If you’re running any version of Windows 10, you should update your computer as soon as possible. Microsoft recently alerted users that it patched two critical remote code execution (RCE) “wormable” vulnerabilities, which could have allowed hackers to spread malware to both your — and others — PCs without your knowledge or any interaction.
Windows Defender is the default antivirus software that comes pre-installed on Windows 10 and is the antivirus software that I use here at “What’s On My PC”. The best part is that it is FREE!
Performance issues, privacy concerns, and other problems make it harder than ever to recommend third-party antivirus solutions on Windows. Now it’s about to become even more difficult: TechSpot reported that AV-Test, an independent organization that evaluates security products, gave Windows Defender perfect scores across its three evaluation categories after testing 20 antivirus products made for Windows 10 throughout May and June
Google recently removed several apps from the Google Play Store after discovering they violated the Play Store terms of service—and, more importantly, could be used as stalkerware. That doesn’t mean they’re deleted from your Android device, though, so now’s a great time to remove them.
If someone falls for the scam and does fill in the information requested on the fake webpages, the scammer would then have their name, Amazon password (and if that password was used for other websites, access to those accounts as well), birthday, address, credit card information, and Social Security number, Wired reported.
Google Chrome offers to save passwords for all your online accounts. It then stores and syncs them to your Google account as part of the Smart Lock feature. Chrome also has a built-in password generator that automatically creates strong passwords at the click of a button.
As you know, browsing with Google Chrome or any browser for that matter, your privacy is compromised to the degree that your browsing habits, etc… leave tracks as to where you have been. This is typically done via cookies (that identifies the user when you visit specific sites) and via your browsing history. This is all fine and dandy to a certain point, but there may be occasions where you do not want this information stored and want to protect your identity.
The solution to this problem, on those certain occasions, is to go “incognito”. If you look up in the dictionary, “incognito” is defined as “having one’s true identity concealed”. Nearly all browsers give you the ability to go into “incognito” mode, but for the sake of this article, I am going to tell you how to get into “incognito” mode using Google Chrome. It is very, very easy…
Simply click the vertical three-dot icon on the top-right of the browser and select “New incognito window.” On mobile, tap the three-dot icon on the bottom-right (iOS) or top-right (Android) and select “New incognito tab.” That is it, simple as that… In Google Chrome, when in incognito mode you will see a darkened browser background and you will obviously see “You’ve gone incognito”. You can also get into “incognito” mode by hitting “Ctrl+Shift+N” in combo, on your keyboard.
Now, something I do want to point out. This does give you some privacy protection to a certain point, but do not think this is keeping you from being seen at work. Incognito mode only is concealing your behavior. On work networks, the network administrator, if necessary can track unusual activity via a workstations or devices IP address.
When I was managing a computer network and teaching others, one of the first things I would teach people is how to lock their computer when they walked away from the computer for an extended period of time. In the work environment, this is especially important from a privacy and security perspective.
With Windows 10 the easiest method is to hit the Windows Key + L . When you return to your computer to start working again you will be required to enter your password or pin.
A more modern automated method is also available in Windows 10 and it is called “Dynamic Lock” where you can pair your PC and your Smartphone via bluetooth; providing, your computer is bluetooth ready. You can setup “Dynamic Lock” by going to Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options
Nothing is more distressing than losing your phone or thinking it has been stolen. For peace of mind, as soon as you set up your new phone, take a moment and lock it down by configuring the lock screen. Most phones during the initial set up prompt you through a process to lock down your phone, either via a PIN, pattern, password, fingerprint and/or facial recognition. My phone, I have set up to use a combination of these, with the fingerprint recognition I feel is the most powerful. My phone also allowed me to pick a 6-digit PIN, which I feel really makes it tougher to overcome.
If by chance you skipped over the process to secure your phone when you initially set it up or you desire to modify the current settings, you can do this by heading to the system settings. The system settings on most phones can be accessed via an app icon (labeled “system settings or settings”) or by pulling down from the top of the screen and tapping on a “cogged gear icon”. From the system settings, you are looking for the Security Menu. The menus and options may slightly vary from phone to phone but look for anything that is related to “security” and once there you should see various options to lock down your phone.
Just do it for peace of mind… These phones are computers in our pockets and contain a mother load of personal information.
Let’s be honest, you can’t kill robocalls completely. But you can block more of them than you might think.
Though robocalls will never disappear completely there are some things you can do to keep your phone from ringing off the hook all the time.
Google may be storing everything you say to your Google Home and keeping the recordings forever, just as Alexa does. Google recently changed the default behavior not to keep the recordings. But that change only affected new users—not existing ones.
