The security argument between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android system for smartphones is heating up yet again. In a recent study conducted by Daniel R. Thomas, Alastair R. Beresford, and Andrew Rice at the University of Cambridge, research concluded that 90 percent of Android devices are exposed to at least one critical vulnerability.
The threat model was constructed using three common attack vectors: installation attack (malicious codes installed through app download); dynamic code loading (an existing app downloads new malicious codes); and injection (an attacker injects malicious code...
Falling for an email scam is something that can happen to anyone. It’s a frightening concept, and one that frequently results in undiluted panic. Also known as a phishing scam, an email scam involves using email and fraudulent websites to steal sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, account data, addresses, and more.
Fraudulent emails are crafted to appear legitimate, such as messages from your bank or another trusted source. They request personal information, which criminals then use for identity theft.
So what should you do if you find yourself a victim of an e...
Companies of all sizes use online surveys to gather important market research, which they later utilize to direct product development and marketing initiatives. This critical step in the marketing process is appealing to some online users because they get paid to complete surveys, and earn rewards or special discounts from popular brands. Some surveys aren’t paid at all, offering consumers little more than the opportunity to participate in the development process of a product or service.
There’s been a lot of hype about people allegedly making a living off of these online surveys, causing...
The Internet is filled with threats to online security. Many of these threats are just productive, positive technologies turned to evil use. The botnet is an example of using good technologies for bad intentions. A botnet is nothing more than a string of connected computers coordinated together to perform a task. That can be maintaining a chatroom, or it can be taking control of your computer. Botnets are just one of the many perils out there on the Internet. Here’s how they work and how you can protect yourself.
Botnets are the workhorses of the Int...
Once upon a time, a photograph provided only the information one could see in the physical print—no hidden data about locations, time and date, or the device that took the photo.
With the advent of easy digital photography, however, connecting extra information to the photos became easy as well. This information, known as “metadata,” might include items like the GPS coordinates of the photo’s location, the date and time it was taken, the camera type and shutter settings, and the software used to edit the photo.
Many digital photographers don’t realize that their photos might carry this...
If you’re like most people, you don’t read the Terms of Service when you get a new app or buy a new device. That’s a big mistake, because a lot of apps on the market that are less-than-ideal, known as “grayware,” count on you allowing them access to your information. They know most people don’t read the Terms of Service, so their Terms of Service include language authorizing a massive invasion of your privacy. At the same time, you might have noticed that most Terms of Service is just boilerplate. How do you read the Terms of Service and find out what you need to know about privacy without...
While Valentine’s Day is for lovers, we bet you didn’t know that there is a holiday for the single folks as well! Singles Awareness Day was created as an alternative to Valentine’s Day, and whether you’re celebrating or commiserating your single status, we’re pretty sure that many of you have crossed paths with an online dating site at some point. Nowadays, online dating is as normal to life as is online shopping. Believe it or not, online dating has been around for 20 years, and as a result, cybercriminals are finding big money in people looking for love. 70% of compromised users are wome...
There are currently over 4 million apps available across various mobile platforms. It's virtually impossible to keep track of each and every app on all of your devices, whether it is a shared device, such as a tablet or smartphone, or just to keep prying eyes away from the device.
In our busy lives, sometimes we don't give much thought when a close friend asks to look at something on our phone, or your rambunctious child snatches up your tablet to get their Angry Birds fix. But the things we have on our devices contain much more information about ourselves than we realize. Norton App Lo...
February 8th is National Clean out Your Computer day, and as they say, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” For centuries, this saying applied to tasks like scrubbing the floors and dusting the bookcases. Today, however, it applies to your computer just as much as it does to your house.
When you “clean” your computer, you don’t just dust off the keyboard and wipe fingerprints from the screen. You also pay attention to the state of the hard drive, updating software and removing old programs.
Cleaning both your computer’s hardware and its software matters.
Clean hardware help...
Most of us are familiar with deleting data—we do it almost every day. We move folders into the recycling bin, dump old emails into the trash, and delete personal records to free up space on a computer’s hard drive. But what really happens to all that data? Where does it go, and is it really gone forever?
Some people will be relieved to know that, most of the time, deleted files are not permanently gone. Many of us have at one time or another accidently deleted items we did not mean to; in this case the prospect of bringing those files back from the dead is usually good news.
