Category Archives: mcafee

Seclore and McAfee integrate to provide continuous protection of data in the cloud

Seclore announced that it will now provide a joint offering, combining its data-centric security technology with McAfee MVISION Cloud. This integration brings together the best of breed technologies in their respective fields. This integrated offering helps discover, tag, protect, and track confidential information within the enterprise and outside. Together, Seclore and McAfee have answered the most common question for enterprises adopting the cloud with a distributed workforce and external agencies, i.e., “What happens to my … More

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Biden Campaign Staffers Targeted in Cyberattack Leveraging Antivirus Lure, Dropbox Ploy

Google's Threat Analysis Group sheds more light on targeted credential phishing and malware attacks on the staff of Joe Biden's presidential campaign.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday, October 2020 Edition

It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month! In keeping with that theme, if you (ab)use Microsoft Windows computers you should be aware the company shipped a bevy of software updates today to fix at least 87 security problems in Windows and programs that run on top of the operating system. That means it’s once again time to backup and patch up.

Eleven of the vulnerabilities earned Microsoft’s most-dire “critical” rating, which means bad guys or malware could use them to gain complete control over an unpatched system with little or no help from users.

Worst in terms of outright scariness is probably CVE-2020-16898, which is a nasty bug in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 that could be abused to install malware just by sending a malformed packet of data at a vulnerable system. CVE-2020-16898 earned a CVSS Score of 9.8 (10 is the most awful).

Security vendor McAfee has dubbed the flaw “Bad Neighbor,” and in a blog post about it said a proof-of-concept exploit shared by Microsoft with its partners appears to be “both extremely simple and perfectly reliable,” noting that this sucker is imminently “wormable” — i.e. capable of being weaponized into a threat that spreads very quickly within networks.

“It results in an immediate BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), but more so, indicates the likelihood of exploitation for those who can manage to bypass Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 mitigations,” McAfee’s Steve Povolny wrote. “The effects of an exploit that would grant remote code execution would be widespread and highly impactful, as this type of bug could be made wormable.”

Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) calls special attention to another critical bug quashed in this month’s patch batch: CVE-2020-16947, which is a problem with Microsoft Outlook that could result in malware being loaded onto a system just by previewing a malicious email in Outlook.

“The Preview Pane is an attack vector here, so you don’t even need to open the mail to be impacted,” said ZDI’s Dustin Childs.

While there don’t appear to be any zero-day flaws in October’s release from Microsoft, Todd Schell from Ivanti points out that a half-dozen of these flaws were publicly disclosed prior to today, meaning bad guys have had a jump start on being able to research and engineer working exploits.

Other patches released today tackle problems in Exchange Server, Visual Studio, .NET Framework, and a whole mess of other core Windows components.

For any of you who’ve been pining for a Flash Player patch from Adobe, your days of waiting are over. After several months of depriving us of Flash fixes, Adobe’s shipped an update that fixes a single — albeit critical — flaw in the program that crooks could use to install bad stuff on your computer just by getting you to visit a hacked or malicious website.

Chrome and Firefox both now disable Flash by default, and Chrome and IE/Edge auto-update the program when new security updates are available. Mercifully, Adobe is slated to retire Flash Player later this year, and Microsoft has said it plans to ship updates at the end of the year that will remove Flash from Windows machines.

It’s a good idea for Windows users to get in the habit of updating at least once a month, but for regular users (read: not enterprises) it’s usually safe to wait a few days until after the patches are released, so that Microsoft has time to iron out any chinks in the new armor.

But before you update, please make sure you have backed up your system and/or important files. It’s not uncommon for a Windows update package to hose one’s system or prevent it from booting properly, and some updates even have known to erase or corrupt files.

So do yourself a favor and backup before installing any patches. Windows 10 even has some built-in tools to help you do that, either on a per-file/folder basis or by making a complete and bootable copy of your hard drive all at once.

And if you wish to ensure Windows has been set to pause updating so you can back up your files and/or system before the operating system decides to reboot and install patches on its own schedule, see this guide.

As always, if you experience glitches or problems installing any of these patches this month, please consider leaving a comment about it below; there’s a better-than-even chance other readers have experienced the same and may chime in here with some helpful tips.

What is GPS spoofing?

 What is GPS spoofing?

Global positioning system (GPS) technology is now the standard way for travelers to efficiently get from point A to point B. While GPS delivers unparalleled opportunities to businesses and individuals, there are some drawbacks to using this technology. GPS devices can be vulnerable to cyber attacks through GPS spoofing.

GPS Spoofing 101

Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) have been around for years in many industrialized countries, and GPS is just one of those systems.   GPS spoofing happens when someone uses a radio transmitter to send a counterfeit GPS signal to a receiver antenna to counter a legitimate GPS satellite signal. Most navigation systems are designed to use the strongest GPS signal, and the fake signal overrides the weaker but legitimate satellite signal.

Commercial Hazards of GPS Spoofing

GPS spoofing isn’t to be confused with GPS jamming. GPS jamming happens when a cyber criminal blocks GPS signals altogether. Selling or using GPS jamming equipment that can block communications is illegal in the United States. While GPS jamming appears to be the greater threat, GPS spoofing delivers a sucker punch to a variety of businesses.

GPS spoofing allows hackers to interfere with navigation systems without operators realizing it. The fake GPS feeds cause drivers, ship captains, and other operators to go off course without any coercion. Businesses that are particularly vulnerable to GPS spoofing are shipping companies, taxi services, and construction companies.

Shipping Companies

Shipping companies that haul freight via land, air, and sea all use GPS-based navigation systems to get cargo safely to destinations all over the world. GPS spoofing leaves these shipments vulnerable to hijacking and theft. A practical example of this is where hijackers use GPS spoofing to misdirect a vehicle to a location where its cargo can be robbed—and hid the truck’s location while it’s happening. Additionally, many shippers use GPS-enabled locks to secure their cargo, allowing them to open only when the truck arrives at its set destination. GPS spoofing undoes those locks as well. In all, this puts drivers in danger, and trucking companies lose millions of dollars of cargo each year due to hijacking incidents such as these.

