Consumer – McAfee Blogs https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com Securing Tomorrow. Today. Fri, 15 Feb 2019 17:15:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Consumer – McAfee Blogs https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com 32 32 How To Sidestep Popular Social Scams https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-to-sidestep-popular-social-scams/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-to-sidestep-popular-social-scams/#respond Thu, 14 Feb 2019 22:28:16 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94189

Each year, internet users lose billions of dollars to online scams, using clever ploys to trick us out of our information and money. By offering prizes, referencing current events, or just creating a sense of urgency, scammers know how to get us to click when we really shouldn’t. Check out these recent scams, so you […]

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Each year, internet users lose billions of dollars to online scams, using clever ploys to trick us out of our information and money. By offering prizes, referencing current events, or just creating a sense of urgency, scammers know how to get us to click when we really shouldn’t. Check out these recent scams, so you know what to look out for.

Nosy Quizzes & Questionnaires

Quizzes circulating on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms may look like a fun way to win free stuff, but often they are phishing attacks in disguise. Many appear to be sponsored by big-name brands such as airlines and major retailers, offering free products or discount tickets if you just answer a few questions. The questions are designed to get you to reveal personal information that can be used to guess your passwords or security questions, such as your mother’s maiden name, or your hometown.

Creepy Crypto Scams 

While cryptocurrencies lost a lot of value over the last year, the same cannot be said for cryptocurrency scams. The majority of them center on distributing crypto mining malware, which allows hackers to access a person’s computer or device without their permission in order to mine for cryptocurrencies. In fact, these scams have been so prolific that at the end of 2018 McAfee reported that coin mining malware had grown more than 4000% in the previous year.

Many of these miners were distributed through phishing emails and websites, using “giveaway” scams on social media, or even via crypto mining chat groups on platforms such as Slack. Cybercrooks enter the chat rooms, pretending to be fellow miners, and encourage users to download malware disguised as “fixes” to crypto issues.

Romance & “Sextortion” Scams 

The meteoric rise of online dating has led to a similar increase in romance scams. These often involve bad actors preying on lonely people who are looking to connect. Scammers build up a sense of trust over online dating and social media platforms, before asking for money. They often claim the money is for an emergency, or a plane ticket to visit. This kind of manipulation works so well that the Better Business Bureau estimates that victims in the U.S. and Canada lost nearly $1 billion to romance scams between 2015 and 2018.

And while romance is one way to manipulate users, another driver is fear. This is certainly the case with the recent rise in so-called “sextortion” scams, which scare users into paying money to prevent incriminating pictures or videos of them from getting out. The bad guys claim that they obtained the embarrassing content by infecting the victim’s device with malware, and often send part of an old, leaked password as proof that they could have accessed their account.

Topical News Hooks

Whenever a major story sweeps the news, chances are the scammers are looking for ways to capitalize on it. This is exactly what happened during the recent U.S. government shutdown, which left 800,000 federal employees out of work for over a month. Since many of these workers were looking for extra income, job scams abounded. Some phony job ads asked workers to fill out detailed job application forms, in order to steal their Social Security numbers and other private information.

In another ruse, scammers sent out phony emails that appeared to be from the IRS, saying that the recipient could get a discount on their tax bills if they paid during the shutdown.

Tried-and-True Scams

Package Delivery— Phony package delivery emails usually spike around the holidays, but in the age of Amazon Prime delivery scams are circulating year-round. Be on the lookout for more recent Amazon scams that come in the form of a phishing email, asking you to review a product to get rewards. If you click on the link it could deliver malware, or even ransomware.

Tech Support— This is one of the oldest, but most persistent scams to date. Phishing websites and phony pop-up warnings that a computer or device is infected have led thousands of people to hand over personal and financial information to fix a problem they don’t really have.

Even though consumers have become savvier about these scams, a recent Microsoft survey found that 3 out of 5 people have been exposed to tech support scams over the last year.

So, now that you know what to look out for, here are our top tips for sidestepping the scammers:

  • Be careful where you click—Don’t open suspicious links and attachments, and never click on pop-up messages from an unknown source. If you get a suspicious login or payment request, go directly to the provider’s official website to see if the request is legitimate.
  • Know how to spot the fake—Phony messages or documents will often look like a simplified version of the real thing, with poor quality graphics, incorrect grammar and spelling, and a generic personal greeting.
  • Keep your personal information private—Avoid online quizzes, and never share personal or financial details with someone you don’t know in real life. Review your privacy and security settings on social sites to make sure that you aren’t leaking information.
  • Be a smart online shopper—Only buy from reputable websites, and steer away from deals that seem too good to be true. Be suspicious of unusual payment requests, such as buying gift cards or using virtual currency.
  • Become a password pro—Choose complex and unique passwords for all of your accounts. Consider using a password manager to help you create and store complicated passwords securely.
  • Protect your computers and devices—Use comprehensive security software that can safeguard you from the latest threats.

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

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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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Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue – What Does Your Personal Data Say About You? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/personal-data-and-you/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/personal-data-and-you/#respond Mon, 11 Feb 2019 14:00:48 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94098

A classic meet-cute – the moment where two people, destined to be together, meet for the first time. This rom-com cornerstone is turned on its head by Netflix’s latest bingeable series “You.” For those who have watched, we have learned two things. One, never trust someone who is overly protective of their basement. And two, […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Valentine’s Alert: Don’t Let Scammers Break Your Heart or Your Bank Account https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/valentines-alert-dont-let-scammers-break-your-heart-or-your-bank-account/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/valentines-alert-dont-let-scammers-break-your-heart-or-your-bank-account/#respond Sat, 09 Feb 2019 15:02:17 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94123

It’s hard to believe that as savvy as we’ve become about our tech, people are still getting catfished, scammed, and heartbroken in their pursuit of love online. The dinner conversation between bystanders goes something like this: “How could anyone be so dumb? Seriously? If they are going to be that reckless and uninformed, then maybe […]

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Online Dating ScamsIt’s hard to believe that as savvy as we’ve become about our tech, people are still getting catfished, scammed, and heartbroken in their pursuit of love online.

The dinner conversation between bystanders goes something like this: “How could anyone be so dumb? Seriously? If they are going to be that reckless and uninformed, then maybe they deserve what they got!”

Some friends and I recently had a similar conversation about online dating scams. I noticed, however, that one friend, Sarah*, wasn’t so eager to jump into the conversation. She shrunk back in the booth and quietly sipped her margarita. Only later did she share her story with me.

The power of love

A single mom in her late 40s, well-educated, and attractive, Sarah’s teenager had convinced her to join a dating site the year before. She was especially lonely after her divorce three years earlier, so she agreed to create a profile on a popular dating app. After a handful of dates fell flat, she found Scott. He was charismatic, kind. “We had an instant connection,” according to Sarah. They spent hours on the phone sharing their deepest secrets and even started imagining a future together. But after about three months, Scott fell on hard times. At first, he needed to borrow $400 to pay for airfare to visit a dying relative, which he paid back immediately. Over the next few months, the numbers grew to $1,000 for rent and $3,000 for a business venture.

Online Dating Scams

Before long, Sarah had loaned her new love over $8,500. When she pressed him to repay the money, Scott ghosted Sarah online, moved out of town, and she never saw him again. My friend didn’t share her story with many people. She didn’t report it. She was too embarrassed and humiliated and even became depressed following what she calls “the Scott scam.” Her trust in other people and in love itself has been obliterated.

Sarah’s story doesn’t just echo that of desperate, clueless people, or lonely older women. Scammers are targeting good people who still believe in and value love and companionship. The pursuit of love online extends to adults as well as teens.

Confidence Fraud

Law enforcement calls these kinds of online romance scams confidence fraud because scammers will take a considerable amount of time gaining the trust and confidence of their victims. They will appear empathetic and supportive as they gather personal information they can use over time to carry out their scam.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confidence fraud has jumped 20% in the past year despite reports and warnings — especially around this time of year.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reports that romance scams top all other financial online crimes. In 2016, people reported almost 15,000 romance scams to IC3 (nearly 2,500 more than the previous year), with losses exceeding $230 million.

Tips for Safe Online Dating

Never send money. Be it a romantic relationship you’ve engaged with or a phishing email, no matter the sob story, do not send money to anyone online. If you do send money, put a loan agreement in place that is legally enforceable should one party default.

Suspicious behavior. If someone promises to meet you somewhere but keeps canceling or if he or she refuses to video chat, those are red flags. Technology means anyone from anywhere in the world can successfully maintain a scam.Online Dating Scams

Take things slow. If someone is pushing the pace of a relationship or too quick to declare love and talk about the future, pause and assess the situation.

Do a background check. Love is a powerful force and can easily cloud a person’s correct understanding of reality. If you dare to create a dating profile, make a deal with yourself that you will extend the same courage to doing a background check on someone.

Be a sleuth. Don’t be afraid to gather facts on someone you’ve met online. Simple steps such as Googling the person’s name or dropping their photo in Google’s Reverse Image Search will help you get a better understanding of a person. Have faith: Good, legitimate people do exist. However, if there’s anything dubious, it’s best to find it out earlier rather than later. Part of doing your homework is tracking down mutual friends and making inquiries about the person you are talking with online.

Keep your social profiles private. Experts agree that you should edit your online footprint before you start dating people you’ve met online. Making your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook private will guard you against potential.

Never send racy photos. Some scammers gain the confidence of their victims with every intention of extorting them in the future. They will threaten to send any racy photos with your family, friends, or business associates. The best way to avoid this is to never, ever send racy photos to anyone.Online Dating Scams

Google yourself, restrict info. Google yourself to see if there are any digital breadcrumbs that give away your home address or phone number. If possible, delete or revise that info. Likewise, go through your social accounts and remove any personal information you’ve shared in the past. Digital stalking is a risk for people who date online so turn off GPS on your dating apps and make sure your profile information is vague. Even if you get comfortable online with others, never get too comfortable since apps have privacy loopholes that can easily be exploited by hackers.

Take solid precautions. Enlist at least one friend as your dating safety pal. This will be the person who knows where you are going, who you will be with, and the background on the person you are meeting. Ask that person to check in with you during the date and carry pepper spray or a taser for physical protection. Go the extra step and turn on your Friend Finder or a location app that allows safety friend to track your whereabouts during a date.

*Names have been changed

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How Online Gamers Can Play It Safe https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-online-gamers-can-play-it-safe/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-online-gamers-can-play-it-safe/#respond Fri, 08 Feb 2019 23:23:47 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94146

Online gaming has grown exponentially in recent years, and scammers have taken note. With the industry raking in over $100 billion dollars in 2017 alone[1], the opportunity to funnel some money off through fraud or theft has proven irresistible to the bad guys, leaving gamers at greater risk. From malware and phishing scams, to phony […]

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Online gaming has grown exponentially in recent years, and scammers have taken note. With the industry raking in over $100 billion dollars in 2017 alone[1], the opportunity to funnel some money off through fraud or theft has proven irresistible to the bad guys, leaving gamers at greater risk.

From malware and phishing scams, to phony game hacks, identity theft, and more, gamers of all stripes now face a minefield of obstacles online and in real life. So, if you’re going to play games, it’s best to play it safe.

Here’s what to look out for:

Dodgy Downloads

Gamers who play on their computer or mobile device need to watch out for dangerous links or malicious apps disguised as popular or “free” games. Hackers often use innocent-looking downloads to deliver viruses and spyware, or even sign you up for paid services, without your consent. In one prominent case, more than 2.6 million Android users downloaded fake Minecraft apps that allowed hackers to take control of their devices.

Researchers have even discovered a ransomware threat that targets gamers. TeslaCrypt was designed to encrypt game-play data until a ransom is paid. Originally distributed through a malicious website, it has since been circulating via spam.

And while it’s true that game consoles like PlayStation and Xbox aren’t as vulnerable to viruses, since they are closed systems, that doesn’t mean that their users don’t face other risks.

Social Scams

Players on any platform could wind up with malware, sent directly from other players via chat messages. Some scammers use social engineering tricks, like inviting other players to download “helpful” tools that turn out to be malware instead. When you consider that 62% of kids play games where they speak to others, the odds of a risky interaction with a stranger seems quite real.

Players of the Origin and Steam services, for instance, were targeted by hackers posing as other players, inviting them to play on their teams. Over chat message, they suggested the players download an “audio tool” that turned out to be a keystroke logger, aimed at stealing their access credentials for the game.

Other social scams include malicious YouTube videos or websites, offering game bonuses and currency, for free.

Another widespread social threat is account takeover, or ATO for short. This is when a scammer hacks a real account in order to post spammy links, and scam messages that appear to come from a trusted contact. Some accounts, for games like League of Legends, have even been stolen and sold online for money because they boasted a high level, or rare skins.

Phishing

Finally, be on the lookout for phishing websites, offering free games or bonuses, or phishy emails prompting you to login to your account, with a link leading to a copycat gaming site. Often, these are designed to steal your login credentials or distribute fake games that contain malware.

Players of the wildly popular Fortnite, for example, have been particularly targeted. The latest phishing scam is aimed at stealing the third-party sign-in tokens that allow cybercriminals to access a user’s account, and the payment details associated with it.

So now that you know about a little more about gaming threats, here’s how to win at playing it safe:

  1. Do Your Research—Before downloading any games from the Internet or app stores, make sure to read other users’ reviews first to see that they are safe. This also goes for sites that sell game hacks, credits, patches, or virtual assets typically used to gain rank within a game. Avoid illegal file-sharing sites and “free” downloads, since these are often peppered with malware. It’s always best to go for a safer, paid option from a reputable source.
  2. Play Undercover— Be very careful about sharing personal information, in both your profile information, and your chat messages. Private information, such as your full name, address, pet’s name, school, or work details, could be used to guess your account password clues, or even impersonate you. Consider playing under an alias.
  3. Be Suspicious—Since scammers use the social aspect of games to fool people, you need to keep your guard up when you receive messages from strangers, or even read reviews.
    Some YouTube and social media reviews are placed there to trick users into thinking that the game or asset is legitimate. Dig deep, and avoid looking for free hacks. Ask gamers you know in real life for recommendations that worked for them.
  4. Protect Yourself—Avoid using older versions of games, and make sure that games you do play are updated with patches and fixes. And if you think a gaming account may already have been compromised, change your passwords immediately to something unique and complex.Safeguard your computers and devices from known and emerging threats by investing in comprehensive security software, and keep yourself up-to-date on the latest scams.

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

[1]According to The 2017 Year In Review Report by SuperData

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Should you pull your smart plug? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/should-you-pull-your-smart-plug/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/should-you-pull-your-smart-plug/#respond Tue, 05 Feb 2019 17:00:30 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94026

While some may think, “why would I need my toaster to connect to the internet,” smart home devices continue to become more and more popular. In fact, a recent study by Intel found that by 2025, 71% of Americans will have at least one smart device in their home. For many that aren’t ready to […]

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While some may think, “why would I need my toaster to connect to the internet,” smart home devices continue to become more and more popular. In fact, a recent study by Intel found that by 2025, 71% of Americans will have at least one smart device in their home. For many that aren’t ready to replace their favorite “dumb” appliances, smart plugs are an easy and affordable way to connect anything. But, do they leave your virtual “front door” wide open for cybercriminals? 

In the latest episode of “Hackable?” our host Geoff Siskind and the team investigate just how risky smart plugs are for homeowners. Can just one weak link compromise your entire home network? To find out, Geoff invites a white-hat to hack the smart plug in his studio. Learn if your smart home and devices are at risk.      
 

Listen now to the award-winning podcast “Hackable?” on Apple Podcasts!     

 

 


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Facebook’s Plans to Merge Messaging Platforms: What This Means for Online Safety https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/facebook-messaging-merge/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/facebook-messaging-merge/#respond Tue, 05 Feb 2019 14:00:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94069

Integration: it seems to be all the rage. As technology becomes more sophisticated, we sprint to incorporate these new innovations into our everyday lives. But as we celebrate Safer Internet Day, one can’t help but wonder, is all integration good when it comes to information shared online? Major privacy concerns have been raised surrounding Facebook’s […]

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Integration: it seems to be all the rage. As technology becomes more sophisticated, we sprint to incorporate these new innovations into our everyday lives. But as we celebrate Safer Internet Day, one can’t help but wonder, is all integration good when it comes to information shared online? Major privacy concerns have been raised surrounding Facebook’s recent plans to merge Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. This integration will allow cross-messaging between the three platforms (which will all still operate as standalone apps), so users could talk to their Messenger-only friends without leaving WhatsApp.

While Facebook’s plans to merge the messaging platforms are not yet finalized, the company is in the process of rebuilding the underlying infrastructure so that users who might utilize only one of the apps will be able to communicate with others within the company’s ecosystem. Facebook plans to include end-to-end encryption for the apps, ensuring that only the participants of a conversation can view the messages being sent. By allowing each app to speak to one another across platforms, Facebook hopes users become more engaged and use this as their primary messaging service.

But Facebook’s messaging changes have greater implications for online safety as consumers become more protective of their data. For example, WhatsApp only requires a phone number to sign up for the app while Facebook asks users to verify their identities. Will this force more data to be shared with WhatsApp, or will its encryption become less secure? While nothing has been finalized, it’s important for users to think about how the information they share online could be affected by this merge.

Although the internet has paved the way for advancements in social media and technology in general, users need to make sure they’re aware of the potential risks involved. And while this merge hasn’t happened yet, Safer Internet Day helps remind us to make good choices when it comes to browsing online. Following these tips can help keep you and your data safe and secure:

  • Get selective about what you share. Although social media is a great way to keep your friends and family in the loop on your daily life, be conservative about the information you put on the internet. Additionally, be cautious of what you send through messaging platforms, especially when it comes to your personally identifiable information.
  • Update your privacy settings. To make sure that you’re sharing your status with just your intended audience, check your privacy settings. Choose which apps you wish to share your location with and turn your profiles to private if you don’t want all users to have access to your information.
  • Keep your apps up-to-date. Keeping your social media apps updated can prevent exposure to threats brought on by software bugs. Turn on automatic updates so you always have the latest security patches, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.
  • Click with caution. Cybercriminals can leverage social media messaging to spread phishing links. Don’t interact with users or messages that seem suspicious and keep your guard up by blocking unfamiliar users who try to send you sketchy content.
  • Stay secure while you browse online. Security solutions like McAfee WebAdvisor can help block malware and phishing sites if you accidentally click on a malicious link. This can help protect you from potential threats when you access your social channels from a desktop or laptop.

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

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Safer Internet Day 2019 – Together for a Better Internet https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/safer-internet-day-2019/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/safer-internet-day-2019/#respond Tue, 05 Feb 2019 00:15:17 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94075

What You Can Do Today to Help Create a Better Internet   Today is Safer Internet Day (SID) – an annual worldwide event to encourage us all to work together to create a better internet. Celebrated globally in over 130 countries, SID is an opportunity for millions of people worldwide to come together to inspire […]

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What You Can Do Today to Help Create a Better Internet

 

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

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

The 4R’s of Online Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Reasoning – ‘I question what is real’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Can You Do this Safer Internet Day?

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Customer Support Scams Are Popping up in Social Media Ads: How to Stay Secure https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/mcafee-customer-support-scam/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/mcafee-customer-support-scam/#respond Fri, 01 Feb 2019 14:00:22 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93991

Many of us rely on customer support websites for navigating new technology. Whether it’s installing a new piece of software or troubleshooting a computer program, we look to customer support to save the day. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are leveraging our reliance on customer support pages to access our personal information for financial gain. It appears that a […]

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Many of us rely on customer support websites for navigating new technology. Whether it’s installing a new piece of software or troubleshooting a computer program, we look to customer support to save the day. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are leveraging our reliance on customer support pages to access our personal information for financial gain. It appears that a malicious website is attempting to trick users into handing over their McAfee activation keys and personally identifiable information (PII) data by disguising themselves as the official McAfee customer support website.

So how exactly does this cyberthreat work? First, malicious actors advertise the fake website on Twitter. If a user clicks on the ad, they are presented with a “Download McAfee” button. When the user clicks on the download button, they are redirected to a screen prompting them to enter their name, email address, contact number, and product activation key to proceed with the download. However, when the user clicks on the “Start Download” button, they are redirected to a screen stating that their download failed due to an unexpected error.

 

At this point, the site owner has received the user’s personal data, which they could exploit in a variety of ways. And while this scheme may seem tricky to spot, there are a number of ways users can defend themselves from similar scams:

  • Be vigilant when clicking on social media links. Although it may be tempting to click on advertisements on your social media feed, these ads could possibly house sketchy websites developed by cybercriminals. Use caution when interacting with social media ads.
  • Go straight to the source. If you come across an advertisement claiming to be from a company and the link asks for personal data, it’s best to go directly to the company’s website instead. Use the official McAfee customer support page if you require technical support or assistance with your McAfee product.
  • Use security software. A security solution like McAfee WebAdvisor can help you spot suspicious websites and protect you from accidentally clicking on malicious links.

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

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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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Apple Users: Here’s What to Do About the Major FaceTime Bug https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/apple-facetime-bug/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/apple-facetime-bug/#respond Tue, 29 Jan 2019 19:05:31 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93993

FaceTime is a popular way for people of all ages to connect with long-distance loved ones. The feature permits Apple users to video chat with other device owners from essentially anywhere at any time. And now, a bug in the software takes that connection a step further – as it permits users calling via FaceTime […]

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FaceTime is a popular way for people of all ages to connect with long-distance loved ones. The feature permits Apple users to video chat with other device owners from essentially anywhere at any time. And now, a bug in the software takes that connection a step further – as it permits users calling via FaceTime to hear the audio coming from the recipient’s phone, even before they’ve accepted or denied the call.

Let’s start with how the eavesdropping bug actually works. First, a user would have to start a FaceTime video call with an iPhone contact and while the call is dialing, they must swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap “Add Person.” Then, they can add their own phone number to the “Add Person” screen. From there, the user can start a group FaceTime call between themselves and the original person dialed, even if that person hasn’t accepted the call. What’s more – if the user presses the volume up or down, the victim’s front-face camera is exposed too.

This bug acts as a reminder that these days your smartphone is just as data rich as your computer. So, as we adopt new technology into our everyday lives, we all must consider how these emerging technology trends could create security risks if we don’t take steps to protect our data.

Therefore, it’s crucial all iOS users that are running iOS 12.1 or later take the right steps now to protect their device and their data. If you’re an Apple user affected by this bug, be sure to follow these helpful security steps:

  • Update, update, update. Speaking of fixes – patches for bugs are included in software updates that come from the provider. Therefore, make sure you always update your device as soon as one is available. Apple has already confirmed that a fix is underway as we speak.
  • Be sure to disable FaceTime in iOS settings now. Until this bug is fixed, it is best to just disable the feature entirely to be sure no one is listening in on you. When a fix does emerge from Apple, you can look into enabling the service again.
  • Apply additional security to your phone. Though the bug will hopefully be patched within the next software update, it doesn’t hurt to always cover your device with an extra layer of security. To protect your phone from any additional mobile threats coming its way, be sure to use a security solution such as McAfee Mobile Security.

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

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Sharing Isn’t Always Caring: 3 Tips to Help Protect Your Online Privacy https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/data-privacy-day-personal-data/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/data-privacy-day-personal-data/#respond Mon, 28 Jan 2019 14:00:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93934

It’s 2019 and technology is becoming more sophisticated and prevalent than ever. With more technology comes greater connectivity. In fact, by 2020, there will be more than 20 billion internet-connected devices around the world. This equates to more than four devices per person. As we adopt new technology into our everyday lives, it’s important to consider […]

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It’s 2019 and technology is becoming more sophisticated and prevalent than ever. With more technology comes greater connectivity. In fact, by 2020, there will be more than 20 billion internet-connected devices around the world. This equates to more than four devices per person. As we adopt new technology into our everyday lives, it’s important to consider how this emerging technology could lead to greater privacy risks if we don’t take steps to protect our data. That’s why the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) started Data Privacy Day to help create awareness surrounding the importance of recognizing our digital footprints and safeguarding our data. To further investigate the impact of these footprints, let’s take a look at how we perceive the way data is shared and whose responsibility it is to keep our information safe.

The Impact of Social Media

Most of us interact with multiple social media platforms every day. And while social media is a great way to update your friends and family on your daily life, we often forget that these platforms also allow people we don’t really know to glimpse into our personal lives. For example, 82% of online stalkers use social media to find out information about potential victims, such as where they live or where they go to school. In other words, social media could expose your personal information to users beyond your intended audience.

Certain social media trends also bring up issues of privacy in the world of evolving technology. Take Facebook’s 10-year challenge, a recent viral trend encouraging users to post a side-by-side image of their profile pictures from 2009 and 2019. As WIRED reporter Katie O’Neill points out, the images offered in this trending challenge could potentially be used to train facial recognition software for age progression and age recognition. While the potential of this technology is mostly mundane, there is still a risk that this information could be used inequitably.

How to Approach Requests for Personal Data

Whether we’re using social media or other online resources, we all need to be aware of what personal data we’re offering out and consider the consequences of providing the information. While there are some instances where we can’t avoid sharing our personal data, such as for a government document or legal form, there are other areas where we can stand to be a little more conservative with the data that we divulge. For example, many of us have more than just our close family and friends on our social networks. So, if you’re sharing your location on your latest post, every single person who follows you has access to this information. The same goes for those online personality quizzes. While they may be entertaining, they put an unnecessary amount of your personal information out in the open. This is why it’s crucial to be thoughtful of how your data is collected and stored.

So, what steps can you take to better protect your online privacy? Check out the following tips to help safeguard your data:

  • Think before you post. Before tagging your friends on Instagram, sharing your location on Facebook, or enabling facial recognition, consider what this information reveals and how it could be used by a third-party.
  • Set privacy and security settings. If you don’t want the entire World Wide Web to be able to access your social media, turn your profiles to private. You can also go to your device settings and choose which apps or browsers you want to share your location with and which ones you don’t.
  • Enable two-factor authentication. In the chance your data does become exposed, a strong, unique password can help prevent your accounts from being hacked. Furthermore, you can implement two-factor authentication to stay secure. This will help strengthen your online accounts with a unique, one-time code required to log in and access your data.

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

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#PrivacyAware: Will You Champion Your Family’s Online Privacy? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/will-you-champion-your-familys-online-privacy/ Sat, 26 Jan 2019 16:00:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93939

The perky cashier stopped my transaction midway to ask for my email and phone number. Not now. Not ever. No more. I’ve had enough. I thought to myself. “I’d rather not, thank you,” I replied. The cashier finished my transaction and moved on to the next customer without a second thought. And, my email and […]

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online privacyThe perky cashier stopped my transaction midway to ask for my email and phone number.

Not now. Not ever. No more. I’ve had enough. I thought to myself.

“I’d rather not, thank you,” I replied.

The cashier finished my transaction and moved on to the next customer without a second thought.

And, my email and phone number lived in one less place that day.

This seemingly insignificant exchange happened over a year ago, but it represents the day I decided to get serious and champion my (and my family’s) privacy.

I just said no. And I’ve been doing it a lot more ever since.

A few changes I’ve made:

  • Pay attention to privacy policies (especially of banks and health care providers).
  • Read the terms and conditions of apps before downloading.
  • Block cookies from websites.
  • Refuse to purchase from companies that (appear to) take privacy lightly.
  • Max my privacy settings on social networks.
  • Change my passwords regularly and keep them strong!
  • Delete apps I no longer use.
  • Stay on top of software updates on all devices and add extra protection.
  • Have become hyper-aware before giving out my email, address, phone number, or birth date.
  • Limit the number of photos and details shared on social media.

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The amount of personal information we share every day online — and off — is staggering. There’s information we post directly online such as our birth date, our location, our likes, and dislikes. Then there’s the data that’s given off unknowingly via web cookies, Metadata, downloads, and apps.

While some data breaches are out of our control, at the end of the day, we — along with our family members — are one giant data leak.

Studies show that on average by the age of 13, parents have posted 1,300 photos and videos of their child to social media. By the time kids get devices of their own, they are posting to social media 26 times per day on average — a total of nearly 70,000 posts by age 18.

The Risksonline privacy

When we overshare personal data a few things can happen. Digital fallout includes data misuse by companies, identity theft, credit card fraud, medical fraud, home break-ins, reputation damage, location and purchasing tracking, ransomware, and other risks.

The Mind Shift

The first step toward boosting your family’s privacy is to start thinking differently about privacy. Treat your data like gold (after all, that’s the way hackers see it). Guiding your family in this mind-shift will require genuine, consistent effort.

Talk to your family about privacy. Elevate its worth and the consequences when it’s undervalued or shared carelessly.

Teach your kids to treat their personal information — their browsing habits, clicks, address, personal routine, school name, passwords, and connected devices — with great care. Consider implementing this 11 Step Privacy Take Back Plan.

This mind and attitude shift will take time but, hopefully, your kids will learn to pause and think before handing over personal information to an app, a social network, a retail store, or even to friends.

Data Protection Tips*

  1. Share with care. Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what it reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future.
  2. Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information.online privacy
  3. Think before you act. Information about you, such as the games you like to play, your contacts list, where you shop and your geographic location, has tremendous value. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and understand how it’s collected through websites and apps.
  4. Lock down your login. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect critical accounts like email, banking, and social media. Strengthen online accounts and use strong authentication tools like a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device.

* Provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

January 28 National Data Privacy Day. The day highlights one of the most critical issues facing families today — protecting personal information in a hyper-connected world. It’s a great opportunity to commit to taking real steps to protect your online privacy. For more information on National Data Privacy Day or to get involved, go to Stay Safe Online.

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How Safe is Your Child’s School WiFi? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/how-safe-is-your-childs-school-wifi/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/how-safe-is-your-childs-school-wifi/#respond Thu, 24 Jan 2019 03:15:43 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93950

School WiFi. For many of our digital natives, school WiFi may even be a more important part of their daily life than the canteen!! And that is saying something… You’d be hard pressed to find a child who rocked up to school without a device in their backpack in our digital age. The vast majority […]

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

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

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

Do Parents Need to Be Concerned About School WiFi?

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

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

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

What Are the Risks?

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

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

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

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

  1. Talk To Your School

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

  1. Install Security Software

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

  1. Keep Device Software Up To Date

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

  1. Schedule Regular Data Back Up

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

  1. Public Wi-Fi Rules?

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

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

Take Care

Alex xx

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5G Is Coming: Security Risks You Need to Know About https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/5g-security-risks-you-need-to-know/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/5g-security-risks-you-need-to-know/#respond Tue, 22 Jan 2019 19:08:43 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93911

The future of connectivity is here ­– 5G. This new network is set to roll out across the nation this coming year and bring greater speed to our handheld devices, which means more data and lower latency. But perhaps one of the most anticipated and popular benefits is it will allow even more IoT devices […]

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

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

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

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

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

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Are Smart TVs too smart for their own good? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-smart-tvs-too-smart-for-their-own-good/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-smart-tvs-too-smart-for-their-own-good/#respond Tue, 22 Jan 2019 17:00:35 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93865

Smart TVs give viewers instant access to streaming apps and provide a never-ending supply of binge-worthy shows and movies. But does this convenience come with a cost? Are internet-connected TVs as vulnerable to cybercrime as other smart devices? In the latest episode of “Hackable?” our host Geoff Siskind plays a prank on our producer Pedro […]

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

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

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


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AI & Your Family: The Wows and Potential Risks https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/artificial-intelligence-your-family-the-wows-and-the-risks/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/artificial-intelligence-your-family-the-wows-and-the-risks/#respond Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:34:19 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93892

Am I the only one? When I hear or see the word Artificial Intelligence (AI), my mind instantly defaults to images from sci-fi movies I’ve seen like I, Robot, Matrix, and Ex Machina. There’s always been a futuristic element — and self-imposed distance — between AI and myself. But AI is anything but futuristic or […]

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artificial intelligenceAm I the only one? When I hear or see the word Artificial Intelligence (AI), my mind instantly defaults to images from sci-fi movies I’ve seen like I, Robot, Matrix, and Ex Machina. There’s always been a futuristic element — and self-imposed distance — between AI and myself.

But AI is anything but futuristic or distant. AI is here, and it’s now. And, we’re using it in ways we may not even realize.

AI has been woven throughout our lives for years in various expressions of technology. AI is in our homes, workplaces, and our hands every day via our smartphones.

Just a few everyday examples of AI:

  • Cell phones with built-in smart assistants
  • Toys that listen and respond to children
  • Social networks that determine what content you see
  • Social networking apps with fun filters
  • GPS apps that help you get where you need to go
  • Movie apps that predict what show you’d enjoy next
  • Music apps that curate playlists that echo your taste
  • Video games that deploy bots to play against you
  • Advertisers who follow you online with targeted ads
  • Refrigerators that alert you when food is about to expire
  • Home assistants that carry out voice commands
  • Flights you take that operate via an AI autopilot

The Technology

While AI sounds a little intimidating, it’s not when you break it down. AI is technology that can be programmed to accomplish a specific set of goals without assistance. In short, it’s a computer’s ability to be predictive — to process data, evaluate it, and take action.

AI is being implemented in education, business, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and just about any other sector of industry and culture you can imagine. It’s the smarter, faster, more profitable way to accomplish manual tasks.

An there’s tons of AI-generated good going on. Instagram — the #2 most popular social network — is now using AI technology to detect and combat cyberbullying on in both comments and photos.

No doubt, AI is having a significant impact on everyday life and is positioned to transform the future.

Still, there are concerns. The self-driving cars. The robots that malfunction. The potential jobs lost to AI robots.

So, as quickly as this popular new technology is being applied, now is a great time to talk with your family about both the exciting potential of AI and the risks that may come with it.

Talking points for families

Fake videos, images. AI is making it easier for people to face swap within images and videos. A desktop application called FakeApp allows users to seamlessly swap faces and share fake videos and images. This has led to the rise in “deep fake” videos that appear remarkably realistic (many of which go viral). Tip: Talk to your family about the power of AI technology and the responsibility and critical thinking they must exercise as they consume and share online content.

Privacy breaches. Following the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal of 2018 that allegedly used AI technology unethically to collect Facebook user data, we’re reminded of those out to gather our private (and public) information for financial or political gain. Tip: Discuss locking down privacy settings on social networks and encourage your kids to be hyper mindful about the information they share in the public feed. That information includes liking and commenting on other content — all of which AI technology can piece together into a broader digital picture for misuse.

Cybercrime. As outlined in McAfee’s 2019 Threats Prediction Report, AI technology will likely allow hackers more ease to bypass security measures on networks undetected. This can lead to data breaches, malware attacks, ransomware, and other criminal activity. Additionally, AI-generated phishing emails are scamming people into handing over sensitive data. Tip: Bogus emails can be highly personalized and trick intelligent users into clicking malicious links. Discuss the sophistication of the AI-related scams and warn your family to think about every click — even those from friends.

IoT security. With homes becoming “smarter” and equipped with AI-powered IoT products, the opportunity for hackers to get into these devices to steal sensitive data is growing. According to McAfee’s Threat Prediction Report, voice-activated assistants are especially vulnerable as a point-of-entry for hackers. Also at risk, say security experts, are routers, smartphones, and tablets. Tip: Be sure to keep all devices updated. Secure all of your connected devices and your home internet at its source — the network. Avoid routers that come with your ISP (Internet Security Provider) since they are often less secure. And, be sure to change the default password and secure your primary network and guest network with strong passwords.

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The Collection #1 Data Breach: Insights and Tips on This Cyberthreat https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/collection-1-data-breach/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/collection-1-data-breach/#respond Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:06:22 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93887

As the cybersecurity landscape evolves to match new trends in technology, it’s important for consumers to prioritize the protection of their online presence. That means remaining aware of the internet’s more common cyberthreats, including malware, phishing, and data breaches, and how they could potentially affect you. And while most of us already know about the […]

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As the cybersecurity landscape evolves to match new trends in technology, it’s important for consumers to prioritize the protection of their online presence. That means remaining aware of the internet’s more common cyberthreats, including malware, phishing, and data breaches, and how they could potentially affect you. And while most of us already know about the Equifax data breach, a new monster breach now has to become top of mind for us all. Say hello to Collection #1, a data set exposing 772,904,991 unique email addresses and over 21 million unique passwords.

Discovered by security researcher Troy Hunt, Collection #1 first appeared on the popular cloud service called MEGA. The Collection #1 folder held over 12,000 files that weigh in at over 87 gigabytes. When the storage site was taken down, the folder was then transferred to a public hacking site. What’s truly astonishing about this is that the data was not for sale; it was simply available for anyone to take.

You may be wondering, how was all this data collected? It appears that this data was comprised of a breach of breaches, aggregating over 2,000 leaked databases containing cracked passwords, in order to achieve maximum exposure. The sheer volume of this breach makes Collection #1 the second largest in size to Yahoo, and the largest public breach ever (given the data was openly exposed on the internet).

It appears that this data set is designed for use in credential-stuffing attacks, where cybercriminals will use email and password combinations to hack into consumers’ online accounts. The risks could be even greater for those who reuse credentials across multiple accounts. In order to help protect yourself from this threat, it’s vital that users act fast and use the following tips to help protect their data:

  • Use strong, unique passwords. In addition to making sure all of your passwords are strong and unique, never reuse passwords across multiple accounts. You can also enable a password manager to help keep track of your credentials.
  • Change your passwords. Even if it doesn’t appear that your data was breached, it’s better to err on the side of caution and change all of your passwords to better protect yourself.
  • Enable two-factor authentication. While a strong and unique password is a good first line of defense, enabling app-based two-factor authentication across your accounts will help your cause by providing an added layer of security.

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

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Frequent Fortnite Player? 4 Tips to Combat the New Attack on User Accounts https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/fortnite-flaw-phishing-accounts/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/fortnite-flaw-phishing-accounts/#respond Fri, 18 Jan 2019 01:00:35 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93861

Epic Games’ Fortnite has risen in popularity rapidly since its debut, and cybercriminals have leveraged that popularity to enact a handful of malicious schemes. Unfortunately, these tricks are showing no signs of slowing, as researchers recently discovered a security flaw that allowed cybercriminals to take over a gamer’s Fortnite account through a malicious link. This attack specifically […]

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Epic Games’ Fortnite has risen in popularity rapidly since its debut, and cybercriminals have leveraged that popularity to enact a handful of malicious schemes. Unfortunately, these tricks are showing no signs of slowing, as researchers recently discovered a security flaw that allowed cybercriminals to take over a gamer’s Fortnite account through a malicious link. This attack specifically targeted users who used a third-party website to log in to their Fortnite accounts, such as Facebook, Google, or gaming providers like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. But instead of trying to steal a gamer’s password like many of the hacks we’ve seen, this scheme targeted the special access token the third-party website exchanges with the game when a user logs in.

So, how exactly does this threat work? First, a cybercriminal sends a malicious phishing link to a Fortnite user. To increase the likelihood that a user will click on the link, the cybercriminal would send the link with an enticing message promising perks like free game credits. If the user clicked on the link, they would be redirected to the vulnerable login page. From here, Epic Games would make the request for the SSO (single sign-on) token from the third-party site, given SSO allows a user to leverage one set of login credentials across multiple accounts. This authentication token is usually sent to Fortnite over the back-end, removing the need for the user to remember a password to access the game. However, due to the unsecured login page, the user would be redirected to the attacker’s URL. This allows cybercriminals to intercept the user’s login token and take over their Fortnite account.

After acquiring a login token, a cybercriminal would gain access to a Fortnite user’s personal and financial details. Because Fortnite accounts have partial payment card numbers tied to them, a cybercriminal would be able to make in-game purchases and rack up a slew of charges on the victim’s card.

It’s important for players to understand the realities of gaming security in order to be more prepared for potential cyberthreats such as the Fortnite hack. According to McAfee research, the average gamer has experienced almost five cyberattacks, with 75% of PC gamers worried about the security of gaming. And while Epic Games has thankfully fixed this security flaw, there are a number of techniques players can use to help safeguard their gaming security now and in the future:

  • Go straight to the source70% of breaches start with a phishing email. And phishing scams can be stopped by simply avoiding the email and going straight to the source to be sure you’re working with the real deal. In the case of this particular scheme, you should be able to check your account status on the Fortnite website and determine the legitimacy of the request from there.
  • Use a strong, unique password. If you think your Fortnite account was hacked, err on the side of caution by updating your login credentials. In addition, don’t reuse passwords over multiple accounts. Reusing passwords could allow a cybercriminal to access multiple of your accounts by just hacking into one of them.
  • Stay on top of your financial transactions. Check your bank statements regularly to monitor the activity of the card linked to your Fortnite account. If you see repeat or multiple transactions from your account, or see charges that you don’t recognize, alert your bank to ensure that your funds are protected.
  • Get protection specifically designed for gamers. We’re currently building McAfee Gamer Security to help boost your PC’s performance, while simultaneously safeguarding you from a variety of threats that can disrupt your gaming experience.

