Shailaja Shankar – McAfee Blogs https://www.mcafee.com/blogs Securing Tomorrow. Today. Fri, 12 Jun 2020 11:59:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://www.mcafee.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Shailaja Shankar – McAfee Blogs https://www.mcafee.com/blogs 32 32 Global Managed Detection and Response: Managing EDR Without the Red Bull https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/global-managed-detection-and-response-managing-edr-without-the-red-bull/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/global-managed-detection-and-response-managing-edr-without-the-red-bull/#respond Wed, 26 Feb 2020 15:30:33 +0000 /blogs/?p=98934

Staying on top of threats 24/7, 365 days a year can overwhelm the best SOC analysts. The need for constant vigilance of cyber threats, not to mention security tasks such as new tool installs, running reports and investigations, followed by reporting to exec levels is becoming unsustainable – just like your supply of energy drinks. […]

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Staying on top of threats 24/7, 365 days a year can overwhelm the best SOC analysts. The need for constant vigilance of cyber threats, not to mention security tasks such as new tool installs, running reports and investigations, followed by reporting to exec levels is becoming unsustainable – just like your supply of energy drinks.

McAfee’s new Global Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service with DXC Technology will provide 24/7 critical alert monitoring, managed threat hunting, advanced investigations, and threat disruption 365 days a year.

An ESG survey reveals the struggles SOCs face to improve security postures with limited talent and resources:

  • 58% of organizations cite employee skills as a key security effectiveness gap
  • 72% say analytics is more difficult than two years ago
  • 70% report having many manual processes as a limiting factor

Global Managed Detection and Response supports McAfee’s “We put the customer first” mantra, freeing SOC analysts from unnecessary operational burdens and empowering security teams to strategically fight adversaries.

McAfee MVISION EDR and endpoint protection products are at the core of this new MDR service. MVISION EDR is an advanced cloud-delivered EDR solution that leverages McAfee’s massive threat intelligence data to provide visibility and advanced threat detection capabilities. In addition to identifying threats, MVISION EDR provides AI-guided investigation that helps analysts make sense of the alerts and guides the investigation process, automating the time-intensive task of collecting and pinpointing key artifacts that are vital to the incident. With the ability to scale to the size of any enterprise, MVISION EDR is the perfect solution to detect and prevent attacks.

DXC Technology is McAfee’s first partner providing threat hunting, advanced investigation and remediation coordination, and will introduce in the future a complete managed service with 24/7 critical alert monitoring.

DXC Technology has a global presence with the support of 3,500-plus security professionals with deep specializations including SOC analytics, forensic investigation, and threat intelligence.

By combining the global security expertise of DXC Technology with our sophisticated automated AI-guided investigations, it allows SOC analysts to focus on resolving the incident and not lose time sifting through noisy alerts. Inspired by the power of working together, McAfee and DXC Technology are enabling your teams to be freed from unnecessary operational burden and empowered to strategically fight adversaries. This high level of outside expertise can enable you to improve both your security posture and keep costs in check.

Whether you’re on the floor at RSA or at the W lobby bar, McAfee’s new Global Managed Detection and Response service with DXC Technology can turn your security conversation from how overwhelmed you are, to how much time you’ll have to disengage as well as how much money you’re going to save on Red Bull.

Learn more here.

 

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How to Apply the Lessons of 2019 to the Security of 2020 https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/how-to-apply-the-lessons-of-2019-to-the-security-of-2020/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/how-to-apply-the-lessons-of-2019-to-the-security-of-2020/#respond Mon, 23 Dec 2019 16:00:22 +0000 /blogs/?p=97865 Working from home

What keeps executives up at night? According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2019 Executive Opinion Survey, it’s cyberattacks. When reflecting on 2019, it’s clear why that is. From healthcare and insurance to manufacturing and telecommunications, cybercriminals spared no industry from their schemes, with a few key verticals bearing the brunt of this year’s attacks. […]

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Working from home

What keeps executives up at night? According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2019 Executive Opinion Survey, it’s cyberattacks. When reflecting on 2019, it’s clear why that is. From healthcare and insurance to manufacturing and telecommunications, cybercriminals spared no industry from their schemes, with a few key verticals bearing the brunt of this year’s attacks. It comes as no surprise that financial services, insurance, and healthcare were popular targets, given their proximity to sensitive, easily-monetizable data. A little more surprising, however, is the similarities between breaches across industries and organizations. Below, I’ll recap notable incidents from 2019, expand upon their commonalities, and explore a few lessons to learn as we enter a new year.

Different Industries, Same Causes

Although cybersecurity incidents rarely stem from one failure entirely, a few central causes and trends appeared throughout 2019.

Application Misconfiguration

Application misconfigurations were responsible for two of 2019’s most prominent data breaches. In the largest hack of the year, a former AWS employee exploited a misconfigured Web Application Firewall (WAF) to steal the Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information of more than 100 million Capital One customers and credit card applicants. Initially labeled an insider attack due to Capital One hosting their data on Amazon servers, the breach was instead the result of the WAF receiving too many permissions, which enabled the malicious actor to access a back-end resource responsible for handing out access credentials. Although the information stolen was most likely neither shared nor used fraudulently, Capital One estimates the incident will cost the company over $300 million.

First American Financial Corporation fell prey to an even simpler misconfiguration in what was less a hack than outright negligence. A mistake in the company’s online customer portal enabled anyone with the URL of a valid First American document to modify a number in the existing URL to view other sensitive documents. A staggering 885 million customer financial records going back to 2003 were accessible because of this design defect. And while there is no evidence anyone actually found or stole the information, First American now faces both government investigations and a class-action lawsuit.

Exploiting Third-Party Access

Organizations must, of course, pay close attention to their own cybersecurity preparation, but in today’s hyperconnected digital world, they must also holistically audit the third parties they interact with as well. In 2019, both Quest Diagnostics and Sprint failed to conduct this due diligence. Quest, which is among the world’s largest clinical laboratories, exposed the personal information, including credit card numbers and Social Security numbers, of more than 11.9 million patients via a breach that originated from AMCA, an outside billing collections agency. To make matter’s worse, AMCA didn’t detect the vulnerability for almost a full year, allowing the attacker to slowly drain information from AMCA affiliates and ultimately forcing AMCA’s parent company into bankruptcy. Though Quest escaped such a dramatic fate, it is the subject of both government investigation and a class-action lawsuit.

Sprint faced a similar scenario this year when hackers accessed customer data through a vulnerability in a Samsung website. Samsung and Sprint are connected digitally to enable customers to finance Samsung phones through a carrier deal with Sprint, an arrangement that benefits their customers but also creates another threat vector to defend against. And though the exact name of Samsung’s vulnerability is unclear, this incident is further evidence of the need to protect oneself by choosing partners carefully.

Lack of Appropriate Authentication/Credentials for Sensitive Data

This third trend could apply to nearly every breach in this post, but it’s the central cause of at least two significant 2019 cybersecurity incidents. In August of this year, State Farm was hit with a credential stuffing attack in which attackers leveraged usernames and passwords from other data breaches to log in to other accounts and sites. Because people often use the same passwords for multiple accounts, credential stuffing is an effective tactic and one used in a second hacking of Sprint through its Boost Mobile subsidiary. In that case, an unauthorized person used Boost numbers and PIN codes to break into an unknown number of customer accounts.

Key Actions to Take in 2020 

If cybersecurity is to improve in 2020, these mistakes must be prevented and vulnerabilities like the ones mentioned above must be addressed. That starts with companies having a better understanding of the access controls, technologies, and systems that are currently deployed. With that understanding, they can plug gaps and utilize the technology most appropriate to their situation, helping them to avoid a situation like First American’s, in which data was readily available online without restriction. For many, especially those interfacing with outside vendors, a zero trust model makes sense because it continuously monitors and authenticates access requests. Under zero trust, for example, the Quest Diagnostics hack would have likely been detected within days, not months.

Even without zero trust, however, continuous and automated monitoring is critical. With that in place, security teams are alerted of attacks such as credential stuffing as they occur and can respond before the attacker is successful. For a more proactive approach, IT security should also implement policies that, for example, prevent one person or IP from submitting multiple login requests or require re-authentication to access different applications.

In addition to auditing themselves and taking the actions described above, organizations must also audit the security controls of their partners to ensure they deploy layers of control and multi-protocol defenses. This means that they have overlapping layers of defense—for example, continuous monitoring and multi-factor authentication—that create redundancy and depth across their environment.

Ultimately, the goal is to act immediately upon security alerts—no matter where they stem from—in order to contain and remediate threats in a timely manner. That means visibility and integration are critical to avoid delays from validating alerts and pivoting between disparate tools. When McAfee MVISION EDR, for example, finds a threat using its artificial intelligence-driven detection capabilities, it immediately elevates an alert to all systems and individuals involved, not just McAfee-built technology. Similarly, MVISION Cloud leverages machine learning to identify suspicious behavior and access requests. This type of automated detection, investigation, and notification could easily be the difference between an isolated breach remediated in hours and a system-wide catastrophe spread over several weeks or months.

For more information on effective endpoint security strategies, follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Business and visit our blog for the most relevant information and trends.

 

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Endpoint Security 301: When Products, Policies, and People Break Down the Lines of Communication https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/endpoint-security-301-what-to-do-when-products-policies-and-people-break-down-the-lines-of-communication/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/endpoint-security-301-what-to-do-when-products-policies-and-people-break-down-the-lines-of-communication/#respond Wed, 04 Dec 2019 16:00:05 +0000 /blogs/?p=97654

Security architecture is like the ocean: no one owns it, and it is constantly affected by change. New technologies are introduced, staff changes occur, and as a result, communication suffers. I often see environments where ownership is placed into silos across teams in the enterprise, meaning IT administrators preventing threats may not get the insights […]

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Security architecture is like the ocean: no one owns it, and it is constantly affected by change. New technologies are introduced, staff changes occur, and as a result, communication suffers. I often see environments where ownership is placed into silos across teams in the enterprise, meaning IT administrators preventing threats may not get the insights uncovered by security operations teams. On the other hand, SecOps may not receive details on why a policy or configuration change has occurred. What’s more, in environments without effective integration between security tools, this lack of communication means the insights and visibilities that might benefit other stakeholders rarely travel or surface outside the immediate security team.

