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                                                                Richard Rossbauer's
                      
                     SECURITY ALERT BLOG

     Vital Internet Security Alerts and Information for the everyday Non-technical Computer user, Internet User and Web Surfer who just wants to be safe doing basic stuff without the hassle of viruses, spyware, or worse.

  
I'm very pleased that you're here today, and that you're concerned about your computer and Mobile security and family Internet Safety. I look forward to your early return to the Security Alert Blog. 

  Thanks, Richard Rossbauer (Read About Us) 

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Public Wi-Fi Networks

Aug 21, 2017

WiFi UserSometimes we become so busy doing stuff on the Internet that we over look current security threats, or don't give them a thought until something drastic happens.

The great thing about social media is that it's available just about everywhere, thanks to free WiFi hotspots –.

 like the ones in coffee shops, airports, and hotels — they are convenient, but they often aren’t secure.

Watch this short video and use these tips to help protect your personal information so that you can  really enjoy yourself.





For Loads more really Good Stuff, go to - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0038-onguardonline

and be sure to update yourself and family on the most recent Scam Alerts while you are there. Be sure to share this Security information with your family members and friends.



Another Safety Tip from KrebsOnSecurity

Aug 1, 2017

 Gasoline pump              Gas Pump Skimmers - Another Safety Tip from KrebsOnSecurity -

Several states most heavily hit by pump skimming activity, include New York,  Arizona, California and Florida.

These Gas Pump Skimmers Send Credit Card Data Via Text to the criminals

Skimming devices that crooks install inside fuel station gas pumps frequently rely on an embedded Bluetooth component allowing thieves to collect stolen credit card data from the pumps wirelessly on a mobile device, from miles away.

Skimmers that transmit stolen card data wirelessly via GSM(*) text messages and other mobile-based communications methods have been around for years.

This is the first instance KrebsOnSecurity is aware of in which such SMS skimmers have been found inside gas pumps that match the experience of several states hardest hit by pump skimming activity.

The GSM-based skimmer transmits stolen card data wirelessly via text message. Thieves can receive real-time transmissions of the card data anywhere in the world.

 That data can then be turned into counterfeit physical copies of the cards.

Learn more from Brian Krebs' book "SPAM NATION" available in hard cover,  paperback and Kindle  at Amazon. (This is not an affiliate link)

Brian Krebs advice to avoid gas pump skimmers is to frequent stations that appear to place an emphasis on physical security.

Some pump skimming devices are capable of stealing debit card PINs as well, so it’s a good idea to avoid paying with a debit card at the pump.

Armed with your PIN and debit card data, thieves can clone the card and take money out of your account at an ATM.

Having your checking account emptied of cash while your bank sorts out the situation can be a huge hassle and create secondary problems (bounced checks, for instance).

Read the complete artcle at KrebsOnSecurity

(*)GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications and is a standard to define means of mobile communication, such as phone calls and SMS text messaging.

                                                                                                                            ... Richard





Free Anti-virus Software

July 14, 2017

   Free Antivirus Protection versus a Paid Subscription

Computer VirusIn the time of rapidly advancing technology, it is more necessary than ever to protect your computer. Criminals have risen to the challenge and can use this technology to steal your information and infest your machine with a variety of spyware and malware.

You can install software that searches for the viruses, worms, etc., and eliminate them from ever being a problem.

But, there is another dilemma: With so many products on the market, which one do you choose? There is no right and wrong answer here but some people are concerned about the difference between the free programs offered and the ones that you have to pay a yearly subscription for.

          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
For the current most popular FREE Anti-virus programs, go to CNET Download and navigate to Windows, Mac or portable device. You will see a list of the most popular Free Antivirus software descriptions and prices where appropriate. Be sure to read the reviews before making your choice.
         - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here's more good advice: While you are still within the free 30-day trial that the manufacturers give you, compare their free and paid software. If the free software gives you the features you need, go for it. You can always change later.

                                                                                                       Richard



  • How CyberCriminals Use Android Security Bulletins

June  29, 2017

Cyber CriminalThose security bulletins? Guess who reads them.

