Category Archives: Consumer

What Will You Do If You Find That Your Kids Are Sharing Their Troubles and Pains Online?

“Am I fat?”

“I am so depressed. Please help! I have been scoring less, my parents don’t understand me… my brilliant siblings treat me with disdain… my girlfriend has broken up with me….”

“Thanks! That’s why I feel a connect with you- you really get me (no one else does!) ….”

“I am closing my Facebook account for a while. I have fallen but I promise you I will rise again, like the Phoenix and will proudly stand before you once again. For now, I am going away. Please don’t try to contact me.”

“I hate you ********!”

All the above statements are variations of real ones posted on different social media platforms by adolescents. Do spare a few moments thinking about the posts- I spent days. What are your thoughts on these? How do you feel about getting a direct look into the hearts of these innocent and confused children?

It is both saddening and worrying that kids are turning to the Internet to find solutions to their problems. But what propels them to trust strangers?

Why do adolescents overshare online?

  • Embarrassing topics: The would-be adults have many doubts about adult life that they feel shy or scared to discuss with their parents
  • Emotional outbursts: Adolescence is a time for emotional upheavals and the kids find social media the best place to voice their thoughts
  • False sense of privacy: As they are not connecting one-to-one in real life, children feel more comfortable discussing and sharing personal matters with online friends
  • No fear of recrimination: This is one reason why they may not open up to adults at home
  • Peer pressure: If most of their friends are venting on social media, your kids are likely to follow suit

Help! I am losing it!

Rule No. 1 for parents- don’t get worked up. You are not alone. Most parents go through this phase. Here are some tips to help you bond better with your tweens and teens.

  • Be patient. You are the parent- always keep that in mind and don’t lose your cool. It will help you to mark your own space and earn you your child’s trust and respect
  • Be in touch with their online lives. Be proactive and stay updated on the latest in the social media world so that you can interact in them in the same wavelength
  • Monitor screentime and keep them engaged: If your child is withdrawn in real life but spends a lot of time online, you need to know why. Set internet usage limit. Remember, boredom and low self-confidence can lead a child to look for friends online, so ensure they are productively engaged offline.
  • Help them to know their personal boundaries. They need to know and respect the limits you set on sharing
  • LISTEN and listen well and only then offer your suggestions
  • Keep communication channels open. Do not let a wall build up between you
  • Be in touch with child’s friends and ensure your child has plenty of good time with them.

Tips to share with kids:

  1. Think before you lay bare your personal life online: Your blog or page isn’t your diary, for it’s not private. How would you feel if in a few years your seniors, professors or employers read this?
  2. Your online friends are strangers: Think. Do you want to share your deepest concerns or most private details with them? What if they out them? Can you handle the consequences?
  3. Share with real friends instead: Your online friends may not have any sense of loyalty towards you. Better to have one or two dependable real life ones, who you know well.
  4. Keep real identity private and maximize account security for all accounts: This is very important for your online safety. Secure your device with licensed security software and use two-factor authentication to secure accounts.
  5. Do not share passwords with anyone: Some things in life are best kept confined to self- including your passwords. Do not give remote access to your screen to online friends either.

Your parents are always there for you

This is what you need to impress upon your tweens and teens: Even though you may feel we do not understand, we do, for we were of your age once. We understand what you are going through. We may set rules that seem tough or discipline you when needed but that doesn’t mean we do not love you. We do what we think is best for you. And we are always there for you.

Before signing off, let me remind you of our cybersafety mantra that you need to repeat often at home: STOP. THINK. SHARE.

Happy parenting!

The post What Will You Do If You Find That Your Kids Are Sharing Their Troubles and Pains Online? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

3 Things You Need to Know About Summer Cybersecurity

summer screen time

The summer season is quickly approaching. Users will take to the skies, roads, and oceans to travel throughout the world for a fun family adventure. But just because users take time off doesn’t mean that their security should. So, with the season’s arrival, we decided to conduct a survey so to better understand users’ cybersecurity needs, as well as help them leave their cybersecurity woes behind while having some fun in the sun. That’s why we asked our users what they are most concerned about during the summer, so we can help them protect what really matters. Let’s see what they had to say.

Sharing the Fun

When it comes to vacations, we’re constantly taking and sharing snaps of amazing memories. What we don’t plan on sharing is the metadata embedded in each photo that can give away more than we intended. In fact, from our research we found that people are 3x more likely to be concerned about their Social Security number being hacked than their photos. Given the risk a compromised SSN poses for the potential of identity theft, it’s no surprise that respondents were more concerned about it. However, to keep the summer fun secure, it’s also important to keep travel photos private and only share securely.

Flying Safely and Securely

From a young age, we have been taught to keep our Social Security number close to the chest, and this is evident in how we protect SSNs. As a matter of fact, 88% of people would be seriously worried if their Social Security number was hacked. The best way to keep a Social Security number secure this summer – don’t share it when purchasing plane tickets or managing travel reservations. All you need to provide is a credit card and passport.

Making Smartphone Security #1  

While on the go, travelers are often keenly aware of how exposed they are physically when carrying around credit cards, passports, suitcases, gadgets and more. However, they also need to think about securing their digital life, particularly their handheld devices. To keep personal photos protected while traveling this summer season, smartphone security must be a top priority. With nearly 40% of respondents concerned about sensitive personal photos being hacked, jet setters need to be proactive about security, not reactive. In fact, we’re reminded of just how important this fact is as we enter the month of June, Internet Safety Month. Just like your laptop or router, it’s vital to protect the personal data stored within a smartphone.

In order to help you stay secure this season, let’s put your travel security knowledge to the test.

Note: There is a widget embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's widget.

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Keep Your Smart Home Safe: Here’s What You Can Do Today to Secure Your Products

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way we live, work and play. You can find it in the fitness trackers you might be wearing to monitor step count and heart rate. Or the car you may be driving. But more than anywhere else, you’ll see IoT at home in an increasing array of gadgets: from voice-activated smart speakers to internet-connected baby monitors.

It’s estimated that 14.2 billion connected “things” like these are in use globally in 2019, which will rise to 25 billion in a couple of years’ time. There’s just one problem: if not properly secured, they could present hackers with new opportunities to sneak into your smart home through the cyber-front door.

So what are the risks—and how can you protect your home?

Governments take action

First, some good news: as consumers’ homes fill with ever-greater numbers of smart gadgets, governments are aware of the growing risks of cyber-attacks. In the US, California is leading the way with new legislation designed to force manufacturers to improve the security of their products. SB-327 introduces minimum requirements such as forcing each user to set a unique device password the first time they connect.

Following hot on the heels of the Golden State is the federal government. Introduced in March, the bipartisan Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019 doesn’t cover all IoT makers, only ones which sell products to the government. However, it is hoped that the law will have a knock-on effect with the wider industry, encouraging other manufacturers to raise their standards.

But it’s not only the US that is making moves to safeguard IoT users. The UK in May introduced a proposed new law designed to force manufacturers to adhere to key security requirements, covering things like unique passwords and security updates. In addition, retailers will only be allowed to sell devices with a clear label telling consumers how secure they are.

While Trend Micro welcomes any government moves to make smart home gadgets more secure, the truth is that it will take a while for these laws to take effect—and even longer for them to have an impact on the firms designing and building our connected devices. The US federal proposal will require a separate standards body to hunker down and draw up its requirements first, which could take months. There’s also a risk that when new laws take effect, the hackers will simply move on to use new tactics not legislated for.

That’s why consumers must act now to secure their smart home. Below we list some of the key threats and how to take action.

What’s the problem?

The more smart gadgets there are in your home, the greater the number of potential targets for hackers. Devices could be hijacked if attackers manage to guess or crack the passwords protecting them, or exploit flaws in the underlying software (firmware) that runs them.

This is made easier because some devices don’t require a user to install a password; they simply run with an easy-to-guess factory default. Many manufacturers also don’t issue regular updates (patches) either, or if they do, it’s hard for users to find out about and install them. And unlike your laptop/desktop and mobile devices, these IoT endpoints are typically too small to install AV on, further exposing them.

Finally, it’s not just the devices themselves that are at risk, but also the complex, underlying automation systems that link them together behind the scenes. This complexity creates gaps that bad guys are adept at exploiting.

So, to simplify, there are three main threat vectors facing home networks:

1) Physical danger

Devices could be remotely controlled by attackers to surveil the family. For example, by hijacking feeds from smart security cameras, or other sensors around the house such as smart door and window locks, burglars could work out when the property is empty. They could even remotely unlock doors or windows, if these are internet-connected — for example by cloning the owner’s voice and playing commands via your home assistant.

Cases have been reported in the past of hackers remotely monitoring smart homes. In one incident, a baby monitor was hacked and used to broadcast threats to the parents; while more extensive hacks of home security cameras have had their video content streamed online.

2) Data loss and malware

These same devices are also a potential gateway into the home network, which could allow hackers to grab passwords for your key online accounts like banking and email. Any data they collect on you can be sold on the dark web and used for future identity fraud. The router is in many ways the digital gateway to your smart home — the place where all your internet traffic passes through. That makes it particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attack. As well as data theft, hackers could be looking to spread malware such as ransomware and banking trojans.

One major router threat spotted in 2018 was VPNFilter—information-stealing malware which infected at least half a million routers globally by exploiting vulnerabilities in the devices.

3) Hijacked devices become botnets

In another scenario, your smart home gadgets and router are hijacked and remotely controlled not to install ransomware or steal data from your family, but to use in attacks on others. Typically, they become part of a botnet of controlled machines which are programmed to do the bidding of the hackers. This could range from launching denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on businesses to illegally mining for crypto-currency.

The most famous example of this kind of attack came in 2016, when the Mirai campaign managed to hijack tens of thousands of IoT devices by scanning for any exposed to the internet and protected only with factory default passwords. In an infamous attack, it managed to take out a key online provider, resulting in outages at some of the biggest sites on the internet, including Twitter and Netflix.

What to do next

All that said, there are some simple steps you can take today to help reduce your exposure to IoT threats. It should begin with taking time out to understand how your devices work. Are they password protected? How are they updated? Are they running unnecessary services which may expose them to attackers? A bit of research before you buy and install them will also go a long way to keeping you safe.

Here are a few best practice tips to get you started:

  • Change factory default passwords to strong and unique credentials.
  • Switch on two-factor authentication for even more log-in protection, if offered.
  • Regularly check for firmware updates and apply as soon as they’re available. This may require you to visit the manufacturer’s website from time-to-time.
  • Use WPA2 on your routers for encrypted Wi-Fi.
  • Disable UPnP and any remote management features.
  • Set up a guest network on your router, which will help protect your main network, its devices and data, from network worms and other malware inadvertently introduced by guests.
  • Protect your computers and smartphones with AV and only download legitimate smart home apps.

How Trend Micro can help

Trend Micro is here to offer you peace-of-mind when it comes to protecting your smart home. The first step is diagnostic: download our Housecall™ for Home Networks tool to check your network. It will run a comprehensive scan on all your smart home gadgets, highlighting any vulnerabilities and other risks, and providing helpful advice for keeping your network and devices secure.

Next up, install Trend Micro Home Network Security (HNS) for comprehensive protection on all your home devices. It blocks dangerous file downloads and malicious websites, protects your personal/financial data from theft, and will keep ransomware, phishing and other threats at bay. HNS provides instant threat notifications, lets you disconnect any unwanted devices from your network, and offers full control over your devices from your Android or iOS smartphone with the paired HNS monitoring app.

Watch our Trend Micro Home Network Security videos to find out more about how HNS helps protect your network.

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Consumer spending on technology to reach $1.32 trillion in 2019

Consumer spending on technology is forecast to reach $1.32 trillion in 2019, an increase of 3.5% over 2018. Consumer purchases of traditional and emerging technologies will remain strong over the 2018-2022 forecast period, reaching $1.43 trillion in 2022 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.0%, according to IDC. Consumer purchases of traditional and emerging technologies will remain strong over the 2018-2022 forecast period, reaching $1.43 trillion in 2022 with a five-year compound … More

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Privacy Awareness Week 2019 – Are You In The Dark About Your Online Privacy?

If you haven’t given your online privacy much attention lately then things need to change. In our era of weekly data breaches, the ‘I’ve got nothing to hide’ excuse no longer cuts it. In my opinion, ensuring your privacy is protected online is probably more important than protecting your home and car! A sloppy approach to online privacy can have devastating ramifications to your financial health, your career and even your physical wellbeing.

This week is Privacy Awareness Week in Australia – a great reminder to give our online privacy a ‘check-up’ and work out what we can do to ensure the information we share online (and who sees it) is locked down.

What Do We Need to Protect?

When we think about online privacy, we often think about protecting our password and financial data online. But it’s a little more complicated. There are 2 categories of information that we share in our online life that requires protection.

  1. Personally Identifying Information (PII) – this includes our name, birthdate, address and Medicare number
  2. Non-Personally Identifying Information – this includes the information about what we do online. It’s a combination of the websites we visit, what we buy online, our online searches and the pages we like on our social media profiles. Our online activity creates a digital folder about ourselves and many companies just love this data so they can send targeted ads your way. Ever wondered why you receive ads about holiday destinations after a few wishful holiday Google searches?

Without adequate online privacy, all the information about our online activities can be collected and analysed by third parties. In fact, data collected (legally) about you by websites can be very lucrative! Companies, known as data brokers, collect and maintain data on millions on people and charge handsomely for their services!

Why Do I Need To Worry About My Online Privacy?

Just think for a moment about some of the information that is stored about you online…

  • Your PII is stored in the background of probably every online account you have including social media, news and banking
  • Your online banking and superannuation sites contain details of all your accounts and your net worth
  • Your health and taxation records maybe accessible online which may contain sensitive information you would prefer not to be shared
  • If you haven’t disabled location services on your phone, your whereabouts can be tracked by clever parties on a daily basis
  • Your pictures and videos

While some of this information is stored without your control, there are steps you can take to tighten up access.

Now, think about your daily online activity…

  • Anything you order online via your web browser can be recorded
  • Anytime you send an email with sensitive information, there is a risk this will also be shared
  • Anytime you pay on the go using a facility like Apple Pay, your purchase will be tracked
  • Anything you search for, the articles you read, the movie tickets you buy and even your weekly online grocery order can be tracked

If this comes as a shock to you then you’re not alone. Many Aussies have been in the dark about what information is available about them online. But, don’t throw the towel in – there are strategies to tighten up your online privacy.

How To Get Your Online Privacy Under Control

There are a few simple steps you can take to lock down your valuable online information. So, make yourself a nice cuppa and let’s get to work:

  1. Manage Your Passwords

Your online passwords are as important as your house keys. In fact, in many cases, it is the only thing stopping cybercriminals from accessing our vital information that we have saved online. So, if you want to tighten up access to your online banking, your social media platforms and your favourite online shopping sites then you need to think carefully about how you manage your passwords.

Passwords need to be complex and unique with at least 8-10 characters and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. And each of your online accounts should have a separate password which should be changed regularly. Too hard? Consider a Password Manager which creates and manages complex passwords for each of your online accounts – a complete no brainer!! McAfee’s Total Protection software includes a Password Manager which stores, auto-fills and generates unique passwords for all your online accounts. All you need to do is remember one master password! Easy!

And don’t forget, if one of your online accounts is affected by a data breach, then you need to change that password ASAP. If you have a password manager, simply have it generate another password for you.

  1. Use Public Wi-Fi With Caution

If you are serious about your online privacy then you need to use public Wi-Fi sparingly. Unsecured public Wi-Fi is a very risky business. Anything you share could easily find its way into the hands of cybercriminals. So, please avoid sharing any sensitive or personal information while using public Wi-Fi. If you travel regularly or spend the bulk of your time on the road then consider investing in a VPN. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your activity which means your login details and other sensitive information is protected. McAfee has a great VPN product called Safe Connect. An excellent insurance policy!

  1. Use 2-Factor Authentication

Adding an additional layer of security to protect yourself when accessing your online accounts is another great way of guarding your online privacy. Turn on two-factor authentication for Google, Dropbox, Facebook and whatever other site offers it. For those new to this option, this means that in addition to your password, you will need to provide another form of identification to ensure you are who you say you are. Most commonly, this is a code sent to your mobile phone or generated by a smart phone app.

  1. Keep Your Software Updated

Software updates and patches are often designed to address a security vulnerability so ALWAYS install them so the bad guys can’t take advantage of security hole in your system. If it all becomes to hard, why not automate the updates?

  1. Invest in Security Software for ALL Your Devices

Installing comprehensive security software on all your devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones adds another layer of protection to your vital online information. Check out McAfee’s Total Protection software that will ensure you and your devices are protected against viruses, malware spyware and ransomware.

  1. Consider a Search Engine that Doesn’t Track Your Every Move Online

If you would prefer that your search engines didn’t collect and store the information you enter then consider an alternative ‘privacy focussed’ search engine. Check out DuckDuckGo that doesn’t profile users or track or sell your information to third parties.

