Manage your data this Data Privacy Day

You know when Valentine’s Day is, and on which day Friendship Day falls, but do you know the day in which we celebrate Data Privacy Day?

If your reply is, “Huh? What’s that?” don’t worry, you are not alone. There are many others who don’t have a clear picture about this.

What is Data Privacy Day?

As we move towards a connected future, we are generating a vast amount of data online. It could range from our personal details to our bank account details and even our likes and dislikes. With so much information available about us in the virtual world, can you imagine what a field day cyber criminals would have if they could gain access to it?

January 28th is celebrated as Data Privacy Day, to create public awareness about the need for keeping data private as well as to empower them on data protection best practices.

To give you an example, post an online search, say for a weekend destination or even a new car, you might have noted similar ads springing up on your page long after you have stopped searching for them. Which means a third party has got hold of your likes and is directing similar ads your way. Or, when you download an app on your mobile, you will find that it may ask for access to your gallery, clock and even contact lists. Websites send cookies embedded in their codes to help you, but these also store the information you share. You have no way of knowing how this information is being used.

Data Privacy Day is celebrated to help consumers:

  1. Manage their digital footprint
  2. Encourage safe online practices
  3. Raise awareness and educate about the need for data privacy.

Some of the threats associated with privacy breach:

  • Identity theft: Cyber criminals may be able to collect enough data about you to create a false profile that maybe misused
  • Financial loss: If your password and secret questions become accessible to others or if your smartphone falls in the wrong hands, hackers may be able to clear out your account
  • Cyberbullying: Sharing of inappropriate or embarrassing photos and videos may attract online bullies
  • Social media hacking: If your social media account is hacked, it can harm your personal life and reputation.
  • Ransomware: Cyber criminals may hold your data or device hostage to extort monetary benefits

To empower yourself to take charge of your privacy this Data Privacy Day, you need to:

  • Secure your devices: This is the first thing you should do with a new device and ensure you keep auto updates turned on
  • Be wary of apps that ask for a lot of permissions: A stop watch has no need for your contact list, nor an editing app for your social media profiles. Share with care. Also, delete apps you do not use anymore.
  • Beware of fake sites, fake offers and fake wins: These are phishing attacks, targeted at getting your data. Keep in mind (1) if you didn’t take part in a contest, you can’t win it (2) There is no such thing as easy money.
  • Manage your digital footprints: Give your generosity a check when it comes to data. Do not share phone number, address, school/work location in your profile description. Also, clean your social media profiles from time to time – remove pics and posts that reveal a lot about you.
  • Stay clear of fake sites by using McAfee WebAdvisor: This amazing tool guides you on website safety and warns you if a site looks suspicious. A great help that protects you from probable phishing and other attacks.

In an increasingly interconnected world, our personal data is a prized possession for many and they make constant attempts to collect it from us. We need to be vigilant of the approvals we grant devices/apps and give them sparingly. Privacy and safety go hand in hand, let us pledge to take charge and follow best practices to keep us and our families safe this Data Privacy Day.

 

 

Digital Wallets: Safety tips from an industry leader

Digital Wallets: Safety tips from an industry leader

As digitization gains traction and we move towards a cashless economy, it will be of great help to know how to carry out online transactions securely. Many of us are digital immigrants and hesitate at the thought of using e-wallets. Will it be easy and will our money be safe? – We ask ourselves and others.

Security awareness is necessary for:

(a) To calm the possible misconceptions surrounding digital payments

(b) To ensure safety of your transactions online

Just like there are some basic rules you follow to protect your cash/ cheque payments, similarly a few basic precautions will go a long way in making all our e-payments safe. I had the privilege of a conversation with Anand Ramamoorthy, Managing Director- South Asia, Intel Security. Anand shared his views and tips on e-payment security. Read on!

As we are moving to an era where mobile is fast displacing the PC as the primary device, can you educate regarding the web of threats out there?  

