cybersafety

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How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season

How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season 1

If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, I have no doubt that he’d revise his famous quote: ‘Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes’ to include online holiday scams! For there is no question that online scammers and cybercriminals love the festive season! The bulk of us are time-poor, stressed, and sporting to-do lists as long as our arms – so cybercrims know it’s inevitable that some of us are going to take short cuts with our online safety and fall into their webs!

And McAfee research shows just that with over a third of Aussies having either fallen victim to or know someone who has been affected by a phishing scam in 2019. A phishing scam is when a scammer poses as a trustworthy entity (for example, a bank or government department) usually via email with the sole purpose of trying to extract sensitive information such as passwords, usernames and credit card details. And clearly, phishing is a very lucrative online trick as it was named as the worst scam of 2019!

Top Scams of 2019

Although phishing scams have taken out the top place for 2019, robocalling scams and shipping notification scams have also caused Aussies great pain this calendar year.

If you receive a phone call with a pre-recorded message that presents a grim scenario if you don’t take action then you’ve been robocalled! My family’s ‘favourite’ one from 2019 was the scam which delivered a pre-recorded message advising us that our phone line would be cut unless we spoke immediately to their technician. The Australian Telecommunications Ombudsman was overrun with complaints about this particular heist which backs up McAfee’s research that shows 32% of Aussies either fell victim to this scam, or knew someone who did.

Shipping notification scams have also caused Aussies grief this year with more than a 1/4 of us (26%) affected or in touch with someone who was. The meteoric rise of online shopping has meant that when many of us are notified about an impending delivery, we probably don’t stop to question its authenticity.

How Much Are Scams Costing Aussies?

In Australia, 1 in 10 scam victims (11%) have lost money as a result of being targeted by a scam. And a quarter of those affected have lost more than $500! Now, that’s a sizeable chunk of cash!

But in addition to an initial monetary sting, having your personal details ‘stolen’ via a scam may come back to haunt you later down the track. According to McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research (ATR), more than 2.2 billion stolen account credentials were made available on the criminal underground in just the first 3 months of 2019!

Cybercriminals Love the Holidays!

The holiday season is particularly stressful for consumers, and cybercriminals plan accordingly. Many of us ramp up our online shopping in the lead-up to the holiday period and, as our ‘to-do’ lists get longer, some of us will inevitably let our guard down online. And cybercriminals know this too well so consequently spend a lot of effort devising cunning schemes to take advantage of our corner-cutting.

Cybercriminals put a lot of effort into devising fake accounts and sites to target consumers around key holiday shopping periods however some Aussies aren’t aware of these ploys with 21% of the Aussies interviewed not aware scams like these existed.

How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season 2

How Can Consumers Stay Safe This Holiday Period?

I highly recommend that you (and your family members) take a little time this holiday period to sure up your online safety. Here are a few simple steps that consumers can take to protect themselves and avoid getting scammed this festive period:

  1. Think Before Clicking on Links

With phishing scams revealed to be the worst scam of the year, it is more important than ever to think before clicking on links. Instead of clicking on a link in an email, it is always best to check directly with the source to verify an offer or shipment.

  1. Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

With just one hack, cybercriminals can get their hands on thousands of passwords, which they can then use to try to access multiple accounts. By using a different password for each, shopping, media streaming or social media account, you can dramatically reduce this risk.

  1. Invest in Security Protection Software

Use comprehensive security protection, like McAfee Total Protection, which can help protect devices against malware, phishing attacks and other threats. It includes McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help identify malicious websites.

  1. Consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A solution like McAfee Safe Connect with bank-grade encryption, private browsing services, and internet security will keep your information safe from cybercriminals – even when checking emails or online shopping on public Wi-Fi or open networks.

And finally beware bogus gift card scams! One new trend that is set to hit unsavvy consumers hard this holiday season is phoney gift cards, with McAfee’s ATR team seeing fake gift cards sold on the cybercriminal underground. Yet, despite the rise in this scam, 17 per cent of the survey respondents have never heard of bogus gift cards and over a quarter (26%) reported that they are not concerned about the threat. So, please spread the word and do your homework before buying gift cards!

Here’s to a Happy, Scam-Free Holiday Season!