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

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Children’s Charity or CryptoMix? Details on This Ransomware Scam https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/cryptomix-ransomware-scam/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/cryptomix-ransomware-scam/#respond Wed, 16 Jan 2019 01:22:34 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93839

As ransomware threats become more sophisticated, the tactics cybercriminals use to coerce payments from users become more targeted as well. And now, a stealthy strain is using deceptive techniques to mask its malicious identity. Meet CryptoMix ransomware, a strain that disguises itself as a children’s charity in order to trick users into thinking they’re making […]

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As ransomware threats become more sophisticated, the tactics cybercriminals use to coerce payments from users become more targeted as well. And now, a stealthy strain is using deceptive techniques to mask its malicious identity. Meet CryptoMix ransomware, a strain that disguises itself as a children’s charity in order to trick users into thinking they’re making a donation instead of a ransom payment. While CryptoMix has used this guise in the past, they’ve recently upped the ante by using legitimate information from crowdfunding pages for sick children to further disguise this scheme.

So, how does CryptoMix trick users into making ransom payments? First, the victim receives a ransom note containing multiple email addresses to contact for payment instructions. When the victim contacts one of the email addresses, the “Worldwide Children Charity Community” responds with a message containing the profile of a sick child and a link to the One Time Secret site. This website service allows users to share a post that can only be read once before it’s deleted. CryptoMix’s developers use One Time Secret to distribute payment instructions to the victim and explain how their contribution will be used to provide medical help to sick children. The message claims that the victim’s data will be restored, and their system will be protected from future attacks as soon as the ransom is paid. In order to encourage the victim to act quickly, the note also warns that the ransom price could double in the next 24 hours.

After the victim makes the payment, the ransomware developers send the victim a link to the decryptor. However, they continue to pretend they are an actual charity, thanking the victim for their contribution and ensuring that a sick child will soon receive medical help.

CryptoMix’s scam tactics show how ransomware developers are evolving their techniques to ensure they make a profit. As ransomware threats become stealthier and more sophisticated, it’s important for users to educate themselves on the best techniques to combat these threats. Check out the following tips to help keep your data safe from ransomware:

  • Back up your data. In order to avoid losing access to your important files, make copies of them on an external hard drive or in the cloud. In the event of a ransomware attack, you will be able to wipe your computer or device and reinstall your files from the backup. Backups can’t always prevent ransomware, but they can help mitigate the risks.
  • Never pay the ransom. Although you may feel that this is the only way to get your encrypted files back, there is no guarantee that the ransomware developers will send a decryption tool once they receive the payment. Paying the ransom also contributes to the development of more ransomware families, so it’s best to hold off on making any payments.
  • Use security software. Adding an extra layer of security with a solution such as McAfee Total Protection, which includes Ransom Guard, can help protect your devices from these types of cyberthreats.

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

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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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Cryptojacking Up 4,000% How You Can Block the Bad Guys https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/cryptojacking-up-4000-how-you-can-block-the-bad-guys/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/cryptojacking-up-4000-how-you-can-block-the-bad-guys/#respond Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:00:30 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93718 Think about it: In the course of your everyday activities — like grocery shopping or riding public transportation — the human body comes in contact with an infinite number of germs. In much the same way, as we go about our digital routines — like shopping, browsing, or watching videos — our devices can also pick […]

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Cryptojacking RisingThink about it: In the course of your everyday activities — like grocery shopping or riding public transportation — the human body comes in contact with an infinite number of germs. In much the same way, as we go about our digital routines — like shopping, browsing, or watching videos — our devices can also pick up countless, undetectable malware or javascript that can infect our devices.

Which is why it’s possible that hackers may be using malware or script to siphon power from your computer — power they desperately need to fuel their cryptocurrency mining business.

What’s Cryptocurrency?

Whoa, let’s back up. What’s cryptocurrency and why would people rip off other people’s computer power to get it? Cryptocurrencies are virtual coins that have a real monetary value attached to them. Each crypto transaction is verified and added to the public ledger (also called a blockchain). The single public ledger can’t be changed without fulfilling certain conditions. These transactions are compiled by cryptocurrency miners who compete with one another by solving the complex mathematical equations attached to the exchange. Their reward for solving the equation is bitcoin, which in the crypto world can equal thousands of dollars.

Power Surge

Cryptojacking RisingHere’s the catch: To solve these complex equations and get to crypto gold, crypto miners need a lot more hardware power than the average user possesses. So, inserting malicious code into websites, apps, and ads — and hoping you click — allows malicious crypto miners to siphon power from other people’s computers without their consent.

While mining cryptocurrency can often be a harmless hobby when malware or site code is attached to drain unsuspecting users CPU power, it’s considered cryptojacking, and it’s becoming more common.

Are you feeling a bit vulnerable? You aren’t alone. According to the most recent McAfee Labs Threats Report, cryptojacking has grown more than 4,000% in the past year.

Have you been hit?

One sign that you’ve been affected is that your computer or smartphone may slow down or have more glitches than normal. Crypto mining code runs quietly in the background while you go about your everyday work or browsing and it can go undetected for a long time.

How to prevent cryptojacking

Be proactive. Your first line of defense against a malware attack is to use a comprehensive security solution on your family computers and to keep that software updated.

Cryptojacking Blocker. This new McAfee product zeroes in on the cryptojacking threat and helps prevent websites from mining for cryptocurrency (see graphic below). Cryptojacking Blocker is included in all McAfee suites that include McAfee WebAdvisor. Users can update their existing WebAdvisor software to get Cryptojacking Blocker or download WebAdvisor for free.

Cryptojacking Rising

Discuss it with your family. Cryptojacking is a wild concept to explain or discuss at the dinner table, but kids need to fully understand the digital landscape and their responsibility in it. Discuss their role in helping to keep the family safe online and the motives of the bad guys who are always lurking in the background.

Smart clicks. One way illicit crypto miners get to your PC is through malicious links sent in legitimate-looking emails. Be aware of this scam (and many others) and think before you click on any links sent via email.

Stick with the legit. If a website, an app, or pop-up looks suspicious, it could contain malware or javascript that instantly starts working (mining power) when you load a compromised web page. Stick with reputable sites and apps and be extra cautious with how you interact with pop-ups.

Install updates immediately. Be sure to keep all your system software up-to-date when alerted to do so. This will help close any security gaps that hackers can exploit.

Strong passwords. These little combinations are critical to your family’s digital safety and can’t be ignored. Create unique passwords for different accounts and be sure to change out those passwords periodically.

To stay on top of the latest consumer and security threats that could impact your family, be sure to listen to our podcast Hackable? And, like us on Facebook.

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That’s a Wrap! Read the Top Technology Takeaways From CES 2019 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/ces-2019/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/ces-2019/#respond Sat, 12 Jan 2019 00:16:11 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93785

The sun has finally set on The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Every year, practically everyone in the consumer electronics industry comes from all over to show off the latest and greatest cutting-edge innovations in technology. From flying taxis, self-driving suitcases, and robots that will fold your laundry, CES 2019 did not […]

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The sun has finally set on The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Every year, practically everyone in the consumer electronics industry comes from all over to show off the latest and greatest cutting-edge innovations in technology. From flying taxis, self-driving suitcases, and robots that will fold your laundry, CES 2019 did not disappoint. Here are some of my main takeaways from the event:

5G is the future

It seems that anyone and everyone who attended the event was talking about 5G. However, there wasn’t exactly a definitive answer to when the service would be available to consumers. According to Forbes, 5G is an abbreviation that stands for the fifth generation of the cellular wireless transmission. And while many companies at CES discussed 5G, the number of products that are actually capable of tapping into the network is minimal. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get excited about 5G. The faster connection, speed, and responsiveness of the 5G network will help enable IoT, autonomous driving, and technology that hasn’t even been invented yet.

Gaming gets an upgrade

Gamers everywhere are sure to enjoy the exciting new gadgets that launched this year. From wireless charging grips for the Nintendo Switch to curved monitors for better peripheral vision, tech companies across the board seemed to be creating products to better the gaming experience. In addition to products that are enhancing gamer’s capabilities, we also saw gaming products that are bringing the digital world closer to reality. For example, Holoride partnered with Disney and Audi to create a Guardians of the Galaxy virtual reality (VR) experience for car passengers that mimics the movements of the vehicle.

Optimized IoT devices, AI-driven assistants

This year’s event was colored with tons of new smart home and health IoT technology. Although smart home technology made a big splash at last year’s show, CES 2019 focused on bringing more integrated smart home products to consumers. For example, the AtmosControl touch panel acts as a simplified universal remote so consumers can control all of their gadgets from a single interface. We also saw the Bowflex Intelligent Max, a platform that allows consumers to download an app to complete Bowflex’s fitness assessment and adjust their workout plan based on the results.

Voice assistants seemed to dominate this year’s show, as well. Google and Amazon upped the ante with their use of improved AI technology for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Not only has Google brought Google Assistant to Google Maps, but they’ve also created a Google Assistant Interpreter Mode that works in more than 20 languages. Not to be shown up, Amazon announced some pretty intriguing Alexa-enabled products as well, including the Ring Door View Cam, a smart shower system called U by Moen, and the Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet.

The takeoff of autonomous vehicles

Not only did AI guide new innovations in IoT device technology, but it also paved the way for some futuristic upgrades to vehicles. Mercedes showcased their self-driving car called the Vision Urbanetic, an AI-powered concept vehicle that can hold up to 12 people. BMW created a rider-less motorcycle designed to gather data on how to make motorcycles safer on the road. And we can’t forget about Uber’s futuristic flying taxi, created in partnership with Bell Nexus, and expected to take flight in 2020.

Cybersecurity’s role in the evolving technological landscape

At McAfee, we understand the importance of securing all of these newfangled IoT gadgets that make their way into consumers’ homes. To do this, we announced the launch of Secure Home Platform voice commands for the Google Assistant, allowing users to keep track of their entire network through one interface.

To reflect the upgrades in gaming technology, we also launched the beta mode of McAfee Gamer Security. Many antivirus solutions are notorious for slowing down PCs, which can really hinder the gaming experience. This security solution, designed for PC gamers, provides a light but mighty layer of protection that optimizes users’ computing resources.

If there’s one thing we took away from this year’s event, it’s that technological innovations won’t be slowing down any time soon. With all of these new advancements and greater connectivity comes the need for increased cybersecurity protection. All in all, CES 2019 showed us that as software and hardware continues to improve and develop, cybersecurity will also adapt to the needs of everyday consumers.

Stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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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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Preventing Cryptojacking Malware with McAfee WebAdvisor’s New Cryptojacking Blocker https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/webadvisor-cryptojacking-blocker/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/webadvisor-cryptojacking-blocker/#respond Wed, 09 Jan 2019 11:00:46 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93626

By now, you’ve probably heard of cryptocurrency, but you may not know exactly what it is. To put it simply, cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies that have actual monetary value in today’s world. They are limited entries of transactions into a single database, or public ledger, that can’t be changed without fulfilling certain conditions. These transactions […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Verizon Teams Up with McAfee to Secure Today’s Connected Home https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/verizon-teams-up-with-mcafee/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/verizon-teams-up-with-mcafee/#respond Tue, 08 Jan 2019 23:48:57 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93670

Few fields and industries change as rapidly as those in the technology sector. This fast-moving, adaptable and growing sector creates new applications, new devices, and new efficiencies designed to make our everyday lives easier — sometimes in ways we’ve never imagined. But more devices and applications, from a security standpoint, means cybercriminals could have more […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cash Out with Our CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes! https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/ces-2019-rt2win-sweepstakes/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/ces-2019-rt2win-sweepstakes/#respond Tue, 08 Jan 2019 18:00:20 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93634

We’ve officially touched down in Las Vegas for CES 2019! If you aren’t familiar with CES, it is the global stage for innovators to showcase the next generation of consumer technologies. With the growing consumer technology landscape, we understand the importance of creating new solutions for those who want to live their connected lives with […]

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

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

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

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

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

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

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

2. How to Enter: 

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

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

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

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

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

3. Eligibility:

McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States who are 18 years of age or older on the dates of the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes begins and live in a jurisdiction where this prize and McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes not prohibited. Employees of Sponsor and its subsidiaries, affiliates, prize suppliers, and advertising and promotional agencies, their immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses), and individuals living in the same household as such employees are ineligible.

4. Winner Selection:

Winners will be selected at random from all eligible retweets received during the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes drawing entry period. Sponsor will select the names of two [2] potential winners of the prizes in a random drawing from among all eligible submissions at the address listed below. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by the Official McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes Rules and the decisions of the coordinators, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

5. Winner Notification: 

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

6. Prizes: 

The prize for the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes is a $500 Amazon gift card for each of the two [2] entrants/winners. Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes. Sponsor is not responsible for delays in prize delivery beyond its control. All other expenses and items not specifically mentioned in these Official Rules are not included and are the prize winners’ sole responsibility.

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

7. General Conditions: 

Entrants agree that by entering they agree to be bound by these rules. All federal, state, and local taxes, fees, and surcharges on prize packages are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, whether caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes, or by any technical or human error, which may occur in the processing of the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes. entries. By entering, participants release and hold harmless Sponsor and its respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, and representatives from any and all liability for any injuries, loss, claim, action, demand, or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes, any prize won, any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded, participation in any McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes -related activity, or participation in the McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Except for applicable manufacturer’s standard warranties, the prizes are awarded “AS IS” and WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, express or implied (including any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose).

8. Limitations of Liability; Releases:

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

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

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

If winner cannot be notified, does not respond to notification, does not meet eligibility requirements, or otherwise does not comply with the prize McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes rules, then the winner will forfeit the prize and an alternate winner will be selected from remaining eligible entry forms for each McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes.

10. Dispute Resolution:

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

11. Governing Law & Disputes:

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

12. Privacy Policy: 

Personal information obtained in connection with this prize McAfee CES 2019 #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be handled in accordance policy set forth at http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/privacy.html.

  1. Winner List; Rules Request: For a copy of the winner list, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for arrival after January 8, 2019 before January 11, 2019 to the address listed below, Attn: #RT2Win at CES Sweepstakes.  To obtain a copy of these Official Rules, visit this link or send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to the address listed in below, Attn: Sarah Grayson. VT residents may omit return postage.
  2. Intellectual Property Notice: McAfee and the McAfee logo are registered trademarks of McAfee, LLC. The Sweepstakes and all accompanying materials are copyright © 2019 by McAfee, LLC.  All rights reserved.
  3. Sponsor: McAfee, LLC, Corporate Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA
  4. Administrator: LEWIS Pulse, 111 Sutter St., Suiter 850, San Francisco, CA 94104

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Learn Just What a Hacker Can Do With Remote RAT Access https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/learn-just-what-a-hacker-can-do-with-remote-rat-access/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/learn-just-what-a-hacker-can-do-with-remote-rat-access/#respond Tue, 08 Jan 2019 17:00:24 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93584

Remote administration tools, or RATs, lurk in phishing emails and malicious downloads across the internet. Once installed, they give hackers almost complete control over an infected machine.  “Hackable?” host Geoff Siskind is always the hacked but in the latest episode, he gets to peek behind the curtain of a RAT attack and see just what […]

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Remote administration tools, or RATs, lurk in phishing emails and malicious downloads across the internet. Once installed, they give hackers almost complete control over an infected machine. 

“Hackable?” host Geoff Siskind is always the hacked but in the latest episode, he gets to peek behind the curtain of a RAT attack and see just what hackers are able to do once they have remote access. Can they steal your files? See your webcam? Listen to your microphone?  

Listen now to the award-winning podcast Hackable? on Apple Podcasts. You don’t want to miss this eye-opening episode.  

 


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How to Protect Three Common IoT Devices in 2019 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/how-to-protect-three-common-iot-devices-in-2019/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/how-to-protect-three-common-iot-devices-in-2019/#respond Tue, 08 Jan 2019 14:00:02 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93571

It’s no secret – IoT devices are creeping into every facet of our daily lives. In fact, Gartner estimates there will be 20.4 Billion IoT devices by the year 2020. More devices mean greater connectivity and ease of use for their owners, but connectivity also means more opportunities for hacks. With CES 2019 kicking off this […]

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

Routers

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

Gaming Systems

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

Voice Tech

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

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

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

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

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Kicking off CES 2019 with New Security Solutions and Collaborations https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/ces-2019-kickoff/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/ces-2019-kickoff/#respond Mon, 07 Jan 2019 11:00:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93580

Today, we at McAfee are announcing some exciting new security solutions and integrations at CES in Las Vegas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with CES, it is the global stage for innovators to showcase the next generation of consumer technologies. McAfee now delivers protection to more than 500 million customers worldwide, and we […]

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Today, we at McAfee are announcing some exciting new security solutions and integrations at CES in Las Vegas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with CES, it is the global stage for innovators to showcase the next generation of consumer technologies. McAfee now delivers protection to more than 500 million customers worldwide, and we understand the importance of creating new solutions for those who want to live their connected lives with confidence. To help empower our customers to do this, we’ve added to our security lineup and are working with other tech innovators who understand the importance of protecting users’ online safety.

One addition to our lineup of security solutions is McAfee Gamer Security. In a recent gaming survey, we discovered that 75% of gamers are worried about the security of gaming as online threats continue to rise. To help combat these threats, we developed McAfee Gamer Security, which protects gamers while optimizing their gaming experience. Some of the product’s key features include Game Mode, a gamer-centric interface, and minimal security resource consumption. These features help optimize gamers’ computing resources, provide system status updates, and equip users with lightweight security protection.

In addition to our latest product advancements, we’ve also teamed up with other companies looking to better the cybersecurity landscape for consumers. The first is Google. In order to further simplify the process of securing today’s connected home, McAfee will provide McAfee Secure Home Platform voice commands for the Google Assistant. McAfee Secure Home Platform provides an extra layer of security to help automatically protect all of the connected devices on the user’s home network. Soon, Google Assistant users can easily manage their connected home security by just using their voice.

While it’s important to secure the connected home, it is also important to protect your mobile and IoT devices as well. According to McAfee Labs 2019 predictions, cybercriminals will leverage trusted devices like smartphones and tablets to try and access users’ IoT devices in the upcoming year. To help customers stay safeguarded from this threat, we’ve teamed up with Verizon to protect their home networks through Verizon Home Network Protection. This McAfee-powered solution helps Verizon Fios customers stay secured against malicious websites, provide parental controls, and protect all devices connected to their home network.

Furthermore, we at McAfee and Dell have teamed up to protect consumers and small businesses as they enjoy the benefits of today’s technology. To do this, we’ve expanded our collaboration to provide pre-installed McAfee software on PCs and laptops globally to both consumer and small business customers. Customers who purchase a new laptop or PC will also have the option to extend McAfee protection beyond their Dell device to their smartphones and tablets. This allows users to have a more robust security shield around all of their connected devices, creating a safer overall online experience. Dell consumer and small business customers who purchase Dell Inspiron, XPS, Vostro, and G-Series laptops will receive a 30-day or 1-year subscription. Customers who purchase Alienware, OptiPlex, Latitude, and Precision will have the option of adding a 30-day free subscription or purchasing a 1-year subscription.

Another one of our latest innovations is the addition of Cryptojacking Blocker to McAfee WebAdvisor. As we observed in our latest McAfee Labs report, coin mining malware is on the rise, growing more than  4000% in the last year. Cryptojacking Blocker helps protect users from having their devices hijacked without their knowledge or permission. The tool helps prevents websites from mining for cryptocurrency and is included in all McAfee suites that include McAfee WebAdvisor. Users can update their existing WebAdvisor software to get Cryptojacking Blocker or download WebAdvisor for free.

So far, CES 2019 has proven that innovation will continue to evolve, just as the cybersecurity landscape will continue to mature. By working together to improve the technology that protects connected devices, we can help users optimize their digital life without compromising their online safety.

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

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Do Your Kids Love Gaming? Know How to Protect Them from A Cyberattack https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/do-your-kids-love-gaming-know-how-to-protect-them-from-a-cyberattack/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/do-your-kids-love-gaming-know-how-to-protect-them-from-a-cyberattack/#respond Sat, 05 Jan 2019 15:00:35 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93560 online gaming

Fortnite, Call of Duty Black Ops 4, Red Redemption 2, Spiderman, and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. If you are the parent of a teenager, you know all about some of these popular online games, and you may even play some yourself. What you may not know is that while your child is fully engaged in his […]

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online gaming

online gamingFortnite, Call of Duty Black Ops 4, Red Redemption 2, Spiderman, and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. If you are the parent of a teenager, you know all about some of these popular online games, and you may even play some yourself. What you may not know is that while your child is fully engaged in his or her favorite online game, he or she may be in the digital crosshairs of a cyber thief.

According to reports, more than 2.2 billion video gamers helped bring that industry more than $108 billion in revenue in 2017, so it’s not surprising that scammers are following the money.

McAfee Gaming Survey

A recent gaming survey from McAfee uncovered some valuable insights into the gaming world and security. The good news is that most gamers have cybersecurity on their radar (75% of PC gamers chose online security as the issue that most concerned them about the future of gaming). The not-so-good news is that of the gamers surveyed; most still aren’t practicing the best online habits such as reusing passwords across multiple accounts (55%). In addition, the average gamer has experienced almost five cyberattacks due to poor security habits (see graphic, right).

Common Scams

Online cheats or downloads. Gamers love to get and edge on their favorite game, so when they go search online for cheats or someone sends them a link for a cheat or download, they will likely click. That fake cheat can lead to malware, bitcoin theft, or identity theft.

Fake apps. Scammers are capitalizing on favorite games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 by luring users to download the game for free only to trick them into divulging their personal information. Remember, if you come across a download offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Fraudulent trades. Many games often include extras that a gamer can buy for their characters such as weapons, armor, skins, or clothing. Some scammers will offer to purchase or trade items outside of the platform and then dupe the buyer through a phishing link that gains access to his or her credit card information.

Impersonation/Catfishing. Some scammers go to great lengths to access a gamer’s personal information. They will befriend a gamer over time, gain trust, and take advantage of the gamer emotionally or financially in some way.

Account takeovers. This scam is when a hacker gains access to a legitimate player’s account (usually a popular player), blocks that user from accessing his or her account, and uses that account to send out spammy emails, fake offers, and malicious links.

Gaming Safety Tips

  • Don’t reuse passwords. It may take a minute or two longer to log into your favorite games, but there’s a significant layer of protection when you use a unique password for each of your online accounts. Reusing passwords allows a hacker to gain access to multiple accounts once you’ve been compromised.
  • Use a firewall. Gamers should use a firewall to help block would-be attackers from gaining access to their PC and home networks.
  • Smart clicking. Gaming is immersive. Because of that, crooks know that players may have their guards down. Players should never impulsively click on links in messages from people they don’t know. One wrong click can lead to malware, ransomware, or other phishing schemes.online gaming
  • Add extra security. It’s always a good idea to put another layer of protection between you and a hacker. To protect devices from malware and other threats, use a comprehensive security solution like McAfee Total Protection.
  • Browse with caution. Scammers may target gamers through other popular websites like YouTube and Twitter to push out malicious content. Be wise when browsing these sites and keep your guard up when clicking on any game link or offer.
  • Act fast. If you suspect a scam within a game, report it to the developers immediately to help stop the spread and protect other users.

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Level Up Your Cybersecurity: Insights from Our Gaming Survey https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/ces-gaming-survey/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/ces-gaming-survey/#respond Wed, 02 Jan 2019 05:30:20 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93063

Online gaming has seen a rise in popularity over the years. Many people see it as a way to unwind from a stressful day or complete new challenges. However, just like any other internet-connected channel, online gaming can expose users to a variety of cybersecurity risks. So, to examine the relationship between cybersecurity and gaming, […]

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Online gaming has seen a rise in popularity over the years. Many people see it as a way to unwind from a stressful day or complete new challenges. However, just like any other internet-connected channel, online gaming can expose users to a variety of cybersecurity risks. So, to examine the relationship between cybersecurity and gaming, we decided to survey 1,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and over who are frequent gamers. *

Time to Upgrade Your Online Safety

Of those surveyed, 75% of PC gamers chose security as the element that most concerned them about the future of gaming. This makes sense since 64% of our respondents either have or know someone who has been directly affected by a cyberattack. And while 83% of the gamers do use an antivirus software to protect their PCs, we found that gamers still participate in risky online behavior.

Poor Habits Could Mean Game Over for Your Cybersecurity

So, what does this risky behavior look like, exactly? The following sums it up pretty well:

  • 55% of gamers reuse passwords for multiple online accounts, leading to greater risk if their password is cracked.
  • 36% of respondents rely on incognito mode or private browsing to keep their PC safe.
  • 41% read the privacy policies associated with games, though this technique won’t help to keep their device secure.

With these lax habits in place, it’s not hard to believe that 38% of our respondents experienced at least one malicious attack on their PC. And while 92% installed an antivirus software after experiencing a cyberattack, it’s important for gamers to take action against potential threats before they occur.

Level Up Your Gaming Security

Now the question is – what do these gamers need to do to stay safe while they play? Start by following these tips:

  • Do not reuse passwords. Reusing passwords makes it easier for hackers to access more than one of your accounts if they crack one of your logins. Prevent this by using unique login credentials for all of your accounts.
  • Click with caution. Avoid interacting with messages from players you don’t know and don’t click on suspicious links. Cybercriminals can use phishing emails to send gamers malicious files and links that can infect their device with malware.
  • Use a security solution. Using a security service to safeguard your devices can help protect you from a variety of threats that can disrupt your gaming experience. Look out for our newest product McAfee Gamer Security, which we launched just in time for CES 2019. Although this product is still in beta mode, it could be used to combat cyberthreats while optimizing your computing resources.

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

*Survey respondents played video games at least four times a month and spent at least $200 annually on gaming.

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Mind-Bending Tech: What Parents Need to Know About Virtual & Augmented Reality  https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/mind-bending-tech-what-parents-need-to-know-about-virtual-augmented-reality-%ef%bb%bf/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/mind-bending-tech-what-parents-need-to-know-about-virtual-augmented-reality-%ef%bb%bf/#respond Sat, 29 Dec 2018 15:03:54 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93545

You’ve probably heard the buzz around Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and your child may have even put VR gear on this year’s wish list. But what’s the buzz all about and what exactly do parents need to know about these mind-bending technologies? VR and AR technology sound a bit sci-fi and intimidating, […]

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Virtual and Augmented reality technology is changing the way we see the world.

You’ve probably heard the buzz around Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and your child may have even put VR gear on this year’s wish list. But what’s the buzz all about and what exactly do parents need to know about these mind-bending technologies?

VR and AR technology sound a bit sci-fi and intimidating, right? They can be until you begin to understand the amazing ways these technologies are being applied to entertainment as well as other areas like education and healthcare. But, like any new technology, where there’s incredible opportunity there are also safety issues parents don’t want to ignore.

According to a report from Common Sense Media, 60 percent of parents are worried about VR’s health effects on children, while others say the technology will have significant educational benefits.

Virtual Reality

Adults and kids alike are using VR technology — headsets, software, and games — to experience the thrill of being in an immersive environment.

The Pokemon Go app uses AR technology to overlay characters on an existing environment.

According to Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) 20th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study, there are now 7 million VR headsets in U.S. households, which equates to about six percent of homes. CTA estimates that 3.9 million VR/AR headsets shipped in 2017 and 4.9 million headsets will ship in 2018.

With VR technology, a user wears a VR Head Mounted Display (HMD) headset and interacts with 3D computer-generated environments on either a PC or smart phone that allows them to feel — or experience the illusion — that he or she is actually in that place. The VR headset has eye displays (OLED) for each eye that show an environment at different angles to give the perception of depth. VR environments are diverse. One might include going inside the human body to learn about the digestive system, another environment might be a battlefield, while another might be a serene ocean view. The list of games, apps, experiences, and movies goes on and on.

Augmented Reality

AR differs from VR in that it overlays digital information onto physical surroundings and does not require a headset. AR is transparent and allows you to see and interact with your environment. It adds digital images and data to enhance views of the real world. AR is used in apps like Pokémon Go and GPS and walking apps that allow you to see your environment in real time. Not as immersive as VR, AR can still enrich a physical reality and is finding its way into a number of industries. VR and AR technologies are used in education for e learning and in the military for combat, medic, and flight simulation training. The list of AR applications continues to grow.

To support these growing technologies, there are thousands of games, videos, live music and events available. Museums and arcades exist and theme parks are adapting thrill rides to meet the demand for VR experiences. Increasingly retailers are hopping on board to use VR to engage customers, which will be a hot topic at the upcoming 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Still, there are questions from parents such as what effect will these immersive technologies have on children’s brains and if VR environments blur the line between reality and fantasy enough to change a child’s behavior. The answer: At this point, not a lot is known about VR’s affect on children but medical opinions are emerging warning of potential health impacts. So, calling a family huddle on the topic is a good idea you have these technologies in your home or plan to in the near future.

VR/AR talking points for families

Apply safety features. VR apps and games include safety features such as restricted chat and privacy settings that allow users to filter out crude language and report abusive behavior. While some VR environments have moderators in place, some do not. This is also a great time to discuss password safety and privacy with your kids.

The best way to understand VR? Jump in the fun alongside your kids.

Age ratings and reviews. Some VR apps or games contain violence so pay attention to age restrictions. Also, be sure to read the reviews of the game to determine the safety, quality, and value of the VR/AR content.

Inappropriate content. While fun, harmless games and apps exist, so too does sexual content that kids can and do seek out. Be aware of how your child is using his or her VR headset and what content they are engaged with. Always monitor your child’s tech choices.

Isolation. A big concern with VR’s immersive structure is that players can and do become isolated in a VR world and, like with any fun technology, casual can turn addictive. Time limits on VR games and monitoring are recommended.

Physical safety/health. Because games are immersive, VR players can fall or hurt themselves or others while playing. To be safe, sit down while playing, don’t play in a crowded space, and remove pets from the playing area.

In addition to physical safety, doctors have expressed VR-related health concerns. Some warn about brain and eye development in kids related to VR technology. Because of the brain-eye connection of VR, players are warned about dizziness, nausea, and anxiety related to prolonged play in a VR environment.

Doctors recommend adult supervision at all times and keeping VR sessions short to give the eyes, brain, and emotions a rest. The younger the child, the shorter the exposure should be.

Be a good VR citizen. Being a good digital citizen extends to the VR world. When playing multi-player VR games, be respectful, kind, and remember there are real hearts behind those avatars. Also, be mindful of the image your own avatar is communicating. Be aware of bullies and bullying behavior in a virtual world where the lines between reality and fantasy can get blurred.

Get in the game. If you allow your kids to play VR games, get immersed in the game with them. Understand the environments, the community, the feeling of the game, and the safety risks first hand. A good rule: If you don’t want your child to experience something in the real world — violence, cursing, fear, anxiety — don’t let them experience it in a virtual world.

To get an insider’s view of what a VR environment is like and to learn more about potential security risks, check out McAfee’s podcast Hackable?, episode #18, Virtually Vulnerable.

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The #1 Gift Parents Can Give Their Kids This Christmas https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/the-1-gift-parents-can-give-their-kids-this-christmas/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/the-1-gift-parents-can-give-their-kids-this-christmas/#respond Sat, 22 Dec 2018 15:00:56 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93327

You won’t see this gift making the morning shows as being among the top hot gifts of 2018. It won’t make your child’s wish list, and you definitely won’t have to fight through mall crowds to try to find it. Even so, it is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give your child this year. […]

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quality time with kidsYou won’t see this gift making the morning shows as being among the top hot gifts of 2018. It won’t make your child’s wish list, and you definitely won’t have to fight through mall crowds to try to find it.

Even so, it is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give your child this year. It’s the gift of your time.

If we are honest, as parents, we know we need to be giving more of this gift every day. We know in our parenting “knower” that if we were to calculate the time we spend on our phones, it would add up to days — precious days — that we could be spending with our kids.

So this holiday season, consider putting aside your phone and leaning into your family connections. Try leaving your phone in a drawer or in another room. And, if you pick it up to snap a few pictures, return it to it’s hiding place and reconnect to the moment.

This truism from researchers is worth repeating: Too much screen time can chip away at our relationships. And for kids? We’ve learned too much tech can lead to poor grades, anxiety, obesity, and worse — feelings of hopelessness and depression.

Putting the oodles of knowledge we now have into action and transforming the family dynamic is also one of the most priceless gifts you can give yourself this year.

Here are a few ideas to inspire you forward:

  1. Take time seriously. What if we took quality time with family as seriously as we do other things? What if we booked time with our family and refused to cancel it? It’s likely our dearest relationships would soon reflect the shift. Get intentional by carving out time. Things that are important end up on the calendar so plan time together by booking it on the family calendar. Schedule time to play, make a meal together, do a family project, or hang out and talk.quality time with kids
  2. Green time over screen time. Sure it’s fun to have family movie marathons over the break but make sure you get your green time in. Because screen time can physically deplete our senses, green time — time spent outdoors — can be a great way to increase quality time with your family and get a hefty dose of Vitamin D.
  3. Aim for balance. The secret sauce of making any kind of change is balance. If there’s too much attention toward technology this holiday (yours or theirs), try a tech-exchange by trading a half-day of tech use for a half-day hike or bike ride, an hour of video games for an hour of family time. Balance wins every time, especially when quality time is the goal.
  4. Balance new gadget use. Be it a first smartphone, a new video game, or any other new tech gadget, let your kids have fun but don’t allow them to isolate and pull away from family. Balance screen time with face-to-face time with family and friends to get the most out of the holidays. Better yet: Join them in their world — grab a controller and play a few video games or challenge them to a few Fortnite battles.
  5. Be okay with the mess. When you are a parent, you know better than most how quickly the days, months, and years can slip by until — poof! — the kids are grown and gone. The next time you want to spend a full Saturday on chores, think about stepping over the mess and getting out of the house for some fun with your kids.

Here’s hoping you and your family have a magical holiday season brimming with quality time, laughter, and beautiful memories — together.

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Rogue Drones Cause Gatwick Airport to Close for Over 30 Hours: More on This Threat https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/rogue-drones-cause-gatwick-airport-to-close/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/rogue-drones-cause-gatwick-airport-to-close/#respond Sat, 22 Dec 2018 01:35:46 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93358

As the Internet of Things works its way into almost every facet of our daily lives, it becomes more important to safeguard the IoT devices we bring into our homes. One device that has become increasingly popular among consumers is the drone. These remote-controlled quadcopters have enhanced the work of photographers and given technology buffs […]

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As the Internet of Things works its way into almost every facet of our daily lives, it becomes more important to safeguard the IoT devices we bring into our homes. One device that has become increasingly popular among consumers is the drone. These remote-controlled quadcopters have enhanced the work of photographers and given technology buffs a new hobby, but what happens when these flying robots cause a safety hazard for others? That’s exactly what happened at the Gatwick airport on Wednesday night and again today when two drones were spotted flying over the airfield, causing all departing flights to remain grounded and all arriving flights to be diverted to other airports.

The drones were spotted flying over the Gatwick airport’s perimeter fence into the area where the runway operates from. This disruption affected 10,000 passengers on Wednesday night, 110,000 passengers on Thursday, and 760 flights expected to arrive and depart on Thursday. More than 20 police units were recruited to find the drone’s operator so the device could be disabled. The airport closure resulted in 31.9 hours with no planes taking off or landing between Wednesday and Thursday.

You might be wondering, how could two drones cause an entire airport to shut down for so long? It turns out that drones can cause serious damage to an aircraft. Evidence suggests that drones could inflict more damage than a bird collision and that the lithium-ion batteries that power drones could become lodged in airframes, potentially starting a fire. And while the probability of a collision is small, a drone could still be drawn into an aircraft turbine, putting everyone on board at risk. This is why it’s illegal to fly a drone within one kilometer of an airport or airfield boundary. What’s more, endangering the safety of an aircraft is a criminal offense that could result in a five-year prison sentence.

Now, this is a lesson for all drone owners everywhere to be cognizant of where they fly their devices. But beyond the physical implications that are associated with these devices, there are digital ones too — given they’re internet-connected. In fact, to learn about how vulnerable these devices can be, you can give our latest episode of “Hackable?” a listen, which explores the physical and digital implications of compromised drones,

Therefore, if you get a drone for Christmas this year, remember to follow these cybersecurity tips to ensure you protect them on the digital front.

  • Do your research. There are multiple online communities that disclose bugs and potential vulnerabilities as well as new security patches for different types of drones. Make sure you stay informed to help you avoid potential hacks.
  • Update, update, update! Just as it’s important to update your apps and mobile devices, it’s also important to update the firmware and software for your drone. Always verify the latest updates with your drone manufacturer’s website to make sure it is legitimate.

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

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Cybercriminals Disguised as Apple Are After Users’ Personal Data: Insights on This Threat https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/apple-phishing-scam/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/apple-phishing-scam/#respond Fri, 21 Dec 2018 19:00:39 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93346

With the holidays rapidly approaching, many consumers are receiving order confirmation emails updating them on their online purchases for friends and family. What they don’t expect to see is an email that appears to be a purchase confirmation from the Apple App Store containing a PDF attachment of a receipt for a $30 app. This is […]

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With the holidays rapidly approaching, many consumers are receiving order confirmation emails updating them on their online purchases for friends and family. What they don’t expect to see is an email that appears to be a purchase confirmation from the Apple App Store containing a PDF attachment of a receipt for a $30 app. This is actually a stealthy phishing email, which has been circulating the internet, prompting users to click on a link if the transaction was unauthorized.

So how exactly does this phishing campaign work? In this case, the cybercriminals rely on the victim to be thrown off by the email stating that they purchased an app when they know that they didn’t. When the user clicks on the link in the receipt stating that the transaction was unauthorized, they are redirected to a page that looks almost identical to Apple’s legitimate Apple Account management portal. The user is prompted to enter their login credentials, only to receive a message claiming that their account has been locked for security reasons. If the user attempts to unlock their account, they are directed to a page prompting them to fill out personal details including their name, date of birth, and social security number for “account verification.”

Once the victim enters their personal and financial information, they are directed to a temporary page stating that they have been logged out to restore access to their account. The user is then directed to the legitimate Apple ID account management site, stating “this session was timed out for your security,” which only helps this attack seem extra convincing. The victim is led to believe that this process was completely normal, while the cybercriminals now have enough information to perform complete identity theft.

Although this attack does have some sneaky behaviors, there are a number of steps users can take to protect themselves from phishing scams like this one:

  • Be wary of suspicious emails. If you receive an email from an unknown source or notice that the “from” address itself seems peculiar, avoid interacting with the message altogether.
  • Go directly to the source. Be skeptical of emails claiming to be from companies asking to confirm a purchase that you don’t recognize. Instead of clicking on a link within the email, it’s best to go straight to the company’s website to check the status of your account or contact customer service.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. It can be difficult to determine if a website, link, or file is risky or contains malicious content. Add an extra layer of security with a product like McAfee Total Protection.

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

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How to Get Technology Working for You This Christmas https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/how-to-get-technology-working-for-you-this-christmas/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/how-to-get-technology-working-for-you-this-christmas/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 09:10:32 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93320

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

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

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

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

  1. E-Cards

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

  1. Online Gift Shopping

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

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

  1. Get Some Extra Help Online

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

  1. Create an Online To-Do List

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

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

Merry Christmas

Alex xx

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The Results Are In: Fake Apps and Banking Trojans Are A Cybercriminal Favorite https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/fake-apps-and-banking-trojans/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/fake-apps-and-banking-trojans/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 00:39:12 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93318

Today, we are all pretty reliant on our mobile technology. From texting, to voice messaging, to mobile banking, we have a world of possibilities at our fingertips. But what happens when the bad guys take advantage of our reliance on mobile and IoT technology to threaten our cybersecurity? According to the latest McAfee Labs Threats […]

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Today, we are all pretty reliant on our mobile technology. From texting, to voice messaging, to mobile banking, we have a world of possibilities at our fingertips. But what happens when the bad guys take advantage of our reliance on mobile and IoT technology to threaten our cybersecurity? According to the latest McAfee Labs Threats Report, cybercriminals are leveraging fake apps and banking trojans to access users’ personal and financial information. In fact, our researchers saw an average of 480 new threats per minute and a sharp increase in malware targeting IoT devices during the last quarter. Let’s take a look at how these cyberthreats gained traction over the past few months.

