Cybercriminals Impersonate These Well-Known Companies in Phishing Emails

Suspicious emails coming through to your mailbox? Does the email claim to be from Microsoft and need your login information to fix an unfounded issue? Cybercriminals increasingly send victims emails such as these, impersonating large-scale companies to appear legitimate, and it’s not only Microsoft impersonations. From Facebook to Amazon, to Paypal and Netflix, it’s a good idea to double check where those emails are actually coming from.

Cybersecurity company Vade Secure conducted an analysis of companies that were most impersonated and found that Microsoft was one of the most used brands in phishing schemes, with an increase of 15.5% since the previous year. Due to the popularity in Outlook mail and Office365, Microsoft is a widely popular impersonation target. With businesses and corporations relying on Office365 for keeping restricted and sensitive files, hackers look for any means necessary to get their hands on such valuable information. Access to Office365 accounts can also open more doors for targeting other users to gain access to more accounts. 

Illegitimate emails claiming to be from Microsoft ask users to log in via a link provided by the hacker and open up a spoof page that mirrors the actual website, prompting users to input their login credentials and submitting it to the cybercriminal.

Paypal comes out as the second most common company to be used in phishing schemes, as the brand is easily recognizable by many. While Paypal still remains a popular choice in targeting victims with fake emails, malicious URL targeting has been declining.

The third most popular company to be used in a phishing attack is Facebook, as Vade Secure tracked a 176% increase in fake URL use to target users’ social media accounts. The social network acts as a perfect opportunity for hackers to send phishing messages to victims’ friends. Facebook access can particularly be harmful if victims have third party applications connected, to which cybercriminals can also access. 

The report further lists other brands like Netflix, Bank of America, and Apple that are also used in these emails. Amazon is now the eighth most popular brand for phishing use by hackers, and its use has grown over 400% in just a year, this likely due to the popularity in Amazon Prime Day and the extensive number of shoppers on the site. 

Phishing attacks are continuously utilized by hackers due to the cheap and easy way it reaches a mass of users. If you receive any such suspicious emails in your inbox, mark it as spam immediately. If you are ever unsure about your account, log in through the company’s official site instead of clicking on malicious email links.

Amazon’s New Drone Delivery Service is Currently in Progress

Amazon’s dream of having a “high-speed drone delivery” is finally happening thanks to the UK government aviation administration, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA announced they will launch an “Innovation Sandbox”, which is where a number of companies will talk amongst themselves to test out concepts, and Amazon just happens to be a participant.

The testing will soon be done in a physical space. However, they will first start in a virtual space. The CAA is taking leadership of this project in testing the products to make sure the drones are safe. This delivery service would give customers their packages in at least 30 minutes.

Back in 2013, Jeff Bezos – Amazon’s CEO – stated in an interview conducted by “60 Minutes” that by 2018, there will be fully functional drones. While late in the expected release time, the drone delivery testing is currently in progress.

Mary Hanbury from Business Insider stated how, “It has been discreetly testing in UK sites since 2016, and in July 2017, it filed a patent that showed it was working on a way for drones to capture data by scanning people’s homes. Meanwhile, one Amazon’s main tech rivals, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), recently secured approval to roll out one of the world’s first drone delivery services in Australia.

540 Million Facebook User Records Found On Public Amazon Storage Server

UpGuard security firm researchers have discovered an unpleasant surprise: millions of Facebook user records were found exposed publicly on an Amazon S3 storage server without a password to protect the data.

Two third-party companies – a Mexico based media company called Cultura Colectiva and an app developer At The Pool – had left user records available for public access. User record data such as comments, likes, reactions, and account names were all stored onto the servers. At The Pool stored sensitive information from approximately 22,000 users and included data such as photos, check-ins, and friends lists.  

UpGuard had not received a reply from Cultura Colectiva after warning them about the public server data back in January. After reaching out to Amazon as well, the security firm was yet again met with indifference as no one had taken action to resolve the issue. After Bloomberg’s reporting on April 3rd, the database was then secured.

