Cybermum India – McAfee Blogs https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com Securing Tomorrow. Today. Wed, 20 Feb 2019 07:32:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Cybermum India – McAfee Blogs https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com 32 32 What About a Heart-To-Heart Talk with Your Loved Ones This Valentine’s Day? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/what-about-a-heart-to-heart-talk-with-your-loved-ones-this-valentines-day/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/what-about-a-heart-to-heart-talk-with-your-loved-ones-this-valentines-day/#respond Wed, 13 Feb 2019 18:25:50 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94171 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 […]

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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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Teach Kids The 4Rs Critical for Online Safety on Safer Internet Day https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/teach-kids-the-4rs-critical-for-online-safety-on-safer-internet-day/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/teach-kids-the-4rs-critical-for-online-safety-on-safer-internet-day/#respond Thu, 31 Jan 2019 17:04:30 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94006 “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 […]

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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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STOP. Read T&Cs. Then Sign Up on Social Media https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/stop-read-tcs-then-sign-up-on-social-media/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/stop-read-tcs-then-sign-up-on-social-media/#respond Mon, 14 Jan 2019 22:04:34 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93836 “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, […]

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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? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/2019-is-here-have-you-made-any-digital-parenting-resolutions-for-the-year/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/2019-is-here-have-you-made-any-digital-parenting-resolutions-for-the-year/#respond Wed, 09 Jan 2019 19:46:17 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93684 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, […]

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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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The Year That Was – Cybersecurity Takeaways From 2018 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/the-year-that-was-cybersecurity-takeaways-from-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/the-year-that-was-cybersecurity-takeaways-from-2018/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 18:22:21 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93240 So, what was 2018 like for you? Just another year, a whirlwind of happiness and heartbreaks, or a momentous one that will stay in your memory forever? In the cyberworld, a lot has happened this year. There were data breaches and bitcoin mining; social media platform hacks and spread of fake news; mass campaigns online […]

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So, what was 2018 like for you? Just another year, a whirlwind of happiness and heartbreaks, or a momentous one that will stay in your memory forever? In the cyberworld, a lot has happened this year. There were data breaches and bitcoin mining; social media platform hacks and spread of fake news; mass campaigns online and bank/ATM hacks. An eventful year, wouldn’t you say?

As governments around the world are exploring tightening their cyber security laws, security vendors are working on creating better and stronger tools to keep us safe online. Let’s take a quick look at the major security breaches that occurred over the year. In hindsight, we can understand better where we are failing and what steps we, the consumers, can take to protect our data and identity.

There have been such rampant phishing and data mining attacks, that even those who do not keep up with technology have now started feeling the heat of it. For example, when a large bank’s server was attacked, or the SIM card swipe fraud was uncovered, there was chaos everywhere.

Time to recapitulate the attacks that matter most to us, the consumers:

  1. Bank and ATM system hacks
  2. Phishing attacks: via email and social media platforms
  3. DDoS botnet attack: These attacks were mainly targeted at gaming sites and government websites, severely slowing down operation
  4. Hacking of customer bases: We have noted several significant data breaches over the year and it has become a major concern for the govt, industries and security firms.
  5. IoT attacks: Smart devices are the latest tech additions to our homes but when these are compromised, it may lead to the compromise of all connected devices. Users should adopt care while downloading apps because malicious apps can be used to corrupt, or control connected devices at home
  6. Public Wi-Fi: Using public Wi-Fi to transmit sensitive information or for carrying out financial transactions, expose users to hacking and data theft
  7. Hacking of social media platforms: As most of us are now signed on to some or the other popular social media platforms, we need to be extra careful about our data privacy and how much information we are sharing online.

As India remains vulnerable for Web Application Attacks, we need to gear up and maximize our security in the virtual space. Not only do we need to follow traditional security measures but also need to address new sources of threat like ATM hacks, Crypto mining and control of home IoT devices by cyber criminals. Awareness is key for an aware user to know about new threats and ways to combat them.

Sharing some safety tips to see you securely through the next year:

  • Monitor Digital Assistants – Prevent your digital assistants from becoming attack portals for cyber criminals. Limit the extent of control they have over other devices, if you can. Ensure your home router default password is changed and you update your software regularly, to patch any security vulnerabilities
  • Password is the key – The safety of your online accounts depends a lot on strong and unique passwords, that are a mix of upper case, lower case, symbols and are at least 12 characters long. Better still, opt for a well-known password manager.
  • Be Mindful – Always research and review apps before downloading. The same goes for new websites, or e-payment gateways. Further, download mobile apps only from genuine stores, like Google Play and Apple’s App Store, for they continually check and take down suspicious apps
  • Secure all your devices – Use a comprehensive security tool to scan content before downloading and send suspicious messages into the spam folder
  • Stay Informed – Stay on top of the latest in cybersecurity by following my blog and @McAfee_Home on Twitter. Don’t forget to listen to our podcast Hackable?

 

Ciao folks! See you in 2019.

Source Credits:

https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/zombie-iot-botnets/

 

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Avoid Falling Prey to Online Shopping Bait This Festive Season https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/avoid-falling-prey-to-online-shopping-bait-this-festive-season/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/avoid-falling-prey-to-online-shopping-bait-this-festive-season/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 18:53:42 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92941

For a moment, I thought this crazy friend of mine had finally lost it. She was staring at her laptop screen, multiple sites open, checking out various apparels at once and muttering under her breath. “Is there a problem?” I hesitantly asked. “I have to attend this destination wedding and they have theme parties, and […]

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For a moment, I thought this crazy friend of mine had finally lost it. She was staring at her laptop screen, multiple sites open, checking out various apparels at once and muttering under her breath.

Is there a problem?” I hesitantly asked.

I have to attend this destination wedding and they have theme parties, and I don’t have anything to wear in the required colours!” she wailed.

Ah well! Hence the shopping websites.” I realized.

Well, two heads are better than one, they say, and together we made all the purchases in record time. Needless to say, I insisted she used a secure device, limited her searches to trusted websites (using McAfee WebAdvisor), read the reviews and used prepaid credit cards. Cyber safety first and always.

But the ordeal was far from over. “You are Godsent! Now help me search for gifts!

While most of the world celebrates the year-end period as the Festive Season, we in India have a bigger reason to shop- It’s the Shaadi (marriage) season as well! It’s that time of the year when everyone seems to be getting married- resulting in endless parties, snarling traffic, overcrowded shops and packed salons. With most women juggling home and professions, fitting in shopping becomes a tough task. Online shopping is therefore the perfect solution for time-challenged urbanites.

And you can hardly blame them. As they sip their chai after a stressful day, they can simultaneously choose and place their orders and it’s done! No wonder the e-commerce market in India is expected to reach US$ 64 billion by 2020, as per a report by India Brand Equity Foundation!

Unfortunately, when it comes to online shopping, consumers are more concerned about finding a bargain deal and making the most of ‘Flash’ sales than their online security. They risk the dangers of hacking, being scammed and having their personal details and banking credentials stolen in their haste to make a good buy.

The Survey

Recently, McAfee conducted a survey, Holiday Stresses, which revealed the risky habits of online shoppers. The survey found that though consumers are aware of potential risks of online shopping, they still preferred it to the traditional system. It is interesting to note that 77 percent of respondents say that shopping during festive season induces increased financial stress!

The Online Shopping Trap

So, what kind of risks are consumers taking to get the best deals or while shopping in a hurry online?

  • 30% said that they would share their home address
  • 45% would share their phone numbers
  • 19% would risk sharing their bank details
  • 68% are willing to use a website they are unfamiliar with

 The Positives

But all is not lost. Indian shoppers are evolving to adopt safer online buying habits. Wow!

  • Nearly 74% say they would research an unfamiliar site and establish its authenticity before making purchases
  • 55% said they will not make a purchase over an unsecure Wi-Fi connection
  • 55% check their bank statements more often during the holiday festive season
  • 59% consumers would report receiving a phishing email

McAfee shares easy tips to help you stay safe while shopping online:

  • Always connect to public Wi-Fi with caution. Public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea, but if consumers are not careful, they could be unknowingly be exposing personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals who are snooping on the network. If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.
  • Think before you click. One of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to compromise their victim is by using phishing emails to lure consumers into clicking links for products or services that could lead to malware, or a phony website designed to steal personal information. If the deal seems too good to be true, or the email was not expected it’s always best to check directly with the source.
  • Browse with security protection. Use comprehensive security protection, like McAfee Total Protection, which can help keep devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can help identify malicious websites.

Let not financial or data losses mar the joys of the festive season for you and your loved ones. Take charge of your digital lives. Just like you secure your house, car and other belongings, similarly, secure your devices and use trusted websites for shopping.

Have a great time folks!

 

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Be the Child On Children’s Day – Try Out Role Reversal To Build Better Bonds With Your Kids https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/be-the-child-on-childrens-day-try-out-role-reversal-to-build-better-bonds-with-your-kids/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/be-the-child-on-childrens-day-try-out-role-reversal-to-build-better-bonds-with-your-kids/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:11:48 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92699 November 14th is a day children in India keenly look forward to. Schools and neighbourhoods gear up to make the day a memorable one for the children; TV channels run continuous children’s special serials and movies and there is no pressure at home to study. At the Facebook Safety Summit panel discussion, where I recently […]

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November 14th is a day children in India keenly look forward to. Schools and neighbourhoods gear up to make the day a memorable one for the children; TV channels run continuous children’s special serials and movies and there is no pressure at home to study.

At the Facebook Safety Summit panel discussion, where I recently participated, a lady from the audience expressed her inability to understand her teen. They seemed to be living in different dimensions! I suggested she work with him to help her become tech-savvy.

One Teacher’s Day program that was a great hit in my school was when teachers pretended to be a students and presented a farce. The children just loved it! Why can’t we do this at home sometimes?

There will always be situations when children would need to be reminded of their boundaries and you need to put on your parent-mantle and say, “Because I said so!” Parents need to be both firm and loving. But what if you are in uncharted territories like the digital world? Where your knowledge of the latest social media developments is limited compared to that of your children? How can you establish yourself as an authority your children will respect, obey and turn to for guidance if you are not a digital literate? Who will you turn to for cyber surfing tips?

Your children.

Yes, you heard that right. Turn the table around and be the student for a change. Let your kids teach you about the digital world. You can encourage them by asking about security, privacy, cyberbullying, fake news, risky games and other topics that concern you. Check out how they download apps. Be prepared for some amazing conversations and insights into their digital hygiene awareness. You will know whether they are mature enough to handle tricky situations. If you buy a new device, consult them on securing it and activating 2-factor authentication.

Benefits of digital role reversals

  1. Set an example: Children learn a lot by observing their parents. So, if you don’t hesitate to ask them when in doubt, they wouldn’t either. Also, if parents practice digital balance, kids will usually follow suit.
  2. Promote mutual understanding, trust and respect: Commend your kids when they share valuable tips. Your words would act like an instant confidence booster and make them feel all grown-up and responsible.
  3. Extend real life education to cover the digital one: You can establish this during your conversations about how you think real world lifeskill lessons apply to the virtual space. Talk about peer pressure, good manners, diplomacy, etiquette, etc. to drive home the point.
  4. Better understanding of child’s digital world: Think about all that you can learn! You have first-hand knowledge of the apps they use and can later Google them to learn more about associated risks, if any. You get an idea about what’s trending, the new online threats and also what interests your kids and how they spend time online.
  5. Opportunity to test their cyber security awareness: Dig deep to get to know how kids secure their accounts and the content they create. Also, have a detailed chat about the merits of using licensed security tools vis-à-vis a free basic one. This lesson will last them a lifetime and ensure their online safety so spend time on this on a regular basis.

This Children’s Day, try out a bit of role reversal and pick up tips on being a savvy digital citizen from your kids. Not only will they feel proud of helping you become a smart device user, you also get to understand how they view digital media, online friendship, cyber safety and data privacy. With one stroke, you will both empower your kids and also strengthen your bonds with them. You are without doubt, your children’s best teacher and well-wisher. So, with their interest in heart, be the kid sometime.

Happy Children’s Day to all your precious angels.

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Light a Lamp This Diwali To Dispel the Darkness of Digital Literacy https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/light-a-lamp-this-diwali-to-dispel-the-darkness-of-digital-literacy/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/light-a-lamp-this-diwali-to-dispel-the-darkness-of-digital-literacy/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:28:11 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92457 One of my favourite Indian festivals is Diwali and I have a sneaky feeling I may have mentioned this a few times earlier too. There is so much of positivity attached to this festival- say the word Diwali, or Deepawali, and smiles will light up the faces of people, just like diyas light up houses […]

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One of my favourite Indian festivals is Diwali and I have a sneaky feeling I may have mentioned this a few times earlier too. There is so much of positivity attached to this festival- say the word Diwali, or Deepawali, and smiles will light up the faces of people, just like diyas light up houses and courtyards. The excitement the term Diwali will conjure up will be as crackling as the ‘green’ firecrackers kids have already kept ready to burst after the evening prayers.

“So how does Diwali remind you of Digital Literacy?” asked my son, as he peered over my shoulders and looked into my laptop.

“Everything reminds me of digital literacy, but Diwali more so because just like we light lamps of joy to dispel the darkness of evil and sorrow, similarly we can light lamps of knowledge or ‘gyana’ to dispel the darkness of ignorance or ‘agyana’.

Parents often ask me how to start a talk on digital habits with children, how to help them turn out to be good digital citizens and so on. Actually, it’s pretty easy to start a talk and if you are worried that you are not tech-savvy enough to teach your child about digital habits, do not worry. All you need to do is continue teaching the values you teach in real life. They apply to the online world too!

Take for example, language and manners. Think back on the ways you taught your child to greet others, talk civilly and keep their cool when the situation becomes aggressive. Now add the following to your lesson – ‘when online, remember the other person can’t see you so, will not be able to decipher your body language. Hence, it’s become even more important to take care of what you say online’.

You can also teach your kids to stand up against bullies and never bully others. How? Try the age-old dictum, “treat others as you want them to treat you.” Encourage them to share their problems with you and guide them on how to tackle bullies. If you find they are participating in cyberbullying, sit them down and talk to them, just like you would if they behaved badly offline. Find out the cause of their unpleasant behavior and help them resolve issues, if any.

A very important thing to teach kids, and adults alike, is to protect their devices. Use the lock-and-key concept to explain the need for securing devices and accounts with strong passwords and 2-Factor-Authentication. You may even get your child to help them secure their devices with branded security tools. This will definitely make your child feel important, and most importantly, responsible. A responsible child uses digital tools wisely.

Stretch your reach and help your friends and relatives learn how to use parental control tools to protect and monitor their young one’s online activities. If you check your security icon on the computer or laptop, you will be able to access parental controls and learn, through some easy-to-do steps, how to set it up.

Another way to make this Diwali count is to increase the scope of joy that you usually share – bring someone you know into the digital safety circuit. Gift them online security software and shield them from online threats.

Do share your family bonding pics during Diwali—tell us how you made Diwali in your family more meaningful this year.

Happy Diwali folks!

 

 

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The Importance of Security Awareness in Our Connected Lifestyle https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/the-importance-of-security-awareness-in-our-connected-lifestyle/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/the-importance-of-security-awareness-in-our-connected-lifestyle/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:52:43 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92082 Not very long ago, people could be seen walking around waving their mobile phones in the air, looking for a network connection. Today, we are talking 5G! Our kids just can’t imagine a world without gadgets and internet! Little kids as young as four can turn on and instruct Alexa, search for new games on […]

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

Moving Toward an Increasingly Connected Lifestyle

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to use smart devices safely:

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

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

Stay safe, stay secure!

 

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Ileana D’Cruz Tops ‘McAfee Most Sensational Celebrity’ List for 2018 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/ileana-dcruz-tops-mcafee-most-sensational-celebrity-list-for-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/ileana-dcruz-tops-mcafee-most-sensational-celebrity-list-for-2018/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 22:58:18 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91787 We Indians love our movies and actors and voraciously consume all Page 3 gossip tidbits on them. Our love affair with the celluloid world knows no boundaries – we love our old movies and new; masala movies and art movies. When we hang out, movies will find their way into our discussions. When we organize […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Tips on How to Search Safely –

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

 

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Digital Literacy Decoded – Time to Reprise Our Roles as Digital Citizens https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/digital-literacy-decoded-time-to-reprise-our-roles-as-digital-citizens/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/digital-literacy-decoded-time-to-reprise-our-roles-as-digital-citizens/#respond Mon, 10 Sep 2018 19:02:13 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91460 Celebrated every year on September 8, this year’s theme for International Literacy Day focused on “Literacy and Skills Development.” And this made me instantly think of digital literacy and why we need to push digital skill development among the populace. It does not take much time to move from pen and paper to keyboard and […]

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

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

What is digital literacy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to all you digital citizens. Ciao!

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Salute to Teachers – The Architects of Tomorrow’s Digital India https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/salute-to-teachers-the-architects-of-tomorrows-digital-india/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/salute-to-teachers-the-architects-of-tomorrows-digital-india/#respond Tue, 04 Sep 2018 19:51:21 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91407 The digital whiteboards have long replaced the squeaky blackboards, while emails and text messages are replacing messages pinned on the display boards in the corridors. Today, many schools have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, making notebooks redundant. The education pattern is itself changing from general rote learning for all to the ‘Discovery’ methods. […]

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

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

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

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

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

Why do students need human teachers in the digital age?

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

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

Digital Age teachers should be able to:

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

Three things that every teacher needs to tackle in school:

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

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

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

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McAfee Survey: Parents Share Pictures of Their Kids Online, Despite Understanding the Risks Involved https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mcafee-survey-parents-share-pictures-of-their-kids-online-despite-understanding-the-risks-involved/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mcafee-survey-parents-share-pictures-of-their-kids-online-despite-understanding-the-risks-involved/#respond Mon, 27 Aug 2018 23:28:13 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91265 As Birbal had once pointed out to Akbar, “There is only one pretty child in this world and every mother has it.” Never has there been such a strong urge to prove this than in the digital age. Parents are making full use of their social media platforms to keep their friends and family updated […]

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

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

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

Parents Ignoring the Risks?

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

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

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

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

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

Mumbai Parents Lead in Sharing

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

Some Salient India-Specific Findings from The Survey

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

Tips for Safe Sharing of Children’s pics

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

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

 

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Are You a Screen-Obsessed Mom? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-you-a-screen-obsessed-mom/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-you-a-screen-obsessed-mom/#respond Thu, 16 Aug 2018 18:06:49 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=90981 The modern mom is super-efficient; she manages the home, her profession, family, and a hundred other things efficiently day in, day out. But in recent times, something is playing a spoilsport in this perfect scenario in some cases; and that’s her device. My friend was nostalgic at a party about how she missed her son’s […]

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

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

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

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

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

 Are you screen-obsessed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be the digital wellness role model for your kids:

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

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

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

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Focus on Real Friends This Friendship Day https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/focus-on-real-friends-this-friendship-day/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/focus-on-real-friends-this-friendship-day/#respond Thu, 26 Jul 2018 16:58:32 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=90565 I walked into my niece’s room and found her busy making colourful bands. “What are these for?” I asked. “Friendship Day is coming up and this year I have decided to make my own bands to give to my friends. Got to finish making them all today.” “That’s lovely,” and then as a thought struck […]

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

“What are these for?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teach kids to identify fake profiles online:

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

Show kids how to block and report fake profiles:

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

Share digital safety tips:

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

Finally, share this message with your kids.

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

 

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Handling Social Media Stress – Pointers to Share with Your Teens https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/handling-social-media-stress-pointers-to-share-with-your-teens/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/handling-social-media-stress-pointers-to-share-with-your-teens/#respond Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:15:56 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=90340 The lion’s share of modern day communication happens online and for that, thanks to the hundreds of apps available. Whether it is news or videos, blogging or education, social media or gaming, entertainment or social movements – a lot is happening online, all the time. In fact, social media apps have become the new ‘hangout’ […]

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The lion’s share of modern day communication happens online and for that, thanks to the hundreds of apps available. Whether it is news or videos, blogging or education, social media or gaming, entertainment or social movements – a lot is happening online, all the time.

In fact, social media apps have become the new ‘hangout’ zones for virtual citizens. After all, we live in a connected world and enjoy being online. But that may not be always good for tweens and teens as they are still too young to process all the information download happening. This may lead to stress.

Stress is not uncommon in our physical lives. We get stressed by our education, career, relationships and the environment. The same happens in the digital world. In the physical world, our responses to stress are primarily venting, having face-to-face spats or ignoring the issue. Not so in the digital world. In the virtual space, stress may arise from different causes and the repercussions may take on a viral form.

Why do children get stressed by social media? The common causes are:

  • Peer pressure: THE most important reason for children being online is to connect with their friends. And to keep this friendship alive and kicking, they often blindly copy the group leaders, even if they are not comfortable with what they are doing
  • FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Teens, especially girls, have a competitive spirit when it comes to online presence and don’t want to be ‘the last to know’ so, they end up spending a lot of time online
  • Keeping up with the Jones’: The same competitive spirit leads kids to spend hours posing and selecting the perfect pics to share online or seek approval from strangers. This is risky, as negative comments online can harm self-confidence
  • Excessive sharing: When kids share a lot of their private information on social media, they leave themselves vulnerable to hacking, as well as opening themselves up to contact from inappropriate individuals online
  • Cyberbullying: Most kids have witnessed or experienced some forms of cyberbullying and often end up as either perpetrators or victims or mute spectators. In all cases, this is a disturbing occurrence
  • Lack of screen time limits: Lack of digital balance can have psychological effects and so digital usage rules are a must
  • Lack of empathy: When children are not taught to respect others and their traditions, they do not develop empathy and may end up bullying those with differing views and lifestyles
  • Exposure to inappropriate content or people: The wrong connections and information are a big source of stress
  • Online spats: Differences crop up, leading to squabbles and heated exchanges. It gets complex when this is done in a public forum and strangers join in
  • Disturbing global news: The slew of violent news often creates negative tension in the minds of youngsters, leaving them feeling confused and belligerent

Parenting plays a major role in helping children learn how to tackle social media stress.  As parents, you know your children the best. Yes, even teens.

Observe them and if you note any change in their social media habits or general behaviour, talk to them. The earlier you start having frank one-to-one conversations, the easier will it be for you later. But before that, you may need to modify your own response to stress and learn to control your reactions. That way you will teach them a very important lesson without having to use a single word.

Help your kids fight social media stress:

  • Accept differences: People are different and will have different opinions. Accept the differences and respect their values
  • Be discerning: Life isn’t a bed of roses for anyone, so don’t let profiles fool you. Don’t judge someone by their bio and pictures
  • Practice tact: When things get bitter, the decent thing to do is to agree to disagree and walk away. If you don’t react, it doesn’t mean you are the weak one; it means you are smart enough not to get provoked. However, if the meanness gets out of hand, be the strong one and report and block account
  • Practice digital balance: Limit screen time and have good friends in the real world who will always stand by you
  • Be aware: The world will have both good and bad and growing up means learning to understand and accept this. Maturity is being able to stay true to values. Wisdom is knowing which is bad and avoiding it

Say goodbye to stress and lead a healthier and happier life online. Apply your values from your physical life in the digital one and practice STOP.THINK. CONNECT. And don’t forget! Use McAfee Total Protection on all connected devices to protect what you value the most.

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Are third party apps for you? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-third-party-apps-for-you/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-third-party-apps-for-you/#respond Fri, 29 Jun 2018 17:10:55 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=90186 “What are third party apps?” asked my mother with a frown. “Wow Gran! You are becoming pretty cyber-savvy!” commented my incorrigible offspring and added, “Wherever did you come across it?” “Why, your Mom shared a post on Facebook about being cautious while using third party apps. I have been searching for a while but can’t […]

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

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

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

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

What are third party apps?

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

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

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

Why are they risky?

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

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

How to check app authenticity?

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

How to disable apps on your device?

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

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

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

Cybersafety tips:

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

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

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

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Father’s Day Shout Out to All Dads – Time to Wear Your Cyberdad Cape https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/fathers-day-shout-out-to-all-dads-time-to-wear-your-cyberdad-cape/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/fathers-day-shout-out-to-all-dads-time-to-wear-your-cyberdad-cape/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 04:31:45 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=89939 Whenever Father’s Day is near, I find myself thinking about the role of a father in the life of his children. He isn’t merely the provider or the solution-finder; he is their anchor, their source of security and mom’s support system. He is the one kids want to impress, his is the approval that make […]

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

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

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

5 ways to get your Cyberdad act together:

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

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

 

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Send Your Kids Back to School with Cybersecurity Knowledge https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/send-your-kids-back-to-school-with-cybersecurity-knowledge/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/send-your-kids-back-to-school-with-cybersecurity-knowledge/#respond Wed, 30 May 2018 17:28:15 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=89185 Summer vacation is on and chances are that your kids are spending time indoors as the scorching sun makes it too hot to go and play outside. They are probably lounging around with their devices, which may include gaming devices, smartphones, laptops, desktops, virtual assistants, livestreaming sticks, smart toys or e-book readers. And why not? […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Privacy Awareness Week-Are We Responsible for Our Data Breach? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/privacy-awareness-week-are-we-responsible-for-our-data-breach/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/privacy-awareness-week-are-we-responsible-for-our-data-breach/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 22:12:31 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=88886 “The best match for me,” announced my daughter one Sunday morning sometime back, “is a Scorpio.” “Oh really? And this piece of vital information no doubt came from Linda Goodman?” I queried, giving her a been-there-done-that look. “Why read when there are multiple sites online that can predict the perfect match for you? You need […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By being proactive about protecting our privacy.

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

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

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

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

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

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World Password Day – Stop Worrying, Start Using A Password Manager https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/world-password-day-stop-worrying-start-using-a-password-manager/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/world-password-day-stop-worrying-start-using-a-password-manager/#respond Wed, 02 May 2018 20:18:52 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=88663 “Open Sesame”! Most of us have grown up hearing these magic words, the secret password, that know would reveal the treasures of the bandit king to Alibaba in The Arabian Nights.  They also anticipate, with a mixture of fear and thrill, the consequences Cassim (Ali’s brother) would face for forgetting the password. I can see […]

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“Open Sesame”!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy World Password Day to you!

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Indians Are Increasingly Realising Nothing Said Online Is Private https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/indians-increasingly-realising-nothing-said-online-private/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/indians-increasingly-realising-nothing-said-online-private/#respond Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:32:37 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=88077 The world is becoming increasingly connected- with locks for you home controlled on your smartphone; CCTV cameras in every room that allow you to keep tabs on your home when you are out; smartphones that help you work, run and plan activities; smart TVs that allow you to connect to the internet; smart refrigerators that […]

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

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

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

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

Other India-centric salient findings of the study:

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

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

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

Tips to stay safe online and protect what matters most:

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

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

Happy surfing!

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Cheat Codes to Digital Parenting https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cheat-codes-digital-parenting/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cheat-codes-digital-parenting/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 21:05:53 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=85339 As digital immigrants, I have seen a lot of my friends in a constant dilemma/struggle about bringing up children in this digital age. I understand, there aren’t any rule books that can be used as a guide or any previous experience to fall back upon. Consequently, there arises digital conflicts between parents and kids ranging […]

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As digital immigrants, I have seen a lot of my friends in a constant dilemma/struggle about bringing up children in this digital age. I understand, there aren’t any rule books that can be used as a guide or any previous experience to fall back upon. Consequently, there arises digital conflicts between parents and kids ranging from device use to social media excesses. Before we get onto the solution, we need to understand the inherent nature of kids living in a connected world.

  • It is difficult to keep kids off the digital world – The demarcation between the real world and digital world is fast disappearing, as children start using the digital medium for education, entertainment and socializing at an early age and continue to use it increasingly as they grow up.
  • Stay updated on all that’s happening in your teen’s life -To understand our kids better and be on the same page with them, we need to be aware of issues they relate to, including staying updated on tech.
  • Monitoring is essential – I am sure we never intend to let our kids away from our sight while going out until they are mature. The same way there is a need to monitor their digital footprints as well. They should be guided on the dos and don’ts, until they show an adequate sense of responsibility and know how to rightly handle online situations.

Keeping these in our mind, let’s get started on our digital citizenship primer for kids. Here are some cheat codes that will surely make digital parenting a much smoother experience.

#Cheat Code 1: Extend real life values to cover the virtual world.

The values we have and revere are those that have been handed down to us by our families and enforced in the Value Education classes in school. These include:

  • Courtesy
  • Responsibility
  • Courage
  • Empathy
  • Judiciousness

They work well in the virtual world too. Teach him/her to be well-mannered, stand up against wrongs like cyberbullying and respect people’s need for privacy. Also, explain the need for discretion with personal data

#Cheat Code 2: Think of digital devices as portals to unknown territories. Use home safety rules.

You have the ‘Dos and Don’ts of staying alone at home’ drilled into your child, right? Let’s extend this to cover the cyberworld.

  • Secure devices– Use only those devices that are secured with a comprehensive security tool. This is how you fortify your digital space.
  • Stop unauthorized access Use only secure Wi-Fi connections, VPN or mobile internet connections.
  • THINK. CLICK. – Do not click on links or attachments or respond to spam emails. Keep passwords strong and DO NOT share them with anyone except parents.

