Tag Archives: Security

Does Your Password Suck?

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The New York Times on Sunday stated that a strong password isn’t the strongest security. We should instead be focused on the malware/keyloggers that invade systems and can steal ANY password, weak or strong. Should we continue our focus on “strong” passwords which some jobs make you change every few months, or should our focus be more on computer security, getting to the root of the problem?

If you have malware or keyloggers on your system, your information will be stolen no matter how strong your password. Instead of focusing so much energy on strong passwords, you need to make sure that you protect your entire computer system. That’s what the NY Times article says to us, at least.

Do you pay much attention to password security, or do you focus your energy on overall computer security?

Lamarr wasn’t able to send us a video last week, since he was worn out from traveling. He wanted to make it up to all of you this week by doing a video today and one on Thursday! Now that is dedication, folks. Thanks, Lamarr, for all of your support.

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IBM Serves Up Malware at Security Conference

Over the past week, heavy hitters in the computer security field attended the AusCERT conference in Australia. This prestigious conference brings together some of the most important companies and innovations in computer security – and the people who use the services and products out in the field every day. This is serious business, folks, and it’s likely a good idea for anyone attending to have their game face on.

Instead of a game face, IBM walked away with egg plastered all over their mugs. While a company representative was on stage lecturing attendees about the importance of protecting against malware, their co-workers were handing out malware-ridden USB sticks at a vendor table in the hallway.

IBM was in attendance to show off their dominance and dedication to security. A screw-up of this magnitude is going to put their future credibility in that department on the line. Those who had attended the conference were told about the problem in a warning email this afternoon, sent by IBM Australia chief technologist Glenn Wightwick. “Unfortunately we have discovered that some of these USB keys contained malware and we suspect that all USB keys may be affected. The malware is detected by the majority of current Anti Virus products [as at 20/05/2010] and been known since 2008. The malware is known by a number of names and is contained in the setup.exe and autorun.ini files. It is spread when the infected USB device is inserted into a Microsoft Windows workstation or server whereby the setup.exe and autorun.ini files run automatically.”

If someone has already inserted the USB drive into their machine, they are pretty much S.O.L. Hopefully they had an anti-virus product installed and updated which caught it. If not, they’re going to have to manually fix this little bugger. Fix instructions in the email show someone how to clean the files, and then suggests that a full backup and operating system restore should be done. Yes… it’s that important.

It is beyond my comprehension how this could possibly have happened. If you are a leader in the field attending a conference full of other leaders… aren’t you going to make damn sure that everything is in proper working order? Did no one think to test these? This only came to light after one conference-goer went home and popped the device into his computer… becoming infected, of course. The damage control on this is going to be a mess.

Yet another lesson in why you have to protect your machines. It does not matter how “smart” you are when you are online. You can – and likely will, at some point – become infected.

How Private is Facebook?

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Are you leaving Facebook? With all of the concern over privacy lately, many people are choosing to close their accounts. Others are educating themselves with the changes Facebook has made and making the best choices for their profile pages. Still more people are clueless… they don’t realize what is being shared and with whom. They have no idea how to fix this problem once they do learn of it. They just keep going along with their heads in the sand, and hope for the best. This isn’t the way things should be, folks. You shouldn’t have to be so afraid of what the wrong person might see. The fact is, if you put something online then someone will see it. I have come up with the perfect two-step plan to help solve this problem.


Step 2: Repeat step 1.

It’s that simple, really. I know you think it’s cool to say nasty thing online when you’re a teenager. I know that it’s hilarious when you trash someone on your Facebook page or Twitter account. After all, no one is going to see it, right? Think about this, though… you’re 22 years old, and you just graduated college. You’re looking for the perfect job. However, there are firms out there who make a LOT of money to investigate you – including your online presence. Even when you delete that bad tweet or the Facebook comment you regret, it’s still there somewhere. The damage will have been done. Someone will have been hurt by what you said, or another person will have archived a screenshot of it. It can – and often will – come back to bite you in the ass.

As I already said, many people are confused about Facebook’s privacy changes. The kids on the site are the ones who concern me the most. Many of them truly don’t have a clue. Case in point: my assistant Kat heard about a friend’s teenage daughter who had gotten into trouble with a group of her friends for something they had done at school. Kat logged into Facebook, and went to the girl’s Facebook page, forgetting that they aren’t “friends.” Low and behold, she could read everything on the child’s Wall anyway. What she saw astounded her… there were the other girls who had been caught… posting away on her Wall. One girl bragged about how she is not in trouble with her parents because of the elaborate lies she came up with. True story, folks. And by the way? That girl’s parents now know exactly what their sweet little princess had done, thanks to a screenshot and an email.