A Facebook representative commented on the matter, explaining how “Facebook’s policies prohibit storing Facebook information in a public database. Once alerted to the issue, we worked with Amazon to take down the databases.” Spokespeople from the company also commented on how Facebook was not aware of the issue until the UpGuard team had brought it to their attention.

Both third-party companies had collected and stored the data in the past when Facebook was more lenient on data gathered by outside applications. However, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook set tighter restrictions on what developers may access in regards to user data.

As of now, it is unclear on whether the data on the open storage servers were accessed by malicious actors who could potentially use it to their advantage in marketing or fraudulent schemes.

Airports May Bring in Cashier-Less Amazon Go Stores

Image Source: iStock.com/SEASTOCK

A few airports may soon start implementing Amazon Go Stores–the cashier- and check-out free shops made to make life more quick and convenient for consumers. Reuters recently published a report on Amazon’s interest in providing their retail service to airports in San Jose and Los Angeles; both airport locations confirmed that the Amazon Go team had reached out in request for a meeting with officials. Dallas Fort Worth’s International Airport also reached out to the online giant, asking to be “the first Airport Amazon Go location.”

In just the last year alone, 350 million passengers were transported using flights in the top 12 airports in the U.S., as data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicates.

Bringing in the retail shop for such a large crowd of passengers could prove to be a great business deal for Amazon. “You’ll be able to build broad awareness just being in a dozen of the best airports,” says an anonymous employee in Reuter’s report.

So far, Amazon has established its Go stores in Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle for its employees who need a quick and easy bite, and moving the stores to airports would match the same fast-paced atmosphere for travelers on the go. Consumers could just walk in and walk out, as sensors detect the items taken.

While there is talk going on about the Go stores in airports, no set decisions or deals have been made yet.

Amazon Echo Takes Photos for Designer Lookbook at New York Fashion Week 2018

There’s a new photographer on the runway – and here’s a hint: it’s not a person. Amazon put a spin on their Amazon Echo devices when coming out with the limited-edition Echo Look. The camera took over women’s clothing designer Prabal Gurung’s lookbook last Sunday at New York Fashion Week 2018.

The Amazon Echo Look was used to photograph the digital lookbook of the designers Fall 2018 clothing line.  Additionally, Amazon also set up an Echo Look to take photographs and capture videos during the Sunday runway show.

The fashion designer Gurung stated, “Echo Look offers the perfect marriage of fashion and tech and allows for us to showcase the women in our clothes in a new, innovative and exciting way.”

Via @CNET

Of all the smart speakers in Amazon’s lineup, the Echo Look is the most niche product yet. It is geared towards a very specific set of people: those who care about outward appearances. At $200, you’ll receive a photo/video device with a built-in smart speaker (and Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa!). This device can help you take full body photos and uses artificial intelligence that helps you choose between two outfits.

Since the Echo Look is still in the invite-only stages, Amazon’s collaboration with the fashion designer was to show it’s strong tie to fashion before the public release. It is stated that Amazon will also work with Vogue and GQ to create curated content for the Echo Look app in late February.

What To Expect On Amazon Prime Day

The date “July 11th” leaves Amazon Prime Members feeling warm and fuzzy: it’s Amazon Prime Day. Get your wallets ready.

This is the third annual Amazon Prime Day and it’s supposed to be their biggest event yet. While they typically follow the “lightning format” (thousands of products going on sale every 5 minutes in limited quantities), Amazon guaranteed sales on a number of their own products that will last the duration of the day. Prime Day starts at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET today, July 10.

Here are some of their confirmed deals from their press release:

  • Save 50 percent on Amazon Echo, only $89.99
  • Save $15 on Echo Dot, only $34.99
  • Amazon Tap is $50 off, only $79.90
  • Save $30 on new Fire HD 8 tablet, only $49.99 (also available as a three-pack for $119.97)
  • Save $40 on Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, only $89.99 (also available as a two-pack for $149.99)
  • Save $20 on Fire 7, Amazon’s best-selling tablet, only $29.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle Paperwhite, only $89.99
  • Save $30 on Kindle, on sale for $49.99
  • Save $50 on Kindle Voyage, on sale for $149.99
  • Save $50 on Kindle Oasis with Free Wi-Fi+3G
  • Save $30 on Kindle for Kids Bundles, only $69.99
  • Save $75 on Echo Show and Arlo Security Camera bundle
  • Save $250 on the newly released Element 55-inch 4K Ultra HD smart LED TV — Amazon Fire TV Edition, only $399.99 [see CNET’s advice on this product]

If you’re not yet a Prime member, sign up for your free trial now ($99 a year, but well worth it). If you’re a student, you can get your 6 month trial at no cost.

