Top 10 Security Considerations For New Device

There’s a ton of new devices flooding the market and it has been predicted by the North Pole there have been many good boys and girls this year who will be receiving them. Out of Santa’s sack will come computers, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles. But if you happen to get one of these new devices, you should know that the first step in enjoying it is protecting it.

Smartphone or tablet:

Mobile malware is on the rise, and Android is still the most targeted platform.

1. Threats aimed at mobile phones are growing.

o Malicious applications are a main threat area, so be careful of the third-party applications you install— they could end up infecting your phone or sharing your personal information. Only download applications from a reputable app store, and read other users’ reviews. Also, make sure you are aware of what kind of information the app wants to access before you download it.

o Consider mobile malware threat protection to safeguard your device against viruses.

o Apply system or application updates which almost always include security patches and make your devices easier to use.

o Turn off antennas you don’t need. If you’re not using any one of the four typical wireless connections (cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS) on your smartphone or tablets then turn them off. It will help keep you safe and give you the best battery life.

o Don’t store personal information, such as passwords and account numbers, on your phone.

o For more information on McAfee® Mobile Security solutions, please visit:

Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod touch: Apple computers and devices has led to escalated threats. Mac malware has risen throughout 2012, and according to McAfee Labs, this trend looks to continue.

2. Transfer your PC best practices to your new Apple computer or device.

o As a proactive measure, consider installing security software that’s been developed for the Mac since more threats are being aimed at this platform.

o Don’t leave your device unattended, allowing a thief to grab it and your sensitive information.

PC or netbook:

3. Make sure your computer has comprehensive security software.

o Your security software should include at a minimum: anti-virus with cloud computing, a two-way firewall, anti-spyware, anti-phishing and safe search capabilities.

o Additional levels of protection include anti-spam, parental controls, wireless network protection, and anti-theft protection that encrypts sensitive financial documents.

o Don’t just use anti-virus software—this alone is not enough.

4. Keep in mind that free software can leave you unprotected.

o Free security software typically provides only basic protection, and is often offered to get you to buy more comprehensive software. Look for security software that provides up-to-date protection using cloud computing which can help protect against emerging threats.

o Don’t forget to check whether the security software installed on your new PC is only a trial version. If it is, remember to buy a subscription so that you have continuous protection against newly discovered threats.

5. Have data protection in addition to comprehensive security.

o In a recent global survey, home Internet users estimated that their digital assets, such as photos, contacts, and entertainment, were worth approximately $37,000, yet more than a third lacked protection across their devices.Consider a product that offers data backup and restore features as well as advanced security in case of a loss.

o Don’t take a chance on losing important personal photos, creative works in progress, or financial information.

6. Search and shop safely.

o You should know that McAfee Labs counted 43.4 million suspect websites during the third quarter of 2012, up 20% over the previous quarter, and these pose a threat to your computer and your devices.

o To help you weed through malicious sites, be sure to use a website safety advisor that can tell you which sites are safe and which are risky. McAfee SiteAdvisor™ is included in all of the McAfee consumer security suites.

o When shopping, look for theMcAfee SECURE™ trustmark, which indicates that the site has passed rigorous daily testing for 10,000 known hacker vulnerabilities.

7. Be aware of “scareware” and “ransomware”

o Scareware tricks users into believing that the computer may be infected to get them to “buy” fake antivirus software and hand over their personal and financial details, usually via pop-ups.

o Ransomware also appears through pop-ups, and typically accuses Web surfers of visiting illegal webpages. These pop-ups claim to be from the police and threaten to lock up the user’s computer system until they pay a fine.

o Ransomware grew by 43% in the third quarter of this year, while scareware continues to thrive, and is estimated to victimize 1 million people a day.

o Don’t buy antivirus software through pop-up ads. Always purchase your security software from a reputable vendor, and keep it up-to-date to avoid ransomware scams.