#Cheat code 3: Extend your stranger-danger rule to cover the digital world. 

  • Do not connect with strangers: It is very easy to hide one’s identity and pretend to be someone else online. The same person may adopt different identities. It’s safer to connect with people you know in the real world.
  • Do not trust online friends: If someone asks too many questions or makes you feel uncomfortable immediately report that person to your parents and together decide what to do.
  • Do not visit unfamiliar sites: You may suddenly land on a website that looks exciting and interesting but stop a minute! Did you want to go there? Does the web address seem genuine? If in doubt, abort mission and return to safety.
  • Do not accept free gifts or favour from anyone; nothing comes free in this world.

#Cheat Code 4: Reiterate that every action has consequence online too

Help kids develop long-term vision, understand what seems like fun may actually not be so:

  • Over Sharing: If privacy is breached, your personal information may be misused. So, avoid sharing too much data. Sometimes, you unknowingly share your personal data, for instance while signing up on gaming websites or taking quizzes etc. Things you should avoid sharing include your name, date of birth, address, pet’s name and mother’s maiden name. These may be used to steal your identity.
  • Digital addiction: Like excess of cold drinks harms teeth, excess of online activities is also harmful to health. Practice digital balance.
  • Say NO to cyberbullying: Neither should you accept bad behaviour online nor should you be a party to cyberbullying. It’s wrong and may have unforeseen consequences. Report bullies to parents or teachers.

It’s pretty simple after knowing these cheat codes, isn’t it? As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn’, open your communication channels with your kids. Involve them and make your way through to protect your kids online from the digital world threats.

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Using the Internet as a Medium For Women To Break The Glass Ceiling https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/using-internet-medium-women-break-glass-ceiling/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/using-internet-medium-women-break-glass-ceiling/#respond Tue, 06 Mar 2018 17:21:15 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=85040 “You know, the internet has done wonders for my business,” said a lady baker to me, beaming at all the appreciation coming her way from happy guests at a party she was catering. “How so?” I asked. “When I started out as a home baker, it was all word of mouth as far as advertisement […]

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You know, the internet has done wonders for my business,” said a lady baker to me, beaming at all the appreciation coming her way from happy guests at a party she was catering.

How so?” I asked.

When I started out as a home baker, it was all word of mouth as far as advertisement went and my clientele was limited. Today I have my own Facebook page and my WhatsApp is filled with price requests for customized baked goods.”

We have come a long way since the launch of the internet in India in 1995. By 2021, the count of internet users in India is likely to reach about 635.8 million, of which 40% would be women, according to a recent study. Many of these women, including in rural areas, are taking advantage of the internet to achieve their dreams. What a better day than Women’s Day to show appreciation to such women, who are in sync with the Digital India vision that aims to empower women.

2017 also saw a lot of women lead a global movement of advocacy, activism and support for gender parity through the medium of the internet. Taking cue from the same, the global theme for International Women’s day 2018 is #PressForProgress, which aims to motivate women to think, act and be gender inclusive.

There are many women’s self-help groups online that offer them a platform not just to connect, set up a support network and seek advice but also to conduct e-commerce. Cyber-savvy women are already using WhatsApp to form local groups to carry on home business, including the supply of home-cooked food, samplings, cakes, caregivers and even drivers! The internet has been a blessing to women who are able to pursue their career from home.

There are also forums like Sheroes, Women Web and VAW (Violence Against Women) that work for women empowerment by giving them a voice, and in the case of Sheroes, a second chance at a career. There has also been a rise in synergy between the urban and rural sectors, thanks to the internet. Urban businesswomen are helping to revive dying crafts and traditions in rural communities by taking orders for such products.

There’s more! Women are also using the internet to showcase their talents. The growing count of YouTube accounts sharing music, story-telling sessions, cookery classes, dance and exercise, e-books, and DIY shows are proof to that! Such sharing has given women a new self-confidence and quite a few have already become internet influencers. Let’s see if you can name a few J

Kudos ladies but be aware of the cyber threats that exist, including identity theft, scams, cyberbullying, trolling, malware attacks, ransomware and data theft. Also, a tendency to ignore ‘stranger-danger’ and sharing too much online may lead to consequences in the future.

As we aim to become a responsible netizen, we can impart the same learnings to our kids. Mothers nowadays are leveraging the internet to understand the digital world better so that they can bring up their children to be digital literates. This is fantastic because cyber safety training needs to start at an early age and preferably at home.

As the saying goes, we have to move ahead with the times and adapt to the changing environment. As technology is the way forward, we should strive to adopt it and utilize it to carve out a better future for ourselves.

For that, we should take charge of our digital safety first and foremost

  • Device and account security: This is THE most important step for you to protect your data and that of your clients. Secure all your devices with licensed security tools and ensure auto upgrade is turned on. You already know how unsafe it is to use public network so get your own data plan and a VPN connection.
  • Double the Security: Two Factor Authentication may sound tedious but this added layer of security will give enhanced protection to you. Activate this for not only social media accounts but also financial accounts.
  • Password protection: We all know we must use unique passwords that need to be kept secret. If you are not good at remembering, then consider using a password manager and put an end to all your password woes.
  • Account Privacy and Security: Check privacy and security options on your accounts on a regular basis. Revoke access given to 3rd party apps if not in use.
  • Profile authenticity: Where there is money, there may be scammers. Always verify details and read reviews before finalizing a transaction.
  • Block and report: Most users will be appreciative, but some may not be nice. Learn to accept critical comments but do not submit to cyberbullying. Report such profiles and block them.

Personally, I believe every day is Women’s Day, but marking a particular day as such reminds us of the fact that we are women and we need to take charge of our lives and make it more meaningful. So let’s make the most of the internet and share your inspiring digital stories with other women who are still not on the bandwagon. Cheers!

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Indian Digital Citizens Need to Better Balance Their Device Use and Manage Online Safety https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/indian-digital-citizens-need-better-balance-device-use-manage-online-safety/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/indian-digital-citizens-need-better-balance-device-use-manage-online-safety/#respond Mon, 05 Feb 2018 23:47:00 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=84262 As Bryan Adams croons in the background (Everything I do) I do it for you…. and you give the last touches to your Valentine’s Day preparations, don’t forget to do that one thing that is playing a big spoilsport in relationships today- put your devices away! After all, you don’t want a phone buzz to […]

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As Bryan Adams croons in the background (Everything I do) I do it for you…. and you give the last touches to your Valentine’s Day preparations, don’t forget to do that one thing that is playing a big spoilsport in relationships today- put your devices away! After all, you don’t want a phone buzz to spoil that perfectly romantic mood.

Good idea you say? But unfortunately, many don’t. McAfee released findings from a recent India survey, “Three’s Company: Lovers, Friends and Devices” that aims to understand the online behavior of people and how it affects their real-world relationships with friends and significant others. The survey findings highlight the need for better digital balance and greater vigilance while sharing personal information.

Consider the facts discovered by this year’s survey:

  • 67% of the people in a relationship have felt that their significant other was more interested in their internet connected device than in them.
  • 77% of the respondents feel that the use of technology gets in the way of relationships
  • 89% of Indians would be concerned if their significant other did not take the necessary steps to protect their personal information.

No doubt devices have become an integral part of our lives and we cannot imagine a life without them. We need them to connect, share, learn and discover. They can also prove to be life-saving at times. Having said that, it is also imperative that we do not let devices take over our lives, or our special times with the people who matter most to us. Face-to-face interactions are very important, whether it be with your significant other, or kids, or friends.

A comparison with the 2017 survey shows an increase in undesirable device habits over the year:

  • 84% said they share their personal passwords and PINs with their partners in 2018, up from 46% in 2017.
  • 75% indicated that they have had to compete for the attention of their date with their device, up from 57% in 2017.
  • 39% indicate that they have/would allow their significant other to use their work device (s), which is slightly higher than the 35% recorded last year.

On a positive note, 76% Indians are also taking the necessary steps to ensure their personal information is protected on their connected devices. That’s great to know and they should also be more vigilant about sharing too much. Though 89% of Indians think privacy is important in a relationship, there is a lot of sharing going on between partners and it’s not just love and sweet nothings. 84% share their passwords and PINs with their partners for:

  • Online shopping websites – 60%
  • Social media accounts – 45%
  • Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) – 42%
  • Personal email accounts – 41%
  • Banking and financial services websites – 38%
  • Work specific devices/accounts – 38%

Tip: Proactively practice digital balance by keeping devices away or on silent mode when talking to family members or your partner. Give your 100% attention to them.

We want you to stay safe online as well as stay close to your loved ones! Here are a few tips that will help you stay safe while staying in love:

  • Protect your loved ones online… secure their devices. Take control of your privacy and security. Products like McAfee Total Protection helps secure all your devices and keep your personal data personal.
  • Keep control over emotions when it comes to passwords. Please tell me your password isn’t Love2018 or MyLoveXYZ?? Be as romantic as you want in real life but be very careful when choosing passwords, they are the keys to your accounts and shouldn’t be easy to hack. Use the TrueKey app to manage all your passwords. Also, enable Two-Factor-Authentication on all accounts for enhanced safety.
  • Love you…. but love my device more? No way! I know that feeling, of wanting to ‘just scroll through’ social media messages or checking the battery if there has been no ping for some time; but hey, relax and take a chill pill. Messages won’t disappear so, give priority to real connections over virtual ones.

A successful life and relationship is all about prioritizing and doing the right thing at the right time. This Valentine’s Day give priority to a device-free date and you will love the joy and positive vibes you feel around you.

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Take Charge of Your Online Privacy on Data Privacy Day https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/take-charge-online-privacy-data-privacy-day/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/take-charge-online-privacy-data-privacy-day/#respond Mon, 29 Jan 2018 17:06:11 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=84050 We spend a large part of our lives in the virtual world. Not only do we study, play, socialize and work; we also shop, pay bills and store documents. Today’s digital generation finds it tough to visualize a world where people had to stand in long queues each time they wanted to withdraw money from […]

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We spend a large part of our lives in the virtual world. Not only do we study, play, socialize and work; we also shop, pay bills and store documents. Today’s digital generation finds it tough to visualize a world where people had to stand in long queues each time they wanted to withdraw money from the bank, loan a book from the library or even buy a train ticket! There’s no doubt that the digital world spells ease, comfort, speed and time-efficiency. But it also means that there is a lot of our personal data out there that can be compromised, if it fell in the wrong hands.

Our data is our private property but due to malicious attacks or negligence, it may end up in the hands of unknown parties.

The aim of Data Privacy Day, celebrated on January 28th every year, is to make people aware of their rights to personal data protection and privacy.

So, what kind of data are we talking about? To name a few:

  • Resumes, certificates, photos
  • Health and employment records
  • Date of birth
  • Bank account details
  • Social media account login credentials
  • Credit and debit card details
  • Search patterns

Think back, haven’t you been surprised by how after searching for a product online you continue to receive ads for the same from various sources? How did they know your particular choice and how did the sellers get hold of it? There are these 3rd party apps that you unknowingly give permission to access your data when you install them. They collect, analyze and share the same without your explicit knowledge or consent.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s no wonder that data protection has assumed such importance. The recent Supreme Court’s verdict on ‘Right to Privacy’ stand testimony to the same. It’s our data and we need to ensure it is kept private.

First and major step towards this involves securing devices, adopting good cyber practices and being a smart social media user. On Data Privacy Day, let us resolve to become more responsible netizens and take charge of our privacy through adhering to the following:

  • Don’t be pennywise pound foolish: Free security tools offer only basic security and hackers today are highly advanced in their techniques. Secure all internet-enabled devices as soon as you bring them home with reputed comprehensive security tools. And don’t you forget to secure your smartphone!
  • Double your account security: All default password for newly bought devices like smartphones, PCs and routers, should be modified right at the beginning. Create strong passwords and activate 2-Factor Authentication for all your accounts, including banking, e-shopping and social media
  • Share with care on social media: This is totally in your hands. If you are careful about not sharing your private details, contact and preferences online or telephonically, you are quite safe.
  • Consistent Backups: It’s a good idea to periodically transfer data from phone, tabs and laptops to an external storage device. That way even if a device gets hacked, your data remains safe.
  • Think before you click: Infected links and attachments are commonly used for phishing scams. Avoid clicking if not sure of the source or if the source looks suspicious with spelling errors in the URL.
  • Educate kids: Activate parental controls on your child’s devices and monitor their behaviour online. Teach them the importance of owning their online presence early on

The key is therefore to adopt good cybersafety practices and abide by them. And not just you and I, but everyone in the cyber world needs to do so as our security is linked. If one account gets hacked, it compromises all the other accounts which have been linked. That makes it our responsibility to ensure that our connected devices and virtual environment are all secure.

Dear readers, when you go online henceforth, remember to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. SHARE. Make everyday a Data Privacy Day and let’s start on this cyber safety journey today.

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Stepping Into a Cyber Safe 2018 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/stepping-cyber-safe-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/stepping-cyber-safe-2018/#respond Thu, 18 Jan 2018 22:34:16 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=83783 A very Happy New Year to all my dear readers and may this year be another fragrant flower that you will be adding to your bouquet of memories. 2018! How quickly the years fly by? leaving us with new experiences, understanding and learning. Take our own digital world for instance. Most of us, discussed and […]

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A very Happy New Year to all my dear readers and may this year be another fragrant flower that you will be adding to your bouquet of memories. 2018! How quickly the years fly by? leaving us with new experiences, understanding and learning.

Take our own digital world for instance. Most of us, discussed and researched cyberbullying seriously, for the first time only after the Blue Whale Challenge and Sarahah app made headlines last year. We also started taking interest in device security when ransomware attacks and data breaches became breaking news. Some of us have stopped being passive observers and started playing a proactive role in our children’s digital lives. But often, due to low awareness levels, some parents don’t know what to do when their kids face digital threats.

Let’s do something new in 2018, shall we? Let us turn the table around on cyber criminals by anticipating their moves and being prepared to handle new threats. Ready for the challenge?

The McAfee Labs 2018 threat predictions that I shared in my last blog gave a preview of 5 cybersecurity trends, if you remember. The report predicts a rise in attacks on connected devices and misuse of user-generated content. This is something we need to educate our kids about for they may not be aware that their digital footprints may have future consequences. They need to know how to keep their personal details private and why not to overshare information online.

Our concern is not with the positive posts that will help them on their digital journey, but the negative ones that could cause a hindrance. According to the McAfee Labs Threat Predictions 2018 report, many future adults will suffer from negative digital baggage, even if it comes about without their intention.

You may ask how can content be generated unintentionally? You will be surprised to know it is done all the time, even by us. A piece of malware in our phone may collect data about us, even take or store our pictures. A drone can be hacked to gather and transmit data about the user. A social engineering attack like a fun test may require us to enter personal details. This data may be shared with 3rd party vendors who will use it to sell their services or to keep track of social habits, for later use.

As smart homes and all connected devices are expected to increasingly become the targets of hackers, inadvertent content generation is a big concern and we need to take precautions to safeguard our kids online.

Here are some cyber safety tips to set your kids on the right path in the digital world:

  • Upgrade security features on all connected devices: Ensure that the devices offer more than basic security and that their passwords can be changed. Keep passwords a secret, even from BFFs.
  • Turn off unnecessary features: Do periodic checkup of all devices used by kids. Are all the apps necessary? Can some be disabled or uninstalled? What are the permissions required by the apps and what terms and conditions have your children agreed to? Remember to keep location services and Bluetooth turned off too.
  • Manage digital footprints: Teach kids the importance of STOP.THINK. SHARE. Too much information can prove an obstacle, like during internship applications, college admissions or even job recruitment. Sharing your location online by “checking in” to places can also provide potential hackers with too much information.
  • Keep conversation channels open: Teach children to make the right choices in the digital world early on. Have regular discussions on how important it is to share minimal personal data online. Let them know you are there for them 24/7 and that together you can better handle all cyber issues.

And remember the first rule, secure all your connected devices, with a comprehensive security solution.

Our children face an amazing potential future, full of wonderful gadgets, supportive services, and amazing experiences. Let’s teach them how to pack their digital backpacks so that they can make the most of it.

In the next blog, we will discuss data privacy in greater details and I will be sharing some useful tips with you on how to teach your kids to keep data about themselves minimal and safe. Till then ciao!

 

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McAfee Shares Threat Predictions For 2018 – As the Saying Goes, Forewarned is Forearmed https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mcafee-shares-threat-predictions-2018-saying-goes-forewarned-forearmed/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mcafee-shares-threat-predictions-2018-saying-goes-forewarned-forearmed/#respond Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:28:43 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=83605 2017 has drawn to a close and phew, what a year it has been in the digital world. Terms like ransomware, data breaches, cyber bullying, Blue Whale Challenge have become household phrases and device users are waking up to the fact that it is important to be aware and take safety measures to stay safe […]

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2017 has drawn to a close and phew, what a year it has been in the digital world. Terms like ransomware, data breaches, cyber bullying, Blue Whale Challenge have become household phrases and device users are waking up to the fact that it is important to be aware and take safety measures to stay safe online. We are in a stage of cybersecurity, with new devices, new risks and new threats appearing almost daily. As such, if we knew what lay ahead in the cyber world in terms of security, it would be so helpful!

Dear readers, today we are privileged to have that opportunity to know beforehand the future threat landscape, courtesy of McAfee.

The McAfee Labs 2018 Threats Predictions Report is out and it reveals the top threats for the coming year. Eager to know more?

The 5 key trends to watch in 2018 are:

  1. Connected homes may lead to increase privacy breach: Networked devices already transmit a significant amount of information without the knowledge of most consumers. The increased use of smart gadgets like remote-operated webcams at home, security systems or even car lock systems may make us sitting targets for corporates who may try to observe our lifestyle to deduce our likes and wants. The FBI’s recent toy warning to parents might suggest that such approaches could result in regulatory and even criminal legal consequences.

#cybersafety tip: Check security settings on all connected devices as soon as you bring them home, including connected toys

  1. Inside your child’s digital backpack: Often, children and their parents do not consider the consequences of their posts and uploads (explicit, implicit and inadvertent,). These could range from trivial items to revealing personal information. 3rd party vendors could use and potentially abuse private information in the future.

#cybersafety tip: Help your children navigate the digital world safely. Teach them to turn off unnecessary features, and change the default passwords to something much stronger!

  1. Increased granularity of serverless apps will lead to a comparable increase in the attack surface- Though these apps enable a new degree of granularity in computing functions, they leave the environment open to a privilege escalation attack. Also, it might make it possible for hackers to disrupt or disable the infrastructure from the outside. Data in transit can also be intercepted or manipulated

#cybersafety tip: always use secured network or VPN

  1. New targets for RansomwareCyber criminals are expected to shift focus to high-net individuals for Ransomware attacks as industry users are becoming more aware and security conscious. Car system locked down on a working day? Perhaps Ransomware attack is the cause. Further, the goal is less about traditional ransomware extortion and more about outright system sabotage, disruption, and damage, as the recent WannaCry NotPetya attacks revealed.

#cybersafety tip: Change default security settings on all your devices. Stay abreast of the latest social engineering threats

  1. Competition between defenders and attackers to use machines to outwit each other- Defenders will use machine learning, AI, and game theory to probe for vulnerabilities in both software and the systems, correct vulnerabilities and contain zero-day attacks. On the other hand, attackers will be increasingly using machines to create attacks, scan for vulnerabilities, boost attack speed and shorten the time from discovery to exploitation. With better defender-machine combo, we can surely look forward to stronger security in 2018

#cybersafety tip: Use the best and most comprehensive security tool and adopt safety practices

So, as we prepare to welcome the new year, let us also pledge to welcome a new way of life; one that involves being aware of cybersecurity and adopting safety measures in the virtual world.  Isn’t that a nice thought to start 2018 with?

Looking forward to a safer cyberworld in 2018!

 

 

 

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Suntan, Sunglasses, Suitcases… and Devices! Indians Find It Hard to Unplug on Vacations https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/suntan-sunglasses-suitcases-devices-indians-find-hard-unplug-vacations/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/suntan-sunglasses-suitcases-devices-indians-find-hard-unplug-vacations/#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:05:53 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=82939 I was showing a friend around Kolkata when we noted several tourists (very evident because of their attire and photographic gears) making a beeline for a particular sidewalk. Everyone had mobiles ready for selfies in their hands. “That must be a popular tourist spot,” remarked my friend, eager not to miss a single tourist attraction. […]

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I was showing a friend around Kolkata when we noted several tourists (very evident because of their attire and photographic gears) making a beeline for a particular sidewalk. Everyone had mobiles ready for selfies in their hands.

That must be a popular tourist spot,” remarked my friend, eager not to miss a single tourist attraction.

Oh no! The reason for the crowd here is that this area has free Wi-Fi, part of our smart city plan. So, people flock here to check their messages, make calls or upload pics etc.”

We really find it hard to part from our devices, don’t we? Even on holidays? We need to stay in touch, whether it be with our family or work. Check this out:

  • 86 percent Indians want to stay plugged during their vacations so that their families can reach them if needed. That’s a significant count.
  • Further, 60 percent admitted to spending a minimum of an hour daily online.
  • What’s more, 57 percent said they felt anxiety over being unplugged!
  • And this takes the cake- 68 percent of Indian parents allow their children to use connected devices while traveling!

These and other findings from a recent McAfee study indicates that despite the benefits experienced from unplugging, most Indians prefer to stay connected.

The McAfee Study titled, “Digital Detox: Unwind, Relax and Unplug,” aims to better understand the behavior and attitudes of consumers when on vacation, and how digital habits could be putting their personal information at risk. The intention is to educate those planning a trip in the holiday season on risks related to using unsecured Wi-Fi connections.

It is not that people don’t want to unplug from connected devices, cut off from real world worries and enjoy their holidays unconditionally. 67 percent indicated they would want to completely unplug on a vacation if not for work obligations. So for all practical purposes, vacationers are taking their offices along on holidays!

Surprisingly, millennials are more inclined to unplug than those in their 40s.

Some more salient findings:

  • Almost one in two Indians (51%) could not resist the urge to post to social media while vacationing
  • One in four 29%) admitted to checking their email consistently throughout the day.
  • Parents tend to be more tech savvy than their non-parental counterparts and are more likely to know if their Wi-Fi connection is safe and secure to use (75% vs. 64%)Only 40% would be willing to leave their smartphone behind while traveling

Takeaway pointCybercriminals may try to exploit travelers who put convenience over security and use unsecured Wi-Fi access points that are easily hackable. Their personal data, including passwords and financial transactions may be compromised.

Can’t Think of Unplugging? Pay Heed to These Tips to Help Secure Your Device and Data:

  • Browse securely when away from home. If you really can’t unplug while traveling, avoid using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. But if you have to use a public Wi-Fi network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like McAfee Safe Connect. A VPN will keep your information private and ensure that data goes straight from your device to where you are connecting.
  • Update your devices. Always ensure that your device OS and security are kept updated. Using old versions of software could leave you open to potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Install cross-device security. Travelling with your device? First secure it with the latest security software. McAfee LiveSafe can help your devices stay clear of viruses and other unwanted malware.
  • Use a device locating app. It’s a good idea to use a security tool that offers the device location and remote erasure features. Location applications can help you find, lock and even erase your device’s data in the event of theft or loss.

Every digital citizen should understand the importance of digital balance and practice digital detox- especially on holidays. However, if you do need to carry your devices to stay in touch, make sure you use secured Wi-Fi and secure your connected devices too. Keep your travels worry-free.

Try unplugging, you may be pleasantly surprised!

 

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Importance of Cybersecurity Lessons in Schools https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/importance-cybersecurity-lessons-schools/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/importance-cybersecurity-lessons-schools/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:11:17 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=82278 Are you aware that there are more than 460 million internet users in India, and this is expected to grow to around 635.8 million by 2021? Or, that nearly 81% of kids between the ages of 8-16 are active on social media? Or, that of the children who are active on social media, 69% have published […]

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Are you aware that there are more than 460 million internet users in India, and this is expected to grow to around 635.8 million by 2021? Or, that nearly 81% of kids between the ages of 8-16 are active on social media? Or, that of the children who are active on social media, 69% have published photos, 58% have posted their email address and 44% would meet or have met someone in person that they first met online?

Just goes to show, that our kids are tech-smart but not very cybersafety conscious. To make the Digital India dream come true and benefit the nation, internet users must be well-versed in cybersecurity and cyber etiquette. As our kids will be tomorrow’s India, bringing them up to be model digital citizens should be a top priority. Where can they get this knowledge? Schools, without a doubt.

Let’s think about why it is important to teach cybersafety in school:

  • Children accept teachers as information providers and give credence to their words
  • Cybersafety training can be tailored according to age and grade
  • Group learning helps in building virtual social bonds, and confidence
  • Campaigns, contests and bulletin boards can be used to promote better virtual behaviour
  • New lectures similar to value education can be taken up to teach online etiquette. Many schools have been organizing such cybersafety sessions, but it needs to become a regular feature

I asked some educators what their views were on internet safety and digital citizenship in the school curriculum and this is what they said:

It is the need of the hour,” said Sunita Rajiv, assistant headmistress, at Ahlcon International School, New Delhi.

It’s a must,” said Ritu Sehji, educator, author, presenter, based in New Zealand.

What should be the learning outcomes of cybersecurity sessions?

Children should:

  • Stay informed about cybersafety and cyber civics
  • Know how to identify dangers and tackle them
  • Make informed decisions online
  • Learn how to surf in a secure environment
  • Use the internet to learn and build a network

The main points to be covered in the cyber security sessions:

  • Social Media: etiquette; safety; mutual respect; diplomacy; language; content
  • The norms of sharing: How much to share; what not to share and with whom; Too much sharing and future effects
  • The importance of privacy: How to secure devices; accounts; profile; passwords
  • Scams, Spams, hacking: Attachments and links in mails and posts; key words to look out for
  • Block and report accounts: When to consider this option-How to keep records; whom to inform; how to block and report
  • Identify fake: How to identify fake profiles and messages; how to authenticate data before sharing; how to block and report cyberbullies and predators
  • Dares, challenges and other risky games: How to identify peer pressure and avoid them; understand that such risky challenges are the new faces of cyberbullying and how to counteract them; how to tackle online bullying; creating support group for victims
  • Footprints in the digital sands of time: How posts have future implications, and may impact college admissions and/or career. How to remove posts and photos shared and sanitize social media accounts
  • Smartphone safety: Using security apps, GPS, geotagging, selfie risks
  • Financial risks: e-transactions

It will be a great idea to set up information kiosks or designate a bulletin board where the latest updates on internet safety can be shared. Further, schools need to sensitize parents and organize cyber security awareness seminars for them. The presence of a dedicated counsellor to advise and guide kids on issues pertaining to cybersafety will be of great help to children and parents alike.

And always wind up your lessons with the cybersafety mantra- STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

 

 

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Be a Social Media-Savvy Parent For Your Kids https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/social-media-savvy-parent-kids/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/social-media-savvy-parent-kids/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 17:32:23 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=81937 If your kids are ready to join the social media bandwagon, but you are completely lost when it comes to the new apps trending among teens then it’s time to learn about how to help your children stay safe in the digital world. According to a ‘We are Social’ study, the number of social network […]

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If your kids are ready to join the social media bandwagon, but you are completely lost when it comes to the new apps trending among teens then it’s time to learn about how to help your children stay safe in the digital world.

According to a ‘We are Social’ study, the number of social network users in India was nearly 191 million in Q1 2017 and is expected to rise tremendously

These figures should be a wakeup call to us parents. Your child is or will soon become a social media user and you need to know everything there is to know about these platforms in time to guide them. We don’t want to wait for another Blue Whale Challenge, Sarahah app or the new 48-hour challenge. These games are now becoming the new faces of cyberbullying to jolt us out of our comfort zones.

The only way to teach is to know and therefore it is important for you to stay ahead and learn about popular social media apps that your child is likely to use.

Indian kids are on Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, YouTube, and Hike. I am sure you are familiar with Facebook and WhatsApp, let’s quickly refresh our memory about the rest:

Instagram: It started out as a photo and video sharing app that allows users to tweak and filter pics before sharing. Now users can also send messages, stickers, conduct polls on stories and connect with likeminded users. The instant feedback users receive can be a real ‘feel-good’ factor.

YouTube: This one is a favourite with gamers, home chefs, amateur artists and comedians. Users upload their videos for general or select viewing and can subscribe to channels of their preference.

Snapchat: This app created waves when it launched because it allows users to capture videos and pictures that self-destruct after a few seconds. However, it’s good to remember that receivers can take screenshots and save pics

For all these apps, signing up is easy. Just download the app, create a strong password and use a comprehensive security software with password manager.

What are the privacy and security options recommended? First, ensure that your children meet the minimum age criteria to join any of the social media accounts. Then, be sure to share general safety tips like the ones below.