The bad news...
You could call mobile devices the new frontier for malware. Malware often appears on mobile devices in the form of an app. These apps sometimes include malicious code that makes the app do things it’s not supposed to do – such as broadcast your location information while you’re searching local maps.
Of all the mobile providers and systems, Android appears to be the most vulnerable to invasion by malware because of the openness of its platform. The flexibility that makes for so many awesome apps has the slight downside of leaving open some security vulnerabilities. But fear not! You can pr...
When you’re using the Internet, your Internet security suite can only go so far to protect you from potential dangers like spyware, ransomware and malware. You have to do some of the work yourself, because there are some threats that no Internet security suite can protect you against.
Social engineering is a good example of this. Social engineering is a technique that cybercriminals use, which involves human-to-human interaction in order to get the user to divulge information. Based on exploiting human nature and emotional reactions, there are many ways that attackers can try to trick y...
A browser hijacker is defined as a “form of unwanted software that modifies a web browser’s settings without the user’s permission.” The result is the placement of unwanted advertising into the browser, and possibly the replacement of an existing home page or search page with the hijacker page. The idea is to make users visit certain websites whether they want to or not so the hijacker enjoys higher advertising revenue. Browser hijackers may also contain spyware to obtain banking information and other sensitive data.
As frustrating as browser hijackers can be, they luckily aren’t terribly...
It’s barely spring and already you’re thinking about vacation. Where will you go? What will you do? Who will you meet? Vacations are an exciting, happy time for people to get away and avoid the everyday worries of home. But the fun and leisure comes to a screeching halt in the event that your personally data is compromised while traveling.
Vacations can often put your personal information at risk, due to careless missteps in how you go about preparing to leave, how you communicate while on vacation, and what you share on social media.
Here are seven ways to ensure your data stays safe wh...
Spam is a problem on the Internet, coming at us from just about every angle of the online space. Some spammers develop sophisticated, well-planned strategies, while others can be sloppy and still drive results. Either way, spam tactics come in a variety of shades, and it’s up to users to identify signals early on and avoid unsolicited content.
Here’s a look at some spam tactics used in popular Internet spaces. Become familiar with these tactics to help identify them and avoid them whenever possible.
Spam on Social Media
A lot of the time, spam on social media is just bad social med...
Freezing your credit report is sometimes very necessary. It prevents credit thieves from opening new cards and other accounts in your name, and is often recommended when you’re dealing with the ramifications of identity theft.
What Is a Credit Freeze?
A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, gives you the chance to “lock” your data at major credit bureaus. Doing this also makes it impossible for identity thieves to use your name on anything linked to your credit report. You will receive a password or personal identification number to use for temporarily lifting or removing the f...
Bots, or Internet robots, are also known as spiders, crawlers, and web bots. While they may be utilized to perform repetitive jobs, such as indexing a search engine, they often come in the form of malware. Malware bots are used to gain total control over a computer.
One of the typical “good” bot uses is to gather information. Bots in such guises are called web crawlers. Another “good” use is automatic interaction with instant messaging, instant relay chat, or assorted other web interfaces. Dynamic interaction with websites is yet another way bots are used for positive purposes.
Believe it or not, accessing the deep web is easier than you think. In fact, you’ve probably already done it. The media hasn’t done a great job of differentiating what’s considered deep web, and what is actually dark web—two similar titles for two very different things.
What Is the Deep Web?
The deep web is just what it sounds like: below the surface and not completely dark.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are able to search and index websites because of links; they use links to rank search results according to things like relevancy, inbound links, and keywords. But that’s w...
Today we are proud to announce the launch of the second installment in our documentary series "The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet."
In episode one, we visited the town Râmnicu Vâlcea, which is better known as "Hackerville." In the first film, we met hackers from all walks of life, including white, grey and black hat hackers, and talked to them about their motivations behind what they do.
In the second installment, we travel all corners of the globe to find out where cybercrime goes to hide, by exploring what is called Bulletproof Hosting. While the hacker is the operator of the att...
You’ve heard of malware, ransomware, botnets, and the like. What you don’t hear about is the technology behind these threats. These threats all have to come from somewhere, they’re not just out there floating around on the internet- they have to be stored someplace. Since a majority of these threats are illegal in a lot of countries, this is where bulletproof hosting helps facilitate these threats.
