November 2017 - Information & Security Notices

This page offers general news on the changing development in the evolving world of technology, as well as security advice. I've also added tidbits and news items from around the world of technology. Hope you enjoy them.

 

 

 

143 Million Social Security Numbers Hacked

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Over 140 million names and their corresponding Social Security numbers were exposed after the credit-rating company Equifax was hacked. Criminals had access to sensitive information like home addresses, dates of birth, and driver’s license and state IDs, plus credit card numbers after a cyber attack between May and July of this year.

Some users in Canada and the UK were also affected.

The company says it discovered the breach on July 29 and immediately put a stop to the intrusion.

To determine if your information was compromised, you can click here. or contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time.

If you are among those affected, you’ll be able to sign up for credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

 

 

 

700 Million Email Passwords Hacked!

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It may be a good time to change your email password. Details for over 700 million accounts have been leaked by a Dutch spambot called Onliner. They opened up the information and allowed anyone visiting their server to download the information.

The breach was discovered by security expert Troy Hunt. The data includes email addresses and their passwords. Included in this breach are credentials that would enable scammers to trick spam filters by making email messages appear to come from legitimate sources. So you need to be extra careful about things claiming to be from banks, government agencies, or websites that say they need information about your account. Hunt showed this example of a fake email that appears to be about an account for a toll road pass.

Hunt called it the largest batch of data that’s ever been compromised and said the sheer size was “mind-boggling.”

It couldn’t hurt to change your password just to be safe, but you can check if your email address or user name has been compromised by going to haveibeenpwned.com and entering it. Click here to check.

It turns out that an email address I use is among the affected.

Yikes. Time to change that password.

 

 

 

IRS Scam In Your Inbox

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There’s a new ransomware scam that targets its victim by pretending to be an email from the IRS or the FBI.

The scam uses official looking emblems of both agencies as part of a phishing scam designed to lure users into clicking on a link that’s supposed to lead to an official questionnaire. Instead, it takes users to a site that will dump ransomware onto your PC.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called it a “new twist on an old scheme” and cautioned users to remain vigilant against email scams.

He said that citizens will never have a first contact with the IRS or FBI in the form of an email.

He cautioned those who fall for the scam not to pay the ransom, but to instead immediately report any attempt or attack to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov and to forward any IRS-themed scams to phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues such as bill or refunds.

 

 

 

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