While new mobile malware declined by 24% in Q3, our researchers did notice some unusual threats fueled by fake apps. Back in June, we observed a scam where crooks released YouTube videos with fake links disguised as leaked versions of Fortnite’s Android app. If a user clicked on the link to download this phony app, they would be asked to provide mobile verification. This verification process would prompt them to download app after app, putting money right in the cybercriminals’ pockets for increased app downloads.

Another fake app scheme that caught the attention of our researchers was Android/TimpDoor. This SMS phishing campaign tricked users into clicking on a link sent to them via text. The link would direct them to a fabricated web page urging them to download a fake voice messaging app. Once the victim downloaded the fake app, the malware would begin to collect the user’s device information. Android/TimpDoor would then be able to let cybercriminals use the victim’s device to access their home network.

Our researchers also observed some peculiar behavior among banking trojans, a type of malware that disguises itself as a genuine app or software to obtain a user’s banking credentials. In Q3, cybercriminals employed uncommon file types to carry out spam email campaigns, accounting for nearly 500,000 emails sent worldwide. These malicious phishing campaigns used phrases such as “please confirm” or “payment” in the subject line to manipulate users into thinking the emails were of high importance. If a user clicked on the message, the banking malware would be able to bypass the email protection system and infect the device. Banking trojans were also found using two-factor operations in web injects, or packages that can remove web page elements and prevent a user from seeing a security alert. Because these web injects removed the need for two-factor authentication, cybercriminals could easily access a victim’s banking credentials from right under their noses.

But don’t worry – there’s good news. By reflecting on the evolving landscape of cybersecurity, we can better prepare ourselves for potential threats. Therefore, to prepare your devices for schemes such as these, follow these tips:

  • Go directly to the source. Websites like YouTube are often prone to links for fake websites and apps so criminals can make money off of downloads. Avoid falling victim to these frauds and only download software straight from a company’s home page.
  • Click with caution. Only click on links in text messages that are from trusted sources. If you receive a text message from an unknown sender, stay cautious and avoid interacting with the message.
  • Use comprehensive security. Whether you’re using a mobile banking app on your phone or browsing the internet on your desktop, it’s important to safeguard all of your devices with an extra layer of security. Use a robust security software like McAfee Total Protection so you can connect with confidence.

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

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What CES Can Show Us About Evolving Consumer Security Needs: A Timeline https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/ces-evolving-security-needs-a-digital-life-timeline/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/ces-evolving-security-needs-a-digital-life-timeline/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:00:01 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93230

Appropriately dubbed the ‘Global Stage for Innovation,’ it’s no wonder CES showcases the most cutting-edge consumer technologies coming out in the year ahead. No topic is off the table; Attendees will learn more about connected homes, smart cities and self-driving cars, try out shiny new digital health wearables, headsets, and other connected tech, explore AI-driven […]

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Appropriately dubbed the ‘Global Stage for Innovation,’ it’s no wonder CES showcases the most cutting-edge consumer technologies coming out in the year ahead. No topic is off the table; Attendees will learn more about connected homes, smart cities and self-driving cars, try out shiny new digital health wearables, headsets, and other connected tech, explore AI-driven technologies, and so much more.

Although events like CES showcase breakthrough technologies, interestingly, they also highlight how rapidly new technology is replaced with the next new thing. The rate at which we are treading on new ground is shifting exponentially, and what we see at CES this January might be obsolete in just a few years.

This rapidly changing technological landscape poses a significant predicament to consumers, a ‘digital dilemma’ if you will: as new technologies accelerate and IoT devices that house them progress, new challenges arise with them. This is particularly the case when it comes to security and privacy. And, just as security and products change and adapt, so do our needs and wants as consumers. Those of a teen differ from those of a parent, from those of a baby boomer, and so on. Let’s see how those needs change over time.

A Digital Life Timeline

2015: The Teen Technologist

Born in the late ‘90s, this teen is an everyday gamer, who loves to play games online with friends. They also love their smartphone, mostly for the access to social media. A teen wouldn’t necessarily be concerned with security, so having a comprehensive system built in is crucial.

2021: The Young Professional

Entering the workforce for the first time, the young professional is finally able to buy the gadgets that were once luxuries. They might have two phones; one for work and a personal device. Additionally, they are bringing more connected devices into their home, so the need for a secure home network has become obvious. They are also always on the go and having to connect to public Wi-Fi, so a Virtual Private Network (VPN) should be considered.

2032: The Concerned Parent

Fast forward almost ten years, the young professional has become a worrying parent. Their kids are spending too much time on screens. Having a way to monitor what they are doing on the internet and limit their time online is crucial, and an application that could  provide parental controls would be welcomed. Also, as they bring larger, more connected devices into the home, like smart refrigerators and thermostats, they are excited about a platform that will bake in security through a home network.

2038: The Brand Loyalists

The concerned parent has found devices they like and those they do not like. But more importantly, they have found brands they love, and they may continue to purchase from to bring the latest technology into their family’s lives. A comprehensive security system that covers all types of devices is exactly what they would need to keep a layer of protection

2045: The Unacquainted User

At this point in a digital journey, our user has stopped keeping up with trends because things have changed so much. Almost to the point where they are unwilling to learn new tech, or are untrusting of it all together. But the need to maintain their security and privacy is still top of mind –especially as cybercriminals often prey on this demographic due to being an easy target. A person like this might worry about ransomware, viruses, and identity theft along with protecting their home network.

As you can see, a person’s security and safety needs, desires, and even their devices evolve depending on the moment in which they are within their life. With so much in flux, the last thing anyone wants to think about is security – but with constantly changing technology at an all-time high, it’s safe to bet that threats will evolve to keep pace, and so should the ways in which we protect devices. For these reasons, it’s important to leverage a security partner that will keep this in mind, and will grow with not only our evolving needs, but evolving technology, too.

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

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Ghosts of Botnets Past, Present, and Future https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/ghosts-of-botnets-past-present-and-future/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/ghosts-of-botnets-past-present-and-future/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 22:49:28 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93244

‘Twas the morning of October 21st, and all through the house many IoT devices were stirring, including a connected mouse. Of course, this wasn’t the night before Christmas, but rather the morning of Dyn — the 2016 DDoS attack on the service provider that took the entire East Coast offline for a few hours. The […]

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‘Twas the morning of October 21st, and all through the house many IoT devices were stirring, including a connected mouse. Of course, this wasn’t the night before Christmas, but rather the morning of Dyn — the 2016 DDoS attack on the service provider that took the entire East Coast offline for a few hours. The root of the attack: botnets, AKA unsecured IoT devices that were enslaved by Mirai malware. And though this attack made history back in 2016, botnet attacks and the manipulation of vulnerable IoT devices have shown no signs of slowing since. To explore how these attacks have evolved over time, let’s examine the past, present, and future of botnets.

The Past

Any internet-connected device could potentially become a botnet. A botnet is an aggregation of connected devices, which could include computers, mobile devices, IoT devices, and more that have been infected and thereby under the control of one malware variant. The owners of these devices are typically unaware their technology has been infected and thereby under the control of the malware author.

This infection and enslavement process came to a powerful fruition on that fateful October morning, as thousands of devices were manipulated by Mirai malware and transformed into botnets for cybercriminals’ malicious scheme. Cybercriminals used this botnet army to construct one of the largest DDoS attacks in recent history on DNS provider Dyn, which temporarily knocked major sites such as Twitter, Github, and Etsy offline.

The Present

Now, the Dyn attack is arguably one of the most infamous in all of security history. But that doesn’t mean the attacks stop there. Fast forward to 2018, and botnets are still just as prominent, if not more. Earlier in the year, we saw Satori emerge, which even borrowed code from Mirai, as well as Hide N Seek (HNS), which has managed to build itself up to 24,000 bots since January 10th.

What’s more — DDoS attacks, which are largely driven by botnets, have also showed no signs of slowing this year. Just take the recent WordPress attack for example, which actually involved an army of over 20,000 botnets attacking sites across the web.

The Future

Botnets don’t just have a past and present — they likely have a future as well. That’s because cybercriminals favor the potency of this ‘infect and enslave’ tactic, so much so that they’re trying to spread it far and wide. Turns out, according to one report, you can even rent an IoT botnet, as one Dark Web advertisement displayed a 50,000-device botnet for rent for a two-week duration to conduct one-hour attacks a rate of $3000 – $4000.

The good news is — the cybersecurity industry is preparing for the future of botnet attacks as well. In fact, we’ve engineered technology designed to fight back against the nature of insecure IoT devices — such as our Secure Home Platform solution.

However, a lot of the botnet attacks can be stopped by users themselves if they implement strong security practices from start. This means changing the default passwords on any new IoT device you get, keeping any and all software up-to-date, always using a firewall to detect unusual behavior, and implementing comprehensive security software to ensure that all your computers and devices have protection.

If users everywhere implement the right processes and products from the start, botnet attacks may eventually become a thing of the past, and won’t ever be part of the present again.

To learn more about IoT device security and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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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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Can Hackers Make Drones Drop out of the Sky? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/can-hackers-make-drones-drop-out-of-the-sky-2/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/can-hackers-make-drones-drop-out-of-the-sky-2/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 17:00:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93110

While Amazon hasn’t begun using autonomous drones to deliver packages (yet), the aerial technology is becoming more and more popular. Hobbyists, racers, photographers, and even police departments have registered more than 1 million drones with the FAA. But is the emerging technology secure?  In the latest episode of “Hackable?”, host Geoff Siskind travels to Johns […]

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While Amazon hasn’t begun using autonomous drones to deliver packages (yet), the aerial technology is becoming more and more popular. Hobbyists, racers, photographers, and even police departments have registered more than 1 million drones with the FAA. But is the emerging technology secure? 

In the latest episode of “Hackable?”, host Geoff Siskind travels to Johns Hopkins University to investigate. Listen as Geoff flies three different drones while researchers bombard them with cyber attacks. Learn if hackers can make drones drop out of the sky! 

Listen now to the award-winning podcast Hackable? on Apple Podcasts. You don’t want to miss this high-flying episode.  

 


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Holiday Rush: How to Check Yourself Before Your Wreck Yourself When Shopping Online https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/holiday-rush-how-to-check-yourself-before-your-wreck-yourself-when-shopping-online/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/holiday-rush-how-to-check-yourself-before-your-wreck-yourself-when-shopping-online/#respond Sat, 15 Dec 2018 15:00:38 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93085

It was the last item on my list and Christmas was less than a week away. I was on the hunt for a white Northface winter coat my teenage daughter that she had duly ranked as the most-important-die-if-I-don’t-get-it item on her wishlist that year. After fighting the crowds and scouring the stores to no avail, […]

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It was the last item on my list and Christmas was less than a week away. I was on the hunt for a white Northface winter coat my teenage daughter that she had duly ranked as the most-important-die-if-I-don’t-get-it item on her wishlist that year.

After fighting the crowds and scouring the stores to no avail, I went online, stressed and exhausted with my credit card in hand looking for a deal and a Christmas delivery guarantee.

Mistake #1: I was under pressure and cutting it way too close to Christmas.
Mistake #2: I was stressed and exhausted.
Mistake #3: I was adamant about getting the best deal.

Gimme a deal!

It turns out these mistakes created the perfect storm for a scam. I found a site with several name brand named coats available lower prices. I was thrilled to find the exact white coat and guaranteed delivery by Christmas. The cyber elves were working on my behalf for sure!

Only the coat never came and I was out $150.

In my haste and exhaustion, I overlooked a few key things about this “amazing” site that played into the scam. (I’ll won’t harp on the part about me calling customer service a dozen times, writing as many emails, and feeling incredible stupidity over my careless clicking)!

Stress = Digital Risk

I’m not alone in my holiday behaviors it seems. A recent McAfee survey, Stressed Holiday Online Shopping, reveals, unfortunately, that when it comes to online shopping, consumers are often more concerned about finding a deal online than they are with protecting their cybersecurity in the process. 

Here are the kinds of risks stressed consumers are willing to take to get a holiday deal online:

  • 53% think the financial stress of the holidays can lead to careless shopping online.
  • 56% said that they would use a website they were unfamiliar with if it meant they would save money.
  • 51% said they would purchase an item from an untrusted online retailer to get a good deal.
  • 31% would click on a link in an email to get a bargain, regardless of whether they were familiar with the sender.
  • When it comes to sharing personal information to get a good deal: 39% said they would risk sharing their email address, 25% would wager their phone number, and 16% percent would provide their home address.

3 Tips to Safer Online Shopping:

  • Connect with caution. Using public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea at the moment, but you could be exposing your personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals eavesdropping on the unsecured network. If public Wi-Fi must be used to conduct transactions, use a virtual private network (VPN) to help ensure a secure connection.
  • Slow down and think before you click. Don’t be like me exhausted and desperate while shopping online — think before you click! Cybercriminal love to target victims by using phishing emails disguised as holiday savings or shipping notification, to lure consumers into clicking links that could lead to malware, or a phony website designed to steal personal information. Check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment.
  • Browse with security protection. Use comprehensive security protection that can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. Protect your personal information by using a home solution that keeps your identity and financial information secure.
  • Take a nap, stay aware. This may not seem like an important cybersecurity move, but during the holiday rush, stress and exhaustion can wear you down and contribute to poor decision-making online. Outsmarting the cybercrooks means awareness and staying ahead of the threats.

I learned the hard way that holiday stress and shopping do not mix and can easily compromise my online security. I lost $150 that day and I put my credit card information (promptly changed) firmly into a crook’s hands. I hope by reading this, I can help you save far more than that.

Here’s wishing you and your family the Happiest of Holidays! May all your online shopping be merry, bright, and secure from all those pesky digital Grinches!

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How to Stay Secure from the Latest Volkswagen Giveaway Scam https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/volkswagen-giveaway-scam/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/volkswagen-giveaway-scam/#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:46:19 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93089

You’re scrolling through Facebook and receive a message notification. You open it and see it’s from Volkswagen, claiming that the company will be giving away 20 free vehicles before the end of the year. If you think you’re about to win a new car, think again. This is likely a fake Volkswagen phishing scam, which […]

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You’re scrolling through Facebook and receive a message notification. You open it and see it’s from Volkswagen, claiming that the company will be giving away 20 free vehicles before the end of the year. If you think you’re about to win a new car, think again. This is likely a fake Volkswagen phishing scam, which has been circulating social media channels like WhatsApp and Facebook, enticing hopeful users looking to acquire a new ride.

This fake Volkswagen campaign works differently than your typical phishing scam. The targeted user receives the message via WhatsApp or Facebook and is prompted to click on the link to participate in the contest. But instead of attempting to collect personal or financial information, the link simply redirects the victim to what appears to be a standard campaign site in Portuguese. When the victim clicks the buttons on the website, they are redirected to a third-party advertising site asking them to share the contest link with 20 of their friends. The scam authors, under the guise of being associated with Volkswagen, promise to contact the victims via Facebook once this task is completed.

As of now, we haven’t seen indicators that participants have been infected by malicious software or had any personal information stolen as a result of this scam. But because the campaign link redirects users to ad servers, the scam authors are able to maximize revenue for the advertising network. This encourages malicious third-party advertisers to continue these schemes in order to make a profit.

The holidays in particular are a convenient time for cybercriminals to create more scams like this one, as users look to social media for online shopping inspiration. Because schemes such as this could potentially be profitable for cybercriminals, it is unlikely that phishing scams spread via social media will let up. Luckily, we’ve outlined the following tips to help dodge fake online giveaways:

  • Avoid interacting with suspicious messages. If you receive a message from a company asking you to enter a contest or share a certain link, it is safe to assume that the sender is not from the actual company. Err on the side of caution and don’t respond to the message. If you want to see if a company is actually having a sale, it is best to just go directly to their official site to get more information.
  • Be careful what you click on. If you receive a message in an unfamiliar language, one that contains typos, or one that makes claims that seem too good to be true, avoid clicking on any attached links.
  • Stay secure while you browse online. Security solutions like McAfee WebAdvisor can help safeguard you from malware and warn you of phishing attempts so you can connect with confidence.

And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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How To Help Your Teen Organise a Party Online Without It Becoming a Public Spectacle https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/teen-parties-and-instagram/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/teen-parties-and-instagram/#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 05:35:24 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93074 Teen Parties and Instagram. If your teen is keen to have a party, I can guarantee you that they will not be handing out paper invitations on the playground! It’s all done online now my friends and that means – it can get very messy. When my kids were in Primary School, I would make […]

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Teen Parties and Instagram. If your teen is keen to have a party, I can guarantee you that they will not be handing out paper invitations on the playground! It’s all done online now my friends and that means – it can get very messy.

When my kids were in Primary School, I would make party invitations on Smilebox. It was so easy to personalise your invitation – you could, (and still can) add pics and even videos. And then best of all, you can print them out, or email them directly to your guests. Perfect!!

But, unfortunately, my teen boys won’t have a bar of Smilebox. Parties are now organised on Instagram which is definitely not as clean cut as Smilebox.

How Parties are Organised on Instagram

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the process of party organising on Instagram, let me share with you the process. But first, please sit down, it may make your hair stand on end.

  1. Create a private Instagram account that is specifically for the party eg Alex’s 21st Birthday Party. Include a small blurb about the party and encourage interested people to apply – I’m not joking!
  2. Tell a few key friends about the event and have them share the account in their Instagram story. This is to attract like-minded people who might be suitable for the party.
  3. People who are interested in attending the party then request to follow the account. The person holding the party then decides whether they would like the potential guest to attend. They check them out online and see if they are the ‘right fit’. If the potential guest’s request to follow is accepted, this means that they have an invite to the party.

Now, you can just imagine how this could play out. The fact the party account’s existence is shared by nominated friends means a teen’s entire school year and social circle quickly finds out about the party. And teens want to be included – we’ve all been there – so, of course many apply to attend the party. But unfortunately, numbers are limited so they are excluded but in the public arena that is Instagram.

I totally appreciate that you can’t have unlimited numbers to social gatherings, but life in the pre-social media era made this far easier to deal with. You may have known, for example, that your math class buddy, Rebecca, was having a party and that you weren’t invited. But you didn’t have to humiliate yourself by applying, being rejected and then having to view the fabulous images of the night, usually taken by a glossy professional photographer.

Is There Another Way?

No 4 son recently turned 15 and was super keen for a party. He and I were both determined to avoid this cruel approach to party organising. While he couldn’t have unlimited numbers and couldn’t invite everyone, our aim was to keep it as low key as possible while trying to avoid hurting kids’ feelings.

So, we went old-school! He invited guests directly. He did use Instagram but each guest received a private message. He did consider doing a group message on Instagram however there was a risk that the guests could add someone into the conversation and share the party details publicly.

And I’m pleased to report that the party went off without a hitch! I think my 2 eldest sons who were the ‘Security Team’ were a tad disappointment that there were no issues. I was very relieved!

Empathy Is Essential

As a mother of four sons, I am very aware of the importance of robust mental health. The digital world in which are kids are growing up adds a huge layer of complexity and additional pressures to daily life that didn’t exist when we were young. No longer can issues be left at school or on the bus, social media means you have no escape. And it is this constant pressure that is widely documented to be contributing to an increase in anxiety and depression amongst our teens.

It’s no secret that humans are at their most vulnerable during their teenage years. So, I strongly encourage parents of teens to help their offspring rethink their approach to organising social gatherings. Ask them to take a minute to think about how it would feel to be excluded from a party, particularly after having to gather the courage to apply to attend. I know it would have an impact on my self-worth and I’m in my 40’s!! Encourage them to find an alternative way of organising their event.

Digital Parenting Can Be a Tough Gig

Parenting ‘digital natives’ is tough. Our generation of kids have technology running through their veins while we are doing our best to stay up to date. If your teens dismisses your suggestions about party organising and keep assuring you that they have it ‘all under control’, take a deep breath. Respect for others, empathy and kindness is what you are trying to instill – and these concepts have been around for thousands of years!! So, stay strong!!

Till next time,

Alex xx

 

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12 Days of Hack-mas https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/12-days-of-hack-mas/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/12-days-of-hack-mas/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 17:50:39 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93036

2018 was a wild ride when it came to cybersecurity. While some hackers worked to source financial data, others garnered personal information to personalize cyberattacks. Some worked to get us to download malware in order to help them mine cryptocurrency or harness our devices to join their botnets. The ways in which they exact their […]

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2018 was a wild ride when it came to cybersecurity. While some hackers worked to source financial data, others garnered personal information to personalize cyberattacks. Some worked to get us to download malware in order to help them mine cryptocurrency or harness our devices to join their botnets. The ways in which they exact their attacks are becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. 2019 shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to the sophistication and multitude of cyberattacks targeted toward consumers.

Between the apps and websites we use every day, in addition to the numerous connected devices we continue to add our homes, there are a more ways than ever in which our cybersecurity can be compromised. Let’s take a look at 12 common, connected devices that are vulnerable to attacks –most of which our friends at the “Hackable?” podcast have demonstrated– and what we can do to protect what matters. This way, as we move into the new year, security is top of mind.

Connected Baby Monitors

When you have a child, security and safety fuels the majority of your thoughts. That’s why it’s terrifying to think that a baby monitor, meant to give you peace of mind, could get hacked. Our own “Hackable?” team illustrated exactly how easy it is. They performed a “man-in-the-middle” attack to intercept data from an IoT baby monitor. But the team didn’t stop there; next they overloaded the device with commands and completely crashed the system without warning a parent, potentially putting a baby in danger. If you’re a parent looking to bring baby tech into your home, always be on the lookout for updates, avoid knockoffs or brands you’re not familiar with, and change your passwords regularly.

Smart TVs

With a click of a button or by the sound of our voice, our favorite shows will play, pause, rewind ten seconds, and more – all thanks to smart TVs and streaming devices. But is there a sinister side? Turns out, there is. Some smart TVs can be controlled by cybercriminals by exploiting easy-to-find security flaws. By infecting a computer or mobile device with malware, a cybercriminal could gain control of your smart TV if your devices are using the same Wi-Fi. To prevent an attack, consider purchasing devices from mainstream brands that keep security in mind, and update associated software and apps regularly.

Home Wi-Fi Routers

Wi-Fi is the lifeblood of the 21st century; it’s become a necessity rather than a luxury. But your router is also a cybercriminal’s window into your home. Especially if you have numerous IoT devices hooked up to the same Wi-Fi, a hacker that successfully cracks into your network can get ahold of passwords and personal information, all of which can be used to gain access to your accounts, and launch spear phishing attacks against you to steal your identity or worse. Cybercriminals do this by exploiting weaknesses in your home network. To stay secure, consider a comprehensive security solution like McAfee® Secure Home Platform.

Health Devices and Apps

Digital health is set to dominate the consumer market in the next few years. Ranging from apps to hardware, the ways in which our health is being digitized varies, and so do the types of attacks that can be orchestrated. For example, on physical devices like pacemakers, malware can be implanted directly on to the device, enabling a hacker to control it remotely and inflict real harm to patients. When it comes to apps like pedometers, a hacker could source information like your physical location or regular routines.  Each of these far from benign scenarios highlight the importance of cybersecurity as the health market becomes increasingly reliant on technology and connectivity.

Smart Speakers

It seems like everyone nowadays has at least one smart speaker in their home. However, these speakers are always listening in, and if hacked, could be exploited by cybercriminals through spear phishing attacks. This can be done by spoofing actual websites which trick users into thinking that they are receiving a message from an official source. But once the user clicks on the email, they’ve just given a cybercriminal access to their home network, and by extension, all devices connected to that network too, smart speakers and all. To stay secure, start with protection on your router that extends to your network, change default passwords, and check for built-in security features.

Voice Assistants

Like smart speakers, voice assistants are always listening and, if hacked, could gain a wealth of information about you. But voice assistants are also often used as a central command hub, connecting other devices to them (including other smart speakers, smart lights or smart locks). Some people opt to connect accounts like food delivery, driver services, and shopping lists that use credit cards. If hacked, someone could gain access to your financial information or even access to your home. To keep cybercriminals out, consider a comprehensive security system, know which apps you can trust, and always keep your software up to date.

Connected Cars

Today, cars are essentially computers on wheels. Between backup cameras, video screens, GPS systems, and Wi-Fi networks, they have more electronics stacked in them than ever. The technology makes the experience smoother, but if it has a digital heartbeat, it’s hackable. In fact, an attacker can take control of your car a couple of ways; either by physically implanting a tiny device that grants access to your car through a phone, or by leveraging a black box tool and  your car’s diagnostic port completely remotely. Hacks can range anywhere from cranking the radio up to cutting the transmission or disabling the breaks. To stay secure, limit connectivity between your mobile devices and a car when possible, as phones are exposed to risks every day, and any time you connect it to your car, you put it at risk, too.

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat can regulate your home’s temperature and save you money by learning your preferences. But what if your friendly temperature regulator turned against you? If you don’t change your default, factory-set password and login information, a hacker could take control of your device and make it join a botnet

Connected Doorbells

When we think high-tech, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely not a doorbell. But connected doorbells are becoming more popular, especially as IoT devices are more widely adopted in our homes. So how can these devices be hacked, exactly? By sending an official-looking email that requests that a device owner download the doorbell’s app, the user unwittingly gave full access to the unwelcome guest. From there, the hackers could access call logs, the number of devices available, and even video files from past calls. Take heed from this hack; when setting up a new device, watch out for phishing emails and always make sure that an app is legitimate before you download it.

Smart Pet Cameras

We all love our furry friends and when we have to leave them behind as we head out the door. And it’s comforting to know that we can keep an eye on them, even give them the occasional treat through pet cameras. But this pet-nology can be hacked into by cybercriminals to see what’s get an inside look at your home, as proven by the “Hackable?” crew. Through a device’s app, a white-hat hacker was able to access the product’s database and was able to download photos and videos of other device owners. Talk about creepy. To keep prying eyes out of your private photos, get a comprehensive security solution for your home network and devices, avoid checking on your pet from unsecured Wi-Fi, and do your research on smart products you purchase for your pets.

Cell Phones

Mobile phones are one of the most vulnerable devices simply because they go everywhere you go. They essentially operate as a personal remote control to your digital life. In any given day, we access financial accounts, confirm doctor’s appointments and communicate with family and friends. That’s why is shocking to know how surprisingly easy it is for cybercriminals to access the treasure trove of personal data on your cell phone. Phones can be compromised a variety of ways; but here are a few: accessing your personal information by way of public Wi-Fi (say, while you’re at an airport), implanting a bug, leveraging a flaw in the operating system, or by infecting your device with malware by way of a bad link while surfing the web or browsing email.  Luckily, you can help secure your device by using comprehensive security such as McAfee Total Protection, or by leveraging a VPN (virtual private network) if you find yourself needing to use public Wi-Fi.

Virtual Reality Headsets

Once something out of a science fiction, virtual reality (VR) is now a high-tech reality for many. Surprisingly, despite being built on state of the art technology, VR is quite hackable. As an example, though common and easy-to-execute tactics like phishing to prompt someone to download malware, white-hat hackers were able to infect a linked computer and execute a command and control interface that manipulated the VR experience and disorientated the user. While this attack isn’t common yet, it could certainly start to gain traction as more VR headsets make their way into homes. To stay secure, be picky and only download software from reputable sources.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hackable, everyday items. And while there’s absolutely no doubt that IoT devices certainly make life easier, what it all comes down to is control versus convenience. As we look toward 2019, we should ask ourselves, “what do we value more?”

Stay up-to-date on the latest trends by subscribing to our podcast, “Hackable?” and follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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How To Tell If Your Smartphone Has Been Hacked https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-to-tell-if-your-smartphone-has-been-hacked/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-to-tell-if-your-smartphone-has-been-hacked/#respond Mon, 10 Dec 2018 17:00:19 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92956

Your home screen is just a matrix of numbers. Your device loses its charge quickly, or restarts suddenly. Or, you notice outgoing calls that you never dialed. Chances are your smartphone has been hacked. The sad truth is that hackers now have a multitude of ways to get into your phone, without ever touching it. […]

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Your home screen is just a matrix of numbers. Your device loses its charge quickly, or restarts suddenly. Or, you notice outgoing calls that you never dialed. Chances are your smartphone has been hacked. The sad truth is that hackers now have a multitude of ways to get into your phone, without ever touching it.

Given that our smartphones have become our new wallets, containing a treasure trove of personal and financial information, a breach can leave you at serious risk.

The intruder could log in to your accounts as you, spam your contacts with phishing attacks, or rack up expensive long-distance charges. They could also access any passwords saved on your phone, potentially opening the door to sensitive financial accounts. That’s why it’s important to be able to recognize when your smartphone has been hacked, especially since some of the signs can be subtle.

Here are some helpful clues:

Performance Differences

Is your device operating slower, are web pages and apps harder to load, or does your battery never seem to keep a charge? What about your data plan? Are you exceeding your normal limits? These are all signs that you have malware running in the background, zapping your phone’s resources.

You may have downloaded a bad app, or clicked on a dangerous link in a text message. And malware, like Bitcoin miners, can strain computing power, sometimes causing the phone to heat up, even when you aren’t using it.

Mystery Apps or Data

If you find apps you haven’t downloaded, or calls, texts, and emails that you didn’t send, a hacker is probably in your system. They may be using your device to send premium rate calls or messages, or to spread malware to your contacts.

Pop-ups or Strange Screen Savers

Malware can also be behind spammy pop-ups, changes to your home screen, or bookmarks to suspicious websites. In fact, if you see any configuration changes you didn’t personally make, this is another big clue that your smartphone has been hacked.

What To Do

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it’s time to take action. Start by deleting any apps or games you didn’t download, erasing risky messages, and running mobile security software, if you have it. Warn your contacts that your phone has been compromised, and to ignore any suspicious links or messages coming from you.

If the problem still doesn’t go away, consider restoring your phone to its original settings. Search online for instructions for your particular phone and operating system to learn how.

Now, let’s look at how to avoid getting hacked in the first place.

Secure Smartphone Tips

1. Use mobile security software—These days your smartphone is just as data rich as your computer. Make sure to protect your critical information, and your privacy, by using comprehensive mobile security software that not only protects you from online threats, but offers anti-theft and privacy protection.

2. Lock your device & don’t store passwords—Make sure that you are using a passcode or facial ID to lock your device when you’re not using it. This way, if you lose your phone it will be more difficult for a stranger to access your information.

Also, remember not to save password or login information for banking apps and other sensitive accounts. You don’t want a hacker to be able to automatically login as you if they do gain access to your device.

3. Avoid using public Wi-Fi—Free Wi-Fi networks, like those offered in hotels and airports, are often unsecured. This makes it easy for a hacker to potentially see the information you are sending over the network. Also, be wary of using public charging stations, unless you choose a “charging only” cable that cannot access your data.

 4. Never leave your device unattended in public—While many threats exist online, you still have to be aware of real-world threats, like someone grabbing your device when you’re not looking. Keep your smartphone on you, or within view, while in public.

If you have a “phone visibility” option, turn it off. This setting allows nearby devices to see your phone and exchange data with it.

5. Stay aware—New mobile threats are emerging all the time. Keep up on the latest scams and warning signs, so you know what to look out for.

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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Helping Kids Deal with the Digital Rejection of ‘Ghosting’ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/helping-kids-deal-with-the-digital-rejection-of-ghosting/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/helping-kids-deal-with-the-digital-rejection-of-ghosting/#respond Sat, 08 Dec 2018 15:00:54 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92938 digital rejection of ghosting

Rejection is the unspoken risk that is present when we enter into any relationship be it a friendship or a love relationship. It’s a painful, inescapable part of life that most of us go to great lengths to avoid. That said, there’s a social media phenomenon called “ghosting” that can take the pain of rejection to […]

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digital rejection of ghosting

digital rejection of ghostingRejection is the unspoken risk that is present when we enter into any relationship be it a friendship or a love relationship. It’s a painful, inescapable part of life that most of us go to great lengths to avoid. That said, there’s a social media phenomenon called “ghosting” that can take the pain of rejection to surprising depths — especially among teens.

Ghosting is when a person (or friend group) you’ve been talking to online suddenly stops all communication without any explanation.

Digital Dismissal

If you’re on the receiving end of the ghosting, consider yourself ghosted. Text conversations abruptly stop. You get blocked on all social media accounts. The ghost untags him or herself in all past photos on your profiles and deletes all past comments; theirs and yours. Direct messages (if not blocked) are marked as “seen” but never get a response.

Ghosting makes it feel as if a relationship never existed, which can leave anyone — child, teen, or adult — feeling hurt, frustrated, betrayed and even traumatized.

A teen named Jess* shared her ghosting experience and described feeling “helpless, confused, and worthless,” when a person she considered a boyfriend suddenly disappeared from her life after five months and started talking to another girl online. “One minute we were close and sharing all kinds of deep stuff and then, ‘poof’! He blocked me from his social media, stopped answering my texts, and started ignoring me at school. It’s as if I never existed to him.”

Rejection = Pain

In one study, MRI images showed that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience a social rejection as when we experience physical pain, which is why rejection can hurt so much. According to Dr. Guy Winch, rejection destabilizes our need to belong and causes us to question our self-worth. “We often respond to romantic rejections by finding fault in ourselves, bemoaning all our inadequacies, kicking ourselves when we’re already down, and smacking our self-esteem into a pulp.” Rather, he clarifies, rejection is often just a matter of being mismatched in several areas such as chemistry, goals, and commitment level.

Micro-rejection 24/7

Thanks to social media, ghosting is not only a term but a common (albeit cruel) way to end an online relationship. Because it’s digital it’s easier for some people to view others as avatars; and easier to block rather than confront. It doesn’t help that the online culture fosters micro-rejections at every turn especially for tweens and teens. With every photo that is uploaded, so too, is a young person’s bid for approval. It’s not uncommon that a child’s happiness (or lack of) is influenced by the number of likes and comments a photo racks up.

While it may be impossible to protect our kids from painful digital rejections, we can equip them to handle it when and if it comes their way. Here are a few ideas that may help ease the pain of being ghosted.

Acknowledge the hurt

digital rejection of ghostingNo doubt, being ghosted hurts and can be embarrassing for your child (or anyone for that matter) to even talk about so tread lightly if you suspect it. Listen more than you speak and empathize more than advise if you learn this is a situation your child is experiencing. Acknowledge the real pain of being cut off, dismissed, blocked, and ignored. Ghosting can happen between two people or even with a friend group. If you have a similar situation and can relate, share that experience with your child.

Help frame the situation

Tweens and teens often do not have the tools they need in their emotional toolbox to deal with confrontation. Nor are they pros at communicating. So, rather than exit a relationship properly, some kids will find it easier to disappear with a simple click or two. Help your child understand the bigger picture that not all people will act with integrity or kindness. And, not all people are meant to be your friend or romantic match, and that’s okay. There are plenty of people who will value, love, and treat them with respect.

Help set healthy standards

Being ghosted, while painful, is also an opportunity to help your son or daughter define or re-define his or her standards. Ask: What qualities and characteristics you value in a friend or love interest? What values do you need to share with another person before trusting them? What warning signs should you look for next time that a person isn’t friend material? Advise: Don’t always be the person initiating every conversation, pay attention to the quality of interactions, don’t pursue people who are unresponsive or constantly “busy.”

Discourage retribution

digital rejection of ghostingWhile some ghosting situations are mild and dismissed quickly, others can cause the person ghosted to feel humiliated, angry, and vengeful. Lashing out at or trolling a ghost online as payback isn’t the answer and will only prolong the pain of being ghosted. Encourage your child that discovering the person’s character now is a gift and that moving on with wisdom and integrity (minus conflict) is the fastest way to heal.

Help them move on

One huge pain point for people who have been ghosted is that he or she did not get any closure or insight as to why the relationship ended. To help with this, you might suggest your son or daughter write a letter to get all the feelings out — but never mail it. Need the satisfaction of posting that letter online (minus names)? There’s a site for that (warning: language).

Beware of haunting

Haunting is when a ghost tries to reconnect in small ways over time. He or she may resurface to leave a comment or periodic likes to test the re-entry climate. Some may even send a direct message trying to explain the poor behavior. While every situation is different, warn your kids against reconnecting with anyone who would ghost a relationship. Encourage your child to invest time in friends who value friendships and honor the feelings of others.

*Name changed

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Cyberbullying’s Impact on Both Society and Security https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyberbullyings-impact-society-and-security/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyberbullyings-impact-society-and-security/#respond Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:56:50 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92936

In my last piece, I broke down the who, what, and how of cyberbullying, as most people are unaware of how the problem actually takes a variety of forms. With multiple types of cyberbullies and methods for digital bullying impacting kids today, the phenomenon’s effect on society is nothing short of powerful. In fact, according […]

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In my last piece, I broke down the who, what, and how of cyberbullying, as most people are unaware of how the problem actually takes a variety of forms. With multiple types of cyberbullies and methods for digital bullying impacting kids today, the phenomenon’s effect on society is nothing short of powerful. In fact, according to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying. The problem affects many and has many ramifications, both on society and the way we approach security. Let’s take a look.

Side Effects of Cyberbullying

The victims of cyberbullying will likely never view the internet the same way again, as their digital identities could be potentially damaged by aggressive online attacks. If subject to cyberbullying, it’s likely a victim’s online identity will reshape entirely.

But beyond that, the most blatant and concerning effect of cyberbullying is how it can impact the victim’s mental health. Faced with a constant barrage of insults and harassment, the victims of cyberbullying often grapple with negative thoughts, insecurity, and even depression after their attacks occur. In fact, according to Penn State, 30% of individuals who were cyberbullied turned toward self-harming behaviors and began having suicidal thoughts.

The digital impact not only extends to the mental sphere, but to the physical one too. Beyond changing someone’s digital identity and mental health state, cyberbullying can also cause kids to change schools and families to relocate. 

Securing Both the Digital and the Physical

With cyberbullying’s impact extending so far past the digital plane, that means it also changes the way we approach securing innocent internet users everywhere from cyberbullying. But with cyberbullying giving old schoolyard bullies a new playing field, we’re all now faced with the conundrum – how do you prevent both the digital and physical ramifications of the issue?

Now, it can be challenging to prevent cyberbullying from having mental and physical effects on victims. For parents whose kids have been subject to cyberbullying, there are quite a few hotlines and online resources available. Additionally, my previous blog outlined a few talking points parents can cover off in order to weave cybersecurity into their family’s dialogue.

As for the digital, there are a handful of tools consumers can equip themselves with set up preventative measures and secure their family’s devices from malicious online activity. Family safety solutions like McAfee Safe Family can help parents set rules and time limits for apps and websites, as well as see what their kids are doing online. There are also tools like McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help prevent kids from entering any sites where malicious characters or content live.

For parents, educators, or even law enforcement, it can be a struggle to comprehend the issues that stem from cyberbullying, let alone have effective means to deal with it. Accurate prevention is possible, but there doesn’t seem to be enough tools, methods, or measures to get there yet.

Therefore, we must all step up and look into the right research and technology required to stop cyberbullying. Only then will both the digital and physical worlds be free of the effects of these nasty online bullies.

To learn more about family safety and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Attention Red Dead Redemption 2 Players: Dodge This New Download Scam https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/red-dead-redemption-2-scam/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/red-dead-redemption-2-scam/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 17:00:58 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92879

Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 has struck a popular chord with many online gamers. Unfortunately, the Western-themed action-adventure game has also become a popular vessel for malicious activity among cybercriminals as well. Scammers are tricking gamers into giving up their personal information with phony “free” downloads of the online game, while simultaneously making a […]

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Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 has struck a popular chord with many online gamers. Unfortunately, the Western-themed action-adventure game has also become a popular vessel for malicious activity among cybercriminals as well. Scammers are tricking gamers into giving up their personal information with phony “free” downloads of the online game, while simultaneously making a profit on these downloads.

You’re probably wondering how exactly this scam works. It first begins with cybercriminals planting their phony download traps in ads on platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and blog postings. With other, less sophisticated scams, a user would be prompted to install several bundled applications at this point, each one generating revenue for the scammer. But this scheme works a little bit differently. When the user clicks on the “download” button, they are presented with a fake install screen showing the progression of the game’s download process.  The fake install takes about an hour to complete, further giving the illusion that a large file is actually being downloaded on the user’s device.

Once the fake installation is complete, the user is asked to enter a nonexistent license key (a pattern of numbers and/or letters provided to licensed users of a software program). If a user clicks on one of the buttons on this screen, they are redirected to a website asking for human verification in the form of surveys and questionnaires. These surveys trick the user into divulging their personal information for the cybercriminal’s disposal. What’s more, the scammer earns revenue for their malicious acts.

