Tech Term Tuesday: Phishing 101

If you’ve been on the internet for more than a day, you probably know that not everything you find on the web is true. Nobody knows that better than honest Abe himself.

But just because you KNOW there’s sketchy stuff on the internet doesn’t mean you’re automatically safe from it. Sneaky internet scammers known as phishers have mastered the art of tricking unsuspecting users into handing over personal information like account passwords, bank account numbers, and even social security numbers. Thankfully, by being thoughtful and vigilant, you can protect yourself from phishing attacks.

 

 

 

So, what is phishing?
We’re glad you asked.

SUBTITLE (2)Got it? We’ll go into it in a bit more detail later.

Wouldn’t I know if I was being scammed?
Well, maybe. Phishing is a form of internet trickery that has been around a long time, and crooks have gotten really good at making you believe that you’re visiting credible web pages. A 2013 study at North Carolina State University asked 53 undergrad students to “distinguish ‘malicious’ emails from ‘legitimate’ ones”, and nearly all of them were unable to correctly identify phishing attempts.

How it works
Most phishing happens in the form of emails, which are sent by phishers posing as actual companies, like airlines, banks, online marketplaces, etc. These emails look authentic; they may even include real logos, address you by your name, or appear to be written by someone who actually works for the company the email is trying to impersonate. Often, the email will tell you that the website needs you to verify account details and link you to a page where you can do that.

Here’s where it gets tricky.
Unfortunately, those links lead to websites that LOOK like the real thing, but are actually cleverly constructed fake sites. After clicking a link in an email, you think you’ve been directed to the Google Drive homepage, so you type in your account information. Now that you’ve entered your password on this scam website, phishers now have access to all the information linked to your Google account.
It can be REALLY hard, almost impossible, to spot phony web pages. Can you tell which of these is the actual Google login page, and which is the work of devious scammers?

gmail 2

gmail 1

Probably not. The first one is the actual page, but there’s almost no difference between the two. That’s just how good phishers have gotten at tricking us.

So how can you keep yourself safe?
Here’s a simple list of tips for avoiding online scams:

  • Don’t click links in emails from addresses you don’t know.
    If an email looks like it might be suspicious, it probably is. Even if the email is from a contact of yours, hover over the link before clicking to see if it directs you to a site you recognize.

    image

    Not familliar with SBNation.com? Do a quick search on the site name to determine whether or not it’s reputable.          (image via Yahoo! Tech)

  • Check the URL.
    We’ve already talked about how you can’t spot a phony webpage just by looking at it. If you’ve clicked an emailed link, check the address bar. If the site you’re visiting is asking for valuable data like bank information, your social security number, etc., the URL should begin with https:// rather than http://, as well as a little padlock icon. Double click that padlock and make sure “issued to” matches the URL of the website you think you’re on. If it’s different, you’re likely looking at a phishing attempt.
    Also, look out for URLs and email addresses that are not-quite copycat versions of the websites they’re imitating. In the NCSU study referenced earlier, students received this almost-legitimate-looking email:

    wallmart email

    Wallmart.com…seems legit (via LA Times)

    A more recent Netflix scam fooled users with this page. See if you can spot what’s wrong with it:

    Notice how the URL does not end in Netflix.com? Phishers regularly use legitimate-looking URLs so that you don’t suspect anything amiss. For example, ebay.com and cgi3.ebay.com are both actual pages that end in ebay.com. However, ebay.validate-info.com and ebay.login123.com are not. This isn’t a foolproof rule though, so if you’re suspicious, manually type the website you’re trying to access into your address bar and see if it asks you to update your info. If it does, it’s most likely not a scam. This image is from an incident where phishers tricked Netflix users into calling that 1-800 number on the page. Which brings us to our next point:

  • Don’t give out information over phone calls you didn’t initiate.
    It’s much safer to call a number printed in literature from your bank than one that was emailed to you. Phishers have been known to lure you in with a fake number and pose as customer service personnel to get you to hand over sensitive information. Sometimes they can even use VoIP services (read up on that next Tuesday!) to change their area code so that it looks like they’re calling from a local number. This kind of scam is fairly new, so do your research and use caution when it comes to calling numbers because of emailed instructions.
  • Say NO to pop-up windows!
    Pop-ups have a nasty reputation, but for good reason: not only are they annoying, they tend to be dangerous. Utilize your browser’s pop-up blockers to keep them from bothering you, and never click any links or enter any information on pop-ups that might slip through.
  • Be wary of software downloads.
    Any email link that prompts you to download something is automatically suspect. Use extreme caution, and don’t complete any downloads that you didn’t initiate.
  • Install security software
    We offer several options in our store. Read up on the specs of each one to decide which one is best for you. A good anti-virus program can save you lots of trouble down the road by keeping hackers from installing malicious software on your computer that will allow them to monitor your online activity and obtain your personal data.

While phishing is a very real danger, you can protect yourself from being preyed upon by using caution in your online activity. The best phishing tip is this: follow your instincts and play it safe. If something seems suspicious or too-good-to-be-true, it probably is!

Want to read up on keeping yourself safe online? Here’s a collection of articles we referenced here:

“Phishing” Fraud: How to Avoid Getting Fried by Phony Phishermen
(via US Securities & Exchange Committee)

How to Avoid Phishing Scams
(via Yahoo! Tech)

There’s A New Scam To Steal Your Gmail Info, And It’s Hard To Catch
Phishing Scam Targeting Netflix May Trick You With Phony Customer Service Reps
(both via Huffington Post)

12 steps to avoid phishing scams
(via Tech Republic)

The Howard Store Guide to a Perfect Father’s Day

Dads come in all different shapes and sizes, with all kinds of different interests and talents. Father’s Day is just around the corner (June 15th), and if you’re still searching for that perfect gift to let your dad know just how special he is to you, look no further. Here are a few ideas for having a fun day with your Dad with a little help from the great gift ideas you can find on the Howard Store.

 

The Movie Marathon

Set the scene for a fun, relaxing Father’s Day with your movie-loving dad. If your dad is the type who likes to read the book before he sees the movie, surprise him with a Sungale eBook reader. Make him promise not to give away the ending, and then you can settle into the couch around his new 55″ LCD TV. This Actiontec Screen Beam Wireless Display Reciever lets Dad play video from his tablet, laptop, or smartphone on his television. A Samsung Smart TV will connect Dad directly to Netflix, as well as other web apps. If you just can’t stand to listen to one more episode of Game of Thrones, Dad’s Manhattan Fusion Wireless Headphones will let him enjoy the show without disturbing the rest of the family. For on-the-go dads, an ASUS VivoTag or Sungale Cyberus tablet lets him take his favorite movies with him wherever he goes.

 

The Family Cookout/Camp-out

Maybe your dad is more of the outdoorsy type. If his ideal Father’s Day involves fresh air andoutdoor collage revised food, a family cookout is a great idea. Let Dad show off his grilling prowess with a new Char Broil grill.  Relax in the backyard in Stansport Arm Chair outdoor furniture (comes in Dad sized or Dad+Mom sized), or take your Outdoor Edge Game Processor kit to the woods for some quality hunting time with Dad. When you hit the campground, take your Coleman Lumen light and Stansport Weather Band FM Radio with you so you’ll be prepared for anything. Finally, at the end of the day, Dad can enjoy the peace and quiet of the outdoors in comfort in an AeroBed Adventure Bed.  

 

The Stroll Down Memory Lane

Your dad probably has more embarrassing pictures of you than he can count. While you might still be mortified about the bad haircut you had when you were 5 or your gap-toothed school portraits from 2nd gpicture collage revisedrade, your dad thinks that stuff is adorable. Load your pictures on a USB flash drive and plug it into a digital photo frame (in black or brown) to let Dad relive the memories. This PIXIMA photo printer will let Dad print out all of those great pictures of you with food on your face in vivid color. Awwww. And when you’re ready to make more memories, Dad can use this Eye-fi Mobi Network Adapter to transmit his pictures directly from his digital camera to his smartphone.    

 

No matter what kind of day you spend with your dad, make sure you let him know how much you appreciate him. Give him a big Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Howard Industries!