The post How to Ensure You Don’t Fall Victim to a Holiday Scam this Festive Season appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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‘Tis the Season for Cybersecurity: Stay Protected This Holiday Season

‘Tis the Season for Cybersecurity: Stay Protected This Holiday Season 3

It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season – and with the holidays comes various opportunities for cyber-scrooges to exploit. While users prepare for the festivities, cybercriminals look for opportunities to scam holiday shoppers with various tricks. To shed more light on how these crooks are putting a damper on user’s holiday season, McAfee surveyed over 8,000 adults over the age of 18 across multiple countries from October 10-20, 2019 on the types of scams they’ve encountered this year.

The Scams of Christmas Past

Cyber-scrooges have upped the ante over the years, using more sophisticated measures to adapt to consumers’ evolving digital lifestyles. However, scams of Christmas Past are still haunting users today, as global findings indicate that email and text phishing are still prevalent. For example, the percentage of respondents stating that they still experience email phishing ranges from 25% in India to a whopping 42% in France. Respondents stating that they still experience text phishing ranged from 21% in India to 35% in Australia.

Additionally, robocalling has seen an increase in popularity in 2019. Fifty-one percent of respondents in France stated that they still receive robocalls. The survey found that 48% of respondents in the U.S. and 32% of Australians receive robocalls, as well as 34% in Spain, and 33% in Germany claimed that they have fallen victim to robocalls.

The Scams of Christmas Present

During the holidays, cyber-scrooges are likely to further exploit scams of Christmas Present to take advantage of users’ generosity. For example, several survey respondents in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Australia, India, and Singapore stated that they had fallen victim to fake charity scams in 2019. Knowing that many people enjoy making donations during this time of year, cybercriminals will likely pose as a charity online as a ploy to collect financial data and money from unsuspecting users.

Since many people do a lot of their holiday shopping online, users should also beware of shipping notification scams, as respondents in the U.K., Spain, Australia, India, and Singapore have fallen victim to these scams throughout this year. This scam, along with all those of Christmas Past and Present, proves that as people continue to adopt technology into their everyday lives, they are in turn giving cybercriminals more opportunities to exploit during the holiday season.

The Scams of Christmas Future

Whether it be email phishing or fake charity scams, users must stay updated on common cyber-scrooge practices to help protect their personal and financial data. As more data and user credentials are gathered from breaches, cybercriminals are looking to take their business to the next level and leverage more advanced techniques. For example, the cybercriminal underground poses a threat to users with more than 2.2 billion stolen account credentials made available for purchase in Q1 2019. These crooks will likely continue to sell and share user data across the Dark Web for the possibility of more profit.

Cybercriminals will also leverage data collected from breaches to better understand which users to target and how they can easily target them with social engineering and AI (artificial intelligence). Most users will probably ignore a call from an unknown number, but what about a call from a family member? Cybercriminals will create more sophisticated scams by including a family member’s caller ID in the hopes of exploiting users through more personal engagement.

Attacks will not only likely grow in sophistication but in volume in the future as well. From interactive speakers to IP cameras to other internet-connected devices like thermostats and appliances — IoT devices have greatly increased the attack surface. As we see an increase in the volume of devices going into homes with a lack of security controls built-in, cybercriminals will likely focus on exploiting consumers through these gadgets. The good news? As we look ahead towards the scams of Christmas Future, we can also work to better prepare our networks and devices before we fall into cybercriminals’ traps.

Even though users believe that cyber-scams become more prevalent during the holiday season, a third don’t actually take steps to change their online behavior. To help ensure your holiday season goes off without a hitch, follow these tips to help stay secure:

  • Say so long to robocalls. Consider downloading the app Robokiller that will stop robocalls before you even pick up. The app’s block list is constantly updating, so you’re protected. Let all other unknown calls go to voicemail and never share personal details over the phone.
  • Go directly to the source. Be skeptical of emails or texts claiming to be from companies or charities with peculiar asks or messages. Instead of clicking on a link within the email or text message, it’s best to go straight to the company’s website or contact customer service.
  • Hover over links to verify the URL. If someone sends you an email with a link, hover over the link without actually clicking on it. This will allow you to see a link preview. If the URL looks suspicious, don’t interact with it and delete the email altogether.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. Using a solution like McAfee Total Protection can help your holiday shopping spree go smoothly by providing safe web browsing, virus protection, and more.

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.

The post ‘Tis the Season for Cybersecurity: Stay Protected This Holiday Season appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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What You Need to Know About the Google Chrome Vulnerabilities

What You Need to Know About the Google Chrome Vulnerabilities 4

While you might have been preoccupied with ghosts and goblins on Halloween night, a different kind of spook began haunting Google Chrome browsers. On October 31st, Google Chrome engineers issued an urgent announcement for the browser across platforms due to two zero-day security vulnerabilities, one of which is being actively exploited in the wild (CVE-2019-13720).