8. Educate your family and pay attention to your children’s online activities.

o Keep your computer in a common area and discuss which information is appropriate to share online and which is not, such as addresses, phone numbers, and other private information.

o If you have kids or tweens, limit their online access and the content they can view. Use aWeb filtering tool that protects kids from accessing inappropriate content such as pornography, nudity, online hate groups, school cheating sites, and profanity.

o Don’t assume your child doesn’t know how to turn off parental controls.

oFor more information on keeping your kids safe, visit McAfee’s Family Internet Safety Center at and check out the 10-Step

Internet Safety Plan For Your Family.

Gaming or entertainment device, such as a Nintendo Wii or 3DS, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360:

9. Keep in mind that these gaming and entertainment devices are now Internet-connected and vulnerable to many of the same threats as PCs.

o Make reliable backup copies of games to protect your investment.

o Take advantage of built-in parental controls that can help shield kids from violent games or limit when the device can be used.

o Some multiplayer games allow kids to play with strangers over the Internet, so if you are a parent consider activity-monitoring tools.

o Only connect your device to a secure Wi-Fi network.

o Don’t store personal information on yourdevice.

Removable storage device, such as a flash drive or portable hard drive:

10. Use technologies that will help protect your information.

o Consider using a secure, encrypted USB stick, to scramble your information so it is unreadable if your device is lost or stolen.

o Buy security software to protect your portable hard drive, and set a password.

o Don’t leave your removable storage device unattended since they are small and easily stolen.

Of course, many of us have multiple devices. To make protecting them easier, consider using a product such as McAfee All Access, which provides the first complete security protection for PCs, Macs and mobile devices in one cost-effective, single solution. To learn more, go to

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)

Losing a Mobile Phone Doesn’t Have To Stink

We’ve all been there. You search your pockets, your belt clip, jacket pockets, every draw, cabinet, bag, couch, and floor, every crevice of your car and dog house.  You wonder if you left it in the bar last night or over your friend’s house. You’d text all your buddies to see if they have it but, well, you can’t.

It’s that horrible feeling that comes over you as you realize you no longer have your mobile phone. In the past you might have first thought of the cost of having to buy a new phone and re-enter all your contacts. But now with the advent of smartphones, there’s much more to lose than the device itself.

Because our mobile devices can hold personal and work contacts, account logins, photos, and messages, losing your device means exposing your private world to strangers and identity thieves. They can browse your apps and activities, extract your addresses, download files and pictures, send all your Facebook friends fake or embarrassing content, or gain access to your bank accounts and drain them. And recreating and restoring all the content we have on our smartphones can take hours, if it is even possible.

I’ve lost count of how many phones I’ve found in bars or parks, at the beach or when running along the trails. And the most amazing part is I’ve been able to return all but a very few. And how do I do this? Because most people don’t lock their phones!!! This means I can pick up the phone and got through their contact lists and look for “Mom.” In other cases I just wait for someone to call it and say “Hello I found this phone how can I help you?”

There are some things you can do so you don’t have that freak-out moment.

Password protect your device—This is the simplest thing you can do to protect the information stored on your device. Not only does it keep strangers from accessing your data, but it may also discourage thieves from taking the device in the first place.

Regularly backup your data—Don’t be part of the 32% that only does backups once a year! Back up your data at least once a week, so you have electronic copies of all of your valuable information. This way, even if you lose your device, you won’t lose all of your data.

Don’t store your logins—Rather than having your apps and mobile browser remember your login information, type in your login credentials each time (especially for banking). This way, if a stranger accesses your device they cannot log into your accounts as you. Or better yet, don’t store sensitive data on your phone.

“Mark” your device—To mark your device, take a screenshot of your emergency contact numbers and use it as your phone’s lock screen. If someone finds your device, it will be easy for him or her to return it to you.

Write down the serial number—Record your phone’s serial number and store it somewhere other than on your device. If you lose your phone and it eventually turns up, you will be able to identify it.

