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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Social Distancing Survival Guide

Social distancing and stay at home guidelines have created a new normal that many find themselves still adjusting to. We’re closing in on a month now and some people are probably still figuring out how it all should work. If you find yourself stressed out, overwhelmed, or even hiding in the bathroom with your laptop trying to get some work done, we’ve got a few tips to help you survive these unchartered times.

#1 Structure Your Day

If you thought working from home was easy, you thought wrong. Taking the time to structure your days is the best path toward productivity – for both you and your family. Have everyone in the family set a routine to follow during each day and stick to it as closely as possible. Block out set times during the day for work, exercise, education, and entertainment. Many people use to-do lists at work to keep them on track, but the new “stay at home” lifestyle needs structure, too, so it will take a new style of to-do list to keep track of it all and help you stay focused and productive.

Kristy CooperSocial Distancing Survival Guide
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How to use technology for self-improvement goals

We’re a few months into 2020 – how are your resolutions holding up? If you need some help with self-improvement goals this year, we’ve rounded up a list of the top tech, apps, and ideas that are great for helping you stick to your goals all year long.


Much more than movie trailers and music videos, YouTube contains a vast variety of channels that can be used for education and self-development. Whether you’re interested in inspiration, motivation or education, there’s something for everything. Here’s a few to get you started:

Kristy CooperHow to use technology for self-improvement goals
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The hidden dangers of pop-up internet providers

Pop-up shops are nothing new if you’re talking about sunglass kiosks in the mall or specialty chocolate shops at the holidays. But pop-up internet providers are a whole different ballgame. Before falling under the seductive spell of super-low pricing, it’s important to understanding how these start-ups work and what they can (and can’t) provide.

Pop-up internet companies are small start-ups that provide internet coverage at too-good-to-be-true prices, often in rural areas that have limited choices and resources. Their ability to offer unlimited data comes from short-lived agreements or loopholes that allow them to access and provide data for a short time using a larger company’s system (such as AT&T or T-Mobile) until they are discovered and cut off.

Kristy CooperThe hidden dangers of pop-up internet providers
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How power outages affect your internet access

One of the best early warning systems of a Wifi internet outage is children. “What happened to the Wifi?!” is a cry well-known to parents, educators and the like and the most vocal heads up you can get that your wireless internet access recently stopped working.

Today’s modern home has much more than just a laptop relying on Wifi connectivity. There can be dozens of devices that require wireless internet to function including TVs, computers, tablets, thermostats, smart doors, and security systems. If your internet stops working, there are a number of possibilities for the cause. Power outages are usually obvious, so if it looks like the power is still on, click on the article link below for an easy checklist to help you identify the problem.

Kristy CooperHow power outages affect your internet access
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What is COVID-19: Details and mythbusters about the Coronavirus

It’s all around us, but with non-stop news reports, emails, social media and old-fashioned gossip inundating us with random facts and figures every minute, it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to sort through all the information about what coronavirus COVID-19 really is and how it affects each of us. In an effort to slow down and simplify, we’re sharing a few basic facts from trusted sources to help readers get a better understanding of this new disease that is changing our world.

Coronavirus basic facts

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Most people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Kristy CooperWhat is COVID-19: Details and mythbusters about the Coronavirus
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How Softcom is responding to COVID-19

To our friends and customers,

First and foremost, we want to send you our wishes for the health and safety of you and your family, and our thanks for your continued patronage.  As a company, Softcom is adjusting to these unprecedented circumstances we face as a community, a nation and the world. We know that the service we provide is essential during these times, and we are committed to continuing to serve our customers in a safe and responsible manner in our offices, in your homes and businesses, and throughout our community.

As a result of shelter in place directives issued by the State of California, more people are working, learning, and entertaining themselves at home and finding their need for fast and reliable internet increasingly essential. Due to increased demand we are experiencing a dramatic number of new customer sign-ups and existing customer upgrades.

Kristy CooperHow Softcom is responding to COVID-19
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Studies show dangers of secondhand screen time

We’ve grown up hearing about the dangers of secondhand smoke, but did you know there’s such a thing as secondhand screen time? Yes, it’s a thing, and it’s dangerous too. Research has shown that how much parents use their technology within sight of children might be setting them up for screen addiction later in life.

Studies have shown that American adults touch their phones between 2,500 and 5,000 times a day and they spend between 2.5 to 4 hours on the phone each day. According to the American Psychiatric Association, that fits the definition of addiction: “A condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences.” More studies are in motion as we speak, but the scientific consensus is that phone addiction is real.

Kristy CooperStudies show dangers of secondhand screen time
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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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