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Tax Time: Let the Phishing Begin

This post was authored by Earl Carter and Craig Williams.

With the April 15th US tax deadline only about 2 months away, a new wave of tax related phishing is underway. In this latest spear-phishing campaign, attackers are attempting to gain access to your system so that they can steal your banking and other online credentials. An interesting twist to this latest campaign is that they seem to be specifically targeting high level security professionals and CTOs in technical companies.

On Tuesday, Talos noticed the beginning of a phishing campaign in our telemetry data. The subject of the emails all revolve around payment confirmation or Federal taxes. Some of the common subjects include:

Payment Confirmation
Federal tax payment received
Federal TAX payment
Payment Service

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Video – The Great Equalizer in Future Tax Seasons

April 15th, what does this day mean to you?  For most U.S. citizens, it isn’t a day to look forward to.   That’s because it’s the day our taxes are due.  While it is part of our civic responsibility, I would venture to say that few people really enjoy the tax season; even CPAs are crazed during this time of year.  And it isn’t only the pain of cutting a check if you are one of the unfortunate ones who owes money; it is also the cumbersome process of getting your taxes done.

But I’ve noticed something a little different this tax season, ads about tax services are heavily focused on expertise vs. ease.  TurboTax, TaxAct, H&R Block, you name it, all seem to be promoting the credentials of their tax experts and the quality experience you will have when you engage with them.  This could be due to the added levels of complexity related to changes in rules and regulations from year to year, or it could be that people are having issues with accuracy.  Regardless, the “experts” promise a better experience.

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The Misalignment Between The Economic Success of Local Government and Their Residents

As you can see from some of the other posts here, at the request of the US Conference of Mayors, I’ve been focusing on an economic development strategy that will work in the future.  As a result of that work, I’ve been presenting my ideas in many places and before many audiences, generally including mayors or other senior officials of local government.

Without going into the whole line of reasoning, I discuss the combined effects of (1) a future with ubiquitous high quality communications and (2) the shift of the labor force to providing ideas and other intangible services.  One implication of these trends is the disaggregation of the monolithic big company that would concentrate jobs in a city and, as an alternative, the empowerment of fluid teams of individuals.

To drive the point home, I argue that the true measure of the economic success of a city is the sum (or the median?) of the income and wealth of its residents — and not the total sales of companies that might have a local postal address there. Read More »

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