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Welcome to this week's edition of the Computer Kindergarten Newsletter.
Today is Sunday, November 15, 2015

We will not be publishing this newsletter for the next two weeks so the writers and editors can prepare for and enjoy Thanksgiving with their friends and families. We wish all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

In this Issue:
Special Feature: The 12 Scams of the Holidays
Special Feature: Best New Features in Your Mac’s Operating System El Capitan: Cursor Locator
Today's Topic: Windows 10
Special Feature: Get Help with Siri
Websites of Interest: Traveling for the Holidays?; LI Food Pantries Are In Need Of Turkey Donations; Thanksgiving


Special Feature: The 12 Scams of the Holidays

From mcafee.com

As temperatures begin to drop, snow starts to fall, and decorations go up, consumers across the country begin preparing for upcoming holiday festivities. This time of year consumers are rushed and use their devices much more than normal. Just as spending is on the rise, so is the potential threat of cybercriminals taking advantage of cheerful shoppers.

McAfee, a part of Intel Security has developed its “12 Scams of the Holidays” list to educate the public on some of the most popular ways cybercriminals scam unsuspecting shoppers as they surf and shop with their digital devices during this holiday season, and provides tips on how to stay safe.

Number 1: You’ve Got Mail!
As holiday sales continue to move online, the risks of shipping notification and phishing scams are increasing. Though these are year-round risks, since many people do their holiday shopping online, consumers are more apt to click on a shipping notification or phishing e-mail because they think it is legit.

TIP: The creators of phishing scams like fake shipping notifications are getting smarter as years go by, creeping their way into consumers’ wallets. Instead of clicking on a link for a shipping notification, go directly to the site and plug in your tracking number from there.

Number 2: Deceptive Advertising
Everyone is searching for great deals during the holidays. Keep your eyes peeled (and your wallet in check) when online shopping for this season’s most coveted products. Dangerous links, phony contests on social media, and bogus gift cards are just some of the ways scammers try to steal your personal information and ruin your holiday cheer.

TIP: If a deal or advertisement looks too good to be true, it probably is. Before clicking the link in the social media post or ad, go directly to the outlet’s website to see if the deal is displayed there. Triple check to make sure you are not getting scammed.

Number 3: Chilling Charities
‘Tis the season for giving. During the holidays, many consumers give back by donating to their favorite charity. Sadly, some cybercriminals will use the season of giving to line their own pocket. Be wary of fake charities that could reach you via email, or are shared virally through social media. Big events can lead to even more fake charities than normal.

TIP: Look for the seal and trust mark on a charity’s website before opening your wallet to donate. Just because a website ends in “.org,” doesn’t mean it is legitimate. Do an online search of what people’s experiences have been when donating to the charity to ensure it is real.

Number 4: Buyer Beware
There are just some scams that consumers can’t avoid. Point of sale devices at popular retail stores became the targets of hackers seeking credit and debit card numbers, as well as other customer data. Card issuers, law enforcement, and security companies saw stolen data go “on sale” on online hacker marketplaces, and identified attempts to use this stolen data in clever fraud schemes. Coordination of detection and response between these groups led to customer cards being canceled and replaced so consumers were protected, but given that there are millions of point of sale devices at stores worldwide, it’s likely these devices will remain a popular target until retailers deploy new security solutions that thwart these attacks.

TIP: Closely monitor your credit card statements and stay on top of breaking news regarding cyberattacks in the marketplace should a retailer you have shopped at be exploited. Also, most credit card companies allow you to get notified every time the card is used. Be sure to use this capability should it be provided. The more vigilant you are, the faster banks and retailers can crack down on the hackers and protect you from financial damage.

Number 5: iScams
New mobile apps for Android and iOS devices are added every day. Thanks to the ongoing advancement of technology, your mobile device can control the temperature in your house, keep you connected to social media, and add cool filters to your holiday photos. Even the most official-looking or festive apps could be malicious and capable of accessing your personal information.

TIP: Google and Apple have made tremendous efforts to scan apps uploaded to their app stores, so you should only download apps from these official app stores. Pay attention to how much information an app requests and, if the app requests too many permissions, do not download it. It may be requesting access to information on your phone that you would prefer to keep private or more information than it needs.

Number 6: Getting Carded
Digital e-cards spreading the holiday cheer are fun and easy and most importantly, thoughtful. While you may want to send a loved one “Season’s Greetings,” hackers are looking to wish you a “Merry Malware!” Well-known e-card sites are safe, but be wary of potential scams that cause you to download a virus onto your device.
TIP: Be wary of e-cards from unknown senders.

Number 7: Holiday Travel Scams
With travel on the rise during peak holiday times, online scammers are ready to take advantage of the fact that consumers often become less vigilant about their safety. Fake online travel deal links are bountiful.

TIP: When booking travel plans this holiday season, be wary of sites that request money or credit card information in advance. If you are opting to rent a residence during your travels, back-check the address of the rental site to make sure it’s legitimate. Many scams have been uncovered where consumers paid upfront, arrived at their destination, and found there was no physical unit or that they have been scammed by someone posing as the owner.

