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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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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 y...
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6 Tips To Maintain Your Privacy While Searching For Jobs Online

Looking for employment today is dramatically different from how it was just two decades ago. It’s rare to just walk into a business, fill out an application, and get hired within the same day; today’s job hunt often begins and ends online.

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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. Vacations can often put your personal information at risk, due to careless missteps in how you go about preparing to leave, how you communicate while on vacation, and what you share on social media. Here are seven ways to ensure your data stays safe wh...
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Biometrics How Do They Work? Are They Safe?

Biometrics are part of the cutting edge of technology. Put simply, biometrics are any metrics related to human features. Fingerprinting is a very early and simple version of biometrics, like when you login to your phone using your fingerprint. As with any emerging technology, the first question you should ask is if they are safe. How Do Biometrics Work? If you’ve ever put your fingerprint into an device, you have a vague idea of how biometrics work. Basically, you record your biometric information, in this case a fingerprint. The information is then stored, to be accessed later for compa...
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Credit Monitoring Services and Other Anti-Fraud Protection

Identity theft is the most common complaint lodged with the Federal Trade Commission, to the tune of 11.7 million a year. That means roughly one-in-five Americans over the age of 16 have become victims of identity theft. 14 percent of those victims experienced a monetary loss of $1 or more. Half of all victims resolved the issue within a day, but nearly one-third (29 percent) had to spend a month or more getting their life back on track. While identity theft gets a lot of the press, there are other forms of fraud out there, both on the Internet and off. The good news is that there are a my...
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Data Breaches Aren't Going Away- What You Need To Know

It may seem like stories of massive data breaches are popping up in the news on a weekly basis these days. Unfortunately, this is not surprising. As technology progresses, all of our information moves to the digital world, and, as a result, cyber attacks are becoming the new wave of crime. Corporations and even small businesses are extremely attractive targets to cybercriminals, simply due to the large payday of data that can be nabbed in one fell swoop. What is a data breach and how and why do they happen? The main reason that cybercriminals are stealing personal information is for us...
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Data Privacy and Ridesharing Apps

In busy towns and congested cities, ridesharing apps are quickly becoming all the rage. They’re a new and interesting marriage of technology and commuting that helps us keep up with this “always on” lifestyle. However, they’re also kicking up quite the controversy over how companies handle our real-time location data and overall privacy. What is ridesharing? Uncommonly referred to as “real-time ridesharing,” these new mobile apps are taking the local markets by storm. They allow a user to request an almost instant ride to wherever they need to go with just the push of a button.  In a...
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DefCon 24- Hacking to Make the World a Better Place

Did you know that an attacker can flood your house via the water dispenser on your connected refrigerator? Or that bluetooth enabled locks can be picked from ¼ of a mile away using radio frequencies? I didn’t either, until I attended this year’s DefCon 24, an annual hacking convention in Las Vegas. While a hotel in Las Vegas full of 22,000 hackers sounds like it might not be a good idea, it’s just the opposite. The purpose of this conference is to bring together Internet security professionals from all over the world to help educate, inform and learn how to make the Internet a safer place...
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DOS Attacks Explained

A “denial of service” or DOS attack is used to tie up a website’s resources so that users who need to access the site cannot do so. Many major companies, have been the focus of DOS attacks in recent years. Because a DOS attack can be easily engineered from nearly any location, finding those responsible can be next to impossible.

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Encryption: How To Utilize it Online and Why It’s Important

Encryption is the process of protecting personal data, often with a form of “secret code,” so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the code key.  Today, huge amounts of personal information are managed online, via computer applications, and stored in the cloud, or servers with an ongoing connection to the Web.

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Four Mobile Threats that May Surprise You

Viruses and malware isn't just for computers anymore. What is your business doing to keep your mobile devices safe from these threats?

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Good Cyber Hygiene

Have you heard of something called cyber hygiene? Surely brushing teeth and taking showers isn’t something we traditionally associate with technology—yet the term is a useful metaphor for those of us who need to make smart decisions about our smart devices. Good hygiene is something we’re taught as children and something that generally sticks with us for the rest of our lives. It involves three basic principles: using products/tools that fit our hygiene needs, performing these hygienic tasks correctly, and establishing a routine. But what does that have to do with your computer? Cyber h...
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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.   Malware is short for malicious software and refers to pro...
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How Do Cybercriminals Get Caught?