  • Public or private: Do you want anyone and everyone to see your profiles and posts? Probably not, so turn your account from public to private.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: This is a must to ensure that only you can access your account. It will require a password plus another factor (example: OTP sent to mobile phone) to prevent misuse of your social account.
  • Profile Information: Apps need your profile information but there is no reason why you have to share them with others. Also, think about your profile name and photo. Consider whether you would like to use your real name and pic or an Avatar? Your friends know you anyway, and those who are strangers, don’t need to know all about you.
  • Block and report: This feature comes handy when someone bothers you. You can manually select the follower from your friend/follower list and block and report the account.
  • Turn off geotagging: This feature allows all your friends and followers to identify your exact location. Keep it turned off and check pics to see if they are geotagged. If yes, then remove tagging
  • Tagging in photos: It is considered improper to tag people in group pics without prior permission. Also, review pics in which you are tagged before allowing them on your timeline
  • 3rd Party Access: Periodically review whether you have given access to any 3rd party and revoke access to apps you don’t need or that ask for access to too many files
  • Language: Did you know typing in bold caps is akin to shouting? Or that making rude or sarcastic comments on others’ posts is cyberbullying? Also, be careful when using acronyms that you got the right meaning
  • Conduct: Good etiquettes come in handy online. Maintain decorum, as if you are in a drawing room having a polite conversation. To know more about digital etiquettes, refer to my blog
  • THINK. CONNECT. Always think before posting about whether the photo or text is decent, correct, verified, or useful. Don’t share sensitive content or connect with strangers who insist on knowing a lot of personal details about you.

Nowadays, we get inundated with new trends on social media, which frequently create a frenzy among kids. A bit of awareness, frequent communication and supervision can help us ensure their cyber safety along with making us a cool cyber savvy parent.

Next time your kids go online, take the opportunity to engage more with them and show off your social media skills.

 

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Why it’s important for parents to monitor kids’ digital footprint? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/important-parents-monitor-kids-digital-footprint/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/important-parents-monitor-kids-digital-footprint/#respond Wed, 04 Oct 2017 16:53:52 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=79663 There is a new cybersafety awareness among the people of my generation – post the Blue Whale Challenge scare and rising concerns over cyberbullying – and quite a few have started playing a more proactive role in their children’s online lives. That is the way to go! And not just parents, grandparents too are becoming […]

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There is a new cybersafety awareness among the people of my generation – post the Blue Whale Challenge scare and rising concerns over cyberbullying – and quite a few have started playing a more proactive role in their children’s online lives. That is the way to go!

And not just parents, grandparents too are becoming aware. Just the other day, a friend’s mom cornered me at a party and expressed concern over her grandchild’s online habits.

She is all of three but spend hours watching Spiderman cartoons on our iPhone. She knows how to unlock the phone and turn on You-Tube, she is that smart.

I nodded, wondering where this was going.

But I caught her the other day watching a very violent cartoon. I asked if that was a Spidey cartoon and she said no, she had come across it while surfing for new toons. She was enjoying it! All that violence at 3! What do we do?”

Now this is the case of a grandma, who despite her minimal technical knowledge, was wise and experienced enough to realize that her grandchild needed monitoring.

That is what parents need to realize – we may lag behind our children in tech-savviness but we are way ahead of them in the department of wisdom borne of age and experience.

According to a McAfee study, 49 percent of the Indian parents surveyed are concerned about stranger danger and almost 93 percent of them have discussed the potential dangers on the internet with their children at some point. Yet only 36 percent of Indian parents admitted to using software to monitor their children’s activity on their devices. We would like to see that number grow!

As children carry out most of their online activities on their mobile phones, it is necessary that parents secure these devices too. So today, I will introduce you to a wonderful product, McAfee Safe Family that will help you to monitor your kids when they are on their phones too.

Let’s first check out what all this parenting control app can help us with:

  • Password-protected settings: You will be using a password to protect the parental control settings so only you can administer and make changes
  • Age-appropriate web-filtering: You can choose which websites your children can access, suitable for their age, and/or review or change the content that’s available to them
  • Set rules and time limits: You, the administrator, will be able to set internet-use rules and timings
  • Activity Feed: View your kid’s device activity from application and website access to current location and checked-in places
  • Family Locator: Wouldn’t it be nice to quickly check where your kids are, in the middle of a busy work day? You can use this tool to locate them on an interactive map
  • App Management: You can get report of installed apps on your children’s devices and also block in-app purchases
  • Encourage parent-child bonding: The tool allows you to be flexible. Sometimes your kids may need longer net time or access to certain blocked sites. This is the opportunity to discuss cybersafety, digital responsibility and etiquette. Then you can make necessary changes.

And the best part? This amazing tool is currently available for free! Download it here.

At the same time, don’t forget to regularly talk to your kids about stranger-danger, importance of privacy and sharing limits. Awareness and security together will help the child grow up to be a confident and responsible net user.

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Cyber Insurance – The Need of the Hour https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyber-insurance-need-hour/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyber-insurance-need-hour/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:47:37 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=78466 Years ago, when we were complete newbies to computers, data loss was a frequent occurrence. Files were lost as they were not saved or else power cuts played culprits. We saved our work on floppy disks, and CDs, remember? But the problem was that they frequently got corrupted. I once had to redo the entire […]

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Years ago, when we were complete newbies to computers, data loss was a frequent occurrence. Files were lost as they were not saved or else power cuts played culprits. We saved our work on floppy disks, and CDs, remember? But the problem was that they frequently got corrupted. I once had to redo the entire year’s marksheet for my class at the 11th hour!

And then we learnt how to backup on the hard drive itself and what a relief that was! But then whoever had access to the computer could access the saved data and copy/wipe/misuse it. Also, if the device crashed, we needed a technician to retrieve it from the drive. So, we learnt how to take backups on external drives, for safety and better storage. And now of course, there’s cloud storage.

We have also seen how data can be compromised in the process of transmission, device theft or hacking. Such losses not only disrupt peace of mind but also affect business dealings. It may have various consequences- ranging from temporary inconvenience, loss of peace of mind and of personal information to more serious ones like cancellation of deals, redoing entire projects and loss of client details. These are broadly termed as the costs of data loss.

How would you peg the cost for loss of data like contracts or financial details or client credit card details, identity documents or contacts? Add to this cost the price of time loss, opportunity loss, productivity loss and even client and business deal losses and you will know how serious the matter is. In this competitive world, no company can afford a breach, but it is happening and may happen more frequently, given the rise in cyberattacks.

No doubt we have very good security policies in place that help us stay safe from known attacks and thefts. There may also be contracts with server providers for compensating time and opportunity losses arising from data loss. But they do not compensate for data loss. For that we need cyber insurance.

 

What is cyber insurance? It’s like your normal insurance offered to protect against internet-related losses in business. The insured can compensate for delays and losses and compensation demand from affected parties. A cyber attack like a malware or ransomware can cause serious harm to a company’s reputation, financial position and business models. If client data is breached and falls in the wrong hands, then it becomes quite difficult to rebuild the seller-client trust. It can also be expensive to compensate clients for losses suffered and herein lies the advantage of an insurance.

Do you and I need it? Depends on what kind of data you and I are storing and how, and the extent to which we would be affected if that data is compromised. Most of you supermoms would be entrepreneurs working from home, and may have important data stored on your tab, the loss of which may cause you inconvenience. Many of us may overlook the security part of the processes and hence, a cyber insurance can save your day. Small businesses can also gain from insuring their data and more and more firms are expressing interest in insuring their data.

Future prospects- Cyber insurance is slated to be big in the coming years, with the market likely to reach USD 14 Billion globally by 2022. And why not, for after all it stands to reason. We insure everything that’s precious to us- our houses, cars, art, even life- then why not our data that is now less on paper and more in e-format? Keeping in mind the ever-expanding cyber threat landscape, it can be said that cyber insurance will soon become a necessity, instead of an option.

Cyber insurance is however not a replacement for cyber security, for if there is no comprehensive security framework in place and users are proven to have been careless, insurance claims may not stand ground. We can look at it as an extension of the security framework that helps to compensate for losses due to data breach. It is this part of the proactive measures to keep data safe.

 

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Sarahah, honesty and making sure your kids aren’t part of the problem https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/sarahah-honesty-making-sure-kids-arent-part-problem/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/sarahah-honesty-making-sure-kids-arent-part-problem/#respond Wed, 23 Aug 2017 22:56:53 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=77124 Freedom of speech in written texts? Totally anonymous? No fear of being identified and penalized? Whoa, that’s what GenY was waiting for! And youngsters have been, going for it I mean, by the drove! If you are still wondering what I am talking about, it’s the new app Sarahah, that’s got everyone’s attention. The brainchild […]

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Freedom of speech in written texts? Totally anonymous? No fear of being identified and penalized? Whoa, that’s what GenY was waiting for! And youngsters have been, going for it I mean, by the drove!

If you are still wondering what I am talking about, it’s the new app Sarahah, that’s got everyone’s attention. The brainchild of a Saudi Arabian developer Zain al-Abidin Tawfiq, its original purpose was to provide a platform to people to offer honest but anonymous feedback in the workplace without the fear of retribution. Zain soon realized the potential for it in personal use and so opened a new section in the website for personal feedback from friends. This feature became very popular in the Middle East and Africa, which led to its introduction in the western countries as the Sarahah App.

How does it work?

All you have to do is download it and link it to your social media accounts- SnapChat, Facebook or Instagram and share the link you receive with friends or public; and voila, you are ready to tell anyone- anonymously- exactly what you think of them, their work, their attitude, their past deeds or whatever it is about them that pleases or irks you.

Quick facts on Sarahah:

  1. It is available for download on PlayStore and iStore
  2. It is anonymous so just about ANYONE can send a message
  3. Spam Alert: Fake sites like Sarahah Spyer and Sarahah exposed are sending spam messages to users to check sender’s name on their sites
  4. There is a minimum age criteria though- the app is for people over 17. But a large number of teens are on it so the age criteria has obviously not played a deterrent.

So now my Facebook page is flooded with sweet comments that people have received via Sarahah (The comments are not visible to others unless users choose to share) and reciprocal outpour of love and guesses on who the sender might be. Sometimes they guess it right, sometimes they do not. What concerns cyber security experts like me (yeah, we like people to use their devices and the net with their eyes open) is that the anonymity may embolden some malicious users to reveal “honest” feelings- and so be abusive, mean, acerbic and untruthful. Or to use the app to insult or demean someone they do not like. How will the receivers handle it then?

What does this mean for parents & kids in India?

According to McAfee’s “Teen Tween Technology 2015” study in India, 43% of the children active on social media claim to have witnessed cruel behaviour on social networks, while 52% of the children indicated that they have bullied people over social media themselves. And this when there was no Sarahah app around! We learn two things from here, children are being bullied and simultaneously children could be playing accomplice to cyberbullying by being the perpetrators or witnesses.

Such apps that allow people to “speak their mind” have the potential to turn into breeding grounds for cyberbullying and according to reports, it has started happening, with some users allegedly receiving hate mails and death threats!

What parents need to understand?

  1. Watch for signals: If a child faces cyberbullying, there could be behavioral changes like depression, drop in academic performance, marked disinterest in everything. Watch out for these signs in your teen. Also, as the McAfee study suggested, kids could be not just be on the receiving end but initiating it also. This is where a good open relationship with kids about cyber etiquettes is critical from an early age.
  2. Better to be safe: Monitoring underage kid’s activities online through parental control app is critical at points in time like these. Until kids gain maturity to identify on their own, guidance from parents is essential just like how you would help cross the street. If you feel uncomfortable or disturbed by any message, its recommended to take screen shots and uninstall the app
  3. Communicate: What goes online stays online and may have future consequences. It’s important to empower children early until they can judge what can harm them. That said we also need to highlight that participating in such acts can have consequences and if seen, should be reported.

It is difficult to predict whether the popularity of the app will gain steam or lose sheen in the coming months. But what we can say for certain is if you and your kids stay aware and updated, you will enjoy your virtual experience.

 

Stay safe folks!

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Blue Whale Challenge – What You Need To Know And Do! https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/blue-whale-challenge-need-know/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/blue-whale-challenge-need-know/#respond Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:47:59 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=76792 Parents are waking up to this new online threat to their kids: ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’ which in extreme steps leads children to commit suicide. Fingers are flying fast on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter sharing ‘facts’ about the challenge, tips about mentoring kids, and opinions of experts that are adding to the confusion. “What is […]

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Parents are waking up to this new online threat to their kids: ‘The Blue Whale Challenge’ which in extreme steps leads children to commit suicide. Fingers are flying fast on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter sharing ‘facts’ about the challenge, tips about mentoring kids, and opinions of experts that are adding to the confusion.

What is the Blue Whale Challenge?” “Is it a game or an app?” “Where is it available?” “How can I know if my child is playing it?” These and other similar questions are now making the rounds, understandably, as perturbed parents are trying their best to get a grip on the issue.

The facts first:

Alternate names: A Blue Whale/ A Quiet House/ A Silent House/ A Sea of Whales/ Wake Me Up at 4:20 am.

The background: The Blue Whale Challenge was developed by a Russian who is currently behind bars. The game had an app but now it has been removed. HOWEVER, if anyone has backed up data and saved the app, it may still be there on their devices. It may also be shared in unregulated groups.

The game: The game consists of a series of dares, and every time the player completes a challenge, a new one is assigned to him/her. This happens over a period of 50 days (According to some reports, this includes carving a Blue Whale on the hand). The last one is supposed to be one that is potentially life-threatening. Not only that, the participant has to livestream or share the suicide on Facebook.

The modus operandi: How does the moderator get the participants to accept and complete challenges? Simply by goading them on; shaming them or belittling them if they show hesitation. They already have the phone numbers and email addresses of the participants, so it’s easy for the moderator to contact the participants. The participants are also threatened not to keep records of any mails or messages or else their family member’s personal information would be hacked and made public.

Origin:  There are contradictory reports about existence of an app and now it’s been removed from online stores. Social media and forums are recognized means which have helped proliferate the same.

What can parents do?

This is not a case of malware or virus attacks. It is more related to human psychology and banks on the child’s naiveté, lack of self-esteem and acceptance to a group. Such games have existed and continue to exist and bans won’t prevent their creation. Just like there are fun challenges like the ice bucket challenge and the pink whale challenge, there are also potentially harmful ones that include taking selfies in front of running trains and other dangerous acts. Children by nature are adventurous and dares, no matter how small or big, could satisfy this need for excitement.

  1. Open Conversation: Like in the real world where you guide your child, likewise your child needs guidance in the online world too which can only be given by you until they attain maturity. Have regular and informal conversation so they share without the fear of being reprimanded. Encourage questions, address their curiosity and guide them in a friendly manner rather than leaving up to them to figure things on their own Also, its recommended to impart knowledge to break free from peer pressure and not be negative online. A strong, confident child will be able to make better decisions and this is the skill as parents you can teach your children.
  2. Stranger Danger: According to McAfee’s ‘Connected Family’ study in 2017, 49% of Indian parents are concerned about their child potentially interacting with a social predator or cybercriminal online. Education and open conversations within families are critical as kids are curious and give trust easily. Highlight incidents about how strangers try to earn trust falsely for their own agenda which can extend from cybercrime to physical theft when you are not home. Insist that they should avoid entering into any form of communication, sharing or confiding with strangers including calling, emailing, texting or meeting people they don’t know well in person.
  3. Balance: Set daily internet time when they can surf online and do school work. Also, make the rule -Absolutely NO devices go to bed with your child. If you notice your child is online more often than usual you should investigate.
  4. Monitor: Even if you are not a tech savvy person, there is nothing like a parent’s concern to keep children on the right path. It’s suggested you use the parental control features available in reputed security software which makes it easy and simple to help keep your children safe online.
  5. Do your part: Discuss with your child about how to identify such online dangers and report it if they encounter any. It’s our duty to keep the ecosystem safe for everyone as we would expect from our neighbor.

Monitoring your child’s online experience until they get a sense of judgement is something I have always advocated for, and is now more important than ever. Do your part and help make the internet a safer place for everyone.

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World Wide Web – The journey from 1990 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/world-wide-web-journey-1990/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/world-wide-web-journey-1990/#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 20:01:47 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=76541 This year on my birthday, family and friends sent me gifts and flowers bought from online stores. Even my cake was ordered online! I wondered, “How would things have been without the World Wide Web?” August 1, 2017 was the 26th birthday of the World Wide Web and this is the right opportunity to thank […]

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This year on my birthday, family and friends sent me gifts and flowers bought from online stores. Even my cake was ordered online! I wondered, “How would things have been without the World Wide Web?”

August 1, 2017 was the 26th birthday of the World Wide Web and this is the right opportunity to thank its creators, and this service for all that it has made possible.

The World Wide Web (we know it better as the www that precedes all web addresses) was the brain-child of Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau, and was born in August 1990 at CERN in Switzerland. Very soon this service became the magic portal that gave access to infinite resources online – something our previous generation would have thought possible only in science fiction.

A year later in August 1991, the first website was published, and today there are more than one billion websites in existence!

How many times do you use the browser service each day? Take a guess-10, 20, 30? Almost everything you do online requires you to use a browser – whether it’s using Google for information, watching movies and shows online, checking social media accounts, making online transactions or even communicating through WhatsApp. Well, that makes it how many times??

Cyber criminals have created bugs that can attack systems, crash devices, steal files, and disrupt organizational functioning and services. As responsible netizens, we should therefore be aware of the potential cyber threats and use a reputed security software to keep us and our family safe online.

The theory of a computer bug or virus was introduced long before the first virus was developed. In 1983, Fred Cohen demonstrated a program that could replicate itself multiple times. The first worm to create global disruption was the ‘Morris Worm’. Developed by Robert Morris, it leveraged the vulnerabilities in the UNIX system and replicated itself regularly, massively slowing down computers. This attack has the dubious distinction of being the first global multi-platform attack and raised awareness about the need for cybersecurity.

The exponential growth of internet users, businesses and services online has given ample opportunities for cyber criminals to launch targeted attacks, to fulfil various ends. Modern hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated using social engineering and phishing to target gullible users.

Some notable global cyber-attacks include:

  • 2004: Netsky and Sasser worm attacks
  • 2006: Operation Shady Rat
  • 2008: Project Chanology
  • 2009: Yahoo attack (Operation Aurora)
  • 2010: Stuxnet worm
  • 2011: Sony PlayStation Hack
  • 2012: Flame
  • 2013: Spamhaus Project
  • 2017: #Wannacry and #Petya ransomware

Though we use the terms Virus, Worms, Trojan Horses interchangeably, they are in fact not quite the same. While a virus needs a host file to spread from one computer to another; a worm is a self-replicating program that can create copies of itself and send to all on the user’s contact list. A Trojan horse pretends to be a genuine software but actually contains a malicious code.

Being aware is the first step towards cyber safety and what better way to observe World Wide Web day than by being a safe surfer? Here’s how you can ensure your safety while browsing:

  • Use a well-known security software, like McAfee LiveSafe or McAfee Total Protection
  • Always install OS updates, don’t keep it for later
  • Disable Auto-run of attachments in your e-mail program
  • Be very suspicious of .exe files
  • Scan all apps, devices, files and software before use
  • Use McAfee WebAdvisor to identify safe sites to visit

Here’s looking forward to the achievement of the Digital India vision where every citizen will know how to browse safely and lead a secure digital life and encourage their family to do so.

The rise in ransomware attacks has directed global attention towards cyber insurance and we shall be exploring this in our next blog. See you next time!

 

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Are Your Kids Playing Virtual Hide-n-Seek With You? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/kids-playing-virtual-hide-n-seek/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/kids-playing-virtual-hide-n-seek/#respond Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:18:16 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=76314 We all grew up playing hide-n-seek. Remember how your toddler loved playing hide-and-seek as well? Well, today’s tech savvy kids have taken the game to an all new level by playing digital hide-and-seek with their parents. They have started hiding their online activities from their parents, just to enjoy some privacy and feel ‘grown-up.’ Now […]

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We all grew up playing hide-n-seek. Remember how your toddler loved playing hide-and-seek as well? Well, today’s tech savvy kids have taken the game to an all new level by playing digital hide-and-seek with their parents. They have started hiding their online activities from their parents, just to enjoy some privacy and feel ‘grown-up.’

Now kids will be adventurous and try to stretch boundaries, especially teens. They also hide certain things because they may feel parents wouldn’t approve of them. These can range from networking at late hours, hacking, cyberbullying, connecting with strangers or watching age-inappropriate content.

So how do kids play the virtual hide-and-seek game with their parents? Aha, they sure know some smart ways around it that will keep you searching in vain:

  1. Using multiple email and social media accounts
  2. Signing up on social media platforms that parents don’t frequent
  3. Regularly deleting messages, temporary files and history
  4. Using the incognito mode
  5. Use of acronyms in messages
  6. Keeping passwords secret from parents
  7. Renaming contacts and files in devices

Consider the fact that 84 percent of parents allow their child to bring an internet connected device to bed, as per the McAfee Connected Family Study 2017. Do you think that can perhaps be the reason why it’s easy for kids to hide their activities from their parents? Further, 59% of parents monitor their child’s device usage, whereas 41% allow their child to use their devices whenever they want with no restrictions.

Websites are continually upgrading their security and introducing checks like minimum age criteria seeking to control the spread of fake accounts. Before exploring the online world, children need to first learn how to surf safely and handle online issues. As a parent, you are the primary educator for a child’s cybersafety training, you need to observe and guide them. It’s highly unlikely of you to leave your child alone, without keeping an eye out while going out in the real world. Similarly, why would you leave them on their own in the vast cyber world?

As your children grow older they will seek more privacy, and you may have to give them that freedom. It is important as it would instill in them a sense of ‘grown up’ and strengthen the bond of mutual trust between the child and the parent. But before you arrive at this stage, help them learn to stay safe online.

In the cyberworld, children sometimes may want to venture into unsafe territories and talk with strangers, away from parental monitoring. Not monitoring children would seem like a difficult proposition in such a scenario, unless you have parental controls activated or are aware of the online sites they visit and their passwords. They will try their best to hide their virtual footprints from you. Then what?

As your children sign up on social media sites, you need to be ready as well with the following tips:

  • Be friends with your children online
  • Encourage them to share their passwords with you
  • Periodically review the apps on your child’s phone and discuss the pros and cons with them
  • Activate parental controls to monitor them remotely
  • Keep communication channels open with them and ask them to be wary of online dangers, like cyberbullying
  • Advise them to share uncomfortable or negative experiences with parents immediately

Kids will be kids and we need to make allowances for them, understand and trust them to an extent. However, it is equally necessary that your children reciprocate that trust and respect for a fulfilling parent-child relation. For this, start their cybersafety education early on and be a parent as well as a friend to them.

So start today, if you haven’t already, and help your child stay safe online.

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10 Tips To Stay Safe Online https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/10-tips-stay-safe-online-2/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/10-tips-stay-safe-online-2/#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 17:13:19 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=76292 With hacks, scams, malware and more, the Internet can feel like a dangerous place these days. And, the recent proliferation of devices, from smartphones and tablets to Internet-connected appliances, has opened us up to even greater risks. But the good news is that by taking just a small handful of security measures we can greatly […]

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With hacks, scams, malware and more, the Internet can feel like a dangerous place these days. And, the recent proliferation of devices, from smartphones and tablets to Internet-connected appliances, has opened us up to even greater risks.

But the good news is that by taking just a small handful of security measures we can greatly reduce our exposure to all these threats.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Create Complex Passwords. We know you’ve heard it before, but creating strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts really is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe. This is especially true in the era of widespread corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts. Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.

Then, check to see if your online accounts offer multi-factor authentication. This is when multiple pieces of information are required to verify your identity. So, to log into an account you may need to enter a code that is sent to your phone, as well as your password and passphrase.

2. Boost Your Network Security. Now that your logins are safer, make sure that your connections are secure. When at home or work, you probably use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. But, when you’re on the road, you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi.The problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is often unsecured. This means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. That’s why you should consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere.

3. Use a Firewall. Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices, and is often included with comprehensive security software. Using a firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secured, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams. This is important since many IoT devices aren’t equipped with security measures, giving hackers a vulnerable point of entry to your entire network.

4. Click Smart. Now that you’ve put smart tech measures into place, make sure that you don’t invite danger with careless clicking. Many of today’s online threats are based on phishing or social engineering. This is when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Spam emails, phony “free” offers, click bait, online quizzes and more all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information. Always be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, or ask for too much information.

5. Be a Selective Sharer. These days, there are a lot of opportunities to share our personal information online. Just be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. This can potentially be used to impersonate you, or guess your passwords and logins.

6. Protect Your Mobile Life. Our mobile devices can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. In fact, mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.

7. Practice Safe Surfing & Shopping. When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others. Also, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses. They could be copycats of legitimate websites. Use a safe search tool such as McAfee SiteAdvisor to steer clear of risky sites.

8. Keep up to date. Keep all your software updated so you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.

9. Lookout for the latest scams. Online threats are evolving all the time, so make sure you know what to look out for. Currently, ransomwareis on the rise. This is when a hacker threatens to lock you out of all of your files unless you agree to pay a ransom. Stay on top of this and other threats by staying informed.

10. Keep your guard up. Always be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share. Use comprehensive security software, and make sure to backup your data on a regular basis in case something goes wrong. By taking preventative measures, you can save yourself from headaches later on.

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


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Combining The Old With The New https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/combining-old-new/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/combining-old-new/#respond Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:54:02 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=75650 Combining The Old With The New “Mom look, that’s the app I was telling you about!” remarked my friend’s teen, pointing to an ad running on the TV. “Which one?” “See this, you can learn Physics at home with this app; Ramya tells me the lessons are very good and they make the concepts crystal […]

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Combining The Old With The New

Mom look, that’s the app I was telling you about!” remarked my friend’s teen, pointing to an ad running on the TV.

Which one?”

See this, you can learn Physics at home with this app; Ramya tells me the lessons are very good and they make the concepts crystal clear. In fact they offer coaching in many other subjects,” explained the excited teen.

My daughter concurred, “Oh yes! I did an online course on Creative Writing. These courses are really good.

I was listening to the conversation and marveling at the level of awareness in today’s kids. They are so confident, aware of their problems and proactively look for solutions. They have friends hailing from different parts of the nation, and even the world, and they are well aware of global events. The world in fact has become a global village. Hence the demand for more knowledge, customized content and greater control over the learning process. This is the generation that is leveraging the net and digital devices to get the best of global education.

Education today is thus going beyond books and notebooks and understandably so. The internet has opened up multiple portals to the world of learning. There are just so many things to learn and so many ways of doing so. You can take lessons from an online teacher on a one-to-one basis, join a group education program, or do your own research using dedicated search engines and other customized tools- you take your choice. A plethora of such educational apps are available and many are free of charge. Even schools that still follow traditional teaching practices require children to do a lot of work online, including homework and projects, and children use these apps to enhance their learning and turn in great projects.

As a cyber security advocate, I however also consider the grey areas of learning with the aid of digital devices. These are mainly to do with the risks associated with all virtual world activities. Being aware of, and applying these checks, will make the entire learning process a safer and smoother one.

The following list will help you and your child to select the right educational app:

  1. Is the app age appropriate?

There are different apps out there for different age groups and learning levels. The right choice is necessary for learning to occur.

  1. Is the app free?

It’s always best to purchase the app. You will get better quality content and the app is more likely to be malware-free. Some apps and websites do offer free solutions and recommendations but for deeper learning, dedicated apps are necessary.

  1. Is this the right app?

Ask around. There are just too many apps and it is difficult to choose. Find out what apps your child’s friends are using. Ask your child’s teachers for recommendations.

  1. Does it need 2-way communication?

If the app requires the learner to take oral quizzes or tests with camera on, you will want to monitor this.

  1. What is the data requirement?

Ideally, there should be a mix of online and offline time or else data consumption might be high and child may be tempted to access social media sites at the same time.

  1. What permissions does the app require?

Class, age and email is permissible but if the app wants access to photos, contacts etc., then you may want to reconsider.

  1. Is the security at maximum?

This is necessary to identify unauthorized downloads that may occur and also to block pop-pups.

As we move towards our vision of Digital India, the use of digital devices is likely to increase in all fields and our children, the future digital citizens, are on the threshold of this changing scenario. Some of us may still be new to technology but it is still our duty to help make the digital experience for our kids the best and safest possible. Collaborate with teachers and other parents and do your own research online to always make the right choices for your child.

Next time we will explore if your kids are playing virtual hide-and-seek with you by selectively hiding their activity. Till then, sayonara.

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Raise a United Voice Against Cyberbullying: Stop Cyberbullying Day https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/raise-united-voice-cyberbullying-stop-cyberbullying-day/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/raise-united-voice-cyberbullying-stop-cyberbullying-day/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:13:39 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=75152 What does Zoe Saldana have in common with Sonam Kapoor, other than the fact that they are both renowned actors? They have both faced bullying online. And due to the anonymity and sense of security offered by the internet, not just celebs but even ordinary people like you and I could be subjected to cyberbullying. […]

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What does Zoe Saldana have in common with Sonam Kapoor, other than the fact that they are both renowned actors? They have both faced bullying online. And due to the anonymity and sense of security offered by the internet, not just celebs but even ordinary people like you and I could be subjected to cyberbullying.

Isn’t it time we stand together to put an end to it and say ‘Stop Cyberbullying’?