Install mobile security—Software like McAfee® Mobile Security, which includes antivirus protection, app protection, backup and restore functions, and remote wipe and tracking in the case of loss or theft

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)

3 Scams To Be Aware of – Lookout for These Nastygrams

Natural disaster scam: Sadly, scammers seem to come out of the woodwork during a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy to catch consumers when they’re in a panic, looking for answers, and when they’re most vulnerable.

People should not click on links or respond to phishing e-mails for relief donations that ask for credit card numbers or other personal information.  In addition, be wary of tiny URLs on social media services and posts on social networking sites.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that donations to victim relief efforts are sent through legitimate sites:

  • Verify that the organization is actually a registered charity by going to
  • Recognize that solicitations that arrive by unsolicited email, especially those sounding overly urgent or desperate, are very likely to be scams.
  • Be aware that donation requests made via advertising banners can also be scams.

Black money scam: Scammers send thousands of phish emails regarding an unknown inheritance. Ok right there should be a red flag. But, for many who think their ship has come in, it’s opportunity to get paid. Once engaged, the victim is told of the mass amounts of money needing to be snuck in/out of the country and told the money is dyed black to avoid detection by custom officials.

Once a meeting is arranged the victim is shown a trunk full of dyed black money, then to whet the appetite of the victims, a few of the bills are pulled out, and a magic solution cleans off a few nice crisp $100.00 bills.

The ruse is to get the victim to buy thousands of dollars of this magic cleaning solution for the promise of making hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Grandparents scam: One of the easiest and most vile scams on the block is the “Grandparent Scam”.

The phone rings and an elderly person answers the phone. The caller says either “Grammy, Granny, Grandma, Nana, Nonna, Papa, Baba or Grandpa?”  The elderly person says ‘Yes” and the caller states “It’s your grandson!” When the elderly person responds and rattles off a name of a grandchild and says “Robby is that you”, the scammer responds “YES!” and knows he’s got a fish on the hook.

The scammer begins to hem and haw that they’ve been arrested or are stranded or car broke down or lost their wallet and need the grandparent to wire some money to them. Once the grandparent agrees they instruct the victim to go the address of the local check cashing place that wires money and the scammer siphons as much as possible out of their victim.

If there is someone in your life that could possibly, even remotely fall for this scam you need to educate them on what to look for. Put systems in place to make it difficult for them to make financial withdrawals without a cosigner.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures

How to Protect Your Personal Data: 3 Things You Must Know

There are two kinds of identity theft you must protect yourself from:

New account fraud: Refers to financial identity theft in which the victim’s personal identifying information and good credit standing are used to create new accounts, which are then used to obtain products and services. Stolen Social Security numbers are often used to commit new account fraud.

Account takeover fraud: Using another person’s account numbers, such as a credit card number, to obtain products and services using that person’s existing accounts or extracting funds from a person’s bank account.

3 ways to protect yourself:

#1. Prevent new account fraud: When a security freeze is in place at all three major credit bureaus, an identity thief cannot open new accounts because creditors can’t check your credit. If you want to apply for credit then simply unlock or unfreeze your credit.

#2. Prevent account takeover: Run Windows Update, also known as “Microsoft Update.” It scans your computer on a regularly scheduled basis for any necessary software or hardware updates. You can access Windows Update from your control panel. Make sure it is set to download and update critical security patches automatically. Use comprehensive security software and keep it up to date to avoid keystroke log­gers and other malware.

#3. Effective passwords: There is no such thing as a truly secure pass­word. There are only more secure or less secure passwords. Don’t reuse passwords across multiple sites, use different passwords for each of your accounts, use at least eight characters of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and, if possi­ble, symbols.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures

US Teens Are Up to No Good Online Compared to European Teens – McAfee Study Reveals

Teens are spending more and more time online these days and while the Internet offers a variety of benefits it can also serve as a dangerous space –and not just in America. According to McAfee’s Exploring the Digital Divide study that examines teen online behavior, teens oversees and in the US are continually finding ways to hide their online activity from their parents and are vulnerable to committing such acts as cheating and cyber bullying.

