Feb. 10th was Safer Internet Day, an international education and awareness-raising effort for organizations, families and individuals spanning more than 100 countries around the globe. In the spirit of sharing information and best practices on Safer Internet Day, the Symantec Norton team has compiled — and debunked — the top four cybersecurity myths along with quick tips to protect yourself online.
Share these with your friends, family and professional network.
1. I don’t need mobile security because traditional threats don’t target mobile devices.
While small and compact, smart phones and tablets are as sophisticated as most computers these days. This makes our mobile devices a high-value target for cybercriminals. Eight Android malware families were discovered in November 2014 alone, and of the mobile malware discovered in the last 12 months, 26 percent were comprised of threat techniques such as downloaders and Trojans. It is important to recognize that your mobile device is a sophisticated computer that can contain as much (if not more) unique personal content than your other devices. Keep your mobile devices safe from Internet threats by following these tips:
- Always download your apps from an official app store.
- Never click suspicious links in emails, SMS links or web pages — even on your phone.
- Employ a password on your phone, and use software that can help you remotely wipe your data as well as find your phone should it be lost or stolen.
2. I can’t get viruses on social networks.
As you spend more time on social networks and your circles grow to include a larger group of acquaintances and friends of friends, you become an attractive target for cybercriminals who are looking to “go where the action is.” While you can often spot threats directly targeted at you, it can be difficult to spot a problem when a less savvy friend recommends a link or a post. On social media, cybercriminals are known to invest time crafting highly enticing fake offers that are intended to capture personal and financial information — and spread the scam through sharing. Stay safe from scammers by following these tips:
- If an offer appears on your social network that appears to be “too good to be true,” don’t click on the link. Instead, do some research on the offer or company using your Internet browser. Oftentimes, someone else has fallen for the same scam and will report it online.
- Use your social network’s blocking features to filter out suspicious followers, spam and other unwanted content.
3. Macs can’t get viruses, only PCs do.
Cybercriminals always focus their efforts where they see the most “bang for their buck.” Traditionally, Windows systems have offered the greatest return on investment. However, as the Mac has gained in popularity, and criminals have moved to tools that can target users regardless of their operating system, the volume of malware targeted at Macs has grown. Follow these tips to protect your Mac:
- Don’t ignore those automatic updates — keeping your Mac operating system up-to-date will help protect from threats.
- Always ensure that your Mac’s included security features (firewall, FileVault encryption) are turned on when possible.
- Always try to download files from trusted sources.
- Beware of phishing sites that may trick you into submitting your personal information. Such sites normally work on all browsers on all platforms, including Mac OS X.
4. My wearable is untouchable.
Wearable devices have quickly become the new trend in tech because they can help quantify and continuously improve a variety of aspects of your life. While this technology is very exciting, the biggest concern with wearable devices is that they are data collectors — holding key personal information such as your name, age, health and location. These devices often have the capability to transmit information wirelessly and can leave your information vulnerable to being leaked. Protect your personal data with these tips:
- Be cognizant of the personal data that is collected and ask yourself, “How important this data is to you?”
- Understand the privacy policies of the companies collecting your data to make sure you understand how it is being stored and used.
- Use caution when using social sharing with these apps, and make sure you’re not sharing more than you intended.
What cybersecurity myths have you seen and heard? Talk about them in the comments section.
For more information about Symantec’s commitment to safeguard employee and customer data, visit the Your Information section of the Corporate Responsibility website.