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Cybersecurity news you can use

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Fake emails, phone calls, and voice mails

have exploded in number this year.

Scammers are spoofing phone numbers

and sending emails with dangerous attachments.

See if you spot which messages are safe

and which are dangerous.

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> Here's an example of how a ransomware attack can impact you. Dozens of TV stations and regional sports networks around the US owned by Sinclair Broadcasting were hit with ransomware in late October, preventing some of them from showing NFL games, local morning shows and commercials. Bloomberg News says Russian-based hackers are responsible.

> 43% of Americans have already started their holiday shopping, according to the tech marketing company Channel Factor. This year, nearly 6 in 10 of us will shop for gifts using our smartphones — more than ever. Shop safely this year: stick to buying from familiar brands' websites or local retailers you know. 

> The number of newborns named "Alexa" has declined 79% since Amazon launched their virtual assistant, according to Harper's.

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"Is it possible to test a USB thumb drive to determine if it contains malware? Are the ones for sale at dollar stores safe?"

First, make sure your computer is running up-to-date security software that automatically examines devices like flash drives when you plug them in. If the USB drive came in sealed packaging from a reliable retailer, you should be safe. But never use a USB drive you found or that was given to you by someone you don't know, and don't plug in a USB drive you've been given to see what's on it. 

"You recommended clicking on the Gmail 'spam' button when I get junk email instead of clicking 'unsubscribe' at the bottom. Does Google actually do anything once you alert them that an email is spam?"

Yes, they do. If you click the "Report Spam" button in Gmail, future emails from that address automatically go to your spam folder in Gmail, and Google is notified and their automation examines the email for malware. By the way, the sender is not notified that you have labeled their email as spam.

"I see requests all the time from websites asking for permission to accept cookies. Which ones should I NOT accept?"

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Cookies are small bits of data, downloaded to your computer, tablet. and phone when you visit websites, that store information about you including the site's password, what you do on the site, and what's in your shopping cart.

The typical website uses 23 cookies. rd.com says there are three times when you should say no to cookies from a website:

- When the website is unencrypted. You can tell because the "lock" icon in the web address bar at the top left has a red line through it. 

- If they want your permission to use "third-party cookies." 

- If the website collects personal information like your medical records. 

Do you have a cybersecurity question?

Aware Force Cybersecurity News • November 2021 a • Edition #133

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Cartoon © 2020 Tom Fishburne | Marketoonist

Holiday gift icon by Kevin Sanderson

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