Just because you’re sitting in the privacy of your own home doesn’t mean that things you share online won’t be seen by people you don’t want to see them. You could stay offline, certainly. You could quit Facebook if you wanted. Or, you could be just a tad more selective as to what you share. There is such a thing as over-sharing. Do you really think that you’ll be the same person in ten or twenty years that you are now?

The gestures you make online… just assume the world will see them. This isn’t really Facebook’s problem. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t change their policies. I’m saying that at the end of the day, the burden for keeping your information private lies on your own shoulders. You are the one ultimately responsible for what others do – and don’t – see.

Don’t push the responsibility for your privacy onto anyone else. Period. End of story.

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How to Protect Your Privacy Online

Everyone is talking about privacy these days, and no one is happy with the state of things… especially when it comes to Facebook. I told you yesterday on Twitter: There are only two steps you need to follow in order to protect your privacy.

  • Step 2 – See Step 1.

It really is that simple, folks. If you don’t want everyone, their brother and their mother to know something about you, why the hell are you posting it online to begin with? How many of the people who are screaming about having their privacy invaded are the ones who don’t want their bosses (or significant others) to see the pictures from their drunken night in Cancun? If you have secrets you don’t want the rest of civilization to discover, then you should keep that junk to yourself.

How often have you said something on Twitter or Facebook, only to regret it later? Perhaps your boss read your rant about work last week. Or maybe your mom stumbled across something you flippantly tweeted regarding the upcoming family reunion. Whatever the case may be, I have to repeat this again: If you don’t want everyone to know something, then sit down and close your pie hole. That may sound harsh, but apparently harsh is what it takes to get through to some people. There is no undo button on the Internet.

It was interesting to read some of the feedback on my FriendFeed page about this:

In other words, trust no company, trust no person. – Akiva Moskovitz

Side Bar: If you are going to share shit, make sure you know who can see it and take full advantage of any privacy tools. If you can’t lock it down to your liking, see somewhere you can and share there. Failing that, see Step 1. Never assume, it makes an ASS out of U and ME – Johnny Worthington

I’ve been saying this for years – Jesse Stay

Not that what I say matters – Jesse Stay

Or: Even vaults and safety deposit boxes can be broken into. It’s about risk and trust… and know each of them – Johnny Worthington

It’s not about the Sharing. It’s about the Basic Personal Info. – Christopher Galtenberg

If you don’t want Basic Personal Info shared online, don’t put it there. Again, it’s about risk. There is risk in leaving your credit card statements sitting in your letterbox or leaving your wallet on a counter for more that a sec. Risk Assessment. – Johnny Worthington

If the internet can’t deal with personal private data, it won’t work. I thought you felt this way too, JW. – Christopher Galtenberg

Christopher, the phone company can’t guarantee 100% security on calls (fixed lines or cellular), the mail can be tampered with, offices can be bugged, your baggage is scanned at the airport and your wallet can be stolen. No system, physical or digital, is 100% secure. China hacked Gmail. Shit, courier pigeons can be shot down. Since EVERYTHING is <100%, each person must undertake a risk assessment when sharing critical data. If you must have 100%, then a communication channel that is run by a series of commercial entities and less than stellar governments probably isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean it’s 0% secure (probably more like 90-95% secure) but looking for a perfect solution is futile unless you control every point, A to B. – Johnny Worthington

By your logic, JW, everything is actually safe (equally trustworthy, relatively) – Christopher Galtenberg

Not exactly. I trust my bank more than I do Facebook or Gmail… but I don’t assume my bank is just 100% safe. Levels of trust. I have performed risk assessments on each online entity and determined what I would feel comfortable about disclosing. – Johnny Worthington

Anything can be hacked. Anything can leak. Trust is a risk and some levels adjust over time, usually down to lower levels. – manielse (Mark Nielsen)

Back to the original post: that’s how I’ve always treated the Internet. Those MySpace/Facebook kiddies who have to show the whole world the most embarrassing stuff they do always appalled me. I’ve always been careful what I share online, even if I sometimes use my blogs or Twitter as a soapbox. – Dennis Jernberg

Indeed! *thinks back to the DYSP video* – Johnny Worthington

@Chris: And that, of course, is why we have to be so careful. Forethought… – Dennis Jernberg

What are your thoughts regarding privacy online? What measures do you take to make sure your information – and life – is secure?

SUPERAntiSpyware Educational License Special

In the past, we’ve been fortunate to offer discounts on SUPERAntiSpyware to our readers, and the response has always been great. SAS is an excellent product, one which Kat highly recommends. Today I learned that they are offering a very special license for educational institutions, and I wanted to make sure that it is passed along to you. If you are a teacher or administrator, you’re going to want to check this out. If you’re a student, why not show this post to your principal?

