“Please remember to over-do it on gratitude this week…Gratitude reminds us of all that is good amidst the difficult.” ~Nataly Kogan

Aww… COVID…. Don’t you love it?  What’s not to love?  We get to spend extra time with our loved ones.  We have the perfect excuse to stay away from the obnoxious neighbors.  The house is clean.   Oops, wait, the clean house will never happen. 

I can tell you what is happening.  Spammers, Hackers and Fraudsters are making bank.  They are loving the fact that everyone is going stir crazy. In their zombie state, they are happily opening attachments and calling “Microsoft” because a random popup told them they should.  So lets review.

1. Microsoft never asks you to call them.   There are more than 1 billion devices running Windows 10.   (https://news.microsoft.com/bythenumbers/en/windowsdevices)   If  just one tenth of 1 percent of those device owners called Microsoft, they would generate 1 million calls.  Why would Microsoft initiate 1 million calls?  That’s absurd.  Don’t call Microsoft!  And don’t call any other phone number that randomly appears on your screen.  Always confirm the numbers you are calling via an alternate source.

2. If you aren’t expecting an attachment, don’t open the attachment!  KnowBe4 reports an emergence of Fake File Attachment Images.  In their words: “Something relatively new we are seeing over the last year is the use of fake file attachments, which are really images with links to other objects hosted on malicious websites.” https://blog.knowbe4.com/top-12-most-common-rogue-url-tricks   In English:  It looks like a pdf, doc, xls file.  When you try to open the file, you land on a malicious web site.  Wave good-bye to zombie life.  It’s now, all hands on deck as you try to minimize the damage!

3. Scrutinize the link before you click.  Is it spelled correctly?  Don’t mistake http://goggle.com for http://google.com.  Did you pick up the difference on those addresses the first time through, or did you have to read it twice?  That’s what the bad guys are counting on!  Always Read It TWICE!! All the carpenters in my family preach: Measure Twice, Cut Once!!  I have similar advice.  Read TWICE, Click is optional.

4. Hover over the link.  When you hover over a link a post-it note will tell you what the real website address is.  Does it match the link you are trying to reach?  You don’t want to click on myhouse.com and end up at fanaticshouse.biz. 

5. Don’t use the same password on multiple sites.  Can’t remember multiple passwords?  No problem, use a Password Keeper.  I recommend Dashlane or LastPass.  Visit http://dashlane.com/plans  or http://lastpass.com/pricing for a free or paid plan. 

Navigating COVID is causing enough unpleasantness in life.  Don’t make it worse by falling prey to bandits.  Educate your family, educate your friends, educate your co-workers.    If you need tech assistance, please keep Comp-U-Talk in business and come visit.  Remember to bring your mask. 

Stay Safe,

~ Janet

Because It Made Me Laugh!