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Chamundi Hills- Mysore.

Visitor Information

  • Famous For: Tourism, Temple, Nature, Panorama and Photography
  • Entrance Fee: The entry is free.
  • Visiting Time: (i) 7:30 am to 2:00 (ii) 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm (iii) 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm – The Chamundi hills houses the Sri Chamundeswari Temple which is open from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm every day, while it closes during lunch time and at twilight.
  • Visit Duration: The visit duration is estimated to be an hour or two.

Mysore is one of the largest cities in the state of Karnataka and is a major factor that adds to the state’s tourism industry. Mysore, the city of palaces, has a rich history and has several tourist attractions. The Chamundi hills in Mysore, is a top tourist magnet that draws in photographers, nature lovers and Hindu devotees, every day of the year.

Traveller Tips

  • The Chamundi hills is a splendid viewpoint that covers a wide angle of the Mysore city. Take your camera and binoculars with you to admire the panorama to the fullest.
  • Maintain silence within the temples, located on the hill.
  • Be prepared to wait in queue, to visit the temple. The hills get overly crowded sometimes, especially during Dussehra which falls sometime in September or October.
  • The place might get windy at times. Ensure you wear comfortable and cozy clothing.
  • If you are planning to reach the summit of the hill, by the stone stairway, ensure that you wear proper footwear. Carry your water bottle with you.

Things to Do

  • The Chamundi hill top provides a breathtaking view of the Mysore city and one can very well identify the Mysore Maharaja Palace and the Karanji Lake, from the hill top.
  • The picturesque landscape surrounding the hills, deserves to make its way to your photo album. Click the most scenic shots with friends and family, right at the summit of the hills.
  • The hill summit can be reached via road or by taking the stairs. If you are adventurous, prefer taking the stone stairs. It might be tedious but once you reach the hill’s summit, you realize how much worth the sweat was.
  • Devotees and tourists can spend some time in the temples located on the hill, to feel the divinity.

Availability of Guides

Local guides are available for assistance.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Chamundi hills is dawn and dusk. In the late hours of the day, during the Dussehra festival, a view of Mysore from the top of Chamundi hills is like a dream that makes you wonder at the immense beauty of the fully lit up city.

How to Reach

The nearest airport to Mysore is the Bangalore International Airport. Bangalore is one of the most prominent Indian cities which is well connected to the rest of the country by road, rail and air. It is easy to reach Mysore from Bangalore and takes only 3 hours. Mysore is connected by buses and trains to all prominent cities in South India. After reaching Mysore, one can take a taxi or local bus to the foot of the Chamundi hills.

Interesting Facts and Trivia About Chamundi Hills

  • Chamundi hills is located thirteen kilometers off the city of Mysore.
  • The hills are elevated about a kilometer from the sea level.
  • The Chamundeswari temple is located at the hill top. As legends say, goddess Chamundi Devi (Chamundeswari) killed a demon in this place and that is how the place got its name.
  • The very ancient Mahabaleshvara temple is also present in the Chamundi hills and is a pilgrimage site,
  • Mahabalachala is the real name of the Chamundi hills, according to mythology.
  • A statue of demon Mahishasura, is present in the Chamundeswari temple.
  • The sanctum of the temple houses the uniquely posed sculpture of goddess Chamundi Devi.
  • The old stone stairway that leads to the summit of the hill, has one thousand and eight steps.
  • The statue of bull Nandi is present about halfway to the hill top. This bull is considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva. This statue is carved from a single stone of black granite. The statue is 490 centimeters in height and has a length of 760 centimeters.

Nearby Attractions

  • Mysore Palace
  • Philomena’s Cathedral
  • Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum
  • Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery
  • Brindavan Gardens
  • Mysore Zoo
  • Jaganmohan Palace
  • Karanji Lake

Nearby Restaurants

  • Vinayaka Mylari
  • Kamat Madhuvan
  • Durga Restaurant
  • Olive Garden
  • Café D
  • Gufha
  • Om Shanthi
  • The Foodie Restaurant
  • RRR Restaurant
  • The Old House
  • Spring

The Chamundi Hills is a must visit if you are travelling to Mysore. The serene hills are a nature lover’s delight, and the temple located on the hills beckons all devotees to its peaceful abode. So, ensure you check out this fabulous spot, the next time you make your way to Mysore.

