Monthly Archives: November 2015

10 tips to avoid Cyber Monday scams


Shoppers familiar with the Cyber Monday circus know they’re stepping into the lion’s den. The Internet has always been a lawless place, but it becomes particularly rough during the holiday shopping season.

In preparation for the frenzy, cyber villains have crafted a virtual onslaught of social engineering scams, pop-up spam, and malvertising campaigns in order to dupe the droves of people expected to spend $3 billion online this year.

So, bargain hunters, it’s important to know the warning signs. Here’s your guide to safe online shopping on Cyber Monday and beyond.

1. Go directly to a store’s website instead of using search engines to look for deals. If you do happen to find a deal using a search engine, try to verify it by searching for the exact name of the deal in quotes. If it’s a scam, then it’s likely someone will have already put out a warning.

2. Give pop-ups and other digital ads the stank eye. Many pop-ups could contain fake coupons, redirect you to malicious sites, or expose you to cross-site scripting attacks. In addition, malvertising is a huge issue for websites right now. “We’d be surprised if criminals didn’t look to take advantage of web traffic over Cyber Monday by poisoning adverts on popular shopping portals,” says Chris Boyd, Malware Intelligence Analyst at Malwarebytes.

3. Watch out for social media scams, especially on Facebook. Cyber criminals are using fake or compromised Facebook accounts in order to post links to amaaaaaazing deals that don’t actually exist. They’re especially prone to dropping links on the walls of open groups dedicated to shopping.

“One of the top shopping scams to avoid in the run-up to Cyber Monday is the social media fakeout,” says Boyd. “During any given holiday period there will be an excess of fake offers, deals, and supposed freebies which tend to have a sting in the tail. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen fake cruises, bogus free wine deals, and more. If you’re being asked to share something on Facebook in order to get your hands on something too good to be true, you can bet there’s a scam involved.”

4. Dump Cyber Monday emails with attachments in the virtual garbage. Cyber Monday emails with attachments, especially zip files, are super suspect—it’s possible they contain malware. Delete them immediately. Not only that, but you should review any other Cyber Monday-related emails with a hawk eye. If you get an email from a store claiming to have a deal, type the store’s URL directly into your browser instead of clicking on the link. If the site doesn’t verify the deal, you know it’s a fake.

5. Make sure you’re on a secure connection. Look for the padlock icon to the left of the URL when you go to check out. If it’s there, then that means the information passed between a store’s server and your browser remains private. In addition, the URL should read “https” and not just “http.”

6. Do not use debit cards to shop online. Want to give cyber criminals direct access to your bank account? Then by all means, use your debit card! Otherwise, play it safe by using credit cards or a PayPal account that’s linked to a credit card. While many banks are cracking down on fraudulent withdrawals, you’ll still have to wait for your money while they investigate the charges.

7. Avoid using public wifi to shop. All a cyber criminal needs to do to get a public wifi password and wreak havoc is order a coffee. If you’re shopping and entering personal data, best to do it on your secure wifi connection at home.

8. Watch out for malicious QR codes. Q what now? QR codes are small, pixelated codes meant to be scanned by a smartphone’s camera. They often contain coupons, links to websites, or other product marketing materials. Some hackers have started creating codes that link to a phishing or malware site, printing them on stickers, and placing them on top of the legit QR codes. Best to avoid them.

9. Don’t fork over extra info. If a site starts asking for out-of-the-ordinary personal data, like Social Security numbers or password security questions, slam on the brakes and get the heck out of Dodge.

10. Tighten up security before you shop on Cyber Monday. Make sure all software on your computer is up-to-date, including your OS, browser, and other apps. And if you don’t already have it, install an anti-malware program and an ad-blocker to insure maximum coverage. If you covered your cyber security bases in the past, run updates on your AV, firewall, and other programs.

Reference: By Wendy Zamora | November 12, 2015, Malwarebytes

Does Your Resume Make the Cut?


UITS Student Employees attend 2015 Resume Trends Workshop

On November 12th, CSU students were invited to attend a free Resume Trend Workshop hosted by the Center for Career Development. The Center for Career Development surveyed organizations on current trends and what employers are seeking locally and nationally. As a student attending, I found the information helpful as I update my resume and prepare for life after graduation.

Key points from the workshop are as followed:

  • Make sure to use key words that are relevant and effective.
  • Include a cover letter. It’s always better to have one than to not.
  • Keep the “objective” area of your resume short and simple.
  • Don’t forget to include any soft skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and followership.
  • Be honest with your information and be prepared to share examples or documentation.

Remember, the CSU Center for Career Development is here to assist you with your success as a student and employee. Check out their page for more information!

Students Attend Soft Skills Workshop


UITS Student Employees attend Soft Skills Workshop 

Soft skills training workshop was an hour long presentation and conversation about important relational skills needed for jobs, jobs especially outside in the “real world”. Soft skills are skills that are transferable and needed for every job. For example being an effective communicator is a needed skill because most, if not all, jobs require you to communicate with others. The workshop listed and defined the biggest and most sought out soft skills companies are looking for in employees today. The workshop presentation also referenced a recent survey done by CSU. This survey, emailed to numerous large local businesses, asked what they seek in an employee. The top responses were listed and ranked. Every  one of the top responses was a soft skill. This information was shared to drive home the point that soft skills are necessary to be successful in a career field, any career field. Over all, this is a workshop that was meant to help and inform and it did just that.



Social engineering- cyber criminals’ favorite way to manipulate victims

People are the weakest link when it comes to cyber security, which is why psychological manipulation of cyber attack victims is so common.

According to the definition, social engineering, in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. This is a type of confidence trick for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or system access, and the first type of attack of this kind known in history is the Trojan horse itself (not the computer virus, but the Greek mythical event).

For example, in a recent attack, an international cyber crime ring based out of Eastern Europe managed to steal $1 billion in 2 years from 100 different banks in nearly 30 countries using spear phishing emails targeting bank employees. The spear phishing technique is, by far, the most successful on the internet today, accounting for 91% of attacks!


How it affects you and what can you do to get protected:
• Always check the recipient of an email and the source of a message.
• Don’t click any strange links.
• Don’t install software from untrusted sources.
• Don’t trust people blindly and don’t give away confidential information to strangers.

Reference: Andra Zaharia ” 10 surprising cyber security facts that may affect your online security ” Heimdal security

Introducing our new Student Technology Ambassador – Blake Johnson

Blake was born and raised in Kennesaw, Georgia. Although he lived in Lakeland, Florida for about 2 years of his life. He has always had an interest in computers, more specifically computer science and graphic design. During his Freshman year though he discovered Technical Theater (backstage management, lighting, sound, and so on). It was the perfect blend of art and tech. It is because of this discovery freshman year, he is now majoring at CSU in Technical Theater and wants to pursue a future career in that field. He never wanted to let go of his beloved hobby of everything IT related, so he is also minoring in Computer Science. He says that having a job as a Student Ambassador is a huge honor because it’s in a field he enjoys very much. He looks forward to working with everyone during his time here!