It's a rather long and complicated process with many individuals involved. Here we explain just how cybercriminals get caught.

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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. The Four Components of the Malware Arms Race There are three main players in the malware arms race: Malware Coders: The malware coders are, unfortunately, generally the winners of the arms race. They write mali...
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How Safe Is Surfing on 4G vs. Wi-Fi?

You’re probably familiar with 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi hotspots. In today’s increasingly connected mobile world, there are a variety of ways to get and stay connected to the Internet, but what’s really the safest way? Truth be told, nothing is 100% safe. However, there are ways that you can beef up your own security to get as close to that 100% as possible. It begins with understanding what these technologies are, and the risks that come along with them. How Do Mobile Devices Connect to the Internet? Let’s break down the three different ways your mobile device can connect to the Internet, and...
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How To Avoid Identity Theft Online

Identity theft is a growing threat on the Internet landscape. 9 million identities are stolen in the US every year. Learn how to protect yourself from becoming one of those 9 million.

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How To Choose a Secure Password

Strong, secure passwords are one thing that stands between you and a potential data breach. Here are some tips on how to make your passwords more secure and ways to manage them all.

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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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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 You...
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How To Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

With the wealth of information available online, this makes it easier for Cyberstalkers to gain access to their victims. Read on to learn about ways to keep your personal information hidden from unwanted eyes.

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How To Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

Phishing scams have one objective- gaining access to your money. Cybercriminials are always trying different tactics to try to trick you out of your personal information. Read on to learn how to spot a scam and protect yourself against scams and spyware.

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How to Remove GPS and Other Metadata Locations From Photos

Once upon a time, a photograph provided only the information one could see in the physical print—no hidden data about locations, time and date, or the device that took the photo.  With the advent of easy digital photography, however, connecting extra information to the photos became easy as well.  This information, known as “metadata,” might include items like the GPS coordinates of the photo’s location, the date and time it was taken, the camera type and shutter settings, and the software used to edit the photo. Many digital photographers don’t realize that their photos might carry this...
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How to Spot a Fake Android App

Just because an app is in the Google Play Store doesn’t mean that it is a legitimate app. Google is constantly removing fraudulent apps from the Android marketplace, such as fake antivirus, browsers, and games.  Besides Google Play, and other app markets, there are many other ways that fake apps can get onto your Android device. Scammers will try any means necessary to trick you into installing a fake app. Criminals use emails and SMS messages that appear to be from your bank, credit card company or other brands to trick people into downloading applications that will compromise their data....
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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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How to Stay Safe When File Sharing Online

File sharing technology is an easy way for individuals or institutions to transfer content on the internet. There are several peer-to-peer (P2P) applications and services available. Some applications are free and others offer paid subscriptions for larger storage capacity, speedier service or extra security. File sharing is a very common activity for most online users, but file sharing also makes you susceptible to various online threats including identity theft, infection or attack. If you plan on using file sharing technology be sure personal data and other sensitive materials are secur...
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Keeping Your Mobile Fitness Data Secure

October is National Cyber Security Awareness month. Mobile fitness trackers are a new technology that is all the rage. Learn how to secure your health data and continue to use these useful tools in becoming a healthier you. This is part 10 in a series of blog posts we will be publishing on various topics aimed at educating you on how to stay protected on today’s Internet landscape. The advancement of technology brings tools that can allow us to track every facet of our daily lives: what we eat, how we sleep, how much we run, and even vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. On the ...
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Kirby the North Pole IT Elf Presents: Paper or Plastic

Our favorite holiday IT elf is back with some more holiday shopping tips! This week he reviews "paper or plastic," and we're not talking about grocery bags. 