Because this scheme tricks users into handing over their personal information, it affects a victim’s overall privacy. Luckily, there are steps users can take to combat this threat:

  • Browse with caution. Many scammers target gamers through popular websites like YouTube and Twitter to push out malicious content. Use discretion when browsing these websites.
  • Only download content from trusted sources. If you come across a download offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Only download software from legitimate sources and avoid sites if you can’t tell whether they are trustworthy or not.
  • Use security software to browse the internet. Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish whether a site is malicious or not. Security solutions like McAfee WebAdvisor can detect the URLs and scam installers associated with this threat.

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

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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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Are Your Online Photos Sharing More Than You Think? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-your-online-photos-sharing-more-than-you-think/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/are-your-online-photos-sharing-more-than-you-think/#respond Tue, 04 Dec 2018 17:00:48 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92885

We all share photos online: photos of our kids, photos of our trips, and photos of our meals. We think we are sharing memorable experiences with our friends and family, but are we sharing more with the public than we intend? What if hidden metadata could reveal dangerous details? In episode 20 of “Hackable?”, a […]

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We all share photos online: photos of our kids, photos of our trips, and photos of our meals. We think we are sharing memorable experiences with our friends and family, but are we sharing more with the public than we intend? What if hidden metadata could reveal dangerous details?

In episode 20 of “Hackable?”, a white-hat hacker follows the trail of digital breadcrumbs that Geoff’s publicly-shared photos have left behind. Listen and learn just what Geoff is really sharing. Find out if your shared photos put you at risk!

Listen now to the award-winning podcast Hackable? on Apple Podcasts. You don’t want to miss this eye-opening episode.

 

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Software Company WakeNet AB Discovered Spreading PUPs to Users https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/wakenet-ab-pups-users/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/wakenet-ab-pups-users/#respond Tue, 04 Dec 2018 05:01:48 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92891

Pay-per-install, or PPI for short, is a type of software program that presents users with third-party offers while they are in the middle of another download. If a user clicks on the third-party advertisement, the software developer earns money from the download. One specific PPI program has caught the attention of our McAfee ATR team, […]

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Pay-per-install, or PPI for short, is a type of software program that presents users with third-party offers while they are in the middle of another download. If a user clicks on the third-party advertisement, the software developer earns money from the download. One specific PPI program has caught the attention of our McAfee ATR team, as they recently investigated a company that has taken advantage of this software and is using deceptive techniques to spread malicious files. Meet WakeNet AB, a Swedish pay-per-install software developer that has generated a large amount of revenue – even more so than some of the most prevalent ransomware families – from spreading PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).

So, how does WakeNet AB infect users’ devices with PUPs? WakeNet sets up PPI sites to entice affiliate hackers to spread malicious files and adware. WakeNet’s most recent distribution vessel is the site FileCapital. FileCapital provides affiliate hackers with a variety of “marketing tools” such as embedded movies, landing pages, banners, and buttons. These deceptive tools are intended to coax victims into installing bundled applications that house different PUPs. Victims may install these applications because they are disguised as legitimate programs. For example, a user may think they are installing a helpful performance cleaner onto their computer. What they don’t know is that the “performance cleaner” is actually disguising other malicious files that could lead to irritating adverts and decreased computer performance.

As of now, it seems unlikely that PUP development will slow since it helps their distributors earn a considerable amount of money. With that said, it’s important now more than ever for users to be aware of the security risks involved with PUPs like the ones spread by WakeNet’s FileCapital. Check out the following tips to better protect yourself from this threat:

  • Click with caution. Be wary of pop-ups and websites asking you to click on items like movie playbacks and other software downloads. These items could infect your device with annoying adverts and malware.
  • Only download software from trusted sources. If you receive a pop-up asking you to update or install software, be vigilant. Adware and PUPs are often disguised as legitimate sites or software companies. Your best bet is to play it safe and go directly to the source when updating or installing new software.
  • Use a robust security software. Using a security solution like McAfee Total Protection could help protect your device from exposure to PUPs that have been spread by WakeNet’s FileCapital. McAfee Total Protection blocks auto-play videos on websites that decrease computer performance and warns you of risky websites and links.

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

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What To Do When Your Social Media Account Gets Hacked https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/social-media-account-hacked/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/social-media-account-hacked/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 17:00:15 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92869

You log in to your favorite social media site and notice a string of posts or messages definitely not posted by you. Or, you get a message that your account password has been changed, without your knowledge. It hits you that your account has been hacked. What do you do? This is a timely question […]

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You log in to your favorite social media site and notice a string of posts or messages definitely not posted by you. Or, you get a message that your account password has been changed, without your knowledge. It hits you that your account has been hacked. What do you do?

This is a timely question considering that social media breaches have been on the rise. A recent survey revealed that 22%of internet users said that their online accounts have been hacked at least once, while 14% reported they were hacked more than once. And, earlier this year Facebook itself got hacked, exposing the identity information of 50 million users.

Your first move—and a crucial one—is to change your password right away, and notify your connections that your account has been hacked. This way your friends know not to click on any suspicious posts or messages that appear to be coming from you because they might contain malware or phishing attempts. But that’s not all. There may be other, hidden threats to having your social media account hacked.

The risks associated with a hacker poking around your social media have a lot to do with how much personal information you share. Does your account include personal information that could be used to steal your identity, or guess your security questions on other accounts?

These could include your date of birth, address, hometown, or names of family members and pets. Just remember, even if you keep your profile locked down with strong privacy settings, once the hacker logs in as you, everything you have posted is up for grabs.

You should also consider whether the password for the compromised account is being used on any of your other accounts, because if so, you should change those as well. A clever hacker could easily try your email address and known password on a variety of sites to see if they can log in as you, including on banking sites.

Next, you have to address the fact that your account could have been used to spread scams or malware. Hackers often infect accounts so they can profit off clicks using adware, or steal even more valuable information from you and your contacts.

You may have already seen the scam for “discount Ray-Ban” sunglasses that plagued Facebook a couple of years ago, and recently took over Instagram. This piece of malware posts phony ads to the infected user’s account, and then tags their friends in the post. Because the posts appear in a trusted friend’s feed, users are often tricked into clicking on it, which in turn compromises their own account.

So, in addition to warning your contacts not to click on suspicious messages that may have been sent using your account, you should flag the messages as scams to the social media site, and delete them from your profile page.

Finally, you’ll want to check to see if there are any new apps or games installed to your account that you didn’t download. If so, delete them since they may be another attempt to compromise your account.

Now that you know what do to after a social media account is hacked, here’s how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

How To Keep Your Social Accounts Secure

  • Don’t click on suspicious messages or links, even if they appear to be posted by someone you know.
  • Flag any scam posts or messages you encounter on social media to the website, so they can help stop the threat from spreading.
  • Use unique, complicated passwords for all your accounts.
  • If the site offers multi-factor authentication, use it, and choose the highest privacy setting available.
  • Avoid posting any identity information or personal details that might allow a hacker to guess your security questions.
  • Don’t log in to your social accounts while using public Wi-Fi, since these networks are often unsecured and your information could be stolen.
  • Always use comprehensive security software that can keep you protected from the latest threats.
  • Keep up-to-date on the latest scams and malware threats

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

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First Smartphone: Are You Putting Cyberbullies Under the Tree This Year? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/first-smartphone-are-you-putting-cyberbullies-under-the-tree-this-year/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/first-smartphone-are-you-putting-cyberbullies-under-the-tree-this-year/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 15:00:13 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92850

There’s pressure — lots of pressure. And not the typical I-want-a-bike or a doll-that-poops kind of pressure your kids may have foisted upon you just a few Christmases ago. No, this is the big leagues. Your child wants his or her first smartphone to show up under the tree this year. Is your son or daughter […]

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first smartphone

There’s pressure — lots of pressure. And not the typical I-want-a-bike or a doll-that-poops kind of pressure your kids may have foisted upon you just a few Christmases ago. No, this is the big leagues. Your child wants his or her first smartphone to show up under the tree this year. Is your son or daughter ready? Bigger question: Are you ready?

A first smartphone is a big step in a family that can’t be unstepped. Because it’s not about what a phone used to be about, which is dialing the number of a person you need to speak with. Today, giving your child a cell phone unlocks a hidden wardrobe door that leads to a whole new Narnia-like world abounding in both hills of goodness and valleys of emotional punches.

A first cell phone isn’t a casual purchase. Besides the financial investment (these things aren’t cheap), there’s a family dynamic that will likely change and a peer-to-peer dynamic that will go through its tumultuous metamorphosis.

Here are a few things to consider and talk through with your family before making your final decision to purchase that first smartphone.

Family talking points

first smartphone

  1. Maturity milestones. A phone is a small computer your child will carry in his or her pocket from this point forward. Has your child demonstrated maturity in other areas? Can he or she stay home alone responsibly for short periods? Does your child take care of his or her possessions, complete chores, and homework on time and without you nagging? Does your child earn/save/spend his or her allowance in a mature way? Does your child show empathy for others or deal with conflict well? These milestones are worth examining. If you feel uneasy about your child’s overall maturity, you might consider setting some goals to move your child toward cell phone ownership sometime in the future.
  2. The cyberbully factor. We know you’d never willingly invite a cyberbully into your home and especially wouldn’t put one under the tree for your child to discover on Christmas morning. However, that’s the reality of what phone ownership will bring sooner or later. Is your child emotionally strong enough to handle mean comments, feeling excluded, or being criticized or joked with in public? How does your child handle peer conflict without a phone? The emotional impact of owning a phone is not something you will see advertised, but it’s a huge factor to consider.
  3. Peer pressure. Digital peer pressure is a real thing. There’s pressure to dress a certain way, post pictures a certain way, and post activities online to gain status points in certain social circles. The selfie craze, online dares, digital trends and hashtags, and other pressures are all part of the smartphone equation.
  4. Harmful content. There’s a lot of great content online — educational, entertaining, and fun — but there’s a lot of content that is harmful to kids such as pornography, hateful ideology, and cruelty. Can your child resist the temptation to seek out or look at concerning content? Can your child discern ideas? Are you as a parent willing to take the extra steps to filter inappropriate content?
  5. Privacy issues. With a new phone comes great responsibility toward guarding first smartphoneone’s personal information. Do you have the time to communicate, teach, and monitor your child’s online footprint? Getting kids off to a strong start will require much time and care up front until your son or daughter has a grasp on the value of personal data.
  6. Social media. Social media owns vast real estate on a child’s phone and includes everything from gaming, to social networks, to various “communities” attached to apps. Anywhere your child can create a username and profile and connect with others, opens him or her up to risks of cyberbullying, strangers, and scams. Discuss new apps and establish ground rules and phone usage boundaries that make sense for your family. The most important part of setting rules is to enforce the rules.
  7. Screentime ground rules. With a first smartphone comes the risk of too much screen time. Addiction to online gaming, social media, and phones, in general, have become a public health concern. Put family rules in place that set time limits and phone free zones. Keep communication open and consistent to keep your kids following healthy screen time habits.

 

 

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Affected by a Data Breach? 6 Security Steps You Should Take https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/data-breach-security-steps/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/data-breach-security-steps/#respond Fri, 30 Nov 2018 22:48:01 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92893

It’s common for people to share their personal information with companies for multiple reasons. Whether you’re checking into a hotel room, using a credit card to make a purchase at your favorite store, or collecting rewards points at your local coffee shop, companies have more access to your data than you may think. While this […]

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It’s common for people to share their personal information with companies for multiple reasons. Whether you’re checking into a hotel room, using a credit card to make a purchase at your favorite store, or collecting rewards points at your local coffee shop, companies have more access to your data than you may think. While this can help you build relationships with your favorite vendors, what happens if their security is compromised?

A high-profile hotel and another popular consumer brand’s perks program recently experienced data breaches that exposed users’ personal information. If you think you were affected by one of these breaches, there are multiple steps you can take to help protect yourself from the potential side effects.

Check out the following tips if you think you may have been affected by a data breach, or just want to take extra precautions:

  • Change your password. Most people will rotate between the same three passwords for all of their personal accounts. While this makes it easier to remember your credentials, it also makes it easier for hackers to access more than one of your accounts. Try using a unique password for every one of your accounts or employ a password manager.
  • Place a fraud alert. If you suspect that your data might have been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit. This not only ensures that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny, but also allows you to have extra copies of your credit report so you can check for suspicious activity.
  • Freeze your credit. Freezing your credit will make it impossible for criminals to take out loans or open up new accounts in your name. To do this effectively, you will need to freeze your credit at each of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian).
  • Consider using identity theft protection. A solution like McAfee Identify Theft Protection will help you to monitor your accounts, alert you of any suspicious activity, and help you to regain any losses in case something goes wrong.
  • Update your privacy settings. Be careful with how much of your personal information you share online. Make sure your social media accounts and mobile apps are on private and use multi-factor authentication to prevent your accounts from being hacked.
  • Be vigilant about checking your accounts. If you suspect that your personal data has been compromised, frequently check your bank account and credit activity. Many banks and credit card companies offer free alerts that notify you via email or text messages when new purchases are made, if there’s an unusual charge, or when your account balance drops to a certain level. This will help you stop fraudulent activity in its tracks.

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

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The Spotify Phishing Scam: How to Reel in This Cyberthreat https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/spotify-phishing-scam/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/spotify-phishing-scam/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 18:16:13 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92859

Many music-lovers around the world use Spotify to stream all of their favorite tunes. While the music streaming platform is a convenient tool for users to download and listen to their music, hackers are capitalizing on the company’s popularity with a recent phishing campaign. The campaign lures users into giving up their account details, putting […]

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Many music-lovers around the world use Spotify to stream all of their favorite tunes. While the music streaming platform is a convenient tool for users to download and listen to their music, hackers are capitalizing on the company’s popularity with a recent phishing campaign. The campaign lures users into giving up their account details, putting innocent Spotify customers’ credentials at risk.

So, how are the account hijackers conducting these phishing attacks? The campaign sends listeners fraudulent emails that appear to be from Spotify, prompting them to confirm their account details. However, the link contained in the email is actually a phishing link. When the user clicks on it, they are redirected to a phony Spotify website where they are prompted to enter their username and password for the hacker’s disposal.

This phishing campaign can lead to a variety of other security risks for victims exposed to the threat. For example, many users include their birthday or other personal information in their password to make it easier to remember. If a hacker gains access to a user’s Spotify password, they are given a glance into the victim’s password creation mindset, which could help them breach other accounts belonging to the user.

Fortunately, there are multiple steps users can take to avoid the Spotify phishing campaign and threats like it. Check out the following tips:

  • Create complex passwords. If a hacker gains access to a victim’s username and password, they will probably analyze these credentials to determine how the victim creates their passwords. It’s best to create passwords that don’t include personal information, such as your birthday or the name of your pet.
  • Avoid reusing passwords. If victims reuse the same password for multiple accounts, this attack could allow cybercriminals to breach additional services and platforms. To prevent hackers from accessing other accounts, create unique usernames and passwords for each online platform you use.
  • Look out for phishing red flags. If you notice that the “from” address in an email is a little sketchy or an unknown source, don’t interact with the message. And if you’re still unsure of whether the email is legitimate or not, hover your mouse over the button prompting you to click on the link (but don’t actually click on it). If the URL preview doesn’t seem to be related to the company, it is most likely a phishing email.
  • Be skeptical of emails claiming to come from legitimate companies. If you receive an email asking to confirm your login credentials, go directly to the company’s website. You should be able to check the status of your account on the company website or under the settings portion of the Spotify app to determine the legitimacy of the request.
  • Use security software to surf the web safely. Make sure you use a website reputation tool like McAfee WebAdvisor to avoid landing on phishing and malicious sites.

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

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Stay Secure and Your Wallet Full with Our Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes! https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/holiday-shopping-rt2win-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/holiday-shopping-rt2win-2018/#respond Mon, 26 Nov 2018 20:00:36 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92823

Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season. In anticipation of the busiest time of year for e-commerce, this year we conducted the Stressed Holiday Online Shopping survey to understand how financial pressure can impact buyer behavior when it comes to online purchasing and cybersecurity. The economic burden of the […]

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season. In anticipation of the busiest time of year for e-commerce, this year we conducted the Stressed Holiday Online Shopping survey to understand how financial pressure can impact buyer behavior when it comes to online purchasing and cybersecurity.

The economic burden of the holidays is something consumers know all too well. From gifts for the family to parties with friends, it’s no wonder that 79 percent of survey respondents said that holiday shopping puts financial stress on them. And the stress of stretching that budget lead 53 percent of respondents to say they can to be careless when online shopping. Further, more than half of consumers (56 percent) said that they would use a website they were unfamiliar with if it meant they would save money.

But just in time for holiday shopping season, we’re here to help take the financial burden off your shoulders with our Holiday Shopping RT2Win Sweepstakes! Two [2] lucky winners of the sweepstakes drawing will receive a $500 Amazon gift card. The best part? Entering is a breeze! Follow the instructions below to enter and good luck!

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Official Rules

  • To enter, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter and find the #RT2Win sweepstakes tweet.
  • The sweepstakes tweet will be released on Monday, November 26, 2018, 2018 at 12:00pm PT. This tweet will include the hashtags: #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes.
  • Retweet the sweepstakes tweet released on the above date, from your own handle. The #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win AND #Sweepstakes hashtags must be included to be entered.
  • Make sure you’re following @McAfee_Home on Twitter! You must follow for your entry to count.
  • Sweepstakes will end on Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. All entries must be made before that date and time.
  • Winners will be notified on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 via Twitter direct message.
  • Limit one entry per person.
1. How to Win:

Retweet one of our contest tweets on @McAfee_Home that include “#ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win, AND #Sweepstakes” for a chance to win a $500 Amazon gift card (for full prize details please see “Prizes” section below). Two [2] total winners will be selected and announced on December 10, 2018. Winners will be notified by direct message on Twitter. For full Sweepstakes details, please see the Terms and Conditions, below.

#RT2Win Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

2. How to Enter: 

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes will be conducted from November 26, 2018 through December 9, 2018. All entries for each day of the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes must be received during the time allotted for the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes. Pacific Daylight Time shall control the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes, duration is as follows:

  • Begins: Monday, November 26, 2018­­ at 12:00pm PST
  • Ends: Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 11:59pm PST
  • Two [2] winners will be announced: Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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

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

Two [2] winners will be chosen for the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes tweet from the viable pool of entries that retweeted and included #ProtectWhatMatters, #RT2Win and #Sweepstakes. McAfee and the McAfee social team will choose winners from all the viable entries. The winners will be announced and privately messaged on Tuesday, December 11, 2018 on the @McAfee_Home Twitter handle. No other method of entry will be accepted besides Twitter. Only one entry per user is allowed, per Sweepstakes.   

3. Eligibility: 

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

4. Winner Selection:

Winners will be selected at random from all eligible retweets received during the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes drawing entry period. Sponsor will select the names of two [2] potential winners of the prizes in a random drawing from among all eligible submissions at the address listed below. The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by the Official McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes Rules and the decisions of the coordinators, which shall be final and binding in all respects.

5. Winner Notification:  

Each winner will be notified via direct message (“DM”) on Twitter.com by December 11, 2018. Prize winners may be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (where permitted by law) to be returned within ten (10) days of written notification, or prize may be forfeited, and an alternate winner selected. If a prize notification is returned as unclaimed or undeliverable to a potential winner, if potential winner cannot be reached within twenty-four (24) hours from the first DM notification attempt, or if potential winner fails to return requisite document within the specified time period, or if a potential winner is not in compliance with these Official Rules, then such person shall be disqualified and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, an alternate winner may be selected for the prize at issue based on the winner selection process described above.

6. Prizes: 

The prize for the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes is a $500 Amazon gift card for each of the two [2] entrants/winners. Entrants agree that Sponsor has the sole right to determine the winners of the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes and all matters or disputes arising from the McAfee Holiday Shopping #RT2Win Sweepstakes and that its determination is final and binding. There are no prize substitutions, transfers or cash equivalents permitted except at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Sponsor will not replace any lost or stolen prizes. Sponsor is not responsible for delays in prize delivery beyond its control. All other expenses and items not specifically mentioned in these Official Rules are not included and are the prize winners’ sole responsibility.

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

7. General Conditions: 

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

8. Limitations of Liability; Releases:

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

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

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

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

10. Dispute Resolution:

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

11. Governing Law & Disputes:

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

12. Privacy Policy: 

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

  1. Winner List; Rules Request: For a copy of the winner list, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for arrival after November 26, 2018 before December 9, 2018, to the address listed below, Attn: #RT2Win at CES Sweepstakes.  To obtain a copy of these Official Rules, visit this link or send a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope to the address listed in below, Attn: Sarah Grayson. VT residents may omit return postage.
  2. Intellectual Property Notice: McAfee and the McAfee logo are registered trademarks of McAfee, LLC. The Sweepstakes and all accompanying materials are copyright © 2018 by McAfee, LLC.  All rights reserved.
  3. Sponsor: McAfee, LLC, Corporate Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 USA
  4. Administrator: LEWIS Pulse, 111 Sutter St., Suite 850, San Francisco, CA 94104

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8 Ways to Secure Your Family’s Online Holiday Shopping https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/8-ways-to-secure-your-familys-online-holiday-shopping-fun/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/8-ways-to-secure-your-familys-online-holiday-shopping-fun/#respond Mon, 26 Nov 2018 02:20:42 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92805

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year — no doubt about it. But each year, as our reliance and agility on our mobile devices increases, so too might our impulsivity and even inattention when it comes to digital transactions. Before getting caught up in the whirlwind of gift giving and the thrill of […]

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It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year — no doubt about it. But each year, as our reliance and agility on our mobile devices increases, so too might our impulsivity and even inattention when it comes to digital transactions.

Before getting caught up in the whirlwind of gift giving and the thrill of the perfect purchase, consider taking a small pause. Stop to consider that as giddy as you may be to find that perfect gift, hackers are just as giddy this time of year to catch shoppers unaware and snatch what they can from the deep, digital holiday coffers. In fact, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the number one cybercrime of 2017 was related to online shopping; specifically, payment for or non-delivery of goods purchased.

8 Ways to Secure Your Family’s Holiday Shopping Online

  1. Make it a family discussion. Make no assumptions when it comes to what your kids do and do not understand (and practice) when it comes to shopping safely online. Go over the points below as a family. Because kids are nearly 100% mobile, online shopping and transactions can move swiftly, and the chances of making a mistake or falling prey to a scam can increase. Caution kids to slow down and examine every website and link in the buying journey.
  2. Beware of malicious links. The most common forms of fraud and cyber attacks are phishing scams and socially-engineered malware. Check links before you click them and consider using McAfee® WebAdvisor, a free download that safeguards you from malware and phishing attempts while you surf — without impacting your browsing performance.
  3. Don’t shop on unsecured wi-fi. Most public networks don’t encrypt transmitted data, which makes all your online activity on public wi-fi vulnerable to hackers. Resist shopping on an unsecured wireless network (at a coffee shop, library, airport). Instead, do all of your online shopping from your secure home computer. If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection use a virtual private network (VPN) such as McAfee® SafeConnect to maintain a secure connection in public places. To be sure your home network is safe, secure your router.
  4. Is that site legit? Before purchasing a product online, check the URL carefully. If the address bar says “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS” in its URL, do not purchase from the site. As of July 2018, unsecured sites now include a “Not Secure” warning, which is very helpful to shoppers. Also, an icon of a locked padlock will appear to the left of the URL in the address bar or the status bar down below depending on your browser. Cybercriminals can make a fake site look very close to the real thing. One added step: Google the site if anything feels wrong about it, and you may find some unlucky consumers sharing their stories.
  5. Review bills closely. Review your credit card statements in January and February, when your holiday purchases will show up. Credit cards offer better fraud protection than debit. So, if you’re shopping online during the holidays, give yourself an extra layer of protection from scams by using a credit card. Think about using the same card between family members to make checking your bill easier.
  6. Create new, strong passwords. If you are getting ready to do a lot of shopping online, it’s a great time to update your passwords. Choose a password that is unhackable rather than one that is super easy to remember.
  7. Verify charities. One of the best things about the holidays is the spirit of giving. Hackers and crooks know this and are working hard to trick innocent givers. This reality means that some seasonal charities may be well-devised scams. Before you donate, be sure to do a little research. Look at the website’s URL; it’s design, its security badges. Google the charity and see if any scams have been reported.
  8. Protect your data from third parties. Sites may contain “third parties,” which are other embedded websites your browser talks to such as advertisers, website analytics engines, that can watch your browsing behavior. To protect your data when shopping and get rid of third-party access, you need to wipe your cookies (data trackers) clean using your settings, then change your browser settings (choose “block third-party cookies and site data”) to make sure the cookies can’t track your buying behavior. You can also go into your settings and direct your browser to shop in private or incognito mode.

No one is immune to holiday scams. Many scams are intricately designed and executed so that even the savviest consumer is duped. You can enjoy the shopping that comes with the holidays by keeping these few safety precautions in mind. Don’t let your emotional desire for that perfect gift override your reasoning skills. Listen to your intuition when it comes to suspicious websites, offers, emails, pop-up ads, and apps. Pause. Analyze. And make sure you are purchasing from a legitimate site.

Stay safe and WIN: Now that you’ve read about safe shopping basics, head over to our Protect What Matters site. If you successfully complete the Holiday Online Shopping Adventure quiz, you can enter your email address for the chance to win a tech prize pack with some of this season’s hottest smart gadgets. Have fun, and stay safe online this holiday season!

 

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The Who, What, and How of Cyberbullying https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/the-who-what-and-how-of-cyberbullying/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/the-who-what-and-how-of-cyberbullying/#respond Wed, 21 Nov 2018 17:35:07 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92813

The internet has allowed society to stay connected in more ways than ever before. We can speak to strangers across the globe, connect with loved ones in an instant, and share our lives publicly. As much as the internet has connected us in positive, eye-opening ways, its interactive nature has also created a new problem […]

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The internet has allowed society to stay connected in more ways than ever before. We can speak to strangers across the globe, connect with loved ones in an instant, and share our lives publicly. As much as the internet has connected us in positive, eye-opening ways, its interactive nature has also created a new problem for active users everywhere – cyberbullying. Though the problem is becoming all too common, many out there don’t fully understand the ins and outs of cyberbullying. Let’s take a deep dive into the phenomenon.

What is Cyberbullying

Just like it sounds, cyberbullying is when bullies take their insults and ill will to the internet. According to StopBullying.gov, “Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.” The key objective of cyberbullying is to embarrass the subject of the attack, though sometimes the bully can view the act as justified revenge or simply non-intentional.

Types of Cyberbullies

Evolved from the classic schoolyard bullies of old, these cyberbullies can actually take a variety of forms depending on their attack vector and intent. In fact, there are said to be four types of cyberbullies: the Vengeful Angel, the Power Hungry Cyberbully, Revenge of the Nerds/Inadvertent Cyberbully, and Mean Girls. The Vengeful Angel bullies in order to protect the weak/other victims, and often take the action to protect a loved or friend. The Power Hungry archetype, however, is just a nasty, unkind person who wants to display dominance and control over others. Then there’s the Inadvertent Cyberbully, who are usually the ones getting bullied online or in real life and are typically trying to enact some form of justice or revenge anonymously from the web. Mean Girls are the opposite – and take their online actions in order to impress a group of friends or gain social status.

Cyberbullying Methods

Not only is there a variety in the kind of bullies across the web, but also a plethora of types of cyberbullying techniques these meanies use to bother their victims. First and foremost, there’s Harassment, which involves repeated, offensive messages sent to a victim by a bully on some type of online medium. These messages can be rude, personal, and even threatening, with one recent example emerging between two wives of professional hockey players. Similar to harassment is Flaming – an online fight conducted via emails, social media messages, chat rooms, you name it.

Then there are very targeted attacks, named Exclusion and Outing. With Exclusion, cyberbullies select one individual to single out. Exclusion is a popular method, with examples popping up everywhere, from high students in Iowa to well-known celebrities. With Outing, these harassers share private information, photos, and videos of a single person to humiliate them online. There’s also the anonymous angle, AKA Masquerading, where a cyberbully creates a fake online identity to belittle, harass, and degrade their victim – which a nurse in New Zealand was a victim of for a whopping 5 years.

Next Steps for Both Parents and Kids

Typically, cyberbullying is a common occurrence amongst teens who are navigating the trials and tribulations of middle school and high school. But that doesn’t mean its exclusive to teens, and that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps parents and kids alike can do to stop cyberbullying in its tracks.

If you’re the subject of cyberbullying, the first thing you need to do is block the bully. Then, make sure you collect evidence – take screenshots, print the proof, do whatever you can do have material to back up your claim. It depends on the type of cyberbullying at work, but you can also use the internet to your advantage and look up relevant resources/hotlines/support to aid with your issue.

If you’re a parent, the most important thing is communication. Make yourself available as a resource and remind your kids that they can tell you anything that’s happening in their online world. Beyond that, continuously weave cybersecurity into your family discussions. Remind kids of the simple steps they can take to be safe online, and make sure they know when to flag a cyberbully or online scheme.

There are also technical avenues you can take to protect your kid online. Look into solutions that will help you monitor your family’s online interactions, such as McAfee Safe Family. This solution, for instance, can help you set rules and time limits for apps and websites and see what your kids are up to at a glance. Of course, these solutions are not the be-all and end-all for stopping cyberbullying, but they can help.

Now, there’s still a lot more research that has to be done to fully understand the cyberbullying problem society is faced with. So as this problem continues to evolve, so must the research, solutions, and regulations that will be created to combat the issue. With the right proactive action, people everywhere can stand up to cyberbullies.

To learn more about family safety and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Is a Laptop’s Password Enough to Keep it Secure? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/is-a-laptops-password-enough-to-keep-it-secure/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/is-a-laptops-password-enough-to-keep-it-secure/#comments Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:00:21 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92750

It could happen to any of us. One minute your laptop is sitting on a coffeehouse table or going through airport security, the next it’s gone. Your personal files are all locked behind a strong password, but is that enough to keep off prying eyes? In episode 19 of “Hackable?”, Geoff ships his laptop 1,000 […]

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It could happen to any of us. One minute your laptop is sitting on a coffeehouse table or going through airport security, the next it’s gone. Your personal files are all locked behind a strong password, but is that enough to keep off prying eyes?

In episode 19 of “Hackable?”, Geoff ships his laptop 1,000 miles to a white-hat hacker to investigate. Listen and learn if his password is enough, or if Geoff’s tax forms, social security number, and photos are compromised. 

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

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Has Your Phone Become Your Third Child? Ways to Get Screen Time Anxiety Under Control https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/has-your-phone-become-your-third-child-ways-to-get-screen-time-anxiety-under-control/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/has-your-phone-become-your-third-child-ways-to-get-screen-time-anxiety-under-control/#respond Sat, 17 Nov 2018 13:00:48 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92734

You aren’t going to like this post. However, you will, hopefully, find yourself nodding and perhaps, even making some changes because of it. Here it friends: That love-hate relationship you have with your smartphone may need some serious attention — not tomorrow or next week — but now. I’m lecturing myself first by the way. […]

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smartphone screen timeYou aren’t going to like this post. However, you will, hopefully, find yourself nodding and perhaps, even making some changes because of it. Here it friends: That love-hate relationship you have with your smartphone may need some serious attention — not tomorrow or next week — but now.

I’m lecturing myself first by the way. Thanks to the June iOS update that tracks and breaks down phone usage, I’m ready — eager in fact — to make some concrete changes to my digital habits. Why? Because the relationship with my phone – which by the way has become more like a third child — is costing me in time (75 days a year to be exact), stress, and personal goals.

I say this with much conviction because the numbers don’t lie. It’s official: I’m spending more time on my phone than I am with my kids. Likewise, the attention I give and the stress caused by my phone is equivalent to parenting another human. Sad, but true. Here’s the breakdown.

Screen time stats for the past seven days:

  • 5 hours per day on my device
  • 19 hours on social networks
  • 2 hours on productivity
  • 1 hour on creativity
  • 18 phone pickups a day; 2 pickups per hour

Do the math:

  • 35 hours a week on my device
  • 1,820 hours a year on my device
  • 75 days a year on my device

Those numbers are both accurate and disturbing. I’m not proud. Something’s gotta give and, as Michael Jackson once said, change needs to start with the man (woman) in the mirror.

A 2015 study by Pew Research Center found that 24% of Americans can’t stop checking their feeds constantly. No surprise, a handful of other studies confirm excessive phone use is linked to anxiety, depression, and a social phenomenon called FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out.

Efficiency vs. Anxiety

There’s no argument around the benefits of technology. As parents, we can keep track of our kids’ whereabouts, filter their content, live in smart houses that are efficient and secure, and advance our skills and knowledge at lightning speeds.

That’s a lot of conveniences wrapped in even more pings, alerts, and notifications that can cause anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress.  In our hyper-connected culture, it’s not surprising to see this behavior in yourself or the people in your social circles.

  • Nervousness or anxiety when you are not able to check your notifications.
  • An overwhelming need to share things — photos, personal thoughts, stresses — with others on social media.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you are not able to access social media.
  • Interrupting conversations to check social media accounts.
  • Lying (downplaying) to others about how much time you spend on social media sites.

We often promote balance in technology use, but this post will go one step further. This post will get uncomfortably specific in suggesting things to do to put a dent in your screentime. (Again, these suggested changes are aimed at this mom first.)

Get Intentional

  • Look at your stats. A lot of people don’t go to the doctor or dentist because they claim “not knowing” about an ailment is less stressful than smartphone screen timeknowing. Don’t take that approach to your screen time. Make today the day you take a hard look at reality. Both iOS and Android now have screen time tracking.
  • Get reinforcements.  There are a lot of apps out there like Your Hour, AppBlock, Stay Focused, Flipd, and App Off Timer designed to help curb your smartphone usage. Check out the one/s that fits your needs and best helps you control your screen time.
  • Plan your week. If you have activities planned ahead of time for the week — like a hike, reading, a movie, or spending time with friends — you are less likely to fritter away hours on your phone.
  • Leave your phone at home. Just a decade ago we spent full days away from home running errands, visiting friends, and exploring the outdoors — all without our phones. The world kept turning. Nothing fell to pieces. So start small. Go to the grocery store without your phone. Next, have dinner with friends. Then, go on a full day excursion. Wean yourself off your device and reclaim your days and strengthen your relationships.
  • Establish/enforce free family zones. Modeling control in your phone use helps your kids to do the same. Establish phone free zones such as homework time, the dinner table, family activities, and bedtime. The key here is that once you establish the phone free zones, be sure to enforce them. A lot of parents (me included) get lax after a while in this area. Research products that allow you to set rules and time limits for apps and websites. McAfee Safe Family helps you establish limits with pre-defined age-based rules that you can be customized based on your family’s needs.
  • Delete unused apps. Give this a try: Delete one social app at a time, for just a day or a week, to see if you need it. If you end up keeping even one time-wasting app off your phone, the change will be well worth it.
  • Engage with people over your phone. If you are in the line at the grocery store, waiting for a show to begin, or hanging out at your child’s school/ sports events, seek to connect with people rather than pull out your phone. Do this intentionally for a week, and it may become a habit!
  • Do one thing at a time. A lot of wasted device time happens because we are multi-tasking — and that time adds up. So if you are watching a movie, reading, or even doing housework put your phone in another room — in a drawer. Try training yourself to focus on doing one thing at a time.smartphone screen time
  • Give yourself a phone curfew. We’ve talked about phone curfews for kids to help them get enough sleep but how about one for parents? Pick a time that works for you and stick to it. (I’m choosing to put my phone away at 8 p.m. every night.)
  • Use voice recorder, notes app, or text. Spending too much time uploading random content? Curb your urge to check or post on social media by using your voice recorder app to speak your thoughts into. Likewise, pin that article or post that photo to your notes to catalog it in a meaningful way or text/share it with a small group of people. These few changes could result in big hours saved on social sites.
  • Turn off notifications. You can’t help but look at those notifications so change your habitual response by turning off all notifications.
  • Limit, don’t quit. Moderation is key to making changes stick. Try limiting your social media time to 10 minutes a day. Choose a time that works and set a timer if you need to. There’s no need to sever all ties with social media just keep it in its proper place.

Slow but Specific Changes

Lastly, go at change slowly (but specifically) and give yourself some grace. Change isn’t easy. You didn’t rack up those screen time stats overnight. You’ve come to rely on your phone for a lot of tasks as well as entertainment. So, there’s no need to approach this as a life overhaul, a digital detox, or take an everything or nothing approach. Nor is there a need to trumpet your social departure to your online communities. Just take a look at your reality and do what you need to do to take back your time and control that unruly third child once and for all. You’ve got this!

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What Your Password Says About You https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/what-your-password-says-about-you/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/what-your-password-says-about-you/#respond Fri, 16 Nov 2018 21:50:22 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92744

At the end of last year, a survey revealed that the most popular password was still “123456,” followed by “password.” These highly hackable choices are despite years of education around the importance of password security. So, what does this say about people who pick simple passwords? Most likely, they are shooting for a password that is […]

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At the end of last year, a survey revealed that the most popular password was still “123456,” followed by “password.” These highly hackable choices are despite years of education around the importance of password security. So, what does this say about people who pick simple passwords? Most likely, they are shooting for a password that is easy to remember rather than super secure.

The urge to pick simple passwords is understandable given the large number of passwords that are required in our modern lives—for banking, social media, and online services, to simply unlocking our phones. But choosing weak passwords can be a major mistake, opening you up to theft and identity fraud.

Even if you choose complicated passwords, the recent rash of corporate data breaches means you could be at even greater risk by repeating passwords across accounts. When you repeat passwords all a hacker needs to do is breach one service provider to obtain a password that can unlock a string of accounts, including your online banking services. These accounts often include identity information, leaving you open to impersonation. The bad guys could open up fraudulent accounts in your name, for example, or even collect your health benefits.

So, now that you know the risks of weak password security, let’s see what your password says about you. Take this quiz to find out, and don’t forget to review our password safety tips below!

Password Quiz – Answer “Yes” or “No”

  1. Your passwords don’t include your address, birthdate, anniversary, or pet’s name.
  2. You don’t repeat passwords.
  3. Your passwords are at least 8 characters long and include numbers, upper and lower case letters, and characters.
  4. You change default passwords on devices to something hard to guess.
  5. You routinely lock your phone and devices with a passcode or fingerprint.
  6. You don’t share your passwords with people you’re dating or friends.
  7. You use a password manager.
  8. If you write your passwords down, you keep them hidden in a safe place, where no one else can find them.
  9. You get creative with answers to security questions to make them harder to guess. For example, instead of naming the city where you grew up, you name your favorite city, so someone who simply reads your social media profile cannot guess the answer.
  10. You make sure no one is watching when you type in your passwords.
  11. You try to make your passwords memorable by including phrases that have meaning to you.
  12. You use multi-factor authentication.

Now, give yourself 1 point for each question you answered “yes” to, and 0 points for each question you answered “no” to. Add them up to see what your password says about you.

9-12 points:

You’re a Password Pro!

You take password security seriously and know the importance of using unique, complicated passwords for each account. Want to up your password game? Use multi-factor authentication, if you don’t already. This is when you use more than one method to authenticate your identity before logging in to an account, such as typing in a password, as well as a code that is sent to your phone via text message.

4-8 points

You’re a Passable Passworder

You go through the basics, but when it comes to making your accounts as secure as they can be you sometimes skip important steps. Instead of creating complicated passwords yourself—and struggling to remember them—you may want to use a password manager, and let it do the work for you. Soon, you’ll be a pro!

1-3 points

You’re a Hacker’s Helper

Uh oh! It looks like you’re not taking password security seriously enough to ensure that your accounts and data stay safe. Start by reading through the tips below. It’s never too late to upgrade your passwords, so set aside a little time to boost your security.

Key Tips to Become a Password Pro:

  • Always choose unique, complicated passwords—Try to make sure they are at least 8 characters long and include a combination of numbers, letters, and characters. Don’t repeat passwords for critical accounts, like financial and health services, and keep them to yourself.Also, consider using a password manager to help create and store unique passwords for you. This way you don’t have to write passwords down or memorize them. Password managers are sometimes offered as part of security software.
  • Make your password memorable—We know that people continue to choose simple passwords because they are easier to remember, but there are tricks to creating complicated and memorable passwords. For instance, you can string random words together that mean something to you, and intersperse them with numbers and characters. Or, you can choose random letters that comprise a pattern only know to you, such as the fist letter in each word of a sentence in your favorite book.
  • Use comprehensive security software—Remember, a strong password is just the first line of defense. Back it up with robust security softwarethat can detect and stop known threats, help you browse safely, and protect you from identity theft.

For more great password tips, go here.