So, what is the Google Chrome zero-day exploit? While there are few specific details known at this time, researchers did uncover that the bug is a use-after-free flaw, which is a memory corruption flaw that attempts to access a device’s memory after it has been freed. If this occurs, it can cause a variety of issues including program crashes, execution of malicious code, or even allowing an attacker to gain full remote access to the device.

The second of the two vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-13721) affects PDFium, a platform developed by Foxit and Google. PDFium provides developers with capabilities to leverage an open-source software library for viewing and searching for PDF documents. Like the first bug, this flaw is also a use-after-free vulnerability. However, there have been no reports of it being exploited by cybercriminals for malicious purposes yet.

Luckily, Google has quickly acknowledged the vulnerabilities and is rolling out a patch for these bugs over the coming days. Meanwhile, follow these security tips to help safeguard your data and devices:

  • Update, update, update. Be sure to install the latest Chrome browser update immediately to help mitigate any risk of falling victim to these exploits.
  • Turn on automatic updates. Practice good security hygiene by turning on automatic updates. Cybercriminals rely on unpatched software to exploit vulnerabilities, so ensure that your device software is updated as soon as patches are available.

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.

 

The post What You Need to Know About the Google Chrome Vulnerabilities appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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3 Tips to Protect Yourself From the Office 365 Phishing Scams

3 Tips to Protect Yourself From the Office 365 Phishing Scams 5

Cybercriminals seem to get more and more sophisticated with their attacks, and phishing scams are no different. The McAfee Labs team has observed a new phishing campaign using a fake voicemail message to trick victims into giving up their Office 365 email credentials. During the investigation, the team has found three different phishing kits being used to exploit targets.

How exactly does this sneaky phishing scam work? It all begins when a victim receives an email stating that they’ve missed a phone call, along with a request to log into their account to access the voice message. The email also contains an attached HTML file that redirects the victim to a phishing website. This website prepopulates the victim’s email address and asks them to enter their Office 365 credentials. What’s more, the stealthy attachment contains an audio recording of someone talking, leading the victim to believe that they are listening to a legitimate voicemail.

3 Tips to Protect Yourself From the Office 365 Phishing Scams 6

Once the victim enters their password, they are presented with a page stating that their login was successful. The victim is then redirected to the office.com login page, leading them to believe that everything is perfectly normal. Little do they know that their credentials have just been harvested by a cybercriminal.

While this sneaky scheme has been primarily used to target organizations, there is much to be taken away from this incident, as cybercriminals often disguise themselves as businesses to phish for user data. To protect yourself from these stealthy scams, check out the following tips:

  • Go directly to the source. Be skeptical of emails claiming to be from companies with peculiar asks or messages. 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.
  • Be cautious of emails asking you to take action. If you receive an email asking you to take a certain action or download software, don’t click on anything within the message. Instead, go straight to the organization’s website. This will prevent you from downloading malicious content from phishing links.
  • Hover over links to see and verify the URL. If someone sends you an email with a link, hover over the link without actually clicking on it. This will allow you to see a link preview. If the URL looks suspicious, don’t interact with it and delete the email altogether.

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.

The post 3 Tips to Protect Yourself From the Office 365 Phishing Scams appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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A Cybersecurity Horror Story: October’s Creepiest Threats and How to Stay Secure

A Cybersecurity Horror Story: October’s Creepiest Threats and How to Stay Secure 7

Halloween time is among us and ghosts and goblins aren’t the only things lurking in the shadows. This past month has brought a variety of spooky cyberthreats that haunt our networks and devices. From malicious malware to restricting ransomware, October has had its fair share of cyber-scares. Let’s take a look at what ghoulish threats have been leading to some tricks (and no treats) around the cybersphere this month.

Ghostcat Malware

One ghost that recently caused some hocus pocus across the Web is Ghostcat-3PC. According to SC Magazine, the malware’s goal is to hijack users’ mobile browsing sessions.

The infection begins when a user visits a particular website and is served a malicious advertisement. Ghostcat fingerprints the browser to collect device information and determines if the ad is running on a genuine webpage. Ghostcat also checks if the ad is running on an online publishers’ page that has been specifically targeted by this campaign. If these conditions are met, then the malware serves a malicious URL linked to the ad.