Taxi and Ride Sharing Services

Gone are the days when taxi drivers relied solely on their knowledge of a city’s streets to transport passengers. Today’s taxi drivers can go into any city that their license allows and do their jobs efficiently with the use of GPS technology. This flexibility comes with some drawbacks, however. GPS spoofing allows drivers to fake their location and commit criminal acts while still on the clock. Drivers from ride services can also use the technique to fraudulently place themselves in surge areas to get more money for their services. Projecting a false location is a financial risk to companies and is potentially dangerous for passengers.

Construction Companies

While skilled construction workers are certainly valued, specialized tools, equipment, and machinery are the assets that many construction companies seek to track. These expensive assets commonly go missing on worksites, which eats into company profits. In recent years, GPS asset tracking systems have been installed to make sure construction equipment, tools, and machinery remain at authorized worksites. By using GPS spoofing, a thief could move an asset to a new location without anyone knowing about it until it was too late.

Dangers of GPS Spoofing for Everyone Else

GPS spoofing isn’t just a threat to businesses and government agencies; it also can be the catalyst for significant harm to individuals who rely on GPS. Cruising waterways along the coasts is a favorite hobby for those who enjoy boating.. Modern boats are equipped with GPS-based navigation systems. A cyber criminal can use GPS spoofing to get a skipper to steer his boat off course and into the path of danger from modern-day pirates.

The makers of location-based dating apps tout them as a safe way to meet a potential mate. These apps use GPS technology to help users identify dates by their location. When a bad actor uses GPS spoofing, he can fake his location or guide his date to a dangerous location.

The future of driving is now. Some electric cars are already equipped with an autopilot feature that offers unparalleled convenience to travel-weary drivers. However, independent research findings have uncovered a critical vulnerability in the cars’ navigation systems.  What will happen when fully autonomous, self-driving cars are made without steering devices that would allow a person to take control of their car during a GPS spoofing incident?

Tips to Combat GPS Spoofing Attacks

If you own a business that relies on GPS-based navigation systems, you’ll want to know the best ways to sabotage GPS spoofing attacks. The Department of Homeland Security points out some physical and procedural techniques to fight the problem. It recommends that companies hide GPS antennas from public view. GPS spoofing works well when an attacker can get close to an antenna and override legitimate GPS signals that come from orbiting satellites.

The agency suggests installing a decoy antenna that’s in plain view of would-be cyber criminals. Adding redundant antennas in different locations at your site allows you to notice if one antenna is being targeted for GPS spoofing. Companies such as Regulus Cyber are also developing GPS spoofing detection software that alerts users of spoofing incidents and keeps their devices from acting on spoofed GPS data.

Additionally, organizations should consider taking GPS-enabled equipment offline whenever connectivity isn’t actively required—thus making them less susceptible to attack. Likewise, following the basics of security hygiene provide further protection, such as regular updates and changing of passwords, along with the use of two-factor authentication, network firewalls, and other cyber defenses.

GPS Spoofing for Privacy

While GPS spoofing can cause big problems for people, businesses, and governments, there is a legitimate use for the practice. GPS tracking and location sharing present everyone with real privacy issues. GPS spoofing allows users to hide their actual location from those who could cause harm. Security companies can use GPS spoofing to guard high-profile clients or expensive merchandise. Individuals can install GPS spoofing apps for free on their Android phones to mask their locations and protect their privacy.




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What Security Means to Professionals

What Security Means to Professionals

Recently, we conducted a survey of 600 families and professionals in the U.S. to better understand what matters to them—in terms of security and the lives they want to lead online. The following article reflects what they shared with us, and allows us to share it with you in turn, with the aim of helping your workday go a little more smoothly.1

How many windows are open on your computer right now? Check out your browser. How many tabs do you have? If it’s a typical workday, you’ve probably run out of fingers counting them up.

Professionals put their computers through the paces. Consider the number of back-to-back meetings, video conferences, and presentations you lead and attend in a day, not to mention the time that you pour into work itself. Your computer has to keep up. It’s certainly no surprise that this is exactly the notion that came up in our research, time and time again.

What’s on the minds of professionals when it comes to their security?

In speaking with professionals about security, their answers largely revolved getting work done.

  • I need trusted apps and sites to work, always.
  • I need to maximize battery life while in transit or on a plane.
  • I need live presentations and demos to be seamless.
  • I need to multitask with multiple apps or multiple browser tabs open without locking up.
  • I need my computer to respond reliably and quickly without locking up.

While on the surface this may mean performance is top of mind, a closer look reveals that performance is often a function of security. A quick and easy example of this is the classic virus infection, where getting a virus on your computer can bring work to a screeching halt.

More broadly though, we see security as far more than just antivirus. We see it as protecting the person and helping them stay productive—giving them the tools to take care of the things that matter most to them. Thus, plenty of what we offer in a security suite focuses squarely on those concerns:

Battery optimization keeps you working longer without fretting over finding an outlet in the airport or simply working without wires for longer.

Password managers let you log into the apps and sites you count on without a second thought, also knowing that they’re securely stored and managed for protection.

Vulnerability scanners make sure that your apps always have the latest updates, which ensures you have all the upgraded features and security protocols that come along with those updates.

Inbox spam filters take yet another headache off your plate by removing junk mail before it can clutter up your inbox.

Secure VPN keeps data safe from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi in places like airports, hotels, and coffee shops, which gives you more independence to work in more places knowing that your information is secure.

Those are a few examples of specific features. Yet also important is that any security solution you use should your computer running quickly as well as smoothly. It should be lightweight and not hog resources so that your computer runs and responds quickly. (That’s a major focus of ours, where independent labs show that our performance is five times better than the average competitor.)

Where can professionals get started?

Drop by our page that’s put together just for professionals. We’ve gathered up several resources that’ll help you stay productive and safer too. Check it out, and we hope that it’ll keep you going whether you’re working on the road, in the office, or at home.

Stay Updated 

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


  • Survey conducted in October 2019, consisting of 600 computer-owning adults in the U.S.