To clearly understand what bulletproof hosting is, we should first take a step back and talk about regular hosting. A regular web hosting service is a company that operates a facility, usually ...
There are multiple “layers” to the Internet that you may not be aware of. The first, or top layer is called the surface web, and it is the part of the web that is crawled by search engines. That’s the part that you can see, it’s where Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and everything else under the search engine sun lives.
The second layer of the Web is called the deep web. Think of it as an ocean- on the top you have the boats dragging their nets across the surface. The boats are the web crawlers for search engines, and the “nets” catch what is on the surface for indexing by the search engine. ...
There are few times your smartphone or tablet will be more at risk than when you go on vacation. Although these items have been specifically designed to accompany you on your travels, they’re full of personal information that can put you, your finances, and your personal property at risk.
There’s no reason to assume the worst when you go on vacation, but you can greatly reduce your chances of a security breach by preparing your smartphone or tablet ahead of time and remaining vigilant while on your trip. Here’s how to prepare a smartphone or tablet before you go on vacation.
A major new survey titled reveals that 76 percent of Australian women under the age of 30 have experienced online harassment. This International Women’s Day, let’s make the online world a safer one.
In 2015, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invested $100 million in a Women’s Safety Package. At the launch of the package, Michaelia Cash, Minister for Women and Employment, said ‘all women in Australia and their children should be safe at home, should be safe on the streets and should be safe online’.
As a senior leader at an online security company and mother of a teenage girl, I have a uniq...
Last year, the Norton team brought you a new look into cybercrime via the documentary “In Search Of The Most Dangerous Town On The Internet.” Through this film we investigated the Romanian town Râmnicu Vâlcea, also known as "Hackerville." While there, we spoke with various types of hackers and about their motives, and how they do what they do.
In the second installment of our series, we explore the far corners of the globe, in search of bulletproof hosting, which is how cybercriminals execute their attacks. Watch the trailer today, and tune into Most...
According to several studies on cost of ownership, users should replace their computer devices every four years. Not everyone will need to upgrade his or her computer every four years, but it’s a good rule to follow to ensure your data is safe and properly protected online.
To help you remember, every time we have a leap year ask yourself: when was the last time I bought a new computer? If you can’t remember, chances are you may be due for an upgrade. Once you’re ready to make the switch, you’ll need to follow a few steps to ensure your old technology has been properly wiped and recycled,...
Numerous laws in the U.S. cover Internet, data security, and privacy in the United States, with the 1974 Privacy Act arguably being the foundation for it all. The Privacy Act passed to establish control over the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal information by agencies in the executive branch of the U.S. government.
The invention of the Internet changed the definition of privacy, and made it necessary to enact new laws concerning electronic communications and security.
Let’s review some of the laws currently in place to provide a more solid idea of your rights a...
Have you ever lost a lot of really important data? Or, alternately, have you ever had a moment of panic where you thought you did? Whether it’s images of a family vacation, a report from work or a semester’s worth of homework, you probably have data on your computer that’s not just valuable, it’s too valuable to lose. Backing up your data regularly will help you to avoid the crushing feeling that comes with finding out that all your hard work and treasured memories are gone.
The Importance of Backing Up
Let’s face it, no matter how great your computer or external hard drive are, one da...
Surfing the Internet means possible exposure to online scams, something your children might not have any concept of. If you’re allowing them to go online, it’s imperative that you discuss online scams. Such scams come in a variety of guises, including those that specifically target children.
Let’s look at how to best protect your kiddies from those who would scam them:
Educate Yourself First
The first step in protecting your children from online scams is to educate yourself on the types of scams currently floating around the Internet. One type of scam is the free trial offer, which clai...
Malware has become a catchall term for various types of cyber security risks, such as viruses, Trojan horses, worms, adware, ransomware and spyware. Many of us use these terms interchangeably to describe strange symptoms or behaviors encountered on a computer. However, all of them share a common goal, which is to compromise the safety of your devices. Symptoms of malware may appear obvious or discrete; knowing how to detect these dangerous intrusions will help you determine how to go about fixing the problem should it ever occur.
Malware is short for malicious software and refers to pro...