From there, this URL delivers obfuscated JavaScript, which creates an obscure source or machine code. The attackers behind Ghostcat use this to trick the publishers’ ad blockers, preventing them from detecting malicious content. The code also checks for additional conditions necessary for the attack, like ensuring that the malware is being run on a mobile device and a mobile-specific browser, for example. If the malware concludes that the browsing environment fits the descriptions of their target, it will serve a fraudulent pop-up, leading the user to malicious content.

Bewitched WAV Files

Ghostcat isn’t the only way malware is being spread lately, as, according to ZDNet, attackers have manipulated WAV audio files to spread malware and cryptominers. By using a technique called stenography, malware authors can hide malicious code inside of a file that appears normal, which allows hackers to bypass security software and firewalls.

Previously, cybercriminals have used stenography revolving around image file formats like PNG or JPEG. However, these crooks have now upped the ante by using WAV audio files to hide different types of malware. Most recently, researchers found that this technique is used to hide DLLs, or dynamic link libraries that contain code and data that can be used by more than one program at the same time. If malware was already present on an infected host device, it would download and read the WAV file, extract the DLL, and install a cryptocurrency miner called XMRrig. Cryptocurrency miners compile all transactions into blocks to solve complicated mathematical problems and compete with other miners for bitcoins. To do this, miners need a ton of computer resources. As a result, miners tend to drain the victim’s device of its computer processor’s resources, creating a real cybersecurity headache.

MedusaLocker Ransomware

Finally, we have the mysterious MedusaLocker ransomware. According to BleepingComputer, this threat is slithering its way onto users’ devices, encrypting files until the victim purchases a decryptor.

This strain will perform various startup routines to prep the victim’s device for encryption. Additionally, it will ensure that Windows networking is running and mapped network drives (shortcuts to a shared folder on a remote computer or server) are accessible. Then, it will shut down security programs, clear data duplicates so they can’t be used to restore files, remove backups made with Windows backup, and disable the Windows automatic startup repair.

For each folder that contains an encrypted file, MedusaLocker creates a ransom note with two email addresses to contact for payment. However, it is currently unknown how much the attackers are demanding for the victim to have their files released or if they actually provide a decryptor once they receive a payment.

With all of these threats attempting to haunt networks and devices, what can users do to help themselves have a safe and secure spooky season? Follow these tips to keep cybersecurity tricks at bay:

  • Watch what you click. Avoid clicking on unknown links or suspicious pop-ups, especially those coming from someone you don’t know.
  • Be selective about which sites you visit. Only use well-known and trusted sites. One way to determine if a site is potentially malicious is by checking its URL. If the URL address contains multiple grammar or spelling errors and suspicious characters, avoid interacting with the site.
  • If your computer slows down, be cautious. One way you can identify a cryptojacking attack – poor performance. If your device is slow or acting strange, start investigating and see if your device may be infected with malware.
  • Surf the web safely. You can use a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor, which will flag any sites that may be malicious without your knowing.
  • Use a comprehensive security solution. To secure your device and help keep your system running smoothly and safely, use a program like McAfee Total Protection.

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.

The post A Cybersecurity Horror Story: October’s Creepiest Threats and How to Stay Secure appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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McAfee Reveals the Most Dangerous Celebrities Across the Globe

McAfee Reveals the Most Dangerous Celebrities Across the Globe 8

Earlier this week, we revealed McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity of 2019 in the U.S., Alexis Bledel. Growing from a young actress in “Gilmore Girls” to Ofglen in “A Handmaid’s Tale,” Bledel’s rising stardom helps to explain why she topped this year’s list. But, is that the case in other parts of the world as well? It’s time to take a trip around the globe and see which celebrities are considered risky in different regions.

In McAfee’s 13th annual study on the riskiest celebrities to search for online, the stars topping each list varied from country to country. While Bledel sits at the top of the most dangerous celebrity list in the U.S., singer Camila Cabello is ranked No. 1 in Spain. In Germany, model and TV personality Heidi Klum and actress Emilia Clarke tied each other for the country’s riskiest celebrity. Caroline Flack, the host of reality dating show “Love Island,” came in No. 1 in the U.K. In France, actor/producer Jamel Debbouze topped the list of the countries most dangerous celebrities. At the top of India’s most dangerous celebrity tally is international cricketer M.S. Dhoni. And, finally, rounding out the list of the riskiest celebrities around the world are comedian, actor, and TV host John Oliver in Australia and Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh in Singapore.

