I attended the 1983 US Festival – the second music and culture festival sponsored by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – and it was truly one of the highlights of my college years. We saw an array of stellar performances and toured exhibits with cutting-edge technology. Back then, we bought our tickets at a ticket broker’s office, carried our wallets and loaded 35mm film in our cameras. Only days later, after the film was developed, could we show people our photos.
Today’s “modern fan” has a very different experience thanks to smartphones. For example, photos are shared on social media channels moments after they are taken. Apps are created specifically to help you figure out schedules and arrange meet-ups. At the most recent Presidential Inauguration, I personally used an app that helped map good routes on the Washington D.C. Metro, plan our viewing spot for the Inauguration and direct us to our parade viewing spot. Apps can also be frustrating though; the Inauguration one kept texting alerts about closed streets and missing children, running down my phone’s battery until I reconfigured the settings.
Norton today released the findings from a global survey that explores how people use mobile devices at concerts, sporting events and other big festivals to enhance their overall experience, as well as attitudes and habits around securing those devices.
Not surprisingly, more than 90 percent of people bring their smartphones and most use it in place of a camera. One-half will upload the photos and post to social networks to share with friends and family – or maybe earn bragging rights. But smartphones are being used in other ways, too: I am intrigued by the nearly 20 percent who use their smartphone as an electronic access ticket and 10 percent who will use it to make festival purchases!
The impact of smartphones on our event and festival experiences can’t be exaggerated. So you need to consider the very real possibility of something happening to your device.
I make sure I have a good handle on my device’s whereabouts at all times and install security software in advance. That way if my device goes missing, I can remotely locate, lock and wipe it to make sure whoever finds it doesn’t go shopping with my data or start contacting my friends. And for goodness sakes, put a password on your phone. We know from a previous Norton study that the finder of a lost phone will rifle through personal files and apps 96 percent of the time!
So this summer, wherever your festival travels may take you, remember the sunscreen, drink lots of water and secure your smartphone and tablet before you ever leave home.
Marian Merritt - Norton Internet Safety Advocate
I have a confession to make. I’m a 30-something photographer’s daughter. This may not mean much to you, but to me it means that I have to contend with a brown envelope full of embarrassing photographs of me as a child which my father took with the ends of film from his sporting photography jobs.
However, this envelope is safe in my parent’s home, the paper contents shown only to family members or friends in a trusted environment. While my embarrassing photos are indeed embarrassing (and I share one here with you!) for the most part they stay private. Spare a thought then for today’s babies and children. Their parents, digital natives or active web users, are sharing their children’s images, videos and intimate details on the web for all to see.
People love to talk about their children, it’s only natural. When it comes to social media however, people still love to talk about their children. And we all know someone who perhaps talks and shares a little too much online, a term which this week we saw referred to as “sharenting”. We don’t all need to know that Julie’s changed the sheets six times tonight because little Freddie is ill. And while potty training is a big parenting challenge, do we need to know the exact details of little Betty’s potty usage?
Parents do need to think before they post. While most images, videos and status updates will stay between friends and family, once a child grows into a teen and begins to have an Internet presence of his or her own, much of the parent’s opinion on that child will remain online, searchable by anyone. In addition, if privacy settings are not locked down, a child’s image could conceivably be shared by anyone and to anyone across the web.
The online family safety experts at Norton suggest the following top tips for parents to help keep their children, and their personal data, safe online.
Emma Jeffs, Internet Security Expert, Norton by Symantec.
I joined the Mobile Retail Summit (#mretailsummit) in central London on Wednesday 24th April, to gather insights on mobile commerce (m-commerce) from attendees including UK retailers and leisure companies, mobile technology and marketing specialists.
What struck me, as I listened to case studies of retailers moving very rapidly to deliver relevant experiences and offers for customers on their smartphones, was the lack of awareness of security on these phones. When one considers that 6.6M Britons made mobile purchases during January this year, with 42% using Android smartphones, that’s a large percentage of the country using their phone as a wallet. Combine this with the latest Norton research from the Norton Cybercrime Report that 46% of UK mobile users do not password protect their phone, and that’s a lot of wallets being left wide open!
Other intriguing insights came from the growing mobile retail trend of location-based marketing, where those who have opted in can receive special offers and services as they pass a nearby store. A shoe company named Meat Pack managed to divert 600 customers to their stores with a targeted time-based discount offer, delivered inside a shopping mall. The ability to create an on-the-fly campaign at any time means even factors such as the weather can also now be used to target customers with offers from porridge to DIY!
If companies want to encourage more people to use mobile commerce, and take advantage of these possibilities, we are all going to need to work hard to educate and reassure the public that mobile commerce is safe. Our latest Norton Cybercrime Report also showed that only 20% of UK consumers feel safe making purchases on their mobile devices.
Norton Mobile Security offers powerful protection for your mobile world and the Stuff in it.
Hello reader and welcome to a new blog on the Norton.com community, @Norton_UK Security
The blogs on this site offer the perspective of Symantec and Norton UK employees on Internet security, mobile security and online family safety, along with other issues which impact UK internet security industry.
In this introduction, I’d like to address a common misconception about Norton, namely the belief that Internet security equals PC anti-virus, and that anti-virus equals protection. While protecting a PC against viruses is important and at the heart of what Norton does, full Internet security is more than anti-virus, and more than just protecting PCs!
Internet security has changed considerably over the years, from a base line of anti-virus for your PC, to supporting the proliferation of devices used to access the Internet, whether those devices are PCs, tablets, Macs, iPads, or smartphones.
In addition, the threat landscape is constantly evolving as cybercriminals use every tool at their disposal to attempt to make money from Internet users. According to the latest Norton Cybercrime Report, 57% of UK adults have been victims of cybercrime in their lifetime, with a cybercrime incident costing on average £144 to resolve.
When it comes to new ways to target people, criminals go where the users are, meaning that social networks are a prime hunting ground. 75% of adults believe that they are targeted by criminals on social media networks to obtain and abuse their personal information. Latest data from Norton shows that many well known social networks are a haven for cybercriminals with 56% of social network attacks involving fake surveys or gift card scams.
