Category Archives: Consumer

How Do I Make My Windows 10 Computer Run Faster? (Part 1)

We’ve all been there. You get your shiny home PC or laptop back from the store and unboxed and everything is perfect. It runs like a dream: starting up quickly, speeding you through internet searches and web browsing, and applications open in the blink of an eye. But then over the following months, gradually things begin to sour. As extra programs and files are added over time, the machine seems to struggle under the weight of it all, slowing down or acting funny.

It can all be a trying experience—hitting home workers particularly hard but inconveniencing the entire family. That’s why we’ve put together a handy two-part guide for Windows 10 users. It’s not an exhaustive list but provides 10 quick-and-easy ways you can optimize the performance of your machine.

When our advice gets a little more complicated we’ve included a step-by-step guide and screenshots to help you on your way.

Getting the basics right

1. Keep Windows updated

Here’s the first “no brainer.” Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to keep your Windows 10 machine running at optimum performance is to keep it updated at all times. Microsoft is constantly working on ways to improve Windows, so it makes sense to be on the latest and greatest version. Thanks to Windows Update, when a new software version is available it will automatically download and install, but you can double check and manually update by going to the Start button then Settings  > Update & security  > Windows Update, and click Check for updates. If there are updates, they’ll download and install. Reboot your computer and you’re ready to resume working.

 

2. Shut completely down / restart periodically

This might sound like another no-brainer, but it can help: note that using Start > Power > Sleep or Hibernate to “shut down” your PC or laptop and then resuming by clicking your mouse or hitting your spacebar is not enough to “optimize” your computer— though it “wakes” it more quickly than a full Restart. Fully restarting your machine on a regular basis (at least once a week, or when you need to) clears out the memory and kills any processes that might be quietly consuming too many resources—and you need a full Restart completely to get these benefits.3. Scan for malware

While keeping your computer updated with the latest version of Windows will also maximize protection from online threats that can slow it down, you can go one step further by running an anti-malware scan with your endpoint security software, to see if there are any other nasties lurking on your computer. This should clean out any malware and, as Trend Micro Security does, help to optimize it as well.

4. Change your power settings

Windows 10 features a Power Saving mode which is particularly useful for laptop users on the move. However, if you’re plugged in and don’t care about energy usage and want to get the most out of your computer, choose the “high performance” option. Go to Start > Settings > System > Power & sleep > Additional power settings.

5. Use Windows tools to help you

Fortunately, Windows also has built-in tools that you can use to fix problems and find out more about any issues your machine may have.

First is the Troubleshoot tools. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot and you’ll be presented with a long list of things you can run the troubleshoot tool on to get something working right or to improve performance, including internet connection, keyboard and printer, blue screen, and many others.

 

6. Task Manager is your friend

Second is Task Manager. We all like to have multiple applications open at the same time, but they can use up your PC’s CPU and Memory, which can affect performance. Here’s where Task Manager comes in. Right-click in the Task Bar, then select Task Manager to open the app.

 

In the Processes tab, you’ll be able to view how much CPU and Memory (as well as Disk, Network, and GPU) your applications are using combined as a percentage (click at the top to sort/reverse sort) and then what they use individually. If the percentage of an App is particularly high, consider ending the task for the time being by Right-clicking on it and selecting End task for the most Memory-intensive ones—although remember that this will make them temporarily unavailable. Also, be wary of killing Background processes as these may be important.

Another option is to prevent certain apps from loading on start-up, which can speed things up when you switch your computer on. Under the Startup tab in Task Manager your apps should be listed alongside their Start-up impact. Click at the top to sort/reverse sort the column (to show all those with the highest impact), then Right-click and Disable them here.

Note also the Performance tab gives you a live view especially of your CPU and Memory usage, as well as other performance indicators. Just select the item you want to view.

 

Come back for How Do I Make My Windows 10 Computer Run Faster: Part 2 when we’ll be listing even more ways you can optimize the performance of your Windows 10 PC.

The post How Do I Make My Windows 10 Computer Run Faster? (Part 1) appeared first on .

Back to School: Cybersecurity in the Classroom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEF CONtests Highlight Hacker Culture’s Expanding Reach

Scores of contests at the annual DEF CON event reveal hacker culture in its Baroque glory, with tests of social engineering and IoT hacking skills taking center stage. They don’t call it “Hacker Summer Camp” for nothing. Attendees to the Black Hat and DEF CON hacker conferences in Las Vegas this week have a dizzying array of...

Read the whole entry... »

Related Stories

Can Self Driving Cars Be Secured? Car Hacking Duo Isn’t Sure

Can consumer-owned self-driving cars like those being made by Tesla, BMW and Mercedes and others be secured from cyber attack? The hackers who famously commandeered a Jeep Cherokee using software attacks say they aren’t so sure.  Three years after putting the automotive industry on notice with their remote compromise of a Jeep Cherokee,...

Read the whole entry... »

Related Stories

The FBI warns about compromised IoT devices

The FBI is instructing users on how to recognize when their IoT devices have been compromised and advising them on how to keep them secure. “Compromised devices may be difficult to detect but some potential indicators include: a major spike in monthly Internet usage; a larger than usual Internet bill; devices become slow or inoperable; unusual outgoing Domain Name Service queries and outgoing traffic; or home or business Internet connections running slow,” the Bureau shared … More

The post The FBI warns about compromised IoT devices appeared first on Help Net Security.

How to Fix a Mac Stuck on a White Screen

If a plain white screen appears when your Mac starts, then some of its hardware or software may have failed. Follow the steps below to solve the problem.

1. Check your Mac’s hardware systematically.

To find a malfunctioning device attached to your Mac, start by disconnecting everything from it, including peripherals with a Bluetooth or other wireless connection. After you have done that, restart the Mac and see if the white screen reappears. If your Mac starts normally, then you can try reconnecting all of the devices one at a time until you find the one that caused of the problem. Replace that broken device.

If the instructions above did not solve the problem, proceed to the next step.

2. Start your Mac in Safe Mode and clean it up.

To start your Mac in Safe Mode, follow these instructions:

  • Press the power button, and then press and hold the shift key when you hear the start-up chime.
  • Release the shift key when you see the Apple logo and progress bar.
  • Once the Mac has gone into Safe Mode, go to your Applications folder to uninstall the apps that you no longer use, then empty the trash.
  • Restart the Mac.

If the Mac can start up successfully, use Dr. Cleaner to remove junk files (like app logs and caches), unneeded big files, and duplicates. The App Manager feature can completely uninstall any app with no leftover files.

If the instructions above did not solve the problem, proceed to the next step.

3. Reset the PRAM or NVRAM.

Parameter Random-Access Memory (PRAM) and Non-volatile Random-Access Memory (NVRAM) store configuration information about your Mac. To reset the PRAM/NVRAM, follow these instructions:

  • Restart the Mac, then press and hold down the Command + Option + P + R keys when you hear the start-up chime.
  • Continue to hold down the keys mentioned in the previous step until you hear the second start-up chime, then release the keys.
  • Wait for the Mac to finish starting up.

If your Mac has multiple drives, you might need to select a start-up disk after resetting your Mac. If your Mac starts normally, then you can skip the instructions below. However, if you must select a start-up disk:

  • Restart your Mac, then press and hold down the Option
  • In the Startup Manager, use the arrow keys to select the main drive (usually called Macintosh HD), and then press the Return
  • Wait for the Mac to finish starting up.

After your Mac successfully starts, go to System Preferences and adjust any settings that changed.

If the instructions above did not solve the problem, proceed to the next step.

4. Make repairs with the Disk Utility.

A faulty hard drive can cause a white screen to appear. Use the Disk Utility to make repairs by following these instructions:

  • Restart your Mac, then press and hold down the Command  R keys when you hear the start-up chime.
  • Release the keys when you see the Apple logo.
  • When the OS X Utilities menu appears, click Disk Utility and find the drive that you want to repair.
  • Click the First Aid

The Disk Utility will report the status of the drive after it has finished. If it indicates that the drive will soon fail, back up your files and then replace or reformat the faulty drive.

If the instructions above did not solve the problem, proceed to the next step.

5. Reinstall Mac OS X.

You should only try this solution if none of the previous steps have solved the problem. Reinstalling the operating system should fix any corrupted software without deleting your data and files, but you should back them up first if possible. When ready, follow these instructions:

  • Restart the Mac, and then press and hold down the Command R keys when you hear the start-up chime.
  • Release the keys when you see the Apple logo.
  • When the Mac has finished starting up, choose Reinstall OS X from the OS X Utilities menu, then click Continue.
  • Follow the instructions that appear until you finish the process.

Once you have your Mac up and running again, install an optimizer app to keep it healthy. Dr. Cleaner can help prevent this problem from recurring by thoroughly cleaning junk files, removing duplicates, and highlighting large files. It also includes features like App Manager and Deep Uninstall to help remove unwanted apps completely. Dr. Cleaner even lets you monitor the performance of your Mac so you can discover any future problems before they become serious.

The post How to Fix a Mac Stuck on a White Screen appeared first on .

Phishing, Part 2: Staying Safe

As mentioned in Phishing Part 1: On the Lookout, phishing attacks have been around for years, but today’s cybercriminals are adept at using them in an ever-increasing variety of ways to get what they want. According to the most recent FBI figures, phishing and its variants was the third most popular cybercrime type in 2017, representing nearly $30m in victim losses.

The bad guys want your personal information to commit ID theft, or else they need you to click on a malicious link/open a malware-laden attachment to hijack your bank account, lock your PC with ransomware, bombard your screen with ads and more.  So how do you fight back?

The answer lies with a combination of technology and user awareness. There are tools you can use to filter a great volume of phishing attempts, but a few will always sneak through, and it only takes one misplaced click to land yourself in trouble. That’s why the frontline in the war on phishing messages ultimately lies with improved user awareness.

Don’t get caught out

So, what should users look out for? As we’ve seen, phishing messages come in a variety of flavors, but here’s a typical email scam Trend Micro has highlighted in its News Center, in this case purporting to come from the IRS:

Tell-tale signs of a scam:

  • From field: is the ‘sender’s’ email address familiar? Does it look made up? Is it consistent with the purported sender of the email? Does it appear different if you hover over it with your cursor? All of these could indicate a phishing attempt. To field: If the sender addresses you generically as ‘user’ or ‘customer’ or ‘recipients,’ in this case, this should be a warning sign.
  • Date and time: Was it sent at an unusual time; that is, not during normal ‘business’ hours?
  • Subject line: Phishing emails often try to create a sense of urgency to hurry you into making a rash decision. Words like “urgent,” “immediate” and “important” are not uncommon.
  • Body: The content of the message often contains spelling and grammatical mistakes and continues with the sense of urgency to get you to click without thinking.
  • Link/attachment: Phishing emails will try to trick you into clicking on one of these, as with ‘Update Now,’ either to begin a covert malware download or to take you to a legitimate-looking phishing site to fill-in your details.