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Dhanushkodi is the place where you can see the origin of the Ram Setu.

While on one side there’s a wide variety of landscapes, right from the seas to the mountains, on the other, there’s a plethora of languages, cultures and a rich history.

Dhanushkodi, located in the Rameshwaram district of Tamil Nadu, is the place where the wonders of nature and man become one. A place shrouded in mystery, this is a place that’s easy to miss by the regular tourist. Not only because it’s not really a part of the tourist map, but also because this place is hard to reach.

Nonetheless, Dhanushkodi is a place an exploring traveller would love to visit and know more about. For reaching this place one needs to cross over to the Pamban Island from the mainland. The best way to do this is by train, through the famous Pamban Bridge.

It’s here that the journey to Dhanushkodi begins through several fishing villages, accompanied by the mesmerising views of the Palk Strait on both sides. The Palk Strait is the one that stretches between India and Sri Lanka.

After a rather bumpy ride, which is only possible on 4×4 vehicles, thanks to some large sandy stretches on the way, the ‘ghost town’ of Dhanushkodi will welcome you. A long time ago, especially during the British Raj, Dhanushkodi was a small yet prosperous town. It had everything you expect a town full of residents to have–railway station, a church, a temple, a post office, and houses, among other things.

Bordered by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, Dhanushkodi once used to serve as an important port for both traders and pilgrims. Ferry services were available between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar, a town in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). These ferries used to transport both goods and travellers across the sea, from one country to the other. The town of Dhanushkodi was home to all kinds of facilities a traveller would need–hotels, dharamshalas, and textile shops catering to pilgrims, travellers, and traders. And believe it or not, Sri Lanka is located at a distance of just 31 km from this town.

When everything came to an end

But all of these things is no more than history now, thanks to a cyclone that took place in the year 1964. It destroyed everything, and what remains now is a sandy shoreline with ruins dating back to those days.

Although with the stunning views of the two oceans and a beautiful shoreline, Dhanushkodi is a picturesque place to be, there’s an eeriness to the fact that what once used to be a town so significant, is nothing more than a ruin now. The only residents of this island now are the 500 fishermen folk who stay here for the sake of their livelihood in about 50 hutments that are spread across the place.

Ram Setu
Apart from the coastal charm and the mysteries attached to the place, there’s one more thing that makes Dhanushkodi a really unique place to visit. And it dates back to none other than our mythological history, Ramayana.

The town of Dhanushkodi is believed to be the place where Lord Rama had ordered Lord Hanumana to build a bridge which could carry his army across to Sri Lanka, where Demon King Ravana had kept Sita captive. As ordered, Lord Hanuman had obliged and it was here that the Ram Setu was built by the Vanara Sena.

If myths are to be believed, a particularly beautiful stretch of sandy shore you see from Dhanushkodi is the place from where the Ram Setu starts. This is also believed to be the end of the bridge which Lord Rama had broken using his bow and arrow.

Also known as the Adam’s Bridge globally, no one really knows if this is the Ram Setu, but satellite pictures taken over time, and a recent image released by NASA have confirmed that the a stretch of land formation visible between Dhanushkodi and the Sri Lankan mainland is certainly man-made.

We don’t know what the real truth is–research is being done over it for years now. But what we can say about this place with absolute certainty is the fact that as a traveller, Dhanushkodi will never cease to charm and surprise you with its unique mix of history, myth, mystery and unparalleled natural beauty. While sea lovers will love this place to the core, it will prove to be a paradise for birders for its population of migratory birds who fly to this place from places as far as Australia, and those having a hobby of collecting shells for this place is home to the rarest of them.

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Sringeri – Of Temples.

Sringeri is a town located in the Chikkamangaluru district in the state of Karnataka. The hill town is situated on the banks of the River Tunga and is located at a distance of 107 km from Mangalore and 336 km from Bangalore. It can be easily reached from Mangalore through Karkala.