According to Intel Security Threat Predictions 2017 Report, McAfee Labs sees mobile malware continuing its growth in 2017, with ransomware, banking Trojans, and remote access tools among the leading threats. The report clearly showcases the need for security against a growing volume of mobile malware and expanding threat surface which becomes critical in a mobile first economy like India. Users should remember that their security depends a lot on their actions. Awareness of safe practices and security risks go a long way in making digital payments a smooth affair. For instance, before making a transaction, confirm that your security software is up to date and running.

 

Tip: Use secured networks only and create strong passwords, remembering to have different passwords for different sites. Look out for the ‘https’ at the start of an URL and green padlock sign and check domain name of the URL. It should be like “xyz.com” or “xyz.in” and not “xyz/festivals-in.com” ‘

With a mobile first economy and the rise of e-wallets, how should users approach security?

 

Already a mobile first economy, India has the second largest internet savvy population and is expected to overtake the US as the second largest smartphone market in 2017. As we move towards a cashless economy, consumers are realizing that in addition to their PCs, smartphones too need to be actively protected from the expanding threat landscape to enhance their connected experiences.

As one of the leading players in cybersecurity, we have had the opportunity to work with several large enterprises, banks and even Fortune 500 companies and we believe that with digitization, arises the need to secure one’s digital footprint and assets. We at Intel Security are committed to providing a safe and secure digital environment to all our customers. Securing our connected devices is important considering that many employees also use personal devices in the workspace and any lapse in security can result in loss of confidential business data or even reputation. Today, owing to the level of our online existence which spans from social media to using e-wallets for most of our transactions, calls for a trusted mobile security software. At Intel Security , we offer McAfee mobile security software for free from the Play store/App store.

Tip: Just like you would be careful about opening your doors to a stranger, similarly, be careful if you use public Wi-Fi network at the airport, coffee shops and other venues, or even the guest login provided for your hotel room.

How can Indians stay safe online?

To keep yourself safe online, one must think of device security in the same manner as one’s physical asset. Will you leave the house without locking it? No, right! Similarly, consumers should keep the following things in mind to keep their data and devices safe in the digital world. Here are some handy tips.

a)  Use secured connections only

It goes without saying that your security is as strong as your device and internet security. Go only for advanced comprehensive security software for your PCs and smartphones. Carry out financial transactions over VPN networks and be wary of public Wi-Fi

b) Download digital wallets directly from official websites 

Do not click on links received via e-mails or messages. They may contain malware or could lead to compromised websites. Instead download from official websites of your bank or from the App Store or Play Store

c) Uncheck the ‘save card’ box

This is a security measure that will help protect your bank account details if your account, or the site, gets compromised 

d) Use multi-factor authentication

 

Use a password management tool, like True Key by Intel Security, to help you store and create complex passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication on your devices and online accounts.

e) Beware of Phishing scams 

This is a major ploy used to dupe users to part with their credentials. Armed with credentials and bank/e-wallet account details, cyber criminals can dupe you. Avoid replying to e-mails from strangers and opening attachments or links without prior verification. Be mindful of what you share online and never divulge your bank or personal details to tele callers purportedly from your bank.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Smartphones have ushered in an unprecedented era of connectivity by offering users access to a world of information, education, employment and even m-commerce. Around 139 million smartphones were sold in India in 2016 and this makes it a priority market for cybercriminals who want to benefit from exploiting the sensitive data of unsuspecting consumers. With the magnitude of online transactions happening today, app explosion, coupled with public Wi-Fi hacks and social engineering based phishing attacks, mobile security has become a primary requirement. We need to give security top priority and not treat it like an afterthought. A mobile security app should be one of the first apps we install after purchasing a device. People do not have to be the weakest link in the security chain. They can be the strongest link if we impart better education on how people can safely use technology. At Intel Security we are committed to ensuring a safe digital experience for all.

There! You heard it from the world’s largest dedicated security firm. Now let’s make it a point to share the word about how we can make mobile transactions safer through a few tips and awareness.

In 2017, let’s make a resolution to stay safe online!

What you need to know about security threats in 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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