Many users don’t realize that simple internet searches of their favorite celebrities could potentially lead to malicious content, as cybercriminals often leverage these popular searches to entice users to click on dangerous links. And while this year’s list of riskiest celebrities might vary from country to country, cybercriminals’ use of trending celebrities and pop culture icons continues to be an avenue used to exploit users’ security. It’s for these reasons that users must understand the importance of taking precautions when it comes to searching for the latest news on their favorite celebrities.

So, whether you’re checking out what Alexis Bledel has been up to since “Gilmore Girls” or looking for the latest drama on “Love Island” with Caroline Flack, be a proactive fan and follow these security tips when browsing the internet:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for information on their favorite celebrities should be cautious and only click on links to reliable sources for downloads. The safest thing to do is to wait for official releases instead of visiting third-party websites that could contain malware.
  • Refrain from using illegal streaming sites. When it comes to dangerous online behavior, using illegal streaming sites could wreak havoc on your device. Many illegal streaming sites are riddled with malware or adware disguised as pirated video files. Do yourself a favor and stream the show from a reputable source.
  • Protect your online safety with a cybersecurity solution. Safeguard yourself from cybercriminals with a comprehensive security solution like McAfee Total Protection. This can help protect you from malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.
  • Use a website reputation tool. Use a website reputation tool such as McAfee WebAdvisor, which alerts users when they are about to visit a malicious site.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set for your child on their devices and use parental control software to help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

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.

The post McAfee Reveals the Most Dangerous Celebrities Across the Globe appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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“Gilmore Girls” Actress Alexis Bledel Is McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity 2019

“Gilmore Girls” Actress Alexis Bledel Is McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity 2019 9

You probably know Alexis Bledel from her role as the innocent book worm Rory Gilmore in network television’s “Gilmore Girls” or as shy, quiet Lena Kaligaris in the “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” movies. But her most recent role as Ofglen in Hulu’s acclaimed “The Handmaid’s Tale” took a bit of a darker turn. And while Bledel made this dramatic on-screen transition, her rising stardom has in turn made her a prime target for malicious search results online, leading to her coming in at the top of McAfee’s 2019 Most Dangerous Celebrities list.

For the thirteenth year in a row, McAfee researched famous individuals to reveal the riskiest celebrity to search for online or whose search results could expose fans to malicious content. Bledel is joined in the top ten most dangerous celebrities by fellow actresses Sophie Turner (No. 3), Anna Kendrick (No. 4), Lupita Nyong’o (No. 5), and Tessa Thompson (No. 10). Also included in the top ten list are late night talk show hosts James Corden (No. 2) and Jimmy Fallon (No. 6). Rounding out the rest of the top ten are martial arts master Jackie Chan (No. 7) and rap artists Lil Wayne (No. 8) and Nicki Minaj (No. 9).

“Gilmore Girls” Actress Alexis Bledel Is McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity 2019 10

Many users don’t realize that simple internet searches of their favorite celebrities could potentially lead to malicious content, as cybercriminals often leverage these popular searches to entice users to click on dangerous links. This year’s study emphasizes that today’s streaming culture doesn’t exactly protect users from cybercriminals. For example, Alexis Bledel and Sophie Turner are strongly associated with searches including the term “torrent,” indicating that many fans of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Game of Thrones” have been pursuing free options to avoid subscription fees. However, users must understand that torrent or pirated downloads can open themselves up to an abundance of cyberthreats.

So, whether you’re checking out what Alexis Bledel has been up to since “Gilmore Girls” or searching for the latest production of James Corden’s “Crosswalk the Musical,” be a proactive fan and follow these security tips when browsing the internet:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for information on their favorite celebrities should be cautious and only click on links to reliable sources for downloads. The safest thing to do is to wait for official releases instead of visiting third-party websites that could contain malware.
  • Refrain from using illegal streaming sites. When it comes to dangerous online behavior, using illegal streaming sites could wreak havoc on your device. Many illegal streaming sites are riddled with malware or adware disguised as pirated video files. Do yourself a favor and stream the show from a reputable source.
  • Protect your online safety with a cybersecurity solution. Safeguard yourself from cybercriminals with a comprehensive security solution like McAfee Total Protection. This can help protect you from malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.
  • Use a website reputation tool. Use a website reputation tool such as McAfee WebAdvisor, which alerts users when they are about to visit a malicious site.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set for your child on their devices and use parental control software to help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

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.

