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Trump dealt with a national security crisis in front of diners and servers at a restaurant

  • North Korea carried out a ballistic missile test Saturday night, launching the weapon in Japan’s general direction while Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 
  • The launch is being described as a “show of force” by North Korea, according to NBC News.
  • The missile test occurred as Trump and Abe dined in the members’ dining area at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort.
  • Rather than retreat to a secure and private location to discuss these sensitive national security issues, Trump, Abe, Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn tended to the crisis right there in the public dining area, where people not permitted to hear classified information could have overheard the conversations, according to CNN. Read more (2/13/17 8:56 AM)
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There’s a big Google Docs email scam going around. Here’s what to do if you received it.

  • Many people — namely individuals in media — are reporting that they’ve received emails that appear to be sent from someone they know, addressed to “hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com” with a link to a Google Doc and the recipients blocked, according to Motherboard.
  • If you received a similar suspicious email, someone you know has been been phished, my friend!
  • If you receive an email like the aforementioned (or any suspicious email or text ever), do not click the link. I repeat: Do not click the link.
  • Before deleting the message, you should first report the phishing scam to Google, as EFF’s Director of Cybersecurity Eva Galperin tweeted.
  • You should also check authorized apps in your email account, as well as enable two-factor authentication, as ACLU technology fellow Leigh Honeywell tweeted. Read more (5/3/17)

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Mike Pence used a private email account for government business — and it was hacked

  • Emails obtained through public record inquiries by the IndyStar show Mike Pence used a private AOL email account to handle sensitive government issues as governor of Indiana. 
  • Pence used the email address to discuss personal security issues as well as the state’s response to terrorism.
  • The allegation is ironic, given that he was a harsh critic of Hillary Clinton’s handling of state business from a private email server.
  • Some of the emails the IndyStar requested couldn’t even be released to journalists, because the information they contained was “confidential and too sensitive.”
  • Hackers had no problem getting into Pence’s account. 
  • Back in June, scammers were not only able to access Mike Pence’s AOL account but also sent out a phishing email to his entire contact list, claiming Pence and his wife were trapped in the Philippines and needed money. Read more (3/3/17 1:07 AM)
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Recent, terrifying revelations show that Donald Trump’s information security at his club Mar-a-Lago is a terrifying joke

Let’s set aside, for the moment, the blatant sale of access to the president.  Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were at dinner when news broke that North Korea had conducted a missile test. CNN reports, “As Mar-a-Lago’s wealthy members looked on from their tables, and with a keyboard player crooning in the background, Trump and Abe’s evening meal quickly morphed into a strategy session, the decision-making on full view to fellow diners, who described it in detail to CNN.”

Be careful — hackers are hiding viruses in online movie subtitles

  • Security research firm Check Point revealed a new exploit on Tuesday that affects several media players.
  • The vulnerability allows a hacker to infect your device and gain full control through through subtitles.
  • The exploit, which puts 200 million users at risk, impacts video players and streamers like Popcorn Time, Kodi, Stremio and VLC.
  • Here’s how it works: malformed subtitle files allow hackers to embed code into the subtitle files in popular pirated movies and TV shows.
  • Subtitles are a non-suspecting source for hacks. When a user utilizes them, the malware is dumped on their desktop and the attacker is notified.
  • Once they have control over a device — PC, smart TV or smartphone — the hacker can do whatever they want, from stealing information to installing ransomware. Read more (5/25/17)

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1. The phony iCloud breach

The scam: Scammers reach people by phone, saying their data was hacked or breached through iCloud, Apple’s online data storage service. The scam is so effective because it sounds plausible, what with all the reports of data breaches, Business Insider notes. The initial call is a robocall, which offers to connect the prospective victim to a live person who can “help.” The individual on the phone says they can fix the problem if provided personal information (which could possibly include your Apple ID password, credit card information). The scammers will use flattery and may even an offer of a free iTunes gift card to poach your information, Apple says.

What you should do: Never share your Apple ID or temporary verification codes with anyone, Apple advises. And using two-factor identification will add an extra layer of protection to your account. If you receive an unsolicited call, hang up immediately and contact Apple directly.

2. The shady taxi lost-and-found service

The scam: You are in a hurry and forget your bag or phone in the cab. What do you do? Use a helpful service, like Yellowcabnyc.com, to locate your missing item. Sounds legit, considering it has all the vital keywords like NYC and yellow cab, right? Unfortunately, this “service” offers to locate your lost item for $47, which of course goes directly into the scammer’s pocket and your item is seemingly never retrieved, the New York Post reported.

What you should do: If you lose something in a cab, call the cab company’s garage directly first, according to the City of New York government website. If you don’t recall the name of the cab company, you can complete this form. Additionally, you can call the lost property police precincts in each borough to see if your lost item was recovered. Not in New York City? You can still apply this advice no matter where you are, just by starting with the cab company’s office.

3. Airline ticket giveaway

The scam: If you put off booking that airline ticket for summer until now, you are probably thirsting for a last-minute deal. Then you happen to see an email or post on Facebook or Craigslist offering one. All you need to do is wire cash for the ticket to a Western Union account and you are given the ticket confirmation number. Unfortunately when it’s time to travel, you find out the “ticket” you purchased doesn’t exist.

Scammers steal credit card information and purchase airline tickets, Scam Detector says. They cancel the trip for credit but retain the ticket’s confirmation number. Then they sell the ticket at a “discounted” rate on a site like Craigslist, Kijiji, Oodle or Gumtree and make the sale look legit because they provide the confirmation number.

