camcorder footage, docu- ments, important emails, contacts, calendar appoint- ments, Web bookmarks and so forth. To back up info on your smartphone or tablet, synchro- nize your device with your computer via USB cable or back up data to an online “cloud” ser- vice where it can be easily retrieved, if needed. Use anti-malware programs. The next step is to invest in good anti- malware software, which includes anti- virus and anti-spyware tools, and a two-way firewall. For example, McAfee All Access protects computers and mobile devices alike. Updates are usually handled automatically and pushed to your device, which will protect you from the latest threats as soon as they’re identified. Be safe and sensible. Consumers should also
continue following online-safety best practices, says
Gebhart. Along with regular backups, this includes
using strong passwords (consisting of letters, numbers and symbols), downloading only from trusted
resources and not leaving your devices unattended.
Also, don’t be tempted to act on email or text messages that ask you to reveal personal or financial
information—they are likely a “phishing” attempt
from a scam artist.
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Or send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
And concerning kids, rather than placing
an Internet-connected computer in a child’s room,
keep it in a central location in the home, such as a
kitchen, family room or any other highly trafficked
area. Kids can feel independent while surfing online
but not be “alone.”
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
Also, remind them to never give out their
address, phone number or other personal information, such as where they go to school—or upload any
photos that might reveal this info. This applies to
social networking sites (such as Facebook), instant
messaging programs, chat rooms and emails. C
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
Protecting all your devices
from online attacks
By Marc Saltzman
THOSE WHO OWN a computer, smartphone or
tablet likely understand the importance of protecting their favorite digital device—and, perhaps more
important, the information that resides on it—but
only a third of us are actually taking the proper precautions to do so.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of threats out
there, be it nasty viruses and other malicious software (“malware”) that can infect your computer or
mobile device, or hackers and scammers who want
to steal your valuable data.
“Our PCs, Macs and mobile devices today
house a large number of valuable digital assets—
everything from photos and music to personal and
financial data,” notes Todd Gebhart, co-president
of McAfee, a leading security software company.
“Losing these assets can be devastating, particularly
given the money and time we invest in acquiring
and using them.”
Gebhart has also seen a growing abundance of
cyber-criminal activity, perpetrated by people “out
to pilfer sensitive information like credit card, bank
account and Social Security numbers, with the goal
of stealing your identity for financial gain.”
In fact, McAfee is currently collecting nearly
2 million new malware samples each month and
identifying 8,900 new malicious websites each day.
Increasingly, this potentially damaging software is
infecting mobile devices through websites or down-
loaded apps that might contain hidden files, on top
of the many voice-, email- and text-based scams.
The good news, says Gebhart, is that people
are becoming more aware of the need to protect
their digital devices in our always-connected world.
“They are hearing more about the loss of data, of
identities, cyber-bullying and threats to child safety
on the Internet,” he explains.
Being aware is one thing, but acting on it is
another. So, what to do? The following is a short
checklist that should help you protect your devices,
your information and your family.
Back up your data. First things first: Back up
your important files on a regular basis, just in case
they’re compromised due to a malware attack, theft,
fire or flood, or hardware malfunction. For your
computer, pick up an external hard drive and make
a backup of your irreplaceable digital photos and
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter “Connection.”
At Online Edition, search
The Costco Connection
Costco offers a variety of security programs from
leading software makers in the warehouses and
online at Costco.com. Also available are external
hard drives to back up your valuable data.
a leading high-tech
to more than three
on radio and TV, and is
the author of 14 books.
DECEMBER 2011 ;e Costco Connection 13