Indian Digital Citizens Need to Better Balance Their Device Use and Manage Online Safety

As Bryan Adams croons in the background (Everything I do) I do it for you…. and you give the last touches to your Valentine’s Day preparations, don’t forget to do that one thing that is playing a big spoilsport in relationships today- put your devices away! After all, you don’t want a phone buzz to spoil that perfectly romantic mood.

Good idea you say? But unfortunately, many don’t. McAfee released findings from a recent India survey, “Three’s Company: Lovers, Friends and Devices” that aims to understand the online behavior of people and how it affects their real-world relationships with friends and significant others. The survey findings highlight the need for better digital balance and greater vigilance while sharing personal information.

Consider the facts discovered by this year’s survey:

  • 67% of the people in a relationship have felt that their significant other was more interested in their internet connected device than in them.
  • 77% of the respondents feel that the use of technology gets in the way of relationships
  • 89% of Indians would be concerned if their significant other did not take the necessary steps to protect their personal information.

No doubt devices have become an integral part of our lives and we cannot imagine a life without them. We need them to connect, share, learn and discover. They can also prove to be life-saving at times. Having said that, it is also imperative that we do not let devices take over our lives, or our special times with the people who matter most to us. Face-to-face interactions are very important, whether it be with your significant other, or kids, or friends.

A comparison with the 2017 survey shows an increase in undesirable device habits over the year:

  • 84% said they share their personal passwords and PINs with their partners in 2018, up from 46% in 2017.
  • 75% indicated that they have had to compete for the attention of their date with their device, up from 57% in 2017.
  • 39% indicate that they have/would allow their significant other to use their work device (s), which is slightly higher than the 35% recorded last year.

On a positive note, 76% Indians are also taking the necessary steps to ensure their personal information is protected on their connected devices. That’s great to know and they should also be more vigilant about sharing too much. Though 89% of Indians think privacy is important in a relationship, there is a lot of sharing going on between partners and it’s not just love and sweet nothings. 84% share their passwords and PINs with their partners for:

  • Online shopping websites – 60%
  • Social media accounts – 45%
  • Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) – 42%
  • Personal email accounts – 41%
  • Banking and financial services websites – 38%
  • Work specific devices/accounts – 38%

Tip: Proactively practice digital balance by keeping devices away or on silent mode when talking to family members or your partner. Give your 100% attention to them.

We want you to stay safe online as well as stay close to your loved ones! Here are a few tips that will help you stay safe while staying in love:

  • Protect your loved ones online… secure their devices. Take control of your privacy and security. Products like McAfee Total Protection helps secure all your devices and keep your personal data personal.
  • Keep control over emotions when it comes to passwords. Please tell me your password isn’t Love2018 or MyLoveXYZ?? Be as romantic as you want in real life but be very careful when choosing passwords, they are the keys to your accounts and shouldn’t be easy to hack. Use the TrueKey app to manage all your passwords. Also, enable Two-Factor-Authentication on all accounts for enhanced safety.
  • Love you…. but love my device more? No way! I know that feeling, of wanting to ‘just scroll through’ social media messages or checking the battery if there has been no ping for some time; but hey, relax and take a chill pill. Messages won’t disappear so, give priority to real connections over virtual ones.

A successful life and relationship is all about prioritizing and doing the right thing at the right time. This Valentine’s Day give priority to a device-free date and you will love the joy and positive vibes you feel around you.


Take Charge of Your Online Privacy on Data Privacy Day

We spend a large part of our lives in the virtual world. Not only do we study, play, socialize and work; we also shop, pay bills and store documents. Today’s digital generation finds it tough to visualize a world where people had to stand in long queues each time they wanted to withdraw money from the bank, loan a book from the library or even buy a train ticket! There’s no doubt that the digital world spells ease, comfort, speed and time-efficiency. But it also means that there is a lot of our personal data out there that can be compromised, if it fell in the wrong hands.

Our data is our private property but due to malicious attacks or negligence, it may end up in the hands of unknown parties.

The aim of Data Privacy Day, celebrated on January 28th every year, is to make people aware of their rights to personal data protection and privacy.

