5 Tips for Avoiding Coronavirus-Related Phishing Emails

This woman is skeptical about misspellings in her emails, and you should be, too.
This woman is skeptical about misspellings in her emails, and you should be, too.
fizkes/iStock via Getty Images

While you’re sorting through all the corporate responses to the new coronavirus, work-from-home directions from your manager, and various other updates in your email inbox, keep an eye out for phishing attempts, too.

According to Consumer Reports, many of the emails look like they’re coming from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or even your own company’s human resources department, and they contain everything from requests for charity donations to information about a possible vaccine.

A lot of them ask for log-in credentials, which cybercriminals can use to reset passwords to your financial accounts and even gain access to corporate computer systems—especially since so many employees are working remotely and might be using personal computers to access company networks. Others ask users to download software to help find a cure for COVID-19; when installed, that malware could release a virus that tracks all your computer activity.

To avoid falling victim to these types of scams, here are some key tips.

1. Look for spelling errors.

Misspellings either in a URL or in the body of the email itself can indicate a phishing attempt. Before opening any email message, hover over the sender's name to reveal its origin. “Corronaviruss.com,” for example, is probably not a reputable site, and an error in an HR rep’s subject line might be more than just a typo.

2. Question the plausibility of the content.

Be skeptical about strangely-worded messages, requests for money, or notifications about miraculous scientific advancements that don’t match what you’ve heard on the news.

"If you are promised a vaccine for the virus or some magic protective measures and the content of the email is making you worried, it has most likely come from cybercriminals," Tatyana Shcherbakova, an analyst for the cybersecurity company Kaspersky, told Consumer Reports.

3. Don’t click on links or attachments.

Hover your cursor over a link to see the full URL. If the URL seems to be directing you to a retailer you recognize, Google the retailer yourself to see if the URL matches the one in the email. Attachments might contain viruses, so it’s best to avoid them altogether unless you’re absolutely positive that it’s coming from a reputable source.

4. Avoid entering personal or financial information.

It’s a red flag if someone wants you to share account numbers, credit card numbers, wire transfers, or log-in credentials via email or on an unsecured website. Even if you’re familiar with the organization sending the email, it could be a clever imitation. Instead of clicking through to the website from the email, search for it in your internet browser.

5. Take advantage of antivirus software and security tools.

“When people are distracted, concerned, and extremely motivated to get information, you can’t count on them to notice things they might have in calmer times," Eric Howes, a principal researcher for the cybersecurity company KnowBe4, told Consumer Reports.

But cybersecurity tools can be a second set of eyes for you. Companies like McAfee and Norton, for example, offer browser extensions that alert you when you try to visit a risky site, and antivirus software programs can protect against malware.

[h/t Consumer Reports]

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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Warby Parker Created a Spray to Prevent Your Glasses From Fogging Up When You Wear a Face Mask

They're smiling under the masks (because their glasses aren't foggy).
They're smiling under the masks (because their glasses aren't foggy).
Julian Wan, Unsplash

A face mask won’t keep you from getting enough oxygen, but it might keep you from seeing clearly through your glasses. When you exhale, your warm breath usually dissipates into the air in front of you. When you’re wearing a face mask, on the other hand, it gets funneled through the gaps around your nose and turns into tiny water droplets after colliding with your much colder lenses. In other words, it fogs up your glasses.

To prevent this from happening, Warby Parker has created an anti-fog spray that absorbs those droplets as soon as they form on your lenses, before they can cloud your view. It’s not the only product like it on the market—Amazon alone has dozens—but Warby Parker’s version has the added benefit of cleaning your lenses, too.

The perfect solution.Warby Parker

As Prevention.com reports, the spray is part of the company’s “Clean My Lenses Kit,” which comes with a bottle of anti-fog spray, a microfiber cloth, and a pouch for your glasses (or for storing the other two products in the kit). All you do is spritz both sides of your lenses, wipe them down with the cloth, and venture out for your fog-free day.

The spray works with any type of lens, which makes it a useful innovation even for people who just wear regular sunglasses. It can also come in handy during plenty of other fog-inducing situations, like sipping a hot beverage or cooking over a hot stove.

You can order a kit online for $15, or look for one in your local Warby Parker store. In the meantime, here are a few DIY ways to keep your glasses from getting foggy.

[h/t Prevention.com]

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