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Thursday, July 31, 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, April 1, 2014 - Almanac Vol. 60, No. 28

Filing Taxes Online This Year? Take Steps to Protect Your Information!

As of this month, more than 27 million US taxpayers have filed their 2013 taxes online - already a 6% increase over the total number of e-filings for the preceding year. E-filing offers enormous convenience - but it's important to remember that it can also create privacy and security risks. Here are some steps you can take to help avoid the risks while taking advantage of the convenience.

To protect your personal information, use a different password for tax filing than you use to access other online accounts.

Don't file your taxes using unsecured, public wi-fi networks such as those at hotels and coffee shops. The information you are transmitting could potentially be intercepted by fraudsters.

A major strategy for criminals during tax season is to contact individuals by email, pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service. If users click on links in these "phishing" emails malware is downloaded to their computers, for purposes such as stealing passwords and Social Security numbers. Keep in mind that the IRS will never send you any electronic communication, including emails and text messages, that ask for personal information.

Cybercriminals often use stolen information - such as Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of birth - for identity theft, which can include filing fraudulent tax returns and collecting the refunds. If you believe you are the victim of tax-related identity theft contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.

For more on how to protect your personal data visit and

This tip is based largely on a USA Today article that can be viewed at:


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