The digital world offers everyone a chance to connect with people, and voice their opinions. Unfortunately, some people misuse this privilege to harass others, victims could suffer from emotional disturbances or in extreme cases even fatalities.

Our children are the first generation of digital citizens and often, their posts and online actions make them easy targets for bullies so as parents, we need to guide them on social media etiquette, and also explain the threats of the virtual world to enable them to handle adverse situations.

Consider this:

  • According to the McAfee 2017 study “New Family Dynamics in a Connected World,” 49% of Indian parents have shown concerns about their child potentially interacting with a social predator or cybercriminal online.
  • The 2015 McAfee Teen Tween Technology report states that 43% of the children active on social media claim to have witnessed cruel behaviour on social networks. Almost one out of four (22%) of those active on social media claim to have been the victim of cyberbullying themselves

Are parents aware of cyberbullying? The good news is yes, they are, and most of those surveyed said they have discussed this issue with their children and follow their children on their social media networks. Having said that, there are still many parents who do not believe in monitoring their kids online. Children, especially teens, are quite vulnerable and prone to peer influence. They need guidance on handling cyberbullying and parental support is paramount. A confident child will usually not seek attention or approval among strangers online.  Kids who are bullies also need counselling and guidance, further stressing the need for parental supervision.

Sharing a few tips on creating a safer and inclusive online environment:

  1. Choose your friends with care. It’s easier for rude people and strangers to bully you. Be wary about accepting requests from strangers. Never give out your cell phone number and email address, and never reveal passwords even to close friends.
  2. Mind what you share: What you say and how you say it, makes a difference. Also, keep personal information private. By refusing to use privacy settings, your profile is open to anyone and everyone, which increases the chances of being bullied or personal photos being downloaded and manipulated
  3. Be positive and don’t react: Don’t lose your calm and react- this what cyberbullies want. You should take measures after careful deliberations.
  4. Ignore, block or unfriend those who provoke or humiliate you. Block and report abusers by clicking on the ‘report abuse’ icon. If the issue persists, you can always take help from your parents in resolving the same
  5. If you are cyberbullied, share your experience with people you trust. Unburdening helps you to get good tips and the support proves invaluable to regaining emotional strength. Reach out to your parents or close peers at the first sign of bullying or conflict online.

Quick tips for parents to help them be on the top of things

Talk to your kids, frequently and frankly: This is THE most important thing to do to help you stay aware of what’s happening in your child’s virtual life and for them to feel free to confide in you. You can use role playing with real life situations to help kids learn how to respond to online bullies.

Monitor and mentor kids until they are mature enough to handle online issues on their own.

We are part of the #STOPCYBERBULLYINGDAY campaign because we are committed to a positive and all-inclusive culture in the virtual world. McAfee security solutions like McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe offer parental control feature to help parents remotely monitor their kids. This is an excellent way to monitor, guide and keep them safe online.

Raise a united voice against cyberbullying by joining a Twitter campaign on 16th June. Use the hashtag #STOPCYBERBULLYINGDAY to share your views, tips and stories on cyberbullying and mark your solidarity with the movement.

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Curbing The Threat Of Fake Accounts https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/curbing-threat-fake-accounts/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/curbing-threat-fake-accounts/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 15:24:14 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=74795 My bubbly teen was so excited the day she found Priyanka Chopra had started following her on Twitter. She was literally hopping around the room, squealing in delight. As a parent and my daughter’s cybersafety guide, I checked her page to confirm and what I saw made me sad but I had to burst her […]

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My bubbly teen was so excited the day she found Priyanka Chopra had started following her on Twitter. She was literally hopping around the room, squealing in delight. As a parent and my daughter’s cybersafety guide, I checked her page to confirm and what I saw made me sad but I had to burst her bubble.

No darling, that’s not the real Priyanka Chopra following you but a fake twitter account. See here @priyankachopra ‏, this is her original handle. And see this blue tick – it means Twitter has validated this account to be a genuine one as it usually verifies popular accounts.”

“Why do people create fake accounts then?” ranted the peeved teen, as she angrily blocked the fake handle. (It’s painful to lose a celeb follower on social media you know.)

Why indeed? Why do people create false accounts on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook? For the same reason why we have fakes/imitations in the real world; someone stands to gain from it, or leverage it to make mischief.

Are the number of fake accounts significant enough to warrant attention and action? It apparently is. According to a research carried out by a graduate student at UCL recently, there are more than 500,000 fake accounts on Twitter alone, for instance, Deepika Padukone’s account (@Deepika_Officia). Fake LinkedIn accounts of company CEOs is a common way to fraud job seekers signing up on the site. Another big fake account source is the duplication of celebrity accounts and hapless fans often end up following the fake account online. These can do major harm by sharing false or inappropriate content. Fake accounts are also created to boost follower counts, share incendiary or dishonest messages, create trending topics, send spam, troll and abuse users, launch scam or phishing attacks or set traps for naïve children.

Fake account creators bank on the intrinsic trusting nature of users that lead them to believe in the authenticity of an account. They leverage this trust to swindle, bully, defame the person or others. So, the thing to do is to be skeptical and vigilant.

Identifying fake accounts on social media:

This is not an easy task by any means, but still we need to be vigilant to avoid risks. Here are a few pointers that will help you stay safer online:

  • Absent: The account does not engage in real-time conversations much
  • Mechanic: Repeats a single message and tags several accounts at random
  • Agenda: Shares false, inappropriate or suspicious content consistently. Sometimes engages in trolling or bullying and apart from it, does not share any tangible storyline or views
  • Inadequate identity: A Twitter handle without a profile image
  • Imposters: New friend requests from existing friends, not to mention those suspicious favors asked online. The moment you come across a duplicate or fake account, flag and report it. That way the sites would know of its existence and take remedial actions. And never be in a hurry to accept friend/follow requests. Take your time. Check the account profile, posts and friend list. Then decide. Do not trust blindly- each new friend or follower need to earn your trust before you interact with the account. Remember to be a true Doubting Thomas when online. STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

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The Week That Was In Internet History https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/week-internet-history/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/week-internet-history/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 18:02:33 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=74297 From the wheel to the internet, we have come a long way in terms of technological progress. While the invention of the wheel set human progress in motion, the industrial revolution with its assembly line production gave it a boost and now the information revolution has catapulted us to the digital age. This week we […]

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From the wheel to the internet, we have come a long way in terms of technological progress. While the invention of the wheel set human progress in motion, the industrial revolution with its assembly line production gave it a boost and now the information revolution has catapulted us to the digital age.

This week we observed Internet Day on May 17. Internet Day, aims to show the possibilities offered by new technologies to improve the standard of living of people by giving them more understanding of technology and its functions. Ironically, we also saw one of the most prolific ransomware attacks in history with ‘WannaCry’.

While the digital revolution has disrupted industries and eased the way we live, work and think, it has also led to loss in the form of identity theft, malware and the topic of discussion i.e. ransomware. Today, innumerable companies collect information about us, the consumer, for their research and are susceptible to breaches.

As Spiderman says (Peter Parker to you), “With great power comes great responsibility.” Cliché, I know, but true at a time like this. In a day where big data is instrumental in winning opinions, it is necessary that each one of us know how to use technology safely and responsibly. Data privacy and cybersecurity form the core pillar of the privilege of technology, and so let us refresh our understanding of internet security. In order to stay prepared and keep your personal data secure, follow these tips:

  1. Back up your files:Always make sure your files are backed up. That way, if they become compromised in a ransomware attack, you can wipe your disk drive clean and restore the data from the backup.
  2. Update your devices:There are a few lessons to take away from WannaCry, but making sure your operating system is up-to-date needs to be near the top of the list. The reason is simple: nearly every software update contains security improvements that help secure your computer and removes the means for ransomware variants to infect a device.
  3. Schedule automatic updates.It’s always a good practice to set your home systems to apply critical Windows Security Updates automatically. That way, whenever there is a vulnerability, you receive the patch immediately.
  4. Apply any Windows security patches that Microsoft has sent you. If you are using an older version of Microsoft’s operating systems, such as Windows XP or Windows 8, click hereto download emergency security patches from Microsoft.

The recent WannaCry attack is perhaps one of the largest and most widespread ransomware attack in recent history, with India being a prime target. The most affected were those, who were running old and unpatched software, which threatens more than just data of the consumers. While there is no silver bullet to security, this attack does serve as a reminder for consumers to prepare for ransomware attacks.

Stay safe. Together is Power!

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New Family Dynamics As the Connected Lifestyle Grows https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/new-family-dynamics-connected-lifestyle-grows/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/new-family-dynamics-connected-lifestyle-grows/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:47:52 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=72949 “You know that we are living in a digital world and I am a digital girl.” I often find myself humming the above lines when I am struck by how digital has become a part and parcel of our lives. Digital India has made the internet an indispensable part of consumers’ life. From benefits related to […]

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“You know that we are living in a digital world and I am a digital girl.”

I often find myself humming the above lines when I am struck by how digital has become a part and parcel of our lives. Digital India has made the internet an indispensable part of consumers’ life. From benefits related to education, medicine, transportation and entertainment to your personal comfort at home, internet related services have come a long way.

As our real world and cyber world merges, there are bound to be changes in the family dynamics. Devices, for instance our smartphones are already playing an increasingly significant role. We can use it to turn the TV into a smart TV, operate the car lock, connect the home CCTV system to our smartphones, or even monitor AC temperature of our homes.

The growth in connected homes equate to new family challenges. Are we aware of all the implications and challenges of a smart home and how to prepare our kids for it? To better understand family behavior and attitudes towards the connected lifestyle, McAfee conducted a global survey of 13,000 adults about their family’s evolving digital habits and more.

The McAfee global survey, “New Family Dynamics in a Connected World,” emphasizes the need for simple ways for parents to manage internet connectivity in their homes.

Indian parents are concerned about their children’s internet usage. 93% of the parents have had a talk with their children about the dangers of cyber criminals and identity theft. 49% of parents are worried about the potential interaction of their child with a social predator or cybercriminal. Many are monitoring screen time, with 57% of them limiting it to 1-2 hours per day. Some parents have admitted to having arguments with their children about taking devices to bed.

  • Concern shows awareness and needs to be backed by suitable actions. Start conversations about cybersafety early. Set simple rules like, “always use passwords” or, “don’t open emails from strangers.” You also need to stay aware of new apps that your children like and use.

Digital use monitoring continues to lag behind. In India, 84% of parents allow their child to bring an internet-connected device to bed, much higher than the global average of 76%. Of those Indian kids taking their devices to bed, 32% of parents monitor their child’s device usage but 24% do not.

  • You can really help your child by playing a more proactive role. Besides securing your child’s device, you may want to have the passwords for their social media accounts until they are mature enough to handle all online activities responsibly.

Adults are still not setting a very good example. On an average, 43% of adults are spending more time online than on face to face interactions when at home (40%). Consider this, 71% of parents have been called out by their child for being on their device during family time!

  • As parents, you need to teach your child good digital practices through your own examples. Why not limit your own screen time and keep your device away during family time? This will send the message across that it is also important to interact in person and there are times when you need to keep the device away.

With digital getting integrated into children’s everyday lives, it’s imperative for parents to implement a few do’s and don’ts.

Quick tips:

  • Secure devices: Use comprehensive protection, like McAfee LiveSafe, across all devices and set up parental controls for each child.
  • Stranger-danger: Teach your children to say “NO” to interactions with anyone they don’t know well in real life.
  • Strong password: Teach kids the need for strong, unique and secure passwords
  • Share passwords with parents: Children need to keep their parents updated on all their passwords until they are mature enough to understand and handle their digital responsibility.
  • Clean devices: Minimize the amount of data stored on a device. The less data on the device, the less there will be for hackers to steal. Be sure to backup your data via cloud storage or external devices.

The times are changing and children continue to seamlessly adapt to new technology. What you as a parent can do is teach them to practice digital balance early on. Keep communication channels open. Set rules but at the same time, allow them some privacy and freedom too. In the digital world, the security of connected homes depends a lot on its members. Get your family to start following cyber safety rules to make the most of your connected lifestyle.

Have a great day!

 

 

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What You Need to Know About Livestreaming https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/need-know-livestreaming/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/need-know-livestreaming/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 18:05:44 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=71732 The Indian Premier League fever is on, that annual T20 cricket fest that everyone awaits so eagerly. The munchies are out, the best sofa seat is reserved and all household chores completed. If you are not at home or don’t have a TV in your hostel – No worries, your smartphone will be your TV […]

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The Indian Premier League fever is on, that annual T20 cricket fest that everyone awaits so eagerly. The munchies are out, the best sofa seat is reserved and all household chores completed. If you are not at home or don’t have a TV in your hostel – No worries, your smartphone will be your TV on the go!

Livestreaming is trending now thanks to the convenience it brings. It is not just about watching matches online, you can also livestream the latest TV shows, movies or performances on the go. If you happen to be a football fan, you wouldn’t want to miss even one of the supercharged UEFA matches that you can livestream on your device.

Thanks to the rise in popularity of the internet across the nation, smartphone penetration, and exciting offers on data usage by service providers, livestreaming has taken Digital India by storm. People are making most of this service, not only to catch up with their favorite shows and sports, but also to share with their experiences through social media

So, what is livestreaming?

Live streaming involves the delivery of internet content as it is happening with no cuts or edits. The videos are uploaded on social media and they start playing right away without waiting for the whole file to download. Also, they don’t get automatically stored on the device either.

Initially there were apps that allowed one to livestream events to friends or the public, but now many social media forums and even TV channels offer these services. So, if you are planning to watch the latest season of Game of Thrones even before it has aired in India, or share your child’s first dance recital as they perform, go ahead and do so, but first, you need to be aware of some facts on livestreaming.

Cyber threat warning – While using free live streaming apps, you may find pop up ads covering the video you want to watch. The ‘close ad’ buttons could be fake, only to launch malware attacks. Another way cybercriminals target their victims is by asking the user to download “special software” to make the stream work. The software you download has a higher likelihood of being malicious.

As they say, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Therefore, is it important to consider few do’s and don’ts while livestreaming:

If you are livestreaming content from the internet:

  • The content factor: Because it is shared live, the video may contain inappropriate content
  • The Free factor: Watch your favorite games, TV shows, or movies via a verified website and enjoy without worries. Be wary of free offers, because that may put you at risk of downloading viruses or cookies that could either steal data or compromise your device
  • The security factor: Always use devices which have security installed on them to livestream content to enjoy continued peace of mind and safety
  • The gambling factor: Betting firms advertise a lot on livestreamed content and there is always a risk of children getting lured to these sites. Further, the ads may contain adult advertisements which is inappropriate for children
  • The data factor: Long hours of livestreaming involves high data consumption and you may want to talk to your child about increasing costs and data limits

If you are livestreaming content to the internet:

  • The copyright factor: It may not be appropriate to livestream events like plays, concerts, private music shows, movies etc. without verifying if it’s allowed. You need to get prior permission
  • The privacy factor: Do ask for permission from all concerned first before you start livestreaming events like marriages, parties, dances, prayer services. Some people may not want to be in the frame and their wishes should be respected. Similarly, if you are being filmed and don’t like it, say so clearly
  • The location factor: Livestreaming from home or elsewhere with location turned on can be an open invitation to strangers to connect with you. Do not share personal videos or details without parental permission

Secure your device with the latest that security has to offer, like McAfee LiveSafe, opt for paid services and then sit back and enjoy the match-or whatever it is that you want to watch.

There falls a wicket and I am off to watch the match being livestreamed on a big screen in the society garden. Join me?

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Online Shopping Festivals – Things to Do Before Clicking on Add to Cart https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/online-shopping-festivals-things-clicking-add-cart/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/online-shopping-festivals-things-clicking-add-cart/#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:59:27 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=70844 Online sales are a huge rage these days! E-commerce firms are competing with each other to offer consumers the best deals possible. Sales carry attractive taglines like: Up to 70% off, Midnight Flash Sale or Festive Discount. What could be more convenient than shopping comfortably from just about anywhere at any time? Unfortunately, cyber criminals are […]

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Online sales are a huge rage these days! E-commerce firms are competing with each other to offer consumers the best deals possible. Sales carry attractive taglines like: Up to 70% off, Midnight Flash Sale or Festive Discount. What could be more convenient than shopping comfortably from just about anywhere at any time?

Unfortunately, cyber criminals are also loving online shopping as it gives them an opportunity to harvest personal and bank/card details from unsuspecting consumers.

You might have come across one or all of these ads listed below, either on Facebook or WhatsApp or Pop-ups on different websites:

  • Super- Dhamaka offer!
  • Get free 4G internet for today only!
  • Share this sale link with 10 friends and stand to win an iPhone 7s

Sounds familiar? Perhaps you have clicked on the links and checked out the offers, and not just you, many other judicious net users too are lured by such tempting offers and proceed with purchasing.

The popularity of social media has made it a very useful scamming platform for cybercriminals, as messages are shared quickly and widely, especially since people tend to believe in messages sent by friends and then fall victim to phishing scams. Like this one below which was making the rounds last year:

Breaking News, Now Buy 16 GB Pendrive at Just 19 Rs. Buy It Now Before Sale Ends. Cash on Delivery Also Available. Visit  now http://XYZ.com

Fraudsters usually like to piggy back and leverage genuine ongoing sales to scam users. So, the moment reputed e-tailers like Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart start their mega online sales, there is likely to be a plethora of hoax websites and links shared via social media to direct users to these false sites. And scammers have become quite proficient at creating sophisticated and genuine looking websites that can trick a regular buyer too.

Does that mean you avoid buying anything online? NO WAY! I love it and I am sure you do too.

Things to do before you start filling up your online shopping cart:

  • Check the security of your internet connection: First thing to do as an unsecured connection like public Wi-Fi can make it easy for hackers to steal your details
  • Check device security: Ensure you are using comprehensive security software to keep your device secured.
  • Check domain name: Before you click on the link, check the URL. For example, Amazon.com is quite different from amazon-flashsale.com
  • Check offers: Too good to be true? – It probably is. Cross check prices with other sites and with product review columns. Do you really believe an iPhone 7s can be priced at only Rs. 15,000?
  • Check refund and return policies: Read the T&Cs and the return policies and check the star rating of the seller. Proceed only after you are satisfied.

Cyber safety tips for, you, the smart online buyer:

  • Ignore emails from unknown sources: do not try to unsubscribe from these unsolicited emails. You could be just letting the scammers know that your email address is active. Mark as spam and move on.
  • Be suspicious: It’s good to doubt claims that seem too good to be true, and messages that contain too many words in capital, e-mojis and grammatical errors.
  • Be aware: Keep track of ongoing sales, hoax messages doing the rounds, and new phishing scams.

Knowledge is power and if you approach the shopping festivals armed with secured devices and updated info on scams, you will smartly avoid the honey traps set up by cybercriminals. Have a safe and secure online shopping experience!

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E-Filing Your Tax Returns? Don’t Let It Tax Your Security https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/e-filing-tax-returns-dont-let-tax-security/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/e-filing-tax-returns-dont-let-tax-security/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:35:23 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=70465 How many of my readers are aware of Digital India campaign? Yes, I am sure just about everyone has come across the government’s active effort to ensure India is ready for the future. It aims to make the majority of the government services available to every citizen, and online filing or e-filing of income tax […]

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How many of my readers are aware of Digital India campaign? Yes, I am sure just about everyone has come across the government’s active effort to ensure India is ready for the future. It aims to make the majority of the government services available to every citizen, and online filing or e-filing of income tax returns is one such service many benefit from. It is simple, quick and convenient, and even offers special provisions for those who have missed the deadline. You probably are familiar with the system and have been using it over the past few years to file your returns.

However, there is one small hitch; cyber criminals are trying to leverage this to launch phishing attacks on unsuspecting users in an attempt to exploit them. Scammers dupe unsuspecting victims to part with their bank details and passwords through emails purportedly from the IT Department, and siphon off money from their accounts. Or, they may simply steal identity details and misuse them. It is therefore necessary to know how to identify a genuine email from the IT Department (check address, logo, content, grammar, salutation).

To state a common example, hackers send emails confirming returns and ask you to click on a link to fill in details like bank account number, password, date of birth etc., to process the return. Others scams include the “Income Tax Receipt” and “Verify PAN details”. The recent W-2 phishing attacks in the US are examples of scams where the TDS details of several employees were obtained via phishing. Taking cognizance of the rise in cyber frauds related to e-filing, the Department of Income Tax issued an advisory to protect unsuspecting users from phishing scams, in which it is clearly stated,

The Income Tax Department NEVER asks for your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts through email.”

Here are a few suggestions to make your entire e-filing experience a smoother and safer one.

  • File way before deadline: You got to pay it, so pay up in time. If you delay and then have less time to complete the procedure, you will hurry and in the process may become less cautious.
  • Share personally identifiable documents with care: Be careful of who you share your identity documents with, including photocopies of your PAN and Aadhaar cards. These can be misused to create false identity
  • Do not trust links or zip files sent via e-mails: Do not open zip files or click on links even if the mail appears to be from the Department of Income Tax. If you want to know your refund status, check on the official website using your personal login credentials
  • Ads can be misleading: No free lunches, remember? An advertisement that offers to make the whole e-filing process seem like a cakewalk may actually be a phishing attempt. Consult a tax advisor or a trusted friend, but not an unverified site.

Smell something fishy? It probably is: You will never be asked to share your net banking password, email login details or your PIN while e-filing. Sound the mental alarm if any website asks for these. Though your email service will offer spam filter, hackers are becoming smarter. They are designing mails that look very authentic to penetrate your trust. I am sure that by now you all are using the amazing free tool McAfee WebAdvisor from McAfee. Follow its advice on secure and suspicious sites to be better protected from online scams. The Department of Income Tax, Government of India, advises users to Use anti-virus software, anti-spyware, and a firewall and keep them updated.

While tax season is a particularly vulnerable time, security risks exist year-round. In order to prevent private information getting into the wrong hands, choose security options that are easy to use and mobile-friendly. Don’t let Tax, Tax your security 😉

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True or Fake News? Know How You Can Separate Truth from Fiction Online https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/true-fake-news-know-can-separate-truth-fiction-online/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/true-fake-news-know-can-separate-truth-fiction-online/#respond Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:22:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=70073 In the good old days, it was very easy to separate truth from fiction. Literature was clearly marked and newspapers offered facts. Those who told tall stories, or tabloids that indulged in sensationalism, were generally known and their words were taken with a grain of salt. People are increasingly taking to the internet to get […]

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In the good old days, it was very easy to separate truth from fiction. Literature was clearly marked and newspapers offered facts. Those who told tall stories, or tabloids that indulged in sensationalism, were generally known and their words were taken with a grain of salt.

People are increasingly taking to the internet to get their daily news dosage. While some subscribe to websites to read newspapers and magazines, others like to browse through WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to get the latest headlines. In the connected era, false news gets dissipated widely via social media. As these stories are easy to understand and sensational, so they have a greater appeal to the masses. And the ones you believe are true, you are very likely to share it online or through chat apps, thus becoming a newsmaker yourself.

So think about it, is everything that you read online, really true? Not always.

Take for instance this piece of ‘news’ that a friend shared on Valentine’s Day, “Shahid Bhagat Singh was hanged to death on this day. Let’s mark this as Remembrance Day.” She really believed this to be true and thought it was her duty to make it common knowledge.

Or the following,

  • UNESCO declares Jana Gana Mana as the best national anthem in the world
  • Delhi man loses 30 kg in three weeks thanks to this superfood

And not surprising at all, all of this ‘news’ is fake.

The fabricated stories are designed to look authentic and intended to either make money by attracting high traffic to the site or to endanger trust.

And like every other trend, cybercriminals are always on the lookout to capitalize. Since Fake news can lead to unverified sources, it gives them every avenue to lead unsuspecting users to unsecure websites, which could be malware/ransomware/phishing traps. For example, when you come across a piece of sensational news, you could subscribe to more updates from the source website which could be a click bait. Subsequently, when you forward such messages, you unknowingly spread the threat.

Should you be worried about fake news?

Can you imagine the effect of fake news on impressionable tweens and teens? Ideally, this part of cybersafety education could be taught in junior school, to ensure children grow up informed and aware that one needs to STOP.THINK.CONNECT. But until that happens, parents need to educate them and for that it is necessary they themselves are aware.

So, time we find out how to identify fake from real and stay clear of them. Always look out for the following signs of danger:

Domain Name:

  • The name is a clever imitation of a genuine site, for e.g., ‘wikipidi’
  • The message contains a link that directs user to another site, which may contain malware

Tip: Don’t get foxed by the fancy looks of a site. Go to the official webpage and verify.

Source of publication:

  • If the source is unknown or anonymous, flag it.
  • If it contains a disclaimer at the end, like “forwarded as received” can you really trust the message?
  • Personal blogs reflect the opinion of the blogger and may or may not be a rational one.
  • Reports and thesis with grammatical and factual errors reveal that the content has not been researched well and may contain factual errors

Tip: Adhere to reputable and official news sites that are known to follow ethical practices of journalism and avoid sensationalism. Cross-check facts.

Your role as a responsible and digital literate person:

  • Be aware: Double check content with well-known sources and cross-verify with other sources
  • Be skeptical: If you feel any content is a hoax, cross-check and then report it. Facebook allows you to do so, as do many other platforms
  • Be sure: Don’t play accomplice, verify before sharing.
  • Be careful: Do not click on links sent via social media without ensuring its authenticity
  • Be dutiful: Educate others when they share incorrect news and report it.

Last but very important, always use comprehensive security software on your device to safeguard your digital life. Fake news often contains cookies and malware intended to harm your device and steal information. It is more difficult to identify fake links and websites on a mobile phone, so you need to secure your smartphone and tablet too. Your security solution will guide you around safe and unsafe websites and help you make the right choice every time. You may also download the free tool, McAfee WebAdvisor, here.

With practice, you will become adept at separating the grain from the chaff. Remember the cybersafety mantra- STOP. THINK. CONNECT. – and practice it.

Stay protected and stay Cybersmart!

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This Valentine’s Day Let Your Digital Life Take a Backseat https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/valentines-day-let-digital-life-take-backseat/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/valentines-day-let-digital-life-take-backseat/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:39:04 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=69243 A couple of decades ago, Valentine’s Day was all about red roses, exchanging cards, dinner dates, hand-holding and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears. Partners had no eyes for anyone else – their world consisted of just the two of them. Have things changed in any way in the connected era? A study conducted […]

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A couple of decades ago, Valentine’s Day was all about red roses, exchanging cards, dinner dates, hand-holding and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears. Partners had no eyes for anyone else – their world consisted of just the two of them.

Have things changed in any way in the connected era? A study conducted by McAfee in India shows it has; as love in the cyber age is facing competition from gadgets!

Take a moment to think – how many hours (not minutes) everyday do we spend on our phone? Yes, we need to take that call or check whether an expected mail has arrived or watch photos uploaded by friends. But it all means time away from real, face-to-face relationships. McAfee recently commissioned an India study which reveals that digital lifestyle of Indians is getting in the way of their connected relationships.

Head over heels in love…. with tech?

The average Indian adult spends 43 percent of their time online at home, and only 40 percent of their time interacting face-to-face. Devices have become such an integral part of their lives that they continue to use them even when on a date! Many complained their partners seem to like their devices more than them!

Can’t take your eyes off… your device?

Even after the first date, cyber citizens do not keep the device away when they are with their partners. More than half the respondents complained that they had had to compete with their friend’s or partner’s device for attention and nearly 75 percent admitted getting into an argument with a friend or significant other over being on a device while together.

Give all your love…. And passwords too?

The survey reveals some startling facts about the level of sharing between couples today. Nearly 30 percent of couples share passwords of social media accounts, 28 percent share passwords of personal email accounts, and over 20 percent admitted to sharing their work specific devices and accounts with their significant other.

Oops! Oversharing is never a good thing- keep your digital life out of your real one.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are can’t keep your device away when with a friend or partner, you are not doing it right. Take my advice and make time for that special person in your life. Balance is important. It’s a good idea to practice digital detox from time to time so that you learn to balance your digital life perfectly.

A few simple tips to keep the relation a ‘safe one’:

Love your partner but don’t make their name or L-O-V-E your password: Don’t make your password an easy guess. Passwords should preferably a mix of alphabets, special characters and numbers. If that seems complicated to you, go for a trusted password manager. It will not only store all your login credential safely but also enable multi-factor authentication on your devices and online accounts. Take advantage of it.

Give your heart this Valentine’s Day but not your data: Delete unnecessary personal information from your devices. Set auto lock using PIN, and use a security tool that will allow you to remotely lock or erase data if device gets misplaced.

Practice digital detox: On your date, show you care by keeping your device away. Focus on your partner and forget your device for the time being. See how your attention gets the smiles out. Remember, no sneak peeks at your phone screen- no, not even once!

Unchain your heart but not your device: Manage and safeguard your devices with comprehensive security software solutions like McAfee LiveSafe. Remember to protect your smartphone too.

It’s Valentine’s Day! Whether you celebrate with your partner, friends or family, give them the attention they deserve. And if it’s your special one you are spending your time with, let devices not play a spoilsport.

Here’s wishing all you dear readers a rosy and happy Valentine’s Day!

