18 WebsiteCompass FAQs Dr. Webbie Answers your frequently asked questions QUESTION: How can I protect my mobile device when I’m outside in cold weather? ANSWER: You’re right to be concerned, since mobile device—including phones, tablets, and laptops—don’t respond well to cold weather. When a lithium-ion battery is exposed to the cold, it can drain faster than normal or indicate it has ample power remaining and then suddenly go dead. In fact, studies indicate that below-freezing temperatures can cause a phone’s battery to drop as much as 20 percent. Low temperatures can also make a device’s glass surfaces more sensitive to cracks and breaks, espe- cially if there’s already a nick. Think of it this way: During the coldest days of winter, you probably bundle up in a coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. As it turns out, you should also be bundling up your mobile devices if you’re often outside for long periods. The best option is to store them in waterproof and insulated cases, which provide protec- tion not only from the cold but also from wet snow should you accidentally drop them. For brief periods outside in cold weather, simply store your phone inside a pocket closest to your person, where it can absorb some of your body heat. You can also place it inside the pocket of a purse or backpack. In the event your mobile device does shut down as the result of exposure to cold, do not restart it until you’re inside a building and have given it time to warm up. Restarting immediately could actually cause more harm and shorten your battery life. For more specific details, consult the device manufacturer’s website. QUESTION: My inbox was recently flooded with hundreds of strange emails. What could be going on? ANSWER: Sounds like you might be the victim of email bombing, which is an attack that involves sending massive amounts of messages to your email address. Sometimes these messages are complete gibberish. But more often, they’re confirmation emails for newsletters and other subscriptions. The attacker uses a script to search the internet for forums and newsletters, and then signs up for an account with your email address. Each will send you a confirmation email asking to confirm your address. Why do criminals engage in email bombing? The primary reason is to flood your inbox with irrelevant mails in order to distract you from the emails they don’t want you to see, such as purchase con- firmations, bank transactions, or account access alerts. They may already have your debit/credit card number through identity theft. To protect yourself, immediately change your passwords for your bank accounts, credit cards, and shopping sites. You should also go online to check for any unusual activity in any of these places. While a few run-of-the-mill spam emails are simply annoying, email bombing could be a red flag that something more criminal is going on. Stay alert and stay informed!