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Wednesday, July 30, 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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Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - Almanac Vol. 58, No. 25

Tax Season Tip: Be careful where - and how - you buy tax software

No matter what kind of software you're shopping for online, it's always a good idea to buy from reputable, well-known vendors and avoid "bargain basement" sites. This is particularly important as April 15 approaches and you begin the process of filing your taxes. Nationally renowned security expert Brian Krebs recently posted an item on his blog ( recounting the story of a man who bypassed in favor of tax software at a much lower price on, only to discover that the site had disappeared from the Internet a few days later, and that his software download did not include the usual license key.

In addition to the well-known dangers of purchasing unlicensed software that has potentially been "doctored" with malware, the fact that tax software is specifically used to enter and track confidential financial and personal information makes it even more important for consumers to ensure that they are acquiring and using approved, reputable methods of filing their taxes electronically.

If you plan to purchase tax software and/or file online this year, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Purchase your software from reliable sites such as, or directly from companies that specialize in taxes, such as TurboTax and H&R Block.
  • If your income is $57,000 per year or less, you can probably file your taxes online with the IRS at no charge using software available at
  • The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers via email. "Phishing" attacks in recent years have included messages that include actual IRS forms as attachments, and which ask for sensitive, personal information.

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