How do I stay safe?

Bearing the above in mind, here are a few things you can do to avoid being scammed:

  • Learn to recognize all the tell-tale signs of a phishing message. Avoid clicking on any links or opening attachments from unsolicited emails.
  • If you need to double-check, contact the company that supposedly ‘sent’ you the email to see if it’s genuine or not, or go directly to the website (e.g., online banking) to log-in. Again, do not use the links provided to go there.
  • Your default attitude when you’re online should be “suspicious.”
  • To learn more about phishing, you can also go to org. The site provides a wealth of more information on the types of phishing you may encounter, what you can do to prevent being taken-in, and includes further resources for study.

What anti-phishing tools can you use?

As mentioned, security technology is also your friend when it comes to fighting the phishers. Here are some options:

  • Trend Micro’s Fraud Buster is a free tool that you can use to submit suspicious emails and text messages for us to check. Using advanced machine learning systems and Trend Micro’s extensive database, Fraud Buster gives definitive ratings to questionable messages.
  • Trend Micro Security and Mobile Security help to protect users from phishing attacks. They offer protection against spam emails, malicious links and files, ransomware, banking Trojans, coin-mining malware, and much more — all the kinds of threats associated with phishing. In a four-part series previously posted here on Simply Security, we’ve also provided more information on how to customize your settings for enhanced phishing protection in Trend Micro Security.

We’re all exposed to phishing attacks on a near daily basis, whether at work, out and about, or at home. But armed with an understanding of what to look out for and the right tools in place, you can keep your data under lock and key, and your identity and finances safe from harm.

The post Phishing, Part 2: Staying Safe appeared first on .

Phishing, Part 1: On the Lookout

Cybersecurity has gone mainstream, thanks in part to the hacking of the 2016 Presidential election. But how many of us know how the attackers in this case actually achieved their ends? The truth is, that one of the oldest, but most effective weapons in the cybercriminal’s arsenal, undoubtedly used in those attacks, is a threat still facing all of us today: phishing.

Phishing can be the first stage in a sophisticated information-stealing attack on a large organization. But the same techniques are used by cybercriminals the world over to steal your personal information for ID theft and to spread dangerous malware. With this in mind, Trend Micro has put together a handy two-part guide giving you the lowdown on phishing attacks—what they’re designed to do, what they look like, and how you can avoid getting caught by the hoax.

Why do cybercriminals phish?

Phishing is fundamentally a confidence trick. It’s an attempt by hackers to get their hands on your online log-ins, your financial information, or other sensitive details they can use to impersonate you for monetary gain. They do this by persuading you they’re someone else—typically a familiar organization you work with. They might want to steal your bank log-ins, your Apple ID, even your Uber account credentials. ID theft is particularly dangerous, since it can open up a world of credit or purchases for them. Or they might try to trick you into downloading ransomware, crypto-mining software, banking Trojans, adware or even info-stealing malware, to help them generate profits. Phishing represents a potential cornucopia for them, of ill-gotten gain.

How do they phish?

The bad guys have a wealth of techniques at their disposal, but they mostly boil down to one thing: social engineering. Fundamentally, this is the art of persuasion. As mentioned, it could mean spoofing an email to appear as if it came from your bank, asking you to update your details with them. Or perhaps it’s a ‘security alert’ that appears to have been sent by Apple or Microsoft. Or maybe it’s a required software update from Adobe, typically around Adobe Flash. Or it might even be a too-good-to-miss offer or piece of outrageous gossip to click on social media.

It’s all about getting you to click on that malicious link, open that malware-laden attachment, or submit your log-ins and personal details. Sometimes you’re taken to a separate website to submit those details, also spoofed to appear legitimate. The idea is to first target the user, rather than attack the machine directly. That being the case, if you improve your awareness of the characteristics of phishing, you can minimize the effectiveness of the phishers.

Phishing types

Here a few common generic phishing attacks:

  • Email: This is still the primary channel for phishing. More than 85 percent of the online threats Trend Micro blocked last year were emails such as those containing malicious content. But users must also beware of scammers using IM (instant messaging), or SMS (the short message service) on their mobile phones.
  • Social media: This is an increasingly popular channel for phishing, as users tend to be more trusting of posts and messages sent by their ‘friends’. Phishers know this and can hack your friends accounts to increase their chances of success. Malicious URLs can be found in Facebook Live comments, Twitter DMs and LinkedIn InMail. Fake promotions and competitions are also rife on social media, as are messages designed to trick you into clicking on some ‘unbelievable’ content.
  • Gaming: Attackers may look to send you a message spoofed to appear as if sent from an online gaming provider. They often contain extra inducement to click through or provide details, such as by offering a prize or bonus points. Stolen account details are then sold on the black market.
  • Tech support: These warning emails are spoofed to come from popular online providers like PayPal, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, etc. They typically claim to have spotted ‘unusual activity’ on your account and want you to provide more details or to click on a link to sort it out. You might even get an unsolicited email or phone call claiming there’s something wrong with your computer and urging you to pay for tech support to resolve the issue. Sometimes these scammers end up installing remote access software and malware on your machine in the process of ‘cleaning it’.

The scammers are getting smarter

The bad news is that the phishers are refining their tactics all the time. Mobile phishing attacks are increasingly popular as users tend to be distracted and therefore more likely to click through in malicious SMS messages. Phishers are also increasingly likely to use popular events in the news to trick you into clicking, as with a major data breach like Yahoo or Uber, which you may have been caught up in.

Another tactic designed to increase the chances of phishing success is to use to spoof the domains of legitimate sites by using internationalized domain name text. Then too, you need to beware of new “angler” attacks, which typically involve the creation of fake social media profiles resembling brands’ support accounts. Criminals will search for users contacting those companies and hijack the conversation with phishing links.

So what can you do to protect yourself from phishing attacks?

Stay tuned for Phishing, Part 2: Staying Safe, where we’ll brief you on ways to stay safe from phishing attacks.

The post Phishing, Part 1: On the Lookout appeared first on .

McAfee Blogs: Focus on Real Friends This Friendship Day

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

“What are these for?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teach kids to identify fake profiles online:

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

Show kids how to block and report fake profiles:

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

Share digital safety tips:

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

Finally, share this message with your kids.

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

 

The post Focus on Real Friends This Friendship Day appeared first on McAfee Blogs.



McAfee Blogs

Focus on Real Friends This Friendship Day

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

“What are these for?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teach kids to identify fake profiles online:

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

Show kids how to block and report fake profiles:

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

Share digital safety tips:

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

Finally, share this message with your kids.

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

 

The post Focus on Real Friends This Friendship Day appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Expert says: Hack your Smart Home to Secure It

Smart home security starts at home, according to researcher Michael Sverdlin who says that consumers should explore the security of their smart home technology and consider simple modifications or hacks to remove insecure or promiscuous features. Not long ago, Michael Sverdlin, the back-end team leader for IoT security startup Vdoo, bought his...

Read the whole entry... »

Related Stories

Are Fake Apps Taking Over Your Phone?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Are Fake Apps Taking Over Your Phone? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Microsoft offers bug bounties for holes in its identity services

Microsoft is asking security researchers to look for and report technical vulnerabilities affecting its identity services and OpenID standards implementations, and is offering bug bounties that can reach as high as $100,000. “Microsoft has invested heavily in the security and privacy of both our consumer (Microsoft Account) and enterprise (Azure Active Directory) identity solutions. We have strongly invested in the creation, implementation, and improvement of identity-related specifications that foster strong authentication, secure sign-on, sessions, API … More

The post Microsoft offers bug bounties for holes in its identity services appeared first on Help Net Security.

Facebook defends itself against report it allowed hate speech for financial gain

Facebook has denied allegations by a by a U.K. news outlet that it gave preferential treatment to some pages that promote hate speech because of financial interest, saying that creating a safe environment for its users remains a top priority. The social media giant Tuesday defended itself against a TV report on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom...

Read the whole entry... »

Related Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaspersky Deems Crypto-jacking the New Ransomware as Crypto-miners up Their Game

Because of its potential to earn hackers millions in a steady stream of cash, Kaspersky Labs has deemed crypto-jacking the new ransomware in a report that arrived  just as researchers spotted two new types of malware targeting the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies. In its report released last Wednesday, Kaspersky declared that crypto-mining...

Read the whole entry... »

Related Stories

Summer Vacation Plans? Be Safe When Connecting!

Tips to Protect Yourself While Traveling

Summer travel should be a respite from work, when you relax and don’t have to worry about business. And your mobile devices can help make it easier, whether it’s booking a flight or a hotel room, ordering a cab or an Uber driver, browsing websites for your next destination, connecting to family via voice or messaging, even purchasing items in a checkout line or withdrawing cash from an ATM.

That said, all this digital convenience comes at a certain price of vigilance: there are more ways than ever to be exposed to threats on your mobile devices, to have your data, money, or identity stolen. These threats usually arrive by way of your networking options, when emailing, messaging, browsing, or using particular apps and online accounts. Wi-Fi leads the way, followed by near-field communication (NFC) and even Bluetooth (in certain circumstances). But even a simple QR scan on your smartphone or insertion of a USB stick into your laptop can open you up to unexpected threats.

Just when, where, and how do travelers need to be cautious? And how can you protect yourself from networking threats that can turn your vacation into a nightmare?

Wi-Fi Safety Measures

Wi-Fi is your main avenue for online connections. Wi-Fi hotspots are everywhere today, in airport terminals or on the shuttle bus, in restaurants and in sidewalk cafes, in your hotel room or out in the mall. How do you safely connect to Wi-Fi?

