McAfee says many of us are too complacent or overestimate our efforts to stay smart online. During Stay Smart online week, 8-14 October we will present curated materials to make you think about the topic.

Despite ongoing education of cyber risks, many of us overestimate our efforts in applying simple cyber sense. McAfee says its time to build a culture of security – security first. That is what Stay Smart Online week is about and McAfee is a major partner.

Despite a 400% increase in celebrity scams in 2018 reported by the ACCC, a Google survey commissioned by McAfee showed that 73% of Aussies say they have not been a victim of such a scam and 24% said they didn’t even know if they have or haven’t. The disconnect in these reports points to consumers not being completely transparent when it comes to falling victim to cyberattacks, whether it be out of embarrassment or miseducation.

McAfee Australia’s Cybermum, Alex Merton-McCann explains:

stay smart online

When was the last time you changed the passwords on your social media accounts or updated the software on an app on your phone? Some of the easiest steps to take towards cybersafety have the greatest impact. Stay Smart Online Week is focused on cybersecurity education and provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to take a step back and re-think their bad online habits.

GadgetGuy found a lot of good, practical information on Alex’s blog. Why not read it during Stay Smart Online week?

To help educate consumers during Stay Smart Online Week, McAfee has outlined the top three risky online behaviours that consumers are still committing and has provided advice on how to employ simple cyber sense to reverse the threat online.

1. Not securing devices:

By 2025, there will be approximately 75 billion connected devices worldwide, from wearables and pacemakers to thermometers and smart plugs. People are welcoming more and more connected devices into their homes with little to no regard for the security and privacy risks they pose. Such devices undoubtedly make life easier and more convenient, but the reality is that most IoT devices lack built-in security features, making them vulnerable to malware and hacking. In 2018 alone, McAfee uncovered numerous major security flaws in virtual assistants and smart plugs.

McAfee’s tips to reverse the threat:

Make security a priority when purchasing. Before you purchase an IoT device, prioritise those devices that have been on the market for a while, have a name brand, or have a lot of online reviews. The chances are that the device’s security standards will be higher, due to being vetted by the masses.

Change default device passwords. As soon as you bring a new device into your home, change the password to something difficult to guess. Cybercriminals often know the default settings and can use them to access your devices.

Keep your software up-to-date. To protect against potential vulnerabilities, manufacturers often release software updates. Set your device to auto-update, if possible, so you always have the latest software.

2. Clicking on suspicious links:

One of the most popular ways in which hackers are targeting consumers is through links containing malware that employ famous faces and names to front dodgy advertisements, bogus news stories or links promising content such as music or movie downloads.

New McAfee research reveals that Aussie model, MTV VJ and Orange is the New Black actress, Ruby Rose is the most dangerous celebrity to search for online. Using terms such as ‘free torrent’, ‘sex tape’ and ‘free pics’, McAfee was able to determine the riskiest celebrities to search for across the globe, as consumers often drop their guard in the name of convenience and speed to access content from their favourite celebs.

McAfee’s tips to reverse the threat:

Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of the CW series, Batwoman starring Ruby Rose should be cautious and only download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.

Apply system and application updates as soon as they are available. Very often the operating system and application updates include security fixes. Applying updates is an important step to help ensure devices stay protected.

Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set on the child’s device and use software that can help minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

3. Giving away personal information:

Most consumers would think twice when asked for their credit card information or address online but lack the same forethought when posting photos of themselves and their children online.

Recent McAfee research shows that despite 50% of parents being aware of the risks such as pedophilia, stalking and cyberbullying when posting photos of their children online, 30% post a picture of their child online once a week, and 40% post photos of their child in school uniform on a regular basis.

McAfee’s tips to reverse the threat:

Set Ground Rules with Friends and Family. Be clear with friends and family about your expectations when they post images of your kids. If you are uncomfortable with anything they post, you are well within your rights to ask them to remove it.

Don’t Forget About Your Child’s Digital Reputation. Every post about someone forms part of their digital reputation. Always consider whether what you are considering posting could negatively impact this. And encourage your teens to regularly check the posts and images they are tagged in online too.

Ask For Consent But Be Prepared For Your Child To Say NO. Asking for an older child’s consent before you post pics is essential but be prepared for them to say NO!