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What Security Means to Elders

senior using smartphone

What Security Means to Elders

Recently, we conducted a survey of 600 families and professionals in the U.S. to better understand what matters to them—in terms of security and the lives they want to lead online. The following article reflects what they shared with us, and allows us to share it with you in turn, with the aim of helping you and your family stay safer and more secure. 1

Findings from Pew Research Center show that internet usage by elders has risen from an average of 14% in 2000 to 67% on average 2017. As these numbers continue to rise, we wanted to find out what was important to them—particularly as more and more of their lives go online.

While many of us take shopping, surfing, and banking online for granted, they mark a dramatic shift for elders. They’ve gone from the days when banking meant banker’s hours and paper passbook to around-the-clock banking and a mobile app. And even if they use the internet sparingly, banking, finances, and commerce have gone digital. Their information is out there, and it needs to be protected.

The good news is, elders are motivated.

What’s on the minds of elders when it comes to their security?

Most broadly, this sentiment captures it well: Technology may be new to me, but I still want to be informed and involved. For example, elders told us that they absolutely want to know if something is broken—and if so, how to fix it as easily as possible. In all, they’re motivated to get smart on the topic of security, get educated on how to tackle risks, and gain confidence that they go about their time on the internet safely. Areas of interest they had were:

Identity protection: This covers a few things—one, it’s monitoring your identity to spot any initial suspicious activity on your personal and financial accounts before it becomes an even larger one; and two, it’s support and tools for recovery in the even your identity is stolen by a crook. (For more on identity theft, check out this blog.)

Social Security monitoring:  Government benefits are very much on the mind of elders, particularly as numerous agencies increasingly direct people to use online services to manage and claim those benefits. Of course, hackers and crooks have noticed. In the U.S., for example, Social Security identified nearly 63,000 likely fraudulent online benefit applications in fiscal 2018, according to the agency’s Office of the Inspector General, up from just 89 in fiscal 2015.

Scam prevention: An article from Protect Seniors Online cities some useful insights from the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Better Business Bureau. According to them there are five top scams in the U.S. that tend to prey on older adults.

  • Tech support scams are run by people, sometimes over the phone, that pretend to be from a reputable company, which will then ask for access to your computer over the internet, install malware, and then claim there’s a problem. After that, they’ll claim to “help” you by removing that malware—for an exorbitant fee.
  • Ransomware scams, where a crook will block access to your computer until you pay a sum of money. This is like the tech support scam, yet without the pretense of support—it’s straight-up ransom.
  • Tax scams that attempt to steal funds by instructing people to make payments to a scammer’s account. In the U.S., note that the IRS will not call to demand payment or appeal an amount you owe.
  • False debt collectors are out there too, acting in many ways like tax scammers. These will often come by way of email, where the hacker will hope that you’ll click the phony link or open a malicious attachment.
  • Sweepstakes and charity scams that play on your emotions, where you’re asked to pay to receive a prize or make a donation with your credit card (thereby giving crooks the keys to your account).

Where can professionals get started?

With that, we’ve put together several resources related to these topics. Drop by our site and check them out. We hope you’ll find some basic information and knowledge of behaviors that can keep you safe.

Stay Updated 

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

Survey conducted in October 2019, consisting of 600 computer-owning  adults in the U.S


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What Security Means to Families

digital parenting

What Security Means to Families

One truth of parenting is this: we do a lot of learning on the job. And that often goes double when it comes to parenting and the internet.

That’s understandable. Whereas we can often look to our own families and how we were raised for parenting guidance, today’s always-on mobile internet, with tablets and smartphones almost always within arm’s reach, wasn’t part of our experience growing up. This is plenty new for nearly all of us. We’re learning on the job as it were, which is one of the many reasons why we reached out to parents around the globe to find out what their concerns and challenges are—particularly around family safety and security in this new mobile world of ours.

 Just as we want to know our children are safe as they walk to school or play with friends, we want them to be just as safe when they’re online. Particularly when we’re not around and there to look over their shoulder. The same goes for the internet. Yet where we likely have good answers for keeping our kids safe around the house and the neighborhood, answers about internet safety are sometimes harder to come by.

Recently, we conducted a survey of 600 families and professionals in the U.S. to better understand what matters to them—in terms of security and the lives they want to lead online. The following article reflects what they shared with us, and allows us to share it with you in turn, with the aim of helping you and your family stay safer and more secure. 1

What concerns and questions do parents have about the internet?

The short answer is that parents are looking for guidance and support. They’re focused on the safety of their children, and they want advice on how to parent when it comes to online privacy, safety, and screen time. Within that, they brought up several specific concerns:

Help my kids not feel anxious about growing up in an online world.

There’s plenty wrapped up in this statement. For one, it refers to the potential anxiety that revolves around social networks and the pressures that can come with using social media—how to act, what’s okay to post and what’s not, friending, following, unfriending, unfollowing, and so on—not to mention the notion of FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” and anxiety that arises from feelings of not being included in someone else’s fun.

Keep my kids safe from bullying, or bullying others.

Parents are right to be concerned. Cyberbullying happens. In a study spanning 30 countries, one child in three has said they’ve been the victim of cyberbullying according to a study conducted by UNICEF. On the flip side of that, a 2016 study of more than 5,000 students in the U.S. by the Cyberbullying Research Center reported that 11.5% of students between 12 and 17 indicated that they had engaged in cyberbullying in their lifetime.

Feel like I can leave my child alone with a device without encountering inappropriate content.

If we think of the internet as a city, it’s the biggest one there is. For all its libraries, playgrounds, movie theatres, and shopping centers, there are dark alleys and derelict lots as well. Not to mention places that are simply age appropriate for some and not for others. Just as we give our children freer rein to explore their world on their own as they get older, the same holds true for the internet. There are some things we don’t want them to see and do.

Balance the amount of screen time my children get each day.

Screen time is a mix of many things—from schoolwork and videos to games and social media. It has its benefits and its drawbacks, depending on what children are doing and how often they’re doing it. The issue often comes down to what is “too much” screen time, particularly as it relates to the bigger picture of physical activity, face-to-face time with the family, hanging out with friends, and getting a proper bedtime without the dim light of a screen throwing off their sleep rhythms.

