The Importance Of Having An Email Newsletter

Most business owners understand the importance of being active on at least one social media channel. That’s fine as far as it goes, but have you considered supplementing your social media presence with a good, old-fashioned newsletter?

Of course, when we say newsletter, we’re not talking about something you print and mail to your customers but rather something you publish electronically and email.

Not many companies do this anymore and that’s a real shame. While social media is fine, a regularly published newsletter can be a powerful companion to your online presence and can have several benefits.

First and foremost, it makes you stand out in the minds of your customers because again, not many companies are doing that anymore.

Second, whether you publish every two weeks or once a month, it gives you an opportunity to reach out to your customers at regular intervals. That keeps you on the collective minds of your customers.  If they’re thinking about you, they’re apt to head to your website or brick and mortar location the next time they need something.

Third, if your newsletter contains case studies or if it highlights the ways in which your company is responding to industry changes, it sends a clear message that you’re an authority on the topics you’re writing about. Everybody loves doing business with experts because experts really know what they’re doing.  It gives your customers peace of mind and confidence when they buy from you, and that makes them more likely to do so.

Finally, it’s a great way to give people who have done business with you before a sneak peek of upcoming products or services you plan to release, which makes them feel like they’re one of the insiders.  They’re in the know in ways that people who don’t get your newsletter simply aren’t, and that helps to create a powerful connection.

All that to say, if you don’t yet have a company newsletter, you may want to give serious consideration to starting one.  Done well, it will help your company in a wide range of ways.

Secret Twitter Accounts Are Not What You Think

Do you have a Twitter account?  Have you been patting yourself on the back while assuming that your identity was a secret, allowing you to ply the waters of Twitter in anonymity?

Unfortunately, that’s probably not the case.  Recently, Twitter disclosed the existence of a critical security vulnerability that allows someone to discern whether a specific phone number or email address is associated with an existing Twitter account.

The company’s blog post related to the matter reads in part as follows:

“In January 2022, we received a report through our bug bounty program of a vulnerability in Twitter’s systems. As a result of the vulnerability, if someone submitted an email address or phone number to Twitter’s systems, Twitter’s systems would tell the person what Twitter account the submitted email addresses or phone number was associated with, if any.”

So much for anonymity.

Apparently, the flaw in the system arose from a code update that the company performed back in June of 2021.

The flaw existed in the code for a total of seven months before Twitter engineers discovered and fixed it. During that time, someone exploited it.  Data tied to more than 5.4 million Twitter users was found for sale on the Dark Web, with the hackers charging a hefty $30,000 (USD) for access.

Twitter has announced that they’ve begun the process of reaching out to any user whose data was compromised.

If you are contacted by Twitter regarding this issue, there’s really nothing to be done.  Your information is out there. Out of an abundance of caution, it would be wise to change your password. If you use the same password on Twitter that you use elsewhere on the web, change those too.

While we’re on that topic, if you are in the habit of using the same password across multiple web properties, now would be an excellent time to develop a new password habit.

Hackers Are Using Personal Messages On WhatsApp To Attack

Are you a WhatsApp user?  If so, be aware that hackers have worked out a means of hijacking a user’s WhatsApp account and gaining access to a user’s contact list and personal messages.

The attack relies on mobile carriers’ automated service to forward calls to different phone numbers, which is a service every major mobile carrier offers.

Unfortunately, it can be exploited by hackers by tricking users into forwarding their calls to a number that the hackers control. So when WhatsApp sends a one-time password (OTP) verification via voice call, the hackers wind up with the code.

Rahul Sasi is the CEO and founder of CloudSEK which is a digital risk protection company.

Sasi had this to say about the attack:

“First, you receive a call from the attacker who will convince you to make a call to the following number **67* or *405*. Within a few minutes, your WhatsApp would be logged out, and the attackers would get complete control of your account.”

Once the hackers have tricked a user into forwarding their calls, they initiate the WhatsApp registration process on their device, naturally choosing the option to receive the OTP via voice call.

There are a few caveats here, and this methodology is by no means fool proof.  For example, the victim does get a text message stating that his/her WhatsApp account is being registered on another device.  When there’s a lot going on that’s easy to miss, but an observant user won’t.

Also, if call forwarding has already been activated on the victim’s device, then the attacker must use a different phone number than the one used for the redirection.  This usually won’t stop a determined attacker, but it will take a bit more social engineering and moxie to pull off.

The bottom line is, if you’re a WhatsApp user, someone may try this on you. So be on the alert for it.

 Skype Gets New 911 Calling Feature In The U.S.

Recently, Skype announced a change to its 911 calling feature.  Previously the feature was only useable in the UK, Finland, Denmark, and Australia.

Now, the company has unlocked it for the United States as well and will even allow the software to share the location of the caller with emergency services.

It’s a welcome change and one that’s long overdue but there are a few limitations to be mindful of.  Users will get a “Notice and Disclosures” warning if they opt in for location sharing.  This notice cautions users that the service doesn’t work quite the same way as a traditional phone call and users are urged not to make emergency calls via Skype when they are outside of their home region, as those calls could potentially be re-routed elsewhere.

The company also warns that during a Skype outage, or when users are having internet or power issues the calls may be cut off in situations where a traditional landline or cell phone may still work.

Even with the provisions and warnings it’s a great feature and something US users should be mindful of.  Having an alternate way to make an emergency call may not be something you’ll ever have occasion to use.  Then again it could literally be a lifesaving feature.

In any case the new capability will be available to users in the US with the release of Skype 8.8. In addition, when you update to the latest version you’ll be able to leave voicemail messages of up to five minutes in length as opposed to the two-minute cap users currently have.

Users will be able to put Skype in either light or dark mode as they prefer, they can send custom reactions, and even zoom in or out when they share their screen.  Be on the lookout for Skype 8.8 and make updating to the latest a priority.

More Scammers Are Using Social Media To Target Victims

An increasing number of scammers are using social media to target victims and relying on social engineering tricks to convince people to part with their personal information or money.  The problem has grown serious enough that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has issued a formal warning to consumers.

According to a recently released FTC report:

“More than 95,000 people reported about $770 million in losses to fraud initiated on social media platforms in 2021. 

Those losses account for about 25 percent of all reported losses to fraud in 2021 and represent a stunning eighteen-fold increase over 2017 reported losses. Reports are up for every age group, but people 18 to 39 were more than twice as likely as older adults to report losing money to these scams in 2021.

More than half of people who reported losses to investment scams in 2021 said the scam started on social media. Reports to the FTC show scammers use social media platforms to promote bogus investment opportunities and even to connect with people directly as supposed friends to encourage them to invest. 

People send money, often cryptocurrency, on promises of huge returns, but end up empty-handed.”

Overall cryptocurrency scams are regarded as the number one threat for investors in 2022, according to a new report from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). However, the FTC is cautioning all users to exercise caution and develop better habits when scrolling through their favorite social media platform.

They recommend setting limits on who can see your posts, taking advantage of increasingly robust privacy controls, opting out of targeted advertising, and doing more due diligence on any company you plan on doing business with before buying anything from them.

It’s good advice in general but it is especially important now given how prevalent social media-based attacks are becoming.