Sringeri holds significance in Karnataka due to the first matha, which was established by Adi Shankaracharya. The first of the four peetha was established here. Located amidst the Western Ghats, the name of Sringeri is derived from Rishyashringa-giri which is a nearby hill and is believed to have contained the rich heritage of Rishi Vibhandaka and his son Rishyashringa.

Sringeri Sharda Peetham

The town is also known as Sringeri Sharda Peetham and it has a 1200 year- old temple located there. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya chose the site to stay and teach his disciples and impressed with his place, he stayed here for twelve years. He then also established mathas in North India, East India, and West India. Adi Shankaracharya has constructed four temples in all the four directions – these include Kere Anjaneya Temple in the West, Kala Bhairava Temple in the East, Durgamba Temple in the South and Kalikamba Temple in the North.

Must-visit Temples 

There are a large number of temples with historic importance in Sringeri. Sri Sharadamba Temple, Sri Vidyashankara Temple as well as the Parshwanath Jain Temple are very important. At the entrance of the temple, one can sight the beautiful Vidyashankara Temple, which has a blend of the Dravidian, Viyayanagar and Hoyala style of architecture.

Sringeri is well known as a learning center due to the many temples and maths. Many students come down here to learn Vedic philosophy. A variety of options for accommodation are available at Sringeri.

Sightseeing in and around Sringeri

Shardamba Temple: Sharada Devi sits as a deity in Shardamba temple. She is seen seated on a Chakra Peetham and a parrot is seen perched on the top of her hand along side holding a Japa mala. This matha is in charge of the Yadur Veda, which is very prominent in South India. The first image made of sandalwood was installed by Adi Shankaracharya and it was later replaced by a golden image during the 14th century. The Sharada Navrathri festival is celebrated here for 11 days. Friday holds a special importance here because of a procession.

Vidyashankara Temple: It has the famous vidyathirta linga and it is a temple which was built for the memory of the Guru Vidyashankara. The temple was built during the 14th century with the help of the Vijayanagar rulers. This temple has twelve pillars which are called Rashistambhas (zodiacal pillars). The symbols of all of the twelve zodiac signs are engraved over the pillars. They believed that its design had some astronomical concepts and Sankara Jayanti is widely celebrated here.

Sirimane Falls: The falls are located at a distance of 12 kms from the town. Once can easily hire vehicles from Sringeri to the falls.

Hanumanagundi Falls: The Hanumanagundi Falls are well known as Soothanabbi falls and they lie between Sringeri and Horanadu. The falls are at a distance of 36 kms from the town. The falls are located in a National Forest which is famous for the Shola forests.

The best time to visit Sringeri is from October to March.

How to Reach Sringeri

By Air

The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport at a distance of 105 kms.

By Rail

The city Shimoga which is at a distance of 95 kms from Sringeri is well connected to Bangalore through the rail route. Sringeri is at a distance of 86 kms from Chikkamagaluru which is connected to Bangalore through a rail line via Kadur.

By Road

The town can be reached from Mangalore or Chikkamagaluru by a well-connected road network. Udupi is also at a distance of 80 kms. Various private and KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore as well as Sringeri to Shimoga.

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Having a Field Day with Your Android Apps? So Do Cyber Criminals!

You love your Android phone and you love to go to the Play Store and download exciting new apps. You have also been through the Crazy Birds obsession and the Candi Crush mania. But do you know that your Android phone is not secured against the smartest of breaches: mobile app hackers. Before we go ahead and explain the intensity of this threat to mobile apps, especially Android apps, let’s have a look at the facts and figures, reported by Arxan, regarding mobile app hacks:

  • 97% of top 100 paid Android apps have been hacked.
  • 87% of top 100 paid iOS apps have been hacked.
  • 80% of popular free Android apps have been hacked.
  • 75% of the popular free iOS apps have been hacked.

and more 97% of top 100 paid Android apps have been hacked. 87% of top 100 paid iOS apps have been hacked. 80% of popular free Android apps have been hacked. 75% of the popular free iOS apps have been hacked.

