just in 2018 alone, we’ve seen smart TVs, virtual assistants, and even smart plugs display detrimental security flaws that could be exploited by bad actors. Some IoT devices were used to facilitate botnet attacks, like an IoT thermometer and home Wi-Fi routers. In 2017, these security concerns were simply predictions- but now they are very much a reality. And while the window to get ahead of these attacks is closing, consumers need to be prepared in case your IoT devices go haywire.

Be the difference in your home when it comes to security and IoT devices. Protect both you and your family from these threats with these tips:

  • When buying an IoT device, make security a priority. Before your next IoT purchase, do your research. Prioritize purchasing devices that have been on the market for a while, have a name brand, or have a lot of online reviews. If you follow this protocol, the chances are that the device’s security standards will be higher, due to being vetted by the masses.
  • Change default device passwords. As soon as you bring a new device into your home, change the password to something difficult to guess. Cybercriminals often know the default settings and can use them to access your devices. If the device has advanced security options, use them.
  • Keep your software up-to-date. To protect against potential vulnerabilities, manufacturers often release software updates. Set your device to auto-update, if possible, so you always have the latest software.
  • Use a comprehensive security program. It’s important to think about security holistically. Not all IoT devices are restricted to the home; many are mobile (such as smart watches). If you’re out and about, you may need to connect to an unsecured network – say an airport with public Wi-Fi. Your kids may have devices. The scenarios may be different, but the risk is the same. Protect your network of connected devices no matter where you are and consider a suite of security products to protect what matters.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Trending: IoT Malware Attacks of 2018 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Seamless Security for the Connected Consumer

Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, smart watches, and more are all often found in a modern user’s arsenal of personal devices. We rely on these devices for so many things – to wake us up, count calories, connect us to friends and loved ones, provide access to the web, the list goes on. We love our devices, that much is clear. But this love has almost become bittersweet due to growing concerns about how using these devices impact our privacy.

Not so long ago, cybersecurity was a distant idea for many of us. But big-name data breaches and attacks changed all of that. Dyn, WannaCry, and Equifax soon became household names, causing us to consider how we use connected devices, what exactly we connect to, and who we share their information with. As Kelly Sheridan, a reporter at Dark Reading, states “A few years ago, many people didn’t talk about cybersecurity or even pay much attention to it. These days, it’s a growing source of stress among consumers, who rely on several devices and businesses to protect their data.” Now, with cybersecurity making all of us anxious, the next question is, how can we enjoy the convenience of our personal devices while still remaining secure?

Staying connected doesn’t have to be a bittersweet experience. In fact, we can do a lot to empower ourselves and become security savvy. To remain protected anywhere we are connected, we can look to McAfee for a seamless, simple yet powerful security experience.

McAfee aims to make it easy for everyone to protect what matters most. We understand the complexity of managing multiple devices in our already busy lives. We understand that the last thing users need is a complex product for securing devices. Our focus at McAfee is to simplify digital protection by providing a seamless unified experience. So, whether you are at home, or out and about, McAfee’s protects your identity, your data, and your devices all with the same delightful, unified user experience powered by McAfee’s cloud. Our goal is to create an effortless onboarding experience and make it quick and easy to set up digital security for you and your entire family. Plus, you can manage it all from a simple mobile app so you can get notified when a new threat is discovered and receive tips for staying protected.

Now, you can rest assured that your identity and your digital privacy are protected with security that is effective, simple and meaningful. You will be able to use their devices anywhere and stay protected against any threat, on any network. With this approach, living a connected lifestyle no longer has to be bittersweet.

To learn more about consumer security and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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McAfee Survey: Parents Share Pictures of Their Kids Online, Despite Understanding the Risks Involved

As Birbal had once pointed out to Akbar, “There is only one pretty child in this world and every mother has it.” Never has there been such a strong urge to prove this than in the digital age. Parents are making full use of their social media platforms to keep their friends and family updated with the latest happenings in their precious one’s lives. However, are they compromising their children’s privacy and security to satisfy their pride?

The Age of Consent Survey commissioned by McAfee brings to light some interesting facts in India, regarding parental habits of sharing their children’s photos online.

  • Parents are aware of the risks of posting images of their children on social media, but the majority are doing it anyway, often without their children’s consent
  • 76% of parents say they have considered the images of their children they post online could end up in the wrong hands
  • 61.6% of parents believe they have the right to share an image of their child on social media without their consent

Parents Ignoring the Risks?

The McAfee survey reveals that parents are not giving enough consideration to what they post online and how it could affect their children. There are two kinds of risks involved:

  1. Physical risks: Pictures can be misused to create fake identities, groom victims and morphed and used inappropriately by paedophiles
  2. Emotional risks: They may cause children worry and anxiety if they fear that the photos may be used to shame or cyberbully them

While parents are aware and concerned about the physical risks associated with posting pictures online, they are less concerned about the emotional risks. The survey reveals that moms consider the embarrassing side effect more than dads, with 45% of dads assuming their children will get over any embarrassing content compared to just 14% of moms. But it is important to consider the emotional effects on kids as they will tend to shape his/her character and future.

How do Men and Women Compare When It Comes to Sharing Pictures?

Most men and women post photos of their children only on private social media accounts, indicating they are aware of the risks. While identity theft worries men more, women are more worried about image morphing.  In addition, women are more restrained about sharing pictures of kids under 2 without clothes over social media in comparison to men. But, unfortunately, neither is much concerned about paedophilia. This needs to change! You have to put the ‘stranger-danger’ policy in action well before you start teaching your kids that.

Mumbai Parents Lead in Sharing

Mumbai parents, ahoy! You are tech-savvy no doubt and leave Delhi and Bengaluru way behind when it comes to sharing of kid’s photos online. Though Metro city parents are aware that children may be embarrassed by some of the photos posted and consider photoshopping or morphing of pics as a major potential risk, they still go ahead and share. Whoa! Go easy and THINK well before hitting the ‘SHARE’ button parents; it’s your children we are talking about.

Some Salient India-Specific Findings from The Survey

  • 5% of parents post an image of their child on social media at least once a day
  • 79% share images on public social media accounts
  • 39% of parents don’t consult with their children before posting images of them on social media
  • 98% of parents have considered that the images they post of their child on social media may be embarrassing/be something they wouldn’t want posted, but do it anyway
  • 6% of parents have/would share an image of their child in their school uniform on social media
  • 6% of parents believe they have the right to share an image of their child on social media without their consent
  • The average age parents believe they should begin asking their child for consent to post a photo of them on social media is 10, interestingly, the age of responsibility in India is 7

Tips for Safe Sharing of Children’s pics

  • THINK.POST: Always think twice before uploading pictures of your child. Will it prove risky or embarrassing for the child later in life? If yes, or in doubt, postpone sharing.
  • Disable geo-tagging. Many social networks will tag a user’s location when a photo is uploaded. Parents should ensure this feature is turned off to avoid disclosing their location. This is especially important when posting photos away from home.
  • Maximise privacy settings on social media: Parents should only share photos and other social media posts with their intended audience.
  • Let family, friends know your views on posting images and tagging: This will help prevent future embarrassments. Return the favour.
  • Use an identity theft protection service: The amount of personal data shared online, and the rise in data breach, together escalate the possibility of identity theft. It’s recommended that you use an identity theft protection solution like McAfee Identity Theft Protection to proactively protect your identity and keep your personal data safe from misuse.

Parents, put aside your pride in your child and review the future implications of posting their pictures online. As parents, it’s your responsibility to understand the effects of your social media actions on your child. A few general photographs shared privately may be OK, but it is advisable NOT to turn your social media page into your child’s digital record page. Let your child start his/her digital journey on a clean slate.

 

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Back-to-School Cybersecurity 101: #RT2Win an A+ Worthy Prize

The days are getting shorter and your bags are (finally) unpacked from the annual family vacation. Summer is officially coming to an end, and parents and kids are switching gears from hot afternoons filled with play dates and summer camp to early mornings and long school days. But as fun as a new school year may be, did you know there have been 353 cybersecurity incidents U.S. K-12 public schools and districts since January 2016? And with devices being the new norm in the classroom – and the increasing number of phishing scams, ransomware and data breaches – cybersecurity should be the first priority when sending your kids back to school.

Backpacks, notebooks, pencils, markers…. the supplies list seems to go on and on. And we know that making sure your kids’ devices are secure can be stressful enough without the pressures of back-to-school supplies shopping, so we’re here to make sure they head back to school in style with our A+ worthy RT2Win sweepstakes!

Three [3] lucky winners of the sweepstakes drawing will receive a McAfee Back-to-School Essential Backpack complete with essential school supplies like binders, notebooks, book covers, $100 Amazon gift card, Fujifilm Instanx Mini 7s, and so much more! ($300 value, full details below) The best part? Entering is a breeze! Follow the instructions below to enter and good luck!

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

  • To enter, go to https://twitter.com/McAfee_Home, and find the #RT2Win sweepstakes tweet.
  • The sweepstakes tweet will be released on Monday, August 27, 2018, 2018 at 12:00pm PT. This tweet will include the hashtags: #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes.
  • Retweet the sweepstakes tweet released on the above date, from your own handle. The #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes hashtags must be included to be entered.
  • Sweepstakes will end on Monday, September 10, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. All entries must be made before that date and time.
  • Winners will be notified on Monday, September 12, 2018 via Twitter direct message.
  • Limit one entry per person.

1. How to Win:

Retweet one of our contest tweets on @McAfee_Home that include “#ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes” for a chance to win a McAfee Back-to-School Essential Backpack (for full prize details please see “Prizes” section below). Three [3] total winners will be selected and announced on September 10, 2018. Winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter. For full Sweepstakes details, please see the Terms and Conditions, below.

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

2. How to Enter: 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be conducted from August 27, 2018 through September 10, 2018. All entries for each day of the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes must be received during the time allotted for the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Pacific Daylight Time shall control the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes, duration is as follows:

  • Begins Monday, August 27­­ at 12:00pm PST
  • Ends: Monday, September 10, 2018 at 11:59pm PST
  • Three [3] winners will be announced: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

For the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes, participants must complete the following steps during the time allotted for the McAfee Back-to-School Sweepstakes:

  1. Find the sweepstakes tweet of the day posted on @McAfee_Home which will include the hashtags: #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win and #Sweepstakes
  2. Retweet the sweepstakes tweet of the day and make sure it includes the #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win, and hashtags.
  3. Note: Tweets that do not contain the #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win, and #Sweepstakes hashtags will not be considered for entry.
  4. Limit one entry per person.

Three [3] winners will be chosen for the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes tweet from the viable pool of entries that retweeted and included #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win and #Sweepstakes. McAfee and the McAfee social team will choose winners from all the viable entries. The winners will be announced and privately messaged on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle. No other method of entry will be accepted besides Twitter. Only one entry per user is allowed, per Sweepstakes.   

3. Eligibility: 

McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States who are 18 years of age or older on the dates of the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes begins and live in a jurisdiction where this prize and McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes not prohibited. Employees of Sponsor and its subsidiaries, affiliates, prize suppliers, and advertising and promotional agencies, their immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses), and individuals living in the same household as such employees are ineligible.

