Scammers send over 3 billion fake emails and 25 billion fake text messages every day, all designed to take your money or steal personal information. There's one thing most of those messages have in common: your blood pressure goes up when you read them. 

Take a minute and watch this video to help you decide whether that urgent message you received is real. 

Social media’s growing impact

New options for safeguarding your online privacy

Most iPhone owners will soon be able to specify how Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and all other apps track their online behavior. Facebook has run newspaper ads claiming this new option will devastate small businesses that rely on Facebook and says Apple’s new privacy feature "could lead to the end of the free internet" and is preparing to sue Apple over it.

 

But you can easily stop Facebook from tracking websites you visit right now. To prevent Facebook from monitoring what you do on the internet, log on to Facebook and click on "settings" in the upper right corner of the page.  

Scroll down and select "Your Facebook Information," > "Off-Facebook Activity," > "More Options" > "Manage Future Activity" > "Future Off-Facebook Activity" > "Turn off."

CyberBytes headlines: Google’s Chrome browser will soon automatically block pop-up notifications from appearing whenever you’re sharing your computer screen, for example during a Zoom call.  …  The dating app MeetMindful has been breached. Hackers got personal information about 2 million users including their dating preferences and bodily descriptions. …  Kids’ screen time has risen more than 50% since the pandemic began. Morning Consult says YouTube and Netflix are the most popular apps among kids. The fastest-growing app for kids under 10 is the gaming platform Roblox, while TikTok is the fastest growing for those ages 10 and up.  

Be suspicious of any email that promises early access to a COVID vaccine shot. Here's an example.

 

In this phishing email, fraudsters claim to work for your employer and ask you to reply with your mobile phone number. Why? So they can send you a text message. That text will include a link to a fake website that promises to schedule your vaccination appointment and requires your name and password to complete. 

Since most of us unwisely re-use passwords, this can give fraudsters a way to hack into your other accounts. Use the slider bar below to spot clues that this is a phish.

"We know we shouldn't use free Wi-Fi, especially with our company phones and laptops.  Can you explain in more detail what actually can happen when you are on a public network?" — Michelle D.

Great question. The risk of using a public Wi-Fi network in a trusted place like Starbucks, McDonald's, or even a hotel room is that hackers can name their network anything, like "Starbucks Customers". If you join a crook's Wi-Fi network, they can easily see what you type, including passwords, text messages, and emails. They can view the websites you visit like your bank and your employer, and potentially even send dangerous software to your computer that you're tricked into installing.

 

If you have to get online away from home, use VPN (virtual private network) software or link your computer to your smartphone's network like AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile.  

"How much should I worry that my bank account will get wiped out by hackers? What protections do banks have?" — Harsh P

Banks are on the cutting edge of cybersecurity. They have safeguards to protect your online activity that you probably don't even realize. But there are still steps you can take to protect your accounts.

• Make your banking password a long, impossible-to-guess phrase that's at least 15 letters and numbers long and includes special characters like *&^%$#@.

• Turn on multi-factor authentication. That's the extra step where you're sent a one-time text message that must be entered before you can access your account. 

• Never access your bank account over public Wi-Fi (see the story above).

• Never click on a link in an email that appears to come from your bank. Visit the bank's website or use the banking app.

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, cybersecurity, and telecommunications services and solutions.

 

XSI's Cyber Range — I.C.E. (Integrated Cyber Environment) solution offers a virtual cyber defense environment designed to train cybersecurity professionals and decision-makers in securing national military and civilian networks against all forms of cyberattacks. The range is an integral component of Xtreme Solutions’ comprehensive cyber defense solutions.

 

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Hervia Ingram

Xtreme Solutions

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