These facts and figures are horrifying. What we once considered a safe way of computing, exchanging information and thoughts and communicating with others, has turned out to be totally vulnerable to security threats like mobile app breaches. Our intention is not to frighten you, but reality is harsh. The oh so glorious Google’s Android OS is not safe. What if we tell you that an app that you have on your Android phone, is likely to be a fake, produced by some smart cybercriminals? After Google decided to transform the Android Market into Google Play, such criminals have great fun producing fake apps. Even Google Play is compromised, what do you expect from Android apps on your phone?

What to do? One option might be to live in a layman’s Utopia and believe that malwares and hacking are only for computers, and that your smart phone is immune. Another option, and a smart one, is to consider a security plan against mobile app hacking. When we talk about the security of apps on your mobile phone, specifically for an Android phone, the security can be provided at three different levels. One layer of protection is on device level; it varies from device to device and approach focuses on the device and not the operating system, let alone the vulnerable apps. Another layer of security is on the operating system level. This may vary from iOS to Android, but again the vulnerability of apps is not fully addressed in this type of security doctrine. A whole new level of security is at the application level. There are different types of apps in a mobile phone. We are not discussing the difference due to their functions e.g. fun, games, entertainment or communication but by the difference design of the apps. The more important apps are the custom apps presented in every Android phone. Just imagine if someone successfully infiltrates into your Gmail app? Your personal correspondence and financial communication would be at the mercy of a vicious stranger.

You need maximum security, and that can only be ensured with the help of a reliable tool to provide security on the application level. This type of security ensures that you get strong protection against app hacking attempts and keep your financial and personal details safe.

Enjoy using certain custom and downloaded apps on your Android phone all you want, but bear in mind the importance of maximum app security.

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Cybercrime’s Most Wanted: Four Mobile Threats that Might Surprise You.

It’s hard to imagine a world without cellphones. Whether it be a smartphone or a flip phone, these devices have truly shaped the late 20th century and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But while users have become accustomed to having almost everything they could ever want at fingertips length, cybercriminals were busy setting up shop. To trick unsuspecting users, cybercriminals have set up crafty mobile threats – some that users may not even be fully aware of. These sneaky cyberthreats include SMSishing, fake networks, malicious apps, and grayware, which have all grown in sophistication over time. This means users need to be equipped with the know-how to navigate the choppy waters that come with these smartphone-related cyberthreats. Let’s get started.

Watch out for SMSishing Hooks

If you use email, then you are probably familiar with what phishing is. And while phishing is commonly executed through email and malicious links, there is a form of phishing that specifically targets mobile devices called SMSishing. This growing threat allows cybercriminals to utilize messaging apps to send unsuspecting users a SMSishing message. These messages serve one purpose – to obtain personal information, such as logins and financial information. With that information, cybercriminals could impersonate the user to access banking records or steal their identity.

While this threat was once a rarity, it’s rise in popularity is two-fold. The first aspect being that users have been educated to distrust email messages and the second being the rise in mobile phone usage throughout the world. Although this threat shows no sign of slowing down, there are ways to avoid a cybercriminal’s SMSishing hooks. Get started with these tips:

  1. Always double-check the message’s source. If you receive a text from your bank or credit card company, call the organization directly to ensure the message is legit.
  2. Delete potential SMSishing Do not reply to or click on any links within a suspected malicious text, as that could lead to more SMSishing attempts bombarding your phone.
  3. Invest in comprehensive mobile security. Adding an extra level of security can not only help protect your device but can also notify you when a threat arises.

Public Wi-Fi Woes  

Public and free Wi-Fi is practically everywhere nowadays, with some destinations even having city-wide Wi-Fi set up. But that Wi-Fi users are connecting their mobile device to may not be the most secure, given cybercriminals can exploit weaknesses in these networks to intercept messages, login credentials, or other personal information. Beyond exploiting weaknesses, some cybercriminals take it a step further and create fake networks with generic names that trick unsuspecting users into connecting their devices. These networks are called “evil-twin” networks. For help in spotting these imposters, there are few tricks the savvy user can deploy to prevent an evil twin network from wreaking havoc on their mobile device:

  1. Look for password-protected networks. As strange as it sounds, if you purposely enter the incorrect password but are still allowed access, the network is most likely a fraud.
  2. Pay attention to page load times. If the network you are using is very slow, it is more likely a cybercriminal is using an unreliable mobile hotspot to connect your mobile device to the web.
  3. Use a virtual private network or VPN. While you’re on-the-go and using public Wi-Fi, add an extra layer of security in the event you accidentally connect to a malicious network. VPNs can encrypt your online activity and keep it away from prying eyes. 