  1. Delete All Cookies

Cookies are another way your online activity can be tracked. While some are harmless and used to simply remember things about you such as your login information and language, others known as  tracking cookies remain permanently constantly gathering information about your behaviour and what you click on. So, let’s get rid of them! Head into your web browser’s Privacy settings and clean them out.

So, let’s get our online privacy under control this Privacy Awareness Week. But don’t forget about your kids and elderly relatives too! Proactively managing one’s online privacy needs to be a priority for everyone. Why not start a conversation at the dinner table? Perhaps give the family a daily privacy related task every day during Privacy Awareness Week? For example:

Monday – Clean up your passwords or set up a Password Manager

Tuesday –  Research a VPN

Wednesday – Set up 2 factor authentication

Thursday – Ensure all your software is up to date and set up auto-updates where possible

Friday – Research privacy focussed search engines and delete all cookies

Over to you mums and dads. Would love to hear how you go.

Alex xx

 

 

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On Mother’s Day, Show Your Love for Your Mom by Introducing Her to Helpful Apps

A mobile chat with my mother usually goes off like this:

Hello! Can you hear me! I am very busy so can’t talk much! I have a question.”

“Umm OK but is your speaker on? Can you please speak a little softly?”

Yes, yes, OK… I know how to operate smartphones. Still smarter than a lot of you! Don’t waste my time; I need to go to the dentist so please book a cab for me.”

Despite pushing 80, my mom has a strong competitive spirit and has taught herself how to operate a smartphone, sign up on social media and listen to music. I have often been ticked off for not being considerate enough to read and like her posts!

The man-phone tussle senior citizens experience

As I drove to her place, I thought about her and all other Moms who are past their middle age. They must be struggling to come to terms with technological progress. It must be so difficult for them- from having the whole neighbourhood dropping in to watch Doordarshan on their new shiny black-and-white TV set to streaming the latest movies on their personal devices! From typing out letters on typewriters to emails on computers- they have a lot on their plate to adjust to.

It occurred to me that I need to help out more and not assume she can pick up the rest herself. I needed to show Mom how she can use her phone for booking cabs, ordering her meds, buying grocery and so on; it would be of immense help to her. She would feel tech-savvy and happy not to be dependent on others. Not wishing to waste a single moment, I made a date with her and took her out to lunch. Over lunch and a leisurely conversation, I introduced her to the several ways apps can make life easier for her.

Mother’s Day Idea

Why not try this idea out on Mother’s Day? Take your Mom out for a picnic or a movie-and-meal; sit, chat and regale each other with your childhood stories- the stories she probably likes the best? Give her your undivided attention- and this may mean keeping your own phone on silent- and instead show her what all she can do with hers?

Apps can indeed make life easier

  • Online grocery- these are really helpful as she can decide and buy and have everything delivered home.
  • Recipe Apps- she is growing old and it will become progressively tougher for her to remember all the recipes and ingredients. You can download apps of her choice of cooking and show her how to navigate through the site. I have one on my mobile that gives me a new salad recipe everyday! Life is so easy, and oh so happily healthy
  • Apps to keep track of doctor’s visits- Many hospitals too have apps that keep records of visits, tests etc. Download if her clinic offers an app service
  • Apps to book cabs: Remember to add your name and that of other family members, so that you receive intimation when she travels
  • Calendar app: Show her how to save birthdays, anniversaries, appointments and reminders so that she is free of the onerous task of remembering petty details
  • e-wallets – She will be able to place orders online without being worried about credit card fraud. That would be very helpful for her
  • e-reader app- If she loves reading, she will bless you for an app that will bring the library into her hands

There are many, many more. Take your pick as per your mom’s interest.

This will be akin to killing three birds with one stone:

  • Make her tech-savvy – Smartphones confuse older generations, with new models offering yet newer features and functionalities. Spend time with your Mom and take her through the new features. Take this opportunity to install mobile security if you already have not.
  • Add a zing to her life- you will have the pleasure of knowing you have somewhat helped to make her life more interesting and engaging, now that she has more free time on hand.
  • Quality bonding time- The more personal attention you give her, the happier she will be- for that’s all she wants from you, your time.

Being an experienced digital user, you know well that not all apps are genuine or safe. Make it a point to download apps only from a verified source, even if you have to pay for it.

Let me sign off with a cybersafety tip – Activate a password manager, like the trusted TrueKey from McAfee, that will remember her passwords and keep them safe for her.

Tip for you: TrueKey is included in McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe. One product can cover several devices and so you can use yours to cover your Mom’s phone too. That way you can renew protection without troubling her with these nitty-gritties.

Happy Mother’s Day to all beautiful moms out there! You ladies are superwomen!

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What is Phishing? Find Out with Gary Davis on the Latest Episode of Tech Nation

Gary Davis is now a regular contributor on the Tech Nation podcast!  In this episode, Gary Davis educates that phishing is more than just an innocent-looking email in your inbox and shares tips to avoid getting hooked.

Moira Gunn:   00:00   I’m Moira Gunn, you’re listening to Tech Nation.

Moira Gunn:   00:06   I was surprised to learn that on the internet nearly three quarters of all cyber attacks start with what’s calling a phishing email, or should we say, a fishy email. I was able to speak with regular Tech Nation contributor Gary Davis, the Chief Consumer Security Evangelist at McAfee.

Moira Gunn:   00:26   Now we always hear about phishing.

Gary Davis:     00:27   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   00:28   It’s P-H-I-S-H-I-N-G.

Gary Davis:     00:31   Yes.

Moira Gunn:   00:32   Phishing.

Gary Davis:     00:33   Phishing with a “p”

Moira Gunn:   00:34   Not like “gone fishing”.

Gary Davis:     00:35   It’s not like gone fishing, but it’s very similar. If you think about how we fish, we put the … The concept is, let’s put a lot of lines in the water and see if we can snag a fish, right?

Moira Gunn:   00:45   Yeah.

Gary Davis:     00:45   So, it’s conceptually fishing, but it’s a different type of fishing.

Moira Gunn:   00:49   It’s phishing for you.

Gary Davis:     00:50   Yes. It’s phishing for the bad guys.

Moira Gunn:   00:52   71% of all cyber attacks start with a phishing email?

Gary Davis:     00:56   Yeah. Yeah. You know, phishing preys on, uh, our nature to, to act on email, right? We get an email, um, and, and quite honestly for, for your listeners, the, where phishing is usually most effective, targeting organizations in particular, is sending something to HR. HR is expecting to get resumes for candidates who are applying for jobs, right? More often than not, those include some sorta malicious payload which will allow them to get behind your firewall, then do something malicious in your company.

Gary Davis:     01:32   So, that’s one of the more popular techniques for, for accessing and trying to get inside a company, but yeah it just, phishing, 71% because, they know what works. They know that, that, that if they write it well enough and it looks like it’s from somebody you know and trust, that you’re gonna do the action they’re looking for, which is gonna la- enable them to get access to the information they’re trying to get access to.

Moira Gunn:   01:56   And, the initial thing they may have asked you for may not seem all that big, like, “Give us all your money,” or-

Gary Davis:     02:03   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   02:03   “Give us all your passwords,” or, “Give us all your account,” or, “Just click here and we can resolve a fairly benign situation.”

Gary Davis:     02:11   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   02:11   “Like we need to update the, the month and data on your credit card,” ’cause that frequently happens.

Gary Davis:     02:17   Yeah, yeah.

Moira Gunn:   02:18   You know, that your, your, your, you get a new credit card after a few years, it’s the same everything, it’s just the month and date ab- I was like, “Oh yeah. I guess so, I guess we need to … ”

Gary Davis:     02:26   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   02:28   And it’s accounting, it’s accounting, from this global firm.

Gary Davis:     02:29   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   02:31   You know, emailing me and saying you need to update it.

Gary Davis:     02:32   It happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I w- I was in Greece, and I was, went to the, I was staying in the Hilton there, and, you know, the, even though I’d paid using points, they said, “Well, we need a credit card for incidentals.” And they had my credit card on file. Well, typically I’m using a different credit card for, ’cause it’s usually company related, and since I was using points, I was putting it on my personal card. And, and after a little while, they call me, “Hey, look your credit card’s not working.” What do you mean it’s not working?

Gary Davis:     02:59   And, come to find out after I called my bank, it, it’d been such a long time since I accessed the application. You’re right, I got a new credit card, new, uh, expiration date, and I hadn’t updated it. But you’re right, it would be very benign to get, “Oh yeah, I do use that service, um, I should go and change it.” But that’s where d- you, this is where we, we need to change our behaviors, because instead of clicking on that email and just blindly following wherever it leads me, if I was to think, “Well geez, I need to go change my, um, my, my expiration date for Hilton.” I went to my Hilton app, opened that up and changed it in there, instead of trying to follow a link.

Moira Gunn:   03:37   So, they come at you and it’s valid, you have, what you do is you go around the other way-

Gary Davis:     03:43   Exactly.

Moira Gunn:   03:43   Have your own access, in the old days you’d say, “I’m gonna go and see the lady at the bank.”

Gary Davis:     03:46   (laughs)

Moira Gunn:   03:48   “Or the gentleman at the bank.” And now it’s like, no no, don’t go through what informs you-

Gary Davis:     03:53   Exactly.

Moira Gunn:   03:54   Whatever you do.

Gary Davis:     03:55   You think about it, e- every month we get a statement from our bank, right? And I get one from my bank, and, and I am 99.9% sure that that’s a good email. But I have trained myself not to click on that email. Instead I’ll go to my, I’ll login into my bank account, and I’ll look at my account there, because I just, I’ve conditioned myself not to click on links and email. Even if you think it’s from a known good source, because you just never know, that the bad guys are getting so good, it’s what’s called “spoofing”, where you think it’s coming from an organization but they, they’ve changed something ever so slightly that you’re going to someplace you shouldn’t be going.

Gary Davis:     04:33   So, if, if you can just teach yourself or train yourself, when you, when you get an email and you think it’s legitimate and you’re expecting it, and it’s from somebody you’d expect to get a notification from, instead of acting on the email, go directly to the source and interact that way. It’s gonna save you potentially a lot of heartache.

Moira Gunn:   04:51   And to make matters even worse, there’s different kinds of phishing.

Gary Davis:     04:54   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   04:55   Spear phishing, whale phishing, all have-

Gary Davis:     04:58   Smishing.

Moira Gunn:   04:58   Shmishing.

Gary Davis:     04:58   (laughs)

Moira Gunn:   05:00   Oh my goodness. Okay, let’s go down through them in any order you would like.

Gary Davis:     05:03   Right. Well, well smishing is probably the most, well regular phishing is, is, is simple as sending a bunch of emails out en masse, hoping that somebody’s gonna, you know, take your bait. Um, smishing is actually when they’ll send it to your phone via an SMS or text message. So, imagine getting some sort of account information to your phone, which is not that unlikely. I, almost every place I go now-

Moira Gunn:   05:25   Your, your bill is due.

Gary Davis:     05:26   Yeah, yeah. You click here to pay. “Oh okay, I’m gonna click on it ’cause I, I’m expecting it.” So, getting it on your phone, that’s called smishing. Uh, spear phishing is where you actually do what’s called social engineering, or you try to collect information about a particular group of people, and then use it to target that group.

Gary Davis:     05:44   You know, a good example is, a couple of years ago the, um, I think it was, uh, one of the NBA teams, they had gotten an email from the owner saying, “Oh, send me your user name and password because we got this special thing we wanna do for you.” Well, so they, “Of course, it’s from our owner, it’s got our logo on it.” And we go ahead and send my user name, password, which of course opened up the, the-

Moira Gunn:   06:06   (laughs)

Gary Davis:     06:06   Door, having everybody going doing whatever they want so, but they used a combination of, you know, you know, techniques that use the imagery and the tone and the social engineer- socially engineered information about the players and organization, to go do something like that.

Gary Davis:     06:24   Another, a subset of spear phishing, it’s called whale phishing, and that’s where you, you tend to focus on a high net worth individual, let’s say the CEO or some high level executive in a company using other techniques. So you, let’s say that, you know, that, that they know that the CEO is on vacation, so they, they send an email, spoof the CFO to somebody else in the organization saying, “Well the CEO told me to do this.” So all these mechanics work using high net worth individuals to go do malicious deeds.

Gary Davis:     06:57   Then there’s other types of, of phishing. There’s search engine phishing, where you would basically put up a, a, a fake search site, in order to direct people to your own search results which would in turn take you to fraudulent pages. So there, there are a variety of different techniques around phishing, all of which has the intent of trying to extract information from you, do something that you wouldn’t otherwise do, and/or in a lot of cases they’re trying to install malware on your device of, of some type.

Moira Gunn:   07:30   Now, in all those cases, I guess you could say what we might call the bleeding heart phishing, that’s out there.

Gary Davis:     07:36   It, it happens more than you might know. Whenever there is a, a major event, let’s say there’s a natural disaster, a, um, you know, we saw a lot of traffic around the Boeing Max Eight, when you had those two crashes and there was a lot of pouring out to help those in need, then they would create these fake sites and to lure people and to give them money. Um, that’s another great example.

Gary Davis:     07:59   Big sporting events, the Super Bowl, the World Cup, all these big sporting events see, um, NCAA tournament, all these events, you know, po- everybody knows, or the, the bad guys know that there’s gonna be a lot of attention given to these, so they’re gonna try to leverage those in order to try to get you to do something you wouldn’t wise- you wouldn’t otherwise do.

Gary Davis:     08:20   But that’s a great point, that you almost always try to tie it to something that’s gonna be on your mind, some sort of pop culture reference, that wouldn’t, that wouldn’t, that would motivate you to go do something. And, it’s just, it’s too bad because, you know, people typically are, are engaging with these because they feel like they genuinely wanna help. And then to know that you’re taking of that, our, our good will, I just, uh, it’s just-

Moira Gunn:   08:46   And it’s perfect because you don’t expect anything back.

Gary Davis:     08:48   Yeah. Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   08:48   It’s not like I bought something, where is it? It’s like-

Gary Davis:     08:52   Exactly. Well, in some cases for example, you may have thought, “Well I’m gonna buy tickets to the game,” or the, whatever, where, when you don’t get the tickets that would be, an, a case where that wasn’t true, but you’re right. When it comes to good will, natural disasters, you know, just relief for things that have gone on in the world, you’re right, you’re not expecting anything in return except the, the, the knowledge that you did something good, and that just, it breaks my heart when I hear about things like that.

Moira Gunn:   09:16   You know, this result pre internet, people have been doing this for a long, long, long time.

Gary Davis:     09:21   Yeah. Yeah. Although, the internet has made it very automatic now. I guess the point is the, the barrier to entry to do this has been dramatically reduced, because it’s, it’s, it doesn’t take that much effort to dupe somebody into giving you money that, that, sh- you sh- shouldn’t otherwise be getting.

Moira Gunn:   09:40   And phishing per se isn’t illegal. It’s when you take money for fraudulent ends, that’s when we get into what’s legal and illegal, right?

Gary Davis:     09:48   Well, but by nature phishing it, you’re, you’re trying to access information that you shouldn’t have access to. So I think it’s, it’s, it’s probably out, call it legally gray, but right, and it’s not until you actually give your credit card to a fraudster and something bad happens that, that you-

Moira Gunn:   10:04   When the bad happens-

Gary Davis:     10:05   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   10:06   They’ve crossed the line.

Gary Davis:     10:07   Yeah. Then they’ll act on it. I, I remember when my identity was stolen way back in the day, um, I remember the, the, the guy who did it lived up in Pennsylvania someplace. And the way it worked back then is, they would, they got a $20,000 credit card, ringing up $18,000 over the course of two days-

Moira Gunn:   10:26   Wow.

Gary Davis:     10:26   And then the bank decided, “Well, we should go check to make sure that this guy is legit.” And, and what they’d used to do, is they would go to electronic goods stores like Best Buy, and they would buy $18,000 worth of electronic goods, then take it to a different Best Buy for cash back. So that’s how they would cash out the, the value of the credit card, knowing that it had a limited life.

Gary Davis:     10:45   And, I remember I, I got a call once, it was from the, the police department in Pennsylvania saying, “We caught the guy, you know, trying to return your goods.” Or, “The goods he bought with your credit card at a Best Buy.”

Moira Gunn:   10:58   (laughs)

Gary Davis:     10:58   And, and, they, and I said, you know, to go, go get the guy. It’s not, it’s just too much work. So, there, there, it’s really hard to motivate law enforcement, ’cause they got other things they gotta focus on. They’ve got, you know, all these other, y- you know, bad criminals doing, you know, physical harm to, to whomever. That, that they…

Moira Gunn:   11:16   And, and much higher ticket items too.

Gary Davis:     11:18   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   11:19   You know, when they were looking at it, they might have only been looking at five or $600.

Gary Davis:     11:22   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   11:22   Because they had to go to a lot of Best Buy’s, buy a lot of stuff-

Gary Davis:     11:26   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   11:26   Return a lot of stuff, going back and forth, it all is pretty small-

Gary Davis:     11:30   Yeah. Exactly.

Moira Gunn:   11:30   In comparison.

