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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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One Step Ahead: Almanac Security Tips - 2014

In each issue, Penn's Journal of Record, The Almanac publishes helpful tips and hints for dealing with information security and privacy matters. This page is a collection of all those published thus far.
New! You can now receive new One-Step-Ahead Security and Privacy Tips automatically!
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Table of Contents (view all)

Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability
Security and Privacy Tips for World Travelers
Filing Taxes Online This Year? Take Steps to Protect Your Information!
If your computer runs Windows XP, you must update it now!
Why Should You Report Security Incidents? And How Do You Report One?
Photo and Video Privacy Issues
The Password is Dead, Long Live the Password!
Data Privacy Month: NSA Surveillance Panel at the National Constitution Center
Protecting Your Finances During This Year’s Holiday Shopping Season
Beware of Phishing E-mails in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan
No E-mail from Penn Will Ask For Your Username/Password or SSN
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act: Does It Apply to Your Website?
October: National Cyber Security Awareness Month; Free Secure Disposal of Paper and Electronics
What Basic Rules Protect Student Information at Penn? (September 2013)
Protecting Privacy and Security on Penn + Box

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Tagged with virus , hackers , identity theft

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - Almanac Vol. 55, No. 13

Hackers and Identity Thieves Cash in On Current Events

The weeks leading up to and following major events -- such as a presidential election or a Phillies World Championship -- are always highlighted by a peaking of interest in news and items about the event, and the Internet is always buzzing with videos, images, and news items that are "virally" distributed by e-mail, websites, and other electronic sources.

Unfortunately, in some cases this "viral" aspect is literally true. Hackers, spammers, and identity thieves often leverage heightened interest in the news to get people to respond to e-mails or visit websites they might not otherwise consider. A case in point, as reported by the Washington Post and other major media outlets, involves a wave of spam messages containing a link to a video of President-elect Obama's victory speech, and the site contains a picture of Obama beneath an official looking government seal and the title "". Visitors to the site are prompted to download an "updated" Flash player before viewing the speech. Unfortunately, the site is bogus and the plug-in is a "Trojan Horse" malware application designed to steal data from the host. reports that less than half of major anti-virus software products were able to detect this exploit, leading security experts to caution that when updating software, it can be dangerous to obtain updates from sites other than the vendor's own.

As with all other forms of spam, "phishing," and the like, of course, the best advice remains: be very careful about opening attachments, visiting unfamiliar websites, and downloading "free" software.


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