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10 Ways To Catch A COVID Phish

Cybercriminals are using the pandemic to continue their attacks, here are 10 ways yo catch a COVID phish email and protect your email and job.

Labor Day 2021

This labor day, the United States has the highest COVID-19 death toll of any country. 

PMP Renewed

Renewed my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Five More Reasons to Drink Coffee

Not only is coffee good, but it is also good for you it can help prevent health problems like heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

How To Make Zoom Pay

Zoom has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit Here is how you can be part of the settlement and get cash from Zoom, even if you only used their free product

10 Ways To Catch A COVID Phish

10 Ways To Catch A COVID Phish

Cybercriminals, like to take advantage of fear. They are taking advantage of the ignorance-fueled COVID-19 Delta variant surge. Attackers are increasingly using business-looking COVID phish emails to do their dastardly deeds.

return to the office.More than half of employers are forcing a to return to the office. Employers are requiring the submission of paperwork such as COVID test results and proof of vaccination to keep your job. Hackers know that communication from employers about COVID can spark an emotional reaction and compel people to click. Researchers at Proofpoint found that business looking COVID phish attempts have increased by 33%.

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of these requirements. The demands for COVID paperwork give the attackers more ways to disguising their phishing attempts. Sherrod DeGrippo, Vice-President of Threat Research and Detection at Proofpoint, told The Washington Post. “That almost makes it easier for the bad actors because people are getting used to: ‘Upload your negative test here, go download this COVID form, fill it out.’” 

Fake O365 COVID phish attempts

Proofpoint logo

Proofpoint has detected fake Microsoft Office 365 phishing emails from cybercriminals posing as human resource departments. The attackers ask the recipients to submit proof of vaccination. The attacker’s goal is to steal your Microsoft 365 sign-in credentials. If you receive such an email, be sure to take the time to verify that it’s come directly from the organization you work for. One’s vaccination card contains useful information such as birthdates or full names, which hackers could target.

Proofpoint’s research has found emails telling employees they’ve lost their jobs due to COVID-19 are also on the rise. And what better way to do that than tell someone they’ve been fired? Mr. DeGrippo explains “It quite literally is clickbait. They need you to click on them, so in order to get the person to take the action, you’ve got to escalate their emotional state to one that has them emotional, instead of intellectual — thinking with the smart part of the brain.”

What if you suspect a phishing email

  1. Fake O365 COVID phish emailBreathe – If an email seems to make you particularly angry, worried, or curious – it’s best to pause for a moment before you click.
  2. Altered domain names are a giveaway. Did  “humanresources@widgit.com” suddenly become “HR@widgit.com” – verify these requests through a second channel —  get someone from HR on the phone before opening it.
  3. Be skeptical of emails from familiar people (like the CEO) who do not usually communicate directly with you. Don’t click on links or open attachments from those senders. Always get someone on the phone before opening it.
  4. Hover over the link to expose the associated web addresses in the “to” and “from” fields. Your company’s email is probably not gmail.com.
  5. Note grammatical errors in the text of the email; they’re usually a sure sign of fraud.
  6. Use different passwords for your work and personal email. That way, if one gets compromised, hackers can’t break into the other and use it to compromise more accounts. A good password manager tool should help.
  7. Don’t forward suspicious emails to co-workers.
  8. Report suspicious emails to the IT security department.
  9. Install and keep up-to-date anti-malware software on all your devices to scan web sessions and emails.
  10. Never donate to charities via links included in an email; instead, go directly to the charity website to donate.

Stay safe out there!

Related article

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Labor Day 2021

This labor day, the United States has the highest COVID-19 death toll of any country. 

labor day

Get the vaccination!

 

Stay safe out there!

Related article

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

PMP Renewed

Renewed my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification with the Project Management Institute (PMI).

 

PMP certificate

 

Stay safe out there!

Related article

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Five More Reasons to Drink Coffee

Five More Reasons to Drink CoffeeWe love our coffee at the Bach Seat. Despite the nay-sayers, coffee is the go-to way to start the day. And now there is even more evidence that not only is coffee good, but it is also good for you. New research has linked our morning coffee to many health benefits.