Thank You Fans!

Thank You_WebsiteWe want to extend a HUGE Thank You from the entire Howard Family to our 10,000 fans for joining our Facebook community!  We could not have reached this incredible milestone without you.  To show our immense gratitude, we are giving away a FREE iPad mini along with some very special discounts on your favorite products.

Thank You_iPad
Celebrate with us by opting-in to win a FREE iPad mini here!
Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more updates, insights and giveaways!

11 Back To School Technologies

Back to school list

It feels like summer just began, and yet it is already time to return to school.  Not to worry, Howard Industries has all the latest and greatest technology (and the best deals!) so you can hit the hallways fully prepared for Back To School!

Tablets
Tablets have become an obvious choice for students over the traditional computer.  The technology is easy to use and navigate which can make learning fun for students.  The ability to store all of your information in one device eliminates the burden of having to lug around a backpack all day.

Acer Iconia TabletWe recommend the Acer Iconia A1-810 7.9″ 16GB Tablet
The features include:

  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 16GB storage
  • 7.9″ IPS (1024 x 768)
  • Front and real camera
  • microSD slot
  • Quad-core CPU

Acer 32GB TabletWe also recommend the Acer Iconia W3-810 8.1″ 32GB Tablet
The features Include:

  • Atom Z2760
  • Intel GMA Graphics
  • 32Gb storage
  • 2Gb RAM
  • 8.1″ screen (1280 x 800)
  • Windows 8 32-bit OS

Tablet Case
It is essential to protect your investments with a quality case for your tablet.  Mistakes happen.  Especially during the school year where students are constantly carrying their device around and tossing it into their backpacks to return home after school.  The phrase is true, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” so make sure to add the extra safety of a tablet case.

Kensington CaseWe recommend the Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 Tablet Case
The features include:

  • Wireless Keyboard
  • 3-in-1 case, keyboard, and tablet stand design
  • Secured velcro fastener
  • StrongFit corners

Notebook
The use of laptop computers have become extremely prevalent in higher education classrooms and are beginning to be incorporated into various K-12 classrooms.  Teaching students computer skills has become a fundamental part of their education.  Using a laptop also makes learning more exciting with millions of software options as well as the ability to learn in a more hands on approach.

Toshiba NotebookWe recommend the Toshiba Satellite C855 15.6″ 500GB Notebook
Features include:

  • Core i3 2348M
  • Memory 4GB
  • Hard Drive 500GB
  • Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • OS Windows 8 Pro

Printers
Although, students have the ability to complete and turn in their work directly from their device, many students may prefer to have a hard copy of their work to turn in or to bring into the classroom.  After putting in long and dedicated hours into a report or project, eliminate the worry of having to produce it.  Especially with all the creative and educational apps allowing you to create magnificent projects or works of art, it’s essential to be able to print out a copy to frame in your home, classroom or as a keepsake.

HP officejet printerWe recommend the HP Officejet 6100 ePrinter Color Printer
The features include:

  • Low cost per page
  • Professional quality color output
  • High-capacity links
  • Print from anywhere
  • Border-less printing

Other great items to check out for Back to School:

Acer V233HL BJObd 23″ HD LED Monitor
This monitor’s ability to tilt, swivel, pivot and adjust for height allows students and teachers to work on extended projects while sharing their view with others.  It’s In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology helps to create quicker response time to reduce eye strain and produce more realistic colors.
Acer MonitorThe features include:

  • 23″ (1920 x 1080) screen
  • FullHD
  • In-Plane switching
  • Ergonomic design
  • Plenty of ports
  • Mercury Free

JVC 32″ LED-backlit LCD 1080p HD TV
No longer do teachers just have to teach straight from textbooks or slideshows, engage your students by displaying educational shows and movies to make learning more exciting.
JVC_HD TVThe features include:

  • Ultran narrow bezel
  • D-LED backlight
  • CrystalColor
  • USb picture viewer
  • 20W audio power
  • FullHD

