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Cybersecurity news from the NTSC

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Artificial-intelligence-powered chatbots that organize and present content on demand are growing incredibly fast


Specialized “plug-ins” are appearing now, giving visitors to e-commerce websites more control over their experience, answering questions in any language, and improving customer support. Other specialized chatbots are being implemented across the web.


  • Travel agent chatbots are helping consumers create and modify summer vacation plans.

  • New plug-ins help users manage their personal schedules and tasks and set reminders.

  • New education-focused chatbots are helping students with homework, providing step-by-step recipes, healthy eating strategies, and workout routines.

  • Investment companies are implementing chatbots to educate customers on investment options.

  • Magazines, including CNET and Bankrate, and eBooks for sale on Amazon, have used content written by chatbots.

  • TV newsrooms are increasingly using chatbots to write stories.

  • Chatbots are compiling and sending news stories to readers based on their interests.

  • The Guardian says the number of websites posting false news stories created by AI has quadrupled in less than two weeks. 

  • And coming soon: technology that can identify content generated by chatbots.  


Here's an introduction to chatbots and how to use them.  

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Click here to download and print.

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TruCaller, the app that identifies and blocks spam calls, will soon introduce a feature to identify text-based scams. The company says users in the US and Canada will be notified of the name of the sender who linked to the text message.


Beware of products that claim to be part of the TV show “Shark Tank.” Billionaire Mark Cuban, one of the investors on the show, says videos are appearing on social media that claim to be Shark Tank companies — often promoting weight loss products — but have never actually appeared on it.


Users of Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, and Calendar, take note. In the name of security, Google says it may begin deleting Workspace accounts that have been inactive for over two years. Apple already deletes unused accounts after one year. The deleted email address and username will never be available again.  


AI is coming to a fast-food restaurant near you. PCMag says Wendy’s is testing the use of chatbots to take orders in its drive-throughs. Arby’s is already using it. Their automated voice identifies itself as a person and is programmed to understand when customers change their orders.  

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  • Does using "incognito mode" on your web browser hide what you're doing?

  • Is your smart speaker spying on your conversations?

  • Will your laptop get erased by going through the airport security scanner?

From PCMag, here are five common beliefs

about the technology we use every day. 


Are they myths? Or are they facts?

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“What tool is available for sending an encrypted email that only the intended receiver can decrypt?”


“Encryption” scrambles an email so only the sender and recipient can view it. You and the recipient must run compatible technology on your email apps and have each other’s “encryption keys” to read the email.


Email platforms like Proton Mail, Tutanota, and Hushmail offer stronger protection for confidential emails than popular consumer email apps. For example, Gmail and Outlook have security built into their platforms. But both companies can collect keywords from your emails for marketing purposes and share emails with third parties, such as law enforcement, in certain circumstances.




“Is it safer to use a secure Wi-Fi network or my phone’s cellular data to send an email, click the 'Submit' button in a survey, scan QR codes, view personal tax data, or view a personal bank account?”


Both are reasonably safe. But to surf the web and send emails over a Wi-Fi network, use VPN software to access the network. Cell phone networks are safe, but bandwidth fees can add up quickly if you connect your laptop to your phone and use it as a hotspot.




“Are Bluetooth devices such as speakers and headphones susceptible to being breached?”


You can secure Bluetooth devices like headphones and speakers by taking simple precautions. Read the manual for ways to keep the device's "firmware" — its underlying technology — up to date. When setting up the device, choose a strong PIN number that is hard to guess. And turn off the Bluetooth device when you’re not using it, particularly when traveling.

Send us your cybersecurity question
for possible use in a future newsletter.

Cartoon © 2023 CartoonStock | Original content © 2023 Aware Force LLC

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