So, what kind of data are we talking about? To name a few:

  • Resumes, certificates, photos
  • Health and employment records
  • Date of birth
  • Bank account details
  • Social media account login credentials
  • Credit and debit card details
  • Search patterns

Think back, haven’t you been surprised by how after searching for a product online you continue to receive ads for the same from various sources? How did they know your particular choice and how did the sellers get hold of it? There are these 3rd party apps that you unknowingly give permission to access your data when you install them. They collect, analyze and share the same without your explicit knowledge or consent.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it’s no wonder that data protection has assumed such importance. The recent Supreme Court’s verdict on ‘Right to Privacy’ stand testimony to the same. It’s our data and we need to ensure it is kept private.

First and major step towards this involves securing devices, adopting good cyber practices and being a smart social media user. On Data Privacy Day, let us resolve to become more responsible netizens and take charge of our privacy through adhering to the following:

  • Don’t be pennywise pound foolish: Free security tools offer only basic security and hackers today are highly advanced in their techniques. Secure all internet-enabled devices as soon as you bring them home with reputed comprehensive security tools. And don’t you forget to secure your smartphone!
  • Double your account security: All default password for newly bought devices like smartphones, PCs and routers, should be modified right at the beginning. Create strong passwords and activate 2-Factor Authentication for all your accounts, including banking, e-shopping and social media
  • Share with care on social media: This is totally in your hands. If you are careful about not sharing your private details, contact and preferences online or telephonically, you are quite safe.
  • Consistent Backups: It’s a good idea to periodically transfer data from phone, tabs and laptops to an external storage device. That way even if a device gets hacked, your data remains safe.
  • Think before you click: Infected links and attachments are commonly used for phishing scams. Avoid clicking if not sure of the source or if the source looks suspicious with spelling errors in the URL.
  • Educate kids: Activate parental controls on your child’s devices and monitor their behaviour online. Teach them the importance of owning their online presence early on

The key is therefore to adopt good cybersafety practices and abide by them. And not just you and I, but everyone in the cyber world needs to do so as our security is linked. If one account gets hacked, it compromises all the other accounts which have been linked. That makes it our responsibility to ensure that our connected devices and virtual environment are all secure.

Dear readers, when you go online henceforth, remember to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. SHARE. Make everyday a Data Privacy Day and let’s start on this cyber safety journey today.

Stepping Into a Cyber Safe 2018 Stepping Into a Cyber Safe 2018

A very Happy New Year to all my dear readers and may this year be another fragrant flower that you will be adding to your bouquet of memories. 2018! How quickly the years fly by? leaving us with new experiences, understanding and learning.

Take our own digital world for instance. Most of us, discussed and researched cyberbullying seriously, for the first time only after the Blue Whale Challenge and Sarahah app made headlines last year. We also started taking interest in device security when ransomware attacks and data breaches became breaking news. Some of us have stopped being passive observers and started playing a proactive role in our children’s digital lives. But often, due to low awareness levels, some parents don’t know what to do when their kids face digital threats.

Let’s do something new in 2018, shall we? Let us turn the table around on cyber criminals by anticipating their moves and being prepared to handle new threats. Ready for the challenge?

The McAfee Labs 2018 threat predictions that I shared in my last blog gave a preview of 5 cybersecurity trends, if you remember. The report predicts a rise in attacks on connected devices and misuse of user-generated content. This is something we need to educate our kids about for they may not be aware that their digital footprints may have future consequences. They need to know how to keep their personal details private and why not to overshare information online.

Our concern is not with the positive posts that will help them on their digital journey, but the negative ones that could cause a hindrance. According to the McAfee Labs Threat Predictions 2018 report, many future adults will suffer from negative digital baggage, even if it comes about without their intention.

You may ask how can content be generated unintentionally? You will be surprised to know it is done all the time, even by us. A piece of malware in our phone may collect data about us, even take or store our pictures. A drone can be hacked to gather and transmit data about the user. A social engineering attack like a fun test may require us to enter personal details. This data may be shared with 3rd party vendors who will use it to sell their services or to keep track of social habits, for later use.

As smart homes and all connected devices are expected to increasingly become the targets of hackers, inadvertent content generation is a big concern and we need to take precautions to safeguard our kids online.

