Star Struck? Make Sure It Doesn’t Lead You To Malicious Websites

The annual festive bash is approaching and the residents in my society are spending sleepless nights planning and practicing for the cultural show. We plan to make humour the theme this year which always helps to create a happy atmosphere.

“Humour? I have got an idea. Why not search the net for Kapil Sharma jokes? He is really witty and his one-liners pack a solid punch. We can get great ideas!” suggests my neighbor.

Google is pressed into service and ‘Kapil Sharma+ MP4’ is entered as the search term. We select a site that promises some of his best joke collection and click on it. But lo and behold! McAfee Web Advisor marks it red and we contemplate if we really want to go on the site!

We definitely don’t, so we cancel, but it brought to mind once again how cyber criminals are continuing to leverage the fascination of consumers with celebrity culture. They are banking on online searches made by fans and other unsuspecting users to steer them to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware, steal personal information and even passwords.

McAfee has released its 11th Global ‘Most Sensational Celebrities 2017’ list and like in the previous years, actors continue to be the most searched for celebs online in India. Whereas in the US, musicians like Avril Lavigne holds sway, in India it’s movie actors all the way. The sensational tag only indicates the popularity of the celebs as online search subjects which cyber criminals take advantage of. They leverage downloadable content like music or video files to entice consumers to visit potentially malicious websites designed to install malware.

So, who tops the list of the Most Sensational Celebrity in 2017? Any guesses? He laughed his way to the 3rd rank in 2015, failed to feature in the list in 2016 only to return as the top sensational celeb this year. He has you tickling with laughter as soon as he opens his mouth- you guessed right, it’s Kapil Sharma. He is followed by Salman Khan while Aamir Khan is close on his heels at 3rd place.

Here is the list of the top 10 in 2017:

  1. Kapil Sharma
  2. Salman Khan
  3. Aamir Khan
  4. Priyanka Chopra
  5. Anushka Sharma
  6. Sunny Leone
  7. Kangana Ranaut
  8. Ranveer Singh
  9. Shahid Kapoor
  10. Tiger Shroff

 

Compared to last three years when Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra and Sonakshi Sinha had respectively topped the lists, the male actors seem to have generated more risky results this year. The young brigade that made its appearance in the list in 2015, Ranveer and Tiger have made it to the list this year as well.

The study by McAfee is conducted using McAfee WebAdvisor site ratings to determine the number of risky websites generated by searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo!, that included a celebrity name and search terms likely to yield potentially malicious websites in the results. For example, if you search for Salman Khan + MP3, the results returned may include some risky websites.

Fear thee not, Cybermum India will help you stay safe online, as always.

Follow these 3 tips to stay safe while satisfying your desire to get to know your idols better:

  • Be careful where you click: Hackers often offer links or popups that promise to contain just what you want. Do not be tempted by 3rd party links that may be ploys to steal your data. STOP. THINK. CLICK.
  • Browse with security: Use a tool such as McAfee WebAdvisor to keep you safe by identifying malicious websites before you click. Move away from sites marked in red and research well before accessing suspicious sites marked in yellow. It’s that simple- like traffic lights. Install it on the entire family’s laptops.
  • Free comes with a catch: There are no free lunches, the old adage goes, and it holds true for the online world too. You may end up downloading malware along with free MP4 or wallpapers. So, wait for the actual release of a video or song. better yet, purchase it from a legitimate source.

It goes without saying that your data security depends on your device security too. So always use a comprehensive security software on your devices to enjoy a hassle-free search for your favourite celebrity.

 

 

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Why it’s important for parents to monitor kids’ digital footprint?

There is a new cybersafety awareness among the people of my generation – post the Blue Whale Challenge scare and rising concerns over cyberbullying – and quite a few have started playing a more proactive role in their children’s online lives. That is the way to go!

And not just parents, grandparents too are becoming aware. Just the other day, a friend’s mom cornered me at a party and expressed concern over her grandchild’s online habits.

She is all of three but spend hours watching Spiderman cartoons on our iPhone. She knows how to unlock the phone and turn on You-Tube, she is that smart.

I nodded, wondering where this was going.

But I caught her the other day watching a very violent cartoon. I asked if that was a Spidey cartoon and she said no, she had come across it while surfing for new toons. She was enjoying it! All that violence at 3! What do we do?”

Now this is the case of a grandma, who despite her minimal technical knowledge, was wise and experienced enough to realize that her grandchild needed monitoring.

That is what parents need to realize – we may lag behind our children in tech-savviness but we are way ahead of them in the department of wisdom borne of age and experience.

According to a McAfee study, 49 percent of the Indian parents surveyed are concerned about stranger danger and almost 93 percent of them have discussed the potential dangers on the internet with their children at some point. Yet only 36 percent of Indian parents admitted to using software to monitor their children’s activity on their devices. We would like to see that number grow!

As children carry out most of their online activities on their mobile phones, it is necessary that parents secure these devices too. So today, I will introduce you to a wonderful product, McAfee Safe Family that will help you to monitor your kids when they are on their phones too.

Let’s first check out what all this parenting control app can help us with:

  • Password-protected settings: You will be using a password to protect the parental control settings so only you can administer and make changes
  • Age-appropriate web-filtering: You can choose which websites your children can access, suitable for their age, and/or review or change the content that’s available to them
  • Set rules and time limits: You, the administrator, will be able to set internet-use rules and timings
  • Activity Feed: View your kid’s device activity from application and website access to current location and checked-in places
  • Family Locator: Wouldn’t it be nice to quickly check where your kids are, in the middle of a busy work day? You can use this tool to locate them on an interactive map
  • App Management: You can get report of installed apps on your children’s devices and also block in-app purchases
  • Encourage parent-child bonding: The tool allows you to be flexible. Sometimes your kids may need longer net time or access to certain blocked sites. This is the opportunity to discuss cybersafety, digital responsibility and etiquette. Then you can make necessary changes.

And the best part? This amazing tool is currently available for free! Download it here.

At the same time, don’t forget to regularly talk to your kids about stranger-danger, importance of privacy and sharing limits. Awareness and security together will help the child grow up to be a confident and responsible net user.