Mobile platforms are also vulnerable. Last year, mobile malware increased by 58%, and 32% of all mobile threats attempted to steal information, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Many believe that Macs are safe from attack but while hackers still primarily target PCs, more than 600,000 Mac computerswere infected by one attack last April; just one example that no operating system is safe from online threats
In addition to cybercrime, Norton helps to protect families against different types of online threat through products like Norton Family. One in five children worldwide admits they are doing things on the Internet their parents wouldn’t approve of. Norton is educating adults on the importance of installing security software for children and teenagers on each of their technology devices, including mobiles, tablets and PCs to allow them to surf the net safely and securely.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to hear more from us on security topics and statistics specifically affecting the UK.
Emma Jeffs, Internet Security Expert, Norton by Symantec
Guest post by Andrew Ford
I was excited to upgrade my Android Smartphone recently and was thoroughly enjoying the latest functionality and apps. It was much less clunky that the earlier model, and I had spent time setting-up my social media and other apps. I had also added a password to make sure my details would be safe if my phone were to be lost or stolen.
During half-term, I had a lovely time with my daughters, taking a number of photos using my Smartphone during days sat the seaside and in London. I was taking great care, as I had heard that users had dropped similar Smartphones and that damage to the screen had meant that they could no access the phone’s contents due to the touchscreen not working and therefore they couldn’t enter their password. Disaster struck one day when I pulled my pullover from beneath my phone. The phone tumbled from the kitchen top and struck a wooden stool en-route to the floor! The result was a slight dent on the housing, however this had been enough to crack the screen. I tried everything to access my precious photos, by consulting websites and the provider shop and support centre, all to no avail. The lovely photos of my daughters were locked on the phone, never to be seen again!!
I now have a replacement Smartphone, based on an insurance excess payment, and have learnt a valuable lesson, and I continue to pay the provider insurance, should I have any further problems with my phone in the future. I have also bought a case to protect the phone as much as possible if I drop it again and I have put a protective film across the screen for added protection. I have installed Norton Mobile Security as part of my Norton One Membership. And most importantly I have configured an automatic online back-up of any photos I have taken, which connects every time I return to my home wifi. Please don’t lose your precious memories. Protect the Stuff that Matters!
Holiday surfing advice from us at Norton, the internet protection expert
Long cold winter nights; it’s that time of year when most people just want to lock the doors and curl up in the warmth (often with their favourite tablet or mobile device). With so much time spent at home, online activity tends to increase considerably as more evenings are spent surfing the internet, indulging in some online retail therapy, playing games online or keeping up with friends via social media. In September this year Deloitte estimated that online sales now account for the equivalent of more than 60 million square feet of retail space, and this Christmas more shoppers than ever will browse and buy from the comfort of their own home or while on the move with their mobile device. However, during these tranquil and lazy evenings, it is important to remain vigilant; just because you’re comfortable and secure at home, perhaps relaxing and getting into the festive spirit with a nutmeg spiced latte, doesn’t mean that opportunistic cybercriminals will also be taking a break!
The 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report found that cybercrime costs the UK economy £69 billion per year. During the holiday season especially, more financial transactions will take place than at any other time of the year. Cybercriminals have been known to set up fraudulent websites that seem to offer great deals, when in fact they are merely traps hoping to entice unwitting consumers to enter their personal payment details. Online shopping over the festive season is an ever-increasing phenomenon - the percentage of gifts purchased online increased 85% year-over-year between 2010 and 2011 and signs are that 2012 will see another significant increase. Whilst it is great that consumers are benefitting from the convenience and choice that an online shopping experience brings, it is also important that they protect themselves from the growing array of online threats out there as they use their cards and personal details online. Norton by Symantec has issued the following tips for protected online shopping to make sure it is not a bumper holiday season for cyber criminals and scammers.
Norton’s Top 5 Tips for a Winter of Protected Web Surfing:
When were you last bullied? Maybe you were lucky and have never been bullied. Chances are that for today’s kids bullying can be a constant threat and when a kid leaves the school gates bullying doesn’t just stop there. Bullying comes in many forms and is no longer just a verbal or physical act. Bullying has, with the rest of the world, made the switch to online, in the form of cyber-bullying, a word which has even found its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. The advancement of smartphone and tablet technology gives children more ways to connect, socialise, and create than ever before. Unfortunately, some children abuse this using email, instant messaging, pictures, and text messages to embarrass or bully other kids.
This week is Anti-Bullying Week (19th – 23rd November) and it also marks BeatBullying’s 10th Birthday! BeatBullying is the UK’s leading bullying prevention charity, which strives to empower people to stand up and say ‘NO’ to bullies. Their mission is simple: to create a world where bullying, violence and harassment is unacceptable. The charity offers families, schools and communities the tools to understand, tackle and beat the problem, which sadly affects one in three young people.
Since BeatBullying began in 2002, the charity has helped over 1.6million young people and has assisted in reducing ‘incidents of concern’ by 73% in partner schools. A part of this has been helped by the charity’s CyberMentors scheme, which is all about kids helping and supporting other kids online. The scheme has been a huge success with 95.8% of teachers rating the CyberMentors programme as an effective intervention. To celebrate BeatBullying’s 10th Birthday, parties are being held at schools all over the country to help raise money for the charity. BeatBullying aims to raise the £279,000 necessary to support a further 100,000 children, giving them the chance to also be a part of the online peer-to-peer mentoring scheme. Marian Merritt - Norton’s Internet Safety Advocate reveals that “your child may not know “cyber-bullying” by name but he or she knows what it looks and feels like.” Cyber-bullying is unacceptable and is something we must work hard to get rid of.
Here are some of Marian’s top tips on what to do if you, your child, or someone you know is being cyber-bullied:
Guest Post by Marian Merritt: Norton Internet Safety Advocate
I know you’re probably thinking; ‘boring old passwords’. It’s true, password tips aren’t a fancy bit of technology to keep you safe online, however, weak passwords are one of the easiest routes for someone to access the things you would never want them to. Passwords are always a hot topic for that very reason. Passwords should be your first point of call when protecting your stuff and it’s important to make them as secure as you can.