There is nothing more distressful than losing your smartphone… If you own an Android device, such as a smartphone, tablet or Chromebook, you most likely performed the initial set up using a Google Account (i.e. Gmail account). As a result, you have a feature where you can remotely find, lock or erase the device in the event the phone is stolen or lost (Note: The phone must be turned “on” in order for this to work). You can even ring the phone and send information to the phone requesting that the phone be returned. You will need to go to a computer, log into your Google account, in order to make this work. Follow the steps below to put you on the road of recovery. You can go ahead and practice this…
- Open a browser, like Chrome . If you’re using someone else’s device, use private browsing mode.
- Open your Google Account.
- In the “Security” section, select Find a lost or stolen phone.
- Select the lost phone, tablet, or Chromebook.
- Follow the step-by-step suggestions to help find and secure the device.
ADDED TIP: Also, did you know, if you have a Google Account, and you are logged in, you can perform a Google Search, type in “Find My Phone” and Google (with a map) will find your phone within about 50 feet.
I encourage you to visit the source link at the end of this article to learn more about ransomware and how you can protect yourself…
Ransomware locks up a victim’s files until money is paid. Here’s how to protect your data and avoid an attack on your computer network..
I encourage my readers to visit “Make Use Of” (source link below) to learn 10 tips to keep your online bank account secure. One of the tips that jumped out at me is that it is safer to log into your bank account using the bank’s app on your smartphone (through your cellular service), versus accessing your bank account from your desktop or laptop computer which is more susceptible to malicious attack.
Switching to online banking comes with some security risks. These tips explain how to keep your online bank account safe.
I bet you did not know you could go “Incognito” in Google Chrome, where your browsing history and cookies are not stored, where your privacy is protected? Typically, when browsing the web your browser tracks you with cookies. Have you ever noticed when looking for a specific product that this product or products in similarity start popping up in the ads? If you were in “incognito mode” this would not occur. Chrome won’t save your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms while in incognito mode. In other words, your “activity” is not tracked and stored.
How do you get to “incognito mode” in Google Chrome?
It is actually very simple. To open an incognito window in Chrome, click the three-dot icon on the top-right corner of the browser and select “New incognito window.” You can also get into “incognito mode” by using the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+N (while Google Chrome is open).
Please know, that “incognito mode” does not hide the sites you visit from your place of employment, your internet service provider, etc… Even though your browsing history is private, on the computer that you are working from, your IP address can still be logged to indicate where you go and have been on the internet.
Recently, during the evening hours, I lost my internet service connection. Our internet is provided by the local cable company and has been exceptionally dependable. Initial reboots/resets of my modem and router failed to recover the service. My gut instinct told me this was not a typical loss of service. Many folks in my neighborhood also lost their digital phone service, which caused panic to set in. I later learned the attack affected over 40 percent of their customer base (including businesses). After several days, the service was eventually restored. The culprit was a “malicious and targeted attack from outside our network,” in a DDos attack (distributed denial of service) where the service was intentionally flooded with data sent simultaneously from many individual computers. I knew something to this effect was going on due that it got to a point I could reboot the equipment and regain service for a short period of time; then, it would drop out again.
All in all, when done, and the service was restored, I learned some things:
DON’T PANIC… We live in a digital world that we are dependent on, where the source of service if attacked, can bring down the whole house, affecting many people and many types of internet-connected devices. BE PREPARED… Learn how to reboot your equipment. Communicate with the neighbors or family to determine if they have service. A cell phone, in this case for many people, provided phone AND internet service. If you have a neighbor who has no cell phone, be the good neighbor. Follow the local news to see if it is widespread. Learn where (online) you can determine the status of the network you are connected to. In my case, I used my cell phone to get updates online from the cable company, instead of calling them on their overwhelmed customer service lines. I then passed this information on to my neighbors. When the service is restored, help each other to get the equipment back up and running. I ended up helping others reset their modems and testing to make sure they had their phone and internet service back; thus, saving them the expense of a service call (which may have taken days to get an onsite response).
In the end, I think what bothered me the most was seeing sneering comments online where people were complaining of the service going down. Having managed a computer network for a government agency, I had visions of IT people working (24/7) stressing out over this to bring back service; which, they eventually did. Also, this is concerning from the standpoint, and has to be questioned, “Is our country really prepared for these cyber attacks and is the proper funding being provided to provide the necessary defense measures?”.
