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What Is an Exploit Kit and What Does It Do?

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BeautifulPeople.Com’s Ugly Data Breach

1.1 Million people are at the risk of having their private data exposed in the underground economy, also known as the Dark Web. Controversial website, BeautifulPeople.com, which claims to have “the largest network of attractive people in the world” has announced that they have become a recent victim of a data breach....
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The Risks of Public Wi-Fi

Picture this. It’s Saturday morning and you’re hanging out at your local coffee shop using the free Wi-Fi to catch up on a few tasks you couldn’t quite get to during your busy week. Sound familiar? This is a typical scenario for many of us, but did you know you might be unaware of some threats lurking in the background on public Wi-Fi while you balance your bank account and sip a latte?...
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Teach Your Kids to Avoid Online Scams

Surfing the Internet means possible exposure to online scams, something your children might not have any concept of. If you’re allowing them to go online, it’s imperative that you discuss online scams. Such scams come in a variety of guises, including those that specifically target children. Let’s look at how to best protect your kiddies from those who would scam them: Educate Yourself First The first step in protecting your children from online scams is to educate yourself on the types of scams currently floating around the Internet. One type of scam is the free trial offer, which claim...
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10 Facts About Today's Cybersecurity Landscape That You Should Know

The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving with new threats and never-before-seen vulnerabilities being discovered by security experts and, just as likely, exploited by cybercriminals at a fast pace. Breaking news alerts of widespread data breaches or high-profile hacks serve as reminders of the need for security online, but the flood of information can also be overwhelming. Let this cut through the clutter - Here are 10 facts you need to know about today's cybersecurity landscape:   1: Cybercriminals are using more zero-day vulnerabilities than ever before. A new zero-day vulne...
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Critical Vulnerabilities Affecting QuickTime for Windows

Two zero-day vulnerabilities showed up recently that could spell trouble for Apple users who use QuickTime for Windows.  The ZDI-16-241 and ZDI-16-242 vulnerabilities allow an attacker to run malware or malicious code remotely. It gains access to a computer when a user is tricked into visiting a malicious webpage or opens a malicious file. This vulnerability is critical because Apple is no longer providing security updates for QuickTime on Windows. Since these vulnerabilities are never going to be patched, the best line of defense is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows immediately. Since ...
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How Can I Tell If I Have Malware and What Can I Do About It?

Malware has become a catchall term for various types of cyber security risks, such as viruses, Trojan horses, worms, adware, ransomware and spyware. Many of us use these terms interchangeably to describe strange symptoms or behaviors encountered on a computer. However, all of them share a common goal, which is to compromise the safety of your devices. Symptoms of malware may appear obvious or discrete; knowing how to detect these dangerous intrusions will help you determine how to go about fixing the problem should it ever occur.  ...
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Magnitude and Nuclear EKs Target New Adobe Flash Player Exploit

Adobe has released a patch for a newly discovered vulnerability CVE-2016-1019, which affects Adobe Flash Player.   It has been found that two separate exploit kits known as “Magnitude and Nuclear” have been using this vulnerability to spread ransomware to the target via drive by downloads. An exploit kit is a package of software that finds and takes advantage of security holes, or software vulnerabilities in computer software. They are primarily used to spread malware. Drive-by downloads means that malware can be installed on your computer simply by browsing to a compromised website. Ho...
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How Does Malware Get Past Security Software?

Have you ever run your Internet security software only to find out that there’s malware on your computer? How did it get there? When you’re running a full Internet security suite, it can be very frustrating to find out that, despite your best efforts, there’s malware on your computer anyway. The fight against malware is a complicated arms race of sorts. Here’s how it works....
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What is Grayware, Adware, and Madware?

If you’re like most Internet users, you’ve never even heard of grayware, adware or madware. That’s because these are all lower on the threat scale in the world of malicious programming. What’s more, they toe the line between legitimate programs and actively harmful applications. Here’s your quick guide to the new wave of code you don’t want on your computer: What Is Grayware? Grayware is a more succinct name for “potentially unwanted programs.” It’s not a virus and it’s not as obviously malicious as a lot of other problematic code floating around on the Internet. Make no mistake about ...
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How Do Firewalls Prevent Computer Viruses?