 4. Winner Selection:

Winners will be selected at random from all eligible retweets received during the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes drawing entry period. Sponsor will select the names of three [3] potential winners of the prizes in a random drawing from among all eligible submissions at the address listed below. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by the Official McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes Rules and the decisions of the coordinators, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

5. Winner Notification: 

Each winner will be notified via direct message (“DM”) on Twitter.com by September 12, 2018. Prize winners may be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (where permitted by law) to be returned within ten (10) days of written notification, or prize may be forfeited, and an alternate winner selected. If a prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to a potential winner, if potential winner cannot be reached within twenty four (24) hours from the first DM notification attempt, or if potential winner fails to return requisite document within the specified time period, or if a potential winner is not in compliance with these Official Rules, then such person shall be disqualified and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, an alternate winner may be selected for the prize at issue based on the winner selection process described above.

6. Prizes: 

McAFEE BACK-TO-SCHOOL ESSENTIAL BACKPACK (3)

Approximate ARV for Tier 1 Prize: $400

  • $100 Amazon Gift Card
  • McAfee Backpack
  • McAfee Water Bottle
  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s Red
  • Fujifilm Instax Mini Rainbow Film
  • McAfee Total Protection
  • Spiral Notebooks (2)
  • Binders (2)
  • Binder Dividers – 5 pack (2)
  • Planner
  • Ball Point Pens – 24 pack
  • Mechanical Pencils – 40 pack
  • Highlighters – 12 pack
  • Large Erasers – 3 pack
  • Pencil Bag
  • Plastic Ruler
  • Crayola Markers
  • Crayola Colored Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Scissors
  • Index Cards
  • Book Covers (2)

Limit one (1) prize per person/household. Prizes are non-transferable, and no cash equivalent or substitution of prize is offered.

The prize for the McAfee Back-To-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes is a ONE (1) Back-to-School Essential Backpack, complete with the above supplies, for each of the three (3) entrants. Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes. Sponsor is not responsible for delays in prize delivery beyond its control. All other expenses and items not specifically mentioned in these Official Rules are not included and are the prize winners’ sole responsibility.

7. General Conditions: 

Entrants agree that by entering they agree to be bound by these rules. All federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and surcharges on prize packages are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, whether caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes, or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes. entries. By entering, participants release and hold harmless Sponsor and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives from any and all liability for any injuries, loss, claim, action, demand, or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes, any prize won, any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, participation in any McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes -related activity, or participation in the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Except for applicable manufacturer’s standard warranties, the prizes are awarded “AS IS” and WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, express or implied (including any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose).

8. Limitations of Liability; Releases:

By entering the Sweepstakes, you release Sponsor and all Released Parties from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action, related to any claims, costs, injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the Sweepstakes or delivery, misdelivery, acceptance, possession, use of or inability to use any prize (including claims, costs, injuries, losses and damages related to rights of publicity or privacy, defamation or portrayal in a false light, whether intentional or unintentional), whether under a theory of contract, tort (including negligence), warranty or other theory.

To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, in no event will the sponsor or the released parties be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages, including loss of use, loss of profits or loss of data, whether in an action in contract, tort (including, negligence) or otherwise, arising out of or in any way connected to your participation in the sweepstakes or use or inability to use any equipment provided for use in the sweepstakes or any prize, even if a released party has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

  1. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, in no event will the aggregate liability of the released parties (jointly) arising out of or relating to your participation in the sweepstakes or use of or inability to use any equipment provided for use in the sweepstakes or any prize exceed $10. The limitations set forth in this section will not exclude or limit liability for personal injury or property damage caused by products rented from the sponsor, or for the released parties’ gross negligence, intentional misconduct, or for fraud.
  2. Use of Winner’s Name, Likeness, etc.: Except where prohibited by law, entry into the Sweepstakes constitutes permission to use your name, hometown, aural and visual likeness and prize information for advertising, marketing, and promotional purposes without further permission or compensation (including in a public-facing winner list).  As a condition of being awarded any prize, except where prohibited by law, winner may be required to execute a consent to the use of their name, hometown, aural and visual likeness and prize information for advertising, marketing, and promotional purposes without further permission or compensation. By entering this Sweepstakes, you consent to being contacted by Sponsor for any purpose in connection with this Sweepstakes.

9. Prize Forfeiture:

If winner cannot be notified, does not respond to notification, does not meet eligibility requirements, or otherwise does not comply with the prize McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes rules, then the winner will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be selected from remaining eligible entry forms for each McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes.

10. Dispute Resolution:

Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

11. Governing Law & Disputes:

Each entrant agrees that any disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this sweepstakes or any prize awarded will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action and these rules will be construed in accordance with the laws, jurisdiction, and venue of the State of New York, U.S.A.

12. Privacy Policy: 

Personal information obtained in connection with this prize McAfee Back-to-School #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be handled in accordance policy set forth at http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/privacy.html.

  1. Winner List; Rules Request: For a copy of the winner list, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for arrival after August 27,2018 before September 10, 2018 to the address listed below, Attn: #RT2Win at CES Sweepstakes.  To obtain a copy of these Official Rules, visit this link or send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to the address listed in below, Attn: Sarah Grayson. VT residents may omit return postage.
  2. Intellectual Property Notice: McAfee and the McAfee logo are registered trademarks of McAfee, LLC. The Sweepstakes and all accompanying materials are copyright © 2018 by McAfee, LLC.  All rights reserved.
  3. Sponsor: McAfee, LLC, Corporate Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA
  4. Administrator: LEWIS Pulse, 111 Sutter St., Suiter 850, San Francisco, CA 94104

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Share Kids Images Safely

Kids images online. I’m not a big sharer online but I do love popping up a few pics of an important family milestone on Facebook. You know the ones: a child starting a new school, an amazing family holiday or a hilarious birthday pic. Sharing family snaps online is a great way to keep your friends and family up-to-date with what’s going on in your world. But I’m the first to admit that this can be a risky business!!

The Lure of Likes

It appears that the validation (and dopamine hit) we receive from posting online clouds our rational brain. New research by McAfee has shown that Aussie parents are continuing to regularly post pics of their kids online and choosing to ignore their own concerns. In fact:

  • 30% of parents post a pic a week of their children online, and
  • 40% of parents happily include an image of their kids in school uniform in their regular posts.

And this is despite 50% of parents being concerned by the risks associated with posting online including pedophilia, stalking, kidnapping and cyberbullying.

What Are The Risks We Should Consider When Posting Pictures of Our Kids Online?

The research shows that Aussie parents seem to understand the ‘physical’ or security risks associated with posting pics of our kids online but don’t always factor in the ‘emotional’ or psychological ones. Out of the 1000 parents who were surveyed, as stated above some 50% nominated the physical risks as being their prime concern.

However, far fewer of us were concerned about the emotional risks of posting our kids images in pics and videos online.

  • Only 28% of parents were concerned that posting an image of their child could lead to worry or anxiety.
  • Just under 30% considered that their child could be embarrassed by images they share but decided to post them anyway!

But we need to take this a whole lot more seriously as it appears what we post may well be causing our kids anxiety. A survey from British research agency ComRes shows that more than 1 in 4 kids between 10 and 12 feel embarrassed, anxious or worried when their parents post pictures of them online. Interestingly, it appears more mums consider the embarrassment factor than dads. 35% of dads assume their children will get over or not care about embarrassing content, compared to just 24% of mums.

Do We Need Consent To Post Pics Of Our Kids Online?

Legally, I don’t believe we require the consent of our children before posting pics of them online but we need to tread carefully here! If you are interested in maintaining a good relationship with your kids and you post images without checking with them first, you need to rethink your approach. But many don’t! 60% of the parents we surveyed do not consult their kids before posting an image of them online. And almost 40% believe they have the right to share images of their kids online without their consent.

I believe trust and respect are fundamental ingredients in successful family relationships. The research clearly shows that many children feel anxious when their parent post pics of them online. Asking your child for consent before you post demonstrates to them that you respect their opinion and take their feelings seriously.

When Should I Start Asking My Child For Consent-

There is always much debate around this one and clearly it depends on the maturity level of the child. Parents we surveyed suggested that when a child is 10 they should be asked for their consent before their parents post pics of them online.

I believe you should start weaving it in to conversations even earlier as it is a great way of modelling good digital citizenship. When your child is mature enough to understand what you are doing and has the relevant vocabulary, you could try something as simple as: ‘mummy would like to post this lovely picture of you with nana. Do you think it’s a good idea?’.

And posting cute nudie baby pics is not OK in any online scenario. Even if you are sharing photos to your private social media account, there is still a risk that it could end up in the wrong hands. The overwhelming majority (82%) of Aussie parents stated that they haven’t or would never share an image of their child without clothes on over social media. Which is very reassuring!

How To Share Safely

Here are my tips on how you can share your kids images safely online:

  1. Lock Down Privacy Settings

Only share photos and other social media posts with your intended audience. Services like Facebook and Instagram have features that allow posts to be shared only with confirmed connections, but everything posted on a social network should be treated as if it’s public.

  1. Set Ground Rules with Friends and Family

Be clear with friends and family about your expectations when they post images of your kids. If you are uncomfortable with anything they post, you are well within your rights to ask them to remove it. Ideally, they should ask you (or your child) before they post it.  Remember your job is to protect your child from embarrassment, anxiety or even potential cyberbullying.

  1. Don’t Forget About Your Child’s Digital Reputation

Everything that is posted about someone forms part of their digital reputation. We all want our kids to have bright futures filled with opportunity. So, always consider whether what you are considering posting could negatively impact this. And encourage your teens to regularly check the posts and images they are tagged in online too. Whether they are after a job at Coles, a prefect position at school or their dream career job, a negative digital reputation can have far-reaching consequences.

  1. Watch Out For Geo-Tagging

Many social networks will tag a user’s location when a photo is uploaded. Parents should ensure this feature is turned off to avoid having their child’s location shared. This is especially important when posting photos away from home.

  1. Ask For Consent But Be Prepared For Your Child To Say NO

Asking for an older child’s consent before you post pics is essential but be prepared for them to say NO! Remember, a good relationship is built on trust and respect!

So, don’t stress – you don’t need to close your social media accounts, but you may need to pull your activity back a little. Take a minute to check in with your tweens and teens before posting pics of them. And ensure what you post is appropriate and shared only with your intended audience. Lastly, if you’re still craving a dopamine hit with your reduced posting regime, why not listen to music, exercise or even meditate – research shows it can be just as effective!

Alex xx

 

 

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Back to School: 5 Cybersecurity Habits to Teach Your Kids

With back-to-school time already here, cybersecurity should be at the forefront of every parent’s mind. Kids are exposed to more devices – both in the classroom and at home. While their school may already be taking precautions to protect their data while they’re in the classroom, and many of their personal phones have parental controls on them, there’s still more to teach them. This is especially the case with the rise of IoT devices and wearables aimed at kids – such as low-cost smart watches – which often skimp on a basic layer of security to make them affordable. So while the cost is low, the risk of them being vulnerable to attacks is high.

Kids, in particular, are easy targets for cybercriminals because they lack awareness of tell-tale warning signs that something is off when browsing the web. Cybercriminals can also hone in on where kids are the most vulnerable and unassuming online -think chat rooms, online video games, and social media.