To my reader’s at “What’s On My PC”… If you use Facebook, take a moment to read this. I have seen some of my Facebook friends being hooked into this. It is a “scam”. PLEASE, take my advice “Believe Nothing and Verify Everything”; especially, on social media.
Scammers are pushing multiple fake Facebook profiles of Ellen DeGeneres, popular US TV show host and producer, with the goal of tricking people into jumping through a few money-making hoops. This isn’t a sophisticated scam. It isn’t hacking the Gibson. It won’t be the focus of a cutting edge infosec talk. However, it’s certainly doing some damage—up to a point. This scam is a victim of its own ambition.
This is an excellent posting at “Addictive Tips” that looks at the various common identity theft scams. I especially encourage the readers at home to take a moment and take a look at this (see source link below). There is a lot of criminality out there and the more knowledgeable you are, the safer you (and others) will be.
While there are many things that can expose your personal information (like data breaches), there are precautions you can take to prevent others that are more in your control. But how do you avoid the common identity theft scams that are out there? Today, we’ll be showing you what to look out for, and how to protect yourself.
The best way to protect yourself online and at home from fraud and scams is through knowledge. Posted below are links to the latest “Fraud, Scams and Alerts” at the Federal Communications Commission. Take a moment to read down this list; even if you do not open any of the links. Being knowledgeable is the best protection that you will ever have when it comes to the evil intent of others.
Fraud, Scams, and Alerts:
- After Storms, Watch Out for Scams
- Avoiding Bill Shock on your Mobile Phone
- Call Splashing: Long-Distance Calling from a Public Phone
- Caller ID Spoofing
- Careless Dialing Could Cost You Money
- Cell Phone Fraud
- Cramming – Unauthorized Charges on Your Phone Bill
- Don’t Fall for the 90# Telephone Scam
- International Modem Dialing Scams
- IP Relay Fraud
- FAQs about Junk Faxes
- Low Power FM Radio Scams
- Mexico Collect Call Scam
- ‘One Ring’ Wireless Phone Scam
- Slamming: Switching Your Authorized Telephone Company Without Permission
- Spam: Unwanted Text Messages and Email
- Unwanted Telephone Marketing Calls and the National Do-Not-Call List
- Voicemail System Hacking
- Watch Out for Auto Warranty Scams
It is important we hash out, over and over, the importance of how to stay safe online and what to look for. Jacqui over at “Ask A Tech Teacher” posted an article, “Teaching Basic Cybersecurity Measures To Everyday People (For Parents of Digital Natives)“, that are tips geared toward the strategy of teaching our kids the basics on how to be safe online.
After reading this article, I said, you know what(?); this article, everyone should read. We all have that kid in us and these tips are great tips that all of us big kids need to read and follow (“Harmful Links; Viruses & Malware; Suspicious Downloads; Utilizing a VPN; Best Email Practices, HTTPS > HTTP When Providing Information Online; Using Antivirus Programs; and Update Software”).
One thing I want to point out in addition to these cybersecurity protections is that three-quarters of the battle when using internet-connected devices; such as the computer, tablet or smartphone, is learning the terminology and definitions. Get the terminology in your head and it will all start making sense and will make using these devices more of a joy, instead of a burden; PLUS, before you know it, you will want to be teaching others.
For many adults and parents, it can be a difficult task to teach the basic of staying safe online to those who are younger. However, the best strategy is starting conversations at an early age. This advice will be timeless as kids are starting to use the internet at younger and younger ages.
Forgot password? Five reasons why you need a password manager | ZDNet
The rules for creating passwords are simple: Use a random combination of numbers, symbols, and mixed-case letters; never reuse passwords; turn on 2FA, and use a password manager. Here’s why you can’t afford not to. Plus: Five password managers worth considering (click on the source link below to visit ZDNet for the full story).
Google rolls out Password Checkup and Cross Account Protection
Google introduced two new updates that will help keep your data secure, beyond just Google’s sites and apps: Password Checkup, a Chrome extension that helps protect your accounts from third party data breaches, and a new feature called Cross Account Protection.
Hmmm… Is the Government Shutdown affecting National Security? This directive may indicate that (see source link below to learn more about this).
What is domain hijacking?
Domain hijacking has been a persistent issue in the commercial world for years, a prime example of which would be the attack that disrupted parts of Craigslist in November 2014. In that incident, as in every successful every domain hijacking attack, the attackers took over the account used to manage the domains at the registrar, in this case, Network Solutions. The objective is to change the records so that instead of pointing to the IP address of the correct website it sends visitors to one controlled by the attackers. This change could have been made using impersonation to persuade the registrar to change the domain settings or by stealing the admin credentials used to manage these remotely. It’s a potent attack – web users think they’re visiting the correct website because they’ve typed the correct domain in their address bar and have no reason to doubt where they end up. For attackers, it’s the perfect crime that avoids the much harder job of having to take over the real website.
