Watch out for fake antivirus programs

Just came across this Fake antivirus / scamware
“professional cleaning software”.

Could you be any more creative with a name?

If you decide to install security / antivirus software consult an expert first or you may end up with a fake that does nothing but take your money.

 

From Homeland Security / US-CERT

If your using Thunderbird to check your email…

Original release date: August 21, 2017

Mozilla has released a security update to address multiple vulnerabilities in Thunderbird. A remote attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the Mozilla Security Advisory for Thunderbird 52.3 and apply the necessary update.

Get the update version here

Know your software

On computers as well as smartphones I find people download software without even doing a google search to see if it is any good. Yet alone to check if the software is just bait for a virus infection or has had other issues discovered with it. Such as bugs or not working with certain O/S or hardware.

In addition software that is great today can be dangerous tomorrow if hackers compromise the source code or somehow are able to control the website providing the downloads for the software.

Yesterday some popular extensions for google chrome created by Chris Pederick have been reported to have been compromised by hackers.

If your running any of these add-ons you should remove them ASAP…

Chrometana
Infinity New Tab
CopyFish
Web Paint
Social Fixer

This is just one days hacking news as both Chrome extensions TouchVPN and Betternet VPN were also compromised in June.

So before downloading any program make sure you check it out. And if you need help ask a computer professional such as RenoGeek to help you with your software choices and security.

The coming end to privacy

The new Amazon Echo will have a “drop-in”, (feature???) where people you approve can just “drop-in” and video chat instantly. No picking up or screening the call, they just show up on your screen and start chatting. No warning.

In a world that has trained people already to never shut off their cell phones and spend the first part of their day checking emails and updating their status and where people think you died if you don’t answer a text in under a minute, it is a disturbing trend.

We already get rated at work on how “Available” we are and even Facebook will show how often and how fast you respond to their version of text. Now in this always on world companies are pushing us to never be away at all. Even in the book 1984 there were corners to hide in from time to time. But forget that in the new 24/7 “never away” world we are creating.

While I have spent my life working with and promoting all things “Tech”. I resist the idea that you should or even must be available to anybody in the world 24/7.

Technology is supposed to make your life better and free you to do the things you like. If any software or hardware device increases your workload or decreases your enjoyment then it has missed the whole point of why it should exist in the first place.

Testing software

I test software all the time as I need to be familiar with any products my customers may use or try.  Today’s test was for Easeus partition master 12. A consumer level drive partition and maintenance utility.

While I would give the program itself a 3 out of 10 for usability, as most of the real functions you would need already exist in other free utilities and the price they want for their version is hundreds of dollars over what their competitors ask for.  The real disappointment was with their business practice of including crap ware with their product, and the fact the program changes your default search and home pages.

Now  I know if you look carefully and unchecked the right box on the right EULA page you don’t have to install this junk. But for their target end user who would be using this utility because they are not very computer savvy, it can easily be missed and that consumer would then have five extra programs and new search and home pages they never asked for.

Also as a bonus lesson on how not to do a uninstall program. I would suggest they dump the pop up webpage asking yet again to change your search pages when you try and uninstall the program. After all if your uninstalling, you are saying in general you did not like the program and want to go back to the way things were before installing said software. Right?

Windows 10 creative edition

The new service pack or update for Windows 10 comes out next Tuesday and seems to have a few new useful features. Such as better privacy controls. A Bluetooth enable smart lock that uses your phone’s proximity as a “key” to unlock your system.  And a “smart” menu that adds folders back to the “start” or Windows flag main menu. Which should make some people that have switched to “classic menu” and other software add-ins think twice about adopting the new defaults.

I have already installed a “Early” adopter version of the update and over all it seems ok except it is missing some items on the right click “context” menu, Control panel seems to be one of these missing items. Time will tell if this was just a oversight of the early edition or dovetails into MS plans to put the guts of a windows machine deeper and deeper in the system to avoid regular user from messing with settings.

As always, I anticipate a number of service related issues requiring service calls over the next few months as the kinks are worked out of this new update.

 

LastPass warns users while it fixes a ‘MAJOR’ vulnerability.

While I am all for any attempt by end users to secure their passwords, I have always been a bit leery of using services such as Lastpass. As they are a high value target. Hackers know if they can get into a service like this they will have access to millions of accounts. I prefer my passwords in a spread sheet encrypted with a strong password. Seems old school to some. But I don’t have to change all my passwords every time Lastpass is in the news. And this is not the first security threat they have had to warn users about.

So….

If your using LastPass, time to do the password dance again…

ie: change your passwords now.

Two US firms lost 100 million to email scam

The BBC is reporting today the two firms in the United States fell victim to an email phishing scam where a man posing as an Asian manufacturer,  tricked employees into transferring money into bank accounts under his control.

While many think that just Grandma falls for these scams, it’s important to note that they can happen to anybody not practicing good computer security habits.

Via: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39351215

Microsoft seems not to care how much their updates will cost you.

If your on a high speed, unlimited connection, Microsoft updates should be installed as they come out to insure you have a more stable and in most cases secure computer.

But many people (AT&T I am talking about you) have low bandwidth, low data cap plans that price gouge you and / or throttle your speed after you hit their cap (22 gigs if your on a AT&T “Unlimited” plan).

So if your a Netflix / Youtube junkie with 5 other people on your “Unlimited” plan most of your data is maxed out by the end of the month.  But Microsoft makes no real effort to help you by letting you choose what to install (or not install). So your Internet data costs are now determined by Microsoft and not by you.

Via: Engadget

https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/19/windows-10-to-push-key-updates-on-limited-data-plans/