Add into the mix a pool of security tools that can’t co-exist — or who do so poorly in a way that causes conflicts with the other — and the situation is complicated even further. Clearly, implementing an effective, comprehensive endpoint strategy is one challenge, but maintaining that strategy is usually where the real battle begins.

A crucial part of winning this battle is ensuring that IT security administrators and SecOps work together effectively. Let’s examine how these two can do so to ensure all bases and endpoints are covered.

A Lack of Alignment Exacerbates the Skills Gap

A quick reminder: IT security teams are responsible for the health of the network and IT infrastructure, requiring them to focus on access controls, endpoint protection, and vulnerability management. SecOps teams, meanwhile, establish the rules their organization must follow to secure their environment.

Logically, these teams should work hand-in-hand, but in most enterprises, they are siloed due to functional or technical limits. Each has little visibility into what the other side is doing on a day-to-day basis, plus a complete lack of insight into longer-term strategic security initiatives. This can lead to a breakdown in rules, configurations, and escalations that has a detrimental impact on an enterprises’ infrastructure.

Lack of communication can also make it hard for IT security admins to know how to escalate and prioritize issues, as well as prevents SecOps from upskilling. For example, junior analysts can only address about 30% of alerts today. The remainder of alerts require a higher skill set to remediate, a problem that’s only compounded by the lack of qualified cybersecurity talent. In fact, some estimates expect the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs to rise to 3.5 million by 2021, and because many SecOps tools today require significant experience to operate, communication and education will only become more critical.

Establishing Shared Visibility Between Teams

Now that we know the issues that can arise when SecOps and IT admins don’t communicate, let’s address some of the solutions and outcomes. It all starts with better, shared visibility. When each team has insight into what the other is working on, teams are no longer siloed, and less time is spent on alerts and false positives that frontline IT can handle rather than SecOps. This means that if an eventual hack or breach does occur, more time and effort can be spent on threat remediation in order to strengthen an enterprise’s endpoint environment.

Shared visibility extends into joint policy creation as well. When forming policies, if IT admins and SecOps provide their respective input, there is less of a chance of miscommunication or misconfiguration. Policy changes can be understood from the get-go by forming a holistic approach, with the necessary expertise and insights from both teams coming together to create an overarching endpoint security strategy that’s more secure.

SecOps and IT must also find a way to extend that visibility to new team members. In my experience, solving security architecture issues requires a two-pronged approach. First, the security industry should take more responsibility for designing products usable by both the most advanced security professionals and operational staff and analysts. But second, organizations must ensure that a lack of continuity at customer sites from staff rotations is maintained through documented policies to support product configurations. In other words, organizations must ensure the appropriate processes are in place to support the security tools they deploy. This historical knowledge matters because, anecdotally,I find that a significant number of escalations are addressable simply by reverting a customer environment back to default settings. New employees are unaware of this quick fix and therefore waste precious time and resources on unnecessary efforts.

Collaborating for True Endpoint Security

With these challenges in mind, we recommend the following steps.

  • Create visible, documented policies for all products and scenarios. This helps overcome a lack of communication, staff turnover, and the inability of products to integrate.
  • Conversely, seek integration and automation. And in fact, organizations are doing so, with over 70% pursuing increased automation in endpoint security, including automated detection and response.
  • Establish cross-functional collaboration in other ways. For example, require IT admins to flag threats to SecOps.
  • Review your policy book and guidelines quarterly so that the latest technology and processes can be effectively integrated into guidelines.

IT security admins and SecOps teams don’t have to — and shouldn’t — do their jobs alone. To cover all bases, they can leverage a multitude of endpoint security solutions with proactive, collaborative, and integrated technology built in. These solutions allow IT security admins and SecOps teams to focus their efforts elsewhere, such as on strategic projects, policies, and insights.

McAfee MVISION Endpoint and MVISION Mobile, for example, build machine learning (ML) algorithms and analysis into their architecture to help monitor and identify malicious behavior. Additionally, McAfee Endpoint Detection & Response combines real-time endpoint monitoring and data collection with rules-based automated response and analysis capabilities so that both IT security and SecOps can be involved in the process of fostering effective enterprise endpoint security in a way that makes both of their jobs easier.

With the proper visibility between IT security and SecOps teams, advanced security solutions not only bring an endpoint security strategy full circle but also allow for more time to be spent on collaboration and teamwork. An endpoint security strategy is only as strong as its weakest link – human, solution, or otherwise. Enterprises should ensure that their weakest link isn’t a vulnerable missing link between IT admins and SecOps.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

 

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Define Cloud Security – Is It the Endpoint, Your Data, or the Environment? https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/defining-cloud-security-is-it-the-endpoint-your-data-or-the-environment/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/defining-cloud-security-is-it-the-endpoint-your-data-or-the-environment/#comments Mon, 14 Oct 2019 14:30:30 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=97037

You’ve heard it once; you’ve heard it a hundred times – “secure the cloud.” But what does that phrase mean? On the surface, it’s easy to assume this phrase means using cloud-enabled security products. However, it’s much more than that. Cloud security is about securing the cloud itself through a combination of procedures, policies, and technologies […]

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You’ve heard it once; you’ve heard it a hundred times – “secure the cloud.” But what does that phrase mean? On the surface, it’s easy to assume this phrase means using cloud-enabled security products. However, it’s much more than that. Cloud security is about securing the cloud itself through a combination of procedures, policies, and technologies that work together to protect the cloud—from the endpoint to the data to the environment itself. A cloud security strategy must be all-encompassing, based on how data is monitored and managed across the environment. So, let’s examine how IT security teams can address common cloud challenges head-on, while at the same time establishing the right internal processes and adopting the necessary solutions in order to properly secure the cloud.

Cloud Security’s Top Challenges

As we enter a post-shadow IT world, security teams are now tasked with understanding and addressing a new set of challenges—those that can stem from a complex, modern-day cloud architecture. As the use of cloud services grows, it is critical to understand how much data now lives in the cloud. In fact, the amount of sensitive data stored in cloud-based files is only growing, currently standing at 21% after having increased 17% over the past two years. So it’s no wonder that threats targeting the cloud are growing, too: The average organization experiences 31.3 cloud-related security incidents each month, a 27.7% increase over the same period last year.

Frequently impacted by data breaches and DDoS attacks, cloud technology is no stranger to cyberthreats. However, the technology is also impacted by challenges unique to its makeup—such as system vulnerabilities and insecure user interfaces (UIs) and application programming interfaces (APIs), which can all lead to data loss. Insecure UIs and APIs are top challenges for the cloud, as the security and availability of general cloud services depends on the security of these UIs and APIs. If they’re insecure, functionalities such as provisioning, management, and monitoring can be impacted as a result. There are also bugs within cloud programs that can be used to infiltrate and take control of the system, disrupt service operations, and steal data, mind you. The challenge we see with data and workloads moving to the cloud is insufficient knowledge of developers on the evolution of cloud capabilities. We are finding misconfigurations to be one of the major contributors of data leaks and data breaches as well, meaning cloud configuration assessment is another best practice that IT should own. Another major source of cloud data loss? Improper identity, credential, and access management, which can enable unauthorized access to information via unprotected default installations.

The good news? To combat these threats, there are a few standard best practices IT teams can focus on to secure the modern-day cloud. First and foremost, IT should focus on controls and data management.

Security Starts with Process: Controls and Data Management

To start a cloud security strategy off on the right foot, the right controls for cloud architecture need to be in place. Cloud security controls provide protection against vulnerabilities and alleviate the impact of a malicious attack. By implementing the right set of controls, IT teams can establish a necessary baseline of measures, practices, and guidelines for an environment. These controls can range from deterrent and corrective to preventative and protective.

In tandem with controls, IT teams need to establish a process or system for continually monitoring the flow of data, since insight into data and how it is managed is vital to the success of any cloud security strategy. A solution such as McAfee Data Loss Prevention (DLP) can help organizations monitor data through the use of a management console or dashboard. This tool can help secure data by extending on-premises data loss prevention policies to the cloud for consistent DLP, protecting sensitive data wherever it lives, tracking user behavior, and more.

Solving for Visibility, Compliance, and Data Protection

When it comes to securing data in the cloud, visibility and compliance must be top of mind for IT teams as well. Teams need to gain visibility into the entirety of applications and services in use, as well as have proper insight into user activity to have a holistic view of an organization’s existing security posture. They also need to be able to identify sensitive data in the cloud in order to ensure data residency and compliance requirements are met.

That’s precisely why IT teams need to adopt an effective cloud access security broker (CASB) solution that can help address visibility and compliance issues head-on. What’s more, this type of solution will also help with data security and threat protection by enforcing encryption, tokenization, and access control, as well as detecting and responding to all types of cyberthreats impacting the cloud.