Sandboxing applications are nothing new but is nice to see Microsoft bake an option into the OS… As a reader of the blog noted, after I posted the article, “The feature is available for users of Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise running Build 18301 or later, and requires AMD64 and virtualization capabilities enabled in BIOS.” So, this is not an option in the home version of Windows 10.
Microsoft is introducing a new solution that brings it in line with a standard already found on other operating systems: Windows Sandbox.
The feature creates “an isolated, temporary desktop environment” (and lightweight, at 100MB) on which to run an app, and once you’ve finished with it, the entire sandbox is deleted — everything else on your PC is safe and separate.
Own a Chromebook? Here is a version of Malwarebytes that has been engineered to work on your Chromebook. In order to get this, your Chromebook must be able to run Android apps so that you can download and install from the Google Play Store. Malwarebytes for Chromebook is an Android app engineered specifically to protect your Chromebook. Google Play automatically detect your Chromebook and will install the appropriate Malwarebytes product. I am currently running this (and testing) on my Chromebook… I am a firm supporter of Malwarebytes on all platforms (Windows, Android, etc…).
Malwarebytes for Android or Malwarebytes for Chromebook free download comes for a limited time with an extended 90-day trial of the Premium version, if you sign up for a free Malwarebytes account. No commitment to buy required. When the 90-day trial is ended, Malwarebytes will only detect and clean, but not prevent, infections. It’s ad-free, forever.
Malware is finding its’ way on people’s Android devices through apps that are downloaded from the Google Play Store. Google does a pretty good job of tracking these apps down, but sometimes it is to late and the app has already made its mark. Many of these apps had strong reviews. The battery draw occurs due to the app being on a constant run time of reporting back with information and possible grabs of your data.
On Thursday, anti-virus provider Sophos published a report describing its discovery of 22 Android apps that contained a variety of malware the company has named “Andr/Clickr-ad.” The apps come from a variety of small developers, and Sophos said that Google removed them from its Play store at the end of November. One of the offending apps, Sparkle Flashlight, had been downloaded more than a million times and many of them had strong reviews, according to Sophos.
Malware on our Android devices is typically introduced by means such as portrayed in this article, with one goal in mind; and, that is to steal your data. Think about it, your smartphone contains a profile of YOU; where sensitive data could be used to compromise YOU on a personal and a financial basis. I tell people, treat your smartphone as if it is your wallet…
The malware was disguised as various games, and didn’t have any legitimate function; rather, they crashed every time they were launched. Now for the worst part: Stefanko said that before Google removed the apps, two of them were featured in the store’s trending section.
This is IMPORTANT… If you are planning on getting rid of your old devices (smartphone, tablets, computers), PLEASE take at least (at minimum) the necessary steps to clear the device of your data. Always do a backup to ensure you have all of your files, before doing this.
Reflected below, are steps I extracted from the article (see source link below), that will help you wipe an Android device, a Windows Computer, and a Mac. I don’t know how many times I have assisted folks and they throw the old device in the closet somewhere and the device is still holding their entire life…
For Android devices, open up the Settings app then tap System > Advanced > Reset options, and then Erase all data (factory reset). Over on iOS, the equivalent option is in the Settings app under General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
If you’re using a Windows computer, you need to load up the Settings app then click Update & Security, then Recovery, then Get started under the Reset this PC option. Choose to remove all personal files during the process. If you’re using a Chromebook or Chrome OS tablet, open up the Settings pane and pick Advanced, then Powerwash to get your computer into an as-new state.
It’s slightly more involved on a Mac: You need to restart macOS, then as soon as it begins to boot up again, hold Option+Command+R until you see a spinning globe. Release the keys, then choose Reinstall macOS, then choose Continue. Follow the on-screen instructions and select your main hard drive when prompted.
BitRaser is available in multiple editions that are designed for different use-cases. For typical home and professional users, the BitRaser For File package lets you securely erase an unlimited number of individual files and folders. Step up to the full BitRaser suite, and that will enable you to wipe entire drives securely with a sliding price depending on how many drives you need to wipe – perfect for IT specialists. And if you’re dealing with smartphones, BitRaser for Mobile has you covered on Android and iOS devices.
