You have been hearing about the scary cyberattack causing all types of problems on a global scale in the news. The good news is if you are using a currently supported operating system (Windows 7 or higher) you are protected. If you use Malwarebytes Premium you would have been protected regardless of whether or not your operating system was still supported. Companies and individuals running unsupported or unpatched operating systems are the real targets of these crooks. Microsoft in an unprecedented move, even released a patch for XP and Vista operating systems to stem the ransomware’s impact. I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Remember: keep your operating system updated. If you are not already using Malwarebytes Premium, now may be the time to start. This is just the beginning of the new norm. Please contact us if you have any questions about your security status/risk.
The latest Ouch! newsletter has great information regarding how to help children be safe and secure online. Good communication and education are the keys to achieving this goal.
Unpatched home routers are being used to attack WordPress websites across the Internet. Wordfence, a WordPress website security company, has documented the problem in detail, and developed a simple tool to test your home router to see if it’s vulnerable. It contains detailed information on how to interpret the results. The main thing to keep in mind is that if the router is owned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you will probably have to contact them. If you own your own router, you will need to deal with any issues discovered. As always, if you need help with this or any other issue, we are here to help.
The latest build of Windows 10, Number 15063, named “The Creators Edition” has begun being pushed to Windows 10 users this week. Don’t be alarmed if it takes time for the update to be delivered to your desktop. Just like with the previous build, “The Anniversary Edition”, Microsoft starts with computers running the latest hardware and has the least chance of compatibility issues, and then progresses to the older machines. The process to get everyone updated is estimated to take about two months. My recommendation is to wait until the update is downloaded to your computer. This will provide you with the best chance of not experiencing any problems or issues. If you just can’t wait, you can go to Windows Update and click the link that will allow you to manually download the latest build. As with previous builds, allow a couple of hours for the download and install. I’ve been using the Creators Edition for the past week. It has a lot of new features for those that use Microsoft software. My two biggest complaints is that the Control Panel shortcut has been eliminated from the context menu when right clicking the start button, and my laptop seems to take longer when starting up. I have got around the Control Panel inconvenience by pinning the Control Panel icon to my taskbar. I’m hoping my startup times will improve as the “bugs” are taken care of.
There has been a lot in the news recently about Congress repealing privacy laws that will allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell their subscriber’s usage data to interested third parties. The first thing to know is that the laws that have been repealed, were actually never enacted! We the people, are in the same boat we were in before the repeal made the news. I think we can all agree that any loss of privacy is a step in the wrong direction, and something that we all need to try and hold our elected representatives accountable for.
The good news is that there is no need to go subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, at least not at this time. The data ISPs collect is not broken down to the individual level. It’s very broad and generic. For example, they are not selling the fact that Bill was on msn.com at 10 am on Monday morning, however the fact that 20% of NC internet users access msn.com daily is data that advertisers will pay good money to find out. Continue accessing the Internet with confidence, at least for now.
The latest Ouch! newsletter has great information regarding how to create complex passwords/passphrases that are easily remembered and hard for crooks to hack. Short or “normal word”passwords are typically the weakest link in account security. Following the recommendations in this article will help your accounts safe.
I see more and more people being talked into extended warranties on their new devices. I have also heard horror stories from folks when they try to use the “no hassle”, “any issues, and we give you a new device” extended warranty they purchased. This well written article by Bob Rankin explains in detail why it may be better to “self insure” yourself instead of purchasing an extended warranty.
Are you using free email services like Yahoo!, Gmail, etc.? One of the biggest benefits of using them is not being “tied” to an Internet Service Provider if you decide to switch later on. Leo Notenboom, of Ask Leo! fame, has written a great article on the “cost” and risk of using free email services; it also discusses how to prepare for a disaster (loosing access to your account), and drives home the fact that there is usually no customer support for these services because they are free and revenue is not generated to provide salaries for tech support.
It doesn’t matter how much security you put into place, we the end user tend to be the weakest link when the “bad guys” take advantage of our human nature through social engineering. They determine the best ways to get you to make a hasty decision without thinking of the security consequences. I recommend watching this Sans video that will explain the concept of social engineering in more detail. Always remember, when in doubt, contact us before clicking on something, or dialing that number to a fake tech support company. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common place with each passing day.
The latest Ouch! newsletter has great information regarding how to safely and securely use apps on mobile devices. Apple devices have a more vetted system to prevent malicious apps, but even they have trouble keeping them out of the Apple app store. Android devices are open source, and the thing that makes them so popular, are also what makes their app store more vulnerable to malicious apps. The tips shared will definitely help keep your devices safer. Click here to read the newsletter.