Logitech B910 HD Hi-Speed Webcam
Expand students knowledge by utilizing video calling to speak with another classroom from across the globe or just down the hall.  The widescreen features allows everyone to be seen during small-group video conferencing.
Logitech WebcamThe features include:

  • HD video calling
  • True 16:9 widescreen
  • Stereo audio
  • Premium auto focus
  • Certified for Microsoft, Lync, Skype & Avistar

Toshiba Dynadock Universal USB Dock
Students and teachers can expand their computer’s potential with the universal docking station that links all your electronic devices to your laptop with just one single USB 3.0 cable. The potential is unlimited.  Just one simple cable connection to your computer opens access to large screen displays for the whole class to enjoy, stereo speakers, external hard drive, optical drive, printer, full-size keyboard and mouse!
Toshiba USB DockThe features include:

  • One simple USB 3.0 cable connection to all your accessories
  • HDMI out port for Full HD video and gaming
  • 6 USb ports
  • 5.1 -channel surround sound through HDMI or 3.5 mm audio ports
  • 2 easy access front USB 3.0 “always on” sleep and charge ports
  • Fast USB 3.0 data transfer speed to USB 3.0 external storage devices

GefenTV Wireless Video/Audio Extender
Your lessons will never go unseen or unheard with this device.  It sends high definition audio and video to any HDTV display up to 80 feet.  It transmits within the room and does not require line-of-sight placement of transceivers for good reception.
GerenTV ExtenderThe features include:

  • Sends HD audio and video to any HDTV display up to 80 feet
  • Supports resolutions up to 1080p Full HD
  • HDMI supported

Asus O!Play Mini 6″ Digital Av Player
This device will truly enhance your lesson plans with it’s HD quality video and 7.1 -channel audio so you can share exciting movies, music and photos with your classroom.
Asus digital playerThe features include:

  • HD media player
  • Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Channel surround and full HD 1080p theater-like enjoyment
  • Auto subtitle detection

Howard wants to help you with all of your classroom needs, and we are happy to answer any questions so you can go back to school fully prepared every year!
Howard EDU

Fascinating Technology Statistics

There was a time when people used a  paper map to assist in navigating road trips or you had to practice saying your name (including message) at record speeds, when calling collect on a payphone.

These days, it would cause sheer panic to leave the house without your smartphone (which typically includes a built in GPS system).  Technology has brought exciting new innovations and people have come to rely heavily on their technological devices, which is why Howard Industries works hard to bring you the most innovative and top quality technology.

We found some interesting (some quite funny) statistics about the use of technology today!

Smartphones

  • 60% of U.S. smartphone owners check their phones at least every hourSmartphone Stat
  • Are you complaining about being tired, well 54% said they check their phone at all hours of the night while going to sleep
  • Apparently, there is no getting away from your phone, 40% check their phone while on the toilet
  • We even spend time worrying about our phones, 94% are concerned about losing their phone
  • Apparently, the connection we form with our phones are very emotional, 73% say they felt panicked when they lost their phone

Video Games

  • If you don’t own a gaming device, you are missing out, 73% of households own a device Gamer_Statthey specifically use for gaming
  • You can game anywhere, 23% of households own a handheld console
  • Never to young or to old to play video games, the average age of a gamer is 34 years old
  • Not just for boys, 40% of all gamers are female

The Younger Generation and Technology

  • 63% of women 18-34 report that they refuse to go an hour without checking their phone,Teen Computer_Stat topped by men at 73% 
  • Teens will probably never understand finding research in a book, 93% of teens ages 12-17 go online
  • It’s no longer just a privilege, 69% of teens have their own computer
  • To put it into perspective, 69% of children aged 2-5 can use a computer mouse, but only 11% can tie their shoelaces

 

Resources:
Lookout Report
Webwise Kids
VentureBeat News
LPC International
Entertainment Software Rating Board

All About Howard

HowardsThe History of Howard:

In 1968, a young Billy W. Howard, Sr. left his successful career at General Electric to return to his native Mississippi and create his own company, Howard Industries.  Over the next three decades and with the assistance of his wife, Linda, Howard Industries has grown to become a billion dollar company consisting of four separate divisions plus a wholly-owned subsidiary, Howard transportation.  While the Howards readily attribute their success to the hard work of their employees and their commitment to creating, supplying, and supporting superior products and services, you cannot overlook their inspiration.

