Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

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  • Blog Post: Congratulations! You’ve won $800,000!!

    Well, maybe not. But that’s just one of the many ploys that scammers send in their relentless efforts to part people from their money or sensitive personal information like passwords and account numbers. Microsoft is asking people to take a survey of their experience with online fraud—what...
  • 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: 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: Safety is an active verb

    When we are young, we are taught to brush our teeth in order to develop healthy and preventative habits. Hopefully by the time we reach adulthood, the act of brushing every morning has become second nature. Yet, when we go online, we don’t always take the same preventative measures with our personal...
  • 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: 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: 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: What if I no longer have access to my secondary email address?

    Last week we answered a question about what to do if your Hotmail account is sending out spam . We mentioned resetting your password if you can’t sign in because your account has been blocked. One way you can unblock it is to respond to an email message sent by Microsoft to the secondary address...
  • Blog Post: Help! My account is sending out spam

    Laura writes: My Hotmail email address has been hacked. Someone sent out a spam email to everyone in my address book. What do I do? If it makes you feel any better, Laura, we get this question a lot. Here’s what to do right now: If you can still sign in to your account, change your...
  • 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: Get rid of junk in your Hotmail inbox

    Spam and other email that you don’t want can clog up your inbox. Some spam can be fraudulent and can contain malicious software or links to malicious websites, but some email can just be annoying. Graymail is email that you signed up for, but you don’t want anymore. If you use Hotmail...
  • Blog Post: Don’t click text message spam

    Several readers have contacted us lately about suspicious text messages that they’ve received on their smart phones. Some of these messages appear to be from Microsoft , Starbucks, Best Buy, or other well-known companies and are designed to trick you into clicking links with lures of free gifts...
  • Blog Post: Win the battle against email fraud

    Cybercriminals use email fraud (sometimes called “phishing”) to steal your personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. Cybercriminals might send millions of fraudulent email messages with links to fraudulent websites that appear...
  • Blog Post: Beware of tax scams

    It’s officially tax time in the United States again. We’ve reported here that tax scams arrived early this year. Tax scams come in many different forms. Some scams are attempts to spoof the IRS to convince you to click malicious links or attachments. Other scams offer tax preparation help...
  • 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: Who’s more likely to fall for scams? The answer might surprise you

    A recent Ponemon Institute study (in cooperation with PC Tools) challenges the myth that people who fall for scams are generally older. According to survey results, 18-25 year olds are among the groups that are more susceptible to online scams. Respondents also said that a free prize or free antivirus...
  • Blog Post: Income tax scams already!?

    You’d have to be a real early bird to be expecting your income tax return in the United States already. And yet, we’ve begun to see phishing scams that appear to come from support@irs.gov and offer links where you can check the status of your return. The message uses language straight...
  • Blog Post: Avoid fake emails

    We sometimes hear from customers who want to know if an email which appears to be from Microsoft is real or not. If you receive an email that claims to come from Microsoft, but it contains an attachment or asks you to send passwords, user names, or financial information, it’s probably a fake. Te...
  • Blog Post: Beware of “confirm your account” scams

    Last week a member of our team shared a phishing scam that she’d received in her personal email account. The bogus email claims to come from Microsoft and asks the recipient to respond to the email with their user name and password to avoid permanent cancellation of their account. This is a...
  • Blog Post: Rustock: civil case closed

    Microsoft has officially announced that our civil case against the operators of the Rustock botnet (a major source of spam) has been closed and our teams have turned over the information we’ve gathered to the FBI. The Rustock botnet is considered one of the largest sources of spam on the Internet...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft offers $250,000 reward for information on botnet

    This week, Richard Boscovich, Senior Attorney for the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, announced a $250,000 bounty for information that results in the identification, arrest, and criminal conviction of those responsible for controlling the Rustock botnet . Microsoft shuttered Rustock (a major source...
  • Blog Post: Rustock report: Stopping a major source of spam

    In March we reported that Microsoft, in cooperation with industry and academic partners, had taken down the Rustock botnet , a notorious source of spam, fraud, and cybercrime. Hard disks confiscated from Rustock command and control servers This week Microsoft released new information that explores...
  • Blog Post: Secure your Hotmail account

    We used to recommend that you increase the security of your Hotmail account by creating a new account, one that you would give to online retailers or other organizations that might send a lot of unwanted email . Now, if you have a Hotmail account, you can create an alias within your account instead...
  • 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: Beware of Facebook email scams

    A friend recently forwarded us the email below because they thought it was a scam. They were right. This email is a great example of three easy ways to detect a scam . Spelling and bad grammar. Cybercriminals are not known for their impeccable grammar and spelling. A professional company like...
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