Been receiving messages from my Facebook friends that they received another friend request from me and noticed others have been receiving this as well. Did some research on this and found that this is all BOGUS. Just stop doing it and disregard those messages… You can read more on this by clicking on the source link below or Google it (numerous sources out there on this matter).
You can stop forwarding that latest warning from your Facebook friends about your account being cloned. You weren’t. It’s bogus. And you’re just making it worse. It starts out:
“Hi….I actually got another friend request from you yesterday…which I ignored so you may want to check your account…” Then it tells you to “hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward….” Your account isn’t sending duplicate friend requests. And you didn’t receive a request from the person you’re forwarding it to.
To be on safe side, if not affected, reset (change) your password…
These tips are good educational points for, not only for Students, but for everyone. I have found over the years people do not take online and device security seriously and/or do not have a good understanding of it. I encourage you to follow the source link below to learn the basics and learn how to keep your online presence safe.
Online and device security may not be the first thing that comes to mind with the new school year, but more and more middle school, high school and college students have mobile devices, laptops, and online educational requirements. It is more important than ever that students protect their digital lives as much as adults.
The Russian military is inside hundreds of thousands of routers owned by Americans and others around the world, a top U.S. cybersecurity official said on Friday.
This is a Guest Post by Allen Jame, who is a follower of “What’s On My PC”. Thank you Allen for sharing your expertise on Satellite Internet Security with my readers…
Satellite communication is referred to as one of the most popular communication technology used for global communication.
Its applications are vast. Military intelligence, Broadband internet service, and weather forecasting are its some most popular applications.
The satellite dish network internet Wi-Fi is supposed to be the best solution for getting internet in the rural areas.
Although its advantages are vast still security in the satellite communication is a significant concern.
There are many limitations. For example, power control, high link delay, and link availability are some of the standard security issues on the satellite internet.
During the satellite communication, protections of the links and the satellites are not enough. Sound integrity and the confidentiality of the downlink earth stations is also a significant concern.
In this article, you will witness security issue with the satellite internet. Some of the main security issue covered in this article are:
- Satellite security link protocol issues
- Network infrastructure issues
- TCP based security issues
- Information-System based security issues
- Long delays
I have known Kaspersky’s Antivirus to be one of the best when it comes to computer security (however, at a price — not FREE). Soon you will be able to get a baseline version of Kaspersky’s Antivirus for FREE. This new development by Kaspersky’s (according to ZDNet) is apparently in light of the U.S. Government removing Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment. Apparently, this is amid concerns the Russian-based company’s products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into United States networks.
The removal of Kapersky’s from the vendors list follows the accusations from US intelligence agencies that Russia hacked into Democratic Party emails, thus helping Donald Trump to election victory, despite President Vladimir Putin proclaiming his country has never engaged in hacking activities, but some “patriotic” individuals may have.
Ok, now that you have digested this, is it safe to install the free version of Kaspersky’s on our home-based computer systems? Personally, I am not installing it and will stick to the free version of BitDefender; however, if you are interested in the FREE version, click on the source link below to monitor for its’ release. Reportedly, the free version will rollout to the U.S. first…
If you do opt to give this a try, make sure you remove (uninstall) any antivirus software that is currently existing on your computer. Typically, to remove antivirus software, it is best practices to visit the website of the product and look for an uninstaller that will completely and safely remove the antivirus software from your PC.
SOURCE: Kaspersky’s Antivirus FREE
I encourage you visit the source link below to learn about the “Dark Web” (aka: Deep Web). Did you know that only 5% of the Web is easily accessible to the general public and that many other sites can only be visited if you have a direct URL. I often referred to the “Dark Web” here on the blog as the underbelly of the internet…
Before you go to read the article (which is very interesting), you need to learn some terminology:
- Surface Web is what we would call the regular World Wide Web that is indexed and where websites are easy to find.
- The Deep Web is the unindexed part of the Web. Actually, anything that a search engine can’t find.
- The Dark Web is intentionally hidden, anonymous, and widely known for illicit activities.
I am reblogging this information from US-CERT Security Tip (ST05-014) – Real-World Warnings Keep You Safe Online
Why are these warnings important?
Like the real world, technology and the Internet present dangers as well as benefits. Equipment fails, attackers may target you, and mistakes and poor judgment happen. Just as you take precautions to protect yourself in the real world, you need to take precautions to protect yourself online. For many users, computers and the Internet are unfamiliar and intimidating, so it is appropriate to approach them the same way we urge children to approach the real world.
What are some warnings to remember?
