Spam: Strategies For Reducing Unsolicited Emails

Mail box with no spam sign

Spam is a common, and often frustrating, side effect to having an email account. Although you will probably not be able to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it.

What is spam?

Spam is the electronic version of “junk mail.” The term spam refers to unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Spam does not necessarily contain viruses so some valid messages from legitimate sources could fall into this category.

How can you reduce the amount of spam?

  • Be careful about releasing your email address

    Think twice before you respond to any request for your email address, on the web, verbally, or on paper.
    Spammers can harvest any email address posted on a website or buy a list of victims from unscrupulous vendors who sell their mailing list.
    When you give your email address to a company, or a store, that information is often entered into a database so that customer information and preferences can be tracked. If these email databases are sold to or shared with other companies, you can receive email that you didn’t request.
    So the next time you make a purchase and they ask you whether you want an emailed or a printed receipt, choose “Print only”.

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Identity Theft: Preventing and Responding to Identity Fraud

Identity theft: a criminal running away with stolen personal information from a compromised tablet computer.

Following the recent public disclosure that hackers believed to be operating on behalf of a foreign government breached the networks of the U.S. government and multiple US companies, it is safe to assume that online frauds and scams like identity theft will follow.

Identity theft, or identity fraud, is a crime that can have substantial financial and emotional consequences. Take precautions with personal information. If you become a victim, act immediately to minimize the damage.

Is identity theft just a problem for people who submit information online?

You can be a victim of identity theft even if you never use a computer. Malicious people may be able to obtain personal information (such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, account numbers, and addresses) by stealing your wallet, overhearing a phone conversation, rummaging through your trash (a practice known as dumpster diving), or picking up a receipt at a restaurant that has your account number on it.

If a thief has enough information, he or she may be able to impersonate you to purchase items, open new accounts, or apply for loans.

The internet has made it easier for thieves to obtain personal and financial data. Most companies and other institutions store information about their clients in databases; if a thief can access that database, he or she can obtain information about many people at once rather than focus on one person at a time.

The internet has also made it easier for thieves to sell or trade the information, making it more difficult for law enforcement to identify and apprehend the criminals.

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Internet Safety for Children: Keeping Them Safe Online

Internet safety for kids using parental controls

Internet safety for children involves not only keeping them safe, but parents and guardians taking some simple steps to dramatically reduce online threats, especially those that prey on kids, protect the data on computer devices, and keep them safe online.

This is even more critical now as we are in the middle of a health pandemic and children are made to learn from home, and have limited physical interactions with their peers.

What unique Internet safety risks are associated with children?

In terms of Internet safety, when a child is using your computer, normal safeguards and security practices may not be sufficient. Children present additional challenges because of their natural characteristics: innocence, curiosity, desire for independence, and fear of punishment.

You need to consider these characteristics when determining how to protect your data and the child.

You may think that because the child is only playing a game, or researching a term paper, or typing a homework assignment, they can’t cause any harm. But what if, when saving their paper, the child deletes a necessary program file?

Or what if they are tricked by a malicious advertisement to unintentionally visit a web page with inapprorpiate content, or accidentally download a malware that infects the computer with a virus?

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Guards Up: Stop Cyber-Criminals From Preying On Your Business

Types of cybercriminal activities like electronic fraud and illegal computer access.

Cyber-criminals are counting on you letting your guard down during this global coronavirus pandemic – Here’s how to stop them by keeping your guards up.

The world is slowing down during this COVID-19 pandemic. Wall Street is being hit hard. People are no longer going out. We’re told to quarantine or self-isolate and not engage in groups.

You can bet there’s one group that’s not slowing down at all. In fact, they’re probably working overtime while the rest of us have our lives turned upside down. Cyber-criminals and hackers know there’s no better time to strike than during a global crisis.

While you are distracted and spending your time trying to make sense of this new normal, they are finding new ways into your IT network so they can steal data and passwords, compromise your clients’ private information and even demand large ransoms.

Cyber-crime is already on the rise and is expected to cause $6 TRILLION in damages by 2021! But, if history repeats itself, hackers will be out in full force throughout this coronavirus scare. We fully expect in the upcoming weeks that headlines will change from stories about COVID-19 to accounts of a frenzy of cyber-attacks on corporations and small businesses.

Here are solutions you can implement now to keep your guards up and help protect your business data, money and productivity: (more…)

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Social Networking: Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites

Secure social networking on mobile devices

The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase, especially among teenagers and young adults. The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

What are social networking sites?

Social networking sites build upon the concept of traditional social networks where you are connected to new people through people you already know. The purpose of some networking sites may be purely social, allowing users to establish friendships or romantic relationships, while others may focus on establishing business connections.

Although the features of social networking sites differ, they all allow you to provide information about yourself and offer some type of communication mechanism (forums, chat rooms, email, instant messages) that enables you to connect with other users. On some sites, you can browse for people based on certain criteria, while other sites require that you be “introduced” to new people through a connection you share. Many of the sites have communities or subgroups that may be based on a particular interest.

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COVID-19 Phishing: How to Protect Against Phishing Emails

Fake SBA COVID-19 Relief website

Malicious cyber threat actors are actively involved in COVID-19 phishing by spoofing (pretending to be) the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 loan relief webpage via phishing emails. These emails usually include malicious links to websites that look like the SBA’s coronavirus relief website with the intent of stealing credentials for the online accounts of victims.

COVID-19 phishing emails target executives of companies and organizations, leaders of state, local, tribal, and territorial government recipients, as well as small business owners with subject lines like “SBA Application – Review and Proceed”, or text in the email body urging the recipient to click on a link to a bogus website address.

What is Phishing?

According to the Legal Dictionary, the term phishing refers to “the act of fraudulently acquiring someone’s personal and private information, such as online account names, login information, and passwords.”

This information may then be used to steal money, order products using the victim’s credit cards, and otherwise defraud the victim. Phishing is accomplished through online means, meaning through the use of email, social media, and other internet-related methods. (more…)

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