Archive for the ‘Security’ Category

Password, SMASHword!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

In my previous post, I talked about hackers and hacking.  These are the people you should get mad at when your bank, your email provider or anyone that holds passwords or user names that endlessly seem to have to change.  I tearinghairoutunderstand the feeling of wanting to smash your keyboard when you pick one you will remember and the providers won’t accept it because it needs a number, a capital letter, a symbol or all three and until you useall three you can’t set up your account or use your existing account.  It is frustrating.  But it is not their fault.  They are trying to protect you and them from being hacked.  It costs companies BILLIONS annually.

HealthCare Records

According to Inc. Magazine, Healthcare records are the sweet spot for criminals.  And, if you get some weird call from someone that claims they are verifying some info and you don’t know who it is, you don’t recognize the number – HANG UP! These criminals may not have any information at all that can be used, but they have snippets and the information you give them or verify as they tell you, is a scam.  Do not give out personal information to anyone about yourself, your kids, neighbors, your grandchildren.  These criminals are looking for home addresses, telephone numbers, etc.  This information seems harmless, but it valuable to the thief.  As the Inc. article puts it, “…the real money is in leveraging the information to social engineer the person whose information was stolen.”

Military and Other Government Employees Hacked

What a disgusting thought that people serving our country, HACKED.  In June of this year, that is exactly what happened.  The Government Personnel Office was hacked and 20.1 million people affected.  I got a call to verify some information about someone and I smelled a rat.  Come to find out, I was right.  I am so grateful I gave no information to someone who sounded legit, but was not.  With 20.1 million people’s information flooding the black market, it is possible you will get a call yourself.  Please don’t fall for it, hang up.

Please don’t fall for it, hang up.  Next time you are talking with your own friends, tell them about this very real situation that is only growing every year. Don’t let them be a victim either.






Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Are Hackers the New Scrooge?

Hackers love the holidays.  Why?  Because that is when the internet really gets hopping with credit card numbers and lots of other personal data.  It is the end of the year and maybe you are thinking about getting Scroogeyour tax info in early. It seems like every day some new sort of “cute” virus, it is Christmas, it’s Valentines day, it is the day that “someone” or “something” decides to infect your computer and ruin your life.

Anybody remember that email so long ago you opened? You thought someone was telling you “I Love You” via email and then you had a virus?  They called it a a trojan horse.  If you are like me and took 4 years of latin,  you know the whole story about the trojan horse.  If you didn’t, what it means is that it feels like your life is over.  Your computer is hosed.  And then like the legend of the trojan horse your email address book was infected and all your friends learned that you infected them, that is the routine.  You see folks on FB mentioning that friend requests are being sent out from their account and they need to change their password.

What Will Be The “Next Best Thing” When It Comes To Viruses?

A lot of things haven’t changed at all when it comes to viruses on the internet.  The idea that some lost soul is camping out in his Mom’s basement still exists but hackers come in all shapes, sizes and nationalities – some of them are robots, they aren’t real people.  The purpose of the nuisance virus is to learn something from what worked in their program and what didn’t. You are helping in their research project without your permission.  A research project that you have no idea you are a part of.

Often people don’t talk about virus updates using Norton or McAfee, but they are really important.  We take it for granted sometimes and those of us that use macs we feel like we are “above” the fray only we aren’t.

Pay Attention. 

Watch the media for scams.  There are thousands of them out there that aren’t viruses, they are scams that get your personal information.  Remember anything you send in email is not secure.  This means no personal information.  No Social Security Number, No addresses, No credit card numbers. NEVER.

Web eMail can sometimes fool you. We have been trained to look into the navigation bar and there is an https:  up there.  So it must be secure, right?  Don’t take that for granted.  People have different email clients, yahoo, etc. As you message flies thru the servers on the internet it is not secure.


The moral of the story here is:  Be AWARE.  Vigilance. Make sure your virus definitions are up to date.  Make sure you are comfortable with what you are agreeing to.  You need to make sure you are “OK” with their terms.  Or choose not to use their service.  If you are ordering online look at the boxes that are already checked to see how much-unwanted email you may end up receiving.

Knowledge is Power and Peace of Mind.