The Week That Was In Internet History

From the wheel to the internet, we have come a long way in terms of technological progress. While the invention of the wheel set human progress in motion, the industrial revolution with its assembly line production gave it a boost and now the information revolution has catapulted us to the digital age.

This week we observed Internet Day on May 17. Internet Day, aims to show the possibilities offered by new technologies to improve the standard of living of people by giving them more understanding of technology and its functions. Ironically, we also saw one of the most prolific ransomware attacks in history with ‘WannaCry’.

While the digital revolution has disrupted industries and eased the way we live, work and think, it has also led to loss in the form of identity theft, malware and the topic of discussion i.e. ransomware. Today, innumerable companies collect information about us, the consumer, for their research and are susceptible to breaches.

As Spiderman says (Peter Parker to you), “With great power comes great responsibility.” Cliché, I know, but true at a time like this. In a day where big data is instrumental in winning opinions, it is necessary that each one of us know how to use technology safely and responsibly. Data privacy and cybersecurity form the core pillar of the privilege of technology, and so let us refresh our understanding of internet security. In order to stay prepared and keep your personal data secure, follow these tips:

  1. Back up your files:Always make sure your files are backed up. That way, if they become compromised in a ransomware attack, you can wipe your disk drive clean and restore the data from the backup.
  2. Update your devices:There are a few lessons to take away from WannaCry, but making sure your operating system is up-to-date needs to be near the top of the list. The reason is simple: nearly every software update contains security improvements that help secure your computer and removes the means for ransomware variants to infect a device.
  3. Schedule automatic updates.It’s always a good practice to set your home systems to apply critical Windows Security Updates automatically. That way, whenever there is a vulnerability, you receive the patch immediately.
  4. Apply any Windows security patches that Microsoft has sent you. If you are using an older version of Microsoft’s operating systems, such as Windows XP or Windows 8, click hereto download emergency security patches from Microsoft.

The recent WannaCry attack is perhaps one of the largest and most widespread ransomware attack in recent history, with India being a prime target. The most affected were those, who were running old and unpatched software, which threatens more than just data of the consumers. While there is no silver bullet to security, this attack does serve as a reminder for consumers to prepare for ransomware attacks.

Stay safe. Together is Power!

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New Family Dynamics As Connected Lifestyle Grows

“You know that we are living in a digital world

and I am a digital girl.”

I often find myself humming the above lines when I am struck by how digital has become a part and parcel of our lives. Digital India has made the internet an indispensable part of consumers’ life. From benefits related to education, medicine, transportation and entertainment to your personal comfort at home, internet related services have come a long way.

As our real world and cyber world merges, there are bound to be changes in the family dynamics. Devices, for instance, our smartphones are already playing an increasingly significant role. We can use it to turn the TV into a smart TV, operate the car lock, connect the home CCTV system to our smartphones, or even monitor AC temperature of our homes.

The growth in connected homes equate to new family challenges. Are we aware of all the implications and challenges of a smart home and how to prepare our kids for it? To better understand family behavior and attitudes towards the connected lifestyle, McAfee conducted a global survey of 13,000 adults about their family’s evolving digital habits and more.

The McAfee global survey, “New Family Dynamics in a Connected World,” emphasizes the need for simple ways for parents to manage internet connectivity in their homes.

Indian parents are concerned about their children’s internet usage. 93% of the parents have had a talk with their children about the dangers of cyber criminals and identity theft. 49% of parents are worried about the potential interaction of their child with a social predator or cybercriminal. Many are monitoring screen time, with 57% of them limiting it to 1-2 hours per day. Some parents have admitted to having arguments with their children about taking devices to bed.

Concern shows awareness and needs to be backed by suitable actions. Start conversations about cybersafety early. Set simple rules like, “always use passwords” or, “don’t open emails from strangers.” You also need to stay aware of new apps that your children like and use.

Digital use monitoring continues to lag behind. In India, 84% of parents allow their child to bring an internet-connected device to bed, much higher than the global average of 76%. Of those Indian kids taking their devices to bed, 32% of parents monitor their child’s device usage but 24% do not.