Malicious Apps: Fake It till They Make It

Fake apps have become a rampant problem for Android and iPhone users alike. This is mainly in part due to malicious apps hiding in plain sight on legitimate sources, such as the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. After users download a faulty app, cybercriminals deploy malware that operates in the background of mobile devices which makes it difficult for users to realize anything is wrong. And while users think they’ve just downloaded another run-of-the-mill app, the malware is hard at work obtaining personal data.

In order to keep sensitive information out of the hands of cybercriminals, here are a few things users can look for when they need to determine whether an app is fact or fiction:

  1. Check for typos and poor grammar. Always check the app developer name, product title, and description for typos and grammatical errors. Often, malicious developers will spoof real developer IDs, even just by a single letter or number, to seem legitimate.
  2. Examine the download statistics. If you’re attempting to download a popular app, but it has a surprisingly low number of downloads, that is a good indicator that an app is most likely fake.
  3. Read the reviews. With malicious apps, user reviews are your friend. By reading a few, you can receive vital information that can help you determine whether the app is fake or not.

The Sly Operation of Grayware

With so many types of malware out in the world, it’s hard to keep track of them all. But there is one in particular that mobile device users need to be keenly aware of called grayware. As a coverall term for software or code that sits between normal and malicious, grayware comes in many forms, such as adware, spyware or madware. While adware and spyware can sometimes operate simultaneously on infected computers, madware — or adware on mobile devices — infiltrates smartphones by hiding within rogue apps. Once a mobile device is infected with madware from a malicious app, ads can infiltrate almost every aspect on a user’s phone. Madware isn’t just annoying; it also is a security and privacy risk, as some threats will try to obtain users’ data. To avoid the annoyance, as well as the cybersecurity risks of grayware, users can prepare their devices with these cautionary steps:

  1. Be sure to update your device. Grayware looks for vulnerabilities that can be exploited, so be sure to always keep your device’s software up-to-date.
  2. Beware of rogue apps. As mentioned in the previous section, fake apps are now a part of owning a smartphone. Use the tips in the above section to ensure you keep malicious apps off of your device that may contain grayware.
  3. Consider a comprehensive mobile security system. By adding an extra level of security, you can help protect your devices from threats, both old and new.
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What Can Someone Do With Your Phone Number.

Just about everyone these days has a cell phone, and it has become intrinsically linked to our identity. Identity thieves are always searching for new ways to get your information and use it for identity theft or fraud.

The most significant danger of handing out your mobile device number is that it could fall into the hands of a cybercriminal and steal information from cell phone. With so much information available in public records and sold on the dark web from data breaches, your cell phone number could link you to a lot of other personal or sensitive information like logins, usernames, passwords, and more.

SMS Insecurity

A lot of apps are linked to your cell phone number also. Using two-factor authentication is great and keeps things safer, but if you have compromised phone number, then hackers have the keys to the kingdom. Some SMS systems are insecure and hackable. Therefore, someone would potentially get that special code that is texted to you from an app, and they could log into your account and change the password before you even realize what is going on. It’s crucial to use end-to-end encrypted SMS platforms for all your communications.

SIM Swapping

SIM swapping is another danger where nefarious criminals use SIM cards linked to your phone to steal access to your phone number and carrier account. This type of danger is very real and scary and usually involves social engineering to trick the phone company representative. By having your cell number, a scammer could trick caller ID systems and get into your financial accounts or call financial institutions that use your phone number to identify you.

Once the scammer convinces your carrier to port out your number, you may never get it back. Scam porting is a big problem for phone owners.

Can Someone Steal My Phone Number?