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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Don’t Get PWNed by Fake Gaming Currency Sites https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/fake-gaming-currency-sites/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/fake-gaming-currency-sites/#respond Fri, 16 Nov 2018 01:34:35 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92740

If you’re a gamer, you know how important virtual currency is. It allows you to purchase new costumes and weapons to personalize your avatar. But how does one go about gaining virtual currency? Players complete in-game challenges and are rewarded with coins to spend in their virtual world. These challenges can be pretty difficult and […]

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If you’re a gamer, you know how important virtual currency is. It allows you to purchase new costumes and weapons to personalize your avatar. But how does one go about gaining virtual currency? Players complete in-game challenges and are rewarded with coins to spend in their virtual world. These challenges can be pretty difficult and time-consuming to complete. As a result, many players look to various websites as an easier way to download more gaming currency. Unfortunately, malicious actors are taking advantage of this trend to scam gamers into downloading malware or PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).

There are a variety of techniques scammers use to trick players into utilizing their malicious sites. The first is fake chat rooms. Scammers will set up seemingly legitimate chat rooms where users can post comments or ask questions. What users don’t know is that a bot is actually answering their inquiries automatically. Scammers also ask these victims for “human interaction” by prompting them to enter their personal information via surveys to complete the currency download. What’s more – the message will show a countdown to create a sense of urgency for the user.

These scammers also use additional techniques to make their sites believable, including fake Facebook comments and “live” recent activity updates. The comments and recent activity shown are actually hard-coded into the scam site, giving the appearance that other players are receiving free gaming currency.

These tactics, along with a handful of others, encourage gamers to use the scam sites so cybercriminals can distribute their malicious PUPs or malware. So, with such deceptive sites existing around the internet, the next question is – what can players do to protect themselves from these scammers? Check out the following tips to avoid this cyberthreat:

  • Exercise caution when clicking on links. If a site for virtual currency is asking you to enter your username, password, or financial information, chances are the website is untrustworthy. Remember, when in doubt, always err on the side of caution and avoid giving your information to a site you’re not 100% sure of.
  • Put the chat room to the test. To determine if a chat site is fake, ask the same question a few times. If you notice the same response, it is likely a phony website.
  • Do a Google search of the Facebook comments. An easy way to check if the Facebook comments that appear on a site are legitimate is to copy and paste them into Google. If you see a lot of similar websites come up with the same comments in the description, this is a good indication that it is a scam site.
  • Use security software to surf the web safely. Products like McAfee WebAdvisor can help block gamers from accessing the malicious sites mentioned in this blog.

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

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Holiday Stress Can Make You More Careless Online https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/holiday-stress/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/holiday-stress/#respond Thu, 15 Nov 2018 01:59:36 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92727

Holiday stress. Every year, come November, my resting heart rate starts to rise: the festive season is approaching. Not only is there so much to do but there’s so much to spend money on. There are presents to purchase, feasts to prepare and party outfits to buy. Throw in a holiday to fill the long […]

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Holiday stress. Every year, come November, my resting heart rate starts to rise: the festive season is approaching. Not only is there so much to do but there’s so much to spend money on. There are presents to purchase, feasts to prepare and party outfits to buy. Throw in a holiday to fill the long Summer break, and both the credit cards and my stress levels are starting to rapidly increase!

Holiday Financial Stress Results in Poor Decision Making Online

But did you know that this stress can affect our online safety? Research conducted by McAfee shows that almost 80% of us believe the holiday period causes financial stress. And nearly half of us (46%) believe the stress of the holiday season can cause us to behave carelessly online.  Risky behaviours can put our online safety at risk. For instance, using public Wi-Fi to snag a last-minute purchase. Or buying something from an unfamiliar website because it’s cheaper.

Aussie Shoppers Love an Online Bargain 

In 2017, Aussies spent a record $21.3 million online – a whopping 19% increase over 2016. McAfee’s research shows that Aussie consumers love securing a bargain online – who doesn’t!! But many will seek out a great deal even if it means potentially jeopardising their online safety. The research shows that 64% of consumers are willing to use an unfamiliar website if it means they can save money on their purchase. Even more concerning, a third of Aussies admitted to clicking links in suspicious emails for better deals!! Yikes!!

The Thing Is, Cyber Criminals Love Your Holiday Shopping Too

Cyber criminals work very hard to take advantage of us during the busy Holiday season. They come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to target time-poor and budget-conscious consumers online. They know very well that many of us will cut corners with our online security. Particularly if we think we can save money on presents, outfits or even a holiday.

And they scheme accordingly: charity phishing emails, fake online stores, bogus delivery emails, e-voucher scams and more. Cyber criminals have tried and tested strategies to either steal our personal information or our identity.

How You Can Stay Safe While Shopping Online This Holiday Season

So, don’t feel like you need to battle the crowds at Westfield this festive season. You can still shop online safely if you follow a few simple steps:

  1. Connect with Caution

Public Wi-Fi is just so convenient, but it is a risky business. Users could unknowingly share their personal information with cyber criminals who are snooping on the network. So, if you absolutely have to use public Wi-Fi for a great online shopping deal, always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) such as McAfee Safe Connect which creates a bank-grade encrypted connection.

  1. Think Before You Click

One of the easiest ways for a cyber criminal to target victims is using phishing emails to trick consumers into sharing their personal information. Phishing emails could be disguised as holiday savings or even a shopping notification. Instead of clicking on a link in an email, always check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment.

  1. Always Shop with Security Protection

Shopping online without security protection is like driving without a seat belt – dangerous! Comprehensive antivirus software like McAfee Total Protection will help shield your devices against malware, phishing attacks and other threats. It also provides a firewall, an anti-spam function, parental controls and a password management tool. A complete no-brainer!

But this year, I’m going to commit to lowering my stress. That way I can really enjoy my time with my family and friends. To get ahead of the game I plan to:

  • Start my online shopping earlier so I don’t ‘cut corners’ with my online safety,
  • Create a realistic budget, and
  • Start filling my freezer with some holiday food – now

And most importantly, get that resting heart rate under control!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Alex xx

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Preventing WebCobra Malware From Slithering Onto Your System https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/webcobra-cryptojacking-malware/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/webcobra-cryptojacking-malware/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 21:15:31 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92720

Cryptocurrency mining is the way transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, a database of all the transactions made around a particular piece of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency miners compile all of these transactions into blocks and try to solve complicated mathematical problems to compete with other miners for bitcoins. To do this, miners need […]

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Cryptocurrency mining is the way transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, a database of all the transactions made around a particular piece of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency miners compile all of these transactions into blocks and try to solve complicated mathematical problems to compete with other miners for bitcoins. To do this, miners need a ton of computer resources, since successful bitcoin mining requires a large amount of hardware. Unfortunately, these miners can be used for more nefarious purposes if they’re included within malicious software. Enter WebCobra, a malware that exploits victims’ computers to help cybercriminals mine for cryptocurrencies, a method also known as cryptojacking.

How does WebCobra malware work, exactly? First, WebCobra uses droppers (Trojans designed to install malware onto a victim’s device) to check the computer’s system. The droppers let the malware know which cryptocurrency miner to launch. Then, it silently slithers onto a victim’s device via rogue PUP (potentially unwanted program) and installs one of two miners: Cryptonight or Claymore’s Zcash. Depending on the miner, it will drain the victim’s device of its computer processor’s resources or install malicious file folders that are difficult to find.

The most threatening part of WebCobra malware is that it can be very difficult to detect. Often times, the only sign of its presence is decreased computer performance. Plus, when the dropper is scanning the victim’s device, it will also check for security products running on the system. Many security products use APIs, or application programming interfaces, to monitor malware behavior – and WebCobra is able to overwrite some. This means it can essentially unhook the API and disrupt the system’s communication methods, and therefore remain undetected for a long time.

While cryptocurrency mining can be a harmless hobby, users should be cautious of criminal miners with poor intentions. So, what can you do to prevent WebCobra from slithering onto your system? Check out the following tips:

  • If your computer slows down, be cautious. It can be hard to determine if your device is being used for a cryptojacking campaign. One way you can identify the attack – poor performance. If your device is slow or acting strange, start investigating and see if your device may be infected with malware.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. Having your device infected with malware will not only slow down its performance but could potentially lead to exposed data. To secure your device and help keep your system running smoothly and safely, use a program like McAfee Total Protection. McAfee products are confirmed to detect WebCobra.

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

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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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Shop till You’re Hacked? 3 Tips to Stay Secure this Holiday Season https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/holiday-shopping-security-tips-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/holiday-shopping-security-tips-2018/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 05:01:17 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92638

With just days until Black Friday, the unofficial kick off to the holiday shopping season is quickly approaching. In anticipation of the busiest time of year for e-commerce, this year we conducted a survey, Stressed Holiday Online Shopping, to understand how financial pressure can impact buyer behavior when it comes to online purchasing and cybersecurity. […]

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With just days until Black Friday, the unofficial kick off to the holiday shopping season is quickly approaching. In anticipation of the busiest time of year for e-commerce, this year we conducted a survey, Stressed Holiday Online Shopping, to understand how financial pressure can impact buyer behavior when it comes to online purchasing and cybersecurity. Let’s take a look at what we can learn from our key findings we garnered from surveying 2,472 adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 55, dive into how the results can help consumers avoid the common pitfalls of holiday shopping and cybersecurity, and learn how they can protect both their devices and digital lives this season.

Deals, deals, deals! When it comes to online shopping, consumers care about saving money

The economic burden of the holidays is something consumers know all too well. With an onslaught of holidays and parties in which gifts are expected for family, friends, or co-workers, it’s no wonder that 79 percent of survey respondents said that holiday shopping puts financial stress on them and/or their families. No doubt, from stretching a budget and bargain shopping to attempting to purchase several perfect gifts when sales are fleeting, browsing and purchasing for the holidays can feel overwhelming, which may be why 53 percent of respondents shared that stress can lead them to be careless when online shopping.

More than half of consumers (56 percent) said that they would use a website they were unfamiliar with if it meant they would save money, while 51 percent shared they would purchase an item from an untrusted online retailer to get a good deal. Thirty-one percent would click on a link in an email to get a bargain, regardless of whether they were familiar with the sender.

This season, many will make online purchases, many will use their phones to do so, and even more will unknowingly put themselves at risk when it comes to cybersecurity

When a good deal pops up, it’s hard to pass up – whether you’re in a tricky financial situation or not. This especially rings true when it comes to mobile purchases. The convenience of our phones – which are always with us – lends itself to taking advantage of deals and flash sales that pop up to make impulsive purchases. This always-on access also paves the way for the path to purchase to be much faster and to occur more often.

Perhaps the accessibility that mobile provides is why this holiday season, e-commerce industry experts are predicting that for the first time ever, more online purchases will be made with mobile phones than any other device. That’s right; rather than reach for a laptop or tablet or call out to our virtual assistants, 68 percent of e-commerce visits will be made from our smartphones that are always by our side – whether we’re in a secure setting or not. In fact, 22 percent of McAfee survey respondents shared that they would make online purchases over public or unsecured Wi-Fi, which could potentially expose their private information and payment details.

Our survey also found that while only 6 percent of respondents would be willing to risk having their bank account details fall into the wrong hands for a good deal, 39 percent would risk sharing their email address, 25 percent would wager their phone number, and 16 percent would provide their home address. The problem with this mentality is that through common attacks like phishing, it takes only a bit of information to lead a hacker to gain more of your personal information under the right circumstances. These results illustrate that when it comes to shopping online –regardless of device type– consumers are in it for the holiday deals while unknowingly ignoring their cybersecurity in the process.

Consumers use a variety of ways to discern whether a site or content is unsafe, but rarely report phishing

Fortunately, most people aren’t completely throwing caution to the wind in terms of cybersecurity. Our survey found that consumers use a variety of tricks to scrutinize a website or email in order to interpret safety and danger signals. Half of the respondents check the website design to make sure it looks professional, and 49 percent check for spelling and grammar.

However, 14 percent shared they had no idea how to verify a website and wouldn’t know where to start. Similarly, many people are unfamiliar with how to discern a fake mobile app from an official one. Which is troubling, since last year it was reported that one in 25 Black Friday apps were fake, with at least 15 malicious Black Friday apps for each of the top five U.S. e-commerce brands.

Tips to Stay Safe While Online Shopping This Year

Between the impact of stress on online behavior and constantly evolving cyberthreats, it’s clear that there is a need for re-education on how to stay safe online, especially as cybercriminals are becoming smarter and more relentless. This holiday season, before you whip out those credit cards and mobile devices, consider these tips:

  • Always connect with caution. Public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea, but if you are not careful, you 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) such as McAfee® SafeConnect to help keep your connection secure.
  • Think before you click. One of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to compromise your system 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.

Starving for more stats? Check out last year’s survey on hackable holiday gifts. Stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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What Parents Need to Know About Live-Stream Gaming Sites Like Twitch https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/what-parents-need-to-know-about-live-stream-gaming-sites-like-twitch/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/what-parents-need-to-know-about-live-stream-gaming-sites-like-twitch/#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2018 13:00:33 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92591 Clash of Clans, Runescape, Fortnite, League of Legends, Battlefield V, and Dota 2. While these titles may not mean much to those outside of the video gaming world, they are just a few of the wildly popular games thousands of players are live streaming to viewers worldwide this very minute. However, with all the endless […]

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Live-Stream GamingClash of Clans, Runescape, Fortnite, League of Legends, Battlefield V, and Dota 2. While these titles may not mean much to those outside of the video gaming world, they are just a few of the wildly popular games thousands of players are live streaming to viewers worldwide this very minute. However, with all the endless hours of entertainment this cultural phenomenon offers tweens, teens, and even adults, it also comes with some risks attached.

The What

Each month more than 100,000 people log onto sites like Twitch and YouTube to watch gamers play. Streamers, also called twitchers, broadcast their gameplay live online while others watch and participate through a chat feature. Each gamer attracts an audience (a few dozen to hundreds of thousands daily) based on his or her skill level and the kind of commentary, and interaction with viewers they offer.

Reports state that video game streaming can attract more viewers than some of cable’s most popular televisions shows.

The Why

Ask any streamer (or viewer) why they do it, and many will tell you it’s to showcase and improve their skills and to be part of a community of people who are equally as passionate about gaming.

Live-Stream Gaming

Live streaming is also free and global so gamers from any country can connect in any language. You’ll find streamers playing games in Turkish, Russian, Spanish, and the list goes on. Many streamers have gone from amateurs to gaming celebrities with elaborate production and marketing of their Twitch or YouTube feeds.

Some streamers hold marathon streaming sessions, and multi-player competitions designed to benefit charities. Twitch is also appealing because it allows users to watch popular gaming conventions such as TwitchCon, E3, and Comic-Con. There are also live gaming talk shows and podcasts and a channel where users can watch people do everyday things like cook, create pieces or art or play music.

The Risks

Although Twitch’s community guidelines prohibit violent behavior, sexual content, bullying and harassment, after browsing through some of the  live games, many users don’t seem to take the guidelines seriously.

Here are just a few things to keep in mind if your kids frequent live streaming communities like Twitch.

  1. Bullying. Bullying happens on every social network in some form. Twitch is no different. In one study, over 13% of respondents said they felt personally attacked on Twitch, and more than 27% have witnessed racial or gender-based bullying in live streaming.Live-Stream Gaming
  2. Crude language. While there are streamers who put a big emphasis on keeping things clean, most Twitch streamers do not. Some streamers will put up a “mature content” warning before you click on their site. Both streamers and viewers can get harsh with language, conversations, and points of view.
  3. Violent games. Many of the games on Twitch are violent and intended for mature viewers. However, you can also find some more mild games such as Minecraft and Mario Brothers if your kids are younger. The best way to access a game’s violence is to sit and watch it with your child.
  4. Health risks. Sitting and playing video games for extended periods of time can affect players and viewers physical and emotional well-being. In the most extreme cases, gamers have died due to excessive gaming.
  5. Costs. Twitch is free to sign-up and watch games, but if you want the extras (no ads), it’s $8.99 a month. Viewers can also subscribe to individual gamers’ feed. Viewers can also purchase “bits” to cheer on their favorite players (kind of like badges), which can add up quickly.
  6. Stalking. Viewers have been known to stalk, harass, rob, and try to meet celebrity streamers. Recently, Twitch announced both private and public chat rooms to try to boost privacy among users.
  7. Live-Stream GamingSwatting. An increasingly popular practice called “swatting” involves reporting a fake emergency at the home of the victim in order to send a SWAT team to barge in on them. In some cases, swatter cases connected to Twitch have ended tragically.
  8. Wasted time. Marathon gaming sessions, skipping school to play or view games, and gaming through the night are common in Twitch communities. Twitch, like any other social network, needs parental attention and ground rules.
  9. Privacy. Spending a lot of time with people in an online “community” can result in a false sense of trust. Often kids will answer an innocent question in a live chat such as where they live or what school they go to. Leaking little bits of information over time allows a corrupt person to piece together a picture of your data.

An endnote: If your kids love Twitch or live stream gaming on YouTube or other sites, spend some time on those sites. Listen to the conversations your kids are having with others online. What’s the tone? Is there too much sarcasm or cruel “joking” going on? Put time limits on screen time and remember balance and monitoring is key to guiding healthy online habits.

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“League of Legends” YouTube Cheat Links: Nothing to “LOL” About https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/league-of-legends-youtube-cheat-links/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/league-of-legends-youtube-cheat-links/#comments Fri, 09 Nov 2018 19:27:02 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92621 If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably come across a game that just seems impossible to complete. That’s because, thanks to the internet, it’s so simple to look for cheats to games on YouTube to help you level up. Most cheats exist in the form of software patches that execute files in order to activate […]

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If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably come across a game that just seems impossible to complete. That’s because, thanks to the internet, it’s so simple to look for cheats to games on YouTube to help you level up. Most cheats exist in the form of software patches that execute files in order to activate the cheat. However, malware and PUP (short for “potentially unwanted program”) authors are using gaming cheats to trick users into downloading their malicious files in order to make a profit. And that’s exactly what YouTube channel owner “LoL Master” has been doing to “League of Legends” players.

So how exactly does this “LoL Master” trick these innocent users? The cybercriminal uploads videos to his or her YouTube channel that demonstrate how to use various cheat files, which also provide links pointing to websites that allegedly distribute cheats and stolen accounts. When players click on these links, however, they’re now exposed to cyberthreats.

When on these sites, players will be prompted to download the cheat files, but the files are actually bundled with other malicious files uploaded by wannabe cybercriminals. If users click download, PUP installers distribute the bundled files and push them onto a victim’s device. “LoL Master” makes a profit on these downloads while the victim’s device suffers from malware.

“League of Legends” players may not pick up on this scheme for a number of reasons. First, the file hosting site falsely claims that the malware analysis software VirusTotal scanned the file. Second, the site attempts to block antimalware scanners from detecting the malicious files by putting them in a password-protected zip file. If the player isn’t using antimalware software, the PUP installer will push adware or other malicious software onto the victim’s device once they unzip the file.

So, what steps can players take to avoid this malicious trick? Check out the following tips to help protect your online security:

  • Browse with caution. Although it may seem harmless to peruse YouTube comments and descriptions, malware and PUP authors use this as a vector to push their malicious downloads. Use discretion when clicking on any links included in these comments.
  • Don’t download something unless it comes from a trusted source. It is one thing to browse around YouTube comments, it is another entirely to download items from sketchy sites. Only download software from legitimate sources, and if you’re unsure if the site is trustworthy, it is best to just avoid it entirely.
  • Use security software to surf the web safely. It can be hard to identify which sites out there are malicious. Get some support by using a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor, which safeguards you from cyberthreats while you browse.

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

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At What Age Should Kids Join Social Media? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/at-what-age-should-kids-join-social-media/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/at-what-age-should-kids-join-social-media/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 05:56:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92583 Last week, I waved goodbye to my eldest son as he moved halfway across the world to study for a year. I was so emotional at the airport – I couldn’t talk! After many cups of tea and even more stares in an airport café, I had no more tears left and was finally able […]

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Last week, I waved goodbye to my eldest son as he moved halfway across the world to study for a year. I was so emotional at the airport – I couldn’t talk! After many cups of tea and even more stares in an airport café, I had no more tears left and was finally able to pull it together. I must have looked like a crazy cat!

Letting go of our kids is tough. Whether it’s their first day of school, their first sleepover, their first girlfriend or boyfriend or their first social media account – these steps towards independence can be enough to send many of us into a tailspin.

How Do We Know When Our Kids Are Ready for More Independence?

Our main job as parents is to raise our kids to be independent, law-abiding individuals who are autonomous. But every child is different with some maturing far quicker than others. So, how do we know when our kids are ready for important life milestones, particularly joining social media?

What Does the Law Say?

While there is no Australian law that dictates the minimum age kids need to be to join social media, most social media platforms require their users to be 13 years old to set up an account. This is a result of a US federal law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which affects any social media platform that US citizens can join. So, therefore it affects nearly all social media platforms worldwide.

What Happens in Reality?

Rightly or wrongly, many kids join social media before the age of 13. Some do this with the consent of their parents, while many don’t. In recognition of the ‘reality of the situation’, many big-time social media players, including Mark Zuckerberg, have been critical of the COPPA legislation claiming it is unrealistic. Zuckerberg even committed to trying to get it overruled – so far, no news!

And this reality hasn’t escaped the attention of the big players. Earlier this month, Instagram released a parent’s guide in which they acknowledge that ‘many younger children (under 13) use the service, often with their parents’ permission’. The parent’s guide, produced in conjunction with US internet safety group Connect Safely, also advised parents that banning social media may not be the best solution to managing their teen’s digital socialising. Instead they suggest parents should ensure the lines of communication are always open so that they can work with their kids to find appropriate ways of managing their digital lives. Pretty sound advice if you ask me, but Instagram was criticised for offering self-serving advice and encouraging youngsters to get online.

What to Do?

As the mother of four boys, I can unreservedly tell you that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not cut it when raising kids. Every child is different. Some kids are more robust and resilient while others are more sensitive and emotional. And that’s OK. The worst thing we can do as parents is assume milestones must be met at the same time everyone else’s children do.

Just like with toilet training, sleepovers and co-ed parties, you (as the parent) are the absolute best judge of when your child is ready for these key steps. And social media is no different. Yes, there is a plethora of advice from experts and ‘experienced’ parents to consider but ultimately, it’s your call as the parent.

What To Consider When Deciding When Your Child Should Join Social Media

So, here are some things to consider when deciding if, and when your child should join social media. If your tween has already gone ahead and joined, then why not use these points to refine the current usage strategy.

1. Are They Ready?

Chances are your tween will be busting to get onto social media and will absolutely consider themselves ‘ready’! In fact, they may have already gone ahead and created their own profile without consulting you. But if they haven’t and you have a close connection with your kids, then you have a golden opportunity to assess their readiness.

You may decide that your under 13-year-old is mature enough and help them set up social media accounts and profiles. Many believe social media is an inevitable, unavoidable milestone and that it’s best to manage it proactively to avoid underground activity. You may require passwords to be shared and for posts to be approved before they are uploaded. If they have proved themselves to be trustworthy after a period of time, you may choose to be less involved.

However, if you have a child who is less mature and who tends to be anxious, you may insist they wait till 13. As we all know, it is not always pretty online. A certain level of resilience and a decent dose of perspective is essential to ride out the bumps. If there is any pushback from your tween then just talk a lot about the COPPA legislation!

2. Family Policy

If you have a tribe of kids, you may want to consider a family policy on the age your offspring can join social media. Although I am not a believer in ‘one size fits all’, I can tell you from experience that the perception of fairness in a family is very powerful. The arguments over who gets the bigger piece of cake or whose turn it is to sit in the front seat can drove you bonkers!

3. Workshop the ‘Likes Culture’ Before They Embark on their Social Media Careers

The quest to get likes online can become all encompassing, particularly when you are navigating your way through your teenage years. Before your kids join up, please have several conversations about the dangerous ‘culture of likes’ that is pervading the online world. Likes are viewed as a measure of social acceptance for many teenagers. The number of likes they do (or don’t) receive can affect their self-esteem and confidence which is very concerning. Please ensure your kids are NOT defined by the number of likes on a post and that this number is NOT reflective of their worth.

4. Set the Ground Rules

Regardless of whether your tween is about to embark on the social media journey or whether they have taken the advanced route, a family technology contract can be a great way of clarifying and formalising your expectations of both their social media usage and behaviour online. If you are looking for a good place to start, check out the contract that The Modern Parent uses. Obviously adapt it for your own situation and children’s needs, but ensure it covers key points including time spent online, sharing of personal information and what to do if a stranger tries to befriend you or if you receive online abuse.

Personally, I think 13 is a great age to kick off one’s social media career. I’m a fan of risk management and I really believe the older kids are, the better they can deal with complex online situations. But I also believe you should trust your gut as a parent. You may have a very mature 12-year-old, with a host of older siblings, who is busting to get on Instagram. Working with them to set up a profile, sharing passwords and mentoring them through their entrée to social media may be a much better option than pushing this inevitable step underground and off your radar.

So, over to you parents. This is your call! And just to inspire you a little more, let me just borrow some words from Scottish actor and father of 4 daughters, Ewan McGregor:

 ‘The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.’

Good luck!

Alex xx

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A New Security Age Needs a New Approach to Security https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/new-security-age-approach/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/new-security-age-approach/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 17:34:35 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92545 Security evolves to meet the needs of the age. Keys, for example, were created to secure homes and possessions. Encryption, the elements of which stretch back for thousands of years, filled the need to secure messages over a long distance. Security – as both a concept and an industry — is relatively simple to understand […]

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Security evolves to meet the needs of the age. Keys, for example, were created to secure homes and possessions. Encryption, the elements of which stretch back for thousands of years, filled the need to secure messages over a long distance. Security – as both a concept and an industry — is relatively simple to understand but can be difficult to execute, and execute well. It seems, especially these days, that there’s no end to the stream of devices in need of securing — from traditional exposure points like computers and websites to newly internet-connected devices like refrigerators. But with these new devices comes new challenges – and new security strategy must emerge as a result.

At first, consumers protected their devices with passwords, which continue to be used to this day. Then, as the internet built out, early cybercriminals realized they could send messages to computers that would collect passwords, giving them access to a personal computer. This, of course, is a virus, also known as malware and we collectively responded to it with antivirus programs.

But two new developments in technology have upended the equation. First, the miniaturization of processors, which has led to a massive boom in computing devices. Second, the rapid adoption of wireless technology, which has created a nearly always-on environment with almost various paths to connect to the internet. The combination of these two developments has given us the Internet of Things (IoT).

Now, we’re always surrounded by digital devices — a trend that’s likely to continue given the accumulation of technology over time, and with these devices we leave a trail of data everywhere we go. To secure this personal data, security has to evolve. To us at McAfee, these needs can be broken out into four key concepts for consumers:

• Identity
• Privacy
• Data
• Anonymity

To secure these four facets, we recognize the need for advanced security that doesn’t get in the way of our use of technology. As a leader in the security industry, we’re working with partners and consumers to create a seamless security experience that enables users today to fearlessly embrace new technological developments and connect with confidence. Such an experience, however, requires a new approach, one designed to protect today’s IoT environments and keep its users safe and secure without impeding on functionality. At McAfee, we’re working hard to provide you with a superior, easy-to-use platform that seamlessly protects you and your family’s data and devices.

When it comes to protecting your devices, and your privacy, in this day and age, it pays to stay one step ahead. To learn more about consumer security and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Connected or Compromised? How to Stay Secure While Using Push Notifications https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/browser-push-notifications/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/browser-push-notifications/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 19:02:17 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92499 You’re probably familiar with push notifications – messages sent by app publishers that pop up on your desktop or mobile device. Browser push notifications are messages from websites that users have granted permission to serve them the latest news without having to open the actual website. While push notifications are a handy way to stay current […]

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You’re probably familiar with push notifications – messages sent by app publishers that pop up on your desktop or mobile device. Browser push notifications are messages from websites that users have granted permission to serve them the latest news without having to open the actual website. While push notifications are a handy way to stay current with social media and the latest news from your favorite apps, the researchers here at McAfee have observed that these notifications have some compromising features, which impact both Chrome and Firefox browsers.

It turns out there are some real cybersecurity risks involved with taking advantage of the convenience of browser push notifications. That’s because to show push notifications, website owners must utilize pop-up ads that first request permission to show notifications. Essentially, users are tricked into thinking that the request is coming from the host site instead of the pop-up. This feature is currently being exploited by adware companies, which are using it to load unwanted advertisements onto users’ screens. Often times, these ads contain offensive or inappropriate material and users can even be exposed to irritating pop-ups that could potentially lead to viruses and malware.

So, how can users enjoy the convenience of push notifications without putting themselves at risk of a cyberattack? Check out the following tips:

  • Follow Google Chrome’s instructions on how to allow or block notifications. Check out this step-by-step guide to customize which sites you receive push notifications from and which ones you don’t.
  • Customize your Firefox notification options. You can check the status of which sites you have given permission to send notifications your way and choose whether to have the browser always ask for permission, allow or block notifications.
  • Use parental controls.No one wants inappropriate ads, especially parents of young children. To prevent exposing your kids to the inappropriate adverts that could result from push notifications, implement parental controls on your desktop. This additional filtering could prevent your child from accidentally clicking on malicious content that could infect your device.
  • When in doubt, block it out. If you come across a push notification pop-up from a suspicious-looking website or unfamiliar app, click on the ‘Block’ option to stay on the safe side.

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

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Hackable?, the Original Podcast from McAfee, is Back for Season Three https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/hackable-podcast-season-three/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/hackable-podcast-season-three/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 17:00:23 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92467 Here at McAfee, everything we do is driven by our desire to make the digital world more secure. The proliferation of internet-connected technology has made cybercrime the greatest challenge of the digital age. But we can’t fight it alone. That’s why as Chief Consumer Security Evangelist, one of my biggest concerns is raising cybersecurity awareness. […]

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Here at McAfee, everything we do is driven by our desire to make the digital world more secure. The proliferation of internet-connected technology has made cybercrime the greatest challenge of the digital age.

But we can’t fight it alone.

That’s why as Chief Consumer Security Evangelist, one of my biggest concerns is raising cybersecurity awareness. The more we can educate and collaborate, the better we can fight cybercrime together.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce that our award-winning podcast “Hackable?” has returned for its third season. I’m proud that its resonated and been downloaded millions of times by loyal listeners.

For two seasons, host Geoff Siskind and cybersecurity expert Bruce Snell have used rich storytelling and expert advice to captivate audiences while raising cybersecurity awareness. Each episode, Geoff invites a white-hat hacker to try and crack a device he is using. These hacks are inspired by TV shows and movies, and in the second season, he put his own passwords and credit cards on the line and was even trapped in an internet-connected car wash.

In the third season, Geoff is going to strap on a hacked virtual reality headset, risk his laptop’s security, investigate if drones are vulnerable and much more.

Thankfully, Bruce is there to provide tips and help make sure that none of this happens to any of the show’s listeners.

After all, internet-connected devices are great. They offer entertainment, utility, and convenience. “Hackable?” isn’t about scaring you from using smart technologies, but about raising awareness so that you can understand where they are susceptible to a cyberattack. Often, a few simple steps are all it takes to protect you, your home, your loved ones, and your personal data.

New episodes of Hackable? will launch every two weeks. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Radio Public. Don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe! Check out the podcast site for bonus content, illustrations, and a behind-the-scenes look at each episode.

And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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Hackable? Is Putting Virtual Reality to the Test https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/hackable-is-putting-virtual-reality-to-the-test-2/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/hackable-is-putting-virtual-reality-to-the-test-2/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 17:00:21 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92450 From gaming to helping people conquer their fear of spiders and getting quarterbacks ready for Sunday, virtual reality is a much-hyped emerging technology. But is it hackable?   In Ep. 18 of of Hackable?, “Virtually Vulnerable”, Geoff straps on a headset and tests his mettle against white-hat hackers manipulating his virtual experience. Can he withstand ransomware, a human […]

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From gaming to helping people conquer their fear of spiders and getting quarterbacks ready for Sunday, virtual reality is a much-hyped emerging technology. But is it hackable?  

In Ep. 18 of of Hackable?, “Virtually Vulnerable”, Geoff straps on a headset and tests his mettle against white-hat hackers manipulating his virtual experience. Can he withstand ransomware, a human joystick attack, and a disorientation attack?  

Listen now to the award-winning podcast Hackable?, you don’t want to miss this episode.

 

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Beware: Zombie IoT Botnets https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/zombie-iot-botnets/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/zombie-iot-botnets/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 14:00:06 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92430 The ghosts and ghouls of October have come and gone, but the dangers lurking behind virtual walls have hardly disappeared. The threat of zombie bots is real, and it exists 365 days out of the year. Zombie bots, or devices that are taken over by hackers to disseminate different types of malware, viruses, or spam […]

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The ghosts and ghouls of October have come and gone, but the dangers lurking behind virtual walls have hardly disappeared. The threat of zombie bots is real, and it exists 365 days out of the year. Zombie bots, or devices that are taken over by hackers to disseminate different types of malware, viruses, or spam to other Internet-connected gadgets, are no longer limited to just home computers. As executed in the Mirai botnet attack, they’ve expanded into the world of IoT connected devices, too.

Adding to their complexity, zombie bots are not just limited to one feature or attack; they can be morphed into whatever their ‘master’ wants them to be. From logging keystrokes or searching through files to updating malware and downloading more malware onto an infected device, zombie botnets are ever-evolving.

To a hacker, zombie bots are more effective and infinitely stronger when they band together.  And so one by one, cybercriminals work to spread their malware of choice to devices to form an army of zombie bots, also known as a botnet. Massive botnets are used in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which are among the most intimidating types of attacks of which zombie botnet armies are capable. DDoS attacks are growing in number and severity; one report found that they’ve increased by 29% since Q2 2017, with the average attack size having increased by 543% to 26.37 Gbps.

The increase in DDoS attacks is attributed to large scale botnets comprised of insecure IoT devices. The adoption of IoT devices shows no signs of slowing down either. Today, there are currently 23.14 billion IoT devices worldwide. That number is predicted to grow exponentially just in the next 7 years to approximately 75.44 billion by 2025.

New variations of the Mirai and Gafgyt botnets exploit vulnerabilities found in IoT devices, including the security flaw that led to the massive Equifax breach of 2017. Just this past month, a botnet by the name of Chalubo was discovered by security researchers. By targeting poorly-secured IoT devices and servers, the Chalubo botnet compromises users’ devices for the purpose of executing a DDoS attack. Researchers also found that this botnet had copied a few code snippets from Mirai, demonstrating that cybercriminals have realized how effective this type of attack is.

So, why the rise in DDoS and other IoT botnet attacks? IoT devices like security cameras, smart lights, DVRs, and routers are particularly easy to remotely access because they often come with factory-set admin password setups, and many of us never change them to something more secure.  Our collective accumulation of connected devices shows no sign of slowing down, and without proper security in place, they are vulnerable to attacks. And what’s particularly troubling is that more often than not, zombie botnet armies operate in the shadows, unbeknownst to their owners.

Put simply, with more IoT devices in use, the risk of botnets increases, as does the need for awareness around this very real and potentially debilitating cyberthreat. While cybercriminals continue to try and leverage our own devices against us, the best way to protect your devices is through education and security best practices:

  • Keep your security software up-to-date. Whether it’s anti-virus, anti-spyware, or overall security, always keep your security solutions up-to-date. Software and firmware patches are ever-evolving and are made to combat newly discovered vulnerabilities, so be sure to update every time you’re prompted to.
  • Change your device’s factory security settings. When it comes to products, many manufacturers don’t think “security first.” That’s to say, your device can be vulnerable as soon as you open the box. By changing the factory settings you’re instantly upping your device’s security.
  • Proceed with caution when opening emails with file attachments or hyperlinks. One of the most common ways your device can become infected is by clicking on a bad link or attachment, through phishing or click fraud attempts. As a preventative safety measure, avoid engaging with suspicious messages altogether. You can often tell if the email is a hacking attempt if there is awkward language, improper spelling, or other signs. It’s a good idea to send spam directly to the trash.
  • Setup a separate IoT network. Consider setting up a second network for your IoT devices that doesn’t share access to your other devices and data. Check your router manufacturer’s website to learn how. Or, consider getting a router with built-in security features, making it easier to protect all the devices in your home from one access point.
  • Use a firewall. A firewall is a tool that monitors traffic between an Internet connection and devices to detect unusual or suspicious behavior. Even if a device is infected, a firewall can keep a potential attacker from accessing all the other devices on the same network. When looking for comprehensive security solution, to see if a Firewall is included to ensure that your devices are protected.

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

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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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IoT Lockdown: Ways to Secure Your Family’s Digital Home and Lifestyle https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/iot-lockdown-how-to-secure-your-familys-digital-home-and-lifestyle/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/iot-lockdown-how-to-secure-your-familys-digital-home-and-lifestyle/#respond Sat, 03 Nov 2018 14:00:36 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92367 If you took an inventory of your digital possessions chances are, most of your life — everything from phones to toys, to wearables, to appliances — has wholly transitioned from analog to digital (rotary to wireless). What you may not realize is that with this dramatic transition, comes a fair amount of risk. Privacy for Progress With […]

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Internet Of ThingsIf you took an inventory of your digital possessions chances are, most of your life — everything from phones to toys, to wearables, to appliances — has wholly transitioned from analog to digital (rotary to wireless). What you may not realize is that with this dramatic transition, comes a fair amount of risk.

Privacy for Progress

With this massive tech migration, an invisible exchange has happened: Privacy for progress. Here we are intentionally and happily immersed in the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is defined as everyday objects with computing devices embedded in them that can send and receive data over the internet.

That’s right. Your favorite fitness tracking app may be collecting and giving away personal data. That smart toy, baby device, or video game may be monitoring your child’s behavior and gathering information to influence future purchases. And, that smart coffee maker may be transmitting more than just good morning vibes.

Gartner report estimated there were 8.4 billion connected “things” in 2017 and as many as 20 billion by 2020. The ability of some IoT devices is staggering and, frankly, a bit frightening. Data collection ability from smart devices and services on the market is far greater than most of us realize. Rooms, devices, and apps come equipped with sensors and controls that can gather and inform third parties about consumers.

Internet Of Things

Lockdown IoT devices:

  • Research product security. With so many cool products on the market, it’s easy to be impulsive and skip your research but don’t. Read reviews on a product’s security (or lack of). Going with a name brand that has a proven security track record and has worked out security gaps may be the better choice.
  • Create new passwords. Most every IoT device will come with a factory default password. Hackers know these passwords and will use them to break into your devices and gain access to your data. Take the time to go into the product settings (general and advanced) and create a unique, strong password.
  • Keep product software up-to-date. Manufacturers often release software updates to protect customers against vulnerabilities and new threats. Set your device to auto-update, if possible, so you always have the latest, safest upgrade.
  • Get an extra layer of security. Managing and protecting multiple devices in our already busy lives is not an easy task. To make sure you are protected consider investing in software that will give you antivirus, identity and privacy protection for your PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets—all in one subscription.
  • Stay informed. Think about it, crooks make it a point to stay current on IoT news, so shouldn’t we? Stay a step ahead by staying informed. Keep an eye out for any news that may affect your IoT security (or specific products) by setting up a Google alert.Internet Of Things

A connected life is a good life, no doubt. The only drawback is that criminals fully understand our growing dependence and affection for IoT devices and spend most of their time looking for vulnerabilities. Once they crack our network from one angle, they can and reach other data-rich devices and possibly access private and financial data.

As Yoda says, “with much power comes much responsibility.” Discuss with your family the risks that come with smart devices and how to work together to lock down your always-evolving, hyper-connected way of life.

Do you enjoy podcasts and wish you could find one that helps you keep up with digital trends and the latest gadgets? Then give McAfee’s podcast Hackable a try.

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How to Protect Yourself from Tech Support Imposters https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/tech-support-imposters/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/tech-support-imposters/#respond Fri, 02 Nov 2018 19:13:30 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92410 Many of us rely on our technology throughout our everyday lives. So, when something goes wrong, we look to tech support to save the day. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have used our reliance on tech support to make a profit in the form of tech support scams. And now it appears that a brand new scheme has […]

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Many of us rely on our technology throughout our everyday lives. So, when something goes wrong, we look to tech support to save the day. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have used our reliance on tech support to make a profit in the form of tech support scams. And now it appears that a brand new scheme has emerged, which has disguised itself as a McAfee tech support pop-up and is going after victims’ financial information.

While there have been other tech support scams impersonating McAfee, this one is a bit different. Previous scams would redirect users to McAfee’s site using an affiliate link (site clicks generate commission), whereas this one starts by stating the user’s subscription is about to expire.