  • For starters, make sure your phone or tablet has a current, updated OS before you leave home, with the latest security patches. This minimizes the vulnerability of your mobile device.
  • Turn off auto-connect to the nearest available Wi-Fi hotspot, such as the town or plaza’s unsecured router. When you’re travelling to new places, retain the option to decide just where and when you want to connect.
  • Before you connect to public Wi-Fi, turn off automatic file sharing/sync. You don’t want your precious files intercepted.
  • Watch out for copycat/evil twin Wi-Fi hotspots that look like legitimate ones. Check the URL for odd changes to the expected format/syntax, possibly indicating a spoofed malicious website. Check commerce or banking URLs for the green Secure lock and the https:// designation before you conduct transactions.
  • Don’t be lulled by the Wi-Fi available in your cozy hotel room. Password-protected, even paid Wi-Fi, is not necessarily properly encrypted, as set up by the hotel technician. WEP encryption, the first security option in Wi-Fi routers, is relatively weak and easy for hackers to break into.
  • If Wi-Fi isn’t available, don’t use your smartphone’s Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot in a public place, to prevent unwanted users or hackers from accessing it. If you do turn it on (in a safer place), increase your security by changing the default SSID (or hiding it), using a strong randomized password, and enabling WPA2 encryption, not WEP, which is easier to hack, as noted above. Note that you’ll need a mobile service and data plan that supports your Portable Wi-FI Hotspot and the higher data usage.
  • Use a VPN app to secure your connection to public Wi-Fi. This encrypts your data, so it can’t be read by a “man-in-the-middle.” Conversely, if you don’t have VPN app, don’t log onto log onto a sensitive or financial site with your ID and password, particularly in places where people congregate. You don’t want your credentials stolen by that plain-looking hacker sitting quietly behind his laptop in the corner of the room!
  • Use browser protection to block bad URLs while browsing and to protect your device from drive-by downloads.
  • Use a password manager to access your personal accounts. This ensures your ID and password is encrypted, while enforcing the use of strong, unique passwords. Personal accounts should be set up beforehand with two-factor authentication, where your smartphone is sent the code for access.
  • To be super-safe, encrypt the data on your mobile device’s main disk and/or SD card, though check beforehand which countries ban such software to enter the country.
  • Install security software on your mobile device, if you haven’t already. This not only protects your mobile device from fake apps and viruses while on the move, it typically lets you remotely lock or wipe it of personal data should it be lost or stolen.
  • Heed all the relevant tips above for your laptop too.

USB, QR Code, Near-Field Communication (NFC), and Bluetooth Safety Measures

While Wi-Fi is the most likely vector for threats while traveling, a few more “connected” scenarios are sources for possible attacks:

  • Whenever possible, use your own charging equipment to recharge your mobile device. Public charging spots may be tampered with for “juice-jacking,” where malware can be installed on your device via USB, to copy all your data covertly. And don’t insert USB sticks in your laptop from “friendly” strangers, to share photos or files and such. The USB stick may be infected with viruses or data-stealing malware.
  • Be cautious when scanning QR codes, whether they’re on flyers stuck on your rental car in the parking lot, stickers pasted over legitimate product ads, or QR-enabled display cards for purchasing anything in a convenience store. Malicious QR codes can take you to malicious websites, which download viruses or malware on your device.
  • Don’t put your NFC-enabled Android smartphone (for use with Android Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay, etc.) in a pocket that could be “bumped” in a crowded public space by a hacker with an NFC-enabled phone or a snooping device, which can install viruses or malware on your phone. Be careful of things like posters that sport unprotected NFC chips (for example, for movie previews and the like). Exposed chips can be pasted-over with spoofed, malicious chips. Check to make sure the NFC-enabled ATM hasn’t been tampered with when you’re using it to extract money from your bank account.
  • For the super-cautious: Turn off Bluetooth in public spaces, unless you’re using it to connect to your keyboard, mouse, or smartwatch, etc. Bluetooth snoopers can potentially access your device to control it or to download malware (a rare occurrence, it’s true, but possible). Turning off Bluetooth also helps save battery life.

Mobile Security While on the Road

Fortunately, Trend Micro provides a bevy of free and paid apps that can help you stay secure while traveling.

Free:

  • Trend Micro Zero Brower on iOS provides web-threat and virus protection when browsing.
  • Trend Micro QR Scanner for Android ensures secure QR code scanning, so you can’t be taken to a malicious website by a bad QR code.
  • Trend Micro Password Manager on Android and iOS (free versions) provide encrypted logins with strong passwords for five online accounts.

Paid:

o Android – Provides a Wi-Fi Checker, protects your browser from web threats, scans apps before they’re downloaded from Google Play, and provides  antimalware, antivirus protections using real-time and manual scans. Parental and App Controls let parents protect kids at home or traveling from inappropriate websites or prohibited applications. You also get Lost Device Protection, to lock or wipe your device if its lost or stolen.

o iOS – Also provides a Wi-Fi Checker, a SafeSurfing browser, a Secure QR Code Scanner, a Content Shield (with a Firewall, Website Filter, and Parental Controls), and Lost Device Protection.

  • Finally, Trend Micro Security for Windows and Mac provides full security across all attack vectors for your PC or Mac laptop. Trend Micro Maximum Security edition provides a Secure Erase and a password-protected file Vault to protect your critical files while traveling. It also lets you install additional protection for up to ten seats, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.

Go to Trend Micro Security Products for Home for more information about Trend Micro’s security products and services for everyday users, including those for mobile devices.

The post Summer Vacation Plans? Be Safe When Connecting! appeared first on .

Are third party apps for you?

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

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

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

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

What are third party apps?

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

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

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

Why are they risky?

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

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

How to check app authenticity?

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

How to disable apps on your device?

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

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

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

Cybersafety tips:

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

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

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

The post Are third party apps for you? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Teens, Gaming and Risk

How Are Your Kids Navigating the Dangers?

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

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

Gaming Is Not All Bad News

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

Parents Concerned About Risks With Gaming

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

What Are Parents Doing To Manage Risks of Online Gaming?

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

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

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

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

How Can We Protect Our Kids While Playing Video Games

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

  • Start Conversations Early

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

  • Be Careful What You Click

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

  • Control How Long They Play

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

  • Avoid Malicious Links

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

  • Be Protected

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

Responsible Gaming Could Actually Prepare Your Child for Their Career

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

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

Take care,

Alex xx

The post Teens, Gaming and Risk appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Play The Game – Tips and Tricks for Safe Online Gaming

This blog was written by Jessica Brookes.

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

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

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

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

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

Be anonymous

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

Careful who you chat to

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

Something phish-y

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

Get protected

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

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

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

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

The post Play The Game – Tips and Tricks for Safe Online Gaming appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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

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

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

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

5 ways to get your Cyberdad act together:

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

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

 

The post Father’s Day Shout Out to All Dads – Time to Wear Your Cyberdad Cape appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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

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

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

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

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

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

How to Win:

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

McAfee Most Dangerous Games #RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions 

How to enter: 

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

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

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

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

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

Eligibility: 

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

Winner Selection:

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

Winner Notification: 

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

Prizes: 

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

General Conditions: 

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

Limitations of Liability; Releases:

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

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

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

Prize Forfeiture:

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

Dispute Resolution:

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

Governing Law & Disputes:

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

Privacy Policy: 

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

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

The post Don’t Play Games With Your Cybersecurity: #RT2Win a Respawn-Worthy Prize appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Internet Safety Month: 5 Tips to Keep You Secure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Ways to Boost Family Safety Online 

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

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

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

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

toni page birdsong

 

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

The post #CyberAware: 4 Actionable Steps to Boost Your Family’s Safety Online appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

What the Mobile-Born Mean for IoT and Cybersecurity

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

Social Media

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

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

Passwords

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

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

Public Wi-Fi

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

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

Educating the Next Generation

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

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

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

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

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

Send Your Kids Back to School with Cybersecurity Knowledge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Send Your Kids Back to School with Cybersecurity Knowledge appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep it legit

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

Get what you pay for

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

Going public

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

Don’t even think about it

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

Still thinking about it aren’t you?

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

Stay Protected

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

The post Streamin’ in the Sun – Your Essential Checklist for Safely Watching this Summer’s Biggest Events Online appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Privacy Awareness Week-Are We Responsible for Our Data Breach?

“The best match for me,” announced my daughter one Sunday morning sometime back, “is a Scorpio.”

“Oh really? And this piece of vital information no doubt came from Linda Goodman?” I queried, giving her a been-there-done-that look.

“Why read when there are multiple sites online that can predict the perfect match for you? You need to share your name, date of birth and place of birth and voila, the dream match is revealed!”

“Name, date of birth…hmm. What else do you share?”

“Sometimes they ask about likes and preferences and favourite colour/animal/food etc. to get a better idea of your personality so that they can get a near-perfect match.”

Not just children but adults too enjoy such online quizzes, sharing personal data to know their perfect match or personality or the movie heroine they resemble or, a new one…’how and when will you die’. Cyber crooks know just how to trap us naïve digital citizens- through non-toxic -looking quizzes, free gift offers. Thus we end up sharing a lot of personal data when we log into e-commerce, gaming or health websites etc. They make us willingly offer the data they need. If the site is breached, this data becomes available to 3rd parties.

Identity Theft’; ‘Privacy Breach’; ‘Data Mining’; ‘Ransomware’ are some of the terms that are regularly making headlines now. We are aware that there are unsavory online characters who are continually finding ways to dig deeper and get their hands on our important information. The latest McAfee global study titled ‘New Security Priorities in An Increasingly Connected World’ shows that people are becoming more aware, with 79 per cent Indians saying their concern about online security has increased compared to 5 years ago.

Our awareness levels are high, but is it reflecting in our online behaviour?

Unprotected devices can get hacked, leading to possible loss of family photos, saved passwords and/or important mails and documents. How do we protect and keep private what’s ours?

By being proactive about protecting our privacy.

We need to take ownership of our digital life and plug all possible gaps. This privacy week get the entire family to sit down together to discuss privacy norms, breaches and security tips. Let children share their latest knowledge and parents share their concerns and problems. Lay down privacy do’s and don’ts for the whole family to follow.

Some of the points that you will need to discuss and work on:

  • Device Security: All family devices should have running security software. GPS and Bluetooth need to be turned off when not in use. The default passwords of all devices should be changed. All connected devices should be password-protected.
  • Data Security: Do not store important data like passwords on devices. Regularly back up data, preferably on an external drive. Erase data with the help of tools before disposing off old gadgets. Remove temp files and cookies. Consider using ad blockers.
  • Review your content: Check whether you are inadvertently sharing any personal information. Use strong passphrases for accounts. Avoid participating in quizzes/personality tests that ask for a lot of information. Assess permission required before installing apps. Remove apps that are no more used and revoke permissions, where needed.
  • Social media checks: Think before you post. Review privacy settings of each user and read site privacy policies. Also, review profile pic and bios. Refresh knowledge of social media do’s and don’ts.

