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Tips for a More Secure Internet Experience

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Sync Magazine/Comcast Questions
What are the primary security concerns that Internet users should be aware of?

Home users often do not maintain adequate security protection on their PCs, which makes them easy, lucrative targets for hackers and other cyber-criminals. There are several security concerns that Internet users need to be aware of, all of which can be avoided by installing up-to-date Internet security software.

By accessing the Internet from an unsecured PC, an Internet user is exposed to spam, viruses, spyware, adware, Trojans, and dialers, and is therefore exposed to serious issues such as identity theft and the loss of valuable PC data including photos, movies, music, resumes, family information, and other irreplaceable documents.

Consumers should avoid sending personal identifiable information over the Internet, downloading unexpected files from friends and family, falling victim to phishing scams, or leaving a wireless network unsecured in order to avoid these problems.

The best way to protect your PC and identity is to use up-to-date security software. McAfee® Internet Security, for example, provides comprehensive, multi-layered PC security against inbound and outbound Internet threats. It protects users from viruses, spyware, hackers, unwanted emails, phishing scams, and identity theft, all in one easy-to-install and easy-to-manage product.

How does McAfee help prevent Comcast customers’ personal information from being stolen?

The single best step to help protect your PC and identity is to use up-to-date PC security software. McAfee Internet Security provides comprehensive, multi-layered PC security against inbound and outbound Internet threats.

It helps protect you from viruses, spyware, hackers, unwanted emails, phishing scams, and identity theft. It includes the following components:

Anti-virus—Detects and blocks viruses before they infect your PC.

Anti-spyware—detects and blocks potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), such as spyware and adware, before they can retrieve your personal information or slow your PC.

Firewall—Continuously monitors your broadband, dial-up, or wireless Internet connection, preventing unwanted traffic to and from your PC.

Anti-spam—Helps keep your inbox free from unwanted, fraudulent, offensive, and phishing emails that deceive users into providing personal information to identity thieves.

Identity threat prevention—Protects your identity by alerting you before personal information is transmitted via an unsecured Internet connection. 

McAfee SiteAdvisor®—Warns you before visiting known and potential phishing scam web sites in Internet Explorer.

Parental controls—Allow parents to establish Internet access controls to create a safe browsing environment for children.

How does McAfee address new threats that arise (such as viruses and worms)?

McAfee has a dedicated research team, McAfee Labs, which maintains one of the top-ranked security threat and research organizations in the world, employing researchers in 13 countries on five continents. McAfee Labs research team monitors the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If a threat arises, the team will resolve the problem and update McAfee’s products accordingly.

How often should Comcast users check for McAfee updates?

Comcast users need not check for updates, as McAfee products are updated automatically, on a daily basis.

Do you have any advice for people who want to protect themselves when paying bills online?

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission offers the following list of tips to help ensure that your online shopping experience is a safe one:

  • Use a secure browser that complies with industry security standards, such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). These standards scramble the purchase information you send over the Internet, helping to secure your transaction
  • Shop with companies you know. Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name
  • If you’re not familiar with a merchant, ask for a paper catalog or brochure to get a better idea of their merchandise and services. Also, determine the company’s refund and return policies before you place your order. These should be posted on the company’s web site
  • Keep your password(s) private. Be creative when you establish a password, and never give it to anyone. Avoid using a telephone number, birth date or a portion of your Social Security number. Instead, use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols
  • Pay by credit or charge card. If you pay by credit or charge card online, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor is investigating them. In the event of unauthorized use of your credit or charge card, you generally would be held liable only for the first $50 in charges. Some companies offer an online shopping guarantee that ensures you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made online, and some cards may provide additional warranty, return, and/or purchase protection benefits
  • Keep a record. Be sure to print a copy of your purchase order and confirmation number for your records. Also, you should know that the Mail and Telephone Order Merchandise Rule covers online orders. This means that unless the company states otherwise, your merchandise must be delivered within 30 days, and, if there are delays, the company must notify you
  • Pay your bills online. Some companies let you pay bills and check your account status online. Before you sign up for any service, evaluate how the company secures your financial and personal information. Many companies explain their security procedures on their web site. If you don’t see a security description, call or email the company and ask

Do you have any other tips for Comcast customers who want to protect themselves online?

Here are several tips to protect your online experience:

  • Be smart when using instant messaging (IM) programs. If you use an IM program to communicate with friends and family, be careful about sending any personal information.  Protect yourself by using a nickname for your IM screen name. Never accept strangers into your IM groups. Be smart about how you use IM at work because your employer may have the right to monitor and view your messages
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and web sites, masquerading as legitimate businesses, to lure unsuspecting users into revealing private account or login information. Even if you have PC security, you still might visit a malicious web site without knowing it. Legitimate businesses will never ask you to update your personal information via email. Always verify web addresses before submitting your personal information
  • Use email wisely. Email is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. Even if you have good security software on your PC, your friends and family might not have the right protection. Be careful about what information you submit via email. Never send your credit card information, Social Security number, and other private information via email
  • Create smart and strong passwords. Make it difficult for hackers to crack your password. You can create a smart password by incorporating capital letters, numbers, and special characters, and by using more than six characters. An example of a strong password is: Go1dM!n3
  • Shop safely. Many online stores have the right protection for you to purchase online. But shop safely! Be sure to read the online store's privacy and security policies before shopping
  • Fun and carefree online gaming. Internet games are fun for the whole family. Make sure you are careful when playing online games, especially when chatting with other players.  Be sure that your security software still functions when you are in game mode
  • Pay attention to your children’s online activities. Keep your home computer in a community area and invest in child safety for your PC that is age appropriate. Limit your children’s time spent online and install and use parental controls software that allows you to monitor your children’s online activity. This will keep your children from accessing undesirable web sites and sharing personal information via online communications.

Can you explain what phishing is? How can people protect themselves against it?

Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and web sites, masquerading as legitimate businesses, to lure unsuspecting users into revealing private account or login information.  Even if you have PC security, you still might visit a malicious web site without knowing it. McAfee SiteAdvisor® warns you before visiting known and potential phishing scam web sites. However, legitimate businesses will never ask you to update your personal information via email. 

Always verify web addresses before submitting your personal information. People can protect themselves from phishing scams by never clicking on questionable links in emails and never transmitting sensitive data to companies by email.


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