Where can parents get started?

Beyond our job of providing online security for devices, our focus at McAfee is on protecting people. Ultimately, that’s the job we aim to do—to help you and your family be safer. Beyond creating software for staying safe, we also put together blogs and resources that help people get sharp on the security topics that matter to them. For parents, check out this page which puts forward some good guidance and advice that can help. Check it out, and we hope that you’ll find even more ways you can keep you and your family safe.

Stay Updated 

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



  • Survey conducted in October 2019, consisting of 600 computer-owning adults in the U.S.


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Smartphone Alternatives for Free-Ranging Kids

Child using smartphone

Smartphone Alternatives for Free-Ranging Kids

A popular topic in our blogs is “when to buy a child a smartphone,” and for good reason. It’s an important conversation, one that calls for plenty of research and reflection as you look to balance the risks and rewards of giving your child a smartphone. Maybe you’ve already arrived at your answer and decided that your child isn’t ready—yet you still like the idea of using technology to keep in touch with your kiddo. If so, you still have options.

Why is smartphone ownership for children on the rise?

And that’s the thing. We want to keep in touch with our kids. We’ve seen studies and heard anecdotal references time and time again: one of the top reasons parents give a child a smartphone is “to stay in touch.” Whatever the reason parents cite, smartphone ownership by young users is on the rise. According to recent research from Common Sense Media, 19% of eight-year-olds in the U.S. owned a smartphone in 2019, compared to just 11% in 2015. (Nearly double!) Looking at older tweens, 69% of twelve-year-olds owned one, whereas that number was just 41% in 2015.

As these numbers rise, it begs some questions about how families can benefit from giving a smartphone to a child, particularly a younger one. One thought that quickly comes to mind is that families have a lot to juggle with jobs, school, activities, play dates, and so forth all in the mix. Smartphones help us keep on top of it all. With texting, calls, calendars, and GPS, it seems to offer some easy answers when it comes to keeping organized and on schedule. Likewise, the reality is that we have households where parents work multiple jobs or keep hours that go outside the regular 9-to-5, which makes staying connected that much more important, to the degree that it’s a near necessity.

Another thought around the rise of young smartphone owners is around a desire to help our kids become more independent, or at least semi-independent with some supervision. Maybe that’s letting them walk to school or a friend’s house, all with the reassurance that you can track where they are with GPS and feel good knowing they can get in touch with you quickly if they need to (and vice-versa). 

Free-Range Parenting and Smartphone Technology

Taking that approach a step further is the re-invigorated notion of “free-range parenting,” which harkens back to the days of the 70’s, 80’s and even earlier when kids were simply sent out of the house to go roam around the neighborhood and playgrounds with friends until suppertime. The pros and cons of allowing your child to explore their world more freely and to do so with less direct supervision is a conversation unto itself. Local laws vary, as do family situations, not to mention a child’s age and overall level of preparedness. So while free-range parenting is a snappy phrase, it’s a rather complex topic. I don’t bring it up glibly. Yet, it’s a conversation that’s been making the rounds in parenting blogs in recent years. Now, with how pervasive smartphone ownership has become, the conversation gets that much more interesting. But is a smartphone really the best tool here?

The flipside is that a smartphone, for all its benefits, like instant messaging, texting, location tracking, family calendars, and good old phone calls, obviously has its drawbacks when they’re in the hands of young kids. A smartphone an open door to the broader internet—social media, games, endless hours of videos, not to mention content that you know is not appropriate for them. It’s a world that no child should be thrown into cold. Just like learning to walk, it should be entered gradually, in baby steps. 

Stay in Touch without the Smartphone

And thankfully there are devices that are built just for that, while still giving families the means “to stay in touch” without introducing the risks of the internet to young children at too soon an age. In short, you don’t need a smartphone to get all the benefits of a smartphone, at least when it comes to keeping tabs on your children. 

What follows are a few options you can check out and research for yourself. Know that I’m not personally endorsing or recommending any particular brand, device, or phone here. My aim is to give you a nudge into an initial direction with a quick overview of what’s out there so that you can make a choice that works great for your family. Let’s take a look:

Flip Phones

The trusty flip phone. Rugged. Low-cost. Long battery life. Together, that makes them a fine option for kids. The options for them are quite broad, where you can get phones that are essentially just phones and nothing else, to other models that include cameras, push-to-talk walkie-talkie communications, and slide-out keyboards for texting. Doing a little research online will turn up numerous lists of the “best” flip phones and give you a strong idea of which one has the features you want (and don’t want) for your child.

Cellular and Wi-Fi Walkie-Talkies

An interesting and relatively recent entry into the “just for kids” phone market is the relay phone. In actuality, the relay looks more like a small speaker that’s the size of a standard sticky note and the width of an ice cream sandwich, which is quite practical. Kids can clip it on to their backpack, pop it in their pocket, or wear it on an armband. With a big button in the center, it gives kids a screen-free, push-to-talk phone that works with cellular and Wi-Fi networks. The other great feature for parents and their free-ranging kids is the combination of GPS tracking and geofencing. This way, you can always know where your children are and get alerts if they stray from the geofenced area you prescribe (like a few blocks around your home or a route to and from school). Additionally, it includes SOS emergency alerts, where five quick taps of the button will send an instant notification.

Smart Watches for Kids

Similar to the above, the U.S. mobile carrier Verizon offers a smart watch for children called the GizmoWatch2. At first glance, it looks like many other smart watches on the market but with a twist: you can load it with up to 10 contacts that you approve, so your child can text or call them with the push of a button. And like the relay phone, it also has GPS technology that allows you to instantly locate your child and get alerts when they step outside of their geofenced area. Other features include a step counter, tasks and reminders, plus a calendar function for setting a schedule. And yes, it’s a watch too. Pretty convenient, as it’s simply something that your child can wear.

For families in the EU, XPLORA offers a range of smart watches for kids that are currently available for online shopping in UK, Germany, Spain, France and Poland, and in selected retail stores. Another option for UK families is the Vodaphone V-Kids Watch, which offers GPS tracking, voice messaging, and an SOS button as well.