To get ahead of this, it’s worth being proactive about teaching your kids online safety habits so that when they do encounter a new device, network, or challenge, they have a set of safety habits in place to make smart digital decisions.

Here are some 5 cybersecurity habits to teach your kids about cyberthreats and sharing online to start practicing:

  1. Know where your devices are at all times. Kids are notorious for leaving or forgetting their belongings. It’s vital to teach your kids to be extra careful about not leaving their devices unattended. Bad actors are always on the lookout to steal devices because when they get one, they have unlimited access to personal information.  Teach your kids the importance of keeping their mobile device in a secure place.
  2. Beware of what you’re clicking on. Teach your kids what “phishing” means and help them understand what “phishy” links or messages might look like across email or social media. One accident could lead to a case of stolen identity.
  3. Keep your social media in check. Social media can be fun, but it’s also a source of concern. Teach your kids not to accept friend requests or followers if they don’t personally know them.  Also, keep a close eye on all your child’s accounts and set their privacy settings to the highest level possible to avoid compromising data. Turn off location services on all their devices so people can’t track them. Similarly, teach them not to give out their location when they are posting so people can’t follow them to a real-world location.
  4. When it comes to passwords, sharing isn’t caring. Kids love to chat. Teach your kids that passwords are private and should be kept to themselves unless there is family involved. It is also important to teach them to set up a unique, unbreakable password (i.e. not using their name and changing the factory settings on new purchases). Lastly, start imprinting the habit of changing passwords every so often so it’ll stick with them their entire lives.
  5. Stay on a secure network. If your child can connect to Wi-Fi, teach them the importance of finding a secure network to avoid unnecessary vulnerabilities.

By starting these conversations early and teaching your kids or teens these basic tips, they’ll be set up for success and over time, can learn to turn these regular safety habits.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

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Are You a Screen-Obsessed Mom?

The modern mom is super-efficient; she manages the home, her profession, family, and a hundred other things efficiently day in, day out. But in recent times, something is playing a spoilsport in this perfect scenario in some cases; and that’s her device.

My friend was nostalgic at a party about how she missed her son’s spectacular goal at an inter-school competition even though she had taken a day off for this very reason. “I was checking my emails,” she wailed.

Something similar happened to me too last week!” remarked another. “I was checking my WhatsApp messages while awaiting our turn at the PT meeting in my daughter’s school, when her class teacher gently told me to keep the phone on silent mode. My daughter was so embarrassed and so angry she didn’t speak to me for two straight days!”

I accidentally put the dishes in the washing machine one day, engrossed as I was in viewing the Instagram pics!” confessed another of our always-distracted friend.

Perhaps you have also been called out for paying more attention to the phone, or for proving to be boring company as you preferred your phone to conversation at the restaurant or at a party? If yes, you definitely need to check your level of digital obsession.

 Are you screen-obsessed?

  1. Do you frequently check your phone for messages?
  2. Do you get agitated if your phone is not working?
  3. Do you prefer your phone now to your previous passions like reading, gardening or music?
  4. Do you feel distracted while talking to your kids or family?
  5. Do you check your messages the first thing every morning?
  6. Is your sleep cycle disturbed because you stay up late socializing online?

If the number of ‘yes’ is 3 or more, it might mean that you are finding it tough to balance your digital life. You tend to give your device a higher priority in your life, sometimes at the cost of real relationships. Time to do a reality check Moms, because your social media obsession can have consequences.

Firstly, you need to keep in mind that children are good at picking up unspoken cues. Your phone obsession will tell them you are more interested in your virtual life than in them. They will feel neglected and look for approval elsewhere. While younger kids tend to hide devices, older ones may isolate themselves from you and you definitely don’t want that.

Children may also feel embarrassed by your general digital habits including oversharing, sharing of embarrassing baby pics of them or being distracted during conversations and tiffs may arise, affecting the  general happiness of the family.

With hands busy on the smartphone, will it be possible for you to impart that very essential physical touch – the hug, the squeeze and the hand-holding when kids feel low? I think not. Neither will you be able to share their fun moments, even cartoons, and create teaching points for them, for your screen will be monopolizing your attention.

Don’t distance yourself from your child. You are the adult, and you can identify your issues and change yourself. It’s not too late, start making changes in your digital habits today! Remember, besides mothering your kids, you also need to guide them to follow good digital practices.

Be the digital wellness role model for your kids:

  • You want your kids to practice digital balance? You show them the way – limit your time online and know when to keep the phone away
  • Your kids will be picking up social behavior clues from you so show them how to be a responsible device user – keep the phone on silent mode when in company and avoid looking at it when having a one-to-one conversation
  • Fix ‘No Device Hours’ and ‘Device Free’ dinner time rules so that then entire family get to chat and share
  • Devices away at night- Have a basket in which each member will deposit their phone before turning in for the night. Go back to ending the day with cuddles and story-telling; everyone will sleep with a smile on their faces
  • Turn off message alerts and notifications- The pressure to check for messages will automatically decrease and you will experience reduced stress, trust me

We are worried about the effect of the virtual life in our children’s life but adults too are falling prey to the attractions offered by technology, especially the internet. Instead of engaging with family, grownups are often engaging with their devices, setting a bad example for kids. As parents, we need to take definitive steps to control our screen obsession and balance our digital lives.

After all, we want to set the right examples for our kids, right?

The post Are You a Screen-Obsessed Mom? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Back to School: Cybersecurity in the Classroom

It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end and that back-to-school time is around the corner. For some kids, that means cyberbullies are traded in for school bullies and social engagement will turn into in-person interactions. But for others — dubbed Extreme Internet Users — the screen stays. When it comes time to go back to the classroom, the six hours or more a day these kids spent online during summer may be curtailed in favor of educational screen time instead.

Every year around this time, I reflect on how much has changed for children, especially when it comes to mobile devices in the classroom. This trend has become increasingly popular and, on the rise, as technology has improved, education adapts to rapid changes, and our world becomes more interconnected. Either these devices are given to kids or their classrooms by their school, or parents are encouraged to purchase one for their child to help support internet research and to digitize note-taking and homework.

Regardless of whether you’re a technophile or technophobe when it comes to leveraging screens in education, one thing is for sure – their presence in learning environments is here to stay. And with this shift, security is of the utmost importance.

Since January 2016, there have been 353 cybersecurity incidents in the United States related to K-12 public schools and districts. These attacks range include phishing, ransomware, DoS attacks and breaches that have exposed personal data. However, the question – what motivates cybercriminals to target schools? – still persists. The answer is complex, because what cybercriminals could exploit depends on what they want to accomplish.  Extorting school faculty, hacking private student data, disrupting school operations, or disabling, compromising, or re-directing school technology assets are all regular tools of the trade when it comes to hacking schools.

You may not be able to control how your child’s school thinks about cybersecurity, but you can take matters into your own hands. There are steps you can take to make sure your child is ready to face the school year head-on, including protecting their devices and their data.

  • Start a cybersecurity conversation. Talk with school faculty about what is being done in terms of a comprehensive cybersecurity plan for your child’s school. It’s worth starting the conversation to understand where the gaps are and what is being done to patch them.
  • Install security software on all devices. Don’t stop at the laptop, all devices need to be protected with comprehensive security software, including mobile devices and tablets.
  • Make sure all device software is up-to-date. This is one of the easiest and best ways to secure your devices against threats.
  • Teach your child how to connect securely on public Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously used as backdoors by hackers trying to gain access to personal information. If Wi-Fi is absolutely necessary, ensure the network is password protected. However, if you want a secure encrypted connection, consider using a virtual private network (VPN).
  • Designate a specific date and time for regular data back-ups. If ransomware hits, you won’t have to pay to get your child’s information back. You can back up that personal data to a physical external hard drive or use an online backup service, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. That way you can access your files even if your device gets compromised.
  • Understand your child’s school bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Each school is different when it comes to BYOD and understanding your child’s school policy will save you a headache down the road. Some schools buy devices for students to rent, with parents having to pay for any incidentals, and some ask parents to buy the devices outright. Take the time to understand your child’s school policy before accidents happen.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Back to School: Cybersecurity in the Classroom appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Focus on Real Friends This Friendship Day

I walked into my niece’s room and found her busy making colourful bands.

“What are these for?” I asked.

“Friendship Day is coming up and this year I have decided to make my own bands to give to my friends. Got to finish making them all today.”

“That’s lovely,” and then as a thought struck me, I added, “Are you making them for your friends online?”

“No!!! What a question! How do you think I would give these to them? Virtually? These bands only for real friends.”

Happy as I was to hear that, I couldn’t help adding a parting shot, “Really? Then why do you share so much about yourself with these virtual friends?”

We spent the next few minutes thinking about friends and friendship.

The charm of school and college life lies in friends- the better the group of friends you have the more enjoyable your student life is. Such friendships stand the test of time and can be revived even after years of separation.

If adults can be duped, then aren’t the highly impressionable teens also at risk? Even tech-savvy kids tend to be duped by fake profiles so the smart parenting thing to do is to create awareness beforehand.

Friendship Day is the perfect time to initiate a discussion with your kids on how to establish if online friends are actual people. Start by administering this quiz on real vs. online friends:

Who are your real friends? (Check the boxes that apply):

  • You know them well in person
  • Your parents know them too, and approve of them
  • You are most probably studying in the same school or college
  • You live in the same apartment block or neighborhood
  • You have shared interests and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses
  • You have been to each another’s house
  • You know they will accept you the way you are and never embarrass you in public
  • You trust them

Then, ask them to tick the boxes that apply for their virtual friends and follow it up with a discussion.

Takeaway: The online world holds infinite promises and possibilities but they can be realized only when the user is judicious and careful. In the early years of adolescence, it’s better to keep virtual friends limited to known people.

 Next in line is to find ways to identify fake profiles and learn to block and report:

Teach kids to identify fake profiles online:

  • Profile – Profile pictures is very attractive but there are rarely any family, group pictures
  • Name- The name sounds weird or is misspelled
  • Bio – The personal details are sketchy
  • Friend list – Have no common friends
  • Posts – The posts and choice of videos make you feel uncomfortable or are clearly spams
  • Verification – A Google search throws up random names for profile pic

Show kids how to block and report fake profiles:

  • Save: If you had erroneously befriended a suspicious person, no worries. Keep records of all conversations by taking screen shots, or copy + pasting or through a print screen command
  • Unfriend: Remove the user from your friend list
  • Block: Prevent the person from harassing you with friend requests in future by using the blocking function
  • Flag: Report suspicious profiles to the social media site to help them check and remove such profiles and maintain the hygiene of the platform

Share digital safety tips:

  1. Practice STOP. THINK. CONNECT. -Do not be in a hurry to hike friend count and choose your friends wisely
  2. Share with care: Be a miser when it comes to sharing personal details like name, pictures, travel and contact details online. The less shared, the better it is for the child
  3. Review privacy and security: Check all your posts periodically and delete those you don’t like. Maximize account security and keep privacy at max

Finally, share this message with your kids.

On Friendship Day, pledge to be a good friend to your real friends and limit your online friends to those you know well in real life. Secure your online world by using security tools on your devices and acting judiciously online. If you act responsibly online, you not only make your digital world safer but also help to secure the digital worlds of your friends. That’s the sign of an ideal digital citizen.