You’ve likely heard the word ‘firewall’ used to describe a measure of prevention against cyber criminals. But that doesn’t mean you know how a firewall actually works, does it? Don’t worry—the truth is that most people don’t how a firewall works; they just expect it to do its job. But it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. Once you learn a little more about firewalls, you might feel more confident about installing one on your home computer, if you haven’t already. If you’re already using a firewall to prevent cyber attacks, perhaps learning more about how it works will improve y...
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Attackers Are Exploiting a New Adobe Flash Zero-Day Vulnerability

*EDITED* Adobe has now released the patch for the vulnerability. You can read about it here. Adobe announced it will soon issue an update for its Flash Player in response to the discovery of critical vulnerability CVE-2016-1019, which is currently being exploited in the wild. According to Adobe, the vulnerability could cause computer crashes and potentially allow an attacker to take control of an affected computer. The vulnerability affects Adobe Flash Player versions 21.0.0.197 and earlier for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome operating systems. Exploitations on computers running Windows ...
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How to Use Your New PC or Mobile Device Safely Online

There are more mobile devices on our planet than there are people. It is no surprise that our daily and digital lives have become a seamless unit of existence. Just like your real life, your digital life comes with its own ups and downs. The upside of your digital life is that you can start fresh with a new device and clean up any old hang-ups that can compromise you....
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Four Tax Scams to Watch out for This Tax Season

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. While individuals, businesses, and tax preparers get ready for tax season at the beginning of each year, another certainty exists: Cybercriminals will attempt to victimize these entities with tax-related scams. Tax season is a ripe time for phishing and spreading malware; without fail, tax-related online scams remain a most popular type of phishing scam each and every year. Through our threat intelligence network, we have identified four types of tax scams that individuals and businesses should be wary of...
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Android Lockdroid Variants Target Western Regions and Japan

One of the most prevalent Android ransomware threats in the West has now expanded to Asia, choosing Japan as its first target. Android.Lockdroid was spotted on March 11th, and disguises itself as a system update. Once the ransomware detects that it’s installed on a device in a certain country, it displays the ransom message in that country’s language. This is the first type of “chameleon” ransomware we’ve spotted. Once the ransomware is installed and running on the device, it “phones home” to the cybercriminal’s server, and then uploads the device’s information to figure out the phone’s...
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The Importance of Data Back-Up

Have you ever lost a lot of really important data? Or, alternately, have you ever had a moment of panic where you thought you did? Whether it’s images of a family vacation, a report from work or a semester’s worth of homework, you probably have data on your computer that’s not just valuable, it’s too valuable to lose. Backing up your data regularly will help you to avoid the crushing feeling that comes with finding out that all your hard work and treasured memories are gone....
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OS X Bug leaves Systems Vulnerable to Attack

There’s a perception that OS X is impenetrable, especially when compared to Windows. In recent times this assumption is being proven wrong. The latest in a series of flaws discovered in OS X and iOS is a vulnerability  in Apple’s security system. The shortcoming showed up in the System Integrity Protection (SIP), a security feature that Apple introduced with El Capitan last year. SIP was designed to prevent modifications to protected files and folders on Mac.  The OS X bug has not only bypassed SIP but can also be used to make malware harder to remove from an infected system. This zero-d...
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Why March Madness Is Bad for Business

Every spring the NCAA college basketball tournament — known as March Madness — turns workplaces into play spaces. Betting on brackets and watching games seem more suited to sports bars, but since many of the games are played during the workday, it’s not unusual for otherwise dedicated employees to schedule in some pleasure along with business. However, March Madness can cost workers and small business owners much more than productivity as cybercriminals target unsuspecting fans with malware.

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What Are Some of the Laws Regarding Internet and Data Security?

Numerous laws in the U.S. cover Internet, data security, and privacy in the United States, with the 1974 Privacy Act arguably being the foundation for it all. The Privacy Act passed to establish control over the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal information by agencies in the executive branch of the U.S. government....
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Symantec Financial Threats Report Gives Consumers Security Tips

It’s tax season, so our finances are top of mind for many of us. Cybercriminals are thinking about our money, too. After all, most cybercrimes are committed for monetary gain. According to the Symantec report titled “Financial Threats 2015,” cyber thieves are developing stronger attacks on banks and other institutions to try to access our hard-earned money. Here’s an inside look at the top threats financial companies faced in 2015, plus tips on keeping your own bank accounts secure. 