Let the family data security mantra be- ‘My data, my responsibility.’ We can’t blame the service providers if we willingly share our data with 3rd party apps. So, it’s our duty, as responsible digital citizens, to be mindful of our online activities and secure our privacy.

Last but not the least, install all updates your OS sends and use branded comprehensive security solutions for all smartphones and other internet-enabled

The post Privacy Awareness Week-Are We Responsible for Our Data Breach? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Get Your Online Privacy Under Control

Online privacy: too often managing this aspect of our digital lives gets shuffled to the bottom of our ‘to-do’ lists. The recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica drama made many of us rethink what private information we are sharing online. But many of us just don’t know what to do to fix it.

This week is Privacy Awareness Week – a great opportunity to check-in and see how we can do better. A recent survey conducted by McAfee shows that most Aussies (54%) are more concerned about their online privacy than five years ago. This is encouraging! However, a whopping 83% of us do not believe that protecting our internet-connected devices is essential to managing our privacy online. Oh dear!! ☹

The survey also showed that 23% of Aussies do not change default passwords when we purchase new devices and that only 35% of us know how to properly check if our connected home appliances or devices are secured. Clearly we still have work to do, people! We have a disconnect on our hands. Most of us realise we need to do something to manage our privacy but don’t realise that protecting our devices is a big part of the solution. You can’t have one without the other!!!

Online Privacy Made Easier

So, I’m going to make it nice and easy for you. I have compiled a list of the steps you need to take to get your online privacy under control. And yes, it may take you a few hours to get on top of it but it’s so worth it. If your privacy is compromised, your identity can be easily stolen. Which could affect you financially as well as undermine your reputation. Let’s get to it – here’s what you need to do:

 1. Protect Your Devices

  • Use comprehensive security software such as McAfee® Total Protection. You know it will guard you against viruses and threats. But do you realise it will also direct you away from dangerous downloads and risky websites – where privacy can easily come unstuck!
  • McAfee® Total Protection will also protect your smartphone and tablet, and can back up your important files.

 2. Manage Your Passwords

  • Ensure all your online accounts and all your devices have a separate, unique password. Ideally, it should have a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. I love using a nonsensical, crazy sentence.

 3. Think Before You Download Apps

  • Never download apps from unknown sources. They may be designed to mine your personal information. Always read reviews to see if anyone has had a problem and check out the app’s fine print before you download.
  • Review the apps that you have signed up to with Facebook. As you would be aware from the recent Cambridge Analytica situation, Facebook provides some of these apps with user’s private information including name, location, email or even friends list.
    So, please review these apps, people. Not sure where to start? Go to Settings > Apps > Logged in with Facebook and remove anything that doesn’t absolutely need access to your Facebook profile. You will still have to contact the app developer to ensure they have deleted the data they already have gathered on you.

 4. Lock Down Your Home Wi-Fi

  • To prevent hackers accessing your fleet of IoT devices at home (including your virtual assistant or your lighting or security systems), secure your home Wi-Fi with a complex password. All device passwords need to have their default passwords changed as well.
  • McAfee’s Secure Home Platform – available soon on D-Link – can secure devices through your internet router to ensure every internet-connected device in your house is safe. How good is that???

 5. Stay On Top Of Software Updates

  • Check all your devices to ensure your software (operating systems, apps) is up-to-date.
  • Out-of-date software often means there is a security vulnerability that makes it so much easier for a cybercriminal to access your device and online life.
  • Why not schedule updates so this happens automatically?

 6. Be Wary Using Wi-Fi Outside Home Or Work

  • Avoid using public or unsecured Wi-Fi, especially when entering personal information online, as it can leave you open to all sorts of nasty attacks.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) such as McAfee® Safe Connect to encrypt connections and keep your data secure when sharing online.

 7. Multi-Factor Authentication

And don’t forget about your kids! Teaching them the importance of proactively managing their online privacy is essential. As parents, we need to help our kids develop a toolkit of skills and knowledge, so they can prepare themselves for life’s challenges. So please share this with them – you’ll be doing them a big favour.

Alex x

The post Get Your Online Privacy Under Control appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Keep Your Mum Safe This Mother’s Day!

On my first Mother’s Day 21 years ago, I received a pair of gorgeous fluffy pink slippers. Last year – it was a sleek shiny green Fitbit! Technology has absolutely transformed our gift giving and Mother’s Day is no exception.

The rising popularity of internet connected gifts means many lucky mums will receive a glossy new device on Mother’s Day. It may be a digital home assistant, a fitness tracker or even a big new Smart TV. Whatever it is, we must understand the potential risks involved when giving or receiving an internet enabled device. Because we don’t want to put our mums (or our families) at risk.

But don’t let this change your shopping plans! Like anything in life, if you’re prepared you can minimise the risks and avoid getting caught out by cyber threats. So, here is the low-down on threats posed by some of the more popular gifts this Mother’s Day and tips on how to protect against them.

Digital Home Assistants

Regardless of which brand you might choose, a digital assistant can be a massive help for any busy mum.  Whether it reading the kids a bedtime story or a recipe while you cook, or setting timers – it’s the closest thing many mums can get to another set of hands!

However, there are risks associated with these mother’s helpers. If your home assistant is hacked, your personal information could be at risk. Which means your  bank accounts details or your identity could be put at risk. And as the device is ‘always on’, your personal assistant can listen to and record what is being said around your house – a definite privacy issue.

What to Do to Stay Safe

  • Protecting your Home Wi-Fi is an essential step to ensuring your home assistant is secure. Solutions such as McAfee’s Secure Home Platform, available soon on D-Link routers, will secure all your devices that connect to your Home Wi-Fi, including your home assistant. So, you have protection and peace of mind.
  • Always change the manufacturer’s default password when setting up the Wi-Fi and ensure you create a complex, unique one instead. A combination of lower and upper-case letters, numbers and special characters is ideal.
  • Don’t allow your home assistant to store your private information. I also advise against allowing your home assistant to store passwords, credit card data, or any of your contact information.

Fitness Trackers

A wearable fitness tracker might be at the top of your mum’s wish list this Mother’s Day. But there are some surprisingly worrying security risks surrounding the popular gift that she should be aware of.

Researchers have found it is possible to crack PINs and passwords by hacking into the motion sensors to track hand movements. Additional research shows that the encryption offered by wearable fitness tracker manufacturers is quite easily intercepted. This means all your personal data stored on the device can easily be hacked. And while info like your calorie intake and step count many not seem valuable to a hacker, information like where you worked out and how long you were away from home can paint a very valuable picture of who you are!

What to Do to Stay Safe

  • Keep your fitness tracker up-to-date. Just like with any connected device, as soon as software updates become available, download them immediately to prevent cyber criminals from hacking your device.
  • Set up your fitness tracker and any associated online accounts with an obscure user name and unique passwords, that are completely unrelated to any of your other accounts.
  • Read the Privacy Policy of the device or app you are considering buying. Make sure you are comfortable with the company’s commitment to protecting your data.
  • Consider disabling certain features of the fitness tracker if you feel that your privacy many be jeopardised.

Smart TVs

Whilst buying mum a smart TV would certainly make her feel spoilt this Mother’s Day, they can come with a more sinister side. In March 2017, news emerged that it may be possible to hack into smart TVs to spy on users. Since then, several critical vulnerabilities have been found in Vestel firmware, which is used in more than 30 popular TV brands. These vulnerabilities could be easily leveraged to spy on smart TV users through the microphones and cameras.

What to Do to Stay Safe

  • Buy smart TVs with security in mind. When purchasing a smart TV, it’s always important to do your homework and read up on any current vulnerabilities.
  • Secure your home’s internet at the source. Smart TVs, like all connected devices, must connect to a home Wi-Fi network to run. If they’re vulnerable, they could expose your network as a whole. Since it can be challenging to lock down all the IoT devices in a home, again a solution like McAfee Secure Home Platform can provide protection at the router-level.

If you are shopping online for mum, please remember to keep your guard up. Only shop from secure websites where the URL begins with ‘https://’ and a lock icon appears in the address bar. NEVER, EVER shop using unsecured Wi-Fi. It can leave you vulnerable to all sorts of nasty attacks and your private information may be hacked by a third party.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t forget to thank your wonderful mum for everything she has done for you. A handwritten card with a few lines of thanks is extremely powerful!!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Alex xx

 

The post Keep Your Mum Safe This Mother’s Day! appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

You, Your Company, and BYOD: A Love Triangle

BYOD, or bring your own device, has become the new normal in the corporate workplace. But with this convenience comes impending security concerns. Although BYOD costs companies less, mobile devices are often used without proper security measures in place. This makes it difficult for employers to determine how much access employees should receive to company networks. The more access an employee has to company networks, the more opportunities for not only their personal information becoming vulnerable, but company data as well. With BYOD becoming more prevalent in the workplace, it is vital companies and employees understand the perks and security concerns that are associated with BYOD and take necessary steps to ensure personal devices and company information is protected.

BYOD can offer some really great perks: 1) employers spend less on technology and providing devices to employees thus saving the company money and 2) you get to use your own device(s) with which you are already accustomed to. Your company may already allow BYOD in your office, but do you know the associated security risks? They are complicated. Three looming concerns of BYOD that companies and employees should be addressing are accessibility to company data, lost or stolen devices, and overall maintenance. Let’s delve into why these concerns are the most pressing.

  1. Accessibility. The overarching question of BYOD is who gets access to company data on their personal devices, when and where? For example, if you are at a meeting, outside of the office and you are on a limited-access BYOD policy with your employer, you would only be able to access work email and contact but nothing stored on the company servers. If your client asks to see a specific document hosted on your company server during the meeting, you won’t be able to access it because it is sensitive and lives on the private severs. This is where BYOD backfires for the employee.
  2. Lost or stolen devices. A personal device that contains confidential company information poses a huge security threat if it is lost or stolen, and begs the question: who is responsible for retrieving the device and/or data? What is the proper response to this sort of breach? It is your personal device, with both personal and company data, so should it be locked, tracked and retrieved, or completely wiped immediately? There is no clear or correct answer, which is why companies need a clear BYOD policy and culture of security that fits both parties’ needs.
  3. Maintenance and malware. Frequency of device maintenance, software updates and uniformed app downloads can open the door to a slew of security vulnerabilities. Organizations have a hard-enough time implementing their own software across the corporate network, let alone ensuring all employees are adhering to the required software updates from device operating systems and applications. With the breadth of different phones and tablets being used around the globe, it can be nearly impossible to keep track of employees’ security posture on their personal devices.