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Five Reasons Why True Key Is Our Knight in Shining Armor https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/five-reasons-true-key-knight-shining-armor/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/five-reasons-true-key-knight-shining-armor/#respond Tue, 07 Feb 2017 16:52:28 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=68885 Has it ever happened to you that you tried to log into an account only to find that you seem to be experiencing temporary amnesia and can’t recall what the username or password is? Or you need to pay your child’s school fees online but can’t find the diary where you wrote down the login […]

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Has it ever happened to you that you tried to log into an account only to find that you seem to be experiencing temporary amnesia and can’t recall what the username or password is? Or you need to pay your child’s school fees online but can’t find the diary where you wrote down the login details?

The connected era has brought the world literally into your hands- you can do so much online- but there is this one hassle – You have to remember all the passwords and keep them secret.

My friend Anita faced a ‘password-block’ the other day when she tried to pay her electricity bill online at the last minute. For the life of her she could not remember the password! She tried out several options, until the site locked her out for exceeding the maximum number of attempts.

You know the feeling and shudder at the thought of it happening again, hmm? Not to worry, here is your own knight in shining armor to the rescue, True Key.

Bid adieu to remembering different passwords for different sites. Relax, smile, hum a song if you want while you sign into your accounts – you have your very own password manager to handle the hassles. The True Key™ app not only offers you an easy and safe way to unlock your digital world, it also enhances your security. With this  you will not be required to maintain a written record of your passwords which is not safe at all and guess what, you also don’t have to stay signed in all the time (which makes your accounts so vulnerable)!

If you are like my friend Anita, who does all her shopping, bill payments and socializing online, you would love to have to have the True Key app. And I will tell you why.

Here are the top 5 reasons why True Key is your knight in shining armor:

  • Easy to install and sign in
  • Remembers all your login info like usernames and passwords
  • Uses multi-factor authentication to help you securely log into your online accounts using your face, finger print or a trusted device
  • Offers total privacy as it does not share your passwords with anyone else

Signing in to True Key is as easy A-B-C

Without further ado, let me show you how to install and use the app. Download the True Key app.

Done? OK, next let’s use multi-factor authentication to secure your accounts.

Multi-factor authentication adds extra layers of security to your accounts

Choose the factors you want to sign in to your account (see below). True Key uses at least two factors to confirm it’s you. That’s called multi-factor authentication and it makes your login that much more secure. You can make your profile more secure by adding in more factors, like a second device or e-mail address. It’s entirely up to you. The picture below shows you how it will happen.

I can almost hear you thinking, “Well! that was quite easy! But I have several accounts. Will the app help me with them all?

True Key remembers all your login sites and their passwords

You will only have to select the account you want to access. And what’s more, you can sync True Key across all your devices and access your accounts from anywhere and any device of yours.

Keeps your passwords secure

Not only does True Key offer you layered protection, it also secures your passwords by scrambling them with one of the strongest encryption algorithms available, AES-256. Only you can decrypt and access your information with the factors you choose. That’s a relief, huh?

Manages multiple accounts

Each time you land on a login page and type in the particulars, the True Key app automatically saves it. You can also add details on the app directly by clicking on the ‘add new login’ button. It doesn’t matter how many accounts you have, the True Key app will remember them all for you.

If you would like to know more about how to install the app on your device, watch the video tutorial.

The True Key app is no ordinary app, it is the master key to your virtual vault- wherein it keeps all your login details safely. With the True Key app you can rest knowing that all of your passwords are securely stored, and not have to worry about remembering or writing down your passwords. The app makes your online life safer, faster and smoother. So, what are you waiting for? Just download it and follow the guidelines that pop up and forget login hassles forever.

I bet you just breathed a sigh of relief. Now you can confidently handle all your virtual accounts- the True Key app will deftly deal with the entire entry process.

Don’t forget to share with us your experiences once you get your knight in shining armor working for you.

 

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Manage your data this Data Privacy Day https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/manage-data-data-privacy-day/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/manage-data-data-privacy-day/#respond Sat, 28 Jan 2017 14:00:46 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=68486 You know when Valentine’s Day is, and on which day Friendship Day falls, but do you know the day in which we celebrate Data Privacy Day? If your reply is, “Huh? What’s that?” don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many others who don’t have a clear picture about this. What is Data Privacy […]

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You know when Valentine’s Day is, and on which day Friendship Day falls, but do you know the day in which we celebrate Data Privacy Day?

If your reply is, “Huh? What’s that?” don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many others who don’t have a clear picture about this.

What is Data Privacy Day?

As we move towards a connected future, we are generating a vast amount of data online. It could range from our personal details to our bank account details and even our likes and dislikes. With so much information available about us in the virtual world, can you imagine what a field day cyber criminals would have if they could gain access to it?

January 28th is celebrated as Data Privacy Day, to create public awareness about the need for keeping data private as well as to empower them on data protection best practices.

To give you an example, post an online search, say for a weekend destination or even a new car, you might have noted similar ads springing up on your page long after you have stopped searching for them. Which means a third party has got hold of your likes and is directing similar ads your way. Or, when you download an app on your mobile, you will find that it may ask for access to your gallery, clock and even contact lists. Websites send cookies embedded in their codes to help you, but these also store the information you share. You have no way of knowing how this information is being used.

Data Privacy Day is celebrated to help consumers:

  1. Manage their digital footprint
  2. Encourage safe online practices
  3. Raise awareness and educate about the need for data privacy.

Some of the threats associated with privacy breach:

  • Identity theft: Cyber criminals may be able to collect enough data about you to create a false profile that maybe misused
  • Financial loss: If your password and secret questions become accessible to others or if your smartphone falls in the wrong hands, hackers may be able to clear out your account
  • Cyberbullying: Sharing of inappropriate or embarrassing photos and videos may attract online bullies
  • Social media hacking: If your social media account is hacked, it can harm your personal life and reputation.
  • Ransomware: Cyber criminals may hold your data or device hostage to extort monetary benefits

To empower yourself to take charge of your privacy this Data Privacy Day, you need to:

  • Secure your devices: This is the first thing you should do with a new device and ensure you keep auto updates turned on
  • Be wary of apps that ask for a lot of permissions: A stop watch has no need for your contact list, nor an editing app for your social media profiles. Share with care. Also, delete apps you do not use anymore.
  • Beware of fake sites, fake offers and fake wins: These are phishing attacks, targeted at getting your data. Keep in mind (1) if you didn’t take part in a contest, you can’t win it (2) There is no such thing as easy money.
  • Manage your digital footprints: Give your generosity a check when it comes to data. Do not share phone number, address, school/work location in your profile description. Also, clean your social media profiles from time to time – remove pics and posts that reveal a lot about you.
  • Stay clear of fake sites by using McAfee WebAdvisor: This amazing tool guides you on website safety and warns you if a site looks suspicious. A great help that protects you from probable phishing and other attacks.

In an increasingly interconnected world, our personal data is a prized possession for many and they make constant attempts to collect it from us. We need to be vigilant of the approvals we grant devices/apps and give them sparingly. Privacy and safety go hand in hand, let us pledge to take charge and follow best practices to keep us and our families safe this Data Privacy Day.

 

 

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Digital Wallets: Safety tips from an industry leader https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/digital-wallets-safety-tips-industry-leader/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/digital-wallets-safety-tips-industry-leader/#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:27:02 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=68172 As digitization gains traction and we move towards a cashless economy, it will be of great help to know how to carry out online transactions securely. Many of us are digital immigrants and hesitate at the thought of using e-wallets. Will it be easy and will our money be safe? – We ask ourselves and […]

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As digitization gains traction and we move towards a cashless economy, it will be of great help to know how to carry out online transactions securely. Many of us are digital immigrants and hesitate at the thought of using e-wallets. Will it be easy and will our money be safe? – We ask ourselves and others.

Security awareness is necessary for:

(a) To calm the possible misconceptions surrounding digital payments

(b) To ensure safety of your transactions online

Just like there are some basic rules you follow to protect your cash/ cheque payments, similarly a few basic precautions will go a long way in making all our e-payments safe. I had the privilege of a conversation with Anand Ramamoorthy, Managing Director- South Asia, McAfee. Anand shared his views and tips on e-payment security. Read on!

As we are moving to an era where mobile is fast displacing the PC as the primary device, can you educate regarding the web of threats out there?

According to McAfee Threat Predictions 2017 Report, McAfee Labs sees mobile malware continuing its growth in 2017, with ransomware, banking Trojans, and remote access tools among the leading threats. The report clearly showcases the need for security against a growing volume of mobile malware and expanding threat surface which becomes critical in a mobile first economy like India. Users should remember that their security depends a lot on their actions. Awareness of safe practices and security risks go a long way in making digital payments a smooth affair. For instance, before making a transaction, confirm that your security software is up to date and running.

Tip: Use secured networks only and create strong passwords, remembering to have different passwords for different sites. Look out for the ‘https’ at the start of an URL and green padlock sign and check domain name of the URL. It should be like “xyz.com” or “xyz.in” and not “xyz/festivals-in.com.

With a mobile first economy and the rise of e-wallets, how should users approach security?

Already a mobile first economy, India has the second largest internet savvy population and is expected to overtake the US as the second largest smartphone market in 2017. As we move towards a cashless economy, consumers are realizing that in addition to their PCs, smartphones too need to be actively protected from the expanding threat landscape to enhance their connected experiences.

As one of the leading players in cybersecurity, we have had the opportunity to work with several large enterprises, banks and even Fortune 500 companies and we believe that with digitization, arises the need to secure one’s digital footprint and assets. We at McAfee are committed to providing a safe and secure digital environment to all our customers. Securing our connected devices is important considering that many employees also use personal devices in the workspace and any lapse in security can result in loss of confidential business data or even reputation. Today, owing to the level of our online existence which spans from social media to using e-wallets for most of our transactions, calls for a trusted mobile security software. At McAfee, we offer McAfee mobile security software for free from the Play store/App store.

Tip: Just like you would be careful about opening your doors to a stranger, similarly, be careful if you use public Wi-Fi network at the airport, coffee shops and other venues, or even the guest login provided for your hotel room.

How can Indians stay safe online?

Use secured connections only. It goes without saying that your security is as strong as your device and internet security. Go only for advanced comprehensive security software for your PCs and smartphones. Carry out financial transactions over VPN networks and be wary of public Wi-Fi.

Download digital wallets directly from official websites. Do not click on links received via e-mails or messages. They may contain malware or could lead to compromised websites. Instead download from official websites of your bank or from the App Store or Play Store.

Uncheck the ‘save card’ box. This is a security measure that will help protect your bank account details if your account, or the site, gets compromised.

Use multi-factor authentication. Use a password management tool to help you store and create complex passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication on your devices and online accounts.

Beware of Phishing scams. This is a major ploy used to dupe users to part with their credentials. Armed with credentials and bank/e-wallet account details, cyber criminals can dupe you. Avoid replying to e-mails from strangers and opening attachments or links without prior verification. Be mindful of what you share online and never divulge your bank or personal details to tele callers purportedly from your bank.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Smartphones have ushered in an unprecedented era of connectivity by offering users access to a world of information, education, employment and even m-commerce. Around 139 million smartphones were sold in India in 2016 and this makes it a priority market for cybercriminals who want to benefit from exploiting the sensitive data of unsuspecting consumers. With the magnitude of online transactions happening today, app explosion, coupled with public Wi-Fi hacks and social engineering based phishing attacks, mobile security has become a primary requirement. We need to give security top priority and not treat it like an afterthought. A mobile security app should be one of the first apps we install after purchasing a device. People do not have to be the weakest link in the security chain. They can be the strongest link if we impart better education on how people can safely use technology. At McAfee we are committed to ensuring a safe digital experience for all.

There! You heard it from the world’s largest dedicated security firm. Now let’s make it a point to share the word about how we can make mobile transactions safer through a few tips and awareness.

In 2017, let’s make a resolution to stay safe online!

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What You Need to Know About Security Threats in 2017 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/need-know-security-threats-2017/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/need-know-security-threats-2017/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2017 16:49:31 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=67872 2016 has been an exciting year on the tech front, with our hearts being won over by technology ranging from driverless cars, advanced gaming consoles to AI- to name a few. And 2017 promises to be even more bountiful for all gadget lovers, considering the tech grapevine is rife with news of foldable phones and […]

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2016 has been an exciting year on the tech front, with our hearts being won over by technology ranging from driverless cars, advanced gaming consoles to AI- to name a few. And 2017 promises to be even more bountiful for all gadget lovers, considering the tech grapevine is rife with news of foldable phones and laptops, sophisticated VR headsets and super smart home appliances.

Aren’t your fingers just itching to open your favorite online shopping sites and checking out these new devices? I know that feeling for I have already decided what I want for my birthday next year (Unless of course a phone-controlled Vacuum Cleaner makes an appearance). And not just devices, there are hundreds of new apps that make our daily life less mundane and our social networking and entertainment so much more exciting! I so look forward to trying out these apps, don’t you?

Increased internet penetration means more internet-enabled gadgets, all of which will need protection. With this rapid rate of acceptance across cities and towns, cyber threats will be able to spread closer to millions of end-users.

The virtual world scenario is changing and so is the threat scenario, as highlighted in the McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions Report. While the report offers details on the threat scenario, industry response and new challenges, we will consider some salient points briefly, in keeping with our constant endeavor as parents to stay updated on the security issues:

  • Ransomware is predicted to increase until mid-2017 before beginning to recede
  • Rise in the volume of ‘fakes’- including fake security warnings, fake likes, fake ads, fake reviews
  • Machine learning will be used to deliver more sophisticated socially engineering attacks
  • Mobile attacks will combine mobile device locks with credential thefts, allowing cyber thieves to attain bank and credit card details
  • Rise in adware, with hackers delivering malware using the new techniques used by advertisers
  • The rise in trust in Cloud storage will direct the interest of cyber attackers towards it
  • Hijacking events, like drone-jacking, DDoS attacks or exploitation of IoT (Internet of Things) devices is likely to rise.

 

Here is how you can keep your device and data safe:

  1. Create strong and unique passwords: This is THE most important step for you to take to protect your data online. Use a mix of letters, numbers and special characters to create passwords and have different passwords for social media, Cloud and financial accounts. The most hassle-free and safe way to do this is to use an authentic password manager.
  2. Use Multi-factor authentication: Whether it be your Gmail account or Facebook, bank account or PayPal, ALWAYS opt for multi-factor authentication to add another layer of security for your accounts.
  3. Lock down your devices and Wi-Fi router: Use PIN, password or biometrics (wherever applicable). Also, set up an auto-lock feature
  4. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use
  5. Scan USB devices before use to remove malware, if any. Don’t skip this step
  6. Be skeptical about what you see online: Do not be swayed by likes and positive reviews for apps or websites, for these can be bought. Consult genuine websites to get the true picture
  7. Review IoT device security prior to purchase
  8. Limit data you share online: Be very protective when it comes to your personal information. The less of it is there online, the better for you
  9. Click on attachments, videos, or URLs ONLY AFTER verifying authenticity
  10. Always use reputable comprehensive security software for all internet-enabled devices to ensure you have 24/7 protection.

Remember, the user is usually the weakest link in the security chain. Practicing caution can go a long way in ensuring your safety online. Awareness and vigilance will help you enjoy the gifts of tech to the fullest.

Happy New Year friends! While we turn the page to a year where technology will yet again be in the headlines, remember to take the right steps towards securing your digital life.

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Securing Those ‘Hackable Holiday Gifts’ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/securing-hackable-holiday-gifts/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/securing-hackable-holiday-gifts/#respond Tue, 20 Dec 2016 18:19:02 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=67317 “This Christmas I want a drone from Santa,” declared my 10-year old nephew, giving me a meaningful look. His sister chipped in, “And I want a smart watch.” My sister meanwhile picked up her head from her Kindle and groaned, “I want an automated home this Christmas!” Hmmm, OK! I get it technology has influenced […]

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“This Christmas I want a drone from Santa,” declared my 10-year old nephew, giving me a meaningful look.

His sister chipped in, “And I want a smart watch.”

My sister meanwhile picked up her head from her Kindle and groaned, “I want an automated home this Christmas!”

Hmmm, OK! I get it technology has influenced our lives beyond the usual use of smartphones and PCs.

And this rising interest in internet-enabled gadgets is not limited to my family. You must have come across McAfee’s second annual McAfee Most Hackable Holiday Gifts list which was recently featured in the news. It highlights how the demand for connected devices continues to be on the rise in on holiday wish lists this year too – with 80 percent of consumers likely to do their holiday shopping online!

It’s not surprising that laptops and smartphones are the top choice for gifts, what is new and increasing is the demand for connected devices like fitness trackers, smart watches, and drones. What concerns me is that 85 percent of the respondents said they start using the devices straightaway, even though most are aware of the security risks associated with devices that connect to the internet!  Further, many of those who adopted security measures are not sure if they were going about it the right way.

Technology is progressing so rapidly that it is quite tough to keep pace with it. It’s only now that people have begun to understand the security risks connected to phones and laptops, and have started using security tools to protect their devices. That even fitness trackers, CCTV cameras, and media streaming devices might have vulnerabilities that expose them to cyberattacks, is something they are yet to come to terms with. The vulnerable point of these devices for cyber criminals is that they are user-friendly and often do not adhere to strict security standards.

Fresh in our minds is the recent IoT-specific attack, wherein thousands of IoT devices were affected.

Here are the Top 5 Most Hackable Holiday Gifts in 2016:

  1. Laptops and PCs: Keep in mind that cyberattacks are not limited to Windows-based devices.
  2. Smartphones and Tablets – These devices too are the targets of malware and hacking attacks, which may lead to loss of personal and financial information.
  3. Media Players and Streaming Sticks – If these are not secured and kept updated, they too can be exploited by cyber attackers.
  4. Smart Home Automation Devices and Apps – These can be controlled by smartphones and so a compromised smartphone can become a potential threat to the device, and hence, the user.
  5. Drones – Drone sales are expected to grow to more than $20 billion by 2022 as they are right now the latest craze among both the young and the old. Unfortunately, unsecured devices could allow hackers to disrupt the GPS signal, or even hijack them.

Sharing 5 Simple Tips to Keep You and Your Gadgets Safe This Holiday Season:

  1. Install and run security software in ALL Internet-enabled devices: This is the FIRST thing you do to keep your device and data safe. I highly recommend that you use cross device and comprehensive security software like McAfee LiveSafe™.
  2. Only use secure Wi-Fi: We all know that hitching on to public, unsecured Wi-Fi may expose us to security threats. Same goes for your toys, gadgets and home security systems
  3. Go for difficult-to-guess passwords or PIN: If possible, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to enhance security. If you have trouble remembering all your passwords, use a password manager.
  4. Check before you click. Be suspicious of links from people you do not know and always use internet security software to stay protected. Hover over the link to find a full URL of the link’s destination in the lower corner of your browser
  5. Review products prior to purchase: Please do read all product security specifications, including whether security updates will occur automatically or be done manually. Change default password immediately.

This holiday season, make sure your gifts of love don’t compromise your loved ones’ security. Buy products from reputable brands/ reputable e-tailers, secure them immediately with strong passwords, install comprehensive security software, and keep the software up-to-date. Do ensure that you are applying patches as they are released from the manufacturer right away to ensure that the device is protected from the latest known threats. And only then your devices will be good to go.

Happy Shopping!

 

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Gift Your Kids The Know-How To Maintain A Healthy Digital Reputation https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/gift-kids-know-maintain-healthy-digital-reputation/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/gift-kids-know-maintain-healthy-digital-reputation/#respond Mon, 28 Nov 2016 22:13:09 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=66651 The Digital India initiative by the Government of India is aimed at ushering in a digitally empowered society. One of the core components of Digital India is bringing about digital literacy, the ability to use digital devices and interact in social networks, while adhering to online behavioral norms. In this context, our next generation needs […]

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The Digital India initiative by the Government of India is aimed at ushering in a digitally empowered society. One of the core components of Digital India is bringing about digital literacy, the ability to use digital devices and interact in social networks, while adhering to online behavioral norms.

In this context, our next generation needs to learn a very important concept, that of digital footprints, and how to maintain a healthy digital reputation.

We all know digital footprints ensures what we say online will always remain online but what constitutes digital reputation? It is made up of everything that a person shares about themself and others online -both written and pictorial that helps others cyber citizens to form an opinion about him/her. Given that both digital footprint and digital reputation have long term consequences, it is important for you to advise your children that their digital reputation depends on THEM.

They are creating the content that is on your social media pages. Their posts, comments, responses, photos and videos create a digital image of you that may or may not that’s correct. They are therefore responsible for the way the cyber citizens perceive you.

Does digital reputation matter? Oh yes, it certainly does. In the increasingly interconnected world, people across the globe might never really get to meet you in person and discover for themselves your real nature. So, they tend to seek information about you online – be it for jobs, college admission or even for signing up on a hiking group. Why not take a critical look at all your social media accounts and see for yourself as others see you online and decide, do you like all that you see?

A few things that tweens and teens usually do that may affect their digital reputation:

  • Follow their peer: often leads to sharing of false content, embarrassing videos or photos or even cyberbullying of a hapless victim
  • Push boundaries: Curiosity drives them to veer to unexplored sites and/or check out inappropriate content, and even share the same with friends. If they become a victim of spam, this fact will be shared with all social media friends
  • Search for free content: The kids want to download posters, movies, songs or games for free and thus stand the risk of falling prey to malware attacks
  • Trust easily: This is why online predators find it easy to impress youngsters and earn their trust
  • Give privacy a short-shrift: Kids brashly disregard security messages, thinking they are savvy enough to keep off risky sites. But cyber criminals are way cleverer than them and hence find it easy to compromise their accounts and misuse them.

And lastly apart from being conscious of the above, the one cyber safety skill we need to remind our kids is: to STOP. THINK. SHARE. online

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Cyber Parenting – Let’s Hear What Mothers Have to Say https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyber-parenting-lets-hear-mothers-say/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyber-parenting-lets-hear-mothers-say/#respond Mon, 07 Nov 2016 19:04:01 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=64242 Children’s Day is around the corner and it has me thinking. With all the brouhaha over a connected future and devices that can monitor, make decisions and communicate; are we doing enough to prepare our children to stay safe online? Are we, the digital immigrants, cyber-mentoring the next generation? Parents today have a tough job […]

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Children’s Day is around the corner and it has me thinking. With all the brouhaha over a connected future and devices that can monitor, make decisions and communicate; are we doing enough to prepare our children to stay safe online? Are we, the digital immigrants, cyber-mentoring the next generation?

Parents today have a tough job bringing up kids in a high-tech environment that is not native to them. And for the safety of their kids in the virtual world, parents themselves have to learn and understand the good and the bad of the internet and be aware of the threat landscape.

The next step is to raise their children as responsible cyber citizens and the earlier they start the better it is and all said and done, parents are the BEST teachers for their kids

As McAfee Cybermum India, I thought it was time to find out if parents were on the right path to teach their kids cybersafety, so I approached some of my mom friends on Twitter with targeted questions listed below. I hope it resonates with you if you are looking at taking the first step to raising responsible cyber citizens

Q- At what age did your child start using the net? Did you have a cybersafety talk at that time or before that?

Most kids do not have a defined time when they first go online, so moms found them too young to discuss cybersafety. However, the new breed of young mothers seem to be prepared to handle it when the time comes.

As Banker Mom, Shruti Mahajan Singh says, “My child is still young but I would be talking to her soon about cybersafety, cyberbullying, cyber love chats etc. and how not to get affected by them.”

Yojna Sharma, a social media consultant and blogger, says her child was exposed to the internet at the age of 2, when he watched nursery rhyme videos under his mother’s supervision. She explains, “Going forward I plan to regulate his usage for a max of half hour per day. I plan to have a chat with him probably when he is 4-5 and can understand things better but I have started exploring options on net safety like firewall etc.”

Q – What are the top internet usage rules at home that your kids have to follow?

Blogger Mom – Neha Jain has these rules for her kids:

  1. No social media presence until you turn 13
  2. No sharing of personal information
  3. No online interaction with strangers
  4. Stipulated time to go online
  5. Access the internet in communal space only
  6. Do not hide if someone tries to bully or makes you uncomfortable in any manner
  7. No downloading or installing any software without parents’ consent

Neha, you have covered almost everything. Great work!

Q – According to the 2015 Teen Tween Technology Report by McAfee, 48% of the parents surveyed believe that the worst thing that could happen to their children is interacting with strangers online. What’s your take on this? Do you monitor your child’s online activities and keep tabs on online friends?

(A major threat online is that it brings the outside world right into your home! Your child can be approached by a stranger without your knowledge, something you would never allow in the real world. So how do moms handle this?)

Army wife and mom Jyothi Menon monitors her son online. She also follows basic safety rules like using security tools and keeping the laptop in a common area. She adds, “We have had a discussion about pedophiles and how they use false identity to lure unsuspecting children. He uses my mobile to WhatsApp his friends and is not on Facebook or Instagram yet.”

Q – Almost half the children surveyed last year said they have bullied people over social media. Do you feel there is a rise in cyberbullying? What should parents do to contain this trend?

Singer, traveler, InfoSec girl Parul Jain agrees. “They (parents) should interact with their children about their friends. And keep track of day-to-day activities. Also (parents should) tell them about cyberbullying. Most of the time parents are not comfortable to talk about these topics.”

Agreed. Parents need to break the communication barrier and discuss cyberbullying, stalking, abuse, morphing etc. with growing kids so that they can identify such behavior, know what to do, seek parental guidance and not get depressed.

Q – Please share what you feel is THE biggest threat online and THE most important cybersafety step that all parents should follow.

Blogger and Stay at Home Mom, Madhu believes that the biggest threat online is “ease of access to any content and related fields that show up in search!” while family lifestyle blogger, Richa Choudhary thinks it is ‘is getting influenced by someone on social media or get trolled.’- and both are right!

Madhu shares several cyber safety measures but ranks setting up parental controls as Number One on priority list. I particularly like the fact that she stresses on frank and continuous discussions with kids and the need for teaching them digital disconnect for a proper digitally balanced life.

Richa has the very same idea when she advocates “limiting app downloads, restrict inappropriate websites from opening; basically, closely monitoring your kids web usage.”

Thank you so much for your inputs ladies! I genuinely appreciate your approach to ensuring cyber safety by applying the right mix of monitoring, mentoring and communication. It’s heartening that parents are giving cyber safety its due importance and handling it rationally, helping to create ideal digital citizens who can handle the connected future of tomorrow.

Happy parenting

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Sonakshi Sinha tops the list of McAfee Most Sensational Celebrities 2016 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/sonakshi-sinha-tops-list-mcafee-sensational-celebrities-2016/ Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:02:17 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=53301 Celebrities bedazzle and bewitch us and we cannot have enough of them. Whether they be actors, singers, models, comedians or sportspersons, we want to know the latest about them – their lives, performances, fashion – everything. And the best place to get all these information? The internet. We frequently go online to read up on […]

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Celebrities bedazzle and bewitch us and we cannot have enough of them. Whether they be actors, singers, models, comedians or sportspersons, we want to know the latest about them – their lives, performances, fashion – everything. And the best place to get all these information? The internet. We frequently go online to read up on them, download the latest movie or song or check out their public appearances.

And that’s what the cyber criminals capitalize on – they understand the yearning for having celebrity information on the go and make use of it to introduce malware into the user’s devices.

The 10th global edition of the study titled McAfee Most Sensational Celebrities 2016 by McAfee reveals the Top 10 Bollywood celebrities with the highest risk percentages:

 

Position

Celebrity Percentage
1 Sonakshi Sinha 11.11%
2 Farhan Akhtar 9.56%
3 Kareena Kapoor 8.67%
4

 

Tiger Shroff 8.44%

 

Arjun Kapoor
5 Shraddha Kapoor 8.11%
6 Kriti Sanon 7.67%
7

 

Priyanka Chopra 7.56%

 

Shahid Kapoor
8 Bipasha Basu 7.22%
9 Saif Ali Khan 7.11%
10 Alia Bhatt 7.00%

 

Actress and rapper Sonakshi Sinha tops the list of McAfee Most Sensational Celebrities 2016, continuing the rule of the femme fatales as sensational Indian celebs. She replaces Priyanka Chopra, who slid to the 7th rank. This year, Gen Y movie celebrities have made their presence felt in the Top 10. So while Farhan Akhtar takes the second place and Kareena Kapoor the third; young guns Tiger Shroff and Arjun Kapoor are tied at No. 4 and Shraddha Kapoor occupies the 5th spot.

To clarify, “sensational” has nothing to do with the celebrities themselves, but their popularity as search subjects. s users search the net for celebrity news like awards ceremonies, movie trailers, free wallpapers or celeb gossip, they risk their device and data security. Along with downloading wallpapers or a hit movie or any other online search for celeb information, they unknowingly increase risk and download malware or share personally identifiable details with hackers.

McAfee conducted the study using the free tool McAfee® WebAdvisor site ratings to determine the number of risky sites generated by searches. For example, if you search for Sonakshi Sinha + Torrent or Kareena Kapoor + Free MP4, you will get a list of results, which are categorized as safe and risky, with green, yellow and red demarcations by McAfee® WebAdvisor. If you click on sites deemed unsafe or risky and download files including photos and videos, you run the risk of encountering something malicious.