From an early age we discover passwords are not always as safe as we think they are. Kids at school share passwords as part of friendship and misplaced trust. And they sometimes guess their friend’s passwords or reset them by knowing the responses to security questions. Kids can hack another friend’s account and go in and change settings such as the person’s desktop background to something embarrassing and have a good laugh when they log on the next time. Although this joke was meant to be fun, there are lessons that can be taken away. It sets kids up to have their accounts mismanaged, their private information shared and their social networks used to cause trouble. I know it’s convenient to stay signed into your accounts but logging out is a simple but great technique to ensure no one has access to your accounts. Make sure that you prioritise passwords for email and social networks as the most important to make complex and unique, as these are often connected to social media accounts and can serve as a way to log in. Once someone has access to your email, they can change all your other passwords by clicking on the “forgot my password” link on the other websites. And if they gain control of your social network, they can scam or send dangerous links to all of your contacts. Avoid using easy-to-guess passwords such as dictionary words, names, or dates that an Internet hacker might break.
How to create a good password: Pick a single master password that you’ll be able to remember, and then customize that password for different websites. The first step is to choose a good master password that uses more than six characters and some combination of letters and numbers (rather than real words). In this case, let’s use the phrase “I want to go to London”. Reduce that phrase to each of the first letters, use the number “2” for the word “to” and you’ll end up with “Iw2g2L”. Then add the first and last letter of the website to it (Norton.com’s website would be: “NIw2g2Ln”). This little trick helps me remember all those various passwords and yet keep things complex enough that it’s hard for a computer hacker to crack. This sequence makes sense to me but not to anyone else. It also helps that I get different passwords for different accounts. If one password to one account is compromised, the rest are still secure.
Top Tip: If you store important documents on your home computer with bank account information, tax information, social security numbers, make sure to add a password to them too. If your computer ever gets stolen or hacked, the passwords will add another layer of security to your information. Find out how to add one here. Are your passwords up to scratch, let us know if this has made you change yours?
Guest Post by: Richard Clooke - Manager, Marketing Programs, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec Corporation
We’ve all experienced poor PC performance at some point in our lives - from slow-ups and clutter to constant system freezes. A sluggish computer can be a major source of frustration for many and according to new research, we are reaching the end of our tethers - with a survey of 1,000 Brits revealing that 16% would prefer to visit the dentist’s chair than fix a slow PC!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall any good memories from my visits to the dentist. The research, which focused on PC frustrations among consumers, also found that slow computers have caused one in ten of us to argue with our partners. It’s a pretty bad state of affairs if a sluggish PC is causing strife in relationships. The research also revealed Bristol to have one of the highest levels of PC frustration in the UK. How fitting it is then for a ‘Frustration Zone’ to be set up in Cabot Circus Shopping Centre this Thursday, giving Bristol residents the chance to relieve their PC frustrations with plate smashing, punch bags and a boxing machine! Even gadget expert Suzi Perry will be on hand to get involved with the release of these pet PC peeves, and offer helpful advice around becoming friends with your PC again. Many people view a slow PC as a sign that they need a new one, but before we throw in the towel, there are a lot of things than can be done to improve its performance. Try getting rid of apps you’ve not used in the last year, or transferring large files to an external storage drive or DVD to free up system resources. Visit http://www.befriendswithyourpc.com for more helpful tips and tricks on how to solve common PC frustrations.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that disables the functionality of a computer in some way and demands a ransom in order to restore the computer to its original state. Recent variants use law enforcement imagery to add legitimacy to the warning messages. The malware uses geo-location services to determine the location of the computer it is running on and then, after locking the computer, displays a message appropriate to that country. The message usually claims that the user has broken the law by browsing some illegal material. Figure 1 is an example of a ransomware variant that displays a message claiming to be from the FBI.
Figure 1. An example of a ransomware message The message states that in order to unlock the computer, “a fine” must be paid using one of several prepaid electronic money schemes. The fines can range from €50 to 100 in Europe, to up to $200 in the US. Ransomware has been in existence since 2009 and initially targeted users in Russia and Eastern Europe. It has since become a global problem, spreading first throughout Europe and, in more recent months, has begun targeting users in North America. At least 16 different versions of ransomware have been identified over the past year and a half. Each version is not an ‘upgrade’ from a previous version, but rather a unique variant, associated with a separate gang. These gangs have independently developed, or bought, their own different version of ransomware. The gangs are not new to cybercrime; they have been associated with other threats and scams in the past such as banking Trojans and rogue antivirus. Ransomware has now become a more lucrative enterprise for them. The operations are highly profitable, with as many as 2.9 percent of compromised users paying out. An investigation into one of the smaller players in this scam identified 68,000 compromised computers in just one month, which could have resulted in a fraudster obtaining up to $400,000. A larger gang, using malware called Reveton (Trojan.Ransomlock.G), was detected attempting to infect 500,000 computers over a period of 18 days. Given the number of different gangs operating ransomware scams, a conservative estimate is that over five million dollars a year is being extorted from victims. The real number is, however, likely to be much higher. For details on our investigation into these multiple ransomware variants, please see our whitepaper .
Guest Post by: Samir Patil, with thanks to Anand Muralidharan for contributing to this post. One of the most devastating Superstorms in decades, Hurricane Sandy, hit the US East coast in October, causing the loss of lives and damage to businesses, leaving countless people without electricity and in need of support. Now, unfortunately Sandy has now added spam to its list of misery. We are observing spam messages related to the hurricane flowing into Symantec Probe Networks. The top word combinations in message headlines are "hurricane – sandy", "coast – sandy", "sandy – storm", and "sandy – superstorm."
Figure 1. Message volume over a two-day period Typical spam attacks like "Gift card offer" and "Money making & Financial" spam are currently targeting the disaster. Below are the screenshots of some spam samples to keep a watch out for.
The following are examples of subject lines seen in the spam messages: • Help Sandy Victims and get $1000 for Best Buy! • Sandy Strikes... [WARNING] • Deposit Processing Open Today (Frankenstorm doesn't stop us) Spammers taking advantage of disasters is nothing new. Previously, for example, we witnessed phishing and spam campaigns using the Haiti earthquake as a means of spreading harmful activities, and we anticipate that fake news, photos, donation requests, 419 scams, phishing campaigns, and malicious video link attacks will continue to be seen in the near future. We advise users to follow best practices while online, such as typing website addresses directly into their Internet browser for any online video rather than clicking on links contained in emails. Finally, never donate money or buy products through wire transfer services or similarly untraceable methods of payment. Instead, reach out to the storm victims through legitimate and secure channels. As always, we will be continuously updating our anti-spam filters to block these emails from reaching users.
