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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Cellophane tape is your friend

When not using your webcam unplug it from your computer. You can also slap a small square of cellophane tape over the camera lense on your laptop. Use a physical cover to mask your smartphones camera lense.

Having the GCHQ spy on you is one thing, but ewwww.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


An anonymous individual has taken the time to run a limited test to see how many devices (routers, printers, PC's, laptops, etc.) connected to the Internet are still set with their default password. The answer? Too many! The Abstract is here. So, always always change the default username and password for every device you own. It should be a minimum of eight characters that includes upper case, lower case and symbols. Finally, no matter how nice it is to use your cats name or your middle name . . . don't! No username or password should be related to you in any way as this makes cracking them far easier.

Posted by Matthew Carrick at 10:34.40 AM EDT | Permanent Link
Edited on: Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:27.08 AM EDT

| Categories: Best Practices, Headlines, Security Alerts

Thursday, September 08, 2011

You're all a bunch of thieving crooks.

A report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) appears to show that most people have illegal or pirated software on their PC's. A Google news search gives you a good overview.

Tsk-tsk-tsk - you people should be ashamed.

Be aware that you will eventually be plagued with a piece of software containing a virus, spyware, malware, trojan or some other evil bit.

Try using open source software or look into searching for well written applications whose cost is rarely above $50.00 and generally provide years of free updates. Sweet.

Posted by Matthew Carrick at 2:24.16 PM EDT | Permanent Link
Comment by The Penguin - Saturday 26th November 2011 12:44:35 PM

Thieving crooks? Thieving crooks?! THIEVING CROOKS?!?!?!

| Categories: Adware/Spyware, Alternative Apps, Best Practices, Headlines, Openoffice.org, Open Source, Privacy Issues, Security Alerts, Viruses-Trojans-Worms

You're all a bunch of thieving crooks.

A report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) appears to show that most people have illegal or pirated on their PC's. A Google news search gives you a good overview.

Tsk-tsk-tsk - you people should be ashamed.

Be aware that you will eventually be plagued with a piece of software containing a virus, spyware, malware, trojan or some...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Critical Windows Flaw Targets IE

A security flaw in Windows MHTML (MIME Encapsulation of Aggregate HTML) protocol handler that is used by Windows applications to render ceertain document types can allow evil-doers to take control of a users Internet Explorer sessions.

Bill has a fix here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2501696 . Click the icon located about halfway down the page under Enable To lock down MHTML and follow the instructions.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

AVG Free 2011 Borks Win7

64-bit Windows 7 machines are failing to load, oh my. AVG has fixes here. Or try an alternative Anti-virus such as Avast!
Posted by Matthew Carrick at 11:20.59 PM EST | Permanent Link

| Categories: Headlines

Friday, November 26, 2010

Adobe Reader X Released

This new Sandboxed version should help prevent Zero-day exploits that have, in the past, doomed Adobe Reader to the status of exploit magnet. Now, what happens in Adobe stays in Adobe. The download is here.

Me? I'm sticking with Foxit Reader running under Sandboxie. In fact, most of my 'Net apps run under Sandboxie. Better Safe Than Sorry.

Posted by Matthew Carrick at 2:23.13 PM EST | Permanent Link
Edited on: Saturday, November 27, 2010 2:00.58 PM EST

| Categories: Adobe, Alternative Apps, Headlines

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Hotmail Account Recovery Tools

Microsoft has introduced two new features for use when you need to regain control of your Hotmail account(s). Good job, Bill!

First, “Trusted PC” links your Hotmail account with one or more of your physical PC's. Should you need to recover your cracked account it can be done by using one of these machines.

Second, Hotmail will send a secret code via SMS to your cell phone that can be used to reset the password of your cracked account.

So, if you still use Hotmail login to your account(s) and ensure it has all the details required to allow you to recover your account in the future because you know it wil happen.

Posted by Matthew Carrick at 12:30.25 PM EDT | Permanent Link

| Categories: Headlines, Mobile, Online Apps, Privacy Issues

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adobe is the Winner!

Microsoft Word has been dethroned as the most likely point-of-entry for rogue software.

Files based on Reader were exploited in almost 49 per cent of the targeted attacks of 2009, compared with about 39 per cent that took aim at Microsoft Word. By comparison, in 2008, Acrobat was targeted in almost 29 per cent of attacks and Word was exploited by almost 35 per cent.

So, either use an alternative such as Foxit Reader or for a quick 'n dirty fix: Open Adobe Reader, click onEdit, Preferences, JavaScript, and uncheck the enable JavaScript box.

