Filing Your Taxes? Watch Out for Phishing Scams

The Internal Revenue Service has warned taxpayers for years to be wary of online phishing, where criminals impersonate the agency using fake emails, text messages, or websites in order to steal your personal information. Last month, phishing topped the agency’s “dirty dozen” list of most prevalent scams. But online scammers do more than masquerade as the IRS. Some have created fake versions of online accounting tools like QuickBooks, while others pretend to be tech support agents. The cybersecurity firm Lookout discovered more than 100 websites registered in recent months that appear designed to dupe people trying to file their taxes. The domains target a large pool of potential victims: More than 135 million Americans filed their taxes electronically last year, …

Security News This Week: Beto O’Rourke Was Part of an Infamous ’90s Hacker Group

This week ended with terror, as a shooting in New Zealand took the lives of at least 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. A video of the attack, livestreamed by the shooter on Facebook, quickly spread across all major internet platforms, which demonstrated a general inability to stop it. Separately, we took a look at how ICE leans on cozy relationships with local law enforcement to access license plate location data it wouldn't otherwise be allowed to. We explained why it's so hard to restart a power grid from scratch under the best of circumstances, much less in the chaos of current-day Venezuela. And we showed how a team of patient hackers took Mexican banks for around …

How Zello Became a Lifeline for Venezuelans Under Maduro

Even when María sleeps, she hears the voices. One at a time, they speak of chaos, hunger, confusion. As she dreams, she hears a familiar voice explain where you can still find certain medicines. This is the latest news from the US, says another. Run, run south right now, someone warns as calmly as they can. As María makes lunch for her kids and drops them off at their school in Miami, the voices are in her ear. As she falls asleep next to her husband at night, they’re there. The voices are those of Venezuelans, as well as of those among the Venezuelan diaspora, who for years have been engulfed by political and economic crisis under the country’s authoritarian …

Here’s What It’s Like to Accidentally Expose the Data of 230M People

Steve Hardigree hadn't even gotten to the office yet and his day was already a waking nightmare. As he Googled his company's name that morning last June, Hardigree found a growing list of headlines pointing to the 10-person marketing firm he'd founded three years earlier, Exactis, as the source of a leak of the personal records of nearly everyone in the United States. A friend in an office adjacent to the one he rented as the company's headquarters in Palm Coast, Florida, had warned him that TV news reporters were already camped outside the building with cameras. Ambulance-chasing security firms were scrambling to pitch him solutions. Law firms had rushed to assemble a class action lawsuit against his company. All …

Turn On Auto-Updates Everywhere You Can

This week, Google announced that it had patched a wicked vulnerability in Chrome, by far the most popular browser in the world. Not only that, the search giant also confirmed that hackers had been actively exploiting the bug, in tandem with one found in Windows. Soon after came a wave of reports imploring people to update Chrome right now. But thanks to Google’s embrace of auto-updating its software, for most people it was already taken care of. Software updates are a pain no matter how you shake it. The MacOS prompts never leave you alone. Automatic Windows 10 updates ask you to restart your PC at the least convenient times. And fresh versions of iOS seem to brick phones every …

A Clever Tool Uses Apples Videogame Logic Engine to Protect Macs

Between new types of malware, egregious bugs, and uni­versal threats like phishing, Macs are not the invul­nerable lockboxes Apple once touted. But in thinking about how to defend Macs against a new generation of threats, researchers at the security firm Digita are taking advantage of features Macs already offer to monitor threats in unexpected ways. And it's all powered by Apple's logic engine for videogames. At the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Digita chief research officer Patrick Wardle is presenting GamePlan, a tool that watches for potentially suspicious events on Macs and flags them for humans to investigate. The general concept sounds similar to other defense platforms, and it hooks into detection mechanisms—has a USB stick been …