Gary Davis:     11:31   Yeah. It’s, ’cause it, the, the identity thief knew not to try to in- to, to return all to one Best Buy, ’cause then that would be a, even a bigger red flag. But you’re right, if I’m a, if I’m loca- local law enforcement, “Eh, it’s just a couple hundred dollars, well I got, you know, drug dealers I gotta go break up, and bad, other bad things. So I’m gonna go focus on that, and really not focus,” so it’s just, it but, you, that doesn’t make you feel like you’re less of a victim.

Gary Davis:     11:55   Nobody wants to be a victim of scam or identity theft. Nobody ever wants to be a victim. We, we, we empathize with victims, ’cause we can put ourselves in their shoes, and it, and that’s unfortunately one of the challenges in our space is, I think a lot of the reasons why people aren’t better about things like password hygiene and, you know, checking their credit history and stuff like that, is because, well they don’t think it’s gonna happen to them, they think it’s gonna happen to somebody else. And because of that, that can be a little bit more relaxing in what I do.

Moira Gunn:   12:24   And it’s not just, uh, your hygiene, you may not be able to prevent it. I was, I stopped off an interstate and bought a couple of things, uh, ah, and gassed up at a little place, but it wasn’t the, one of the really big ones. Just happened to go in there, it was convenient there.

Gary Davis:     12:41   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   12:41   And we were kind of in the middle of nowhere. And, for some reason, it didn’t take, put this, put this in again. So I put it in again. So, I thought, “Oh they’re probably gonna double charge me.”

Gary Davis:     12:51   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   12:52   They didn’t double charge me, they took the card and then here I was in Northern California, and within just a few hours, someone in a, in another gas station in San Antonio, Texas, bought $115 worth of towels, shop towels, (laughs) just-

Gary Davis:     13:13   (laughs)

Moira Gunn:   13:13   Windshield wiper stuff, I mean there was just like, “doo doo doo doo doo… [counting up]

Gary Davis:     13:15   Yeah.

Moira Gunn:   13:16   So, $115 worth of that. I don’t know how I could have stopped that.

Gary Davis:     13:21   Uh, you, you can’t. That’s just it. That they’re, part of this is, y- y- we, we can do all we can do to not be a victim online, but I think a big part of the, the educational process is knowing what to do. You know, in that case, knowing to reach out to our credit card immediately and, and stopping any other transactions and, and going through the process. You’re right. There are things like that, that was probably a skimmer, that probably when they scanned it twice, they probably scanned it once for the gas that you actually bought, and there where, you know, you didn’t see it probably going through a different, um, reader.

Moira Gunn:   13:49   And I actually put it in myself.

Gary Davis:     13:50   Oh really? Okay.

Moira Gunn:   13:52   Put it in, take it out, put it in, take it out.

Gary Davis:     13:53   Hmm.

Moira Gunn:   13:53   Yeah.

Gary Davis:     13:56   You’re right.

Moira Gunn:   13:58   They’re always one step ahead.

Gary Davis:     13:59   Well, the, you know, it, it’s, they’re in it to make money, right? It’s a for profit business for lack of a better word. So, they’re always gonna be trying to figure out more effective ways to dupe people into, to, either dupe people or just take advantage of people without their knowledge, and, and do it for as long as they can.

Gary Davis:     14:15   Imagine if you didn’t quickly catch the fact that you were getting charged for stuff in San Antonio, and it went on for a week or so.

Moira Gunn:   14:21   Yeah.

Gary Davis:     14:21   They would just keep on charging, charging, charging, until, you know, either-

Moira Gunn:   14:25   It said no. (laughs)

Gary Davis:     14:26   Yeah. Well, or, or hopefully your bank would it, would realize, “Well hold on, you just used your card in Northern California,” which you would expect, and now that same card is being used to buy something in San Antonio, that, that would, you would think that your, your bank will-

Moira Gunn:   14:39   She travels fast.

Gary Davis:     14:42   (laughs)

Gary Davis:     14:42   Oh yeah.

Moira Gunn:   14:43   But not that fast.

Gary Davis:     14:43   That’s, that’s-

Moira Gunn:   14:43   There you go.

Gary Davis:     14:43   The hypersonic speed for sure.

Moira Gunn:   14:45   Hypersonic. Gary, always a pleasure. Please come back. See you soon.

Gary Davis:     14:49   I’ll do that. Thanks for having me.

Moira Gunn:   14:50   Tech Nation regular contributor Gary Davis is the Chief Consumer Security Evangelist at McAfee, the website where you can check if your email plus password has been compromised is, have I, that’s the letter I, beenpwned.com. With pawned spelled without an A. That’s P-W-N-E-D. So, it’s haveibeenpwned.com, with pawned spelled P-W-N-E-D. And that link will be on the Tech Nation website also.

Moira Gunn:   15:26   Of course when Gary said it during our conversation, he said, “haveibeenpwned.com.” And yes that’s true. Gary is from Texas, and that’s part of his charm.

Moira Gunn:   15:39   For Tech Nation, I’m Moira Gunn.

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Are Your Passwords Secure Enough?

Today, we'll take a deep dive into passwords, including what vulnerabilities weak passwords can open up and how to improve authentication security.

Online passwords are sensitive data. When they end up in the wrong hands, your private information is at risk. Since cybercriminals are always searching out new ways to break into those online accounts, you need to watch over the passwords to your accounts as if they were your children.

Since we typically access our accounts on a daily basis, using browsers and online apps for our banking and shopping, we need to periodically take some time to manage them, to ensure the security and strength of our passwords.

Here’s few tips to help you do that:

  • Create unique, strong password of some length for each of your online accounts – and change them often, particularly for the accounts you use for transactions.
  • Use a combination of characters, numbers, and symbols to add complexity to the password’s strength.
  • Whenever you can, enable a two-factor authentication process in your accounts for added security protection.

To further strengthen your online accounts, you should also use a password manager. Trend Micro Password Manager helps you manage all your online passwords and makes it easier to change them easily on a regular basis. It delivers your passwords across all your devices—whether they’re PCs, Macs, Android, or iOS devices—generates ultra-secure passwords, and safeguards them with AES 256-bit encryption, to protect them from hackers and crackers.

Used in conjunction with Trend Micro Pay Guard, which is enabled with every installation of Trend Micro Security (which also bundles Trend Micro Password Manager with every subscription of Trend Micro Maximum Security), you’ll be doing your part to protect yourself from the theft of your passwords, particularly on financial and banking websites.

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It’s World Password Day – the Perfect Excuse to give your Passwords an Overhaul!

How much of your personal data is stored online? Well, if you are anything like the ‘average Jo’ – the answer is a lot! In 2019, the vast majority of us bank and shop online, have official documentation stored online, have all sorts of personal information stored in our emails and let’s not forget about our photos and videos.

And the scary thing – the only thing that is stopping cybercriminals from accessing our vital information that is saved online is our passwords.

Today is World Password Day – a perfect opportunity to give our password strategy a health check.  Because if we are serious about protecting our vital data that is stored online then we need to get SUPER serious about managing our passwords!

So, let’s give your passwords an overhaul. Why not schedule some time in your calendar to ensure your passwords are in the best shape? Here are my top tips on what you can do today to ensure you are doing all you can to protect your private online data.

How To Give Your Passwords A Health Check:

1. Check To See Whether Your Passwords Have Been Exposed

The first step is to see whether your passwords have been compromised in a data breach. Check out  www.haveibeenpwned.com.au to see whether cybercriminals have already discovered your passwords. If so, then they need to be changed wherever they are used ASAP.

2. Commit to Not Using Common Passwords

Using common passwords such as ‘password’, ‘123456’ or ‘qwerty’ is quite frankly, a waste of time. It would take cybercriminals a matter of seconds to unlock your online banking data. Also avoid using simple personal details within your passwords such as your birthday, name or kids and pet names as a quick scan of your social media accounts would allow cybercriminals to find this in just seconds. Always make your passwords random and obscure. Why not consider a nonsensical sentence?

3. Add Numbers and Symbols to Your Passwords

When you are setting up a new online account, many organisations will require you to add a number or symbol to your proposed password to give it additional ‘password strength’. Passwords that include a variety of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols are far harder to crack so get creative and layer up your passwords.

4. Ensure Every Password Is Unique

Many people use the same password across all of their online accounts. And while this makes life easier, it increases your risk of your vital online data being compromised big time. Remember, if a hacker discovers just one of your passwords – and it’s the only one you use – all of your online personal information is at risk! Therefore, it is crucial to ensure all your passwords are different! I know, it sounds like a lot of work and brain power!

5. Simplify Your Life with a Password Manager

If the idea of creating individual complex passwords for each of your online accounts – oh, and changing them every 2 months, is giving you palpitations, then I have a solution – a password manager!

McAfee’s Total Protection includes Password Manager, which stores, auto-fills and even generates unique passwords. Creating and remembering (!) complex password for each online account is taken care off. All you need to do is remember one master password in order to access the rest of the passwords! And if there is a data breach, it’s super easy to quickly change a password too.

6. Set up Two-Factor Authentication Where Possible

If you have the option to enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication with any of your online accounts, then do it!! In simple terms, this will mean that you need to provide more than one way of identifying yourself before gaining access to your account. Often it is your password plus a code sent to your smartphone or even your fingerprint. It’s an absolute no-brainer as it adds another layer of security making it harder to cybercriminals to access your vital online data.

Now, if you are thinking about skipping out of your password overhaul, then please think again! Passwords are the first line of defence to protect your vital online data from cybercriminals. So, put the kettle on and make today the day!

Till next time!

Alex xx

 

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Here’s a Codicil to Add to Your Will – Disposal of Your Digital Assets

Codicil to Add to your Will – Disposal of Your Digital Assets

We were still in shock over the sudden demise of a dear family friend. But the bereaved family had no time for grieving. The gentleman had not left any will and no one had any clear idea about his financial and physical assets. The family was running from pillar to post, trying to sort out the mess.

Tomorrow, you and I will go meet our lawyer and find out how to draw up our will. I want us to leave everything in order, with specific instructions, so that there are no complications for the kids later,” announced my spouse one fine morning.

I readily agreed; however, I had a question.

OK, but what about our digital assets?”

The spouse looked confused and so I continued, “Shouldn’t we also make arrangements for how we want our digital assets to be handled post our decease?”

Most of us in the age group of 40-60 years are active in the digital world in a big way, with multiple online accounts- from social media, banking, travel booking, trading, e-mail, e-transaction to blogs, e-wallets and home service. We share personal photos and videos online. We also deal with virtual currency, the records of which are stored online. The sum of all this digital data is loosely termed as our digital asset.

You may wonder what’s the big deal about a will for digital assets as some may not even have any monetary value. Well, it will help in identifying your legal successor who can take decisions about your online accounts. Otherwise, your beneficiaries will have to run around searching for passwords, filling up forms, submitting requests at various places and so on. Secondly, your families need to know about any outstanding bills you may have received via email or credit card program, or financial payments due to you.
A will outlining usernames and passwords for all accounts and detailing what you want to be done with your digital asset will make it easier for your beneficiaries to take the right actions. Also, it will allow your family to continue receiving the payments from your online investments, or even payment from your blog site!

Prepare ahead

You can take any of these three steps:

a- Explain to your family about all your online accounts and passwords

b- Write down all details in a diary and keep it where it can be easily found

c- Create a will outlining your wishes and specifications regarding your digital assets

The first two options call for sharing passwords beforehand, something that you may not be comfortable with. So, the  third option is the best available. Go for it and your dear ones will bless you for your foresight.

Be proactive about your online presence

  • There may be content on your accounts you would not want others to see- We may create or download content that we would like to keep private. The best thing to do is to regularly sanitize accounts and delete what you don’t want others to see.
  • Inactive accounts and profiles are much in demand– cyber criminals want access to inactive accounts to create false IDs and fake profiles. They can also create problems for friends and families of the users.

While most of our generation limits themselves to a handful of social media accounts, below are a few handy guidelines to securing key social media accounts –

Facebook

The social media giant allows you to appoint a legal heir who can either opt to memorialize the account or delete it permanently. They will not offer login information to the family though.

Instagram

Just like Facebook, Instagram too offers the option of either getting an account deleted or memorialized, after they receive a valid request. They also pledge to take measures to protect the privacy of the deceased person by securing the account.

YouTube

YouTube does not yet offer any facility for preserving or deleting content created by users. In fact, it regularly deletes inactive or dead accounts, which is quite understandable, given the huge volumes of uploads per minute.

Twitter

It allows legal successors to place request for deactivation of the account. They will guide you through the process, which is similar to that of Facebook and Instagram.

LinkedIn

The legal successors/family members need to approach them with certain information and fill out a form shared on their site. They will then close the account and remove the profile.

Google

Sign into Google -> My Account -> Personal Info & Privacy -> Inactive Account Manager -> setup. Then add up to 10 trusted people who will be notified if you have been inactive for a specified period. You can leave them a last message and they can also download the data that you have chosen to share with them – like emails, passwords saved by Google, photos in Drive etc.

Or else, you can ask Google to delete your entire account after a certain amount of inactivity.

Microsoft including Outlook

Similarly, legal successors can inform Microsoft to close down the account and download any information you may have chosen to share with them.

In conclusion

So, you see if you leave everything written and registered in your will, your dear ones will have less to bother about. Also, it’s our duty as well, for this is the digital world and we are the digital natives. It is about time we start doing things right in cyberspace too so as to not leave behind a legacy of clutter, confusion and possible cybercrime.

Always keep your devices secured with advanced security tools like McAfee Total Protection so that cyber criminals don’t get to your data before your heirs do.

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From Internet to Internet of Things

Thirty years ago, Tim Berners-Lee set out to accomplish an ambitious idea – the World Wide Web. While most of us take this invention for granted, we have the internet to thank for the technological advances that make up today’s smart home. From smart plugs to voice assistants – these connected devices have changed the modern consumer digital lifestyle dramatically. In 2019, the Internet of Things dominates the technological realm we have grown accustomed to – which makes us wonder, where do we go from here? Below, we take a closer look at where IoT began and where it is headed.

A Connected Evolution

Our connected world started to blossom with our first form of digital communication in the late 1800s –– Morse code. From there, technological advancements like the telephone, radio, and satellites made the world a smaller place. By the time the 1970s came about, email became possible through the creation of the internet. Soon enough the internet spread like wildfire, and in the 1990s we got the invention of the World Wide Web, which revolutionized the way people lived around the world. Little did Berners-Lee know that his invention would be used decades, probably even centuries, later to enable the devices that contribute to our connected lives.

Just ten years ago, there were less than one billion IoT devices in use around the world. In the year 2019, that number has been projected to skyrocket to over eight billion throughout the course of this year. In fact, it is predicted that by 2025, there will be almost twenty-two billion IoT devices in use throughout the world. Locks, doorbells, thermostats and other everyday items are becoming “smart,” while security for these devices is lacking quite significantly. With these devices creating more access points throughout our smart homes, it is comparable to leaving a backdoor unlocked for intruders. Without proper security in place, these devices, and by extension our smart homes, are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Moving Forward with Security Top of Mind

If we’ve learned one thing from this technological evolution, it’s that we aren’t moving backward anytime soon. Society will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible – like taking the first a picture of a black hole. However, in conjunction with these advancements, to steer in the right direction, we have to prioritize security, as well as ease of use. For these reasons, it’s vital to have a security partner that you can trust, that will continue to grow to not only fit evolving needs, but evolving technologies, too. At McAfee, we make IoT device security a priority. We believe that when security is built in from the start, user data is more secure. Therefore, we call on manufacturers, users, and organizations to all equally do their part to safeguard connected devices and protect precious data. From there, we can all enjoy these technological advancements in a secure and stress-free way.

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

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Is Your Baby Monitor Susceptible to Hacking?

There’s no doubt that digital technology, in many of its forms, brings everyday tasks much closer-to-hand. From discovering breaking news, to online shopping, to keeping tabs on your home via security cameras—everything is within the touch of a button. Even so, with the growing reach of the Internet of Things (IoT), new and unsuspected threats are just around the corner—or are already here. 

One of the most alarming threats to emerge is the breach of privacy. In a number of high-profile cases, home surveillance cameras have been easily compromised and disturbing reports of hacked baby monitors are in the news.

For example, in early January of this year, a Western Australian mother voiced her worries when she discovered that the baby monitor she recently purchased was compromised. The monitor allowed her to log in with a QR code and a generic password in order to watch her child through a camera. Though she followed the instructions for installation, upon opening the monitoring website she was greatly alarmed to see a vision of a stranger’s bedroom, rather than her child’s.

This type of case isn’t isolated, as another report surfaced last year when a stranger allegedly hacked a baby monitor camera to watch a mother breastfeed. In yet another case, a Texas couple, whose devices were hacked, said they heard a man’s voice coming from their baby monitor threatening to kidnap their child. It doesn’t get much scarier than that.