Have you ever run your Internet security software only to find out that there’s malware on your computer? How did it get there? When you’re running a full Internet security suite, it can be very frustrating to find out that, despite your best efforts, there’s malware on your computer anyway. The fight against malware is a complicated arms race of sorts. Here’s how it works.
The Four Components of the Malware Arms Race
There are three main players in the malware arms race:
The malware coders are, unfortunately, generally the winners of the arms race. They write mali...
If you’re like most Internet users, you’ve never even heard of grayware, adware or madware. That’s because these are all lower on the threat scale in the world of malicious programming. What’s more, they toe the line between legitimate programs and actively harmful applications.
Here’s your quick guide to the new wave of code you don’t want on your computer:
What Is Grayware?
Grayware is a more succinct name for “potentially unwanted programs.” It’s not a virus and it’s not as obviously malicious as a lot of other problematic code floating around on the Internet. Make no mistake about...
You’ve likely heard the word ‘firewall’ used to describe a measure of prevention against cyber criminals. But that doesn’t mean you know how a firewall actually works, does it?
Don’t worry—the truth is that most people don’t how a firewall works; they just expect it to do its job. But it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. Once you learn a little more about firewalls, you might feel more confident about installing one on your home computer, if you haven’t already. If you’re already using a firewall to prevent cyber attacks, perhaps learning more about how it works will improve ...
Picture this. It’s Saturday morning and you’re hanging out at your local coffee shop using the free Wi-Fi to catch up on a few tasks you couldn’t quite get to during your busy week. Sound familiar? This is a typical scenario for many of us, but did you know you might be unaware of some threats lurking in the background on public Wi-Fi while you balance your bank account and sip a latte?
What Is Public Wi-Fi?
Public Wi-Fi can be found in popular public places like airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants, and hotels — and it allows you to access the Internet for free. These “hotspots”...
Did you know that there was more than one Death Star? What’s more, the destruction of each one of them was via one vulnerability, or weakness in the whole system. To celebrate May the Fourth we’re taking a look at vulnerabilities that nearly ended the Empire. Whichever side you choose, don’t become a victim to software vulnerabilities.
As the story goes: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
The Death Star I was designed to be an impenetrable fortress and a symbol of the Emperor’s hold on the galaxy. In case you’re not familiar with it, the Death Star is a fully contained; moon s...
Early on a Wednesday evening, I received a call from my doctor. Her voice, frantic on the line, proclaims, “I’m so happy to hear your voice- the strangest thing happened today. You were marked in our system as deceased for about 20 minutes.” I paused for a moment out of shock, and assured her I was very much alive and well. She went on to explain how she’d never seen anything like it before. As the initial shock wore off, we started to have a bit of a laugh on how bizarre this was.
File sharing technology is an easy way for individuals or institutions to transfer content on the internet. There are several peer-to-peer (P2P) applications and services available. Some applications are free and others offer paid subscriptions for larger storage capacity, speedier service or extra security. File sharing is a very common activity for most online users, but file sharing also makes you susceptible to various online threats including identity theft, infection or attack.
If you plan on using file sharing technology be sure personal data and other sensitive materials are secur...
You’re probably familiar with 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi hotspots. In today’s increasingly connected mobile world, there are a variety of ways to get and stay connected to the Internet, but what’s really the safest way?
Truth be told, nothing is 100% safe. However, there are ways that you can beef up your own security to get as close to that 100% as possible. It begins with understanding what these technologies are, and the risks that come along with them.
How Do Mobile Devices Connect to the Internet?
Let’s break down the three different ways your mobile device can connect to the Internet, and...
If you’ve uploaded pictures to Facebook recently, you might have noticed that it has the uncanny ability to recognize people's faces. This is just one example of high-tech facial recognition software in action. Here’s what you need to know about this emerging technology.
How Facial Recognition Software Works
You’ve never given much thought to how you recognize a face, and probably even less to how a computer would do it. Still, it’s not news that human faces have certain qualities you recognize. The spacing of eyes on a face, the position and width of a nose, the shape of a hairline and ...
Mobile payment apps are changing the way we do business, but they can also be convenient ways to send money to friends and family. It’s easier than ever to send money to the people who need it, but also easier than ever for hackers to gain access to that money before it gets where you want it. How do you keep yourself and your money safe, while also being able to access the convenience of mobile payment apps?
