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Don’t Get Suckered by Phishing Scams About Trump’s Health

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A new phishing scam is duping unsuspecting victims with enticing links promising access to President Trump’s alleged health records and top-secret COVID-19 treatment information. In reality, these misleading links are triggering downloads that sneak a new, dangerous form of malware onto the PCs of unsuspecting truth-seekers.

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The ProofPoint cybersecurity firm discovered the scam soon after news of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis broke. According to the firm’s report, clicking the fake link infects your PC with the “BazaLoader” trojan. BazaLoader is a “first-stage downloader” that allows hackers to view files on the victim’s PC and install other malware remotely. It can even grant access to other devices on the same local network, putting your family, roommates, or coworkers at risk even if they don’t download anything.

BazaLoader is a massive threat on its own, but this scam uses the trojan to distribute a new, unknown type of malware. Researchers are looking into everything this new malware can do.

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This is the latest coronavirus and 2020 US election-related phishing campaign in a year chock-full of similar scams, and it’s a safe bet more will surface in the coming weeks.

To protect yourself, Proofpoint recommends using anti-malware software and common-sense data security practices; in other words, don’t open messages from unknown addresses making claims about “top secret” information, and definitely don’t click on random links or download unexpected attachments.

If you’re reading this post, chances are you know these tips already, but it’s a good idea to give your family and friends a heads up about these phishing scams, too. We assume that most astute Lifehacker readers are safe from these obvious tricks, but there are plenty of people whose political fervor might outweigh their logic.

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Not everyone pays attention to the latest malware threats, and we all know someone who will find a subject line like “Trump’s Top Secret Coronavirus treatment information” irresistible. Remind them that the dumpster fire of 2020 has left all of us with questions, but clicking on a random email link, internet ad, or Facebook post won’t provide any answers. It just puts everyone who uses the same network at risk.

If you want to help, aid them in installing anti-malware software and getting their security practices in check. We even have recommendations for simple video and screen-sharing apps you can use to assist your less-tech-savvy friends and loved ones while maintaining social distance.

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Now may be the best time to become a full-stack developer

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In the world of software development, one term you’re sure to hear a lot of is full-stack development. Job recruiters are constantly posting open positions for full-stack developers and the industry is abuzz with this in-demand title.

But what does full-stack actually mean?

Simply put, it’s the development on the client-side (front end) and the server-side (back end) of software. Full-stack developers are jacks of all trades as they work with the design aspect of software the client interacts with as well as the coding and structuring of the server end.

In a time when technological requirements are rapidly evolving and companies may not be able to afford a full team of developers, software developers that know both the front end and back end are essential.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the ability to do full-stack development can make engineers extremely marketable as companies across all industries migrate their businesses to a virtual world. Those who can quickly develop and deliver software projects thanks to full-stack methods have the best shot to be at the top of a company’s or client’s wish list.

Becoming a full-stack developer

So how can you become a full-stack engineer and what are the expectations? In most working environments, you won’t be expected to have absolute expertise on every single platform or language. However, it will be presumed that you know enough to understand and can solve problems on both ends of software development.

Most commonly, full-stack developers are familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and back-end languages like Ruby, PHP, or Python. This matches up with the expectations of new hires as well, as you’ll notice a lot of openings for full-stack developer jobs require specialization in more than one back-end program.

Full-stack is becoming the default way to develop, so much so that some in the software engineering community argue whether or not the term is redundant. As the lines between the front end and back end blur with evolving tech, developers are now being expected to work more frequently on all aspects of the software. However, developers will likely have one specialty where they excel while being good in other areas and a novice at some things….and that’s OK.

Getting into full-stack though means you should concentrate on finding your niche within the particular front-end and back-end programs you want to work with. One practical and common approach is to learn JavaScript since it covers both front and back end capabilities. You’ll also want to get comfortable with databases, version control, and security. In addition, it’s smart to prioritize design since you’ll be working on the client-facing side of things.

Since full-stack developers can communicate with each side of a development team, they’re invaluable to saving time and avoiding confusion on a project.

One common argument against full stack is that, in theory, developers who can do everything may not do one thing at an expert level. But there’s no hard or fast rule saying you can’t be a master at coding and also learn front-end techniques or vice versa.

Choosing between full-stack and DevOps

One hold up you may have before diving into full-stack is you’re also mulling over the option to become a DevOps engineer. There are certainly similarities among both professions, including good salaries and the ultimate goal of producing software as quickly as possible without errors.  As with full-stack developers, DevOps engineers are also becoming more in demand because of the flexibility they offer a company.