Learn More about Our Different Divisions:

Power SolutionsPower Solutions
Howard Power Solutions, originally known as Howard Industries, was founded in 1968 by Billy W. Howard, Sr.  Over the past four decades this company has grown to be the nation’s leading manufacturer of distribution transformers, with over 7 million transformers in service throughout the United States and abroad.  Located in Laurel, MS, this facility has 2 million square feet, making it the largest transformer plant in the world.  Our newest transformer division, Howard Substation Transformers, located near corporate headquarters, began manufacturing operations in April 2005 producing power transformers with higher KVA and voltage ratings.

Technology SolutionsTechnology Solutions
Our new Corporate Headquarters is also home to our technology division, Howard Technology Solutions, and its medical division, Howard Medical.  These 2 divisions bring to market cutting-edge, high-quality technology and medical equipment.  Whether selling Howard-manufactured products such as desktops, notebooks, servers and medical carts or partnering with other industry-leading companies to provide over 250,000 products, one can be sure when you buy from Howard, the needed equipment is available at affordable prices.

Lighting ProductsLighting Products
Howard Lighting Products markets a vast portfolio including electronic and magnetic fluorescent ballasts, magnetic HID ballasts, as well as fluorescent lamps, T5/T8 fluorescent lamps, and halogen lamps.  This division continually updates their product lines to meet the ever-changing demands of the market.  They currently have products in use at Johnson Space Center, Kennedy Space Center, Camp Pendleton, CIA Headquarters, Fort Bragg, and numerous other U.S. government installations, as well as many, many private facilities.

TransportationTransportation
Howard Transportation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Howard Industries, Inc., operates a full-load, long-haul, flat-bed common carrier truck line and brokerage firm that transports commodities and industrial goods throughout the continental United States.  Initially started to transport Howard Power Solutions’ raw materials and finished products, this division today consists of over 200 trucks with regional terminal facilities also located in West Virginia and North Carolina.

Mobile Device Solutions

Mobile Device Solutions_Graphic
With the number of mobile devices growing at a rapid rate, individuals and businesses are facing the challenge of managing all devices safely and securely.  Howard carries the latest mobile education technology from the following brands and more.

AVer CartAVer Carts
Classroom technology you can count on.
The new AVer TabSync is sleek, compact and full of energy; ready to charge, store, secure and transport up to 32 tablets, and sync iPads at the same time.  TabSync is made to significantly save schools time and money when deploying and managing multiple tablet devices.

Earthwalk Cart_MobileEarthwalk Carts
Customized solutions for your classroom needs.
Earthwalk has worked tirelessly to develop and provide the industry’s most comprehensive selection of computer charging carts and mobile computer labs.  With Earthwalk you are sure to find the solution that fits your specific needs.

Lenovo NotebooksLenovo_Mobile
Best in class.
Designed to make teachers more effective, IT managers less stressed and students further empowered.  Lenovo Notebooks also save time, money and resources.

Samsung_MobileSamsung Notebooks
Smart choice solutions.
Samsung mobile education solutions let learning happen anywhere with durable, cost effective laptops designed to keep students interested and engaged in and out of the classroom.

HP_MobileHP Notebooks
Power boosters.
HP Notebooks have a best-in-class design, leading technologies, and are feature-rich with greater security, enhanced manageability and premium customer support.

Mimio_MobileMimio Wireless Pen Tablet
A better way to learn.
Teachers rejoice! With the new MimioPad wireless pen tablet, you can break free and control your interactive whiteboard from anywhere in the classroom.

Lenovo Tablet_MobileLenovo Tablets
Redefining the industry.
ThinkPad tablets combine ultra-mobility, complete connectivity and smooth multi-touch comfort with the virtues of rugged reliability and unmatched security.

Tablet Case_MobileTablet Accessories
Enhance your investment.
Many classroom tablets are damaged or broken.  Protect your investment with tablet cases and accessories offered by Howard Technology Solutions.