Here are some cyber safety tips to set your kids on the right path in the digital world:

  • Upgrade security features on all connected devices: Ensure that the devices offer more than basic security and that their passwords can be changed. Keep passwords a secret, even from BFFs.
  • Turn off unnecessary features: Do periodic checkup of all devices used by kids. Are all the apps necessary? Can some be disabled or uninstalled? What are the permissions required by the apps and what terms and conditions have your children agreed to? Remember to keep location services and Bluetooth turned off too.
  • Manage digital footprints: Teach kids the importance of STOP.THINK. SHARE. Too much information can prove an obstacle, like during internship applications, college admissions or even job recruitment. Sharing your location online by “checking in” to places can also provide potential hackers with too much information.
  • Keep conversation channels open: Teach children to make the right choices in the digital world early on. Have regular discussions on how important it is to share minimal personal data online. Let them know you are there for them 24/7 and that together you can better handle all cyber issues.

And remember the first rule, secure all your connected devices, with a comprehensive security solution.

Our children face an amazing potential future, full of wonderful gadgets, supportive services, and amazing experiences. Let’s teach them how to pack their digital backpacks so that they can make the most of it.

In the next blog, we will discuss data privacy in greater details and I will be sharing some useful tips with you on how to teach your kids to keep data about themselves minimal and safe. Till then ciao!

McAfee Shares Threat Predictions For 2018 – As the Saying Goes, Forewarned is Forearmed

2017 is fast drawing to an end and phew, what a year it has been in the digital world. Terms like ransomware, data breaches, cyber bullying, Blue Whale Challenge have become household phrases and device users are waking up to the fact that it is important to be aware and take safety measures to stay safe online. We are in a stage of cybersecurity, with new devices, new risks and new threats appearing almost daily. As such, if we knew what lay ahead in the cyber world in terms of security, it would be so helpful!

Dear readers, today we are privileged to have that opportunity to know beforehand the future threat landscape, courtesy of McAfee.

The McAfee Labs 2018 Threats Predictions Report is out and it reveals the top threats for the coming year. Eager to know more?

The 5 key trends to watch in 2018 are:

  1. Connected homes may lead to increase privacy breach: Networked devices already transmit a significant amount of information without the knowledge of most consumers. The increased use of smart gadgets like remote-operated webcams at home, security systems or even car lock systems may make us sitting targets for corporates who may try to observe our lifestyle to deduce our likes and wants. The FBI’s recent toy warning to parents might suggest that such approaches could result in regulatory and even criminal legal consequences.

#cybersafety tip: Check security settings on all connected devices as soon as you bring them home, including connected toys

  1. Inside your child’s digital backpack: Often, children and their parents do not consider the consequences of their posts and uploads (explicit, implicit and inadvertent,). These could range from trivial items to revealing personal information. 3rd party vendors could use and potentially abuse private information in the future.

#cybersafety tip: Help your children navigate the digital world safely. Teach them to turn off unnecessary features, and change the default passwords to something much stronger!

  1. Increased granularity of serverless apps will lead to a comparable increase in the attack surface- Though these apps enable a new degree of granularity in computing functions, they leave the environment open to a privilege escalation attack. Also, it might make it possible for hackers to disrupt or disable the infrastructure from the outside. Data in transit can also be intercepted or manipulated

#cybersafety tip: always use secured network or VPN

  1. New targets for RansomwareCyber criminals are expected to shift focus to high-net individuals for Ransomware attacks as industry users are becoming more aware and security conscious. Car system locked down on a working day? Perhaps Ransomware attack is the cause. Further, the goal is less about traditional ransomware extortion and more about outright system sabotage, disruption, and damage, as the recent WannaCry NotPetya attacks revealed.

#cybersafety tip: Change default security settings on all your devices. Stay abreast of the latest social engineering threats

  1. Competition between defenders and attackers to use machines to outwit each other- Defenders will use machine learning, AI, and game theory to probe for vulnerabilities in both software and the systems, correct vulnerabilities and contain zero-day attacks. On the other hand, attackers will be increasingly using machines to create attacks, scan for vulnerabilities, boost attack speed and shorten the time from discovery to exploitation. With better defender-machine combo, we can surely look forward to stronger security in 2018

#cybersafety tip: Use the best and most comprehensive security tool and adopt safety practices

So, as we prepare to welcome the new year, let us also pledge to welcome a new way of life; one that involves being aware of cybersecurity and adopting safety measures in the virtual world.  Isn’t that a nice thought to start 2018 with?

That’s all for 2017 folks, happy holidays!!

