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Beware: #Tax season #brings out #scammers

Source: National Cyber Security News

It’s the robotic message that leads to a call with the pushy auditor, the threatening agent. It’s the out of the ordinary message from the slightly inaccurate email address.

It’s all part and parcel of the least wonderful time of the year: tax fraud and identity theft season.

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“What we historically see during filing season is an uptick in fraud,” said Steven Osborne, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service in Colorado. Osborne’s office is urging Colorado residents to be cautious of several different types of schemes this year.

One typical scheme involves potential victims receiving a “robo-call” from a computer-generated voice. Often the robo-call will inform the target of a “claim number,” and a call-back number that will put the would-be victim on the phone with a real person.

“It’s a low-sophistication scam, if you will,” Osborne said. “Their success rate is low, but they don’t need a high success rate.”

The real person will often claim to be an IRS employee or an agent. Recently, however, Osborne has heard of impersonators referring to themselves as “special agents,” which shows that the scammers have taken time to learn that special agents work criminal cases in the IRS’ structure.

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Cyber Security #Tips for the #Holiday #Season

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Cyber Security Tips for the Holiday Season

We all know how important it is to use the internet safely, but during the holiday season, it’s even more important to protect your sensitive information from cyber criminals. With a 31% increase in fraud attempts during the holidays, frequent online shoppers and internet users should consider taking a proactive approach to protecting their computers, online files, financial accounts, and identity information.

5 Tips for your Online Security During the Holiday Season

1. Update Your Computer

Although it seems obvious, among daily computer users, nearly 66% of them will delay or forget to install suggested software updates — even when it’s marked “securitycritical”. Setting up automatic updates is the best way to avoid the inconvenient reboot, and ensures your software is bug free and hack resistant.

2. Protect Your Network

The easiest way to protect your internet connection is to use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs create an encrypted connection protecting your data from other network users or cybercriminals. For tech savvy individuals, you can check out this information on advanced network security.

3. Secure Your Cloud Data

No matter what time of year it is, protecting the information stored within your online cloud is essential. From sensitive client information to personal data, today we use our clouds to store almost everything. However, it’s possible that the transfer of data in and out of the cloud could be vulnerable to attack– especially if you’re using an unprotected network. However, cloud encryption software like ours can give you peace of mind while accessing your online data.


4. Avoid Password Duplication

When creating a new account, or accessing a frequently used one, it’s important to use entirely new and unique passwords to prevent and avoid compromising other accounts using the same password. Incorporating numbers, letters, and special characters into your password makes it much harder to guess or hack. If you use unique passwords for every account, a hacked password cannot be applied to your other accounts. Remembering multiple unique passwords can be tough, so consider installing a secure password manager such as this one from Sticky Password.


5. Defend Your Identity Information

Using all of the above security strategies, a proactive individual is far less likely to be the victim of credit fraud or identity theft. However, detecting compromised information can be difficult, and unless you frequently check your credit report and billing statements for unknown use or surprises, it’s possible to go unnoticed. To prevent this, consider enrolling in an identity theft protection and monitoring service to defend yourself against future cyberattacks and fraud.

Boxcryptor – Security for Your Cloud

Boxcryptor is a software Made in Germany that allows data to be encrypted automatically before it is stored in the cloud. More than 20 of the popular cloud storage services can be used with Boxcryptor. We encrypt your files using state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption technology. Through zero knowledge encryption, no one else (including us as the provider) has access to the encrypted files except the registered user.

Of course, here at Boxcryptor, we are concerned about cybersecurity and data privacy all year round. But the holidays are a great opportunity to once again intensively deal with the settings of your devices, your update behavior, and habits.

The advantage of using Boxcryptor for your cloud security: Once it is set up, the encryption runs in the background. This means, if you take a little time over the holidays to get started with Boxcryptor, you have a good set-up for the protection of your data in the New Year.

The post Cyber Security #Tips for the #Holiday #Season appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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Cybersecurity #Tips to Help #Retailers and #Consumers Stay #Secure During the #Holiday Season

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

It’s time to take advantage of all those holiday specials and spend all your hard-earned bitcoin — er, I mean money — buying gifts for friends, family and, of course, yourself. Many retailers, large and small, online and brick-and-mortar, run holiday promotions as early as September. Gone are the days of waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to take advantage of sales and specials.

The bad guys will be shopping, too — just not for the same items you are. Instead, they will be shopping for your wallet.

It’s true that some cyber Grinches ramp up their malicious activities during the holiday season, perhaps in the form of holiday-specific spam, spear phishing or compromised sites. While increased vigilance is encouraged during this time, there are a number of cybersecurity tips and best practices consumers and retailers should follow throughout the year to help mitigate threats. Having the right controls and awareness in place before the holidays can go a long way during the busy shopping season.

For Retailers: Vigilance Encouraged Throughout the Year

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are heavy shopping days and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. However, IBM X-Force research conducted over the past few years revealed that there was no significant uptick in network attacks targeting X-Force-monitored retailers during the traditional holiday shopping period in late November. In fact, last year, the volume of attacks for those two days fell below the daily attack average for retailers.

