Category Archives: Consumer

Researchers develop IoT security and privacy label

When hungry consumers want to know how many calories are in a bag of chips, they can check the nutrition label on the bag. When those same consumers want to check the security and privacy practices of a new IoT device, they aren’t able to find even the most basic facts. Not yet, at least. The solution A team of researchers in Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab have developed a prototype IoT security and privacy “nutrition … More

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Safeguarding Connectivity: The Security Implications of Telecoms

Telecommunications, the exchange of information by electronic means, helps keep the world connected. You can thank modern telecom companies (think AT&T, Verizon, etc.) for that, as they’ve helped form economies and entire business infrastructures. From email and messaging to phone calls and video calls, telecoms have become an intrinsic part of our lives, allowing users to interact no matter where they are, which is important now more than ever.

Because their networks are so extensive, telecoms are a big target for hackers hoping to gain access to their business and wide customer base. Therefore, it’s important both businesses and consumers become aware of the potential threats to telecoms. Let’s take a look.

The Challenges Faced by Telecoms

While advancements in technology help improve many facets of our everyday lives, they’ve consequentially created challenges for telecoms when it comes to their security. Take the internet of things, for example. From virtual assistants to smartphones, IoT devices help us complete tasks more efficiently and live our lives to the fullest while on-the-go. But as users become more reliant on IoT devices, these gadgets become an equally enticing target for hackers to exploit. Whether it’s gathering personal data from smart devices connected to users’ home networks or accessing corporate data from a remote employee’s laptop, security around IoT is a huge focus for telecoms companies.

AI has also created a huge shift in how businesses operate, and the telecoms industry is no exception. While many telecoms are using AI to improve their security defenses, criminals are also using AI as a means to breach corporate networks – essentially fighting fire with fire.

The Security Risks Impacting Telecoms

Businesses, consumers, government agencies, and even whole countries rely on telecoms companies, so a security attack on one could have serious ramifications. Telecoms companies are finding themselves under fire for two specific types of attacks – one that aims to gain access to their organization, network operations, and data, and another that indirectly targets the company’s subscribers. But what exactly do the repercussions of these attacks entail?

While the prior could lead to a loss of valuable company information and impacted reputation, the latter could lead to a variety of damages. Say a hacker was somehow able to bypass a telecoms company’s security system through an advanced attack and gain access to its customer database – they could then be able to indirectly exploit customers’ mobile devices. Since many users often autosave private information like online account credentials and credit card information for mobile shopping, a hacker could consequentially use this information to conduct credit card fraud or identity theft.

Adding to that, some malware strains have been tailored to attack telecoms. According to ZDNet, Trickbot malware has been updated with a module that uses brute force attacks against a handful of specific targets – one of them being telecoms. The malware pre-selects targets based on IP addresses, indicating that the attackers are going after them specifically. Once Trickbot gains access, the criminals behind the attack can move around the network to steal credentials, sensitive information, and more.

How Telecom Security Can Be Improved

As the gatekeepers for vast amounts of information traveling through its networks, telecoms must prioritize the security of their infrastructures by staying up-to-date on the rapidly evolving security landscape. However, the responsibility of security falls on both the service provider and the consumer. So, what can you do to protect yourself from any telecom-related threats? Start by following these tips:

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

Use a VPN, which allows you to send and receive data across a public network as if it were a private network. A VPN encrypts – or scrambles – your information so others can’t read it, helping to safeguard your data.

Monitor your online accounts

Use ID monitoring tools to be aware of changes or actions that you did not make. These may have been caused by malware and could indicate that your phone or account has been compromised.

Update your software

Developers are always actively working to identify and address security issues. Frequently update your device’s operating systems and apps so that they have the latest fixes and security protections.

Defend your devices with security software

Comprehensive security software across all devices continues to be a strong defensive measure to protect your data and privacy from online threats.

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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2020 Voters: What You Need to Know About Election Security

Voters across the country are preparing to cast their ballot for the all-important 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Whether you’re a new voter eager for your voice to be heard or a parent looking to guide your family members on exercising their right to vote, consumers can be certain about one thing: election security should be top-of-mind for everyone as Election Day creeps closer. In addition to researching the presidential candidates and deciding who to support, consumers should also educate themselves on how to vote safely and securely.    

Heads Up, First-Time Voters

As a young or first-time voter, you are probably eager to have your voice finally heard. However, you should also be on high alert for digital disinformation campaigns. These scams seek to suppress or disrupt the voting process by setting up bogus websites with official-sounding domains and related email addresses. From there, hackers could use those bogus email addresses to send mass email blasts intended to feed unsuspecting voter email recipients false information on when, where, and how to vote.   

According to recent McAfee survey results, the majority of election administration websites for “tossup” states lacked the official U.S. government .GOV website validation and HTTPS website security measures, which prevent hackers from launching fake websites disguised as legitimate county government sites. It is critical that before Americans cast that incredibly important ballot, they confirm the site they are visiting is a .GOV website and that HTTPS security protection is in place.  

Help Protect Your Family’s Vote

Whether it’s who you’re voting for or what you think of party policy, it’s incredibly important that every voice is heard in 2020. As people across the country make their decision, you must discuss the implications of digital disinformation and illegitimate voting websites with your family. Failing to discuss these attacks with new or young voters could mean the difference between whether or not their voice is heard in the 2020 election. Consumers must take action to ensure they are staying informed on possible hacks like this and sharing it with their loved ones to ensure no voices are left unheard this year.  

How to Stay Protected

Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time heading to the polls, we must all take action to ensure we’re staying informed on possible hacks, minimizing risk and not leaving this vote to chance. As you or your loved ones prepare to cast your ballots, consider these tips to help ensure that your vote is protected:   

Look out for suspicious emails

Carefully scrutinize all election-related emails. An attacker seeking to misinform consumers can use phishing techniques to accomplish their objective. Beware of election emails from non-.gov addresses such as .com, .net, .org, or .us, particularly any emails sent in the final days before Election Day. 

 Question conflicting instructions

Question any voting instructions that appear to conflict with other guidance you’ve received from traditional sources such as the U.S. Postal Service, the primary channel state and local governments use to send out voting information.  

Refer to your official State website

When in doubt, visit your state’s elections website to receive general election information on voter registration and contact information for your county’s election officials. Contact the local county officials to confirm any election instructions you receive via email, social media, or websites leading up to Election Day. Voters can find the official state election websites here 

Confirm local instructions locally

Call your county or city government officials directly to confirm any last-minute voting instruction changes to the regional or local Election Day procedures. 

Ask for .gov and https on websites

Ask your county officials to use .gov validation and https protection on any government websites involved in elections. The .gov in a website name validates that the U.S. government has certified that the website truly belongs to the government entity it claims. The https indicates that any information you with the government website cannot be stolen and that voters cannot be redirected to fake government sites.  

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook  

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Entertainment #FromHome: What to do When You’re Bored at Home

 Entertainment #FromHome: What to do when you’re bored at home

 

If your queue of movies and shows are looking a little on the “I’ve already watched that one twice already” side, this one’s for you. I’ve put together a raft of fresh shows, movies, and performances based upon my online travels and on suggestions from a few friends. And oh yes, everything on here is for free—from reputable sources and sites—free movies, free shows, free plays, free audio books, and more. Let’s dig in!

Catch a movie at a free global film festival

An entire host of major film festivals have banded together to create a virtual film festival—the We Are One Global Film Festival, which kicks off on May 29th and runs through June 7th. Now this looks really special. It brings together some 20 festivals, including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto International, Berlin International, Tribeca, Venice, and more, so you can only imagine what types of cinema you’ll find. It’s all free and looks to include festival fare ranging from films and shorts to documentaries, music, and comedies, all of which you can watch on YouTube. As I’m writing this, the list of films have yet to be published, but you can bet on seeing some films you simply won’t see anywhere else right now.

London’s National Theatre at home

For some time, London’s National Theatre has recorded numerous performances through its National Theatre Live program, which it has broadcast to hundreds of venues worldwide. Now, with its temporary closure, the National Theatre is premiering a new performance every Thursday. Each one is free and available for one week, with performances from actors such as James Corden, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and Gillian Anderson in anything from American classics like A Streetcar Named Desire to Shakespeare, Greek theatre, and adaptations of novels like Frankenstein and Treasure Island.

Free movies, eBooks, and audio books

I referenced Open Culture a few weeks ago in one of my earlier articles on personal development from home, and they’re back again this week. This time, it’s Open Culture’s free audio book library with 1,000 titles to choose from. You’ll find a mix of fiction and non-fiction with reading of Twain, Hemmingway, Vonnegut, Austen, Asimov, Conan Doyle, Dostoyevsky, and … well, clearly, I could go on. You get the idea, though. An additional list of theirs compiles 800 free eBooks for you reading pleasure with a similar blend of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry too.

And yes, Open Culture has free movies as well. It’s quite the curated list with more than 1,100 free films that range from indies to westerns and Hitchcock to John Wayne and old martial arts flicks and film noir. That’s in addition to all of the other content they gather from across the internet and make available to us, with other sections dedicated to free language lessons, free business courses, and more. Put it this way: if you’re ever on the hunt for something fresh to read, watch, or do, Open Culture is a great site.

Free eBooks and audio books from Libby

There’s one free resource for movies, music, and books that’s been around for some time—your public library. More recent is an excellent app for enjoying eBooks and audio books from your library on your phone or tablet, the Libby app. With this app you can access the thousands of books available at your library and enjoy them with a built-in reader and a built-in audio book player. The search functionality is quite nice too. It’s curated much like your movie queue, with sections dedicated to what’s new, what’s popular, and by topic, which is quite nice if you don’t have a particular book in mind. You can simply start exploring.

In all, the experience feels like you’re digitally exploring the shelves. Per their website, some 90% of public libraries in North America work with Overdrive, the service that powers the app, as well as libraries in some 78 countries worldwide. (You can search and see if your library works with the app right here.) All you need is your library card. Don’t have one? No problem. Many libraries allow you to get a card right inside the app. Likewise, you can visit your local library’s website for details on how to get one as well.

Play at Home

If anything, I’m continually inspired and a little blown away by the ingenuity people are showing now—particularly as we all look to keep connected and share experiences together while many venues are closed, at least for the time being. Case in point, Play at Home, where instead of watching a show, you can be the show. Play at Home offers up an entire series of short plays commissioned just for people to perform at home. And if you’re feeling particularly bold, they even have a few musicals too. They’re minutes in length, and they have plenty of family-friendly options too in their kid-friendly section which has “plays written to be performed by or for young people and to be enjoyed by humans of all ages.”

So, whether you perform in your living room or fire up a conference call to get some family and friends in on this, is an absolute departure from the normal movie night. Nice to know too is that this all started as a small group of five theatres looking to support artists during theatre closures, which has since expanded to 16 theatres and counting, including The Old Globe and the JFK Center for the Performing Arts.

The Shows Must Go On!

What a great name for a series of free musicals. Much like what the National Theatre has done, The Shows Must Go On! streams a new musical for free each Friday. Each one is a full-length performance and is available starting at 7pm BST (2pm ET, 11am PT, and 5am AET Saturday). Runs are limited, though. Just for 48 hours, which is just in time for the weekend. So far, there have been plenty of hits from Andrew Lloyd Webber, like Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Phantom of the Opera. And yes, it’s okay for you to belt one out and sing along while you watch. In fact, I encourage it.

Free nightly opera at the Met

Yet more performances are coming to your screen thanks to the New York Metropolitan Opera. This time, the performances refresh nightly as part of their Live in HD opera series. These will run for the duration of the Opera’s temporary closure, and you can plan your attendance ahead of time by checking out their weekly guide that provides capsule previews of each show. Puccini, Mozart, Gounod, Wagner, Verdi all have operas that make the grand stage, and while you may not find yourself singing along with these, the spectacle of a Met opera is something to behold. Also posted online are Playbills from the original performance dates, so you can indulge in the synopses, program notes, and more.

Play it (and stream it) safe

To be absolutely blunt about it, anytime you go searching for “free” anything, you’re bound to come across sketchy sites and links that prey on well-meaning people like you—particularly now. With folks keeping close to home, hackers and crooks have fine-tuned their scams accordingly. In fact, we have an entire research study that we’ve just conducted and are ready to share in a few weeks that shows how they’re taking advantage of streamers right now—and what you can do to play it safe when you’re simply looking to pass some time with a good show online.

In the meantime, go ahead and get yourself some protection that keeps you safer while you’re searching online. A good browser tool will alert you of any links and downloads that could wind up putting adware, spyware, or viruses on your device. Likewise, it can avert similar threats from misclicks and typos.

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

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Online Dating #FromHome

Safe Online Dating

Online Dating #FromHome

Love finds a way. And that couldn’t be more true right now.

Even with so many singles keeping life close to home, dating apps have seen a big spike in downloads and usage. According to dating app Bumble, the end of March saw an 84% increase in the number of its video calls and voice chats. On March 29th, the Tinder dating app reported the highest number of swipes ever in one day—some 3 billion profiles got swept left or right. Should any of this surprise us?

Probably not. It only makes sense that people are turning to dating apps, as they’re designed to bring people together. So even though that may mean people can’t catch up in person, they still can catch up—at least virtually. And that’s important right now. We all know isolation from others isn’t easy, or healthy. There’s a good reason people are reaching out and making connections where they can.

How are people dating online right now?

I came across two articles on the topic the other day, both of which caught my eye—one from Time and another from Forbes. Even if you’re not dating, they’re both worth a read. Here’s what appears to be happening: people are pouring more hours into texting and video chatting on dating apps than before. Both articles offer plenty of anecdotes shared by daters, and whether or not they’re looking for a long-term relationship,  they’re looking to talk. What remains to be seen is how this may change the face of online dating in the long haul for this industry that accounts for $6 billion in sales each year worldwide.

These trends got me to thinking, so this article is for you or anyone you know who may be hopping onto an online dating app like Match, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, Tinder, or OkCupid. Think of it as an advice column of a different sort, where we talk about dating in light of your online privacy and safety. 

Protecting your privacy while dating online

For starters, we have a couple of previous blogs that offer sound advice about online dating. The first  covers ways you can protect your privacy when you’re using online dating apps, which starts with picking a dating app that has a good reputation. The second rounds out the topic with further online dating advice for adults and teens alike. Give them a look!

Go into dating feeling confident and secure.

Now for my two cents on the topic. It starts with basic hygiene. Digital hygiene, that is. Before you dive into a dating app, ensure that your device (and all your connected devices while you’re at it) has a comprehensive security solution in place. As you surf, chat, and meet up online, you’ll want to know that you’re protected against malware, viruses, phishing attacks, sketchy links, and so forth. Other features will come in handy (and be necessary as well), like ones that help you manage your passwords, protect your identity, safeguard your privacy, and more—all of which we’ll talk about in a bit.

Pick a winner

Picking the right app is like picking the right date. From a security standpoint,  these apps are the keepers of highly personal information about you, so you’ll want to know how they handle data, what privacy protections are in place, and what information they gather when you first sign up and what they continue to gather as you use the app. Do your research. Read up on their privacy policies. See what other people have to say about their experiences. And get a sense of what the app is all about. What’s its approach to dating? What kind of relationships are they focusing on? Make sure all of it feels right to you. 

Don’t get too personal

Only give the app the information that’s absolutely necessary to sign up. Dating apps ask questions so that they can help you find an ideal match, yet only share what you feel comfortable sharing. This is true from a personal standpoint, but it’s true from a security standpoint too. Anything you share along those lines could be at risk of a hack or a breach, the likes of which were reported by Wired and Forbes last year. If your info is compromised, it could lead to anywhere from identity theft to harassment, so when you use a dating app, keep the sharing to a minimum—and keep your eyes peeled for any suspicious activity across your social media, online accounts, and even your finances.

Passwords are your pal

Another password to remember! That’s just what you need, right? Right! It absolutely is, and a strong one is vital. You can create one and manage all of your passwords with a password manager like the True Key app. It’s free, and it’ll encrypt your passwords and use multi-factor authentication, which offers even further protection from hacks and attacks on your account.

Use a VPN for extra privacy

You can help keep your chats more private, and just about anything else you’re doing online, by using a VPN (virtual private network). For example, our VPN uses bank-level encryption to keep your personal data and activities private from hackers. And it’ll hide other information associated with your dating account while you’re online, like personal details, credit card numbers, and so forth. Given the security risks we’ve talked about so far, you’ll want to look into a VPN. 

Use caution with public Wi-Fi

If you’re not using a VPN on your device, don’t use your dating app on public Wi-Fi. The issue is this: plenty of public Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t secure. Someone else on the network could easily intercept the information you send over it, including your passwords, any photos you share, and any chats you have. In other words, using public Wi-Fi without protection is like opening a door that leads right to you and your most personal data. This applies to everything on public Wi-Fi, not just dating aps. If you use public Wi-Fi at all, you really should us a VPN.

Dating outside the app

There’s a pretty good chance that you have a video conferencing app or two available to you. You’re not alone. Market data agency App Annie reported that one video conferencing app saw downloads in Italy increase by nearly 425 time their previous average in March and by more than 2,300 times their previous average in Spain. Meanwhile in the UK, France, and Germany, the top video conferencing apps saw downloads increase by 11 to 30-fold during the same time.

If you’re thinking about using one of these to do a little dating outside of a dating app, or if you’re just using one keep up with family and friends, the advice here is do your research. Find out how secure they are and what privacy policies they have in place, particularly as some have experienced security issues as of late. For more, check out my recent article on video conferencing so you can help keep hackers and party crashers at bay when you’re chatting.

For example, look for one that uses end-to-end encryption so that the conference is protected from prying eyes and so that others can’t intrude upon the conversation uninvited. Look for articles from reputable sources too, like Consumer Reports, as there have been further reports of privacy issues where certain user information has been shared with third parties while using the video conferencing tool. 

In all, we’re leaning on technology so much more heavily right now and online dating is just one more instance of that. While online dating isn’t new, how we’re using it from home is, at least in a few ways. However you, your friends, or family go about that, be safe and have fun!

Stay Updated 

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

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Date Night #FromHome Ideas

Date Night #FromHome ideas

“So, what movie should we watch?” The dreaded question. Twenty minutes of “mmm, maybe” later, you settle on an old episode of “The Office” and call it good. 

If that sounds a little too familiar, this post is for you. With so many of us having date night at home, now seems like a good time to throw out a few other options that look beyond streaming TV and movie queues. I chatted with a few friends, did a little looking around on the web, and came up with a few ways you and your loved one can hang out, chat, and simply settle into a great evening together.  

Bake Stuff, Make Stuff, Do Stuff

Verbs like bake, make, and do are a great place to start. Even at home, there are plenty of ways to get active together. A little searching online will turn up a number of ideas, as numerous website, and brands are offering all kinds of free content that can get you moving and doing things. (Related, if the two of you want to learn a language or take a class together, check out my previous article on personal and professional development from home.) Here are a few ideas:

25 Goodies You Can Bake Together

Hop into the kitchen, crank up some tunes, and whip up some comfort food, like cheesecake-stuffed chocolate chunk banana bread muffins or some cinnamon sugar apple cake. This article from Huffpost has those recipes and more, which are bound to taste even better when you bake them together.

Take a Photography Class Together

Practically all of us have a camera thanks to our phones, and as of this writing Nikon is offering their photography classes for free at Nikon School Online. While some of the classes focus on some of their cameras and equipment, they also have general courses on photographing kids and pets, photography fundamentals, and macro photography too.

Work Out Together

Quite on the other end of the spectrum from movie night is workout night, or afternoon, or whenever. Grabbing a workout is not only great for your body, it’s great for your head. Life Time has all kinds of workouts available for free online, including cardio, strength, and yoga for all levels. There are even some family courses too.

Wind Down Together with Some Yoga

Yoga with Adriene is great. She’s been featured in numerous fitness blogs and her YouTube channel is well over 7 million subscribers. Check out her free yoga sessions. Her approach is quite unique, with sessions built not only around fitness goals, but moods and headspaces as well. Sessions range anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes, with plenty of options for beginners, so you can take your pick.

Virtual Museum Tours

Okay, so nothing beats the real thing. But it’s nice to know that even if some of the world’s greatest museums are closed right now, we can take some pretty amazing guided tours on our laptops or tablets together. Here are just a few of the many—a simple search for virtual museum tours will turn up plenty.

Tour the Louvre

The Louvre, expansive as it is, hosts not one but seven different virtual tours of its museum. The virtual tour page for the Louvre offers a number of exhibitions, along with a virtual tour of Egyptian antiquities and several other online resources for exploring its collections.

Go to the Guggenheim

The two of you can virtually stroll along the Guggenheim’s famous spiral walkway and take in its Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Contemporary art along the way. The museum has further options for the two of you to explore its collections and history from home here on the “Guggenheim from Home” page as well.