From now through August 1, 2010, all SUPERAntiSpyware multi-user licenses sold to educational clients will be upgraded to a lifetime subscription with no renewal fees at no additional charge. “Economic hardship and budget cuts are an everyday reality for school systems at all levels,” said Nick Skrepetos, founder of SUPERAntiSpyware.com. “We highly value the role that education plays in communities worldwide, and we want to support schools in their efforts to provide quality education while balancing their tight and shrinking budgets. Managing high-priced software renewal fees is simply not practical for schools in today’s economic climate. We want to help.”

Additionally, SUPERAntiSpyware will include one Technician’s License for its new portable scanner with each educational license at no additional cost. The portable scanner harnesses the same powerful anti-spyware engine as the Professional Edition of SUPERAntiSpyware and references a spyware definition database that is updated at least once per day.

To take part in this amazing offer, simply send them an email. The danger of malware infections pose a huge threat to the educational system, one which could potentially cost millions of dollars to eradicate. Without proper protection, schools are at risk that can not only rob them of instructional time, but may also require them to pay expensive repair bills.

Losing Everything on Your Computer Would be a Disaster

When purchasing a hard drive, most people look at the storage available, the speed, the price, and the warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty will be the last thing on your mind if there is a major hard drive failure. To put it in very simple terms, everything on your hard drive could be inaccessible. Everything on the hard drive could be gone.

Of course, there are recovery services that might be able to save some of the data. However, there are no guarantees and, whether successful or not, such services are expensive. And you will want your files, pictures, music, and all that data on your hard drive. You will be looking for all those registration numbers for those software programs that you use. You will not be thinking much about that warranty.

Avoid this disaster. It is possible to safeguard yourself from this catastrophe.

You have heard people say it repeatedly: “do a backup of your data.” Yes, do a backup of your hard drive. It is not difficult. That hard drive you are using will fail. It happens to everyone. Hard drives do not last indefinitely. Problems with the hard drive are a matter of “when,” not “if.”

If you are one of our readers who is doing academic work, you cannot afford a computer disaster at this time of the year. Do a backup copy of all your school stuff. We know some students who do two backup copies and keep one copy off the premises.

To make this as easy and as economical for you as possible, here is a bargain from Acronis. It is the Acronis True Image Home 2010 and the True Image Plus Pack add-on. This will give you continuous data protection and there is a forty dollar ($40.00) discount.

True Image Home 2010 supports Windows XP SP3, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows Vista SP2 (all editions) and Windows 7 (all editions).

This offer is valid until March 31, 2010.

There are really too many features to list. We are familiar with the excellent features of the Acronis programs and have no hesitation in recommending this software. Please take the time to see what these programs offer for your security. As readers know, we always prompt you to beware of malware and to take steps to protect your computer(s). Doing backups gives you protection. It gives you a copy of your hard drive in case the malware is impossible to remove and doing strange things to your machine. The precaution to remember is that, when you do make the backup copy, just make sure that the copy is free from any malware infections.

Take a few minutes to look at this offer from Acronis. It is exceptional. Thanks to Acronis for this generous price for our readers.

Popular Site Becomes Alleged Source of Malware

The bad news is that there are reports that another popular site was hit with malware. Allegedly, some visitors to the popular Drudge Report came away with a malware infection. You see the word “allegedly” used here because there is some dispute about the actual source of the infection:

“Matt Drudge denied that his site was infecting visitors, however it’s likely that the malware is coming from ads delivered by a third-party ad network and not the site itself.”

For the site visitor, it is really not important whether the source of the infection is the site itself or the advertising. The salient point is that people are being infected by malware. And that can lead to a variety of problems – from identity theft to an unauthorized use of the computer for spam to a whole load of time wasted.

It is not safe even by just going to the popular sites that have plenty of traffic. The cyber-criminals/hackers want to exploit that traffic and those popular sites become targets. This has been demonstrated over and over again.

If you are on the Internet, you have to take security precautions. There is no other alternative, except to stay offline.

The good news is that there are security programs that are effective in providing protection from this online trash. We are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware for your computer security.

SUPERAntiSpyware has “Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.”

The program offers much, much more and you can read about it at the links provided. SUPERAntiSpyware will detect and remove spyware, adware, malware, trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers, hijackers, rootkits and many other types of threats. This program is easy to use and it is effective. SUPERAntispyware is being offered at a special rate for our readers. There is a ten dollar ($10.00) saving, until March 17, 2010.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. It has over 20 million users worldwide. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. Recommend this to your friends and family. We are trying to make it as easy and as economical as possible for our readers and their friends to protect themselves and your computers. When you have this program, use it – update the security protection offered and use it!