If the user believes the faulty expiration messages and clicks on the “Renew Now” button, they will be prompted to enter their credit card and personal information. Once the user submits this information, they will be redirected to a page asking to call a tech support number to set up the service. The so-called “agent” will refer to themselves as “Premium Technical Support” and claim to be either McAfee or a partner of McAfee. They will then request to remotely connect to the user’s device in order to install the software and will tell the user that the credit card information did not go through. At this point, the victim will be prompted to purchase the software through McAfee’s site and connect to what appears to be a McAfee affiliate link – which actually distributes adware and unwanted software.

Essentially, these victims were just tricked into giving up their credit card information to scammers and their device could potentially be infected with malware. They’re now at risk of having even more information swooped and could even be a victim of identity fraud. Fortunately, there are proactive steps these users can take to avoid these scams and keep their data safe. Start by following these tips:

  • Go straight to the source. If you receive a pop-up claiming to be from a company, do not click on it. Instead, go directly to the company’s website. From here you will be able to get in contact with the company’s real tech support and check the status of your subscription. If you are a McAfee customer, you can always reach us at https://service.mcafee.com/.
  • Be extremely cautious about giving out personal information. Before handing over your personal or credit card information, do your homework. Research the company and check the customer reviews. If you decide to make a purchase, make sure it is directly from the company’s website.
  • Be suspicious of callers claiming to be tech support. You need to field each call from a random number with caution, especially if they reached out to you first. Never respond to unsolicited calls or pop-ups warning you of a technical issue, and never let anyone remotely take over your device.

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

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Kraken Ransomware Emerges from the Depths: How to Tame the Beast https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/kraken-ransomware/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/kraken-ransomware/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 21:03:58 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92295 Look out, someone has released the Kraken — or at least a ransomware strain named after it. Kraken Cryptor ransomware first made its appearance back in August, but in mid-September, the malicious beast emerged from the depths disguised as the legitimate spyware application SuperAntiSpyware. In fact, the attackers behind the ransomware were able to access […]

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Look out, someone has released the Kraken — or at least a ransomware strain named after it. Kraken Cryptor ransomware first made its appearance back in August, but in mid-September, the malicious beast emerged from the depths disguised as the legitimate spyware application SuperAntiSpyware. In fact, the attackers behind the ransomware were able to access the website superantispyware.com and distribute the ransomware from there.

So how did this stealthy monster recently gain more traction? The McAfee Advanced Threat Research team, along with the Insikt group from Recorded Future, decided to uncover the mystery. They soon found that the Fallout Exploit kit, a type of toolkit cybercriminals use to take advantage of system vulnerabilities, started delivering Kraken ransomware at the end of September. In fact, this is the same exploit kit used to deliver GandCrab ransomware. With this new partnership between Kraken and Fallout, Kraken now has an extra vessel to employ its malicious tactics.

Now, let’s discuss how Kraken ransomware works to encrypt a victim’s computer. Kraken utilizes a business scheme called Ransomware-as-a-Service, or RaaS, which is a platform tool distributed by hackers to other hackers. This tool gives cybercriminals the ability to hold a victim’s computer files, information, and systems hostage. Once the victim pays the ransom, the hacker sends a percentage of the payment to the RaaS developers in exchange for a decryption code to be forwarded to the victim. However, Kraken wipes files from a computer using external tools, making data recovery nearly impossible for the victim. Essentially, it’s a wiper.

Kraken Cryptor ransomware employs a variety of tactics to keep it from being detected by many antimalware products. For example, hackers are given a new variant of Kraken every 15 days to help it slip under an antimalware solution’s radar. The ransomware also uses an exclusion list, a common method utilized by cybercriminals to avoid prosecution. The exclusion list archives all locations where Kraken cannot be used, suggesting that the cybercriminals behind the ransomware attacks reside in those countries. As you can see, Kraken goes to great lengths to cover its tracks, making it a difficult cyberthreat to fight.

Kraken’s goal is to encourage more wannabe cybercriminals to purchase this RaaS and conduct their own attacks, ultimately leading to more money in the developers’ pockets. Our research team observed that in Version 2 of Kraken, developers decreased their profit percentage by 5%, probably as a tactic to attract more affiliate hackers. The more criminal customers Kraken can onboard, the more attacks they can flesh out, and the more they can profit off of ransom collections.

So, what can users do to defend themselves from this stealthy monstrosity? Here are some proactive steps you can take:

  • Be wary of suspicious emails or pop-ups. Kraken was able to gain access to a legitimate website and other ransomware can too. If you receive a message or pop-up claiming to be from a company you trust but the content seems fishy, don’t click on it. Go directly to the source and contact the company from their customer support line.
  • Backup your files often. With cybercrime on the rise, it’s vital to consistently back up all of your important data. If your device becomes infected with ransomware, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it back. Stay prepared and protected by backing up your files on an external hard drive or in the cloud.
  • Never pay the ransom. Although you may feel desperate to get your data back, paying does not guarantee that all of your information will be returned to you. Paying the ransom also contributes to the development of more ransomware families, so it’s best to just hold off on making any payments.
  • Use a decryption tool. No More Ransom provides tools to help users free their encrypted data. If your device gets held for ransom, check and see if a decryption tool is available for your specific strain of ransomware.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. Add an extra layer of security on to all your devices by using a solution such as McAfee Total Protection, which now includes ransom guard and will help you better protect against these types of threats.

Want to learn more about Ransomware and how to defend against it? Visit our dedicated ransomware page.

 

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Ghouls of the Internet: Protecting Your Family from Scareware and Ransomware https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/ghouls-of-the-internet-protecting-your-family-from-scareware-and-ransomware/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/ghouls-of-the-internet-protecting-your-family-from-scareware-and-ransomware/#respond Sat, 27 Oct 2018 14:00:11 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92193 It’s the middle of a workday. While researching a project, a random ad pops up on your computer screen alerting you of a virus. The scary-looking, flashing warning tells you to download an “anti-virus software” immediately. Impulsively, you do just that and download either the free or the $9.99 to get the critical download. But […]

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scareware and ransomwareIt’s the middle of a workday. While researching a project, a random ad pops up on your computer screen alerting you of a virus. The scary-looking, flashing warning tells you to download an “anti-virus software” immediately. Impulsively, you do just that and download either the free or the $9.99 to get the critical download.

But here’s the catch: There’s no virus, no download needed, you’ve lost your money, and worse, you’ve shared your credit card number with a crook. Worse still, your computer screen is now frozen or sluggish as your new download (disguised malware) collects the data housed on your laptop and funnels it to a third party to be used or sold on the dark web.

Dreadful Downloads

This scenario is called scareware — a form of malware that scares users into fictitious downloads designed to gain access to your data. Scareware bombards you with flashing warnings to purchase a bogus commercial firewall, computer cleaning software, or anti-virus software. Cybercriminals are smart and package the suggested download in a way that mimics legitimate security software to dupe consumers. Don’t feel bad, a lot of intelligent people fall for scareware every day.

Sadly, a more sinister cousin to scareware is ransomware, which can unleash serious digital mayhem into your personal life or business. Ransomware scenarios vary and happen to more people than you may think.

Malicious Mayhem

What is Ransomware? Ransomware is a form of malicious software (also called malware) that is a lot more complicated than typical malware. A ransomware infection often starts with a computer user clicking on what looks like a standard email attachment only that attachment unlocks malware that will encrypt or lock computer files.

scareware and ransomware

A ransomware attack can cause incredible emotional and financial distress for individuals, businesses, or large companies or organizations. Criminals hold data ransom and demand a fee to release your files back to you. Many people think they have no choice but to pay the demanded fee. Ransomware can be large-scale such as the City of Atlanta, which is considered the largest, most expensive cyber disruption in city government to date or the WannaCry attack last year that affected some 200,000+ computers worldwide. Ransomware attacks can be aimed at any number of data-heavy targets such as labs, municipalities, banks, law firms, and hospitals.

Criminals can also get very personal with ransomware threats. Some reports of ransomware include teens and older adults receiving emails that falsely accuse them or browsing illegal websites. The notice demands payment or else the user will be exposed to everyone in his or her contact list. Many of these threats go unreported because victims are too embarrassed to do anything.

Digital Terrorists

According to the Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report, ransomware is growing at a yearly rate of 350% and, according to Microsoft,  accounted for roughly $325 million in damages in 2015. Most security experts advise against paying any ransoms since paying the ransom is no guarantee you’ll get your files back and may encourage a second attack.

Cybercriminals are fulltime digital terrorists and know that a majority of people know little or nothing about their schemes. And, unfortunately, as long as our devices are connected to a network, our data is vulnerable. But rather than living anxiously about the possibility of a scareware or ransomware attack, your family can take steps to reduce the threat.

Tips to keep your family’s data secure:

Talk about it. Education is first, and action follows. So, share information on the realities of scareware and ransomware with your family. Just discussing the threats that exist, sharing resources, and keeping the issue of cybercrime in the conversation helps everyone be more aware and ready to make wise decisions online.

Back up everything! A cybercriminal’s primary goal is to get his or her hands on your data, and either use it or sell it on the dark web (scareware) or access it and lock it down for a price (ransomware). So, back up your data every chance you get on an external hard drive or in the cloud. If a ransomware attack hits your family, you may panic about your family photos, original art, writing, or music, and other valuable content. While backing up data helps you retrieve and restore files lost in potential malware attack, it won’t keep someone from stealing what’s on your laptop.scareware and ransomware

Be careful with each click. By being aware and mindful of the links and attachments you’re clicking on can reduce your chances of malware attacks in general. However, crooks are getting sophisticated and linking ransomware to emails from seemingly friendly sources. So, if you get an unexpected email with an attachment or random link from a friend or colleague, pause before opening the email attachment. Only click on emails from a trusted source. 

Update devices.  Making sure your operating system is current is at the top of the list when it comes to guarding against malware attacks. Why? Because nearly every software update contains security improvements that help secure your computer from new threats. Better yet, go into your computer settings and schedule automatic updates. If you are a window user, immediately apply any Windows security patches that Microsoft sends you. 

Add a layer of security. It’s easy to ignore the idea of a malware attack — until one happens to you. Avoid this crisis by adding an extra layer of protection with a consumer product specifically designed to protect your home computer against malware and viruses. Once you’ve installed the software, be sure to keep it updated since new variants of malware arise all the time.

If infected: Worst case scenario, if you find yourself with a ransomware notice, immediately disconnect everything from the Internet. Hackers need an active connection to mobilize the ransomware and monitor your system. Once you disconnect from the Internet, follow these next critical steps. Most security experts advise against paying any ransoms since paying the ransom is no guarantee you’ll get your files back and may encourage a second attack.

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“Grand Theft Auto V” Hack: How to Defeat the Online Gaming Bug https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/grand-theft-auto-v-bug/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/grand-theft-auto-v-bug/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 19:13:48 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92249 Over the past two decades, we’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of online gaming among both children and adults. One particular game that has experienced huge success is “Grand Theft Auto,” or GTA, which has been developed and produced by Rockstar Games. The most recent edition of the game, “Grand Theft Auto V,” […]

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Over the past two decades, we’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of online gaming among both children and adults. One particular game that has experienced huge success is “Grand Theft Auto,” or GTA, which has been developed and produced by Rockstar Games. The most recent edition of the game, “Grand Theft Auto V,” hit $6 billion in sales as of April 2018, creating a record-breaking impact in the gaming industry. However, the game’s massive success doesn’t mean it’s immune to cyberattacks. A recent vulnerability in “Grand Theft Auto V” allowed malicious trolls to take over users’ games who were entering into single-player mode. By leveraging the flaw, these hackers were not only able to kick gamers off of their single-player session but could also continually kill their avatar.

So how exactly did these trolls carry out these attacks? Beginning last week, reports began to circulate that one popular ‘mod menu,’ or a series of alterations sought out and installed by players, was all the sudden advertising the ability to discover an online player’s Rockstar ID – a problem potentially originating from a bug found in the game’s most recent update. Taking advantage of this opportunity, hackers gained access to users’ Rockstar IDs and took control of their single-player games. Soon enough, legitimate players’ games were hijacked and sabotaged.

It is unclear as to whether this vulnerability came out of Rockstar’s most recent update or if this hack has been around for years and just now found its way to public PC mod menus. Either way, it sheds light on how persistent cyberthreats are in the world of online gaming – even impacting some of the most popular video games out there, such as “Grand Theft Auto V.”

Fortunately, reports are already circulating the bug was quietly patched over the weekend (despite confirmation from the game’s developer) – so to protect against the hack, all users should update their game as soon as possible. However, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t some steps these gamers can take to protect themselves from future hacks and vulnerabilities. Check out the following tips:

  • Limit the personal info on your online profile. Gamers are required to create a user profile in order to access the appropriate console/computer network. When creating your profile, avoid displaying your personal information that could potentially be used against you by hackers, such as your name, address, date of birth, and email address.
  • Create a unique and complex password for your online profile. The more complex the password, the more difficult it will be for a hacker to access your personal information. And, of course, make sure you don’t share your password with other users.
  • Be careful who you chat with. Online games will usually have a built-in messenger service that allows players to contact each other. It’s important to be aware of the risks associated with chatting to strangers. If you choose to use the chat feature in your online game, never give out your account details and avoid opening messages with attached files or links.

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

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How to Squash the Android/TimpDoor SMiShing Scam https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/android-timpdoor-smishing-scam/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/android-timpdoor-smishing-scam/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 16:00:38 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92160 As technology becomes more advanced, so do cybercriminals’ strategies for gaining access to our personal information. And while phishing scams have been around for over two decades, attackers have adapted their methods to “bait” victims through a variety of platforms. In fact, we’re seeing a rise in the popularity of phishing via SMS messages, or […]

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As technology becomes more advanced, so do cybercriminals’ strategies for gaining access to our personal information. And while phishing scams have been around for over two decades, attackers have adapted their methods to “bait” victims through a variety of platforms. In fact, we’re seeing a rise in the popularity of phishing via SMS messages, or SMiShing. Just recently, the McAfee Mobile Research team discovered active SMiShing campaigns that are tricking users into downloading fake voice-messaging apps, called Android/TimpDoor.

So how does Android/TimpDoor infect a user’s device? When a victim receives the malicious text, the content will include a link. If they click on it, they’ll be directed to a fake web page. The website will then prompt the victim to download the app in order to listen to phony voice messages. Once the app has been downloaded, the malware collects the device information including device ID, brand, model, OS version, mobile carrier, connection type, and public/local IP address. TimpDoor allows cybercriminals to use the infected device as a digital intermediary without the user’s knowledge. Essentially, it creates a backdoor for hackers to access users’ home networks.

According to our team’s research, these fake apps have infected at least 5,000 devices in the U.S. since the end of March. So, the next question is what can users do to defend themselves from these attacks? Check out the following tips to stay alert and protect yourself from SMS phishing:

  • Do not install apps from unknown sources. If you receive a text asking you to download something onto your phone from a given link, make sure to do your homework. Research the app developer name, product title, download statistics, and app reviews. Be on the lookout for typos and grammatical errors in the description. This is usually a sign that the app is fake.
  • Be careful what you click on. Be sure to only click on links in text messages that are from a trusted source. If you don’t recognize the sender, or the SMS content doesn’t seem familiar, stay cautious and avoid interacting with the message.
  • Enable the feature on your mobile device that blocks texts from the Internet. Many spammers send texts from an Internet service in an attempt to hide their identities. Combat this by using this feature to block texts sent from the Internet.
  • Use a mobile security software. Make sure your mobile devices are prepared for TimpDoor or any other threat coming their way. To do just that, cover these devices with a mobile security solution, such as McAfee Mobile Security.

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

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The Connection Between IoT and Consumers’ Physical Health https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/iot-consumer-health/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/iot-consumer-health/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 18:22:21 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92127 When we think about how technology impacts our daily lives, we don’t really notice it unless it’s a big-picture concept. In fact, there are many areas where technology plays an outsized impact on our lives — and we hardly notice it at all. Traffic lights can be controlled remotely, thermostats can automatically warm or chill […]

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When we think about how technology impacts our daily lives, we don’t really notice it unless it’s a big-picture concept. In fact, there are many areas where technology plays an outsized impact on our lives — and we hardly notice it at all. Traffic lights can be controlled remotely, thermostats can automatically warm or chill your home based on what season it is. The truth is, these small individual facets add up to a larger whole: the Internet of Things or IoT. IoT applications are endless, but can sometimes be insecure. Imagine if that were the case when it comes to the IoT devices designed to aid with our personal health.

IoT and our physical health are more related than many of us think, and their connection has led to revolutionary, preventative health care. Smartwatches monitor our overall health and fitness level thanks to miniaturized gyroscopes and heart rate monitors. This information can and has been used to warn people of impending heart attacks — giving them enough time to contact emergency services for help. Implants, such as pacemakers, can monitor a patient from afar, giving doctors a detailed analysis of their condition. These devices have advanced modern-day health care for the better, but their design can occasionally contain vulnerabilities that may expose users to a cyberattack.First, let’s consider the smartwatch. It’s a convenient tool that aids us in monitoring our daily well-being. But the data it collects could be compromised through a variety of attacks. For example, Fitbit suffered a minor breach in 2016, resulting in cybercriminals trying to scam the company’s refund system. In another example, Strava, a social network for athletes, saw its users suffer a spate of thefts — a potential consequence of sharing GPS coordinates from their IoT device.

Alternatively, flaws found in implants, such as pacemakers, cochlear and others can be leveraged by cybercriminals to conduct attacks that impact our physical well-being. That’s because many implants today can be remotely manipulated, potentially giving cybercriminals the tools they need to cause a patient physical harm. For example, a recent study from academic researchers at the Catholic University of Leuven found neurostimulators, brain implants designed to help monitor and personalize treatments for people living with Parkinson’s disease, are vulnerable to remote attack. If an attack were successful, a cybercriminal could prevent a patient from speaking or moving.

Remember, these IoT implants still do a lot more good than harm, as they give medical professionals unparalleled insights into a patient’s overall condition and health. They could also help design better treatments in the future. However, in order to be able to reap their benefits in a safe way, users just need to make sure they take proactive security steps before implementing them.

Before introducing an IoT device for health care into your life, make sure you take the time to do your research. Look up the device in question and its manufacturer to see if the device had any prior breaches, and the manufacturer’s actions or responses to that. Speak with your doctor about the security standards around the IoT implant, as well. Ask if its security has been tested, how it’s been tested and how an implant can be updated to patch any security-related issues. After all, technology is becoming a more significant part of our lives — we owe it to ourselves to secure it so we can enjoy the benefits it brings to the table.

To learn more about securing your IoT devices from cyberattacks, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Have You Talked to Your Kids About a Career in Cybersecurity? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/have-you-talked-to-your-kids-about-a-career-in-cybersecurity/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/have-you-talked-to-your-kids-about-a-career-in-cybersecurity/#respond Sat, 20 Oct 2018 14:00:36 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92055 Here’s some cool trivia for you: What profession currently has a zero-percent unemployment rate, pays an average of $116,000 a year, and is among the top in-demand jobs in the world? A lawyer? A pharmacist? A finance manager, perhaps? Nope. The job we’re talking about is a cybersecurity specialist and, because of the increase in cyber […]

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career in cybersecurityHere’s some cool trivia for you: What profession currently has a zero-percent unemployment rate, pays an average of $116,000 a year, and is among the top in-demand jobs in the world? A lawyer? A pharmacist? A finance manager, perhaps?

Nope. The job we’re talking about is a cybersecurity specialist and, because of the increase in cyber attacks around the world, these professionals are highly employable.

Job Security

According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a career in cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand, high-paying professions today with an average salary of $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour. That’s nearly three times the national median income for full-time wage and salary workers. How’s that for job security?

Why is the demand so high? Sadly, because there are a lot of black hats (bad guys) out there who want our data — our user IDs, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. Every month it seems banks, hospitals, and major corporations are reporting security breaches, which has put the global cybersecurity talent an estimated deficit of two million professionals.career in cybersecurity

It’s exciting to see gifts and passions emerge in our kids as they grow and mature. If a child is good at math and sciences, we might point them toward some the medical field. If they a child shows an affinity in English and communication skills, maybe a law, teaching, or media career is in their future.

But what about a cybersecurity expert? Have you noticed any of these skills in your kids?

Cybersecurity skills/traits:

Problem-solving
Critical thinking
Flexible/creative problem solving
Collaborative, team player
Continual learner
Gaming fan
A sense of duty, justice
Persistent, determined
Works well under pressure
Curious and perceptive
Technology/tech trend fan
Verbal and written communications

Education

Most jobs in cybersecurity require a four-year bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or a related field such as information technology or computer science. Students take coursework in programming and statistics, ethics, and computer forensics, among other courses.

Conversation Starters

First, if your child has some of the skills/personality traits mentioned, how do you start directing him or her toward this field? The first place to begin is in the home. Model smart cybersecurity habits. Talk about digital safety, the importance of protecting personal data and the trends in cybercrimes. In short, model and encourage solid digital citizenship and family security practices. career in cybersecurity

Second, bring up the possibility, or plant the seed. Be sure to encourage both boys and girls equally. Help your child find answers to his or her questions about careers in computer and data science, threat research, engineering and information on jobs such as cybersecurity analyst, vulnerability analyst, and penetration tester.

Third, read and share takeaways from the Winning The Game a McAfee report that investigates the key challenges facing the IT Security industry and the possible teen gaming link to a successful cybersecurity career.

Additional resources*

CyberCompEx. A connection point for everything cybersecurity including forums, groups, news, jobs, and competition information.

CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service. SFS is a program providing scholarships and stipends to undergraduate and graduate students studying cybersecurity at participating institutions. Great for those who want to work in government.

CyberPatriot. This site is created by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

GenCyber. This is a summer cybersecurity camp for K-12 students and teachers that focuses on inspiring kids to direct their talents toward cybersecurity skills and closing the security skills gap.

career in cybersecurityNational CyberWatch Center. The National CyberWatch Center is a consortium of higher education institutions, public and private businesses, and government agencies focused on advancing cybersecurity education and strengthening the workforce.

National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies. NICCS provides information on cybersecurity training, formal education, and workforce development.

National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education. NICE is an initiative to energize and promote a robust network and an ecosystem of cybersecurity education, cybersecurity careers, training, and workforce development.

*Resource list courtesy of Stay Safe Online.

 

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

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Together is Power: Why McAfee Partnered With British Telecom Group https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/together-is-power-why-mcafee-partnered-with-british-telecom-group/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/together-is-power-why-mcafee-partnered-with-british-telecom-group/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:52:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91873 Cybersecurity threats are growing in both number and strength day by day, making it almost impossible for any one person or organization to maintain a secure environment. This threat is potent, often indiscriminate, and puts both organizations and consumers at risk. Protection, therefore, requires an equally powerful and robust response. But building a strong response […]

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Cybersecurity threats are growing in both number and strength day by day, making it almost impossible for any one person or organization to maintain a secure environment. This threat is potent, often indiscriminate, and puts both organizations and consumers at risk. Protection, therefore, requires an equally powerful and robust response.

But building a strong response to modern cybersecurity threats requires a concerted and distributed effort. That’s why we’ve partnered with British Telecom Group (BT), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United Kingdom, to provide a comprehensive security solution that helps BT Broadband customers protect themselves against viruses with McAfee as the underlying cybersecurity technology.

The shift to the focus on security was due in part to a recent survey BT conducted to customers, asking about their digital landscape and what concerns they have over the future. A significant portion of those who participated in the survey (60 percent) said they see the value in cybersecurity protection and would recommend the service.

That’s reassuring for us at McAfee to hear, but it underlines the point that folks around the world are waking up to the need to join forces, orchestrate, and fight against cyberattacks. This need for additional protection also provides businesses with the opportunity to differentiate themselves as adding a security benefit to their offerings also enhances consumer appeal and trust.

BT, in particular, will give its subscribers a complete Security solution which includes McAfee protection called BT Virus Protect, which supports up to 15 devices including computers and Android phones and tablets. The BT Security offering also  automatically keeps kids safe with built-in parental controls. This package incorporates network and device security, call blocking, cloud backup and McAfee Password Manager – TrueKey. It’s a holistic solution for, as BT puts it, a simple reason.

“Keeping our customers safe online is a key priority for BT. That’s why we provide the most comprehensive free online security tools of any major UK broadband provider,” Andrew Kirkpatrick General Manager of Digital Products and Security for BT Consumer said. “To help us achieve this, we have a long-standing partnership with McAfee to provide their award-winning anti-virus to our customers.”

Every time we join forces against cybercriminals, we create the right conditions for a more secure digital world. That’s because a collective response to cyberthreats is better than going alone. Because together is power.

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Breaking Down the Rapidly Evolving GandCrab Ransomware https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/gandcrab-ransomware/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/gandcrab-ransomware/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 00:15:28 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92088 Most ransomware strains have the same commonalities – bitter ransom notes, payment demanded in cryptocurrency, and inventive names. A select few, however, can go undetected by a handful of antimalware products. Meet GandCrab ransomware, a strain that somehow manages to accomplish all of the above. Our McAfee Labs team has found that the ransomware, which […]

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Most ransomware strains have the same commonalities – bitter ransom notes, payment demanded in cryptocurrency, and inventive names. A select few, however, can go undetected by a handful of antimalware products. Meet GandCrab ransomware, a strain that somehow manages to accomplish all of the above. Our McAfee Labs team has found that the ransomware, which first appeared in January, has been updating rapidly during its short lifespan, and now includes a handful of new features, including the ability to remain undetected by some antimalware products.

First and foremost, let’s break down how GandCrab gets its start. The stealthy strain manages to spread in a variety of ways. GandCrab can make its way to users’ devices via remote desktop connections with either weak security or bought in underground forums, phishing emails, legitimate programs that have been infected with the malware, specific exploits kits, botnets, and more.

GandCrab’s goal, just like other ransomware attacks, is to encrypt victims’ files and promise to release them for a fee paid in a form of cryptocurrency (often Dash or Bitcoin). It can also be sold across the dark web as ransomware-as-a-service, or RaaS, which allows wannabe cybercriminals to purchase the strain to conduct an attack of their own.

So, the next question is what can users do to defend against this tricky attack? Thankfully, McAfee gateway and endpoint customers are protected against the latest GandCrab versions but beyond using security software, there are a handful of other things you can do to ensure you’re protected from GandCrab ransomware. Start by following these tips:

  • Don’t pay the ransom. Many ransom notes seem convincing, and many only request small, seemingly doable amounts of money. Doesn’t matter – you still don’t pay. Paying does not promise you’ll get your information back, and many victims often don’t. So, no matter how desperate you are for your files, hold off on paying up.
  • Do a complete backupWith ransomware attacks locking away crucial data, you need to back up the data on all your machines. If a machine becomes infected with ransomware, there’s no promise you’ll get that data back – it could even become wiped entirely in some cases. Make sure you cover all your bases and have your data stored on an external hard drive or in the cloud.
  • Use decryption toolsNo More Ransom – an initiative that teams up security firms, including McAfee, and law enforcement – provides tools to free your data, each tailored for a specific type of ransomware. If your device gets held for ransom, start by researching what type of ransomware it is. Then check out No More Ransom’s decryption tools and see if one is available for your specific strain.

Want to learn more about ransomware and how to defend against it? Visit our What is Ransomware? page.

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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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Working Together to Ensure Better Cybersecurity https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/working-together-to-ensure-better-cybersecurity/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/working-together-to-ensure-better-cybersecurity/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:00:44 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92058 For many, it’s hard to picture a work environment that doesn’t revolve around the use of technology. Digital, cloud-based services coupled with access through mobile and IoT devices have completely reshaped organizations by streamlining business processes and enabling people to work anywhere, anytime. Thanks to these advances, there have also been a variety of recent […]

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For many, it’s hard to picture a work environment that doesn’t revolve around the use of technology. Digital, cloud-based services coupled with access through mobile and IoT devices have completely reshaped organizations by streamlining business processes and enabling people to work anywhere, anytime. Thanks to these advances, there have also been a variety of recent shifts in how employers and employees interact with each other, ranging from liberal remote work policies companies asking employees to bring their own devices to work.

Often these changes feel remarkable, efficient and convenient, as they make our work lives much more efficient – but these advancements also create concerns around cybersecurity. Many devices contain both personal and professional data , and when we take our work home or on the go with us, we’re not constantly protected by a company firewall, safe Wi-Fi, or other standard cybersecurity measures. Regardless of what industry you are in, online safety is no longer just IT’s problem. Cybersecurity is now a shared responsibility between an organization and its employees.

Naturally, these changes require education and communication around cybersecurity best practices in order to develop positive habits that will keep both employers and employees safe. Getting a habit to stick also requires an organization to develop culture of security in tandem, in which every individual and department is accountable for cybersecurity and bands together with the shared objective of staying secure.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is a great time to look at how everyone can be a part of the cybersecurity solution within their organization. If cybersecurity has not historically not been a priority within an organization, starting a conversation about it can be difficult, whether you’re an employee or an employer. Consider using these tips to start thinking about personal cybersecurity and how that translates into an overall cybersecurity plan within your organization.

Employers can take the following steps:

  • Identify which company assets are of greatest value, then ensure security measures are in place. Employee, customer, and payment data are all assets that cybercriminals could leverage via phishing, malware, password breaches, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Begin to develop a formal cybersecurity plan based on your specific needs.
  • Set up an alert system. Put a system into place that will alert employees and your organization of an incident. This also includes an avenue for employees to report problems they might notice before they become widespread. The sooner people know about a vulnerability, the faster they can respond and take action.
  • Develop a response plan. Practice an incident response plan to contain an attack or breach. Keep in mind the goal of maintaining business operations in the short term while assessing the long-term effects of the cyber incident.

Employees can follow these guidelines:

  • Regularly update your device’s software. This is the easiest way to ensure your devices are equipped with vital patches that protect against flaws and bugs that cybercriminals can exploit.
  • Take security precautions, even if your company isn’t there yet. Professional and personal information is often intertwined on our devices – especially our mobile phones. Keep all your data secure with comprehensive mobile security, such as McAfee® Mobile Security. Then work within your organization to develop a cybersecurity plan that works for all.

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

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Smarter Clicks: 5 Tips to Help Your Family Avoid Risky Cyber Search Traps https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/smarter-clicks-5-tips-to-help-your-family-avoid-risky-cyber-search-traps/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/smarter-clicks-5-tips-to-help-your-family-avoid-risky-cyber-search-traps/#respond Sat, 13 Oct 2018 14:00:57 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91978 Searching the internet has become as much a part of daily life as pouring that first cup of coffee each morning. We rely on it, we expect it to deliver, and often, we do it without much thought. McAfee’s annual Most Dangerous Celebrity list gives us a chance to hit pause on our habits and […]

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smart search habitsSearching the internet has become as much a part of daily life as pouring that first cup of coffee each morning. We rely on it, we expect it to deliver, and often, we do it without much thought. McAfee’s annual Most Dangerous Celebrity list gives us a chance to hit pause on our habits and think about smart search habits.

MDC: Ruby Rose

This year, it’s “Orange is the New Black” and “Batwoman” actress Ruby Rose, who gets to don the digital crown of Most Dangerous Celebrity. That means cyber crooks and hackers are on to the public’s love of Ruby Rose and are exploiting those innocent searches for news, photos, and videos on this top actor. Other top dangerous searches include the list on the right graphic. (Sitcom and television actors — Kristin Cavallari, Debra Messing, Kourtney Kardashian — surprisingly outranked musicians this year by the way, so the click trend is weighted toward TV fans; if you are one, beware)!

This MDC reveal, coupled with October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a perfect time to sit down with your family and discuss safe clicking practices.

Smart Clicking

  1. smart search habitsBeware of third party movie/music downloads. Some kids (and adults) search the internet for bootleg movies and music to download. Talk to your kids about this unsafe (and illegal) practice and the consequences of doing this. The safest thing to do? Advise your kids to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware. This also applies to MP3 music searches. If you search the phrase “free MP3” results would include some risky websites, so be aware of this cyber trap and search carefully. If a site looks suspect, keep moving. Teach kids that very few things that are legitimate are also free online.
  2. Update ASAP to stay safe! When you get a notification to update your phone, tablet, or PC, do it right away to make sure you have the latest, most secure version — which includes security updates and bug fixes — of your software. Updating timely is a critical way to block hackers and stop malware.smart search habits
  3. Examine links. We aren’t about to stop searching right? So, the solution is to search smarter.Like it or not, we’ve got to become security pros to some degree. Teach your family members to slow down and examine sites in order to spot sketchy third-party links. Look for flaws. Refuse to click on that third-party link that could get you in trouble — it’s simply not worth it!
  4. Protect devices. We are going to search; not much can stop that. So, search with an extra layer of security protection such as McAfee Total Protection. This comprehensive security solution keeps your family devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can stop your kids from going to malicious websites.
  5. Think about parental control software. Kids are big fans of whomever and whatever is on trend and love to search, scroll, and consume information on celebrities. Helping kids balance online time with daily responsibilities and relationships can take up a big chunk of our time as parents. Consider setting limits on screen time and use software that filters inappropriate content and protects against malicious sites.

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

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The Dangers of Linking Your Apple ID to Financial Accounts https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/the-dangers-of-linking-your-apple-id-to-financial-accounts/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/the-dangers-of-linking-your-apple-id-to-financial-accounts/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 21:40:07 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92037

The digital wallets of Chinese citizens are under attack thanks to a few bad apples. A recent string of cyberattacks in China utilized stolen Apple IDs to break into customers’ accounts and steal an undisclosed amount of money, according to a Bloomberg report. Almost immediately, Chinese e-transaction giants Tencent Holdings and Alipay warned their customers […]

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The digital wallets of Chinese citizens are under attack thanks to a few bad apples. A recent string of cyberattacks in China utilized stolen Apple IDs to break into customers’ accounts and steal an undisclosed amount of money, according to a Bloomberg report. Almost immediately, Chinese e-transaction giants Tencent Holdings and Alipay warned their customers to monitor their accounts carefully, especially those who have linked their Apple IDs to Alipay accounts, WeChat Pay or their digital wallets and credit cards.

While Alipay works with Apple to figure out how this rare security breach happened and how hackers were able to hijack Apple IDs, they’re urging customers to lower their transaction limits to prevent any further losses while this investigation remains ongoing. Because Apple has yet to resolve this issue, any users who have linked their Apple IDs to payment methods including WeChat Pay — the popular digital wallet of WeChat which boasts over a billion users worldwide and can be used to pay for almost anything in China — remain vulnerable to theft. Apple also advises users to change their passwords immediately.

This security breach represents a large-scale example of a trend that continues to rise: the targeting of digital payment services by cybercriminals, who are capitalizing on the growing popularity of these services. Apple IDs represent an easy entry point of attack considering they connect Apple users to all the information, devices and products they care about. That interconnectivity of personal data is a veritable goldmine for cybercriminals if they get their hands on something like an Apple ID. With so much at stake for something as seemingly small as an Apple ID, it’s important for consumers to know how to safeguard their digital identifiers against potential financial theft. Here are some ways they can go about doing so:

  • Make a strong password. Your password is your first line of defense against attack, so you should make it as hard as possible for any potential cybercriminals to penetrate it. Including a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols will help you craft a stronger, more complex password that’s difficult for cybercriminals to crack. Avoid easy to guess passwords like “1234” or “password” at all costs.
  • Change login information for different accounts. An easy trap is using the same email and password across a wide variety of accounts, including Apple IDs. To better protect your Apple ID, especially if it’s linked to your financial accounts, it’s best to create a wholly original and complex password for it.
  • Enable two-factor authentication. While Apple works on identifying how these hackers hijacked Apple IDs, do yourself a favor and add an extra layer of security to your account by enabling two-factor authentication. By having to provide two or more pieces of information to verify your identity before you can log into your account, you place yourself in a better position to avoid attacks.
  • Monitor your financial accounts. When linking credentials like Apple IDs to your financial accounts, it’s important to regularly check your online bank statements and credit card accounts for any suspicious activity or transactions. Most banks and credit cards offer free credit monitoring as well. You could also invest in an identity protection service, which will reimburse you in the case of identity fraud or financial theft.

Stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listening to our podcast Hackable?, and ‘Liking’ us on Facebook.

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As Search Engines Blacklist Fewer Sites, Users More Vulnerable to Attack https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/search-engines-blacklist-fewer-sites-users-more-vulnerable-to-attack/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/search-engines-blacklist-fewer-sites-users-more-vulnerable-to-attack/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 19:22:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91911 Turns out, it’s a lot harder for a website to get blacklisted than one might think. A new study found that while the number of bot malware infected websites remained steady in Q2 of 2018, search engines like Google and Bing are only blacklisting 17 percent of infected websites they identify. The study analyzed more […]

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Turns out, it’s a lot harder for a website to get blacklisted than one might think. A new study found that while the number of bot malware infected websites remained steady in Q2 of 2018, search engines like Google and Bing are only blacklisting 17 percent of infected websites they identify. The study analyzed more than six million websites with malware scanners to arrive at this figure, noting that there was also a six percent decrease in websites being blacklisted over the previous year.

Many internet users rely on these search engines to flag malicious websites and protect them as they surf the web, but this decline in blacklisting sites is leaving many users just one click away from a potential attack. This disregard of a spam attack kit on search engine results for these infected sites can lead to serious disruption, including a sharp decline in customer trust. Internet users need to be more vigilant than ever now that search engines are dropping the ball on blacklisting infected sites, especially considering that total malware went up to an all-time high in Q2, representing the second highest attack vector from 2017-2018, according to the recent McAfee Labs Threats Report.

Another unsettling finding from the report was that incidents of cryptojacking have doubled in Q2 as well, with cybercriminals continuing to carry out both new and traditional malware attacks. Cryptojacking, the method of hijacking a browser to mine cryptocurrency, saw quite a sizable resurgence in late 2017 and has continued to be a looming threat ever since. McAfee’s Blockchain Threat Report discovered that almost 30,000 websites host the Coinhive code for mining cryptocurrency with or without a user’s consent—and that’s just from non-obfuscated sites.

And then, of course, there are just certain search terms that are more dangerous and leave you more vulnerable to malware than others. For all of you pop culture aficionados, be careful which celebrities you digitally dig up gossip around. For the twelfth year in a row, McAfee researched famous individuals to assess their online risk and which search results could expose people to malicious sites, with this year’s Most Dangerous Celebrity to search for being “Orange is the New Black’s” Ruby Rose.

So, how can internet users protect themselves when searching for the knowledge they crave online, especially considering many of the most popular search engines simply aren’t blacklisting as many bot malware infected sites as they should be? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Turn on safe search settings. Most browsers and search engines have a safe search setting that filters out any inappropriate or malicious content from showing up in search results. Other popular websites like iTunes and YouTube have a safety mode to further protect users from potential harm.
  • Update your browsers consistently. A crucial security rule of thumb is always updating your browsers whenever an update is available, as security patches are usually included with each new version. If you tend to forget to update your browser, an easy hack is to just turn on the automatic update feature.
  • Be vigilant of suspicious-looking sites. It can be challenging to successfully identify malicious sites when you’re using search engines but trusting your gut when something doesn’t look right to you is a great way of playing it safe.
  • Check a website’s safety rating. There are online search tools available that will analyze a given URL in order to ascertain whether it’s a genuinely safe site to browse or a potentially malicious one infected with bot malware and other threats.
  • Browse with security protection. Utilizing solutions like McAfee WebAdvisor, which keeps you safe from threats while you search and browse the web, or McAfee Total Protection, a comprehensive security solution that protects devices against malware and other threats, will safeguard you without impacting your browsing performance or experience.

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

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How To Spot Tech Support Scams https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-to-spot-tech-support-scams/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/how-to-spot-tech-support-scams/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 18:49:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=89474  When something goes wrong with your computer or devices, it can cause a panic. After all, most of us depend on technology not only to work and connect with others, but also to stay on top of our daily lives. That’s why tech support scams are often successful. They appear to offer help when […]

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When something goes wrong with your computer or devices, it can cause a panic. After all, most of us depend on technology not only to work and connect with others, but also to stay on top of our daily lives. That’s why tech support scams are often successful. They appear to offer help when we need it the most. But falling for these scams can put your devices, data, and money at even greater risk.

Although support scams have been around almost as long as the internet, these threats have increased dramatically over the last couple of years, proving to be a reliable way for scammers to make a quick buck.

In fact, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) said that it received nearly 11,000 tech support related complaints in 2017, leading to losses of $15 million, 90% higher than the losses reported in 2016. Microsoft alone saw a 24% increase in tech scams reported by customers in 2017 over the previous year, with 15% of victims saying they lost money.