Without the right security measures in place, there is the possibility of malware being downloaded through sketchy apps or unpatched versions of software, which could be transferred onto corporate servers depending on the employee’s access level. McAfee Labs detected over 16 million mobile malware infestations in the third quarter of 2017 alone, nearly doubling the number one year previously. This uptick in cyberattacks on mobile devices illustrates the importance of comprehensive cybersecurity policies across the board.

So how do you protect yourself when it comes to using your smartphone or tablet for both business and pleasure? Here are a few tips:

  • Practice discretion when alternating between personal and business tasks on your mobile device. Separate the two by using different, verified apps for company and personal uses to maintain safety.
  • Avoid downloading apps from third-party vendors that could make your device prone to malware, and always check permissions of any apps before downloading, particularly those that ask for to access to your device’s data.
  • Regularly update your device to ensure they are equipped with vital patches that protect against flaws and bugs that cybercriminals can exploit.
  • Avoid accessing data-sensitive apps on your device over public Wi-Fi. Cybercriminals could use this as an opportunity to take a look at your mobile data.
  • Keep your personal and work information secure with comprehensive mobile security, such as McAfee® Mobile Security, that will not only scan your device for viruses and threats but also help you identify apps that are accessing too much of your valuable personal information.

McAfee is the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company helping to secure data at all levels, on all devices. We’re helping you stop threats and protect your data wherever it resides, from your fingertips to the skies, enabling you to protect what matters on your digital journey.

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

The post You, Your Company, and BYOD: A Love Triangle appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Trivia Time: Test Your Family’s Password Safety Knowledge

Strong PasswordPasswords have become critical tools for every citizen of the digital world. Passwords stand between your family’s gold mine of personal data and the entirety of the internet. While most of us have a love-hate relationship with passwords, it’s beneficial to remember they do serve a powerful purpose when created and treated with intention.

But asking your kids to up their password game is like asking them to recite the state capitals — booooring! So, during this first week of May as we celebrate World Password Day, add a dash of fun to the mix. Encourage your family to test their knowledge with some Cybersavvy Trivia.

Want to find out what kind of password would take two centuries to crack? Or, discover the #1 trick thieves use to crack your password? Then take the quiz and see which family member genuinely knows how to create an awesome password.

We’ve come a long way in our understanding of what makes a strong password and the many ways nefarious strangers crack our most brilliant ones. We know that unique passwords are the hardest to crack, but we also know that human nature means we lean toward creating passwords that are also easy to remember. So striking a balance between strong and memorable may be the most prudent challenge to issue to your family this year.

Several foundational principles remain when it comes to creating strong passwords. Share them with your family and friends and take some of the worries out of password strength once and for all.

5 Password Power Principles

  1. Unique = power. A strong password includes numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols. The more complicated your password is, the more difficult it will be to crack. Another option is a password that is a Strong Passwordpassphrase only you could know. For instance, look across the room and what do you see? I can see my dog. Only I know her personality; her likes and dislikes. So, a possible password for me might be #BaconDoodle$. You can even throw in a misspelling of your password to increase its strength such as Passwurd4Life. Just be sure to remember your intentional typos if you choose this option.
  2. Diverse = power. Mixing up your passwords for different websites, apps, and accounts can be a hassle to remember but it’s necessary for online security. Try to use different passwords for online accounts so that if one account is compromised, several accounts aren’t put in jeopardy.
  3. Password manager = power. Working in conjunction with our #2 tip, forget about remembering every password for every account. Let a password manager do the hard work for you. A password manager is a tech tool for generating and storing passwords, so you don’t have to. It will also auto-log you onto frequently visited sites.
  4. Private = power. The strongest password is the one that’s kept private. Kids especially like to share passwords as a sign of loyalty between friends. They also share passwords to allow friends to take over their Snapchat streaks if they can’t log on each day. This is an unwise practice that can easily backfire. The most Strong Passwordpowerful password is the one that is kept private.
  5. 2-step verification = power. Use multi-factor (two-step) authentication whenever possible. Multiple login steps can make a huge difference in securing important online accounts. Sometimes the steps can be a password plus a text confirmation or a PIN plus a fingerprint. These steps help keep the bad guys out even if they happen to gain access to your password.

It’s a lot to manage, this digital life but once you’ve got the safety basics down, you can enjoy all the benefits of online life without the worry of your information getting into the wrong hands. So have a fun and stay informed knowing you’ve equipped your family to live their safest online life!

toni page birdsong

 

 

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

The post Trivia Time: Test Your Family’s Password Safety Knowledge appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

World Password Day – Stop Worrying, Start Using A Password Manager

“Open Sesame”!

Most of us have grown up hearing these magic words, the secret password, that know would reveal the treasures of the bandit king to Alibaba in The Arabian Nights.  They also anticipate, with a mixture of fear and thrill, the consequences Cassim (Ali’s brother) would face for forgetting the password.

I can see a parallel to our digital lives. In today’s digital era, almost all online services require a username and a password regardless of it being a paid service or not. We use passwords to protect our personal spaces in the cyber world because they contain a lot of our personal data including contacts, documents, financial details, photos and more. We use a strong password to keep it all nicely locked up but what if we forget this very vital password? We need to create another. Well, that’s fine but what if the key password falls in the wrong hands?

The modern thieves are the cyber criminals who, with their army of malware and bots, spam and phishing messages, are on the lookout for new prey – our passwords. With the expansion of our digital lives, we carry out an increasing number of tasks online because of which, we are now owners of several passwords. What if a cybercriminal gets access to them?

The recent spate of the Facebook privacy issues, has shown the importance of being vigilant about our online account security. Just a password may not offer sufficient security unfortunately as cybercriminals have very advanced domain knowledge. So, we additionally use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to strengthen our account security. But it has left us with the added hassle of creating strong but unique passwords, remembering them and then changing them periodically. We wonder- isn’t there an easier way- something that will allow us to stay safe without having to memorize, or jot down the different passwords?

On the occasion of World Password Day, which falls on May 3rd this year, let me tell you how you can make your digital world hassle-free and yet safer – switch to a password manager.

What’s a password manager and why do we need it?

In simple terms, a password manager stores all your User IDs and passwords, enabling you to log into different websites automatically. As passwords are randomly generated and encrypted, they are safe from hackers and you need to only remember your master password.

Here are some facts that will surely convince you why you need a password manager:

  • Forget the hassle of remembering separate passwords– Now all you have to do is just remember the master password and the Password Manager will remember all your login details and passwords for you
  • Enhanced safety with MFA – You can choose multiple factors including your biometrics and another device to access your account.
  • Generate random passwords that are difficult to guess– No more pulling out hair over creating new passwords- the Password Manager will take care of this task for you.
  • Simple to login and operate several accounts- The whole process of login becomes simple as you need to login to your device using your master password and MFA and the Password Manager will automatically fill in details when you enter a URL or click on the website logo.

Have you started using a Password Manager? Would love to hear how this has benefitted you. Keep writing to me and sharing your tips and concerns. Together we can make the digital world much safer.

Happy World Password Day to you!

The post World Password Day – Stop Worrying, Start Using A Password Manager appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Security Calling: Celebrate National Telephone Day by Securing Your Mobile Devices

April 25 – otherwise known as National Telephone Day – rolls around once a year to remind us of the sheer technologic prowess and influence of the phone. What first started as an industrial revolution invention from Alexander Graham Bell, the phone has undergone quite a remarkable evolution over its nearly 150 years of existence. When people say the word ‘phone’ today, the device they’re talking about is widely different. The phone of the past has become the gateway into our digital identities and now holds the keys to all the connected things in our homes. As dependency on our mobile devices continues to grow, potential cyberthreats and need for mobile security does as well.

Consumers have been quick to adopt mobile phones, more so than at any point in the telephone’s storied history. It’s estimated that 95% of Americans own a cell phone today. This goes to show that the phone has not only become an instrumental device in today’s society, but it also speaks to how it has evolved beyond its initial capabilities to serve as a device that contains our digital persona. A phone is no longer a convenient piece of equipment but a fundamental element of many people’s lifestyles, so much so that many can’t even unplug while on vacation—only 27% say they’re unwilling to leave their smartphones at home when on vacation. As today’s world becomes more digital and interconnected, our mobile phones are at the heart of this transformation.

Of course, with any device that contains this much power and influence, the mobile phone has also become the target of cybercriminals and hackers, making mobile security a cause for much concern. McAfee Labs detected over 16 million mobile malware infestations in the third quarter of 2017, and new threats continue to emerge around the world, most of which target a consumer’s money. However, according to a recent CES Survey, 52% of respondents are either unsure of or have no idea how to check to see if their mobile devices and apps are secure against these kinds of threats—which is worrisome considering these latest mobile trends:

  • More targeted attacks – Following the money, a global spike in banking Trojans has occurred, targeting large multinationals and small regional banks.
  • Virtual bank robberies – With the growing interest in cryptocurrencies, cybercriminals are attempting virtual bank robberies by distributing fake mobile wallets and targeting the cryptocurrency industry.
  • States using malware – North Korean dissidents and journalists using the popular South Korean chat app KakaoTalk were recently targeted in a State-instigated malware attack, with the aim of implanting spyware on the victim’s device.
  • Persistent threats – The increasing proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are significantly heightening the threat landscape, increasing the number of possible points of attack.

In order to feel safe and secure when you shout “Call me, maybe!”, take some time out of whatever festivities you may have planned for National Telephone Day to consider these tips on how to keep your mobile phones and devices secure:

  • Update regularly – Regularly updating your devices helps ensure they are armed with critical patches that protect against bugs or flaws in their operating systems that cybercriminals can leverage. Though it’s very tempting to skip out on these updates, taking a few minutes to download them means you aren’t recklessly leaving your devices open for hackers. This also applies to apps on your phone as well.
  • Use a complex password – A complex password is a secure password, so there’s no excuse to skate by with your own birthdate or a “1234” code for your mobile devices anymore. It’s good practice to have distinct passwords for every device, even though it’s a bit more burdensome on you. Still, choosing a safe and secure password is always the priority. Be sure to throw in a mix of numbers and symbols to avoid making it easy for potential hackers.
  • Turn off geolocation – When it comes to geolocation or sharing your location with apps and other services on your phone, approach with caution. It’s a good rule of thumb to only activate geolocation permissions when it’s crucial for an app’s ability to work (i.e. Uber, Google Maps, etc.). Otherwise, hackers can start to uncover your exact whereabouts and understand your movement patterns.
  • Use security software – Finally, I can’t stress enough how important it is to use comprehensive security software to protect your mobile phones and devices from the inside out.