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Malware 101: How Do I Get Malware on My Computer? Part One

We’ve previously explained the different types of malware that are prevalent on the threat landscape, which begs the question: How does malware get onto my computer? Bundled Free Software Programs Free is never usually 100% free when it comes to software and apps- there is always some trade-off. Frequently, free software companies will partner with other companies and bundle additional software within the download. Mostly, these programs are bundled with toolbar add-ons, however, hidden within these add-ons can be spyware, ad libraries, and even browser hijackers. While this is not ma...
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Malware 101: How Do I Get Malware on My Computer? Part Two

In other posts, we’ve explained the different types of malware on the threat landscape, and some of the less complicated ways your computer can become infected with malware. In this article we’ll talk about the more complicated types of attacks that cybercriminals use to try to get your information. Exploit Kit Exploit kits are malicious toolkits that attackers use to search for software vulnerabilities on a target’s computer. The kits come with prewritten code that will search for the vulnerabilities, and once it is found, the kit can then inject malware into the computer through tha...
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Malware 101: What Is Malware?

Spyware, ransomware, and bots, oh my! A lot of these terms are prevalent on the Internet, but it may seem impossible to know what all these terms mean, and how they actually affect your devices and personal information. The term, “virus” has been the commonplace word for all malicious software programs for years now; however, a virus is just one type of malicious threat. A virus is classified as a self-replicating piece of malicious code that travels by inserting itself into files or programs. The threats on the cyber landscape have evolved into more than just viruses, and can cause mu...
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Mobile Scams: How-to Identify Them and Protect Yourself

With the mobile market gaining on PCs, cybercriminals are setting their sights on mobile devices. Learn how to protect yourself from mobile malware, phishing attempts, social media scams and more.

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My Account May Have Been Hacked—What To Do Now?

You may have seen it on the news recently; 7 million Dropbox usernames and passwords were allegedly stolen. Initial reports were that the Dropbox service itself had been hacked; however, the company issued the following statement on their blog: The usernames and passwords referenced in these articles were stolen from unrelated services, not Dropbox. Attackers then used these stolen credentials to try to log in to sites across the Internet, including Dropbox. Regardless of where the leak originated, this is something we see all too often in the tech and busine...
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National Clean Out Your Computer day-The Importance of Clean Computing

February 8th is National Clean out Your Computer day, and as they say, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  For centuries, this saying applied to tasks like scrubbing the floors and dusting the bookcases. Today, however, it applies to your computer just as much as it does to your house. When you “clean” your computer, you don’t just dust off the keyboard and wipe fingerprints from the screen. You also pay attention to the state of the hard drive, updating software and removing old programs. Why Clean? Cleaning both your computer’s hardware and its software matters.  Clean hardware help...
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Norton @ DefCon

This year, Norton visited DefCon 24, a hacking conference held in Las Vegas. Established in 1993, this conference is designed to bring together people from all realms of the Internet security sector to explore the latest threats that are currently on the Internet, and to learn how to get ahead of them. This year, the conference had a record-breaking attendance of 22,000 people ranging from hackers, coders, journalists (me!), security researchers and even federal government employees. This was my first time attending this conference, and although I did my research on it, it was beyond my e...
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Online Dating and Protecting Your Privacy

This month, American singles will flock to the multitude of dating services that are available online. Online dating has lost the stigma it once had, as a study conducted by Pew Research found that one in ten Americans have used an online dating website or mobile app in 2013. With the negative stigma of online dating nearly abolished, the popularity of these services is on the rise, which has caught the attention of scammers. What are the risks? As with anything you post online, it’s out there for everyone to see, so you will want to be careful with what identifiable information you u...
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Parents Best Practices to Social Media Security

With connected kids today, it can be a full-time job for parents to be able to monitor their online activities. We’ve put together some helpful tips and guidelines so that you and your whole family can enjoy social media safely.

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Participating in Legitimate Surveys- What Personal Data is OK to Give Away

Companies of all sizes use online surveys to gather important market research, which they later utilize to direct product development and marketing initiatives. This critical step in the marketing process is appealing to some online users because they get paid to complete surveys, and earn rewards or special discounts from popular brands. Some surveys aren’t paid at all, offering consumers little more than the opportunity to participate in the development process of a product or service. There’s been a lot of hype about people allegedly making a living off of these online surveys, causing...
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Password Managers Are The Key To Secure Passwords

