Know the 3 Potential Scenarios for the Latest Email Scam

Are you aware of the latest email scam involving emails appearing to come from Microsoft? Know the different scenarios of how this scam presents itself and what to do if you become a target.

A new email scam has been making its rounds recently and it occurs in one of several forms, all through emails appearing to come from Microsoft. Check out these three scenarios in which you might end up seeing this scam present itself and what to do if you are targeted.

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    Scenario No. 1: Service call needed for computer operational issues

    In this first scenario, you receive an email that seems to be coming from Microsoft. The email claims Microsoft has detected an issue with your computer. The email contains a link and opens a form that requests info such as telephone numbers, credit card numbers and other sensitive information. They need this info in order to have a Microsoft tech call you and then establish a remote session into your computer to fix the problem. Someone claiming to be from Microsoft will call you. During the call, they will act like they are fixing the issue when, in fact, you have no issue and your computer is fine. They charge your credit card for a useless service call and may be actually loading malware that will feed the cyber-criminal additional sensitive information as you use your computer. And remember, they have your credit card number and likely other information such as bank account numbers and more.

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    Scenario No. 2: Computer virus detected

    In this email that appears to be coming from Microsoft, the message requests you call a toll free number because Microsoft has detected a virus on your computer. When you call the tech, the same sequence of events as described above will occur.

     

    Scenario No. 3: Running low on email storage space

    In this scenario, you receive an email that seems to be coming from Microsoft stating you are quickly running out of space in your email account. If you do not authorize additional space, your email will stop functioning. If you call the number or complete the form that authorizes additional space, the cyber-criminal will use the information you provided to charge your credit card and/or load malware onto your computer.

     

    If you receive one of these emails, DO NOT respond with any information. DO NOT call the phone number provided. DO NOT reply to the email. Simply delete the email. Microsoft will never reach out in this manner to address computer operational issues, virus issues or email capacity issues.

    One way to help ensure your business doesn’t fall victim to this or any other type of scam is to educate your staff on data security. Check out these training best practices to safeguard your company.

    Steve Giordano is president of TeamLogic IT and can help answer any questions you might have concerning email scams. Learn more about the company by clicking here.


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    Next up: Middle Market Indicator: Capital Investment on the Rise
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  • Middle Market Indicator: Capital Investment on the Rise

    Corporate confidence in the economy is on the rise, and more companies are looking to invest in capital improvement projects, such as increased energy efficiency projects at their facilities.

    U.S. middle market companies are continuing to show a high level of confidence and are planning on increasing their capital spend, according to the recently released first quarter Middle Market Indicator report from the National Center for the Middle Market.

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    Nearly two-thirds (64%) of middle market companies continue to indicate they have plans to allocate money toward investment at some point during the next 12 months. This percentage is up slightly from 63% during the same time a year ago and has remained consistent since 2013.

    And what kind of expenditures do these companies have in mind? Plants and equipment appears to be the dominant choice, as 34% of all middle market companies and 47% of the biggest middle market companies have shown a strong likelihood of adding a new plant or facility at some point during the coming year.

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    Plant and equipment expenditures also appears to be on the minds of those companies that are wishing to hold onto their cash for now. Of the approximately one-third of companies that plan to save cash, 17% say they will hold it for future plant-and-equipment-related spending.

    A high level of confidence in the economy is behind these projected capital expenditures. According to the report, revenue grew by 9.2% during the past 12 months for middle market companies nationally. And that growth is expected to hit 8.8% during the next 12 months. Overall, 59% of middle market companies are projecting revenue growth, compared to 52% during the first quarter of 2016.

    “The U.S. middle market closed 2016 on a high note and has carried that momentum forward into 2017, with all indices pointing to an increasingly robust middle market,” the report reads. “Actual and projected revenue and employment growth rates continue to rise significantly, and economic confidence is keeping pace, with all measures at their highest levels since the inception of the Middle Market Indicator in 2011.”

    Taking advantage of economic growth

    With such a rosy outlook anticipated, now might be a good time to take a step back and consider where investment dollars might make the most sense during any expansion projects a company entertains. For example, instead of taking a short cut today and skimping on costs, companies might want to consider factoring projects into the new expansion that help long-term benefits of energy efficiency.