Though you might not have prepared for it, it’s increasingly clear you need to take steps to protect yourself, your children, your privacy, and your new smart devices from these kinds of emerging privacy threats, as well as others. As a first precaution, you should always remember to change the default passwords on all your networked devices, starting with your router, creating strong new ones and securing them safely whenever possible with a password manager. You should then pick the best endpoint and network security solutions you can find to protect all the networked devices in your home.

Trend Micro Password Manager provides a password manager that lets you generate and sync strong passwords across your PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS devices.

In addition, Trend Micro Security provides the best endpoint security for PCs, Macs, Android and iOS—a key part of any home security strategy. Trend Micro Maximum Security includes Trend Micro Mobile Security as part of its subscription, so you can protect up to 10 devices.

Finally, Trend Micro Home Network Security is specifically designed to protect all your new “smart” connected devices in the home. It filters incoming and outgoing traffic to provide an extra layer of protection against intrusions or hacking of the home network. It protects your router and a wide range of smart devices, including security cameras, child monitoring devices, smart TVs, refrigerators, smart speakers, and even smart doorbells and thermostats, from emerging IoT threats—and the list goes on.

With our endpoint and network security solutions, we’ve got you covered! Click the links above for more details on our solutions.

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On World Health Day, Give Your Children the Key to Good Digital Health

My morning walk route takes me past a school that usually has its assembly at 7:00 am. I catch glimpses of students praying, reading out the news, teachers giving talks and often stop to watch them do their morning drill. It’s an arresting sight – 500 kids in bright uniforms moving in a synchronized manner to drumbeats. The school is doing it right; light exercises before the start of the academic day helps to enhance positivity, concentration power, alertness and readiness to learn. After all it’s an age-old saying, ‘A healthy mind resides in a healthy body.’

Perhaps you are wondering why McAfee Cybermum is discussing health. Well, 7th April was World Health Day and what better time than this to have a heart-to-heart on good health, especially, good digital health?

Let’s accept it- we are parents, first and foremost, and our focus is always (even when we are sleeping or partying or just chilling) on our kids. All we want is to raise happy, well-adjusted kids who will be able to think rationally and act for themselves and know how to stay safe- both in the real and in the digital world.

When we were kids, outdoors was the place to be! Life centered around our gardens, parks and roads outside our houses; where we spent hours playing, chatting or just hanging around. Today’s digital kids also play and socialize a lot, but the bulk of it happens online. They have their favourite hanging out zones, gaming sites, digital libraries, social media etc. We all are quite tech-savvy and so, we are well aware how addictive digital activities can be as well as how the long hours spent online can have adverse effects on health and mind. This is why we worry when our kids prefer digital lives to the real one; we take measures like setting device-use rules and see red if the rules are breached.

But losing our cool isn’t the solution- we need to promote a balanced digital life, right from the day the little tykes mark their initiation into the digital world and educate them and act as their digital role models.

Here’s how you can ensure a healthy digital life for your kids:

Health is wealth

Play games, swim, run, exercise, go for treks! It’s also a good opportunity to show them that devices can be put to other uses besides gaming and socializing, viz; tracking activity and monitoring health statistics. When they are using devices, teach them the right postures so that they don’t strain their back or eyes.

Balance is the keyword

Often, we forget to practice what we preach- which, in this case, is to have some device-free hours. Keep your device away (a) when with family, (b) when there’s company, and (c) during bedtime. Children will protest and perhaps bawl, but will also learn a valuable lesson, rather two lessons – There are other sources of entertainment besides devices, and a NO means NO. While the first lesson is important to lead a balanced digital life, the second one is important for them in the real world too.

Fix up an activity schedule that includes household chores

Not only will this help to maintain digital balance, it will also give the child the first lesson in responsibility. Whether it is making their own beds, cleaning out their wardrobes or helping to wash the car or set the table, these are values you are teaching kids non-verbally. Even little tykes can do small tasks and trust me, it will make them feel proud. Just take care that the daily timetable doesn’t start resembling an army cadet’s training schedule.

Set clear-cut rules

This helps kids learn discipline. Stress on how excessive use is akin to misuse. Their daily schedule should specify timings for device use. If they breach the timings, bring it up immediately. Repeated breaches need to be tackled firmly. Maybe the privilege of using the device needs to be surrendered for a few days. This, you as a parent need to decide.

Let them know you will be remotely monitoring their activities

It’s recommended that you mentor kids in the digital world till they are mature enough to handle matters responsibly themselves. Use parental controls that come with comprehensive security tools like McAfee Total Protection or McAfee LiveSafe and keep the admin password a secret. BUT LET YOUR KIDS KNOW you would be supervising them online. Explain it’s similar to how you keep an eye on them at public places. Remember to set internet timings and filters.

Have purposeful family activity time

Use that evening hour before or after dinner to chat, play board games, tell stories or discuss the news. Share, play, connect- the perfect ingredients for a close-knit family! And of course, all devices, including the digital assistant, is off-limit during this time.

Teach kids to be upstanders

Online abuse can lead to emotional disturbances in vulnerable kids. Even adults are negatively affected by cyberbullying and trolling and so you can understand the impact of such behavior on kids. Give your kids the security of your love and trust so that they grow up to be strong and confident and can stand up against bullies.

Discuss cybersafety often and with due seriousness

Living in the connected age, where we all use the same router for our devices along with other smart devices like CCTV, digital assistants etc., it is important to reinforce how the carelessness of one can affect the safety and privacy of all other family members. A safe and secure net connection is needed for mental wellness.

So, what are you waiting for? Start working on your family’s digital health today!

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What’s in Your IoT Cybersecurity Kit?

Did you know the average internet-enabled household contains more than ten connected devices? With IoT devices proliferating almost every aspect of our everyday lives, it’s no wonder IoT-based attacks are becoming smarter and more widespread than ever before. From DDoS to home network exposures, it appears cybercriminals have set their sights on the digital dependence inside the smart home — and users must be prepared.

A smart home in today’s world is no longer a wave of the future, but rather just a sign of the times we live in. You would be hard pressed to find a home that didn’t contain some form of smart device. From digital assistants to smart plugs, with more endpoints comes more avenues bad actors can use to access home networks. As recently as 2018, users saw virtual assistants, smart TVs, and even smart plugs appear secure, but under the surface have security flaws that could facilitate home network exposures by bad actors in the future. Whereas some IoT devices were actually used to conduct botnet attacks, like an IoT thermometer and home Wi-Fi routers.

While federal agencies, like the FBI, and IoT device manufacturers are stepping up to do their part to combat IoT-based cyberattacks, there are still precautions users should take to ensure their smart home and family remain secure. Consider this your IoT cybersecurity kit to keep unwelcome visitors out of your home network.

  • When purchasing an IoT device, make security priority #1. Before your next purchase, conduct due diligence. Prioritize devices that have been on the market for an extended period of time, have a trusted name brand, and/or have a lot of online reviews. By following this vetting protocol, the chances are that the device’s security standards will be higher.
  • Keep your software up-to-date on all devices. To protect against potential vulnerabilities, manufacturers release software updates often. Set your device to auto-update, if possible, so you always have the latest software. This includes the apps you use to control the device.
  • Change factory settings immediately. Once you bring a new device into your home, change the default password to something difficult to guess. Cybercriminals often can find the default settings online and can use them to access your devices. If the device has advanced capabilities, use them.
  • Secure your home network. It’s important to think about security as integrated, not disconnected. Not all IoT devices stay in the home. Many are mobile but reconnect to home networks once they are back in the vicinity of the router. Protect your network of connected devices no matter where they go. Consider investing in advanced internet router that has built-in protection that can secure and monitor any device that connects to your home network.
  • Use comprehensive security software. Vulnerabilities and threats emerge and evolve every day. Protect your network of connected devices no matter where you are with a tool like McAfee Total Protection.

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

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Teen Texting Slang (and Emojis) Parents Should Know

What adults call texting, kids call talking. They “talk” on their phones via chat, social comments, snaps, posts, tweets, and direct messages. And they are talking most of the time — tap, tap, tap — much like background music. In all this “talking” a language, or code, emerges just as it has for every generation only today that language is in acronyms, hashtags, and emojis. And while the slang is perfectly understood peer-to-peer, it has parents googling like crazy to decipher it.

And this language changes all the time. It expands, contracts and specific acronyms and symbols (emojis) can change in meaning entirely over time, which is why we update this list every periodically.

This time we’ve added emojis (scroll to bottom) since those powerful little graphic symbols have singlehandedly transformed human communication, as we know it.

Harmless Banter

We publish this list with an important reminder: Teen texting slang isn’t inherently bad or created with an intent to deceive or harm. Most of the terms and symbols have emerged as a kind of clever shorthand for fast moving fingers and have no dangerous or risky meaning attached. So, if you are monitoring your kids’ phones or come across references you don’t understand, assume the best in them (then, of course, do your homework).

For example, there are dozens of harmless words such as finna (fixing to do something), yeet (a way to express excitement), skeet (let’s go), Gucci (great, awesome, or overpriced), AMIRITE (am I right?) QQ4U (quick question for you), SMH (shaking my head), bread (money), IDRK (I don’t really know), OOTD (outfit of the day), LYAAF (love you as a friend), MCE (my crush everyday), HMU (hit me up, call me), W/E (whatever), AFK (away from keyboard), RTWT (read the whole thread), CWYL (chat with you later), Ship (relationship), CYT (see you tomorrow) or SO (significant other).

The Red Flags 

Here are some terms and emojis that may not be so innocent. Any of these terms can also appear as hashtags if you put a # symbol in front of them.

Potential bullying slang

Ghost = to ignore someone on purpose

Boujee = rich or acting rich

Sip tea = mind your own business

The tea is so hot = juicy gossip

AYFKM? = are you f***ing kidding me?

Thirsty = adjective describing a desperate-acting, needy person

Basic = annoying person, interested in shallow things

Extra = over the top, excessive, dramatic person

TBH = to be honest (sometimes followed by negative comments)

Zerg = to gang up on someone (a gaming term that has morphed into a bullying term)

KYS = kill yourself

SWYP = so what’s your problem?

182 = I hate you
Curve = to reject someone

Shade = throwing shade, to put someone down.

POS = piece of sh**

WTF = what the f***

Derp = stupid

Lsr = loser

Butters = ugly

Jelly = jealous

Subtweet = talking about someone but not using their @name

Bizzle = another word for b***h

THOT or thotties = a promiscuous girl/s

YAG = you are gay

Cyber pretty = saying someone only looks good online with filters

Beyouch = another word for b***h

RAB = rude a** b***h

IMHO = in my honest opinion

IMNSHO = in my not so honest opinion

NISM = need I say more?

Potential risky behavior slang  

Broken = hung over

Pasted = high or drunk

Belfie = self-portrait (selfie) featuring the buttocks

OC = open crib, party at my house

PIR = parents in the room

9, CD9, Code 9 = parents here

99 = parents gone

Smash = to have casual sex

Slide into my DM = connecting through a direct message on a social network with sexual intentions

A3: Anytime, anywhere, anyplace

WTTP = want to trade pictures?

S2R = send to receive (pictures)
sugarpic = Refers to a suggestive or erotic photograph

TDTM = talk dirty to me

KMS = kill myself

AITR = adults in the room

KPC = keeping parents clueless

1174 = invite to a wild party usually followed by an address

53X = sex

Chirped = got caught

Cu46 = See you for sexTDTM = talk dirty to meLMIRL = let’s meet in real life

GNRN = get naked right now

Pron = porn

Frape = Facebook rape; posting to someone else’s profile when they leave it logged in.

NSFW = not safe for work (post will include nudity, etc)

Livingdangerously = taking selfies while driving or some other unsafe behavior

Kik = let’s talk on kik instant message instead

Sue = suicide

Dep = depression

Svv = self- harming behavior

SN = send nudes

Nend sudes = another way to say SN/send nudes

PNP = party and play (drugs + sex)

 

Potential drug-related slang

420, bud, tree = marijuana

Blow, mayo, white lady, rock, snow, yay, yale, yeyo, yank, yahoo = Cocaine

Special K = ketamine, liquid tranquilizer

Pearls = a nicely rolled blunt

Dabbing = concentrated doses of marijuana (began as a dance craze)

DOC = drug of choice

Turnt up / turnt = high or drunk

Geeked up = being high

Bar = Xanax pill

Bar out = to take a Xanax pill

Baseball = crack cocaine

Skrill = Money

Bread = money

CID = acid

E, XTC  = ecstasy

Hazel = heroin

Blue Boogers = snorting Adderall or Ritalin

Pharming = getting into medicine cabinets to find drugs to get high

Oxy, perks, vikes = opioids

Robo-tripping = consuming cough syrup to get high

Tweaking = high on amphetamines

Wings = cocaine; heroin

Speed, crank, uppers, Crystal or Tina = meth

 

Red flag emojis

Frog = an ugly person

Frog + tea (coffee) cup = that’s the tea (gossip)

Any kind of green plant/leaves = marijuana

Maple leaf = marijuana

Broccoli = marijuana

Smoke puff or gasoline = get high

Snowflake = cocaine

Person skiing = cocaine

Pill = ecstasy or MDMA for sale

Face with steam from nose = MDMA drug

Rocket = high potency drug for sale

Syringe = heroin

Diamond = crystal meth, crack cocaine for sale

Skull = die

Knife + screaming face = calling someone a psycho

Bowling ball + person running = I’m gonna hit you, coming for you

Flowers = drugs

Dollar sign = it’s for sale

Syringe = heroine (also tattoo)

Cat with heart eyes = sex

Purple face with horns = sex

Gas pump = sex

Tongue, eggplant, water drops, banana, peach, taco, cherries, drooling face, rocket = sex

Rose, rosette, cherry, pink cherry blossom, growing heart, airplane, crown = emojis that refer to sex trafficking

When it comes to figuring out what your kids are up to online, using your own instincts and paying attention will be your best resources. If something doesn’t sound or look right on your child’s phone trust that feeling and look deeper. You don’t have to know every term or symbol — the more important thing is to stay aware and stay involved.

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Social Media: Where Cybercrime Lurks in the Shadows

When you think of cybercrime, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely cybercriminals operating on the dark web. Last year, however, cybercriminals made the jump over to social media and cashed in big – $3 billion worth, as a matter of fact. With approximately 2.77 billion people using one social media account or more, it’s no wonder these bad actors have followed the masses. While the average user distrusts the dark web, they do trust their chosen social media platforms. Whether it’s sharing birthdates or a current location, or accepting a follow or message request from strangers, users in front of a screen feel secure. Although, as the line between social platforms and the dark web quickly blurs, the events behind the screen are the real issue.

Since 2017, cryptomining malware has exploded on a global scale, with over half of the identified strains found on social media sites. Utilizing apps, advertisements, and malicious links, cybercriminals were able to deliver these attacks and earn $250 million per year. Not only are social media platforms being used to distribute cryptomining malware, but they are also used as a major source for spreading other types of malware – malvertisments, faulty plug-ins, and apps – that draw users in by offering “too good to be true” deals. Once clicked on, the malware attacks. From there, cybercriminals can obtain data, establish keyloggers, dispense ransomware, and lurk in the shadows of social media accounts in wait for the next opportunity.

That next opportunity could also be on a completely different social media platform. As these sites unknowingly make it easier for malware to spread from one site to another. Many social media accounts interconnect with one another across platforms, which enables “chain exploitation,” or where malware can jump from one account to the next.

In short, social media is a cash cow for cybercriminals, and they are showing no sign of slowing down. What it really comes down to is social platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, attract a significant number of users and are going to draw in a criminal component too. However, if you take the proper security precautions ahead of time, you can fight off bad actors and continuously scroll with confidence. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Limit the amount of personal information shared in the first place. Avoid posting home addresses, full birth dates, and employer information, as well as exact location details of where you are.
  • Be wary of messages and follow requests from strangers. Avoid clicking on links sent by someone you don’t know personally.
  • Report any spam posts or messages you encounter to the social media platform. Then they can stop the threat from spreading to other accounts.
  • Always use comprehensive security software. To help protect you from viruses, spyware, and other digital threats that may emerge from social media sites, consider McAfee Total Protection or McAfee Mobile Security.

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

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The Ultimate CyberParenting Hack – Managing Your Family’s Cybersafety with the help of your Wi-Fi Router!

Managing your family’s cybersafety can often feel overwhelming. But one thing I have learnt in my 22 years of parenting is that there are no silver bullets for any parenting issues. Whether it’s toilet training or driver training, it takes time and often a combination of strategies. Teaching your kids about online safety is no different. Yes, you need to put in the hard work and continue to have the conversations. BUT if it was possible to supplement the talking with some strategic parental controls and an automatic layer of cybersecurity, then I would consider that to be a parenting no brainer!

Well, this parenting no-brainer exists. Let me introduce you D-Link’s latest D-Fend Router which not only includes McAfee’s Secure Home Platform which automatically protects all your Wi-Fi connected devices but some pretty impressive parental controls too. And all this happens while users are delivered fast wireless connectivity with increased range and reliability. Awesome!