If you said coders of malicious software, you'd be CORRECT. You see, those that create malware read the bulletins to find out what ails the Android platform and then, in turn, craft their malware to take advantage of those flaws.

And this is where it gets really nasty (from TechRepublic - Security)

Monthly security bulletins are issued to make sure Android devices stay patched. But cybercriminals are betting that it won't happen.

Malicious coders bank on the fact that users won't bother updating their devices. So,  malware can more easily make it onto those unpatched devices.

For that reason, and that reason alone, you should check for (and apply) updates on a daily basis. Make it a habit and don't forget.

Check for updates on your device operating system and for your installed Android apps as well.

 And if it sounds like a bit of a broken record, it is. Why? Because this is one of those pieces of advice that cannot, in any way, be issued enough.

 Being lazy with updates leaves the end user open for malicious code to enter their system.

Although this might seem like we all have reason to panic, that's not the case. So long as you are checking for and applying updates on a daily basis, you should be good to go.

 And when Android "O" releases (with a real-time scanner built in), the platform will enjoy a much stronger defense against malicious code.

However, don't assume, once that real-time scanner is in place, that you can go back to ignoring updates. Considering writers of malware are counting on end user laziness, this is one mobile habit you need to get into and keep.



Microsoft even patched Out-of-Date Windows XP

June 19, 2017

Brian Krebs, of KrebsOnSecurity (my favorite security resource) reported that


Windows securityOn June 17, 2017,Microsoft released security updates to fix almost a hundred flaws in its various Windows operating systems and related software.

One bug is so serious that Microsoft issued patches for it on Windows XP and other operating systems the company no longer officially supports.

Security firm Qualys said that 27 of the 94 security holes Microsoft patched with this release can be exploited remotely by malware or cyber criminals to seize complete control of vulnerable systems, with a user doing little or nothing to cause  the intrusion.

Microsoft is also fixing  a feature of the Windows operating system that handles file and printer sharing, known as “Server Message Block” or the SMB service.

These SMB vulnerabilities can be extremely dangerous if left unpatched on a local (inhouse) corporate network. When a single piece of malware exploits this SMB flaw within a network, it could duplicate itself to all vulnerable systems very quickly.

This wormlike capability — a flaw in Microsoft’s SMB service — was harnessed to spread 'WannaCry', the global ransomware that held files for ransom at countless organizations and shut down at least 16 hospitals in the United Kingdom.

According to Microsoft, this newer worm is already affecting Windows Server 2016, 2012, 2008 as well as desktop systems like Windows 10, 7 and 8.1.

The SMB flaw — like the one that WannaCry used — also affects older, unsupported versions of Windows like Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft made the unusual decision to make fixes for this newer SMB bug available for those older versions.

Users running XP or Server 2003 can get the update for this flaw at this URL.

Actually unsupported anymore by Microsoft, they have issued this fix based on their assessment of the current threat landscape with the caveat -

“As always, we recommend customers upgrade to the latest platforms. The best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest defense-in-depth innovations. Older systems, even if fully up-to-date, lack the latest security features and advancements.

The default browsers on Windows — Internet Explorer or Edge — got their updates this month for many of these critical, remotely exploitable bugs.

Qualys says anyone using Microsoft Outlook should pay special attention to a newly patched bug in that popular mail program because attackers can send malicious email and take complete control over a recipient’s Windows machine when they merely view a 'cleverly' crafted email in Outlook.




                                More on PASSWORD Security To TOPMay

May 27, 2017

    It has been a few years since we posted this
    and it seems like things just don't change
    very quickly when you're trying to avoid the
    sophosticated malware flooding the internet
    today, so, I believe it wise
    to remind everyone just how serious it is.

If you are like so many of us everyday Internet users, you probably have had to create or change your password to access important web services like bank accounts, email accounts, various news service subscriptions, etc.

Mike Delaney wrote this article a couple of years ago. With the increasing spread of on-line threats to our personal privacy, it's still a valuable guide to help us avoid potential financial loss and Identity Theft.