- Don’t trust candy from strangers – Finding something on the Internet does not guarantee that it is true. Anyone can publish information online, so before accepting a statement as fact or taking action, verify that the source is reliable. It is also easy for attackers to “spoof” email addresses, so verify that an email is legitimate before opening an unexpected email attachment or responding to a request for personal information. (See Using Caution with Email Attachmentsand Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information.)
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – You have probably seen many emails promising fantastic rewards or monetary gifts. However, regardless of what the email claims, there are not any wealthy strangers desperate to send you money. Beware of grand promises—they are most likely spam, hoaxes, or phishing schemes. (See Reducing Spam and Identifying Hoaxes and Urban Legends.) Also be wary of pop-up windows and advertisements for free downloadable software—they may be disguising spyware. (See Recognizing and Avoiding Spyware.)
- Don’t advertise that you are away from home – Some email accounts, especially within an organization, offer a feature (called an autoresponder) that allows you to create an “away” message if you are going to be away from your email for an extended period of time. The message is automatically sent to anyone who emails you while the autoresponder is enabled. While this is a helpful feature for letting your contacts know that you will not be able to respond right away, be careful how you phrase your message. You do not want to let potential attackers know that you are not home, or, worse, give specific details about your location and itinerary. Safer options include phrases such as “I will not have access to email between [date] and [date].” If possible, also restrict the recipients of the message to people within your organization or in your address book. If your away message replies to spam, it only confirms that your email account is active. This practice may increase the amount of spam you receive.
- Lock up your valuables – If an attacker is able to access your personal data, he or she may be able to compromise or steal the information. Take steps to protect this information by following good security practices. (See the Tips index page for a list of relevant documents.) Some of the most basic precautions include locking your computer when you step away; using firewalls, anti-virus software, and strong passwords; installing appropriate software updates; and taking precautions when browsing or using email.
- Have a backup plan – Since your information could be lost or compromised (due to an equipment malfunction, an error, or an attack), make regular backups of your information so that you still have clean, complete copies. (See Good Security Habits.) Backups also help you identify what has been changed or lost. If your computer has been infected, it is important to remove the infection before resuming your work. (See Recovering from Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses.) Keep in mind that if you did not realize that your computer was infected, your backups may also be compromised.
Curious if any of the folks out there with technical expertise have ever used RogueKiller? I typically go to Malwarebytes AntiMalware; however, I see RogueKiller has pretty darn good reviews. The main point that jumps out at me is that RogueKiller is for advanced users (see video below)…
Roguekiller is a popular and an effective tool to remove some stubborn malware but be warned; you better know what you’re doing. While a lot of more well-known tools will only scan and delete for you, this tool will show you everything it finds that is a possible problem. You need to know what to remove and what not to remove, or you could delete something you want, or need. Your results may vary, but just use caution and do your homework before removing anything or ask someone who is computer savvy.
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I love Kim Komando’s tech column at USAToday and find her posted information very useful and on the same parallel to my blog when it comes to assisting home-based computer users.
Kim recently posted an article, “These 7 tips will help you master Facebook” that you should read, if you are an advocate of Facebook. In all honesty, I do not care for Facebook; however, I do care about the safety and security of people (which has been my lifelong profession as a law enforcement (and security) officer and computer info specialist).
The one tip that Kim posted in this article that jumps out at me, in regards to your safety and security, is the tip “Find out where you are logged in”… Many Facebook users (carelessly) log into multiple devices, often at multiple locations, and keep their Facebook pages open in order to “conveniently” access their account without having to log in. The upside to this is user convenience; however, the downside to this is you are setting yourself up to have your account compromised, which could result in devastating consequences.
To see if your account is open on other devices and locations, here is how (as Kim Komando pointed out) to determine that:
Just to go to Settings >> Security Settings >> Where You’re Logged In, and you’ll find a list of devices that are currently accessing your Facebook account. The feature also lists login metadata, such as when and where you last checked in, plus the type of device you used. Keep in mind that cell phones sometimes show weird locations, which may refer to a cell phone tower and not necessarily to where you were standing at the time.
That said, if your login information looks a little fishy, it’s possible your account has been compromised. It’s best to lock down access before this even happens.
Kim Komando is a consumer tech columnist for USA TODAY. She also hosts the nation’s largest radio show about the digital lifestyle, heard on 435 stations in the USA and globally on American Forces Radio. Find your local radio station, get the podcast and more at Komando.com.