Check Out Rembrandt, Dali, and More in Spain

The website for Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum houses 87 virtual tours  (yes, 87!) featuring greats like Gauguin, El Greco, Van Gogh, along with the work of American Impressionists, Pop artists, Surrealists, and more.

Step Inside Air Force One and 11 Other Famous Planes

Seattle’s Museum of Flight currently hosts the first presidential jet plane, a Boeing 707-120, delivered for President Eisenhower, which you can visit as part of the flight museum’s 3D tours. It’s one of the many classic planes you can climb inside, along with NASA’s Space Shuttle trainer. The site is loaded with galleries

Unplug with Game Night

If you want to get away from screens entirely, game night provides a great escape—and plenty of time to simply sit together, chat, and laugh as you play. We have plenty of gamers here at McAfee, who are among the many who have revitalized tabletop gaming in recent years by looking for fresh ways to connect with friends and family after a screen-heavy day. 

If you haven’t picked up a board game in ages, “game night” might conjure up sessions of Monopoly or Clue. That’s changed. The games that today’s designers have whipped up during the recent renaissance will come as a surprise—and offer you two some together time. 

Azul

This one is beautiful. Inspired by the Moorish tiles of Portugal, Azul is a game of pattern placement with wonderfully wrought tiles of its own. Completing specific patterns and sets racks up points but wasted tiles “fall to the floor” and cost you points in return. It’s tactile, colorful, and lends itself to conversation. You can knock out a game in 45 minutes or less and it plays great with two people.

Lost Cities

Take a head-to-head card game, an adventurous archeological expedition theme, and mix it in with quick-playing rules that are easy to teach, and you get Lost Cities. It’s an excellent game for couples because there’s just enough suspense and strategy to the play to make it fun—but not so deep that you find yourself sitting in silence. It pairs well with your favorite music and relaxing beverage of choice.  

Ticket to Ride

If you like a little more competition in your games, this game of building a railway empire in 19th Century North America might be your thing. Ticket to Ride (and its many spin-offs) another game that you can learn in about 15 minutes, where you build routes that connect cities for quick points (like Los Angeles to Phoenix) and then string together stretches of connections for even bigger points (like Los Angeles to New York).  

Carcassonne

Modeled after the bucolic vistas of southern France, Carcassonne is a tile placement game where players collectively build a landscape full of cities, fields, roads, and cloisters—and claim points as they’re completed. It’s almost like a puzzle that you build together, with lots of strategy and risk-taking along the way. Half the fun is watching the map take shape as everyone takes their turn, and no two games end up looking alike.

On a side note, it may be tough to go shopping in your area right now. However, many local game stores and game cafes support online shopping, which is a fine opportunity to support a small business in your area. Likewise, you can find these and other games at larger online game stores and ecommerce retailers.

Playing It Safe When You Plug Back In

Whenever you hop online for that cooking class, workout, or tour, consider using protection that keeps you safer while you’re surfing—all so you can steer you clear of sketchy links, misclicks, typos, or bad downloads that could drop adware, spyware, or viruses on your device. Likewise, if any of these ideas lead you to a quick online shopping trip, take a moment to brush up on your security smarts with our latest article about online shopping scams and how to avoid them.

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

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21 Tips to Stay Secure, Private, and Productive as You Work from Home on Your Mac

Nowadays, Macs are part of the work-from-home workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve brought a Mac from the office to home, it’s likely your IT department has already set it up to meet your company’s security policies. But what if you’re enlisting a Mac already at home to do duty for your company? You need to outfit it for business, to protect it and your company from infections and snooping, while ensuring it continues to run smoothly over time.

Here are 21 tips for staying secure, private, and productive while working from home on your Mac—while also making sure your personal “helpdesk” is in place, should you run into problems while doing your work.

How to guard against viruses and cyber threats on your Mac

While good security habits are important for all Mac users (since, contrary to popular opinion, Macs are as vulnerable to malicious attacks as PCs), you need to take special care when working from home on your Mac because you’ll be interacting with your company’s applications and platforms over the internet. Start your “security upgrade” with the Mac itself, to keep it free of viruses and malware. Make sure your security checklist includes the following:

Secure Your Mac. Ensure your Mac is in a secure, safe place, where family members can’t shoulder surf or use it, then set up a work account on your Mac (separate from your personal account), complete with a unique, complex password (disable automatic login), with only work-approved apps active on the account. Set the Mac to automatically lock one minute after sleep or your screen saver begins. Then turn on the Mac’s Firewall (if it’s not already on) and enable Stealth Mode, which will block incoming network requests from test applications.

    1. Keep Up to Date. Keep your Mac OS system, Web browser, and main work apps (e.g., Microsoft Office) up to date. Application updates often contain security improvements as well as bug fixes.
    2. Be Communication-Cautious. Use your messaging and email apps only for work, so as not to contaminate them with unexpected communications from friends, family, or strangers. Be particularly aware of phishing emails with potentially bad links and attachments, or with buttons to “help you log into” online accounts to allegedly adjust or renew some crucial account data. Credential data theft can be a doorway not only to the data on your Mac, but to your company’s online systems.
    3. Install Antivirus. Install endpoint security software on your Mac, if you don’t already have it. The solution should protect you from Web threats and when downloading files, and in the event something malicious lands on your disk, its scanning technology will help you remove the infection. The best endpoint protection will protect you and your files proactively from ransomware as well.

Trend Micro Mac Endpoint Security solutions include:

  • Trend Micro Ad Block One. Blocks ads and popups in your Safari browser.
  • Trend Micro Antivirus One. Protects your Mac from adware, ransomware, spyware, and malware.
  • Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac. Offers a full-protection solution for your Mac. When you install Antivirus for Mac, your endpoint security includes the Trend Micro Toolbar for Web Threat Protection, Fraud Buster for protection from phishing in Microsoft Outlook, and Folder Shield for protecting sensitive files from encryption by ransomware.

How to guard your privacy on Mac

Next, you need to make sure your work remains private. This means creating a “chain of privacy” that extends from your Mac over the internet to your company’s servers, so that each link in the chain is “locked” to ensure your company data remains private.

    1. Harden Your Mac. Enable FileVault (which encrypts your data), making sure you secure but remember your login password or recovery key; otherwise your data will become inaccessible. This ensures that if your Mac is stolen, the thief won’t have access to your company’s data.
    2. Protect Your Router. Most routers come with default settings (Admin and Password), which can make your router vulnerable to hacker attacks. Change the default Admin and Password on the router to strong, unique alphanumeric strings.
    3. Encrypt Your Network. Use an Ethernet connection from your Mac to the router; or if you must, a WPA-2 encrypted Wi-Fi connection with unique password access. And consider moving your family and their devices to the guest network, if your router supports the same WPA-2 protection for guests.
    4. Deploy Network Security. Deploy a network security solution, to protect all the smart devices in your home network, since a breach on any device (e.g., your smart speaker, your security camera) could affect the privacy of all your devices, including your work Mac. The network security solution should enable you to block incoming connections from remote-access software and to manage your family’s devices.
    5. Use a VPN. This ensures a secure and private tunnel between the Mac on your home network and your company’s servers, encrypting your data from the moment it’s transmitted.
    6. Use Strong Authentication. Use strong authentication whenever possible, both locally on your Mac and for online account logins. This can include Single-Sign On (SSO) solutions, PINs, Facial Recognition and Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) tools.
    7. Use Secure Video Conferencing. For team conference calls/video meetings, make sure your chosen solution has end-to-end encryption and proper access controls. Consider using headphones to better privatize your teammates’ conversation.
    8. Use a Password Manager. This ensures the privacy of all your company login credentials, since you don’t want to store them in your browser, where they can be hacked.
    9. Use Cloud Sync; Encrypt and Detach Local Backups. You’re probably accustomed to using iCloud for cloud sync/backup, but if you’re already using Microsoft Office, consider using OneDrive for Business, since it’s integrated with Office. And don’t use a USB memory stick for backup. Instead, when you’re doing your weekly local backup via Time Machine, use a hard drive that can be disconnected and locked when your backup is finished.

Trend Micro Mac Privacy/Security solutions include:

  • Trend Micro Home Network Security. Ensures your network and all the smart devices on it are secure, while providing Android and iOS apps to manage the network.
  • Trend Micro VPN Proxy One / WiFi Protection. VPN Proxy One protects your Mac and iOS devices with an emphasis on Privacy, while WiFi Protection emphasize Security across all four platforms, including Mac, iOS, Windows and Android devices.
  • Trend Micro Password Manager for Mac. Trend Micro’s Password Manager is available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. Synch your passwords across all platforms.

Tips and tricks to maximize your Mac

Working from home means contending with home distractions (though working in the office has its own set of distractions too). Staying productive therefore includes setting good work and break habits, physically optimizing your work-from-home Mac setup, and keeping your Mac in good working order. Effective and productive remote working, when it comes setting up good work habits, using efficiency maximizing tools, and separating work from home activities, is a whole topic in itself. Here we include only those tips that directly affect the healthy operation and optimization of your Mac:

    1. Deploy a Second Display. Hook up a large or second monitor to your Mac, for increased workspace. New MacBook users on Catalina MacOS can also attach an iPad with iOS 13 via Sidecar for use as a second monitor.
    2. Hook Up iPhone Calling to Your Mac. For efficiency’s sake, when your iPhone and Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network, you can make phone calls with your Mac by tying it to your iPhone and its cellular plan. The microphone and speakers of your Mac will be enlisted in the call. Ensure your Mac’s Contacts app includes your business contact cards and for easy Mac-assisted calling to your associates.
    3. Use Dictation. Now’s the chance for you to use the built-in dictation tools on your Mac (and iOS) to speed up writing letters, emails, memos, etc.
    4. Use Web Apps. Use the Web version of your office apps when possible; e.g., Microsoft Office 365, which includes Web Outlook, Word, Calendar, People, Sharepoint, Planner, Notes, OneDrive, etc. for efficient collaboration, reverting to the installed desktop apps when necessary. This can reduce the data footprint on your Mac.
    5. Periodically Optimize Your Mac. Every computer slows down over time, especially when doing heavy-duty work, due to system and application clutter, as well as duplication of files. Your home Mac may also be a bit short on memory and CPU power, so periodic use of Mac optimization tools, Apple’s or a third-party’s, can help ensure your Mac stays up to speed for maximum productivity.

Trend Micro Performance tools include:

  • Trend Micro Cleaner One Pro for Mac. This solution can help you monitor and clean the Memory, CPU, and Network Usage on your Mac. Its System Optimizer tools include complete file cleanup and a shredder for junk, big, and duplicate files, as well as a tool for controlling apps upon startup.

How to get remote computer assistance for your Mac

Finally, should things go wrong at any time with your working Mac setup, you need to make sure to have a work-from-home “Help Desk” in place for when you need it. This can include the following:

    1. Enlist your IT Department. Easy connection and a contact to your IT Department for device, network, and app requirements, as well as tech support for problems that may arise during your workday, is critical.
    2. Utilize Vendor Helpdesks. Use the community forums and chat services of your Mac, network, and app vendors. Apple provides its own Mac Support, along with Mac Service and Repair for Macs under warranty or for customers with AppleCare+.
    3. Purchase Support Services. Optional support services you for purchase can help ensure the top-notch security and operation of your Mac, your network, and your workflow.

Trend Micro Solutions include:

  • Trend Micro Home Support. You can obtain technical support for all your Trend Micro-centric application needs using Trend Micro’s eSupport page, also known as Home Support. Note too that Air Support, which includes app log transfer, online engineer help, and email, can be initiated through the Trend Micro apps themselves through the Help screen.
  • Trend Micro Premium Support Services. Trend Micro provides both Premium Service and Ultimate Service Bundles, which includes support for your Mac. Services include 24×7 emergency assistance, problem fixing, virus and spyware removal, and PC security and health check service for up to 4 devices with Trend Micro Security installed, including Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac.

That’s it! These tips should get you started on the road to staying secure, private, and productive, while running smoothly, as you work from home on your Mac. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are doing just that. Now is the time to keep your working Mac working for you!

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Cool and Helpful McAfee Tech to Help Secure Your Online Life

These days, we’re all actively engaging onlineWhether it’s my kids scrolling through social media, my wife video chatting with her friends and online shopping, or me checking my emails, we’re all leveraging the devices in front of us to keep our lives moving forward.   

What many people don’t realize is that there are technologies that we can implement into our daily online routines that will not only help us achieve our digital tasks more effectively but safeguard our privacy as well. If there’s a way I can browse the internet more quickly and securely than before, I’m here for it!  

Tools Anyone Can Use

There are a lot of free and easy-to-use technologies out there that can benefit you – you just need to learn what they are first! With that, let’s explore cool technologies that not too many people may know about, which can positively impact your online life.  

Safe Browsing Solutions

The internet is a vast sea of content, both good and bad. And we’re all navigating that sea to learn, work, and socialize online. But when you’re trying to browse as efficiently as possible, it can be tricky to tell the safe websites from the suspicious ones. That’s where a security solution like McAfee® WebAdvisor comes in to play.  

McAfee® WebAdvisor can help keep you safe from online threats like malware and phishing attempts while you surf the web. For example, the tool places a checkmark next to all the safe links, making security decisions much easier for the everyday internet user, like my wife when she’s on a mission to shop online. And it is free too! 

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Even the average internet surfer like you and me should consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), as it essentially allows you to send and receive data across a public network as if it were a private network. A VPN encrypts  or scrambles  your information so others cant read it, helping to safeguard your data. VPNs are especially handy for when you are working remote or if you want full access to the internet while you’re traveling, or if you simply want to protect your privacy. McAfee® Safe Connect is a great and affordable option (with a limited free version available too) for users who are looking for a solution that is not only easy to implement, but one that also provides bank-grade encryption and private browsing to protect all online activities 

Password Managers

Speaking of pesky passwords, another way to easily secure your online accounts is with a password manager. A password manager can help you create strong passwords, remove the hassle of remembering numerous passwords, and log you on to websites automatically. Who says staying secure has to be complicated? 

While many password managers are free, its important users do their research and adopt password managers from companies they trust. Another option? Some password managers also come included in a comprehensive security solution, like McAfee® Total Protection. 

Robocall Blocking Apps

At one time or another, you’ve probably experienced a mysterious phone call from an “Unknown Caller.” If you’ve ever actually bothered to pick up one of these calls, you’ve likely heard a strange, robotic voice on the other end claiming to be from a certain organization or asking you to take action. Whether the call itself is just annoying or is coming from a criminal looking to scam consumers out of cash or information, one thing is certain – robocalls are a huge headache.  

Unfortunately, these pesky phone calls have shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, it was recently reported that robocall scams surged to 85 million globally, up 325% from 2017. Luckily there are multiple robocall blocking apps and tools users can adopt to avoid phone spam. Additionally, you can register on the FCC’s National Do Not Call list for added protection. 

Multi-Factor Authentication

If you read my previous blog, you know that many of the common password habits that we use can lead to multiple security concerns. That said, passwords are just the first line of defense when it comes to securing online accounts – so what happens if a hacker makes it through that security barrier? Enter two-factor or multi-factor authentication.  

These days, most people have heard of two-factor authentication. To put it simply, the tech utilizes two checkpoints to verify the user’s identity. These could be answers to security questions, a one-time password texted to your smartphone, a fingerprint scan, or facial recognition. While two-factor authentication is a great starting point, there’s also multi-factor authentication – which, as it sounds, means a user must address multiple types of proof points before gaining access to an account or device. In fact, multi-factor authentication is becoming more and more intuitive thanks to artificial intelligence, as it can select a combination of authentication factors based on a user’s risk profile and habits.  

This technology is easy to integrate into your life, as it’s often a simple add-on to a lot of the things we already own. For example, you can activate face-ID on your iOS phone or fingerprint on your Android phone and boom, you’ve got two-factor authentication! 

Tools for Current McAfee Subscribers

Are you currently subscribed to McAfee® Total Protection or McAfee® LiveSafe? If so, there might be some cool tools within these solutions that you aren’t taking full advantage of that can help boost your security and improve your online experience. The more you know, right? 

For example, if you are a current McAfee® LiveSafe subscriber, you automatically have access to McAfee’s secure VPN and McAfee File Lock. If you are currently subscribed to McAfee® Total Protection, you have access to a whole host of security tools including a password manager and VPN. Additionally, McAfee® Total Protection gives you access to McAfee® Identity Theft Protectionwhich is a great tool for monitoring fraud. Finally, if you’re looking to delete some sensitive files, you can use McAfee® Shredder™ to completely ensure that no traces are left behind. By employing the full range of these tools, current McAfee subscribers can take their security to the next level and surf the internet without missing a beat.  

Cool Tech, Stronger Security

By taking advantage of these free, existing, and easily accessible tools, you can both improve every facet of your online life – whether that means social interactions, online shopping, or sending emails – and keep your information secure. You can have fun online and easily integrate security into your day-to-day which, in my opinion, is a win win. 

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

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Number of active IoT devices expected to reach 24.1 billion in 2030

At the end of 2019 there were 7.6 billion active IoT devices, a figure which will grow to 24.1 billion in 2030, a CAGR of 11%, according to a research published by Transforma Insights. Short range technologies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee, will dominate connections, accounting for 72% in 2030, largely unchanged compared to the 74% it accounts for today. Public networks growth Public networks, which are dominated by cellular networks, will grow from … More

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What is disk cleanup and does it remove viruses?

What is Disk Cleanup and does it remove viruses?

It happens. You’re in the middle of a computing task, and your screen blinks. The blue screen (Stop Error) is shown with the message that your PC ran into an error and needs to restart. These hiccups occur when your computer’s software, firmware, or drivers crash due to faulty or incompatible hardware or software.

If you’re like most people, you want a computer that’s nimble enough to keep up with your life. When your computer is bogged down with outdated files, you aren’t able to work at an efficient pace.

While a new computer or external drive may give you more file storage space, there’s a faster way to gain usable storage space without straining your budget. This option is called disk cleanup, and all Windows computers come with a version of it that you can use to reclaim hard disk space gratis. Here are some things that you need to know about Microsoft’s disk cleanup tool.

What is Disk Cleanup?

Disk cleanup is a maintenance utility that was developed by Microsoft for its Windows operating system. The utility scans your computer’s hard drive for files that you no longer need such as temporary files, cached webpages, and rejected items that end up in your system’s Recycle Bin. Unless you remove those files, they add up over time and begin taking a lot of space on your computer.

The utility displays the identified files and the amount of storage space that each of them uses within your hard drive. You decide which items to delete by the importance that you place on the files and the amount of hard drive space that you’ll be able to recover. In Windows 10, you can reach this utility by going to your start menu and scrolling to Windows Administrative Tools to click the disk cleanup button.

Windows also has the feature Quick Clean which lets you clean up the junk temporary files from your Windows desktop safely and quickly. It also cleans additional junk files, which the Disk Cleanup Utility does not.

What are System updates?

System updates such as major OS releases, monthly patches and emergency updates have become standard for today’s computers. Most operating systems are set to download the latest updates automatically. However, on Windows devices, the previous version of an operating system isn’t always deleted when the latest version replaces it. After years of updates, you’ll often have several versions of the OS on your computer.

The disk cleanup utility allows you to remove backup shadow copies from your computer. Programs that you download to open or edit a document take up storage space on your computer’s hard drive long after you’ve completed your project. Disk cleanup allows you to locate those programs, see how much storage space they use, and remove them to free up hard disk space. You’ll find these features by selecting the “more options” tab within the disk cleanup menu.

What is Storage Sense?

Microsoft Windows 10 comes with an upgraded disk cleanup function that’s called Storage Sense. With Storage Sense, you can set your system to automatically clean up unwanted files by setting the tab to the “on” position. You choose to allow Storage Sense to remove temporary files that your programs no longer use, files in the Download folder that haven’t changed in 30 days, and files that have been sitting in your Recycle Bin for over 30 days. You can reach Storage Sense by going to the Settings menu, clicking on the Systems button, and selecting the Storage option.

What Are the Benefits of Disk Cleanup?

While you can search for temporary files yourself and delete them manually, you save time by using the Windows disk cleanup tool. You can search your entire hard disk for specific files within a matter of seconds with the disk cleanup utility. The tool also gives you greater control over which files to delete and those to keep. When outdated application files are removed from your system, it runs more smoothly and has fewer crashes.

Does Disk Cleanup Remove Viruses?

One of the most common ways that viruses enter computer systems is through downloads. A user lands on an untrusted website and clicks on a button to get a free download. The download contains a virus that goes undetected. If the application remains untouched for longer than 30 days, you can run the disk cleanup utility to find the offending download and remove it quickly. While you shouldn’t use disk cleanup as a replacement for a robust antivirus product, the tool can work in conjunction with a trusted antivirus solution to better safeguard your computer’s system, files, and data.

