Keeping you safer online at work and at home
Early February 2017
The emails and texts look just like they're from the IRS, but they're not.
Last October, authorities raided a sophisticated call center in India where hundreds of employees masqueraded as IRS agents. Callers had been phoning and texting US citizens demanding immediate payment of back taxes — usually in the form of gift cards that can't be traced.
While the number of complaints to the BBB in January dropped to about 100, these scammers are back on the prowl as tax filing season progresses. (The above screenshot of a scammer's text was taken last week.)
In our new podcast, Intel security strategist Matthew Rosenquist says fraudsters have even figured out how to pose as consumers and successfully get refunds from the IRS.
The best way to avoid trouble is not to respond to texts or phone calls claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. That's because the IRS uses registered mail to contact you.
Click below to listen to the our cyber security podcast
As President Trump's cyber security team begins developing their strategic plan this month, one of the biggest challenges they face is convincing each of us to take cyber security more seriously. Learn more.
When the upcoming version of Microsoft Windows is released, it will include a new "Windows Security Center," a more robust way of keeping your computer safer from hackers. Learn more.
If you just can't wait till April, you can get a beta now. Read how.
And early reports say when the next iPhone is released, probably in September, it will let you log on to the phone by using its camera to scan your face instead of requiring a password or fingerprint. Read more.
Take the Secretary of State's Office quiz on ransomware.
We're seeing over 800 new kinds of ransomware every day. Learn more about protecting yourself and all those important files on your computer.
Click on this link to download the new Georgia Secretary of State February desktop image for use as your home computer's wallpaper.
Adding antivirus to your personal smartphone is a wise move, and there are excellent options to choose from. Here are a couple to consider that have received generally good reviews and don't require a subscription.
One last thing...
"This is the newest member of our office's
cyber team. He's encrypted for security purposes."
The Information Technology team at the Georgia Secretary of State's Office is committed to keeping you safe online, at work and at home. Our Aware Force newsletter is a resource to keep you informed and alert you of some of the most recent cyber security threats.
Our goal is to enhance security awareness and reduce the threat risk and loss of data, keeping you, your colleagues and Georgia residents safer.
If you have a question about cyber security or would like to alert us to suspicious activity online or at the office, please email the Secretary of State's Office of Information Technology team anytime, at
Brian P. Kemp
Secretary of State