Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

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  • 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 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: 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: 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: Shop online with care this holiday season

    Holiday shopping is in full swing and so are the scams. The following tips can help you stay safe when you shop online. Use a modern browser. Internet Explorer 9 and Internet Explorer 10 (available with Windows 8) include the SmartScreen filter. SmartScreen helps protect you from fraudulent shopping...
  • Blog Post: The $500 Costco card scam

    Many respondents to a recent Microsoft survey expressed concern about trickier scams that are happening on social networks. The Microsoft Malware Protection Center recently blogged about one of these new scams that claims to offer a free Costco gift card to all Facebook users. But don’t click...
  • Blog Post: Try Outlook.com

    Outlook.com is Microsoft’s new free cloud email service for personal use. You can use Outlook.com with the Outlook desktop application, via the web at http://outlook.com , or via other email apps that support Exchange ActiveSync or POP3. The new Outlook.com offers several security and privacy...
  • Blog Post: Fraud alert: Prize scams

    John writes: I received an email that said that I won a prize from Microsoft and I am concerned that others may fall for this scam. Can't anything be done about these types of scams? The Microsoft Lottery scam is a fraudulent email that claims that you have won a lottery, a prize, a sweepstakes...
  • Blog Post: Enhanced security in Internet Explorer 10

    If you’re the type that likes to look under the hood of your web browser, you can download the consumer preview for Windows 8 , which includes the preview version of Internet Explorer 10. Internet Explorer 10 includes an enhanced version of Protected Mode. Protected Mode is a feature of Internet...
  • Blog Post: Research firm rates spam filters

    Spam filters for email programs are a little like the roof on a house. You wouldn’t want to live without one, but some are better than others. Recent research from Cascade Insights showed that no email program they tested did better than Hotmail at filtering spam. Get tricks for getting rid...
  • Blog Post: Beware of bin Laden malware on the web and in email

    If you’re searching for news about or pictures of Osama bin Laden, you might find malware instead. This week the FBI warned computer users to be especially careful of emails that claim to show photos or videos of bin Laden’s death. Cybercriminals are quick to put up fraudulent websites...
  • Blog Post: ID theft level drops, but cost remains high

    Identity theft levels are at their lowest rate since 2007, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. However, the cost to consumers is on the rise. To find out more, see Identity Theft Falls 34%, Victims Pay More . Protect yourself from fraud Clearly we're all getting better at identifying...
  • Blog Post: Hotmail hacked? Change your password

    We received this email message from a reader: "My Hotmail account keeps getting hacked and my contacts are getting a message from me requesting money. I had gotten two [email messages] from Microsoft asking me to confirm my Hotmail account with my password. It happened twice and I thought it was...
  • Blog Post: Avoid scams through your phone

    We recently received this email message from a reader: "I got a call from someone who said that he was from 'Windows Technical Department Support Group.' He said he was calling to fix my security system. He wanted me to log onto a website so he could walk me through a process that would give him...
  • Blog Post: Hotmail hijacked? Here’s what to do

    Most of us have received suspicious email that looks like it came from someone on our contact list. These emails could contain a virus or other type of malware, or they could be a scam designed to trick you into turning over personal information or money. Did the person from your contact list suddenly...
  • Blog Post: Safer surfing with SmartScreen

    The SmartScreen Filter is a feature in Internet Explorer 8 that helps detect fraudulent websites that might install malicious software onto your computer or try to trick you into turning over personal information. What does is mean when a website is blocked and flagged in red as a reported unsafe...
  • Blog Post: What is screen scraping?

    Screen scraping is the act of taking all the information that a person has posted on their Web site or social networking page and then using the information to break into the user’s account or to commit some other fraud involving identity theft . Social networking Web sites such as Facebook have grown...
  • Blog Post: Don’t fall for phony phone tech support

    Here's another form of Internet fraud that combines a variety of other common scams- social engineering , fake security software , and phishing . Cybercriminals have started calling people on the telephone, claiming to be from Microsoft, and offering to help solve their computer problems. Once cybercriminals...
  • Blog Post: Beware of Obama scams

    If you follow computer security closely, you won't be surprised to know that U.S. President Barack Obama is the subject of many different online scams. Whenever someone or something is big news, scammers, phishers, and virus writers use the news to try to trick us out of our money . According...
  • Blog Post: Need another reason to stop downloading illegally?

    One of the most important weapons in the toolbox of every virus writer, hacker, phisher, or other fraudster is the scare tactic. Fraudsters might try to trick you into clicking links , opening attachments, or willingly handing over personal information by telling you that your account is going...
  • Blog Post: Can you trust your online Valentine?

    It's always important to be careful how much information you reveal to other people online. As Valentine's Day nears, this is even more important. Scammers can use e-card scams , social networking , online dating, and various types of chat sites to collect information from people for malicious...
  • Blog Post: More ways to protect yourself in 2008

    Last month we told you about predicted Internet security threats for the coming year . We also told you that the most basic ways to protect yourself were by: · Turning on your firewall , · Turning on automatic updates , · Using updated antivirus software , and · Using updated antispyware...
  • Blog Post: Predictions for 2008: Cybercriminals follow the money

    Experts at Microsoft spent the final days of last year analyzing numerous data from sources that include the biannual Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) . Here are their resulting predictions about the threats that are most likely to affect you and your family in 2008: 1. Phishing...
  • Blog Post: Typos can cost you

    Here's another scam you might want to know about. If you accidentally type the wrong Internet address into your Web browser, you could end up on a site where you might be tricked into entering personal information that could be used to steal your identity or commit other kinds of fraud. This...
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