Number 8: Bank Robocall Scam
Hackers sadly try to take advantage of the fact that consumers are concerned about fraud, particularly during the holidays when credit and debit card holders are making a large number of transactions. In some cases, consumers receive fake automated phone calls masquerading as their banks’ fraud departments. These “robo calls” claim that the user’s account has been compromised and request personal information such as account passwords, to make changes.

TIP: If you get a call from your bank about your account, insist on calling them back. Hang up, and call the bank through the official main line to ensure that the person you were talking to was truly an employee of the bank.

Number 9: ATM Skimming
During the holiday season, you need cash and are usually in a rush to get it. Criminals can access your information at ATMs by installing skimming devices to steal the data off your card’s magnetic strip, and using either a video camera or keypad overlay to capture your PIN.

TIP: When withdrawing money, be aware of your surroundings. Check to make sure that you are in a safe place to enter your information. If anything looks amiss, leave. Additionally, inspect the ATM for loose wires or machine parts that may have been tampered with.

Number 10: Year in Review Traps
Many news services capitalize on the holidays by developing “Year in Review” articles. Companies should warn their employees about the risks of clicking on these types of links from their work emails. Links from phony sources could infect and compromise the security of company devices.
TIP: Remind employees to be cautious of clicking on links to intriguing, but non-work-related emails through work or personal email on company devices. Visiting unknown URLs could result in landing on phony websites set up to spread malware or steal personal data.

Number 11: BYO…Device
With an increase in travel, activity over the busy holiday season, people are more likely to lose their smartphones. People who find those smartphones may have access to sensitive data if the appropriate security measures are not in place.

TIP: Always enable the locate and lock feature on your phone and keep your smartphone PIN protected at all times.

Number 12: Bad USB Blues
During the holiday season, businesses may see an increase in gift baskets from vendors who want to continue working with your company in the upcoming year. One of the most popular items in these baskets includes branded USBs. Beware of allowing your employees to use these, as undetectable malware is sometimes pre-installed on them.
TIP: Avoid using USBs that you did not purchase yourself or do not know where they came from. Stick to the ones you have kept secure and only used by yourself.


Special Feature: Best New Features in Your Mac’s Operating System El Capitan: Cursor Locator

By Karen Haslam of Macworld

With Mac OS X El Capitan, Apple is focusing on performance and introducing only a handful of new features - but the feature set makes up in quality for what it lacks in quantity.

Cursor Locator

Our favorite new feature might just be the new way to find your cursor.

Just shake your mouse, or wiggle your finger on the trackpad: it's what we all do instinctively, but doing so will now make the cursor grow in size momentarily so you will have no trouble spotting it.


Today's Topic: Windows 10

Windows 10 is the latest version of Microsoft's operating system for PCs and tablets. It was released July 29, 2015.

Unlike previous versions of the Windows operating system, Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade, as long as you have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. This free upgrade offer will expire after one year, ending sometime in August 2016. For those who don't get Windows 10 during this time, it will be available for purchase.

Windows 10 received mostly positive reviews upon its original release. Many users complained that Windows 8 (the previous version) was confusing and difficult to use. As a result, Windows 10 looks and feels similar to older versions. For example, whereas Windows 8 uses the Start screen to launch applications, Windows 10 uses the traditional Start menu. Still, Windows 10 includes lot of new features and improvements.

In our next newsletter: How Do I Get Windows 10?


Special Feature: Get Help with Siri

Siri is a built-in "intelligent assistant" that enables users of Apple iPhone 4S and later and newer iPad and iPod Touch devices to speak natural language voice commands in order to operate the mobile device and its apps.

If "Hey Siri" isn't working, make sure that "Hey Siri" is turned on under Settings > General > Siri.

Siri might say, "Sorry, I'm having trouble connecting to the network," or "Try again in a little while." This is probably a network issue. Check your Internet connection and try again later.

If Siri still isn't available, or doesn't understand or respond to questions:

Restart your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

On your iOS device, go to Settings > General > Siri and turn off Siri. Then turn it on again.

Make sure that the microphones on your device aren't blocked. For example, if your device has a protective case, remove it.

If you're using an iOS device, try to use Siri with a headset. If Siri works, get more help with the microphones on your device.

Contact Apple Support.


Websites of Interest:

Traveling for the Holidays?
Traffic Pulse monitors major cities and their surrounding areas and updates its reports every 60 seconds with info on congestion, constructions and accident reports.

LI Food Pantries Are In Need Of Turkey Donations


Visit the Better Home and Gardens website for some Thanksgiving decorating ideas:

The First Thanksgiving website features a picture timeline from 1620-1621, and discusses what life was like in Plymouth.

Thanksgiving Recipe Central

This website has over 1,400 recipes – all for pies!

Here are some ideas for decorating your home and table, crafts, games, stories, coloring pages, and other activities for children.