Bringing It All Together

By combining the right controls and data management processes with a CASB solution, security teams can protect the cloud on all levels. A CASB solution like McAfee MVISION Cloud protects data where it lives today, in the cloud. This CASB solution is a cloud-hosted software that sits between cloud service customers and cloud service providers to enforce security, compliance, and policies uniformly across all cloud assets, from SaaS to IaaS/PaaS. Plus, McAfee MVISION Cloud can help organizations extend security controls of their on-premises infrastructure to the cloud and beyond. To extend these controls, this solution detects, protects, and corrects. During detection, IT security teams gain complete visibility into data, context, and user behavior across all cloud services, users, and devices. When data leaves the cloud, McAfee MVISION Cloud applies persistent protection wherever it goes: in or outside the cloud. And when an error does occur, the solution takes real-time action deep within cloud services to correct policy violations due to human error and stops security threats. While McAfee MVISION Cloud protects the cloud itself, it’s also important to protect access to the cloud at the start, or the endpoint. An endpoint security solution, such as McAfee Endpoint Security, is also integral for safeguarding the cloud, since endpoints are a target for credential theft that leads to greater risk in the cloud environment.

In an ever-changing threat landscape, implementation of the proper controls and data management, with the addition of effective cloud security solutions, are the keys to a strong cloud security strategy. By taking into account and working to proactively protect the multitude of endpoints connected to the cloud, the amount of data stored in the cloud, and the cloud environment itself, IT security teams can help ensure the cloud is secure.

To learn more about cloud security and other enterprise cybersecurity topics, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

 

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Maintaining Effective Endpoint Security 201 https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/maintaining-effective-endpoint-security-201/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/maintaining-effective-endpoint-security-201/#respond Fri, 06 Sep 2019 15:00:41 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=96603

Today’s enterprises are faced with unique, modern-day issues. Many are focused on adopting more cloud-based services and reducing infrastructure footprint, all while the number of devices accessing the environment grows. This, in turn, requires security teams to create different levels of access, policies, and controls for users. Plus, as these businesses expand some unexpected security […]

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Today’s enterprises are faced with unique, modern-day issues. Many are focused on adopting more cloud-based services and reducing infrastructure footprint, all while the number of devices accessing the environment grows. This, in turn, requires security teams to create different levels of access, policies, and controls for users. Plus, as these businesses expand some unexpected security issues may arise, such as alert volume, lack of visibility, complicated management, and longer threat dwell times. To strike a balance between business objectives and a healthy security posture, IT teams can implement some of the tactics we recommended in our Effective Endpoint Security Strategy 101 blog, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), proper employee security training, and machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for predictive analysis. But with the threat landscape evolving every day, is there more these organizations can do to sustain an effective endpoint strategy while supporting enterprise expansion? Let’s take a look at how teams can bolster endpoint security strategy.

Managing the Many Vulnerabilities

As enterprises try to keep pace with the number of endpoints, as well as the threats and vulnerabilities that come with these devices, multiple levels of security need to be implemented to maintain and expand a sustainable security posture. One way for enterprise security teams to keep track of these vulnerabilities and threats is through the use of vulnerability management. This process involves the identification, classification, and prioritization of vulnerabilities when flaws arise within a system.

For vulnerability management to be successful, security teams must have full visibility into an endpoint environment. This awareness will help teams proactively mitigate and prevent the future exploitation of vulnerabilities. Plus, with endpoints always evolving and being added, a vulnerability management system is a necessity for expanding effective endpoint security.

Beware of Privilege Escalation

Due to the sheer number of endpoints being introduced to the enterprise environment, the possibility of a vulnerable endpoint increases. And with vulnerable endpoints creating gateways to important enterprise data, cybercriminals often attempt to exploit a bug or flaw in an endpoint system to gain elevated access to sensitive resources. This tactic is known as privilege escalation.

To thwart cybercriminals in their tracks and subvert privilege escalation attacks, security teams can employ the practice of least privilege. In other words, users are granted the least amount of privilege required to complete their job. That way, if hackers manage to get their hands on an exposed endpoint, they won’t be able to gain access to troves of corporate data. The threat of privilege escalation can also be solved through patches and added layers of security solutions at different stages of the endpoint.

Administering Enterprise Access

Who can access specific assets and resources within an enterprise is an important discussion to be had for any endpoint security strategy. Not all users should have access to all resources across the network and if some users are given too much access it can lead to increased exposure. This is where access management comes into play.

Maintaining a secure endpoint environment requires security teams to identify, track, and manage specific, authorized users’ access to a network or application. By creating differentiated levels of access across the board, teams can ensure they are prioritizing key stakeholders while still controlling the number of potential exposure points. Beyond monitoring accessibility, its critical security teams know where data is headed and are able to control the flow of information. The good news? Teams can rely on a solution such as McAfee Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to assist with this, as it can help security staff protect sensitive data on-premises, in the cloud, or at the endpoints.

Coaching Users on Passwords and Identity Management

Passwords are the first defense against cybercriminals. If a cybercriminal guesses a password, they have access to everything on that device – so the more complex and personalized a password is the better. Beyond encouraging complex password creation, it’s crucial security teams make single sign-on (SSO) or multifactor authentication a standard aspect of the user login process. These are easy-to-use tools that users can take advantage of, which help add more protective layers to a device.

Assessing the Risks

 As a security team, assessing the overall risk present in your organization’s current environment is a top priority. From checking for potential cyberthreats to monitoring and evaluating endpoints to ensure there are no exposures – its important teams do their due diligence and conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Teams need to make risk assessments a routine aspect of their overall security strategy, as new risks are always popping up. To do so in a proper and timely manner, better visibility is required, and teams should get into a habit of red teaming and leveraging automation for response and remediation. McAfee MVISION Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) can also help teams get ahead of modern threats with AI-guided investigations that surface relevant risks, as well as automate and remove the manual labor of gathering and analyzing evidence.

Once a risk assessment has been done, security teams must take immediate action on the results. After potential threats are identified and analyzed with the help of McAfee MVISION EDR, teams must work to correct any potential negative impact these risks may have on an enterprise, resources, individuals, or the endpoint environment. By leveraging a centralized management tool, enterprise teams can do just that — reducing alert noise, elevating critical events, and speeding up the ability to respond and harden endpoints when risks or areas of exposure are identified.

Utilizing Advanced Security Solutions

To cover all the bases, it is vital teams leverage multiple endpoint security solutions that have proactive technology built-in and are collaborative and integrative. Take McAfee MVISION Endpoint and MVISION Mobile for example, which both have machine learning algorithms and analysis built into their architecture to help monitor and identify malicious behavior. Additionally, McAfee Endpoint Security delivers centrally managed defenses, like machine learning analysis and endpoint detection, to protect systems with multiple, collaborative defense and automated responses.

Advanced security solutions bring an endpoint security strategy full circle. Take the time to research and then invest in technology that is suitable for your enterprise’s needs. Growth does not have to be hindered by security, in fact having the two work in tandem will ensure longevity and stability.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

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Don’t Silo Your Endpoint Security Roadmap https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/dont-silo-your-endpoint-security-roadmap/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/dont-silo-your-endpoint-security-roadmap/#respond Tue, 30 Jul 2019 17:00:31 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=96169

If there’s a gap you bridge it, if there’s a hole you plug it. These are simple musts that businesses have to follow – they need to right wrongs and adjust processes to create better outcomes. The same thing goes for the security teams tasked with safeguarding these organizations, who know they must always bridge […]

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If there’s a gap you bridge it, if there’s a hole you plug it. These are simple musts that businesses have to follow – they need to right wrongs and adjust processes to create better outcomes. The same thing goes for the security teams tasked with safeguarding these organizations, who know they must always bridge the gap between exposed and secure. These security teams know that in order to plug any holes they must at minimum apply standard endpoint security to their infrastructure. While most teams know one solution can’t be the be-all and end-all for their strategy, many are still slow to adopt new technologies to their defense strategy. Here’s why.

Outdated Adoption Mindsets

I meet a lot of security professionals that are aware a better mousetrap exists, but feel as though the pains of making a change outweigh the advantages of better detection or threat detail. I get it, I’m up against my own list of critical projects and nice-to-have things that are difficult to move to the top of the list. Maybe that’s why so many businesses are stating they intend to adopt next-gen technologies but are struggling with the expertise to move ahead with a product or deploy it.

When it comes to getting more tactical against the latest generation of threats that are designed to evade detection, the natural next step for these teams is to add a product like McAfee MVISION EDR. This type of product is top of mind for many right now, as 82% of IT leaders say they don’t have the visibility they need. As a threat hunting tool, EDR tells security teams how exactly threats entered an environment, what these threats did while inside, and how teams can pivot to action against them now and prevent similar attacks from happening again. The value of the EDR might be understood, but adopting it is usually hindered by pre-existing mindsets.

Many security professionals out there think of products, such as McAfee ENS and McAfee MVISION EDR as two separate entities. The same thing goes for solutions such as DLP and CASB. These teams often adopt one solution at a time, with the hope of eventually being able to collect them all one day. Compounding this issue, many fear they’re going to overwhelm existing staff with all the new training and education required for proper adoption. But therein lies the problem – these solutions shouldn’t be viewed as a burden or mutually exclusive, given accurate threat protection in today’s modern threat landscape is reliant on multiple success factors working together at the same time. Adoption should be holistic and simultaneous.

The Importance of Integration

Just like one size typically doesn’t fit all, one solution cannot address all threats. That means your defense strategy shouldn’t rely on just one defense or detection method to protect every user from every kind of threat. Therefore, security teams need to clear out old notions and start looking at solution adoption with the idea of integration and a platform that is sustainable for the long term, not just a product. Meaning, by achieving the right convergence of solutions, teams will establish a holistic security posture for their organization, ultimately positioning it for success.
So, what does this blend of solutions look like? To cover all the bases, organizations should look toward adopting solutions designed with collaboration and integration in mind. Take McAfee’s EPP for example, which is built with the future in mind. Our cloud-first MVISION products are designed to help you transform your IT environment. Specifically, our EDR solution is designed to meet you where you are with AI-guided investigations, detecting and remediating both the opportunistic and targeted attacks.