Working on the move is becoming increasingly common, and organisations are responding to the need to provide a remote working solution for employees. Remote email and desktop access are solutions to this but all come with their own problems. However, with a small amount of careful thinking it’s easy to reduce the likelihood of unauthorised access and breaches of privacy and make sure everything is safe that needs to be.
Your company should have already thought about the security of the way it provides mobile working , and it should therefore have already secured the network with a firewall, for example, but what steps can be taken to make sure that files stay as secure as possible? Strong passwords are the most important starting block and creating a strong password can help to limit security issues. This should include a combination of upper and lower case letters, and numbers. There are more hi-tech options available too, biometrics, for example, are up and coming, using finger print scanners to access a computer, though it might be a while before only those with documented fingerprints can access certain documents. If you are working on a public Wi-Fi connection, in a café for example, can you be 100% sure that it has been properly secured? This year’s Norton Cybercrime Reportfound that 2/3 of adults use free or unsecured public Wi-Fi, where details are easily prone to being intercepted. Are you part of that majority? A phone conversation about work or editing a document on the train could give confidential data away. Have you ever thought about who might be looking over your shoulder whilst you’re working in a public place?Chances are it’s nothing highly confidential, but we should all take a minute to think about what we can change about our mobile working habits to ensure information is kept secure.
Guest Post by: Anna Sampson
Symantec Website Security Solutions is proud to announce its sponsorship of Get Safe Online week. Throughout this week, we are supporting the online safety initiative in its goal to spread the word about being secure whilst online. Symantec industry experts will join a tour bus around the UK, and we are also providing Symantec and Norton information to bus visitors. This year Get Safe Online wants everyone to ‘Click &Tell’ - that is to check out the advice on their website, pick up a few online safety tips and pass them on to friends, family, colleagues, neighbours or even strangers who may benefit from the advice. Each day, the Get Safe Online tour bus will be visiting schools, universities and city centres to hand out free advice on how to keep secure online.
The Get Safe Online bus will be in the following cities during the week:
Cardiff – Sunday 22 October
London – Tuesday 23 October
Leeds – Wednesday 24 October
Edinburgh – Thursday 25 October
Belfast – Friday 26 October (no Symantec experts)
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said; “Put simply, the internet is one of the greatest inventions the world has ever seen. It has so much to offer us all. Get Safe Online Week is definitely not about taking the fun out of being connected online, but about making sure everyone knows how to stay safe and secure when using it. We want to get as many people as possible sharing their experiences to make more people aware of how to protect themselves, their friends and family online.”
Anna Sampson, Senior Manager, Direct Marketing for Symantec Website Security Solutions said; “Symantec has been working with Get Safe Online for many years, but this year we are delighted to be able to take our messages direct to the public. We look forward to meeting people and answering their questions about how Symantec and Norton can help to keep them safe online.” For more information visit www.getsafeonline.org
Join the conversation on Twitter - #ClickAndTell and see the tips @Norton_UK are tweeting this week.
Guest post by: Richard Clooke
The realm of smartphones and mobile applications is an endless universe that is ever growing and expanding. Gone are the days when your phone was only used for making calls or occasionally using the calculator or calendar. Now you can download all kinds of weird and wonderful apps like ordering takeaways straight to your door, reading the latest news and social media headlines, booking hotels, mixing DJ tracks and even tracking NASA space missions! ‘Viruses’ and ‘malware’ are not words traditionally used when discussing mobile phones. However, with more and more of us downloading, purchasing, posting and emailing using apps on our smartphones, the mobile app world is quickly becoming a haven for cybercrime.
One area in particular we should all try to be more informed on is smartphone GPS capability. Smartphones now come with a GPS chip as standard, which allows for your exact whereabouts to be tracked using satellite data. This technology is used in several of the mobile world’s most popular apps, letting you ‘check-in’ to a local restaurant or bar, adding locations to photographs, planning jogging routes, and most simply the technology can be used as a navigation tool. The danger here is that by innocently letting all of your friends and family know your whereabouts, you are also taking the risk that this information might also be seen by other less familiar faces. Sharing your location on mobile apps and social media sites might seem harmless, but unfortunately it means that this information can also be viewed by just about anyone signed up to the site or app, especially if your profile is set to public, making it easy for you to be found by people who have no business finding you. Several photo sharing websites make it possible for other users to view your specific location details using latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates, enabling potential criminals to become aware of where you are and more importantly, when you are away from your home!
Most geo-location apps let you set a certain level of privacy, but you can never be too wary of people with bad intentions who may be following your updates and posts. As a basic step towards protecting yourself it is a good idea not to reveal your home address on these applications. Secondly, it is important to make sensible decisions about how widely you share your updates and whereabouts, ensuring privacy settings are on high to guard you from strangers. As a last point to note, mobile apps are continually updating their software and more regularly than not, privacy settings are reverted back to standard. Therefore it is important to ensure you are aware of these updates and keep regular tabs on your security settings. Take a look at http://www.mobilesecurity.com and our blog post for: top tips for staying safe when sharing and watching videos online to find out more about guarding your location.
Young people are growing up as digital natives and in a very different world to the generations before them. Not only is there a world IRL (in real life), but now there are multiple ones online, including the worlds of gaming, video and mobile apps. Videos such as the one below where a 2 and ½ year old is given an iPad and speedily interacts with it without any difficulty, might be a bit concerning for grandparents who are not familiar with this type of tablet technology. As technology advances at such a quick pace, some grandparents may not always understand what children and young people in their care can get up to online. Grandparents may be concerned that children could be exposed to bad language, content that isn’t age appropriate or click on spam links, which could lead to potential security threats such as ID fraud. However this shouldn’t be a worry and there are helpful tips and advice available in the Norton Internet Safety Guide (below). Although it may be a case of the “fear of the unknown”, it helps to be aware of the sites and devices a young person might use, to ensure that they are staying safe online. That is why it is advisable to set some rules and guidelines to help advise a child when using the internet on any device!
So, if you’ve never signed into a social media site or sat down with your children or grandchildren to discuss what they might come across on the internet, now is the time.