    The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates there will be up to 605 billion kWh in unrealized energy efficiency savings between 2016 and 2035. With 19% of office buildings consuming 17% of U.S. energy, there is a great opportunity here to install systems that could help companies lower their exposure to energy costs.

    There are many efficiency opportunities in both existing and new construction buildings. In existing buildings, these opportunities come in the form of equipment upgrades, improved building and energy management systems, commissioning, and improved operations and maintenance. Meantime in new construction, opportunities include advanced design and technologies as an important means of saving energy.

    The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Energy Team can help you identify the energy projects that make the most sense for your business. You can contact the team via email at energy@gcpartnership.com or by calling (216) 592-2205.

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    Next up: Do You Know What's Using Energy in Your Home?
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  • Do You Know What's Using Energy in Your Home?

    At 3AM do you know what is using energy in your home?  Most people imagine that when they turn off the lights and go to bed, most of their electrical use stops. A growing portion of the average electric bill is coming from devices that we are not even using. Miscellaneous Electrical Load (MEL) refers to the various electronics and devices that use electricity (not major appliances, lighting, and HVAC).

    At 3AM do you know what is using energy in your home?  Most people imagine that when they turn off the lights and go to bed, most of their electrical use stops. A growing portion of the average electric bill is coming from devices that we are not even using. Miscellaneous Electrical Load (MEL) refers to the various electronics and devices that use electricity (not major appliances, lighting, and HVAC). Those items like your cable box, microwave oven with clock or wireless router spend most of their time on standby but consume electricity all the time.  Studies find that this small constant usage from a growing number of devices are now adding up to between 12 and 27 % of the average monthly electric bill.

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    The MEL problem is getting worse. It is both growing in size and especially as percentage of our bills. As appliances and HVAC equipment become more efficient, the miscellaneous devices become a larger portion of electrical demand. The nature of technology and how people use it is also causing MEL to grow. The average home has 40 products constantly drawing power.

    The nature of “internet everywhere” does not seem to be going away so how can we minimize this miscellaneous load? The largest step will be a policy change that gets manufacturers to make more energy efficient devices. This is starting to happen and items like the cable boxes coming out in the next year will be significantly more efficient than the one on your TV currently. Savings at home can best be found by being aware. Unplug or use power strips to stop the slow drain from devices that do not need to be on standby. Each device you are able to disconnect when not in use will be electricity that your devices are not stealing from you.

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    Next up: My Takeaways from the TECNA Conference: We Need More Diversity in IT
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  • My Takeaways from the TECNA Conference: We Need More Diversity in IT

    I had the pleasure of attending my first TECNA conference last week, and it was great! Being around other folks in the country who support the mission of advancing technology in their regions was invigorating and helped confirm that what we are doing at OHTec is on the right path.

    I had the pleasure of attending my first TECNA conference last week, and it was great! Being around other folks in the country who support the mission of advancing technology in their regions was invigorating and helped confirm that what we are doing at OHTec is on the right path.

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    I was asked to be on a panel discussing talent and shared what we do at OHTec to help our members. I had the chance to hear about what others are doing as well, and I am proud to say we are doing some very unique things (like TechHire and TalentNEO Skills Based Hiring). Our region also works very well together, which I was happy to tell everyone about. Northeast Ohio really does work together for the mission of making it a great place to live and work. We work very closely to brand this region as the best place to work in IT, and it shows with our many groups that work towards that ultimate goal of making Northeast Ohio the IT capitol of the world. Northeast Ohio also takes chances and is willing to invest in doing whatever it takes to find the best talent and grow their companies through their talent.

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    One thing I was concerned about as a result of the tech talent round table sessions was the lack of diversity and women in tech. This group presents an opportunity to meet the talent demand and needs to be engaged in a way that they can help take IT to the next step in its evolution. One place to help is partnering with the Million Women Mentors program. The state of Ohio has pledged 25,000 mentors, which is the largest number of mentors from any state currently participating in this program. I encourage everyone who is willing to get involved to look into this ASAP.

    Also, I learned about something called TechTown in Chattanooga, Tenn., that is directed at students ages 7-17 to get engaged in IT and robotics. Cleveland has many of these types of programs geared at students, such as TechCorps, We Can Code IT, the CoolTech Challenge and Hyland, the creator of Onbase programs that are helping to build our future in the Northeast Ohio IT.