The more defense solutions can work together, the more actions can be automated and burdens can be reduced for the IT staff. So, instead of making your buying decision in order to fill a gap in today’s environment, make sure you buy with tomorrow’s gaps in mind. Focus on how the product you buy today will work or not work with the purchases you make in the future. From there, security will move beyond a simple must, becoming second nature.

 

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

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FaceApp: The App That Ages Your Employees and Your CIO https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/faceapp-the-app-that-ages-your-employees-and-your-cio/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/faceapp-the-app-that-ages-your-employees-and-your-cio/#respond Mon, 22 Jul 2019 22:11:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=95992

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the defining characteristics of the modern mobile workforce but it’s also a weakness many businesses aren’t paying enough attention to. It’s likely many corporate BYOD users  have downloaded a hot new app named FaceApp. An AI face editor, this app is rising in popularity all thanks to […]

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is one of the defining characteristics of the modern mobile workforce but it’s also a weakness many businesses aren’t paying enough attention to. It’s likely many corporate BYOD users  have downloaded a hot new app named FaceApp. An AI face editor, this app is rising in popularity all thanks to the FaceApp Challenge — where people leverage the app’s old age filter to appear elderly in photos and post the results on social media. However, the application has also drummed up some discussions around its current privacy permissions,

Sharing More Than Just a Laugh

Though the company has stated no malicious intent, it’s still questionable if access to other data has been given without permission from these users. In any event, the scenario is one that keeps security practitioners up at night. Unsecured mobile devices are an easy entry point to spread malware, obtain credentials and gain access to corporate systems that contain even more sensitive data.

From FaceApp to Fending Off Threats

With apps creating gateways to corporate data, employees need to ensure all their devices have an extra layer of security added. To safeguard an organization’s network, lock down any corporate data, and ensure your CIO can get a decent night’s rest, teams should adopt an agile and intelligent security solution which treats mobile devices like any other endpoint. McAfee MVISION Mobile provides an always-on defense for iOS and Android devices and analyzes deviations surrounding device behavior to make determinations about indicators of compromise to accurately identify advanced threats. For those who are transitioning to a more tactical threat hunting role and exploring Endpoint Detection and Response tools (EDR) ignoring mobile security or using an approach that doesn’t integrate with endpoint platforms and EDR tools will pose another problem – a window of opportunity for threat actors. Mobile security is more than just a checkbox for an elevated approach to security. Like a good soldier on the frontlines that notifies his commander of the enemy’s approach, mobile security needs to elevate alerts to the SecurityOperations team. EDR that relies on manual correlation of mobile defense alerts or observations will extend the opportunity for an attacker to move from the mobile device to more critical systems.

Before the next FaceApp challenge emerges, I encourage you to evaluate your mobile device coverage. Is it automating actions and moving quickly when malicious apps or connections attempt to reach your corporate network through a mobile device? Does your current approach to mobile security elevate critical events to your security team? If not, it might be time to consider a more integrated approach that elevates your security posture with the insights to identify the next potential threat before it becomes a headline.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

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Endpoint’s Role in Enterprise Data Protection https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/endpoints-role-in-enterprise-data-protection/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/endpoints-role-in-enterprise-data-protection/#respond Tue, 25 Jun 2019 15:00:34 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=95703

Data is a big deal. As the foundation of a modern-day business, data drives organizations’ everyday operations. It provides insights, indicates trends, and informs business decisions. This means securing an organization’s data is of the utmost importance, especially when it comes to defending against attacks emerging out of today’s threat landscape. And though there are […]

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Data is a big deal. As the foundation of a modern-day business, data drives organizations’ everyday operations. It provides insights, indicates trends, and informs business decisions. This means securing an organization’s data is of the utmost importance, especially when it comes to defending against attacks emerging out of today’s threat landscape. And though there are standards that have been published to protect customer data and data context, these rules are still incomplete and imperfect, given any published best practice that works for organizations may also create immediate targets for an attacker to bypass. Let’s examine some key threats that compromise enterprise data, and the role endpoint security plays in safeguarding that information.

Means to an End

For many cybercriminals, data is the end goal and endpoint devices are the avenue for getting there. Whether it’s through a compromised app, credential theft, malware, ransomware, or a phishing attack – cyberattacks are consistently testing enterprises in an attempt to find a weakness. That’s because the endpoint acts as the ultimate gateway to critical enterprise data. If compromised, it could cause ripple effects on an organization’s day-to-day functions, causing downtime or a longer attack dwell time, permitting cybercriminals to harvest more sensitive data.

The good news? Doors work both ways. Just as endpoints can create gateways to important data, they can also stop cybercrime in its tracks, if properly secured.

Keeping the Door Locked

The best option for safeguarding your data is securing it at the start – the endpoint. By implementing agile and adaptive endpoint security on every device in your organization, enterprises can ensure data stays locked down. The key is leveraging endpoint solutions that go beyond the more traditional deterministic security feature like anti-malware and include predictive technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This type of technology can quickly sift through security incidents in order to identify the real threats posed to endpoint devices, which helps security teams automatically reduce the time required to address threats. Security teams should also ensure they leverage endpoint security solutions that provide increased, centralized visibility into all of their organization’s devices. This kind of visibility is crucial for not only rapid detection, but also to ensure user behavior is being tracked and policies are being enforced.

For security teams aiming to stop modern-day cyberthreats at the start, adopt security solutions such as McAfee MVISION Mobile and McAfee MVISION Endpoint, which have machine learning algorithms and analysis built into their architecture to help identify malicious behavior and attack patterns affecting endpoint devices. To add to that, teams should also leverage solutions such as McAfee DLP Endpoint, which empowers IT staff with increased visibility, giving them knowledge of what all their users are doing at all times.  With this kind of technology in play, enterprise data won’t be anyone else’s business other than the organization it belongs to.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business.

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Endpoint’s Relevance in the World of Cloud https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/endpoints-relevance-in-the-world-of-cloud/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/endpoints-relevance-in-the-world-of-cloud/#respond Tue, 21 May 2019 15:00:50 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=95283

Businesses everywhere are looking to cloud solutions to help expedite processes and improve their data storage strategy. All anyone is talking about these days is the cloud, seemingly dwindling the conversation around individual devices and their security. However, many don’t realize these endpoint devices act as gateways to the cloud, which makes their security more […]

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Businesses everywhere are looking to cloud solutions to help expedite processes and improve their data storage strategy. All anyone is talking about these days is the cloud, seemingly dwindling the conversation around individual devices and their security. However, many don’t realize these endpoint devices act as gateways to the cloud, which makes their security more pressing than ever. In fact, there is a unique relationship between endpoint security and cloud security, making it crucial for businesses to understand how this dynamic affects information security overall. Let’s explore exactly how these two are intertwined and how exactly endpoint security can move the needle when it comes to securing the cloud.

Cloudier Skies

Between public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and now multi-cloud, the cloud technology industry is massive and showing zero signs of slowing down. Adoption is rampant, with the cloud market expected to achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.5%, with public cloud services spending reaching $370 billion in 2022. With cloud adoption drawing so much attention from businesses, it’s as important as ever that enterprises keep security top of mind.

This need for security is only magnified by the latest trend in cloud tech – the multi-cloud strategy. With modern-day businesses having such a diverse set of needs, many have adopted either a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy in order to effectively organize and store a plethora of data – 74 percent of enterprises, as a matter of fact. This has many security vendors and personnel scrambling to adjust security architecture to meet the needs of the modern cloud strategy. And though all businesses must have an effective security plan in place that compliments their cloud architecture, these security plans should always still consider how these clouds can become compromised through individual gateways, or, endpoint devices.

The Relationship Between Endpoint and Cloud

The cloud may be a virtual warehouse for your data, but every warehouse has a door or two. Endpoint devices act as doors to the cloud, as these mobile phones, computers, and more all connect to whichever cloud architecture an organization has implemented. That means that one endpoint device, if misused or mishandled, could create a vulnerable gateway to the cloud and therefore cause it to become compromised. Mind you – endpoint devices are not only gateways to the cloud, but also the last line of defense protecting an organization’s network in general.

Endpoint is not only relevant in the world of cloud – it has a direct impact on an organization’s cloud – and overall – security. A compromised endpoint can lead to an exposed cloud, which could make for major data loss. Businesses need to therefore put processes into place that outline what assets users put where and state any need-to-knows they should have top of mind when using the cloud. Additionally, it’s equally important every business ensures they make the correct investment in cloud and endpoint security solutions that perfectly complement these processes.

Ensuring Security Strategy Is Holistic

As the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, we at McAfee understand how important the connection is between endpoint and cloud and how vital it is businesses ensure both are secured. That’s why we’ve built out a holistic security strategy, offering both cloud security solutions and advanced endpoint products that help an organization cover all its bases.

If your business follows a holistic approach to security – covering every endpoint through to every cloud – you’ll be able to prevent data exposures from happening. From there, you can have peace of mind about endpoint threats and focus on reaping the benefits of a smart cloud strategy.

To learn more about our approach to endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business, and read more in our latest paper:

 

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Effective Endpoint Security Strategy 101 https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/effective-endpoint-security-strategy-101/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/effective-endpoint-security-strategy-101/#respond Wed, 24 Apr 2019 15:00:13 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94990

Every organization wants to expedite processes, reduce costs, and bolster their staff. And in today’s modern digital world, these objectives are largely attainable, but can occasionally come with some unwarranted side effects. With all the devices an organization uses to achieve its business’ goals, things can occasionally get lost in the shuffle, and cybersecurity issues […]

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Every organization wants to expedite processes, reduce costs, and bolster their staff. And in today’s modern digital world, these objectives are largely attainable, but can occasionally come with some unwarranted side effects. With all the devices an organization uses to achieve its business’ goals, things can occasionally get lost in the shuffle, and cybersecurity issues can emerge as a result. Balancing your business’ objectives while ensuring your organization’s data is secure can be a challenge for many. But that challenge can be assuaged by addressing cyberthreats at the start – the endpoint. Adopting an effective endpoint protection strategy is crucial for a modern-day organization and defines a strong security posture. In fact, the importance of endpoint security has even caught the eye of venture capitalist firms, who are investing billions a year in the cybersecurity sector. But what exactly are the components of a successful endpoint security strategy? Let’s break it down.