Here are some tips to follow when a young person is in your care and on the internet:
You can find out more about online safety for your children on Norton Online Family. Norton Online Family gives insight into what sites are popular for children online and what they can do when on them, so that you can keep them safe and teach them good internet habits. If you’ve had any fun experiences teaching and learning about the web with your children or grandchildren feel free to leave us a comment below.
Guest Post by: Richard Clooke
It’s decision time for Android users. Over recent months there’s been a phenomenal rise in the use of ad networks by app developers wishing to earn some cash from their creations. In many cases, this isn’t a cause for concern. Ad networks are a legitimate method for app developers to make a living. However, there is a side-effect to ad networks being integrated with mobile apps. The consequence quickly becomes apparent after a short period of time... Mobile adware, or madware as it has become known, can be damned annoying!
Ad networks come in various shapes and sizes, and the ads they push to app users are equally varied. For example: • It may simply be a graphic between game levels; click on the image, and you’re taken to an app store where you can purchase or download the app that’s being advertised. • It could be a ‘wait’ screen during a game you’re playing – so perhaps you’re playing a solitaire game, and between dealing hands you have to wait a few seconds for the ad to disappear. Again, it’s only a minor nuisance – you learn to live with these. The ‘annoyance’ level begins to grow when we look at some of the more irritating methods employed by ad networks. For example, have you ever installed an app, and then noticed that a handful of apparently unconnected icons have appeared on your device?
That’s probably #2 in the list of “most annoying madware consequences”. These icons are likely to either be a shortcut to a search site or the website of an app developer, or they may be direct links to other apps in a particular app store. #1 on my “most annoying madware” list are the icons and alarms that constantly appear in the notifications bar at the top of my screen. These alert users about all types of different incidents or situations – and they look so authentic, that it becomes almost impossible to distinguish between the genuine alerts that you expect to see (calendar reminders, SMS and email alerts, for example). So those are the annoying aspects of madware – but there’s another potentially malicious element that should be considered – and it reinforces a message that every Android user should be aware of by now. In order to provide targeted advertising to your device, the ad networks need to know a little bit about you. So, often when you’re installing an app – let’s say a basic gaming app, with no multi-player, online requirement – you’ll discover that the list of permissions it’s requesting are more intrusive than you would expect. This is because the ad network installed within the app is asking for the permissions. It might require your location – so that it can push ads for your region or country; it may require device information, in order to send offers that are relevant to your handset or service provider.
This all seems fairly reasonable, but naturally it doesn’t stop there. Ad networks might be used as a vehicle to gather personal data, or to retrieve contact databases from devices. We’ve seen it before with cybercriminals using apps to disguise their data-harvesting shenanigans. So don’t be surprised if you install a free app, and subsequently discover that your screen is full of new icons, the notification bar is going hell for leather telling you all sorts of things you don’t need to know – and your phone bill becomes astronomical because you’ve been unwittingly sending SMS messages to premium numbers on the other side of the world.
This isn’t a life or death decision – it’s a decision that asks the question: what is reasonable when it comes to advertising and gathering personal information for commercial means. As always – pay particular attention to the permissions an app is requesting before you install anything new – and look for guidance from mobilesecurity.com’s appview section, or Norton Spot Ad Network Detector.
Guest post by Marian Merritt: Norton Internet Safety Advocate
The Norton Cybercrime Report is out for 2012! Cybercrime continues to have far-reaching effects and is increasingly a problem on mobile devices and in our social networks (where we seem to be less vigilant).
After surveying more than 13,000 consumers in 24 countries, the researchers found that the numbers of online adults increased by 20% from last year, and that cybercrime impacted just under ½ of them in the previous 12 months. The total direct consumer cost was calculated to be £69 billion, slightly down from last year’s £72 billion, with the average cost per victim down approximately 20%. The reason the overall cost remains so high is that the pool of victimised online adults grew more rapidly - in other words, less money, but from more victims. The nature of the crimes is shifting towards the social networks we love and the mobile devices we constantly use.
Consumers seem to have figured out the basics of protecting themselves on their desktop and laptop computers and report using basic security measures and caution to stay safe. It would seem they’ve really gotten the message about things like being careful what you click on and deleting suspicious emails without opening them. Yet, if our preferred way to connect online is via our mobile devices (2/3 of respondents use a mobile device to connect to the Internet), we’ve got to start taking the same security measures there. That message hasn’t yet penetrated to the consumer, so the behaviour on mobile devices is still pretty casual. 44% of the study participants were unaware that mobile security solutions even exist! (I highly recommend the Norton website www.mobilesecurity.com to learn more about the issues facing the mobile device user.) Mobile vulnerabilities are up and malicious apps in the mobile app stores are a growing concern. I mentioned a shift in cybercrime towards social networks as well. Last year’s study found that 7% of people in the UK have had their social account hacked. This year, the number is up to 10%.The total rate of cybercrime on social networks (more than simply a hacked account, but also including harassment, bullying, click- or like-jacking, and falling victim to scams) is 39% globally and 30% in the UK. We’ve put a slideshow together that shows the headlines of the study and how it was conducted.
There’s also a nifty infographic with a concise visual story on the topic.
Bottom line: While the makeup of cybercrime continues to shift from increasingly protected environments like computers to the less guarded and extremely vulnerable social networks and mobile devices, consumers must increase their vigilance. Continue with best practices like being careful what you click on; not responding to unsolicited or mysterious messages whether email or text; installing and maintaining comprehensive security software; and creating complex and unique passwords for devices and online accounts. See also: mobile phone safety for kids
Marian Merritt, our Norton Internet Safety Advocate, has put together 12 useful tips for mobile phone safety for your kids. We all acknowledge the benefits of staying in touch with your children but have we taken all the measures to ensure they are protected against the most common risks? Take a look at the slideshow and find out how you can help your kids stay safe on their mobile.
1. Set a password – It’s basic, but can prevent bullying, sexting, or breaches of private information.
2. Tape a recovery phone number to the mobile - 50% of finders of mobile phones have the best intentions and may return the phone, a Symantec survey reveals.
3. Set up emergency contacts – Just in case they can’t get in the house for example.
4. Set up remote locate/lock/wipe software - An all-time favourite in locating your lost phone, let alone protecting private information from being accessed.
