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Keeping you safer as you work online
from NTSC

This year, COVID has driven a huge increase in cybercrime.


  • Phishing emails using the words “virus,” “pandemic,” “stimulus,” “masks,” “tests,” and “quarantine” have increased by nearly 700%.

  • Over 10,000 web addresses with “COVID” or “virus” in the title go live every day and most are scams.

  • Ransomware, where crooks lock every file on a computer and demand a ransom payment, has jumped 72% since March.

  • And over 500,000 Zoom users’ passwords are for sale on the dark web. Wow!


What are the basic steps you can take to protect yourself? Refresh your memory with this special Cybersecurity Awareness Month video. Click the arrow button to watch.

Unsafe QR codes: from doctors' offices to restaurant menus, from Instagram to Twitter, QR (“quick response”) codes have seen record growth this year. Your smartphone’s camera can automatically link these barcodes to web addresses, saving the trouble of typing out the address, and other time-saving actions.


But the cybersecurity company MobileIron says cyber crooks are using fraudulent QR codes to send users to dangerous websites that are designed to steal personal information.


To be safe, double-check that a QR-linked website is legit before entering any personal information on it and be suspicious of a QR code sticker that has been affixed to a surface in a public place.  

Whoops — the cyber experts got breached: one of the most respected cybersecurity training companies has been hacked. Here's how it happened. Fraudsters sent SANS Institute employees a series of personalized phishing emails embedded with an infected Microsoft Word document.


One employee downloaded and opened it, giving crooks access to the SANS computer network and personal information on 28,000 people. Microsoft says this problem has gotten worse as more of us work from home.

Cyber Bytes: Forbes is advising smartphone users not to share a photo of their phone’s home screen on social media, because of the amount of personal information the newest operating systems can give hackers. … Verizon says the number of robocalls is declining because Android phones and iPhones now allow users to block unknown calls. … With the new iOS 14 operating system, iPhone users can make DuckDuckGo their default web browser, adding a layer of privacy as they surf the web. … Amazon says it will soon hire 100,000 more workers, bringing its total employment to close to 1 million. ... From the Wall Street Journal, advice for participating in a Zoom call: remember that even if you clicked over to a new tab to do a little online shopping, the camera is still showing you. 

A "smish" is a fake text message like this one, that's now making the rounds. Can you spot the clues that this is a fake? Click and drag the slider bar for clues. 

If you did click on the link, here's where you'd go. 

This Aware Force cybersecurity e-newsletter is available to NTSC members, customized for your organization with your branding and messaging.


It takes less than five minutes to distribute and generates impressive metrics. Contact us here for more information. 

Aware Force Cybersecurity News • October 2020 a • Edition #105

Year-to-date cyber stats from ZD Net.

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