What you should do: If you purchase an airline ticket online, make sure you go directly through the airline site or a reputable site like Expedia or Kayak. While some deals may be tempting, they are most likely too good to be true. If you purchase a fraudulent ticket, share what happened to you on social media and contact the Federal Trade Commission.

4. The bogus government grant

The scam: Score! You receive a phone call that you’ve been awarded a healthy government grant because you paid your taxes on time. All you need to do is provide your checking account information so the money can be automatically transferred to your account, but also to cover a one-time processing fee. The caller may say they are from the “Federal Grants Administration” so the call sounds legitimate, but the scam is to obtain access to your bank account.

The hallmark of this scam is that scammers usually read from a script, congratulating you for your eligibility and confirming that your processing fee can be refunded if you aren’t completely satisfied, according to the FTC. Also, the phone number will not have a caller ID, although the call may appear to be coming from Washington, D.C. Additionally, know you’ll never have to pay money for a “free” government grant.

What you should do: Hang up and report the call to the Federal Trade Commission.

5. The imaginary vacation rental

The scam: The vacation rental house looks perfect online and the price is right — but is it? Fake vacation rentals and time-share offers account for about 8% of reports to the Better Business Bureau scam tracker in 2017. Scammers may hijack an actual vacation rental ad, posing as the agent to grab your money for the rental or will fabricate a fake ad, designing a property that doesn’t even exist, the FTC says.

What you should do: Before you pay for a vacation rental, be wary of someone asking you to wire the cash to them, the FTC advises. Also, anyone who cannot connect personally because they are out of the country or demands the security deposit up front should be a red flag. Also, if the listing seems too good to be true, it probably is, the BBB says.

6. The tax bill you don’t actually owe

The scam: About 5% of the scams reported to the BBB are criminals posing as IRS agents, threatening criminal prosecution for being remiss on paying your taxes. The “agent” claims they can waive arrest if you pay a hefty fine through a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer, the IRS says. The latest version of this scam includes the scammer telling the potential victim that two certified letters were mailed to the victim but were returned as being undeliverable.

What you should do: Know that the IRS will never ask for credit or debit information over the phone or demand immediate payment without the opportunity to appeal the amount, the IRS advises. Also, hang up the phone if you are contacted by someone posing as an IRS agent, the BBB says.

7. The jury duty scam

The scam: While missing your jury summons by mail could happen, you wouldn’t be harassed by someone on the phone if you do miss your notice. Scammers typically pose as a U.S. marshall or the local police, AARP says, claiming you may be arrested because you missed jury duty. Supposedly in order to confirm the call, the caller will ask for your Social Security number and any other ID and will then offer to wipe clean the warrant for your arrest if you pay a fine in the form of a prepaid debit or gift card.

What you should do: Federal courts will never ask for personal information by phone, the United States Courts says, and will not ask for Social Security or credit card numbers. Should you receive this call, hang up immediately and contact the agency the caller claims to be calling from, typically a government agency, Sheryl Presley, Oklahoma City Police Triad coordinator told AOL says.

8. The ransom call

The scam: Typically delivered under the cloak of night, the kidnapping scam plays on your fears that a loved one was kidnapped but would be returned safely as long as a ransom is paid. Scammers reach out by phone, email or Facebook message, claiming if you don’t pay up in the hour, your loved one dies, Men’s Health reports. The reason scammers get away with this is because they pick the right hour to deliver the scary message, usually in the middle of the night, so you are too disoriented to challenge or question the call.

What you should do: First reach out to the “kidnapped victim” before you jump to any conclusions, Men’s Health suggests. Even though you may annoy your buddy with a call at 2 a.m. to make sure they’re safe, shelling out thousands of dollars in “ransom” is far more annoying. Keep in mind, the scammers may have scanned your social media to identify a connection who posted about traveling or being on vacation, CBS Boston notes. This will make it harder to verify the whereabouts of your loved one. Call 911 in the event you receive a call like this and get police involved.

9. Fraudulent telemarketing calls

The scam: Just when you thought your mobile phone was safe, scammers target you with fake telemarketing calls. You first receive an email saying telemarketers may be calling your mobile phone, playing off the rumors of a 411 mobile directory, the FCC says. The idea behind the scam is if your number is listed on the 411 service, its open to telemarketing calls which is completely untrue and would be illegal.

What you should do: Never share any personal information or data by phone with a telemarketer. Most telemarketing calls placed to your mobile phone are illegal and should be reported to the FTC. Another trick: Block the caller on your phone so at the very least they’ll have to call from another number to reach you again.

10. The “spear phishing” email

The scam: While phishing accounts for 34% of the BBB’s complaints this year, “spear phishing” is on the rise. Phishing is when a business emails you and asks to “verify” your personal information, like your Social Security number, credit card numbers or passwords. “Spear phishing” gives the scam a more personal flavor, as it appears to come from someone you know and sounds more personal, USA Today says. This approach is far more dangerous because your guard may not be up, making you more likely to fall for this scam.

What should you do: As with any scam, be cautious of any emails asking for you to click on a link, USA Today advises. Also, legitimate companies aren’t going to ask for your password, and if a “friend” sends the email, reach out separately and ask if the friend really sent that message — sometimes tiny differences in an email address are hard to spot. Also, fraudulent emails are typically fraught with typos. Be wary of links that take you to a URL that begins with “http” rather than “https,” which is more secure. Read more (7/6/17)

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WikiLeaks Releases What It Calls CIA Trove Of Cyber-Espionage Documents

WikiLeaks has released thousands of files that it identifies as CIA documents related to the agency’s cyber-espionage tools and programs.

The documents published on Tuesday include instruction manuals, support documents, notes and conversations about, among other things, efforts to exploit vulnerabilities in smartphones and turn smart TVs into listening devices.

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