Being a First-Generation Digital Parent Is A Tough Gig

As a generation of parents, I believe we are the busiest yet. Not only are we juggling our brood of kids and their lives but many of us are also managing ageing parents, plus our own careers, relationships and social lives. And just to complicate things a little further, we are also the first generation of digital parents. Managing our kids and their fleet of devices comes with no guidebook or tried and tested generational wisdom, which makes our job even more complex. How easy did my parents have it – all they had to do was buy the Atari console in the 80’s!

But the job of a digital parent is only set to become more complex with Gartner estimating that by 2020 there will be 20.4 billion IoT devices operating in our world.

Many Parents Don’t Know Where To Start With Cyber Safety At Home

When I speak with parents about how they manage their kids and devices, there is a recurring theme – many parents know they need to be doing something to protect their kids from online risks, but they often don’t know where to start. As a result, nothing often happens. Research from McAfee confirms this too with almost a third of Aussies taking no steps at all to install security protection on either their own or their kids’ internet connected devices.

But there is no doubt that many parents are concerned about the risks. Research by Life Education in partnership with Hyundai Help for Kids shows that an overwhelming 95% of Aussie parents rated online safety as a very important issue which is very encouraging.

What Online Risks Concern Aussie Parents the Most?

Aussie parents have many concerns about the risks posed by the online world. I believe however, the following are the ones that increase parents’ blood pressure the most!

Screen time – The time our kids spend glued to screens is a huge concern for many Aussie parents. Whether you are concerned about ‘tech neck’, the growing rates of childhood obesity or simply, the lack of conversation at home – you would not be alone! Research by The Australian Institute of Family Studies shows that 12-13 year old Aussie kids are spending a whopping 3 hours a day in front of screens during the week and then 4 hours on the weekends. No wonder many parents are concerned.

Gaming – Recent research conducted by McAfee shows that some Aussie teens are spending up to 4 hours a day gaming. And while parents naturally worry about the opportunity cost associated with the time, their greater concern is around the risk of online grooming and of exposure to inappropriate and violent material.

Cyberbullying – This is the big one for many parents and rightly so. Cyberbullying can be absolutely devastating for victims. A quick google provides just far too many examples of young adults who have suffered significant psychological trauma or even lost their lives as a result of unchecked cyberbullying. Last year, our e-Safety Commissioner reported a 35% increase in cases of reported cyberbullying as compared to the previous year.

But Why Aren’t Parents Taking Action?

As a group of parents, there is no doubt we are concerned about screen time, gaming addiction, online grooming, and cyberbullying but many of us aren’t taking the necessary action to intervene and protect our kids. So, McAfee probed a little deeper in recent research and discovered that almost half of Aussie parents believe that their children can manage their own cyber safety from the age of just 10. Now, when my boys when 10, they were barely able to manage their own lunchboxes! So, this belief truly stuns me.

So, we have some parents who just don’t know where to start and others who believe it isn’t their responsibility. Regardless, there is clearly a need to take some decisive action to protect our kids from both online risks and problematic anti-social behaviours.

What Steps Can Parents Take Now to Protect Their Kids Digital Lives?

The good news is there are a few simple things parents can do to protect their kids and their growing fleet of internet connected devices. Here are my top tips:

  • Check a Device’s Security Track Record

Before buying any connected device, always research the brand and read reviews on a product’s security (or lack of). A quick web search will give you some pretty fast insight into the potential device’s security standards. Going with a notable brand that has a proven security track record is often the best option.

  • Always Change Default Settings, Use Strong Passwords & Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Default and weak passwords are the biggest threat to the security of internet connected devices. Hackers are very familiar with both default and obvious passwords which makes it super easy to access the data on your devices. Know these passwords and use them to access the data on your devices. If the thought of remembering several passphrases daunts you, go for a password manager. While a strong and unique password is a great place to start, enabling two-factor authentication on your devices and accounts will mean you’ll need to verify your identity with something that you (and only you) have access to. This is most commonly a mobile device, which ensures a higher-level of security.

  • Keep Your Devices Up To Date

Device software updates are often always designed to protect your device from recently discovered security bugs, vulnerabilities and threats. If you’re in the common habit of ignoring update notifications, turning on auto-update will ensure you apply these patches in real time and have maximum protection.

  • Invest in a Router that Protects Your Devices & Offers Parental Controls!

Investing in a Wi-Fi router with built-in protection like McAfee’s Secure Home Platform is one of the easiest ways of both managing and protecting your family’s fleet of devices. Not only does it automatically protect any device that connects to the Wi-Fi but it comes with some very strategic parental controls. So not only can you take back control and proactively manage your kids’ screen time but you can set up customised profiles to ensure they are visiting only suitable sites.

As a mum of 4, I believe that managing the risk in our kids’ cyber lives needs to be a genuine priority for us all. So, yes, let’s keep talking to our kids about online risks and the need to self-regulate our online behaviour. But, if we could also add in a later of automatic protection for our kids’ devices from McAfee’s Secure Home Platform and some savvy parental controls to ensure our kids are on track then I think that’s a pretty compelling parenting hack for us first generation digital parents!

Take Care

Alex xx

 

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Ghosts May Not Be Real but Trolls Are – Look Out for Social Media Trolls

The Cambridge Dictionary describes a troll as “an imaginary, either very large or very small creature in traditional Scandinavian stories, that has magical powers and lives in mountains or caves.”

If you have read your fairy tales, you would know that trolls are generally grotesque creatures that stay away from human habitation. They take pleasure in carrying out antisocial activities and causing people pain and mental suffering.

Those trolls are mythical, but the online trolls are very much real. These digital trolls use the anonymity offered by the net to stay hidden and cause disruption and harm through their malicious and negative comments. They share provocative, malicious content and delight in fomenting unrest. If the victim takes the comments personally, it can leave them emotionally disturbed.

Why do people troll?

Why do people troll? Why do they want to insult, abuse, criticize, hurt and spread negativity? There are many studies available online that offer detailed analysis of how a troll’s mind works. However, we won’t go into such details. For our convenience and easy understanding, it will suffice to say that trolling may be the result of an individual’s background, low empathy levels, anger, frustration, jealousy, sadness and/or bitterness.

  • Low empathy: There are people who have less empathy or sensitivity and often find grim or disturbing situations funny. They will, for e.g.; not think twice about posting a joke on a social media thread where everyone is offering condolence on the demise of a loved one. They may see nothing wrong in it, rather it may give them a laugh.
  • Inflexible attitude: Some people find it difficult to accept that others too can have their individual viewpoints and instinctively target people with different opinions as enemies and make it their mission to abuse them, as if to prove that they are wrong. They hamper freedom of speech online for they do try to desist other users from sharing their personal opinions.
  • Revenge: Some go on a rampage to seek revenge for the ‘wrong’ done to them or someone else.

The anonymity provided by the net enables many cowardly people to feel strong by attacking others and give vent to their emotions online.

How do you identify trolls?

Easy. They are the rabble rousers, the ones who have nothing positive to contribute but are only out to disrupt, disturb and upset you. Their posts may vary from personal comments on your photo, satirical outbursts on your blogs or videos or direct attacks on your person, to out-of-context malicious remarks in an ongoing discussion. They would definitely be using a false bio and either no profile pic or a false one.

What do you do if you are trolled?

  • Avoid feeding them – they thrive on your emotional upheaval and vituperative responses. The smart thing to do is to neither acknowledge their comments nor respond to them. Nothing is as putting off as an IGNORE.
  • Keep records and block – If the trolling continues, keep records and block account of the troll and report to the platform. Let your friends know about the account too.
  • Consider keeping commenting off on your YouTube channel – you may also choose to delete negative comments.
  • Make amendments to posts – if factual or grammatical errors or an archaic style of writing your posts or blogs have brought out the trolls, consider apologizing for the errors and making revisions. Reply positively, thanking the troll for the feedback. You will take the wind out of the troll’s sails.
  • Don’t take it to heart – adults may use humour to counter trolls online, but it may not be easy for teens to keep emotions aside and reply to abusive comments lightly. So, it’s best to ignore.

As a digital parent, you may already be aware of trolls and the emotional havoc they can cause. You want to protect your kids from their attacks when they go online. At the same time, you need to explain to them why trolling is wrong and sometimes funny isn’t funny at all but may be hurtful and nasty.

How to ensure your kids know it’s wrong to troll?

  • Good manners: Whether online or off it, there is no substitute to good manners and etiquette. Ensure your kids feel happy and secure at home. Model the kind of behavior you expect from them and reward good manners with appreciation.
  • Empathy: The world runs on kindness and empathy. Reinforce empathy right from childhood. They need to understand that there are all kinds of people and each one is special in some way. Help them grow up to be generous, tolerant and broad-minded people.
  • Positivity: A child with a positive outlook and sunny disposition is most unlikely to be rude and deliberately mean online. Lay stress on being positive, whatever the situation may be.
  • Monitoring: It is recommended that parents monitor the conversations kids have online. Avoid participating in their conversations or taking to task those who maybe bullying or trolling them, for though this will delight the troll, it will be embarrassing for the child. Instead, have discussions on how he/she plans to handle it and let him/her tackle the issue.
  • Last but not the least, ensure all your devices are installed with licensed comprehensive security software that offers the parental controls feature. This will allow you to monitor activities remotely, though you should keep your child informed that you are doing so.

One last word: we cannot make trolls vanish, but we can empower our kids to vanquish them.

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You Rang? New Voice Phishing Attack Tricks Unsuspecting Users

In this digital day and age, the average user is likely familiar with the techniques and avenues cybercriminals use to get ahold of personal data and money. With this knowledge, we’ve become smarter and keen to the tricks of the cybercrime trade. However, cybercriminals have become smarter too, and therefore their attacks have become more complex. Take phishing, for example. There has been a dramatic shift in phishing attacks, from simple and general to complex and personalized. What was once spoofing emails or websites has now evolved into something more devious – vishing, or voice phishing. This method involves a cybercriminal attempting to gain access to a victim’s personal or financial information by pretending to be a financial institution via phone call. And now a new vishing attack is proving to be more difficult to detect than the typical phishing scams.

In April 2018, Min-Chang Jang, a manager at Korea Financial Security Institute and Korea University, made a breakthrough in his investigation into malicious apps designed to intercept calls to users from legitimate numbers. This tactic puts a new but troubling twist on the original voice phishing cyberattack. To be successful in this venture, a hacker must first convince a user to download a fake app. To do this, a link is sent to the victim, luring them in with an amazing offer around loan refinancing or something similar, which then prompts the user to download the faulty app. If the target takes the bait, calls will start to come in from the financial institution following up on the possible loan refinancing offer. The call, however, isn’t connected to the actual financial company, rather it is intercepted and connected to the bad actor.

We know that as we adjust to the world around us and become smarter about our security, cybercriminals will do the same with their thievery. Today it’s an advanced vishing attack, tomorrow it could be a different type of phishing vector. However, users can rest assured that companies like McAfee are working tirelessly to ensure our users can thwart any cyberattack that comes their way. While this voice phishing attack is hard to detect, here are some proactive steps you can take to ensure you don’t fall victim to cybercriminals’ schemes:

  • Only install apps from authorized sources. To avoid malicious apps getting ahold of your data, only download apps from authorized vendors. For Android users, use the Google Play Store. For iPhone users, use the Apple App Store. Never trust a third-party app with information that could be exploited in the wrong hands.
  • Turn on caller ID or other services. Numerous carriers now offer free services that notify users of possible scam calls. And a lot of phones come with call-identifying capabilities that can give the user a quick diagnostic of whether the call is legitimate or not. With this feature, users can report scam calls to a database too.
  • Always think twice. In addition to tips and apps, there’s no better judge than common sense so if an offer or deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

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

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Let’s Discuss Cybersecurity as a Career Option This International Women’s Day

Even as I write this blog, the higher secondary board exams have started in schools across India and I send up a silent prayer for the thousands of nervous youngsters who are at the juxtaposition of a crucial time in their lives – the time when they have to take serious decisions regarding college education and career. The Board results would no doubt play a major role in this decision making.

With International Women’s Day around the corner, I am naturally thinking about women, their emancipation and their choices in life. I imagine them thinking independently, making decisions based on their capabilities and preferences, and supplying the necessary valuable skills that our country so needs.

But often that isn’t the case for teens as they are indecisive, and their knowledge of professions isn’t vast. They often miss out on plum prospects because, well, they were not aware of them or feel they may later hamper their family lives! I am going to do my bit for all the young ladies finishing school education this year- I am going to talk to you about choosing cybersecurity as a career option.

So girls, if you possess good reasoning power, enjoy ferreting out the source of the problem, are a natural at coding or are a serious video gamer, think cybersecurity.

Why Cybersecurity you ask? Let me present the facts.

  • Skills shortage

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) recently estimated that India alone will need 1 million cybersecurity professionals by 2020 to meet the demands of its rapidly growing economy.

Demand for security professionals in India will increase in all sectors due to the unprecedented rise in the number of cyber-attacks, added NASSCOM. Despite having the largest information technology talent pool in the world, India is struggling to produce an adequate number of professionals to close the cybersecurity skill gap.

  • The age of diversification

There is gender gap in the cybersecurity sector and companies globally are trying to correct this, not just to promote diversity but to add value to their work culture with the addition of the visions, perspectives and skills that women bring in.

  • Flexible work arrangements

With more women joining the profession, employers are doing their best to make the work atmosphere favourable for them. Not only are they offering flexi-timings but also work-from-home opportunities when it’s possible. I have heard of companies that allow mothers with infants to work from home for extended periods! Isn’t that a blessing?

According to a 2013 McKinsey Report, 34 percent of India’s IT workforce is female. However, most of them exit the employment pipeline at the junior to mid-level.

This only goes to reveal that many women scientists and engineers drop out, perhaps because they find it difficult manage their work-home balance. With flexi-timings and work-from-home options, this figure will definitely decrease!

  • Good support system

Great news for all women exploring cybersecurity as a career! There are organizations like Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) that aims at offering a common platform to women cybersecurity professionals from academia, research and industry where they can network, mentor and be mentored, share information and experience; which means, you will never feel alone as help is just a click away!

  • You don’t need to be an engineer

Employers are trying to plug the cybersecurity skills gap with alternative solutions. It has been found that video gamers too have the right types of skills along with a different approach to threat hunting. So, if you are an avid gamer, go for it!

  • Steady jobs with good pay

This last bit is the clincher really! In this super-competitive market, isn’t it a dream to have a high salary job that rarely gets monotonous?

McAfee lists some cool cybersecurity job prospects for you, check them out!

Job 1 – Forensics Expert

They analyze and determine who the mastermind behind a security breach might be. It can be almost as complex and precise as understanding human DNA.

Job 2  – Cryptographer/ Cryptanalysts

Cryptographers develop algorithms, ciphers and security systems to encrypt and hide sensitive information from cyber hackers.

Job 3 – Threat Hunter

Threat hunters use manual or machine-assisted skills to detect and prepare for security incidents

Job 4 – Security Architect

They design systems to help develop and test the security vulnerabilities of a business

Parenting tips to rear future cyber security experts:

You can help your child make faster career decisions if you instill security habits in them from an early age. It goes without saying that you need to model cybersecurity habits so that they can learn by imitating you. Discuss cybersecurity as a profession and explore the prospects together online. Take your child to meet friends in the field so that they can get their doubts cleared. Have dinner time conversations on how attacks are becoming more advanced and the best means to fight them. If your daughter enjoys playing online games, use that as a conversation starter to talk about how security firms are looking at video gamers—even those without a background in cybersecurity.

The best gift you can give the women in your family on International Women’s Day is a sense of independence, security and equality.

Happy International Women’s Day!!

Credits:

https://anitab.org/blog/indian-women-in-technology-barriers/

CSO

McAfee

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McAfee Partners With Telefónica To Help Secure Consumers Worldwide

These days, cyberattacks can feel relentless. Due to the interconnected nature of the world we live in, cybercriminals have managed to infiltrate our personal devices, our networks, and even our homes. That’s why we at McAfee believe it’s important now more than ever to secure every facet of the modern consumer lifestyle. And we’ve partnered with Telefónica to do just that.

This partnership first began back in February of last year, when ElevenPaths, Telefónica Cyber Security Unit, and McAfee announced we’re working together to reinforce the online security of Telefónica’s broadband and mobile customers across multiple markets. This partnership covers Europe and Latin America with plans to progressively roll out solutions in the different countries where Telefónica operates. It’s the first time a telecommunications company has delivered a security service to all of its customers, regardless of where they connect from. Fast forward to present day, and this partnership has only expanded. The global product developed by Telefónica and powered by McAfee was first launched in Spain as Movistar Conexión Segura, a service that protects home and mobile customers’ connectivity. Telefónica protects Fusión customers’ home connections with a smart router, thanks to the ElevenPaths solution powered by McAfee Secure Home Platform, which enables seamless security and easy activation. Conexión Segura is also available for Movistar mobile customers, including network protection and one license of Seguridad Dispositivo, a multi-device security protection. Only a few weeks after Spain, Movistar Argentina launched the solution for its fixed and mobile customers. These services help realize Telefónica’s “Security by Default” strategy, offering customers a more robust security solution that protects against threats like viruses, malware, phishing, and emerging IoT threats.