Specifically, the study has uncovered that US teens access inappropriate content online, cheat using their mobile devices, and know how to hide what they do from their parents online more than teens do in European countries including the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and France.

Key Findings from the Study include:

Nude Images and Pornography:

32% of US teens admit to intentionally searching for nude images or pornography online when asked.

25% of UK teens, 29.5% of Spanish teens, 24.5% of Dutch teens, 23.5% of Italian teens, 27% of German teens and 11.5% of French teens confess that they actively seek out sexual content online.

Cheating on Mobile Devices:

16% of US teens admitted to cheating on a test using a mobile phone when asked.

3% of UK teens, 9.5% of Spanish and Dutch teens, 13% of Italian teens, 14.5% of German teens and 3.5% of French teens have also admitted to cheating using their mobile devices.

Knowing How to Hide Online Activity from their Parents:

33% of US teens strongly agree that they know how to hide their online activity from their parents.

27% of UK teens, 28.5% of Spanish teens, 24% of Dutch and Italian teens, 28.5% of German teens, and 21% of French teens also strongly agree that they are confident in hiding their online behavior from their parents.

Cyber Bullying:

Cyber bullying is more consistent both oversees and in the US.

Teens that have bulliedonline:

US: 9%

UK: 4.5%

Spain: 2.5%

Netherlands: 9.5%

Italy: 9%

Germany: 6%

France: 4%

Teens that witnessed cruel behavior online and joined in on the mean behavior:

US: 6%

UK: 10%

Spain: 3.8%

Netherlands: 7.4%

Italy: 3.4%

Germany: 6%

France: 2.3%

Much of this should come as no surprise, but some of it is alarming. Parents, you must stay in-the-know. Since your teens have grown up in an online world, they may be more online savvy than their parents, but you can’t give up. You must challenge yourselves to become familiar with the complexities of the teen online universe and stay educated on the various devices your teens are using to go online.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)

Top 10 Websites for Worry Free Online Shopping

When searching for a product online it’s unfortunately too easy to end up on a site that isn’t secure. The following websites will provide a worry free and more secure experience than many others: Amazon is the global leader in e-commerce. Started in 1995, Amazon has significantly expanded their product offerings. Today, Amazon offers everything from books and electronics to tennis rackets and diamond jewelry. With millions of products in categories ranging from computer hardware and software to electronics, cellular, books, movies, music, sporting goods and more, Buy.coms got whatever it is you’re craving 24/7, all year long. is a lot like your neighborhood Walmart store. They feature a great selection of high-quality merchandise, friendly service and, of course, Every Day Low Prices. With more than 100 million active users globally, eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything., an eBay company, pioneered online comparison shopping over a decade ago and today remains one of the leading shopping destinations for a comprehensive set of products from thousands of premier brands and trusted online stores. Apple is an American corporation that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers including the iPhone, iPad, Mac and many other products. is a discount retailer that sells a broad range of products including furniture, rugs, bedding, electronics, clothing, jewelry, travel, cars, and more.

Yahoo Shopping: You know the search engine Yahoo, well what better place to find what you are looking for than the search engines marketplace. QVC is the world’s leading video and ecommerce retailer, offering a curated collection of desirable brands to millions of customers around the globe each day through broadcast, Internet, and mobile sales outlets.

AOL Shopping: AOL Shopping is an online shopping site focused on women, fashion & beauty trends, and deals to help you find what you are looking for.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures

10 Tips to Safe Online Shopping

How times have changed. I can remember when Christmas didn’t start until after Thanksgiving—not before Halloween as we see things in stores and online now. Seems like the holiday season and decorations start earlier and earlier every year.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is that Black Friday is still a big shopping day. And with the advent of online shopping has emerged Cyber Monday (the first Monday after Thanksgiving) which is another big sale day for online shoppers. In fact, a recent McAfee study revealed that 70% of American’s plan to shop online this holiday season. And nearly half (48%) of us will be shopping online on Cyber Monday.