First Phones for Kids

On the more fully featured side, Gabb Wireless offers a phone and network made for young users. The look and feel of this device is more like a smartphone, yet the functionality and apps are narrowed down to the basics. It includes messaging, a camera, and things like a calculator, voice recorder, and calendar. What’s missing are social media apps, games, and internet browsing (and everything that comes with that). It’s available in the lower 48 states of the U.S. (for now).

Giving Your Child an “Old” Smartphone

One option for parents is to give a child an old smartphone, say a phone that might be otherwise destined for a swap at the mobile phone shop, and to “dumb it down” by removing everything but the most essential of apps. However, as you are certainly aware, kids are smart. And curious. Count on them figuring out how to make that dumb phone smart again by reloading apps on their own. One more thing to keep in mind is that your old data and passwords may be on this phone, so you’d want to reset your phone completely, like back to the original factory settings, to avoid any access or data issues. You’d also want to pick up antivirus for your iOS or Android phone and apply some parental controls to it as well. 

So while this route may feel like you’re getting some extra mileage out of a phone and giving your child the means to stay in touch, know that it comes with those risks. With that, I don’t recommend this for the younger ones in your life.

Thinking Twice About Smartphones for Kids

Just as you want to monitor where your child is and what they’re doing out in the neighborhood, the same holds true for the internet. That’s a good a reason as any to put some serious thought before you put a smartphone in your child’s hands. As we’ve seen, the good news is that you don’t need a smartphone to keep in touch with your child. Yet more reassuring is that mobile carriers and technology companies are paying attention to the concerns that parents have and creating products that address them. Research your options and be sure to share what you find with other parents. You may start something special in your circle of friends.  

Stay Updated 

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


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Security is a Feeling- With the McAfee #SecureMyLife RT2Win Sweepstakes!

Security is a Feeling-  Share it with the McAfee #SecureMyLife RT2Win Sweepstakes!

The word ‘security’ means something unique to everyone. Security is a feeling, an emotion, a sense of belonging and place: It could be the feeling of cuddling as a family in a pillow fort, making sure your house is locked at night, or always having a smartphone in your pocket for directions or an emergency.

Though our digital devices are convenient, they can also be cause for possible security concerns due to overlooked weaknesses. Check out the latest research from the McAfee team for more information.

While all this dazzling technology has its appeal, we here at McAfee understand the importance of creating new security solutions for those who want to live their connected lives with confidence.

In fact, to celebrate the latest innovations, we’re giving two [2] lucky people the chance to win an Amazon gift card. Not a customer? Not a problem!  Simply retweet one of our contest tweets with the required hashtag between August 3rd, 2020 – August 16th 2020 for your chance to win. Follow the instructions below to enter, and good luck!

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

  • To enter, go to, and find the #RT2Win sweepstakes tweet.
  • There will be four [4] sweepstakes tweets will be released at the following schedule including the hashtags: #RT2Win #Sweepstakes AND #SecureMyLife
    • Monday, August 3, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
    • Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
    • Monday, August 10, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
    • Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
  • Retweet the sweepstakes tweet released on the above date before 11:59PM PST, from your own handle. The #RT2Win, #Sweepstakes AND #SecureMyLife hashtags must be included to be entered.
  • Sweepstakes will end on Monday August16, 2020  at 11:59pm PT. All entries must be made before that date and time.
  • Winners will be notified on Wednesday August 19, 2020 via Twitter direct message.
  • Limit one entry per person.

     1. How to Win:

Retweet one of our contest tweets on @McAfee_Home that include ““#RT2Win, #Sweepstakes, and #SecureMyLife” for a chance at an Amazon Gift card. Two [2] winners will be selected by  10:00 AM PT August 19, 2020, for a total of two [2] winners. Winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter. For full Sweepstakes details, please see the Terms and Conditions, below.

McAfee #SecureMyLife    RT2Win   Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

     2. How to Enter: 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. McAfee’s #RT2Win  Sweepstakes will be conducted from August 3rd through August 16th. All entries for each day of the #SecureMyLife  RT2Win Sweepstakes must be received during the time allotted for the #RT2Win   Sweepstakes. Pacific Daylight Time shall control the McAfee RT2Win Sweepstakes. The #SecureMyLife RT2Win Sweepstakes duration is as follows:

#RT2Win   Sweepstakes:

  • Begins: Monday, August 3rd, 2020 at 7:00am PST
  • Ends: Sunday, August 16, 2020 at 11:59 PST
    • Opportunity 1: Monday, August 3, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
    • Opportunity 2: Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
    • Opportunity 3: Monday, August 10, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
    • Opportunity 4: Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 9:05AM PST
  • Winners will be announced: by 10:00AM PST August 19, 2020

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

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

Two (2) winners will be chosen for the #McAfee #SecureMyLife Sweepstakes tweet from the viable pool of entries that retweeted and included #. McAfee and the McAfee social team will select winners at random from among the viable entries. The winners will be announced and privately messaged on August 19, 2020 on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle. No other method of entry will be accepted besides Twitter. Only one entry per user is allowed, per Sweepstakes. SWEEPSTAKES IS IN NO WAY SPONSORED, ENDORSED, ADMINISTERED BY, OR ASSOCIATED WITH TWITTER, INC. 

     3. Eligibility: 

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

     4. Winner Selection:

Winners will be selected from the eligible entries received during the days of the #SecureMyLifeSecureMyLife RT2Win   Sweepstakes periods. 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 #SecureMyLifeSecureMyLife 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 by August 19, 2020. Prize winners may be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (where permitted by law) to be returned within ten (10) days of written notification, or prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner selected. If a prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to a potential winner, if potential winner cannot be reached within twenty four (24) hours from the first DM notification attempt, or if potential winner fails to return requisite document within the specified time period, or if a potential winner is not in compliance with these Official Rules, then such person shall be disqualified and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, an alternate winner may be selected for the prize at issue based on the winner selection process described above.

