Tamim Taufiq, Head of Consumer Sales MENA, Symantec
As summer surprises dawn on the UAE for the upcoming months and expatriates look to escape the desert, leading internet security specialists Norton by Symantec warn of the latest and greatest threats to hit UAE consumers. Whether shopping, travelling or catching the latest summer blockbuster, Norton warns users to be aware of the digitial dangers that come hand-in-hand with the heat and offers tips on how they can protect themselves.
“During the summer months, we inevitably see a large number of people spending and travelling across the region, and this has a knock-on effect on the frequency of their online usage whether at home or on the move. Increased availability of tablets and new mobile apps mean consumers can book everything from their mobile device. They are therefore running the risk of broadcasting personal data ripe for the picking for online thieves. While we may tend to relax and slow the pace down a notch or two over the summer months here, it is absolutely crucial that consumers keep defences high and exercise caution when it comes to online security,” says Tamim Taufiq, Head of Consumer Sales MENA for Symantec.
The 3 S’s to keep secure this summer:
School’s Out: With fewer hours in the classroom and more free time over the summer months, children and teenagers across the UAE and GCC will be surfing the net more frequently, especially through social media as a means to broadcast information and interact with their friends and family, anywhere and anytime. As cybercriminals frequently look to sites with higher traffic to exploit victims, users should be on high alert for anything out of the ordinary:
“On social networks, once a cybercriminal has access to someone’s account, they can post links to other websites on the victim’s profile. These links will show up on the news feeds of the victim’s family and friends and lead them to infected sites with viruses and other nasty items. The popularity of using shortened links also works in the scammers’ favor, since people aren’t able to easily tell if the link connects to a “bad” site. Be cautious when clicking on links in emails, instant messages, and social networking sites - even if they appear to come from trusted sources like friends and family. Limit the amount of personal information you make publicly available on the Internet especially via social networks), as it may be collected by cybercriminals and used to scam you.”
Smartphone Savvy: Whether booking a holiday, updating a status, chatting to a friend overseas or booking a ticket for the latest blockbuster to hit the local box office, smartphone users will be relying on their mobile device to keep them up to speed over the summer months while they are on the go. As new models and applications become more integrated with a person’s finances, cybercriminals are constantly stepping up their game to create more complex attacks and adapting the ways they target victims.
“New ‘poisoned’ versions of applications may look like the originals, but after unsuspecting users have downloaded them, a number of things can happen:
potentially damaging or dangerous software may be installed onto your phone
unnecessary personal information may be requested
the application (and the cybercriminals controlling it) may be able to see, and even control, all of your mobile phone activity.
Norton’s advice is to stick to legitimate app marketplaces, and download a mobile security application to prevent out-of-the-blue attacks. Norton Mobile Security has introduced its Android 2.0 Beta product with antiphishing technology, remote locate functionality and remote wipe and lock features to protect users on their smartphones.
Shhh! You’re going where? As people visit family and friends around the region and beyond and hit the malls this season, telling people where you are via your mobile phone or your social network could mean you are unknowingly engaging in some potentially risky online behavior.
“People using their mobile or smartphones to connect to the Internet are giving applications on those devices permission to identify their location. Updating your social networking status with your location can also inadvertently broadcast to real-world criminals that your’re not at home. Giving away your location is a potential ‘gateway’ that most consumers don’t even think twice about and the easiest way to prevent this is with a little bit of caution – the only people who need to know where you might be are your family, friends and perhaps a trusted neighbour.” said Taufiq.