Giving Technology This Season? Use McAfee’s 10 Tips to Keeping Devices Safe

December 21, 2011

Tech items are wish-list toppers again this year, and if you’re among the millions planning on giving devices, don’t forget to include the safety, privacy and security tools and education that are needed to ensure the recipient is protected. This festive tip sheet from McAfee helps identify areas to think about.

Linda


McAfee Infographic Makes Botnets Understandable

June 12, 2011

If you’ve heard the term botnet, and know only that it’s something

‘bad’ that can happen to computers, this new infographic Botnets Demystified and Simplified from McAfee is for you.

The simple explaination makes understanding bots and the damage they do easy for even the novice user.

It’s also got some really cool stats:

 

For more information see my blog What are Bots, Zombies, and Botnets? and Are You a Malware Magnet? 4 simple steps can make all the difference

Linda


McAfee Sets Spam to Music

April 2, 2011

In a new twist on teaching consumers how to identify spam, McAfee has just released 5 Spam-Cappella videos featuring singers using the text found in various spam as their lyrics. If it helps teach spam awareness, I’m for it – though you won’t find me singing anytime soon.

For more information on how to spot and avoid spam and scams, as well as test your skills on real examples, check out the Spot the Spam section of my website.

Linda


McAfee Reveals New Teaching Tool “Most Unwanted List”

March 25, 2011

In a clever twist on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” theme, McAfee cautions that though ID thieves are wanted by authorities, they are unwanted by you. The company has created an entertaining learning tool in virtual book form that provides ‘profiles’ of the unwanted types of ID thieves characters. Check it out, and pay it forward. http://www.facebook.com/McAfee?v=app_205437242804400

Linda


New McAfee Infographic Highlights Perils of Losing Your Mobile Phone

February 17, 2011

If a picture paints a thousand words, then this infographic beats an essay  hands down.…. What are you doing to protect your phone? And while we’re on the topic, how much to you know about protecting your kids while they’re on their phones? Learn more about Child Cell Phone Safety.

Linda


Part 4: McAfee Threat Predictions for 2011 – Apple: No longer flying under the radar

January 16, 2011

This is the fourth installment of my series covering McAfee’s Threat Predictions for 2011. To make the predictions for 2011 more digestible, I’ve broken each area out to show McAfee’s drilldown on the risk, and what the risk means to you. Click here to read the first, second, and third segments.

From McAfee Threat Report – Apple: No longer flying under the radar

Historically, the Mac OS platform has remained relatively unscathed by malicious attackers, but McAfee Labs warns that Mac-targeted malware will continue to increase in sophistication in 2011. The popularity of iPads and iPhones in business environments, combined with the lack of user understanding of proper security for these devices, will increase the risk for data and identity exposure, and will make Apple botnets and Trojans a common occurrence.

What this means to you

For Apple lovers, the Mac OS and Apple device’s underdog status against PC’s and the Windows OS long served as a hardy defense against criminal exploits – criminals target the largest possible segment for the largest possible return.

But with the Mac OS making stronger inroads, and the advent and mass adoption of  iPhones, and iPads, Apple is facing new threats – much like the general mobile market is now facing. (See Part 3: McAfee Threat Predictions for 2011 – Mobile: Usage is rising in the workplace, and so will attacks).  So it now appears that assuming you’re safe from malware on Apple devices is not longer a safe bet.

To gain some insight into why criminals are taking an interest in Apple, consider the company’s 2010 Sales data (Fiscal year ended Sept 25th 2010) results, it is easy to see why criminal interests are now focusing on these products. In just the past three years, Apple has sold 33.7 million computers, 72.5 million iPhones, and iPad sales are soaring.  Add to that the over 300 thousand applications in the Apple App store and the potential for exploitation becomes even more interesting. (To learn more about threats to the iPhone see Researcher warns of risks from rogue iPhone apps).

The future for Apple users is likely to adopt the same advice that PC users have been given for years. Protect your devices, only download apps from trusted and tested sites, and leverage Safari’s antiphishing, antivirus, and Malware Protection to avoid and block malware.

Linda


Part 3: McAfee Threat Predictions for 2011 – Mobile: Usage is rising in the workplace, and so will attacks

January 12, 2011

This is the third installment of my series covering McAfee’s Threat Predictions for 2011. To make the predictions for 2011 more digestible, I’ve broken each area out to show McAfee’s drilldown on the risk, and what the risk means to you. Click here to read the first and second segments.

From McAfee Threat Report – Mobile: Usage is rising in the workplace, and so will attacks

Threats on mobile devices have so far been few and far between, as “jailbreaking” on the iPhone and the arrival of Zeus were the primary mobile threats in 2010. With the widespread adoption of mobile devices in business environments, combined with historically fragile cellular infrastructure and slow strides toward encryption, McAfee Labs predicts that 2011 will bring a rapid escalation of attacks and threats to mobile devices, putting user and corporate data at very high risk.

What this means to you

It’s hard to recall that most people have owned a mobile phone for less than 15 years. How did we survive without them? You may remember the early Motorola phones of the mid-nineties, then the first 0.3 megapixel camera phones and the carrier networks that couldn’t send those lousy images to other provider’s networks. Then we got SMS (text messaging) – and the all-powerful MMS communications, and ringtones. Remember the challenges of getting email onto phones, the time when we all carried a pager, a PDA and a cell phone?

We’ve watched this rapid sprint from barely mobile “bricks” to today’s sleek phones with incredible capabilities. We’ve seen mobile phone adoption rates go from nearly zero to over 90%.

Yet for all the difficulties and lack of functionality in those old phones, they held one advantage. They were too primitive, too customized per handset, and had too few users to be interesting targets for criminal exploits. The bad news is that era has passed.

Mobile technologies are now less fractured, standardized around key platforms, services and applications. The phones themselves come with amazing computing capabilities. And, the number of mobile phone users was projected to exceed 5 Billion worldwide by the end of 2010 according to The International Telecommunication Union (October 2010).

As with so many technical advancements, criminals can spot an opportunity 10 miles off, and they’ve bided their time until this confluence of factors came together.  Prepping for this moment, over the past few years we’ve seen how criminals and hackers have probed for network weaknesses, devices weaknesses, and perhaps most importantly, consumer weaknesses.

Malware attacking phones will come via many methods, including text and multi-media messages, spam, downloadable content, and applications, and through access points like public Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth connections.

Defending Your Phone

Security companies have scrambled to provide mobile security software solutions, and if you have a smart phone, it’s time to purchase a mobile security suite.

TopTenReviews has created an excellent mobile security software comparison chart for consumers that I recommend.

Key features in these programs include antivirus protection, a firewall preventing unauthorized electronic access, antispam, and quarantine protection in real time.

Based on your phone usage patterns, the type of content you store on your phone,  or if you’re helping protect a minor’s phone, some additional features may be of interest:

  • Remote block and remote wipe to protect your information if your phone is lost or stolen.
  • Protection of internal memory and contents stored on memory cards
  • Ability to place phone numbers on either a black or white list – the ability to block people from calling is of keen interest to teens, and a key tool in blocking cyberbullies.
  • Parental control monitoring
  • SIM Card notice so that if your phone is stolen and the thief puts in a new SIM card, the phone will send you a notice of the new phone number to help track down the thief.

There are still far too few consumers that adequately protect their computers – only 37% of home computers are fully protected according to an Oct. 2010 report by Symantec – and this is a real safety, security and privacy issue.

Now, add your cell phone to the must protect list, or you’ll find that if it isn’t protected…. it will be infected.  Get security software and install it today.

For more information about other mobile phone risks and tips, see my blog Using Mobile Phones Safely.

Linda