Yes. Your phone number is out there on the web in various locations. Scammers can use stolen cell phone numbers and use it for two-factor authentication codes and other access to all your texts, apps, and other online accounts, they could have your cell phone number hijacked and do it through SIM swapping. This is how it occurs:

First, they buy a burner phone and pop a new SIM card into it. They then call your wireless phone carrier and pretend to be you. If the hacker has enough information to convince the person, they may transfer your service and phone number to that blank SIM card and the new burner phone. Now your phone number has been stolen, and you aren’t even aware of it. All your texts, phone calls, and 2FA codes will now go to the hacker’s phone instead of yours. If you have access to bank accounts and other apps tied to your phone number, they will now have access to that stuff as well. Many location-based systems will think it’s you just by the scammer calling from your phone number. If hackers get this far, they can then change all your passwords and lock you out of your own accounts. Very scary stuff.

How Do Scammers Get Your Phone Number?

One of the most common ways scammers get your phone number is through the many data breaches and treasure troves of raw data found and sold on the dark web.

Another way is by picking through your trash and grabbing an old bill with your phone number on it.

Using a people search site, someone could glean a whole lot of information on cell phone numbers, such as any criminal records, past addresses, social media accounts, arrests, warrants, court cases, relatives’ information, and more.

How Much Info Can You Get From a Cell Phone Number?

It’s actually quite shocking how much information you can get from just a cell phone number. The list begins with your name and possibly address. Some other things might be:

  • Past addresses.
  • Relatives’ names.
  • Where you live.
  • Your assets and how much you paid for your house.
  • All your criminal records.
  • Driving records.
  • Legal issues (bankruptcy, liens, taxes, court cases, lawsuits, etc.).
  • Travel information.
  • Social media accounts.
  • Other online accounts.
  • Email addresses.
  • Vital records.
  • Deep web and dark web records.
  • Mugshots.
  • Professional licenses.
  • IP address.
  • VIN number.
steal information from cell phone

11 Ways How Can Scammers Use Your Phone Number

Unfortunately, the power of your phone number is immense, giving hackers and scammers a lot of options to do bad things. Some of the most common are:

  1. Access your social media accounts.
  2. Text message or contact your friends and family to scam them.
  3. Spoofing your phone number and calling people you know to commit fraud.
  4. Text phishing messages to your contacts – this is called “smishing.”
  5. Hijack your mobile phone number and take over your digital life.
  6. Commit identity theft pretending to be you.
  7. Access your online bank accounts or credit card accounts and take them over. 
  8. Use your number for robocalls. 
  9. Send phishing emails to your email account. 
  10. SIM swap to steal your phone number. 
  11.  Access your voicemail.

What Steps to Take if Scammers are Using Your Phone Number

The best way to avoid this cybersecurity disaster is to prevent it from ever happening. However, if you suddenly find that scammers are using your phone number to commit fraud or scam others, you should take these immediate steps:

  • Contact your wireless service provider and report the abuse. Ask them to put a secondary password on your account so no one can take it over without the password. 
  • Let your friends and family know that your number is being used in this way.
  • Stop giving your phone number out online and to anyone who requests it.
  • Stay clear of websites and apps that link to your phone.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication for all your accounts.
  • Get a phone number through Google voice which is not linked to anything else.
  • Never click on links in texts or email. Malware is often linked to text messages or email.
  • Use very strong passwords and never reuse them on multiple websites.
  • Use third-party authenticators when you can. 
  • Update your security questions on all accounts including Gmail.

Do all you can to keep your phone number safe from hackers and identity thieves.

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DIFFERENT WAYS THAT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS CAN BE EXPLOITED BY HACKERS.

At the very least, you need to understand the damage done when a hacker gains access to your email. Here are just a few ways in which cyber-criminals can exploit your email address.

Scamming Your Contact List

This is where most hackers begin. When they gain entry to your email account, they also gain access to your digital contact list. If you have ever received a strange email from a friend asking you to click a link or send money, chances is hacking of the account. The link’s intention is to infect your computer or the money is going to the hacker.

Mass Email Scams

Once hackers have finished targeting your contacts, they will likely move on to larger email scams. They do this by using your email address to send out massive mailings to lists of unknown recipients. Phishing scams try to get recipients to click a spam link, download a malicious file, or send information or money is commonplace. Hackers rarely use email addresses traced back to them. Why should they when they can use an address that leads to you?