 

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Are Fake Apps Taking Over Your Phone?

It seems some malicious app developers have taken the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” to heart, as fake apps have become a rampant problem for Android and iPhone users alike. Even legitimate sources, such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store, have been infiltrated with illegitimate applications, despite their own due diligence in combating this phenomenon.

After downloading a fake app, cybercriminals leverage ransomware or malware through ads to run in the background of your device to do damage, making it difficult to notice something’s off. But while you’re minding your own business, your personal data –such as usernames, photos, passwords, and credit card information– can be compromised.

Malicious apps have become more challenging to detect, and even more difficult to delete from a device without causing further damage. The trend of fake apps shows no sign of slowing down either, as bad actors have become more brazen with the apps they work to imitate. From Nordstrom to Fortnite to WhatsApp, it seems no business or industry is off limits.

Luckily, cybercriminals have yet to figure out a sure-fire way to get their fake apps onto our devices. By paying extra attention to detail, you can learn to identify a fake app before downloading it. Here’s how:

  • Check for typos and poor grammar. Double check the app developer name, product title, and description for typos and grammatical errors. Malicious developers often spoof real developer IDs, even just by a single letter, to seem legitimate. If there are promises of discounts, or the description just feels off, those signals should be taken as red flags.
  • Look at the download statistics. If you’re attempting to download a popular app like WhatsApp, but it has an inexplicably low number of downloads, that’s a fairly good indicator that an app is most likely fraudulent.
  • Read what others are saying. When it comes to fake apps, user reviews are your ally. Breezing through a few can provide vital information as to whether an app is authentic or not, so don’t be afraid to crowdsource those insights when you can.

If you do find yourself having accidentally downloaded a fake app, there are steps you can take to rid your phone of it. Here’s what to do:

  • Delete the app immediately or as soon as you notice anything suspicious. If you can’t find it, but you’re still having issues, the app could still be on your device. That’s because, in the interest of self-preservation, fake apps can try and protect themselves from disposal by making their icon and title disappear. If that happens, go to your installed apps page(s) and look for blank spaces, as it may be hiding there.
  • Check the permissions. After installation, check the app’s permissions. Fake apps usually give long lists of frivolous requests in an effort to get access to more data.
  • Clear the app’s cache and data. If you do find the app you want to delete, this is the first step you must take in order to get the app completely off your phone.
  • Take it into your provider. If you’re still having issues after you’ve deleted an app, consider taking your device into your provider to run a diagnostic test.
  • Factory reset. As a last resort, if you can’t find the app because it has “disappeared,” or traces of the app and malware linger, the best way to ensure it is completely gone is to wipe the data, factory reset your device, and start over. This is why it is vital to have backups of your devices.

Even as this ever-growing trend of malicious developers spoofing legitimate applications to gain access to victims’ personal information continues, we can deter their advances simply by paying closer attention to detail. Remember to be vigilant about being aware of the signs to avoid fake apps at all costs.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

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Time to Take a Good, Hard Look at Your Cybersecurity Health

What happens when your livelihood is at stake, thanks to someone stealing your identity or draining your account? The real-life possibilities are nerve-wracking, to say the least. The constant barrage of cyberthreats we face as consumers today is exhausting. Just this month, two major situations were revealed.  A Florida marketing firm, Exactis, had their database on a publicly accessible server. The information exposed ranged from phone numbers, home, and email addresses to the number, age, and gender of a customer’s children. As of now, social security numbers and credit card data have not been leaked. However, what makes this breach particularly anxiety-inducing is that now cybercriminals have the ability to improve the success rate of socially engineered attacks. For example, phishing attacks could become rampant through social media and email.

To add insult to injury, last week, researchers found a way to discover everything you type and read on your phone simply by studying the differing power levels of a smart battery. By implanting a micro-controller into a phone’s battery, they could record the power flowing in and out of the device. Then, with the use of AI, power flows were matched with specific keystrokes. Using this technique, the researchers proved that cybercriminals could record passwords, monitor website activity, access call records, and know the last time the camera was used. Smart batteries are attractive targets because they are not as secure as your phone. In fact, they expose all personal data. While the possibilities are stressful, the good news is that this attack remains theoretical.

The seemingly endless string of security events and the stress they cause can take a serious toll on our well-being. While we can’t prevent breaches from occurring, it’s important to remember that we can be prepared to take the right steps to minimize any damage when one hits. Whether we’re dealing with the repercussions of a data breach, or adapting to new vulnerabilities, developing positive security habits can help improve and maintain your digital health. Taking care of your mobile devices to ensure they remain secure – and therefore optimally functional – is like taking care of your own well-being; to maintain cybersecurity health, you have to perform basic upkeep.

To help you prepare in advance for the next data breach and ensure your device remains in good cybersecurity health, here are some habits you should consider picking up, stat:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Mindfulness is a habit that can be developed, provides almost instant results, can support longevity, general awareness and well-being. We can learn a lot from mindfulness when it comes to cybersecurity. By taking a little bit of time to be aware of our surroundings, we can prevent vulnerabilities and potential threats simply by paying attention.
  • Set up alerts. Just like going to a doctor regularly for check-ups, you should “check-up” on your accounts. Not all data breaches expose financial data, but personal data that is leaked can still be used to access your financial accounts. Talk with your bank or financial planner about setting up a fraud alert on your cards to maintain control of your accounts.
  • Stay away from untrustworthy emails or messages. The mantra “no bad vibes” is surprisingly full of wisdom. Ridding your life of energy suckers and toxic people supports health – and the same goes for malicious messages. If you see a suspect item from an unknown source in your inbox or via a direct message or comment on social media, do not click on the message. If you do open it, be sure not to click on any links. To be safe, delete the email or message altogether.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi when possible. Just as sleep is a panacea of sorts that helps to fight off bugs, giving your phone a break from public Wi-Fi is one of the best things you can do to ensure your cybersafety. The use of public Wi-Fi can offer cybercriminals a backdoor into your phone. By spoofing a legitimate website, they can gain access to your sensitive information. Give your device a much-needed break until you can use Wi-Fi you trust, you’ll save yourself a serious headache.
  • Switch up your passwords. It’s been said that variety is the spice of life, the secret to a happy relationship, and a way to stay engaged and aware in old age. The same is true when it comes to your passwords. When you mix it up, you keep cybercriminals guessing. Passwords are your data’s first defense against cybercriminals. Be sure to change them every so often and never use “1234” or “password.” If remembering a difficult password or remembering a multitude of them is hard, consider using a password manager.
  • Consider investing in identity theft protection. Vitamins are excellent supplements to a healthy diet, adding in additional nutrition when and where you need it — but not meant to be taken as the sole way to maintain health. Identity theft protection can be a supplement of sorts to your already positive security habits. With McAfee Identity Theft Protection, users can take proactive steps toward protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools.

The power of habit actually dictates 40% of our day. As with your body and mind, the more you create healthy, positive habits, the easier it is to maintain health. The same is true for your security “health.” The more you express safe habits, the easier it will become and the safer you will be – both in the short and long term.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Time to Take a Good, Hard Look at Your Cybersecurity Health appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Are third party apps for you?

What are third party apps?” asked my mother with a frown.

Wow Gran! You are becoming pretty cyber-savvy!” commented my incorrigible offspring and added, “Wherever did you come across it?

Why, your Mom shared a post on Facebook about being cautious while using third party apps. I have been searching for a while but can’t find one. So, what are they and how do I delete them?” The last part was evidently directed at me.

I’m secretly proud of my social media savvy Mom, who has amazingly knit the extended family together by tirelessly searching for long-lost relatives and adding them to family groups and keeping the conversation alive with her daily quips and queries. So, her question jolted me awake to the fact that there are many out there in the digital world who do not have a clear idea about risky apps and how to avoid them. An explanation was definitely in order.

What are third party apps?

The apps in your devices are either developed by the OS provider or the device maker and are called native apps. These abide by the strict rules set by the vendors regarding security, quality, authenticity etc. But there are many apps that are created by developers other than these. Some of these apps are available on official app stores and as they adhere to the rules of legitimacy, security and quality set by the app stores, they are comparatively less risky.

Side-loaded apps are those whose developer/source are unknown. The developers have more freedom; they can develop free or ‘cracked’ software (like OS, movies etc.) and gain faster market reach. Some users too like to access third party apps to maintain anonymity and privacy. These include apps that let you watch movies for free or get the latest OS without paying a penny.

Some third party apps are not directly downloaded but are connected to other services or apps (like photo editing apps). These too, are risky as they have access to sensitive information through the main service or app. Think about all the apps you have given permission via Facebook to access your info and you will get it!

Why are they risky?

As the developers of third party apps are not under the control of the OS owners, they can have lower security levels. This enables advertisers and hackers to insert malicious codes within the app.

Also, to install such apps, the users have to enable “unknown sources” in the device security settings. If it’s an iOS device, it has to be jailbroken to allow the installation of third party apps. Thus making the device vulnerable to attacks.

How to check app authenticity?

  • Check the developer and source- If they are not from your OS or device vendors, they are likely to be third party apps
  • Analyze permissions sought- If the apps seek permission to access several files unnecessarily, ring the warning bells! E.g.; Why would a weather app require access to your contact list?
  • Read reviews and download stats: Go through user reviews and see the rating it has received and issues with it. A quick check of the download count will also offer a clearer picture

How to disable apps on your device?

On your Android phone: Select – settings > device > Apps > All. The default or native apps have been installed by your device vendor. Scroll down and select those that you do not want to keep anymore, are  not in use, or consume a lot of space, data or need too many permissions. Then click on the “Disable” button.

On your desktop or laptop: Go to control panel > programs. Check all the installed programs. If they have valid developers like HP, Apple, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, McAfee etc.; then they are from your vendor or services you have purchased. Review programs or apps whose developer is either unknown or seems suspicious. Google them to know what they are used for. Your kids can be of great help as they are usually very knowledgeable about apps. My kids are my go-to people for all tech doubts.

On Social Media: Check account settings and delete apps that can access your account, if you don’t need them

Cybersafety tips:

  1. Check app security levels even if its available in a valid store
  2. Secure all devices with a licensed comprehensive security solution
  3. Do not forget to Secure all your internet connected devices – smartphones, tabs, PC, Macs and gaming devices as well
  4. Don’t give in to temptation and download apps and extensions to get free alternatives to paid apps
  5. Review app, permission required and developer source. When in doubt, don’t download!

It is very important that you and your family stay aware and updated about new apps in the market and related risks. Remember even bonafide app stores may have malicious apps.

Since device and data security are a priority, let’s be a little more be app-conscious!

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Teens, Gaming and Risk

How Are Your Kids Navigating the Dangers?

It’s no secret that our generation of digital natives love their gaming. Whether it’s on their smartphones, laptops or their dedicated gaming consoles – it’s quite mind boggling just how much gaming they can squeeze into their day-to-day lives!

Well, new research by McAfee shows exactly how much time our Aussie kids are spending working on their latest gaming quest – up to a whopping 4 hours a day! And while we would love them to be directing this time to homework, my bigger concern is around the risks.

Gaming Is Not All Bad News

When managed properly, gaming can be a terrific activity that provides some genuine benefits for players. Research shows it can help manage anxiety and depression, reduce pain and even help improve the memory and resilience of players. It can also provide terrific opportunities for social interactions by breaking down the barriers of physical social groups. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it!!