So we know the danger, what do we do to stay safe online? Here are a few basic Cybersafety rules

  • Install branded, cross-device comprehensive security software – Keep all your devices, including smartphones and tabs safe with just the one security software. The security software will identify and eliminate the latest threats and keep you safe
  • Use McAfee® WebAdvisor software: Browse safely using WebAdvisor, which will help you identify safe websites. Download it FREE at mcafee.com/mcafeewebadvisor
  • Secure Personal Data: Cyber criminals will try to lure you to their traps through scams like phishing or by offering free wallpapers and movies. Learn not to trust unverified free offers or sites that ask you to share email AND password AND date of birth etc. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it perhaps is
  • THINK. CLICK: Never be in a hurry to click. You want to see trailers of your matinee idol’s latest movie or download music? Then go to the original source only. Avoid sites that are not verified safe by a web advisor tool
  • Stay legit: Stay clear of torrents and opt for legitimate sites, even if they are paid ones.

So next time you want to find out the latest news on your favourite celeb, first ensure that your devices have been secured with a trusted and comprehensive security software and don’t forget to download the free McAfee WebAdvisor tool. Also, stick to ONLY those sites that are marked green. Awareness begins with education.

Stay Safe Stay Online!

 

 

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Parents, It’s Time to Grow Up https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/parents-time-grow/ Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:14:09 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=53095 A new child in the family is always the center of attention. The proud parents are so amazed by their baby’s looks and feats that they want the whole world to share their joy. Gone are the days of carrying the photos of children in the purse or wallet and whipping them out to proudly […]

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A new child in the family is always the center of attention. The proud parents are so amazed by their baby’s looks and feats that they want the whole world to share their joy. Gone are the days of carrying the photos of children in the purse or wallet and whipping them out to proudly display; now technology has made it possible to share in real-time the baby’s activities. Parents often use their social media platforms as digital baby yearbooks. The enthusiasm is understandable, but things could go overboard if they overshare.

Most parents in their enthusiasm think that everyone would love to be witness to their child’s antics and achievements, all this while neglecting the future consequences of their actions. Fast forward to 10 years and I can hear the teen screaming in shock, “Mom! You shared my ‘diaper dance’ video online? I mean, how could you? My friends are going to make fun of me if they see this.”

Whoa there, parents! Hold the reins and take a break from your photo-sharing regimen. Will your child take kindly to all the photographs you have shared over the years without their consent and awareness? Or will there be anger, embarrassment and a breakdown of trust in the tumultuous teens?

To avoid all of this, here is quick refresh on cyber etiquette for parents.

Let’s start by repeating my favorite cyber safety mantra; in fact, meditate on it – STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Time is not running away, nor is social media going to disappear. Give thought to every photo you plan to share online. Who will see it? Can it be misinterpreted or misused? Will it embarrass the child in the future?

Besides, there are other reasons why you should avoid sharing photos of your kids online on a frequent basis; we call it Too Much Information (TMI). The more information you upload about your child online, the more risk you expose it to:

  • The child becomes a digital citizen and thus stands the danger of having their identity stolen
  • Photos posted online may be shared further and maybe misused
  • Photos may reveal location, unless you change your settings
  • Social media platforms often pass photos on to third parties and advertisers may target you
  • If your account gets hacked, your photos will fall in the wrong hands

 

Let’s talk about what you should definitely not share online. Yes, I know it’s your page and you have the freedom to share what you like and what harm can a cute baby photo do anyway, right?  You would be surprised to learn that sharing such pictures, might make you the target of public shaming over your parenting style.

The kind of photos that are definitely a no-no:

  • Bath time
  • In front of school or house
  • Age-inappropriate poses
  • Sporting weird hairstyles or dress

Keep in mind what’s shared online may get re-shared and go viral, especially videos.

Cyber etiquette: Respect others’ need for privacy and don’t share photos of others or tag them without permission.

Your child will be a digital citizen right from birth and will be grappling with maintaining a respectable online identity all its life. As a parent/guardian, the onus is on you to ensure that your child starts with a clean set of digital footprints. Practice safe sharing, keep out names and addresses from posts and ensure your device does not get compromised by using advanced comprehensive security software.

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Are Your Kids Into These 5 Unwanted Trends On Social Media? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/kids-5-unwanted-trends-social-media/ Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:33:35 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=52635 Yesterday I picked up a friend’s child, who was returning from the week long class trip to Mumbai. As I listened to all the excited chatter of the tired but happy kids, one remark caught my attention. “Do you know you can’t click selfies at many locations in Mumbai? We tried to take photos at […]

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Yesterday I picked up a friend’s child, who was returning from the week long class trip to Mumbai. As I listened to all the excited chatter of the tired but happy kids, one remark caught my attention.

Do you know you can’t click selfies at many locations in Mumbai? We tried to take photos at Bandra Bandstand and Chowpatty but the police stopped us. That’s so not cool!!”

I am sure all the parents assembled there sent a silent thanks to Mumbai Police who are trying to protect citizens from selfie-related risks.

The selfie craze has hit us all and how! The ‘click-and-share’ brigade can be found everywhere, merrily clicking themselves, and then uploading the best pictures to social media.  Kids have gone a step ahead and are uploading not just selfies but pictures that reveal a lot of personal information, which could compromise their safety, privacy and self-esteem. These sharing practices have even turned into social media trends.

Are your kids into any of these 5 unwanted trends on social media?

  • Selfies at risky locations: Kids often ignore basic safety in their quest to get a perfect selfie. So they pose in front of a moving train, lean from a building’s parapet or even stand close to an animal enclosure in the zoo to click a snap.
  • Body image challenge: Have an A4 size waist? Click and share the photo. Other popular body image challenges include the collar bone challenge and the finger trap test. Kids participate in these for the fun of it but may end up having negative self-image and/or facing cyber bullying.
  • Photos of passport/license/tickets: Kids get excited when they get their travel tickets, new passport, or even their driving license and often share them online, unaware that these documents reveal vital personal data like name, age address, background etc.
  • Videos of dares: Teens are motivated by peer pressure to take part in dares and share video snippets of them. These include over-speeding, binge-drinking, vandalizing etc. Such posts may have future consequences, including college admission and career prospects as individuals social page often becomes the first step in background screening
  • Clicks in no-photo zones: Photography is prohibited at many places of national importance like museums, art shows, air force bases and other strategic locations, but some children still click pictures, flouting all rules and disregarding legal consequences.

These are some undesirable and unsafe trends that need to be curbed at the outset. Posts that reveal name, location, date of birth, address, passwords etc. of self or friends can be misused by cyber criminals. It is important that we help our children to identify what are personal details and encourage them to keep personal details private and off social media.

Parents, here are a few tips for you to help your children follow digital etiquette:

  1. Be cyber-aware: Awareness is always the key. Find out whether your children or their friends are into selfie-clicking and careless sharing. Use real-life examples to explain the risks involved.
  2. Mentor your child: Educate your kids on the kind of posts they should not be sharing on their social media platforms. Explain the logic behind your rule and do not hesitate to stress that the smartphone is a privilege that can be withdrawn if rules are broken.
  3. Limit posting from smartphone: You can fix mobile net usage time by not getting your child an individual net pack. Remember to protect your devices with security software.
  4. Selfie etiquette: Just like you educate your kids on correct table manners/online etiquette, teach them good selfie practices. You may talk to them about unsafe location, no-photography zone, no-shaming pics, personal information revealing posts and no-tagging-without-permission.

New trends on social media frequently create a rage amongst children. Only awareness can help us parents ensure that our children are not caught up by an unsuitable trend and led off track. Therefore, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. continues to be the mantra that the entire family needs to remember and practice.

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Keep Your Data Safe While Unplugging on Vacation https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/keep-data-safe-unplugging-vacation/ Thu, 01 Sep 2016 20:52:40 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=52416 When you are packing your bags for a long weekend break or a family holiday, do you pack all your devices too or do you say to yourself “I will not connect to the internet at any cost. I am going to be unplugged this holiday?” Many of you, I am sure, will opt for […]

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When you are packing your bags for a long weekend break or a family holiday, do you pack all your devices too or do you say to yourself “I will not connect to the internet at any cost. I am going to be unplugged this holiday?”

Many of you, I am sure, will opt for the latter as everyone needs some ‘me-time.’ But what about your smartphone and its security? A recent study conducted by McAfee shows 54 percent of Indians surveyed are not willing to leave their smartphones behind while on vacation. What’s more, 38 percent who went on the vacation with the intent to unplug were not successful in doing so!

The global study by McAfee, titled “Digital Detox: Unplugging on Vacation,” aims to better understand consumers’ digital behaviors while traveling and to help provide education on potential security risks. The study, which covered nearly 14,000 people across 14 nations, reveals that a huge majority of Digital Age Indians (84%) connect to the internet while on vacation. This leads them to use unsecured, public Wi-Fi oblivious to the potential risks.

Consider this, over one-third of those surveyed in India shared their personal data even when they realize that this will make them vulnerable, the highest amongst the 14 countries surveyed. Further, India ranked the second-worst globally in digital detox count, with 43 percent admitting they cannot stay off social media even during vacations. Hello, you are on a holiday remember??

Tourists are vulnerable, away from their regular environment, and cyber criminals could exploit these situations to hack phones, implant malware or read and copy data. So while an unaware tourist is happily uploading the latest holiday selfie or making online payments, a virtual thief might be quietly stealing sensitive data from the phone.

Hence it becomes necessary to know when and how a traveler can become the victim of a digital theft and pick up a few tips to stay safe during travels:

  1. Use a security software on your device: I put this on the top of my list. Just as you protect your laptop or computer, so you need to protect your smartphone too. I strongly recommend the use of a comprehensive security suite for this.
  2. Share over secure Wi-Fi for safe sharing: Yes, I know it feels imperative to share all that you are seeing and doing with your loved ones in real time. But why not enjoy every moment of your vacation and then share once back in the safe Wi-Fi zone of your home? This way, the cyber criminals will not be aware of your plans and locations.
  3. Backup your data: Storing crucial documents, photos, and other sensitive information in another place is important, especially if you’re accessing them away from your home network. Use a cloud-based service, or use an additional device or external hard drive for backup. These allow you to recover and take care of crucial errands if your phone should be stolen or compromised.
  4. Keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off: You do not want to be caught unaware by a cybercriminal. Connect to public Wi-Fi minimally and only if necessary, like say you need to send an urgent e-mail or check maps. Delete all public Wi-Fi networks stored after usage.
  5. Two-step authentication: In case financial transactions including netbanking becomes necessary, ensure you have multi-factor authentication enabled and change passwords and PINs once back home.

Enjoy your vacation, find your inner peace, and open your minds to the world. But ensure you keep your data to yourself, safe and secure.

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Time to make your Kids aware of Digital Fraud? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/time-make-kids-aware-digital-fraud/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/time-make-kids-aware-digital-fraud/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 21:25:40 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=52005 Long ago I watched a movie where the hero returned home after a harrowing experience only to find that an imposter had established himself there! The imposter had assumed the hero’s name, credentials and even his business! The hero had a tough time proving his legitimacy and showing the world how his doppelganger had committed […]

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Long ago I watched a movie where the hero returned home after a harrowing experience only to find that an imposter had established himself there! The imposter had assumed the hero’s name, credentials and even his business! The hero had a tough time proving his legitimacy and showing the world how his doppelganger had committed the fraud.

Merriam-Webster defines fraud as “the crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person.”

In other words, it’s how people steal personal data, get signatures on legal documents on false pretexts or use other methods to impersonate another for personal gains.

You may have heard of how common it is to deceive people by promising them decent jobs in return for a hefty amount of money and then disappearing? That’s another case of fraud for you.

Have you ever wondered how the identity of a person is established online? It’s an interesting exercise, and very important for understanding and taking precautions against digital fraud.

So let’s consider the case of any one individual, say me. What proof is required to establish myself as a real person online? Here’s a list of the general data that may be required:

  • Date of birth
  • Mobile phone number
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Address
  • Bank account number
  • Credit or debit card numbers

Very little, actually, when you think of it. If I were to talk to the customer service department of my bank, they will normally ask me to confirm my name, phone number, date of birth and credit/debit card numbers before proceeding. Or, if I were buying an air ticket online using my credit card, I would have to provide my card details. Same for other e-transactions.

So what would a fraudster need to con you? (a) Name (b) DOB (c) Card details; that’s all!

I just know what your response is going to be. “Why should I ever share such important details with anyone? And my children don’t have their personal credit cards. So what’s there to worry?

True, you certainly will be careful and perhaps your children too are responsible internet users. But then cyber criminals are smart. They know how to get important personal data out from you, and especially from children, without raising suspicion.

Young people enjoy taking online relationship quizzes or personality tests that determine ‘What does your birthday say about you’; or ‘Find out who your ideal partner will be’; or ‘Where will you be in 20 years’… etc. Perhaps you like taking them too? J

These quizzes from unverified sources collect a lot of facts surreptitiously. For example, to find the perfect partner, the user needs to share his name, age and zodiac sign. So the website gets hold of three vital facts that can be misused or sold to a third party. Other quizzes may require details including date of birth, parents’ names, and nationality among other things.

Children also play online games or download content from free sites. Though free, these sites often have pop-ups offering tempting discounted rates for additional content. They may have their parents’ permission to use their credit card or parents may key in the details themselves. Often neither party pauses to verify the site and payment gateway. Furthermore, some free sites require that users save card details with them.

You see how easy it is? The modern identity thieves use very sophisticated traps to lure the victims. Their websites, ads or pop-ups pass the eyeball test and the malware in their programs can even hoodwink the device’s firewalls.

You are perhaps thinking, “Hmm! How can a cyber fraud misuse such details?”

Losing one’s identity online can have some grave consequences. Cyber criminals may use the data harvested online to create a new identity. Credit cards may be compromised and one may face monetary losses. Another pertinent worry is that a fraudster may use the victim’s identity to open multiple accounts for malicious purposes, or even to acquire government assistance or apply for jobs. These may have adverse future consequences for the victim.

As a parent, you can start by teaching your child how to identify possible digital fraud traps:

  • Online personality/relationship tests that ask for a lot of personal data
  • Pop-ups and e-mails that inform of lottery wins
  • Sudden rise in credit card balance
  • Sudden spurt in e-mails and social media posts from unknown people

And finally, help your child know how to manage his own online safety (but under your guidance):

  1. Safety in familiarity: It is better for children to limit their online forays to trusted sites and not take the risk of venturing into unsafe territories.
  2. Say nothing to strangers: Be wary of sites and sellers that ask for too many personal details. Better to review and research for authenticity before sharing details
  3. No free lunches: Have you won an online lottery? Has your character won lives or arms in the game you are playing? Are you eligible for a free holiday? Remember kids, nobody gives anything away for free. There is a catch involved and that catch is often a phishing scam.
  4. STOP right there if your game or some pop-ups ask for your name, date of birth, address and credit card details. Let an adult help you out
  5. Install and run Free McAfee WebAdvisor from McAfee: This security tool works wonders in keeping you safe. It will mark safe sites and warn kids against unsafe ones. In addition, do not forget to use comprehensive security tools to protect all internet-enabled devices the family uses

In a nutshell, children need to think before clicking. As you install security software on your devices, install the cybersafety mantra in the child’s head ‘STOP.THINK.CLICK.’ Explain how their identity credentials are of vital importance and they have to take responsibility for safeguarding them.

Stay safe online!

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Cybersecurity slated to become a major employment generator – Are you ready for it? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cybersecurity-slated-become-major-employment-generator-ready/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cybersecurity-slated-become-major-employment-generator-ready/#respond Mon, 01 Aug 2016 18:09:20 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=51655 Hi There! In November 2014, the United Nations Organization (UNO) declared 15th July as World Youth Skills Day. The purpose is to promote greater awareness regarding the importance of technical and vocational education as well as to train and develop requisite skills amongst youth globally. With the global unemployment issue assuming serious proportions, this day […]

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Hi There!

In November 2014, the United Nations Organization (UNO) declared 15th July as World Youth Skills Day. The purpose is to promote greater awareness regarding the importance of technical and vocational education as well as to train and develop requisite skills amongst youth globally. With the global unemployment issue assuming serious proportions, this day becomes a great background for parents, school and college authorities as well as career counsellors to take concrete steps towards empowering our youth by helping them:

  • Develop industry-specific skills
  • Make wise career choices; those that will stand them in good stead in the years to come.

Thanks to the internet, we now have greater awareness about different job openings all across the globe. Unfortunately, there are educated graduates who are unemployed or underemployed as they lack the right skills required for the jobs that for which there are vacancies. It is thus advantageous to explore the job arena before deciding on a career. One job sector expected to clock a huge rate of growth is that of cybersecurity.

When we talk about cybersecurity, the first thing that might come to mind is, “Ah! Antivirus!” But as all of you, my regular readers, know, it is more than that. Cybersecurity helps sanitize our virtual environment and secure our online activities and stored data. India has the second largest population globally for individuals connected to the internet, and as a mobile first economy, the need for securing our data as well as resources is becoming extremely vital. Additionally, with the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming a household reality, there will be more inter-connected devices (devices that talk to each other), posing greater security challenges ahead.

With cyber criminals becoming more skilled, the security challenges are constantly evolving and changing, calling for constant vigilance and staying a step ahead of the criminals. Reputed security firms are engaged in 24/7 monitoring of threats and often collaborate within the industry to offer a secure surfing environment to the users.

Now you would like to know a little more about the scope, right?  The future calls for higher security as we enter an era of connected devices. There have already been several cases where cyberattacks have compromised credit card details of users, ATMs, cars with computerized controls and more. The obvious need is for more advanced programs, stringent monitoring and strategies. And this is where cybersecurity professionals come in.

What are the future possibilities in this field? A NASSCOM task force estimated that the global IT security market is set to grow at over 8% annually. Specifically, it will create an employment opportunity for about a million Indians by 2025. Another key report which helps us understand the industry scenario is Hacking the Skills Shortage: A study of the international shortage in cybersecurity skills. This informative report by McAfee, in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), reveals that 82 Percent of IT Professionals Confirm Shortfall in Cybersecurity Workforce. It also states that the “premium” pay earned by cybersecurity professionals is 2.7 times average professional pay.

This is what, Chris Young – SVP and GM, McAfee, has to say about the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals: “In the US alone there are about 200,000 unfilled positions, and by the year 2020, the global cyber security talent shortage is expected to reach two million.”

If we consider a shortfall in information security professionals, it is of great concern for it exposes individuals, corporations and governments to all kinds of cyber-attacks. Can you just imagine the huge job potential for all those who develop their programming and become ethical hackers with great programming and coding skills? Some more bytes to help you decide:  Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to go up from 15 billion to 200 billion by 2020 and the focus of the cyberattacks will be more on gaining access to critical capabilities. The importance of the (Chief Security Officer) CSO is also increasing in all established companies as they embark on various digitization initiatives. The support from our government as well as initiatives like Digital India will only augment the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals who can ensure that technology can securely drive business growth. And we look to our tweens and teens to fulfill this future requirement. This is the right time and right field for them. They already are digital natives and understand the need for cybersecurity so help them develop their interests and opt for the right courses. Our youth and the world will both stand to gain.

So what do you do, when your teen comes to you and says,Mom/ Dad, I can’t decide what I want to do after +2? Initiate a discussion on the predicted growth in the cybersecurity sector. Take the effort to understand if the young man/woman has a preference or aptitude for technology and programming as this can become quite critical to their success as a skilled cybersecurity professional. If yes on both counts, then all you need to do is direct them on to the right path.

I hope I have been able to clear all your doubts and convince you why we need more cybersecurity professionals?

All the best to all the young netizens everywhere! Join the tribe of skilled cyber security professionals and remember to help spread awareness on cybersafety wherever you go!!

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What You Need to Know About Stagefright https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/need-know-stagefright/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/need-know-stagefright/#respond Fri, 01 Apr 2016 10:00:09 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=48729 Any mention of stage fright transports us to our schooldays when we had to go up on stage to recite an oh-so-long poem, or act out a part in a play or sing a song. The jitters that came along! Oh yes, we all may have suffered from stage fright to some degree. But when […]

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Any mention of stage fright transports us to our schooldays when we had to go up on stage to recite an oh-so-long poem, or act out a part in a play or sing a song. The jitters that came along! Oh yes, we all may have suffered from stage fright to some degree.

But when I talk about Stagefright in this blog, it refers to a new cyber threat – a malware that is potentially scarier. In July 2015, security experts discovered several vulnerabilities in the Android operating systems that cyber criminals were targeting with the intent to steal personal data stored on our smartphones. Experts named this group of malicious code “Stagefright,”which is a nickname for the media libraries found in operating systems of our Android smartphones. McAfee’s Mobile Threat Report for 2016 found that the count of Android-based devices detecting the Stagefright-based exploits has remained steady in Q4 2015.

So how dangerous is Stagefright and why should we be concerned? Well, it allows cybercriminals to remotely execute a code on a user’s phone by sending a specially designed MMS message. All that a cybercriminal requires is the target’s phone number to launch the attack. The attacker can then implant a remote access tool that gives them full access to your device.

This attack could happen while your phone is being charged. This means that the user has no hand in enabling the malicious code on his device, say through clicking on an infected link or downloading a malicious file.

There are even reports about the use of specially designed MP3 and MP4 files used to launch the Stagefright attack. This makes the situation even more pressing here as India has a booming smartphone market and a majority of the smartphone owners rely on the Android ecosystem.

While device manufacturers take note of such macro threats and share regular patches with customers, we must be vigilant every step of the way.

Stagefright

If you are an Android phone user, it is important for you to know the risks that could affect your device and how to protect yourself. So what can you do to keep your device secured and stay safe?

  • Update your device regularly: enable auto updates, for both the operating system and security tools. Yes, even if it means a 10-minute delay in starting your work because the Android tablet or smartphone needs to install updates and restart. While it may be inconvenient it is a small sacrifice to make for the safety of your personal information online
  • Secure all devices: All your devices (and not just the Android-based ones) with comprehensive security software from a reputable brand.
  • Turn off auto open feature: Because MMS-based messages and later, MP3 & MP4 files, were used to introduce the bug it’s wise to keep the auto-open MMS messages feature turned off. Similarly, disable auto-download or opening of files. This will allow you to personally verify authenticity of the source before you open a message or document
  • Err on the side of caution: It is better that you be suspicious and check files and messages before opening them than to be too trusting and fall prey to a cyberattack.

And always remember the cybersafety mantra I share frequently- STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Don’t act in haste, make time to check and consider all options and consequences before you click on the ‘open’ tab.

Stay safe online!

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Be Aware of This Rising Menace – Body Shaming https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/be-aware-of-this-rising-menace-body-shaming/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/be-aware-of-this-rising-menace-body-shaming/#respond Thu, 31 Dec 2015 18:32:29 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=46883 Hello All, We are officially in the last day of 2015. These years just seem to fly by faster every year, don’t they? I for one eagerly look forward to the prospective of spending quality time with the family during the holiday season; pretty sure, you do too! Since most families do come together during […]

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Hello All,

We are officially in the last day of 2015. These years just seem to fly by faster every year, don’t they? I for one eagerly look forward to the prospective of spending quality time with the family during the holiday season; pretty sure, you do too!

Since most families do come together during this period, I thought it will be a great opportunity to discuss a rising trend which is of concern to all parents. You may have read of ‘body shaming’ which has been quite prevalent in the news for some time now. Body shaming (criticizing yourself or others because of some aspect of physical appearance) can lead to a vicious cycle of judgment and criticism.  But when such videos or photos ridiculing an individual or a group for physical features, dress sense or clumsy moves are posted online, along with the laughs they also invite abuse and humiliating comments.

This has particularly taken off on social media with kids from a very young age joining in. Certainly this has manifested into a global concern, prompting popular Indian and international celebs to speak out against it in recent times.

Let’s get it straight, body shaming is NOT OK. It is a type of cyberbullying.

It reminds me of the ancient practice of stone throwing at a supposed convict. The body shaming victim is made to feel ashamed of oneself, as if he or she has committed a criminal offence.

 What you can do as a parent to stop body shaming?

  • Refrain from ridiculing people for their looks. Children are like flour, they can pick up habits they are exposed to, just like whatever shape the flour can take up when it’s kneaded. Kids can easily pick it up such behavior of body shaming themselves or others from friends or family and most times see nothing wrong in replicating that behaviour online
  • Guide your child on what to click and post online. Remind them that there may be consequences and online records can affect their future
  • Ask them to not tag people in their posts without permission and if absolutely needed then to share privately. Respecting privacy of others is an essential virtue
  • Make sure to monitor your child’s online activities. Children, encouraged by peer reactions, could participate in mass bullying without even realizing the harm it can cause the one being cyberbullied. Do keep a lookout for signs that indicating kids are picking up bad online habits
  • Help your kids understand that their life is not dependent on their social media presence. Hence approvals or criticism received on the social platforms eventually mean little.
  • Nurture good habits in your kids like you would nurture your own garden to take out unnecessary weed. Spend time with your children and their friends to get a sense of their beliefs and if they are participating in any ill advised habits. Encourage your child to support a body shamed victim instead of joining in. Make them understand the rampant effects it can have on one’s mind
  • Be a part of your child’s social media world so that you know if he or she is ever targeted. At the same time give him or her the required privacy
  • Install and activate a security software that offers parental controls and spend time understanding this feature

Remotely monitoring the activity of kids when they are online is a helpful activity. This makes parents aware if strangers try to connect with kids or if they even exchange inappropriate language or try accessing blocked sites. Do give it a try to understand your child’s online habits to ensure safety.

And remember our security mantra – STOP. THINK. SHARE.

Life is beautiful so say NO to body shaming!!

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Making Online Safety a Priority for Our Tech-Savvy Children https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/making-online-safety-a-priority-for-our-tech-savvy-children/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/making-online-safety-a-priority-for-our-tech-savvy-children/#respond Mon, 26 Oct 2015 14:00:58 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=45873 The joy of parenthood! We offer our children the best opportunities to help them become happy, healthy, responsible and educated citizens. While we want to understand their needs and desires to become the ideal parent, we also remain concerned about their well-being, taking outmost care to ensure that they grow as responsible citizens. This concern […]

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The joy of parenthood!

We offer our children the best opportunities to help them become happy, healthy, responsible and educated citizens. While we want to understand their needs and desires to become the ideal parent, we also remain concerned about their well-being, taking outmost care to ensure that they grow as responsible citizens. This concern has become much more profound in the last couple of years as our teens and tweens convert into digitally savvy netizens who want to share and access information at the flick or swipe of a screen. That said, it is quite natural for us to jump upon on any new studies that helps us understand how our children are adopting the digital wave.

The Teens Tweens and Technology 2015 study from McAfee is the go to study for me. It examines the pattern of online activities among the teens and tweens aged 8-16 in India in great depth. The good folks at McAfee unveil their findings annually, which allows us to take stock of trends over the years.

I personally look forward to this study to understand the new trends amongst children as they adopt digital technologies. This year’s study also includes information on the behaviour of parents too, thus offering a holistic overview of what we as concerned parents think about our children’s online footprints.

Today I will be sharing with you the key conclusions from the study of Indian parents and children.

Starting With Good News: Parents Rated High on Cyber Safety Awareness

This year, the study has showcased a very positive finding: Parents have become more aware of Internet-related threats, thereby starting to educate their children about them. Nearly 91% parents polled said they have discussed the risks of social media with their children, including that of cybercrimes, cyberbullying, identity theft, data stealing, online reputation threats. In addition, 85% of the parents claim they follow their children on their social media networks.

Further, most parents want their children to receive online safety or cyber security training in the next 2-5 years to keep their personal information and themselves protected. I believe that this is a good sign of things to come as more parental involvement translates to better guidance for children online and consequently, greater safety for them.

Onto The Concerning News: Children Could Be Fooling You!

The study indicates that some parents considered their children’s knowledge of social media far superior to their own, and this hampers their attempt to monitor their children online. Technology-savvy tweens and teens also know how to hide their social media presence from their parents by using aliases or by deleting search history. Some children indicated they do not want their parents to see their social media pages and confess they would behave differently online if they knew their parents were watching.

But are all parents watching? No, because they do not want to pry on their children’s online life as they trust them, but they are aware that the risk of a stranger connecting with their children online is definitely real. And this has them worried. Yet surprisingly, only around 1 out of 6 parents discussed stranger-danger as a topic with their children.

Stranger Danger is Real

The survey reveals that almost half (44%) of the youth polled would meet or have met someone in person that they first met online. That’s quite an alarming number, isn’t it?

Children tend to be inquisitive and adventurous by nature. Clearly, they are interested in meeting new people but parents should educate children about how they can interact with new people by joining sports or various extracurricular activities and that meeting someone in person they met only online should be strictly avoided.

Another key finding was that most tweens and teens who were polled maintained that they are conscious of the need for maintaining privacy. However, many unintentionally share details like name, date of birth, photographs etc. This increases the chance of a cybercriminal preying on them.