Ensure the Basics Are in Place

If there’s one thing my previous experience with consumer security has taught me, it’s that the proliferation of connected devices is showing no signs of slowing. The same goes for the connected devices leveraged by businesses day in and day out. Organizations often give multiple devices to their workers that will be used to communicate and contain crucial business-specific information. These devices are used by employees that go just about anywhere and do just about everything, so it’s important businesses equip their people with the tools they need to protect these devices and the data they safehouse.

The first important tool – VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks. The modern workforce is a mobile one, and professionals everywhere are carrying their devices with them as they travel and connect to public Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are not typically the most secure, and VPNs can help ensure those mobile devices connect securely to avoid potentially exposing data.

These devices should always have strong authentication as well, which acts as the first line of defense for any security issues that arise. Remind everyone that their devices should be locked with a strong and complex password that acts as the gatekeeper for their device. That way, the company will be protected if that individual endpoint device becomes lost or stolen.

Empower Your Employees to Do Their Part

One of the most important tools to equip your employees with is proper security training. In order to keep endpoint devices safe and networks secure, employees should undergo regular security training sessions. This training should keep everyone up-to-date on the latest threats, the necessary precautions they need to take when browsing the web, and how their individual devices can impact an organization’s network.

One main point to hit upon during employee security training – the importance of updates. Updating your device software can feel like a menial task, but the gravitas behind the ask cannot be understated. Outdated software was the cause of the WannaCry global cyberattack and will be a differentiator moving forward for when attacks do come after individual endpoint devices.

Make Predictive Technology an Essential

Now, in order to anticipate major cyberattacks like WannaCry, adopting predictive technology for your endpoint security strategy is of the utmost importance, as these innovations can be used to guide your incident response strategy. Take it from hundreds of IT professionals, who in a recent SANS survey expressed that predictive technologies – such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) – are required in order to go from already knowing bad elements to focusing on identification of abnormal behavior.

ML and AI technology are also particularly crucial for visibility. This technology can empower security teams to gain insight into their endpoint detection and response systems, which automatically reduces the time required to address threats. Therefore, businesses need to have this predictive technology in place to anticipate and quickly gain insight into all threats affecting their organization’s network.

Adopt Innovative Technology

For those unsure where to start when it comes to AI and ML, there’s good news – there are actually endpoint security solutions out there that have predictive technology included in their build. Solutions such as McAfee MVISION Mobile and McAfee MVISION Endpoint have machine learning algorithms and analysis built into their architecture to help identify malicious behavior and attack patterns affecting endpoint devices.

Innovative solutions such as these will act as the cherry on top of your endpoint security strategy. So, it is crucial to take the time to invest in the right technology, irrespective of the nature of your enterprise. By creating the right combination of process and product, your organization’s network will be secure, and you won’t have to pick between business growth and a healthy security posture.

To learn more about effective endpoint security strategy, be sure to follow us @McAfee and @McAfee_Business, and read more in our latest paper: Five Ways to Rethink Your Endpoint Protection Strategy.

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From Mobile and ISP to Endpoint Engineering: Undergoing a Role Transition in the Security Industry https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/from-mobile-and-isp-to-endpoint-engineering-undergoing-a-role-transition-in-the-security-industry/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/enterprise/endpoint-security/from-mobile-and-isp-to-endpoint-engineering-undergoing-a-role-transition-in-the-security-industry/#respond Tue, 26 Mar 2019 15:00:36 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=94784

The technology around us is constantly changing, and cybersecurity practices are evolving to match these new innovations. As the cybersecurity landscape shifts to meet the needs presented by new technology, opportunities arise for cybersecurity professionals to step into new roles – an experience I recently underwent myself. I’ve recently shifted from McAfee’s Mobile and ISP […]

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The technology around us is constantly changing, and cybersecurity practices are evolving to match these new innovations. As the cybersecurity landscape shifts to meet the needs presented by new technology, opportunities arise for cybersecurity professionals to step into new roles – an experience I recently underwent myself. I’ve recently shifted from McAfee’s Mobile and ISP Business Unit to our Enterprise Endpoint Engineering team, a transition that has given me the opportunity to leverage what I’ve learned in the industry and step forward as a leading woman in tech.

Through this process, I’ve seen first-hand how growth opportunities within the cybersecurity field are beneficial for both individuals and the future of the security industry as well. For example, my transition allows me to apply my past experience and knowledge to a new area of security. Previously, I specialized in engineering solutions that protected mobile, IoT, and smart home devices. However, with my transition into this new role, I am still protecting individual endpoint devices, but rather in a new type of environment — an organization’s network.

Just like the ever-growing number of IoT devices connecting to users’ home networks, endpoint devices are popping up everywhere in corporate networks these days. As we add more endpoint devices to corporate networks, there is a growing need to ensure their security.  Endpoint security, or endpoint protection, are systems that protect computers and other devices on a network or in the cloud from security threats. End-user devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop PCs are all classified as endpoints, and these devices are all now rapidly connecting to an organization’s network with every employee, partner, and client that enters the building. That’s why it’s imperative companies prioritize a robust and agile endpoint security strategy so that all of their network users can connect with confidence. Similar to securing all the personal devices on a home network, it’s a sizable challenge to secure all corporate endpoints. And my new team, the McAfee Enterprise Endpoint Engineering group, is here to help with exactly that.

Leading consumer engineering taught me how to make security simple for a home user’s consumption. How to protect what matters to a user without them being experts on the threat landscape or security vulnerabilities, security breaches and campaigns around device, data, cloud and network. This is something I plan to bring to the new role. Leading a business unit focused on delivering security through mobile carriers and ISPs taught me the strength of bringing together an ecosystem both on technology and the channel to solve end users’ security needs in a holistic way. That ecosystem view is another that I bring to this role, besides leading engineering from the lens of growing the business.

This transition is not only exciting from a personal perspective but also because it is a testament to the progress that is being seen across the cybersecurity industry as a whole. There’s a lot to be said about the vast opportunities that the cybersecurity field has to offer, especially for women looking to build a career in the field. Cybercriminals and threat actors often come from diverse backgrounds. The wider the variety of people we have defending our networks, the better our chances of mitigating cyberthreats. From there, we’ll put ourselves in the best position possible to create change – not only within the industry but within the threat landscape as a whole.

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Verizon Teams Up with McAfee to Secure Today’s Connected Home https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/verizon-teams-up-with-mcafee/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/verizon-teams-up-with-mcafee/#respond Tue, 08 Jan 2019 23:48:57 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93670

Few fields and industries change as rapidly as those in the technology sector. This fast-moving, adaptable and growing sector creates new applications, new devices, and new efficiencies designed to make our everyday lives easier — sometimes in ways we’ve never imagined. But more devices and applications, from a security standpoint, means cybercriminals could have more […]

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Few fields and industries change as rapidly as those in the technology sector. This fast-moving, adaptable and growing sector creates new applications, new devices, and new efficiencies designed to make our everyday lives easier — sometimes in ways we’ve never imagined. But more devices and applications, from a security standpoint, means cybercriminals could have more opportunities to take advantage of flaws to conduct attacks. Additionally, the rapid growth in both software and hardware means today’s consumers are tasked with securing a plethora of personal devices.

This is not a sustainable path to a secure today’s technology landscape, one that’s continually growing and changing with each new addition. If we are going to continue to build a robust future, one including the rich potential inherent in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, we need a dynamic security solution that scales to meet the needs of modern-day society.

And that need is growing. According to a study from Market Research Future, the IoT market is set to potentially reach $124 billion in value by 2023 — only five years from now. Plus, Gartner predicts that there will be over 20 billion smart devices by 2020. That number is likely to grow, too.

That’s why we’ve worked with Verizon to launch Home Network Protection (HNP), a comprehensive security platform powered by McAfee Secure Home Platform, which has been designed to help safeguard consumers’ home networks. It does so through a robust, secure router designed to shield both traditional and newer IoT devices from malicious websites. It’s a proactive approach designed to keep consumer devices as safe as possible.

Customers using Fios by Verizon, a 100 percent fiber-optic network, and the Fios Quantum Gateway router can use HNP to secure their internet-connected devices, including smart cameras, baby monitors, television sets, and thermostats.

This is a massive milestone for consumer security in today’s digital age. Through a single provider, millions of consumers can access seamless protection from the latest threats — making modern conveniences easier to secure.

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Ghosts of Botnets Past, Present, and Future https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/ghosts-of-botnets-past-present-and-future/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/ghosts-of-botnets-past-present-and-future/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 22:49:28 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=93244

‘Twas the morning of October 21st, and all through the house many IoT devices were stirring, including a connected mouse. Of course, this wasn’t the night before Christmas, but rather the morning of Dyn — the 2016 DDoS attack on the service provider that took the entire East Coast offline for a few hours. The […]

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‘Twas the morning of October 21st, and all through the house many IoT devices were stirring, including a connected mouse. Of course, this wasn’t the night before Christmas, but rather the morning of Dyn — the 2016 DDoS attack on the service provider that took the entire East Coast offline for a few hours. The root of the attack: botnets, AKA unsecured IoT devices that were enslaved by Mirai malware. And though this attack made history back in 2016, botnet attacks and the manipulation of vulnerable IoT devices have shown no signs of slowing since. To explore how these attacks have evolved over time, let’s examine the past, present, and future of botnets.

