|[December 18, 2012]
Smartphones, Tablets, Xbox and Others Expected To Top Holiday Wish Lists
SANTA CLARA, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
This year, tablets and smartphones are likely to be at the top of many
holiday wish lists, but excited consumers should think twice before
immediately loading personal data, contact information, photos and
applications to their new devices. Typically, these devices come
completely unprotected and can be vulnerable to online risks designed to
steal personal information. As such, McAfee (News - Alert) is advising consumers to
live their digital life more confidently by issuing tips to help
consumers secure these devices.
Cybercriminals continue to widen their nets to target even more devices
and platforms as new devices come on the market and gain popularity.
McAfee LabsTM reports that smishing (or phishing text
messages), PC, Mac, and mobile device malware, and malicious mobile
websites are on the rise. These increases complement Android's (News - Alert)
hyper-growth and give it the distinction of being the most targeted
operating system for mobile threats. Wireless devices also present the
risk of being hijacked by hackers when used over public Wi-Fi when
networks are not secure.
Additionally, children are acquiring more gaming and entertainment
devices than ever, including iPads, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, all of
which are Internet-connected. Aside from the malware susceptibility,
children can also put their parents at risk by downloading hundreds of
dollars' worth of apps while playing their favorite games and
inadvertently charging their parents accounts simply by entering device
"This holiday season will further contribute to the trend of consumers
having three or more devices to meet their online lifestyle needs," said
Gary Davis, vice president of global consumer marketing at McAfee. "With
the increased amount of devices per person and household, comes the
increased chance of cybercriminals gaining access and stealing personal
information and data. Consumers deserve to have confidence that they can
live their digital lives sharing any information, from anywhere and on
any device without the risk of an attack or scam. The best way to ensure
this is to take the time to secure their personal data as soon as they
open their new tech gifts."
McAfee encourages consumers to take some
simple precautions to keep their digital lives and devices safe
through the holidays and into 2013:
Know that threats aimed at mobile phones are growing, with Android
being the most targeted platform.
Be careful of the third-party applications you install- they could end
up infecting your phone or sharing your personal information. Only
download applications from a reputable app store, and read users
reviews. Also, make sure you are aware of in app purchases and of the
kind of information the app wants to access. Threats aimed at Android
smartphones can also affect Android tablets.
In the US, 62% of smartphone users don't use a password to protect their
home screens.1 Restrict access to your phone with a password
Phishing text messages, known as "SMiShng," are on the rise. Never send
personal information via text. You should also protect data on your
phone by backing it up on a regular basis and using a product that can
restore your information, help locate a lost phone, and remotely lock
and wipe the device if it is lost or stolen.
Apply system or application updates.
Apply any system or application updates when prompted. These updates
almost always include security patches and make your devices easier to
Turn off antennas you don't need.
If you're not using any one of the four typical wireless connections
(cellular, Wi-FI, Bluetooth and GPS) on your smartphone or tablets then
turn them off. It will help keep you safe and give you the best battery
If your child has a new gaming or entertainment device, such as a
Nintendo Wii or 3DS, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, parents should keep in
mind that these devices are now Internet-connected and set controls to
prevent their children from Internet dangers.
Take advantage of built-in parental controls and web filtering tools
that can help shield kids from violent games or limit when the device
can be used. Parents should also set expectations with kids about who
they play with, as Wi-Fi connected gaming consoles allow the
installation of text and chatting/texting. For more information on
keeping kids safe, visit McAfee's Family Internet Safety Center at www.mcafee.com/family
and check out the 10-Step
Internet Safety Plan For Your Family.
PCs and Macs
Search and shop safely.
McAfee Labs counted 43.4 million suspect websites during the third
quarter of 2012, up 20% over the previous quarter. To help you weed
through malicious sites, be sure to use a website safety advisor that
can tell you which sites are safe and which are risky.
Be aware of "scareware" and "ransomware."
Scareware tricks users into believing that the computer may be infected
to get them to "buy" fake antivirus software and hand over their
personal and financial details, usually via pop-ups. Ransomware also
appears through pop-ups, and typically accuses Web surfers of visiting
illegal webpages. These pop-ups claim to be from the police
and threaten to lock up the user's computer system until they pay a
fine. According to McAfee Labs, ransomware grew by 43% in the third
quarter of this year, while scareware continues to thrive, and is
estimated to victimize 1 million people a day.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel (News - Alert) Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC),
empowers businesses, the public sector and home users, to safely
experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive
and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and
mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy,
innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global
Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping
its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com
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