How Mobile Payment Apps Work
You can pay using your phone, even without apps. Some companies, such as your phone company, allow you to pay your bill using standard text messaging....
Introducing “Zero Days,” the real-life cyber warfare documentary featuring Symantec cyber-security experts Eric Chien and Liam O’Murchu.
You may have heard about the Stuxnet virus in the media over the years. However, brief news reports don’t even begin to uncover the darkness of this threat. In “Zero Days,” director Alex Gibney takes a deeper look at the sophisticated piece of weapons-grade malware that destroyed a part of an Iranian nuclear facility, as well as help facilitate espionage by spying on its target.
This thrilling documentary discusses the complexity of the virus with Sy...
The goal of this game is quite the opposite of all other games- to get you out into the world and interacting with other people playing the game. If anything, parents have been applauding this game for getting their children off of the couch and out getting some actual exercise. So far, my favorite headline about the game has been “Sore Legs Become Pandemic As Pokémon Go Players Accidentally Get Exercise.”
However, I’ve also stumbled upon some other news headlines that are quite worrisome, that affect people’s virtual and physical privacy. As a result, instead of writing a typical artic...
One of the great things about this game is that is popular amongst both children and adults, so our main suggestion is to play with them. This can be a great opportunity for you to engage and play along with your children!
First things first, with all apps your children are interested in, download the app and play it yourself to become familiar with what your children will be doing. This way, you can become more informed about the gameplay, and you can talk to your child about how to be safe while using it.
This is part two of a three part series where we are going to delve into examini...
In one way or another, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go, the latest new app that seems to be taking over smartphones everywhere. When I first heard about the app, it piqued my curiosity, given my passion for cyber security. Admittedly, I became addicted immediately, which lead me to research how the game works, how to play it, and what the possible security risks are that come along with the game.
Firstly, it is important to note that this game is not your average smartphone game. It uses a technology known as augmented reality, which is a blend of real life and technology. There are m...
A form of phishing, smishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message. Smishing is becoming an emerging and growing threat in the world of online security. Read on to learn what smishing is and how you can protect yourself against it.
Put simply, smishing is any kind of phishing that involves a text message. Often times, this form of phishing involves a text message in an SMS or a phone number. Smishing is particularly scary because sometimes people tend to be more inclined to trust a text message than an email. Most people a...
This year, Norton visited DefCon 24, a hacking conference held in Las Vegas. Established in 1993, this conference is designed to bring together people from all realms of the Internet security sector to explore the latest threats that are currently on the Internet, and to learn how to get ahead of them. This year, the conference had a record-breaking attendance of 22,000 people ranging from hackers, coders, journalists (me!), security researchers and even federal government employees.
This was my first time attending this conference, and although I did my research on it, it was beyond my e...
When hacking was first introduced in film and television, it was nowhere near as prevalent as it is today. The threat landscape was years away from becoming what it is now, so hacking and cybercrime wasn’t quite the household name it is today, therefore, there was a wide unfamiliarity of it within the public eye.
Directors and writers have struggled with how to portray hacking in film simply because the act of hacking in real life is not very interesting or visually compelling. It’s just lines of code scrolling down a computer screen. In order to keep the viewer entertained they used chee...
Did you know that an attacker can flood your house via the water dispenser on your connected refrigerator? Or that bluetooth enabled locks can be picked from ¼ of a mile away using radio frequencies? I didn’t either, until I attended this year’s DefCon 24, an annual hacking convention in Las Vegas.
While a hotel in Las Vegas full of 22,000 hackers sounds like it might not be a good idea, it’s just the opposite. The purpose of this conference is to bring together Internet security professionals from all over the world to help educate, inform and learn how to make the Internet a safer place...
Since our physical world has become so integrated with our technology, it’s not as easy as to protect it back when all we had to worry about was our computers and laptops. However, in this day and age, that is not the case. The threat landscape has evolved just as our technology has. The more devices that are out there equal more things for cybercriminals to attack.
Personal cybersecurity is a now a multi-pronged approach. It’s not as simple as installing antivirus on a computer anymore. A good foundation to personal cybersecurity is knowledge. Since threats don’t come solely in digital f...
Happy Thanksgiving from Norton!