5. Install Security Software - Block malware, phishing attacks dangerous links and unwanted calls & texts.
6. Turn off geo-tagging - Although useful for mapping and security services, you should talk to your child about when and where it is sensible to share location.
7. Know the school mobile phone and mobile device policy - It is important to be aware of the school’s policy regarding the use of mobile phones/devices.
8. Review your contract together - It is recommended that you are in control of the extra fees that your child’s contract might be charged - set some limits and consequences, but get your child involved too.
9. Set up a nightly charging station in kitchen or den - This is particularly important in improving your child’s sleep and school performance by avoiding late night gaming or texting, (something we may all be guilty of), let alone minimising the exposure to mobile phone radiation when placed next or under the pillow.
10. Teach your child not to reply to unknown senders or callers - Scams, phishing, spam texts – they can lead to premium charges of hacked accounts.
11. Set rules for new apps and games - There is an abundance of apps out there, most of which may not be relevant or appropriate for your child.
12. Discuss cyber bullying, sexting and other risks if you don’t guard your phone. If you have any suggestions, additions or care to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
Guest post by: Deborah Preston
Most of us leave the terror of trolls behind in early childhood, however for many young people ‘trolling’ has become a Grimm reality. The term ‘Troll’ has been resurrected in recent years from the back pages of Grimm’s fairy tales and reinvented as the new name for a particularly virulent and aggressive form of cyber bullying. Trolling is defined as the attempt to humiliate or harm someone online.
As technology has transformed our online lives, the number of ways in which a troll can target their victim has rapidly multiplied, and bullies often use multiple channels and methods to reach their intended audience. Rates of trolling have dramatically increased recently, claiming high profile victims such as swimmer Tom Daley, singer Cher Lloyd. Trolls have made the leap from fairy-tale to reality, and these attacks are often particularly malicious and victims commonly report abuse via email, instant messenger, social networking sites, mobile phones, interactive gaming, and the misuse of their personal details. The anonymity offered by the internet also means the perpetrators often feel uninhibited by normal social restrictions and the digital distance between the bully and the victim makes it far easier for their targets to be dehumanised.
Cyber slander can quickly spiral out of control as it is often difficult to take down negative or offensive material. For instance on social networking sites any photos or videos can often be duplicated and distributed multiple times and thus made available to a potentially unlimited audience, whilst in gaming, trolls can spread false rumours about someone or hack into their account. In these situations trolling can quickly mutate into mobbing as the victim comes prey to group ridicule. The 2011 Norton Online Family Report revealed that 52% 8-17 year olds in the UK have at some point experienced a negative online situation, whilst a further 30% claim to have experienced a serious and negative online situation. An additional 16% of children in the UK think their parents have no idea about their online activities. The signs of cyberbullying are varied and often incredibly difficult to interpret, and it’s not easy for parents to protect their children.
Marian Merritt, Internet Safety Advocate at Norton offers the following advice on how best to ensure your child is protected online: “The most important thing is to ensure bullying is discussed openly in the family. It is essential to make sure your child knows cyberbullying is incredibly common and if they haven’t seen any yet, it’s just a matter of time until they do. Talk about stories you’ve read or seen in the news about nasty emails, embarrassing photos, or personal information that was shared or sent around to other children. Ask about fake social networking profiles. Make sure they know how to react when it does occur. Explain to your child that they should not respond to any email or IM that contains the cyberbullying; they should try to save or print it so they can show someone; they should block it if they know how; and most important always report it to Mum/Dad or another trusted adult.” You can find out more on how to protect your children online in Norton’s Family Resource Pages.
Guest Post by Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate
One of the great “joys” of home ownership is home maintenance. You know what I mean, because you already work hard to keep your Ranch, your Colonial, your mid-century Modern, in tip-top shape. That means regular housekeeping and bigger chores like cleaning the gutters, painting the exterior, and re-roofing. What would it be like if maintenance could be done automatically or even by a free service that’s included when you bought your home? Wouldn’t that be sweet?
Technology does just that, helping you keep your electronic gadgets and beloved software tools running at their best. Your operating system alerts you to important updates; your security software downloads and installs them automatically. You might ask why, if the original version you’ve been using is just fine. Depending on which tech toy we’re talking about, there can be important security patches or refinements to the software that make the experience of using it much, much better. As an example, navigation software needs data about new roads, buildings or pedestrian malls to help you drive safely. Or consider Norton security software as another example; it simply can’t do its job defending you against the newest threats or latest viruses unless you allow the automatic updating feature to do its work.
In fact, helping you keep your software up-to-date is such a big deal at Norton that starting this fall, our engineers have figured out how to make it all happen in the background, silently, and without having to restart your computer for new features to take effect. Keeping you safe with the latest protection is priority #1! This is why I want to tell you about a fantastic new program from some of top brands in consumer technology called International Technology Upgrade Week.
Beginning July 23rd, Norton is joining forces with well-known brands Skype, Adobe and TomTom to help raise consumer awareness about the importance of keeping your software up-to-date. Even though Norton, Skype, Adobe and TomTom do so much to make it easy to update, we do know that many consumers procrastinate about updating software. They see the alerts and click to close them or choose “Remind me later.” In fact, in a recent Skype-commissioned survey, nearly 75 percent of adults receive notifications from their computers to update their software, but more than half admit to needing 2 to 5 prompts before downloading the update. You know you don’t like it when your kids nag you, so I’m sure it’s no fun when your computer or navigation system does the same. Pay attention the first time; those updates and upgrades are important and valuable. Take the time during this special International Technology Upgrade Week to update your devices. And go around to all the family computers, tablets, gaming systems and devices and help your family do the same. It only takes a few minutes, and you could probably even run the updates at night while everyone is sleeping. And then, the devices and programs you love to enjoy will be at their very best, allowing them to perform in tip-top shape.
Guest post by Deborah Preston
We share so much of our lives online nowadays, it has become second nature to share a video clip of friends having fun, or documenting a holiday as a video diary. Those of us who have grown up with the internet may feel like we know how to use it safely and how to protect ourselves online. However, even regular users can slip-up, possibly from being lulled into a false sense of security having previously had nothing bad happen. Just because we are used to everything being ‘ok’ in our online world doesn’t mean that will always be the case. It is important to be aware of what we upload to video sharing sites and the possible consequences.