However, now that the shopping extravaganza lasts for two or more months, it’s possible that this four-day window is too short of a time period to identify notable network attack trends.

So far in 2017, network attacks targeting retail networks were highest in Q2, with June being the most-targeted month. Attacks dropped notably beginning in August and have been steadily declining, with the volume of attacks monitored for October below the monthly average for the year.

Time to celebrate? Not necessarily. In 2016, we observed a notable surge in the volume of attacks targeting retailers in mid to late December. Additionally, malware compromises occurring earlier in the year that have gone undetected can wreak havoc once the busy season commences. In December 2016, a security researcher discovered that nearly 7,000 online stores running Magento shopping cart software were infected with data-stealing skimmer malware capable of logging credit cards and passwords and making them available to attackers as image files for exfiltration.

Furthermore, bad actors do not have to steal anything to wreak havoc on the retail industry. A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is enough to cost the sector millions. In fact, the average cost of DDoS attack for organizations across all industries rose to over $2.5 million in 2016.

Retailers are encouraged to monitor their networks with increased vigilance during this holiday season. Vulnerable point-of-sale (POS) systems, compromised websites, and targeted spam and phishing campaigns can be costly.

To help keep your security posture strong over this holiday shopping season and all year long, review and implement the recommendations outlined in the IBM report, “Security Trends in the Retail Industry.”

For Consumers: What Cybersecurity Tips Are Missing From Your Repertoire?

Many online consumers have improved their security awareness as media coverage and education opportunities have increased. However, below are a few cybersecurity tips that many consumers likely haven’t thought of.

Assess Convenience Versus Risk

Our digital interactions leave data trails. Finding the right balance between personalization and privacy is the consumer’s responsibility, not just the retailer’s. Many sites have the option to save your card data for future use. While this feature offers convenience to the consumer, the stored data can be stolen via SQL injection attacks or other database compromises — after all, there are billions of leaked records due to misconfigured servers. Always look for the green lock icon in the browser address bar to ensure a secure connection to websites.

Be Wary of Unsuspicious Emails

Criminals have gotten really good at devising phishing lures that are extremely difficult to recognize as fraudulent. Receive an attachment from someone that appears to be in your contact list? Call them to confirm. Order something online? Before clicking the “track package” link in the confirmation email, ensure that it is actually an item you purchased from the correct vendor.

Use Passphrases and Multifactor Authentication

Exercise strong password hygiene by choosing to use a long, easy-to-remember passphrase, such as “ipreferpassphrasesoverpasswords,” instead of complex passwords containing a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Unfortunately, this is not always an option since many websites now require a password that contains this combination. Use different passphrases for each site. If this seems too daunting, use a password manager. Rather than managing dozens of passphrases on your own, you’ll just have to remember the one key to your digital vault.

Always opt for multifactor authentication when available, and figure out which option is the most secure when choosing a real-time short message service (SMS) text message, an email message or an automated phone call.

Get Creative With Security Questions

When setting up new accounts, opt for security and password reset questions that aren’t public to make it harder for fraudsters to get their hands on your information. For example, don’t use your mother’s maiden name, which could be easily found online. Even answers to opinion-based questions, such as favorite movie, food, etc., can be found on social media. For increased security, lie about your answers or use passphrases as the answers.

Skimmers Abound

By now, you have most likely heard of skimmers being placed on the card readers at gas stations and bank ATMs. A skimmer is a hidden device placed inside the mouth of a payment card reader that is designed to copy your card data for criminals to user later. But what about in-store POS systems? Be on the lookout for suspicious-looking card swiping terminals that could be skimmers, or cash register attendants who seem to swipe your card on two different readers. Maintain this vigilance not only during the holiday season, but all the time, especially if you travel to other countries.

Know Your Card Security Features

Banks and credit card companies have implemented some great security features, such as being able to set limits on the number of times the card can be used within an hour or on the amount that can be spent on one purchase. However, if you’re unaware of these limits for your personal accounts or your phone number is not up to date in your bank profile, you may end up with a declined card.

Cover Your Card

Is the person in line behind you taking a selfie, or is he or she taking a picture of your card as you make a purchase? By obtaining the credit card number, name, expiration date and the card security code or card verification value on the back, an attacker may be able to use the information to make online purchases.

Keep Your Guard Up Year-Round

The holiday season is a great time to take stock of the past year while relaxing and spending time with loved ones, but it’s no time to let your guard down, especially given the increasing sophistication of cybercriminal tactics targeting holiday shoppers and sellers alike. We encourage retailers and consumers to follow best practices not only this holiday season, but also all year long to help mitigate attacks and compromise.

The post Cybersecurity #Tips to Help #Retailers and #Consumers Stay #Secure During the #Holiday Season appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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Unthinkable! #Hackers Loot #Charity’s Funds #Right Before #Christmas Season

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Hackers have done the unthinkable by making off with a charity’s funds right before the start of the 2017 Christmas season.