You can really help your child by playing a more proactive role. Besides securing your child’s device, you may want to have the passwords for their social media accounts until they are mature enough to handle all online activities responsibly.

Adults are still not setting a very good example. On an average, 43% of adults are spending more time online than on face to face interactions when at home (40%). Consider this, 71% of parents have been called out by their child for being on their device during family time!

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As parents, you need to teach your child good digital practices through your own examples. Why not limit your own screen time and keep your device away during family time? This will send the message across that it is also important to interact in person and there are times when you need to keep the device away.

With digital getting integrated into children’s everyday lives, it’s imperative for parents to implement a few do’s and don’ts.

 Quick tips:

  • Secure devices: Use comprehensive protection, like McAfee LiveSafe, across all devices and set up parental controls for each child.
  • Stranger-danger: Teach your children to say “NO” to interactions with anyone they don’t know well in real life.
  • Strong password: Teach kids the need for strong, unique and secure passwords
  • Share passwords with parents: Children need to keep their parents updated on all their passwords until they are mature enough to understand and handle their digital responsibility.
  • Clean devices: Minimize the amount of data stored on a device. The less data on the device, the less there will be for hackers to steal. Be sure to back up your data via cloud storage or external devices.

The times are changing and children continue to seamlessly adapt to new technology. What you as a parent can do is teach them to practice digital balance early on. Keep communication channels open. Set rules but at the same time, allow them some privacy and freedom too. In the digital world, the security of connected homes depends a lot on its members. Get your family to start following cyber safety rules to make the most of your connected lifestyle.

Have a great day!

Livestreaming – This Is What You Need To Know

The Indian Premier League fever is on, that annual T20 cricket fest that everyone awaits so eagerly. The munchies are out, the best sofa seat is reserved and all household chores completed. If you are not at home or don’t have a TV in your hostel – No worries, your smartphone will be your TV on the go!

Livestreaming is trending now thanks to the convenience it brings. It is not just about watching matches online, you can also livestream the latest TV shows, movies or performances on the go. If you happen to be a football fan, you wouldn’t want to miss even one of the supercharged UEFA matches that you can livestream on your device.

Thanks to the rise in popularity of the internet across the nation, smartphone penetration, and exciting offers on data usage by service providers, livestreaming has taken Digital India by storm. People are making most of this service, not only to catch up with their favorite shows and sports, but also to share with their experiences through social media

So, what is livestreaming?

Live streaming involves the delivery of internet content as it is happening with no cuts or edits. The videos are uploaded on social media and they start playing right away without waiting for the whole file to download. Also, they don’t get automatically stored on the device either.

Initially there were apps that allowed one to livestream events to friends or the public, but now many social media forums and even TV channels offer these services. So, if you are planning to watch the latest season of Game of Thrones even before it has aired in India, or share your child’s first dance recital as they perform, go ahead and do so, but first, you need to be aware of some facts on livestreaming.

yber threat warning – While using free live streaming apps, you may find pop up ads covering the video you want to watch. The ‘close ad’ buttons could be fake, only to launch malware attacks. Another way cybercriminals target their victims is by asking the user to download “special software” to make the stream work. The software you download has a higher likelihood of being malicious.

As they say, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Therefore, is it important to consider few do’s and don’ts while livestreaming:

If you are livestreaming content from the internet:

  • The content factor: Because it is shared live, the video may contain inappropriate content
  • The Free factor: Watch your favorite games, TV shows, or movies via a verified website and enjoy without worries. Be wary of free offers, because that may put you at risk of downloading viruses or cookies that could either steal data or compromise your device
  • The security factor: Always use devices which have security installed on them to livestream content to enjoy continued peace of mind and safety
  • The gambling factor: Betting firms advertise a lot on livestreamed content and there is always a risk of children getting lured to these sites. Further, the ads may contain adult advertisements which is inappropriate for children
  • The data factor: Long hours of livestreaming involves high data consumption and you may want to talk to your child about increasing costs and data limits

If you are livestreaming content to the internet:

  • The copyright factor: It may not be appropriate to livestream events like plays, concerts, private music shows, movies etc. without verifying if it’s allowed. You need to get prior permission
  • The privacy factor: Do ask for permission from all concerned first before you start livestreaming events like marriages, parties, dances, prayer services. Some people may not want to be in the frame and their wishes should be respected. Similarly, if you are being filmed and don’t like it, say so clearly
  • The location factor: Livestreaming from home or elsewhere with location turned on can be an open invitation to strangers to connect with you. Do not share personal videos or details without parental permission

 

Secure your device with the latest that security has to offer, like McAfee LiveSafe, opt for paid services and then sit back and enjoy the match-or whatever it is that you want to watch.