SOURCE: USAToday – Kim Komando
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On the same day Microsoft officially began rolling out the Creators Update for Windows 10, they were also rolling out a patch for a zero-day exploit (that spreads malware) for all current Microsoft Office versions used on every Windows operating system (including the latest Office 2016 running on Windows 10). If you are running Microsoft Office at home, make sure you have installed the patch. To learn more, click on the source link below…
All versions of Office on all versions of Windows are vulnerable to this zero-day that spreads malware, so make sure you patch quickly
In discussion with a computer geek friend of mine he indicated that Malwarebytes has a new version out (v3.0). I further confirmed this and learned that a new version was released on and about March 20, 2017. Based on what I am reading on their blog (for this release) — CLICK HERE — the excitement over this release is that it is being touted as a next generation anti-virus replacement and will be called only Malwarebytes.
Once you download and install you will be entitled to a 14 day free trial. If you desire to revert to the FREE edition now and turn “off” the free trial, simply click on the “settings” (at the left side) and then click on “my accounts”, then turn off the trial under “subscription details”. If you decide to stick with the free edition, you will need to periodically perform the scans manually.
Malwarebytes is one of the first things I install on a new computer and is my “go to” tool when helping others eradicate malware and other exploits…
This product is built to provide comprehensive protection against today’s threat landscape so that you can finally replace your traditional antivirus.
Our engineers have spent the last year building this product from the ground up and have combined our Anti-Malware, Anti-Exploit, Anti-Ransomware, Website Protection, and Remediation technologies all into a single product which we simply call “Malwarebytes.” And it scans your computer 4 times faster!
With the combination of our Anti-Malware ($24.95), Anti-Exploit ($24.95) and Anti-Ransomware (free, beta) technologies, we will be selling Malwarebytes 3.0 at $39.99 per computer per year, 20% less than our previous products combined and 33% less than an average traditional antivirus. But don’t worry, if you are an existing customer with an active subscription or a lifetime license to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, you will keep your existing price and get a free upgrade to Malwarebytes 3.0. If you have both an Anti-Malware and an Anti-Exploit subscription, we will upgrade you to a single subscription to Malwarebytes 3.0, reduce your subscription price and add more licenses to your subscription.
Antivirus software, now often referred to as security (suite) software, due to the innumerable threats, come in a variety of different brands. To get an idea, check out the top ten sellers at Amazon (see source links below).
I personally use a FREE antivirus program called Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition; however, you may feel more comfortable using one of the paid commercial versions such as reflected below.
Antivirus software was originally developed to detect and remove computer viruses, hence the name. However, with the proliferation of other kinds of malware, antivirus software started to provide protection from other computer threats. In particular, modern antivirus software can protect from: malicious browser helper objects (BHOs), browser hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraudtools, adware and spyware. Some products also include protection from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity (privacy), online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, advanced persistent threat (APT) and botnet DDoS attacks. [source: Wikipedia]
The article reflected below I have posted several times since its’ original posting (back in 2010). What prompted me to dust this off and bring it back out of the archives is that today I received a local government generated email to advise recipients of other government agencies of an impending snowstorm. What caught my attention was that as this email was sent to a very large body of people. I was able to see every name and email address to folks I am guessing would not want their email address and name made that public. As this email get’s forwarded, more and more email addresses will be revealed. To protect the privacy of others, it is best practice to use “Bcc” when sending email to multiple recipients.
Bcc = Blind Carbon Copy
Did you know that if you use the Bcc field in your email client to address and send an email or want to send a copy of an email to multiple users, the recipients will not see whom you sent the email to?
Many know this trick; however, I still find that many do not. When using the Bcc field to send your emails, the people receiving the email will not know who the other recipients are. It is not a trick of hidden magic. It is that the addresses of the other recipients are simply not shared.
I often receive forwarded chain emails; usually consisting of jokes, humorous movies, prayer requests, etc… Occasionally I will find one these emails humorous or important enough that I will pass it on; HOWEVER, prior to doing this I perform some housecleaning steps.
I will remove any “FWD” text (usually in the subject line) and will remove any email addresses I find in the body of the email that reflects the email addresses of recipients who have already received the email. After performing these housecleaning steps, I will enter into the the Bcc field, in my email client, the recipient’s email addresses, from my address book, to send (or forward) the email. If the email client requires at least one entry in the “To” field, I simply enter my own email address.
The benefits of using the Bcc field is simply this. You are protecting the privacy of other people. Currently I have approximately (5)-five email accounts that I use for specific purposes, from a variety of email services, with one of those accounts being my primary email account. I am very protective of that primary email account address and do not want it thrown about for the spammers to get hold of or for strangers to see. For example, I have found people’s email addresses in forwarded emails that I know and have not seen for years. They are very surprised when I contact them; and, will often ask, “How did you get my email?”. I explain that I simply pulled it from a forwarded email.