The Utah Association for Intellectual Disabilities (UAID) first noticed something was wrong when it had not received any new email applications for help since 22 October. Typically, the charity gets numerous applications in preparation for the Christmas season. It’s when UAID buys and distributes gifts for between 1,200 and 1,400 adults who are intellectually disabled, who often don’t have family, and who live in assisted living facilities.

Suspicious of the lack of activity, UAID decided to look into the matter. Laura Henderson, who serves as vice president of the charity, says she realized the full extent of the hack shortly thereafter. As she told Good4Utah:

“As we investigating the email issue, I opened the bank statements and started seeing things that just weren’t right.”

According to their bank records, unauthorized individuals had used multiple apps and services to transfer or steal $5,000 from the charity. They also took over its PayPal account, opened new accounts, and seized control of its website and email. Even when Henderson and her staff attempted to reset the passwords for those compromised services, the hackers regained control in no time.

UAID co-founder Katherine Scott can’t believe someone would take from a charity that provides for individuals who mostly don’t receive anything else at Christmas. In her mind, the worst part is the seizure of the charity’s email. Without access, she can’t determine who needs assistance this year:

“That’s one of the things that’s making us real sad this year is we don’t know who needs help.”

It’s unclear how the hackers first struck UAID or what security measures the charity had in place at the time of attack.

Overall, charities can do more to ensure the resilience of their services. A 2016 survey of non-profit organizations conducted by US accounting firm CohnReznick found that nearly half of respondents had not performed a security risk assessment in the past year. Two-thirds also said they had no plans to increase their spending on digital security.

Ken Montenegro, IT director at advocacy group Asian Americans Advancing Justice, tells Financial Times that’s not a good thing:

“That puts us in a precarious position because we’re not used to spending on something like a patch management tool that keeps our software up to date.”

Organizations of all sizes need to protect themselves against digital attackers by patching their systems. To learn how Tripwire’s solution can help safeguard your organization’s financial accounts and critical services, please click here.

In the meantime, UAID is asking for donations of money and clothes so that it can still serve people this holiday season. Anyone wishing to donate should call its main telephone number: 385-887-4145.

The post Unthinkable! #Hackers Loot #Charity’s Funds #Right Before #Christmas Season appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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HBO Hackers Threaten to Leak ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Finale Episode 7

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

So far, the only leaked episodes of “Game of Thrones” Season 7 have come from HBO partners themselves. Hackers have shared other data, and pieces of GoT scripts, but never full episodes. Yet. HBO’s hackers recently emailed Mashable with details on their latest exploits, vowing to leak the Season 7…

The post HBO Hackers Threaten to Leak ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 Finale Episode 7 appeared first on National Cyber Security Ventures.

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Netflix hackers that leaked Orange is the New Black season 5 list ‘hundreds of gigabytes’ more of stolen, unseen TV

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Netflix hackers that leaked Orange is the New Black season 5 list ‘hundreds of gigabytes’ more of stolen, unseen TV

An unfinished version of Orange is the New Black season 5 was leaked over the weekend, the episodes having apparently been stolen along with many others from Hollywood-based audio post-production company Larson Studios.

Hacking group The Dark Overlord was behind it, and is now threatening to make other new seasons of shows available for torrent.

TDO told DataBreaches.net it had discovered “hundreds of GBs of unreleased and non-public media”, from networks including FOX, IFC, NAT GEO and ABC.

“It’s nearly time to play another round,” it posted on Twitter shortly before time of writing, along with a list of the shows it claims to have stolen:

A Midsummers Nightmare – TV Movie

Above Suspicion – Film

Bill Nye Saves The World – TV Series

Breakthrough – TV Series

Brockmire – TV Series

Bunkd – TV Series

Celebrity Apprentice (The Apprentice) – TV Series

Food Fact or Fiction – TV Series

Handsome – Film

Hopefuls – TV Series

Hum – Short

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – TV Series

Jason Alexander Project – TV Series

Liza Koshy Special – YoutubeRed

Lucha Underground – TV Series

Lucky Roll – TV Series

Making History ) – TV Series

Man Seeking Woman – TV Series

Max and Shred – TV Series

Mega Park – TV Series

NCIS Los Angeles – TV Series

New Girl – TV Series

Orange Is The New Black – TV Series

TDO appears to have stolen the shows in the hope of receiving a ransom fee. It apparently demanded 50 Bitcoin from Netflix (£54,700), a sum it said in a very colourful letter was “modest” in comparison to the amount the studio stands to lose from the leak.

Source:

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Statistics Canada site hit by hackers and taken offline in the peak of tax season

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The Candian government has confirmed that one of its websites was hit by hackers. The Statistics Canada website was hacked and taken offline for over two days, according to reports. In the aftermath of the cyberattack parts of the Canada …

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Week 17: Designing the Music Performance Season

The Art of Curriculum Design. We are nearing the end of our six month series where we have been exploring the why and how of curriculum design via an Arts Appreciation course created through an […]

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Week 13: Designing the Dance Performance Season

The Art of Curriculum Design. We are about 2/3 through this six month series where we have been exploring the why and how of curriculum design via an Arts Appreciation course created through an arts […]

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Week 9: Designing the Theatre Performance Season

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