There falls a wicket and I am off to watch the match being livestreamed on a big screen in the society garden. Join me? J

Online Shopping Festivals-Things to Do Before Clicking on Add to Cart

Online sales are a huge rage these days! E-commerce firms are competing with each other to offer consumers the best deals possible. Sales carry attractive taglines like Up to 70% off, Midnight Flash Sale or Festive Discount. What could be more convenient than shopping comfortably from just about anywhere at any time?

Unfortunately, cyber criminals are also loving online shopping as it gives them an opportunity to harvest personal and bank/card details from unsuspecting consumers.

You might have come across one or all of these ads listed below, either on Facebook or WhatsApp or Pop-ups on different websites:

  • Super- Dhamaka offer!
  • Get free 4G internet for today only!
  • Share this sale link with 10 friends and stand to win an iPhone 7s

Sounds familiar? Perhaps you have clicked on the links and checked out the offers, and not just you, many other judicious net users too are lured by such tempting offers and proceed with purchasing.

The popularity of social media has made it a very useful scamming platform for cybercriminals, as messages are shared quickly and widely, especially since people tend to believe in messages sent by friends and then fall victim to phishing scams. Like this one below which was making the rounds last year:

Breaking News, Now Buy 16 GB Pendrive at Just 19 Rs. Buy It Now Before Sale Ends. Cash on Delivery Also Available. Visit  now http://XYZ.com

Fraudsters usually like to piggy back and leverage genuine ongoing sales to scam users. So, the moment reputed e-tailers like Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart start their mega online sales, there is likely to be a plethora of hoax websites and links shared via social media to direct users to these false sites. And scammers have become quite proficient at creating sophisticated and genuine looking websites that can trick a regular buyer too.

Does that mean you avoid buying anything online? NO WAY! I love it and I am sure you do too.

 Things to do before you start filling up your online shopping cart:

  • Check the security of your internet connection: First thing to do as an unsecured connection like public Wi-Fi can make it easy for hackers to steal your details
  • Check device security: Ensure you are using comprehensive security software to keep your device secured.
  • Check domain name: Before you click on the link, check the URL. For example, Amazon.com is quite different from amazon-flashsale.com
  • Check offers: Too good to be true? – It probably is. Cross check prices with other sites and with product review columns. Do you really believe an iPhone 7s can be priced at only Rs. 15,000?
  • Check refund and return policies: Read the T&Cs and the return policies and check the star rating of the seller. Proceed only after you are satisfied.

Cyber safety tips for, you, the smart online buyer:

  • Ignore emails from unknown sources: do not try to unsubscribe from these unsolicited emails. You could be just letting the scammers know that your email address is active. Mark as spam and move on.
  • Be suspicious: It’s good to doubt claims that seem too good to be true, and messages that contain too many words in capital, e-mojis and grammatical errors.
  • Be aware: Keep track of ongoing sales, hoax messages doing the rounds, and new phishing scams.

Knowledge is power and if you approach the shopping festivals armed with secured devices and updated info on scams, you will smartly avoid the honey traps set up by cybercriminals. Have a safe and secure online shopping experience!

 

E-Filing Your Tax Returns? Let It Not Tax Your Security

How many of my readers are aware of Digital India campaign? Yes, I am sure just about everyone has come across the government’s active effort to ensure India is ready for the future. It aims to make the majority of the government services available to every citizen, and online filing or e-filing of income tax returns is one such service many benefit from. It is simple, quick and convenient, and even offers special provisions for those who have missed the deadline. You probably are familiar with the system and have been using it over the past few years to file your returns.

