McAfee Lists Top Security Risks for Holiday Season, Including Smarter Hackers

McAfee Labs compiled a list of security considerations for the 2012 holiday season, including new threats that have only become commonplace in the past few quarters.

The security firm’s research team counted 43.4 million suspect websites during the third quarter of 2012, 20 percent more than the number they identified three months earlier.

McAfee considers Android to be the more targeted platform today. The threat is made worse by the fact that only 38 percent of the smartphone holders in the U.S protect their home screen with a password.

To top it off, hackers are also becoming more resourceful. They’re leveraging wireless network to obtain user information, and exploit susceptibilities such as the growing number of internet-connected devices found in the hands of children.

“This holiday season will further contribute to the trend of consumers having three or more devices to meet their online lifestyle needs,” said Gary Davis, vice president of global consumer marketing at McAfee. “With the increased amount of devices per person and household, comes the increased chance of cybercriminals gaining access and stealing personal information and data. The best way to ensure this is to take the time to secure their personal data as soon as they open their new tech gifts.”

McAfee is offering a few tips to protect your data. The firm recommends turning off antennas that are left unused, set controls for gaming consoles, and use security software to protect personal information.

The mindset that security is already a key aspect of technology is shared by McAfee and many others, including Alert Logic CEO Gray Hall. The executive shared his insights on cloud security from the enterprise and provider point of view in a recent interview we published shortly after a hacker group announced it will be launching DDoS attacks against several major financial institutions.