Blog Archives

Reusing password and Password Managers

At some point we have all been guilty of this, reusing passwords on multiple sites because it is impossible to remember every password for every website we are required to log into these days!  I personally used to think having a password manager was bad, but it isn’t!!!  Password managers enable you to use features like, generating secure passwords.  It remembers them for you, so you don’t have to rely on your memory or sticky notes around your computer!  Just make sure you password manager has a secure password!!!

Troy Hunt teaches courses on Pluralsite.com and is an Australian Microsoft Regional Director and also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Developer Security. (from his website!)  He’s an expert on this!!!!  He has a website called, haveibeenpawned.com and he uploads security breach information to a database and then all you have to do is put your email address in and it searches to see if you have been pwnd.  Pwnd meaning that your security credentials have be compromised.  I recommend you visit it ASAP!  You will be shocked and I guarantee you will start changing many of your passwords!!!!!  It’s a free service he provides and it’s a ton of work!!!!   I highly recommend donating money to the site.  It’s a ton of work he is doing to keep us safe. 🙂

I recommend you read his blog post about passwords and password managers.  He has listed a few that are very good.  Check the post out here.

 

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Awesome YouTube Video by Troy Hunt

This video has some awesome info on why you should have complicated passwords everywhere!  A link to the article he mentions in here as well! https://www.troyhunt.com/password-reuse-credential-stuffing-and-another-1-billion-records-in-have-i-been-pwned/

Google Docs Phishing Attack-How To Protect Yourself

As many of your heard, there is a new phishing scam out there and it has to do with Google Docs.   Unless you are 100% positive that the document is in fact real, do NOT open it.   The best part of it is, an ethical hacker by the name of Eugene Pupov claims he did it by mistake.   Whether it was a mistake or not, the emails come mostly from a domain named malinator.com.    They look like this:

devious-google-phishing-attack

What does the attack do?  It asks you to grant permission to your email, and if you accept it can go through your email and and find your contacts and send it out to more people from your account.  It will look like it came from you, so be aware of any emails you may get from people you know.  If you are remotely unsure if that email you received from a person you know has a Google Doc attached to it, send them a separate email asking them if they actually sent you a document.  They may be infected and not know it!  If they are infected tell them they need to notify people!

How can you protect yourself?   Be suspicious of ANY email that looks like it could be a phishing attack.  If you are wondering what that looks like, check out my previous blog article here.   Do NOT authorize any apps to have permission to your gmail account.  Check to see what apps already have authorization to your Google account and if they don’t look like something you accepted remove access.  There is an article on how to do this on Google’s website here.   They have addressed the issue and if you think you have been affected, please click here to find out what Google advises you do to correct the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

The Anatomy of a Phishing Email

Today someone was awesome enough to send me an email to make sure that it was valid before they clicked on anything.  I cannot express to you how happy that makes me!!!  It saves me so much work!!!!   Of course, we now have Cylance as our Anti-Virus(AV for short) and that in itself has made my job so much easier!!!!  We’ve had it nearly a year and NOT 1 computer has become infected with ANYTHING!   If you are a business thinking of changing your AV product, I cannot recommend this product highly enough!!!!

First, let me break down the beginning of the email:

From: Media Player <info@flymail.cf>   <———– This is NOT an Apple address
Subject: New version of Mac Media Player available for download!

Apple and Microsoft will NEVER send you an email about this!!!!!!  They would send it to your device through an update!   Sometimes phishers will fake the email address or make it look so close to the real thing.  I’m actually surprised at how bad this email address even looks!   Even if it looks real, and you think it might be a valid email from your bank, Paypal, Amazon anything like that go to the website directly. DO NOT CLICK on the link!

Then we go into the guts of the email:   It’s a bunch of pictures with links attached to them:

2017-04-13_10-24-27

Looks fairly realistic huh?   This is actually very easy to do!!! I just did this with a screenshot!   Anyone with minimal computer experience could do this!

Now, for the most important part. If you just hover over the Download link or anywhere over the pictures, this link comes up:

2017-04-13_10-04-26.jpg

First off, this is NOT an Apple link!  The link here is to a domain named flymail.cf.   The portion of the address that is wrong is the .cf.   That is not a legitimate top level domain name, like .com, .org, gov or .edu.  To see a list of actual top level domain names, you can find it here: http://www.domainsherpa.com/top-level-domains/ .

The other portion of this link that bothers me is track-url.   Now, this leads me to believe that this link is going to track your urls (websites) that you visit.   I’m going to say that this tracking will happen through cross-site scripting.  Essentially this site will inject code into your browser that will capture your sessions on the websites you visit after this website, including your usernames and passwords!!!    

This means if you go to an unsecured website the hacker can easily capture your username and password with this code.  It’s one of the most frequently used types of hacking, it’s called session hijacking.   Later on you start to wonder why you are getting spam, or why did people just get friend requests on Facebook from me when I am already friends with them?   If you use the same password for one site, then the hacker can go to several websites and try that password and have remarkable success!

This is why you need to have different and complicated passwords for all sites you visit. There are password managers that you can use to help you with this.  Let’s face it our brain can’t remember all of our passwords and writing them on a piece of paper and saving them in your desk, or under your keyboard at work are HORRIBLE options!  I will do more research on what password managers are the safest and best to use for my next Tech Tip Thursday.

Oh yeah, and if I find your passwords written on a sticky note taped to your monitor I’m rippin’ that bad boy off and throwing it out!   

