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At SpireTech, our managed services clients often contact the helpdesk to determine if an email is fake or not.  We thought it’d be helpful to put together a short instructional video to help you identify some common signs that an email is a phish or fake email.

While this doesn’t cover all the possibilities, we think it hits on the most common ones. Another thing we’re seeing occasionally is a real, targeted email to a client purporting to be be from an owner of the company or a vendor. Always pick up the phone if there’s any question on the validity of an email, and contact our service desk if you need help!  Read more...


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used with permission from FTC.gov., by Colleen Tressler

Phishing is when someone uses fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information – like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. Scammers use your information to steal your money, your identity, or both. They also use phishing emails to get access to your computer or network. If you click on a link, they can install ransomware or other programs that can lock you out of your data.

Scammers often use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know. Here’s a real world example featuring Netflix. Police in Ohio shared a screenshot of a phishing email designed to steal personal information. The email claims the user’s account is on hold because Netflix is “having some trouble with your current billing information” and invites the user to click on a link to update their payment method.  Read more...


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Think about this scenario: A friend tells you that they received a message from your email address that wasn’t really sent from you. They think you’ve been hacked and your account is sending malicious emails to friends. How do you know if your email address account has been compromised, or if this malicious attempt is just spoofing your email address?

Email “spoofing” means that an attacker is impersonating you by pretending to send an email from your account. The recipient of the email will see your email… but if you dig deeper into the email message’s contents, you can often see whether the email was truly sent from your account or only made to appear so.

This type of impersonation is possible because email messages can show a difference between “display” information and the actual information embedded in what’s called the “email header”. Spoofing is an attempt to forge the email header, taking advantage of email protocols’ lack of authentication.  Read more...


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used with permission from FTC.gov., by Cristina Miranda

“I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife and everyone else. You can ignore this letter, or pay me a $8600 confidentiality fee in Bitcoin”.

It’s enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine, but these chilling words are part of a new scam targeting men.

Here’s how it works. Scammers have been sending letters to men, demanding payments using bitcoin in exchange for keeping quiet about alleged affairs. The letter also explains how to use bitcoin to make the payment.

This is a criminal extortion attempt to separate people from their money.

If you — or someone you know — gets a letter like this, report it immediately to your local police, and the FBI.

Threats, intimidation and high-pressure tactics are classic signs of a scam. Learn how to stay ahead of clever crooks with these practical tips, and check out the ways you can keep your personal information secureRead more...


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used with permission from Tektonika (HP)

Information security breaches are becoming so commonplace, they’re seen as the cost of doing business—but they don’t have to be. Promoting internet safety and device security isn’t as hard as it might seem. By making small changes to online behavior, IT professionals and users can do a lot to keep their business safe. And the first way you can start is:

Stop using passwords

Wait, what? You read that right: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently came out with new guidance on password best practices. According to Mike Garcia, former director of NIST’s Trusted Identities Group, the gist of these guidelines is, “Simply put: Use passphrases, not passwords.”

This is great news for any users who spend a lot of time in “Forgot Your Password?” purgatory. For years, the advice for keeping passwords hacker-proof was to make them more complicated. But that made them user-proof, too.  Read more...


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used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Is your company’s email providing a tempting route for cyber criminals to attack your business? Hackers continue to target businesses with phishing attacks. Once opened, these malicious email messages can hijack an entire company’s financial information and gain access to funds and personal information. Email is a business essential, but also an easy avenue for hackers to use and abuse. How can you keep your business secure?

The human factor

Businesses of all sizes face vulnerabilities via email. When email accounts are hacked and compromised, cyber criminals can gain access to information including user names, telephone numbers, birthdates, passwords, and unencrypted security questions.

Email is a common entry point for hackers because it’s an easy way to exploit the weak link in cybersecurity policies: humans. Employees rushing through their emails can easily click on a malicious link. No wonder that a recent survey reveals some 90% of cyber attacks initiate with email.  Read more...


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clutter-tipClutter is a mailbox management feature of Office 365 for Business. (If you don’t have an Office 365 for Business subscription, you will not have this feature.) It analyzes how you process your email and then moves “unimportant” or low-priority email from your Inbox into a special folder, to save you the time of doing this yourself. Essentially, it sorts emails it thinks you will already ignore into a secondary Inbox. If you already have an email spam protection tool running, Clutter may be overkill. If you’re tired of fishing emails out of the special folder or forgetting to check it entirely, you can turn it off. Here’s how!

Clutter in Outlook 2016

If you’re using Outlook 2016, you can quickly jump to the relevant Office 365 settings from your desktop version by following these instructions.

  1. In desktop Outlook, right-click on the Clutter folder and choose “Manage Clutter”.clutter01
  2. A browser window will now open, prompting you to login into Office 365 if you aren’t already.
  Read more...

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used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Nadia Kovacs

Protezione da spam e virusSpam is a problem on the Internet, coming at us from just about every angle of the online space. Some spammers develop sophisticated, well-planned strategies, while others can be sloppy and still drive results. Either way, spam tactics come in a variety of shades, and it’s up to users to identify signals early on and avoid unsolicited content.

Here’s a look at some spam tactics used in popular Internet spaces. Become familiar with these tactics to help identify them and avoid them whenever possible.

Spam on Social Media

A lot of the time, spam on social media is just bad social media marketing, or content marketing gone array. Being on either end (sending or receiving) of social media spam is not a good place to be. For receiving parties, it can be frustrating and even dangerous, depending on what the intention of the spammer is; and for senders, it’s extremely unprofessional and not a good way of building rapport with an audience.  Read more...


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used with permission from Norton by Symantec
by Nadia Kovacs

Spear phishing isn’t what you do when you’re on vacation in Hawaii. It’s a targeted attack on your personal information. An updated version of the old trick “phishing,” where scam artists simply ask you for your password or other private information, spear phishing takes this trick to the next level, using social engineering. Before you respond to that email asking for you to verify your address or other personal information, read this article to protect yourself against spear phishing.

What Is Spear Phishing?

Spear phishing effectively uses all the data that’s on the Internet about you to lull you into an inappropriate sense of comfort before attempting to get your personal information. Because this technique is so successful, it accounts for approximately 91 percent of all phishing in the United States today.

Think about it: How much about you is on the Internet?  Read more...


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searchemail_thumb

Do you have thousands of emails stored in your Outlook account? Do you sometimes need to find the one email from five months ago that mentions the access key for a software program you didn’t think anyone was still using?

We all have times when we need to dig through the haystack of email to find the needle. This can be very challenging even if you carefully manage emails with folders and categories.

Here are some tips for searching your Outlook email!

How search works

The search bar sits in the upper right of the mailbox or folder you are looking at. For example, if you are simply looking at your inbox, it appears like this:

searchemail_01[1]

You’ll see it says “Search Current Mailbox (Ctrl + E)” and on the right side it says “Current Mailbox” with a dropdown box that also lets you select other options.

If you move into a folder, it will reflect this as well.  Read more...

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