However, there is one small hitch; cyber criminals are trying to leverage this to launch phishing attacks on unsuspecting users in an attempt to exploit them. Scammers dupe unsuspecting victims to part with their bank details and passwords through emails purportedly from the IT Department, and siphon off money from their accounts. Or, they may simply steal identity details and misuse them. It is therefore necessary to know how to identify a genuine email from the IT Department (check address, logo, content, grammar, salutation).

To state a common example, hackers send emails confirming returns and ask you to click on a link to fill in details like bank account number, password, date of birth etc., to process the return. Others scams include the “Income Tax Receipt” and “Verify PAN details”. The recent W-2 phishing attacks in the US are examples of scams where the TDS details of several employees were obtained via phishing. Taking cognizance of the rise in cyber frauds related to e-filing, the Department of Income Tax issued an advisory to protect unsuspecting users from phishing scams, in which it is clearly stated,

The Income Tax Department NEVER asks for your PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts through email.”

Here are a few suggestions to make your entire e-filing experience a smoother and safer one.

  • File way before deadline: You got to pay it, so pay up in time. If you delay and then have less time to complete the procedure, you will hurry and in the process may become less cautious.
  • Share personally identifiable documents with care: Be careful of who you share your identity documents with, including photocopies of your PAN and Aadhaar cards. These can be misused to create false identity
  • Do not trust links or zip files sent via e-mails: Do not open zip files or click on links even if the mail appears to be from the Department of Income Tax. If you want to know your refund status, check on the official website using your personal login credentials
  • Ads can be misleading: No free lunches, remember? An advertisement that offers to make the whole e-filing process seem like a cakewalk may actually be a phishing attempt. Consult a tax advisor or a trusted friend, but not an unverified site.

Smell something fishy? It probably is: You will never be asked to share your net banking password, email login details or your PIN while e-filing. Sound the mental alarm if any website asks for these. Though your email service will offer spam filter, hackers are becoming smarter. They are designing mails that look very authentic to penetrate your trust. I am sure that by now you all are using the amazing free tool McAfee WebAdvisor from Intel Security. Follow its advice on secure and suspicious sites to be better protected from online scams. The Department of Income Tax, Government of India, advises users to Use anti-virus software, anti-spyware, and a firewall and keep them updated.

While tax season is a particularly vulnerable time, security risks exist year-round. In order to prevent private information getting into the wrong hands, choose security options that are easy to use and mobile-friendly. Don’t let Tax, Tax your security 😉

True or Fake News? Know How You Can Separate Truth from Fiction Online

In the good old days, it was very easy to separate truth from fiction. Literature was clearly marked and newspapers offered facts. Those who told tall stories, or tabloids that indulged in sensationalism, were generally known and their words were taken with a grain of salt.

People are increasingly taking to the internet to get their daily news dosage. While some subscribe to websites to read newspapers and magazines, others like to browse through WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to get the latest headlines. In the connected era, false news gets dissipated widely via social media. As these stories are easy to understand and sensational, so they have a greater appeal to the masses. And the ones you believe are true, you are very likely to share it online or through chat apps, thus becoming a newsmaker yourself.

So think about it, is everything that you read online, really true? Not always.

Take for instance this piece of ‘news’ that a friend shared on Valentine’s Day, “Shahid Bhagat Singh was hanged to death on this day. Let’s mark this as Remembrance Day.” She really believed this to be true and thought it was her duty to make it common knowledge.

Or the following,

  • UNESCO declares Jana Gana Mana as the best national anthem in the world
  • Delhi man loses 30 kg in three weeks thanks to this superfood

And not surprising at all, all of this ‘news’ is fake.

The fabricated stories are designed to look authentic and intended to either make money by attracting high traffic to the site or to endanger trust.

Should you be worried about fake news?

Can you imagine the effect of fake news on impressionable tweens and teens? Ideally, this part of cyber safety education could be taught in junior school, to ensure children grow up informed and aware that one needs to STOP.THINK.CONNECT. But until that happens, parents need to educate them and for that it is necessary they themselves are aware.