Infiltrating Devices and Programs

With strong password protection, a secure email service, and some common sense, such as not to click spam links or download dangerous files. This gives the opportunity to avoid having your email hacked. If hacked, however, chances are even HIPAA encryption levels cannot stop hackers from infiltrating your computer, programs, attached mobile devices, your cloud, and even online shopping accounts.

Most people put all their eggs in one basket. If hackers gain access to your email, they could have an open doorway to any number of other devices and accounts. They can use your email to reset other account passwords, gain access to credit information, or even delete accounts, such as social media profiles.

Ruining Your Online Reputation

With strong password protection, a secure email service, and some common sense, such as not to click spam links or download dangerous files. This gives the opportunity to avoid having your email hacked. If hacked, however, chances are even HIPAA encryption levels cannot stop hackers from infiltrating your computer, programs, attached mobile devices, your cloud, and even online shopping accounts.

Most people put all their eggs in one basket. If hackers gain access to your email, they could have an open doorway to any number of other devices and accounts. They can use your email to reset other account passwords, gain access to credit information, or even delete accounts, such as social media profiles.

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10 Cyber security Tips for Online Shopping.

  1. Skip the debit card
    When shopping online it’s best to stick to credit cards or payment services like Paypal. Because debit cards are linked to your bank account, you’re at much higher risk if someone is able to hack your information. Credit cards offer more protection and less liability if a card number gets stolen. This is one time when it pays to put it on plastic.

“When a fraudulent site or transaction is found, credit card companies will typically immediately reverse the charge and conduct an investigation. “If you use your debit card and there is a problem, your bank may not give you the money back until after an investigation is conducted, which could take weeks or months.”

  1. Shop secure sites only
    Before entering any personal or financial information, make sure you verify that the site you are on is legitimate and secure. The easiest way to tell is to look for “https” at the beginning of a site’s address. If you don’t see the “s” at the end of “http,” then the site is not encrypted and your data will not be secure. All legitimate shopping sites will have the “s” for your protection.
  2. Update your software

    Updating your software is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your information, but many people put it off. Software updates are often released to help improve security and fight new attacks that are being developed constantly. It may seem inconvenient to have to wait for your computer (or your smartphone) to go through updates and restart, but the protective benefits are well worth it. Next time you see an alert to update your software, do it.

Outsmart email scams
The holidays are a great time for email scammers to send out viruses and malware in the guise of a gift or special offer. Don’t open emails from someone you don’t know or a site you haven’t visited. Another way the bad guys try to get you is with phony messages from your bank or other financial institution saying there is an alert or problem with your account. Always call the bank directly to verify any potential problems and never enter your account information in response to an email like this.

Don’t click on links
In addition to sneaky attacks in emails, beware of links to deals that are too good to be true on social networking sites. Look out for unbelievable offers and holiday gifts and bonuses. If you’re really tempted by an offer, do some research or find out if anyone else has tried to take advantage of the deal before clicking.

Beef up your passwords
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There’s a reason this piece of advice may sound like a broken record — it’s really important. Secure, unique passwords are your best gatekeepers when it comes to keeping your private information private. If you use the same password for multiple sites, take the time to change them up. If you want to be virtually hack-proof, use a password generator and manager to help you devise and keep track of the types of long, complicated passwords that are not worth a hacker’s time to crack.

Never give more info than needed
Most websites you visit or shop on will ask you for information to complete your purchase or start a wish list. Give them only the information they require you to provide. If a complete address or phone number is optional, then skip those fields. The more info you put out there, the more accessible you are to a bad guy. And before committing your information to a site, take the time to read their privacy policy and find out exactly where and how your information will be shared.

Don’t go public
Free hotspots are like manna from heaven when you’re out and about, but hackers like them even more than you do. Because public networks aren’t secured, any information you enter on a public network is ripe for the picking. Don’t log in to banking sites or payment sites like Paypal on a public network — and make sure that you are logged out of such sites on mobile devices before connecting to a public network.