Deals start tonight, 7/10 at 6PM PST! Happy (almost) Prime Day!

Amazon Prime Day on Tuesday

Adobe Spark (5)

Amazon Prime Day is back for a second year in a row after a rather disappointing first attempt in 2015. As of midnight on July 12th, you can expect to find some killer deals (if you get there in time, that is).

amazon prime dayFor their 20th year celebration last year, Amazon enticed users to buy a one-year Prime membership by knocking down prices on TVs, electronics, and other miscellaneous items. While some deals were pretty great, most items were carried in such low quantities that they sold out far too fast to last the entire day. This year, Amazon has promised higher quantities and better deals.

If you don’t already have a Prime membership, you should definitely take advantage of the free 30 day trial, as the deals are geared towards Prime members only. You can cancel at anytime and walk out with free 2 day shipping and some awesome discounts.The only thing you should be aware of is the charge date once your 30 days are up – if you don’t plan on continuing your membership. At $99, you really can’t go wrong for 1-2 day shipping on most items. 
Get your wallets ready and keep your expectations in check, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stock up on those Christmas gifts a little early! Happy (almost) Prime Day!

Christmas in July? Amazon Thinks So.

Amazon declares July 15 as Christmas in July! …or Black Friday, summer style.

To celebrate Amazon’s 20th birthday, Amazon is set to host a legendary shopaganza called “Prime Day.” On Monday, they released a statement saying, “Step aside Black Friday, meet Prime Day.” Prime members were promised that the day would be “filled with more deals than Black Friday,” and, “Prime members will find deals starting at midnight, with new deals starting as often as every ten minutes.”

freebies2deals-amazon-prime

If you’re a Prime member already, you’ve probably experienced the convenience of 1 and 2 day shipping, and may have already taken advantage of same-day shipping. If you’re not a Prime member, Amazon is offering you the opportunity to sign up for a free 30 day trial so that you can celebrate their one-day 20th birthday deals with them.

Amazon Prime memberships are $99 per year and include free 2-day shipping. Mark your calendars for midnight on July 15th to take advantage of their deals!

Amazon Launches Unlimited Cloud Storage

amazoncloud

There are many benefits of cloud storage and chances are you either already use it in some form or you’ve considered it for personal or business use. Today Amazon announced two new unlimited cloud storage plans at extremely low prices in hopes of enticing customers from competitors like DropBox and Google Drive.

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”

For just $11.99 per year customers can store unlimited photos with the Unlimited Photos Plan, or for $59.99 for store unlimited files or any type with the Unlimited Everything Plan. Prime members and Fire device owners already have unlimited photo storage, but can upgrade to the Unlimited Everything Plan to store videos and other files as well.

Learn more about the benefits of Amazon Cloud Drive.

 

Amazon to Ship Your Purchases Before You Buy

Ranked #1 in customer satisfaction, Amazon’s delivery service normally goes above and beyond customers’ expectations. Customers are delighted when their orders arrive less than 24 hours after being purchased. Just after unveiling their experimentation with short-range delivery drones and announcing Sunday deliveries, Amazon is at it again with a new patent in the news.

Amazon just filed a patent for “anticipatory shipping”. What exactly does this mean? Amazon is willing to bet they know your purchase history well enough to ship your next order before you even buy from them.

Amazon Shipping

The anticipatory shipping patent filing shows a map of Amazon’s system. Amazon would ship anticipated items from fulfillment centers to designated hubs located closer to their customers. These items would not have any specified deliver address upon leaving the fulfillment centers, but would be assigned a specific address en route to their destinations.

The patent was approved in late December 2013, and there is no word on when Amazon will start testing this new shipping method.