Coffee reduces the risk of heart disease

Coffee reduces the risk of heart diseaseA study found that four cups of coffee a day is the best amount of coffee to drink each day. A study published in PLOS Biology argues that four cups of coffee help maintain a healthy heart. Study co-authors Joachim Altschmied, Ph.D., and Judith Haendeler, Ph.D., both at the University of Dusseldorf biologists studied coffee intake. They observed that four cups a day can actually help heart cells function more efficiently. The caffeine in four cups of coffee will “push” a protein called p27 into the mitochondria of heart cells.

Not only does coffee boost heart cell activity. Researchers at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea found that regular coffee drinkers have less risk of heart disease. The study, led by Dr. Yuni Choi, screened over people and found those who consumed three to five cups of coffee a day. Dr. Choi found they were less likely to see a prevalence of coronary artery calcium or early signs of heart disease. Another study looking at coffee consumption and death from chronic diseases found a link between moderate coffee consumption (3 cups per day) and a 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease deaths compared with non-drinkers.

Coffee reduces the risk of colorectal cancer

A study at the University of Southern California, coffee can reduce the odds of developing colorectal cancer by 26%. And that’s just if you’re the casual coffee drinker. For those who drink more than 2.5 servings of coffee a day, the risk of cancer decreases up to 50 percent. Stephen Gruber, MD, Ph.D., MPH, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is the senior author of the study. He said, “We found that drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, and the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk.

This was true even when participants drank decaf, meaning there’s more goodness to coffee than just the caffeine. Dr. Bruner explained, “We were somewhat surprised to see that caffeine did not seem to matter …  caffeine alone is not responsible for coffee’s protective properties.

Defense against Alzheimer’s disease

Defense against Alzheimer's diseaseThere are several studies that suggest coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). In a study published in Neurological Research, researchers reported that coffee consumption is inversely associated with risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee drinkers experienced a 30% reduction in risk for developing AD compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. In the CAIDE (Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia) study, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day was associated with a significantly decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life compared with low coffee drinkers

A cuppa Joe protects the liver

A cuppa Joe protects the liver

The liver is essential for digesting food and ridding your body of toxic substances. There are many diseases that affect the liver. Diseases like hepatitis, fatty liver disease, or chronic alcoholism, can lead to cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. 

In one study, the researchers found the mechanism of action of caffeine found in coffee on the lipids (fat) in the liver. Their findings suggest that drinking equivalent amounts of caffeine in four cups of coffee a day may help prevent and protect against fatty liver in humans. These results support other studies that coffee consumption can help reduce the progression of liver damage associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

There are other studies conducted in the United States and Italy found that people who drank four or more cups a day had up to an 80 percent lower risk of cirrhosis, especially the type brought on from alcohol consumption.

Best Source of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are “cleaners” and oxidizes free radicals in the body. They form harmless substances that can then be flushed out of the bloodstream and body, naturally. Coffee has more antioxidants than green and black teas and red wine. For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest aspects of their diet. That’s because coffee is quite high in antioxidants.

antioxidants in coffee

Studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined.  Some of the antioxidants found in Coffee are:

  • Chlorogenic acid – an important antioxidant found almost exclusively in coffee thought to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Trigonelline is an antibacterial compound that not only gives coffee its wonderful aroma but is a factor in preventing tooth decay. 
  • Polyphenols are plant compounds that also neutralize free radicals and may help prevent heart diseasetype 2 diabetes, and cancer.
  • Hydroxycinnamic acids have antioxidant, anti-collagenase, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and ultraviolet (UV) protective effects, that can act as anti-aging and anti-inflammatory agents.

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Coffee has many benefits. Not does coffee make your feel better – it can make you better.  Coffee can prevent diseases, making it more than just your morning ritual.

Stay safe out there!

Related article

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

How To Make Zoom Pay

How To Make Zoom PayWho can forget the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and the phenomenon of Zoomboming? Many people cannot forget and they responded with lawsuits. The suits claimed that Zoom (ZM) enabled Zoombombing and was sharing personally identifiable information (PII) without proper notice.