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You Can Still Get a Stimulus Check If You’re a Low-Income Earner

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Illustration for article titled You Can Still Get a Stimulus Check If Youre a Low-Income Earner

Photo: Andy Dean Photography (Shutterstock)

If you have yet to receive your coronavirus stimulus check, there may still be time. The IRS has extended the deadline to apply for one until Nov. 21 for “non-filers”—typically low-income earners or those with prolonged unemployment who earn below the income threshold requiring them to file a tax return. According to the IRS, roughly 9 million Americans are qualified but have not received their checks.

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“We took this step to provide more time for those who have not yet received a payment to register to get their money, including those in low-income and underserved communities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.

How to use the Non-Filers tool

People who qualify for the extension will not have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, and have income below $24,400 for married couples or $12,200 for a single person. As non-filers are typically harder to reach and often have outdated contact information, the IRS has created a Non-Filers tool (available in English and Spanish) to ensure that money can still be claimed. Per the IRS:

Usually, married couples qualify to receive a $2,400 payment while others normally qualify to get $1,200. People with qualifying children under 17 can get up to an additional $500 for each child. People can qualify, even if they do not have earned income or work.

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The tool will ask you to register for an online account, which will have a form for your personal information and an option for direct deposit. Two weeks after registering, you can track the status of your payment using the IRS Get My Payment tool. The idea is to get money in your hands—and you will not be asked to pay taxes on it.

The IRS plans to issue all payments before the December 31, 2020 deadline outlined in the CARES Act.

Note, a federal judge recently ruled that prisoners should also qualify for a stimulus check, and has ordered the IRS to reconsider previously denied claims that were filed through the Non-Filers on the IRS’s website, according to Newsweek. The IRS says it’s planning to appeal the ruling, but it’s worth registering if you qualify.

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Beware of scams

Make sure you are visiting the real IRS website before entering any personal information. Do not click on unverified links in any emails or texts you may receive. Remember, the IRS is not going to call, text, email, or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information.

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Cloud Foundry coalesces around Kubernetes

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In a normal year, the Cloud Foundry project would be hosting its annual European Summit in Dublin this week. But this is 2020, so it’s a virtual event. This year, however, has been a bit of a transformative year for the open-source Platform-as-a-Service project — in more ways than one. With Cloud Foundry executive director Abby Kearns leaving earlier this year, the organizations’ former CTO Chip Childers stepped into the role. Maybe just as importantly, though, the project’s move to Kubernetes as its container orchestration tool of choice — and a renewed focus on the Cloud Foundry developer experience — is now starting to bear fruit.

“In April, I took over the job. I said: ‘Listen, our community has a new North Star. It’s to go take the Cloud Foundry developer experience and get that thing re-platformed onto Kubernetes . No more delay, no more diversity of thought here. It’s time to make the move,’ ” Childers said (with a chuckle). “And here we are. It’s October, we have our ecosystem aligned, we have major project releases that are fulfilling that vision. And we’ve got a community that’s very energized around it continuing the work of progressing this integration with a bunch of cloud-native projects.”

Developers who use Cloud Foundry, Childers argued, love it, but the project now has an opportunity to show a wider range of potential use that it can offer a smoother developer experience on top of virtually any Kubernetes cluster.

One of the projects that is working on making this happen — and which hit its 1.0 release today, is cf-for-k8s. Traditionally, getting up and running with Cloud Foundry was a heavy lift — and something that most companies left to third-party vendors to handle. This new project, which launched in April, allows developers to spin up a relatively light-weight Cloud Foundry distribution on top of a Kubernetes cluster — using projects like Istio and Fluentd, in addition to Kubernetes — and to do so within minutes.

“It comes along with the whole process of reimagining our architecture to pull in other projects a lot more aggressively and allows us to get to feature parity [with the classic VM-focused Cloud Foundry experience] using a lot more complementary open-source projects,” Childers said about the larger role of this project in the overall ecosystem. “That lets our community focus less on building the underlying plumbing and [spend] more time thinking about how to speed up innovation and the developer experience.”

This wouldn’t be open source if there wasn’t another project that does something quite similar — at least at first glance. That’s KubeCF, which hit its 2.5 launch today. This is an open-source distribution of the Cloud Foundry Application Runtime that, as Childers explained, is meant for production use and that was originally meant to provide existing users a bridge onto the Kubernetes bandwagon. Over time, these two projects will likely merge. “Everyone’s collaborating on what this shared vision looks like. They’re just, they’re just two different distributions that handle the different use cases today,” Childers explained.

After six months in his new position, Childers noted that he’s seeing a lot of energy in the community right now. The job is hard, he said, when there’s unhealthy disagreement, but right now, what he’s seeing is “a beautiful harmony of agreement.”

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