FTC – Baby Formula SCAMS actively circulating

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The FTC shares an awareness of active scams, while baby formula supply is in process of being increased.  As some parents may be desperate for needed supplies, scammers can unfortunately take advantage of folks.  Please be careful in only using safe & reliable mainstream resources. 

Not enough baby formula means plenty of scammers | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

advice for avoiding baby formula scammers online

Scammers exploiting the high demand for baby formula have sunk to new lows. They’re popping up online and tricking desperate parents and caregivers into paying steep prices for formula that never arrives.  Scammers may set up fake websites or profiles on social media platforms with product images and logos of well-known formula brands — all to make you think you’re buying products from the companies’ official websites.

Best practices to avoid SCAM attacks

  • Check out the company or product by typing its name in a search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what other people say about it.
  • Consider how you pay. Credit cards often give you the strongest protections, so you can sometimes get your money back if you ordered something but didn’t get it. But anyone who demands payment by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency is a scammer.
  • Know your rights. When you shop online, sellers are supposed to ship your order within the time stated in their ads, or within 30 days if the ads don’t give a time. If a seller can’t ship within the promised time, it has to give you a revised shipping date, with the chance to either cancel your order for a full refund or accept the new shipping date.
  • Search for local resources. Call your pediatrician to see if they have formula in stock. Pediatricians often get samples of different formulas and may be able to help. If you are a participant in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance program, contact your local office to find formula.

FTC – New Job scams actively circulating May 2022

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The FTC shares an awareness of scam approaches for those seeking employment … never pay for special services offered as noted in awareness below

Applying for jobs? Be on the lookout for scams | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

Don't pay for the promise of a job

You might have just graduated from college, but there’s still more to learn when you’re on the job hunt. Not every posting or job recruiter is legit. Learn how to spot the scams.  We’ve been getting reports about a scam that starts out with a job recruiter reaching out to ask for your resume. Sounds normal — right?   Well, that’s where “normal” ends. After you send that over, you’re told that the format is “incompatible.” The next thing you know, you’re asked to send your resume to a website to “reformat” it — for a fee. In other words, they’re asking you to pay for a job.

To avoid job scams

  • Do an online searchLook up the name of the company or the person who’s hiring you, plus the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.” You might find out they’ve scammed other people.
  • Talk to someone you trust. Describe the offer to them. What do they think? You don’t want to be rushed into a decision.
  • Don’t pay for the promise of a job. Legitimate employers, including the federal government, will never ask you to pay to get a job. Anyone who does is a scammer.

Microsoft – Ransomware-as-a-service in-depth research report May 2022

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Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is a new targeted mode where attackers manually gradually gain access to network rather than users clicking on an infected file, attachment, or web link,  Using social engineering, targeted attacks & hacking the “bad guys” can eventually gain access to the network & deploy their payloads more effectively.  This is a dangerous & popular mode of attack & Microsoft provides an in-depth research report

Microsoft Offers Extensive Advice To Address Human-Operated Ransomware Threats — Redmondmag.com

Ransomware-as-a-service: Understanding the cybercrime gig economy and how to protect yourself – Microsoft Security Blog

Within this category of threats, Microsoft has been tracking the trend in the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) gig economy, called human-operated ransomware, which remains one of the most impactful threats to organizations. We coined the industry term “human-operated ransomware” to clarify that these threats are driven by humans who make decisions at every stage of their attacks based on what they find in their target’s network.

Unlike the broad targeting and opportunistic approach of earlier ransomware infections, attackers behind these human-operated campaigns vary their attack patterns depending on their discoveries—for example, a security product that isn‘t configured to prevent tampering or a service that’s running as a highly privileged account like a domain admin. Attackers can use those weaknesses to elevate their privileges to steal even more valuable data, leading to a bigger payout for them—with no guarantee they’ll leave their target environment once they’ve been paid. Attackers are also often more determined to stay on a network once they gain access and sometimes repeatedly monetize that access with additional attacks using different malware or ransomware payloads if they aren’t successfully evicted.