Keep Your Gmail Safe

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During the Gnomedex conference this past summer, we held an open mic session. Anyone in the audience could get up on stage and share their favorite website, tips, trick and resources. In this short video clip, we were all reminded of how simple it is to secure our Gmail when viewing it from a public location (such as a conference or an Internet cafe).

When you are logged in to your Gmail account, go up to the top of the page and click on Settings. The fifth header down on the page is Browser connection. Next to this, click the little button that says to Always use https. This will ensure that no matter where you are at, you are logging in to your email securely.

Thanks for the tip!

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Can a Gaming Addiction Kill Someone?

The answer, tragically, is yes. NextWeb reports that a couple in Korea has been arrested for allowing their premature infant baby starve to death while they were busy nurturing their online child in the game Prius Online.

The couple reportedly fed their baby only once a day between 12-hour stretches of play-time with with their game. The autopsy report of their baby showed the death was a result of a long period of malnutrition. “The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life, because they didn’t have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby,” said South Korean police officer Chung Jin-won. “They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby.”

This goes to show how very real and horrific that gaming addiction can be. It may not always lead to such dire consequences, but it can. Is even that slight risk really worth it? If you know someone who may addicted to video games – either machine-based or online – I urge you to get help for them. I pray to never read another story such as this. Do you know the difference between addiction and obsession?

What other things have you come across in YOUR reading today? Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to see what the people right here in our community have been up to.

Don’t forget to stop by our software download center to see what great new deals we’ve posted for you today!

Protect Your Privacy Online

There should be an image here!Your computer most likely holds the necessary data sufficient for successful identity theft. All that is needed for identity theft to occur is to tie a social security number to a name. If you access sites like PayPal or your bank account, those personal data become readily available. Having your identity compromised is simply a personal nightmare that can take years to resolve.

The data on identity theft show that, many times, the crime is perpetrated by someone that the victim knows. That means that it is critical to protect your computer files from people that you know. It might be a roommate, a repair person, a classmate, a co-worker… someone who may and can have casual access to your desktop, laptop, and/or netbook.

In addition to that personal data, you might want to keep photos, passwords, music, videos, and other such files away from other prying eyes. These files represent your privacy.

We recommend Invisible Secrets for a number of security and privacy reasons:

“… Invisible Secrets 4 not only encrypts your data and files for safe keeping or for secure transfer across the net, it also hides them in places that on the surface appear totally innocent, such as picture or sound files, or Web pages. These types of files are a perfect disguise for sensitive information. Using our file encryption software nobody, not even your wife, boss, or a hacker would realize that your important papers or letters are stored in your last holiday pictures, or that you use your personal Web page to exchange messages or secret documents. With Invisible Secrets 4 file encryption software, you may encrypt and hide files directly from Windows Explorer, and then automatically transfer them by email or via the Internet.”

We have Invisible Secrets available to our readers at a 40% discount from this link.

Invisible Secrets works on Windows NT / 2000 / XP / Vista and Windows 7. This generous offer ends March 10, 2010.

Cisco Systems uses this program. The Drug Enforcement Administration (USA) uses this program. The Exchange Bank uses this program. McCain Foods Limited uses this program. The program is Invisible Secrets and the client list grows. Privacy and security are important to these companies and institutions — it is essential to computer protection. This is a preventative measure that individual computer users have to recognize because there is so much information on just one hard drive.

This program should be standard on every machine. With business laptops, government laptops, and personal laptops going missing every day, this security program should be on every portable machine, as well as desktop. This would provide an enormous saving for sensitive information that is breached and the subsequent nightmare of paying for identity theft protection. It’s simple and it’s effective.

Let’s look at just one feature of this program. There are situations where you might be concerned that about keylogging programs stealing your keyboard entries. For example, you might be using an unfamiliar Wi-Fi connection. Invisible Secrets provides a virtual keyboard that prevents criminal access to what you type. This safeguards your passwords and access to sites like PayPal. This is only one of the many benefits of this program.

And this is something that travelers might consider: what if airport security confiscated your laptop? It is absolutely frightening, but it can happen.

If you are in need of multiples of this program, please let us know. We will try to negotiate a good price for those companies that might need many copies for laptops holding those confidential files. For the individual user, think of the files, emails, pictures, passwords, and other bits of information that you don’t want people to access. That is exactly why we want this privacy/security program for our readers… and our thanks to the Invisible Secrets people for this kind offer.