What You Need to Know About Security Threats in 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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