Telefónica and McAfee’s 360 partnership is dedicated to protecting the productivity of consumers everywhere. “This agreement gives customers current and contextual information on their cybersecurity status so they can stay connected with confidence,” said Pedro Pablo Pérez, Global Security VP of Telefónica and CEO of ElevenPaths, Telefónica Cybersecurity Unit.

ElevenPaths and Mcafee’s joint vision to create a more secure tomorrow brings us a step closer to stopping widespread cyberattacks. By joining forces to implement more robust security solutions around the world, we can ensure that our connectivity goes undisrupted. Because together is power.

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

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Kicking Off MWC 2019 with Insights on Mobile Security and Growing Partnerships

We’ve touched down in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC), which is looking to stretch the limits of mobile technology with new advancements made possible by the likes of IoT and 5G. This year, we are excited to announce the unveiling of our 2019 Mobile Threat Report, our extended partnership with Samsung to protect Galaxy S10 smartphones, and our strengthened partnership with Türk Telekom to provide a security solution to protect families online.

Mobile Connectivity and the Evolving Threat Landscape

These days, it’s a rare occurrence to enter a home that isn’t utilizing smart technology. Devices like smart TVs, voice assistants, and security cameras make our lives more convenient and connected. However, as consumers adopt this technology into their everyday lives, cybercriminals find new ways to exploit these devices for malicious activity. With an evolving threat landscape, cybercriminals are shifting their tactics in response to changes in the market. As we revealed in our latest Mobile Threat Report, malicious actors look for ways to maximize their profit, primarily through gaining control of trusted IoT devices like voice assistants. There are over 25 million voice assistants in use across the globe and many of these devices are connected to other things like thermostats, door locks, and smart plugs. With this increase in connectivity, cybercriminals have more opportunities to exploit users’ devices for malicious purposes. Additionally, cybercriminals are leveraging users’ reliance on their mobile phones to mine for cryptocurrency without the device owner’s knowledge. According to our Mobile Threat Report, cybersecurity researchers found more than 600 malicious cryptocurrency apps spread across 20 different app stores. In order to protect users during this time of rapid IoT and mobile growth, we here at McAfee are pushing to deliver solutions for relevant, real-world security challenges with the help of our partners.

Growing Partnerships to Protect What Matters

Some cybersecurity challenges we are working to overcome include threats like mobile malware and unsecured Wi-Fi. This year, we’ve extended our long-standing partnership with Samsung to help secure consumers from cyberthreats on Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones. McAfee is also supporting Samsung Secure Wi-Fi service by providing backend infrastructure to protect consumers from risky Wi-Fi. In addition to mobile, this partnership also expands to help protect Samsung smart TVs, PCs, and laptops.

We’ve also strengthened our partnership with Türk Telekom, Turkey’s largest fixed broadband ISP. Last year, we announced this partnership to deliver cross-device security protection. This year, we’re providing a security solution to help parents protect their family’s digital lives. Powered by McAfee Safe Family, Türk Telekom’s fixed and mobile broadband customers will have the option to benefit from robust parental controls. These controls will allow parents to better manage their children’s online experience and give them greater peace of mind.

We’re excited to see what’s to come for the rest of MWC, and how these announcements will help improve consumers’ digital experiences. It is our hope that by continuing to extend our relationships with technology innovators, we can help champion built-in security across devices and networks.

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

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MWC 2019: Why 5G + Fortnite = a win-win for criminals

So apparently, the company behind Fortnite has so much cash that it’s forming a $100 million prize fund for upcoming competitions. It’s hardly surprising since its creators, Epic Games, confirmed that by the end of November 2018, 200 million players had registered accounts across PCs, gaming consoles and on mobile. The Android app alone was downloaded 15 million times within the first three weeks of its release.

Staggeringly though, this remains a ‘free’ game and while the freemium model is hardly new in the world of mobile apps – just consider the returns Supercell got with Clash of Clans – it does provide an opportunity for criminals to also get their share. Unsurprisingly the promise of achieving an advantage is particularly attractive since top gamers can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Combined with alternative delivery methods such as the use of an invitation-only beta version of Fortnite distributed in August 2018, we saw the growth in promises of invitations, and over-eager YouTubers with links to apps that were not what they appeared. From an InfoSec perspective this is hardly surprising, but the reality is that we are dealing with an audience demonstrating no due diligence in their pursuit of access to the latest games.

While Fortnite is undoubtedly a phenomenon, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are already challengers nipping at its heels. PUBG Mobile, for example, is played by 30 million people daily, while there are plans for EA’s Apex Legends to move over to mobile, having acquired 10 million online players in its first 72 hours.

The growing appetite for mobile gaming will only increase further this year with the arrival of 5G networks and its promise of super-fast speeds and ultra-low latency. And of course, as the number of mobile gamers continues to grow, so too will the opportunity for criminals to exploit them.

75 percent of gamers claimed security was the element that most concerned them about the future of gaming. Such concerns are hardly surprising since we found almost two thirds of gamers have or know someone who has been directly affected by a cyberattack, with the average gamer experiencing around five attacks. However, the likelihood is that these concerns are put to one side when a link to a third-party app store offers a beta version to the latest gaming phenomenon.

Analysts suggest that 2018 was a tipping point for mobile gaming, when cost, convenience and a social element saw the channel become bigger than console and PC gaming combined. Unfortunately, this means opportunistic criminals now have their eyes on a huge and growing number of potential victims.

Join us at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we’ll be demoing McAfee Gamer Security, and revealing how criminals are cashing in on Fortnite and its unorthodox distribution method.

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What About a Heart-To-Heart Talk with Your Loved Ones This Valentine’s Day?

I was listening to the Valentine’s Day playlist of my friend when suddenly espied one of my favorites- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and started humming the song. Remember it?

If you need me call me

No matter where you are

No matter how far;

Just call my name

I’ll be there in a hurry

You don’t have to worry coz

Baby there ain’t any mountain high enough…

To keep me from getting to you.

Post becoming a mom, it resonated more with me and I would often find myself singing the song whilst doing my daily chores. (Hope the kids heard me and remember the words!).

In the digital age, when kids are maturing faster and social media reflects the rapid rate at which hearts are getting connected and then disconnected, it’s important that we talk about online romances, dating sites and privacy with our teens.

Is your teen sporting a moony look and walking around as if on cloud 9? Then it’s time to sit them down and have ‘the talk’- the one about crushes, love and the need for separating digital life from their romantic life.

So how do you go about it? You can start on a light note, discussing Valentine’s Day and the number of roses they may have received or gifted. Talk about their friends and the various plans they are making for this special day. You may then gently lead the conversation to online romances and the rising interest in dating websites among adolescents. Finally, it’s time to discuss account security and privacy.

Here are some tips you can share with your kids during your heart-to-heart talk on digital age romance:

  • Whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears but not your account passwords
  • Share your hobbies and dreams, but keep your sensitive information private
  • Make new friends online but only as long as the conversation stays decent and non-intrusive
  • Use PIN or biometrics to lock your devices. Set autolock to 10 sec
  • Money attracts the attention of cyber criminals like nothing else. Avoid making online payments to help out a friend seemingly in distress, without consulting someone senior and trusted. Be judicious – do not share ATM PIN or credit card CVV number
  • Take time to decide whether or not you want to create a common social media account and avoid if possible. You wouldn’t have the control over posting
  • If your social media account is compromised, write a general post informing all about it, take screenshots of offending content and delete account
  • Use only secured devices with authentic software -This is to be implemented without fail by all family members

Isn’t it also a good time to talk to kids about real love – The love that isn’t limited to romance? Love is also when Mom gets up at midnight to make a studious child a cup of hot chocolate; when Dad forgoes his annual vacation plans to buy a collegian a dream laptop; when friends make plans to spend maximum time possible with a depressed friend; when a teacher spends extra time helping a child improve grades; when a 4-year old makes and proudly serves her Mom a cup of tea. Love is all that and more.

Recently Safer Internet Day was celebrated worldwide and I am really happy to note that not only security firms, government agencies and experts, but even schools, media and various NGOs showed support through activities, slogans, posts and discussions. Though the number is still insignificant, if you consider that we are a billion plus nation, it’s a start. Awareness of the issue and commitment to be a changemaker are the first two steps towards a positive digital life.

Here are some DIY ideas for your child for Valentine’s Day:

  1. Make cards for near and dear ones, showing appreciation and love
  2. Make and hang heart chains to decorate their rooms/the house
  3. Get flowers and chocolates for grandparents, domestic help, school bus drivers, canteen staff etc. to thank them for their support
  4. Compose poems and songs mentioning each loved one and sing it at the next social meet
  5. Visit a children’s hospital with parents and share cards and small gifts

These activities will not only boost their creativity and realization of real relationsships, but will also help them lead a balanced digital life.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

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Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue – What Does Your Personal Data Say About You?

A classic meet-cute – the moment where two people, destined to be together, meet for the first time. This rom-com cornerstone is turned on its head by Netflix’s latest bingeable series “You.” For those who have watched, we have learned two things. One, never trust someone who is overly protective of their basement. And two, in the era of social media and dating apps, it’s incredibly easy to take advantage of the amount of personal data consumers readily, and somewhat naively, share online and with the cloud every day.

We first meet Joe Goldberg and Guinevere Beck – the show’s lead characters – in a bookstore, she’s looking for a book, he’s a book clerk. They flirt, she buys a book, he learns her name. For all intents and purposes, this is where their story should end – but it doesn’t. With a simple search of her name, Joe discovers the world of Guinevere Beck’s social media channels, all conveniently set to public. And before we know it, Joe has made himself a figurative rear-window into Beck’s life, which brings to light the dangers of social media and highlights how a lack of digital privacy could put users in situations of unnecessary risk. With this information on Beck, Joe soon becomes both a physical and digital stalker, even managing to steal her phone while trailing her one day, which as luck would have it, is not password protected. From there, Joe follows her every text, plan and move thanks to the cloud.

Now, while Joe and Beck’s situation is unique (and a tad dramatized), the amount of data exposed via their interactions could potentially occur through another romantic avenue – online dating. Many millennial couples meet on dating sites where users are invited to share personal anecdotes, answer questions, and post photos of themselves. The nature of these apps is to get to know a stranger better, but the amount of personal information we choose to share can create security risks. We have to be careful as the line between creepy and cute quickly blurs when users can access someone’s every status update, tweet, and geotagged photo.

While “You” is an extreme case of social media gone wrong, dating app, social media, and cloud usage are all very predominant in 2019. Therefore, if you’re a digital user, be sure to consider these precautions:

  • Always set privacy and security settings. Anyone with access to the internet can view your social media if it’s public, so turn your profiles to private in order to have control over who can follow you. Take it a step further and go into your app settings to control which apps you want to share your location with and which ones you don’t.
  • Use a screen name for social media accounts. If you don’t want a simple search of your name on Google to lead to all your social media accounts, consider using a different variation of your real name.
  • Watch what you post. Before tagging your friends or location on Instagram and posting your location on Facebook, think about what this private information reveals about you publicly and how it could be used by a third-party.
  • Use strong passwords. In the chance your data does become exposed, or your device is stolen, a strong, unique password can help prevent your accounts from being hacked.
  • Leverage two-factor authentication. Remember to always implement two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your device. This will help strengthen your online accounts with a unique, one-time code required to log in and access your data.
  • Use the cloud with caution. If you plan to store your data in the cloud, be sure to set up an additional layer of access security (one way of doing this is through two-factor authentication) so that no one can access the wealth of information your cloud holds. If your smartphone is lost or stolen, you can access your password protected cloud account to lock third-parties out of your device, and more importantly your personal data.

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

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Safer Internet Day 2019 – Together for a Better Internet

What You Can Do Today to Help Create a Better Internet

 

Today is Safer Internet Day (SID) – an annual worldwide event to encourage us all to work together to create a better internet. Celebrated globally in over 130 countries, SID is an opportunity for millions of people worldwide to come together to inspire positive change and raise awareness about the importance of online safety.

The theme for 2019 is: ‘Together for a Better Internet’ which I believe is a timely reminder of the importance of us all working together if we are serious about making the internet a safer place. Whether we are parents, carers, teachers or just avid users, we all have a part to play.

The 4R’s of Online Safety

In order to make a positive change to our online world, this year we are being encouraged to focus on four critical skills that many experts believe will help us all (especially our kids) better navigate the internet and create a more positive online environment. Let’s call them the 4R’s of online safety: Respect, Responsibility, Reasoning and Resilience. So, here is my advice on what we can do to try and incorporate these four important skills into our family’s digital lives

  1. Respect – ‘I treat myself and others the way I like to be treated’

I firmly believe that having respect for others online is critical if we are going to foster a safer and more supportive internet for our children and future generations. While many parents realise that our constant reminders about the importance of good manners and respect must also now be extended to include the online world, not everyone is on the same page.

Keyboard warriors who fire off abusive comments online, or harass and troll others clearly do not have any notion of online respect. Online actions can have serious real-world implications. In fact, online actions can often have more significant implications as the dialogue is not just contained to a few, rather it is witnessed by everyone’s online friends which could stretch into the 1000’s. Such public exchanges then create the opportunity for commentary which often further magnifies the hurt and fallout.

It is therefore essential that we have very direct conversations with our children about what is and isn’t appropriate online. And if there is even any confusion, always revert to one of my favourite lessons from my Sunday School days: treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

  1. Responsibility – ‘I am accountable for my actions and I take a stand when I feel something is wrong’

In my opinion, teaching our kids online responsibility is another important step in making the internet a better place. Ensuring our kids understand that they are not only responsible but accountable for their behaviour is essential. If they harass or bully others online, or are involved in sending inappropriate pics, there are consequences that could quite possible include interactions with the police department.

But being responsible online also means getting involved if you feel something isn’t right. Whether a mate is on the receiving end of online harassment or a cruel joke, getting involved and telling the perpetrator that their behaviour ‘isn’t cool’ is essential.

  1. Reasoning – ‘I question what is real’

Teaching our kids to think critically is an essential survival skill for our kids in our content-driven online world. We need our kids to question, analyse and verify online content. They need to be able to identify reputable and credible sources and think carefully before they share and digest information.

The best thing we can do as parents is challenge our kids and get them thinking! If for example, your child is researching online for a school assignment then get them thinking. Ask them what agenda the author of the article has. Ask them whether there is a counter argument to the one laid out in the article. Ask them whether the source sharing the information is trustworthy. The aim is to teach them to question and not take anything they find online at face value.

  1. Resilience – ‘I get back up from tough situations’

Unfortunately, the chances that your child will experience some challenges online is quite high. Whether someone posts a mean comment, they are harassed, or worst case, cyberbullied – these nasty online interactions can really hurt.

Ensuring your kids know that they can come to you about any issue they experience is essential. And you need to repeat this to them regularly, so they don’t forget! And if your child does come to you with a problem they experienced online, the worst thing you can do is threaten to disconnect them. If you do this, I guarantee you that they will never share anything else with you again.

In 2014, Parent Zone, one of the UK’s leading family digital safety organisations collaborated with the Oxford Internet Institute to examine ways to build children’s online resilience. The resulting report, A Shared Responsibility: Building Children’s Online Resilience, showed that unconditional love and respect from parents, a good set of digital skills plus the opportunity for kids to take risks and develop strategies in the online world – without being overly micro-managed by their parents – were key to building online resilience.

So, love them, educate them and give them some independence so they can start to take some small risks online and start developing resilience.

What Can You Do this Safer Internet Day?

Why not pledge to make one small change to help make the internet a better place this Safer Internet Day? Whether it’s modelling online respect, reminding your kids of their online responsibilities, challenging them to demonstrate reasoning when assessing online content or working with them to develop online resilience, just a few small steps can make a positive change.

 

 

 

 

 

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Teach Kids The 4Rs Critical for Online Safety on Safer Internet Day

What are you doing?”

Uploading pics of our school fest. And don’t peer over my shoulder, Aunty. I have already uploaded a few so check them out on your Instagram account.”

I beat a hasty retreat and did as instructed. The photos brought out a smile- such fresh, innocent faces of kids having a good time! But that feeling rapidly changed when I read the comments on one particular pic.

Now why are you frowning?” asked the niece.

Perhaps you shouldn’t have shared this one. It’s attracting rude comments. “

Instantly remorseful, the niece took down the picture, but I decided to nevertheless give her a talk on responsible posting.

On the occasion of Safer Internet Day (SID) 2019, let us find out what can make our digital world a happier and safer place, and our digital experience a more positive one.

There are many, like you my dear readers, well aware digital users who endeavor to take measures and ensure that your accounts are secure and devices safe. However, one needs to keep in mind that we are linked online, and therefore the key word is ‘together’. No single entity or product can guarantee 100% safety online, but together we can strive to bring about a better digital experience for all. That’s the theme for 2019 too – ‘Together for a better internet’.

Incidentally, McAfee too has a similar tagline, ‘Together is Power’, underlining the fact that it needs the collaboration of all players- digital users, organizations and vendors- to make cybersecurity effective.