Although many of us may take advantage of these great deals that the holidays offer, we also need to be aware of the risks. Online shopping is a fun and convenient way to make purchases, locate hard-to-find items, and discover bargains, but we need to take steps to protect ourselves.

To stay safe this holiday season while shopping online:

Check the site’s web address—Once you arrive at a site, you need to make sure that it is legitimate and not a fake site. So check the URL and make sure you really are at and not even though they make look alike.

Check that the site is secure—The McAfee survey revealed that 20% of Americans cannot ever tell if a site is secure. Some things to look for on a secure site include:

Check to make sure that the web address starts with https instead of http, which indicates that encryption is being to protect your information.

Look for lock symbol on the page which is another indication that the site is using encryption.

Look for a security seal, such as the McAfee SECURE™ trustmark, indicating that the site has been scanned and verified as secure by a trusted third party. This security seal indicates that the site will help protect you from identity theft, credit card fraud, spam, and other malicious threats..

Pay with a credit card—Credit cards on the whole offer better protection against fraud than debit cards. You won’t be liable for fraudulent purchases and the thieves won’t be able to drain your bank account if they get your account #. Most banks now offer virtual or one time use credit cards numbers. You can go to your bank’s online site and enter your credit card number and it will give you a number that you can use for a specific purchase. Any use of that one-time credit card number will be automatically flagged or not approved by your bank.

Do not use a public computer or free wireless connection to shop online—If you are using a public computer, strangers may be able to access your browsing history and even your login information. To protect yourself, do all of your online shopping from your home computer or your personal mobile device. Never shop using an unsecured wireless connection (like those free Wi-Fi hotspots at coffee shops) because hackers can access your information.

Make sure you have a clean computer or mobile device—Make sure you have up-to-date security software on all your devices, like McAfee All Access, that can safeguard your privacy, protect against identity theft, and defend against viruses and online threats.

Keep a paper trail—Keep a copy of your order number and receipt, and note which credit card you used. When you receive your credit card statement, review it to make sure that the charge placed on your card is correct and that there are no extra fees or charges.


By following some of these simple tips, you can enjoy all the advantages that online shopping has to offer and prevent risking your personal information.


I hope you have a safe, enjoyable holiday shopping season.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)

10 Secure Online Holiday Shopping Tips

Holiday shopping is easy, convenient and it can be secure too. Here are 10 tips to a secure online shopping experience during the holiday season:

Avoid spoofed websites. Common sense says any time you receive an offer via an e-mail automatically be suspicious. The same goes with offers via tweets and messages received in any social media site.

Don’t click the links in e-mails. Especially if it’s a “too good to be true” offer.

Beware of cybersquatting and typosquatting which may look like the domain of a legitimate eTailer.

Look for https:// in the address bar signifying it’s a secure page. Generally, scammers won’t take the time to set up secure sites. Note the closed padlock in your browser to back up the HttpS.

Beware of e-mails coming for eBay scammers. If you are seeking deals on eBay, go right to the site and don’t bother responding to e-mails. Search deals on an e-mail directly on eBay.

Look at the eBayers history. eBay is set up on the honor system. If the eBayer is an established seller with great feedback, they should be legit.

Pay close attention to your statements. Check them every two weeks online and refute unauthorized charges within 2 billing cycles.

Don’t use a debit-card online. If your debit card is compromised, that’s money out of your bank account. Credit cards have more protection and less liability.

Avoid paying by check online/mail-order. Once the money is taken from your account and you don’t receive the goods, you are going to have a difficult, if not impossible, task of getting it back.

Secure your PC. Update your critical security patches and anti-virus and only shop from a secured internet connection.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author

Internet Security Isn’t Getting Any Prettier

Malicious software (malware) is, in many ways, very well understood. Security experts know how it works and why. Cybercriminals’ motivations are pretty straightforward—making money from malware and related attacks.