The Past

Any internet-connected device could potentially become a botnet. A botnet is an aggregation of connected devices, which could include computers, mobile devices, IoT devices, and more that have been infected and thereby under the control of one malware variant. The owners of these devices are typically unaware their technology has been infected and thereby under the control of the malware author.

This infection and enslavement process came to a powerful fruition on that fateful October morning, as thousands of devices were manipulated by Mirai malware and transformed into botnets for cybercriminals’ malicious scheme. Cybercriminals used this botnet army to construct one of the largest DDoS attacks in recent history on DNS provider Dyn, which temporarily knocked major sites such as Twitter, Github, and Etsy offline.

The Present

Now, the Dyn attack is arguably one of the most infamous in all of security history. But that doesn’t mean the attacks stop there. Fast forward to 2018, and botnets are still just as prominent, if not more. Earlier in the year, we saw Satori emerge, which even borrowed code from Mirai, as well as Hide N Seek (HNS), which has managed to build itself up to 24,000 bots since January 10th.

What’s more — DDoS attacks, which are largely driven by botnets, have also showed no signs of slowing this year. Just take the recent WordPress attack for example, which actually involved an army of over 20,000 botnets attacking sites across the web.

The Future

Botnets don’t just have a past and present — they likely have a future as well. That’s because cybercriminals favor the potency of this ‘infect and enslave’ tactic, so much so that they’re trying to spread it far and wide. Turns out, according to one report, you can even rent an IoT botnet, as one Dark Web advertisement displayed a 50,000-device botnet for rent for a two-week duration to conduct one-hour attacks a rate of $3000 – $4000.

The good news is — the cybersecurity industry is preparing for the future of botnet attacks as well. In fact, we’ve engineered technology designed to fight back against the nature of insecure IoT devices — such as our Secure Home Platform solution.

However, a lot of the botnet attacks can be stopped by users themselves if they implement strong security practices from start. This means changing the default passwords on any new IoT device you get, keeping any and all software up-to-date, always using a firewall to detect unusual behavior, and implementing comprehensive security software to ensure that all your computers and devices have protection.

If users everywhere implement the right processes and products from the start, botnet attacks may eventually become a thing of the past, and won’t ever be part of the present again.

To learn more about IoT device security and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Cyberbullying’s Impact on Both Society and Security https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/cyberbullyings-impact-society-and-security/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/cyberbullyings-impact-society-and-security/#respond Fri, 07 Dec 2018 11:56:50 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92936

In my last piece, I broke down the who, what, and how of cyberbullying, as most people are unaware of how the problem actually takes a variety of forms. With multiple types of cyberbullies and methods for digital bullying impacting kids today, the phenomenon’s effect on society is nothing short of powerful. In fact, according […]

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In my last piece, I broke down the who, what, and how of cyberbullying, as most people are unaware of how the problem actually takes a variety of forms. With multiple types of cyberbullies and methods for digital bullying impacting kids today, the phenomenon’s effect on society is nothing short of powerful. In fact, according to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying. The problem affects many and has many ramifications, both on society and the way we approach security. Let’s take a look.

Side Effects of Cyberbullying

The victims of cyberbullying will likely never view the internet the same way again, as their digital identities could be potentially damaged by aggressive online attacks. If subject to cyberbullying, it’s likely a victim’s online identity will reshape entirely.

But beyond that, the most blatant and concerning effect of cyberbullying is how it can impact the victim’s mental health. Faced with a constant barrage of insults and harassment, the victims of cyberbullying often grapple with negative thoughts, insecurity, and even depression after their attacks occur. In fact, according to Penn State, 30% of individuals who were cyberbullied turned toward self-harming behaviors and began having suicidal thoughts.

The digital impact not only extends to the mental sphere, but to the physical one too. Beyond changing someone’s digital identity and mental health state, cyberbullying can also cause kids to change schools and families to relocate. 

Securing Both the Digital and the Physical

With cyberbullying’s impact extending so far past the digital plane, that means it also changes the way we approach securing innocent internet users everywhere from cyberbullying. But with cyberbullying giving old schoolyard bullies a new playing field, we’re all now faced with the conundrum – how do you prevent both the digital and physical ramifications of the issue?

Now, it can be challenging to prevent cyberbullying from having mental and physical effects on victims. For parents whose kids have been subject to cyberbullying, there are quite a few hotlines and online resources available. Additionally, my previous blog outlined a few talking points parents can cover off in order to weave cybersecurity into their family’s dialogue.

As for the digital, there are a handful of tools consumers can equip themselves with set up preventative measures and secure their family’s devices from malicious online activity. Family safety solutions like McAfee Safe Family can help parents set rules and time limits for apps and websites, as well as see what their kids are doing online. There are also tools like McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help prevent kids from entering any sites where malicious characters or content live.

For parents, educators, or even law enforcement, it can be a struggle to comprehend the issues that stem from cyberbullying, let alone have effective means to deal with it. Accurate prevention is possible, but there doesn’t seem to be enough tools, methods, or measures to get there yet.

Therefore, we must all step up and look into the right research and technology required to stop cyberbullying. Only then will both the digital and physical worlds be free of the effects of these nasty online bullies.

To learn more about family safety and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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The Who, What, and How of Cyberbullying https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/the-who-what-and-how-of-cyberbullying/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/the-who-what-and-how-of-cyberbullying/#respond Wed, 21 Nov 2018 17:35:07 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92813

The internet has allowed society to stay connected in more ways than ever before. We can speak to strangers across the globe, connect with loved ones in an instant, and share our lives publicly. As much as the internet has connected us in positive, eye-opening ways, its interactive nature has also created a new problem […]

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The internet has allowed society to stay connected in more ways than ever before. We can speak to strangers across the globe, connect with loved ones in an instant, and share our lives publicly. As much as the internet has connected us in positive, eye-opening ways, its interactive nature has also created a new problem for active users everywhere – cyberbullying. Though the problem is becoming all too common, many out there don’t fully understand the ins and outs of cyberbullying. Let’s take a deep dive into the phenomenon.

What is Cyberbullying

Just like it sounds, cyberbullying is when bullies take their insults and ill will to the internet. According to StopBullying.gov, “Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.” The key objective of cyberbullying is to embarrass the subject of the attack, though sometimes the bully can view the act as justified revenge or simply non-intentional.

Types of Cyberbullies

Evolved from the classic schoolyard bullies of old, these cyberbullies can actually take a variety of forms depending on their attack vector and intent. In fact, there are said to be four types of cyberbullies: the Vengeful Angel, the Power Hungry Cyberbully, Revenge of the Nerds/Inadvertent Cyberbully, and Mean Girls. The Vengeful Angel bullies in order to protect the weak/other victims, and often take the action to protect a loved or friend. The Power Hungry archetype, however, is just a nasty, unkind person who wants to display dominance and control over others. Then there’s the Inadvertent Cyberbully, who are usually the ones getting bullied online or in real life and are typically trying to enact some form of justice or revenge anonymously from the web. Mean Girls are the opposite – and take their online actions in order to impress a group of friends or gain social status.

Cyberbullying Methods

Not only is there a variety in the kind of bullies across the web, but also a plethora of types of cyberbullying techniques these meanies use to bother their victims. First and foremost, there’s Harassment, which involves repeated, offensive messages sent to a victim by a bully on some type of online medium. These messages can be rude, personal, and even threatening, with one recent example emerging between two wives of professional hockey players. Similar to harassment is Flaming – an online fight conducted via emails, social media messages, chat rooms, you name it.

Then there are very targeted attacks, named Exclusion and Outing. With Exclusion, cyberbullies select one individual to single out. Exclusion is a popular method, with examples popping up everywhere, from high students in Iowa to well-known celebrities. With Outing, these harassers share private information, photos, and videos of a single person to humiliate them online. There’s also the anonymous angle, AKA Masquerading, where a cyberbully creates a fake online identity to belittle, harass, and degrade their victim – which a nurse in New Zealand was a victim of for a whopping 5 years.

Next Steps for Both Parents and Kids

Typically, cyberbullying is a common occurrence amongst teens who are navigating the trials and tribulations of middle school and high school. But that doesn’t mean its exclusive to teens, and that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps parents and kids alike can do to stop cyberbullying in its tracks.

If you’re the subject of cyberbullying, the first thing you need to do is block the bully. Then, make sure you collect evidence – take screenshots, print the proof, do whatever you can do have material to back up your claim. It depends on the type of cyberbullying at work, but you can also use the internet to your advantage and look up relevant resources/hotlines/support to aid with your issue.

If you’re a parent, the most important thing is communication. Make yourself available as a resource and remind your kids that they can tell you anything that’s happening in their online world. Beyond that, continuously weave cybersecurity into your family discussions. Remind kids of the simple steps they can take to be safe online, and make sure they know when to flag a cyberbully or online scheme.

There are also technical avenues you can take to protect your kid online. Look into solutions that will help you monitor your family’s online interactions, such as McAfee Safe Family. This solution, for instance, can help you set rules and time limits for apps and websites and see what your kids are up to at a glance. Of course, these solutions are not the be-all and end-all for stopping cyberbullying, but they can help.

Now, there’s still a lot more research that has to be done to fully understand the cyberbullying problem society is faced with. So as this problem continues to evolve, so must the research, solutions, and regulations that will be created to combat the issue. With the right proactive action, people everywhere can stand up to cyberbullies.

