Facing down Facebook threats

According to Jim Galpin, McAfee Canada’s (NYSE: MFE) newly appointed manager, Canadian consumer sales, the growth of social media has spawned cyber criminals who want to compromise the family computer. The biggest threat out-there comes from Facebook, the popular online social networking site that is privately operated.

Galpin said that it’s the single biggest threat because of its 350 million users worldwide. Facebook has recently upgraded its security, but Galpin says it will not be enough.

Attacks generally occur when during big news events such as the death of Michael Jackson and the NFL Super Bowl game. “When there is some big piece of news families are open to attack,” Galpin said.

To help families deal with ongoing Facebook threats McAfee has made major enhancements to its consumer product line which contains the same intelligence and technology used to defend governments and large multi-national companies.

Also McAfee’s software-as-a-service (SAAS) delivery model will enable users to be current with McAfee protection. Galpin said that the product, called Total Protection, wasn’t just about anti-virus, but more towards identity theft. Social media Web sites such as Facebook have attached messages that look legitimate but they are hacks aimed at stealing private information and your bank accounts.

The stats are staggering, Galpin said. About 70 per cent of children on the Internet are on social networking sites, approximately 68 per cent of kids are on instant messenger. “Children do not think about security they just go ahead and staring doing it,” he said.On the more dangerous side, Galpin said that one in 17 kids are threatened or bullied online, while 44 per cent are contacted by a stranger.

The SAAS delivery model is also important because it avoids annual releases or signature updated, said David Klenske, director, consumer worldwide product marketing for McAfee, based in Santa Clara, Calif. “Instead we update all the time and it’s in the background on the consumer’s PC. The threat landscape is always changing. We talked to more than 100,000 consumers globally and what they look for and want is for it to work and be effective first and then it has to be fast. Thirdly, it also has to be easy-to-use. Those are the top three things and it is what we focused on in this new release,” Klenske said.

Besides Facebook, McAfee believes more threats will come from Adobe Reader because it is so widely used. For McAfee Total Protection, the company researched about 75 billion Web sites and applied a reputation for each. The company also profiles about 32 million Web sites on a monthly basis and has rated them across 96 categories. “This is about 92 per cent of the worldwide traffic on the net,” Klenske said.

The new product will have active protection through cloud based services.

Total Protection is available through the channel at $79.99 for a three-user license.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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