Often, scammers convince users that there is a problem with their computer or device by delivering pop-up error messages. These messages encourage the user to “click” to troubleshoot the problem, which can download a piece of malware onto their machine, or prompt them to buy fake security software to fix the issue. In some cases, users wind up downloading ransomware, or paying $200 to $400 for fake software to fix problems they didn’t actually have.

And, in a growing number of instances, scammers pose as legitimate technology companies, offering phony support for real tech issues. Some even promote software installation and activation for a fee, when the service is actually provided for free from the software provider. They do this by posting webpages or paid search results using the names of well-known tech companies. When a user searches for tech help, these phony services can appear at the top of the search results, tricking people into thinking they are the real deal.

Some cybercriminals have even gone so far as to advertise fake services on legitimate online forums, pretending to be real tech companies such as Apple, McAfee, and Amazon. Since forum pages are treated as quality content by search engines, these phony listings rank high in search results, confusing users who are looking for help.

The deception isn’t just online. More and more computer users report phone calls from cybercrooks pretending to be technology providers, warning them about problems with their accounts, and offering to help resolve the issue for a fee. Or worse, the scammer requests access to the victim’s computer to “fix the problem”, with the hopes of grabbing valuable data, such as passwords and identity information. All of these scams leave users vulnerable.

Here’s how to avoid support scams to keep your devices and data safe:

  • If you need help, go straight to the source—Type the address of the company you want to reach directly into the address bar of your browser—not the search bar, which can pull up phony results. If you have recently purchased software and need help, check the packaging the software came in for the correct web address or customer support line. If you are a McAfee customer, you can always reach us at https://service.mcafee.com.
  • Be suspicious—Before you pay for tech support, do your homework. Research the company by looking for other customer’s reviews. Also, check to see if your technology provider already offers the support you need for free.
  • Be wary of callers asking for personal information, especially if they reach out to you first—Situations like this happen all the time, even to institutions like the IRS. McAfee’s own policy is to answer support questions via our website only, and if users need assistance, they should reach out here directly. Never respond to unsolicited phone calls or pop-up messages, warning you about a technical issue, and never let anyone take over your computer or device remotely.
  • Surf Safe—Sometimes it can be hard to determine if search results are safe to click on, or not. Consider using a browser extension that can warn you about suspicious sites right in your search results, and help protect you even if you click on a dangerous link.
  • Keep informed—Stay up-to-date on the latest tech support scams so you know what to watch out for.

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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The VORACLE OpenVPN Attack: What You Need to Know https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/voracle-openvpn-attack-what-consumers-need-to-know/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/voracle-openvpn-attack-what-consumers-need-to-know/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 19:00:46 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91856 Many of us know that using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) adds an extra layer of security to our Wi-Fi networks. But VORACLE, a recently discovered vulnerability that was announced at a security conference by security researcher Ahamad Nafeez, is making some people reconsider this this steadfast safety tip. Let’s look under the hood at […]

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Many of us know that using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) adds an extra layer of security to our Wi-Fi networks. But VORACLE, a recently discovered vulnerability that was announced at a security conference by security researcher Ahamad Nafeez, is making some people reconsider this this steadfast safety tip. Let’s look under the hood at this vulnerability to understand what was impacted and why, and what we should do in the future when it comes to safely connecting to Wi-Fi.

Under the Hood of a VPN

A VPN is a connection between a secure server and your mobile device or computer. Through the VPN your activity and information on the internet is encrypted, making it difficult for anyone else to see your private information. Many of us use a VPN for work when we travel, some of us use them to watch videos online, and more and more of us use them as a best practice to help keep our information safe any time we want to use a Wi-Fi connection that we’re not sure about.

About the VORACLE VPN Vulnerability

At a high level, VORACLE leverages a vulnerability found in the open-source OpenVPN protocol. OpenVPN is an open-source protocol used by the majority of VPN providers, meaning many VPN products are affected.

The VORACLE attack can recover HTTP traffic sent via encrypted VPN connections under certain conditions, the first being that the VPN app in use enables compression via the OpenVPN protocol. A  hacker must be on the same network and able to lure you to an HTTP (not HTTPS) site with malicious code through phishing or a similar other tactic. The attack can happen on all web browsers but Google Chrome, due to the way in which HTTP requests are made.

Luckily the McAfee Safe Connect VPN was not built on the vulnerable OpenVPN code. That said, I want to take this opportunity to remind you of something we talk about a lot in the security industry: relying on only one layer of security is simply not enough today. Here are some tips and best practices to stay safe.

  • Set up multi-factor authentication whenever possible. This tip is especially important for valuable accounts like email or social media, which might be connected to financial information. With multi-factor authentication in place, you’ll be better protected by combining your usual login information with another layer of protection, such as a one-time-password sent to your phone, bio metrics (say, a thumb print), or a security token that you’ll need to confirm before getting access to your account.
  • Use secure websites (HTTPS) whenever possible. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Most websites are moving toward this standard practice, so if you notice yourself landing on a website with just HTTP, stay alert.
  • Avoid making financial transactions until you’re on a network you trust. Sharing personal data like your credit card information can lead to unnecessary vulnerabilities. The best bet is to wait until you’re on your home network with additional layers of security such as McAfee’s Secure Home Platform already in place.
  • Consider using your mobile network and being your own hotspot. If your mobile or IoT data plan includes a hot spot, consider using that over Wi-Fi to avoid some of the challenges that come with it in the first place.
  • Do continue to use a personal VPN when you’re on the go and using Wi-Fi– just be sure to do so while having an additional layer of security in place so that if a similar vulnerability is discovered, you’ll already have a backup.

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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Stay Smart Online Week 2018 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/stay-smart-online-week-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/stay-smart-online-week-2018/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 03:26:48 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91844 Time for a Cyber Safety Check-Up? Aussies love the internet. And the statistics just confirm it. In 2018, 88% of us describe ourselves as active internet users. And our social media usage is up there with some of the most prolific users worldwide with 60% of us active users on Facebook and 50% of us […]

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Time for a Cyber Safety Check-Up?

Aussies love the internet. And the statistics just confirm it. In 2018, 88% of us describe ourselves as active internet users. And our social media usage is up there with some of the most prolific users worldwide with 60% of us active users on Facebook and 50% of us logging in at least once a day.

So, an annual reminder to take stock of our digital lives is a very good idea! Stay Smart Online Week is an initiative from the Australian Government designed to ensure we are all up to date with the latest cyber safety know-how. Kicking off from the 8th of October, I believe this annual event is the ideal opportunity for a yearly cyber safety check up.

We Are Choosing to Ignore the Risks

Research conducted by McAfee shows that many of us are very aware of the risks associated with our online behaviour but simply choose to ignore them. For example, 30% of Aussie parents are continuing to regularly post pics of their kids online despite 50% of us being concerned by the associated risks including paedophilia, stalking and cyberbullying. Is it the lure of likes, the surge of dopamine or just the face we are all time poor that affects our rational brain?

Keeping It Simple

I know many of us feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of staying on top of our online safety. We don’t know where to start, have very little time and, quite frankly, we’d rather be doing something else! But not taking your online safety seriously is a little like leaving like leaving your house unlocked. It puts your privacy and even your financial safety at risk.

But the good news is there are a host of simple, quick, steps you can take to ensure you are doing all you can to protect yourself online. So, make yourself a cuppa and let’s get to work. Here are 3 three things you can start to put in place today to secure yourself and your devices.

1. Protect ALL Your Devices

I bet if you added up the internet connected devices in your household, you’d be staggered at the figure. My latest count was over 30! And the figure is only going to increase. Research shows that by 2025 there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices worldwide from wearables and pacemakers to thermometers and smart plugs.

These devices will absolutely make our lives easier, but the reality is that many internet-connected devices (IoT) lack built in security features making them vulnerable to hacking and malware. In 2018 alone, McAfee uncovered numerous major security flaws in virtual assistants and smart plugs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Install comprehensive security software on your laptops, tablets and smartphones. McAfee’s Total Protection software will ensure you and your devices are protected against viruses, malware spyware and ransomware.
  • Secure your Internet Connected Devices. While there is no security software for Internet Connected (IoT) devices, you can still minimise the risks by changing the default password on your devices straight after purchasing and ensure you keep the device’s software up to date. And spend some time researching your purchases before committing. Focus on devices that have been on the market for a while, have a name brand, or have a lot of online reviews. Chances are that the device’s security standards will be higher, due to being vetted by the masses.

2. Think Before You Click

Our love of ‘all things celebrity’ has not escaped the attention of online scammers. In fact, these scammers spend a lot of time creating celebrity based professional looking websites that promise celebrity news stories or movie downloads. Unfortunately, the promised content requires a malicious link to be clicked that usually contains spyware or malicious software. These sites may also require users to set up an account. Unsuspecting visitors will then provide their email addresses and passwords to the site not realising that their details have been compromised.

New McAfee research reveals that Aussie model, MTV VJ and Orange is the New Black actress, Ruby Rose is the most dangerous celebrity to search for online. Using terms such as ‘free torrent’, ‘sex tape’ and ‘free pics’, McAfee was able to determine the riskiest celebrities to search for across the globe, as consumers often drop their guard in the name of convenience and speed to access content from their favorite celebs.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of Ruby Rose starring in Batwoman should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Apply system and application updates as soon as they are available. Very often the operating system and application updates include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.
  • 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 minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

3. Protect Your Personal Information Online

Most consumers would think twice when asked for their credit card information or address online but don’t take the same precautions when posting photos of themselves and their children online.

Recent McAfee research shows that despite 50 percent of parents being concerned by the risks such as pedophilia, stalking and cyberbullying when posting photos of their children online, 30 percent post a picture of their child online once a week, and 40 percent post photos of their child in school uniform on a regular basis.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Set Ground Rules with Friends and Family. Be clear with friends and family about your expectations when they post images of your kids. If you are uncomfortable with anything they post, you are well within your rights to ask them to remove it.
  • Don’t Forget About Your Child’s Digital Reputation. Everything that is posted about someone forms part of their digital reputation. Always consider whether what you are considering posting could negatively impact this. And encourage your teens to regularly check the posts and images they are tagged in online too.
  • Ask for Consent But Be Prepared for Your Child to Say NO. Asking for an older child’s consent before you post pics is essential but be prepared for them to say NO! Remember, a good relationship is built on trust and respect!

So, go forth and continue to enjoy everything the internet has to offer BUT please take some time this Stay Smart Online Week to check in and see whether you may need to ‘tweak’ any of your online behaviours. And while you are at it – don’t forget about the kids. Why not put it on the agenda to discuss around the dinner table this week? Some of the most important conversations you will ever have with your kids will be around the dinner table!

Take Care

Alex xx

 

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#CyberAware: Teaching Kids to Get Fierce About Protecting Their Identity https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/cyberaware-teaching-kids-get-fierce-about-protecting-their-identity/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/cyberaware-teaching-kids-get-fierce-about-protecting-their-identity/#respond Sat, 06 Oct 2018 14:00:55 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91806 It wasn’t Kiley’s fault, but that didn’t change the facts: The lending group denied her college loan due to poor credit, and she didn’t have a plan B. Shocked and numb, she began to dig a little deeper. She discovered that someone had racked up three hefty credit card bills using her Social Security Number (SSN) […]

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Identity ProtectionIt wasn’t Kiley’s fault, but that didn’t change the facts: The lending group denied her college loan due to poor credit, and she didn’t have a plan B. Shocked and numb, she began to dig a little deeper. She discovered that someone had racked up three hefty credit card bills using her Social Security Number (SSN) a few years earlier.

Her parents had a medical crisis and were unable to help with tuition, and Kiley’s scholarships didn’t cover the full tuition. With just months left before leaving to begin her freshman year at school, Kiley was forced to radically adjusted her plans. She enrolled in the community college near home and spent her freshman year learning more than she ever imagined about identity protection and theft.

The Toll: Financial & Emotional

Unfortunately, these horror stories of childhood identity theft are all too real. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, more than 1 million children were the victim of identity fraud in 2017, resulting in losses of $2.6 billion and more than $540 million in out-of-pocket costs to the families.

The financial numbers don’t begin to reflect the emotional cost victims of identity theft often feel. According to the 2017 Identity Theft Aftermath report released by the Identity Theft Resource Center, victims report feeling rage, severe distress, angry, frustrated, paranoid, vulnerable, fearful, and — in 7% of the cases — even suicidal.

Wanted: Your Child’s SSNIdentity Protection

Sadly, because of their clean credit history, cyber crooks love to target kids. Also, identity theft among kids often goes undiscovered for more extended periods of time. Thieves have been known to use a child’s identity to apply for government benefits, open bank or credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live. Often, until the child grows up and applies for a car or student loan, the theft goes undetected.

Where do hackers get the SSN’s? Data breaches can occur at schools, pediatrician offices, banks, and home robberies. A growing area of concern involves medical identity theft, which gives thieves the ability to access prescription drugs and even expensive medical treatments using someone else’s identity.

6 Ways to Build #CyberAware Kids

  1. Talk, act, repeat. Identity theft isn’t a big deal until it personally affects you or your family only, then, it’s too late. Discuss identity theft with your kids and the fallout. But don’t just talk — put protections in place. Remind your child (again) to keep personal information private. (Yes, this habit includes keeping passwords and personal data private even from BFFs!)
  2.  Encourage kids to be digitally savvy. Help your child understand the tricks hackers play to steal the identities of innocent people. Identity thieves will befriend children online and with the goal of gathering personal that information to steal their identity. Thieves are skilled at trolling social networks looking at user profiles for birth dates, addresses, and names of family members to piece together the identity puzzle. Challenge your kids to be on the hunt for imposters and catfishes. Teach them to be suspicious about links, emails, texts, pop up screens, and direct messages from “cute” but unknown peers on their social media accounts. Teach them to go with their instincts and examine websites, social accounts, and special shopping offers.Identity Protection
  3. Get fierce about data protection. Don’t be quick to share your child’s SSN or secondary information such as date of birth, address, and mothers’ maiden name and teach your kids to do the same. Also, never carry your child’s (or your) physical Social Security card in your wallet or purse. Keep it in a safe place, preferably under lock and key. Only share your child’s data when necessary (school registration, passport application, education savings plan, etc.) and only with trusted individuals.
  4. File a proactive fraud alert. By submitting a fraud alert in your child’s name with the credit bureaus several times a year, you will be able to catch any credit fraud early. Since your child hasn’t built any credit, anything that comes back will be illegal activity. The fraud alert will remain in place for only 90 days. When the time runs out, you’ll need to reactivate the alert. You can achieve the same thing by filing an earnings report from the Social Security Administration. The report will reveal any earnings acquired under your child’s social security number.
  5. Know the warning signs. If a someone is using your child’s data, you may notice: 1) Pre-approved credit card offers addressed to them arriving via mail 2) Collection agencies calling and asking to speak to your child 3) Court notices regarding delinquent bills. If any of these things happen your first step is to call and freeze their credit with the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
  6. Report theft. If you find a violation of your child’s credit of any kind go to  IdentityTheft.gov to report the crime and begin the restoring your child’s credit. This site is easy to navigate and takes you step-by-step down the path of restoring stolen credit.

Building digitally resilient kids is one of the primary tasks of parents today. Part of that resilience is taking the time to talk about this new, digital frontier that is powerful but has a lot of security cracks in it that can negatively impact your family. Getting fierce about identity protection can save your child (and you) hours and even years of heartache and financial loss.

 

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

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Digital Assistants, Cryptocurrency, Mobile Malware: Trends from ‘McAfee Labs Threats Report’ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/consumer-trends-mcafee-labs-threats-report-sept-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/consumer-trends-mcafee-labs-threats-report-sept-2018/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 18:09:14 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91811 Every three months, our team crafts the McAfee Labs Threats Report. The quarterly report ranges in topic and severity but always touches on the most important and impactful threats afflicting consumers and companies alike. This year, the McAfee Labs team analyzed an average of 1,800,000 URLs, 800,000 files and 200,000 high-risk files to produce the McAfee […]

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Every three months, our team crafts the McAfee Labs Threats Report. The quarterly report ranges in topic and severity but always touches on the most important and impactful threats afflicting consumers and companies alike. This year, the McAfee Labs team analyzed an average of 1,800,000 URLs, 800,000 files and 200,000 high-risk files to produce the McAfee Labs Threats Report: September 2018, which features digital assistants, cryptocurrencies, and cybercriminal gangs up to no good. Overall, it’s been an eventful quarter.

So, what are the key takeaways for you? Notably, our team has continued to track a downward trend in new malware attacks for the second successive quarter. Good news on the surface, but that trend may not be indicative of much; as we also saw a spike in new malware in Q4 2017. We’ll continue to watch this into next year. Significantly, we found that a good portion of net new malware is designed for mobile, which increased 27 percent over the previous quarter. In addition, here’s a look at the other trending stories we uncovered.

Digital Assistants

Digital assistants are advanced programs that we can converse with to research, act on our behalf and overall help make our digital lives more comfortable. Siri, Bixby and Google Assistant are few. But one digital assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, is a little too helpful. The good news, Microsoft quickly rolled out a fix for this vulnerability to protect your Windows 10 computer. Be sure your software is up to date.

Cryptocurrency

The second story involves cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are digital tokens generated by a computer after solving complex mathematical functions. These functions are used to verify the authenticity of a ledger, or blockchain. Blockchains, by their nature, are relatively secure. But an account that is connected to a blockchain — usually, in this case, associated with a cryptocurrency — is not. And that’s where cybercriminals are focusing their efforts, with coin miner malware up 86% in Q2 2018.

Our report found cybercriminals are chasing after access to cryptocurrencies and they’re doing so using familiar tactics. For example, phishing attacks — where cybercriminals pose as someone else online — are popular tools to take over a cryptocurrency-related account. Malicious programs are also deployed to collect passwords and other information related to an account before stealing virtual currency. You can read more about blockchain and cryptocurrency vulnerabilities here. 

Malicious Apps

Finally, the McAfee Mobile Research team found a collection of malicious applications facilitating a scam in the Google Play store. The apps in question siphon money from unwary users through billing-fraud. Billing-fraud collects money from victims for “using” a “premium” service, such as sending texts to a particular number.

In this case, the cybercriminal ring known as the AsiaHitGroup Gang attempted to charge at least 20,000 victims for downloading fake or copied versions of popular applications. To increase its potential, AsiaHitGroup Gang is using geolocation to target vulnerable populations.

So, what can you do to stay safe in the face of these threats? Here are three quick tips:

  • Limit device access. If you can, limit the ability and access a digital assistant has to your device. Often, you can adjust where and how an assistant is activated through your settings. Otherwise, update your software regularly, as many updates contain security fixes.
  • Create strong passwords. If you’re participating in the cryptocurrency market, then make sure you use strong, robust passwords to protect your accounts. This means using upper case, lower case, symbols and numbers for passwords that are 12 characters long. Afraid you might forget the key to your account? Consider using a password manager.
  • Be careful what you download. Always do some light research on the developer of a mobile application. If the information is hard to come across or absent, consider using an alternative program. Additionally, never download mobile applications from third-party app stores. Genuine stores, like Google Play and Apple’s App Store, should provide you with what you need.

And, of course, stay informed. To keep atop of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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How to Protect Your Connected Devices from Common Cyberattacks https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/how-to-protect-your-connected-devices-from-common-cyberattacks/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/how-to-protect-your-connected-devices-from-common-cyberattacks/#respond Wed, 03 Oct 2018 15:00:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91794 When it comes to internet security, we all suffer from a condition known as optimism bias. It’s the simple idea that we, individually, won’t be affected negatively by an externality compared to others. The same mental distortion happens in the digital world. We read a lot about cybercrime and assume the consequences of those attacks […]

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When it comes to internet security, we all suffer from a condition known as optimism bias. It’s the simple idea that we, individually, won’t be affected negatively by an externality compared to others. The same mental distortion happens in the digital world. We read a lot about cybercrime and assume the consequences of those attacks won’t reach or affect us. The problem is, that’s optimism bias at work — and it is what fuels a cybercriminal’s success.

No one expects to lose control over their digital lives, but it does happen, and it can happen to you. And securing your information after a cyberattack is becoming less tenable. In fact, the total number of malware samples has grown almost 34%, more than 774 million, over the past four quarters according to the latest McAfee Labs Threats Report, hitting all-time highs in the second quarter of 2018. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to secure yourself from the most active cyberattack methods.

Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals use phishing attacks try to and trick you into clicking on a malicious link or download a malicious file. And they have pretty good odds of succeeding if they’re persistent. That’s because phishing attacks try to come across as trustworthy, appearing from a source a victim knows or trusts, like authoritative organization. It’s a common and powerful technique.

A few simple steps can protect you. Examine an email’s sending address if you suspect anything. If you don’t know the sender, or the email’s content doesn’t seem familiar, remain wary and avoid interacting with the message. If you’re unsure, simply reach out to the apparent sender through a different channel, like a phone call or a different email account, that you found through your own research.

Unpatched Software

Unpatched, un-updated, and old software is one the most exploited attack avenues by far. That’s because new software vulnerabilities or bugs are found all of the time, and cybercriminals can use them to compromise a device. The longer software goes without an update, the long cybercriminals have to find these vulnerabilities and exploit them.

The best way to stay a step ahead of active cybercriminals is to update your device’s software as often as possible. Updates often contain security patches blocking newly discovered attack avenues. Getting into a good update habit, too, is becoming increasingly critical as more and more devices connect to the internet. Speaking of which…

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is officially here — and we’re not just talking about internet-connected refrigerators or television sets. IoT devices encompass toys and cars to watches and even clothing. All this available computing means cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever before to find and exploit vulnerabilities in everyday objects.

But, again, there are reliable, proactive defenses. First, make sure that, if your smart device or service requires an account, you use a complex and unique password. This means using numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters. A password manager can help you create strong and unique passwords. Second, typically, if there’s software, there’s an update. Make sure you’re aware of any and all updates to your IoT devices and apply them as soon as you can. If you have an IoT device where updating is difficult, such as a thermostat, you’ll need a more holistic approach. Look for security services, like McAfee Secure Home Platform, designed for a home connected through a protected router that’s enhanced with advanced security analytics.

Finally, and this is a good rule in general, use a comprehensive security solution to protect your technology landscape. It’s a lot bigger than you think and growing every day with each new user account, IoT device or computer you use.

To learn more about securing your personal devices from cyberattacks, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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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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Aussie Ruby Rose is McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/aussie-ruby-rose/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/aussie-ruby-rose/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 21:56:32 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91751 Keeping up to date with celebrity gossip is a sport for many of us. Staying on top of what your favourite celebrity wore to the latest Hollywood shindig and, of course who they were with can be very time consuming and often require extensive searching! But did you know that searching for your favourite celebrity […]

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Keeping up to date with celebrity gossip is a sport for many of us. Staying on top of what your favourite celebrity wore to the latest Hollywood shindig and, of course who they were with can be very time consuming and often require extensive searching! But did you know that searching for your favourite celebrity can actually put your personal security at risk?

Every year McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, undertakes global research, entitled Most Dangerous Celebrities, to identify which celebrities generate the riskiest search results which could potentially expose fans to malicious websites and risky downloads. And in 2018, the top spot was filled for the first time ever by an Australian celebrity: actress and television presenter Ruby Rose.

The very talented Ruby Rose kicked off her career as a hugely popular VJ (video jockey) on MTV. Before long, she went on to enjoy great success as a model, television presenter and then actress with her role as Stella Carlin in the cult series Orange Is The New Black. Ruby’s casting as Batwoman in the upcoming television series would have no doubt assisted in propelling her to first position.

Who Are the Most Dangerous Celebrities to Search For in 2018?

In the global list of Most Dangerous Celebrities, American reality TV star, Kristin Cavallari finished behind Rose at No. 2, followed by French actress Marion Cotillard (No. 3), the original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter (No. 4), Aussie actress Rose Byrne (No. 5), star of Will and Grace Debra Messing (No. 6), reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian (No. 7), actress Amber Heard (No. 8), American morning TV show host Kelly Ripa (No. 9), and finally Orange Is The New Black actor, Brad William Henke round out the top 10.

American actress Lucy Liu topped Australia’s list of the Most Dangerous Celebrities to search for. The top 10 list was littered with Aussie celebrities as well, including Naomi Watts (No. 2), Cate Blanchett (No 4.), Elle Macpherson (No.9) and Margot Robbie (No.10).

Interestingly, Aussie morning TV show host Sonya Kruger came in at number 17 on the list, a notable mention after appearing alongside other Australian TV stars, such as Carrie Bickmore and Georgie Gardiner in the recent fake Facebook ads scamming unsuspecting victims into purchasing face cream subscriptions. The recent Facebook scam demonstrates how cybercriminals capitalise on our love of celebrity when trying to trap unsuspecting consumers into scams.

Cybercriminals Capitalise on our ‘Celebrity Culture’

Online scammers and cybercriminals are always looking at new ways to get their hands on our private information with the aim of making big bucks. Tapping into our love of celebrity, cybercriminals will create professional looking websites that contain downloads which contain spyware or malware. These malicious celebrity sites may also require users to set up an account. Unsuspecting visitors will then provide their email addresses and passwords to the site not realising that their details have been compromised.

Our fast-paced modern lives mean that we often cut corners in the name of speed and convenience. Some of us are just so keen to view the promised content about our favourite celebrity that we drop our guard and don’t take the time to ensure the site is legitimate.

But not taking the time to ensure a link is safe means fans are not only putting their devices at risk of infection from viruses, but themselves at risk of identity theft.

How to Avoid Being Targeted by a Cyber Criminal

One of the best ways of staying safe online and avoiding falling victim to a scam is to adopt safe searches practices. Here are my top tips to ensure you stay out of trouble!

1. Think Before You Click

Users looking for a sneak-peek of Ruby Rose’s upcoming Batwoman series should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.

2. Apply Updates as Soon as they are Available

Device and app updates will often include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.

3. Browse with Security Protection

Searching and browsing without security software is a little like navigating a foreign city with any guidelines. McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive security solution that can help keep devices protected against malware, phishing attacks, and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor which can help identify malicious websites – very helpful!

4. 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 minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

Whether you celebrity watch because you are enamoured, envious or inspired, please don’t let your hobby put you at risk of identity theft. Ensure you (and your kids) search safely so you can stay out of the way of cybercrims and their scams!

Alex x

 

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McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrities Study 2018: Ruby Rose Takes Center Stage https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/most-dangerous-celebrities-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/most-dangerous-celebrities-2018/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 04:01:15 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91701 Every rose has its thorn, right? Apparently, the same goes for actress Ruby Rose, as her newfound popularity from “Orange is the New Black” has made her both famous, and maybe even dangerous. At least when it comes to online interactions. You heard correctly, the newly announced Batwoman has also been crowned McAfee’s Most Dangerous […]

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Every rose has its thorn, right? Apparently, the same goes for actress Ruby Rose, as her newfound popularity from “Orange is the New Black” has made her both famous, and maybe even dangerous. At least when it comes to online interactions. You heard correctly, the newly announced Batwoman has also been crowned McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity this year. For the twelfth year in a row, McAfee researched famous individuals to reveal the riskiest celebrity to search for online, or, which search results could expose fans to malicious sites. Ruby Rose took home the top spot in 2018, but curious about who the runner-ups are? Here’s the full list:

Recent popular reality and sitcom shows have driven some stars (Kristin Cavallari, Debra Messing, Kourtney Kardashian) to the top of our list. Which is one of the few reasons this list is so different than last year’s. Unlike 2017’s list of Most Dangerous Celebrities, musicians ranked low on this year’s list. Adele was the highest ranked musician at No. 21 followed by Shakira (No. 27), 2017’s top celebrity Avril Lavigne (No. 30), and Lady Gaga (No. 35).

So, whether you’re looking up what Ruby did on the latest “Orange is the New Black” episode, or what Kristin Cavallari wore the latest awards show, make sure you’re searching the internet safely. To keep your internet activity secure and danger-free, follow these tips:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of the CW series, Batwoman starring Ruby Rose should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Apply system and application updates as soon as they are available. Very often the operating system and application updates include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.
  • Browse with security protection. McAfee Total Protection is a comprehensive security solution that can help keep devices protected 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.

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

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#CyberAware: Will You Help Make the Internet a Safe Place for Families? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyberaware-will-you-join-the-effort-to-make-the-internet-safer-for-everyone/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/cyberaware-will-you-join-the-effort-to-make-the-internet-safer-for-everyone/#respond Sat, 29 Sep 2018 14:00:27 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91659 Don’t we all kinda secretly hope, even pretend, that our biggest fears are in the process of remedying themselves? Like believing that the police will know to stay close should we wander into a sketchy part of town. Or that our doors and windows will promptly self-lock should we forget to do so. Such a […]

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National Cyber Security Awareness MonthDon’t we all kinda secretly hope, even pretend, that our biggest fears are in the process of remedying themselves? Like believing that the police will know to stay close should we wander into a sketchy part of town. Or that our doors and windows will promptly self-lock should we forget to do so. Such a world would be ideal — and oh, so, peaceful — but it just isn’t reality. When it comes to making sure our families are safe we’ve got to be the ones to be aware, responsible, and take the needed action.

Our Shared Responsibility

This holds true in making the internet a safe place. As much as we’d like to pretend there’s a protective barrier between us and the bad guys online, there’s no single government entity that is solely responsible for securing the internet. Every individual must play his or her role in protecting their portion of cyberspace, including the devices and networks they use. And, that’s what October — National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) — is all about.

At McAfee, we focus on these matters every day but this month especially, we are linking arms will safety organizations, bloggers, businesses, and YOU — parents, consumers, educators, and digital citizens — to zero in on ways we can all do our part to make the internet safe and secure for everyone. (Hey, sometimes the home team needs a huddle, right!?)

8 specific things you can do!

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

  1. Become a NCSAM Champion. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSAM) is encouraging everyone — individuals, schools, businesses, government organizations, universities — to sign up, take action, and make a difference in online safety and security. It’s free and simple to register. Once you sign up you will get an email with a toolbox packed with fun, shareable memes to post for #CyberAware October.
  2. Tap your social powers. Throughout October, share, share, share great content you discover. Use the hashtag #CyberAware, so the safety conversation reaches and inspires more people. Also, join the Twitter chat using the hashtag #ChatSTC each Thursday in October at 3 p.m., ET/Noon, PT. Learn, connect with other parents and safety pros, and chime in.National Cyber Security Awareness Month
  3. Hold a family tech talk. Be even more intentional this month. Learn and discuss suggestions from STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ on how each family member can protect their devices and information.
  4. Print it and post it: Print out a STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ tip sheet and display it in areas where family members spend time online.
  5. Understand and execute the basics. Information is awesome. But how much of that information do we truly put into action? Take 10 minutes to read 10 Tips to Stay Safe Online and another 10 minutes to make sure you take the time to install a firewall, strengthen your passwords, and make sure your home network as secure as it can be.National Cyber Security Awareness Month
  6. If you care — share! Send an email to friends and family informing them that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and encourage them to visit staysafeonline.org for tips and resources.
  7. Turn on multi-factor authentication. Protect your financial, email and social media accounts with two-step authentication for passwords.
  8. Update, update, update! This overlooked but powerful way to shore up your devices is crucial. Update your software and turn on automatic updates to protect your home network and personal devices.

Isn’t it awesome to think that you aren’t alone in striving to keep your family’s digital life — and future — safe? A lot of people are working together during National Cyber Security Awareness Month to educate and be more proactive in blocking criminals online. Working together, no doubt, we’ll get there quicker and be able to create and enjoy a safer internet.

 

 

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

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Facebook Announces Security Flaw Found in “View As” Feature https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/facebook-announces-security-flaw/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/facebook-announces-security-flaw/#respond Fri, 28 Sep 2018 19:43:57 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91683 Another day, another Facebook story. In May, a Facebook Messenger malware named FacexWorm was utilized by cybercriminals to steal user passwords and mine for cryptocurrency. Later that same month, the personal data of 3 million users was exposed by an app on the platform dubbed myPersonality. And in June, millions of the social network’s users […]

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Another day, another Facebook story. In May, a Facebook Messenger malware named FacexWorm was utilized by cybercriminals to steal user passwords and mine for cryptocurrency. Later that same month, the personal data of 3 million users was exposed by an app on the platform dubbed myPersonality. And in June, millions of the social network’s users may have unwittingly shared private posts publicly due to another new bug. Which brings us to today. Just announced this morning, Facebook revealed they are dealing with yet another security breach, this time involving the “View As” feature.

Facebook users have the ability to view their profiles from another user’s perspective, which is called “View As.” This very feature was found to have a security flaw that has impacted approximately 50 million user accounts, as cybercriminals have exploited this vulnerability to steal Facebook users’ access tokens. Access tokens are digital keys that keep users logged in, and they permit users to bypass the need to enter a password every time. Essentially, this flaw helps cybercriminals take over users’ accounts.

While the access tokens of 50 million accounts were taken, Facebook still doesn’t know if any personal information was gathered or misused from the affected accounts. However, they do suspect that everyone who used the “View As” feature in the last year will have to log back into Facebook, as well as any apps that used a Facebook login. An estimated 90 million Facebook users will have to log back in.

As of now, this story is still developing, as Facebook is still investigating further into this issue. Now, the question is — if you’re an impacted Facebook user, what should you do to stay secure? Start by following these tips:

  • Change your account login information. Since this flaw logged users out, it’s vital you change up your login information. Be sure to make your next password strong and complex, so it will be difficult for cybercriminals to crack. It also might be a good idea to turn on two-factor authentication.
  • Update, update, update. No matter the application, it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to always update an app as soon as an update is available, as fixes are usually included with each version. Facebook has already issued a fix to this vulnerability, so make sure you update immediately.

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

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Understanding Your Kid’s Smart Gadgets https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/understanding-your-kids-smart-gadgets/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/understanding-your-kids-smart-gadgets/#respond Tue, 25 Sep 2018 21:05:33 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91650 When people think about IoT devices, many often think of those that fill their homes. Smart lights, ovens, TVs, etc. But there’s a whole other type of IoT devices that are inside the home that parents may not be as cognizant of – children’s toys. In 2018, smartwatches, smart teddy bears, and more are all […]

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When people think about IoT devices, many often think of those that fill their homes. Smart lights, ovens, TVs, etc. But there’s a whole other type of IoT devices that are inside the home that parents may not be as cognizant of – children’s toys. In 2018, smartwatches, smart teddy bears, and more are all in kids’ hands. And though parents are happy to purchase the next hot item for their children, they sometimes aren’t fully aware of how these devices can impact their child’s personal security. IoT has expanded to children, but it’s parents that need to understand how these toys affect their family, and what they can do to keep their children protected from an IoT-based cyberthreat.

Now, add IoT into the mix. The reason people are commonly adopting IoT devices is for one reason – convenience. And that’s the same reason these devices have gotten into children’s hands as well. They’re convenient, engaging, easy-to-use toys, some of which are even used to help educate kids.

But this adoption has changed children’s online security. Now, instead of just limiting their device usage and screen time, parents have to start thinking about the types of threats that can emerge from their child’s interaction with IoT devices. For example, smartwatches have been used to track and record kids’ physical location. And children’s data is often recorded with these devices, which means their data could be potentially leveraged for malicious reasons if a cybercriminal breaches the organization behind a specific connected product or app. The FBI has even previously cautioned that these smart toys can be compromised by hackers.

Keeping connected kids safe  

Fortunately, there are many things parents can do to keep their connected kids safe. First off, do the homework. Before buying any connected toy or device for a kid, parents should look up the manufacturer first and see if they have security top of mind. If the device has had any issues with security in the past, it’s best to avoid purchasing it. Additionally, always read the fine print. Terms and conditions should outline how and when a company accesses a kid’s data. When buying a connected device or signing them up for an online service/app, always read the terms and conditions carefully in order to remain fully aware of the extent and impact of a kid’s online presence and use of connected devices.

Mind you, these IoT toys must connect to a home Wi-Fi network in order to run. If they’re vulnerable, they could expose a family’s home network as a result. Since it can be challenging to lock down all the IoT devices in a home, utilize a solution like McAfee Secure Home Platform to provide protection at the router-level. Also, parents can keep an eye on their kid’s online interactions by leveraging a parental control solution like McAfee Safe Family. They can know what their kids are up to, guard them from harm, and limit their screen time by setting rules and time limits for apps and websites.

To learn more about IoT devices and how your children use them, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Netflix Users: Don’t Get Hooked by This Tricky Phishing Email https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/netflix-users-phishing-email/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/netflix-users-phishing-email/#comments Tue, 25 Sep 2018 19:35:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91643 If you own a smart TV, or even just a computer, it’s likely you have a Netflix account. The streaming service is huge these days – even taking home awards for its owned content. So, it’s only natural cybercriminals are attempting to leverage the service’s popularity for their own gain. In fact, just discovered last […]

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If you own a smart TV, or even just a computer, it’s likely you have a Netflix account. The streaming service is huge these days – even taking home awards for its owned content. So, it’s only natural cybercriminals are attempting to leverage the service’s popularity for their own gain. In fact, just discovered last week, fake Netflix emails have been circulating claiming there are issues with users’ accounts. But of course, there is no issue at all – only a phishing scam underway.

The headline in itself should be the first indicator of fraud, as it reads “Update your payment information!” The body of the fake email then claims that there’s an issue with a user’s account or that their account has been suspended. The email states that they need to update their account details in order to resolve the problem, but the link actually leads victims to a genuine-looking Netflix website designed to steal usernames and passwords, as well as payment details. If the victim updates their financial information, they are actually taken to the real Netflix home page, which gives this trick a sense of legitimacy.

In short – this phishing email scheme is convincing and tricky. That means it’s crucial all Netflix users take proactive steps now to protect themselves this stealthy attack. To do just that, follow these tips:

  • Be careful what you click on. Be sure to only click on emails that you are sure came from a trusted source. If you don’t know the sender, or the email’s content doesn’t seem familiar, remain wary and avoid interacting with the message.
  • Go directly to the source. It’s a good security rule of thumb: when an email comes through requesting personal info, always go directly to the company’s website to be sure you’re working with the real deal. You should be able to check their account status on the Netflix website, and determine the legitimacy of the request from there. If there’s still anything in question, feel free to call their support line and check about the notice that way as well.
  • Place a fraud alert. If you know your financial data has been compromised by this attack, be sure to place a fraud alert on your credit so that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny. It’s important to note that this also entitles you to extra copies of your credit report so you can check for anything sketchy. And if you find an account you did not open, make sure you report it to the police or Federal Trade Commission, as well as the creditor involved so you can put an end to the fraudulent account.

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

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5 Ways to Protect Your Finances Online https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/5-ways-to-protect-your-finances-online/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/5-ways-to-protect-your-finances-online/#respond Mon, 24 Sep 2018 16:00:06 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91578 Financial companies continue to innovate with their online products and services, bringing conveniences for customers, but challenges when it comes to security. This is because the current “fintech” (financial technology) landscape doesn’t just include traditional banks with online services. New players, like cryptocurrency sites, robo advisors and online loan providers have all joined the party. […]

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Financial companies continue to innovate with their online products and services, bringing conveniences for customers, but challenges when it comes to security.

This is because the current “fintech” (financial technology) landscape doesn’t just include traditional banks with online services. New players, like cryptocurrency sites, robo advisors and online loan providers have all joined the party. Regulations simply haven’t kept up, leaving security concerns up to the individual providers, and the consumers who use them.

To deal with issues like protecting customers’ data, privacy, and transactions, today’s fintech companies often use a patchwork of security software and tools. A recent survey found that many major financial service providers use between 100 and 200 disparate security solutions[1]. And these solutions rarely share threat intelligence. This can leave security teams overwhelmed, and customer information more vulnerable to data leaks and hacking.

In fact, research released earlier this year revealed that hackers are using “hidden tunnels” in the infrastructure used to transmit data between financial applications to conceal theft. This means that breaches could go weeks or months without detection, all while customer information is exposed.

Underscoring the problem, the financial services industry was recently named the most targeted sector for cyber attacks for the second year in a row. And, cyber attacks reported to the Financial Conduct Authority grew 80% in the last year.

This isn’t hard to believe given that last year seven of the U.K.’s largest banks, including Santander and HSBC, were forced to reduce operations or shut down systems all together after they were targeted in a coordinated denial of service (DoS) attack aimed at flooding servers with traffic.

Even though new regulations, like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, are aimed at helping companies reduce security risks, and even fine them for privacy violations, there are still challenges when it comes to finding integrated solutions.

This means consumers have to be vigilant when it comes to protecting their money and information.