So, time we find out how to identify fake from real and stay clear of them. Always look out for the following signs of danger:

Domain Name:

  • The name is a clever imitation of a genuine site, for e.g., ‘wikipidi’
  • The message contains a link that directs user to another site, which may contain malware

Tip: Don’t get foxed by the fancy looks of a site. Go to the official webpage and verify.

Source of publication:

  • If the source is unknown or anonymous, flag it.
  • If it contains a disclaimer at the end, like “forwarded as received” can you really trust the message?
  • Personal blogs reflect the opinion of the blogger and may or may not be a rational one.
  • Reports and thesis with grammatical and factual errors reveal that the content has not been researched well and may contain factual errors

Tip: Adhere to reputable and official news sites that are known to follow ethical practices of journalism and avoid sensationalism. Cross-check facts.

Your role as a responsible and digital literate person:

  • Be aware: Double check content with well-known sources and cross-verify with other sources
  • Be skeptical: If you feel any content is a hoax, cross-check and then report it. Facebook allows you to do so, as do many other platforms
  • Be sure: Don’t play accomplice, verify before sharing.
  • Be careful: Do not click on links sent via social media without ensuring its authenticity
  • Be dutiful: Educate others when they share incorrect news and report it.

Last but very important, always use comprehensive security software on your device to safeguard your digital life. Fake news often contains cookies and malware intended to harm your device and steal information. It is more difficult to identify fake links and websites on a mobile phone, so you need to secure your smartphone and tablet too. Your security solution will guide you around safe and unsafe websites and help you make the right choice every time. You may also download the free tool, McAfee WebAdvisor, here.

With practice, you will become adept at separating the grain from the chaff. Remember the cybersafety mantra- STOP. THINK. CONNECT. – and practice it.

Stay protected and stay Cybersmart!

This Valentine’s Day Let Your Digital Life Take a Backseat

A couple of decades ago, Valentine’s Day was all about red roses, exchanging cards, dinner dates, hand-holding and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears. Partners had no eyes for anyone else – their world consisted of just the two of them.

Have things changed in any way in the connected era? A study conducted by Intel Security in India shows it has; as love in the cyber age is facing competition from gadgets!

Take a moment to think – how many hours (not minutes) everyday do we spend on our phone? Yes, we need to take that call or check whether an expected mail has arrived or watch photos uploaded by friends. But it all means time away from real, face-to-face relationships. Intel Security recently commissioned an India study which reveals that digital lifestyle of Indians is getting in the way of their connected relationships.

Head over heels in love…. with tech?

The average Indian adult spends 43 percent of their time online at home, and only 40 percent of their time interacting face-to-face. Devices have become such an integral part of their lives that they continue to use them even when on a date! Many complained their partners seem to like their devices more than them!

Can’t take your eyes off… your device?

Even after the first date, cyber citizens do not keep the device away when they are with their partners. More than half the respondents complained that they had had to compete with their friend’s or partner’s device for attention and nearly 75 percent admitted getting into an argument with a friend or significant other over being on a device while together.

Give all your love…. And passwords too?

The survey reveals some startling facts about the level of sharing between couples today. Nearly 30 percent of couples share passwords of social media accounts, 28 percent share passwords of personal email accounts, and over 20 percent admitted to sharing their work specific devices and accounts with their significant other.

Oops! Oversharing is never a good thing- keep your digital life out of your real one.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are can’t keep your device away when with a friend or partner, you are not doing it right. Take my advice and make time for that special person in your life. Balance is important. It’s a good idea to practice digital detox from time to time so that you learn to balance your digital life perfectly.

A few simple tips to keep the relation a ‘safe one’:

Love your partner but don’t make their name or L-O-V-E your password: Don’t make your password an easy guess. Passwords should preferably a mix of alphabets, special characters and numbers. If that seems complicated to you, go for a trusted password manager like the True Key app by Intel Security. It will not only store all your login credential safely but also enable multi-factor authentication on your devices and online accounts. Take advantage of it.

Give your heart this Valentine’s Day but not your data: Delete unnecessary personal information from your devices. Set auto lock using PIN, and use a security tool that will allow you to remotely lock or erase data if device gets misplaced.

