Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

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  • Blog Post: 9 ways to stay safe online this summer

    Summer is in full swing. Here are our best safety and security tips for the season. Don’t broadcast vacation plans on your social networking sites. If you’re leaving your home unoccupied and at risk for potential burglary, you might want to wait to post your vacation photographs...
  • Blog Post: 5 ways to protect your Microsoft account

    Your Microsoft account (formerly your Windows Live ID) is the combination of an email address and a password that you use to sign in to services such as Xbox LIVE and Outlook.com, as well as devices such as Windows Phone and computers running Windows 8. A Microsoft account is free and you can use...
  • Blog Post: Heartbleed: What you need to know

    On April 8, 2014, security researchers announced a flaw in the software that is used to protect your information on the web. The vulnerability, known as “Heartbleed,” could potentially allow a cyberattacker to access personal information. After a thorough investigation, Microsoft determined...
  • Blog Post: April Fools! The most popular pranks cybercriminals use to steal your money

    To celebrate April Fool’s Day, read about the email, web, social networking, and phone scams that we hear about most often. Scams that use the Microsoft name or names of other well-known companies. These scams include fake email messages or websites that use the Microsoft name. The email message...
  • Blog Post: How to recover an account if you haven’t already added security information to it

    A reader asks: What can I do if my account has been hacked and I haven’t already added security information to it? It would be easier to recover your account if you had already associated it with information that cybercriminals can’t easily access, like your mobile phone number or an...
  • Blog Post: Tax scams: 6 ways to help protect yourself

    We’ve received reports that cybercriminals are at it again, luring unsuspecting taxpayers in the United States into handing over their personal information as they rush to file their taxes before the deadline. Here are 6 ways to help protect yourself. 1. Beware of all email, text, or social...
  • Blog Post: 5 things you need to know about tech support scams

    If someone calls you from Microsoft tech support to help you fix your computer, mobile phone, or tablet, this is a scam designed to install malicious software on your computer, steal your personal information, or both. Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information. What...
  • Blog Post: 5 safety tips for online dating

    If you’re going to be connecting online this Valentine’s Day (or ever), follow these safety and privacy tips. Avoid catfishing . This is a type of social engineering designed to entice you into a relationship in order to steal your personal information, your money, or both. Always remember...
  • Blog Post: The best time to change your password is now

    You can reduce your chances of being hacked by regularly changing the passwords on all the accounts where you enter financial or other sensitive information. Set an automatic reminder to update passwords on your email, banking, and credit card websites every three months. Different sites have different...
  • Blog Post: Remove your personal data before you recycle your old computer or device

    Chances are good that you or someone in your life got a new PC, laptop, tablet, phone, or other device this holiday season. If you’re going to recycle, donate, or dispose of an old device, help protect your privacy by removing your personal information first. You can do this yourself, or you...
  • Blog Post: 10 New Year’s resolutions for your digital devices and your online life

    It’s a new year, which means it’s time to resolve to create healthier habits in our daily lives. But we don’t have to stop at just improving our body, mind, and spirit. It’s also a good idea to resolve to keep our PCs, laptops, smartphones, and social networking sites healthy...
  • Blog Post: Online safety tips for travelers

    If you’re travelling this holiday season and you plan to be online, here are a few ways to protect yourself and your family: Before you go, make sure all your software (and especially your antivirus software) is up to date. Learn how to get security updates automatically . Be careful with...
  • Blog Post: Shop for gifts online more safely

    If you want to stay home and avoid the crowds this holiday season, you can do all your shopping online. But before you log on, make sure you know how to identify websites that won’t compromise your privacy. Before you enter your credit card number, check for signs that a site is safe: ...
  • Blog Post: Avoid Affordable Care Act scams

    It’s no secret that the website designed to help Americans sign up for health insurance under the new Affordable Care Act has had technical issues. We’ve heard reports that scammers are taking advantage of the technical glitches to send out fake email messages or posts on social networking...
  • Blog Post: 5 reasons NOT to share personal information on a website

    Knowing when to trust a website depends in part on who publishes it, what information they want, and what you want from the site. Here are five reasons to think twice before sharing information with a website. 1. The site asks for personal information on a page whose URL does not start with HTTPS...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft won’t ask for your credit card to unblock your email account

    Tom asks: I’m getting messages from Microsoft about my email account. The messages say that my account is blocked and I can only unblock it with a credit card number. Is this legit? No, these messages sound like a phishing scam , a type of identity theft designed to steal your personal information...
  • Blog Post: Why does my AV software keep turning off?

    Bob writes: My antivirus software keeps turning off and I can’t get it back on. Here are the most common reasons you might encounter this problem: Your computer is already infected with rogue security software The warning that you’re antivirus software is turned off might be a...
  • Blog Post: 3 ways to help protect your Microsoft account

    A Microsoft account—formerly known as a Windows Live ID—is the combination of an email address and a password that you use to sign in to services such as Xbox LIVE and Outlook.com, as well as devices such as Windows Phone and computers running Windows 8. If you think your Microsoft account...
  • Blog Post: Have authorities detected illegal activities on my computer?

    John writes: I got an email saying that illegal materials were found on my computer and it would be locked until I paid a fine. Is this a scam? Yes, this sounds like a common blackmail scam called ransomware. Ransomware is an email, website or pop-up window that displays warnings about possible...
  • Blog Post: Catfishing: Are you falling for it?

    The news is filled with stories about people, famous and otherwise, getting caught in online dating scams. The phenomenon is so common that it now has a name: Catfishing. The term catfishing comes from the 2010 movie Catfish about a man who was lured into a relationship by a scammer who was using a fake...
  • Blog Post: There is no Hotmail Maintenance Department

    Cassie writes: I received an email from the Hotmail Maintenance Department requesting personal information verification. The message included a PDF file. Is this a scam? Yes. This is one of many types of email cybercrime, also called phishing . Cybercriminals often use the Microsoft name to try...
  • Blog Post: Top 5 online safety tips for summer

    To help stay safe on your travels this summer, we recommend these Internet safety and privacy tips. Make sure your laptop or tablet has up-to-date antivirus and antispyware software installed. Windows 8 includes antivirus protection that’s turned on by default. If your computer isn’t...
  • Blog Post: How to combat tech support phone scams

    Nana writes: “I received a telephone call at home from a person claiming to be from “Microsoft Operating Systems.” He had an urgent need to "fix" a virus. I had trouble understanding him, and when I starting asking questions, he got frustrated. Was this person calling from Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: Fraud alert: Free "Xbox points"

    Although Microsoft was founded 38 years ago this month, don't fall for a widespread scam that offers free “Xbox points” for wishing the company a happy birthday. Online offers that seem too good to be true probably are. Learn more about common scams that use the Microsoft name . One way...
  • Blog Post: Online scams are no April Fool’s Joke

    On April Fools' Day you might have fun being the recipient or the instigator of a harmless prank or two, but it's good for you to know about online pranks we’ve seen that are far from harmless. Phone scams. Cybercriminals don’t just email you or post on your social networking site anymore...
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