     6. Prizes: 

The prizes for the #SecureMyLifeRT2Win Sweepstakes are two [2] $100 Amazon e-gift cards  (approximate retail value “ARV” of the prize is $100   USD; the total ARV of all gift cards is $200 USD). Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the #SecureMyLifeRT2Win   Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the #SecureMyLife RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes. Sponsor is not responsible for delays in prize delivery beyond its control. All other expenses and items not specifically mentioned in these Official Rules are not included and are the prize winners’ sole responsibility.

      7. General Conditions: 

Entrants agree that by entering they agree to be bound by these rules. All federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and surcharges on prize packages are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, whether caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the #SecureMyLifeRT2Win Sweepstakes, or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of the #SecureMyLifeRT2Win 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 #SecureMyLifeRT2Win   Sweepstakes, any prize won, any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, participation in any #SecureMyLifeRT2Win   Sweepstakes -related activity, or participation in the #SecureMyLifeRT2Win  Sweepstakes. Except for applicable manufacturer’s standard warranties, the prizes are awarded “AS IS” and WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, express or implied (including any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose).

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

      8. Limitations of Liability; Releases:

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

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

  1. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, in no event will the aggregate liability of the released parties (jointly) arising out of or relating to your participation in the sweepstakes or use of or inability to use any equipment provided for use in the sweepstakes or any prize exceed $10. The limitations set forth in this section will not exclude or limit liability for personal injury or property damage caused by products rented from the sponsor, or for the released parties’ gross negligence, intentional misconduct, or for fraud.

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

         By entering this  sweepstakes, you consent to being contacted by Sponsor for any purpose in connection with this Sweepstakes.

      9. Prize Forfeiture:

If winner cannot be notified, does not respond to notification, does not meet eligibility requirements, or otherwise does not comply with these prize #SecureMyLifeRT2Win   Sweepstakes rules, then the winner will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be selected from remaining eligible entry forms for each #SecureMyLifeRT2Win  Sweepstakes.

     10.Dispute Resolution:

Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the #SecureMyLifeRT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the #SecureMyLifeRT2Win   Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

     11. Governing Law & Disputes:

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

     12.Privacy Notice: 

Personal information obtained in connection with this prize McAfee Day #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be handled in accordance policy set forth at McAfee Privacy Policy.

  1. Winner List; Rules Request: For a copy of the winner list, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for arrival after January 10th 2020 and before August 16th 2021 to the address listed below, Attn: #RT2Win 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: Consumer Content Marketing. VT residents may omit return postage.
  2. Intellectual Property Notice: McAfee and the McAfee logo are registered trademarks of McAfee, LLC. The Sweepstakes and all accompanying materials are copyright © 2018 by McAfee, LLC.  All rights reserved.
  3. Sponsor: McAfee, LLC, Corporate Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA

The post Security is a Feeling- With the McAfee #SecureMyLife RT2Win Sweepstakes! appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Strong Password Ideas to Keep Your Information Safe

Strong Passwords

Strong Password Ideas to Keep Your Information Safe

Password protection is one of the most common security protocols available. By creating a unique password, you are both proving your identity and keeping your personal information safer. However, when every account you have requires a separate password, it can be an overwhelming task. While you should be concerned about the safety of your data, you also want to avoid the frustration of forgetting your password and being blocked from the information you need. However, the benefits of using strong, unique passwords outweigh the occasional inconvenience.

Benefits of Strong Passwords

The main benefit of a strong password is security. Hackers work quickly when they are trying to access accounts. They want to steal as much information as they can in as short a time as possible. This makes an account with a strong password less inviting because cracking the code is much more involved.

A strong password also limits the damage that hackers can do to your personal accounts. A common strategy involves cracking the passwords of less secure sites with limited personal information. The hackers hope that they can use the password from your gym membership app to access information in your online banking account. Strong password protection prevents this situation.

Common Poor Password Practices

When someone is registering an online account, it can be tempting to blaze through the password process. In order to move quickly, there are several poor password practices that people employ.

  • Simple passwords: Password-cracking programs start by entering obvious combinations. These are passwords where the user puts no thought into the code such as “password” or “1234567”.
  • Repeated passwords: You may think you have such an unbreakable password that you want to use it for all of your accounts. However, this means that if hackers compromise one of your accounts, all of your other accounts are vulnerable.
  • Personal information: The number combinations that you are apt to remember easily are the ones that hackers can find. You may have put your birthday or graduation year on public display in a social media account. Your dog’s name may be unusual, but if you share information about your canine friend with the world, its name is a weak password.

The Meaning of a Strong Password

A password is considered strong when it is difficult for a hacker to crack it quickly. Sophisticated algorithms can run through many password combinations in a short time. A password that is long, complex and unique will discourage attempts to break into your accounts.

  • Long: The combinations that protect your accounts should be long enough that it would be difficult for a computer program to run through all the possible configurations. The four-digit pin on a bank card has 10,000 possible combinations. This might take some time for a human being to crack, but a computer program with unlimited tries could break it in a few seconds. If you were only using numbers, every character in your password would raise the possible combinations by a power of 10. To stump the algorithms, you want a password that is a minimum of 12 characters long.
  • Complex: To increase the challenge of your password, it should have a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. Hacking algorithms look for word and number patterns. By mixing the types of characters, you will break the pattern and keep your information safe.
  • Unique: If you have been reusing your passwords, it is time for you to start the work of changing them. Every one of your accounts should have its own password. At the very least, make certain that you have not reused passwords for your financial institutions, social media accounts and any work-related accounts.

Creating a Layered Password

If you want a password that is memorable but strong, you can easily turn a phrase into a layered, complex password. In this process, it is important to note that you should not use personal information that is available online as part of your phrase.

  • Pick a phrase that is memorable for you: It should not be a phrase you commonly use on social media accounts. If you are an avid runner you might choose a phrase like, “Running 26.2 Rocks!”
  • Replace letters with numbers and symbols: Remove the spaces. Then, you can put symbols and numbers in the place of some of the letters. Runn1ng26.2R0ck$!
  • Include a mix of letter cases: Finally, you want both lower and uppercase letters that are not in a clear pattern. Algorithms know how to look for common patterns like camelCase or PascalCase. Runn1NG26.2R0cK$!

