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Staying Safe in the Age of AI

We’ve seen how AI can create — and how it can transform our lives. What gets talked about less is how AI protects us too. 

Certainly, it’s tough to miss how generative AI has turned sci-fi dreams of the past into today’s reality. From AI apps that help ease loneliness thanks to their human-like conversations, to technology that can predict and manage health risks, to browsers that whip up pieces of art with a prompt, it’s changing the way we go about our day and the way we live our lives.  

However, we find ourselves only in generative AI’s earliest days. Countless more applications await over the near and distant horizon alike. 

Yet that’s the important thing to remember with AI. It’s an application. A tool. And like any other tool, it’s neutral. Whether it helps or harms comes down to the person using it.  

Thus, on the flip side of AI, we’ve seen all manner of shady and damaging applications. Hackers use AI to code new forms of malware at record rates. Scammers spin up convincing-looking phishing attacks and sites that harvest personal info, also at record rates. And we’ve further seen bad actors use so-called “deepfake” technologies to clone the voices and likenesses of public figures, whether for profit or to spread disinformation. 

So, amid the excitement about AI, there runs a thread of uncertainty. Recently, we found that 52% of Americans are more concerned than excited about AI in daily life. Only 10% of people said they’re more excited than concerned. Meanwhile, 36% feel a mix of excitement and concern. 

Uncertainty prevails, for sure. Yet something often gets overlooked in the conversation about AI: it can offer powerful protections against all manner of threats. Moreover, AI offers particularly potent protections against AI threats.  

In this way, AI is your ally. At McAfee, we’ve used it to protect you for nearly a decade now. In fact, AI applications have been around for some time, long before they made headlines like they do now. And we continue to evolve AI technologies to help keep you safe. In the age of AI, McAfee is your ally. Our aim is to give you certainty and safety in rapidly changing times. 

Know what’s real and what’s safe with McAfee’s AI. 

Ultimately, here’s what’s at stake today: people want to know what they can trust, and AI has made that tricky. What’s real? What’s fake? It’s getting tougher and tougher to tell. 

The future of AI and online safety lies in pairing progress with protection. Here at McAfee, we see this as our role. We’re evolving AI in ways that give people the power to protect their privacy, identity, and devices even better than before. Now, that protection extends yet further. It also gives them the power to know what they can trust whenever they go online.  

The time couldn’t be more right for that. Uncertainty about AI prevails. In all, more than half of Americans we talked to said they’re concerned that the arrival of AI has made online scams more accurate and believable.  

Our threat detection figures put their concerns into focus:  

  • We thwart 1.5 million in-field AI detections of threats (malicious sites and files) every week. That’s 8,928 malicious every hour and 149 every minute. 
  • Our AI model has already identified and categorized half a billion malicious sites, a number that grows with each day. 
  • McAfee Labs detects and protects against more than a million phishing attempts every day, including more sophisticated and believable variants generated with AI tools. 

With that, we ask ourselves, what can AI do for you? How can it keep you safe? Three principles provide the answer:  

  • AI should build trust You can safely navigate places known and unknown in peace and with confidence. 
  • AI should uncover the truth — You know who and what’s real and what’s safe out there — like having your own personal lie detector in your back pocket.  
  • AI should make things clear — You understand and have control over the data and info you give up in exchange for access to conveniences and services like social media. 

These principles drive our thinking in significant ways as we pair progress with protection in the age of AI. They stand as our commitment to keeping you safe and certain online, through our existing technologies and entirely new technologies alike. 

McAfee’s AI protections are already keeping you safe. 

As we’ve used AI as a core component of our protection for years now, it’s done plenty for you over that time. Our AI has sniffed out viruses, malicious websites, and sketchy content online. It’s helped steer you clear of malicious websites too.  

So, the AI you have in your McAfee antivirus, it works like this: 

  1. It detects threats by referencing models of existing threats. This combats pre-existing threats and entirely new (zero-day) threats alike. Our AI can spot varieties of different threats by comparing them to features it’s seen before. For example, it’s like AI learning to identify different varieties of fruit. An apple is still an apple whether it’s a Fuji or Granny Smith. In that way, a virus is still a virus if it’s “Virus A” or the newly discovered “Virus Z.”  
  2. It further detects suspicious events and behaviors. AI provides a particularly powerful tool against zero-day threats. It analyzes the activities of applications for patterns consistent with malicious behavior. With that, it can spot and prevent a previously unknown file or process from doing harm. In its way, AI says, “I’ve seen this sketchy behavior before. I’m going to flag it.” 
  3. It automatically classifies threats and adds them to its body of knowledge. AI-driven threat protection gets stronger over time. Because it learns. Something we call “threat intelligence.” The more threats it encounters, the more rapidly and readily it can determine if files want to do you no good. The body of threat intelligence improves immensely as a result. 

 Now we’ve made improvements to our AI-driven protection — and unveiled all-new features that take full advantage of AI, such as McAfee Next-gen Threat Protection and McAfee Scam Protection. 

McAfee Next-gen Threat Protection — AI keeps you safer from new and existing threats.  

McAfee’s AI-powered security just got faster and stronger. Our Next-gen Threat Protection takes up less disk space, reduces its background processes by 75%, and scans 3x faster than before. This makes your time online safer without slowing down your browsing, shopping, streaming, and gaming.  

Results from AV-TEST’s product review in October 2023 saw it block 100% of entirely new malware attacks in real-world testing. It likewise scored 100% against malware discovered in the previous four weeks. In all, it received the highest marks for protection, performance, and usability earning it the AV-TEST Top Product certification. 

Moreover, AI continually gets smarter because every evaluation provides more data for it to learn and improve its accuracy. McAfee conducts over 4 billion threat scans a day, and that number is quickly growing. We continue to innovate with leading-edge AI technology to provide the most advanced and powerful protection available. 

McAfee Scam Protection — AI lets you know if it’s legit or if it’s a scam.  

The AI-powered scam protection in McAfee+ is like having that lie detector test we mentioned earlier. Advanced AI-powered technology helps prevent you from opening scam texts and blocks risky sites if you accidentally click on a scam link in texts, QR codes, emails, social media posts, and more. This AI-driven scam protection delivers real-time mobile alerts when a scam text is detected and is the only app on the market that sends alerts on both iOS and Android. 

McAfee is your ally in the age of AI. 

Advances in threat protection and scam protection mark just the start of where we’re taking our long-standing use of AI next. Sure, AI has made life easier for hackers and scammers. In some ways. In yet more important ways, it’s making their lives far more difficult. Downright tough in fact, particularly as we use it here at McAfee to detect their scam messages and texts, beat their AI-generated malware, and warn you of their malicious websites. And that’s just for starters. We have more to come. 

You can expect to see other fraud-busting and info-validating uses of AI across our online protection software in the months to come. That’s what’s in store as we stand as you ally in the age of AI. 

Introducing McAfee+ Ultimate

Identity theft protection and privacy for your digital life


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