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New Software Updates From Apple Address Two Critical Vulnerabilities

It’s time to patch ALL the Apple things! Apple has released a slew of software updates this week for various products. Most importantly, the updated iOS 9.3. In March there were two vulnerabilities discovered within iPhone’s iOS One vulnerability, a proof-of-concept (PoC), was discovered by a research team from John Hopkins University. The researchers discovered a way to break the encryption used by iMessage that could allow attackers to access and steal attachments such as images, videos and documents that are being shared securely with contacts The second vulnerability discovered invol...
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The Dos and Don’ts of Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is available just about everywhere, from the local coffee shop to the hotels and airports you visit while traveling. Wi-Fi has made our lives a little easier, but it also poses security risks to the personal information available on our laptops and smartphones. Here is a helpful list of dos and don’ts you should follow if you plan to use public Wi-Fi.

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5 Ways You Can Help Yourself Stay Secure Online

When you’re using the Internet, your Internet security suite can only go so far to protect you from potential dangers like spyware, ransomware and malware. You have to do some of the work yourself, because there are some threats that no Internet security suite can protect you against. Social engineering is a good example of this. Social engineering is a technique that cybercriminals use, which involves human-to-human interaction in order to get the user to divulge information. Based on exploiting human nature and emotional reactions, there are many ways that attackers can try to trick yo...
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Exploring the Deep Web

There are multiple “layers” to the Internet that you may not be aware of. The first, or top layer is called the surface web, and it is the part of the web that is crawled by search engines. That’s the part that you can see, it’s where Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and everything else under the search engine sun lives. The second layer of the Web is called the deep web. Think of it as an ocean- on the top you have the boats dragging their nets across the surface. The boats are the web crawlers for search engines, and the “nets” catch what is on the surface for indexing by the search engine. I...
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How Can I Access the Deep Web?

Believe it or not, accessing the deep web is easier than you think. In fact, you’ve probably already done it. The media hasn’t done a great job of differentiating what’s considered deep web, and what is actually dark web—two similar titles for two very different things. What Is the Deep Web? The deep web is just what it sounds like: below the surface and not completely dark. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are able to search and index websites because of links; they use links to rank search results according to things like relevancy, inbound links, and keywords. But that’s wh...
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Major News-Sites Hit With Large-Scale Malvertising Campaign

Just when you think the Angler Exploit Kit is wreaking havoc to its full potential, it surprises us by getting more aggressive. Last weekend several mainstream websites, fell victim to a massive malvertising campaign. The tainted ads in these websites may have directed thousands of unsuspecting users to a landing page hosting the notorious Angler Exploit Kit, a kit that stealthily installs crypto-ransomware and other malware on computers. What is Malvertising? Malvertising is a shortened term for malicious advertising, and uses legitimate online advertising services to spread malware. Ma...
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4 Steps to Make Your Smart Home More Security Smart

“IoT” is an acronym for the “Internet of Things.” And any device that can connect to the Internet and transmit or receive data can be considered a “smart” thing. That includes smart homes, also known as connected homes. Smart homes — in which IoT devices such as thermostats or ovens can be programmed from anywhere — are popular with consumers who seek convenience. Some people, however, may not realize the connected devices or appliances they’ve grown to depend on could leak private information or be susceptible to hackers. In the rush to get products to market, smart device makers may not see security as a priority. 

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Burrp Compromised. Angler Exploit Kit Delivers TeslaCrypt Ransomware

Cybercriminals regularly use exploit kits to innovatively find vulnerabilities in systems and infect users with malware. An exploit kit opens a medium for cyber criminals to communicate with your system and feed it codes that include different types of commands. These kits are big money in the underground economy and one of the most notorious among them is the Angler Exploit Kit. A recent victim of this Angler Exploit Kit is ‘Burrp’, a popular local food and restaurant recommendation website based in India. Burrp was compromised to redirect users to the Angler exploit kit (EK) in order t...
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Sneaky Spammer Tactics and How To Avoid Them

Spam 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....
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How to Spot Baseball Spring Training Scams

As winter drags on, almost everyone starts to look forward to spring — but perhaps no group looks forward to March quite as much as true-blue baseball fans. After all, its arrival means Cactus League and Grapefruit League spring training baseball camps open in Arizona and Florida. If you decide to go big, just remember to watch for scams when buying merchandise or tickets online — or you might find yourself striking out on Internet security.