Posted by Matthew Carrick at 4:58.06 AM EDT | Permanent Link
Edited on: Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:59.07 PM EDT

| Categories: Adobe, Alternative Apps, Headlines, Security Alerts

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Phishing Targets Tweeter

The popular mobile service Tweeter has been hit with phishing messages. Nothing new about this. It is a good time to remind folks about the devious nature of these evil doers. Any method will be used to induce the unwary or stupid to visit sites that will attempt to upload all kinds of malware, spyware, trojans, etc. to your PC, smartphone or other device. The vector for this specific attack is the very popular 'TinyURL' online application that turns large, unwieldy URLs such as “http://www.somewhere.orf/really/long/directory/” into something such as “http://tinyurl.com/4d4a2” which can be remembered long enough to key into a browser. The problem is that the TinyURL could lead one to evil sites. Very bad. TinyURL's solution, which folks either don't know about or don't use or understand is to use the Preview TinyURL. In our previous example one should append the TinyURL with preview: “http://preview.tinyurl.com/4d4a2”. This will allow for the best practice of safely viewing a rendering of the intended target before actually visiting it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

WPA Cracked

If you use WiFi to connect to your Internet provider via a wireless router be aware that recently a crack has been found that could allow eavedroppers to detect your passphrase. The simple solution (for now) is to use WPA2 rather than the now vulnerable WPA. If by some chance you missed the memo about the much older WEP protocol you should have stopped using that years ago! If your router does not use WPA2 then ensure it is using AES encryption and not TKIP. Also be damned sure your passphrase is long (12+ characters minimum) and contains a mixture of lower case, upper case, numerals and characters. So, password IS NOT up to scratch. k*uh7%vg4Sk9jNVfdxq)( is just about right ;-)

Posted by Matthew Carrick at 11:34.52 AM EST | Permanent Link

| Categories: Best Practices, Headlines, Security Alerts

Friday, October 24, 2008

Critical Microsoft patch available

Microsoft has issued an out-of-band update. This is unusual as Microsoft rarely releases patches ahead of the usual once monthly Patch Tuesday. In this case the severity of the security hole has prompted them to wisely hurry the process along. This update is for XP and Vista although for Vista users it is not deemed critical. What the heck, do it anyway. If you have Windows Update all organized (as you should) you should be safe. If you are unsure if you already have the patch installed then go to Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel, make sure the check box for show updates is checked:

Show Updates checkbox in XP Control Panel

and, when the list is finally displayed look for:

Security Update for Windows XP (KB958644)

If it's not installed go back to the Control Panel and click on Security Center. Make sure all the settings for Windows Updates, your firewall and whatever anti-virus you use are all functioning as they should.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

DNS Poisoning

DNS servers the world over have been targeted by evil doers. Flaws in these servers could allow creeps to silently redirect your browser sessions to anywhere.

To check to see if your ISP is vulnerable go here.

If the results (above) are less then satisfactory do contact your ISP and complain bitterly.

You could also use DNS servers that are patched. I suggest OpenDNS.com - they even have a handy application that corrects your settings when your ISP's DHCP server changes your IP.

Here is a good synoposis from the blog Security Fix:

At issue is a basic design flaw in the domain name system. DNS is the communications standard that acts as a kind of telephone book for the Internet, translating human-friendly Web site names like example.com into numeric addresses that are easier for networking equipment to handle and route. When people type a Web site name into their Internet browser, the process of routing of that name to Internet address is generally handled through DNS servers managed by Internet service providers and corporations. But according to research released this month, most of those DNS servers are vulnerable to a security flaw that allows miscreants to silently alter the virtual road maps that those systems rely on to route traffic. As a result, a cyber criminal could trivially rewrite those records so that when customers of a vulnerable ISP or network provider try to visit a particular Web site, they are instead taken to a counterfeit site created by the bad guys.

Security begins at home. Never assume your ISP has a clue.

Posted by Matthew Carrick at 1:03.13 PM EDT | Permanent Link

| Categories: All Things Mac, Headlines, Security Alerts

Thursday, May 15, 2008

US Bound? Secure Your Electronics!

Famed security guru Bruce Schneier has a very imformative article in the UK's Guardian newspaper online. In it he reminds potential visitors to the United States that border agents can and will search through all of your electronic devices. Laptops, cell phones, PDA's, iPods, etc. are all likely targets. Read the whole article here.
Posted by Matthew Carrick at 12:58.55 PM EDT | Permanent Link

| Categories: Best Practices, Headlines, Privacy Issues, Software Tools

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Limewire User Exposes Data

Peer-to-Peer file sharing networks are a haven for Trojans and malware. Letting others into your PC without the proper safeguards (hell, even with the safeguards) is a hole waiting to be filled with evil. If you must use these networks then consider keeping your sharing on your personal machine and not on one used by others.
Posted by Matthew Carrick at 7:28.11 PM EST | Permanent Link

| Categories: Headlines, Privacy Issues