The post “Gilmore Girls” Actress Alexis Bledel Is McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity 2019 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips

Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 11

Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 12The topics parents need to discuss with kids today can be tough compared to even a few years ago. The digital scams are getting more sophisticated and the social culture poses new, more inherent risks. Weekly, we have to breach very adult conversations with our kids. Significant conversations about sexting, bullying, online scams, identity fraud, hate speech, exclusion, and sextortion — all have to be covered but we have to do it in ways that matter to kids.

With 95% of teens now having access to a smartphone and 45% online ”almost constantly,” it’s clear we can’t monitor conversations, communities, and secret apps around the clock. So the task for parents is to move from a mindset of ”protect” to one of ”prepare” if we hope to get kids to take charge of their privacy and safety online.

Here are a few ideas on how to get these conversations to stick.

  1. Bring the headlines home. A quick search of your local or regional headlines should render some examples of kids who have risked and lost a lot more than they imagined online. Bringing the headlines closer to home — issues like reputation management, sex trafficking, kidnapping, sextortion, and bullying — can help your child personalize digital issues. Discussing these issues with honesty and openness can bring the reality home that these issues are real and not just things that happen to other people.
  2. Netflix and discuss. Hollywood has come a long way in the last decade in making films for tweens and teens that spotlight important digital issues. Watching movies together is an excellent opportunity to deepen understanding and spark conversation about critical issues such as cyberbullying, teen suicide, sextortion, catfishing, stalking, and examples of personal courage and empathy for others. Just a few of the movies include Cyberbully, 13 Reasons Why (watch with a parent), Eighth Grade, Searching, Bully, Disconnect. Character building movies: Dumplin’, Tall Girl, Wonder, Girl Rising, The Hate U Give, Mean Girls, and the Fat Boy Chronicles, among many others.
  3. Remove phones. Sometimes absence makes that heart grow appreciative, right? Owning a phone (or any device) isn’t a right. Phone ownership and internet access is a privilege and responsibility. So removing a child’s phone for a few days can be especially effective if your child isn’t listening or exercising wise habits online. One study drives this phone-dependency home. Last year researchers polled millennials who said they’d rather give up a finger than their smartphones. So, this tactic may prove to be quite effective.Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 13
  4. Define community. Getting kids to be self-motivated about digital safety and privacy may require a more in-depth discussion on what “community” means. The word is used often to describe social networks, but do we really know and trust people in our online “communities?” No. Ask your child what qualities he or she values in a friend and who they might include in a trusted community. By defining this, kids may become more aware of who they are letting in and what risks grow when our digital circles grow beyond trusted friends.
  5. Assume they are swiping right. Dating has changed dramatically for tweens and teens. Sure there are apps like MeetMe and Tinder that kids explore, but even more popular ways to meet a significant other are everyday social networks like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Instagram, where kids can easily meet “friends of friends” and start “talking.” Study the pros and cons of these apps. Talk to your kids about them and stress the firm rule of never meeting with strangers.
  6. Stay curious. Stay interested. If you, as a parent, show little interest in online risks, then why should your child? By staying curious and current about social media, apps, video games, your kids will see that you care about — and can discuss — the digital pressures that surround them every day. Subscribe to useful family safety and parenting blogs and consider setting up Google Alerts around safety topics such as new apps, teens online, and online scams.Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips 14
  7. Ask awesome questions. We know that lectures and micromanaging don’t work in the long run, so making the most of family conversations is critical. One way to do this is to ask open-ended questions such as “What did you learn from this?” “What do you like or dislike about this app?” “Have you ever felt unsafe online?” and “How do you handle uncomfortable or creepy encounters online?” You might be surprised at where the conversations can go and the insight you will gain.

Make adjustments to your digital parenting approach as needed. Some things will work, and others may fall flat. The important thing is to keep conversation a priority and find a rhythm that works for your family. And don’t stress: No one has all the answers, no one is a perfect parent. We are all learning a little more each day and doing the best we can to keep our families safe online.

Be Part of Something Big

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Become part of the effort to make sure that our online lives are as safe and secure as possible. Use the hashtags #CyberAware, #BeCyberSafe, and #NCSAM to track the conversation in real-time.

The post Want Your Kids to Care More About Online Safety? Try These 7 Tips appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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Stay Smart Online Week 2019

Stay Smart Online Week 2019 15

Let’s Reverse the Threat of Identity Theft!!

Our online identities are critical. In fact, you could argue that they are our single most unique asset. Whether we are applying for a job, a mortgage or even starting a new relationship, keeping our online identity protected, secure and authentic is essential.