In the latest McAfee Threats Report: Q3 2012 , malware is still growing and while it’s not growing quite as fast as it was in previous quarters, the amount of malware still topped 100 million samples.

Besides the large growth in mobile malware , there has also been an increase in the tactics that cybercriminals are using to attack you. Some of these techniques include:

Autorun Malware
AutoRun (also known as AutoPlay) is a feature in Windows systems that dictates what action the system should take when a device is connected to your PC. So when you connect your USB drive or insert a DVD into your drive, AutoRun is what will automatically open or in some cases play what is on these devices. Cybercriminals use this feature to automatically install malicious software when an infected USB or other removable device is plugged into your PC. What makes AutoRun scary is it requires no effort on your part to click any links. This is a “plug and play” malware and can even come on products shipped right from the factory such as external hard drives, USB drives and LCD picture frames.

Mac malware
With over 350 new samples in Mac malware in Q3 2012, the growing popularity of Apple products has inspired cybercriminals to create malware that will harm Macs. McAfee Labs is seeing fake antivirus programs targeted at Mac users. In other words, there are an increased number of programs known as “scareware,” which claim to protect users from viruses and malware but users who attempt to install the supposed antivirus software are actually downloading malicious software. This malware can damage your Mac or compromise your personal information.

Ransomware malware typically accuses you of visiting illegal websites, locks your computer then demands a payment to unlock the device. And even if you pay, you are not guaranteed to get access to your files and now the criminal has your financial information.You can get “infected” with ransomware in a myriad of ways, including links in emails, instant messaging, texts and social networking sites, or by simply visiting a website that can download the malicious software on your computer. With a 43% growth this past quarter, ransomware is definitely something to watch out for.

The past quarter’s threats report has shown cybercrime exhibits few signs of slowing down, and cybercriminals using more tricks to steal your money. To help protect yourself you should:

Keep your operating systems updated on all your devices

Be selective about websites you visit and use a safe search tool like McAfee SiteAdvisor® to warn you about risky sites before you click

Avoid clicking links in emails, text messages or instant messages, especially from people you don’t know

Stay educated on the latest tricks, cons and scams designed to fool you

Use comprehensive security software like McAfee All Access that provides cross-device protection for all your PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets


Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)

The Upside of Electronic Health Records – Will This Be Possible?

In a world where a Twitter tweet can be heard around the world instantly, a friend’s video on YouTube can go viral overnight, and you can speak to anyone online across the globe without using a phone, it seems backwards that the local hospital may still be keeping your medical information in a filing cabinet. This situation is starting to change, however, as healthcare providers around the world introduce increasingly sophisticated IT systems to securely store and share patient data.

Having electronic medical information available to any doctor you visit, any time, for any reason can be extremely timesaving, efficient and of course lifesaving.

The key to electronic healthcare documents being accessible to everyone lies in:

  • Secure electronic storage of patient data in a format that can be accessed and updated as necessary by healthcare professionals.
  • The distribution to patients of smart cards that can be used for storing medical information (such as blood group, allergies and treatment history), verifying their identity, carrying prescriptions and making health insurance claims.
  • A fully integrated e-healthcare system makes it possible for a doctor to upload a prescription onto a national database and the patient’s personal smart card at the same time. The patient then takes the smart card to a drugstore, where the pharmacist can insert it into a reader to confirm the details of the prescription. Meanwhile, those details are now on the database so that other medical professionals can view them as necessary.

The downside of digitizing medical documents is that opening up sensitive personal data to greater numbers of people can increase the risk of it being viewed by unauthorized parties. This can lead to identity theft if proper checks and balances in security are not put in place.

So ultimately, the key challenge for healthcare organizations lies in striking a balance between making a system easy to use and ensuring that watertight security controls are in place.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures