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McAfee’s Tips on How to Secure New Devices This Holiday Season

This video presents “McAfee Identity Protection, 12 Scams of Christmas”:

  • Identity Thieves and Cybercriminals Take Advantage of the Holiday Season, Aiming to Steal Consumers’ Money, Identities and Financial Information
  • As cybercriminals begin to take advantage of the holiday season, be cautious
    • Scam I: Charity Phishing Scams

      • Hackers take advantage of citizens’ generosity by sending e-mails that appear to be from legitimate charitable organizations

    • Scam II: Fake Invoices from Delivery Services

      • Cybercriminals often send fake invoices and delivery notifications appearing to be from Fed Ex, UPS or the U.S. Customs Service

    • Scam III: Social Networking Scams

      • Cybercriminals send authentic-looking “New Friend Request” e-mails from social networking sites

    • Scam IV: Fake Holiday E-Cards

      • Cyber thieves cash in on consumers who send holiday e-cards in an effort to be environmentally conscious

      • Worms mask as Hallmark e-cards and more

    • Scam V: “Luxury” Holiday Jewelry

      • Scam campaign that leads shoppers to malware-ridden sites offering “discounted” luxury gifts from brand names

    • Scam VI: Practice Safe Holiday Shopping — Online Identity Theft on the Rise

      • Researchers predict online holiday sales will increase this year, as more bargain hunters turn to the Web for deals

      • While this is the season for giving, don’t give away your identity

      • Cybercrooks promote fake gift card offers and other schemes with the goal of stealing consumers’ money and information, which is then sold to marketers or used for ID thefts

    • Scam VII: Risky Holiday Searches

      • Hackers create fraudulent holiday-related websites for people searching for a holiday ringtone or wallpaper, Christmas carol lyrics or a festive screensaver

    • Scam VIII: Job-Related E-mail Scams

      • Scammers are preying on desperate job-seekers with the promise of high-paying jobs and work-from-home moneymaking opportunities

    • Scam IX: Auction Site Fraud

      • Buyers should beware of auction deals that appear too good to be true, because often times these purchases never reach their new owner

    • Scam X: Password Stealing Scams

      • Thieves use low-cost tools to uncover a person’s password and send out malware to record keystrokes, called keylogging

    • Scam XI: E-Mail Banking Scams

      • Cybercriminals trick consumers into divulging their bank details by sending official-looking e-mails from financial institutions

    • Scam XII: Ransomware Scams

      • Hackers gain control of people’s computers then act as virtual kidnappers to hijack computer files and encrypt them, making them unreadable and inaccessible

  • Protect yourself:

  1. Never Click on Links in E-Mails:

    • Go directly to a company or charity’s website by typing in the address or using a search engine

  2. Use Updated Security Software:

    • Protect your computer from malware, spyware, viruses and other threats with updated security suites

  3. Shop and Bank on Secure Networks:

    • Only check bank accounts or shop online on secure networks at home or work, wired or wireless

    • Wi-Fi networks should always be password-protected

  4. Use Different Passwords:

    • Never use the same passwords for multiple online accounts

    • Diversify passwords and use a complex combination of letters, numbers and symbols

  5. Use Common Sense:

    • If you are ever in doubt that an offer or product is not legitimate, do not click on it

  6. Get Identity Theft Protection:

    • McAfee Identity Protection includes proactive identity surveillance to monitor subscribers’ credit and personal information and access to live fraud resolution agents who can help subscribers work through the process of resolving identity theft issues

This year, tablets and mobile devices are likely to be at every holiday celebration and under every Christmas tree, but before consumers begin loading personal contact information, data, photos and apps onto their devices, they need to be acutely aware of the risks. Cybercriminals are busier than ever this time of year, and according to McAfee Labs, malware for PCs Macs and mobile devices are on the rise.

According to McAfee, there are three key risks that consumers should be aware of this holiday season:

  • Android devices are most targeted:
    • This year, Android smartphones and tablets are the most targeted platforms for threats
  • Watch out for wireless:
    • Hackers can easily access personal data over public Wi-Fi and unsecured networks

    • Be sure to use the Internet over secure networks when possible

  • Children and devices:
    • Entertainment and gaming devices are Internet-connected and are vulnerable to threats

    • Parents should be also advised that children can make private data available or unintentionally rack up hundreds of dollars’ worth of charges playing their favourite apps

    • Parents should set parental controls and talk to their children about how they use Wi-Fi connected gaming consoles which also allow texting and chatting

Illustrating the importance of installing security protection on mobile devices, McAfee and Harris Interactive recently released the results of a survey that shows that 30% of Canadian smartphone/tablet owners do not pay attention to permissions when downloading apps, and 83% of Canadian smartphone/tablet owners are concerned that their personal information could be stolen while using an app.

  • To see an infographic that illustrates Canadian online/mobile surfing habits and concerns, please click here


McAfee Shares Tips on How to Secure New Devices This Holiday Season

MARKHAM, Ontario, December 18, 2012 – This year, tablets and smartphones are likely to be at the top of many holiday wish lists.

Amidst the excitement of unwrapping a cool new gadget, consumers need to think twice before immediately loading personal data, contact information, photos and applications to their new devices. Typically, are completely unprotected out of the box and can be vulnerable to online risks designed to steal personal information. As such, McAfee is advising consumers to live their digital lives more confidently and is issuing tips to help consumers secure their 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 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 networks that are not secure.

Additionally, children will acquire 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 favourite games and inadvertently charging their parents’ accounts simply by entering device passwords.

“This holiday season will further contribute to the trend of consumers having three or more devices to meet their online lifestyle needs,” said Brenda Moretto, Canadian consumer sales manager at McAfee Canada. “With the increased number 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.”

Illustrating the importance of installing security protection on mobile devices, McAfee and Harris Interactive recently released the results of a survey ( that shows that 30 per cent of Canadian smartphone/tablet owners do not pay attention to permissions when downloading apps, and 83 per cent of Canadian smartphone/tablet owners are concerned that their personal information could be stolen while using an app.

McAfee encourages consumers to take some simple precautions ( ) to keep their digital lives and devices safe through the holidays and into 2013:

Mobile Devices

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.

Phishing text messages, known as “SMiShing,” 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 use.

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, turn them off. It will help keep you safe and give you the best battery life.

Gaming Consoles

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 texting and chatting programs. For more information on keeping your kids safe, visit McAfee’s Family Internet Safety Centre at 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 suspicious websites during the third quarter of 2012, up 20 per cent 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 per cent in the third quarter of this year, while scareware continues to thrive, and is estimated to victimize 1 million people a day.

Additional Resources:

– Infographic that shows Canadian online/mobile surfing habits and concerns:

– For the complete list of consumer tips for securing your new devices, go to

– Web surfers should visit the McAfee Security Advice Centre ( ) and Facebook page at for information on the latest threats, and tips on surfing safely.

– Be sure to consider mobile malware threat protection ( ), not only to protect against viruses and for safe mobile surfing, but to also safeguard privacy in the event of loss or theft. In addition, for the many consumers who own multiple devices, McAfee® All Access ( ) is a simple and cost-effective solution for protecting a wide range of Internet connected devices on different platforms.

About McAfee

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel 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.

McAfee Canada is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, with regional offices across Canada. The company’s Consumer Software Research and Development facility is based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Note: McAfee is a registered trademark of McAfee, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.