The Wrap Up

Whether you use your computer to work from home or to manage your household, you’ll want it to function as it should. This includes the flexibility to download a program for a short-term project or quickly process spreadsheets to share with coworkers on an online portal. These operations are greatly impaired when your hard disk is full of unnecessary files and bloatware. Using the Windows disk cleanup tool allows you to remove these files that could contain malware and increase the capacity and safety of your computing environment.

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My email has been hacked! What should I do next?

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Signs Your Email Was Hacked

With the advent of #Staysafe and #Shelterinplace, the increase of personal email com-munication has skyrocketed. This increase has allowed clever hackers to worm their way into installing viruses via attachments as well as other common techniques.

You Know You’ve Been Hacked When…

Your Contacts are Receiving Messages Not Sent By You

Messages that seem to come from you to friends or business contacts must alert you to a severe problem on your computer. Friends may have the confidence to let you know about these emails, but business contacts or professional associates may not. Hackers can install malware on their computers through email attachments, and the intruder can find a password with an amazingly small amount of effort.

Your Online Password Stops Working

As a regular visitor to your favorite sites, you know the password that each one requires. While you may accidentally strike a wrong key and create a typo, the chances of doing it twice seem highly unlikely. Since you know that the password appears not to work, you may need to consider the possibility that someone has hacked your email.

Once inside your computer, hackers have almost a free reign to look for your pass-words. Many people create a list of passwords for convenience, but the benefit to a hacker who finds such a file can reach significant proportions.

Slow and Erratic Computer Performance

Unpredictable conduct by your computer can mean that a virus may have infected it. The sluggishness that replaces the usual prompt response that you expect tells you that you have a problem. Spyware, a malicious type of software, can track your online activity, tamper with your files, and even steal your private information.

When you consider the burden that spyware can place on your system, you can under-stand the reason for its lackluster speed. While you probably did not notice anything wrong when you downloaded a picture from a website or clicked on an attachment in an email, a virus could have accompanied it. Until you remove the virus, you may feel as though you have someone watching you, and you do.

Watching for Ransomware

A particularly insidious form of malicious software comes with an ability to make you pay for the privilege of controlling your computer. Ransomware can enter your system through emails, and you allow it to do so when you click on an attractive attachment from an unknown sender. Ransomware can lock your files and make them inaccessible. The troublemakers who put it there demand a fee to release its grip on your system.

Maybe more dangerous than other malicious invasions of your computer, ransomware carries a penalty that can completely deny you access to your files and cost you money to get it back. As a caution that reminds you of the hazard of opening attachments that can cause damage to your computer and your finances, an email that installs ransom-ware deserves attention immediately.

What Should I Do if My Email is Hacked?

Change your password

This is the first thing you must do to ensure that the hacker can’t get back into your ac-count. Your new password must be complex and unrelated to previous passwords. Al-ways use 8-10 characters with a mix of upper and lower case characters as well as numbers and symbols.

Reach out to your email contacts immediately

A big part of the hacker’s strategy is to ‘get their claws’ into your address book to hook others as well. Send a message to all of your email contacts as soon as possible. Let them know they should avoid opening any emails (most likely loaded with malware) that have come from you.

Change your security question

If you have security questions associated with your email account, be sure to change them too. Make them unpredictable and niche.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Yes, multi-factor authentication adds another step to your login, but it also adds another layer of protection. Enabling this will mean that in addition to your password, you will need a unique one-time use code to log in. This is usually sent to your mobile phone.

Scan your computer for malware and viruses

This is an essential step. Comprehensive security software will provide you with a digital shield for your online life. McAfee Total Protection lets you protect all your devices – including your smartphone – from viruses and malware. It also contains a password manager to help you remember and generate unique passwords for all your accounts.

Change any other accounts with the same password

This is time-consuming but a worthwhile effort. Ensure that you change any other ac-counts that use the same username and password as your compromised email. Hackers love when we use the same logins for multiple accounts.

Stay protected

While email can pose potential security risks, antivirus software protects your computer system from potential damage. Programs that run efficiently in the background detect and eliminate threats. Awareness and preparedness can help you thwart attempts to hack private information and let you maintain a secure environment online.

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Good Malware Protection Doesn’t Need to Slow You Down!

Good malware protection doesn’t need to slow you down!

“Security software slows down my PC.” This is a comment that is often heard when talking about malware protection on computers and laptops. While this may be true for many security products, even including the security software that is built into the Windows operating system, this is not the case with McAfee security. As a matter of fact, independent tests since 2016 have proven that McAfee is not only good at catching malware, it’s also one of the lightest security products available today.

What is malware protection?

Security software continuously keeps an eye on all the data that comes in and goes out of your PC. It does this in order to verify that there are no security threats to your personal data, privacy and identity while you are, for example, shopping online, checking your social media or working remotely.

Because security software is always active and protecting in the background many users have the idea that malware protection necessarily slows down the performance of their PCs. This idea however is likely based on experiences from long ago as certain security products did indeed have serious impacts on the user experience.

Measuring PC Performance

To measure how much impact malware protection nowadays has on PC performance, some independent test labs include performance impact benchmarks in their security product tests. The most well-known of these test labs are AV-TEST, which is based in Germany, and Austria based AV-Comparatives. These independent labs are among the most reputable and well-known anti-malware test labs in the world.

In their tests both labs look at ~20 security brands, including McAfee, and the test results show that McAfee Total Protection is one of the lightest security products available today.

Let’s have a closer look at what AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives have to say.

AV-TEST

Every two months AV-TEST publishes the results of its on-going tests of 20 security products. As part of these tests the lab continuously evaluates the latest versions of all products using their default settings and measures the average impact of the product on computer speed in daily use.

A security product can achieve a maximum of 6 points depending on the test results. McAfee has consistently received the highest score in all performance tests since May 2018:

AV-Test PC Performance

Because of these excellent test results McAfee Total Protection was awarded the ‘2019 Performance Award’ by AV-TEST in March 2020.

Best Performance 2019AV-TEST Award

Below is what AV-TEST states about the award and about McAfee Total Protection:

Only products that make a high-performance finish in the AV-TEST labs throughout the test period of an entire year can claim this proof of absolute peak performance. With the AV-TEST Awards, a security product proves not only its technical superiority. Above all, it proves that it is documented as being the best the market currently has to offer in the fight against cyber-attacks.

With ‘Total Protection’, McAfee succeeded at fielding a top product in 2019 which was able to meet the high standards of the AV-TEST Institute. In the consumer field, McAfee receives recognition for best performance and is thus given the Best Performance 2019 Award by the AV-TEST Institute. 

With ‘Total Protection’, McAfee proves that good malware defense does not have to sacrifice system performance, says Andreas Marx, CEO of AV-TEST. Hardly any other software was able to achieve such stellar results in the category of performance in the annual test. Which is why McAfee receives the Performance Award for consumer software.

The announcement of the award can be seen on the AV-TEST website here.

AV-Comparatives

Every year in April and October AV-Comparatives publishes their Performance Test Report. For this report the lab looks at 17 security products including McAfee Total Protection and evaluates how much impact these have on PC performance.

The test lab uses low-end computers as these are most widely used and more at risk of suffering from resource consumption and thus performance impact. The tests also mimic daily usage as much as possible and focus on activities such as copying files, installing and uninstalling applications, launching applications, downloading files and browsing websites.

Based on the results on these tests the products are then evaluated and graded in award levels ranging from ADVANCED+ (the highest ranking) to STANDARD (the lowest ranking).

McAfee has achieved the ADVANCED+ ranking continuously since October 2016:

AV-Comparatives Performance Impact Scores

As a result, McAfee received the Silver Award in the category ‘Overall Performance (Low System-Impact)’ in February 2020 for demonstrating a lower impact on system performance than other products throughout 2019.

And in 2020 we are off to a good start again!

On May 8th AV-Comparatives published April 2020 Performance Test Report and McAfee Total Protection is again awarded with the highest possible rating: ADVANCED+.

With this result McAfee continues to show less impact on PC Performance than most other security products and is one of the lightest security products on the market: 

 

McAfee continues to show less impact on PC Performance than most other security products. Summary

Even though good malware protection is continuously monitoring all activity on your PC and laptop for cyber threats, this doesn’t have to mean that it also slows down the performance of your devices.

As we have seen in the test results of two of the world’s most reputable anti-malware test labs AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives, McAfee Total Protection has been achieving stellar test results in performance tests since October 2016 which also resulted in McAfee being awarded by both test labs with performance awards in 2019.

And with an excellent start in the 2020 test reports we believe that it is fair to say that good malware protection doesn’t need to slow you down and McAfee Total Protection is one of the lightest security products currently available.

 

 

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Less than a quarter of Americans use a password manager

A large percentage of Americans currently do not take the necessary steps to protect their passwords and logins online, FICO reveals. As consumers reliance on online services grows in response to COVID-19, the study examined the steps Americans are taking to protect their financial information online, as well as attitudes towards increased digital services and alternative security options such as behavioral biometrics. Do you use a password manager? The study found that a large percentage … More

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From Bugs to Zoombombing: How to Stay Safe in Online Meetings

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with social distancing, has done many things to alter our lives. But in one respect it has merely accelerated a process begun many years ago. We were all spending more and more time online before the virus struck. But now, forced to work, study and socialize at home, the online digital world has become absolutely essential to our communications — and video conferencing apps have become our “face-to-face” window on the world.

The problem is that as users flock to these services, the bad guys are also lying in wait — to disrupt or eavesdrop on our chats, spread malware, and steal our data. Zoom’s problems have perhaps been the most widely publicized, because of its quickly rising popularity, but it’s not the only platform whose users have been potentially at risk. Cisco’s WebEx and Microsoft Teams have also had issues; while other platforms, such as Houseparty, are intrinsically less secure (almost by design for their target audience, as the name suggests).

Let’s take a look at some of the key threats out there and how you can stay safe while video conferencing.

What are the risks?

Depending on the platform (designed for work or play) and the use case (business or personal), there are various opportunities for the online attacker to join and disrupt or eavesdrop on video conferencing calls. The latter is especially dangerous if you’re discussing sensitive business information.

Malicious hackers may also look to deliver malware via chats or shared files to take control of your computer, or to steal your passwords and sensitive personal and financial information. In a business context, they could even try to hijack your video conferencing account to impersonate you, in a bid to steal info from or defraud your colleagues or company.

The bad guys may also be able to take advantage of the fact that your home PCs and devices are less well-secured than those at work or school—and that you may be more distracted at home and less alert to potential threats.

To accomplish their goals, malicious hackers can leverage various techniques at their disposal. These can include:

  • Exploiting vulnerabilities in the video conferencing software, particularly when it hasn’t been updated to fend off the latest threats
  • Stealing your log-ins/meeting ID via malware or phishing attacks; or by obtaining a meeting ID or password shared on social media
  • Hiding malware in legitimate-looking video apps, links and files
  • Theft of sensitive data from meeting recordings stored locally or in the cloud.

Zooming in on trouble

Zoom has in many ways become the victim of its own success. With daily meeting participants soaring from 10 million in December last year to 200 million by March 2020, all eyes have been focused on the platform. Unfortunately, that also includes hackers. Zoom has been hit by a number of security and privacy issues over the past several months, which include “Zoombombing” (meetings disrupted by uninvited guests), misleading encryption claims, a waiting room vulnerability, credential theft and data collection leaks, and fake Zoom installers. To be fair to Zoom, it has responded quickly to these issues, realigning its development priorities to fix the security and privacy issues discovered by its intensive use.

And Zoom isn’t alone. Earlier in the year, Cisco Systems had its own problem with WebEx, its widely-used enterprise video conferencing system, when it discovered a flaw in the platform that could allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to enter a password-protected video conferencing meeting. All an attacker needed was the meeting ID and a WebEx mobile app for iOS or Android, and they could have barged in on a meeting, no authentication necessary. Cisco quickly moved to fix the high-severity vulnerability, but other flaws (also now fixed) have cropped up in WebEx’s history, including one that could enable a remote attacker to send a forged request to the system’s server.

More recently, Microsoft Teams joined the ranks of leading business videoconferencing platforms with potentially deadly vulnerabilities. On April 27 it surfaced that for at least three weeks (from the end of February till the middle of March), a malicious GIF could have stolen user data from Teams accounts, possibly across an entire company. The vulnerability was patched on April 20—but it’s a reminder to potential video conferencing users that even leading systems such as Zoom, WebEx, and Teams aren’t fool-proof and require periodic vulnerability and security fixes to keep them safe and secure. This is compounded during the COVID-19 pandemic when workers are working from home and connecting to their company’s network and systems via possibly unsecure home networks and devices.

Video conferencing alternatives

So how do you choose the best, most secure, video conferencing software for your work-at-home needs? There are many solutions on the market today. In fact, the choice can be dizzying. Some simply enable video or audio meetings/calls, while others also allow for sharing and saving of documents and notes. Some are only appropriate for one-on-one connections or small groups, while others can scale to thousands.

In short, you’ll need to choose the video conferencing solution most appropriate to your needs, while checking if it meets a minimum set of security standards for working at home. This set of criteria should include end-to-end encryption, automatic and frequent security updates, the use of auto-generated meeting IDs and strong access controls, a program for managing vulnerabilities, and last but not least, good privacy practices by the company.

Some video conferencing options alongside Zoom, WebEx, and Teams include:

  • Signal which is end-to-end encrypted and highly secure, but only supports one-to-one calls.
  • FaceTime, Apple’s video chat tool, is easy-to-use and end-to-end encrypted, but is only available to Mac and iOS users.
  • Jitsi Meet is a free, open-source video conferencing app that works on Android, iOS, and desktop devices, with no limit on participants beyond your bandwidth.
  • Skype Meet Now is Microsoft’s free, popular conferencing tool for up to 50 users that can be used without an account, (in contrast to Teams, which is a paid, more business-focused platform for Office 365 users).
  • Google Duo is a free option for video calls only, while the firm’s Hangouts platform can also be used for messaging. Hangouts Meet is a more business-focused paid version.
  • Doxy.me is a well-known telemedicine platform used by doctors and therapists that works through your browser—so it’s up to you to keep your browser updated and to ensure the appropriate security and privacy settings are in place. Secure medical consultation with your healthcare provider is of particular concern during the shelter- and work-from-home quarantine.

How do I stay safe?

Whatever video conferencing platform you use, it’s important to bear in mind that cyber-criminals will always be looking to take advantage of any security gaps they can find — in the tool itself or your use of it. So how do you secure your video conferencing apps? Some tips listed here are Zoom-specific, but consider their equivalents in other platforms as general best-practice tips. Depending on the use case, you might choose to not enable some of the options here.

  • Check for end-to-end encryption before getting onboard with the app. This includes encryption for data at rest.
  • Ensure that you generate one-off meeting IDs and passwords automatically for recurring meetings (Zoom).
  • Don’t share any meeting IDs online.
  • Use the “waiting room” feature in Zoom (now fixed), so the host can only allow attendees from a pre-assigned list.
  • Lock the meeting once it’s started to stop anyone new from joining.
  • Allow the host to put attendees on hold, temporarily removing them from a meeting if necessary.
  • Play a sound when someone enters or leaves the room.
  • Set screen-sharing to “host only” to stop uninvited guests from sharing disruptive content.
  • Disable “file transfers” to block possible malware.
  • Keep your systems patched and up-to-date so there are no bugs that hackers can target.
  • Only download conferencing apps from official iOS/Android stores and manufacturer websites.
  • Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited mail.
  • Check the settings in your video conferencing account. Switch off camera access if you don’t want to appear on-screen.
  • Use a password manager for video conferencing app log-ins.
  • Enhance passwords with two-factor authentication (2FA) or Single-Sign-On (SSO) to protect access, if available.
  • Install anti-malware software from a reputable vendor on all devices and PCs. And implement a network security solution if you can.

How Trend Micro can help

Fortunately, Trend Micro has a range of capabilities that can support your efforts to stay safe while using video conferencing services.

Trend Micro Home Network Security (HNS) protects every device in your home connected to the internet. That means it will protect you from malicious links and attachments in phishing emails spoofed to appear as if sent from video conferencing firms, as well as from those sent by hackers that may have covertly entered a meeting. Its Vulnerability Check can identify any vulnerabilities in your home devices and PCs, including work laptops, and its Remote Access Protection can reduce the risk of tech support scams and unwanted remote connections to your device. Finally, it allows parents to control their kids’ usage of video conferencing applications, to limit their exposure.

Trend Micro Security also offers protection against email, file, and web threats on your devices. Note too, that Password Manager is automatically installed with Maximum Security to help users create unique, strong passwords for each application/website they use, including video conferencing sites.

Finally, Trend Micro WiFi Protection (multi-platform) / VPN Proxy One (Mac and iOS) offer VPN connections from your home to the internet, creating secure encrypted tunnels for traffic to flow down. The VPN apps work on both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections. This could be useful for users concerned their video conferencing app isn’t end-to-end encrypted, or for those wishing to protect their identity and personal information when interacting on these apps.

The post From Bugs to Zoombombing: How to Stay Safe in Online Meetings appeared first on .

What Does Your Password Say About Your Preferences?

Passwords say a lot about us. They speak to what we prioritize, what we hold dear. So when I recently saw my wife’s password included the kids birthdays and not mine, her priorities were pretty clearI sure know where I stand! 

Whether it’s children’s birth dates or dog names, passwords reveal who we are and what we value, as we all incorporate the relevant aspects of our lives into our passwords to make them easier to remember. While convenient, this habit could actually cause some security mishaps.  

As we honor the first Thursday in May, better known as World Password Day, let’s take a step back to examine some of these common password habits as well as discuss some tips users can follow to secure their online accounts from any potential hackers. 

Common Password Habits

As human beings, we like to keep things simple — which isn’t always a bad thing. However, it’s not ideal when it comes to password security. According to Tech Times, a recent worldwide survey conducted by the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre on the most common passwords revealed that 23.2 million people still have passwords mentioning the classic ‘123456’ and that ‘123456789’ is used by 7.7 million people worldwide.  

Aside from common character sequences, many people (including my wife) also use significant dates or names of their loved ones as passwords. According to another recent study conducted by The Harris Poll in partnership with Google, nearly 60% of people studied said their birthday has been integrated into at least one password, 33% use a pet’s name, and 22% use their own name. Other common habits also include reusing the same password across multiple accounts, writing them down on a piece of paper, keeping them in a file on their computer, or keeping them in a file on Dropbox or a similar platform.  

These shortcuts are understandable, as it can be challenging to recall so many complex passwords. In fact, a previous McAfee survey stated that 26% of individuals would be willing to give up pampering (manicures, pedicures, massages, etc.) if they never had to remember a password again. Additionally, 34% of respondents are most concerned with the ease of remembering their passwords. 

Potential Security Risks

While convenient, these techniques are not exactly foolproof and can lead to some security concerns. That’s because personalized and simple passwords can put our data a bit more at risk – since hackers can usually find information like birthdays, anniversaries, and pet names online. For instance, that harmless Facebook quiz you were thinking of taking to pass the time can actually reveal your personal information to scammers, allowing them to access your online accounts.  

It’s important users are aware of this risk, but especially as we all navigate working from homeAs McAfee’s Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and Fellow, would attest, “Password security is essential, especially with the new normal many organizations and people are facing. Staying aware and educated about proper password hygiene is essential for us to keep our data secure as we are connected more than ever these days.” That starts with forming good password habits. Sorry “baxterthedog1234!” 

Secure Your Online Accounts

In the post-pandemic world, my family, including my young kids, spends 6+ hours online daily. In the last month, m6-year-old created 10+ online accounts to do her schoolwork and play. In this new reality, we all have the chance to build better password habits for ourselves and teach them to our kidsThat doesn’t mean we have to remember 27 completely unique and complex passwords but can instead just adopt a few easy best practices to help keep our credentials safe. Check out the following tips to help secure your online accounts from criminals.  

Use a passphrase

According to ZDNetthe FBI recently found that using a passphrase made up of multiple words in a long string of at least 15 characters is not only more difficult for hackers to crack, but also easier for users to remember. Instead of making a basic password, create a longer passphrase from the lyrics to your favorite song or the ingredients used to make your favorite dish.  

Ensure your passwords are unique

Your password or passphrase should be as unique as the information it’s protecting! If a hacker does manage to guess your password for one of your online accounts, it’s likely that they will check for repeat credentials across multiple sites. By using different passwords or passphrases for your online accounts, you can remain calm and collected knowing that the majority of your data is secure if one of your accounts becomes vulnerable 

Use a password manager

Take your security to the next level with a password manager or a comprehensive security solutionlike McAfee Total Protection, that comes with one. A password manager can help you create strong passwords, remove the hassle of remembering numerous passwords, and log you on to websites automatically. Who says staying secure has to be complicated? 

Use multi-factor authentication

Two or multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security, as it requires multiple forms of verification like texting or emailing a secure code to verify your identity. Most popular online sites like GmailDropbox, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. offer multi-factor authentication and it takes just few minutes to set it up. This reduces the risk of successful impersonation by criminals. Mind you, authentication methods are also evolving due to advanced technology like biometrics. Perhaps the day will be renamed to World No Password Day in the future. 

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

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World Password Day 2020

Are Your Password Habits Keeping You Safe Online?

Learning how to navigate our entire lives online has definitely been a steep learning curve for many of us over the last few weeks. Whether it’s working from home, helping our kids learn from home, conducting ‘wine time’ from home or even doing our Zumba classes from home – it’s essential now more than ever that we are doing this safely. And one of the most powerful yet simple ways we can ‘sure-up’ our online safety is by being smart with our passwords.

World Password Day – Take A Minute To Check Your Approach

Today is World Password Day – the perfect opportunity to ensure we are doing all we can to manage our online logins. It’s quite unsettling to think that one of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to get their hands on the sensitive information we store in our online accounts is through our passwords.

Passwords act like a key to our digital identity. Not only do they allow us to bank, shop, work, learn, date and socialise online but they also protect us as well. Strong, complex passwords ensure all the information we store online (aka our digital assets) are protected which is essential for our privacy and financial and personal security.

So, let’s use this annual event to make sure we are doing all we can to lock down our precious online data by managing our passwords properly.

Same Password For Every Account? – Rookie Error

If I had to count up all my online accounts on my fingers and toes, I would quickly run out of body parts! With so many logins to remember, many of us end of using the same password for every account. And while that might seem so practical it, in fact, makes us very vulnerable. Just think about this scenario: if you become the victim of an online scam and the password to one of your online accounts is stolen, then a cybercriminal can then use this same password to access all your online accounts.

So, before you know it, a cybercriminal can access your emails, bank accounts, online shopping accounts – that may have stored credit cards, private photo and video files.

What You Can Do TODAY to Ensure your Password Habits are Keeping you Safe

Yes, we are all human which means we are going to take shortcuts. I get it! I love shortcuts – I’m a fan of using pasta sauce from the jar! But if there’s one area where shortcuts should NOT be used it’s with passwords. So, here are my top suggestions on how you can stop your private online data falling into the wrong hands and block cybercriminals at the very first point of entry.

  1. Commit to NOT Using Common Passwords

If your password is ‘123456’ then you need to change it now. The UK’s National Cyber Safety Centre showed in a survey last year that this is the most commonly used password. In fact, in the eight years since I’ve been doing this job, this password has annually topped surveys.

Passwords are the gateway to our digital lives. To avoid giving the wrong people access to your accounts, make sure you create strong and unique passwords. This means including numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters and symbols. The more complex your password, the more difficult it is to crack. Why not create a nonsensical phrase or sentence? And always avoid using simple personal details within your password altogether. Your date of birth, middle name or pet names are things cybercriminals can trace through your social media accounts.

  1. Same Password For Every Account? Think Again

The idea of having one password across all online accounts is alluring because let’s admit it…we’ve all been locked out of an account after failing to remember the password! While having one password to remember for all accounts seems to make life easier, it increases the risk of your vital online data being compromised at once across different accounts. So, ensure that your logins are unique for every account to avoid having all your accounts becoming vulnerable in case you are hacked.

  1. ALWAYS Select Multi-Factor Authentication

Wherever possible, embrace multifactor authentication (MFA) for online accounts. MFA is a security system that requires more than one way of identification before gaining access to an account. Most commonly, it involves a security code sent to your smartphone, security questions or even a fingerprint, on top of the password. An extra layer of defence to stop sham access to vital online data? Yes please!

  1. Give Your Passwords a Health Check

What better way to check the health of your passwords than to see whether they’ve been compromised in a data breach. The website www.haveibeenpwned.com.au is an effective way to check whether a cybercriminal has discovered your passwords. If yes, give your passwords an overhaul and change them wherever they are used to safeguard your data.

  1. Employ A Password Manager

If you are currently feeling a tad overwhelmed at the thought of creating and managing unique passwords for your multiple online accounts, do not stress – I have a solution – a password manager. This marvellous software program will create random and complex passwords for each of your accounts and store them securely which means you don’t need to! All you need to do is remember the master password!! When choosing a password manager, ensure it uses multi-factor authentication to identify you eg facial recognition, fingerprint and a password.

If you have a spare 30 minutes today then please take the time to give your password habits an overhaul. I know we are all so flat out juggling work and kids at the moment but a careless approach to password security is no different to a careless approach to home security. So, get your passwords working for you so you can continue living your life online – especially Friday night ‘virtual drinks’!!

 

 

The post World Password Day 2020 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Personal and Professional Development From Home

Personal and Professional Development from Home

Like so many of us, I’m doing my best to look forward. While everyone’s situation is different from family to family, community to community, and even from country to country, one thing I hope is that you have the chance to look forward too—like what you want your life to look like once we’ve moved past the days we’re in right now.

That’s what inspired this article. I wanted to share some online resources that can help you take this time to do something for yourself and pursue some degree of personal or professional development if you can. After all, if we can work it in, now’s the time for a little self-improvement.

For me, I’m diving into subject matter that largely takes me outside of technology and my daily work. One of my favorites right now is gardening. I’m taking a Master Class on gardening from Ron Finley, a man who started planting vegetables in the dirt parking strip outside his home in South Central Los Angeles. At first, Ron was cited for gardening without a permit. After that, he got the local laws changed so that public planting could not only continue but also thrive. In short order, his urban gardening readily turned into a movement based on the idea that everyone in every community can grow their own healthy food.

The class is absolutely inspiring, as is seeing Ron do things like turn an old dresser drawer into a garden. He has plenty of tricks like that he can show you. And I can tell you this—I certainly look at my garden (and what I’m eating!) through new eyes now thanks to him.

Along those lines, I’ve put together a few resources for those of you who want to pursue something that’s always interested you or something new altogether. Once you start researching all the personal and professional development options available, you’ll see plenty of opportunities—and ways to look at your world through new eyes too.

Free Classes from Open Culture

First off, Open Culture is an amazing resource overall. It got its start about 14 years ago with the mission of scouring the web for high-quality educational and cultural resources, all of them free. Today, it’s a massive curation effort packed with hundreds, and even thousands, of movies, lectures, eBooks, videos, university courses, audio books, and so much more across numerous collections. Again, all free.

For example, the page dedicated to 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities is everything you’d expect it to be. And then some. The categories range from Art & Art History to Writing & Journalism, with Business, Economics, Literature, Psychology, and more in between. If picking up a new language or dusting off an old one that’s been on the shelf since your high school days is on your mind, they also have links to learn 48 different languages. In addition, Open Culture keeps a growing list of dozens of free textbooks as well.

University-Led Learning

Numerous higher learning institutions have offered free coursework online for some time now. They’re an outstanding resource for personal enrichment, with lectures, projects, and materials often drawn straight from campus classrooms. For example:

Open Yale Courses

Open Yale Courses offers “a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video accompanied by such other course materials as syllabi, suggested readings, and problem sets.” Classes range from history and econ to literature and psychology.

Stanford University

Stanford University offers free courses as well and on an interesting blend of topics. If you’re interested in “Child Nutrition and Cooking” or an “Introduction to the Internet of Things,” Stanford’s free course catalog is a great place to start.

Open Learn

Open Learn courses are part of a platform created by the UK’s The Open University as part of its Royal Charter commitment to support the wellbeing of the community. Here you’ll find thousands of resources spread across eight broad categories.

edX

edX has more than 2,800 online courses from roughly 140 institutions across the globe—including MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, Boston University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Tokyo, and Oxford to name a few. Many classes are free, and some offer a formal certificate of completion for a fee.

Mixes of Free and Paid Learning

Udemy

Udemy has 100,000 online courses. While the emphasis is on paid content, simply filter your search for “free” items and you’ll find numerous options there.

Coursera

Coursera provides free courses from university and industry partners with access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, and community discussion forums. Degrees and certificates are available through their paid options as well.

iTunes U

iTunes U provides yet another learning opportunity for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users. While the app is designed to help teachers create lesson plans and collaborate with students, it’s also great for the rest of us too., It offers free access to a large collection of free educational content in “public courses from leading schools, universities, museums, and cultural institutions.”

Codecademy

Codecademy focuses on web development, programming and computer science, and data science. It has a free option for a limited number of classes, plus a paid monthly membership offers more content and guidance. As of this writing, a free trial membership is available.

Big ideas for small business

Maybe you’re taking this opportunity to launch a little side business or you’re looking to brush up on some business skills in general. If so, you can visit the U.S. Small Business Administration Learning Center, which is packed with great content that covers broad business topics. Although some of the content is specific to the U.S., plenty of it can benefit all—such as articles on business planning, social media marketing, and other programs for mastering daily operations.

Learn Safely Online

As always, give your security a good look as you embark on any classwork online. My recent article, “How to Stay Secure While Distance Learning” offers some great advice for university students, yet it certainly applies to the rest of us too as we learn online. Also, consider using protection that keeps you safer while doing your reading and researching online. That’ll help you go about your studies without worrying about sketchy links, misclicks, typos, or bad downloads that could land you on a malicious site or drop adware, spyware, or viruses on your device.

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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How to Ace Your Video Interview: Job Hunting From Home

How to Ace Your Video Interview: Job Hunting from Home, Part Two  

So, it’s game day. Your online video interview is about to begin, and you’re feeling good. Okay, so maybe there are just a few nerves, but you know you’ve got this. The space you’ve set up for your call is all in order and your technology is ready to go. You’ve prepped for this moment and it shows.

In my last article, we covered the pre-game day basics to get your location and technology ready for an online interview. Here, we’ll talk about the interview itself. Once again, I caught up with Shawn Hutcherson, our Lead Talent Acquisition Partner here at McAfee, for his insight and experience as a person who’s conducted numerous interviews online.

And here’s the good news: while a video interview may be new to you, plenty of what happens in a good face-to-face interview happens in a good video interview too. We’ll cover exactly that, along with a number of pointers that are specific to video interviews—so you can absolutely ace yours.

Prior to the Interview:

As always, the foundation of a good interview is built upon how you prepare. So much of what you’ll see here should look comfortingly familiar. There are a few new wrinkles to consider with a video interview, just as you’d expect, so here’s a quick rundown of things you can do in the days, and moments, leading up to your call:

Check up on company news.

Did the company have a recent product release, a change in management, or make any other noteworthy moves? You’ll want to know about any such news as it may reshape your understanding of the company and help form some good questions to ask. In either case, it’s a chance to show an interviewer that you’ve done your homework.

Look up your interviewer(s) on LinkedIn.

Aside with providing you some background, it’s also a way to spot common interests that make for easy icebreakers. Likewise, a little familiarity can make for a smoother conversation in the long run if you spot other things like shared experiences and mutual acquaintances.

Grab a pad of paper and fill it up with a few questions.

Having questions prepared shows interest on your part, and you can also jot down any items of interest that came up in your research. Be ready to have this at your side during your interview. Keeping it all together in a nice folio or binder will look extra-sharp too.

“Don’t change anything on game day.”

More plainly, keep to your regular everyday routine. If you drink two cups of coffee in the morning, stick with two. No need to “amp up” with that extra cup. You know your daily rhythm and what keeps you feeling good, so stick with it. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of water handy. You’ll be chatting for a while, so keep hydrated.

Clear your computer desktop.

Another thing to keep in mind is to close unnecessary apps, browser windows, or anything else that could create a distraction of any kind. For example, any apps that might pop up an alert or notification on your computer desktop, like an email or chat app, should be closed. Likewise, close browser windows so that you don’t share any of them by accident—such as your social media feed, any sensitive information, and so forth.

Check your space.

Look around the room for other things that could interrupt the call in any way. Put your phone on silent (and make sure it’s charged if you need to quickly switch the interview over to a phone call instead). Turn off any loud fans or other appliances that could create background noise. Also check in with your family or roommates one last time and let them know that you’re heading into your interview and when you expect to be done.

Have a backup plan.

So, let’s say the internet connection is sort of lousy or the two of you experience some sort of technical glitch. Have phone numbers handy—and perhaps a draft email ready to go for such situations. Last-minute emails written hastily in the wake of a dropped session can be prone to typos. A professionally written email will go a long way.

A Quick Word on How to Dress for a Video Interview

Granted, working from home may have us dressing far more informally than we ever would in the office, even on the most casual of “Casual Fridays,” so this is a good opportunity to revisit the notion of how to dress for a video interview. The answer is much the same as any other interview as you’ve had before: dress one step above where you think people would normally dress at that employer. For example, at McAfee, we have a pretty relaxed culture, so a smart “business casual” look for an interview works great for us. If the employer is more formal, proper business attire is the way to go. And if you have a favorite shirt, dress, or earrings wear them. Overall, the best advice is, “Look good, feel good, play good.” When you’re dressed comfortably and for the occasion, a great conversation can come rather naturally.

During the Interview

An old interview axiom is to show up early. The same applies here. Click on that link your interviewer provided a good 10 to 15 minutes early and put yourself on mute. This way, you can address any glitches with plenty of time to spare—like, “Oh, this link isn’t actually working. I’d better shoot off an email or text to get that straightened out.”

So let’s say you connect without a hitch. The camera’s on and your live, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Build a rapport.

In virtual situations, it’s easy to feel like you have to get right down to business. Actually, this is your chance to settle in. It’s absolutely okay to ask, “How are you doing today?” or chat about your families or how you’ve been spending your time for a bit. Think back to that LinkedIn search you did. You may have mutual friends or interests. Bring them up.

Feel free to share.

If you’re doing this at home, there’s absolutely no need to apologize for that. Lean into it with something like, “Glad to be here! And hey, just so you know, I have a parakeet and a shih tzu, so there may be a little noise in the background.” And who knows, you’re interviewer may have a parakeet and a shih tzu too—or some other pets or family in the background. So really, this is another opportunity to connect.

Keep up that eye contact.

This is another tricky mannerism to master in a virtual situation but try to imagine as if the interviewer is in the room with you. That could be a coffee house or a comfortable conference room. Keep your attention on the person and face the screen so that you maintain eye contact. After all, no one wants to see you turn your head and talk to your earlobe.

Remember those non-verbal cues.

Related to the above, a great deal of our communication comes across non-verbally. Smile when you speak if it feels right and nod as you listen. Posture, just like in a face-to-face interview, is important too. Sit straight, yet comfortably, and feel free to lean in and back again with the natural flow of conversation.

Give yourselves some space.

Another pitfall of virtual conversations are long monologues. Ever been on a lousy conference call where someone fails to pause and let others talk? Or how about when people step on each other’s sentences? You can avoid faux pas like those by interjecting simple open-ended questions into the conversation. Doing so will give your interviewer a chance to show they understand what you’ve conveyed. Also, their answer can lead you into the next topic.

Ask questions in return.

Remember that note pad? Refer to your questions there and actively take notes as you go. This works in your favor a few ways. First off, it showcases your preparedness and that you’re fully engaged in the conversation. Also, it looks and feels natural—far more than sitting relatively idle in a chair for 30, 45, or even a full 60 minutes.

Control what you can.

There’s a fair chance something unexpected will come up. Your grade-schooler may let out a big shout after he drops a jar of peanut butter on his big toe. Your dog may strut in and let you know that it’s time for her walk. While you can’t control these things, you can control your reaction. That’s a strong indicator of how you handle little challenges. See such moments for what they are: a good opportunity. You can turn it into a positive by showing how adaptable and flexible you are.

Getting to know the person on the other end.

As you can see, the video interview shares a great deal with the interviews you’ve had before. Aside from the unique aspects of video job interviews we shared here, there’s something else to keep in mind right now: everyone’s situation is a little different today.

For example, the city you’re in may have rather relaxed rules around social distancing. However, the person you’re speaking with may be weeks into shelter in place restrictions. Before you hop onto that video interview, spend a few moments to empathize with what life may be like for that person right now and keep in mind how their life may be impacted. Also, see this conversation as an opportunity to improve your situation—just like nearly any interview is. Take it for that and focus on the positives.

Last up, a video interview has the similar rewards and challenges for the interviewer. Maybe their shih tzu will chime in during your chat. Or you may hear their kids break out into an impromptu soccer game with a ball of crumpled-up tinfoil. And that’s great! Just as interviewers are getting a glimpse into your world, you’re getting a glimpse into theirs as well. Like you, they’re grateful for the technology that allows us to work together in new ways, develop ourselves professionally, and simply get some face-to-face time with new people.

If you’re job hunting from home or know someone who is, I hope these insights have you feeling a little better about the prospect of a video interview—particularly if the whole thing is new to you. The changes we’re all facing right now are very much on my mind, as are the people and families who’ve had to add the pressure of a job search on top of it all. Once again, check out the Investopedia article on working and job searching from home that. I referenced it in my first job hunting article and a good portion of it presents an excellent overview of which roles and which firms are particularly WFH-friendly. My hope is that together these articles are of some help, whether for you or your friends and family who are on the hunt. And remember, we’re hiring too!

Stay Updated:

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

 

 

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Setting the Stage for Your Video Interview: Job Hunting From Home

family device security

If you’ve lined up your first video interview, or just new to the whole idea in general, how do you get started? And how do you prepare for such a thing? In this article, we’ll cover the basics that will help you set the stage—and take a quick look at the types of businesses that are hiring too.

For years now, the number of people working from home has been on the rise. Whether that entails “WFH” one day a week or practically the whole week, there’s been a 44% growth in remote work over the last five years. Now, with so many businesses requiring their employees to temporarily work from home, that number is unquestionably reaching new heights. How that plays out in the long term remains to be seen. Yet there’s another dimension to working from home that doesn’t get talked about all that often: job hunting from home.

That’s been on my mind in particular right now, particularly as we and many of our friends and partners in the industry have people working from home—and who’re still actively hiring right now. Likewise, the people who are looking for work are even moreso on my mind. So I caught up with Shawn Hutcherson, our Lead Talent Acquisition Partner here at McAfee, to get his take on remote hiring so that people can get a leg up on this style of interviewing if it’s new to them or if they simply want a refresher.

Shawn had plenty of great insight and advice, so much so that we’re going to spread it out across two articles. In this one, we’ll focus on getting your tech and your space ready for the interview. In the second article, we’ll cover the interview itself, like what interviewers are looking for and great ways you can show off great form when you’re in the midst of your conversation.

Job Hunting from Home: Where to Start

As said, employers have caught onto the trend—and the recent need—to embrace remote work. That’s taken many forms, yet suffice it to say that more employers are interviewing candidates by way of video interviews. The benefits are many. Among them, it allows both employers and candidates to look beyond their own backyard and do so in an efficient way, particularly during the early “getting to know you” stages of the interview process. And now, it allows companies and organizations to keep hiring even if their physical offices are temporarily closed, which is great news for job seekers.

So, if you’ve lined up your first video interview, or just new to the whole idea in general, how do you get started? And how do you prepare for such a thing? Here’s what Shawn and I talked about.

Pick Your Device of Choice

Start off in your comfort zone. Pick the best device that’s best for you, the one that you’re familiar with. Chances are that’s your computer or laptop. This way, you’ll be in a familiar space when it comes to configuring your device for a video interview—like the microphone levels, speaker volume, camera settings, and simply navigating around.

Here, you can run a few tests to get everything set up the way you like. Some people opt to use their smartphone earbuds or wireless headphones for video calls, which can help prevent audio feedback loops that happen when a computer microphone picks up the audio from its speakers (like in a bad high school assembly). This is often fine, particularly if it gives you and your interviewer the best audio quality. However, avoid using a larger headset and microphone combo, like gamer headsets, simply because they can be distracting.

As for cameras, many laptops have them built in as a standard feature. If that’s not the case for you, or if you have a desktop computer without a camera, there are several inexpensive options. If you’re shopping around, do a little research. There are plenty of reputable sites that provide mini-reviews, pricing overviews, and give you a sense for where you can make your purchase right now. And of course, when you get your camera, don’t wait until interview day to install it.

Make Sure Your Technology is Secure

This is basic hygiene. Start off by ensuring that your device (and all your connected devices while you’re at it) has a comprehensive security solution in place. Given that you’re relying so heavily on your devices while you’re working from home, you’ll want to know that you’re protected against malware, viruses, and phishing attacks. You’ll also benefit from other features that help you manage your passwords, protect your identity, safeguard your privacy, and more.

Pick the Location for Your Interview

Set the stage. Treat your interview space like a movie location. First off, you’ll want to pick a space where there will be no interruptions or distracting noises. (Or at least fewer interruptions and distracting noises.) It’s also good to let others in your home when your interview is and how long it will run so they can help keep things as quiet as possible for you. More broadly, think about your “set.” In addition to picking a quiet space, take a look at the lighting in the room where you’ll be. Diffused light that doesn’t cast any strange shadows is best, such as natural light or overhead lighting.

Just like a director, think about your camera angle. In effect, the camera is the way you’ll make eye contact with the interviewer. Make sure that the camera is eye level with you so that it appears that you’re making eye contact with the person from the same height. Nothing feels more off-putting for an interviewer than a camera angle that appears to have you looking down at them (and with them looking up your nose in return).

Test Your Setup

Well in advance of your interview, do a dry run with a friend or a family member using a conferencing tool that you can trust. This will give you a chance to make yourself familiar with the equipment you’re using. For example, you can check your microphone and speakers so that you can hear clearly and speak at a good volume without any issues. Next, turn around and look at your backdrop. Choose a view that’s not distracting, and if you need to give your space a quick tidy to make it look presentable go ahead and do that too. A good backdrop will show off your professionalism and that you’re taking the interview seriously. Ask your friend for feedback too.

As for software, interviewers will generally send you an invite with a link for the video conference room you’ll be using. Be aware that your computer may not have that software installed, so take the opportunity to click the link and see if your computer prompts you for an install. Likewise, some video conferencing tools don’t require a software install at all. They simply use a web browser. Best to get this squared away well before your interview so that there are no day-of surprises. You’ll also want to log in a few minutes early just before your actual interview, again to nip any pesky issues in the bud before showtime.

Have a Backup Plan

Glitches happen. Your internet can go out. Your interviewer’s internet can go out. Software may not co-operate. Or you might have an urgent family matter that requires your attention right away. Any number of things can occur on the day of the interview that may be out of your control. However, you can plan for them. In advance of the interview, share a backup plan with your interviewer. Swap phone numbers so that you can switch to a call or get in touch with each other quickly if an issue pops up. Consider this part of your interview prep. A good employer will recognize the planning and foresight you’re putting into the interview, which can reflect well on you.

So, Who’s hiring?

As we saw at the start of the article, working from home has been on an upward swing for some time now. Businesses are finding ways of supporting more and more roles from home as technology continues to improve—and as they see the benefits of remote working in terms of lower overhead and happier, more productive employees who stick around longer thanks to the flexibility of working from home to some extent or other.

For more specifics in helping with your job hunt, I recently came across an article from Investopedia about working from home that also touches on the job search aspect as well. It presents an excellent overview of which roles and which firms are particularly WFH-friendly. It also offers up some solid general advice about working from home and for avoiding employment scams, as unfortunately there are crooks who’re more than happy to take advantage of our collective “from home” situation right now.

And yes, we’re hiring too. Feel free to drop by and check out our listings as well!

Next up in our second half of this article—game day. Your actual interview. I’m looking forward to sharing plenty more that’ll help you prepare for an outstanding call.

 

Stay Updated

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

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Online Scam Awareness: Staying Safer in Uncertain Times

Online Scams

Online Scam Awareness: Staying Safer in Uncertain Times

As we adjust to a changed world, bad actors are also changing the tactics they use to take advantage of people. You may have already encountered schemes that leverage fear and anxiety to make you click, buy, or respond to malicious communications. Fortunately, a little awareness is all it takes to recognize the scams below and protect yourself and your family.

Phishing Emails

Our new normal means that many face-to-face transactions have moved to email.  We are now relying on email for daily communications from schools, updates from our local businesses and so much more. Armed with this knowledge, online scammers are creating emails capitalizing on sensitive and relevant topics to lure you to hand over personal information.

Stimulus Check

A very topical scam today takes the form of a phony message from the government, or the IRS, asking you to submit personal information or file a tax form to receive a government stimulus check which can lead to identity theft. The government does not send email communications.

Health Alerts

Another popular scam plays on a sensitive topic today, our health. Examples of this include emails masked as coming from a reputable health organization, such as the CDC, asking you to “click on a link to see health news in your area”. The link could download dangerous malware to your device.

Working From Home

While many of us are working from home now, we are seeing fraudsters take advantage of this through efforts like the “CEO Scam” where they spoof the email address of someone in your workplace with a position of power.  Emails from this spoofed account typically include work-from-home policies or safety precautions and ask you to download an attached policy sheet, which may contain malware.

Delivery Notices

We are all relying on home deliveries more than ever now.  Recent scams send a warning that your order or account is on “hold” until you verify some details, or that you need to click on an attachment to see the delivery time. Often they will spoof popular e-commerce sites, like FedEx or Amazon and deliver malware straight to your inbox.

Social media scams 

Be wary of social media platforms. Scammers are using these outlets to advertise phony cures, medical equipment in bulk, and other schemes not unlike the ones used in the phishing emails above.

Fake E-Commerce sites

Hundreds of new e-commerce sites have been popping up offering everything from hard-to-find products, medical equipment, and more Some are legitimate middlemen hoping to turn a quick profit, but others are fake websites looking to collect your personal and financial information.

Protect yourself with these 5 tips

  • Learn to spot suspicious emails: Check the email address by hovering over it with your mouse. Does the extension on the address match the company the email represents? Other red flags to look for are typos, grammatical errors and the use of generic greetings such as “Dear Sir”.
  • If you get what appears to be a suspicious request from someone at work, a friend, or family member, verify the message with that person directly before opening or responding.
  • If you are looking for health or financial information online, stick to reputable sources such as state and government websites and the CDC. Never respond to unsolicited emails or click on included links.
  • When shopping or browsing online, go directly to reputable websites, instead of clicking on questionable ads, links or emails.
  • Ensure that you continue to update your security solutions across all devices. This will help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats, as well as help identify malicious websites when browsing.

 

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Why Do I Need a Password Manager?

Whether you’re on the internet all day or sign on only occasionally, all of us have a lot of passwords to manage. What’s more, security experts recommend we use powerful and unique passwords for each online account to prevent serious crimes like identity theft. Fortunately, there’s an easy solve – a password manager.

How can you choose a safe password?

Today, hackers use sophisticated software that can decipher all but the most secure passwords. Your pet’s name or your child’s birthday, while personal, isn’t necessarily a stumbling block for hacking software these days. Randomly generated passwords using a long and unique string of characters are simply the only answer, and password managers use that technique.

Can you safely store passwords on your computer or mobile phone?

If you keep your passwords on your computer’s hard drive, they become an easy target for hackers or scammers who gain remote access to your computer. In fact, any time you share your computer all your private information becomes available, including that master list of passwords. Likewise, when you store the passwords to your accounts on your phone, they become accessible to anyone who gains access to that device, like thieves. Using a password manager allows you to store your passwords on secure servers, away from prying eyes, hackers, and thieves.

What does a password manager do?

Let’s face it, many of us have bad password habits. That’s where a password manager can help. This piece of software creates secure passwords, stores them, and automatically inputs them when you access your various online accounts.

That’s right, a password manager can create the long, complicated combinations of characters that make a truly secure password. And the best part is that it remembers them for you. The days of using the same password for every single account are over. With this piece of software, you only need to remember one password, the one for the password manager.

How does a password manager help you?

A simple password offers almost no protection, and studies show that many people choose their birthday or numbers in sequential order. Hackers bank on that behavior to allow them to gain access to your accounts with their sophisticated software. A password manager can thwart attempts to break into your bank account, email and social media sites that can catch you unaware otherwise. The combinations of capital and lowercase letters, symbols, numbers and punctuation marks that a password manager generates make it exponentially harder for hackers to steal your stuff.

Can you safely rely on a password manager?

You may be asking what if a hacker breaks into my password manager? It’s an unlikely scenario, but even if it were to happen, a password manager encrypts your data and makes it unreadable. There are also a few best practices you can follow to make your manager even more effective and reliable. First, while using a password manager ensures you only need to remember one password, you need to make sure that password is a strong one. That means you need to make it a random mix of capitals, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Also, make sure you turn off the autofill feature on your browser and copy and paste your passwords from your manager in manually.

Using a Password Manager Simplifies Password Security

A password manager is a convenient and highly effective product that addresses all the of issues we’ve discussed in this article. It provides a single location where you can manage and store all your online passwords securely. Choose a password manager that lets you instantly create secure and complex passwords to protect your online presence from trespassers. It should also provides a security-restricted site for your passwords and let you access them from any internet-connected device. By using a password manager, you maintain a more secure presence on the web, you protect your bank account, email and social media activities from intrusion by hackers. Best of all, you gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing your most valuable assets are being protected.

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Ransomware Attacks: Cybercriminals Pinpointing Healthcare Organizations

Cybercriminals target healthcare

No One is Invisible to Ransomware Attacks: Cybercriminals Pinpointing Healthcare Organizations 

 In this challenging time, cybercriminals have their eyes on consumers and institutions alike. Malicious groups have increased their targeting of hospitals and healthcare entities to take advantage of deepening resource strain. Many of these groups are using ransomware attacks to compromise hospital systems, locking up patient records or vaccine research until a hefty ransom is paid. The requested sum is usually a high value of Bitcoin or alternative cryptocurrencies, as these are typically more difficult to trace 

However, unlike with old tax paperwork or private family photos, the impact of losing or mass distributing patient records could literally mean life or death for those awaiting urgent care or diagnosisBad actors count on this urgency to guarantee that their ransom is met 

Be wary of old tactics with a new twist 

The tactics these cybercriminals use can be a combination of traditional phishing and vulnerability exploitationReportedly, the WHO has seen a twofold increase in phishing attacks by cybercriminals attempting to steal credentials. Some ransomware groups have stated they will avoid targeting hospitals given the current strain on healthcare systems. Still, claims from criminal organizations should be taken with a hefty grain of salt.  

Keep your security up to date 

In the meantime, McAfee Advanced Threat Research is closely monitoring new threats that aim to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. The team has analyzed these threats based on geography, and will continue to report further findings. While these threats are not unexpected as cyber criminals always try to leverage large events to their advantage, it is disappointing to see at a time when the world needs to come together that there are those who have scant regard for the sense of community. 

Stay ahead of malicious threats 

Whether you’re a healthcare professionalfamily provideror both, here are some tips that can help you stay ahead of malicious tactics being used to attack individuals and healthcare institutions 

  • Secure your home network by checking your device passwords and Wi-Fi password. Make sure your system and software are all up to date, and take the time to perform pending updates.  
  • Avoid clicking on emails and texts from unknown senders. Be wary of any communication coming from “official” sources that encourage urgent actions on provided links or ask for your login credentials.  
  • Check in often with family and friends and be their technical advisor if needed to help steer them away from social engineering or spammy phishing. Consider using a free safe browser extension that can help steer you away from illegitimate sites.  
  • Be sure to set up robust security on devices that may now be seeing a lot more online time.  
  • Don’t forget your phone  stay protected from malicious apps and smishing/vishing attempts.

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Stay Ahead of Misinformation – 5 Ways to Combat Fake News

fake news

Stay ahead of misinformation  5 ways to combat fake news 

 Finding information in this increasingly digital world has never been easier. Our mobile phones dictate top headlines before we even get out of bed, and even our routers can perform complex searches via voice. We see the impact of this easy access on both our consumption and the sharing of informationJust as it’s easy for us to perform a quick search and send the relevant results to our social groups, it’s also simple for bad actors to create and post fake news on seemingly legitimate platforms. In times of uncertainty, it is natural to go online in search of facts, or the latest update. Now is great time to brush up on your digital hygiene and best practices to stay ahead of evolving threats 

Fake news 

As we’ve learned this year, a lot can change very quickly. We all want to stay up to date on worldwide trends, announcements, or even the elections. This expanded focus on current events opens an opportunity for bad actors. Panic-inducing rumors can be labeled as sensational at best. However, there are malicious promises made via phishing scamthat attempt to hook worried and confused consumers into credit card fraud or other payment schemes. Sticking to legitimate news sources is one of the easiest ways to avoid such traps.  

Chain mail craze 

Not only should you validate your personal newsfeed, you should also hold your social networks to this sanitized standard. While well-intentioned, rumors and fake news often spread through the social grapevine e.g. “my friend saw this on WeChat” or “look at what someone sent me on Facebook.” These updates may feel more relatable since we’re hearing them from someone we know, but keep in mind that social media chain mail is often lacking in factual accuracy. By verifying what you’re see against legitimate information sources, you can help family and friends stay both diligent and in the know.  

Dear Sir/Madam” 

Phishing scams also come out in full force during moments of public panic. We’ve seen numerous spoofed emails and text messages that claim to be from local governments, hospitals, or even retailers encouraging targets to take action on urgent items. These notices range from falsified instructions for claiming relief checks to scheduling medical check-upsSome of these phishing emails may be easy to spot as fakes, but the sensitivity of the current environment may cloud our judgment. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of these messages, you can always reach out to the known institution through official channels to verify.  

Charity imposters 

One of the great things about extraordinary moments like these is the outpouring of compassion and empathy from the global community. Sadlycybercriminals take advantage of this generosity as wellBad actors have stood up fake charity sites and platforms in the name of donating resources to underserved populations or supporting researchIn reality, these may be scams, and any donations received will never see the light of day. It is a best practice to always research charity organizations before you contribute – especially now. 

Protect yourself from misinformation 

Take a look at some tips and tools below that you can use to stay ahead of misinformation: 

  • Exercise caution when taking action on emails, texts, and phone calls from unfamiliar sources. Often these messages impersonate legitimate entities or people we may know – reach out to the sender directly if you have doubts. 
  • Use a free safe browsing extension like McAfee® WebAdvisor that integrates website reputation ratings that can help steer you away from illegitimate news sites. For Chrome users, WebAdvisor will even color-code links in your social media newsfeeds, so you’ll know which ones are safe to click. 
  • Avoid websites with suspicious URLs or designs that look hastily put together. Check to make sure the site has a secure connection and starts with “https” rather than “http.” 
  • Some identity theft protection services include social media monitoring to help make sure your accounts aren’t being used by bad actors to spread fake news. 
  • Parental controls can keep tabs on kids’ screen timehelping limit their time on certain apps or sites that may be more vulnerable to proliferating misinformation. 
  • Consider using a comprehensive security suite to ensure your devices and online accounts are protected. 

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Online shopping scams – 7 ways to fight them 

 Be wary of online shopping scams – 7 ways to fight them 

 

While some of us may be quite skilled at finding miscellaneous gadgets and great deals on apparel onlinerelying on ecommerce platforms for all of our basic household needs is a new challenge. Many of us preferred to shop at brick and mortar retail for certain purchases such as groceries or pharmaceuticals. Now that we’ve turned online for all our shopping needs, online suppliers have struggled to meet the surge in demand for certain goodsopening a new space for third-party sellers and malicious actors to step in. Since the beginning of the year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has already received over 8,400 complaints regarding consumer scamsand the total reported consumer loss weighs in at $5.85 million.  Here are some common scams to be on the lookout for.  

Fake Shopping Websites 

Cybercriminals are quick to take advantage of emerging trends or events.  We’ve already seen numerous fake shopping websites claiming to sell hot ticket items like cleaning supplies that may be sold out elsewhere. In reality, these credit card-collecting scams may deliver counterfeit goods or nothing at all. 

Investment Scams  

This same logic applies for investments as well. Scammers may be posing as budding companies attempting to raise capital to build medical equipment. Others may be advertising non-existent hedge funds with guarantees of high returns post-crisis. Regardless of the promised deliverable, be sure to conduct sufficient research prior to making major investment decisions.  

Miracle Cures 

As Time reports, some sites even promote remedies ranging from colloidal silver to cow manure.” Luckily, the FTC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have started cracking down on companies that issue unsupported claims about miracle cures and vaccines.  

Test Kits 

At the time of writing, the FDA has not approved the sale or distribution of any home testing kitsWhile some of these offers have come from legitimate companies that may have relationships with testing labs, most of these have since received and abided to cease and desist notices. Always reference official entities for guidance on testing, such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) site here 

This doesn’t mean we should halt our online purchasing. If anything, some logistics companies are encouraging us to continue supporting our favorite small retailers through online purchases to keep them afloat in the uncertainty that lies ahead. With many new instances and flavors of cyberattacks popping up overnight, we can help you stay diligent and secure as you adapt to this shift online.

 Shop Safely Online 

Remember to follow the tips below to ensure your safe online shopping efforts are not in vain: 

  • Exercise caution when receiving promotional emails or texts from unknown sources, especially those that make claims too good to be true.  
  • Stay away from unfamiliar ecommerce websites, even if they’re referred by people you know. Some red flags could be nonsensical URLs, misspellings and unprofessional webpage designs. You can also use a free safe browsing extension to help steer you away from illegitimate sites.  
  •  Use a mobile security solution to help you stay secure on your mobile devices with automatic security scans.  
  • Use a VPN (virtual private network) like McAfee® Safe Connect when conducting sensitive transactions – the data encryption can help ensure your personal information stays protected from prying eyes listening in on your web traffic 
  • Consider using an identity theft protection service to help protect, detect, and correct potential breaches in personal information. 
  • Protect your purchases by looking for sites that begin with “https” instead of “http” – a good way to remember this is “S for secure.” 
  • Use a comprehensive security suite to ensure your devices and online accounts are protected.  

 

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School from Home: “Square One” Basics

 School #FromHome: “Square One” Basics

With many schools around the globe postponing classes for long stretches or closing school outright for the rest of the academic year, the challenge of parenting just cranked up. After all, there’s no more schoolhouse—it’s your house. Whether you’re the parent of a kindergartener or a high school senior, or have a mix of children in between, there’s a good chance you’re trying to figure out how to continue learning online at home—while also dealing with the disappointments of missing friends, activities, and major events like sports, proms, and even graduations. It’s not easy, and without a doubt this is new to all of us.

We want to make it easier for you, even if it’s in some small ways. We started by asking you what roadblocks are getting in the way. This April, we reached out to parents across the U.S. and asked  . Your top two answers came across loud and clear: you’re struggling with establishing a routine and keeping children focused.

Looking for resources and ideas for bringing a little structure into online learning at home and how that fits into your day? We have you covered, so let’s start at square one—making sure that your online learning environment at home is secure.

 Start with a look at your devices

First, determine which device your child is going to use. Some school districts provide students with a laptop that the students keep for the school year. The security on these devices will more than likely be managed centrally by the school district. Thus, they’ll have their own security software and settings already in place. Moreover, such a centrally managed device will likely be limited in terms of which settings can be updated and what software can be added. If your child has a school-issued device, follow the advice of the school and its IT admin on matters of security tools and software. And if you have questions about security, reach out to them.

Security basics on your home computer and laptop

If your child is using a home computer or laptop, or sharing one with other members of the family, you’ll want to ensure that it’s protected. This includes a full security suite that features more than just anti-virus, but also firewall protection to keep hackers at bay, safe browsing tools that steer you clear of sketchy or unsafe websites, and perhaps even parental controls to block distracting apps and inappropriate websites. Another smart option is to use a password manager. There’s a good chance that you kids will need to create new accounts for new learning resources—and with those come new usernames and passwords. A password manager will organize them and keep them safe.

Video conferencing

Additionally, you’ll want to take a very close look at the video conferencing tools that your child might be using to connect with teachers and classmates (and even their friends after schooltime is over). First off, there are plenty of them out there. Secondly, some video conferencing tools have allegedly experienced security and privacy issues in recent weeks. Before downloading and installing a video conferencing tool, do a little online research to see how secure it is and what privacy policies it has in place.

Look for video conferencing tools that use end-to-end encryption so that the conference is protected from prying eyes and so that others can’t intrude upon the conversation uninvited. Look for articles from reputable sources too, as there have been further reports of privacy issues where certain user information has been shared with third parties while using the video conferencing tool. That’s good advice for any software, apps, or tools you may wish to add.

Use a VPN

Another way to protect yourself from intrusions while conferencing, or doing anything else online for that matter, is to introduce a VPN (virtual private network). Choose one that uses bank-level encryption to keep your personal data and activities private from hackers. It will also hide other information, like account credentials, credit card numbers, and the like. It’s a good move, and it’s easy to use.

Next up

Look for our upcoming articles where we’ll share some specific ideas that can help make homeschooling online a little easier.

To stay updated on all things McAfee and for more resources on staying secure from home, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

 

 

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How Do Hackers Hack Phones and How Can I Prevent It?

chat etiquette

The threat of having your phone hacked has become a common and rational fear. The cold hard truth is that it is now possible to hack any phone. With the advancement of technology, where discovery of knowledge and information advances the understanding of technology, hackers are able to hack even some of the most sophisticated phone software. But how?

Hacking Software

Did you know that hacking software for Android and other mobile devices exists? And did you know there are countless hacking software options online for free? Hacking software is a method used by hackers to get information from a phone. Check out our 2020 Mobile Threat Report to dig deeper.

The serious hackers can buy hacking software anywhere, such as a phone Spy App, which must be installed on the target phone. Not all hackers need to handle a phone physically in order to install hacking software, but in some cases they must.

Keylogging is an approach that involves downloading a spyware app to target the phone and take the phone’s data before encryption. This type of software can be utilized by accessing the phone physically.

Trojan is a type of malware that can be disguised in your phone to extract important data, such as credit card account details or personal information. To install Trojan Malware, hackers use techniques like phishing to influence you into the trap.

Phishing

Phishing is a method used by hackers where they impersonate a company or trusted individual in order to gain confidential data. Hackers use this method by sending official-looking codes, images, and messages, most commonly found in email and text messages. When this malicious content is clicked on, the URLs can hack your phone because the link has been infected with a hacking virus or software that can take your personal information.

Hacking Using a Phone Number

In order to be able to hack using only a phone number, you must know and understand the technicalities of phone hacking. SS7 signaling is the system used to connect cell phone networks to one another, but in order to use this system as a method of hacking phones, one must have access to it. Recording calls, forwarding calls, reading messages, and finding locations of a particular device can be done with access to the SS7 system. Although, due to the level of difficulty, it is unlikely that the average person would be able to hack a phone in this manner.

SIM Card Hacking

In August of 2019, the CEO of Twitter had his SIM card hacked by SIM card swapping using the phishing method. SIM card swapping is performed when the hacker contacts your phone provider, pretends to be you, and then asks for a replacement SIM card. Once the provider sends the new SIM to the hacker, the old SIM card will be deactivated, and your phone number will be stolen. This means the hacker has taken over your phone calls, messages, etc. This method of hacking is relatively easy if the hacker can convince the provider that they are you. Keeping personal details to yourself is an important part of ensuring that hackers cannot pretend to be you.

AdaptiveMobile Security discovered a new way hackers were getting into phones using the SIM card—a method they call Simjacker. This way of hacking is more complex than phishing as it targets a SIM card by sending a signal to the target device. If the message is opened and clicked on, hackers are able to spy on the hacked device and even find out the location of the device.

Bluetooth Hacking

Professional hackers can use special software products to search for vulnerable mobile devices with an operating Bluetooth connection. These types of hacks are done when a hacker is in range of your phone, usually in a populated area. When hackers are connected to your Bluetooth, they have access to all of the information available and the internet connection to access the web, but the data must be downloaded while the phone is within range.

Prevent you become a victim of phone hacking

There are many different ways a hacker can get into your phone and steal personal and critical information. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are not a victim of phone hacking:

1. Keep Your Phone in Your Possession

The easiest way for a hacker to steal your phone’s information is to gain access to it — therefore, it is always important to keep your phone in your possession. If you have been away from your phone around a group of strangers and are concerned about possible hacking, check your settings and look for strange apps.

2. Encrypt Your Device

Encrypting your cell phone can save you from being hacked and can protect your calls, messages, and critical information. To check if a device is encrypted: iPhone users can go into Touch ID & Passcode, scroll to the bottom, and enable Data protection. Android users have automatic encryption depending on the type of phone.

3. SIM Card Locking

Putting a passcode on your SIM card can protect it from being hacked. Setting this code can be done on an iPhone by going to Settings > Cellular > SIM PIN. Enter your existing PIN to enable the lock. Android users can go to Settings > Lock screen and Security > Other security settings > Set up SIM card lock. Here you can enable the option to lock your SIM card.

4. Turn Off WIFI and Bluetooth

It is fairly easy for hackers to connect to your phone using WIFI or Bluetooth, so turn them off when not needed because there is no warning when a hacker attacks you. If you fear being hacked in a public space, turning off your phone can block a hacker’s ability to hack you — this is an effective preventative method.

5. Use Security Protection

Protecting your device from spyware can be done for free and simply through A Mobile Security app on an iPhone and Android can help protect cell phones from hackers. McAfee Total Protection—helps protect against cyber threats and includes McAfee WebAdvisor — to help identify malicious websites you should watch out for.

Stay protected

Making a point to understand how hacking works can help you practice security in your every day life. Know how to be prepared for being hacked, so that when it happens you can be on top of how to handle it.

 

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What is Data Privacy and How Can I Safeguard It?

There is certain information that is important to keep to yourself. If a stranger asks for your first name, you are likely to tell them. But if a stranger asks for your bank account number, you are unlikely to tell them. Data privacy works in the same way, if the piece of data or information is of high importance, it should be handled as such.

What data is considered private?

Technology has made it easy for data to be breached and get into the wrong hands. Data privacy is important for personal information and even more for special categories of personal data, that includes:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Medical records
  • Race and ethnic origin
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Political opinions
  • Trade union memberships
  • Biometric data used to identify an individual
  • Genetic data
  • Health data
  • Data related to sexual preferences, sex life, and/or sexual orientation

It’s important to keep even basic personal data protected in some way, including full names, addresses, and birthdates. Other data that should be protected includes, résumés, certificates, photos, employment records and social media account login credentials.

Why is data privacy important?

Someone who has access to any of your information could steal your identity, so keeping special categories of personal data and basic personal data private is important to keeping your identity safe. Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity and is usually used for financial gain such as obtaining credit and other benefits.

Protect your identity

 Identity Theft Protection can help you keep tabs on your credit identity and personal information. An identity monitoring service should offer features such as, cyber monitoring on the Dark Web, credit monitoring, and Social Security number tracing.   

Data privacy regulations

Consumers should understand their rights to their own private and personal information. If they don’t, regulations such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) help data protection, privacy and address the transfer of personal data. GDPR is an updated European law that empowers people and gives them back their power over their data.

In response to the GDPR, California responded with the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), an act that broadens  privacy rights by including data access rights and a limited private right of action, which went into effect in January of 2020. Residents of California have the CCPA to enhance their privacy rights and consumer protection.

Protect your data

Knowing your rights is key to understanding how your data can be protected, but there are simple practices to protect your privacy to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Adopt good cyber practices

How many times have you searched for a product online and then seen ads for similar products? This happens because 3rd party apps ask invasive permissions to gain access to your data when you install them, acting as an extension of your friend. In the digital world we live in, it is important to adopt good cyber practices to help ensure your private information is kept safe. You can take control over your own security settings to limit what information is available to 3rd parties online.

Secure your WIFI network and other devices: Start by looking for WIFI gateway routers that offer integrated security to help secure your network. Criminals can easily access your WIFI network and devices on that network if it isn’t secure. Once accessed, they can steal your private personal information.

Share with care

Be careful not to share personal details and certain contact information that could land in the wrong hands because sharing personal information online can be detrimental to your privacy.

Keep your passwords safe: Keeping your passwords safe can ensure that only you have access to your personal and private information. It is also smart to never use the same password and to always use strong and unique passwords.

Looks sketchy? Don’t click: Hackers commonly use strange links, images, and messages to reach your personal data, so avoid clicking any links that could be infected.

Use security protection: Browsing with a security protection tool can help protect devices against malware and other forms of personal information attacks. McAfee Total Protection can protect devices against these threats and also includes McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help identify malicious websites.

Use a personal information protection tool: Personal monitoring, financial monitoring and recovery tools, such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection help keep identities personal and secure.

Stay protected

Making a point to understand data privacy and protection can help you practice security in your daily life. Know your rights when it comes to data privacy and stay up to date on mobile security threats.

The post What is Data Privacy and How Can I Safeguard It? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Don’t Be an April Fool – Protect Your Digital Assets

Be Part of World Back Up Data Day on 31st March

There are not many worse feelings that the realisation that a document you’ve worked tirelessly on has vanished! We’ve all been there and it’s not nice at all. Whether you break into a sweat, scream or even say a word you shouldn’t – losing precious data is downright awful.

With World Backup Day now a fixture on our calendars, there should be no excuses for not protecting your valuable document and digital files. So, please mark March 31 in your diary people because this is a great reminder to us all about ensuring we have all the right procedures in place to protect our digital assets.

What Does ‘Backing-Up’ Really Mean?

Backing-up means you have a second copy of your key files which includes documents, photos, videos and even your emails. And this second copy needs to be stored somewhere else that is away from your computer for example, on a hard drive or online using a cloud storage service.

Some people think that this process happens automatically, however, I’m here to inform you that it doesn’t. Unfortunately, there are no magic back-up fairies. We each need to take charge and set up processes to protect our precious documents.

Why Do We Need To Back-Up?

Take a minute to think about everything you have stored on your digital devices. Of course, there are important documents, emails and likely scans of essential documents but what about your music collection and the pics and videos of your family? Imagine losing these. I know I’d be heartbroken.

While there aren’t any recent studies into the value of our digital assets, in 2014 McAfee undertook research and found that Aussies valued their online assets at a whopping $30,000! So, 6 years later, I’d estimate that would figure would be closer to $50,000! Definitely a reason to take action!

But, Doesn’t Everyone Back-Up?

In short, no! According to the people at World Backup Day, 30% of us have never backed up! And when you consider that 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute, that 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses every month and that 29% of lost data scenarios are caused by accidental human error – it really does make you wonder why!

Let’s Participate in World Back-Up Day!

Data is regarded as one of the most valuable assets in the modern world. It’s basically digital gold! While backing up your personal and sensitive data is something that should be done routinely, World Back-Up Day is a great reminder to us all that we need to get our back-up plan sorted! I know it all sounds tedious, but trust me, it’s less work than the trouble you’d find yourself in after losing important files!

Here are some easy tips to help you ensure you are taking the right steps to safeguard your data this World Backup Day!

  1. A Two-Pronged Approach Is Best

Take the extra step and go both routes for a thorough backup by using an external drive and a cloud service. Losing a document can be the most frustrating thing so it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your personal data.

  1. Don’t Forget About Your Mobile Device

Back up data from your mobile devices onto a central laptop or personal computer for an added layer of security and protection.

  1. Don’t Rely on Memory Alone!

While routinely backing up your data is one of the most important steps, it can be the first to slip our minds when life gets in the way. Make it super easy to regularly backup by using the existing automatic and scheduled backup features that already come with cloud services and many external drives.

  1. Test It Out!

On top of scheduling regular data backups, make it a habit to routinely check your ability to restore data from backups to ensure they have been performed correctly and haven’t been compromised.

Some of our ‘lowest’ family moments have been a result of family members forgetting to ‘back-up’.  Only months before last year’s HSC, no. 3 son left his laptop on a train. It took me days to recover from the news that he hadn’t been backing up despite my regular reminders!! Yes, we’re all human but if we can minimise the horrendous stress and upset that is caused by ‘lost’ documents and images then that can only be a good thing!

Happy World Back-Up Day everyone!

 

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How To Stop Phone Spoofing

How Does Phone Spoofing Work?

Call spoofing is when the caller deliberately sends false information to change the caller ID. Most spoofing is done using a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service or IP phone that uses VoIP to transmit calls over the internet. VoIP users can usually choose their preferred number or name to be displayed on the caller ID when they set up their account.

Some providers even offer spoofing services that work like a prepaid calling card. Customers pay for a PIN code to use when calling their provider, allowing them to select both the destinations number they want to call, as well as the number they want to appear on the recipient’s caller ID.

What Are The Dangers of Phone Spoofing?

Scammers often use spoofing to try to trick people into handing over money, personal information, or both. They may pretend to be calling from a bank, a charity, or even a contest, offering a phony prize. These “vishing” attacks (or “voice phishing”), are quite common, and often target older people who are not as aware of this threat.

For instance, one common scam appears to come from the IRS. The caller tries to scare the receiver into thinking that that owe money for back taxes, or need to send over sensitive financial information right away. Another common scam is fake tech support, where the caller claims to be from a recognizable company, like Microsoft, claiming there is a problem with your computer and they need remote access to fix it.

There are also “SMiShing” attacks, or phishing via text message, in which you may receive a message that appears to come from a reputable person or company, encouraging you to click on a link. But once you do, it can download malware onto your device, sign you up for a premium service, or even steal your credentials for your online accounts.

Why Is Spoofing So Prevalent?

The convenience of sending digital voice signals over the internet has led to an explosion of spam and robocalls over the past few years. In fact, according to Hiya, a company that offers anti-spam phone solutions, spam calls grew to 54.6 billion in 2019, a 108% increase over the previous year.

Since robocalls use a computerized auto dialer to deliver pre-recorded messages, marketers and scammers can place many more calls than a live person ever could, often employing tricks such as making the call appear to come from the recipient’s own area code. This increases the chance that the recipient will answer the call, thinking it is from a local friend or business.

And because many of these calls are from scammers or shady marketing groups, just registering your number on the FTC’s official “National Do Not Call Registry” does little help. That’s because only real companies that follow the law respect the registry.

What Can I Do To Stop Spoofing Calls?

To really cut back on these calls, the first thing you should do is check to see if your phone carrier has a service or app that helps identity and filter out spam calls.

For instance, both AT&T and Verizon have apps that provide spam screening or fraud warnings, although they may cost you extra each month. T-Mobile warns customers if a call is likely a scam when it appears on your phone screen, and you can sign up for a scam blocking service for free.

There are also third-party apps such as RoboKiller and Nomorobo that you can download to help you screen calls, but you should be aware that you will be sharing private data with them.

Other Tips For Dealing With Unwanted Calls

  1. After registering for the Do Not Call Registry and checking out your carrier’s options, be very cautious when it comes to sharing your contact information. If an online form asks for your phone number but does not need it, leave that field blank. Also, avoid listing your personal phone number on your social media profiles.
  2. If you receive a call from an unrecognized number, do not answer it. You can always return the call later to see if it was a real person or company. If it was a scam call, you can choose to block the number in your phone, but that too can be frustrating since scammers change their numbers so often.
  3. You can report unwanted calls to the FTC.
  4. Read the privacy policy on every new service you sign up for to make sure that they will not share or sell your contact information.
  5. Be wary of entering contests and sweepstakes online, since they often share data with other companies.
  6. Stay up-to-date on the latest scams, so you know what to look out for, and install mobile security on your phone to help protect you from malware and other threats.

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

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Working From Home? 5 Tips to Stay Secure

According to OWL Labs, 52% of the employees work from home (WFH) at least one day a week. In the U.S., 4.7 million employees now work from home more than half the time, with the work-from-home population growing by 173% since 2005.

Working from home – a new reality

It’s evident that working from home has become a new reality for many, as more and more companies are encouraging and even requesting that their staff work remotely. In fact, recent events have accelerated this WFH trend, or workforce transformation process, with companies restricting employee travel and many allocating more resources to enable virtual work. Major tech players, like Twitter and LinkedIn, have made even bigger moves by implementing policies that require all employees to work from home. Clearly, work from home is no longer just an initiative to harness global talent but also a way to protect workers from risk.

Increased security risks

At McAfee, we’re keeping a close eye on this trend, observing huge increases in the number of personal devices connecting online. And while working from home offers benefits to employees, this upswing in personal devices connecting to enterprises can actually expose organizations and employees to security risks, such as malware attacks, identity theft, and ransomware. With the world now facing this new reality, the question remains–how can employers and employees equip themselves with the resources to work from home securely on a full-time or part-time basis?

Work from home securely

Employers must not only educate their employees on digital security best practices but also give them the tools to combat online threats that may stem from remote work. With many of us relying on emails and the web to work remotely, we need to be aware of the key giveaway signs that indicate a threat. From there, we can spot, flag, and report anything that looks suspicious. By sharing the responsibility and encouraging others to flag anything sketchy, we can all naturally raise awareness and help others avoid falling into similar traps. By staying open with one another, we can stay ahead of hackers.

Tips to protect both personal and corporate data

Want to ensure you work from home in a safe and secure way? Here are a five quick tips and tools you can use to protect both personal and corporate data:

Utilize a VPN

Many people use public Wi-Fi at coffee shops, airports, etc. in order to stay connected both professionally and personally. However, by using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, you may be creating an easy gateway for hackers to access your personal information and data. Be sure to use a virtual private network (VPN), which is extremely important for establishing a secured connection to work files and personal photos saved in the cloud.

Be aware of phishing emails

We’ve seen hackers attempt to take advantage of people’s fears by pretending to sell face masks online to trick unsuspecting people into giving away their credit card details. Do not open any email attachments or click on any links that seem suspicious.

Regularly change cloud passwords with two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is a more secure way to access work applications. In addition to a password/username combo, you will be asked to verify who you are with a device that you–and only you—own, such as a mobile phone. Put simply: it uses two factors to confirm an identity. Ultimately, getting access to something supposedly confidential isn’t that hard for hackers nowadays. However, a second form of identification makes it so hackers are limited in what they can pull off.

Use strong, unique passwords

In the chance a hacker does gain access to one of your accounts, make sure to use complex passwords for each of your accounts, and never reuse your credentials across different platforms. It’s also a good idea to update your passwords consistently to further protect your data. You can also use a password manager, or a security solution that includes a password manager, to keep track of all your unique passwords.

Browse with security protection

Ensure that you continue to update your security solutions across all devices. This will help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats, as well as help identify malicious websites while browsing.

Stay up-to-date

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

 

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Celebrate International Women’s Day By Embracing a Career in Technology

This Sunday, we celebrate International Women’s Day, a global day for championing the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This lack of equality becomes very apparent when we examine the technology sector, where only 25% of women hold positions in computing. What’s more, this figure includes women in IT whose daily jobs entail security responsibilities. For these reasons, it’s difficult to infer whether there has been significant growth in female security professionals.

The Need for Diversity

Diversity is particularly critical in technology, as it balances the make-up of the future workforce to better reflect the communities they serve. Because technology is so complex and dynamic, having a range of ideas and approaches from diverse groups can make a huge difference in problem-solving. By including underrepresented groups like women in security, there’s greater potential for tackling real-world challenges in the industry.

How to Catalyze Your Career in Security

1. Look for educational opportunities

This begs the question – how can women become more empowered in the security industry? For starters, young women should look for more educational opportunities to incorporate security training into their repertoire. In today’s society, millennials and Gen Zers are practically born with devices in their hands. Young professionals have probably gained a lot of tech exposure starting at a very young age. This natural knack for technology should be nurtured, which is precisely what proper security training can do.

2. Increase your chances of landing a job

Additionally, there is a growing need for security professionals in general, as the cyber landscape continues to evolve. This means the potential to get a job is high. Young women can seek out top-notch cyber education programs or courses at universities and colleges to set their security career on the right path. Plus – never underestimate the power of networking. Many educational organizations host networking events for security professionals. Meeting with these people can provide hopeful security professionals with insights on what it’s like to work in the industry, as well as best practices for helping to grow your career.

3. Take culture and diversity into account

As young female professionals begin to seek out their next move into the world of security, they must also be sure to take the company’s culture and diversity into account. At the end of the day, it’s important to work for an organization that creates an inclusive environment and nurtures innovation. Young professionals can even help to facilitate this kind of culture by finding ways to be involved in company initiatives that drive inclusion and diversity – this all starts with speaking with a manager or HR representative to find out how.

Making Strides Forward This International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day take the time to reflect on how you can drive equality in your industry. Whether it’s taking that first step toward a career in the security sector or figuring out how you can make a difference at your current job, celebrate these opportunities and commit to striving for an environment of equality.

To stay updated on all things McAfee and the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Is Mobile Malware Playing Hide and Steal on Your Device?

Over the years, we’ve all grown accustomed to using our smartphones and mobile apps to support our lifestyles. We as consumers have developed expectations of how devices can enhance our everyday lives- from online banking transactions to handling work correspondence on the go. But as we become more reliant on our smart devices and apps, hackers use this dependency as an opportunity to gain unwarranted access to our personal data. According to McAfee’s latest Mobile Threat Report, hidden apps are the most active mobile threat facing consumers, generating nearly 50% of all malicious activities in 2019. Let’s dive into these mobile threats and how they could potentially impact your life.

Don’t Let These Mobile Threats Commandeer Your Device

LeifAccess

LeifAccess (also known as Shopper) is an Android-based malware distributed through social media, gaming platforms, and fraudulent advertising. Once installed, this stealthy hides its icon and displays fake security notifications, hoping to trick the user into granting the malware accessibility access. LeifAccess/Shopper has also been found to use third-party logins to cheat app ranking systems and wreak more havoc on victims’ devices. The malware uses the accessibility features in Android to quietly create third-party accounts, automatically download apps from Google Play, and post reviews using names and emails configured from the victim’s device.

According to the Mobile Threat Report, hackers are also tricking users into installing adware onto their devices, redirecting them to a variety of fraudulent ads. Because digital ad revenue is simply based on screens displayed and clicks, hackers are quick to exploit this threat so they can collect fraudulent ad revenue at the expense of unsuspecting users. Due to the volume and speed of the redirects, many consumers don’t even realize that their device is infected or that their data is being collected.

HiddenAds

HiddenAds masquerades as genuine apps like Call of Duty, Spotify, and FaceApp to trick users into downloading them. But once the app is installed on the victim’s device, the app icon changes to one that mimics the Settings icon. When the victim clicks on it, the app displays a fake error message that reads “Application is unavailable in your country. Click OK to uninstall.” However, clicking OK completes the malicious app installation process and then hides the fake Settings icon, making it nearly impossible to find and delete the malware.

MalBus

McAfee researchers also discovered a new targeted attack hidden in a legitimate South Korean transit app. Called MalBus, this new attack method exploits the app developer’s hacked Google Play account. Once the hackers accessed the developer’s account, they added an additional library to the apps and uploaded them to Google Play. Now, MalBus spyware can phish for   with a local webpage that mimics the real Google login screen. Additionally, MalBus can drop a malicious trojan on the victim’s device, searching for specific military or political keywords. If these keywords are found, the victim’s matching files are uploaded to a remote server without their knowledge.

How to Stay Protected

As hackers continue to target consumers through the channels they spend the most time on – their mobile devices – it’s important for users to reflect on the current digital landscape to help protect their data, as well as their family and friends. Follow these security tips to defend against stealthy mobile threats:

  • Do your research. While some malicious apps do make it through the app store screening process, the majority of attack downloads appear to be coming from social media, fake ads, and other unofficial app sources. Before downloading an app to your device, do some quick research about the source and developer.
  • Read app reviews with a critical eye. Reviews and rankings are still a good method of determining whether an app is legitimate. However, watch out for reviews that reuse simple or repetitive phrases, as this could be a sign of a fraudulent review.
  • Update, update, update. Developers are actively working to identify and address security issues. Frequently update your operating systems and apps so that they have the latest fixes and security protections.
  • Use a VPN. A virtual private network, or , allows you to send and receive data across a public network, but it encrypts your information so others can’t read it. This can prevent hackers from spying on your internet activity, therefore protecting your privacy.
  • Keep tabs on your accounts. Use ID monitoring tools to be aware of changes or actions that you did not make. These may have been caused by malware and could indicate that your phone or account has been compromised.
  • Defend your devices with security software. Comprehensive security software across all devices continues to be a strong defensive measure to protect your data and privacy from online threats.

To stay updated on all things McAfee and the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Do I Need to Hide My IP Address?

What is an IP Address?

Think of this as your address on the internet — a location where you receive mail and other data such as webpages, images, and mesages. Your IP address is made up of a string of four groups of numbers, such as 192.172.33.1, which identifies both the network you are on and the device you are using. With these two pieces of information networks and websites can both route data to you and check that you have permission to access it.

Why Would I Want to Hide My IP Address?

Since your IP address is needed to surf around the web, it can act as a fingerprint of your online activities. Webpages may choose to store this information to learn more about you and your interests for marketing purposes. Your data can also be potentially sold to third parties without your consent, or used to spy on you if someone has malicious intent. An example of this would be so-called “spyware,” which can covertly log the sites you visit.

IP addresses are also used to restrict access to content, such as streaming services that are only available in certain locations. But hiding your IP address for this purpose is not something we advocate.

How Do I Hide My IP Address?

There are two main ways to hide your IP address: by using a virtual private network (VPN), or a proxy server. VPNs are the most common tools used by consumers to mask their IP addresses. This is a piece of software that allows you to create a secure connection to another server over the internet, so your data appears to come from the server you connect to. So, if you are in Los Angeles, for instance, the software can connect you to a server in London, hiding your actual location since your traffic appears to originate in London.

A proxy server is different in that it acts like a middleman between your device and the server you are trying to connect with. It receives a request from your device and then retrieves that information from the target server. The proxy can be either a computer or a piece of software that performs this function. It’s different from a VPN in that it doesn’t encrypt, or scramble, your information, making it less secure. That’s why we suggest that you use a VPN.

When Should I use a VPN?

There are a few scenarios when you may want to hide your IP address. The first is if you’re using public Wi-Fi, because your browsing activity might be accessible to anyone nearby. If you use a VPN, you can make a secure connection to the network and keep your activities private.

You may also choose to hide your IP address if you are concerned about your privacy on the web in general and want to make sure that there are no websites or cybercriminals tracking you.

Finally, users who want to connect with a private business or home network may also choose to use a VPN. Many businesses, for example, only allow their employees to connect to their internal network if their IP address is coming from an approved network. With a VPN, you can connect to the internal network from anywhere and you will be allowed access since it is coming from an approved IP address.

Other Ways to Protect Your Privacy

  • Check the privacy of all of your accounts to make sure they are on the strictest settings. On social media, make sure that only friends can see your information.
  • Turn off location services on websites and apps if you don’t need to use them. Unless you are using a service for mapping, or other location-critical functions, there is no reason to share your movements through the world.
  • Use complicated passwords and passphrases and keep them private. Password managers can help make this easier.
  • Install comprehensive security software on all of your devices. Try to choose a product that includes a VPN and identity theft protection.
  • When on a public Wi-Fi network, like in an airport or hotel, always use a VPN if you want to do banking and other sensitive activities securely.
  • Keep up-to-date on the latest threats, and how to avoid them.

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

 

The post Do I Need to Hide My IP Address? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

How You (and Your Teen) Can Stay Safe While Looking for Love Online

Valentine’s Day is such a double-edged sword. If you’re feeling the love and just can’t get enough of your sweetheart – then I wish you a wonderful day. If, on the other hand, you are unattached and feeling a little lonely then chances are you’re thinking about trying your luck on an online dating app.

Every year, traffic to dating apps surges around Valentine’s Day because let’s be honest – who wants to be lonely? But it’s not just adults who frequent dating sites to find their perfect match – teens do too!

Dating Apps – Proceed with Caution!!!

The increasing popularity of these sites means that scammers are spending considerable time and energy targeting people to con. And don’t forget that many teens are on these sites too – even as young as 16! You don’t have to look far to find stories of people who have been tricked into transferring large sums of money to their ‘online lovers’. And in more recent years, romance scammers are now tricking new partners into illegally relaying stolen funds!

Romance Scammers Now Searching for New ‘Online Love’ in Games

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), romance scammers are now also targeting non-dating apps to look for new vulnerable ‘online lovers’. In fact, 38 Aussies lost almost $600,000 through gaming app Words with Friends, an online version of Scrabble. Most of the losses were through direct bank transfers however iTunes, Steam and Google Play gift cards were also commonly used. Games such as Words with Friends are very popular with both tweens and teens, so please share these stores with them.

How to Stay Safe While Searching for Love Online

I have several friends who have found the ‘love of their lives’ online so please remember that not everyone you meet online is a scammer. However, it is essential that you are ALWAYS on guard and cautiously suspicious until such time as your new online love has proven themselves. Here are my top tips for staying safe:

  1. Limit how personal you get 

    Scammers today prey on the human need to feel connected to one and other. The key is to be always careful with the information that you share online. Whether it’s Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, or even Facebook or Instagram, only share what is absolutely necessary. Your personal information can easily be pieced together by a scammer to access your personal information, your bank accounts or even steal your identity. Start with being clever with your profile names on dating sites and apps – never give out your full name.

  2. Do your homework

    If you’ve met someone online, always do your homework before meeting them in person. Why not get Google working for you? A Google search is a great place to start and even using Google Images will help you get a better understanding of a person. And don’t forget to check out their LinkedIn account too. Another option would be to track down mutual friends and ask questions about your new online partner.

  3. Think before you send

    Sharing intimate pictures or videos with the person you’re dating online may be a good idea right now but please take a moment before pressing send to think about how this could come back to haunt you in the future. Remember, once those pictures and videos are online, they are online forever. Even social media apps with disappearing images, such as Snapchat, can be easily circumvented with a screenshot.  It’s not just celebrities who have intimate pictures spread around the Internet!

  4. Make passwords a priority

    Ensure all your online dating and social media accounts, and all your devices, have separate and unique passwords. Ideally, each password should have a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. I love using a nonsensical, crazy sentence!

And please remember to share your online romance vigilance with your budding teen Romeos and Juliets. It is incredibly common for teens to use dating sites to find someone special. Even though it may be a tad awkward and uncomfortable, as parents we need to do all we can to keep our offspring safe – particularly when their hormones are raging!!

Till Next Time!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

 

 

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Watch Out For IRS Scams and Avoid Identity Theft

It’s time to get those W-2 and 1099 tax forms ready. On January 27th, the IRS began accepting paper and electronic tax returns ahead of the April 15th due date. But as users prepare to file, scammers prepare to take advantage of innocent taxpayers with malicious tactics, looking to harvest the extensive amounts of personal data found in IRS tax documents. Let’s take a look at common tactics hackers may leverage this tax season.

Impersonation Schemes

A commonly used tactic involves hackers posing as collectors from the IRS, as tax preparers, or government bureaus. This tactic is pretty effective due to Americans’ concerns of misfiling their taxes or accidentally running into trouble with the IRS. Scammers take advantage of this fear, manipulating innocent users into providing sensitive information or money over the phone or by email. And in extreme cases, hackers may be able to infect computers with malware via malicious links or attachments sent through IRS email scams.

Robocalls

Another tactic used to take advantage of taxpayers is the canceled social security number scam. Hackers use robocalls claiming that law enforcement will suspend or cancel the victim’s Social Security number in response to taxes owed. Often, victims are scared into calling the fraudulent numbers back and persuaded into transferring assets to accounts that the scammer controls. Users need to remember that the IRS will only contact taxpayers through snail-mail or in-person, not over the phone.

Emails

Another scam criminals use involves emails impersonating the IRS. Victims receive a phishing email claiming to be from the IRS, reminding them to file their taxes or offering them information about their tax refund via malicious links. If a victim clicks on the link, they will be redirected to a spoofed site that collects the victim’s personal data, facilitating identity theft. What’s more, a victim’s computer can become infected with malware if they click on a link with malicious code, allowing fraudsters to steal more data.

Phony CPAs

Scammers also take advantage of the fact that many users seek out the help of a tax preparer or CPA during this time. These criminals will often pose as professionals, accepting money to complete a user’s taxes but won’t sign the return. This makes it look like the user completed the return themselves. However, these ghost tax preparers often lie on the return to make the user qualify for credits they haven’t earned or apply changes that will get them in trouble with. Since the scammers don’t sign, the victim will then be responsible for any errors. This could lead to the user having to repay money owed, or potentially lead to an audit.

While these types of scams can occur at any time of the year, they are especially prevalent leading up to the April tax filing due date. Consumers need to be on their toes during tax season to protect their personal information and keep their finances secure. To avoid being spoofed by scammers and identity thieves, follow these tips:

  • File before a scammer does it for you. The easiest defense you can take against tax season schemes is to get your hands on your W-2 and file as soon as possible. The more prompt you are to file, the less likely your data will be raked in by a fraudster.
  • Obtain a copy of your credit report. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the major bureaus once a year. So, make it a habit to request a copy of your file every few months and check for any suspicious activity.
  • Beware of phishing attempts. Phishing is a common tactic crooks leverage during tax season, so stay vigilant around your inbox. This means if any unfamiliar or remotely suspicious emails come through requesting tax data, double-check their legitimacy. Be wary of strange file attachment names such as “virus-for-you.doc.” Remember: the IRS only contacts people by snail mail, so if you get an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS, stay away.
  • Watch out for spoofed websites. Scammers have extremely sophisticated tools that help disguise phony web addresses for DIY tax software, such as stolen company logos and site designs. To avoid falling for this, go directly to the source. Type the address of a website directly into the address bar of your browser instead of following a link from an email or internet search. If you receive any suspicious links in your email, investigating the domain is usually a good way to tell if the source is legitimate or not.
  • Consider an identity theft protection solution. If your data does become compromised, be sure to use an identity theft solution such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protect their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

To stay updated on all things McAfee and on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Safer Internet Day 2020

What Can You Do To Make The Internet a Better Place

In 2020, you’d be hard-pressed to find an Aussie teen who doesn’t spend a fair whack of their time online. And while many of us parents don’t always love the time our offspring spend glued to screens, most of us have come to accept that the online world is a big part of our kids’ lives.

So, let’s accept that the internet is going to be a feature of our kids’ lives and work out how best we can keep them safe.

Together For A Better Internet

Today is Safer Internet Day  – an international annual event that encourages us all to work together for a better internet. The perfect opportunity to find out what we can do as parents to ensure our kids are as safe as possible online.

Organised by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, Safer Internet Day is held each February to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people. Safer Internet Day is all about inspiring users to make positive changes online, to raise awareness of online safety issues, and participate in events and activities right across the globe.

What Can We Do As Parents?

As role models and life-educators, parents play an enormous role in shaping our kids’ behaviours and opinions – particularly before they get to the teenage years!! So, why not use Safer Internet Day as a prompt to freshen up your cybersafety chats with your brood.

Not sure where to start? Here are my top messages to weave into your chats with your kids

  1. Be Kind Online

Spread love not hate online. A better internet includes building an online culture where people share positive and encouraging posts and comments. It may be as simple as posting a positive message, liking a post that is encouraging or sharing an inspiring article. Image

It may sound obvious but before you post a comment or a tweet, ask yourself whether the message could offend someone or impact them negatively. And remember to NEVER like, favourite, retweet, post or comment negatively online.

  1. Learn How To Disagree Respectfully Online

No matter how much we try, there will always be some people online who get a kick out of being unkind. If you come across this behaviour, I encourage you to call it out and report it but ALWAYS do so in a respectful fashion. Reciprocating with harsh words or name-calling will only further inflame a toxic situation. A logical, factual response that is respectful will always triumph!

  1. Protecting Your Online Reputation (& Others Too)

If you’re planning on hiring someone or even going on a date with someone, the chances are you’re going to ‘Google’ them first. And what you find online and the opinion you form decides whether the person’s digital reputation is acceptable or not.

So, it’s essential to remember that everything you post online is permanent and public; not to post inappropriate comments or pics of yourself or others; ensure all your online profiles are set to private to avoid strangers ‘screen-grabbing’ your private info and photos; don’t respond to inappropriate requests and most importantly, take a breather when things are getting heated online and you may regret your comments and actions.

  1. Passwords!!!!!

Managing passwords is one of the best ways of taking control of your online life and creating a better internet. Ensuring you have a separate password for every online account means that if you are affected by a data breach, your other online accounts are not at risk. Always choose passwords that have letters, numbers and symbols and ensure they are complex and not obvious. I love using a nonsensical sentence! And if all that’s too hard, why not consider a password manager that not only creates complex passwords for each of your online accounts but remembers them too. All you need to do is remember the master password! Awesome!!

So, why not pledge to change up your cybersafety chats with your kids this Safer Internet Day? And remember – they are watching you too! So, ensure you always model online respect, take your online responsibilities seriously and, also manage your passwords carefully. Because every little step is a step towards a positive change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Do A Virus Scan

Whether you think you might have a virus on your computer or devices, or just want to keep them running smoothly, it’s easy to do a virus scan. How you perform the virus scan depends on the software you have, so we’ll go through a few options below. But first, let’s cover a few telltale signs that you might may have a virus.

Do You Need A Virus Scan?

Is your computer or device acting sluggish, or having a hard time booting up? Have you noticed missing files or a lack of storage space? Have you noticed emails or messages sent from your account that you did not write? Perhaps you’ve noticed changes to your browser homepage or settings? Or maybe, you’re seeing unexpected pop-up windows, or experiencing crashes and other program errors. These are all signs that you may have a virus, but don’t get too worried yet, because many of these issues can be resolved with a virus scan.

What Does A Virus Scan Do, Exactly?

Each antivirus program works a little differently, but in general the software will look for known malware that meets a specific set of characteristics. It may also look for variants of these known threats that have a similar code base. Some antivirus software even checks for known, suspicious behavior. If the software comes across a dangerous program or piece of code, it removes it. In some cases, a dangerous program can be replaced with a clean one from the manufacturer.

How Do You Run A Scan?

On a Windows Computer:

If you are using the latest version of Windows, Windows 10, go into “Settings” and look for the “Updates & Security” tab. From there you can locate a “Scan Now” button.

Of course, many people have invested in more robust antivirus software that has a high accuracy rate and causes less drain on their system resources, such as McAfee Total Protection. To learn how to run a virus scan using your particular antivirus software, search the software’s “help” menu, or look online for exact instructions.

If you are using McAfee software, go here.

On a Mac Computer:

Computers running Mac software don’t have a built-in antivirus program, so you will have to download security software to do a virus scan. There are some free antivirus applications available online, but we always recommend investing in trusted software that can protect you from a variety of threats. Downloading free software can be risky, since cybercriminals know that this is a good way to spread malware.

Whichever program you choose, follow their step-by-step instructions on how to perform a virus scan, either by searching under “help”, or looking it up on their website.

On Smartphones & Tablets:

Yes, you can get the virus on your phone or tablet, although they are less common than on computers. However, the wider category of mobile malware is on the rise and your device can get infected if you download a risky app, click on an attachment in a text message, visit a dangerous webpage, or connect to another device that has malware on it.

Fortunately, you can protect your devices with mobile security software. It doesn’t usually come installed, so you will have to download an application and follow the instructions.

Because the Android platform is an open operating system, there are a number of antivirus products available for Android devices, allowing you to do a virus scan.

Apple devices are little different, however, because they have a closed operating system that doesn’t allow third parties to see their code. Although Apple has taken other security precautions to reduce malware risks, such as only allowing the installation of apps from Apple’s official app store, these measures aren’t the same as an antivirus program.

For more robust protection on your Apple devices, you can install mobile security software to protect the private data you have stored on your phone or tablet, such as contacts, photos, and messages.

All-In-One Protection:

If safeguarding all your computers and devices sounds overwhelming, you can opt for a comprehensive security product that protects computers, smartphones and devices from a central control center, making virus prevention a snap.

Why are virus scans so important?

New online threats emerge every day, putting our personal information, money, and devices at risk. In the first quarter of last year alone McAfee detected 504 new threats per minute, as cybercriminals adopted new tactics. That’s why it is essential to stay ahead of these threats by using security software that is constantly monitoring and checking for new known threats, while safeguarding all of your sensitive information. Virus scans are an essential part of this process when it comes to identifying and removing dangerous code.

How Often Should You Do A Virus Scan?

Most antivirus products are regularly scanning your computer or device in the background, so you will only need to start a manual scan if you notice something suspicious, like crashes or excessive pop-ups. You can also program regular scans on your schedule.

Preventing Viruses

Of course, the best protection is to avoid getting infected in the first place. Here are a few smart tips to avoid viruses and other malware:

  • Learn how to surf safe so you can avoid risky websites, links, and messages. This will go a long way in keeping you virus-free.
  • Never click on spammy emails or text messages. These include unsolicited advertisements and messages from people or companies you don’t know.
  • Keep the software on your computers and devices up to date. This way you are protected from known threats, such as viruses and other types of malware.
  • Invest in comprehensive security software that can protect all of your devices.
  • Stay informed on the latest threats, so you know what to look out for. The more you know about the latest scams, the easier they will be just spot, and avoid.

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

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Election Website Security: Protect Your Vote in 2020

The 2020 U.S. presidential primaries are right around the corner. As people gear up to cast their ballots for party candidates, they may not realize that website security shortcomings could leave the U.S. elections susceptible to digital disinformation campaigns or possibly worse seeking to influence and /or manipulate the democratic process.

McAfee recently conducted a survey of county websites and county election administration websites in the 13 states projected as battleground or “tossup” states in the U.S. presidential elections in November. According to the survey results, the majority of these websites lacked official U.S. government .GOV website validation and HTTPS website security measures to prevent hackers from launching fake websites disguised as legitimate county government sites.

Got .GOV?

You might be wondering what the significance of a .gov website domain is. Well, a .gov website name requires that buyers submit evidence to the U.S. government that they truly are buying these names on behalf of legitimate local, county, or state government entities.

On the other hand, a website using a .COM, .NET, .ORG, or .US can be purchased by anyone with a credit card from any number of legitimate website domain vendors. The lack of a .GOV in a website name means that no controlling government authority has validated that the website is a legitimate government site.

HTTPS: browse the web securely

In the same vein as a .GOV web domain, HTTPS and a lock icon in the address of a website helps establish its validity. When a visitor sees these icons, it means that their browser has made a secure connection with the website, which means the website and the user can be confident of who they are sharing information with.

This means that any personal voter registration information that a user shares with the site cannot be intercepted and stolen by hackers while they are on the site. Additionally, HTTPS and a lock icon tell the user that they cannot be re-routed without their knowledge to a different site.

How this could impact elections

Hackers typically look to carry out their attacks with the least amount of effort and the fewest resources. Instead of hacking into local voting systems and changing vote counts, hackers could conduct a digital disinformation campaign to influence voter behavior during the elections. These attacks would seek to suppress or disrupt the voting process by setting up bogus websites with official sounding domains and related email addresses. From there, hackers could use those bogus email addresses to send mass email blasts intended to feed unsuspecting voter email recipients false information on when, where, and how to vote.

Example disinformation email:

On top of that, social media promotions could be used to lure voters to the fake websites and provide them with the same false information.

By telling voters that they should register to vote in the wrong places, or merely vote at the wrong times, the hackers could misdirect, confuse, and frustrate voters on election day. This could ultimately impact vote counts or at least undermine voter confidence in the electoral process.

Survey results

McAfee’s survey of the external security measures for county election websites included Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Together, these states account for 201 of the 270 electoral votes required to win the U.S. presidential election.

Our research found that Minnesota and Texas ranked the lowest among the surveyed states in terms of .GOV county coverage with 4.6% and 5.1% coverage respectively. Arizona ranked the highest in .GOV county coverage with 66.7%. Yet, this still left a third of the state’s counties uncovered.

Texas ranked the lowest in terms of HTTPS protection with only 22.8% of its county websites protected. Arizona again led in county HTTPS protection with 80.0%, followed by Nevada (75.0%), Iowa (70.7%), Michigan (65.1%), and Wisconsin (63.9%). Again, these “leader” states still lacked HTTPS coverage for approximately a third of their counties.

Tips to help secure your vote

So, what can citizens do to help protect their votes and the electoral system overall leading up to the 2020 election? Check out these tips to securely cast your ballot:

  • Stay informed. Remind yourself to confirm the site you are visiting is a .GOV website and that HTTPS security protection is in place to ensure that the information accurate and is safe.
  • Look out for suspicious emails. Carefully scrutinize all election related emails. An attacker seeking to misinform can use phishing-techniques to accomplish their objective.  McAfee’s general warnings related to phishing emails (e.g. here), where an attacker can create emails that look as if they come from legitimate sources are applicable.
  • Go directly to the source. If in doubt, visit your state’s elections website to receive general election information on voter registration and contact information for your county’s election officials. Contact the local county officials to confirm any election instructions you receive via email, social media, or websites leading up to Election Day.
  • Keep it old school. Trust the official voting literature sent through the traditional mail first, as the U.S. Postal Service is the primary channel state and local governments use to send out voting information.

Stay up to date

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

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Take Action This Data Privacy Day

We all know that data breaches have been on the rise, and hackers are finding clever, new ways to access our devices and information. But sometimes it takes a little push to get us to take action when it comes to protecting our most sensitive information. That’s why this Data Privacy Day, on January 28th, we have the perfect opportunity to own our privacy by taking the time to safeguard data, and help others do the same.

After all, there are now roughly four billion consumers connected online, living various moments of truth that could potentially put them at risk. From sharing photos and socializing with friends, to completing bank transactions—people expect to do what they desire online whenever and wherever they want. But as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”, and it is imperative that consumers take accountability, not just by enjoying the advantages of connecting online, but by protecting their online identities, too.

Remember, your personal information and online presence are as valuable as money, and what you post online can last a lifetime. Data Privacy Day is a reminder for everybody to make sure that they are protecting what matters most to them: their personal data, as well as their families and friends.

So, let’s get started. Even if you have a large online footprint, protecting this information doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Here are a few tips:

Update your privacy and security settings—Begin with the websites and applications that you use the most. Check to see if your accounts are marked as private, or if they are open to the public. Also, look to see if your data is being leaked to third parties. You want to select the most secure settings available, while still being able to use these tools correctly.  Here’s a guide from StaySafeOnline to help you get started.

Start the New Year with a new digital you— When opening new online accounts for sharing personal information such as your email address or date of birth, create a new digital persona that has alternative answers that only you would know. This will limit online tracking of your real personal information.

Lockdown your logins—At the same time, secure your logins by making sure that you are creating long and unique passphrases for all of your accounts. Use multi-factor identification, when available. This is a security protocol that takes more than just one step to validate your login, such as a password and a code sent to your mobile device, or a fingerprint. It is exponentially more secure than a simple password.

Spread the word and get involved— Once you have done your own privacy check, help others do the same. It’s important that we all feel empowered to protect our privacy, so share the safety tips in this article with your family, coworkers, and community. Here are some helpful resources to create privacy awareness where you live.

Protect your family and friends – If you are a parent, you can make a big difference by helping raise privacy-savvy kids. After all, today’s kids represent the future of online security. If they start building their digital footprints with solid safety habits, it makes all of us more secure.

Begin with this handy tip sheet.

Own your information—It’s time for everyone to feel empowered to own their information. While there will always be online threats, you can minimize any potential harm by committing yourself to the action steps we listed above. Once you have, spread the word by using the hashtag #privacyaware on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Let’s make this 12th annual international Data Privacy Day the most effective ever! Stay up to date with all the event happenings, here, and keep informed year-round on the latest threats and security tips.

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What Is the CurveBall Bug? Here’s What You Need to Know 

Today, it was announced that researchers published proof of concept code (essentially, an exercise to determine if an idea is a reality) that exploits a recently patched vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS). The vulnerability, named CurveBall, impacts the components that handle the encryption and decryption mechanisms in the Windows OS, which inherently help protect sensitive information.

How It Works 

So how does this vulnerability work, exactly? For starters, unsafe sites or files can disguise themselves as legitimate ones.  When this vulnerability is exploited, CurveBall could allow a hacker to launch man-in-the-middle attacks, which is when a hacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two unsuspecting users. Additionally, a hacker could use the vulnerability to intercept and fake secure web (HTTPS) connections or fake signatures for files and emails. Essentially, this means a hacker could place harmful files or run undetected malware on a system.

What It Impacts 

There are still questions surrounding what exactly is impacted by CurveBall, and subsequently what could be affected by the new code. According to Microsoft, CurveBall impacts Windows 10, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server 2016 OS versions. With three popular operating systems afflicted, and the possibility to bypass basic security safeguards, patching is more important than ever. For unpatched systems, malware that takes advantage of this vulnerability may go undetected and slip past security features.

How to Stay Protected 

Now, what should you do to protect yourself from the CurveBall vulnerability? At McAfee, we are in the process of deploying an update to keep our loyal users secure from this vulnerability. In the meantime, however, there are a few things you should do to do to protect yourself. Start by following these tips:

  • Update your Windows 10 OS to get the latest security patches.
  • Use caution when surfing the web.
  • Only open files and emails from trusted sources.
  • Update your browsers to the latest versions if available.
  • If you are an enterprise customer, please reference KB92329 for information on McAfee enterprise defense from this vulnerability.
  • Contact McAfee Support if you have any further questions or need assistance.

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

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The Top Technology Takeaways From CES 2020

Another Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has come and gone. Every year, this trade show joins practically everyone in the consumer electronics industry to show off the latest and greatest cutting-edge innovations in technology. From bendable tablets to 8k TVs and futuristic cars inspired by the movie “Avatar,” CES 2020 did not disappoint. Here are a few of the key takeaways from this year’s show:

Smart home technology is driven by convenience

As usual, smart home technology made up a solid portion of the new gadgets introduced at CES. Netatmo introduced the Netatmo Smart Door Lock and Keys which use physical NFC (meaning near field communication, a technology that allows devices to communicate with each other) keys as well as digital keys for guests. In the same realm of home security, Danby’s smart mailbox called the Parcel Guard allows couriers to deliver packages directly into the anti-theft box using a code or smartphone app.

Devices integrated with Alexa technology

CES 2020 also introduced many devices integrated with Alexa technology. Kohler debuted its Moxie showerhead, complete with an Alexa-enabled waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Along with the showerhead, Alexa was also built into a Dux Swedish luxury bed to help improve users’ bedtime routines.

Smart appliances

CES is usually graced with a handful of smart appliances, and this year was no different. Bosch partnered with the recipe and meal-planning app Chefling to showcase its high-tech Home Connect Refrigerator, which uses cameras to track which food items users have stocked and suggests recipes based on that information.

Mind-reading wearables translate thoughts into digital commands

CES featured several products that let users control apps, games, and devices with their minds. Companies have developed devices that can record brain signals from sensors on the scalp or devices implanted within the brain and translate them into digital signals. For example, NextMind has created a headset that measures activity in the visual cortex and translates the user’s decision of where to focus his or her eyes into digital commands. This technology could replace remote controls, as users would be able to change channels, mute, or pause just by focusing on triangles next to each command.

Another company focused on the brain-computer interface is BrainCo. This company debuted their FocusOne headband at CES this year, complete with sensors on the forehead measuring the activity in the frontal cortex. This device is designed to measure focus by detecting the subtle electrical signals that your brain is producing. These headbands are designed to help kids learn how to focus their minds in class. BrainCo also has a prosthetic arm coming to market later this year which detects muscle signals and feeds them through an algorithm that can help it operate better over time. What’s more, this device will cost less than half of an average prosthetic.

Foldable screens are still a work-in-progress

This year’s event was colored with folding screens. However, most of these devices were prototypes without proposed ship dates. A likely reason for the lack of confidence in these devices by their manufacturers is that they are unsure if the screens will be durable enough to sell. Some of these work-in-progress devices include Dell’s Concept Ori, Intel’s Horseshoe Bend, and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold. Nevertheless, folding devices provide a new opportunity for manufacturers to play around with device forms, such as a phone that turns into a tablet.

Cybersecurity’s role in evolving technology

As consumer technology continues to evolve, the importance of securing these newfangled devices becomes more and more apparent. According to panelists from the CES session Top Security Trends in Smart Cities, by making products “smarter,” we are also making them more susceptible to hacking. For example, The McAfee Advanced Threat Research (ATR) team recently uncovered security flaws in multiple IoT smart home devices. The first is the Chamberlain MyQ Hub, a “universal” garage door automation platform that can be hacked to cause a user’s garage door to open unintentionally. The second is the McLear NFC Ring, a household access control device used to interact with NFC-enabled door locks, which can be cloned to gain access to a user’s home.

Keep cybersecurity a top priority

Although CES 2020 has introduced many new devices aimed at making users’ lives easier, it’s important to keep a secure home as a top priority as gadgets are brought into their lives. As new McAfee research has revealed, the majority of Americans today (63%) believe that they as the consumer are responsible for their security. This could likely be attributed to more Americans becoming aware of online risks, as 48% think it’s likely to happen to them. To feel confident bringing new technology into their homes, users are encouraged to proactively integrate online security into everyday life.

Need for increased cybersecurity protection

As the sun sets on another fabulous CES, it’s clear that technological innovations won’t be slowing down any time soon. With all of these new advancements and greater connectivity comes the need for increased protection when connected to the internet. All in all, CES 2020 showed us that as technology continues to improve and develop, security will play an ever-increasing role in protecting consumers online

Stay up to date

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

 

The post The Top Technology Takeaways From CES 2020 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Research Reveals Americans’ Perceptions of Device Security Amidst CES 2020

From the Lifx Switch smart switch to the Charmin RollBot to Kohler Setra Alexa-connected faucets, CES 2020 has introduced new devices aimed at making consumers lives easier. With so much excitement and hype around these new gadgets, however, it can be challenging to make security a top priority. That’s why McAfee is urging users to keep cybersecurity top-of-mind when bringing these new devices into their home so they can protect what matters.

New McAfee research reveals that consumer perceptions of security accountability have shifted in the last couple of years. For example, the majority of Americans today (63%) stated that they as the consumer are responsible for their security while last year only 42% of Americans felt that they are responsible. This shows that users are becoming increasingly aware of how to ensure that they are protecting their privacy and identity. This year-over-year increase could likely be attributed to more Americans becoming aware of online risks, as 48% think it’s likely to happen to them. Additionally, 65% are concerned about the security of connected devices installed in their homes, such as the Chamberlain MyQ Hub garage door opener and the McLear Smart Ring. While these devices are convenient, the McAfee Advanced Threat Research team recently revealed they contained security flaws that could allow a hacker to enter a victim’s home.

It’s important to recognize that security is a proactive effort that should be seamlessly integrated into everyday life. So, how can consumers take charge and feel confident bringing new technology into their homes while staying safe? Check out the following tips to keep in mind as our lives continue to be more connected:

  • The little things count. Hackers don’t have to be geniuses to steal your personal information. Minor habits like changing default passwords and using unique passwords can go a long way to prevent your personal information from being stolen.
  • Do your research. Look up products and their manufacturers before making a purchase. This could save you from buying a device with a known security vulnerability. If you find a manufacturer doesn’t have a history of taking security seriously, then it’s best to avoid it.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. Use comprehensive security protection, like McAfee Total Protection, which can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It also includes McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help identify malicious websites.
  • Update, update, update. When applications on your devices need updating, be sure to do it as soon as possible. Most of these updates include security patches to vulnerabilities.

To stay on top of McAfee’s CES news and the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Survey Methodology

McAfee commissioned 3Gem to conduct a survey of 1,000 adults in the US who regularly use electronic devices, such as phones and laptops.

The post Research Reveals Americans’ Perceptions of Device Security Amidst CES 2020 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Viva Las Vegas: Cash Out with the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win Sweepstakes!

We’ve officially touched down in Las Vegas for CES 2020!

If you aren’t familiar with CES, it is the global stage for innovators to showcase the next generation of consumer technologies, including IoT devices. Though these devices are convenient, they can also be cause for possible security concerns due to overlooked weaknesses. Check out the latest research from the McAfee Advanced Threat Research (ATR) team on device vulnerabilities for more information.

With the growing consumer technology landscape, we here at McAfee understand the importance of creating new solutions for those who want to live their connected lives with confidence.

In fact, to celebrate the latest innovations, we’re giving three [3] lucky people the chance to win an Amazon gift card. Not heading to CES this year Not heading to CES this year? No problem! Simply retweet one of our contest tweets with the required hashtag between January 7th – 9th for your chance to win. 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.
  • There will be three [3] sweepstakes tweets will be released at the following schedule including the hashtags: #RT2Win, #Sweepstakes AND #McAfeeAtCES
    • Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 7:00AM PST
    • Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 7:00AM PST
    • Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 7:00AM PST
  • Retweet the sweepstakes tweet released on the above date before 11:59PM PST, from your own handle. The #RT2Win, #Sweepstakes AND #McAfeeAtCES hashtags must be included to be entered.
  • Sweepstakes will end on Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. All entries must be made before that date and time.
  • Winners will be notified on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 via Twitter direct message.
  • Limit one entry per person.
1. How to Win:

Retweet one of our contest tweets on @McAfee_Home that include “#RT2Win, #Sweepstakes, and #McAfeeAtCES” for a chance at an Amazon Gift card. Winners must be following @McAfee_Home for eligibility. One [1] winner will be selected per day, and notified by 10:00AM PT the following day, for a total of three [3] winners. Winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter. For full Sweepstakes details, please see the Terms and Conditions, below.

#McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

2. How to Enter: 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. McAfee’s #RT2Win CES Sweepstakes will be conducted from January 7th through January 9th. All entries for each day of the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes must be received during the time allotted for the #RT2Win CES Sweepstakes. Pacific Daylight Time shall control the McAfee RT2Win CES Sweepstakes. The #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win Sweepstakes duration is as follows:

  • Begins: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 7:00am PST
  • Ends: Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 11:59 PST
    • Opportunity 1: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 7:00AM PST
    • Opportunity 2: Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 7:00AM PST
    • Opportunity 3: Thursday, January 9, 2020 at 7:00AM PST
  • Winners will be announced: by 10:00AM PST the following day

For the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win Sweepstakes, participants must complete the following steps during the time allotted for the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win Sweepstakes:

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

Three [3] winners will be chosen for the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes tweet from the viable pool of entries that retweeted and included #McAfeeCES Sweepstakes. McAfee and the McAfee social team will select winners at random from among the viable entries. The winners will be announced and privately messaged on January 10th 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. SWEEPSTAKES IS IN NO WAY SPONSORED, ENDORSED, ADMINISTERED BY, OR ASSOCIATED WITH TWITTER, INC.

3. Eligibility: 

McAfee’s #RT2Win CES 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 #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes begins and live in a jurisdiction where this prize and #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes are 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 from the eligible entries received during the days of the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes periods. 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 #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES 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 January 10, 2020. 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: 

The prizes for the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes are two [2] $100 Amazon e-gift cards and a one [1] $200 Amazon e-gift card (approximate retail value “ARV” of the prize is $100 and $200 USD; the total ARV of all gift cards is $400 USD). Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES 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 #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes, or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES 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 #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes, any prize won, any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, participation in any #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes -related activity, or participation in the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES 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).

If participating in this Sweepstakes via your mobile device (which service may only be available via select devices and participating wireless carriers and is not required to enter), you may be charged for standard data use from your mobile device according to the terms in your wireless service provider’s data plan.  Normal airtime and carrier charges and other charges may apply to data use and will be billed on your wireless device bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance.  Wireless carrier rates vary, so you should contact your wireless carrier for information on your specific data plan.

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 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 these prize #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes rules, then the winner will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be selected from remaining eligible entry forms for each #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes.

10. Dispute Resolution:

Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the #McAfeeAtCES RT2Win CES 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 New York.

12. Privacy Policy: 

Personal information obtained in connection with this prize McAfee Day #RT2Win CES Sweepstakes will be handled in accordance policy set forth at https://www.mcafee.com/enterprise/en-us/about/legal/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 January 10th 2020 and before January 10th 2021 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, 111 Sutter St., Suite 850, San Francisco, CA 94104

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What You Need to Know About the Latest IoT Device Flaws

The McAfee Advanced Threat Research (ATR) team recently uncovered a security flaw in a popular connected garage door opener and a security design issue in an NFC (meaning near field communication, which is a technology that allows devices to communicate with each other) smart ring used to unlock doors. As we head into CES 2020, the global stage where innovators showcase the next generation of consumer technologies, let’s take a look at these new security flaws and discover how users can connect securely and with confidence.

Review Chamberlain IoT device

The McAfee ATR team recently investigated the Chamberlain MyQ Hub, a “universal” garage door automation platform. The Hub acts as a new garage door opener, similar to the one that you would have in your car. However, the McAfee ATR team discovered an inherent flaw in the way the MyQ Hub communicates over radio frequency signals. It turns out that hackers can “jam” the radio frequency signals while the garage is being remotely closed. How? By jamming or blocking the code signal from ever making it to the Hub receiver, the remote sensor will never respond with the closed signal. This delivers an error message to the user, prompting them to attempt to close the door again through the app, which actually causes the garage door to open.

How can the Chamberlain IoT device be hacked?

Let’s break it down:

  • Many users enjoy using the MyQ Hub for the convenience of package delivery, ensuring that their packages are safe from porch pirates and placed directly in the garage by the carrier=.
  • However, an attacker could wait for a package delivery using the connected garage door opener. The hacker could then jam the MyQ signal once the carrier opens the door and prompt an error message for the user. If and when the user attempts to close the door, the door will open and grant the attacker access to the home.
  • An attacker could also wait and see when a homeowner physically leaves the premises to jam the MyQ signal and prompt the error message. This would potentially allow further access into the home.

Review McLear NFC Ring IoT device

The McAfee ATR team also discovered an insecure design with the McLear NFC Ring, a household access control device that can be used to interact with NFC-enabled door locks. Once the NFC Ring has been paired with an NFC-enabled door lock, the user can access their house by simply placing the NFC Ring within the NFC range of the door lock instead of using a traditional house key. However, due to an insecure design, hackers could easily clone the ring and gain access to a user’s home.

How can the McLear NFC Ring be hacked?

  • First, the attacker can do some basic research on the victim, such as finding a social media post about how excited they are to use their new McLear NFC Ring.
  • Now, say the attacker locates the victim in a public setting and asks them to take a picture of them on the attacker’s phone. The attacker’s phone, equipped with an app to read NFC tags, can record the relevant information without giving any signs of foul play.
  • The McLear NFC Ring is now compromised, and the information can be programmed on a standard writable card, which can be used to unlock smart home locks that partner with the product.

How to keep your IoT devices safe from hacking

In the era of IoT devices, the balance between cybersecurity and convenience is an important factor to get right. According to Steve Povolny, head of McAfee Advanced Threat Research, “the numerous benefits technology enhancements bring us are exciting and often highly valuable; but many people are unaware of the lengths hackers will go and the many ways new features can impact the security of a system.” To help safeguard your security while still enjoying the benefits of your connected devices, check out the following tips:

  • Practice proper online security habits. Fortunately, users have many tools at their disposal, even when cybersecurity concerns do manifest. Implement a strong password policy, put IoT devices on their own, separate network, utilize dual-factor authentication when possible, minimize redundant systems, and patch quickly when issues are found.
  • Do your research. Before purchasing a new IoT device, take the time to look into its security features. Users should ensure they are aware of the security risks associated with IoT products available on the market.

Stay up to date

To stay on top of McAfee’s CES news and the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post What You Need to Know About the Latest IoT Device Flaws appeared first on McAfee Blogs.