Be courteous to others and learn to use the Bcc field in your email; AND, when possible avoid chain emails all together.
You need to see this article that Phandroid has posted (see source link below) that will show you what Google knows about you, how this information is collected, where you can find this information and how you can opt out. Google collects this information, as a form of profiling, in order to better improve their products and services.
You may have already opted out of this collection of information; but, my guess is, you did not.
Did you know that Google knows almost everything that you do on their services? Find out what they know and how you can do something about it.
I have found that using synchronization software is a very easy way for the home based computer user to backup data vs. the full blown backup type software (which can hard to understand for the home computer user). I am currently messing around with the FREE synchronization program called SyncFolders; that, so far in my testing, could end up being my default (go to) backup software for my computers here at home. If you are interested in giving SyncFolders a try, the source link is reflected below. SyncFolders is also available as a portable app.
Features of SyncFolders
- Supports two-way synchronization of files and folders.
- Can easily be used as backup tool.
- Shows a preview before the actual synchronization takes place. You can override actions if desired.
- Detects conflicts or file collisions when a file has changed in both locations since the last sync operation. Therefore, SyncFolders tracks file modifications and deletions in a local database.
- Propagates deletions and detects file renames.
- File comparison by date and size or by content.
- Default actions can be defined in case of synchronization conflicts.
- Integrates with Windows’ Task Scheduler to support scheduled synchronizations.
- Supports file and folder filters.
- Can handle long file names and files of any size.
- Synchronization from or to UNC paths is supported.
- Supports multiple synchronization rules in a single rules file.
- Deleted or overwritten files can be moved to the recycle bin or to a time-stamped history folder.
- History files can be deleted after a user-defined period.
- Unlimited number of files.
- Synchronization from command line.
- Can ignore one-hour timestamp differences caused by DST switch for synchronization to FAT file systems.
- Unrestricted freeware.
- No spyware, adware or malware.
- Portable, although .NET Framework is required.
If you are concerned about file (and folder) security, AxCrypt 2.0 is good choice in protecting what matters to you. In addition to the full install version, there is a portable version, as well as, a mobile app (for Android and iOS).
AxCrypt works as a separate program in it’s own window, but it’s also fully integrated into the Windows Explorer – the part of Windows where you browse your folders and files. Here is a quick video tutorial on how to use the basic functions of AxCrypt 2.0.
AxCrypt is a simple file encryption software for Windows. It integrates seamlessly with your workflow to encrypt, decrypt, store, send and work with files.
New and Updated Features
- 256 bit encryption
- Mobile App for iOS
- Mobile App for Android
- Passwordless sharing
- Portable app for Windows
- Secured Folders
- Cloud Service Awareness
- Password Manager
- Single sign in for encryption / decryption
This Gmail Phishing attack (see source link below) has been making tech news and is very important that you are made aware. It has been known by Google since March of 2016. This deceptive sneaky attack is currently only targeting Gmail accounts. The cybercriminals trick you into giving away your Google or Gmail Login Credentials. It is even fooling those who are tech-savvy and very familiar with phishing schemes.
Once an account has been compromised, the attackers immediately access it and start targeting the victim’s contacts.
Gmail phishing attack: cybercriminals use cleverly designed URLs and they immediately access the hacked accounts
Looking for a method to protect sensitive files and folders? If so, Hyper Crypt may be of interest to you (see source link below). Hyper Crypt consists of a standalone (portable) executable file, a pdf manual and an updater that can be run on any Windows computer (Vista and higher)…
One thing I noticed that when you encrypt a folder, the files in the folder will appear as they normally would and no copy of the original is left behind. If you attempt to open any of the files, they will not open, due to the encyption. Don’t know if that is good or not, but works for me…
By default if you encrypt a single file, a copy of the original file is left behind; however, there is an option to change that.
Hyper Crypt uses the military-grade AES-256 algorithm for file and folder encryption, along with automatic integrity validation.
With Hyper Crypt, you can easily encrypt any kind of file, from documents, to pictures and videos.
AOMEI is an excellent software package that will assist you with backing up your files. The newest version now includes a live syncing option. Read more at Betanews (source link below).
AOMEI has released AOMEI Backupper Standard 4.0, the second major update of its freeware Windows backup, imaging and cloning tool in 2016. Version 4.0 adds an additional arrow to the tool’s bow …
If you have an account with Yahoo, you need to change your password NOW. Reportedly a 1 Billion account breach has occurred. Better yet, based on past security issues with Yahoo, you may want to consider other options.