Organizations lay down rules and monitor usage, vendors provide security tools and that leaves us, the users.  What can we do?

‘What can we do as parents?’ Let us start by helping our kids develop four critical skills – the 4Rs of online safety:

  • Respect– I treat myself and others the way I like to be treated
  • Responsibility – I am accountable for my actions and I take a stand when I feel something is wrong
  • Reasoning – I question what is real
  • Resilience – I get back up from tough situations

RESPECT

How do we teach what respect means? We respect those we love or admire. But we also need to learn to respect rules, people’s feelings and take a sympathetic view of differences in physical and emotional aspects of people.  The two values that this calls for are tolerance and empathy.

Here are a few ways you can teach kids respect:

  1. Appreciate when they are tactful and kind
  2. Correct them if they are mean
  3. Make it a family practice to use ‘sorry’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’ a lot
  4. Role model respectful behavior like being silent in the library, sharing photos with permission, treating boys and girls as equals
  5. Set rules and specify penalties for breaching them

At the same time, help your kids identify undesirable behavior that may show disrespect and abuse.

  1. Being approached by strangers online who ask for photos, personal thoughts
  2. Being a witness to rude, aggressive behavior that causes anguish
  3. Being belittled for beliefs, appearance, race, gender
  4. Being challenged to perform a dare the child isn’t comfortable with

Resilience

Standing up to injustice and aggression as well as springing back to normalcy despite a negative experience is what resilience is about. Let’s accept it, bullies will continue to exist and so it is in the interest of the kids to know how to survive tough situations online. The recipe also calls for dollops of love, support, patience from the family and friends.

Actions that may lead to negative experiences:

  1. Cyberbullying
  2. Risky challenges
  3. Being ignored by peers online
  4. Befriending child groomers
  5. Falling prey to hackers and scammers

You know what to do, right? Teach them cybersafety practices; change account settings and passwords or even delete accounts if necessary; report scam and abuse; rope in teachers to stop bullying in school. Stand by your child. Encourage them to get back on their feet and resume normal life. Help them be tough and face the world- they will thank you for it.

Responsibility

We have often discussed responsible online behavior in these pages, so will not rehash it. Suffice to say that we are the digital space users, content generators and consumers. So, our actions online will ultimately affect us and those in contact with us and their contacts and so on and so forth, covering the entire digital populace. Practice STOP. THINK. CONNECT. SHARE.

Reasoning

We will do the kids a big favour if we can help them to think and act instead of following the herd mentality. Encourage them to question, to reason before accepting any online content to be true. Help them understand the reach and consequences of digital posts and ways to distinguish between a fake news and a real one. Kids have wonderful reasoning power and let us push them to exercise it fully.

What can we do as a community? I think South Korea has set a sterling example:

A civil activist group in South Korea, Sunfull Internet Peace Movement, initiated the “Internet Peace Prize” in 2018 to promote online etiquette and fight cyberbullying. The award went to two people from Japan for their effort to protect human rights by tackling cyberbullying. We can start something similar in our children’s school or our neighbourhood. Schools can set up cyber armies to identify and stop cyberbullying and offer support to victims. The possibilities are many.

Stay safe online everyday; it just calls for a little care. Just like in the real world.

Credits:

Office of the eSafety Commissioner, An Australian Government initiative

 

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How Safe is Your Child’s School WiFi?

School WiFi. For many of our digital natives, school WiFi may even be a more important part of their daily life than the canteen!! And that is saying something…

You’d be hard pressed to find a child who rocked up to school without a device in their backpack in our digital age. The vast majority of schools have embraced the many positive learning benefits that internet-connected devices offer our kids. The traditional blackboard and textbook lessons that were confined to the four walls of the classroom are gone. Instead our kids can research, discover, collaborate, create and most importantly, learn like never before.

But in order for this new learning to occur, our kids need to be internet connected. And this is where school WiFi comes into play.

Do Parents Need to Be Concerned About School WiFi?

As parents, we have a responsibility to ensure our kids are safe and not at risk – and that includes when they are using the WiFi at school. Ideally, your child’s school should have a secure WiFi network but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they do. School budgets are tight and top-notch secure WiFi networks are expensive, so in some cases, security maybe jeopardised.

The other factor we shouldn’t ignore is that our batch of digital natives are very tech literate. The possibility that one of them may choose to cause some mayhem to their school WiFi network should also not be ignored!!

At the end of the day, the security of a WiFi network is all about whether it has tight access controls. If it allows only approved devices and people to connect via a secure login then it is more secure than public WiFi. However, if it is open to anyone or easy for anyone to connect to it, then you need to treat it like public WiFi.

What Are the Risks?

An unsecured school WiFi network is as risky as public WiFi which, according to the Harvard Business Review, is as risky as rolling a dice,

Students and staff who use an unsecured WiFi network are at risk of receiving phishing emails, being the victim of a ransomware attack or even having their data or personal details stolen. There is also a risk that the entire school’s operations could be disrupted and possibly even closed down through a DDOS – a Denial of Service Attack.

What Can Parents Do to Ensure Their Kids Are Safe Using School WiFi?

There are several steps parents can take to minimise the risks when their offspring use school WiFi.

  1. Talk To Your School

The first thing to do is speak to your child’s school to understand exactly how secure their network is. I’d recommend asking who has access to the network, what security practices they have in place and how they manage your child’s private data.

  1. Install Security Software

Operating a device without security software is no different to leaving your front door unlocked. Installing security software on all devices, including smartphones, will provide protection against viruses, online threats, risky websites and dangerous downloads. Check out McAfee’s Total Protection security software for total peace of mind!

  1. Keep Device Software Up To Date

Software updates are commonly designed to address security issues. So ensuring ALL your devices are up to date is a relatively easy way of minimising the risk of being hacked.

  1. Schedule Regular Data Back Up

If you are the victim of a ransomware attack and your data is backed up then you won’t even have to consider paying the hefty fee to retrieve your (or your child’s) data. Backing up data regularly should be not negotiable however life can often get in the way. Why not schedule automatic backups? I personally love online backup options such as Dropbox and Google Drive however you may choose to invest in a hard drive.

  1. Public Wi-Fi Rules?

If after talking to your school, you aren’t convinced that your child’s school WiFi network is secure, then I recommend that your kids should treat it as if it was public WiFi. This means that they should NEVER conduct any financial transactions using it and never share any personal details. But the absolute best way of ensuring your child is safe using an unsecured WiFi network, is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN like McAfee’s Safe Connect creates an encrypted tunnel so anything that is shared over WiFi is completely safe.

As a mum of 4, I am very keen to ensure my kids are engaged with their learning. And in our digital times, this means devices and WiFi. So, let’s support our kids and their teachers in their quest for interactive, digital learning but please don’t forget to check in and ensure your kids are as safe as possible while using WiFi at school.

Take Care

Alex xx

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5G Is Coming: Security Risks You Need to Know About

The future of connectivity is here ­– 5G. This new network is set to roll out across the nation this coming year and bring greater speed to our handheld devices, which means more data and lower latency. But perhaps one of the most anticipated and popular benefits is it will allow even more IoT devices to come online and encourage more connection between said devices. This would enable users to remotely connect to or monitor their IoT devices like kitchen or security gadgets. The promise of more connectivity, smoother IoT user experience, and even more devices online, means there are likely more opportunities and avenues for cyberattacks. 5G will no doubt shape the foreseeable future, let’s see how.

Today, interconnected devices operate on low-powered, low-data-rate networks, such as Cat-M and NB-IoT. With the introduction of 5G networks across the world, the capabilities of VR and AR, AI and ML, and automation and robotics will enhance immensely. Take self-driving cars, for example. These machines require close proximity to their computing to reduce the latency of decision making. The capabilities of 5G don’t end there either. From manufacturing, transportation and logistics, to public safety and the establishment of smart cities, industries are at the ready to take their business to the next level with 5G. With this newfound growing anticipation for the future of 5G, the question has to be asked, what are the security implications for smaller IoT devices?

From an innovation standpoint, 5G is a beacon of light, but from a cybersecurity standpoint, 5G is a “hotbed for a new era of intensified cyberwar.” Denial-of-service attacks, or DDoS, are particular causes of concern for cybersecurity researchers. Devices like refrigerators, thermometers, even light bulbs, will be able to come online because of 5G. Users will be able to remotely check on these appliances through a simple app, but these devices can also be usurped by malicious characters. This increased connectivity and power could see big name sites down for days, or even affect city utility capabilities. Government agencies and private entities are not immune either, but they do have plans in place in the event a DDoS attack occurs.

While consumers can only wait and see what happens with the rollout, industries across the board will want to harness the benefits of 5G. However, consumers and organizations alike need to be cautious in terms of how 5G could be used to help, or hinder, us in the future. Rest assured, even if malicious actors utilize this technology, McAfee’s security strategy will continue to keep pace with the ever-changing threat landscape.

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

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Are Smart TVs too smart for their own good?

Smart TVs give viewers instant access to streaming apps and provide a never-ending supply of binge-worthy shows and movies. But does this convenience come with a cost? Are internet-connected TVs as vulnerable to cybercrime as other smart devices?

In the latest episode of “Hackable?” our host Geoff Siskind plays a prank on our producer Pedro — in the name of education, of course. Pedro is a huge soccer fan, so Geoff drives by with two white-hat hackers to see if they can hack his smart TV during a big game. Can they take remote control in only a half an hour?   

Listen now to the award-winning podcast Hackable? on Apple Podcasts. You don’t want to miss this hilarious episode filled with pranks.   


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STOP. Read T&Cs. Then Sign Up on Social Media

Let’s start at the very beginning,

A very good place to start;

When you read, you begin with A-B-C,

When you sign up on SM you begin by

Reading T&Cs…”

The start of a new year usually has a buoyant and positive feel, like you have been offered a new opportunity to start things fresh, and make amends.

Experience has taught us that nothing comes for free; and that it’s always good to run a thorough background check on a new group you plan to join. This applies to social media platforms as well. When we sign up on a new social media platform, we are asked for our names, email and other personal information and then directed to the terms and conditions page which we must read and agree before we can proceed. Rarely do we read through all the terms to understand their implications; it’s mostly a cursory scan and tick to complete the signing up process as fast as possible, and voila, we are in!

However, much, much later, if we face issues like privacy breach or cyberbullying, we tend to complain that we didn’t know. But we did, it’s all spelt out in the T&Cs we had hastily agreed to.

Long ago, I had told you the story of a relative, whose son had forged his age to sign up on Facebook. When I questioned the mother, she said she wasn’t aware of the age clause. But again, it’s there, right at the start of the T&Cs!

Most social media platforms have updated their terms in recent times to bring in more openness in their advertising and third-party sharing policies. They have also clearly explained privacy and security terms for users. It’s now up to the users to read, understand and implement the terms to stay safe online and to help maintain digital world hygiene.

Let us explore the T&Cs of some popular social media sites and find out how many of the rules we allow our kids to follow or flout.

Facebook says- “You give us permission to use your name and profile picture and information about actions you have taken on Facebook next to or in connection with ads, offers, and other sponsored content that we display across our products, without any compensation to you.”

Layman’s terms- By agreeing to T&Cs,  you are automatically giving Facebook the right to the content you share in relation to ads etc. without receiving any compensation for it. For e.g., if I like a certain product, they will appear on my friends’ timeline with the message ‘Cybermum India likes it’.

Cybersafety tip: Check ad settings and maximize privacy levels.

Twitter says- “You are responsible for your use of the services and for any content you provide, including compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations. You should only provide content that you are comfortable sharing with others.

Layman’s terms- The user is the sole owner of content created by her or him and Twitter will take no responsibility for it.

Cybersafety tip: STOP.THINK.POST. Do not share content that may not be 100% correct or that may be intended to cause harm, hurt, or foment trouble.

Snapchat says- “Through these Terms and our Community Guidelines, we make clear that we don’t want the Services to be put to bad use. But because we don’t review all content, we cannot guarantee that content on the Services will always conform to our Terms or Guidelines.”

Layman’s terms – There may be cases of misuse of the platform by miscreants, cyberbullies and predators.

Cybersafety tip: Follow the community guidelines to know how you can let your child have a positive experience and not be accidentally exposed to inappropriate content. Ensure your teens understand they should share with you if they face disturbing behavior on the platform. It would be helpful if you activate parental controls and use term filters to block out unsavory content

Tik Tok says- “You may not access or use the Services if you are not over 13 or otherwise able to agree to these Terms.”

Layman’s terms- The minimum to sign up on the app is 13 years.

Cybersafety tip: Use this term to guide children on the right age to sign up on social media. Explain the reason behind this age criteria and allow them to sign up when they fulfil it.

Social media platforms are a great way to connect, learn and network as long as all users endeavor to keep it clean and positive. As parents, we need to arm our kids with the right skills and knowledge to help them tackle any issues that may crop up. The first step is to read and understand what the platform has to offer and its security and privacy options. This is something parents and teens can do together as it will be a useful lesson for a lifetime- both in the real and in the digital world.

And most important of all, don’t forget to secure all your devices with comprehensive security tools.
The quicker your family adopts digital safety practices, the safer they will be online!

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2019 is Here – Have You Made Any Digital Parenting Resolutions for The Year?

Hello parents! Welcome to 2019. I have a hunch you are feeling all charged up and ready to start the new year on a positive note. Are your resolutions for the year ready? Take a minute and check- have you included any digital parenting resolutions in your list? If yes, great! If no, worry not, McAfee Cybermum is here for you.

Parenting is not an easy job and the rapid progress of technology has added to it. In addition to teaching your kids values and life skills for the real world, you have to now do the same for the digital world too. At times, you don’t know whether you are doing too much or not enough; given the digital immigrants that we are- we have no resources to draw from. There is little time to step back and reflect over one’s own parenting style, leading to doubts and guilt. Wouldn’t it be lovely therefore if there was a ready reckoner on the subject?

Sharing my list of digital parenting resolutions with you. They are broadly aimed at helping us be more involved and evolved digital parents who are empowered to guide kids in the digital world. Feel free to add, delete or customize as per your family’s needs. Always keep in mind that each family is different, in terms of values and environment; and each child is different, in terms of ability and maturity.

Parents, presenting to you My Digital Parenting Resolution List for 2019:

  • Focus on digital media balance: There are several devices at home these days. The collective time spent working on a laptop, reading from an e-book and browsing social media on tabs or phones is considerable. To a young child, who can’t differentiate between work and pleasure, it may look like you can’t stay off digital devices the whole day and they may follow suit. You have to therefore fix your online schedule and practice digital balance.
  • Focus on having a positive digital media presence: What many parents fail to realize is that all social media users are media content creators and consumers. Each user is a newsmaker who can use digital media to create and share content, either negative or positive. As a consumer, a gullible user may accept the content as truth, without verifying. Fake news is rampant, and parents need to impress the need for fact-checking upon the kids.
  • Focus on values like empathy and mercy: The digital world brings the world to your homes and you connect with both strangers and acquaintances. There is therefore a greater need for kindness, tolerance and empathy. Posts may go viral and cause trouble or lead to cyberbullying. Children need to learn the importance of kindness and forgiveness to keep their digital world clean and happy. Parents can set an example by displaying these virtues in the real and the digital world.
  • Focus on self-control: One of the biggest issues nuclear families face today is that of work-life balance. Too many hours spent working, can lead to parents feeling guilty, who then try to compensate by gifting them expensive gifts. Set up a routine for games, chat and story time with kids to make up for long hours of absence.
  • Focus on being the perfect role model: As we know, children copy their parents. It’s like being a celebrity with the camera rolling 24/7. Modify your speech, actions, and digital actions so that children have the right guidance for their online behavior.
  • Focus on listening more: Parents generally tend to preach rather than listen. Plan to listen well in 2019. You will come to know a lot about your child’s life, aspirations and concerns if you do. The bonus is, they too will pay attention to you and your advice.
  • Focus on general health: You want your child to be healthy and active, right? The be the perfect role model, Exercise daily and play some games with your kids. Your kids too will then develop the same disciplined outlook towards health and sports. A healthy, active family usually prefer games to digital devices.
  • Focus on monitoring digital footprints and reputation: As your kids grow up, talk to them about the importance of exercising the right behavior online and the consequences of a poor digital reputation on academic and job prospects. Use examples from social media to differentiate between a desirable and an avoidable post or photo. Discuss what should be kept private and what can be shared.
  • Focus on cybersafety and privacy: With the rise in data breaches and ID theft via phishing attacks, it is imperative to discuss cyber safety regularly at home. Insist on the use of secured devices and scanning of every external device before use. Also, educate your children about malware and how apps, links and attachments are used to share them.
  • Focus on the monitoring and extent of parental supervision online: Though your children will have no problems with the installation of security tools like McAfee Total Protection, parental control is another matter altogether. Here, your diplomatic approach will stand in good stead. Share your concerns about strangers and cyber criminals and establish that you plan to monitor their online lives till they are mature enough to tackle issues themselves. Ensure that they understand you don’t mean to pry but protect

Start the year on a positive note. Take charge of your family’s digital life. Plan your parenting schedule, just like you plan your day. And yes, Happy New Year!!!