This week is Stay Smart Online Week in Australia – an initiative by the Australian Government to encourage us all to all take a moment and rethink our online safety practices. This year the theme is ‘Reverse the Threat’ which is all about encouraging Aussies to take proactive steps to control their online identity and stop the threat of cybercrime.

What Actually Is My Online Identity?

On a simple level, your online identity is the reputation you have generated for yourself online – both intentionally or unintentionally. So, an accumulation of the pics you have posted, the pages you have liked and the comments you have shared. Some will often refer to this as your personal brand. Proactively managing this is critical for employments prospects and possibly even potential relationship opportunities.

However, there is another layer to your online identity that affects more than just your job or potential career opportunities. And that’s the transactional component. Your online identity also encompasses all your online movements since the day you ‘joined’ the internet. So, every time you have registered for an online account; given your email address to gain access or log in; joined a social media platform; undertaken a web search; or made a transaction, you have contributed to your digital identity.

What Are Aussies Doing to Protect Their Online Identities?

New research from McAfee shows Aussies have quite a relaxed attitude to managing their online identities. In fact, a whopping two thirds (67%) of Aussies admit to being embarrassed by the content that appears on their social media profiles. And just to make the picture even more complicated, 34% of Aussies admit to never increasing the privacy on their accounts from the default privacy settings despite knowing how to.

Why Does My Online Identity Really Matter?

As well as the potential to hurt career or future relationship prospects, a relaxed attitude to managing our online identities could be leaving the door open for cybercriminals. If you are posting about recent purchases, your upcoming holidays and ‘checking-in’ at your current location then you are making it very easy for cybercriminals to put together a picture of you and possibly steal your identity. And having none or even default privacy settings in place effectively means you are handing this information to cybercrims on a platter!!

Is Identity Theft Really Big Problem?

As at the end of June, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission claims that Aussies have lost at least $16 million so far this year through banking scams and identity theft. And many experts believe that this statistic could represent the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as it often takes victims some time to realise that their details are being used by someone else.

Whether it’s phishing scams; texts impersonating banks; fake online quizzes; phoney job ads, or information skimmed from social media, cybercriminals have become very savvy at developing novel ways of stealing online identities.

What Can You Do to ‘Reverse the Threat’ and Protect Your Online Identity?

With so much at stake, securing your online identity is more important than ever. Here are my top tips on what you can do to give yourself every chance of securing your digital credentials:

  1. Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

As the average consumer manages a whopping 11 online accounts – social media, shopping, banking, entertainment, the list goes on – updating our passwords is an important ‘cyber hygiene’ practice that is often neglected.

Creating long and unique passwords using a variety of upper and lowercase numbers, letters and symbols is an essential way of protecting yourself and your digital assets online. And if that all feels too complicated, why not consider a password management solution? Password managers help you create, manage and organise your passwords. Some security software solutions include a password manager such as McAfee Total Protection.

  1. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication Wherever Possible!

Enabling two-factor authentication for your accounts will add an extra layer of defence against cybercriminals. Two-factor authentication is simply a security process in which the user provides 2 different authentication factors to verify themselves before gaining access to an online account. As one of the verification methods is usually an extra password or one-off code delivered through a separate personal device like a smartphone, it makes it much harder for cybercriminals to gain access to a person’s device or online accounts.

  1. Lock Down Privacy and Security Settings

Leaving your social media profiles on ‘public’ setting means anyone who has access to the internet can view your posts and photos whether you want them to or not. While you should treat everything you post online as public, turning your profiles to private will give you more control over who can see your content and what people can tag you in.

  1. Use Public Wi-Fi With Caution

If you are serious about managing your online identity, then you need to use public Wi-Fi sparingly. Unsecured public Wi-Fi is a very risky business. Anything you share could easily find its way into the hands of cybercriminals. So, avoid sharing any sensitive or personal information while using public Wi-Fi. If you travel regularly or spend the bulk of your time on the road then consider investing in a VPN such as McAfee Safe Connect. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your activity which means your login details and other sensitive information is protected. A great insurance policy!

Thinking it all sounds a little too hard? Don’t! Identity theft happens to Aussies every day with those affected experiencing real distress and financial damage. So, do your homework and take every step possible to protect yourself, for as Benjamin Franklin said: ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.

Alex xx

The post Stay Smart Online Week 2019 appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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Aussies Fear Snakes, Spiders and Getting Hacked

Aussies Fear Snakes, Spiders and Getting Hacked 16

Fears and phobias. We all have them. But what are your biggest ones? I absolutely detest snakes but spiders don’t worry me at all. Well, new research by McAfee shows that cybercriminals and the fear of being hacked are now the 5th greatest fear among Aussies.