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Adobe Issues Emergency Patch for Newly-Discovered Flash Vulnerability

The discovery of a critical Adobe Flash Player zero-day vulnerability, CVE-2016-1010, “that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system” prompted Adobe to issue an emergency patch on March 10. Adobe says the vulnerability has been identified as “being used in limited, targeted attacks.” How to Protect Yourself from This ThreatPatch Flash immediately if you are running Flash and if it has not already automatically updated with the emergency fix.
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Watch Episode Two of "The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet- Where Cybercrime Goes to Hide" Now!

Today we are proud to announce the launch of the second installment in our documentary series "The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet."  In episode one, we visited the town Râmnicu Vâlcea, which is better known as "Hackerville." In the first film, we met hackers from all walks of life, including white, grey and black hat hackers, and talked to them about their motivations behind what they do. In the second installment, we travel all corners of the globe to find out where cybercrime goes to hide, by exploring what is called Bulletproof Hosting. While the hacker is the operator of the atta...
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What Are Browser Hijackers?

A browser hijacker is defined as a “form of unwanted software that modifies a web browser’s settings without the user’s permission.” The result is the placement of unwanted advertising into the browser, and possibly the replacement of an existing home page or search page with the hijacker page. The idea is to make users visit certain websites whether they want to or not so the hijacker enjoys higher advertising revenue. Browser hijackers may also contain spyware to obtain banking information and other sensitive data....
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Netiquette For Parents

No one said parenting is easy. Especially when your children are doing things in the cyber world that you as a child never imagined. With the wealth of information and non-traditional methods of making friends and hanging out, our children are no doubt having a good time, thanks to the advancements in technology. But that still doesn’t mean they have the liberty to do as they please at the expense of others. One of the most important aspects of parenting is setting a good example. Your kids will closely watch your online manners and etiquette. You need to be aware and educated about neti...
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Symantec Discovery Finds That Phishers Are Creating YouTube Channels to Document Their Attacks

Symantec recently discovered a phishing site for Amazon.com, which didn't seem out of the norm, at first. However, when taking a closer look at the HTML source code, an interesting comment from the attacker was uncovered. The "brag tag," found details that consisted of the name of the scam, "Scama Amazon 2016,” along with the attacker's name, website, and even a YouTube channel....
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Cyber Safety for Women

An unfortunate number of women are becoming victims of cyber crimes. According to a recent study more women are known to use the Internet to enrich their relationships compared to men. Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment. The growing reach of the Internet and the rapid spread of information through mobile devices has presented new opportunities that could put some women at risk, so it’s important to be mindful of the ...
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7 Ways to Ensure Your Data Is Safe During Vacation

It’s barely spring and already you’re thinking about vacation. Where will you go? What will you do? Who will you meet? Vacations are an exciting, happy time for people to get away and avoid the everyday worries of home. But the fun and leisure comes to a screeching halt in the event that your personally data is compromised while traveling....
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5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Online Travel Booking Scams

Thanks to the Internet, booking travel online is simple. But as your ideas of a spring break or summer vacation take shape, remember to be cautious when making reservations online. The number of phony travel booking websites is growing because they’re so successful at scamming consumers. Learn what to do so you don’t take a quick trip to Fraudville instead of your dream destination.

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What Is Bulletproof Hosting?

You’ve heard of malware, ransomware, botnets, and the like. What you don’t hear about is the technology behind these threats. These threats all have to come from somewhere, they’re not just out there floating around on the internet- they have to be stored someplace. Since a majority of these threats are illegal in a lot of countries, this is where bulletproof hosting helps facilitate these threats....
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First Mac Ransomware Targets Apple Users

Between March 4th and 5th, 2016, Apple customers were the targets of the first Mac-focused ransomware campaign seen in the wild.  These users downloaded a compromised version of the installer for the Transmission BitTorrent client. The malicious Trojan, known as OSX.Keranger, like most ransomware, will encrypt a user’s files and demand a fee (in this case, one Bitcoin, or ~$400) to release the files.