Zoombombing

Zoom bombingTechCrunch defines Zoombombing as the disruption of Zoom calls by unapproved attendees. They would join a Zoom call and disrupt it by sharing offensive content. The content included using backgrounds to spread hateful messages, spouting slurs, anti-Semitism profanities, and pornography. Users of Zoom suffered these events during the first half of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The frequency of Zoombombing prompted the FBI to issue a public warning about the cyber harassment. I wrote about the problems people were encountering with Zoom on the Bach Seat.  Zoom was slow to respond to these threats. But eventually, they put additional security in place to reduce the frequency of Zoombmombing.

Zoom shared users personal data

Zoom logo

Lawsuits in Florida and California accused the firm of sharing personal user data with third parties. Personal user data was sent to Facebook, Google, and LinkedInMotherboard reported that Zoom’s ‘Company Directory,’ feature was leaking leak personal information including email addresses and photos.

The Company Directory feature would automatically add other people to a user’s list of contacts if they sign up with an email address that shares the same domain. However, according to the report, multiple Zoom users say they signed up with personal email addresses, and Zoom pooled them together with thousands of other people as if they all worked for the same company. This exposed their personal information to unknown others.

Settlement

Zoom agreed to settle the court case

In May 2021 the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California consolidated the many complaints into a single class-action suit. On 08/03/2021 Zoom agreed to settle the court case. It has proposed an $85 million settlement.

In the settlement, Zoom denied it violated any laws. They also questioned if users actually suffered injury or damages. The settlement would see customers receive a refund. Payment amounts are expected to average $34 or $35 for those who subscribed to Zoom’s paid version. Those who used the free version could get $11 or $12 based on estimates in court documents.

Zoom's annual revenue quadrupled during the pandemic to nearly $2.7 billion

Zoom collected approximately $1.3 billion in subscriptions from paid subscribers according to the documents. Zooms’ lawyers called the $85 million settlement reasonable given the litigation risks.  Zoom’s annual revenue quadrupled during the pandemic to nearly $2.7 billion. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, CA is expected to finalize the settlement in October 2021.

CNet offers a FAQ on the Zoom settlement.

Can I get a payment from Zoom?

If you registered, used, opened, or downloaded the Zoom app for personal use (not through an enterprise or government account) between March 30, 2016, and July 30, 2021, you are potentially eligible for the refund from Zoom. This also includes people who signed up for Zoom’s free tier. 

How much money could I get?

ou could receive 15%If you are eligible based on the date ranges above and you paid for a Zoom account, you could receive 15% of the money paid to Zoom for your subscription during that time or $25 (whichever is greater). If you are eligible but had a free Zoom account, you can claim $15. However, these rates may change depending on how many people file a claim.

How do I claim my settlement money? 

If the settlement is approved at the October hearing, Zoom will provide available names, emails, addresses, and account numbers to the settlement administrator. Those that are eligible for a refund, will be notified by email or mailed postcard and asked to provide your name, mailing address, email, and claim number. If you’re not notified but think you are qualified, you can still file a claim by providing either an email associated with your Zoom account, a Zoom account number, or documentation showing that you were impacted. A new website (ZoomMeetingsClassAction.com) will have more information, but at the time of this writing was not yet live.

Is Zoom going to be safer?

As part of the settlement, Zoom also said it would continue to take new measures to prevent Zoombombing, such as alerting people when hosts or meeting participants use third-party apps in meetings. They will offer (rb- but not mandate) specialized training to employees on privacy and data handling.

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Of course, you could also delete your zoom account. There is no way to use Zoom and not agree to their privacy terms. If you do use Zoom, you’re giving up a lot of your personal information. By deleting your Zoom account and no longer using the application, you’re stopping it from collecting your data. 

How do I delete my Zoom account?

  1. Sign in to your Zoom account.
  2. Go to the navigation menu at the top of the page.
  3. Click Account Management, and select Account Profile.
  4. Select Terminate My Account.

Stay safe out there!

Related article

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers, and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.