Keeping you safer at work and at home  |  Early November 2016

Hackers brought down the internet last month.

For hours, millions of us couldn't get online because hackers were hijacking wireless webcams, DVRs, thermostats and even wireless coffee pots to clog the internet. 

Did you unknowingly help them?

When you're home, click the button below to see if hackers can access your webcams, DVRs and other electronics with wi-fi.

Experts say hackers only got to 10% of the devices they could have used. So take two steps now to prevent them from accessing yours.

  • Is there a wireless device in your home you're not using? Turn it off. 

Video: Johnson & Johnson warns users its insulin pumps are vulnerable to 

hackers. Watch.

Oyoty, a new app designed to keep kids safer while using social media, is getting high marks. Read more.

Why you shouldn't treat what's in the emails you send like it's confidential. 

Read more.

Facebook is stepping up anti-bullying efforts by strengthening its cyber safety center. Read more.

The FBI launches "Cyber Surf Islands" online game about safe web surfing for kids.  

Read more.

vox.com

"The sheriff will arrest you in 45 minutes if you don't pay the taxes you owe."

About 500,000 Americans paid millions of dollars scammers who claimed to be IRS agents collecting past due taxes.

Click here to read more.

Here's what one of the scammers sounded like:

Tax Scam Call -
00:00 / 00:00

Vox.com's Alvin Chang learned how scammers got us to pay:

they sounded confident on the phone.

Click here to read his story on Vox.

Aware Force: Alvin, you started getting phone calls from people claiming to be with the IRS, saying you owed money and if you didn’t pay up immediately, you’d be arrested by local police. What did you decide to do?

 

Alvin Chang: It got so I was getting these calls so frequently, I decided to play along like I was going to pay them and learn more about how the scam worked.

 

At first, I asked the operators all sorts of questions, like whether the police would show up at my door and arrest me. And they said no, not as long as I paid what I owed. Asking questions made some of them mad and they’d hang up, but before long someone else called me back.

 

It got so I could recite the script they were using before they read it to me.

 

Aware Force: Did you ever think — really — this is serious — I need to pay this?

 

Alvin Chang: No, but I can see how this could catch someone off guard. They prey on the elderly and immigrants. 

Aware Force: The people who called you trying to collect — what made them convincing?

 

Alvin Chang: They had an air of authority about them…a real confidence. That’s why, when I began asking questions they couldn’t answer, it threw them off.

 

I played along, acting like I was walking to Walgreen’s to purchase gift cards. When I told them I was at Walgreen’s and that the display had iTunes cards up to $500 dollars in value, they instructed me to buy the most expensive ones. Then I made up a code number that would use to authorize the card and they accepted it.

 

Aware Force: Why would they ask for iTunes gift cards?

 

Alvin Chang: Because the cards can’t be traced. You can buy them at many places and they’re easy to sell on the black market.

 

Aware Force: How effective was this operation?

Alvin Chang: About one in 200 people they called actually paid up. That doesn’t sound like much, but remember the number of calls they made.

 

The operation collected about $150,000 a day which totaled millions of dollars over time. Later we learned that these Indian call centers had American backers.

Your bank (or a different bank) texts you demanding that you do something immediately. Call your bank or log on to their site directly.

Your cell phone carrier sends you a text offering a new service. Look at the web address in the text. It's not AT&T.com.

You receive a text from the IRS. They will never send you a text.

Apple, Google or Amazon send a text that warns your account is about to expire. Go directly to their website to confirm it. 

You're overdrawn! Your account has been suspended! Your card has been deactivated! No, actually you should call the bank or log on to their site instead.

How much do you know about cyber safety?

Take the Xtreme Solutions quiz

about Cyber Security terms in the news.

We view Aware Force from Xtreme Solutions as an extension of our commitment to keeping our clients informed and empowered.

 

Xtreme Solutions is powered by certified and highly experienced professionals in information technology, cyber security and telecommunications services and solutions.

 

Connect with us here

Hervia M. Ingram, Jr.

Founder/President

Xtreme Solutions

Number of accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that exist solely to hack people: 80 million

Percentage of millennials who say they won't consider working for a company that restricts their social media usage: 61%

Percentage of employees who take sensitive information about the company with them when they leave their jobs: 59%

itproportal.com,

SC Magazine, BitSight 

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