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

The post Security Calling: Celebrate National Telephone Day by Securing Your Mobile Devices appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Teen Gaming, Cybersecurity Specialist Training

Many of us parents have a love/hate relationship with teen gaming. While it seems to cast a spell over many kids and lure them into a trance, gaming does provide some quite welcome ‘time-out’ for all family members! But I can honestly say that in my household, disputes over allocated ‘Xbox’ time would be by far the most common variety. And they can drive me insane!!

Now new research from McAfee may just get me rethinking my often negative attitude to gaming. The Winning The Game report investigates the key challenges facing the IT Security industry in the ongoing fight against cyber threats. Just under 1000 cybersecurity managers across the US, UK, Germany, Singapore, Australia and Japan took part in the research which found that gamers may play a very big role in keeping cybercriminals at bay!

Click to view Winning the Game report

The Cybersecurity Skills Shortage

Worldwide the cybersecurity industry currently has a zero-percent unemployment rate. Many experts predict that this will remain the case until at least 2021. While this is great if you are job hunting, it isn’t great news for Government departments, corporations and businesses. The increasing number of cyberattacks means these organisations are struggling to find cybersecurity professionals to help deal with these threats. Which is ultimately putting a lot of us at risk.

In addition to the skills shortage, many IT professionals believe cybersecurity defences are under unprecedented levels of attack. With malware, ransomware, sophisticated advanced threats and modes of attack, many professionals see the cyberthreat landscape as more complex than ever. Nearly half of the cybersecurity professionals who participated  in the survey expressed concern that they will find it difficult or impossible to keep up with the increase and/or complexity of threats over the next year.

So, amid these constantly evolving cyberthreats the pressure is on to find a solution to the skills crisis.

Gamers Could Be the Answer

Well apparently the long list of skills gamers acquire while learning their craft are precisely those required by cybersecurity professionals. Whether it’s cracking systems, avoiding counter attacks or deciphering codes, these talents are very easily transferrable to a security professional role.

Many of us parents might struggle to believe that the hours our teens have spent playing games could in fact have set them up for a career in cybersecurity. But the skills learnt during these ‘training’ hours – including understanding how to approach adversaries, perseverance and logic – are exactly what sets gamers apart ‘from the pack’. The statistics from the report confirm that.

  • Almost all respondents to the survey (92%) believe that gamers possess skills that make them well-suited to a career in cybersecurity. Further, they provide a fresh outlook compared to traditional cybersecurity hires.
  • 72% of respondents agreed that hiring experienced video gamers into their IT departments is a good way of plugging the cybersecurity skills gap.
  • 75% of respondents said they would consider hiring gamers even if they had no prior cybersecurity experience or training.

It’s clearly time to change our perspective, parents!

Everything in Moderation, Kids!

Whether you decide to share this information with your offspring or not, this research is clearly compelling. However, don’t think for a minute that I am suggesting a 24/7 game fest. No, no, no! Time limits, input into/supervision of game purchases and respectful online gaming behaviour still apply!

And please keep an eye out for any signs of addiction. We all know how children’s mood and behaviour can change after lengthy periods in front of a screen. But if you think your child’s interest has gone beyond enthusiasm and that there may be an issue, work through this checklist for gaming addiction. If required, please seek professional help.

Where to From Here?

In my house, nothing will change. There will still be no gaming Monday to Friday, and pre-agreed time limits will still apply. And I’m just wondering how long I can keep this information away from my four boys? Because as soon as they find out, I will be accused of ruining their prospective cybersecurity careers with my strict regime! How dare I!

Take care,

Alex x

 

The post Teen Gaming, Cybersecurity Specialist Training appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Kick Off Your Digital Spring Cleaning Efforts During World Backup Day

As spring blossoms into full-force, millions of people will start to shed the heavy baggage and gear that kept them warm during winter by partaking in a tried and true practice: spring cleaning. While whipping yourself into a cleaning frenzy around your home, take a moment to extend your spring cleaning efforts into your digital environments as well. And there’s no better time to kick off a digital spring cleaning than during World Backup Day.

What exactly is World Backup Day? I’m glad you asked.

In today’s day and age, data is basically digital gold. It’s imperative to ensure your information is organized and backed up—not just for peace-of-mind, but to protect yourself against potential malware and ransomware threats. Still, a large number of people have never backed up their files, leaving themselves vulnerable to losing everything. In fact, this has become such a systemic problem that a whole day has been devoted to reversing this trend: World Backup Day. One of the main goals of the World Backup Day initiative is to reach people who have never backed their data up or people who aren’t even aware that data backups are a thing, let alone a crucial security measure.

For those who may not know, a backup is a second copy of all your important files and information, everything from photos and documents to emails and passwords. Storing all of that data in one place, like a personal computer or smartphone, is a woefully unsafe practice. Creating another copy of that data through a backup will ensure that it’s stored and kept safe somewhere else should catastrophe befall your personal mobile devices, or if they’re lost or stolen.

Data loss isn’t something that only happens to huge conglomerates or to unsuspecting victims in spy movies. Every individual is susceptible to data loss or theft, and backing up that data is an easy, relatively painless step to protect all of your personal information and prevent pesky hackers from truly swiping your stuff.

Think about it—if you’re targeted by a nasty piece of ransomware but have successfully performed a data backup, there’s absolutely no need for you to pay the ransom because you have a second, secure copy of all that data. It’s a simple preventative measure that can pay off big time should worse come to worst. Even the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, dedicated to increase awareness around cybersecurity and provide information to help digital citizens protect against malware, lists regular data backups as an important security action to safeguard yourself against cybercrime.

There are two main approaches to backing up your data: either in the cloud or on an external hard drive. A cloud-based backup solution is great for people who don’t want to actively back up their devices and data or worry about the space constraints that come with most external hard drives. Simply subscribing to one of these cloud solutions will do the trick—your device’s files and data will automatically be backed up and protected without you having to lift more than a finger. Cloud-based services typically come with a monthly fee, and you’ll need a good internet connection to access them. If your connection is wonky or the site is undergoing maintenance, it can be difficult to access your backed-up data.

With an external hard drive, you can manually back up all your data and files yourself onto a physical device that you have access to anytime, anywhere. These drives are extremely reliable and a great way to achieve data redundancy. An external hard drive doesn’t hinge on internet access like cloud-based services and is an easy fix when transferring data to a new device. However, using external hard drives requires a more hands-on approach when it comes to actually backing up your data. The responsibility falls upon you to regularly perform these backups yourself. Storage space can also pose a problem. Look for an external drive with at least a terabyte of space to accommodate all of your data, which tends to accumulate quickly.

Here are some other digital spring cleaning tips to consider this World Backup Day:

  • Play it extra safe and go both routes for a thorough backup by using an external drive and subscribing to a cloud-based solution. After all, it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to your personal data.
  • Back up data from your mobile devices onto a central laptop or personal computer for an added layer of security and protection. Then work on backing up these devices with one (or both) of the methods laid out above.
  • Have at least one backup of your initial backup as a fail-safe measure.
  • Test your ability to restore data from backups regularly to ensure your backups have been performed correctly and that they haven’t been compromised.
  • Back up your data with a process and system that’s simple and works best for you—there’s no need to over complicate it!

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

The post Kick Off Your Digital Spring Cleaning Efforts During World Backup Day appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

#DeleteFacebook: Do You Really Need To?

Is it time to #deleteFacebook? Facebook’s long line of dramas has many of us rethinking our dependence on Mark Zuckerberg’s largest social media platform. While many of us were alarmed at the fake news allegations last year, the recent scandal with Cambridge Analytica has us genuinely spooked and now asking ourselves this question.

The fact that Facebook allowed British data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica to tap the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their knowledge has many of us questioning both our – and our children’s – relationship with the social media platform. How compromised is our privacy? What’s really happening with our data? Is our every online move really being monitored?

The immediate reaction of many is to delete their Facebook accounts and insist their kids do the same. When news broke of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the #deleteFacebook hashtag trended heavily on Twitter. Many high profile tech types deleted their personal and business Facebook accounts and, consequently, drove the Twittersphere into a frenzy.

To #DeleteFacebook Or Not To #DeleteFacebook?

But many of us can’t really afford to be idealists. Some of us run online businesses and rely heavily on Facebook. Others use Facebook for our jobs. Many of us (and our kids) use Facebook to run our social lives – organise events and parties, remember birthdays and stay in touch with friends and family across the world. And for nearly all of us, it is our digital scrapbook that preserves our important life events, shared moments and memories. In short, we would be lost without it.

While the black and white idealist in me absolutely agrees that we should delete Facebook, the realist in me acknowledges that life is often lived in the shades of grey. Facebook has spent more than a decade making itself a deeply entrenched part of our modern society. Saying farewell to this part of your life is a decision that I believe many of us would find almost impossible to make.

So, while deleting Facebook from your online life is the most drastic way of protecting your data, there are steps you can take to keep your account more secure and your personal information more private. Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Set up new logins for each app you are using.

    Setting up a new login and password for each app you’re using is a great way to protect yourself and your data online. Login may take fractionally longer but it will help ensure your data is not shared between different services.

  2. Review your third party apps – the ones you joined using Facebook.

    Facebook has made it just so easy for us to download apps using our Facebook settings that many of us have acquired quite the collection of apps. The problem is that Facebook provides these apps with our data including our name, location, email or even our friends list. So, review these apps, people! Not sure where to start? Go to Settings > Apps > Logged in with Facebook and remove anything that doesn’t absolutely need access to your Facebook profile. You will still have to contact the app developer to ensure they have deleted the data they already have gathered on you. Tedious but worth it!

  3. Don’t overshare on social media.

    Oversharing online gets many of us including our kids into trouble and allows cybercriminals and ‘data analysis types’ the ability to form an accurate picture of us very quickly! Being conscious of what is publicly available from your social media profiles is essential. Ensure every member of the family knows to NEVER share their telephone number, address or details of their school online. Also rethink whether you really want your relationship status made public, or the city of your birth.

