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Protection for your shiny new device

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After Santa heads back to the North Pole, there will be many new devices in the hands of good girls and boys that will be targeted by criminals. With the enjoyment of these cool devices should come top-notch protection for them, as they can be vulnerable to a number of malicious threats.

Laptop or PC

What should your security software include?

  • A two-way firewall: monitors the activity on your devices making sure nothing bad is coming in (like unauthorized access) and nothing good is leaving (like your data).
  • Anti-virus software: protects your devices from malicious keyloggers and other badware.
  • Anti-phishing software: watches your browser and email for suspicious inbox activity.
  • Anti-spyware software: keep your PC spyware free.
  • Safe search capacities: McAfees SiteAdvisor plugs into your browser and tells you what websites are good and which are suspicious.

Go further with wireless network protection, anti-spam, anti-theft protection and parental controls.

Free software is not recommended, as it provides only basic protection and you’ll likely end up purchasing more anyways.

Make sure you have a subscription to software that’s automatically renewed every year so that you don’t forget. This is after you figure out whether or not your new device’s protection software is on a trial basis.

Smartphone or tablet

  • Be leery of third-party apps you install on your mobile phone, since malicious apps are the main threat.
    • Download apps only from reputable app stores.
    • Read reviews and make sure you know what information the app requests prior to download.
  • Use mobile security software that includes:
    • Anti-virus and malware protection
    • Anti-theft
    • App protection
    • Web protection
    • Call and text filtering
  • Turn off automatic connections to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi unless you’re using them.
  • Apply app and operating system updates.
  • Never store account numbers, passwords, etc., on your phone or tablet
    • Do not have your apps set to automatically.
  • Apple products are at highest threat; install security software that’s been designed just for the Mac.
  • Never leave your phone or tablet unattended.

Gaming or entertainment device

These devices are vulnerable to many of the same attacks that PCs are, since they’re connected to the Internet.

  • Create backups of your games.
  • Make sure you understand the built-in parental controls.
  • Never store personal information on this device.
  • Connect it only to a secure Wi-Fi network.
  • Use a secure, encrypted USB drive that will muddle up your information to make it unreadable to thieves.
  • Purchase security software to protect the portable hard drive; and set a password.
  • Employ technologies for protecting your information.
  • Never leave the USB drive unattended.

The most important thing to remember is “don’t worry about it” but definitely do something about it. Once you invest in your devices security go play, have fun and be smart about what you do online.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.

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