Children Admit to Cyberbullying

Most children today are aware that social media platforms are being used to troll and bully and they are scared of becoming victims themselves; yet, a large number of those surveyed admitted having bullied someone online by posting something rude or mean about them, exchanging inappropriate language or tagging them in a mean picture.

This calls for serious pondering on the part of the parents in particular and the society as a whole; are we bringing up a generation of rude, vengeful, aggressive children? Cyberbullying indeed calls for serious planning on educating children to become ideal netizens.

Children Could be Inviting Trouble Online

Despite their awareness, only 42% have said they have never done anything risky online. The rest admitted to doing activities including playing video games with strangers, uploading intimate photos and messages, watching porn, bullying someone, purchasing harmful substances or gambling. Parents should ensure that children are made aware that such risky behaviour can cost them their future and have an impact on their parents even.

So What Can You Do?

  • Talk to your children, frequently and openly, about digital threats, hygiene and etiquette. Explain why it is important today to manage one’s digital reputation
  • Monitor and mentor children online – don’t just leave it to the children to work out their problems. Let them know you are there for them if they need support and suggestions
  • Stay updated on all new social media sites and issues related to those. Ask your children about the new sites, their pros and cons and the wisdom of signing up on several sites
  • Be strict about following rules online yourself and guide children to do the same. Appreciate it when children stick to the rules, like not signing up on Facebook before 13
  • Use security tools with parental controls on all Internet-enabled devices to monitor children online and guide them accordingly
  • Ensure your security software is updated and running and talk to your children about cyber safety

I will be participating in a tweet chat by MyCityForKids and McAfee on 29th Oct 2015 to discuss more on the blog topic with the hash tag #TeensTweensTech2015. Join the conversation to learn how to make online platforms safe for you and your loved ones.

Also, follow me on @Cybermum_India to know more on the findings from Teens, Tweens & Technology 2015.

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Is Your App Conspiring to Make Your Private Information Public? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/is-your-app-conspiring-to-make-your-private-information-public/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/is-your-app-conspiring-to-make-your-private-information-public/#respond Tue, 29 Sep 2015 14:21:43 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=45492 Apps! They help us make the most of our time and bring ease in our busy lifestyle with just a few clicks on our smartphone. Everyone has that one app that they just can’t do without. Be it an indispensable communication app, or to hail a cab in the end of an exhaustive party, or […]

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Apps!

They help us make the most of our time and bring ease in our busy lifestyle with just a few clicks on our smartphone. Everyone has that one app that they just can’t do without. Be it an indispensable communication app, or to hail a cab in the end of an exhaustive party, or pay a pending utility bill without standing in a long queue or to locate a restaurant – we all have our favourite.

And yet, there is concern: some of the apps want way too much information, much more than they actually require.

We have a lot of valuable data stored in our phones – our friends’ names and addresses, our photos and videos, our recent online searches, our banking details and more. Would you feel comfortable knowing someone has access to this personal data and may be even misusing it for their benefit? The answer is a definite NO!

But some of the apps that we use on a daily basis do access a lot of our data, round the clock.

Now a couple of questions come to our mind:

  • Why do app developers collect information from our phones (if we took care to read the Terms & Conditions before hitting on “I Agree,” we would know)?
  • Do they really need all that information for the apps to run?

Well, app developers need to access some of the data on the phone for the installation and functioning of the app. For example, if we use an app to find cabs, the app would require our phone number, name and location. A reminder app would need to access our e-mails and planner to search for events and set reminders. Apps also collect our search history to make suggestions for us: help us find friends, look for a holiday destination and improve apps based on our preference and usage.

This access to data becomes a concern when app developers start sharing this information with a third party for purely commercial reasons. Or if the site gets hacked.

When children download apps, (and they do download a lot of apps, right?) they keep checking the agree tabs, to finish the process. This is how they generally proceed:

  • App would like to access your contacts, pics, places -*check the box*
  • App would like to know your location – *check the box*
  • App might require to store your data to offer improved experience – *check the box*
  • App may share your information with third party -*check the box*
  • ‘I have read the terms and conditions and agree’ -*check the box*
  • Confirm – *check the box*

And it’s done!

But children and adults may not realise exactly what data they have allowed the app to access and share with others. Apps can easily collect personal information and some of them maybe sharing the personal information with third parties, while some redirect the user to a different site, which is not the smartest thing to do in the age of phishing! The most common type of information collected by apps include name, address, phone number and photo, audio or video and some apps even tracking the user’s movements via GPS.

So where do developers get the info?

  • From social media accounts
  • From contact, gallery, media
  • From passwords stored on a website, payment gateway, free sites

A valid concern is that if the developers sell the data to a fraudulent third party or if the site gets hacked, this data will become public. Definitely not something we want to experience for ourselves or even for our kids.

So what should one do?

  • Check the app and read reviews carefully before downloading
  • Read the T&Cs carefully, especially the permission that the app wants
  • Ask around – often friends who have used the app can give good tips
  • Don’t jailbreak phones – it makes them more hackable
  • Use a PIN to secure your phone
  • Refrain from storing important passwords/documents on your phone
  • Always uncheck the ‘save my card details’ box when conducting financial transactions
  • Use a comprehensive mobile security solution

Until next time, remain cautious and read the fine print carefully before giving an app access to data on your device.

Remember, prevention is better than cure which holds ground even more when it’s for your own security and privacy!

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Teacher’s Day – Educating Students about Cyber Safety https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/teachers-day-educating-students-about-cyber-safety/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/teachers-day-educating-students-about-cyber-safety/#respond Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:17:16 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=45134 With a bit of mentoring, kids can become good digital citizens. This mentoring will help them stay safe online and empower them to make the most of technology. It is safe to say that gadget addiction can affect the health of a student as well as their academic life. The job of training responsible and […]

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With a bit of mentoring, kids can become good digital citizens. This mentoring will help them stay safe online and empower them to make the most of technology. It is safe to say that gadget addiction can affect the health of a student as well as their academic life. The job of training responsible and safe internet users is thus, not limited to parents alone; schools and community too must collaborate to offer children a holistic environment that promotes academic and social development.

Schools are the second homes for children, where teachers replace parents as knowledge-givers and discipline-enforcers. Children tend to have greater faith in what their teachers tell them than their parents, especially when it comes to new technology. That’s why schools are the best options for imparting cyber safety education. Their contribution is vital in preparing children for the virtual world. Topics like cyber civics, cyber-etiquette, cyber-hygiene and cyber safety can be explained best in a classroom. Unfortunately, most schools offer only a brief overview of cyber safety.

Therefore, in today’s blog post, I intend to touch upon how teachers can guide netizens of the future.

 While these are only general guidelines, here’s how we can look at initiating some discussion topics with them depending on their age.

Discussion topics with Pre-tweens:

  1. The need to ask for permission before using a device
  2. How to close all browser tabs and why it isn’t safe to click on pop-ups (because of virus attacks)
  3. The concept that “Stranger = danger” exists online too
  4. Bedtime is for stories and lullabies and cuddling with parents, so say bye-bye to video games after dinner
  5. Informing parents if someone or some message bothers them online

Remember: This is the right time to start cyber safety training as kids’ interest in online activities is comparatively less. The focus can be on enhancing social skills that will be helpful online too.

Discussion topics with Tweens:

  1. How to create a strong password and its importance
  2. How to determine safe websites and apps. Also why to distrust free offers and lottery wins
  3. Why we should follow age norms and avoid requests online that come in from strangers
  4. Plagiarism: What is online stealing? Why it is wrong to download pirated content?
  5. Creating an e-mail ID and safety measures to be employed to avoid scams, spams and hacks
  6. Why to avoid sharing pics and personal details generally

Remember: At this age, children tend to play games online, watch online videos and movies and create their own e-mail IDs. Hence the focus is on imparting education that helps them do this safely.

Discussion topics with Teens:

  1. Digital hygiene and security, installing and running security software, keeping ID and personal details private and connecting wisely
  2. Digital footprints and consequences, especially its impact on college admissions and recruitment
  3. Digital safety: How to identify a potential threat, like a scam, phishing attack and predators
  4. Digital ethics: Identifying right or wrong practices in cyberspace
  5. Digital addiction: How to control the urge to check messages, answer calls, play games at odd hours and when in company of people; why it is unhealthy to take devices to bed
  6. Perils of hacking: It is important that these tech-savvy generations know that if they share details carelessly online their accounts can get hacked. In addition, if they hack someone’s account, they are in danger of facing legal consequences
  7. How to stand up to cyberbullying and the consequences of cyberbullying

Remember: By this age, children may join hangouts and various other online communities. They might interact with strangers online and share information and experiences. This seems like the right time to reinforce their learning of ethical practice, etiquette, safety and security tools. This Teacher’s Day, it’s my sincere hope that schools and education boards recognise the importance of digital literacy and take steps to include it.

Stay safe online folks!!

A very Happy Teacher’s Day to all great souls who serve the community selflessly by ‘igniting generations of young minds’**

** (My tribute to two of modern India’s, most revered teachers the shining torch bearers of education, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)

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An Aware Child is Safer Online https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/an-aware-child-is-safer-online-3/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/an-aware-child-is-safer-online-3/#respond Sat, 01 Aug 2015 13:00:33 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=44615 A Parent’s Handy Primer on Cyber Vocabulary – Part IV Aaaaaand, we are back! *drum rolls* This week’s topic is not only the continuation of our primer; but also, the last of it! Let us quickly brush up on the topic of discussion – our dated cyber vocabulary. Many of us might not be aware […]

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A Parent’s Handy Primer on Cyber Vocabulary Part IV

Aaaaaand, we are back! *drum rolls*

This week’s topic is not only the continuation of our primer; but also, the last of it!

Let us quickly brush up on the topic of discussion – our dated cyber vocabulary. Many of us might not be aware of the terminologies in the cyber sphere, despite of being familiar with the internet. So, for the benefit of the larger audience, I have classified the terms into four parts in my blogs. This week being the last of it.

Do take a look at the list and comment below for any queries, feedback or suggestions that you may have.

  1. Adware:

Software that automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer. This ranges from banners to annoying pop-ups. These ads usually latch onto free software and get downloaded without the user’s awareness or permission.

Cyber Safety Tips:

  • Don’t allow adware to run in the background – It tends to collect information about your Internet surfing habits, preferences, computer systems, etc.
  • Remove any (adware), which is already in the device – Using an updated anti-malware solution. Keep in mind that a freely downloadable antivirus might itself be a carrier of adware
  1. Pop-ups: A new window that suddenly appears on your computer screen is referred to as a pop-up window

Cyber Safety Tip:

  • Disable pop-ups – That way you will not be worried about your child inadvertently being directed to a spurious site or accidentally downloading malware after clicking on the link in the pop-up
  1. P2P networking: This refers to a peer-to-peer system of file sharing in which any computer on the network can see any other computer on the network. This process usually involves illegal sharing and the risk of virus infection for devices

Cyber Safety Tips:

  • Only use legal file-sharing services and be alert when installing – Some of these torrent files can contain .exe files embedded within games or pirated software
  • Talk, teach and guide your children to use the right media – This will help avoid risks of being infected with programs designed to remove or circumvent copy protection as they are particularly dangerous

And, that marks the end to our basic primer!

I hope you received a good amount of knowledge on important terms which all of us need to be aware of, to guide our families and even friends. Remember to share this blog with your friends and family as it gives them the chance to get insights on how to be protected online.

As always, Stay safe, stay happy!

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An Aware Child is Safer Online https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/an-aware-child-is-safer-online/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/an-aware-child-is-safer-online/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:06:10 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=44212 A Parent’s Handy Primer on Cyber Vocabulary – Part II Welcome back to our primer! As you may recall, our previous blog focused on cyber vocabulary for the benefit of Internet users. For many of you, these terms may already ring a bell, but we are explaining it to clarify any doubts that may cross […]

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A Parent’s Handy Primer on Cyber Vocabulary – Part II

Welcome back to our primer!

As you may recall, our previous blog focused on cyber vocabulary for the benefit of Internet users. For many of you, these terms may already ring a bell, but we are explaining it to clarify any doubts that may cross your minds. These terms will not only brief you about their meaning, and the accompanying safety tips will enhance your user experience. We will be sharing four new terminologies once in every 15 days for the next two months and here are this week’s contribution.

Do take a look at the list and comment below for any queries you may have. Here we go with the rest of the terms:

  1. Cookie:

A message from a web server or website, sent to and stored by your browser on your computer. Cookies are used for authenticating, tracking, and maintaining specific information from the user, such as user preferences

Cyber Safety Tip:

  • Use your browser security technology to block ads and third-party cookies because:
  • Cookies can become harmful if they share your personal data with a third-party without your consent
  • Criminals can also use them to send spyware to your system, and advertisers can also track you

 

  1. Plug-in:

An application built into or added to a browser to enable it to interact with a special file type like a movie file, sound file, Word document etc. Example: Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime Player

Cyber Safety Tip:

  • Check for legitimacy of the publisher before downloading and applying plug-ins as it is possible they can infect your system with malware that steals personal information

 

  1. Bot:

Short for “robot,” it is a computer that has been infected with malicious software without the user’s knowledge, has been infected by malware to turn your computer into a zombie which can then be operated remotely.

Cyber Safety Tip:

  • Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders. Make sure you verify every attachment to avoid uninvited virus/malware from infecting your device
  • Ignore ads, pop-ups and messages that promise huge wins and prizes as such information is most likely to be spam
  • Install reputed security software on all devices – the kind that automatically updates itself. In this way, your electronic device stays protected round the clock
  • Avoid opening .exe files. It helps ensure your device is safe, protected and far from virus/malware attacks

4. Firewall:

A firewall is like a protective wall between your computer and the Internet. It protects your computer from unauthorized access. It identifies intrusion and blocks suspicious content

Cyber Safety Tip:

  • Keep your Firewall turned on at all times.
  • Remember to scan external devices like pen drives, CDs etc. before use. This helps in protecting your device from harmful virus attacks

Watch this space for more key terms as we continue with this theme for the next blog as well. I hope the above list helped in getting clarity on a few terms used in the virtual world. Remember to share this blog with your peers to help them stay protected online.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Importance of Renewing Your Security Software on a Regular Basis – Part II https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/importance-of-renewing-your-security-software-on-a-regular-basis-part-ii/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/importance-of-renewing-your-security-software-on-a-regular-basis-part-ii/#respond Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:00:32 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=42601 Let’s start by refreshing all that we discovered in my previous blog, where I was telling Reena about harmful malware and the necessity to install a comprehensive security solution. A computer virus is a code that is designed to enter a computer and affect its functioning. It’s a program that can replicates itself, causing the […]

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Let’s start by refreshing all that we discovered in my previous blog, where I was telling Reena about harmful malware and the necessity to install a comprehensive security solution.

A computer virus is a code that is designed to enter a computer and affect its functioning. It’s a program that can replicates itself, causing the computer to become a zombie, spreading virus to other systems and allowing cyber crooks to access personal data stored on the device or even corrupt the system.

With the prolific use of smartphones and tabs, hackers and cyber crooks are designing programs targeting these devices.

So, if a computer, tab or smartphone is unprotected, there is a high chance for the device to get infected. It is therefore necessary to keep the “auto update” feature ON.

Today there are several security softwares available in the market and many vendors also offer them free online. There are two important things to remember in this context:

  1. Free antivirus software usually offer a very basic level of protection and may not be capable of identifying and isolating all kinds of viruses
  2. These solutions may not offer regular updates to protect your device against new malware

On the other hand, comprehensive security software offer a whole array of services, including blocking of spams and pop-ups, removal of spyware, detection of viruses, tracking lost devices, remote removal of data, password management, website advisor, parental controls etc.

You can compare your security software to a defence shield- helping to protect your gadgets from cybercriminals, offering 24/7 protection to the device by preventing the entry of malware. It scans your mails and programs, checks websites you want to visit, and examines content of attachments or links to determine safety quotient. With an updated security solution on your device, you will be in safe hands for it will be like your knight in armour- clearing the way for you to proceed safely, whenever you go online.

Remember, you may miss out the signs of a malware but your security software likely will not.

Now I am sure you have realized that your security solution is quite like those flu shots we take to keep the flu virus at bay. If you don’t have any security solution running on your devices, do get one today. And preferably opt for a comprehensive solution.

If you have multiple devices at home, go for a product that offers cross-device protection,  so that just one purchase will be enough to protect all your devices, including desktop, laptop, tab and smartphone. The biggest advantage is time and cost saving. Moreover, you don’t have to set parental controls separately for all devices; you can manage it all from one place.

Before you install a new security software, you will have to uninstall any existing one else your device’s performance will suffer.

Dear readers, keep this in mind. Security software is not ornamental; it serves a very important purpose. It keeps your devices and your online involvement safe. While on the subject, when your OS provider wants to install updates, don’t postpone that either. Safety always comes first.

Stay safe online folks!!

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What Leads a Child to Connect with Strangers Online? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/what-leads-a-child-to-connect-with-strangers-online/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/what-leads-a-child-to-connect-with-strangers-online/#respond Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:00:11 +0000 https://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=42370 At a recent ladies’ get-together, discussion about the murky world of online grooming, cyber stalking, and identity thieves found its way to our lunch table. Everyone had a story to relate about Facebook friends turning kidnappers, handsome teens in chatrooms turning out to be adult men, children revealing personal details while playing online games and […]

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At a recent ladies’ get-together, discussion about the murky world of online grooming, cyber stalking, and identity thieves found its way to our lunch table. Everyone had a story to relate about Facebook friends turning kidnappers, handsome teens in chatrooms turning out to be adult men, children revealing personal details while playing online games and so on.

The women had different ideas about why children have no qualms about talking to strangers online and why parents remain in the dark about this behaviour.

This discussion led me to do some deep-thinking on this very pertinent, and in today’s context, very important issue. The online world is exciting no doubt, and one can make many more friends here than in the real world, but there is also the associated risk of stranger-danger. Children know it and they consciously avoid strangers who try to befriend them in the mall or fairground but show little of the prudence online.

Why do children befriend, trust and follow strangers online?

The obvious reasons that pop right out are:

  • Children are curious by nature and are always on the lookout for excitement
  • Shy, lonely and socially uncomfortable children may find it easier to connect and chat online than face-to-face
  • Peer influence leads children to get interested in online networking
  • Despite being aware of cyber bullies, stalkers and groomers; children ignore these threats due to the lack foresight and experience
  • Those from disturbed families seek affection and company of online friends
  • Most kids react without thinking things through. They find it difficult to resist friendship invitations from people they find fascinating
  • Children with low self-esteem often look to online communities for acceptance
  • Overly critical and strict parenting style is also another major reason
  • Teens like to connect with other teens of the same/opposite sex

What can go wrong if children spend excessive time on social media platforms?

  • They will lose the desire for real life socializing
  • It will affect their ability to initiate and carry-on interpersonal communication
  • They will become less tolerant and remote in their attitude towards people
  • They might eveal personal information to data thieves
  • They may become targets for pedophiles or cyberbullies
  • They can be exposed to inappropriate content and language
  • They can initiate or indulge in cyberbullying themselves

Chances are high that your child is a rational, happy, confident person, secure in your love and appreciation. As I mentioned earlier, such children also chat with strangers, but it is with the intention of making new friends, something like the penpals of our time. They don’t look for appreciation or love or a confidante – they have someone at home for that. Clear instructions on appropriate online behaviour, cyber safety measures and monitoring are enough to keep them safe. However, it is advisable not to allow children to sign up on chat sites that have no age restrictions. Also, it pays to do a thorough check up of all the messaging sites the children are on – not all are safe. I had named quite a few in a previous blog.

Should we be worried about this trend of ignoring the stranger-danger threat online? I think so, especially when children don’t tell their parents about these friends and go out to meet them in person. The McAfee Tween Teen Technology Report 2014 revealed that 66% of the respondents felt more accepted online, while 71% admitted to interacting with strangers online. These are serious stats.

And if that does not offer enough reason to give your child the cyber safety talk, just read this article on the creation of a fake profile of a girl by Terre Des Hommes, a children’s rights organization,  to investigate online predators and its astounding findings.

Often parents complain, “My child does not listen to me, especially when it comes to online activities.”

My contention is that children WILL listen to parents; they are conditioned to do so. They also accept that parents are better equipped to judge a person’s nature and intention than themselves. You have to be clear, firm and precise in your message to them. This requires for you to be aware of the related dangers. Be loving, but set rules. Also, set penalties for breaking rules. You can begin with these three basic rules for tweens and teens going online:

RULE NO. 1: No interacting with strangers online, without the consent of parents

RULE NO. 2: No going out, to meet online friends in person, whether alone or with friends

RULE NO. 3: No sharing of name, address, phone no, pic, videos with anyone online

Tweens and teens require a lot of emotional support; ensure they get it all at home. A relationship based on trust, love and frank communication will ensure children to confide and share their online issues with you. Be there for them. Be cyber aware for them. And teach them to Stop.Think.Connect!

Stay safe online folks!

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Youth & Social Media https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/youth-social-media/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/youth-social-media/#respond Wed, 03 Dec 2014 21:50:38 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=39895 The digital world is here to stay. The youth are growing up with and making internet technologies, such as social networking sites, an integral part of their lives. They want to know; share and be heard. They can connect with people who appeal to them; share views and photos instantly; sound out ideas in public; […]

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The digital world is here to stay. The youth are growing up with and making internet technologies, such as social networking sites, an integral part of their lives. They want to know; share and be heard. They can connect with people who appeal to them; share views and photos instantly; sound out ideas in public; give vent to their emotions; and MOST important of all, feel accepted and get peer approval.

McAfee’s latest Tweens, Teens & Technology 2014 report reveals large participation (70%) of Indian youth on social media. Facebook still rules the roost but the youth are moving away gradually towards other platforms that offer new experiences. Another salient finding was that despite age restrictions, more tweens access networking sites than their teen counterparts.

But social media is not all hunky-dory and fun. It involves certain risks and its necessary that the youth are made aware of these before they sign up, including:

  • Cyberbullying: 36% youth have faced or witnessed cyberbullying
  • Addiction: Children are becoming addicted to various social media platforms and experience mood swings based on responses and ‘likes’
  • ID theft, hacking and scams: Often people tick boxes in a hurry without even reading T&Cs or accept friendship requests just to be more ‘popular’
  • Grooming: Paedophiles groom kids online using social media. Youth with low self-esteem face maximum risks as they look for approval online
  • Loss of privacy: Nothing is 100% safe online. So, loginID and passwords, photos and posts can be shared with the public by unscrupulous people

Admittedly, parents are mostly digital immigrants but still they are best guides for their child.Just like they wouldn’t let children go for a sleepover without investigating the household, similarly they should study the online media world first, discuss the pros and cons with the children and then allow them to sign up. However, McAfee survey reveals that only 46% youth’s parents have had a conversation with them about online safety, while 52% said their parents simply don’t care.

Sadly, even the most tech-savvy parents often forget that personal devices also need to be secured. Advanced security software offering parental controls is a necessary protection till children gain emotional and intellectual maturity.

By far, the most important online safety tip to give a kid is: STOP, THINK & CONNECT

Stop before you reply, retweet, like or share a post. Think is it true? Can it flare tension, cause negativity? And Connect only when optimistic that the post is safe to send.

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Mobile Messaging And Kids: How Aware Are Parents? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/mobile-messaging-kids-aware-parents/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/mobile-messaging-kids-aware-parents/#respond Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:01:45 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=37462 Messaging apps are the in thing today. Right from a collegian to the 40-something mother of two; from the local electrician trying to increase client base to the highly popular movie actor; everyone is part of some or the other ‘chat group’. Naturally then can children be far behind? They are the first infact to […]

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Messaging apps are the in thing today. Right from a collegian to the 40-something mother of two; from the local electrician trying to increase client base to the highly popular movie actor; everyone is part of some or the other ‘chat group’. Naturally then can children be far behind? They are the first infact to discover and explore new apps.

Now the thing with children is that they mainly want to connect, share and fraternize with peer groups. But sometimes, their curiosity can lead them astray. Children also assume what they share online anonymously remains secret and if they post anonymously; their identity will not be discovered. In addition, many have absolutely no idea how fast content can go viral online and what repercussions an innocent statement or pic can have. They only experiment and explore – they do not have long term vision.

But parents have. They also have the understanding born of age and experience. So they are the best people to guide children online and ensure they use these apps safely.

Let’s take a quick peek at some of the most popular messaging apps today.

WhatsApp is currently the undisputed global leader in messaging, exceeding a user count of 350 million by 2013-end, of which nearly 30 million are from India!

Line has also recorded a user base that exceeded 30 million globally by 2013-end. Line has one main advantage over WhatsApp, and that’s the ability to play games and do video chats.

Viber has over 200 million global users, with Indian users expected to reach nearly 30 million by 2014-end. Its USP is that it offers features like ‘Push to Talk’ and message forwarding to any group or contact, new conversation backgrounds and group conversations with upto 100 participants!

WeChat also allows users to make voice/video calls, besides the usual group chat. Its USP is its ‘discovery feature’ that enables users to discover and connect with new people.

Hike is a free Indian messaging app that was introduced in 201 but had not picked up much speed. However, now we note a spurt in ads on Hike which specifically target young users. The count of users is also on the rise.

Besides this, there are BBM (Which Blackberry is now offering on Android phones too), Apple’s Facetime, Facebook messenger, Google chat & Yahoo messenger.

There are also some messaging apps that are not so well known among the older crowd, but very popular with the younger users. These include Kik, SnapChat, Ask.fm, Yik Yak, Whisper, Tumblr and Vine among others. Parents are mostly in the dark about these and assume that they are similar to WhatsApp which they themselves use and so safe. But user policies differ and it is in your interest to know details about them – For your kids.

Now what should you be aware of as a parent?

  • Age limit: There is an age limit for most sites. For eg, WhatsApp requires users to be 16 years old or older, while Kik calls for a minimum age of 17.
  • Sharing: Posts and pics can be saved and shared via mobile phones. Even those that disappear after a set time
  • Content: The anonymity offered by some apps lead to people sharing obscene content or being outright rude and nasty
  • User authenticity: Some apps don’t even require a phone number to connect.So fake IDs can be created and used to lure unsuspecting victims
  • Unsavory content: Some apps do not monitor content, hence the content shared is often inappropriate in nature
  • Access to post: There are apps that let users track fellow users using GPS tracking.
  • Anonymity: Though one can post anonymously on some apps, over time they are likely to reveal personal details that can help reveal their identity

It goes without saying that app developers do not encourage posting and sharing of inappropriate content or violence. Rather, it’s the users who take advantage of these to share unsavoury content. These therefore are the favorite playground for cyberbullies, stalkers and paedophiles.

Hence, it’s important that parents are aware of these apps, their pros and cons as well as monitor their children’s use of these. While the use of these apps can be enriching and rewarding social experiences, especially for those shy, nervous children, they have their drawbacks too.

What should a parent do?

Abiding strictly by the age limit is the first step. In addition, it helps if parents have continuous and open conversations regarding connecting with strangers and responsible posting with their children. Also set limits on cellphone usage time, monthly expense and ban night time use. You may also instruct children to keep GPS turned off and not upload personal photos on messaging profiles. Preteens and teens are really not prepared to handle bullies, paedophiles, and cybercrooks and so some amount of parental supervision and intervention is necessary.

And as always, do install and use McAfee MobileSecurity on all your kids’ cellphones and tabs and teach them the STOP.THINK. CONNECT mantra.

Big thanks due, to the following sources for data and facts shared in this blog:

Lighthouse Insights

INDIA TV

Checkup Daily

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The Golden Rule Of The Internet- Tips To Help You Train Your Kids To Become Good Netizens https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/golden-rule-internet-tips-help-train-kids-become-good-netizens/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/golden-rule-internet-tips-help-train-kids-become-good-netizens/#respond Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:41:38 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=36993 There are rules and then there are rules for kids. A set of rules for school, another defined set at games, and a complete set of unwritten rules at home. But there is one field that our kids traverse almost daily, spending hours there at their own free will, mostly unsupervised—the cyber world. Yet few […]

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There are rules and then there are rules for kids. A set of rules for school, another defined set at games, and a complete set of unwritten rules at home. But there is one field that our kids traverse almost daily, spending hours there at their own free will, mostly unsupervised—the cyber world. Yet few of us know or practice rules that guide online behavior. But then it’s not really our fault for we ourselves are so new to it! We are what are called digital immigrants- new to the cyber world, newly discovering the immense potential, and also the threats, of the Internet. So we are not really knowledgeable enough to guide our kids or set rules for them.

So does that mean we raise our hands in desperation, and let our children find their own way on the net? Let them fare blindly without knowing how to behave, communicate and conduct oneself online, and thus make errors, get into trouble, and be misunderstood?

There is a simple solution. Extend your life skill lessons and values that you impart to your kids to cover the virtual world too. Though kids today are very impudent, believing they know everything that there is to know; parents still have the advantage of age and experience over them. That’s why you parents are so important in your child’s life. You are the right people who can teach them how to surf safely. That’s why Joanna Jullien advises you must position yourself as “Chief Network Advisor.”