To learn more about family safety and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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A New Security Age Needs a New Approach to Security https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/new-security-age-approach/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/new-security-age-approach/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 17:34:35 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92545 Security evolves to meet the needs of the age. Keys, for example, were created to secure homes and possessions. Encryption, the elements of which stretch back for thousands of years, filled the need to secure messages over a long distance. Security – as both a concept and an industry — is relatively simple to understand […]

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Security evolves to meet the needs of the age. Keys, for example, were created to secure homes and possessions. Encryption, the elements of which stretch back for thousands of years, filled the need to secure messages over a long distance. Security – as both a concept and an industry — is relatively simple to understand but can be difficult to execute, and execute well. It seems, especially these days, that there’s no end to the stream of devices in need of securing — from traditional exposure points like computers and websites to newly internet-connected devices like refrigerators. But with these new devices comes new challenges – and new security strategy must emerge as a result.

At first, consumers protected their devices with passwords, which continue to be used to this day. Then, as the internet built out, early cybercriminals realized they could send messages to computers that would collect passwords, giving them access to a personal computer. This, of course, is a virus, also known as malware and we collectively responded to it with antivirus programs.

But two new developments in technology have upended the equation. First, the miniaturization of processors, which has led to a massive boom in computing devices. Second, the rapid adoption of wireless technology, which has created a nearly always-on environment with almost various paths to connect to the internet. The combination of these two developments has given us the Internet of Things (IoT).

Now, we’re always surrounded by digital devices — a trend that’s likely to continue given the accumulation of technology over time, and with these devices we leave a trail of data everywhere we go. To secure this personal data, security has to evolve. To us at McAfee, these needs can be broken out into four key concepts for consumers:

• Identity
• Privacy
• Data
• Anonymity

To secure these four facets, we recognize the need for advanced security that doesn’t get in the way of our use of technology. As a leader in the security industry, we’re working with partners and consumers to create a seamless security experience that enables users today to fearlessly embrace new technological developments and connect with confidence. Such an experience, however, requires a new approach, one designed to protect today’s IoT environments and keep its users safe and secure without impeding on functionality. At McAfee, we’re working hard to provide you with a superior, easy-to-use platform that seamlessly protects you and your family’s data and devices.

When it comes to protecting your devices, and your privacy, in this day and age, it pays to stay one step ahead. To learn more about consumer security and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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The Connection Between IoT and Consumers’ Physical Health https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/iot-consumer-health/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/iot-consumer-health/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 18:22:21 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=92127 When we think about how technology impacts our daily lives, we don’t really notice it unless it’s a big-picture concept. In fact, there are many areas where technology plays an outsized impact on our lives — and we hardly notice it at all. Traffic lights can be controlled remotely, thermostats can automatically warm or chill […]

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When we think about how technology impacts our daily lives, we don’t really notice it unless it’s a big-picture concept. In fact, there are many areas where technology plays an outsized impact on our lives — and we hardly notice it at all. Traffic lights can be controlled remotely, thermostats can automatically warm or chill your home based on what season it is. The truth is, these small individual facets add up to a larger whole: the Internet of Things or IoT. IoT applications are endless, but can sometimes be insecure. Imagine if that were the case when it comes to the IoT devices designed to aid with our personal health.

IoT and our physical health are more related than many of us think, and their connection has led to revolutionary, preventative health care. Smartwatches monitor our overall health and fitness level thanks to miniaturized gyroscopes and heart rate monitors. This information can and has been used to warn people of impending heart attacks — giving them enough time to contact emergency services for help. Implants, such as pacemakers, can monitor a patient from afar, giving doctors a detailed analysis of their condition. These devices have advanced modern-day health care for the better, but their design can occasionally contain vulnerabilities that may expose users to a cyberattack.First, let’s consider the smartwatch. It’s a convenient tool that aids us in monitoring our daily well-being. But the data it collects could be compromised through a variety of attacks. For example, Fitbit suffered a minor breach in 2016, resulting in cybercriminals trying to scam the company’s refund system. In another example, Strava, a social network for athletes, saw its users suffer a spate of thefts — a potential consequence of sharing GPS coordinates from their IoT device.

Alternatively, flaws found in implants, such as pacemakers, cochlear and others can be leveraged by cybercriminals to conduct attacks that impact our physical well-being. That’s because many implants today can be remotely manipulated, potentially giving cybercriminals the tools they need to cause a patient physical harm. For example, a recent study from academic researchers at the Catholic University of Leuven found neurostimulators, brain implants designed to help monitor and personalize treatments for people living with Parkinson’s disease, are vulnerable to remote attack. If an attack were successful, a cybercriminal could prevent a patient from speaking or moving.

Remember, these IoT implants still do a lot more good than harm, as they give medical professionals unparalleled insights into a patient’s overall condition and health. They could also help design better treatments in the future. However, in order to be able to reap their benefits in a safe way, users just need to make sure they take proactive security steps before implementing them.

Before introducing an IoT device for health care into your life, make sure you take the time to do your research. Look up the device in question and its manufacturer to see if the device had any prior breaches, and the manufacturer’s actions or responses to that. Speak with your doctor about the security standards around the IoT implant, as well. Ask if its security has been tested, how it’s been tested and how an implant can be updated to patch any security-related issues. After all, technology is becoming a more significant part of our lives — we owe it to ourselves to secure it so we can enjoy the benefits it brings to the table.

To learn more about securing your IoT devices from cyberattacks, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Together is Power: Why McAfee Partnered With British Telecom Group https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/together-is-power-why-mcafee-partnered-with-british-telecom-group/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/together-is-power-why-mcafee-partnered-with-british-telecom-group/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:52:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91873 Cybersecurity threats are growing in both number and strength day by day, making it almost impossible for any one person or organization to maintain a secure environment. This threat is potent, often indiscriminate, and puts both organizations and consumers at risk. Protection, therefore, requires an equally powerful and robust response. But building a strong response […]

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Cybersecurity threats are growing in both number and strength day by day, making it almost impossible for any one person or organization to maintain a secure environment. This threat is potent, often indiscriminate, and puts both organizations and consumers at risk. Protection, therefore, requires an equally powerful and robust response.

But building a strong response to modern cybersecurity threats requires a concerted and distributed effort. That’s why we’ve partnered with British Telecom Group (BT), one of the largest telecommunications companies in the United Kingdom, to provide a comprehensive security solution that helps BT Broadband customers protect themselves against viruses with McAfee as the underlying cybersecurity technology.

The shift to the focus on security was due in part to a recent survey BT conducted to customers, asking about their digital landscape and what concerns they have over the future. A significant portion of those who participated in the survey (60 percent) said they see the value in cybersecurity protection and would recommend the service.

That’s reassuring for us at McAfee to hear, but it underlines the point that folks around the world are waking up to the need to join forces, orchestrate, and fight against cyberattacks. This need for additional protection also provides businesses with the opportunity to differentiate themselves as adding a security benefit to their offerings also enhances consumer appeal and trust.

BT, in particular, will give its subscribers a complete Security solution which includes McAfee protection called BT Virus Protect, which supports up to 15 devices including computers and Android phones and tablets. The BT Security offering also  automatically keeps kids safe with built-in parental controls. This package incorporates network and device security, call blocking, cloud backup and McAfee Password Manager – TrueKey. It’s a holistic solution for, as BT puts it, a simple reason.

“Keeping our customers safe online is a key priority for BT. That’s why we provide the most comprehensive free online security tools of any major UK broadband provider,” Andrew Kirkpatrick General Manager of Digital Products and Security for BT Consumer said. “To help us achieve this, we have a long-standing partnership with McAfee to provide their award-winning anti-virus to our customers.”

Every time we join forces against cybercriminals, we create the right conditions for a more secure digital world. That’s because a collective response to cyberthreats is better than going alone. Because together is power.

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How to Protect Your Connected Devices from Common Cyberattacks https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/how-to-protect-your-connected-devices-from-common-cyberattacks/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/how-to-protect-your-connected-devices-from-common-cyberattacks/#respond Wed, 03 Oct 2018 15:00:08 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91794 When it comes to internet security, we all suffer from a condition known as optimism bias. It’s the simple idea that we, individually, won’t be affected negatively by an externality compared to others. The same mental distortion happens in the digital world. We read a lot about cybercrime and assume the consequences of those attacks […]

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When it comes to internet security, we all suffer from a condition known as optimism bias. It’s the simple idea that we, individually, won’t be affected negatively by an externality compared to others. The same mental distortion happens in the digital world. We read a lot about cybercrime and assume the consequences of those attacks won’t reach or affect us. The problem is, that’s optimism bias at work — and it is what fuels a cybercriminal’s success.

No one expects to lose control over their digital lives, but it does happen, and it can happen to you. And securing your information after a cyberattack is becoming less tenable. In fact, the total number of malware samples has grown almost 34%, more than 774 million, over the past four quarters according to the latest McAfee Labs Threats Report, hitting all-time highs in the second quarter of 2018. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to secure yourself from the most active cyberattack methods.

Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals use phishing attacks try to and trick you into clicking on a malicious link or download a malicious file. And they have pretty good odds of succeeding if they’re persistent. That’s because phishing attacks try to come across as trustworthy, appearing from a source a victim knows or trusts, like authoritative organization. It’s a common and powerful technique.

A few simple steps can protect you. Examine an email’s sending address if you suspect anything. If you don’t know the sender, or the email’s content doesn’t seem familiar, remain wary and avoid interacting with the message. If you’re unsure, simply reach out to the apparent sender through a different channel, like a phone call or a different email account, that you found through your own research.

Unpatched Software

Unpatched, un-updated, and old software is one the most exploited attack avenues by far. That’s because new software vulnerabilities or bugs are found all of the time, and cybercriminals can use them to compromise a device. The longer software goes without an update, the long cybercriminals have to find these vulnerabilities and exploit them.