Practice digital detox: On your date, show you care by keeping your device away. Focus on your partner and forget your device for the time being. See how your attention gets the smiles out. Remember, no sneak peeks at your phone screen- no, not even once!

Unchain your heart but not your device: Manage and safeguard your devices with comprehensive security software solutions like McAfee LiveSafe. Remember to protect your smartphone too.

It’s Valentine’s Day! Whether you celebrate with your partner, friends or family, give them the attention they deserve. And if it’s your special one you are spending your time with, let devices not play a spoilsport.

Here’s wishing all you dear readers a rosy and happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Reasons Why True Key Is Our Knight in Shining Armor

Has it ever happened to you that you tried to log into an account only to find that you seem to be experiencing temporary amnesia and can’t recall what the username or password is? Or you need to pay your child’s school fees online but can’t find the diary where you wrote down the login details?

The connected era has brought the world literally into your hands- you can do so much online- but there is this one hassle – You have to remember all the passwords and keep them secret.

My friend Anita faced a ‘password-block’ the other day when she tried to pay her electricity bill online at the last minute. For the life of her she could not remember the password! She tried out several options, until the site locked her out for exceeding the maximum number of attempts.

You know the feeling and shudder at the thought of it happening again, hmm? Not to worry, here is your own knight in shining armor to the rescue, True Key by Intel Security.

Bid adieu to remembering different passwords for different sites. Relax, smile, hum a song if you want while you sign into your accounts – you have your very own password manager to handle the hassles. The True Key™ app not only offers you an easy and safe way to unlock your digital world, it also enhances your security. With this you will not be required to maintain a written record of your passwords which is not safe at all and guess what, you also don’t have to stay signed in all the time (which makes your accounts so vulnerable)!

If you are like my friend Anita, who does all her shopping, bill payments and socializing online, you would love to have to have the True Key app. And I will tell you why.

Here are the top 5 reasons why True Key is your knight in shining armor:

  • Easy to install and sign in
  • Remembers all your login info like usernames and passwords
  • Uses multi-factor authentication to help you securely log into your online accounts using your face, finger print or a trusted device
  • Offers total privacy as it does not share your passwords with anyone else

Signing in to True Key is as easy A-B-C

Without further ado, let me show you how to install and use the app. Download the True Key app. Get it free here.

Done? OK, next let’s use multi-factor authentication to secure your accounts.

Multi-factor authentication adds extra layers of security to your accounts

Choose the factors you want to sign in to your account (see below). True Key uses at least two factors to confirm it’s you. That’s called multi-factor authentication and it makes your login that much more secure. You can make your profile more secure by adding in more factors, like a second device or e-mail address. It’s entirely up to you. The picture below shows you how it will happen.

truekey

I can almost hear you thinking, “Well! that was quite easy! But I have several accounts. Will the app help me with them all?

True Key remembers all your login sites and their passwords

You will only have to select the account you want to access. And what’s more, you can sync True Key across all your devices and access your accounts from anywhere and any device of yours. Like this: –

4

Keeps your passwords secure

Not only does True Key offer you layered protection, it also secures your passwords by scrambling them with one of the strongest encryption algorithms available, AES-256. Only you can decrypt and access your information with the factors you choose. That’s a relief, huh?

Manages multiple accounts

Each time you land on a login page and type in the particulars, the True Key app automatically saves it. You can also add details on the app directly by clicking on the ‘add new login’ button. It doesn’t matter how many accounts you have, the True Key app will remember them all for you.

If you would like to know more about how to install the app on your device, watch the video tutorial.

The True Key app is no ordinary app, it is the master key to your virtual vault- wherein it keeps all your login details safely. With the True Key app you can rest knowing that all of your passwords are securely stored, and not have to worry about remembering or writing down your passwords. The app makes your online life safer, faster and smoother. So, what are you waiting for? Just download it and follow the guidelines that pop up and forget login hassles forever.

I bet you just breathed a sigh of relief. Now you can confidently handle all your virtual accounts- the True Key app will deftly deal with the entire entry process.

Don’t forget to share with us your experiences once you get your knight in shining armor working for you

 

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!