Parents Concerned About Risks With Gaming

Despite our offspring assuring us otherwise, the majority of us parents do realise that there are some potential dangers associated with gaming. Two-thirds of us (65%) believe our kids are at risk of online grooming. 68% of us are concerned about cyberbullying and 58% worry that our children will become the victim of a cybercriminal’s scam.

What Are Parents Doing To Manage Risks of Online Gaming?

As first generation digital parents, we have a tough gig. Many of us are furiously trying to get our own heads around the constantly changing digital world without any intel from previous generations. Meanwhile, we need to be educating our kids about the challenges and pitfalls of the online world. It’s a big task!

Many parents do an amazing job but unfortunately, not all of us are taking the necessary steps to protect our kids and teach them how to navigate the challenges. According to the research:

  • almost 1 in 5 parents (18%) never monitor what their children are doing online;
  • 32% of parents do not follow the age ratings of games; and
  • 86% of parents allow their children to play online games recommended for older children.

This is despite the fact that many of us worry that our children will be exposed to violence, sex, drugs and gambling according to the research.

How Can We Protect Our Kids While Playing Video Games

It’s clearly one of the most popular hobbies for Aussie tweens and teens, so our job as parents is to ensure our kids are gaming as safely as possible. Here is my advice on the steps you should take to protect your kids:

  • Start Conversations Early

If you start talking about ways to game safely early, it will make your job that much easier when your children get older. If your kids are young, start with simple rules like: “don’t open messages from people you don’t know” and “decline friend requests from strangers.” You want online safety to be part of normal behaviour.

  • Be Careful What You Click

Most children have been using digital activities for entertainment from an early age, desensitising them to the potentials risks of online behaviour. Cybercriminals can use the popularity of video games to entice gamers to click on potentially malicious links. Think about what you are clicking on and ensure that it’s from a reliable source.

  • Control How Long They Play

Set a good example by minimising your use of devices around the home. Why not invest in parental control software to set time limits on your child’s device usage? Not only will you be reducing their exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites, but they will probably get more homework done!

  • Avoid Malicious Links

If your children are searching online for gaming tips or new games to download, a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor can help them avoid dangerous websites and links, and will warn them if they do accidentally click on something malicious.

  • Be Protected

No matter what anyone in the family is doing online, invest in a security product like McAfee Total Protection that can help keep connected devices safe from malware. Just like any PC application, be sure to keep security software updated.

Responsible Gaming Could Actually Prepare Your Child for Their Career

In my opinion, parenting is all about preparing your child for their adult life. And a big part of that is ensuring they are employable. So, before you crack down too harshly on your child’s gaming habits consider this. A recent report by McAfee, entitled Winning The Game, identified that gamers have a skills set that may help fill the current and future demand for cyber security experts. Whether it’s cracking systems, avoiding counter attacks or deciphering codes, these gaming skills were nominated by almost 1000 cyber security professionals as easily transferable to a security professional role.

So, let your kids keep playing but absolutely minimise the risks. Introduce time limits, ensure a game is suitable and teach your kids how to navigate the challenges. That way, if they end up with an illustrious career in cybersecurity, you can take all the credit!!

Take care,

Alex xx

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Play The Game – Tips and Tricks for Safe Online Gaming

This blog was written by Jessica Brookes.

When I was child, gaming was all joysticks and arcades. Now, it’s all about hyper realistic graphics, immersive experience and above all, playing online against players from all over the world.

Since the early 2000s, we’ve seen online gaming grow into a worldwide phenomenon, increasing hugely in popularity among children and adults alike and expanding from consoles and PCs to mobile phones and tablets.

A 2017 study by Newzoo found that approximately 32.4m people in the UK play games, that’s almost half the population. These findings are in line with the findings of a GameTrack (ISFE & Ipsos Connect) survey which highlights a rise in gaming among older generations in the European market (UK, Germany, France and Spain). According to the report, the number of 35-44 year old gamers increased from 36% to 46% between 2012-2016. In the same timeframe, gaming among 45-64 year olds rose from 21% to 27%. Clearly gaming is no longer just for teenage boys.

However, while the evolution of online gaming has led to an enhanced multiplayer experience for players, it has also contributed to a worrying rise in “virtual crime” – real-world criminal activities that are committed through massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), including hacking, fraud and child grooming.

With these dangers in mind, here are the key areas to look out for when gaming online and some helpful tips on how to keep your family safe. Ready player one?

Be anonymous

McAfee research has shown that 60% of parents worry about cybercriminals hacking personal or financial information from their children’s accounts. With gaming, online ID profiles can often contribute to this problem for children and adults alike. To play online, players are required to create a user profile so that they can access the appropriate console/computer network. As user handles are public, you should avoid displaying personal information which could potentially be used by hackers i.e. name, address, date of birth, email addresses. Players should also avoid using this type of information when creating account passwords as these networks could be susceptible to hacking. Passwords should be unique, complex and should never be shared with other users.

Careful who you chat to

Online games frequently have built-in messenger services to allow players to contact each other. McAfee research has shown that 62% of kids play games where they speak to other people. If your child participates in online gaming, make sure that they are aware of the associated risks of chat rooms such as interacting with strangers and sharing personal details. These threats can be effectively prevented by using the console’s or PC’s internal parental control settings to disable messaging services and blocking access to the internal network store. Another top tip is to avoid opening instant messages with attached files or links and never share online player account details such as passwords and payment details with unauthorised sources.

Something phish-y

According to McAfee’s latest research, 58% of parents worry about kids clicking on links that might lead to malware. With online gaming, the threat of this danger is high as modern games often encourage players to purchase exclusive in-game content with real-money via virtual online stores. To cut costs, players (usually younger gamers) are often tempted to download patches/packages from unauthorised users which claim to grant access to this content. These actions can often lead to major security risks. Please be aware that downloading content using unverified channels could lead to your console/device becoming infected by viruses or spyware. Always check the authenticity of downloads and take care what you open.

Get protected

Although leading games consoles are largely insulated from virus/malware threats, online PC and mobile games are highly at risk to these threats. When gaming online, make sure you have effective and updated antivirus/anti-spyware software and a firewall running to stop malicious programs from infecting your device.

As the recent success of massive multiplayer games and the rise of eSports have demonstrated, the online gaming bubble shows no signs of bursting anytime soon. Gaming looks set to continue evolving in exciting ways and remain a favourite pastime of people of all ages for the foreseeable future. According to McAfee, it might even help millennials forge careers in cyber security.

Nevertheless, as modern games continue to push the boundaries of the multiplayer experience and criminals/hackers become increasingly more innovative in running scams to exploit them, it is more important than ever to ensure that you keep your devices safe and protected when gaming online.

Our award-winning Secure Home Security products are a clear example of how vendors like us are adapting our solutions to encompass all areas of a user’s home life on the digital plane, from work to entertainment. Please check out the McAfee Home blog for further updates etc.

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Father’s Day Shout Out to All Dads – Time to Wear Your Cyberdad Cape

Whenever Father’s Day is near, I find myself thinking about the role of a father in the life of his children. He isn’t merely the provider or the solution-finder; he is their anchor, their source of security and mom’s support system. He is the one kids want to impress, his is the approval that make them happy.

Congratulations, Dad! Your task as a parent is no less tough and I know how hard you strive to do your best. May you always remain the superman your kids think you are.

Father’s Day is the perfect time to call all Super Dads to get their cyberparenting capes in shape and help our super cybermums ensure that the kids are ready for the digital world. Let’s talk cyberparenting today. (If you already are one, well then, double congratulations!).

5 ways to get your Cyberdad act together:

  • Monitor kids online: Start from the time your toddler begins to fiddle with your phone. Check gadget security and activate parental lock. (you can even reduce screen brightness that may not be good for the eyes). Once they start playing games or listening to stories, buy them the products and mentor them. You need to review the content beforehand though, to know if its age appropriate. It’s the same when kids sign up on social media so that you know the websites and platforms your kids are on, the people they befriend, and the way interact.
  • Teach kids social media etiquette: I remember the ‘looks’ my otherwise benign Dad sent my way if I faulted in my speech or behavior in public. Digital age dads need to do the same for the virtual world too – teach kids how to behave online- what to say and what not to; how to respond and how not to react; how to tackle issues and when to seek help.
  • Check security levels of all gadgets: Every new gadget in the house must pass “Dad’s security check.” Change default passwords and review preinstalled apps. Install and activate a licensed security software. In the future, your kids will be doing the same automatically.
  • Secure Wi-Fi and determine accessibility: Change default password of the home Wi-Fi and router and be the admin in control of internet access.
  • Be frank and approachable: Talk to your kids and share your own real life and digital experiences so that they in turn learn to share their concerns with you. Also, it can be helpful to set up device-free hours for the whole family to follow, or, if mom has already done so, abide by them.

Not difficult at all, is it? So, go ahead and implement these simple guidelines. Enjoy all the love, cards and gifts you are showered with on your special day- you deserve it all. Have a wonderful Father’s Day, Cyberdads!!

 

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Don’t Play Games With Your Cybersecurity: #RT2Win a Respawn-Worthy Prize

In recent years, gaming has grown drastically in popularity – moving from a niche hobby to a mainstream activity for adults and children alike. So much so that the majority (84%) of parents allow their children to play 1-4 hours of video games every single day. Despite this wide-spread video game use, new research from McAfee reveals that the majority of parents (71%) also worry that their child is at risk of being exposed to inappropriate content while gaming – including content related to adult websites, gambling, drugs or violence.

Even more staggering, 62% of children play games where they directly interact with other players, significantly increasing their risk of being targeted with inappropriate content or asked to share sensitive information. With this increase in popularity, it’s imperative that parents understand the potential cybersecurity risks to their children while playing games, and know how to provide proper guidance to their children to help keep them safe online.

This information have you feeling PWND? Before you decide it’s game over, we’re treating you to a #RT2Win sweepstakes on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle to help you respawn! Five [5] lucky winners of the sweepstakes drawing will receive a $100 Amazon gift card. The best part? Entering is a breeze! Follow the instructions below to enter and good luck!

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

  • To enter, go to https://twitter.com/McAfee_Home, and find the #RT2Win sweepstakes tweet.
  • The sweepstakes tweet will be released on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 12:00pm PT. This tweet will include the hashtags: #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win, AND #Sweepstakes.
  • Retweet the sweepstakes tweet released on the above date, from your own handle. The #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes hashtags must be included to be entered.
  • Sweepstakes will end on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. All entries must be made before that date and time.
  • Winners will be notified on Friday, June 29, 2018 via Twitter direct message.
  • Limit one entry per person

How to Win:

Retweet one of our contest tweets on @McAfee_Home that include “#ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes” for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Five [5] total winners will be selected and announced on June 27, 2018. Winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter. For full Sweepstakes details, please see the Terms and Conditions, below.

McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions 

How to enter: 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be conducted from June 13, 2018 through June 27, 2018. All entries for each day of the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes must be received during the time allotted for the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Pacific Daylight Time shall control the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes, duration is as follows:

  • Begins Wednesday, June 13­­ at 12:00pm PST
  • Ends: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 11:59pm PST
  • Five [5] winners will be announced: Friday, June 29, 2018

For the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes, participants must complete the following steps during the time allotted for the McAfee Most Dangerous Games Sweepstakes:

  1. Find the sweepstakes tweet of the day posted on @McAfee_Home which will include the hashtags: #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win and #Sweepstakes
  2. Retweet the sweepstakes tweet of the day and make sure it includes the #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win, and hashtags.
  3. Note: Tweets that do not contain the #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win, and #Sweepstakes hashtags will not be considered for entry.
  4. Limit one entry per person.

Five [5] winners will be chosen for the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes tweet from the viable pool of entries that retweeted and included #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win and #Sweepstakes. McAfee and the McAfee social team will choose winners from all the viable entries. The winners will be announced and privately messaged on Friday, June 29, 2018 on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle. No other method of entry will be accepted besides Twitter. Only one entry per user is allowed, per Sweepstakes.   

Eligibility: 

McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States who are 18 years of age or older on the dates of the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes begins and live in a jurisdiction where this prize and McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes not prohibited. Employees of Sponsor and its subsidiaries, affiliates, prize suppliers, and advertising and promotional agencies, their immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses), and individuals living in the same household as such employees are ineligible.

Winner Selection:

Winners will be selected at random from all eligible retweets received during the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes drawing entry period. Sponsor will select the names of five [5] potential winners of the prizes in a random drawing from among all eligible submissions at the address listed below. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by the Official McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes Rules and the decisions of the coordinators, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

Winner Notification: 

 Each winner will be notified via direct message (“DM”) on Twitter.com by June 29, 2018. Prize winners may be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (where permitted by law) to be returned within ten (10) days of written notification, or prize may be forfeited, and an alternate winner selected. If a prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to a potential winner, if potential winner cannot be reached within twenty four (24) hours from the first DM notification attempt, or if potential winner fails to return requisite document within the specified time period, or if a potential winner is not in compliance with these Official Rules, then such person shall be disqualified and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, an alternate winner may be selected for the prize at issue based on the winner selection process described above.

Prizes: 

The prize for the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes is a $100 Amazon gift card for each of five entrants. Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes. Sponsor is not responsible for delays in prize delivery beyond its control. All other expenses and items not specifically mentioned in these Official Rules are not included and are the prize winners’ sole responsibility.

General Conditions: 

Entrants agree that by entering they agree to be bound by these rules. All federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and surcharges on prize packages are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, whether caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes, or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes. entries. By entering, participants release and hold harmless Sponsor and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives from any and all liability for any injuries, loss, claim, action, demand, or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes, any prize won, any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, participation in any McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes -related activity, or participation in the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Except for applicable manufacturer’s standard warranties, the prizes are awarded “AS IS” and WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, express or implied (including any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose).

Limitations of Liability; Releases:

By entering the Sweepstakes, you release Sponsor and all Released Parties from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action, related to any claims, costs, injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the Sweepstakes or delivery, misdelivery, acceptance, possession, use of or inability to use any prize (including claims, costs, injuries, losses and damages related to rights of publicity or privacy, defamation or portrayal in a false light, whether intentional or unintentional), whether under a theory of contract, tort (including negligence), warranty or other theory.

To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, in no event will the sponsor or the released parties be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages, including loss of use, loss of profits or loss of data, whether in an action in contract, tort (including, negligence) or otherwise, arising out of or in any way connected to your participation in the sweepstakes or use or inability to use any equipment provided for use in the sweepstakes or any prize, even if a released party has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

  1. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, in no event will the aggregate liability of the released parties (jointly) arising out of or relating to your participation in the sweepstakes or use of or inability to use any equipment provided for use in the sweepstakes or any prize exceed $10. The limitations set forth in this section will not exclude or limit liability for personal injury or property damage caused by products rented from the sponsor, or for the released parties’ gross negligence, intentional misconduct, or for fraud.
  2. Use of Winner’s Name, Likeness, etc.: Except where prohibited by law, entry into the Sweepstakes constitutes permission to use your name, hometown, aural and visual likeness and prize information for advertising, marketing, and promotional purposes without further permission or compensation (including in a public-facing winner list).  As a condition of being awarded any prize, except where prohibited by law, winner may be required to execute a consent to the use of their name, hometown, aural and visual likeness and prize information for advertising, marketing, and promotional purposes without further permission or compensation. By entering this Sweepstakes, you consent to being contacted by Sponsor for any purpose in connection with this Sweepstakes.

Prize Forfeiture:

If winner cannot be notified, does not respond to notification, does not meet eligibility requirements, or otherwise does not comply with these prize McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes rules, then the winner will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be selected from remaining eligible entry forms for each McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes.

Dispute Resolution:

Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

Governing Law & Disputes:

Each entrant agrees that any disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this sweepstakes or any prize awarded will be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action and these rules will be construed in accordance with the laws, jurisdiction, and venue of Delaware.

Privacy Policy: 

Personal information obtained in connection with this prize McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be handled in accordance policy set forth at http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/privacy.html.

  1. Winner List; Rules Request: For a copy of the winner list, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for arrival after June 13,2018 before June 27, 2018 to the address listed below, Attn: #RT2Win at CES Sweepstakes.  To obtain a copy of these Official Rules, visit this link or send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to the address listed in below, Attn: Sarah Grayson. VT residents may omit return postage.
  2. Intellectual Property Notice: McAfee and the McAfee logo are registered trademarks of McAfee, LLC. The Sweepstakes and all accompanying materials are copyright © 2018 by McAfee, LLC.  All rights reserved.
  3. Sponsor: McAfee, LLC, Corporate Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA

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Internet Safety Month: 5 Tips to Keep You Secure

The internet is infinitely expansive, but that’s often easy to forget as we now have immediate access to it in the palm of our hands. We feel safe scouring the digital world from the comfort of our homes, offices, or local coffee shops, but there is real danger lurking behind those virtual walls. Cybercriminals using the internet to infiltrate the Internet of Things (IoT) and our mobile devices is no longer the stuff of science fiction movies. Hacks, phishing scams, malicious sites, and malware, just to name a few — this world of hyper-connectivity has left us exposed to far greater threats than we could have ever imagined. To combat these looming threats and highlight the importance of staying safe online, June was dubbed Internet Safety Month. Seeing as the internet gives us the opportunity to learn, explore, create, and socialize, we should be doing so safely and securely.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 77% of American adults own a smartphone, up from 35% just six years ago. Whether we’re traveling, working, or just having fun, our mobile devices — tablet, smartphone, or laptop — are within reach at all times. Our gadgets make it easier to connect with the world, but they also store tons of sensitive information about our lives. Yes, we may use our devices to talk and text, but we also use applications on those devices to access banking information, share our location, and check emails. This wealth of personal information on an easily hackable device should galvanize us to ensure that data stays out of the hands of cybercriminals. From ransomware to phishing scams, the numerous threats that can infect our IoT and mobile devices through the internet are ever-evolving menaces.

With the rise of IoT, the probability of a debilitating attack increases. Just like everything else online, IoT devices are one part of a massively distributed network. The billions of extra entry points that IoT devices create make them a greater target for cybercriminals. In 2016, this fact was proven and executed by the Mirai botnet, a malware strain that remotely enslaved IoT objects for use in large-scale attacks designed to knock websites and entire networks offline. The authors of Mirai discovered previously unknown vulnerabilities in IoT devices that could be used to strengthen their botnet, which at its height infected 300,000 devices. While this is an extreme example, it is very much a reality that could happen again — only this time worse. These ever-present threats make it crucial to maintain proper cyber hygiene while using the internet.

Internet Safety Month emphasizes the importance of staying safe while surfing the web, not just in June but all 365 days of the year. With new threats appearing every day, the time to be proactive about your online safety is now. Don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the most recent internet threat, follow these tips to stay protected:

  • Secure your devices. Strong passwords or touch ID features are your first line of defense against cybercriminals stealing your sensitive information. With security measures in place, your data is protected in the case of your device being lost or stolen. And reset those default passwords — many of today’s exploits come from leveraging devices where the default settings were never changed.
  • Only use apps you trust. Information about you is collected through the apps you use. Think about who is getting that data and if you’re comfortable with how it could be used.
  • Be picky about what Wi-Fi you’re using. Hotspots and public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, meaning anyone can see what you’re doing on your device. Limit your activity and avoid logging into accounts that hold sensitive information. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot.
  • Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use. Stores and other locations use this information to track your movements when you are in range. Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can also act as digital entrances into your phone. When it’s not absolutely necessary, consider turning it off.
  • Keep your devices and apps up-to-date. Having the most up-to-date software and applications is the best defense against threats. If an app is no longer in use, just delete it to ensure your devices clutter-free and no longer housing unsupported or outdated apps.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post Internet Safety Month: 5 Tips to Keep You Secure appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

#CyberAware: 4 Actionable Steps to Boost Your Family’s Safety Online

Summer has officially rolled out its welcome mat. But as most parents might be thinking about slowing down, for most kids, summer is when digital device use goes into overdrive. That’s why June — which also happens to be Internet Safety Month — is a perfect time strengthen your family’s digital readiness.

Good news: This digital safety skills booster is quick and actionable. And who knows — if a few of these tips boost your family’s safety, you may have just saved summer for everyone!

4 Ways to Boost Family Safety Online 

Practice safe social. Challenge your family to reign in its social footprint by taking these specific actions: 1) Adjust privacy settings on all social networks. 2) Trim friend and follower lists. 3) Delete any personal data on social profiles such as birthdate, address, or school affiliation. 4) Edit, limit app permissions. As we’ve just seen in the headlines, the misuse of personal data is a very big deal. 5) Share with care. Routinely scrolling, liking, and commenting on social sites such as Snapchat and Instagram can give kids a false sense of security (and power). Remind tweens and teens to share responsibly. Oversharing can damage a reputation and words or images shared callously can damage other people.

Practice safe gaming. Summertime is a gamer’s heaven. Endless battles and showdowns await the dedicated. However, some digital pitfalls can quickly douse the fun. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance’s gaming tip sheet, safe gaming includes: updating gaming software, protecting devices from malware, protecting your child’s personal data, using voice chat safely, and paying close attention to content ratings.

Practice strong security. There are some steps only a parent can take to safeguard the family online. 1) Parental controls. Filtering software blocks inappropriate websites and apps as well as establishes boundaries for family tech use. 2) Comprehensive security software helps protect your PCs, tablets, and devices from viruses, malware, and identity theft. 3) Keeping your guard up. According to McAfee’s Gary Davis staying safe online also includes digital habits such as using strong passwords, boosting your network security and firewall, and being aware of the latest scams that target consumers.

Practice wise parenting. 1) Know where kids go. Know which apps your kids love and why, how they interact with others online, and how much time they spend online. 2) Unplug. Establish tech-free family activities this summer. Powering off and plugging into quality time is the most powerful way to keep your family safe online. Strong relationship empowers responsibility. 3) Be confident. As parenting expert, Dr. Meg Meeker says, parents should be parenting from a place of confidence, rather than from a place of fear. “The temptation for parents is to think that they have no control over what their child does online. This isn’t true,” says Meeker. “Parents, you are in control of your child’s technology use; it is not in control of you.”

toni page birdsong

 

Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her on Twitter @McAfee_Family. (Disclosures).