The best way to stay a step ahead of active cybercriminals is to update your device’s software as often as possible. Updates often contain security patches blocking newly discovered attack avenues. Getting into a good update habit, too, is becoming increasingly critical as more and more devices connect to the internet. Speaking of which…

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is officially here — and we’re not just talking about internet-connected refrigerators or television sets. IoT devices encompass toys and cars to watches and even clothing. All this available computing means cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever before to find and exploit vulnerabilities in everyday objects.

But, again, there are reliable, proactive defenses. First, make sure that, if your smart device or service requires an account, you use a complex and unique password. This means using numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters. A password manager can help you create strong and unique passwords. Second, typically, if there’s software, there’s an update. Make sure you’re aware of any and all updates to your IoT devices and apply them as soon as you can. If you have an IoT device where updating is difficult, such as a thermostat, you’ll need a more holistic approach. Look for security services, like McAfee Secure Home Platform, designed for a home connected through a protected router that’s enhanced with advanced security analytics.

Finally, and this is a good rule in general, use a comprehensive security solution to protect your technology landscape. It’s a lot bigger than you think and growing every day with each new user account, IoT device or computer you use.

To learn more about securing your personal devices from cyberattacks, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Understanding Your Kid’s Smart Gadgets https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/understanding-your-kids-smart-gadgets/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/understanding-your-kids-smart-gadgets/#respond Tue, 25 Sep 2018 21:05:33 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91650 When people think about IoT devices, many often think of those that fill their homes. Smart lights, ovens, TVs, etc. But there’s a whole other type of IoT devices that are inside the home that parents may not be as cognizant of – children’s toys. In 2018, smartwatches, smart teddy bears, and more are all […]

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When people think about IoT devices, many often think of those that fill their homes. Smart lights, ovens, TVs, etc. But there’s a whole other type of IoT devices that are inside the home that parents may not be as cognizant of – children’s toys. In 2018, smartwatches, smart teddy bears, and more are all in kids’ hands. And though parents are happy to purchase the next hot item for their children, they sometimes aren’t fully aware of how these devices can impact their child’s personal security. IoT has expanded to children, but it’s parents that need to understand how these toys affect their family, and what they can do to keep their children protected from an IoT-based cyberthreat.

Now, add IoT into the mix. The reason people are commonly adopting IoT devices is for one reason – convenience. And that’s the same reason these devices have gotten into children’s hands as well. They’re convenient, engaging, easy-to-use toys, some of which are even used to help educate kids.

But this adoption has changed children’s online security. Now, instead of just limiting their device usage and screen time, parents have to start thinking about the types of threats that can emerge from their child’s interaction with IoT devices. For example, smartwatches have been used to track and record kids’ physical location. And children’s data is often recorded with these devices, which means their data could be potentially leveraged for malicious reasons if a cybercriminal breaches the organization behind a specific connected product or app. The FBI has even previously cautioned that these smart toys can be compromised by hackers.

Keeping connected kids safe  

Fortunately, there are many things parents can do to keep their connected kids safe. First off, do the homework. Before buying any connected toy or device for a kid, parents should look up the manufacturer first and see if they have security top of mind. If the device has had any issues with security in the past, it’s best to avoid purchasing it. Additionally, always read the fine print. Terms and conditions should outline how and when a company accesses a kid’s data. When buying a connected device or signing them up for an online service/app, always read the terms and conditions carefully in order to remain fully aware of the extent and impact of a kid’s online presence and use of connected devices.

Mind you, these IoT toys must connect to a home Wi-Fi network in order to run. If they’re vulnerable, they could expose a family’s home network as a result. Since it can be challenging to lock down all the IoT devices in a home, utilize a solution like McAfee Secure Home Platform to provide protection at the router-level. Also, parents can keep an eye on their kid’s online interactions by leveraging a parental control solution like McAfee Safe Family. They can know what their kids are up to, guard them from harm, and limit their screen time by setting rules and time limits for apps and websites.

To learn more about IoT devices and how your children use them, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Inside a Modern-Day Smart Home https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/inside-a-modern-day-smart-home/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/inside-a-modern-day-smart-home/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 00:05:16 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91476 Ever wonder how the Internet of Things (IoT) first began? Often regarded as the first IoT device, John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off over the internet for the October ’89 INTEROP conference. Then in 2000, LG announced its first internet refrigerator plans. So on and so forth IoT grew […]

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Ever wonder how the Internet of Things (IoT) first began? Often regarded as the first IoT device, John Romkey created a toaster that could be turned on and off over the internet for the October ’89 INTEROP conference. Then in 2000, LG announced its first internet refrigerator plans. So on and so forth IoT grew and grew, populating homes everywhere. Soon enough, we got the smart home. Though the name itself has become household, many people may not fully understand the ins and outs of a smart home. And beyond that, many don’t know the security implications tied to it. Let’s take a look.

Popularity via Convenience

According to Gartner, 20.8 billion connected devices are predicted to exist in consumer homes by 2020. So why have these devices and the smart homes they fill boomed so drastically in popularity in the past few years? One word: convenience.

If we use enough of them, these devices automate our daily existence. They turn our lights on for us, flip music on at the sound of our voice, even change the temperature in our house. And they’ve become all too easy to accumulate since the technology has started to become more affordable. A few of the key and common smart devices that can be found in a modern smart home include smart refrigerators, smart lights, smart speakers, smart TVs. Beyond that, more family-oriented devices are becoming smart — including baby cams, thermometers, and children’s toys.

As we look ahead, it’s been predicted that the type of devices that are “smart” will grow to become more diverse, driving wider adoption. And that will cause more businesses to jump on the IoT train — builders, developers and anyone in the world of residential life are going to link up with smart tech.

The Digital (and Physical) Impact of IoT

But the continuous growth of these devices, now and in the future, is something we all have to smart about. These IoT devices are convenient, but their build makes them a convenient target for cybercriminals. This is because many IoT devices aren’t built with security in mind, and users often leave default settings on, which makes it easy for hackers to breach them. Just take the McAfee ATR team’s recent discovery about the Wemo Insight Smart Plug for example – the device was found to contain a crucial vulnerability that could allow hackers to manipulate it. Not to mention, digital assistants are susceptible to something called a ‘Dolphin Attack,’ which can be leveraged by cybercriminals to potentially breach a user.

And since all these IoT devices must connect to Wi-Fi, they can expose an entire network to threats. In fact, according to a recent McAfee survey, the biggest worry among recent respondents about having their wireless home network hacked is that cybercriminals could steal personal information and make them a victim of identity theft (63%).

There are physical repercussions to a vulnerable IoT device as well. Once they’ve hacked a connected device, cybercriminals can also manipulate the device itself and can flip the lights off, listen in on your smart baby monitor, the list goes on.

Connecting With Care

The good news is there are a few things we can all do to prevent IoT attacks and still enjoy our smart homes. First things first, we must all buy IoT devices with security in mind. Just by doing some basic research and looking up the manufacturers, we can get a feel if they have security top of mind. Most importantly, we have to change default settings and use a security solution that protects our homes at the router-level, such as McAfee Secure Home Platform.

By following these best practices, we can live our connected lives with confidence and enjoy the convenience of our high-tech homes. Both our homes and our personal security will remain smart.

To learn more about smart homes and IoT, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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Seamless Security for the Connected Consumer https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/seamless-security-for-the-connected-consumer/ https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/seamless-security-for-the-connected-consumer/#respond Fri, 31 Aug 2018 20:19:25 +0000 https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/?p=91347 Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, and more are all often found in a modern user’s arsenal of personal devices. We rely on these devices for so many things – to wake us up, count calories, connect us to friends and loved ones, provide access to the web, the list goes on. We love our devices, […]

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Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, and more are all often found in a modern user’s arsenal of personal devices. We rely on these devices for so many things – to wake us up, count calories, connect us to friends and loved ones, provide access to the web, the list goes on. We love our devices, that much is clear. But this love has almost become bittersweet due to growing concerns about how using these devices impact our privacy.

Not so long ago, cybersecurity was a distant idea for many of us. But big-name data breaches and attacks changed all of that. Dyn, WannaCry, and Equifax soon became household names, causing us to consider how we use connected devices, what exactly we connect to, and who we share their information with. As Kelly Sheridan, a reporter at Dark Reading, states “A few years ago, many people didn’t talk about cybersecurity or even pay much attention to it. These days, it’s a growing source of stress among consumers, who rely on several devices and businesses to protect their data.” Now, with cybersecurity making all of us anxious, the next question is, how can we enjoy the convenience of our personal devices while still remaining secure?

Staying connected doesn’t have to be a bittersweet experience. In fact, we can do a lot to empower ourselves and become security savvy. To remain protected anywhere we are connected, we can look to McAfee for a seamless, simple yet powerful security experience.

McAfee aims to make it easy for everyone to protect what matters most. We understand the complexity of managing multiple devices in our already busy lives. We understand that the last thing users need is a complex product for securing devices. Our focus at McAfee is to simplify digital protection by providing a seamless unified experience. So, whether you are at home, or out and about, McAfee’s protects your identity, your data, and your devices all with the same delightful, unified user experience powered by McAfee’s cloud. Our goal is to create an effortless onboarding experience and make it quick and easy to set up digital security for you and your entire family. Plus, you can manage it all from a simple mobile app so you can get notified when a new threat is discovered and receive tips for staying protected.

Now, you can rest assured that your identity and your digital privacy are protected with security that is effective, simple and meaningful. You will be able to use their devices anywhere and stay protected against any threat, on any network. With this approach, living a connected lifestyle no longer has to be bittersweet.

To learn more about consumer security and our approach to it, be sure to follow us at @McAfee and @McAfee_Home.

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