Scammers stole millions last Christmas. These six tips could keep you safe online this time around

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is urging people to be careful when shopping online in the run up to Christmas as cyber criminals step up campaigns to steal money, credit card information and more during the busiest time of year for retailers.

Last year’s Christmas shopping period, from November 2019 to January 2020, saw cyber criminals make off with a total of £13.5 million as a result of online shopping fraud – averaging out at £775 per incident across 17,405 cases reported by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

And with even more people expected to be doing their Christmas shopping online this year because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the NCSC, alongside the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has launched a ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF

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Virgin Orbit will try again to blast LauncherOne to space before Christmas


A Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket mated to the modified 747 Cosmic Girl.

Virgin Orbit

Richard Branson is hoping to kick off the holiday season by shooting a rocket to space from midair later this month. The Virgin founder’s space launch subsidiary, Virgin Orbit, has announced the launch window for its latest demonstration mission and still aims to meet a goal of returning to flight before the year is out.

Virgin Orbit plans to send satellites into orbit using a rocket that ignites after being released in midair from the belly of a modified 747. Its first demonstration launch in May failed to reach orbit as hoped; a 747 named Cosmic Girl dropped one of the company’s LauncherOne rockets, but the rocket’s engines fired for only about 10 seconds. 

The company later said the abbreviated flight

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Carol of Lights going virtual, but Texas Tech will still glow for Christmas season

For A-J Media

If there’s one Texas Tech University tradition every Red Raider knows, it’s the Carol of Lights. Held each year near the end of the fall semester, the annual event concludes with the flick of a switch and the glow of more than 25,000 colored bulbs illuminating the 18 buildings around Memorial Circle, the Engineering Key and the Broadway entrance to campus.

The event is presented thanks to the hard work and dedication of students in the Texas Tech Residence Halls Association, part of University Student Housing. Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Carol of Lights will go on – with some changes. The biggest change? The event, themed “The Matador Lights,” will be entirely virtual.

“There will be no in-person events associated with Carol of Lights this year,” said D’aun Green, senior associate managing director of University Student Housing. “By offering the event virtually, we can

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Reward yourself with a vivo smartphone perfect for your lifestyle this Christmas

Reward yourself with a vivo smartphone perfect for your lifestyle this Christmas

( – November 27, 2020 – 10:54am

How will you remember 2020?

Five or 10 years from now, most would remember it as the toughest year of their lives, others a year of introspection filled with plenty of realizations, and for some it may also be a year that they would simply like to forget altogether.

And while we have every right to do with our memories and experiences as we please, let’s not forget that 2020 isn’t over yet. With Christmas, a season of hope and joy, fast approaching, there is still a chance for us to bank a happy memory for this year. 

So after a year that mostly, and involuntarily, kept us on edge, why not end it in our own terms? How, you ask? Besides spending quality time with our families and attempting

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7 tips for doing this year’s Christmas photo with your smartphone

The holiday season is almost upon us, and you know what that means: fun, festive family photos to share with all your friends and family! But sometimes making these magic moments happen isn’t so easy.


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Professional photographers are great, but they aren’t cheap, and booking this time of year can be difficult, too. Doing it yourself would be so much easier, and you actually have everything you need right in your pocket: your smartphone.

With beefed up resolution, multiple lenses and amazing low-light capabilities, today’s smartphones—like the latest iPhones, Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy devices—can arguably do just as good a job as a pro shoot or complicated DSLR, all from the comfort of home.

Here are some helpful tips on how to get that great festive family shot using your smartphone.

1. Dress for the occasion

As a general photography rule of thumb, it’s best to dress

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Burt’s Bees Says Single Black Mom Christmas Ad Was Photoshopped


  • Burt’s Bees apologized on Monday for an image showing three white families with a mother, father and children alongside a fourth Black family that had only a mother and children
  • It noted, however, that the grouping was not their own and the original poster had stitched together the images, ignoring the other images of Black families with fathers
  • That wasn’t enough for some consumers, who said the presence of any image of fatherless Black families willfully perpetuates stereotypes

Burt’s Bees has come under fire after an Instagram account stitched together various images from their website to make it seem like they were perpetuating racist stereotypes of fatherless Black families.

The North Carolina-based cosmetics company issued an apology Monday, taking responsibility for the picture but noting that the juxtaposition was the work of the poster and its website had images of Black families that include fathers.

The original post

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A Spectacularly Rare ‘Christmas Star’ Is Coming In December As Two Worlds Align After Sunset

If you managed to see the crescent Moon pass Jupiter and Saturn this week, you’ll have noticed something else about the Solar System’s two largest planets.

They’re now really, really close to each other, and on December 21, 2020—the date of the December solstice—they’re going to almost appear to collide to become one super-bright point of light.

Jupiter and Saturn will look like a “double planet” for first time since Middle Ages. 

MORE FROM FORBESWhat Are Those Three Bright ‘Stars’ Visible At Dusk Each Night? This Is What You’re Seeing

In reality, of course, they won’t be close at all. Think about the distance from the Earth to the Sun. That’s what astronomers call an astronomical unit (au), and it’s how they measure distances

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The Tiny Owl Who Came To Visit The Big Apple Is ‘A Christmas Miracle’

A tiny Northern saw-whet owl was discovered huddled inside the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree that had been transported to Manhattan

Imagine your surprise if you are awakened in the middle of the night, when you and your entire bedroom are bundled up tightly and transported from a backyard in a small rural town to New York City.

This is exactly what happened to a Northern saw-whet owl who was trapped for three days in a 75 foot (23 meter), 11-ton Norway spruce tree that now stands in Rockefeller Center. The tree, which was felled on Thursday in Oneonta, New York, was transported to Manhattan, a distance of 170 miles (274 km).

According to a statement on facebook, officials at Ravensbeard

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Sky Q To Get 40+ HDR Films By Christmas

After a couple of relatively quiet years, British satellite broadcaster Sky is continuing its recent resurgence in 2020 by adding more than 40 films to its burgeoning portfolio of high dynamic range (HDR) titles – all set to arrive in time for Christmas. 

Sky can’t yet reveal the full list of HDR movies it’s going to be making available through its Sky Cinema service, but it is confirmed that the Back To The Future Trilogy, Dolittle, Le Mans 66, and all 8 Harry Potter films will be available in HDR from December 9. New Premieres including Emma, Little Women and Bad Boys For Life will also be landing in HDR when they join Sky Cinema – and Sky Original film The Secret Garden is actually available in HDR now.

It’s nice to see that Sky is prioritising getting HDR movies on Sky Cinema, within a suitable subscription,

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Apple ‘Christmas Surprise’ Is On The Way, Leaker Says


  • Apple has already released a slew of hardware and software products this year
  • A leaker claims the company still has a surprise coming for everyone
  • The surprise is “good for winter,” the leaker says

Apple just launched a slew of new Macs running on its own silicon, the iPhone 12 series of smartphones, Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE. A noted leaker, however, claims that the Cupertino tech giant isn’t done with its surprises yet.

The leaker known only as L0vetodream tweeted Saturday that consumers will “get a Christmas surprise” from Apple.

The tipster didn’t explicitly mention what kind of surprise this is but teased that it is a “winter exclusive” and that it is “good for winter.”

The teasers do not end there. In another tweet, L0vetodream admitted that they intentionally declined to give details regarding the item in question.

“I did not mention

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