Now, you have a password that you can remember while challenging the algorithms hackers use.

Employing a Password Manager

When you consider the number of accounts you need to protect, coming up with a properly layered password is a time-consuming task. Even if you are able to decide on a memorable phrase, there are just too many accounts that need passwords. A password manager is a helpful tool to keep you safe while you are online. It acts as a database for all of your passwords. Each time you create a new code, it stores it so that you can automatically enter it later. You only need to remember a single password to access the tools of your manager.

Most managers can also do the work of creating complex, layered passwords for your accounts. These will be a string of random numbers, letters and characters. They will not be memorable, but you are relying on the manager to do the memorizing. These machine-generated passwords are especially helpful for accounts you rarely access or that do not hold significant information.

Maintaining an Offline Password List

For critical accounts like your bank account or a work-related account, it can be helpful to keep an offline list of your passwords. Complex passwords are meant to be difficult to remember. You may recall the phrase but not all the detailed changes that make it layered. Keeping a document on a zip drive or even in a physical paper file or journal will allow you to access your information if your hardware fails or you are switching to a new system.

Keeping the Whole System Safe

Cracking passwords is just one of the strategies hackers use to steal information. In addition to using strong passwords, it is important to employ comprehensive security software. Strong passwords will help protect your online accounts. Strong overall security will keep your hardware and network safe from danger.

Stay Updated

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

The post Strong Password Ideas to Keep Your Information Safe appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Create Strong Passwords with a Password Generator

Create Strong Passwords with a Password Generator

Whether you use the internet for several hours every day or only browse it on occasion, you have likely created numerous accounts on streaming services, financial services, and online storefronts like Amazon. Many of these accounts contain highly sensitive information. Hackers can get into online accounts and computers by guessing passwords, which means that your personal information would be available to them if you use a weak password.

To effectively protect your accounts from being hacked, it’s important that you have a strong password with each account that you create. However, it can be difficult to think of the perfect password that will keep your account safe from any hacker. To that end, there are many ways to create strong passwords, the primary of which is through a password generator. This article goes into detail about the importance of using good passwords and how to create them.

Importance of Having a Strong Password

Whenever you purchase an item online, you will be required to enter some financial information, which can include your bank account or credit card number. Many individuals may make the mistake of saving their financial information to the account because of how convenient it is. When you need to purchase an item in the future, you won’t need to go through the hassle of reentering your credit card information. The problem with saving your financial info to your account is that hackers who get into your account will have automatic access to the information at hand.

Website Security Measures Also Benefit from Strong Passwords

While website security has become increasingly strong over the past decade or so, the security measures that a site owner takes don’t matter if a hacker is able to get into your account by guessing your password, which is why it’s essential that you create a strong password that will hold up to hacking attempts.

Weak Passwords can Lead to Many Problems

Without a strong password, you run the risk of experiencing identity theft or financial fraud, both of which can significantly damage your finances and livelihood if the issue isn’t corrected immediately. Keep in mind that some of the more popular passwords in the country include 123456, password, 111111, qwerty, and abc123. Because of how popular these passwords are, they are some of the first that hackers will use to attempt to get into an account.

Hackers Can Control Your Entire Account

Once a hacker has breached your account, they can do a variety of things. The primary of which involves aquiring financial information that can be found in your account. These individuals can also choose to make purchases with this account or send in requests for new credit cards under your name. Along with stealing your own money, it’s possible for hackers to ruin your credit, which could take years to remedy.

Hackers Could Breach Your Computer

It’s important to understand that hackers can also get into your computer. Though more difficult, hackers can access documents and personal information on your computer if they are able to guess the password to your operating system. Many people store the passwords that they use in a document that’s stored on their computer, which is done with the belief that a hacker will never get into the computer itself. In the event that a hacker gains access to your device, they would be able to read the document where your passwords are stored. While having a strong password doesn’t eliminate the possibility of being hacked, it will make it much more difficult for someone to gain access to your computer or online accounts.

Using a Password Generator

If you need to store important personal or financial information online or on your computer, it’s essential that you pair your devices and accounts with strong passwords that will hold up to hacking attempts. Even though you can create lengthy and strong passwords without any assistance, keep in mind that the average U.S. citizen has around 25-30 accounts that passwords are needed for. Attempting to identify the perfect password on your own and for each account that you create can be a time-consuming and laborious process. Password generators are designed to instantly provide you with passwords that should be very difficult to guess.

How Password Generators Work

While every password generator is somewhat unique, the best generators are ones that provide you with options on what you would like to include in the password. The majority of password generators will automatically create passwords that are at least 15 characters long, consist of symbols and numbers, and include uppercase and lowercase letters. However, certain generators also provide users with the ability to exclude similar and ambiguous characters from the password that’s generated. Once you have generated a password, all that’s left is for you to input it into the account you’re currently creating. Password generators are simple to use and can make your life easier as you attempt to keep your personal information safe and secure.

Extra Features to Look For in Password Generator

Password generators can come with many extra features that could prove helpful in keeping your accounts and computer secure. For instance, some services provide users with a master password, which means that all of your passwords and secure information are kept under a single password that only you know. Some tools also allow users to set the exact length of the password, which could consist of anywhere from 8-100 characters. Additional features to be on the lookout for include unlimited password storage, 24/7 support, and custom security controls.

McAfee True Key Features

One potential password manager and generator you can use is McAfee True Key, which is designed to create very lengthy and strong passwords. Some of the core features of this particular tool include local data encryption, the support of numerous browsers, syncing across PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, and many different methods for signing in. For instance, you could pair the True Key app with the fingerprint reader on your device. You can also use the app to import any stored passwords from your browser.

How to Create a Strong Password

There are a myriad of things that you can do to create a strong password, the easiest of which is to use a password generator that will automatically provide you with a randomized password that will hold up well to hackers. While using a password generator is the most convenient option for creating a strong password, there are some additional tips and guidelines that you should keep in mind.