Sun tan, Sunglasses, Suitcases… and Devices! Indians Find It Hard to Unplug on Vacations-McAfee

I was showing a friend around Kolkata when we noted several tourists (very evident because of their attire and photographic gears) making a beeline for a particular sidewalk. Everyone had mobiles ready for selfies in their hands.

That must be a popular tourist spot,” remarked my friend, eager not to miss a single tourist attraction.

Oh no! The reason for the crowd here is that this area has free Wi-Fi, part of our smart city plan. So, people flock here to check their messages, make calls or upload pics etc.”

We really find it hard to part from our devices, don’t we? Even on holidays? We need to stay in touch, whether it be with our family or work. Check this out:

  • 86 percent Indians want to stay plugged during their vacations so that their families can reach them if needed. That’s a significant count.
  • Further, 60 percent admitted to spending a minimum of an hour daily online.
  • What’s more, 57 percent said they felt anxiety over being unplugged!
  • And this takes the cake- 68 percent of Indian parents allow their children to use connected devices while traveling!


These and other findings from a recent McAfee study indicates that despite the benefits experienced from unplugging, most Indians prefer to stay connected.

The McAfee Study titled, “Digital Detox: Unwind, Relax and Unplug,” aims to better understand the behavior and attitudes of consumers when on vacation, and how digital habits could be putting their personal information at risk. The intention is to educate those planning a trip in the holiday season on risks related to using unsecured Wi-Fi connections.

It is not that people don’t want to unplug from connected devices, cut off from real world worries and enjoy their holidays unconditionally. 67 percent indicated they would want to completely unplug on a vacation if not for work obligations. So for all practical purposes, vacationers are taking their offices along on holidays!

Surprisingly, the millennials are more inclined to unplug than those in their 40s.


Some more salient findings:

  • Almost one in two Indians (51%) could not resist the urge to post to social media while vacationing
  • One in four 29%) admitted to checking their email consistently throughout the day.
  • Parents tend to be more tech savvy than their non-parental counterparts and are more likely to know if their Wi-Fi connection is safe and secure to use (75% vs. 64%)Only 40% would be willing to leave their smartphone behind while travelling


Takeaway pointCybercriminals may try to exploit travelers who put convenience over security and use unsecured Wi-Fi access points that are easily hackable. Their personal data, including passwords and financial transactions may be compromised.

Can’t Think of Unplugging? Pay Heed to These Tips to Help Secure Your Device and Data:

  • Browse securely when away from home. If you really can’t unplug while traveling, avoid using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. But if you have to use a public Wi-Fi network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like McAfee Safe Connect. A VPN will keep your information private and ensure that data goes straight from your device to where you are connecting.
  • Update your devices. Always ensure that your device OS and security are kept updated. Using old versions of software could leave you open to potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Install cross-device security. Travelling with your device? First secure it with the latest security software. McAfee LiveSafe can help your devices stay clear of viruses and other unwanted malware.
  • Use a device locating app. It’s a good idea to use a security tool that offers the device location and remote erasure features. Location applications can help you find, lock and even erase your device’s data in the event of theft or loss.

Every digital citizen should understand the importance of digital balance and practice digital detox- especially on holidays. However, if you do need to carry your devices to stay in touch, make sure you use secured Wi-Fi and secure your connected devices too. Keep your travels worry-free.

Try unplugging, you may be pleasantly surprised!


Importance of Cybersecurity Lessons in Schools

Are you aware that there are more than 460 million internet users in India, and this is expected to grow to around 635.8 million by 2021? Or, that nearly 81% of kids between the ages of 8-16 are active on social media? Or, that of the children who are active on social media, 69% have published photos, 58% have posted their email address and 44% would meet or have met someone in person that they first met online?

Just goes to show, that our kids are tech-smart but not very cybersafety conscious. To make the Digital India dream come true and benefit the nation, internet users must be well-versed in cybersecurity and cyber etiquette. As our kids will be tomorrow’s India, bringing them up to be model digital citizens should be a top priority. Where can they get this knowledge? Schools, without a doubt.

Let’s think about why it is important to teach cybersafety in school:

  • Children accept teachers as information providers and give credence to their words
  • Cybersafety training can be tailored according to age and grade
  • Group learning helps in building virtual social bonds, and confidence
  • Campaigns, contests and bulletin boards can be used to promote better virtual behaviour
  • New lectures similar to value education can be taken up to teach online etiquette. Many schools have been organizing such cybersafety sessions, but it needs to become a regular feature

I asked some educators what their views were on internet safety and digital citizenship in the school curriculum and this is what they said:

It is the need of the hour,” said Sunita Rajiv, assistant headmistress, at Ahlcon International School, New Delhi.