According to the credit reporting firm Experian, the average Internet user has about 19 different online accounts, for which they only have seven different passwords. In addition, one in ten users never change their online passwords, and one in 20 uses the same passwords for all of their online accounts. Those statistics definitely show that the password system is broken. When passwords were invented in the 60's, they were rather simplistic, as there was not  a wide scale need for them. Today we have passwords for an exponential amount of web services. Couple that with the fact that we no...
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Paying Friends Through a Mobile Payment App

Mobile payment apps are changing the way we do business, but they can also be convenient ways to send money to friends and family. It’s easier than ever to send money to the people who need it, but also easier than ever for hackers to gain access to that money before it gets where you want it. How do you keep yourself and your money safe, while also being able to access the convenience of mobile payment apps? How Mobile Payment Apps Work You can pay using your phone, even without apps. Some companies, such as your phone company, allow you to pay your bill using standard text messaging....
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PC or Mac: Which Is More Resistant to Cyber Threats?

Cyber criminals are not run-of-the-mill street hooligans. Assailants of online crimes are educated, tech-savvy, sophisticated individuals who don’t care if you prefer PC to Mac or vice versa. There has been considerable debate in the tech arena regarding the security of one machine over the other. Are PCs more prone to cyber attacks? Is a Macbook really less vulnerable to online threats? The debate wages on. For a long time Mac users enjoyed a period of peace—they felt impervious to threats, only to realize years later that the sophisticated hacker would eventually evolve to this platform...
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POS Malware Data Breaches and Why They Keep Happening

In recent news, more and more reports have surfaced about data breaches impacting millions of consumers. Many of these data breaches involve a business’s point of sale. The main objective of point of sale (POS) breaches is to steal your 16-digit credit card numbers. Sixty percent of Point of Sale (POS) transactions are performed via credit card, which means big business for cybercriminals (individual credit cards can be sold for up to 100 dollars apiece). The industries most affected by POS data breaches are usually restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores and hotels. The mainstream me...
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Protecting Android Devices and Why They’re so Vulnerable

The security argument between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android system for smartphones is heating up yet again. In a recent study conducted by Daniel R. Thomas, Alastair R. Beresford, and Andrew Rice at the University of Cambridge, research concluded that 90 percent of Android devices are exposed to at least one critical vulnerability.  The threat model was constructed using three common attack vectors: installation attack (malicious codes installed through app download); dynamic code loading (an existing app downloads new malicious codes); and injection (an attacker injects malicious code...
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Ransomware- When Cybercriminals Hold Your Computer Hostage

Ransomware is a form of malware that will lock files on a computer using encryption. Encryption converts files into another format, like a secret code and can only be decoded by a specific decryption key. Types of Ransomware Ransomware can present itself in two forms. Locker ransomware will encrypt the whole hard drive of the computer, essentially locking the user out of the entire system. Crypto ransomware will only encrypt specific, seemingly important files on the computer, such as word documents, PDFs and image files. Once the ransomware installs itself, ...
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Safe Online Shopping For The Holiday Season

The holidays are just around the corner, and that means many of us will be making purchases online to avoid large crowds and busy mall traffic, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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Securing Your Game Console and Gaming Account

Today’s gaming consoles are independent computers, but they are not yet at the stage where they are susceptible to malware in the same way PCs and other devices are. Even though the consoles are resistant to malware for the time being, there are still ways that cybercriminals will try to gain access to your valuable gaming accounts. In addition to phishing attempts on gaming accounts, online gameplay can be affected by hackers via Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks do not involve the users’ consoles directly; rather hackers intentionally flood the gaming company...
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Security Concerns and the Connected Car

Connected cars are a relatively new technology in the Internet of Things, however, we've dug a little deeper into this tech. Read on to learn just how secure these technologies are and what you can do to safeguard your personal information.

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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. 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 med...
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Social Media Scams Based on Current Events

We are sure you’ve seen them lurking in your news feeds- breaking news reporting a celebrity’s death, photos of natural disasters striking major cities, video footage of riots and outrage over an accidental shooting- all seemingly legitimate news stories. However, this “news” may not be what it seems. In 2016, Facebook has reported that it has 1.71 billion monthly active Facebook users. Twitter has 313 million monthly active users. With so many active users, popular social sites are a scammer's paradise. Scammers will try to entice you into clicking by posting sensational or emotional bre...
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