Be smart about shopping apps
Apps make everything more convenient, including stealing your private information. Only download shopping apps from a reliable source like the Apple App Store or Android Market. Pay attention to the permissions that the app asks for. If you see something that doesn’t make sense, like access to your contacts, make sure you don’t allow the app access to it. Checking out the comments and reviews of an app before downloading is another way to identify suspicious activity.

Put devices on lockdown
One of the perks of online shopping is that you can do it from anywhere and use any device. Make sure every device that you shop from has security software in place. Always use a passcode to access your tablet or smartphone, and log off your computer or lock the screen when you walk away from it. After accessing a shopping or banking site, be sure to completely log out of the site before exiting, and don’t let your computer or device remember your usernames, passwords, or credit card information.

A stolen identity is even worse than a lump of coal in your stocking. Make sure you have only nice surprises this holiday season by sticking to these smart online shopping tips to keep you and your information protected.

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5 mobile security threats you can protect yourself from.

Once your phone is hacked, your other devices may be next if they are connected. That’s because your overall online security is only as strong as the weakest link in your chain of connected devices. Malware can spread from your hacked phone to your tablet or another mobile device through the network.

This article identifies five mobile security threats and how you can help protect yourself from them.

1. Madware and spyware

Madware is short for mobile adware. It’s a script or program installed on your phone, often without your consent. Its job? To collect your data for the purpose of better targeting you with ads. On top of that, madware often comes attached at the hip with spyware. Spyware collects data about you based on your internet usage and transmits it to a third party. That data is then bought and used by companies to send you advertisements. However, seeing more ads is the least of your worries when it comes to spyware. It also collects information about your location, internet usage, and even your contacts. This makes it a problem not just for you, but perhaps also for everyone you know.

2. Viruses and Trojans 

Viruses and Trojans can also attack your mobile devices. They typically come attached to what appear to be legitimate programs. They can then hijack your mobile device and mine the information it holds or has access to, such as your banking information. Viruses and Trojans have also been known to send premium text messages that can be costly

3. Drive-by downloads

Drive-by downloads refer to any malware installed on your device without consent. If you visit the wrong website or open the wrong email, you might be exposed to a drive-by download that automatically installs a malicious file on your mobile device. The file could be anything from adwaremalware or spyware to something far more nefarious, like a bot, which can use your phone to perform malicious tasks.

4. Browser exploits

Browser exploits take advantage of known security flaws in your mobile browser. Browser exploits also work against other applications that function with your browser, such as PDF readers. If you see that your mobile browser’s homepage or search page has unexpectedly changed, it could be a sign that you’re a victim of a browser exploit.

5. Phishing and grayware apps

Phishing apps are a new take on an old theme. In the past, criminals would send emails that appeared to come from a trusted source. They’d ask for personal information, such as your password, hoping you’d be trusting enough to respond. Phishing apps are designed to look like real apps, and a mobile device’s smaller screen can make it even more difficult to tell the difference. These fake apps secretly collect the information you input — passwords, account numbers, and more.

Grayware apps aren’t completely malicious, but they can be troublesome because they often expose users to privacy risks.

How to protect yourself from mobile security threats

Mobile security threats may sound scary, but here are six steps you can take to help protect yourself from them.

  1. Keep your software updated. Only 20 percent of Android devices are running the newest version and only 2.3 percent are on the latest release.1 Everything from your operating system to your social network apps are potential gateways for hackers to compromise your mobile device. Keeping software up to date ensures the best protection against most mobile security threats.
  2. Choose mobile security. Just like computers, your mobile devices also need internet security. Make sure to select mobile security software from a trusted provider and keep it up to date.
  3. Install a firewall. Most mobile phones do not come with any kind of firewall protection. Installing a firewall provides you with much stronger protection against digital threats and allows you to safeguard your online privacy.
  4. Always use a passcode on your phone. Remember that loss or physical theft of your mobile device can also compromise your information.
  5. Download apps from official app stores. Both the Google Play and Apple App stores vet the apps they sell; third-party app stores don’t always. Buying from well-known app stores may not ensure you never get a bad app, but it can help reduce your risk.
  6. Always read the end-user agreement. Before installing an app, read the fine print. Grayware purveyors rely on your not reading their terms of service and allowing their malicious software onto your device.