The virtual world is very much like the real world and so many real world behavioral rules apply here too. The first and foremost being that famous Biblical principle:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

We do teach our children to practice

(a) Politeness

(b) Mindfulness

(c) Tolerance

(d) Decency

(e) Honesty

Don’t we? Why not do the same for all online activities?

I. Politeness:

In all their communications, comments and shares, children should be attentive to the fact that they don’t appear rude, boorish, insensitive or sly. It does well to remember, what’s written and shared online remains there forever. It can cause future embarrassments. Take care of salutations and language and do respond on time.

II. Mindfulness:

Children should be taught early to be mindful of their environment, their words and actions. That way they can avoid many problems. Online, one must be extra careful. When dashing off a mail, slow down and recheck. Is it addressed to the right recipient/s including CC/BCC; the salutation and subject lines are correct and there are no spelling errors.

Or when sharing content, one must first verify the facts before sharing. Many careless shares have led to ugly social media spats, political unrest, resignations of people in high places and end of relationships.

Similarly, when commenting on posts or uploading pictures, think hard before you click ‘post’. Is it necessary? Relevant? True? Embarrassing or humiliating to anyone? Incendiary in content? A virus?

Right place to remind you of the magic mantra I had earlier shared, “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.”

III. Tolerance:

Portia had said “The quality of mercy is not strained…” It’s better to be a little less aggressive and a little more understanding. Teach kids to think before replying or sharing online. Does this sound true or is it motivated? What can the possible outcomes of a reply be? Let them steer clear of any communication that harbor on bullying, abusing or spreading canards. Sometimes, content is misinterpreted and quarrels occur, just like in real life. Words are tools that can either be used as swords to wound or balm to soothe. Teach kids to communicate clearly and specifically and desist from posting comments when angry

IV. Decency:

Every person should expect to be treated decently and be decent in return. This is the basic right of every human being. It does well to remember that today there are several cyber laws that punish indecent actions online. Unfortunately, the online world is filled with stuff that is not suitable for an underage child’s eyes. In addition, some people think nothing of sharing slang/inappropriate language or adult content when on social media. There are chatrooms where children can become victims of indecent behavior. So a child must learn online etiquette and be encouraged to turn to a parent for advice when faced with indecent or inappropriate content. And of course bullying; children should be taught to expect decency always and therefore not accept any kind of bullying.

V. Honesty:

Be truthful. That is an important value lesson to give to a child. Speak the truth and post only what you are sure is the truth. It does well to remember that any contortion or omission of truth is a lie. This includes violation of piracy, plagiarizing and or unauthorized downloading and sharing of content. Such action may lead to trouble in a future time, if not in the present. Let kids know that if they are not sure of the source or the content, they must add a disclaimer to their post. Teach them the difference between free and copyrighted material as well as the need for taking responsibility for what they share online.

If you do this much, you can be sure that your child will have a wonderfully rich and satisfying experience online, successfully avoiding the pitfalls on the way.

And here’s how you can doubly ensure children stay safe online. By installing McAfee Total Protection on all internet-enabled devices you have and turn on parental controls. That way, you will be informed remotely if your children connect with strangers or use inappropriate language. Along with a host of other features all aimed at keeping your precious ones, your devices and your data safe. Check here to know more.

Here’s wishing your kids a happy cyberlife! Cheerios.

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Stay Connected Safely When Using Free Wi-Fi in Airports, Malls, Public Areas https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/stay-connected-safely-using-free-wi-fi-airports-malls-public-areas/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/stay-connected-safely-using-free-wi-fi-airports-malls-public-areas/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 18:39:12 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=36281 I am just back from my summer hols, and feeling absolutely refreshed! Holidays are so necessary to recharge you and give you the strength and mindset to face another year of slog and routine! More and more people are realizing this fact and making time to visit new places with family and friends. Everywhere I […]

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I am just back from my summer hols, and feeling absolutely refreshed! Holidays are so necessary to recharge you and give you the strength and mindset to face another year of slog and routine! More and more people are realizing this fact and making time to visit new places with family and friends. Everywhere I went there were a gaggle of tourists, enjoying the sights and sounds, clicking photos, chattering loudly and pouring over their phones/tabs to check if the picture came out well. This continued at airports too!!

As for me, I like to spend the time between security check and boarding making full use of the free Wifi at airports. I answer my mail, check my social media accounts and pen down memos to self. But what I do most is create photo albums to share later through Picasa.

I was amused to find that most people around me were doing the same. Adult and child alike seemed to be absorbed in their smartphones or tablets. While children were busy checking out videos and social media, adults seemed to be using to time to answer mails & complete pending jobs. I paid attention to what people around me were doing with their devices.

This is what I noted:

  • Most families carry individual devices for each member
  • Kids help out parents to log into the airport WiFi
  • Many don’t know there were security software available for mobiles and tablets too (“Is there one?” asked quite a few)
  • There was an underlying assumption that WiFi in airports must be secure
  • Children use Bluetooth to share music & picture files with people in their group, which means file-sharing is turned on

Now I am worried. On one hand, it’s heartening to find that kids are more aware than their parents about secure environment and the Do’s and Don’ts of Internet usage. On the other, they tend to forget the rules and happily turn on file-sharing in an unsecured environment. Besides photograph and music, their smartphones, or the laptop or tabs of their parents’, would have other stored files as well. Further, a gentleman sitting next to me was checking his trading account and transferring money to his account from his bank. I tried shoulder-surfing and succeeded (He had given me an once-over and deduced I was harmless). Evidently, he was not aware of “Man in the Middle” attack.

Don’t trust that which comes free

Unsecured WiFis are akin to leaving your home unlocked with doors and windows wide open. Strangers can easily see what’s going on; even take what they want without your knowledge. Your phone and laptop have a lot of information stored, which can reveal a lot about you. These include your contact lists; personal and official e-mails; photos; social media accounts; bank statements etc. No way would you like these to fall in wrong hands.

As usual, there are certain rules to follow to ensure you can make full use of public WiFi without your security being compromised.

Tips For Safe Surfing At Airports, Malls, Cafes:

  • The number one option is always, check for availability of secured WiFi options, even if it costs a few bucks extra. You will need to use a password to access secured WiFi. But if you do have to use an open WiFi, check each account and immediately log out of it. Don’t keep too many tabs open at the same time. Do not click on the “remember password” option either.
  • Next, check that you have actually logged on to an authentic free WiFi. Check network name
  • Be wary of the “Man in The Middle Attack”. This attack refers to stealing of data midair. Therefore, use only those websites that start with “https” in the address-bar.
  • If your browser or security software warns you that the site you are entering has malware or is not secure (my McAfee Site Advisor is a boon that way), better not proceed
  • As far as possible, avoid conducting any financial transactions or banking activities.
  • Also, avoid sending e-mails containing sensitive information that’s not encrypted
  • Turn off Bluetooth, geo-tagging and file-sharing services on your phones, laptops and tablets.
  • Ensure you device doesn’t automatically connect to Wi-Fi hot spots. Enable manual operations
  • As soon as you are done, turn off your wireless connection.
  • This is something we all know but errors do occur. Do not leave your device unattended, even when you go to fetch that coffee or throw a paper in the bin. Many leave their devices at charging ports and take calls/stroll around. Not a wise thing to do
  • You do not realize this but your security software is a blessing when using a public WiFi. It identifies malware, probable virus source, and presence of hackers. So I highly recommend you use advanced security on ALL devices. You can blindly depend on products like McAfee Total Protection and McAfee Mobile Security.

I sincerely hope you keep these points in mind when you log on to a free WiFi the next time you travel. After all, you have not only to protect your devices and data but also set an example of safety that your children will copy and practice. They will also consider you a tech-whizz with whom they can discuss their net-related problems. Now isn’t that a big gain?

Suggested reading:

Tech Talker gives a very simple but clear example to explain the man in the middle attack.

Stay safe, stay happy!

 

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This Valentine’s Day, Don’t Just Think About “Lip lock” But Give “Data Lock” A Thought Too https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/this-valentines-day-dont-just-think-about-lip-lock-but-give-data-lock-a-thought-too-2/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/this-valentines-day-dont-just-think-about-lip-lock-but-give-data-lock-a-thought-too-2/#respond Wed, 13 Feb 2013 19:44:28 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=22067 This Valentine’s Day, Don’t Just Think About “Lip lock” But Give “Data Lock” A Thought Too Love is in the air, for Valentine’s Day is near… And why just Valentine’s Day? There are a series of “Days” devoted to lovers, viz. Rose day, Propose Day and Chocolate Day!! So how have Indians responded to this […]

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This Valentine’s Day, Don’t Just Think About “Lip lock” But Give “Data Lock” A Thought Too

Love is in the air, for Valentine’s Day is near… And why just Valentine’s Day? There are a series of “Days” devoted to lovers, viz. Rose day, Propose Day and Chocolate Day!! So how have Indians responded to this global fad? How do they handle their love life online? What effects do new relationships and, God forbid, bitter break-ups have on their online behaviour?

To find out more about the triangular dynamics among Love, relationships and Technology, McAfee commissioned a survey in India to study the pitfalls of sharing personal data in relationships. The survey findings reveal the low privacy levels maintained by those who form relationships and the one serious danger of a breakup- the leak of privacy online.

Let me share some interesting findings from the McAfee study:

  • Nearly 63% Indians share their Bank Account Details and 47% share their Passwords with their partners
  • 77% of adults have had their personal content leaked to others without their permission
  • 3 in 10 ex-partners have threatened that they would expose risqué photos of their ex online
  • 53% Indians still plan to send sexy or romantic photos to their partners via email, text and social media on Valentine’s Day

LRT_Infographic

 

How did the partners obtain each others’ online details? Simple, when people are in love they do trust each other completely. And they should, for trust is the basis of a strong relationship. However, trust is build up over time and some people are naturally curious and pry into other’s affairs. This can have serious repercussions.

There are many reasons why your partner may take a sneak peak into your accounts – it may be sheer curiosity but it may also be due to suspicion, malice or intent to harm. The survey reveals that respondents check their partner’s social media pages, bank accounts and even emails and text messages! Not only that, some continue to check their exes Facebook account.

Now why do jilted lovers leak details/spited their ex online? Here are some of the reasons cited:

  • 38% said because they were lied to
  • 48% did so because they were cheated
  • 41% cited break-up
  • 23% reacted thus as their exes had called off the wedding
  • 15% stated that their action was in response to their partner’s posting pics with someone else

One good thing noted was that most Indians are tech-savvy and know well to protect their devices. 86% protect their smartphones with a password, while 78% regularly back up or save the content on their smartphones. Moreover, almost all respondents said that they regularly delete any personal or intimate text messages emails and photos regularly.

A few safety tips to ensure your online safety include:

1.      Keep a lock on your data: password protect important documents, smartphones
2.      Do not share bank/e-mail/social networking site login details at the first flush of love. Give time for trust to grow
3.      Delete all sensitive/embarrassing contents on your cellphone/mails regularly
4.      Change all passwords and hint questions immediately after a breakup

 

I don’t think it’s a good idea to befriend your ex on your social media account. Maintain a cordial relation if you want to, but keep your privacy. That’s safer for both your dignity and data.

You can visit the following sites for more information: 

Happy Valentine’s Day folks!

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Internet Safety Resolutions for 2013 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/internet-safety-resolutions-for-2013/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/internet-safety-resolutions-for-2013/#respond Thu, 10 Jan 2013 17:39:54 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=21149 My daughter loves forming New Year resolutions! Every January 01, she diligently pens down her resolutions (always interesting ones!) on a pretty piece of paper, decorates it beautifully and then tacks it over her study with coloured tapes.  It helps her to keep things in perspective for the year, she says. Sonny Boy of course […]

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My daughter loves forming New Year resolutions! Every January 01, she diligently pens down her resolutions (always interesting ones!) on a pretty piece of paper, decorates it beautifully and then tacks it over her study with coloured tapes.  It helps her to keep things in perspective for the year, she says.

Sonny Boy of course keeps miles away from publicly displaying his resolutions. I have this nagging feeling that if I forced him to make one, it would most probably turn out to be “I must increase my score in some MMOG”!

Well, this gave Cybermum a bright idea. Things needed to be kept in perspective where the computer, smartphones and gaming devices are concerned as well. Why not make the kids slog it out over the Internet habits they should adopt in 2013 and the ones they should try and change/discard? It would help them to think, really think hard, about their online habits and take independent decisions, sans parental orders arousing rebellion in their hearts.

I was charged up – this had to go into action immediately! So armed with a paper and a set of sketch pens, I approached the duo and explained what I wanted.

What? Come on Mom, I am a teen!” wailed Sonny Boy.

That should make it that much easier for you to decide what’s good and what’s unsafe on the net,” I replied placidly. Being placid is the only way, you see, to handle the angry teens when you want them to do something they don’t want to do. Arguing never gets you anywhere.

Daughter did the eye-rolling and grumbling but boy was I adamant! So finally they sat down to it, and after some time I could hear them seriously discussing and arguing over what’s safe and what’s not!

Here is their internet safety list for 2013:

Things not to do:

1.       Never to participate in the surveys that promise gifts galore or click on the flashing message that declares them to be the winner of an Internet lottery.

2.       Not accept friendship requests from little known friends of friend and ignore friend requests from strangers

3.       Never tag anyone in pics they post without prior permission

4.       Never to get involved in arguments, bullying and gossiping on a public forum

5.       Not turn on Wi-Fi on their phones in public spots

Things to do:

1.       Always run the computer/laptop with a trusted security software like McAfee

2.       Cut down on the time spent on social networking and playing games online

3.       Use Facebook more to interact with cousins and relatives

4.       Download only verified apps on phones

5.       Report spams and bullies

Interesting, isn’t it? There could have been many more but I didn’t press. I was happy they thought up these many, the effect of our numerous talks on this subject 😉

Why don’t you try this at your home? See what safety tips the kids have picked up from you? It would be both satisfying and an engaging experience. You can join them too.

Happy surfing in 2013 folks – stay safe online!

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Is Your SNS Addiction Getting Out of Hand? – All Names Aren’t Cool https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/is-your-sns-addiction-getting-out-of-hand-all-names-arent-cool/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/is-your-sns-addiction-getting-out-of-hand-all-names-arent-cool/#respond Thu, 10 Jan 2013 17:38:19 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=21146 The news that went viral on social networking sites last week made me smile and shake my head and say, “Oh dear, oh dear”, in a real Miss Marple fashion. The Internet community was agog with the news of a newborn being named Hashtag! Nothing extraordinary perhaps, given the penchant among modern parents for bestowing […]

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The news that went viral on social networking sites last week made me smile and shake my head and say, “Oh dear, oh dear”, in a real Miss Marple fashion. The Internet community was agog with the news of a newborn being named Hashtag! Nothing extraordinary perhaps, given the penchant among modern parents for bestowing unique names, but it surely makes it evident that the Mother is a Twitter addict. Other Internet-induced names that kids have been christened with include “Facebook“and “Like“. I am waiting for names like “Subscribe”, “Follow”, and “You-Tube”.

Parents have the right to choose unique names for their kids, names that reflect their love and liking, and I don’t argue that. But parents also need to come out of their new-found ecstasy and give a good thought to the future consequences of having such names. The names must not become a burden that the kids would want to get rid off at the earliest.

As Cybermum, my concern is with two issues here.

The Mother: With the fast growing use of technology in every sphere of life and the rise in the use of smartphones among kids, it is but a given that there will evolve more online communities and children will join such platforms at even earlier ages than the current 13. So if the Mother herself is a self-declared Twitter or Facebook or G+ addict, can she really control her child on social networking platforms or say a Big “No” to the child? A parent’s behaviour gives the kids arsenal to defeat them in parent-child tussles. Take for example an imaginary kid named “Status”, who would one day surely tell her Mom, “Well! I am from Facebook, aren’t I, so I have every right to go back to my origin”, or the like.

How can a Mother caution her child against something she herself so obviously is addicted to?

The Child: It does well to revisit one’s childhood memories and recall how kids tease those with funny names. Just think of you and your friends in junior and middle school. Did you never tease someone? What was it about- was it for a funny name, behavioural problem, dressing sense? Had you ever been teased? How did it feel to be mocked and bullied? Do you want to subject your child to the same humiliation?

Kids can be quite cruel at times in their words and actions and this can have a negative consequence on the bullied child. A weird name will be like an open invitation to taunt and tease and torture from Day 1. Your kid might be able to take it for a while, even retort back if strong in character, but what if it continues and the child feels lonely, bullied, embarrassed? What if the child loses self-confidence and goes into depression or becomes a rebel and hates you for being the cause of the torture?

Would you like your action to lead to bullying of your child?

So go ahead. Have a lovely time looking for a unique name for your child – Google, ask your friends, take your parents’ advice. But make it a name your child will be proud of, a name your child will rejoice in.

And while on the net, remember to play safe. Use good security software and teach your kids by example.

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Secret Lives of Indian Teens- A McAfee Survey https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/secret-lives-of-indian-teens-a-mcafee-survey/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/secret-lives-of-indian-teens-a-mcafee-survey/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2012 06:55:19 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=20649 “So where’s your daughter?” “Oh, she is in her room, on the net,” replied the indulgent Mother. “These kids have to share everything with their friends immediately. She wants to share the news about our imminent trip abroad.” “Wow! That is good news indeed! But hope she is careful when she is sharing such news […]

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So where’s your daughter?”

Oh, she is in her room, on the net,” replied the indulgent Mother. “These kids have to share everything with their friends immediately. She wants to share the news about our imminent trip abroad.”

Wow! That is good news indeed! But hope she is careful when she is sharing such news online with everyone. Do you know all her online friends?”

“Err not all of them…”

Is she only on Facebook, or does she network on MySpace, Google+ or Orkut too?”

“Not sure…”

“Not sure?!!??”

Alright, alright don’t panic. There are many sailing in the same boat —parents like you who are very protective of their kids, share a wonderful rapport with them and enjoy their confidence and yet are not aware of all the aspects of their teens’ cyber life. Many are also overwhelmed by technology and hence can only pray for the safety of their kids online. These and other interesting facts were revealed in the new McAfee commissioned survey titled ‘Secret Lives of Indian Teens

Here I will share some of the statistics I find interesting:

  • The surveyed Indian teens spend 86% of their free time on Facebook
  • 45% of surveyed teens are now using their smart phones for internet access
  • 97% have a social networking account, the average account opening age being 13

If you just focus on the words highlighted, you will find that smartphones are the gadgets of choice, while even preteens are on Facebook in India. Clearly, the children have lied to sign up. I wonder if this was done with or without parental consent. In both cases, both parents and kids need to review their values and rules.

The survey covered teens across 7 Indian metros and the poll included an equal number of parents (but not of those surveyed) from these same cities who had teens at home.

The findings were an eye-opener and I will just compare two sets of responses from parents and teens to highlight the need for parental awareness and guidance:

  • 79% of polled parents trust their teens to not access age-inappropriate online content
  • 70% believe that their teens will tell them everything they do online

Now just compare the above responses with those of the teens:

  • 47% polled teens have seen sexual content online
  • 55% of the polled teens don’t tell their parents about their online activities

Do you see the discrepancy here? There are many such instances that cry out loud for more involvement of parents in their children’s online world. More than half of the polled kids said that they would change their online behavior if they came to know their parents were watching them!

One good finding is that 81% of polled parents believe using technology tools, like software, to keep their kids safe online! That’s a start and a good one too. The next step is to educate yourself and the third is to get involved in your teen’s cyber activities. Play games, take your kid’s help to learn how to search, surf, use online tools…you could have your fun and bond together!

So just don’t say “I am not sure” and give up. If you are the Mother of a preteen or teen, you better be sure for the sake of your child’s safety, for the safety of your gadgets and for the safety of your own sanity! Leaving a child alone on the net without the requisite training and rules is akin to letting him/her take the family car out for a spin without having learnt to drive and obtained a licence. You wouldn’t allow that would you.So why allow your child venture alone online without the basic training in safe surfing?

So here’s wishing you parents a wonderful discovery mission – Mission Cybersafety!! (Psst: You could also install McAfee family Protection for added protection and to significantly reduce your worries)

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10 Quick Tips to Mobile Security https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/10-quick-tips-to-mobile-security/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/10-quick-tips-to-mobile-security/#respond Thu, 22 Mar 2012 15:54:41 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=15182 Mobile security is a topic I return to again and again and why not? Considering the proliferation of smartphone among the urban population of India and the demand for the same even in rural outbacks with poor internet connectivity, it is imperative to remind ourselves that along with all the advantages (and there are many) […]

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Mobile security is a topic I return to again and again and why not? Considering the proliferation of smartphone among the urban population of India and the demand for the same even in rural outbacks with poor internet connectivity, it is imperative to remind ourselves that along with all the advantages (and there are many) these devices can be sources of danger for users, especially kids. And though we are aware of many of these threats, we may not be aware of ALL of them.

I was reminded of the dangers related to these phones upon reading the McAfee Q4 2011 Threat Report.  Some findings related to mobile malware caught my attention:

  • Growth in almost all areas of malware and spam declined, with the exception of mobile-based malware
  • Mobile malware rose during the quarter and recorded its busiest year to date
  • Android firmly fixed as the largest target for writers of mobile malware
  • Much of the Android malware has been for-profit SMS-sending Trojans, which help cybercriminals to hijack phones to send messages that cost their owners money

So here are the promised 10 quick tips to protect your mobile phones:

1.    Beware of third-party applications; download from a reputable app store only

2.    Read other users’ reviews and make sure the app’s access permissions make sense

3.    Be wary of unnecessary permissions asked for, like an alarm clock app asking to access your contacts

4.    Protect yourself against data loss, by backing up your mobile device regularly

5.    Be wary of what you click while browsing the web, as malware makers use ads to trick smartphone users into installing infected apps

6.    Have difficult-to-guess passwords for your phone, just like you do for your PC

7.    Turn off Bluetooth and other connections when not in use

8.    Don’t use geotagging while clicking snaps. When you share them immediately, people will come to know your exact location

9.    Install an advanced and comprehensive security software in your phone to protect your devices

10.  Do use a personal firewall

 A quick word on the next generation of McAfee® MobileSecuritysoftware, which offers greater control to smartphone and tablet owners over their privacy as well as protects them from financial fraud, identity theft and viruses. It is inclusive of the new McAfee App Alert™, which provides important information about what apps are doing with users’ personal information. Besides this, it also offers:

  • Call and SMS Filtering: Easily filters out spammers, incorrect numbers and unwanted texts
  • Online Management: The McAfee Web portal lets users quickly execute needed security tasks, such as backup, restore, locate, and remote lock and wipe
  • Uninstall Protection: Prevents a thief or another user from bypassing their McAfee mobile protection
  • Complete Anti-virus, Anti-spyware and Anti-phishing Protection
  • Anti-theft protection including device locking

So go on, enjoy your smartphone to the hilt, confident in the knowledge that you, your kids, your phone and your data are all safe.

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Dos And Don’ts Of Online Shopping https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/dos-and-donts-of-online-shopping/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/dos-and-donts-of-online-shopping/#respond Tue, 28 Feb 2012 06:23:38 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=14030 Let me begin with a confession. I am addicted to shopping. Nothing lifts off those blues faster than a purchasing spree across several of my favourite stores. And not only for myself or my family- I am happy to accompany others too on their shopping spree; like for my cousin’s trousseau, my sister’s kid’s birthday […]

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Let me begin with a confession. I am addicted to shopping. Nothing lifts off those blues faster than a purchasing spree across several of my favourite stores. And not only for myself or my family- I am happy to accompany others too on their shopping spree; like for my cousin’s trousseau, my sister’s kid’s birthday return gifts or New year’s gifts for my friend’s business associates. I am equally happy shopping for school uniforms and groceries, decorative items and linens. Shopping is cathartic for me.

But the mad traffic and the even madder crowds at the shops often act as deterrents. At such times, online shopping is a heaven-sent opportunity to shop from the safety and comfort of your homes. Another plus point is that you don’t have to lug around heavy packages, nor have to pack and parcel gifts to friends! You simply ask them to deliver the packages to the address of your choice!

For shopophoebics (there is no term for fear of shopping) like my husband, online shopping is a boon! Our preferred sellers send him birthday and anniversary reminders and he just selects and pays for what he wants to gift me that year. And voila! You have the Husband of the Year- the pride of my life, the envy of my friends.

However, as Cybermum India, I can’t but add a word of caution. You should be extra cautious while doing online transactions because:

  • You don’t know the seller personally
  • You can’t verify the address, phone number, sales figures
  • You can’t physically check the goods
  • You are unsure of the site’s security policies and ethics

But it definitely does not mean you keep away from online shopping. It just means be careful. Do a background check of the seller you select. Start with the site address. Check whether it looks authentic and begins with https//. Another check is to see if the site is encrypted, with a lock sign on top right.

It is recommended that you read  buyer reviews. You should also find out whether they have any return or refund policies. Most importantly, you need to investigate payment modes-do they have a safe Visa Secure or Paypal payment mode? It is preferable to select credit cards or “Cash-on-delivery” modes of payments. Check for address and contact nos. If possible, call up their customer service and discuss their sales, delivery, and refund policies, when placing orders for the first time. Upon delivery, check the items minutely. Check your credit card statements. Keep printed records of all transactions.

McAfee lists some Do’s and Don’ts of Online Shopping

Do’s : 

• Do your homework, research web sites

• Do pay by credit card or online payment services

• Do buy from a web site that has encryption

• Don’t buy from a web site unless it is certified for safety

• Do check the web site’s policies before you order.

• Do use comprehensive computer security software

• Don’t forget to inspect your new purchase as soon as it arrives

• Do check your credit card statements

Don’ts : 

• Don’t buy from spammers

• Don’t pay by debit card, cash, or wire transfer

• Don’t buy from a web site unless it is certified for safety

• Don’t buy from a site with which you aren’t totally comfortable

• Don’t forget to inspect your new purchase as soon as it arrives

• Don’t let children buy games, gifts online without any adult supervision

For additional information, check this site

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STOP! Are You Forwarding Jokes Or Spams? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/stop-are-you-forwarding-jokes-or-spams-2/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/stop-are-you-forwarding-jokes-or-spams-2/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2012 13:04:07 +0000 http://blogs.mcafee.com/?p=13789 It is truly said that the world is growing smaller. And emails are one way which has helped us to communicate with our loved ones. They allow us to stay in touch with people all across the world and forwards are a wonderful way of indicating, ‘I remember you’. We forward jokes, amazing pics, philosophical […]

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It is truly said that the world is growing smaller. And emails are one way which has helped us to communicate with our loved ones. They allow us to stay in touch with people all across the world and forwards are a wonderful way of indicating, ‘I remember you’. We forward jokes, amazing pics, philosophical sayings, office humour etc. But then, very few of us realize that forwards have a dark side too; the side that can cause harm to you or your Internet-enabled  devices.

To reiterate my point, I would like to give a case in point: I returned home from a holiday and switched on my PC to check mails and found 105 mails awaiting my attention. Of these almost 50% were Forwards! Some of these required me to forward them to 9 or more for good luck to knock on my door!

Consider this mail a kind friend forwarded. It required that I forward it to every friend that I have online, including the sender, to show how much I care about  her! And I had to do this that very same day!

There were also forwards sent by unknown people offering products at a discount,  and supplying details of online courses or money-spinning opportunities. They have a typical tagline, ‘If this mail doesn’t apply to you, do forward it to your friends.’

Then there were those ‘religious’ mails that say Lady Luck will smile on you if you forward the mail to at least 10 others. Else, you might be struck by a spate of bad luck like others who suffered terrible tribulations for failing to perform the simple task of clicking on the ‘forward’ icon

Check this site for more chain mail hoaxes.

My take on troubling forwarded mails from friends

Now, I am not a superstitious person, nor timid enough to give in to veiled threats contained in such mails. But I feel really vexed on receiving mails from friends that outline the misfortunes that might befall my unsuspecting family if I ignore them. So I have a plan to tackle such junk and let my friends know my opinion on these forwards without having to say a word. I just forward it to the sender, and no one else. And you know what? There has been a definite drop in the number of such mails since then.

Why are forwards not always good

a)  They overload your inbox and can lead you to miss important mails

b)  They are usually full of promotional material of no use to you

c)  Often they contain links or attachments that are sources of virus or Trojans

d) Companies and websites send random forwards and if you click on the supplied link out of curiosity, they will start sending you more emails or spread virus

e) Scamsters try to collect your data by asking you to open links for which you have to use your password or offer other details

f) If your account gets hacked, it will be used to spread spam to all your contacts

Look out for these tell-tale signs

a) The tag line of “Send this email to everyone in your address book”

b)  There are no verifiable references or addresses to validate claims

c)  There are grammatical errors in the text and the writing style is overly dramatic

d) Requires opening links, downloading attachments or use of passwords or phone numbers

So, consider before you forward every single email and send only those mails that you really enjoy or those that are interesting and informative. Also, open mails from people you know and always verify with the sender first if the mail looks dubious.

And before you forward that super cool joke, consider these:

  • Would the recipient like receiving forwards on his/her official mail id or personal id
  • Are the email ids of all recipients visible to all? Use BCC to hide ids
  • Erase all ids contained in the forwarded mail for privacy and security reasons

The post STOP! Are You Forwarding Jokes Or Spams? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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