It’s a must,” said Ritu Sehji, educator, author, presenter, based in New Zealand.

What should be the learning outcomes of cybersecurity sessions?

Children should:

  • Stay informed about cybersafety and cyber civics
  • Know how to identify dangers and tackle them
  • Make informed decisions online
  • Learn how to surf in a secure environment
  • Use the internet to learn and build a network


The main points to be covered in the cyber security sessions:

  • Social Media: etiquette; safety; mutual respect; diplomacy; language; content
  • The norms of sharing: How much to share; what not to share and with whom; Too much sharing and future effects
  • The importance of privacy: How to secure devices; accounts; profile; passwords
  • Scams, Spams, hacking: Attachments and links in mails and posts; key words to look out for
  • Block and report accounts: When to consider this option-How to keep records; whom to inform; how to block and report
  • Identify fake: How to identify fake profiles and messages; how to authenticate data before sharing; how to block and report cyberbullies and predators
  • Dares, challenges and other risky games: How to identify peer pressure and avoid them; understand that such risky challenges are the new faces of cyberbullying and how to counteract them; how to tackle online bullying; creating support group for victims
  • Footprints in the digital sands of time: How posts have future implications, and may impact college admissions and/or career. How to remove posts and photos shared and sanitize social media accounts
  • Smartphone safety: Using security apps, GPS, geotagging, selfie risks
  • Financial risks: e-transactions

It will be a great idea to set up information kiosks or designate a bulletin board where the latest updates on internet safety can be shared. Further, schools need to sensitize parents and organize cyber security awareness seminars for them. The presence of a dedicated counsellor to advise and guide kids on issues pertaining to cybersafety will be of great help to children and parents alike.

And always wind up your lessons with the cybersafety mantra- STOP. THINK. CONNECT.



Be a Social Media-Savvy Parent For Your Kids

If your kids are ready to join the social media bandwagon, but you are completely lost when it comes to the new apps trending among teens then it’s time to learn about how to help your children stay safe in the digital world.

According to a ‘We are Social’ study, the number of social network users in India was nearly 191 million in Q1 2017 and is expected to rise tremendously

These figures should be a wakeup call to us parents. Your child is or will soon become a social media user and you need to know everything there is to know about these platforms in time to guide them. We don’t want to wait for another Blue Whale Challenge, Sarahah app or the new 48-hour challenge. These games are now becoming the new faces of cyberbullying to jolt us out of our comfort zones.

The only way to teach is to know and therefore it is important for you to stay ahead and learn about popular social media apps that your child is likely to use.

Indian kids are on Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, YouTube, and Hike. I am sure you are familiar with Facebook and WhatsApp, let’s quickly refresh our memory about the rest:

Instagram: It started out as a photo and video sharing app that allows users to tweak and filter pics before sharing. Now users can also send messages, stickers, conduct polls on stories and connect with likeminded users. The instant feedback users receive can be a real ‘feel-good’ factor.

YouTube: This one is a favourite with gamers, home chefs, amateur artists and comedians. Users upload their videos for general or select viewing and can subscribe to channels of their preference.

Snapchat: This app created waves when it launched because it allows users to capture videos and pictures that self-destruct after a few seconds. However, it’s good to remember that receivers can take screenshots and save pics

For all these apps, signing up is easy. Just download the app, create a strong password and use a comprehensive security software with password manager.

What are the privacy and security options recommended? First, ensure that your children meet the minimum age criteria to join any of the social media accounts. Then, be sure to share general safety tips like the ones below.