I keep up with a couple of video content creators and they openly share which city they live in, film themselves driving to and from work and the inside of their house. I was shocked on a few occasions to see the film running as they drive past the sign to their street, as well as filming outside their house and up to the front door. The basics of video sharing safety are don’t film where you live, you never know who is watching! Maybe some of the internet safety rules get forgotten when making videos because content is so regularly uploaded by active video creators, especially if they are doing it daily, and this may lull some into a false sense of security. Video is a great medium, but it’s always important to remember to protect oneself.
I’ve put together some tips for staying safe when video-sharing online:
1. The age limit of 13 on many video sites is there for a reason: young children and teenagers should be supervised on video sites. It can be so easy to watch one video and then click onto a related video and watch something that is not age appropriate
2. Protect your details - don’t give out your address, phone number or even your social media details to anyone you don’t know.
3. Avoid filming out of a window in your home or around the outside of your house. This might give away your location. If you are filming nearby, stop filming a few roads away from your home, or better still, don’t film your neighbourhood at all.
4. Be prepared for the negative comments - Amongst all the good, the internet is a place where trolls and spammers are commonplace. If you make videos or are simply just a commenter or viewer, you may need a thick skin.
5. Think about what you are putting out there in the world of online video and, if you wouldn’t want your mum seeing it, don’t post it.
6. Do tell someone if you are creating videos, it is important to let others know, as they may have a helpful view about the content you are creating and whether what you are uploading is a good idea or not.
7. Remember you can always block users who are causing problems.
8. Video comments can be turned on and off and videos can be listed as public or private.
9. Take a look at the YouTube Safety Centre for more information on how to stay safe on YouTube
Guest post by Deborah Preston
A large number of people share home movies online or have used one of the share sites; whether it be to watch a tutorial, a music video or a funny cat movie, but what you might not think about is how much personal information you give away in doing so.
Movie and video sharing sites have grown from small communities to the massive ones we know today, and overtime video creators have come and gone, with some having left due to safety threats. In the past year and a half I have noticed a trend that more and more video creators are increasingly sharing their private lives online through their videos. Vlogging is very popular and this is where viewers can gain a more personal insight into the daily lives of the person they watch. A number of these vloggers also do daily vlogs, and with this I have noticed some issues with safety. With the daily vlogs it’s a bit like watching a reality show, or soap, and you can get hooked, eager for the next episode and this has led to some of the bigger video creators attracting a sort of celebrity status in the world of online video.
Sometimes the viewers can really feel a part of the person’s life, asking more and more personal questions and it’s sensible for the video creator not to give too much private information away. Viewers can feel as if they know the video creator, and this is where it can start to get complicated and forms of cyberbullying can occur. Although those commenting might not realise it, some simple comments may have certain amounts of pressure attached to them, be it on appearance or a backlash against a certain video. These can be hard to deal with for younger video creators, especially if they are receiving a lot of spam or comments from trolls. We all enjoy sharing our life experiences with one another, but anything uploaded online will stay there, and so it is important to make sure that what you share online doesn’t affect your privacy or put you in an awkward position. Stay tuned next week for tips on staying safe when sharing video online.
Guest post by Simon Ellson
These days, children often seem to know their way around the internet better than their parents and although this is great news for their development, freedom on the web also exposes children to a wealth of threats; ranging from cyber grooming, bullying, accessing inappropriate content to exposing their or the household PC and other devices to viruses, and hacking. In fact, research conducted by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety in 2011 demonstrated that 18 per cent of children have come across harmful or inappropriate content online and a third of children claimed that their parents were unaware of their online activities.
This statement is backed-up by findings from the Norton Online Family Report which shows that 17 per cent of children think their parents have no idea what they do online. (...and a shameless plug coming up – the next wave of the Norton Cybercrime Report is due out soon and I for one will be very interested to see how things have changed since last year). Taking into account the above and bearing in mind we are heading towards school summer holidays and the holiday camp season, I compiled a list of top tips for my own family’s online safety and wanted to share them here:
1. Familiarise yourself with the dangers associated with the sites your children visit. By being aware of the risks involved with your children’s preferred websites, you can keep your eyes peeled for any early signs of danger. The recent grooming scandal on social networking sites illustrates how, even, those sites specifically designed for children can become infiltrated by predatory users.
2. Monitor your children’s activities on the internet. Just because they are quiet doesn’t mean they aren’t causing trouble! Set specific times when they can access the computer and keep your PC in a family area, that way you can ensure that you are nearby should they access any inappropriate content.
3. Understand which devices connect to the internet. Many children now own their own smartphones, and now even certain TVs can connect to the internet. It’s a good idea to be aware of when and how your children are connecting to the internet and what they could be exposed to.
4. Install parental controls on devices that connect to the internet. Parental controls will enable you to filter the content your child is accessing, be it videos, music or websites. Norton Online Family is a free web service that enables you to use parental controls to initiate smartphone monitoring, web filtering, social network and search monitoring and weekly email reports.
5. Create online boundaries just as you would in reality. It can be difficult to reinforce rules online, but it is always constructive to highlight to your children that the same standards of behaviour apply online that you would expect at home. I was a child once, although my kids don't believe that, and I know that for them, sometimes temptation proves irresistible. Just a quick peek from them at one inappropriate website can cause untold harm to them or their computer. In my household I guide and advise without cramping my children’s style (or I endeavour to) and I hope that the tips here help other parents and guardians likewise.
A guest post by Kim Shaurd.
The papers and news headlines seem to brimming at the moment with spine-chilling tales of how our children are open to all kinds of physical and mental threats when surfing the net. Then there has been the continued issue that, as a nation, we are quite oblivious to the fact that a few simple clicks here and there in the midst of procrastination can fast become a security risk. So when the following email from 12 year old Joe Smith landed in our inbox reviewing our internet security software Norton 360, we were pleasantly surprised to read that someone so young is interested and aware of basic internet security. The email reads: “I am 12 years of age and have used other security like Mcafee e.t.c and have purchased Norton 360. This is by far the best. I would appreciate it if you would take time to look at the presentation document I have sent you.” Norton 360 stops online threats before they can infect a computer, which Joe rates as “by far the best” and “excellent” in his PowerPoint presentation – which he kindly put in Norton colours!
