Keeping our workforce safer at work and at home  |  August 15 2016

Watch how to avoid the most

common type of computer hacking

Here's why it's important to be aware of cyber security: there are now 400 attempts every minute to hack into computers.

Two types of hacks are the most common: phishing, where bad guys get you to respond to their urgent email that looks legit...and ransomware, where they lock your computer remotely and demand money to unlock it. 

In this American Cancer Society Aware Force video, you'll learn how to avoid phishing.

Click below to watch. 

Looks like this email came from the boss.

But it didn't.

  • "I need you to take care of this promptly."

  • "Please respond to this email immediately with your log-in name and password so we can reconnect you to the network."

  • "We need to wire money to this vendor immediately. I know you'll understand why we must keep it confidential."

Cases of this type of email scam have nearly tripled in number over past 18 months. Most request that proper procedure not be followed and that others in the organization not be alerted.

Here's a real example sent to employees at one organization last month (we've changed the names). 

Characteristics of a phoney email:

  • Open the full "reply to" box on the email. Do the names match?

  • Is the spelling of your organization's name correct?

  • Has the letter "l" been substituted with the number "1", or the letter "o" been replaced with the number "0"?

Even when a message appears to be urgent, report a suspicious email to a supervisor who can review it.

Are you smarter than a hacker?

Take the American Cancer Society

Aware Force quiz.

American Cancer Society Aware Force Podcast

Advice on staying safer from a man who knows:

Dr. Curtis Levinson is the United States Cyber Defense advisor to NATO.

Aware Force asked him for the most important ways to keep your computer from harm.

His advice: update your software and delete spam.

Staying Safer - Dr Curtis Levinson
00:00 / 00:00

Download and read the interview here. 

ACS Aware Force Headlines

An important security update is coming to Android phones, but not till next month. A billion phones are involved. We'll be among those letting you know when the update is available.

So is it more important to create long passwords…or change your passwords regularly? The answer is probably not what you expect. Research shows it’s hard for us to come up with distinct new ones.

Pay attention if you receive an unexpected text message saying you’ve cashed in frequent flyer miles. Those miles have value on the black market. Here’s how to avoid having yours stolen.

Apparently millions of Yahoo passwords are now for sale on the black market, which means you should change yours.

Finally, do any of your passwords include the word, “password”? Here’s a clip from the Mel Brooks movie "Spaceballs" that reminds us why you shouldn’t do that

ACS Aware Force Fast Facts


Percentage of teens that use a cell phone regularly (


Percentage who say they are regularly cyber bullied

through their cell phone or computer (i-Safe Foundation) 


Percentage of us who don't regularly

back up the data on our computers (The Guardian)


Average ransom paid this year to unlock a computer

infected with ransomware


Average ransom paid last year (Symantec)


Percentage of Americans that suffer identity theft year to year

(Bureau of Justice Statistics)


Amount lost to identity theft every three seconds (Javelin)


Average amount of college debt per indebted student (Edvisors)

“Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds.” 

   — John Perry Barlow

Our role here in IT Security and Compliance is to is to help our associates stay safer online. We take our role so seriously because online safety impacts you and your family, and cancer patients and their families nationwide

If you have a question about cyber security or would like to alert us to something you think we should know about, please contact us here. Thank you!

Patricia Rowlett


IT Risk and Compliance

Anne Esterly

Security and Compliance Analyst

James Baird

Vice President

IT Security and Compliance

One last thing...

Samsung has unveiled the new Galaxy S7 and Apple is expected to launch the IPhone 7 in mid-September. Both models are expected to include stronger defenses against hacking

But are we getting to the point where there's not a lot they can add to smartphones?

courtesy of

In the upcoming issue of
American Cancer Society Aware Force:
5 steps to not getting hacked

Original content and design

©2016 Aware Force LLC