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What the Mobile-Born Mean for IoT and Cybersecurity

Since before they knew how to walk, Gen Z – or the mobile-born generation – has had a wealth of information, quite literally, at their fingertips. Their lives are exponentially hyper-connected with social media, music, ride sharing, shopping, and more, all through their mobile devices. But Gen Z’s haste to be on the cutting edge of technology and trends can often leave them arrogant to the security implications. They prioritize personalization over privacy and willingly share personal data so they can have a more predictive and personalized experience, without the same sense of security awareness as that of previous generations. Through increased data sharing, and the modern-day usage of social media, the mobile-born could be naively exposing themselves, and loved ones, to security issues they don’t fully realize or understand.

Social Media

Apps such as Snapchat and Facebook constantly know where consumers are located through default settings, geotagging photos, and videos, “checking in” to reap promotional rewards or to just show off their latest experiences. This may not seem pressing, but in actuality, it tells people where you are at any given moment and, depending on your privacy settings, this information could get out to audiences that it wasn’t intended for. If you posted a picture while at home, you are likely taking a GPS location snapshot and potentially letting your home address get into the wrong hands. The metadata within your photo can now be used by cybercriminals to track where you live, opening up your home and devices to a slew of cybersecurity concerns. Geotagging can be fun and beneficial, but issues arise when user data is distributed unknowingly.

Furthermore, past generations have learned the hard way that once something is on the internet, it’s nearly impossible to get it back. We’ve gotten into the habit of oversharing our experiences online – whether mere photos of friends, our pets, birthday celebrations or the address of your favorite spot to hang out on the weekends, you may be giving the keys to all of your data. How does this seemingly harmless series of posts affect personal security? A combination of the information being shared on these social media sites can also be utilized to crack common passwords.

Passwords

Another common theme among Gen Z is poor password hygiene. There is more importance placed on ease and convenience rather than data security. Passwords are often the weakest entry point for hackers and, according to a recent McAfee survey, nearly a quarter of people currently use passwords that are 10 or more years old. While Post-Millennials may not have passwords that old, they still display poor password hygiene by reusing the same credentials among multiple online sites and granting login access to third-party applications through networking platforms like Facebook.

If a cybercriminal cracks one password, they now have the skeleton key to the rest of your digital life. Passwords are our data’s first defense when it comes to cybercriminals, so by differentiating passwords across several accounts or using a password manager, Gen Z-ers can make sure the proper precautions are in place and better defend against unwanted access.

Public Wi-Fi

The mobile-born generation has a totally new outlook on digital experiences and their connection to the online world. They expect to have free, authentic, and secure Internet provided to them at all times, without having to take the necessary security precautions themselves. The internet isn’t just a tool for these digital natives, but rather a way of life and with that expectation, they will connect to public Wi-Fi networks without a second thought toward who’s hosting it and if it’s secure.

If they head to the library or a coffee shop to do homework or stream a video while out to lunch, they’re likely connecting to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network. Connecting to public Wi-Fi can be an easy data/money-saving trick for those on a family shared data plan, but it may be one that puts your data at risk. Much like all individuals have a social security number, all devices have a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address being tracked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This allows a device to communicate with the network, but if it’s doing so insecurely, it can act as a watering hole for cybercriminals to eavesdrop, steal personal information, and potentially infect devices with malware.

Educating the Next Generation

Whether it’s ignorant use of social media, poor password protection or careless connection to the internet, the iGeneration does not show the same level of security knowledge or experience as previous generations. Maybe they just don’t know about the various threats out there, or they don’t have the proper education to be using their devices and the internet safely, but it’s our duty to educate our kids about the implications of cybercriminals, privacy breaches, and data exploits to ensure proper cyber hygiene for years to come.

Consider these tips when setting ground rules for keeping you and your family safe:

  • Parental Controls. While these may be a nuisance sometimes, they are also a necessity in keeping you and your children safe from malicious sites. Consider using McAfee Secure Home Platform to ensure your family’s security while in the home.
  • Turn off geolocation. In ‘Settings’ on your device, you can select which apps are allowed to use your location. Make sure only the ones you know you can trust are selected.
  • Restrict access to your information. If you go into your browser, you can adjust your privacy settings to delete information from your browsing history (i.e. cookies, history, saved passwords, or banking information).
  • Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A personal VPN extends a private network across a public Wi-Fi network to help secure and encrypt your data and keep your connections safe. Software like McAfee Safe Connect can help protect your data at home and on the go.
  • Talk with your children. Understanding that their personal information is invaluable is the first step towards creating and maintaining safe online habits.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post What the Mobile-Born Mean for IoT and Cybersecurity appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Send Your Kids Back to School with Cybersecurity Knowledge

Summer vacation is on and chances are that your kids are spending time indoors as the scorching sun makes it too hot to go and play outside. They are probably lounging around with their devices, which may include gaming devices, smartphones, laptops, desktops, virtual assistants, livestreaming sticks, smart toys or e-book readers. And why not? These are the children of the digital age after all.

As a parent, you may be concerned about whether your children know how to conduct themselves online so that they have a safe digital experience without compromising their personal information. Recently, the news is all about social media platforms saving and sharing personal data of users tracking their activities. You have been reading about how hackers steal data by communicating with vulnerable children through smart toys or even change settings of devices, like the home CCTV. What bothers parents most is that they may not be around all the time their children go online. With many schools adopting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and children having their own smartphones, the use of devices is no more restricted to homes.

Fret not. You can also become a super cool cyberparent- just help your children pick up some essential online safety tricks this summer for, as they say, prevention is better than cure.

It goes without saying that the first step is to secure all connected devices using a licensed comprehensive solution, like the McAfee Total Protection. This new solution can help you manage and protect devices connected to your home network while providing parental controls that can be suited to the needs of all age groups.

The second step is to discuss cybersecurity with your kids and set up DO’S and DON’T’s for them to follow when they go online. Here are some discussion starters to help you along:

  1. Explain the implication of privacy breach and data theft. Discuss how hackers steal passwords and data using infected links and phishing mails and what they can do with the data
  2. Share stories about fake social profiles, kidnappers etc. and outline the probable future consequences of connecting with strangers, even if it is a person of their own age
  3. Repeat often the cybersafety mantra- STOP.THINK. SHARE. Ask them if they have faced social media issues like cyberbullying, fake news, cyber stalking and converse how these need to be tackled

The third step is to share these top 10 cybersafety tips with your kids:

  • Change default passwords in each device
  • Keep passwords a secret, even from your BFF: It’s just like sharing the keys to your house. If it falls into the wrong hands, it can be misused.
  • Use only secured devices, at home and elsewhere: Do not make it easy for a hacker to steal data from you
  • Protect your personal data: Your data is your business and nobody else’s. Preferably do not share facts like your name, birthday, address, school, hobbies anywhere online
  • Say ‘NO’ to friend request from strangers: That 14-year old teen who seems to share all your interest may be a 55-year old. Also, be suspicious of duplicate friend requests
  • Never comply with requests for sharing personal pics: Would you hand over a picture of yours to a random person on the street? No? Then don’t do so online either
  • Refrain from opening email attachments or video/ message links. Be suspicious of emails that have your name wrong or have spelling errors like ‘www.yhoo.com’
  • Do not click on websites if they don’t start with ‘https’
  • Use 2-factor authentication to make your account security stronger
  • Keep location services off when not needed and do check in on social media

Your kids are a year older and a lot wiser. Let them feel grown-up and responsible by encouraging them to take charge of their digital lives. And bask in the glory of having done your bit to bring up responsible netizens.

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America’s Dirty Little Secrets: Opening the Door to Protected Data

It’s 2018. Digital assistants have started taking over our homes, with adoption growing tenfold. These smart speakers know everything about us, from our shopping habits to our music tastes — they likely know more about our daily lives than we do. This ever-growing, ever-changing relationship between humans and devices highlights the importance of protecting data – verbal or otherwise – in the home. With connected devices using our personal data to be the most comprehensive in-home assistants possible, we need to prioritize Internet of Things (IoT) security, awareness and the implications of using such devices.

It’s estimated that by 2022, over half of U.S. households will have at least one smart speaker in their home — that’s over 70 million households, topping 175 million installed devices. These devices are aimed at making our lives easier and more convenient than ever before, but to do so they require that we willingly share access to our personal and private information. Whether it’s banking and home address stored directly on the device, or learnings it’s picked up from our conversations, the amount of private data that these devices carry opens up a new array of threats. New research from McAfee reveals that 60% of Americans have considered their digital assistants could be recording or listening to them. If so, what are the security implications of using a digital assistant?

From answering a quick question to ordering items online, controlling the lights, or changing thermostat temperature, digital assistants have become a pseudo-family member in many households, connecting to more IoT things than ever before. But if one of these devices is breached, it can open up an entire home Wi-Fi network and our valuable information could get into the wrong hands. Beyond this, many Americans have developed a very personal relationship with their devices, with 50% admitting to being embarrassed if friends or family knew what questions they asked their digital assistants. Now imagine if any of that information fell into the hands of cybercriminals — it could open the door to your personal data and threaten your family’s security.

In addition to the sensitive data that our smart speakers have stored, and the conversations they may or may not be recording, there are other security risks associated with this technology in the home. In 2016, it was determined that music or TV dialogue could take control of our digital assistants with commands undetectable to human ears. Known as the “Dolphin Attack,” this occurrence essentially hides commands in high-frequency sounds that our assistant-enabled gadgets can detect, but we are unable to hear. Instances of TV commercials activating digital assistants have already been reported, so we can see how this technique could be quite easy for cybercriminals to imitate if they wanted to access our smart homes’ network.

The growing trend of connecting these always-listening assistants to our home appliances and smart home gadgets is only exacerbating these concerns. Aside from digital assistants, other IoT devices such as game consoles, home security systems, thermostats, and smartphones may be at risk and must be secured to avoid becoming targets for cybercriminals. We must proceed with caution and be aware of who, or what could be listening in order to protect ourselves accordingly. Whenever bringing any kind of new, connected device into the home, prioritize safety and privacy.

Here are some top tips to securely manage the connected devices in your home:

  • Vary your passwords. Create passwords that are difficult to crack to ensure accounts are secure and update your passwords on a regular basis. Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Simplify password management by using a password manager.
  • Consider setting up a PIN code. Particularly for voice command purchases. Help keep cybercriminals away from your data by setting up an extra layer of security.
  • Invest in a router that delivers security for all your connected devices. It’s important to secure your entire connected home network. And the launch of McAfee Secure Home Platform skill for Alexa is set to make this easier and more convenient than ever before.

Technology is changing our everyday lives but being aware of the security concerns is the key to becoming an empowered consumer.

Interested in learning more about IoT and mobile security tips and trends? Follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like” us on Facebook.

The post America’s Dirty Little Secrets: Opening the Door to Protected Data appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Streamin’ in the Sun – Your Essential Checklist for Safely Watching this Summer’s Biggest Events Online

With several major European sporting events, music festivals and a huge royal wedding on the way, this summer is set to be filled with many must-see moments. For those occasions where a television isn’t close by or the content is not freely available, many of us may resort to streaming services so that we can tune in to these events from home. While these services may offer a brilliant way to be part of the action, with seemingly no-strings attached, it is important to keep in mind the risks involved with streaming live content on your devices. Here’s our checklist to ensure you’re staying safe when using streaming sites.