  1. How RaaS redefines our understanding of ransomware incidents
    • The RaaS affiliate model explained
    • Access for sale and mercurial targeting
  2. “Human-operated” means human decisions
    • Exfiltration and double extortion
    • Persistent and sneaky access methods
  3. Threat actors and campaigns deep dive: Threat intelligence-driven response to human-operated ransomware attacks
  4. Defending against ransomware: Moving beyond protection by detection

Windows – How to use Privacy Dashboard to harden settings

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All home & corporate users should ensure high levels of safety in privacy.  The link below shares how to tune the Privacy Dashboard to harden settings for WIN10 or WIN11

How to Protect Your Privacy in Windows | PCMag

After you’ve set up and started using Windows 10 or 11, you should review your privacy settings. In Windows 10, go to Settings > Privacy. In Windows 11, go to Settings > Privacy & security. Most of the categories and settings for privacy are the same in Windows 10 and 11, however, there are a few differences here and there.

Windows permissions

FTC – SCAM alerts for older computer users May 2022

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Many older users past 70 never grew up with computers & FTC is promoting best practices to avoid romance & other scams  where targeting occurs.  If it’s too good to be true, one should treat email or ad links as if it were a telemarketing call.  All users should be cautious as billions of $$$ have be lost online.

Avoid a scammer’s money grab during Older Americans Month | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)

Asked to pay by gift card, crypto, or wire transfer? That's a scam. FTC.gov/scams

Scammers use lots of different tactics — stories about grandchildren in distress, million-dollar prizes, a romantic future, or a business deal — to try to steal peoples’ money. Scammers may demand payment by wire transfers, gift cards, and cryptocurrency — methods that transfer funds quickly and anonymously.  During Older Americans Month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission are partnering together to help older adults and their families and friends know what to do if someone demands payment by these methods, and where to report fraud.

To protect against scams and fraud

    • Don’t wire money. Wiring money is like sending cash. Once you send it, you usually can’t get it back. Don’t wire money even if someone sends you a check, tells you to deposit it, and wire some of the money back to them. That’s a fake check scam, and the bank will want you to repay the money you withdrew and sent. That may also be a money mule scam that will involve you in moving stolen money.
    • Don’t pay with a gift cardGift cards are for gifts. As soon as you tell someone the numbers on the back of the gift card, they get control of the card and your money is gone forever. No legitimate business or government agency will insist that you pay with a gift card.
    • Don’t pay with cryptocurrency. If someone requires you to pay for something with Bitcoin, Ether, or some other type of cryptocurrency, they’re probably a scammer. Cryptocurrency payments don’t come with legal protections. If you pay with cryptocurrency, you usually can’t get your money back unless the person you paid sends it back.
    • Report fraud to the FTC. If you’re contacted by someone telling you to pay or send money using these methods, please tell the FTC about it at ftc.gov. The information you share can help protect your community from fraud, scams, and bad business practices.

Google Chat – enhanced to warn for malicious links May 2022

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Google Chat has been enhanced recently to warn users before they click on suspicious links. 

https://www.pcmag.com/news/google-chat-is-warning-users-about-suspicious-links

Google Workspace Updates: New banners in Google Chat protect against malicious links (googleblog.com)

Learn how Google Chat protects you – Google Chat Help

In Google Chat, you’ll see banners warning against potential phishing and malware messages coming from users with personal Google Accounts. These warning banners, which are already available in Gmail and Google Drive, help protect users against malicious actors, keeping data safe. In Gmail, warning banners are displayed when responding to emails sent from outside of your organization. Now, Android warning banners are also displayed as you add new external recipients. Admins can turn these specific warning labels on or off for their organization.

Laptops – Best 2022 models for high school graduates

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 128 Laptops were recently evaluated by PC Magazine — in a timely article for the start of college in Fall 2022.  Models are categorized by the types of needs students may have (graphics, computer science, general studies, etc).

2022 Grad’s Guide: The Best Laptop for Each Type of Graduate | PCMag

If you’re ready to trade your cap and gown in for business-casual (or sweatpants and slippers, for those of you planning on working at home), one of the biggest questions you might be asking yourself is, “Which laptop should I get?” As you embark on the first leg of your professional journey, it pays to be properly equipped, so we looked at several of the top graduating majors and the technical needs for each.

