FBI – Avoid Holiday scams in 2019

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FBI offers highly informative safety tips to avoid Holiday scams in 2019


‘Tis the season for holiday gifting, and many shoppers will go online this time of year to find the best deals on popular items. But the sellers you buy from may not be what they seem. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), thousands of people become victims of holiday scams every year. Scammers can rob you of hard-earned money, personal information, and, at the very least, a festive mood. The two most prevalent of these holiday scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes.

In a non-delivery scam, a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received. Conversely, a non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped, but the seller is never paid. In 2018 alone, the IC3 estimates that non-delivery and non-payment scams together affected more than 65,000 victims, causing almost $184 million in losses.

Do your part to avoid becoming a victim. These simple tips from the IC3 can help you look out for scammers during the holiday season or any other time of year:

    • Always get a tracking number for items purchased online so you can make sure they have been shipped and can follow the delivery process.
    • Be wary of sellers who post an auction or advertisement as if they reside in the U.S., then respond to questions by stating they are out of the country on business, family emergency, or similar reasons.
    • Avoid sellers who post an auction or advertisement under one name but ask that payment be sent to someone else.
    • Consider canceling your purchase if a seller requests funds be wired directly to them via a money transfer company, pre-paid card, or bank-to-bank wire transfer. Money sent in these ways is virtually impossible to recover, with no recourse for the victim. Always remember that anyone who asks you to use one of these forms of payment might be a scammer. A credit card is generally the safest way to pay for an online purchase.
    • Avoid sellers who act as authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries where there would be no such dealers.
    • Verify the legitimacy of a buyer or seller before moving forward with a purchase. If you’re using an online marketplace or auction website, check their feedback rating. Be wary of buyers and sellers with mostly unfavorable feedback ratings or no ratings at all.
    • Avoid buyers who request their purchase be shipped using a certain method to avoid customs or taxes inside another country.
    • Be suspect of any credit card purchases where the address of the cardholder does not match the shipping address. Always receive the cardholder’s authorization before shipping any products.
    • Always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

If you do become the victim of a holiday scam, contact your bank immediately. You should also inform your local law enforcement agency, and file a complaint with the IC3 at ic3.gov.

Security videos – Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 safety

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Some good security videos related to Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 e-commerce safety

Windows 10 videos – USB recovery and bootable drives

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Linux – Ubuntu 19.10 offers improved performance

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Linux Ubuntu 19.10 offers improved performance as shared in this review


The first reason I like 19.10 so much is that it feels insanely fast. Everyday tasks like opening applications, dragging windows, activating the search interface, and even just moving the cursor around are all noticeably faster than in 19.04. The speed boost is immediately noticeable from the minute you pop in the live CD, and it’s even faster once you have 19.10 installed.

Most improvements in 19.10 can be attributed to the latest release of GNOME 3.34, the default desktop for Ubuntu. However, GNOME 3.34 is faster largely because of work Canonical engineers put in.


Windows 10 v20H1 – Features in latest 19033 build

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19033

If you want a complete look at what build is in which Insider ring, head over to Flight Hub. You can also check out the rest of our documentation here including a complete list of new features and updates that have gone out as part of Insider flights for the current development cycle.   To avoid confusion with Windows Server 2003, Microsoft made the decision to make Windows 10 version 2004 the next feature update for the operating system.

Surface Pro X – Review of new Snagdragon ARM based device

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Processor Microsoft SQ1
GPU Microsoft SQ1 Adreno 685
Display 13 inches, 2880×1920, 267ppi, 3:2, 450 nits
Body 11.3×8.2×0.28in (287x208x7.3mm), 1.7lbs (774g)
RAM 16GB LPDDR4x RAM at 3733Mbps
Storage 256GB removable SSD
Ports (2) USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
(1) Surface Connect
(1) Nano-SIM
Surface Keyboard connector
Battery life Up to 13 hours
Windows Hello IR camera
OS Windows 10 Home
Color Black
Material Aluminum
Price $1,499

QUOTE —The first Surface PC to use an ARM processor was actually the original Surface, but things have changed a lot since then. At Snapdragon Technology Summit in 2016, Qualcomm and Microsoft announced their plans to bring full Windows 10 to ARM processors, running native ARM apps like Windows RT did, but filling in a key gap by offering support for x86 apps through emulation.

It’s been a long road since then though. The first two generations, the Snapdragon 835 and 850, weren’t powerful enough for premium PCs. And then came the Snapdragon 8cx, a chipset built from the ground up for PCs, with Qualcomm promising performance on par with an eighth-generation Intel Core i5.

Now, it seems like Windows on ARM is ready for prime time. Microsoft’s Surface Pro X legitimizes Windows 10 on ARM, using its custom SQ1 processor. The new chip architecture brings with it a design overhaul from the Intel models, packing a slimmer design that’s possible with the smaller chipset and lack of a need for a fan.

I’ve always been a fan of Windows on ARM PCs, for their slim and light designs, integrated 4G LTE connectivity, instant-on functionality, and frankly, it’s nice to see a little bit of diversity in the processor lineup with Windows PCs.

Windows 10 v1909 – Videos for VM Sandbox installation

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Windows 10 v1909 offers a new VM Sandbox & excellent instructional videos are present on u-tube for this excellent new feature

IRS – National Tax Security Awareness Week December 2–6

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released an article announcing that National Tax Security Awareness Week will be held December 2–6. The annual recognition event will feature a series of resources and tips to help taxpayers and tax professionals protect their data and identities against identity theft.

Please see CISA’s Tip on Preventing and Responding to Identity Theft and IRS’s article on National Tax Security Awareness Week for details about new resources and the more than 25 tax security events being held across the country throughout the awareness week.

NSA – Transport Layer Security risk management guide November 2019

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The National Security Agency (NSA) has released a Cyber Advisory that addresses managing risk from Transport Layer Security Inspection (TLSI). This short, informative document defines TLSI (a security process that allows incoming traffic to be decrypted, inspected, and re-encrypted), explains some risks and associated challenges, and discusses mitigations.

Please review the NSA Cyber Advisory and apply the information, as appropriate. See CISA’s Alert on risks associated with HTTPS inspection.

CISA – Black Friday 2019 identity protection best practices

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QUOTE:  Black Friday is one of the most lucrative shopping days of the year for retailers in brick-and-mortar shops and online, but shoppers aren’t the only ones looking for deals. Malicious people may be able to obtain personal information (such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, account numbers, and addresses) by stealing your wallet, overhearing a phone conversation, rummaging through your trash (a practice known as dumpster diving), or picking up a receipt at a restaurant that has your account number on it. If a thief has enough information, he or she may be able to impersonate you to purchase items, open new accounts, or apply for loans.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages holiday shoppers to take the following identity theft precautions:

  • Take advantage of security features. Passwords and other security features add layers of protection if used appropriately. (See Choosing and Protecting Passwords.)
  • Check privacy policies. Take precautions when providing information, and make sure to check published privacy policies to see how a company will use or distribute your information. (See Protecting Your Privacy.)
  • Check your statements. Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
  • Be careful what information you publicize. Attackers may be able to piece together information from a variety of sources. Avoid posting personal data in public forums. (See Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites.)

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