The Best of Softcom in 2020

This year was definitely one for the books. But the bottom line is that we stuck the course, stayed true to our mission of putting our customers first, and continued to provide the best service we can. So as we say goodbye to 2020, we thought we’d take a look back at the best we shared. Miss anything? Here’s your chance to catch up.

Online safety and security

We’re always looking out for our customers and community, so we often share articles that not only give you knowledge to understand what’s going on out there, but information to take action to protect your home, family and business.

Kristy CooperThe Best of Softcom in 2020
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How routers sold at Walmart, Amazon and Ebay might be leaving you vulnerable to hackers and fraud

We post regularly about the importance of staying up to date on security knowledge and practices for everyone in your family who uses the internet. We even have a whole section of our blog dedicated to it that you can access by clicking here. Today, we’re sharing with you recent news of how some routers sold at Walmart, Amazon and Ebay might be leaving you open for hackers and fraud.

In a collaboration between CyberNews Sr. Information Security Researcher Mantas Sasnauskas and researchers James Clee and Roni Carta, suspicious backdoors have been discovered in a Chinese-made Jetstream router, sold exclusively at Walmart as their new line of “affordable” wifi routers. This backdoor would allow an attacker the ability to remotely control not only the routers, but also any devices connected to that network.

Kristy CooperHow routers sold at Walmart, Amazon and Ebay might be leaving you vulnerable to hackers and fraud
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Technology tips for working from home long-term

Like many others around the world, we’ve been working from home for eight months or more due to the pandemic and it doesn’t look like that will end soon. Most Americans working from home have created office spaces that provide the tools and tech they need, but without the professional IT staff on call they are used to.

Since it looks like working from home will continue for quite some time, learning how to become your own tech support will go a long way toward keeping your stress level down and your productivity up. With that in mind, here are a few tips from IT pros and experienced WFH professionals that all remote workers should know.

#1: WiFi is really, really important

If you’re working online every day, you must have internet service you can rely on. There’s nothing more frustrating, or anti-productive, as the inability to connect and communicate with your coworkers, colleagues or clients. Secure and stable access to the internet is essential for most all businesses to keep running. Here are a few tips for making sure your internet is up to speed:

Kristy CooperTechnology tips for working from home long-term
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What NOT to post on social media to protect your security

Many people love to share highlights of their lives through social media, including daily routine updates such as running or hiking, sending kids off to school each day, or laptop working sessions at a favorite coffee shop. Experts say, however, that posting information like this often including hidden information like detailed locations and timelines, opening the door to criminals who can use that information for everything from stalking to robbery to worse.

Kristy CooperWhat NOT to post on social media to protect your security
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How hackers are taking advantage of the COVID crisis

We shared the news recently how the FBI is warning California to be on the watch for COVID-19 related scams, but it’s not just our state that needs to be on guard – it’s the whole world. Hackers, doing what they do, are taking advantage of the chaos and confusion the pandemic has created and are working overtime putting COVID-related scams to work. While everyone can be a target, unfortunately some that are being targeted more than others are among those on the front line, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, police and other first responders.

Google warned recently that it has been identifying more than 240 million Covid-related spam messages per day, and that the previous week it had detected 18 million phishing and malware emails related to the pandemic each day. Overall, Gmail blocks more than 100 million phishing emails daily.

Kristy CooperHow hackers are taking advantage of the COVID crisis
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FBI warns that CA among top 3 states targeted by COVID-19 scammers

According to the FBI, the coronavirus isn’t the only danger people need to be watching out for these days as cybercriminals are focusing their attacks on the top 3 states with highest infection rates – California, New York and Washington.

In recent statements online, both the FBI Director and the US Attorney have warned Americans to be on their guard for a significant spike in coronavirus scams. In particular, they warn that cyber-attacks are most likely to target people working from home. The lack of sophisticated IT support and protection that people took for granted in the office leaves employees working from home open to attack and unprepared for what to watch for and what to do if they suspect something might be wrong.

Kristy CooperFBI warns that CA among top 3 states targeted by COVID-19 scammers
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Advanced social media safety tips

If you’re a serious social media user, you’ve probably got some basic safety protocols already in place. But we feel that you can never be too safe, so for all you savvy social users we’ve rounded up some advanced tactics to guard your safety both online and off.

Tip #1: The right mindset

Understanding that what goes online stays online – practically forever – is something that social media users of every age should know. When sharing information online it is important for people to realize the permanence of what they post, share or even download. Once information goes on the Internet through social networking it is difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Even for platforms such as Snapchat or Instagram stories that “disappear” within 24 hours, the information may be captured via screen shot and shared anywhere, anytime. Depending on what was originally submitted, those deleted posts can prove detrimental for future job prospects, relationships, and even leave a person vulnerable to crimes.

Kristy CooperAdvanced social media safety tips
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Safer Internet Day tips for online safety

From cyberbullying to cybercrime, the annual Safer Internet Day event is proclaimed to raise awareness of emerging online issues and promote safer internet experiences. If you leave your smart phone unlocked or use passwords like “abc123” you might start thinking differently after seeing these statistics. According to data gathered from top tech organizations, 2019 was a big year for cybercrime with 2020 projected to just keep getting worse.

  • One cyber-attack happens in every 39 seconds
  • Hackers stole credit card or financial information from 23% of US people
  • The US lost between $57 billion and $109 billion due to cybercrime
  • Phishing caused a loss of $1.48 billion
  • Email and phone are the most common access for hackers
  • 20% of teenagers received an unwanted sexual solicitation when they use the internet
  • At least 500,000 predators are active online every day, estimated by FBI

Scary? You bet. Education and awareness are two of the easiest and most powerful tools that we all have, as long as we use them. To help you protect your home, business and family from cybercrime, we’ve rounded up the best of our resources here – for home, for business and even for the holidays.

Kristy CooperSafer Internet Day tips for online safety
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Top 5 Tips for Social Media Safety

You may be on the lookout for phishing and other illegal scams in your inbox, but email isn’t the only place that targets people these days. Social media, a place where many people spend a lot of time, can also pose dangers to users who aren’t on their guard. These tips for social media safety will explain what you need to watch out for – and how to manage it.

TIP #1: Don’t overshare

Sharing thoughts, activities and slices of life are great. But sharing too much information can threaten your personal safety. When it comes to social media safety, avoid posting the following things:

Kristy CooperTop 5 Tips for Social Media Safety
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NYT Investigation Unveils Shocking Smartphone Tracking Practices

Most of us have wondered, at one time or another, if smartphone tracking is being done to us. Truth is… it probably is!

The New York Times released an interesting, in-depth investigation about who is tracked in the United States via personal smartphones and how much of that information is out there for public use. The answer? Everyone is tracked, no matter where they are. And all of that information is available to pretty much anyone who knows how to access it.

This all started when an anonymous source gave the Times a massive file showing location tracking data for more then 12 million phones from around the country that accurately showed where, when and for how long individuals visited places ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

From the Times report:

“In the cities that the data file covers, it tracks people from nearly every neighborhood and block, whether they live in mobile homes in Alexandria, Va., or luxury towers in Manhattan. One search turned up more than a dozen people visiting the Playboy Mansion, some overnight. Without much effort we spotted visitors to the estates of Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger, connecting the devices’ owners to the residences indefinitely.”

Kristy CooperNYT Investigation Unveils Shocking Smartphone Tracking Practices
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