Simply asking “What’s the best laptop for a college graduate?” doesn’t narrow things down very much, though. According to college advising website MyMajors.com(Opens in a new window), the list of common college majors has more than 1,800 different areas of study, from Agriculture to Visual and Performing Arts.  So we turn to data, not only to see the most popular majors and professions, but how many find themselves wondering what’s the best laptop for their type of work. According to both graduation statistics and search volume, here are the seven most popular fields that require computers tailored to their specific needs.

CISA – VMware security alert for unpatched systems MAY-2022

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Organizations using any of the unpatched products listed below should “PATCH NOW” as exploits were quickly crafted 2 days after release of latest VMware patches.

CISA Issues Emergency Directive and Releases Advisory Related to VMware Vulnerabilities | CISA

https://www.cisa.gov/emergency-directive-22-03

VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2022-0014

CISA has issued Emergency Directive (ED) 22-03 and released a Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) in response to active and expected exploitation of multiple vulnerabilities in the following VMware products: VMware Workspace ONE Access (Access), VMware Identity Manager (vIDM), VMware vRealize Automation (vRA), VMware Cloud Foundation, vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager.

The CSA, AA22-138B: Threat Actors Chaining Unpatched VMware Vulnerabilities for Full System Control, provides indicators of compromise and detection signatures from CISA as well as trusted third parties to assist administrators with detecting and responding to active exploitation of CVE-2022-22954 and CVE-2022-22960.  Malicious cyber actors were able to reverse engineer the vendor updates to develop an exploit within 48 hours and quickly began exploiting these disclosed vulnerabilities in unpatched devices. Based on this activity, CISA expects malicious cyber actors to quickly develop a capability to exploit CVE-2022-22972 and CVE-2022-22973, which were disclosed by VMware on May 18, 2022.

ED 22-03 directs all Federal Civilian Executive Branch agencies to enumerate all instances of affected VMware products and either deploy updates provided in VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2022-0014, released May 18, 2022, or remove those instances from agency networks.

Windows 10 – Support ends OCT 14th 2025

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Windows 10 still will be supported for at least 3 more years.  However, as older WIN10 systems are replaced with brand more powerful devices, Windows 11 is a better fit for new features, improved security & futures – with WIN10 EOL announced. 

Microsoft Is Retiring Windows 10 Home and Pro in 2025 | PCMag

An official Microsoft support document confirms the retirement date as Oct. 14, 2025.     As Thurrott reports(Opens in a new window), confirmation of that comes via a Microsoft support document(Opens in a new window), which lists Windows 10 Home and Pro versions with a retirement date of Oct. 14, 2025. The date makes perfect sense when you consider Microsoft typically supports an OS version for 10 years and Windows 10 launched on July 29, 2015.

CISA – F5 networks CVE-2022-1388 exploited actively by hackers

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CISA & other GOVT cyber-security agencies are warning of active exploitation of unpatched F5 network software.  Extensive guidance is provided in links below & ADMINS should PATCH NOW to avoid break-ins & compromises to sensitive information.

Threat Actors Exploiting F5 BIG IP CVE-2022-1388 | CISA

https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/ncas/alerts/aa22-138a

CISA is releasing this alert in response to active exploitation of CVE-2022-1388. This recently disclosed vulnerability in certain versions of F5 Networks, Inc., (F5) BIG-IP enables an unauthenticated actor to gain control of affected systems via the management port or self-IP addresses. F5 released a patch for CVE-2022-1388 on May 4, 2022, and proof of concept (POC) exploits have since been publicly released, enabling less sophisticated actors to exploit the vulnerability. Due to previous exploitation of F5 BIG-IP vulnerabilities, CISA and MS-ISAC assess unpatched F5 BIG-IP devices are an attractive target; organizations that have not applied the patch are vulnerable to actors taking control of their systems.

If an organization’s IT security personnel discover system compromise, CISA and MS-ISAC recommend they:

    1. Quarantine or take offline potentially affected hosts.
    2. Reimage compromised hosts.
    3. Provision new account credentials.
    4. Limit access to the management interface to the fullest extent possible.
    5. Collect and review artifacts such as running processes/services, unusual authentications, and recent network connections.
    6. Report the compromise to CISA via CISA’s 24/7 Operations Center

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