  4. Cull your Friends list.

    The Cambridge Analytica scandal should provide us all with a reality check about how we manage online friends. In 2015, an app entitled ‘this is your digital life’ was developed by Cambridge Professor Dr Aleksandr Kogan and then downloaded by 270,000 users. Those who opted in allowed the app access to their information – including their friends – which then gave Kogan access to the data of over 50 million Facebook users. Facebook have reportedly since changed their terms of service and claim app developers can no longer access this detail, or at least, not at the same level of detail. So, go through your friend list and delete those you barely know or who were just passing acquaintances. Do you really want to share your personal or family updates with these people?

  5. Choose a different social media platform to connect to apps.

    If an app lets you choose which account you use to login, pick one which holds limited data about its users. Twitter could be a good choice as it tends to hold less personal information about you.

And while I salute those who are bold enough to #deleteFacebook and insist their kids do so, I know that it isn’t for me. I choose to stay. I’ll navigate my way around the risks and flaws, so I can enjoy the upside – belonging to my community, keeping my job and adding to my digital scrapbook.

Till next time,

Alex x

The post #DeleteFacebook: Do You Really Need To? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Indians Are Increasingly Realising Nothing Said Online Is Private

The world is becoming increasingly connected- with locks for you home controlled on your smartphone; CCTV cameras in every room that allow you to keep tabs on your home when you are out; smartphones that help you work, run and plan activities; smart TVs that allow you to connect to the internet; smart refrigerators that take stock of your grocery and place orders with the supermarket; games that can keep you glued to your screen for hours- the list is ever growing.

We all enjoy this connected lifestyle, it has made the world a global village and daily chores so much easier and faster. But there are some caveats attached. We tend to forget that in the virtual world, your safety and privacy depends a lot on you and the precautions you take. Else you end up sharing Too Much Information about yourself and your family, making you a likely candidate for ID theft and phishing.

This is exactly what a new global McAfee survey titled New Security Priorities in An Increasingly Connected World demonstrates – we are putting more personal information into the digital realm in today’s connected world. The study also reveals a disparity in concerns as Indians do not view safeguarding their connected devices (25%) as equally important as safeguarding their identity (45%) and privacy (39%).

On a positive note, 39% of Indians rank security as the most important factor when purchasing a connected home device. That’s more than one-third of the total respondents. In addition (this one is my particular favorite), 71% of the parents would be interested in a monitoring tool to supervise their kids online.

Other India-centric salient findings of the study:

  • 79% of the Indians indicate that their concern about online security has increased compared to 5 years ago. Forty-five percent rank protection of identity as top priority.
  • 39% rank security as the most important factor when purchasing a connected home device.

But though users are aware of the pitfalls of sharing too much information, they are not as proactive about their online security as they should be. The survey highlights the need for more hands-on involvement on the part of the consumer. Not only should they need to take advantage of security tools, but they also need to act responsibly online.

Do you know that if you could somehow collect all the data shared by you over the years, you might be surprised at how much you have let slip unknowingly, including facts like whether you prefer coffee to tea? A simple search or a like on a post can also reveal a lot about you and your taste and character. Worried? The thing to do is to take steps to stay safe online.

Tips to stay safe online and protect what matters most:

  • Do the little things.Cybercriminals don’t have to be great at what they do to steal your personal information. Minor tactics like changing default passwords and using a unique password can go a long way to prevent your personal information from being stolen. A password manager can help you create strong passwords and eliminate the need to remember your passwords.
  • Research before you buy.Look up products and the manufacturer before you buy internet-enabled devices. If you find a manufacturer isn’t taking security seriously, then it’s best to avoid.
  • Use identity theft protection. Consider getting an identity theft protection service to monitor use of your personally identifying information, provide insurance against financial losses and recovery tools in the event of ID theft or fraud.
  • Keep devices up to date. Update device and application software when it becomes available from the manufacturer. Many new versions of software or operating systems contain specific security updates designed to protect the user.
  • Review your account info. Regular reviews of online bank and credit account transactions can help you spot suspicious activities or purchases. If you see something suspicious report it to your financial institution and law enforcement.
  • Re-check your privacy settings. Its always important to do a quick check on privacy settings and alter them timely so that your personal data is safe and only in the hands of the few people you trust.

In an ever-changing digital world that is continually fuelled by speed, developments and complexities, your security is your responsibility too. Own your digital presence and make your digital realm a secure one.

Happy surfing!

The post Indians Are Increasingly Realising Nothing Said Online Is Private appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

McAfee Safe Connect, Two Gold Award Winners of 2018 Info Security PG’s Global Excellence Awards®

On February 28th, Info Security Products Guide Global Excellence Awards presented their 2018 award winners. We are humbled to have received two golds in the Product or Service Excellence of the Year — Security Information and Website & Web Application Security for McAfee Safe Connect.

Product Overview:

McAfee Safe Connect is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that helps users create secure online connections while using the internet.  Doing so helps our customers minimize their individual security risks and helps keep their data private – especially when connecting to a public or open Wi-Fi network. Unlike home Wi-Fi, many public Wi-Fi networks (commonly offered at cafés, airports and hotels) aren’t password-protected and don’t encrypt the user data being transmitted through. Therefore, when you connect to a hotspot, your online activities from your social media activity to your online purchase history and even your bank account credentials may be wide open to hackers. With McAfee Safe Connect, you can rest assured that your information and online activities are encrypted.

McAfee has a proven record of providing security for consumers in the digital age. To address growing concerns over Wi-Fi security, we created an award-winning VPN that would keep users’ personal information secure from online threats and unsecure networks.

McAfee Safe Connect has over 1 million downloads across Google Play and the App Store with an impressive 4.3-star rating. It is available in over 20 languages to users worldwide.

Tech behemoth Samsung also chose McAfee Safe Connect VPN for their Galaxy Note 8 – Secure Wi-Fi feature and expanded collaboration with its newly announced Galaxy S9 Smartphones.

About Info Security PG’s Global Excellence Awards

Info Security Products Guide sponsors the Global Excellence Awards and plays a vital role in keeping individuals informed of the choices they can make when it comes to protecting their digital resources and assets. The guide is written expressly for those who wish to stay informed about recent security threats and the preventive measure they can take. You will discover a wealth of information in this guide including tomorrow’s technology today, best deployment scenarios, people and technologies shaping cyber security and industry predictions & directions that facilitate in making the most pertinent security decisions. Visit www.infosecurityproductsguide.com for the complete list of winners.

We are proud of recognition given to McAfee Safe Connect, which aims to safeguard every Internet user’s online privacy. Please check out our award-winning Wi-Fi Privacy VPN product: McAfee Safe Connect.

Interested in learning more about McAfee Safe Connect and mobile security tips and trends? Follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The post McAfee Safe Connect, Two Gold Award Winners of 2018 Info Security PG’s Global Excellence Awards® appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

McAfee Safe Connect RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

Just a few weeks back, Info Security Products Guide awarded McAfee Safe Connect with two Gold-Level Global Excellence Awards for Product or Service Excellence of the YearSecurity Information and Website & Web Application Security!

To celebrate, we’re treating you to a #RT2Win Sweepstakes on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle. Ten [10] lucky winners of the Sweepstakes drawing will receive a one-year free subscription of McAfee Safe Connect to provide security and privacy across your PC, iOS, and Android devices when connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots and private networks.

All you have to do is simply retweet one of our contest tweets between March 26, 2018 – April 17, 2018 for your chance to win. Sweepstake tweets will include “#McAfeeSafeConnect, #RT2Win, and #Sweepstakes”. Terms and conditions below.

#McAfeeSafeConnect #RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

  • To enter, go to https://twitter.com/McAfee_Home, and find the #RT2Win sweepstakes tweet.
  • The sweepstakes tweet will be released on Monday, March 26. This tweet will include the hashtags: #McAfeeSafeConnect, #RT2Win, and #Sweepstakes.
  • Retweet the sweepstakes tweet released on the above date, from your own handle. The #McAfeeSafeConnect AND #RT2Win hashtags must be included to be entered.
  • Winners will be notified on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 via Twitter direct message.
  • Limit one entry per person.

How to Win:

Retweet one of our contest tweets on @McAfee_Home that include “#RT2Win, #Sweepstakes, and #McAfeeSafeConnect” for a chance to win a one-year free subscription to McAfee Safe Connect. Ten [10] total winners will be selected and announced on April 18, 2018. Winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter. For full Sweepstakes details, please see the Terms and Conditions, below.

McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

How to Enter: 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be conducted from March 26, 2018 through April 17, 2018. All entries for each day of the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes must be received during the time allotted for the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Pacific Daylight Time shall control the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes. The McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes duration is as follows.

McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes Duration:

  • Begins Monday, March 26, 2018­­ at 12:00pm PST
  • Ends: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:00am PST
  • Ten [10] winners will be announced: Wednesday, April 18th

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

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

Ten [10] winners will be chosen for the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes tweet from the viable pool of entries that retweeted and included #RT2Win, #Sweepstakes, #McAfeeSafeConnect. McAfee and the McAfee social team will choose winners from all the viable entries. The winners will be announced and privately messaged on April 18, 2018 on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle. No other method of entry will be accepted besides Twitter. Only one entry per user is allowed, per Sweepstakes.   

Eligibility: 

McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States who are 18 years of age or older on the dates of the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes begins and live in a jurisdiction where this prize and McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win 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.

Winner Selection:

Winners will be selected at random from all eligible retweets received during the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes drawing entry period. Sponsor will select the names of ten [10] potential winners of the prizes in a random drawing from among all eligible submissions at the address listed below. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by the Official McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes Rules and the decisions of the coordinators, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

Winner Notification: 

Each winner will be notified via direct message (“DM”) on Twitter.com by April 18th. Prize winners may be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (where permitted by law) to be returned within ten [10] days of written notification, or prize may be forfeited, and an alternate winner selected. If a prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to a potential winner, if potential winner cannot be reached within twenty-four [24] hours from the first DM notification attempt, or if potential winner fails to return requisite document within the specified time period, or if a potential winner is not in compliance with these Official Rules, then such person shall be disqualified and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, an alternate winner may be selected for the prize at issue based on the winner selection process described above.

Prizes: 

The prize for the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes is a one-year free subscription to McAfee Safe Connect. Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee Safe Connect #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes. Sponsor is not responsible for delays in prize delivery beyond its control. All other expenses and items not specifically mentioned in these Official Rules are not included and are the prize winners’ sole responsibility.