 

 

 

Shutting off Smart Interactivity which is spying on your TV habits on Your Vizio TV!

The FTC recently fined Vizio with a 2.2 MILLION dollar fine for not telling us that their TV’s were spying on our viewing habits.  Yikes!  I had a newer Vizio TV and a few weeks ago it notified me of a change that I had to accept.  Which after I read it I thought to myself, “Oh No You Don’t!”.   This has affected Vizio Smart TV’s that were purchased from 2011-2016.

If you don’t want Vizio spying on you, this video will show you how to shut it off.

How to Change Your Password in Windows 10 and Office365/Outlook 2013 and 2016

I know many people will pass this article up because they will think how in this day in age, can someone still not know how to do it.  Yet, this is one of my most frequently asked questions!   You are NOT alone!

In Windows 10 once you are logged in.   Hold down the keys on your keyboard labeled Ctrl and then Alt and then Delete.  That will bring you to this screen-Select Change Password.

select-change-password

This is also where you should go if you are getting up from your desk and need to lock your computer so no one else can get into your system!!!!! It’s a very important security measure!

Next selecting Change a Password will bring up this screen:

change-passsword

Make sure your password is complex!!!!!  Some complexity rules to follow are:

1.  The longer the better!  At a minimum make it 8 characters, however, it SHOULD be longer!

2.  ALWAYS include an upper case letter

3.  ALWAYS include a lower case letter.

4.  AlWAYS include at least 1 number.

5.  ALWAYS have a symbol.  Like ! or @ or $.

Once your password has been updated you will receive this screen.  Make sure your password is something you can remember.  PLEASE do NOT put it on a sticky note and then put the sticky note on your monitor or under your keyboard that is the FIRST place people look.  If you must write it down keep it in a LOCKED drawer at all times!

Now Outlook will need the password updated if you are using Office365.  This is the fastest way to change it.

Open Outlook, then look for the Send and Receive Tab.

where-to-change-your-password-in-outlook

There is an icon on the ribbon with a key on it.  Underneath it says Type Exchange Password and Connect.   If for some reason your aren’t getting emails or calendar updates look at the bottom right-hand side of your screen and see if there is a key icon with the words Need Password.   When you select the Type Exchange Password and Connect it will bring this screen up:

prompt-to-change-outlook-password

Type in your password in the box that says password.  Select Remember my credentials box otherwise, it will constantly ask you for your password!!!!!!!    Then select OK and you are set there.

If you have Skype and you are logged into it.  You will need to update your password there as well and the pop up looks identical to this one except it says Skype.   As shown below:skypepasswordchange

If you use the sales program for Pipeliner you will also need to update your password there as well!!!!

 

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Protect Your Child From Online Bullying!

We’ve all heard about the tragedies that have occurred over the last couple of years about children being bullied.   I was thinking back to when I was a child and being bullied.  I’ve been short my whole life and picked on about it to this day.  I hear about children committing suicide over this and I have to wonder,  why?  I’m simply wondering out loud why bullying has brought so many kids to the point of feeling their only option was to commit suicide?

When I was a kid, bullying was usually done face to face.  Online Bullying is a new form of bullying.  People can be so much more cruel online than they can be in person.  Read any news article, and then read comments below it.  People say horrific things to other people because it’s easier to do it in writing online than saying it in person.  It is very easy to depersonalize.  You don’t think of the person as a person, just as an online persona, or as an avatar on the screen.

I didn’t realize how many outlets kids have for bullying these days: email, blogs, messaging, texting and of course all of the social media sites.  In my day, it was at school, possibly after school and then I was home!  This form of bullying is non-stop and invading every aspect of a person’s life!

According to Norton’s article on Cyberbullying available here, there are warning signs:”

  • They appear nervous when receiving a text/online message or email.
  •  Habits with devices change. They may begin avoiding their devices or using them  excessively.
  •  They make excuses to avoid going to school.
  •  They become defensive or secretive about online activity.
  •  They withdraw from friends and family.
  •  They have physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, stomach aches, headaches,  and weight loss or gain.
  •  They begin falling behind in school or acting out.
  •  Their grades start declining.
  •  They appear especially angry, frustrated or sad, particularly after going    online/checking devices. •
  • They delete social media or email accounts.”

Have discussions with your kids about this.  Ask them if they’ve ever been picked on via social media, texting and or emails.   Perhaps relay a story of your own about a time you were picked on in school, because let’s be honest haven’t we all at some point?   Make them feel comfortable talking to you about this.  I have a 4 year old who tells me she gets picked on at school.  I always let her discuss it with me.  Yes, it can start as early as 4!!!! She has also been the instigator too, so I have talked to her about that as well.  We need to teach our children it’s okay to talk about it, and it’s NOT ok to bully!

Other things you can do, monitor their screen time, make sure the computer is all up to date with updates, anti-virus, anti-malware and even put monitoring software on their like Net Nanny.

For more information on keeping your kids safe and talking to them about Cyberbullying, please visit these websites!

http://www.wiredsafety.com/

http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/

https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/

Also, my friend Tara Michener also does Anti-Bullying Campaigns and counseling for those who have been bullied.

 

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.   I will try to post something weekly in regards to the campaign. This week’s theme is STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Here is a helpful video telling you some basics steps to stay secure online! Stay Safe Online!

For more information please visit:  http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam

 

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