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: 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: 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: Watch out for Typhoon Haiyan online donation scams

    The Internet is a great way to donate to typhoon survivors in the Philippines, but there are a few things you should know before you give. Watch out for online scams. Criminals have set up fake donation sites to scam generous donors who want to help. This fraud is known as phishing . Pronounced "fishing...
  • 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: 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: 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: 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...
  • 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: Watch out for prize scams

    We’ve seen an increase in scam email messages that promise recipients they have won some kind of prize or a lottery. These unsolicited messages will often claim that the prize is sponsored by Microsoft or another well-known company. They request personal information that cybercriminals can use...
  • Blog Post: Top 10 security stories of 2012

    From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year. Download security update for Internet Explorer . In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer...
  • Blog Post: Take care with ransomware

    Have you ever received an email or seen a warning page on a website claiming that legal authorities had detected illegal activities on your computer? This scam infects your computer with a type of malicious software called “ransomware.” The aim of ransomware is to prevent you from using...
  • 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: Online fraud: Get practical advice

    Need help spotting an online scam? Download our new free 12-page booklet called Online Fraud: Your Guide to Prevention, Detection, and Recovery . This guide includes: Real-world examples of false promises made in fake emails Images of scam emails to help you avoid them Tips for guarding...
  • 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: Get rid of your old devices more safely

    If you have an old computer, phone, gaming system, or other device that you want to sell, recycle, or give away, the first step is to erase all your personal information from the hard drive. You can do this yourself, but we recommend using a refurbisher that can also help you with donation or disposal...
  • Blog Post: Fraud alert: Microsoft Services Agreement email scam

    We’ve received reports of a recent email scam that spoofs the Microsoft Services Agreement. View the real agreement . The scam email message replaces legitimate links in the agreement with links that can compromise your computer when clicked. If you receive mail that looks like the real agreement...
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