Hey there, FixMeFans and StartMeStars! We’re back with another edition of our weekly cybersecurity roundup where we deliver the most recent comings and goings of the cybersecurity world.
This week we’re coming to you with news about how Google has forcibly installed a COVID-19 MassNotify app on Massachusetts residents’ phones, how Amazon hackers are priming themselves for Prime Day, and how details surrounding Windows 11 have been leaked online.
Over the past few days, several Massachusetts residents have reported that Google has silently installed a COVID-19 tracking app onto users’ phones without any easy way to uninstall it.
The Android application, MassNotify, is Massachusetts’ COVID-19 contact tracing app that allows users who have opted into Android’s ‘COVID-19 Exposure Notifications’ feature to be warned when exposed to the virus. Typically, once users have opted into this feature, users can select the country and state they want to receive notifications from, and the corresponding states app will be installed on the device.
However, many users have since reported that the tracking application had been installed on their devices, despite not having opted into the feature.
In a response to the issue, Google has stated that the app is installed, but not actually enabled unless a user turns on the COVID-19 exposure notifications.
“We have been working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to allow users to activate the exposure notifications system directly from their Android phone settings. This functionality is built into the device settings and is automatically distributed by the Google Play Store, so users don’t have to download a separate app.”
You can read more about the situation here!
Just in time for Prime Day, opportunistic scammers are once again taking advantage of any scenario available. Recently, the Better Business Bureau has been warning consumers to be on the lookout for scams impersonating Amazon as Amazon Prime Day sales get underway.
According to the 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, Amazon is the second most impersonated entity by scammers in the US. Typically, scammers will target customers through fake customer service phone calls, phishing emails, and fake notifications about tracking and delivery. And with Prime Day in full swing, there’s been a huge increase in the number of scams going around.
Recently, customers have reported that the caller is notifying them of a large purchase made on their Amazon Prime account that is being shipped to another state. The caller then prompts the customer to provide additional personal information (such as credit card details) in order to verify the purchase. A similar scam has been reaching users via email as well.
As these types of scams ramp up, it’s important to always practice safe cybersecurity to prevent further fraud and loss of any valuable information.
Here are some tips you can use to better protect yourself this Prime Day!
- Don’t open any emails or attachments from anyone you don’t know.
- Keep an eye out for typos – since these emails will masquerade as legitimate companies, the quality of the email needs to match the quality of the company. If you see typos, blurry logos, or badly phrased sentences – it’s likely a scam.
- Keep personal information private – assess the situation – does it seem necessary or appropriate to be giving this information away? Never give out your social security number, credit card or bank information, or any other confidential personal information.
- Download an adblocker – this will prevent popup ads from invading your browsing experience, in turn helping you to avoid clicking on a malicious files.
- Have your antivirus turned on – McAfee Total Protection will help protect you while you’re browsing.
- Use a strong password.
While some people are just getting used to using Windows 10, Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 operating system has been leaked online. After screenshots were first published at Chinese site Baidu, the entire Windows 11 OS has appeared online, complete with a new user interface, Start menu, and lots more.
For those keeping up with the latest Windows updates, Windows 11 will look very similar to the now scrapped Windows 10X. The biggest changes you’ll notice can be found along the taskbar. Microsoft has centered the app icons here, cleaned up the tray area, and included a new Start button and menu.
This updated Start menu is a simplified version of what currently exists in Windows 10, without ‘Live Tiles’. It includes pinned apps, recent files, and the ability to quickly shut down or restart Windows 11 devices. It’s really a lot more simplified than what exists in Windows 10 today.
As Microsoft has since ended support for Windows 7, perhaps the new Windows 11 OS will influence users to make the jump to the latest operating system!
You can read more about the update here!
That’s all for this week’s roundup folks! We hope you’re staying safe with all that’s going on, especially when it comes to your cybersecurity!