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: www.mcafee.com/mobilesecurity.
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.
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 www.mcafee.com/allaccess.
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)