General Conditions: 

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

Limitations of Liability; Releases:

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

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

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

Prize Forfeiture:

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

Dispute Resolution:

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

Governing Law & Disputes:

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

Privacy Policy: 

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

  1. Winner List; Rules Request: For a copy of the winner list, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for arrival after March 26th 2018 and before April 17th 2018 to the address listed below, Attn: #RT2Win at CES Sweepstakes.  To obtain a copy of these Official Rules, visit this link or send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to the address listed in below, Attn: Sarah Grayson. VT residents may omit return postage.
  2. Intellectual Property Notice: McAfee and the McAfee logo are registered trademarks of McAfee, LLC. The Sweepstakes and all accompanying materials are copyright © 2018 by McAfee, LLC.  All rights reserved.
  3. Sponsor: McAfee, LLC, Corporate Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA

The post McAfee Safe Connect RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Don’t Get Duped: How to Spot 2018’s Top Tax Scams

It’s the most vulnerable time of the year. Tax time is when cyber criminals pull out their best scams and manage to swindle consumers — smart consumers — out of millions of dollars.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), crooks are getting creative and putting new twists on old scams using email, phishing and malware, threatening phone calls, and various forms of identity theft to gain access to your hard earned tax refund.

While some of these scams are harder to spot than others, almost all of them can be avoided by understanding the covert routes crooks take to access your family’s data and financial accounts.

According to the IRS, the con games around tax time regularly change. Here are just a few of the recent scams to be aware of:

Erroneous refunds

According to the IRS, schemes are getting more sophisticated. By stealing client data from legitimate tax professionals or buying social security numbers on the black market, a criminal can file a fraudulent tax return. Once the IRS deposits the tax refund into the taxpayer’s account, crooks then use various tactics (phone or email requests) to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer. Multiple versions of this sophisticated scam continue to evolve. If you see suspicious funds in your account or receive a refund check you know is not yours, alert your tax preparer, your bank, and the IRS. To return erroneous refunds, take these steps outlined by the IRS.

Phone scams

If someone calls you claiming to be from the IRS demanding a past due payment in the form of a wire transfer or money order, hang up. Imposters have been known to get aggressive and will even threaten to deport, arrest, or revoke your license if you do not pay the alleged outstanding tax bill.

In a similar scam, thieves call potential victims posing as IRS representatives and tell potential victims that two certified letters were previously sent and returned as undeliverable. The callers then threaten to arrest if a payment the victim does not immediately pay through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the purchase of the card is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) system.

Note: The IRS will never initiate an official tax dispute via phone. If you receive such a call, hang up and report the call to the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

Robo calls

Baiting you with fear, scammers may also leave urgent “callback” requests through prerecorded phone robot or robo calls, or through a phishing email. Bogus IRS robo often politely ask taxpayers to verify their identity over the phone. These robo calls will even alter caller ID numbers to make it look as if the IRS or another official agency is calling.

Phishing schemes

Be on the lookout for emails with links to websites that ask for your personal information. According to the IRS, thieves now send very authentic-looking messages from credible-looking addresses. These emails coax victims into sharing sensitive information or contain links that contain malware that collects data.

To protect yourself stay alert and be wary of any emails from financial groups or government agencies Don’t share any information online, via email, phone or by text. Don’t click on random links sent to you via email. Once that information is shared anywhere, a crook can steal your identity and use it in different scams.

Human resource/data breaches

In one particular scam crooks target human resource departments. In this scenario, a thief sends an email from a fake organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2.  This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES). 

Using the collected data criminals then attempt to file fraudulent tax returns to claim refunds. Or, they may sell the data on the Internet’s black market sites to others who file fraudulent tax returns or use the names and Social Security Numbers to commit other identity theft related crimes. While you can’t personally avoid this scam, be sure to inquire about your firm’s security practices and try to file your tax return early every year to beat any potentially false filing. Businesses/payroll service providers should file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

As a reminder, the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
  • Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or e-mail.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you are the victim identity, theft be sure to take the proper reporting steps. If you receive any unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS to phishing@irs.gov (and then delete the emails).

This post is part II of our series on keeping your family safe during tax time. To read more about helping your teen file his or her first tax return, here’s Part I.

toni page birdsong

 

 

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

The post Don’t Get Duped: How to Spot 2018’s Top Tax Scams appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Cyberbullying – How Parents Can Minimize Impact On Kids

Cyberbullying: if you have a tween or teen and haven’t workshopped this with your kids then you need to put a time in the diary now. Cyberbullying is one of the biggest challenges our children’s generation will face and unfortunately, it isn’t going away.

The recent tragic suicide of 14 year old Aussie girl Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett as a result of online bullying needs to be a wake-up call for parents. Many kids who are bullied online feel completely ashamed and publicly humiliated and can’t see a way past the embarrassment. They don’t have the skills to handle it and don’t know where to seek help. Yes, we are first-generation digital parents BUT we need to prioritise our children’s safety and well-being online. And sort this out FAST!

How Big An Issue Is Cyberbullying?

Image of crying girl in silhouette surrounded by cyberbullying text messages.
Aussie tweens/teens aged 12-16 are the primary targets of cyberbullying. 63% of the victims are girls.

In its 2016-17 annual report, the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner reveals an increase of 60% in the reported cases of cyberbullying compared with the previous year. The report also shows that:

  • Aussie tweens/teens between the ages of 12 and 16 are the primary targets of cyberbullying
  • Girls made up 63% of the victims

And it isn’t just us parents that consider this to be a big issue – our teens are also concerned. A study of 5000 teens across eleven countries by Vodafone in 2015 showed that in fact over half the teens surveyed considered cyberbullying to be worse than face-to-face bullying, and that 43% believe it is a bigger problem for young people than drug abuse!

So, clearly we have a problem on our hands – and one that isn’t getting better over time.

Why Is Cyberbullying Occurring More Frequently?

Many parenting experts believe a lack of empathy to be a major factor in cyberbullying. In her book, Unselfie, US Parenting Expert Dr Michele Borba explains that we are in the midst of an ‘empathy crisis’ which is contributing to bullying behaviour. She believes teens today are far less empathetic than they were 30 years ago.

Giving children access to devices and social media before they have the emotional smarts to navigate the online world is another factor. You would be hard-pressed to find a child in Year 5 or 6 at a primary school in any Australian capital city who doesn’t have access to or own a smartphone. And once that phone has been given to your child, it’s impossible to supervise their every move. Within minutes they can join social media platforms (some creativity required on the age), enter chat rooms, and view highly disturbing images.

The younger the child, the less likely he or she is to have the emotional intelligence to either navigate tricky situations or make smart decisions online. Perhaps we should all take a lesson from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who made his kids wait till they were 14 until being given a phone?

How To Minimise The Risk Of Your Child Being Cyberbullied

There are no guarantees in life, but there are certain steps we can take to reduce the chance of our children being impacted by cyberbullying. Here are my top 5 suggestions:

  1. Communicate.
    Establishing a culture where honest, two-way communication is part of the family dynamic is one of the absolute best things you can do. Let your children know they can confide in you, that nothing is off-limits and that you won’t overreact. Then they will be more likely to open up to you about a problem before it becomes insurmountable.
  2. Understand Their World.
    With a deep understanding of your child’s world (their friends, their favourite activities, the movies they see) you’re better equipped to notice when things aren’t swimming along nicely. Establishing relationships with your child’s teachers or year group mentors is another way to keep your ear to the ground. When a child’s behaviour and activity level changes, it could be an indicator that all is not well. So some parental detective work may be required!
  3. Weave Cyber Safety Into Your Family Dialogue.
    We all talk about sun safety and road safety with our children from a young age. But we need to commit to doing the same about cyber safety. Teach your kids never to share passwords, never to give out identifying information of any kind online, never to respond to online trolls or bullies. Then they will definitely add a layer of armour to shield them from becoming a victim of cyberbullying.
  4. Limit Screen Time.
    I know it seems like an ongoing battle but limiting screen time for social media is essential. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by offering them attractive real-life options. Bike rides, beach visits and outings with friends and family are all good ways of redirecting their attention. And make sure their phone/tablet is out of easy reach at night. Yes, it is more effort but it is so worth it. Less time online = less risk!
  5. Teach Your Kids What To Do If They Are Cyberbullied.
    It is essential your kids know what to do if they are being cyberbullied. Blocking the bullying is critical, so take some time with your kids to understand the block features on the social networks they use. Collecting evidence is crucial, everything should be screen-shot – ensure your child knows how to do this. You can report the cyberbullying incident to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner who work to have offensive material removed and cyberbullying situations addressed. And why not check out the support offered by your child’s school? It’s important your kids know they have a number of trusted adults in their life they can get help from if things get tough.

So, let’s commit to doing what we can to protect our kids from cyberbullying. Your kids need to know that they can talk to you about anything that is bothering them online – even if it is tough or awkward. Dolly Everett’s final drawing, before she took her life, included the heart-rending caption ‘…speak even if your voice shakes.’ Please encourage your kids to do so.

Alex xx

The post Cyberbullying – How Parents Can Minimize Impact On Kids appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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

q1 headline image - blog

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

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

Politically motivated cyber-attacks

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

Targeted IoT device attacks

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

A perfect device for eavesdropping

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

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

See the full report by PandaLabs here.

The post The Rise and Rise of the Cyber Economy – PandaLabs Q1 2017 Report appeared first on CyberSafety.co.za.

A User-Friendly Interface for Cyber-criminals

IMG-MC-wysiwye

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

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

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

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

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

The post A User-Friendly Interface for Cyber-criminals appeared first on CyberSafety.co.za.

Panda Security Rated Top in Antivirus Test

IMG AVComp 03-17 - Blog

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

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

 

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

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

The post Panda Security Rated Top in Antivirus Test appeared first on CyberSafety.co.za.

Cybercrime Surges in Q3

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

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

The Quarter at a Glance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post Cybercrime Surges in Q3 appeared first on CyberSafety.co.za.

Evolution of Locky – A Cat & Mouse Game

1

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

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

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

Distribution of the latest attack

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

locky-2
The Malware skips the downloader Trojan and gets the Locky variant in DLL format, and is then executed using Windows rundll32.exe. By using a script file as well as a DLL, instead of a Trojan and .exe, Locky is not immediately detected and blocked, and the Ransomware can begin its course.

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

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

3

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

The post Evolution of Locky – A Cat & Mouse Game appeared first on CyberSafety.co.za.