Here are 5 tips to protect your online finances:

  • Monitor your financial accounts & credit report—Regularly check your online bank statements and credit card accounts for any suspicious transactions.

    You’ll also want to review your credit scores once a quarter to make sure that no new accounts were opened in your name, without your permission. Check to see if your bank or credit card company offers free credit monitoring. You might also consider investing in an identity protection service, since these often include credit monitoring and will even reimburse you in the case of identity fraud or theft.

  • Use multi-layered security and alerts—Take advantage of advanced security tools if your providers offer them, such as multi-factor authentication. (Multi-factor means you provide two or more pieces of information to verify your identity before you can login to your account, such as typing a password and responding to a text message sent to your smartphone.)

    Also, many companies now offer free text or email alerts when a new charge is made, or when a change is made to any account information. Sign up for these to help monitor your accounts.

  • Do your homework—Before using a new financial service, make sure to research the Read other user’s reviews, and look into whether the company uses tools like encryption and multi-factor authentication to safeguard your data.
  • Don’t give away too much personal information—When we quickly sign up for accounts, sharing bank or identity information, we make it easy for the bad guys. Only share information that is absolutely necessary for the service you want to use.

  • Use comprehensive security—Just as fintech companies need to do their part, you have to do your part by using comprehensive security software.

    Make sure that all of your computers and devices are protected, including IoT devices. You may also want to look into new solutions that provide security at the network level.

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

[1] Closing the Cybersecurity Gaps in Financial Services, a global survey from Ovum and sponsored by McAfee

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5 Reasons Why Strong Digital Parenting Matters More than Ever https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/5-reasons-why-strong-digital-parenting-matters-more-than-ever/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/5-reasons-why-strong-digital-parenting-matters-more-than-ever/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 12:00:53 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91586 As a parent raising kids in a digital culture, it’s easy to feel at times as if you have a tiger by the tail and that technology is leading your family rather than the other way around. But that familiar feeling — the feeling of being overwhelmed, outsmarted, and always a step or two behind […]

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digital parentingAs a parent raising kids in a digital culture, it’s easy to feel at times as if you have a tiger by the tail and that technology is leading your family rather than the other way around.

But that familiar feeling — the feeling of being overwhelmed, outsmarted, and always a step or two behind the tech curve — is just a feeling, it’s not a fact.

Digital Parenting Matters

The fact is, you are the parent. That is a position of authority, honor, and privilege in your child’s life. No other person (device, app, or friend group) can take your place. No other voice is more influential or audible in your child’s mind and heart than yours.

It’s true that technology has added several critical skills to our parenting job description. It’s true that screens have become an integral part of daily life and that digital conversation can now shape our child’s self-image and perspective of his or her place in the world. All of this digital dominance has made issues such as mental health, anxiety, and cyberbullying significant concerns for parents.digital parenting

What’s also true is that we still have a lot of control over our kids’ screen time and the role technology plays in our families. Whether we choose to exercise that influence, is up to us but the choice remains ours.

Here are just a few reasons why strong digital parenting matters more than ever. And, some practical tools to help you take back any of the influence you feel you may have lost in your child’s life.

5 Digital Skills to Teach to Your Kids

Resilience

According to the American Psychological Association, resilience building is the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress. Resilience isn’t something you are born with. Kids become resilient over time and more so with an intentional parent. Being subject to the digital spotlight each day is a road no child should have to walk alone. September is National Suicide Prevention Month and an excellent opportunity to talk to your kids about resilience building. Digital Parenting Skills: Helping kids understand concepts like conflict-management, self-awareness, self-management, and responsible decision-making, is one of the most critical areas of parenting today. Start the conversations, highlight examples of resilience in everyday life, model resilence, and keep this critical conversation going.

Empathy

digital parentingEmpathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Unfortunately, in the online space, empathy isn’t always abundant, so it’s up to parents to introduce, model, and teach this character trait. Digital Parenting Skills: According to Dr. Michele Borba, author of #UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, there are 9 empathy-building habits parents can nurture in their kids including Emotional Literacy, Moral Identity, Perspective Taking, Moral Imagination, Self Regulation, Practicing Kindness, Collaboration, Moral Courage, and Altruistic Leadership Abilities.

Life Balance

Screentime is on the rise, and there’s no indication that trend is going to change. If we want kids that know the value of building an emotionally and physically healthy life, then teaching (and modeling) balance is imperative today. Digital Parenting Skills: Model screentime balance in your life. Be proactive in planning device-free activities for the whole family, and use software that will help you establish time limits on all devices. You might be surprised how just a few small shifts in your family’s tech balance can influence the entire vibe of your home.

Reputation Management

digital parenting

Most kids work reasonably hard to curate and present a specific image on their social profiles to impress their peers. Few recognize that within just a few years, colleges and employers will also be paying attention to those profiles. One study shows that 70% of employers use search engines and social media to screen candidates. Your child’s digital footprint includes everything he or she says or does online. A digital footprint includes everything from posts to casual “likes,” silly photos, and comments. Digital Parenting Skills: Know where your kids go online. Monitor their online conversations (without commenting publically). Don’t apologize for demanding they take down inappropriate or insensitive photos, comments, or retweets. The most important part of monitoring is explaining why the post has to come down. Simply saying “because I said so,” or “that’s crude,” isn’t enough. Take the time to discuss the reasons behind the rules.

Security and Safetydigital parenting

It’s human nature: Most us aren’t proactive. We don’t get security systems for our homes or cars until a break-in occurs to us or a close friend. Often, we don’t act until it gets personal. The same is true for taking specific steps to guard our digital lives. Digital Parenting Skills: Talk to your kids about online risks including scams, viruses and malware, identity fraud, predators, and catfishing. Go one step further and teach them about specific tools that will help keep them safe online. The fundamentals of digital safety are similar to teaching kids habits such as locking the doors, wearing a seatbelt or avoiding dangerous neighborhoods.

Your kids may be getting older and may even shrug off your advice and guidance more than they used to but don’t be fooled, parents. Kids need aware, digitally savvy parents more than ever to navigate and stay safe — both emotionally and physically — in the online arena. Press into those hard conversations and be consistent in your digital parenting to protect the things that truly matter.

Want to connect more to digital topics that affect your family? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online. Also, join the digital security conversation on Facebook.

 

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

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Announcing McAfee’s Evolved Consumer Product Portfolio https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/mcafee-consumer-portfolio-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/mcafee-consumer-portfolio-2018/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:31:31 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91616 Every fall the leaves change colors, sweaters replace sundresses, and new changes are afoot. Especially for us at McAfee. In fact, we’re announcing quite a few changes to our consumer security portfolio this fall. Tailored to the increasingly connected world we live in, our evolved line of products focuses on better performance, better ransomware protection, […]

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Every fall the leaves change colors, sweaters replace sundresses, and new changes are afoot. Especially for us at McAfee. In fact, we’re announcing quite a few changes to our consumer security portfolio this fall. Tailored to the increasingly connected world we live in, our evolved line of products focuses on better performance, better ransomware protection, and a holistic approach to securing every facet of a connected consumer’s life. Curious how exactly our lineup does that? Allow us to break it down.

First, there are a few key product updates. In exciting news, McAfee Identity Theft Protection and McAfee Safe Family are now both included in McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe. Additionally, McAfee Ransom Guard and PC Boost have been added to the entire product lineup, which includes McAfee AntiVirus, McAfee AntiVirus Plus, and McAfee Internet Security. Now, let’s get into a few specifics about product performance.

Improved Performance

McAfee’s core lineup of products now sends malware analysis to the McAfee Global Threat Intelligence (GTI) cloud, which means fewer system resources are required, and PCs can work at optimal speeds. Beyond that, we’ve also implemented a few key PC enhancements, including:

  • McAfee App Boost – Helps resource-hungry apps complete tasks more quickly by automatically allocating more resources to applications the customer is actively using.
  • McAfee Web Boost – Prevents unwanted or unrequested downloads and system activity caused by auto-play videos resulting in reduced bandwidth and resource consumption.

There are a few notable mobile enhancements as well, which include:

  • McAfee Mobile Security – Fully redesigned to deliver a more intuitive and engaging user experience.
  • McAfee Mobile Security for Android – Now includes machine learning capabilities within the mobile AV engine, which provides more efficient scanning and faster malware detection.
  • McAfee Mobile Security for iOS – New Wi-Fi Threat Scan shows the security status of the connected Wi-Fi network and alerts users if the Wi-Fi network they are connected to is at risk.

Increased Ransomware Protection

Ransomware attacks have shown no signs of slowing, which is why last year McAfee introduced a machine learning-based anti-virus engine with Real Protect to protect consumers from modern-day threats. And now we’ve updated our features to continue the fight against these advanced attacks. New features include:

  • McAfee Ransom Guard – Adds another layer of protection on the PC which monitors for suspicious file changes, warns the user when ransomware may be at work and suggests recommended actions for remediation. Additionally, this technology allows McAfee to detect many variants of zero-day ransomware.
  • Virus Protection Pledge – This year’s lineup extends the guarantee to six additional languages. If a customer enrolled in automatic renewal gets a virus with protection turned on, the customer support team will remove it, or the customer will receive a refund.

Protecting People’s Digital Lives

As people become more and more connected in the modern digital era, they’re in need of protection in every part of their online life. That’s why McAfee’s new lineup now includes features that make it easier than ever to protect what matters most. This includes:

  • McAfee Safe Family – Provides parents the visibility and controls needed to keep their children safer online when they use their PCs, smartphones, and tablets.
    • Key features and benefits include: Activity reports, app and web blocking capabilities, screen time controls, location tracking, 1-click digital time-outs and more. McAfee Safe Family Premium is included with subscriptions to McAfee Total Protection 10 and McAfee LiveSafe.
  • McAfee Identity Theft Protection – Allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities.
    • Key features and benefits include: Cyber monitoring, Social security number trace, credit monitoring, 24/7 agency support, and ID recovery and stolen funds reimbursement. McAfee Identity Theft Protection Essentials is included with subscriptions to McAfee Total Protection 10 and McAfee LiveSafe.

So, whether you’re focused on fighting back against ransomware, or ensuring all your online interactions are protected from threats, our evolved portfolio of products is here to ensure you can live your connected life with confidence. Make sure you get proactive about your personal protection now.

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

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Mobile and Digital Payments: Worth the Risk? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/sending-money-over-mobile-devices/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/sending-money-over-mobile-devices/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 13:00:54 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91540 Thanks in part to the convenience that our mobile devices provide for us, much of the world operates now on instant gratification. From accessing information on the web to doing work –and now sending and receiving digital payments– our devices and applications support us while we’re on the go. Whether we’re paying a friend for […]

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Thanks in part to the convenience that our mobile devices provide for us, much of the world operates now on instant gratification. From accessing information on the web to doing work –and now sending and receiving digital payments– our devices and applications support us while we’re on the go. Whether we’re paying a friend for dinner, our roommate for rent, or otherwise, many of us use peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile and digital payment apps rather than cash to settle our bills.

P2P mobile and digital payment apps like Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle have changed the way we transfer money; today it’s faster, simpler, and easier than ever. In fact, they’re so popular that it’s estimated that in 2018, $700 billion will be transferred in this manner. With so much money being sent and received in this way, the ease of transfer begs the question, how secure are these apps?

While some have turned to using cryptocurrency and blockchain to curtail the known dangers of traditional mobile payment apps, recent cryptojacking incidents have proven that even this new technology is not foolproof when it comes to cybersecurity and the determination of cybercriminals. And while the convenience of digital payments can’t be denied, we seem to be prioritizing ease of use over security. Let’s take a look at how digital payments work, as well as their security implications.

How Digital Payments Work

P2P apps like Venmo, Cash App, and others essentially all work in the same way.  Functioning as a digital wallet, users link the app to their bank accounts or credit and debit cards. Then the app adds or subtracts money based on when users receive or send a payment. From there, users can “cash out” their balance to their preferred digital property, such as the account attached to a card or bank account.

P2P Money Transfer Apps and Cybersecurity Concerns

On the surface, digital money transfers may seem harmless, when in fact, they could lead to a headache of unforeseen cybersecurity concerns. The good news is that most money transfer apps will reimburse you for fraudulent charges. However, if someone has physical access to your phone and you don’t keep it locked, they can send money to themselves or others and you won’t get that money back.

Aside from the obvious concern of losing your phone, if you use an unsecured network to transfer money, it’s easier for someone to launch a phishing attack to gain access to your data. That’s because some payment apps will send request links from other users to download the app on their device. These links can be manipulated by cybercriminals and often contain just a letter or number off so that these changes go unnoticed by day-to-day users. When clicked on, a user can be redirected to a web page and presented with malware or a virus and might be prompted to download it– giving an unfriendly host access to your financial information. Thankfully, leveraging your data plan or a VPN rather than an unsecured or pubic Wi-Fi network can help create an extra layer of protection, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to access your sensitive data.

Lastly, there are often unforeseen holes in software that provide backdoor access to your financial information. Meticulously updating the software on your mobile device can help patch up known security issues, also making it easier to protect your data.

Tips to Stay Safe While Using Peer-to-Peer Money Transfer Apps

If you already use a peer-to-peer money transfer app or are on the fence about downloading one, here are some tips to take into account. By practicing multiple security habits simultaneously, your financial information is much more likely to remain safe on your devices and apps:

  • Set up additional security measures. P2P payment platforms require access to sensitive financial information. Check your account settings to see if you can enable multi-factor authentication, PIN/Password requirement, or use fingerprint recognition.
  • Check your preferred app’s permission or settings. Some might share information about your transactions on social media or on the platform itself, like Venmo. Make adjustments to these settings if and when you see fit.
  • Update your software and apps. It’s a best practice to update software and apps when prompted to help seal vulnerabilities when they’re found.
  • Be aware of where you are conducting your money transfers. Opt to use your data plan or a secure, private Wi-Fi network when using a P2P payment app. If you connected to public Wi-Fi, cybercriminals could use the holes in these networks to access your personal banking information and possibly access your P2P app account. If you must use public Wi-Fi, then it’s a good idea to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Confirm the deposit went through. When you receive a payment, that money is added to your in-system balance. This is where it will remain until you initiate the transfer to your bank account or use it for another transaction within the app. If you transfer the balance to your bank, confirm it went through. This could take anywhere from a few days to a week. If it takes longer, it’s worth investigating to stop suspicious behavior in its tracks.
  • Be wary of scammers and cybercriminals. If you don’t know the person to which you are sending a digital transfer (say to purchase tickets to an event), look for poor spelling or grammar from them and read links carefully. If something doesn’t look right, that’s often a tell-tale sign that you’re being led astray. Try to find an alternative way to pay, or better yet – find someone who is more trustworthy.

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

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Insights on the Capabilities of Three Politically-Themed Ransomware Campaigns https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/three-politically-themed-ransomware/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/three-politically-themed-ransomware/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 04:01:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91553 We all hear politicians’ names week over week – what policies they’re working on, new initiatives they’re implementing for their respective country, the list goes on. And now, we’re hearing about their names in a new context. Specifically, former U.S. President Barack Obama, current U.S. President Donald Trump, and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel all […]

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We all hear politicians’ names week over week – what policies they’re working on, new initiatives they’re implementing for their respective country, the list goes on. And now, we’re hearing about their names in a new context. Specifically, former U.S. President Barack Obama, current U.S. President Donald Trump, and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel all now have ransomware campaigns named after them. But just how effective are these politically-themed threats and how do they impact users? Let’s break it down.

Just recently identified, the Obama ransomware campaign is a bit non-traditional in its approach. The threat only targets specific files on a user’s computer and actually attempts to stop some anti-malware products from doing their job. What’s more – the malware also uses a victim’s device to mine for cryptocurrency. Said to be created by the same cybercriminal group behind the Obama ransomware, the Trump ransomware variant is similar in its capabilities to the Obama variant, but is not nearly as developed.

Now, the ransomware campaign named after German leader Angela Merkel encrypts files using an extension dubbed .angelamerkel. It also demands Euros when making its ransom demand, so it stays pretty true to theme.

In short, all these ransomware campaigns are unique in their capabilities and objectives, similar to the politicians they are named for. Now, with all these strains out in the wild, what are the next steps for users wishing to stay protected from a ransomware attack? Start by following these tips:

  • Do a complete backup. With ransomware attacks locking away crucial data, you need to back up the data on all of your machines. If a machine becomes infected with ransomware, there’s no promise you’ll get that data back – it could even become wiped entirely in some cases. Therefore, make sure you cover all your bases and have your data stored on an external hard drive or in the cloud.
  • Use decryption tools. No More Ransom, an initiative McAfee is a part of, has a suite of tools to free your data, each tailored for a specific type of ransomware. If your device gets held for ransom, start by researching what type of ransomware it is. Then check out No More Ransom’s decryption tools and see if one is available for your specific strain of ransomware.
  • Use comprehensive security. To be prepared for ransomware or any other type of cyberattack that may come your way, it’s important you lock down all your devices with an extra layer of security. To do just that, use a comprehensive security solution.

Want to learn more about Ransomware and how to defend against it? Visit our dedicated ransomware page.

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Fortnite: Why Kids Love It and What Parents Need to Know https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/why-kids-love-playing-fortnite-and-what-parents-need-to-know/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/why-kids-love-playing-fortnite-and-what-parents-need-to-know/#respond Sat, 15 Sep 2018 14:00:36 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91482   Fortnite: Battle Royale is the hottest video game for kids right now. More than 125 million people have downloaded the game and it’s estimated that 3.4 million play it monthly. But while the last-man-standing battle game is a blast to play, it also has parents asking a lot of questions as their kids spend […]

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Fortnite: Battle Royale

 

Fortnite: Battle Royale is the hottest video game for kids right now. More than 125 million people have downloaded the game and it’s estimated that 3.4 million play it monthly. But while the last-man-standing battle game is a blast to play, it also has parents asking a lot of questions as their kids spend more and more time immersed in the Fortnite realm.

Why kids love it

A few hours on Fortnite and you can easily see why kids (and adults) love it. The game drops up to 100 players onto an island, where they try to find weapons to defend themselves and try to eliminate other players. The battlefield gradually shrinks, forcing players into encounters with each other until just one player remains and becomes the winner.

Even though it’s a battle, the Fortnite characters and interface are colorful and cartoon-like and there’s no blood or gore. The game itself possesses an inherent sense of humor and personality that’s lighthearted yet still competitive. The app is free to download, but players can outfit their characters (for purchase) in an array of battle fashions and any number of fun dances.

Ultimate gaming mash-up

Fortnite: Battle Royale

One reason kids love Fortnite: Battle Royale is that it’s the perfect survival mash-up of several popular media titles: The Hunger Games movie, Call of Duty video game, the first Fortnite (Fortnite: Save the World) video game, and the game PUBG (PlayerUnknownBattlegrounds). Fortnite: Battle Royale takes elements from all of these favorite storylines and game interfaces.

The game has a lot of fun attached for sure. Fortnite’s interface and hilarious character moves can be just as much fun to watch as it is to play. However, as with any other wildly popular, multi-player video game, there are some red flags families need to be aware of.

Fortnite: What to look out for

Excessive screen time. Because of the way Fortnite is structured, kids can easily burn through hours a day if left unmonitored. Some parents have reported their kids becoming Fortnite obsessed, even addictedSuggestion: Pay attention to the amount of time your kids spend playing. If your child is playing on Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch, you can turn on parental controls to limit gaming sessions. Another option, for PC, tablets, and mobile devices, is monitoring software that allows parents to set time limits for apps and websites.Fortnite: Battle Royale

Chat feature. Fortnite is a multi-player game, which means kids play against other gamers they may not know. So, Fortnite’s chat feature carries some potential safety issues such as foul language, potentially befriending an imposter, and cyberbullying. Suggestion: Talk to your child about this aspect of the game and the dangers. Spend time and sit in on a few games and listen to the banter. Then, make the best decision for your family. To turn chat off, open the Settings Menu in the top right of the main Fortnite page, go to the Audio Tab and turn it off.

In-app purchases. Fortnite is free to download but can get expensive quickly. Kids can use virtual currency (purchased via credit card) to access animations, weapons, and outfits for their characters. These items aren’t needed to win the game, but they allow a player to express his or her personality within the game, which is especially important to kids. Some parents have reported finding hundreds of dollars in unauthorized purchases on their credit cards due to Fortnite’s array of in-app purchases. Suggestion: If you know your child is passionate about Fortnite, take away the spending temptation by blocking his or her ability to make in-app purchases. Or, set a weekly limit on purchases.

Fortnite: Battle Royale

Increased anxiety/stress levels. Fortnite’s game structure is a highly-competitive, fast-moving game that renders only one winner. This means, as a solo player, the odds are stacked against you. Play Fortnite enough, and lose enough, and rage can surface. If your child is prone to anxiety or stress, Fortnite may not be the best environment. Suggestion: Monitor your child’s mood. Discuss the emotional highs and lows potentially associated with Fortnite and put some healthy parameters — that address both the types of content and time limits — around gaming habits.

Unsure about allowing your kids to play (or continue playing) Fortnite? Talk to them about it. Join in or watch your child play. Find out what your child loves about the game and if his or her demeanor changes during or after playing. Monitor the amount of time as well. Once you’ve gathered the facts as they pertain to your child, decide how much (or how little) of the Fortnite world is best for your family.

Want to connect more to digital topics that affect your family? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online. Also, join the digital security conversation on Facebook.

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

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Safari and Edge Browser Users: This Flaw May Help Hackers Hijack Your Internet Activity https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/safari-and-edge-browser-flaw/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/safari-and-edge-browser-flaw/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 18:49:47 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91483 A browser is our connection to the world wide web – it allows us to access websites, gain information, make online purchases, the list goes on. As the key to our internet usage, browsers can also be the key to unlocking our personal information. So, unfortunately, browser flaws can have a major impact on users. […]

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A browser is our connection to the world wide web – it allows us to access websites, gain information, make online purchases, the list goes on. As the key to our internet usage, browsers can also be the key to unlocking our personal information. So, unfortunately, browser flaws can have a major impact on users. And now, this exact scenario has come to life, as news emerged this week about a flaw in both Safari and Microsoft’s Edge browser that could expose users to a cyberattack.

You know how when you type in a URL into your web browser, it can often take a few seconds to load? This flaw relies on exactly that. While a safe URL is loading, a cybercriminal could actually edit and update the address bar and redirect users to a potentially malicious website. Essentially, a hacker could send a user to an attack site of their choosing and make the user believe they’re still accessing a safe site.

Of course, the security researcher who discovered the vulnerability informed both Microsoft and Apple and waited 90 days until publishing his report about the flaw. As of now, Microsoft has issued a fix, but Apple has not.

So, what can internet users do next to ensure they don’t fall victim to a cyberattack that leverages this flaw? Start by following these tips

  • Don’t leave your computer unattended. It’s important to note that this vulnerability is completely dependent on physical access to a user’s computer. Now that this vulnerability has been disclosed, it’s important that you keep a close eye on your computer until you apply any necessary updates.
  • Update your software immediately. It’s an important security rule of thumb: always update your software whenever an update is available, as security patches are usually included with each new version. Microsoft’s patch is already available, and the Apple patch is hopefully on the way. If you tend to forget to update your browser, a simple trick is just turning on automatic update.
  • Remain alert of malicious sites. It can be challenging to successfully identify malicious sites when you’re on them, especially with a flaw such as this one out there. That’s why you should utilize a solution such as McAfee WebAdvisor, which keeps you safe from threats while you search and browse the web, without impacting your browsing performance or experience.

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

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Inside a Modern-Day Smart Home https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/inside-a-modern-day-smart-home/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/inside-a-modern-day-smart-home/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 00:05:16 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91476 Ever wonder how the Internet of Things (IoT) first began? Often regarded as the first IoT device, John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off over the internet for the October ’89 INTEROP conference. Then in 2000, LG announced its first internet refrigerator plans. So on and so forth IoT grew […]

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Ever wonder how the Internet of Things (IoT) first began? Often regarded as the first IoT device, John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off over the internet for the October ’89 INTEROP conference. Then in 2000, LG announced its first internet refrigerator plans. So on and so forth IoT grew and grew, populating homes everywhere. Soon enough, we got the smart home. Though the name itself has become household, many people may not fully understand the ins and outs of a smart home. And beyond that, many don’t know the security implications tied to it. Let’s take a look.

Popularity via Convenience

According to Gartner, 20.8 billion connected devices are predicted to exist in consumer homes by 2020. So why have these devices and the smart homes they fill boomed so drastically in popularity in the past few years? One word: convenience.

If we use enough of them, these devices automate our daily existence. They turn our lights on for us, flip music on at the sound of our voice, even change the temperature in our house. And they’ve become all too easy to accumulate since the technology has started to become more affordable. A few of the key and common smart devices that can be found in a modern smart home include smart refrigerators, smart lights, smart speakers, smart TVs. Beyond that, more family-oriented devices are becoming smart — including baby cams, thermometers, and children’s toys.

As we look ahead, it’s been predicted that the type of devices that are “smart” will grow to become more diverse, driving wider adoption. And that will cause more businesses to jump on the IoT train — builders, developers and anyone in the world of residential life are going to link up with smart tech.

The Digital (and Physical) Impact of IoT

But the continuous growth of these devices, now and in the future, is something we all have to smart about. These IoT devices are convenient, but their build makes them a convenient target for cybercriminals. This is because many IoT devices aren’t built with security in mind, and users often leave default settings on, which makes it easy for hackers to breach them. Just take the McAfee ATR team’s recent discovery about the Wemo Insight Smart Plug for example – the device was found to contain a crucial vulnerability that could allow hackers to manipulate it. Not to mention, digital assistants are susceptible to something called a ‘Dolphin Attack,’ which can be leveraged by cybercriminals to potentially breach a user.

And since all these IoT devices must connect to Wi-Fi, they can expose an entire network to threats. In fact, according to a recent McAfee survey, the biggest worry among recent respondents about having their wireless home network hacked is that cybercriminals could steal personal information and make them a victim of identity theft (63%).

There are physical repercussions to a vulnerable IoT device as well. Once they’ve hacked a connected device, cybercriminals can also manipulate the device itself and can flip the lights off, listen in on your smart baby monitor, the list goes on.

Connecting With Care

The good news is there are a few things we can all do to prevent IoT attacks and still enjoy our smart homes. First things first, we must all buy IoT devices with security in mind. Just by doing some basic research and looking up the manufacturers, we can get a feel if they have security top of mind. Most importantly, we have to change default settings and use a security solution that protects our homes at the router-level, such as McAfee Secure Home Platform.

By following these best practices, we can live our connected lives with confidence and enjoy the convenience of our high-tech homes. Both our homes and our personal security will remain smart.

To learn more about smart homes and IoT, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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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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Could the Photos You’re Sharing Online Be Putting Your Child at Risk? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/could-the-photos-youre-sharing-online-be-putting-your-child-at-risk/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/could-the-photos-youre-sharing-online-be-putting-your-child-at-risk/#respond Sat, 08 Sep 2018 14:00:16 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91413 Confession time. I’m a mom that is part of the problem. The problem of posting photos of my kids online without asking for their permission and knowing deep down that I’m so excited about sharing, I’m not paying much attention at all to the risks. Why do I do it? Because I’m madly in love […]

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sharing photos risksConfession time. I’m a mom that is part of the problem. The problem of posting photos of my kids online without asking for their permission and knowing deep down that I’m so excited about sharing, I’m not paying much attention at all to the risks.

Why do I do it? Because I’m madly in love with my two wee ones (who aren’t so wee anymore). Because I’m a proud parent who wants to celebrate their milestones in a way that feels meaningful in our digital world. And, if I’m honest, I think posting pictures of my kids publically helps fill up their love tank and remind them they are cherished and that they matter. . . even if the way I’m communicating happens to be very public.

Am I that different than most parents? According to a recent McAfee survey, I’m in the majority.

Theoretically, I represent one of the 1,000 interviewed for McAfee’s recent Age of Consent survey* that rendered some interesting results.

Can you relate?

  • 30% of parents post a photo of their child to social media daily.
  • 58% of parents do not ask for permission from their children before posting images of them on social media.
  • 22% think that their child is too young to provide permission; 19% claim that it’s their own choice, not their child’s choice.

The surprising part:

  • 71% of parents who share images of their kids online agree that the images could end up in the wrong hands.
  • Parents’ biggest concerns with sharing photos online include pedophilia (49%), stalking (48%), and kidnapping (45%).
  • Other risks of sharing photos online may also be other children seeing the image and engaging in cyberbullying (31%), their child feeling embarrassed (30%), and their child feeling worried or anxious (23%).

If this mere sampling of 1,000 parents (myself included) represents the sharing attitudes of even a fraction of the people who use Facebook (estimated to be one billion globally), then rethinking the way in which we share photos isn’t a bad idea.

We know that asking parents, grandparents, friends, and kids themselves to stop uploading photos altogether would be about as practical as asking the entire state of Texas to line up and do the hokey pokey. It’s not going to happen, nor does it have to.

But we can dilute the risks of photo sharing. Together, we can agree to post smarter, to pause a little longer. We can look out for one another’s privacy, and share in ways that keep us all safe.

Ways to help minimize photo sharing risks:

  • Pause before uploading. That photo of your child is awesome but have you stopped to analyze it? Ask yourself: Is there anything in this photo that could be used as an identifier? Have I inadvertently given away personal information such as a birthdate, a visible home addresses, a school uniform, financial details, or potential passwords? Is the photo I’m about to upload something I’d be okay with a stranger seeing? sharing photos risks
  • Review your privacy settings. It’s easy to forget that when we upload a photo, we lose complete control over who will see, modify, and share that photo again (anywhere they choose and in any way they choose). You can minimize the scope of your audience to only trusted friends and family by customizing your privacy settings within each social network.  Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have privacy settings that allow you to share posts (and account access) with select people. Use the controls available to boost your family privacy.
  • Voice your sharing preferences with others. While it may be awkward, it’s okay (even admirable) to request friends and family to reign in or refrain from posting photos of your children online. This rule also applies to other people’s public comments about your vacation plans, new house, children’s names or birthdates, or any other content that gives away too much data. Don’t hesitate to promptly delete those comments by others and explain yourself in a private message if necessary.
  • Turn off geotagging on photos. Did you know that the photo you upload has metadata assigned to it that can tell others your exact location? That’s right. Many social networks will tag a user’s location when that user uploads a photo. To make sure this doesn’t happen, simply turn off geotagging abilities on your phone. This precaution is particularly important when posting photos away from home.
  • Be mindful of identity theft. Identity theft is no joke. Photos can reveal a lot about your lifestyle, your habits, and they can unintentionally give away your data. Consider using an identity theft protection solution like McAfee Identity Theft Protection that can help protect your identity and safeguard your personal information.

* McAfee commissioned OnePoll to conduct a survey of 1,000 parents of children ages one month to 16 years old in the U.S.

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A Look Back at the Equifax Data Breach, One Year Later https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/equifax-anniversary/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/equifax-anniversary/#respond Tue, 04 Sep 2018 22:00:23 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91417 WannaCry, Petya, and Equifax first come to mind when you think of the most impactful cyber events in recent years, with the first-year anniversary of the latter coming up September 7th. Impacting nearly 150 million Americans (essentially half the country), the breach changed the nature of identity theft. Now, just before its anniversary, let’s take […]

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WannaCry, Petya, and Equifax first come to mind when you think of the most impactful cyber events in recent years, with the first-year anniversary of the latter coming up September 7th. Impacting nearly 150 million Americans (essentially half the country), the breach changed the nature of identity theft. Now, just before its anniversary, let’s take a look back on the impact of the Equifax data breach, what it all means for consumers, and the current state of identity theft.

Equifax reported that the breach exposed as many as 147.9 million consumer accounts, potentially compromising information such as names, dates of birth, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

To its credit, Equifax launched a program to alert potentially affected consumers that their data may have been exposed, and offered a free year subscription to its credit monitoring service, TrustID.

Unfortunately, identity theft breaches are not an uncommon occurrence. Such incidents are up 44% overall with 1,579 reports last year, and there are likely even more that went unreported. Exposed records due to data breaches are up 389%. Roughly 179 million records have been stolen, with 14.2 million credit card numbers exposed in 2017, an 88% increase over 2016. What’s more, 158 million Social Security numbers were exposed last year, an increase of more than 8 times from 2016. And all this theft has added up – consumers reported $905 million in total fraud losses last year, a 21% increase. So, it only makes sense that identity theft ranked as roughly 14% of all consumer complaints to the FTC last year.

However, despite all the publicity about major data breaches, consumers have done very little or have changed very little largely due to optimism bias. In fact, a recent McAfee survey shows that despite increased consumer concerns, only 37% of individuals use an identity theft protection solution and 28% have no plans to sign up for an ID theft protection solution.

So now the next question is, what should consumers do to protect themselves against identity theft? Start by following these tips:

  • Place a fraud alert. If you know your data has been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit so that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny. This also entitles you to extra copies of your credit report, so you can check for anything suspicious. If you find an account you did not open, report it to the police or Federal Trade Commission, as well as the creditor involved so you can close the fraudulent account. Then, make sure you correct your credit report by filing a dispute with each of the three credit bureaus.
  • Freeze your credit. This allows you to seal your credit reports so no one else can take out new accounts or loans in your name. You can do this without impacting your existing lines of credit, such as credit cards. If you want to apply for services or open new accounts, you can temporarily “unfreeze” your credit using a personal identification code only you have.
  • Invest in an identity theft monitoring and recovery solution. With the increase in data breaches, people everywhere are facing the possibility of identity theft. That’s precisely why they should leverage a solution tool such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which allows users to take a proactive approach to protecting their identities with personal and financial monitoring and recovery tools to help keep their identities personal and secured.

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

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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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Trending: IoT Malware Attacks of 2018 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/top-trending-iot-malware-attacks-of-2018/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/mobile-and-iot-security/top-trending-iot-malware-attacks-of-2018/#respond Tue, 04 Sep 2018 18:50:19 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91361 Since January 1st of 2018, a barrage of cyberattacks and data breaches have hit almost every industry, targeting businesses large and small, many of which are now from IoT devices. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices around the world. With more IoT devices ­–from wearables and pacemakers […]

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Since January 1st of 2018, a barrage of cyberattacks and data breaches have hit almost every industry, targeting businesses large and small, many of which are now from IoT devices. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices around the world. With more IoT devices ­–from wearables and pacemakers to thermometers and smart plugs–on the market and in the home, cybercriminals are keen to leverage them in attacks. This heightened interest is due to the vulnerabilities in many IoT devices, not to mention their ability to connect to each other, which can form an IoT botnet.

In a botnet scenario, a network of internet-connected devices is infected with malware and controlled without the users’ knowledge, in order to launch ransomware and DDoS attacks (distributed denial-of-service). Once unleashed, the consequences of botnet attacks can be devastating. This possible reality sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie, one which we hypothesized in our 2018 Threats Prediction Report. As we head into this year’s final months, we take a look at how this year’s threats compared to our predictions for you, the consumer.

At the end of 2017, we predicted that the convenience and ease of a connected home could lead to a decrease in privacy. Our devices already transmit significant data, with or without the knowledge of the consumer, back to the corporations the devices are made. This unprecedented access to consumer data is what is driving cybercriminals to become more familiar with IoT botnet attacks. Just in 2018 alone, we’ve seen smart TVs, virtual assistants, and even smart plugs display detrimental security flaws that could be exploited by bad actors. Some IoT devices were used to facilitate botnet attacks, like an IoT thermometer and home Wi-Fi routers. In 2017, these security concerns were simply predictions- but now they are very much a reality. And while the window to get ahead of these attacks is closing, consumers need to be prepared in case your IoT devices go haywire.

Be the difference in your home when it comes to security and IoT devices. Protect both you and your family from these threats with these tips:

  • When buying an IoT device, make security a priority. Before your next IoT purchase, do your research. Prioritize purchasing devices that have been on the market for a while, have a name brand, or have a lot of online reviews. If you follow this protocol, the chances are that the device’s security standards will be higher, due to being vetted by the masses.
  • Change default device passwords. As soon as you bring a new device into your home, change the password to something difficult to guess. Cybercriminals often know the default settings and can use them to access your devices. If the device has advanced security options, use them.
  • Keep your software up-to-date. To protect against potential vulnerabilities, manufacturers often release software updates. Set your device to auto-update, if possible, so you always have the latest software.
  • Use a comprehensive security program. It’s important to think about security holistically. Not all IoT devices are restricted to the home; many are mobile (such as smart watches). If you’re out and about, you may need to connect to an unsecured network – say an airport with public Wi-Fi. Your kids may have devices. The scenarios may be different, but the risk is the same. Protect your network of connected devices no matter where you are and consider a suite of security products to protect what matters.

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

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Family Tech: How Safe is Your Child’s Personal Data at School? https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/family-tech-how-safe-is-your-childs-personal-data-at-school/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/family-tech-how-safe-is-your-childs-personal-data-at-school/#respond Sat, 01 Sep 2018 14:00:44 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91311 Right about now, most kids are thinking about their chemistry homework, the next pep rally, or chiming in on their group text. The last thing on their minds as they head back to school is cybersecurity. But, it’s the one thing — if ignored — that can wreck the excitement of a brand new school year. […]

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Kids and Personal DataRight about now, most kids are thinking about their chemistry homework, the next pep rally, or chiming in on their group text. The last thing on their minds as they head back to school is cybersecurity. But, it’s the one thing — if ignored — that can wreck the excitement of a brand new school year.

You’ve done a great job, parent. You’ve equipped their phones, tablets, and laptops with security software. And, you’ve beefed up safeguards on devices throughout your home. These efforts go a long way in protecting your child’s (and family’s) privacy from prying eyes. Unfortunately, when your child walks out your front door and into his or her school, new risks await.

No one knows this season better than a cybercriminal. Crooks know there are loopholes in just about every school’s network and that kids can be easy targets online. These security gaps can open kids up to phishing scams, privacy breaches, malware attacks, and device theft.

The school security conversation

Be that parent. Inquire about your school’s security protocols.  The K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center reports that 358 school breaches have taken place since January of 2016.  Other reports point to an increase in hackers targeting school staff with phishing emails and seeking student social security numbers to sell on the dark web.

A few questions to consider:Kids and Personal Data

  • Who has physical and remote access to your student’s digital records and what are the school’s protection practices and procedures?
  • How are staff members trained and are strong password protocols in place?
  • What security exists on school-issued devices? What apps/software is are being used and how will those apps collect and use student data?
  • What are the school’s data collection practices? Do data collection practices include encryption, secure data retention, and lawful data sharing policies?
  • What is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy?

The data debate

As K-12 administrators strive to maintain secure data collection practices for students, those same principles may be dubious as kids move on to college. As reported by Digiday, one retailer may be quietly disassembling privacy best practices with a bold “pay with data” business model. The Japanese coffee chain Shiru Café offers students and faculty members of Brown University free coffee in exchange for entering personal data into an online registry. Surprisingly, the café attracts some 800 customers a day and is planning on expanding its business model to more college campuses.

The family conversation

Keep devices close. Kids break, lose, lend, and leave their tech unattended and open to theft. Discuss responsible tech ownership with your kids. Stolen devices are privacy gold mines.

Never share passwords. Kids express their loyalty to one another in different ways. One way that’s proving popular but especially unsafe nowadays is password sharing. Remind kids: It’s never okay to share passwords to devices, social networks, or school platforms. Never. Password sharing opens up your child to a number of digital risks.

Safe clicking, browsing practices. Remind kids when browsing online to watch out for phishing emails, fake news stories, streaming media sites, and pop-ups offering free downloads. A bad link can infect a computer with a virus, malware, spyware, or ransomware. Safe browsing also includes checking for “https” in the URL of websites. If the website only loads with an “http,” the website may not be enforcing encryption.Kids and Personal Data

Be more of a mystery. Here is a concept your kids may or may not latch on to but challenge them to keep more of their everyday life a mystery by posting less. This includes turning off location services and trying to keep your whereabouts private when sharing online. This challenge may be fun for your child or downright impossible, but every step toward boosting privacy is progress!

Discuss the risk of public Wi-Fi. Kids are quick to jump on Wi-Fi wherever they go so they can use apps without depleting the family data plan. That habit poses a big problem. Public Wi-Fi is a magnet for hackers trying to get into your device and steal personal information. Make sure every network your child logs on to requires a password to connect. Go a step further and consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for added security for your whole family.

Want to connect more to digital topics that affect your family? Stop by ProtectWhatMatters.online, and follow @McAfee_Family on Twitter. Also, join the digital security conversation on Facebook.

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

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Seamless Security for the Connected Consumer https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/seamless-security-for-the-connected-consumer/ https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/con