Joe’s email came as a breath of fresh air to us here on the Norton team, showing that despite the bad press of late, internet security measures are indeed being taken seriously in the home, even by the younger members of the family. In our recent Norton Online Family Report, we found that 48% of children believe they are more careful online than their parents, evidence which suggests that our children are aware of the risks and precautions to take when online. According to the EU’s Kids Online Survey, the average age of a UK child to first use the internet is 8 years old, which is younger than any other EU country. This is something which should be celebrated, indicating a future where our children are not only becoming more computer savvy, but also doing so more safely.
Guest Blog: Andrew Ford
A friend of mine shared an interesting story with me; A week ago she unfortunately dropped and broke her smartphone but fortunately she had taken out insurance. So a quick visit to the original supplier resulted in a replacement phone two days later. Before collecting her replacement phone she diligently backed everything up... except her photos. The shop assistant said not to worry because he could download the photos, from her damaged smartphone, onto a USB key (via a laptop in the store). She could then upload the images onto her own PC at home. As the download would take nearly an hour she happily left her smartphone in the store while she went about her business rather than wait, guarding her phone, while the download completed. How trusting of her! When the download was complete my friend’s new smartphone was returned along with a USB stick full of photos, however she wouldn’t have known if such precious data went elsewhere as well!
There is no way I would consider leaving my unlocked smartphone in a store with a shop assistant I didn’t know while photos were downloaded. How could my friend be sure only her photos were being downloaded? How could she be sure her phone wasn’t being infected with malware? How did she know her phone wasn’t being cloned? Perhaps I am a cynic as I work in the mobile security business but smartphones have all our personal details stored on them so I would be extremely reticent to leave it unattended, even for a minute. This experience coupled with findings from Symantec’s recent Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) show that mobile vulnerabilities increased by 93% in 2011.
With the number of vulnerabilities in the mobile space rising and malware authors not only reinventing existing malware for mobile devices, but creating mobile-specific malware geared to the unique mobile opportunities, 2011 was the first year that mobile malware presented a tangible threat. We need to be even more vigilant as these threats are specifically targeting sensitive data. We don’t need to help the cybercriminals by being lax in looking after our smartphone and mobile devices. It continues to be important to ensure we password protect our devices and consider using mobile security software from a trusted supplier. We all need to look after our devices with the same vigilance as we look after our wallet, purse or house keys.
For further reading you can check out www.MobileSecuirty.com NB. This website is in beta at the moment so please do tell us what you think.
by Simon Ellson
Like most of us I appreciate, or rather expect, good customer service when I’m buying or deciding whether to buy something. If I’m going to part with my hard-earned cash I want good service and if I also receive a service which is above and beyond, I’m more likely to go back to the same supplier.
Over the weekend I was pondering that customer service has come full circle in a lot of ways and how online retail gives companies the opportunity to offer good old fashioned customer service; It was during Edwardian times that shopping came of age. The customer service and customer experience was second to none. Shopping was an experience to be enjoyed as well as a means to furnish oneself with the latest offerings as well as one’s daily needs. Fast forward to the supermarkets of the 1970’s and whilst certainly convenient and efficient, supermarket shopping often meant the personalised service of the Edwardian era was a distant memory. With the advent of the internet and online shopping, retailers again have the opportunity to show that they understand their customers’ shopping habits, purchase history and preferences. Online retail, done well, can leave consumers with a warm-feeling, that their likes have been accounted for, that they’ve been offered complimentary items to their online purchase and kept informed of goods and services they might want to look at in the future. All this without feeling pressured to buy, just reassured that their chosen outlet understands them. A bit like an Edwardian shopping experience.
But as with regular high street shopping, where one is careful when entering credit care PIN numbers, careful not to leave a purse or wallet unguarded or a mobile phone within easy reach of a pick-pocket, the same considerations have to be applied online:
1. Be smart with your passwords – Use a strong password for each online account you have and update your passwords regularly. Strong passwords contain a mixture of numbers, symbols, and letters in upper and lower case, such as “m&yD0y”. It doesn’t need to be a real word – just something that you’ll remember. Don’t choose the obvious and be creative.
2. Organise your online shopping – Set up an email account specifically to deal with online shopping. Provide as little information as possible to get the account set-up and don’t use it for anything else such as online banking, business correspondence or family matters. It is also useful to keep a credit card, with a low credit limit, just for online purchases.
3. Check that your antivirus software is up-to-date? Cybercriminals continue to be sophisticated and they’ll take advantage on any social trend to spread malware and steal your personal details. Security software from a recognised name such as Norton is the best and safest option when it comes to stopping malicious software installing on your PC.
Guest post by Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate
With more than 900 million registered users, Facebook has long been everyone’s favorite online location. We update our status, check in to our favorite shops and restaurants, play social games, post family photos and live our lives increasingly in the top global social networking space. With this popularity, Facebook has realized they can do more to help educate members about the best ways to remain protected while enjoying everything Facebook has to offer.
Today, Facebook and Norton by Symantec announce a great partnership. Facebook has a security site, the Facebook AV Marketplace, where new-to-Norton Facebook users can download a 6-month trial of our flagship Norton AntiVirus for either a Mac or a PC. So if you aren’t using any security on your computer, or you’ve wanted to try Norton for free, now is a great time to do so. You can also read a helpful whitepaper, jointly written by Facebook and Symantec called Scams & Spam to Avoid on Facebook. You’ll find out more on the Facebook Security Blog.
We spend so much time in these virtual neighborhoods and cybercriminals have followed us there, testing our passwords, trying to gain access to our accounts. Often, the crooks, having access to our account, will spread a hoax message to our friends, trying to trick them into sending money or sharing information. Malware, in the form of clickjacking links, has also been a problem for users and for the site to defeat. As part of this partnership, Norton will also work with Facebook to detect and alert users to potentially malicious URLs on the site, helping to provide a safer experience for everyone. Norton and Facebook share a common goal of protecting consumers online, and today’s partnership agreement demonstrates the efforts being made to ensure your social networking remains protected, regardless of the device used to access your online world.
For more information on how to keep yourself safe from online threats, check out our Norton Facebook page.