 

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Preventing Cryptojacking Malware with McAfee WebAdvisor’s New Cryptojacking Blocker

By now, you’ve probably heard of cryptocurrency, but you may not know exactly what it is. To put it simply, cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that have actual monetary value in today’s world. They are limited entries of transactions into a single database, or public ledger, that can’t be changed without fulfilling certain conditions. These transactions are verified and added to the public ledger through cryptocurrency mining. Cryptocurrency miners try to make money by compiling these transactions into blocks and solving complicated mathematical problems to compete with other miners for the cryptocurrency. While this process of mining for cryptocurrencies can be lucrative, it requires large amounts of computing power.

Unfortunately, the need for massive amounts of hardware has provoked cybercriminals to participate in cryptojacking, a method of using malware to exploit victims’ computers to mine for cryptocurrencies. Cybercrooks spread cryptojacking malware through sketchy mobile apps, flawed software, and malware-infected ads. They can even cryptojack your device during a browsing session while you’re perusing a website that appears completely harmless. Once a user’s device becomes infected, the malware drains the device’s CPU, causing the user’s computer fan to be loud while the malware mines for cryptocurrencies in the background. Unfortunately, symptoms of cryptojacking are usually pretty subtle, with poor device performance being one of the few signs of its presence.

Thankfully, McAfee WebAdvisor is here to help. This security solution, which helps block users from malware and phishing attempts, now includes Cryptojacking Blocker. This enhancement is a Windows-based browser add-on available for Google Chrome that helps stop malicious websites from mining for cryptocurrency. So far, our direct and retail McAfee WebAdvisor customers have already started receiving the update that adds Cryptojacking Blocker to their product, and the customers who have WebAdvisor through other partners should begin to see this update roll out during Q1. The same thing goes for those who own McAfee LiveSafe and McAfee Total Protection. Additionally, we’re aiming to add support for Firefox in the coming months. And if you don’t already have WebAdvisor, you can download it for free on our website, with Cryptojacking Blocker included in your download.

In addition to using a security solution like McAfee WebAdvisor, here are some other general tips to help you stay safe online:

  • Create a strong, unique password. Although it may be easier to remember, reusing passwords across multiple accounts puts all of your data at risk even if just one of your accounts is breached. Choosing a complex password for each individual online account will act as a stronger first line of defense. You can also use a password manager so all of your credentials are consolidated into one place.
  • Be careful where you click. If you come across a website that seems sketchy or notice that the URL address looks odd, avoid interacting with the site entirely. Stick to browsing websites you know are reputable.
  • Update, update, update! Cybercriminals can take advantage of old software to spread cryptojacking malware. Keeping your software updated with the latest patches and security fixes can help you combat this threat.

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

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Verizon Teams Up with McAfee to Secure Today’s Connected Home

Few fields and industries change as rapidly as those in the technology sector. This fast-moving, adaptable and growing sector creates new applications, new devices, and new efficiencies designed to make our everyday lives easier — sometimes in ways we’ve never imagined. But more devices and applications, from a security standpoint, means cybercriminals could have more opportunities to take advantage of flaws to conduct attacks. Additionally, the rapid growth in both software and hardware means today’s consumers are tasked with securing a plethora of personal devices.

This is not a sustainable path to a secure today’s technology landscape, one that’s continually growing and changing with each new addition. If we are going to continue to build a robust future, one including the rich potential inherent in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, we need a dynamic security solution that scales to meet the needs of modern-day society.

And that need is growing. According to a study from Market Research Future, the IoT market is set to potentially reach $124 billion in value by 2023 — only five years from now. Plus, Gartner predicts that there will be over 20 billion smart devices by 2020. That number is likely to grow, too.

That’s why we’ve worked with Verizon to launch Home Network Protection (HNP), a comprehensive security platform powered by McAfee Secure Home Platform, which has been designed to help safeguard consumers’ home networks. It does so through a robust, secure router designed to shield both traditional and newer IoT devices from malicious websites. It’s a proactive approach designed to keep consumer devices as safe as possible.

Customers using Fios by Verizon, a 100 percent fiber-optic network, and the Fios Quantum Gateway router can use HNP to secure their internet-connected devices, including smart cameras, baby monitors, television sets, and thermostats.

This is a massive milestone for consumer security in today’s digital age. Through a single provider, millions of consumers can access seamless protection from the latest threats — making modern conveniences easier to secure.

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Cash Out with Our CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes!

We’ve officially touched down in Las Vegas for CES 2019!

If you aren’t familiar with CES, it is the global stage for innovators to showcase the next generation of consumer technologies. With the growing consumer technology landscape, we understand the importance of creating new solutions for those who want to live their connected lives with confidence. That’s why we’ve made some exciting new additions to our security lineup and employed multiple partnerships with other innovators like Google and Verizon to help protect users’ online safety. Check out all the details, here.

To celebrate the latest innovations, we’re giving two [2] lucky people the chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card. Not heading to CES this year? No problem! Simply retweet one of our official contest tweets with the required hashtags between January 8th – 11th for your chance to win. Follow the instructions below to enter, and good luck!

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

  • To enter, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter and find the #RT2Win sweepstakes tweet.
  • The sweepstakes tweet will be released on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. PT. This tweet will include the hashtags: #McAfeeAtCES, #RT2Win, AND #Sweepstakes.
  • Retweet the sweepstakes tweet released on the above date from your own handle. The #McAfeeAtCES, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes hashtags must be included to be entered.
  • Make sure you’re following @McAfee_Home on Twitter! You must follow for your entry to count.
  • Sweepstakes will end on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. PST. All entries must be made before that date and time.
  • Winners will be notified on Monday, January 14, 2019 via Twitter direct message.
  • Limit one entry per person.
1. How To Win

Retweet one of our contest tweets on @McAfee_Home that include “#McAfeeAtCES, #RT2Win, AND #Sweepstakes” for a chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card (for full prize details please see “Prizes” section below). Two [2] total winners will be selected and announced on January 14, 2019. Winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter. For full Sweepstakes details, please see the Terms and Conditions, below.

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

2. How to Enter: 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be conducted from January 8, 2019 through January 11, 2019. All entries for each day of the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes must be received during the time allotted for the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Pacific Daylight Time shall control the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes, duration is as follows:

  • Begins: Tuesday, January 8, 2019­­ at 8:00 a.m. PST
  • Ends: Friday, January 11, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. PST
  • Two [2] winners will be announced: Monday, January 14, 2019

For the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes, participants must complete the following steps during the time allotted for the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes:

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

Two [2] winners will be chosen for the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes tweet from the viable pool of entries that retweeted and included #McAfeeAtCES, #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 Monday, January 14, 2019 on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle. No other method of entry will be accepted besides Twitter. Only one entry per user is allowed, per Sweepstakes.   

3. Eligibility:

McAfee CES 2019 #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 CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes begins and live in a jurisdiction where this prize and McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes not prohibited. Employees of Sponsor and its subsidiaries, affiliates, prize suppliers, and advertising and promotional agencies, their immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses), and individuals living in the same household as such employees are ineligible.

4. Winner Selection:

Winners will be selected at random from all eligible retweets received during the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes drawing entry period. Sponsor will select the names of two [2] 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 CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes Rules and the decisions of the coordinators, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

5. Winner Notification: 

Each winner will be notified via direct message (“DM”) on Twitter.com by January 14, 2019. Prize winners may be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (where permitted by law) to be returned within ten (10) days of written notification, or prize may be forfeited, and an alternate winner selected. If a prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to a potential winner, if potential winner cannot be reached within twenty four (24) hours from the first DM notification attempt, or if potential winner fails to return requisite document within the specified time period, or if a potential winner is not in compliance with these Official Rules, then such person shall be disqualified and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, an alternate winner may be selected for the prize at issue based on the winner selection process described above.

6. Prizes: 

The prize for the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes is a $500 Amazon gift card for each of the two [2] entrants/winners. Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee CES 2019 #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.

Limit one (1) prize per person/household. Prizes are non-transferable, and no cash equivalent or substitution of prize is offered. The McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes has no affiliation with Amazon.

7. General Conditions: 

Entrants agree that by entering they agree to be bound by these rules. All federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and surcharges on prize packages are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, whether caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes, or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of the McAfee CES 2019 #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 CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes, any prize won, any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, participation in any McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes -related activity, or participation in the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Except for applicable manufacturer’s standard warranties, the prizes are awarded “AS IS” and WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, express or implied (including any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose).

8. Limitations of Liability; Releases:

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

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

  • 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.
  • Use of Winner’s Name, Likeness, etc.: Except where prohibited by law, entry into the Sweepstakes constitutes permission to use your name, hometown, aural and visual likeness and prize information for advertising, marketing, and promotional purposes without further permission or compensation (including in a public-facing winner list).  As a condition of being awarded any prize, except where prohibited by law, winner may be required to execute a consent to the use of their name, hometown, aural and visual likeness and prize information for advertising, marketing, and promotional purposes without further permission or compensation. By entering this Sweepstakes, you consent to being contacted by Sponsor for any purpose in connection with this Sweepstakes.
9. Prize Forfeiture:

If winner cannot be notified, does not respond to notification, does not meet eligibility requirements, or otherwise does not comply with the prize McAfee CES 2019 #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 CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes.

10. Dispute Resolution:

Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

11. Governing Law & Disputes:

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

12. Privacy Policy: 

Personal information obtained in connection with this prize McAfee CES 2019 #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 January 8, 2019 before January 11, 2019 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 © 2019 by McAfee, LLC.  All rights reserved.
  3. Sponsor: McAfee, LLC, Corporate Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA
  4. Administrator: LEWIS Pulse, 111 Sutter St., Suiter 850, San Francisco, CA 94104

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How to Protect Three Common IoT Devices in 2019

It’s no secret – IoT devices are creeping into every facet of our daily lives. In fact, Gartner estimates there will be 20.4 Billion IoT devices by the year 2020. More devices mean greater connectivity and ease of use for their owners, but connectivity also means more opportunities for hacks. With CES 2019 kicking off this week, we turn our focus toward the year ahead, and take a look at some of the IoT devices that are particularly high-profile targets for cybercriminals: gaming systems, voice tech, routers, and smart cars.

Routers

Routers are very susceptible to attacks as they often come with factory-set passwords that many owners are unaware of or don’t know how to change, making these devices easy targets for hackers. That’s bad news, since a router is the central hub in a connected home. If a router is compromised and all of the devices share the same Wi-Fi network, then they could potentially all be exposed to an attack. How? When an IoT device talks to its connected router, the device could expose many of its internal mechanisms to the internet. If the device does not require re-authentication, hackers can easily scan for devices that have poorly implemented protocols. Then with that information, cybercriminals can exploit manufacturer missteps to execute their attacks. To help protect your router (and thus all your other devices), a best practice is to consider one with a layer of protection built-in, and be sure to use a long and complex password for your Wi-Fi network.

Gaming Systems

Over ten years ago, researchers found that many video gaming consoles were being distributed with major security issues involved with the Universal Plug and Play protocol (UPnP), a feature that allows IoT devices on a network to see each other and interact with one another. However, not much has been done to solve the problem. Through exploiting the UPnP weaknesses in gaming systems to reroute traffic over and over again, cybercriminals have been able to create “multi-purpose proxy botnets,” which they can use for a variety of purposes.  This is just the jumping-off point for malicious behavior by bad actors. With this sort of access into a gaming system, they can execute DDoS attacks, malware distribution, spamming, phishing, account takeovers, click fraud, and credit card theft. Our recent gaming survey found that 64% of respondents either have or know someone who has been directly affected by a cyberattack, which is an astonishing uptick in attacks on gamers. Considering this shift, follow our tips in the section above for routers and Wi-Fi, never use the same password twice, and be weary of what you click on.

Voice Tech

In 2018, 47.3 million adults had access to smart speakers or voice assistants, making them one of the most popular connected devices for the home. Voice-first devices can be vulnerable largely due to what we enable them to be connected with for convenience; delivery, shopping, and transportation services that leverage our credit cards. While it’s important to note that voice-first devices are most often compromised within the home by people who have regular access to your devices (such as kids) when voice recognition is not properly configured, any digital device can be vulnerable to outside attacks too if proper security is not set up. For example, these always-on, always-listening devices could be infiltrated by cybercriminals through a technique called “voice squatting.” By creating “malicious skills,” hackers have been able to trick voice assistants into continuing to listen after a user finishes speaking. In this scenario an unsuspecting person might think they’re connecting to their bank through their voice device, when unbeknownst to them, they’re giving away their personal information.  Because voice-controlled devices are frequently distributed without proper security protocol in place, they are the perfect vehicle in terms of executing a cyberattack on an unsuspecting consumer. To protect your voice assistants, make sure your Wi-Fi password is strong, and be on the lookout for suspicious activity on linked accounts.

While you can’t predict the future of IoT attacks, here are some additional tips and best practices on how to stay ahead of hackers trying to ruin your year:

  • Keep your security software up-to-date. Software and firmware patches are always being released by companies and are made to combat newly discovered vulnerabilities, so be sure to update every time you’re prompted to.
  • Pay attention to the news. With more and more information coming out around vulnerabilities and flaws, companies are more frequently sending out updates for smart cars and other IoT devices. While these should come to you automatically, be sure to pay attention to what is going on in the space of IoT security.
  • Change your device’s factory security settings. This is the single most important step to take to protect all devices. When it comes to products, many manufacturers aren’t thinking “security first.” A device may be vulnerable as soon as opening the box. By changing the factory settings you’re instantly upgrading your device’s security.
  • Use best practices for linked accounts.  For gaming systems and voice-first devices in particular, if you connect a service that leverages a credit card, protect that linked service account with strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible. In addition, pay attention to notification emails, especially those regarding new orders for goods or services. If you notice suspicious activity, act accordingly.
  • Setup a separate IoT network. Consider setting up a second network for your IoT devices that don’t share access to your other devices and data. Check your router manufacturer’s website to learn how. You might also consider adding in another network for guests and unsecured devices from others. Lastly, consider getting a router with built-in security features to make it easier to protect all the devices in your home from one place.
  • Use a firewall. A firewall is a tool that monitors traffic between an Internet connection and devices to detect unusual or suspicious behavior. Even if a device is infected, a firewall can keep a potential attacker from accessing all the other devices on the same network. When looking for a comprehensive security solution, see if a Firewall is included to ensure that your devices are protected.
  • Up your gaming security. Just announced at CES 2019, we’re bringing a sense of security to the virtual world of video games. Get in on the action with McAfee Gamer Security, Beta, it’s free!

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

The post How to Protect Three Common IoT Devices in 2019 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

How to Get Technology Working for You This Christmas

Harnessing the power of the internet and technology this Christmas may just be what you need to get over this extraordinarily stressful period. While many of you maybe all sorted for the big day, there are still many of us who aren’t.

Many of us are still attending daily Christmas gatherings, still working, still trying to entertain kids, shop & most importantly, work out what we are going to serve to 25 people on Christmas day!!

So, let me share with you my top tips on how we can all use the wonders of the internet and technology to get through:

  1. E-Cards

If you haven’t done these yet – and let’s be honest very few do now – then scrap this idea immediately. But if your guilt just can’t be silenced then check out ecards. I personally love Smilebox but Lifewire has put together a list of the top ecard sites. But remember, always use a reputable site so your recipients as more likely to open them. Cybercrims have been known to send unsuspecting recipients ecards with the aim of trying to extract their personal information.

  1. Online Gift Shopping

Getting to the bottom of the Christmas gift list takes time. So, if you still have presents to buy then avoid the crowds and get online. There are still plenty of retailers who are guaranteeing delivery before Christmas. So, make yourself a cup of tea and set the timer for an hour. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done when you have a deadline! Finder.com has put together a list of the top 50 Australian shopping sites – check it out! I do have to disclose I have a soft spot for Peter’s of Kensington, Country Road and Myer online. Great service and speedy delivery!

But please remember to observe safe online shopping habits. Only buy from trusted retailers, look for a padlock at the start of a web address to ensure transactions are encrypted, avoid offers that are ‘too good to be true’ and don’t ever use public Wi-Fi to do your shopping.

  1. Get Some Extra Help Online

If you haven’t yet used Airtasker to help you work through your to-do list, then you need to start ASAP. Airtasker brings jobs and helpers together in an easy to use app. If your house needs a clean or the garden needs a makeover before the relatives arrive, then log on and create a job and wait for Airtaskers to bid on it. So easy!

  1. Create an Online To-Do List

There’s nothing like a bit of planning to reduce pressure. Why not create a to-do list in Google Docs or an Excel spreadsheet to identify which family member is responsible for what on the big day? Alternatively, you could create your to-do list in an app like Todoist and then send each person’s task directly to their inbox? Very organised indeed!

So, let’s all take a deep breath. Christmas 2018 is going to be fantastic. Let’s get technology working for us so we can get through our to-do lists and be super parents – even though we all know they just don’t exist!

Merry Christmas

Alex xx

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