Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

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  • Blog Post: Create stronger passwords and protect them

    All week we’ll be posting our best guidance on how to create, protect, and manage your passwords. Passwords are your first line of defense against hackers. Pick passwords that are difficult to crack but easy for you to remember. What does “difficult to crack” mean? Each time...
  • Blog Post: Why do I have to update my email account information?

    We’ve noticed comments from many of you asking why we want you to verify your Microsoft security information. We’d like to explain why verifying this information is important. To help protect your email account and your personal data, we ask everyone who has a Microsoft account to make sure...
  • 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: HOW TO: Recycle your old computers and devices for Earth Day

    Today is Earth Day. Show your love for the globe by getting rid of your old technology in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Step 1: Back up files or data you want to keep Use the backup utilities that are built into Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 to transfer files from your...
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 7 ways to avoid TMI

    Technology can make everything in our lives easier—including sharing too much information (TMI). Just because you can take a picture of your new credit card and post it on Instagram doesn’t mean that you should. In fact, you shouldn’t. Sharing too much information can lead to identity...
  • 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: Don’t post your email address in a blog comment

    To post a comment or a question on one of our blog posts, use the Comments form at the bottom of the post. We appreciate your comments and questions, and we read all of them. Although we don’t answer them individually, we do use the information to answer the most popular questions in new blog posts...
  • 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: 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: Spring break online safety tips

    If you’re traveling with your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device this spring break, the following tips can help you stay safer online with a mobile device. Make sure your laptop or tablet has up-to-date antivirus and antispyware software installed. Windows 8 includes antivirus protection...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: Filing taxes? Beware of scams

    It’s tax season in the United States, which means it’s time for us to remind you about tax scams—especially email messages that appear to come from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another legitimate organization. These seemingly valid offers are designed to trick you into turning...
  • Blog Post: Help! My email’s been hacked

    If you use Outlook.com or Hotmail and think your account has been hacked , you should act right away to help protect your Microsoft account . If you can still access your Microsoft account, sign in and immediately change your password. For Outlook.com, go to the Password and Security section; for...
  • Blog Post: Clean up malware resulting from the Bamital botnet

    On February 6, Microsoft announced that its Digital Crimes Unit had worked with Symantec to successfully deactivate a major botnet called Bamital . Below is an overview of Bamital and how you can remove it from your computer. Botnets are networks of compromised computers, controlled remotely by criminals...
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