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Daily News Roundup: Microsoft Brand Spoofing Is the Worst

Brand spoofing is a type of phishing where the perpetrator pretends to be a well-known brand. Usually, it’s in the form of disguised emails. A recent study revealed that Microsoft is the most spoofed brand by a wide margin.

It’s incredibly easy to forge a sender email address. With just a little bit of time and patience, you can create an email that says it’s coming from Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or anyone else you’d like. That very fact makes it tempting for bad actors to do… well bad things.

Frequent attacks include emails claiming your account is locked, and only clicking on a link in the email and providing your username and password will solve the problem. Or along similar lines, a request to confirm payment by providing your credit card number. Usually, the links lead you not to the site it claims to be, but a malware site that may infect your computer and will certainly record your input. You’re handing your user name, password, credit card, etc. directly to the very people you’d never want to have that information.

Security solutions provider FireEye released a report about brand impersonation, and among the brands, they detected as targets of spoofing, Microsoft is the preferred company by far.
The Microsoft brand name itself accounted for 30% of all brand impersonation FireEye identified. It gets for the worse the company, OneDrive is number two at 7%, Microsoft Outlook is number 6 at 4%, LinkedIn and Microsoft Office hit the list as well at 2%. So altogether, Microsoft properties accounted for 45% of all the phishing attacks FireEye discovered. The next closest company was Apple, at just 7%.

FireEye’s report also stated that phishing attacks are on the rise, with an increase of 17% in the first quarter of this year alone. The methods are changing, and the sophistication is growing. And new malicious URLs are even using HTTPS, emphasizing once again that just because the site uses HTTPS doesn’t mean it’s truly safe.

If you receive an email from any company (or anyone claiming to be from a company), asking for information or some confirmation of details, the safest thing to do is skip any links in the email. Open your browser and go straight to the site. Treat the email as malicious until proven otherwise. By following that advice with every email, even from people you know and trust, you’ll avoid a lot of heartache and frustration down the road. [TechRadar]

In Other News:

  • Oppo shows off an under screen camera: Smartphone company Oppo has a new trick to reach the goal of notchless and bezeless phones: hide the camera under the screen. It’s a step up from holepunch cameras as far looks go, but the company warns it needs to overcome issues like haze and glare for the pictures to look good. [The Verge]
  • Vivo’s new tech fully charges your phone in 13 minutes:
    Vivo apparently thinks it takes too long to charge a phone, and we’re inclined to agree. The company introduced Super FlashCharge 120w that it claims can fully charge a phone in just 13 minutes. As you can glean from the name, it delivers 120 watts of power to achieve those results. The unanswered question is how hot your phone gets in the process. [Digital Trends]
  • Don’t click on that Word Doc link: Speaking of malicious emails, security firm WatchGuard revealed a rise in malicious Word Documents sent via email. The method of attack is one patched long ago; attackers seem to be hoping you haven’t updated your system. Update your computer. The same security company stated that Mac malware is also the rise. Good times to be in, right? [ZDNet]
  • Target Wants a Day of Deals too: Move slightly to the side Prime Day. Target also wants to hold a “Deals Day.” For 48 hours. On the same two days as Prime Day. Now you need to watch sites for the ultimate shoehorn deal. [Engadget]
  • Audio Editor Soundtrap offers unlimited storage space: If you use Spotify’s Soundtrap to create music or podcasts, you’ll like this change. The service just increased its storage offering from five projects to unlimited, even on the free tier. A premium tier continues to additional features. Everybody wins! [VentureBeat]
  • Facebook might let you turn off notification dots: If you get annoyed by all the little red dots on groups, watch, etc. in the Facebook app that won’t go away until you tap everything, have we got good news for you. Facebook is looking into turning them off entirely. All we can say is “please please please please please do this Facebook.” [TechCrunch]
  • Apple bought a self-driving company: Drive.ai was a company that intended to bring self-driving car kits to the masses. The idea was supposed to let you retrofit your existing car. All that is past tense because the company ran out of money, and Apple bought it. Layoffs are occurring for some employees, while others will join Apple’s ranks. Can’t wait for a self-driving iCar. [MacRumors]
  • Firefox won’t erase your preferences anymore: Mozilla just patched a pretty crazy and frustrating bug in Firefox. After recent updates, if the browser shut unexpectedly (from powerless or crashes), your preferences would be wiped. Thankfully bookmarks and favorites were spared in the culling. Grab the update now if you like you preferences to stick around. [TechDows]

Bees are incredibly important to our agricultural industry. When it comes to pollinating, they’re responsible for everything from almonds to apples, to avocados.

But the U.S. grows food in mass quantities across large swaths of land, and it’s far more than wild bees could ever handle naturally. So a new industry rose to meet the demand: Beekeeper truckers.

Farm raised bees are boxed up and shipped from farm to farm, and it’s fascinating the steps the movers must take to make the shipment happen safely—both for the bees and you and me.
They travel at night, while bees are sleeping. They spray the bees with smoke because smoke actually bees down, and when possible, the beekeepers take breaks at high elevations because cold weather encourages bees to stay put.

The next time you’re on the road, and you see a truck hauling a lot of boxes on a flatbed, remember you might be looking at a giant swarm of bees on their way to the next farm. [Jalopnik]