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Taking Steps Towards Online Safety This International Women's Day

A major new survey titled reveals that 76 percent of Australian women under the age of 30 have experienced online harassment. This International Women’s Day, let’s make the online world a safer one. In 2015, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invested $100 million in a Women’s Safety Package. At the launch of the package, Michaelia Cash, Minister for Women and Employment, said ‘all women in Australia and their children should be safe at home, should be safe on the streets and should be safe online’. As a senior leader at an online security company and mother of a teenage girl, I have a uniqu...
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How to Freeze Your Credit Report and When

Freezing your credit report is sometimes very necessary. It prevents credit thieves from opening new cards and other accounts in your name, and is often recommended when you’re dealing with the ramifications of identity theft. What Is a Credit Freeze? A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, gives you the chance to “lock” your data at major credit bureaus. Doing this also makes it impossible for identity thieves to use your name on anything linked to your credit report. You will receive a password or personal identification number to use for temporarily lifting or removing the fr...
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Beware of W2 Phishing Emails Targeting Employees

With the IRS’s due date of April 18th looming overhead, fraudsters are rapidly trying to cash in on tax refunds. Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen an increase of BEC (business email compromise) fraudster scams involving requests for employee’s W2 taxpayer information. In this scam, the scammer pretends to be a member of upper management, and targets a more junior member of the organization. The phishing email requests that the target send employees’ W2 forms for inspection....
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What Are Bots?

Bots, or Internet robots, are also known as spiders, crawlers, and web bots. While they may be utilized to perform repetitive jobs, such as indexing a search engine, they often come in the form of malware. Malware bots are used to gain total control over a computer. The Good One of the typical “good” bot uses is to gather information. Bots in such guises are called web crawlers. Another “good” use is automatic interaction with instant messaging, instant relay chat, or assorted other web interfaces. Dynamic interaction with websites is yet another way bots are used for positive purposes. ...
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What is Cyberbullying?

Online socializing has both good and bad sides to it. While it has opened a whole new dimension of ways to communicate and has added convenience to our lifestyles, it unfortunately has some unpleasant effects too. Cyberbullying is one example that has had devastating outcomes on our youth. It uses online communication to abuse or degrade someone. It’s a crime that doesn’t restrict itself to the playground. With advancements in technology, cyberbullying has gained notoriety over the years. Unlike bullying, cyberbullying doesn’t require physical strength or a face-to-face meeting. Anyone ...
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Newly Discovered DROWN Vulnerability Allows Attackers to Decrypt Information

A recent vulnerability involving the handling of SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates dubbed as DROWN, has been discovered by researchers. DROWN stands for “Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened eNcryption.” Attackers probing for vulnerable servers affected by the DROWN vulnerability can force certain web servers to use an older, insecure version of SSL/TLS, resulting in weak encryption that is easily decrypted by an attacker. DROWN was discovered by a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University, Münster University of Applied Sciences, the Horst Görtz...
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How to Prepare a Smartphone or Tablet for Vacation

There are few times your smartphone or tablet will be more at risk than when you go on vacation. Although these items have been specifically designed to accompany you on your travels, they’re full of personal information that can put you, your finances, and your personal property at risk. There’s no reason to assume the worst when you go on vacation, but you can greatly reduce your chances of a security breach by preparing your smartphone or tablet ahead of time and remaining vigilant while on your trip. Here’s how to prepare a smartphone or tablet before you go on vacation. Change Your...
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Introducing Episode 2 of “In Search Of The Most Dangerous Town On The Internet - Where Cybercrime Goes to Hide"

Last year, the Norton team brought you a new look into cybercrime via the documentary “In Search Of The Most Dangerous Town On The Internet.” Through this film we investigated the Romanian town Râmnicu Vâlcea, also known as "Hackerville." While there, we spoke with various types of hackers and about their motives, and how they do what they do....
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How to Let Go of Old Tech Securely and Responsibly

According to several studies on cost of ownership, users should replace their computer devices every four years. Not everyone will need to upgrade his or her computer every four years, but it’s a good rule to follow to ensure your data is safe and properly protected online. To help you remember, every time we have a leap year ask yourself: when was the last time I bought a new computer? If you can’t remember, chances are you may be due for an upgrade. Once you’re ready to make the switch, you’ll need to follow a few steps to ensure your old technology has been properly wiped and recycled, ...
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What Are Cookies?

Mention “cookies,” and most people expect a treat to appear. When talking about computers, however, cookies aren’t what’s on the dessert menu. In fact, they’re not even physical objects. Yet they do a great deal of the work that makes it possible for you to browse the Internet—and they can cause trouble if you don’t know how to manage them....
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