With news of data breaches and hacking crusades filling our news feed on a regular basis, many of us are becoming more aware and concerned about the threats we face in our increasingly digital world. And McAfee’s latest confirms this with hackers making their way into Australia’s Top 10 Fears.

According to research conducted by McAfee, snakes are the top phobia for Aussies followed by spiders, heights and sharks. Cybercriminals and the fear of being hacked come in in 5th place beating the dentist, bees, ghosts, aeroplane travel and clowns!

Aussie Top 10 Fears and Phobias

  1. Snakes
  2. SpidersAussies Fear Snakes, Spiders and Getting Hacked 17
  3. Heights
  4. Sharks
  5. Hackers/Cybercriminals
  6. The dentist
  7. Bees or wasps
  8. Ghosts
  9. Aeroplane travel
  10. Clowns

Why Do We Have Phobias?

Fears and phobias develop when we perceive that we are at risk of pain, or worse, still, death. And while almost a third of respondents nominated snakes as their number one fear, there is less than one-in-fifty thousand chance of being bitten badly enough by a snake to warrant going to hospital in Australia, according to research from the Internal Medicine Journal.

In contrast, McAfee’s analysis of more than 108 billion potential online threats between October and December 2018, identified 202 million of these threats as genuine risks. With a global population of 7.5 billion, that means there is approximately a one in 37 chance of being targeted by cybercrime. Now while this is not a life-threatening situation, these statistics show that chance of us being affected by an online threat is very real.

What Are Our Biggest Cyber Fears?

According to the research, 82% of Aussies believe that being hacked is a growing or high concern. And when you look at the sheer number of reported data breaches so far this year, these statistics make complete sense. Data breaches have affected Bunnings staff, Federal Parliament staff, Marriott guests, Victorian Government staff, QLD Fisheries members, Skoolbag app users and Big W customers plus many more.

Almost 1 in 5 (19%) of those interviewed said their top fear at work is doing something that will result in a data security breach, they will leak sensitive information or infect their corporate IT systems.

The fear that we are in the midst of a cyberwar is another big concern for many Aussies. Cyberwar can be explained as a computer or network-based conflict where parties try to disrupt or take ownership of the activities of other parties, often for strategic, military or cyberespionage purposes. 55% of Aussies believe that a cyberwar is happening right now but we just don’t know about it. And a fifth believe cyber warfare is the biggest threat to our nation.

What Can We Do to Address Our Fear of Being Hacked?

Being proactive about protecting your online life is the absolute best way of reducing the chances of being hacked or being affected by a data breach. Here are my top tips on what you can now to protect yourself:

  1. Be Savvy with Your Passwords

Using a password manager to create unique and complex passwords for each of your online accounts will definitely improve your online safety. If each on your online accounts has a unique password and you are involved in a breach, the hacker won’t be able to use the stolen password details to log into any of your other accounts.

  1. Stop AutoFill on Chrome

Storing your financial data within your browser and being able to populate online forms quickly within seconds makes the autofill function very attractive however it is risky. Autofill will automatically fill out all forms on a page regardless of whether you can see all the boxes. You may just think you are automatically entering your email address into an online form however a savvy hacker could easily design an online form with hidden boxes designed to capture your financial information. So remove all your financial information from Autofill. I know this means you will have to manually enter information each time you purchase but your personal data will be better protected.

  1. 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 phoney website designed to steal personal information. If the deal seems too good to be true, or the email was not expected, always check directly with the source.

  1. Stay Protected While You Browse

It’s important to put the right security solutions in place in order to surf the web safely. Add an extra layer of security to your browser with McAfee WebAdvisor.

  1. Always Connect with Caution

I know public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea, but if consumers are not careful, they could be unknowingly exposing personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals who are snooping on the network. If you are a regular Wi-Fi user, I recommend investing in a virtual private network or (VPN) such as McAfee’s Safe Connect which will ensure your connection is completely secure and that your data remains safe.

While it is tempting, putting our head in the sand and pretending hackers and cybercrime don’t exist puts ourselves and our families at even more risk! Facing our fears and making an action plan is the best way of reducing our worry and stress. So, please commit to being proactive about your family’s online security. Draw up a list of what you can do today to protect your tribe. And if you want to receive regular updates about additional ways you can keep your family safe online, check out my blog.

‘till next time.

Alex x

 

 

 

The post Aussies Fear Snakes, Spiders and Getting Hacked appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

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