Safety advice to protect connected devices
If you were one of the millions of people who received tech gifts during the holidays, beware. Computer and cybercrimes have risen by more than 22% according to the most recent statistics from 2009.
McAfee predicts an increase in mobile, social media and PC-based threats in 2011, with cyber crooks finding new ways to do harm via all types of connected devices. And millions of new device owners will become easy targets if they don’t take proactive measures to ensure their security.
Here are some practical tips from McAfee to ensure optimal Internet safety and security in 2011:
1. Be aware that threats aimed at mobile phones are growing – Use software that backs up smart devices and use strong discretion when storing, saving or editing personal information on your smartphone or device. Don’t keep all of your personal passwords on your device, and avoid using it to store financial information like credit card and bank account numbers.
2. Keep in mind that gaming and entertainment devices are now Internet-connected – Many people don’t realize that their new gaming console may represent another port of entry for cybercrooks into their household. Some Internet TV applications can expose personal information, so be sure to install anti-virus software, two-way firewalls, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and safe search capabilities, just as you would on a PC. Block free browser access via these devices and use parental controls wherever possible to ensure the safety of children who play interactive games.
3. Use technologies to protect information on USBs – Secure USB sticks by encrypting information, making it unreadable to someone who has taken or found it. In addition, install security software to protect portable hard drive devices and never leave such devices unattended.
4. Make sure that you are using a comprehensive security software platform for your PC – Free point solutions may work well for specific concerns and known threats, but it won’t protect you against emerging threats and is usually only being offered to get you to buy more comprehensive software.
Rather than going with the cheapest solution on the market, research the capabilities of your security software package to ensure that it is comprehensive – meaning it has anti-virus with cloud computing, a two-way firewall, anti-spyware, anti-phishing and safe search capabilities.
5. Free anti-virus software doesn’t provide complete protection – These products typically deliver only basic level protection and aren’t up-to-date with the most recent or emerging threats. Install security software that provides protection using cloud computing, since multiple servers can provide current data and resources on-demand.
6. Make sure to transfer your PC best practices to all of your Internet-connected devices – If you have an Apple device, Apple’s MobileMe service is available, providing tools for synching, backing up and securing data. Consider installing security software for new Internet connected devices such as smartphones, and make sure the device’s Wi-Fi is connected to a secure network.
7. Pay attention to your children’s online activities – Communicate with children about cybercrimes, monitor their web activity and consider keeping the family computer in a common space to minimize their exposure to inappropriate content.
8. Search and shop safely – Before submitting credit card numbers or other personal information, always read the online vendor’s privacy and security policy.
9. Back up critical information – Guard against data loss by utilizing a regular back-up software program to ensure that all critical information and personal files are safe in case of emergency.