Keep it legit

When it comes to streaming, sticking to the official channels is your best bet. The major channels in the UK each have their own online live streaming platforms such as iPlayer (BBC), ITV player (ITV) and All 4 (Channel 4), These should be your first port of call when it comes to streaming live television. As long as you have a TV licence and can verify your identity using your email address, you are free to access their live content. This means you can watch as many World Cup games or hours of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tying the knot as your heart desires. Important to note that these streaming sites will NEVER require you to provide payment details to access these services.

Get what you pay for

For satellite broadcasters such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media, a paid subscription is required as part of your overall package to access their live-streaming services (Sky Go, BT TV, Virgin TV Go). Once signed up with a provider on the right contract, you are free to stream content on your television, laptop, smartphone or tablet. However, please be aware that there is usually a limit to the number of devices which you are permitted to stream from. Be careful using your login details to stream from other devices as changes in authorisation can lead to a wait of a month to register a new one. In addition it’s never a good idea to share your login details with others.

Going public

Although the sites discussed may be legit to use, the Wi-Fi needed to access them while you’re out and about may not be. There are a wide range of security threats associated with using public Wi-Fi, including unencrypted networks, eavesdroppers and malicious hotspots. All of these dangers can expose vulnerabilities of your device which could allow hackers to to access your personal data and install malware. To stay safe, think about using a virtual private network (VPN) when using your smartphone, tablet or laptop to watch live streaming on the go. Or for those less tech confident, never leave your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on when you aren’t using it (airplane mode is great for shutting these off quickly).

Don’t even think about it

OK, so the Champions’ League final is on a subscription service that you don’t have. Desperate to watch the game, you venture online to search for one of those streaming sites which promise to broadcast live sport for free. Seems too good to be true? That’s because it is. Users should avoid using these websites. Many don’t deliver what they advertise, often tricking viewers into sharing their payment details so that they can access personal content or infect your device with malware. More importantly, these streams are illegally broadcasting live content. By accessing them, you are putting yourself at risk of prosecution. So please stick to the official streaming platforms.

Still thinking about it aren’t you?

If you still feel compelled to take the risk of using unauthorised streaming sites, here’s some more reasons to steer clear. Streaming sites are littered with pop ups and ads that could lead to your device being infected with viruses or malware. In addition to this, many will sneakily ask for you to download add-ons or extensions to access their content. Usually, these requests are often a disguise for installing adware onto your device. So guys seriously, it isn’t worth the risk.

Stay Protected

Wherever you choose to do your streaming this summer, it’s critical that you have up to date antivirus/anti-spyware software and a firewall running to stop malicious programs from infecting your device. Trusted and tested software such as our award-winning Secure Home Security will prevent users from using most online streaming sites and eliminate the risks. Stay safe when streaming this summer. Please check out the McAfee Home blog for more useful content and follow @McAfee_Home for further updates etc.

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The Rise and Rise of the Cyber Economy – PandaLabs Q1 2017 Report

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Developments in Cyber-crime, Cyberwarfare and AI mark the first quarter of 2017, as indicated by PandaLabs Q1 Report. The Report by Panda Security’s malware resource facility identifies prominent tactics, attack methods and shifts in the industry.

The Cyber-crime industry continues to grow on the back of profitable attacks. The development of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) and organisations like Vdos, an organisation specialising in DDos attacks, indicate the professionalism of the cyber-crime industry. In Q1 we continue to see new and adapted attack methods such as RDPatcher, malware detected by PandaLabs in its attempt to access the victim’s endpoint and prepare it for rental on the Dark Web.

Politically motivated cyber-attacks

Fueling the continued development of the cyber-crime industry are politically motivated cyber-attacks. In recent months, Cyberwarfare has become a popular tactic in enforcing political agendas. In Q4 of 2016, we saw some of the first high profile instances of cyberwarfare, with accusations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US elections. The gravity the development is clear as countries like Germany have now begun to develop cyber-command centres to monitor online activity – this quarter France and the Netherlands reconsidered electronic voting procedures to avoid situations like the 2016 US elections.

Targeted IoT device attacks

Targeted attacks on IoT devices continue to threaten our safety in line with the ever-increasing number of IoT devices. In February, at the European Broadcasting Union Media Cyber Security Seminar, security consultant Rafael Scheel demonstrated more ways these devices can breach unsecured networks by creating an exploit that would allow an attacker to take control of a Smart TV using only a DDT signal.

A perfect device for eavesdropping

Recent developments in Robotics and AI have led to that belief that the fourth industrial revolution is not far off. Robotics and AI technology could do more than just take over jobs – introducing virtual assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, can become a dangerous in road for hackers. Introduced in February 2017, Google Home can tune into your home IoT devices while waiting to be called on – making it the perfect device for eavesdropping. Police recently requested access to an Amazon Echo device as it may have held evidence that could be useful to their case.

Over the course of 2016 Ransomware attacks earned criminals billions of Rand. Fueled by its profitability, Ransomware attacks continue to increase, with new variants created daily. In Q1 PandaLabs discovered Ransomware variant WYSEWYE -that allows the attacker to select and take control of specific folders on the victim’s endpoint, ultimately demanding a ransom to give back control to the victim.

See the full report by PandaLabs here.

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A User-Friendly Interface for Cyber-criminals

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Installing malware through Remote Desktop Protocol is a popular attack method used by many cyber-criminals. over the past few months Panda Security’s research facility PandaLabs, has analysed several attacks of this nature.

Once credentials are obtained through brute a force attack on the RDP, the cyber-criminals gain access to the company. Attackers simply execute the corresponding malware automatically to start the encryption.

wysiwye-530x483Recently however, PandaLabs has noticed more personalised attacks. Analysing this intrusion we see that the ransomware comes with its own interface, through which its can be configured according to the attackers preferences. Starting with details such as which email address will appear in the ransom note. This customised attack makes it possible to hand-pick the devices the hackers would like to action on.

Advanced attacks we continue to see in this environment require businesses to employ a corporate network security strategy. Preventing zero-day attacks from entering your network is essential, along with efforts to neutralise and block attacks.

Data collected from Panda clients in Europe indicated that Panda Adaptive Defense 360 (AD360) was able to detect and block this particular attack. Timely investment in prevention, detection and response technology, such as AD360 guarantees better protections against new age threats.

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Panda Security Rated Top in Antivirus Test

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A recent study conducted by AV Comparatives recognised Panda Security for having obtained the highest possible score by detecting 100% of the malware samples tested.
 

AV Comparatives most rigorous test ranks Panda Security number one for malware detection

 

The analysis took into account the same infection vectors that a user might experience on an ordinary day. The fundamental objective of AV Comparatives’ Real-World Test is to determine if the security solutions are able to protect the system as it is exposed to an array of malware samples. Panda Security’s Free Antivirus proved it was able to detect 100% of malware to which it had been exposed.

“We are proud of the excellent results we received in the AV-Comparatives Real-World Test – these results validate our efforts to offer our users the best protection against all types of threats under real conditions. Panda Security is fully committed to the constant improvement of our solutions in order to provide maximum security levels with minimum performance impact.” say Jeremy Matthews, Regional Manager Panda Security Africa.
 
Infographic AVComp
 
These results speak to the success of the set of technologies leveraged by Panda Security to develop a solution that is ideal for all types of users – private or public, large or small. Panda Security’s solution comes in response to the rapid evolution of malware in recent years. In this regard, it offers the most effective response to threats such as ransomware, and proves to be the best ally in the prevention, protection and response to the latest attacks.

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Cybercrime Surges in Q3

young man with glasses sitting in front of his computer, programming. the code he is working on (CSS) can be seen through the screen.

PandaLabs Q3 Report indicates that incidences of cybercrime continue to increase, with 18 million new malware samples captured this quarter – more than 200,000 samples daily.

The Quarter at a Glance

Cybercrime continues to grow at an exponential rate, fuelled by the opportunity for large financial rewards.

Hackers have taken to developing new variants of successful Ransomware such as Locky, and the development of a model known as Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), whereby developers create Ransomware for distributors, these distributors then target and infect victims – allowing both parties to achieve greater profits.

Another key development was the occurrence of DDoS attacks. Most natably that of Cyber Security journalist Brian Krebs. Krebs exposure of vDoS lead to the arrest of its key members and subsequently made Krebs’ site the target of a massive DDoS attack that saw Google step in to restore the site. As one of the largest attack of its kind, hackers leveraged IoT devices to send 620GB of data per second – at its peak – to the site.
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This quarter cyber-attacks targeted multiple gaming sites, gaining access to millions of users’ personal information. These attacks were largely launched using botnets composed of smartphones, and effected users of Overwatch, World of Warcraft and Diablo 3. Further attacks saw more than 3.5 million users exposed when Dota 2 and mobile game Clash of the Kings were targeted. These highlight just a few incidences in the Gaming world in the last 3 months.

The Banking sector remained a target for hackers as attacks on ATM’s, POS terminals and Bitcoin wallets continue to become more frequent and more advanced.

A Taiwanese ATM attack this quarter indicated just how advanced cybercriminals have become when they were able to hack the banks internal network and withdraw over R28 million without even touching the ATM itself.

Another big victim was Yahoo – one of the biggest attacks of its kind revealed this quarter indicated that 500 million user accounts had been comprised in a 2014 attack.

Finally, Q3 saw the largest Bitcoin robbery to date, when R 84 billion worth of Bitcoin was stolen by hackers.

View the full PandaLabs Q3 Report for more detail on specific attacks and find out how you can protect yourself and your business from the advanc

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Evolution of Locky – A Cat & Mouse Game

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In the on-going game of cat and mouse between cyber attackers and defensive internet security providers, the appearance of a new tactic from the Locky family of Ransomware comes as no surprise.

As we discussed in February this year, Locky targets victims through seemingly legitimate email attachments. Once the victim clicks on the attachment the malicious macro begins encrypting the users’ files.

Given the nature of this environment, security experts are constantly working on ways to stop Locky, coming up with solutions that will render it ineffective.

Distribution of the latest attack

In the latest development, cyber attackers have come up with new tactics to bypass security. The malware is still distributed via email attachments, but no longer uses a Trojan. These emails have varying names and subject lines to attract the victims’ attention and usually contain Zip files.

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The Malware skips the downloader Trojan and gets the Locky variant in DLL format, and is then executed using Windows rundll32.exe. By using a script file as well as a DLL, instead of a Trojan and .exe, Locky is not immediately detected and blocked, and the Ransomware can begin its course.

To further ensure its success cyber attackers have given Locky an added fall-back mechanism, this means that the malware will still be able to complete its actions even in cases where it can’t reach command and control servers. The weak point in this is that the encryption key is the same for every computer.

These attacks appear to present in weekly waves and have already targeted victims in North and South America, and Europe, as well as attacks in Africa and Asia.

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In order to protect yourself, security experts suggest setting up filters for script files that arrive via email, as well as ensuring your antivirus is up to date. Advanced solutions such as Panda’s Adaptive Defence allow for active classification of every running application by leveraging Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) technologies. This means that you have a greater chance of defending your network against today’s advanced threats.

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