  • Public or private: Do you want anyone and everyone to see your profiles and posts? Probably not, so turn your account from public to private.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: This is a must to ensure that only you can access your account. It will require a password plus another factor (example: OTP sent to mobile phone) to prevent misuse of your social account.
  • Profile Information: Apps need your profile information but there is no reason why you have to share them with others. Also, think about your profile name and photo. Consider whether you would like to use your real name and pic or an Avatar? Your friends know you anyway, and those who are strangers, don’t need to know all about you.
  • Block and report: This feature comes handy when someone bothers you. You can manually select the follower from your friend/follower list and block and report the account.
  • Turn off geotagging: This feature allows all your friends and followers to identify your exact location. Keep it turned off and check pics to see if they are geotagged. If yes, then remove tagging
  • Tagging in photos: It is considered improper to tag people in group pics without prior permission. Also, review pics in which you are tagged before allowing them on your timeline
  • 3rd Party Access: Periodically review whether you have given access to any 3rd party and revoke access to apps you don’t need or that ask for access to too many files
  • Language: Did you know typing in bold caps is akin to shouting? Or that making rude or sarcastic comments on others’ posts is cyberbullying? Also, be careful when using acronyms that you got the right meaning
  • Conduct: Good etiquettes come in handy online. Maintain decorum, as if you are in a drawing room having a polite conversation. To know more about digital etiquettes, refer to my blog
  • THINK. CONNECT. Always think before posting about whether the photo or text is decent, correct, verified, or useful. Don’t share sensitive content or connect with strangers who insist on knowing a lot of personal details about you.

Nowadays, we get inundated with new trends on social media, which frequently create a frenzy among kids. A bit of awareness, frequent communication and supervision can help us ensure their cyber safety along with making us a cool cyber savvy parent.

Next time your kids go online, take the opportunity to engage more with them and show off your social media skills.

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.



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.

Cyber Insurance – The Need of the Hour

Years ago, when we were complete newbies to computers, data loss was a frequent occurrence. Files were lost as they were not saved or else power cuts played culprits. We saved our work on floppy disks, and CDs, remember? But the problem was that they frequently got corrupted. I once had to redo the entire year’s marksheet for my class at the 11th hour!

And then we learnt how to backup on the hard drive itself and what a relief that was! But then whoever had access to the computer could access the saved data and copy/wipe/misuse it. Also, if the device crashed, we needed a technician to retrieve it from the drive. So, we learnt how to take backups on external drives, for safety and better storage. And now of course, there’s cloud storage.

We have also seen how data can be compromised in the process of transmission, device theft or hacking. Such losses not only disrupt peace of mind but also affect business dealings. It may have various consequences- ranging from temporary inconvenience, loss of peace of mind and of personal information to more serious ones like cancellation of deals, redoing entire projects and loss of client details. These are broadly termed as the costs of data loss.

How would you peg the cost for loss of data like contracts or financial details or client credit card details, identity documents or contacts? Add to this cost the price of time loss, opportunity loss, productivity loss and even client and business deal losses and you will know how serious the matter is. In this competitive world, no company can afford a breach, but it is happening and may happen more frequently, given the rise in cyberattacks.

No doubt we have very good security policies in place that help us stay safe from known attacks and thefts. There may also be contracts with server providers for compensating time and opportunity losses arising from data loss. But they do not compensate for data loss. For that we need cyber insurance.

What is cyber insurance? It’s like your normal insurance offered to protect against internet-related losses in business. The insured can compensate for delays and losses and compensation demand from affected parties. A cyber attack like a malware or ransomware can cause serious harm to a company’s reputation, financial position and business models. If client data is breached and falls in the wrong hands, then it becomes quite difficult to rebuild the seller-client trust. It can also be expensive to compensate clients for losses suffered and herein lies the advantage of an insurance.

Do you and I need it? Depends on what kind of data you and I are storing and how, and the extent to which we would be affected if that data is compromised. Most of you supermoms would be entrepreneurs working from home, and may have important data stored on your tab, the loss of which may cause you inconvenience. Many of us may overlook the security part of the processes and hence, a cyber insurance can save your day. Small businesses can also gain from insuring their data and more and more firms are expressing interest in insuring their data.

Future prospects- Cyber insurance is slated to be big in the coming years, with the market likely to reach USD 14 Billion globally by 2022. And why not, for after all it stands to reason. We insure everything that’s precious to us- our houses, cars, art, even life- then why not our data that is now less on paper and more in e-format? Keeping in mind the ever-expanding cyber threat landscape, it can be said that cyber insurance will soon become a necessity, instead of an option.

Cyber insurance is however not a replacement for cyber security, for if there is no comprehensive security framework in place and users are proven to have been careless, insurance claims may not stand ground. We can look at it as an extension of the security framework that helps to compensate for losses due to data breach. It is this part of the proactive measures to keep data safe.