Keeping you safer online

Even though online criminals are getting more sophisticated, you can stop them once you spot the clues.

Fraudsters send millions of fake emails every day, pretending to be an executive of your employer or representing a company like Google or UPS. These urgent emails often contain threats or special offers.


The messages instruct you to visit a website, enter a password or credit card number, or click and download a malicious document. 

1 in 10 of these phishing emails gets clicked or downloaded. That allows fraudsters to break into business computer networks to steal money and data, costing organizations an average of $1.7 million. 


You can stop these criminals! Take the quiz and see if you can spot the latest types of phishing emails.

Source: Verizon 2019 Threat Report

HEY, WINDOWS 7 USERS: Microsoft recently issued an update to Windows 7 — one of the last software updates before the company stops supporting that version of its operating system at the end of this year. Computerworld says nearly 40% of all computers still use Windows 7! All Windows 7 users should upgrade their home computers to a newer version of Windows for stronger protection against cyber attacks.

NO, THE BOSS DIDN'T SEND YOU THAT URGENT EMAIL: The number of cases where fraudsters masquerade as company executives and send emails designed to trick employees has doubled over the past 12 months. Crooks use realistic-looking executive email addresses to send urgent messages, instructing employees to wire company funds or send sensitive company information. Beazley Data says employees should be suspicious of any unexpected urgent, unusual email requests that appear to come from an executive.

PASSWORDS LEAKED: Because of a glitch over the past several years, employees at Facebook and Instagram could easily view the passwords of 600-million users, though the company says it has no record that actually happened. CNET says every affected user will be notified and urged to change their passwords “as a precaution.”

The typical US consumer now has more than 100 online accounts (many of which they’ve forgotten about) and owns 15 devices that are connected to the internet.


But being so connected comes with risks. Global cybercrime this year will account for $1.5 trillion dollars in losses, which is about the size of the 2018 federal tax cut. Last year, more than a third of Americans were hacked.

A global tsunami of regulations designed to protect your privacy is coming. Correspondent Pete Combs talked with Michael Becker, Managing Partner of the identity management firm Identity Praxis, about the future of your online privacy. Click on the black arrow buttons to listen.

Europeans now have much greater control over how their companies including Google and Facebook use their personal information.

Any company that violates Europe's tough privacy laws faces huge fines.

In the US, states including California and New York are taking the lead creating regulations focusing on ways consumer data is collected, stored and protected. Becker says that trend will impact many aspects of your life.

But until those regulations take effect, it’s up to you to take an active role protecting your personal information.

Check your credit reports, manage your privacy settings on social media and use what Becker calls your “Spidey-sense” when checking emails and texts.

Sources: CNBC, Statista, ZDNet, Aware Force

One last thing...

In the upcoming edition of Aware Force:
 Secrets of the mysterious Dark Web.

Cyber Cartoon: Paul Noth/The New Yorker Collection/The Cartoon Bank

April 2019 a • Edition #67

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