    We have a long way to go in Northeast Ohio to bridge the gap, but I am encouraged by TalentNEO/Skills Based Hiring, TechHire and OHTec’s agreements with national Job Board TechFetch and our agreement with CompTIA to attract and retain our talent. OHTec’s strong relationship with the RITE board is also helping to make NE Ohio the place to work and play for IT.

    As far as I am concerned, this conference showed me that OHTec is ahead of the curve on many of the efforts to help with talent and I am glad to be a part of an area of the country so dedicated to being the best it can be.


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    Next up: NASA's Glenn Research Center Seeks Innovators for 2016 International Space Apps Challenge
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  • NASA's Glenn Research Center Seeks Innovators for 2016 International Space Apps Challenge

    NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is once again hosting the fifth annual International Space Apps Challenge, a global, mass collaboration event that gathers volunteer participants to work on specific NASA challenges.

    NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is once again hosting the fifth annual International Space Apps Challenge, a global, mass collaboration event that gathers volunteer participants to work on specific NASA challenges.         

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    Glenn has teamed up with OHTec, a technology talent, growth and advocacy association, in offering this year’s Space Apps Challenge, April 22 – 24 at Glenn’s state-of-the-art Mission Integration Center. The event is just one of OHTec’s 2016 Tech Week activities that is rapidly growing in popularity. In 2015, the Cleveland site reported the fourth highest number of attendees in the United States.

    “For the last four years, the energetic teams of northeast Ohio have provided creative solutions to some of NASA’s tougher challenges,” said Sean Gallagher, Glenn’s chief information officer. “This year, we’re again excited to welcome problem solvers and innovators of all ages to join us in this event.”

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    This year, NASA is offering 26 challenges in six mission-related categories: Aeronautics, Earth, International Space Station, Journey to Mars, Solar System and Beyond and Space Technology.  Participants are asked to develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualizations and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth.

    Space Apps Challenge activities include a social gathering on Friday, April 22, and work time on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24.  For a limited time on Saturday, NASA librarians will be available to help participants find information and data. Team presentations and awards are presented on Sunday.

    In addition to tackling NASA’s challenges, participants will hear from exciting speakers and have an opportunity to tour Glenn’s Graphics and Visualization and Simulated Lunar Operations labs.  

    To register for this year’s event at Glenn, visit:

    https://2016.spaceappschallenge.org/locations/cleveland-oh-usa

    For information about Tech Week 2016 activities, visit:

    http://www.techweekneo.com/

    For information about NASA's programs and missions, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/glenn

    -end- 

    Kelly R. DiFrancesco/Lori J. Rachul
    Glenn Research Center, Cleveland
    216-433-5578 / 216-433-8806
    kelly.r.difrancesco@nasa.gov / lori.j.rachul@nasa.gov

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    Next up: National Tech Survey (and the Midwest too)
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  • National Tech Survey (and the Midwest too)

    NEOSA has a long, proud affiliation with the Technology Councils of North America (aka TecNA); it’s an association of tech organizations across the US and Canada. Among other things, we participate in their surveys and studies, by encouraging our members to share their data. Most recently, a few months ago, TecNA commissioned its third annual National Survey of Technology, Policy and Strategic Issues. More than 1,500 technology businesses participated, including nearly 350 from the Midwest.

    NEOSA has a long, proud affiliation with the Technology Councils of North America (aka TecNA); it’s an association of tech organizations across the US and Canada.

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    Among other things, we participate in their surveys and studies, by encouraging our members to share their data. Most recently, a few months ago, TecNA commissioned its third annual National Survey of Technology, Policy and Strategic Issues. More than 1,500 technology businesses participated, including nearly 350 from the Midwest.

    Some of the key findings:

    • Positive business sentiment is trending upward for the tech industry, by more than 7 points in the Midwest
    • Medium-size firms (100-499 employees) are the most positive
    • 58% of companies are planning to add stuff
    • 62% plan investments in new products or business lines
    • 76% percent of companies believe there is a moderate to significant talent shortage nationwide
      • Up from 69% in 2013
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  • Just 15% of companies think the federal government treats the tech sector well or very well
  • But 37% think their state or local governments treat the sector well or very well
  • Stem education, at the k-12 AND at higher ed, is the top policy issue
    • Followed by tax/regulatory reform
  • It’s a very interesting read; check out the full report here.


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