Primary Guidelines for Creating a Great Password

The main guidelines to keep in mind when creating a strong password include:

  • Make sure that your password is at least 7-8 characters long
  • Make sure that you never use a word or symbol for your password that can easily be found on any of your social media pages
  • Change each password you use at an interval or 90 days or less, which should also be done for any strong passwords you use
  • Use a combination of numbers, special characters, uppercase letters, and lowercase letters
  • Don’t use the same password for numerous accounts, which heightens the possibility that a breach into one of your accounts could lead to several accounts being compromised
  • Never write down your password on a piece of paper, which only serves to heighten the possibility of the password being seen by another individual and copied down
  • Consider using numbers and letters for your password that have no identifiable patterns within

Stay protected

Passwords are essential for security and can help you keep your computer and online accounts safe from hackers. While financial fraud and cases of stolen identity may be able to be corrected without any lasting damage to your bank account or credit score, the hassle that comes with contacting banking institutions and fixing any issues pertaining to the hack is more than it’s worth. Even though the aforementioned tips should assist you in creating a strong password, it’s highly recommended that you use a password generator instead, which ensures that mistakes are avoided completely and that the passwords you use are secure.

The post Create Strong Passwords with a Password Generator appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

Devices and Distancing: What Digital Data Says About Life From Home

Devices and Distancing: What Digital Data Says About Life From Home

With millions of us keeping life closer to home in these past months, what can our devices and apps tell us about how we’ve passed that time? Plenty.

Usage stats, location data, app downloads, and daily active users, all drawn from anonymized data, are all common statistics that get reported on a regular basis. What makes them particularly insightful this year is to see how they’ve increased, decreased, or remained steady as nations and communities have put distancing measures in place. How are we living differently and what role are our devices playing in them?

That’s a rather large question, and different data sets, measurements, and methodologies will point to different insights. However, looking at a few of them together can help us associate some figures with the way our day-to-day experience has changed and continues to evolve.

Our own data shows people are using their desktop and laptop computers more

Using the McAfee PC app, which is always running and protecting (our customers) people  in the background, we’re able to look at general PC use. The inference here is that increased use of a desktop or laptop PC (especially during weekdays) indicates an uptick in people engaging in remote work, learning, or play. Our figures are drawn from pseudonymized or anonymized device records aggregated to a country level, with at least 1,000 devices counted.

What did our numbers specifically show? You can visit our Safer Together page and take a country-by-country view of the data, which starts in February. (See our interactive heat map at the bottom of the page.) A quick capsule summary of select nations is below:

PC Usage by Month

Unsurprisingly, the most marked jump in home PC use occurs during the stretch that measures March to April, which marks the period when stay at home guidance rolled into place for many. From there, those increases held relatively steady. Looking at the change from April to May, it appears that people largely stayed at home as well.

Beyond that, June’s week-by-week trends saw usage in Australia and India both increase steadily. The U.S., UK, and Germany also trended upward overall, while France and Italy trended downward.

Other apps and technologies point to other trends

Dating apps saw a big spike in downloads and usage during the same stretch of time. According to dating app Bumble, the end of March saw an 84% increase in the number of its video calls and voice chats. On March 29th, the Tinder dating app reported the highest number of swipes ever in one day up to that point—some 3 billion. As we shared in an article earlier this year about safely dating from home, perhaps this shouldn’t come as any surprise because dating apps are designed to bring people together. In periods of isolation, it follows that people would use them to reach out and make connections where they can.

There’ve been plenty of similar stories (and some surprises) in the news in recent weeks, as various firms, publications, and service providers share the some of the digital trends they’ve spotted, such as:

  • In April, online analysis firm Apptopia reported a marked decrease in mobile phone screen time and an increase in time on desktop browsers as people switched to bigger screens. They also tracked a major spike in the download of home improvement retailer apps in the U.S., such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards—up 69% year-over-year.
  • PC Magazine reports that internet usage surged 47% in January-March of this year. One statistic that underscores this increase is the percentage of people who consume more than 1TB of data in a month. This went from 4.2% of subscribers in the start of 2019 to 10% in the first quarter of 2020. That’s a more than 2x increase in so-called power users.
  • The same report shared further insights, such as collaboration tool Microsoft Teams setting a record for 2.7 billion meeting minutes in a single day and collaboration platform Slack seeing an 80% increase in paid customers over the previous quarter. Likewise, video conferencing tool Zoom saw its daily participants increase by 2,900% in the quarter compared to December 2019.
  • OpenTable, which provides online restaurant reservations across nearly 60,000 restaurants globally and seats 134 million diners monthly, have put out their own data as well. Their “State of the Restaurant Industry” figures offer few surprises as to hard-hit restaurants around the world have been. By making week-to-week comparisons between 2019 and 2020, it shows that seatings in early June are down roughly 75% globally compared to last year. Later in the month, they are still down 63% compared to the time same last year as well.


Looking ahead: more working from home?

While these statistics each provide their own snapshot of life during lockdown in retrospective, what remains to be seen is how the time we’ve spent at home will shape the way we work, learn, socialize, and entertain ourselves in the months to come. At least right now, it seems that people are wanting or expecting to see change. A new study from McAfee surveyed 1,000 working adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 74 in May 2020 and found that nearly half (47%) of employees do not want to go back to working how they were before stay-at-home measures were put in place.

However that plays out in the future, it’s important to protect ourselves today while we continue to rely on our devices so heavily. Comprehensive security protection, like McAfee Total Protection, can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. Additionally, it includes McAfee WebAdvisor that can help identify malicious websites.

And one last stat: according to Nielsen, there was an 85% increase in American streaming rates in the first three weeks of March this year compared to March 2019 reports. Again, no surprise. Yet one thing to be on the lookout for are phishing and malware attacks associated with movies and shows that are offered for a “free” stream or download. It’s a common method of attack, and we’ve compiled our Top 10 U.S. List of TV and Movie Titles That Could Lead You to a Dangerous Download. Give the article a look. Not only does it name the titles, it offers you great advice for keeping safe.

Stay Updated 

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


The post Devices and Distancing: What Digital Data Says About Life From Home appeared first on McAfee Blogs.