The article is 
       
"How to Frustrate Password Crackers" 
                             8 Tips by Mike Delaney

>>>
CLICK HERE
to Read Mike's Article ...



Sad Short Security Story  To TOP

May 2, 2017

Here are more reasons for being cautious when using your Credit card, although there aren't many sure fire ways to escape being robbed by determined cyber crooks because
cyber criminals are devious, clever and very sophisticated.

Read this short story ...

I just read of these case histories at Brian Krebs blog - "KrebsOnSecurity".

Even Brian Krebs, himself, was recently caught in a scam when someone hacked an Amazon merchant's account - a respected and qualified Amazon seller.

Brian checked the credentials of the seller and bought his wish list item using his credit card and Amazon's One Click checkout.

The cyber crook hacker in this case  falsified Amazon's order acknowledgement, delivery and even the "Amazon" tracking updates.

Brian reported that the product delivery info stopped after a few days, then after about a week, he received an email from the legitimate owner of the hacked sellers account, advising  that his account had been hacked.

The rest of that story is covered in the KrebsOnSecurity blog, plus more case histories involving hacking and theft from the Inter Continental Hotel chain's properties which include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Intercontinental, Kimpton Hotels and Crowne Plaza.

Card data was stolen from Front Desk locations between Sep 29 and Dec 29, 2016.

The restaurant chain: Shoney's, and Video game giant "GameStop Corp" also were targeted ...
                                      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


As innocent bystanders, there isn't much of a defense against this type of larceny - that we can count on.

But it's good to know what we are up against, and the challenges faced by our friends, the Anti Malware software providers.


                                                                                    Richard
 

Withdraw some money from that ATM To TOP

April 20, 2017

      Have you Protected Your Computer from Malware?

Malware is short for “malicious software." It includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent. 

These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. 

Did you know that there are loads of useful information on protecting yourself, your family and your digital devices - available from the FTC? (Federal Trade Commission)

The FTC's Consumer Information (Free) website provides articles, reports and easy to watch videos so you can learn more about how to avoid, detect, and get rid of malware.

You might want to share this video with family and friends - they'll appreciate your concern for their safety and well being.



Save this link and visit it often - for your safety and peace of mind
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/

                                                                             Richard

 

 
Be Cautious around that ATM
To TOP

April 9, 2017

In a hurry to withdraw some money from that ATM? Are you even a little bit cautious?

I find myself tugging on the Credit Card entry housing before entering my card to withdraw money.

It's because I follow Brian Krebs' Blog on the security issues we are all exposed to daily.

As Brian Krebs (
KrebsOnSecurity) has posted in many of his many skimmer stories, the simplest way to protect yourself from ATM skimming is to cover your hand when entering your PIN. (Personal Identification Number)

That’s because most skimmers rely on hidden cameras to steal the victim’s PIN.  As easy as this is,
many people fail to take this basic precaution.

There is still a chance that thieves could use 
a PIN-pad overlay device to capture your PIN, but these are far less common than hidden cameras (and quite a bit more costly for thieves who don't make their own skimmers).

Also, if you visit an ATM that looks strange, tampered with, or out of place, try to find another cash machine. Use only machines in public, well-lit areas, and avoid ATMs in secluded spots.

Finally, don’t neglect your own physical security while at the cash machine.

As common as these skimmers are, you’re probably more likely to get mugged withdrawing cash from an ATM than you are to find a skimmer attached to it.

Want to learn more about skimming devices? Check out Brian Krebs series, All About Skimmers. It's a great illustrated history of skimmer threats going back to 2010, through mid 2016. https://krebsonsecurity.com/all-about-skimmers/

Under Attack  To TOP

Feb 23, 2017

IndianWarrior andwagon TrainRemember the movies of the Indians circling the wagon train as they attacked the brave pioneer settlers?

Looks like the same thing is happening - but with your Mac under attack!

Yet another virus has been created to infect and steal from your Mac's private files.

It's called "Xagent" and appears to have come from - you guessed it -  Russia.

And if you think Apple computers are still malware immune, this new attack proves otherwise.

At the time of this writing, details pertaining to the infection method and future capabilities of this malware were still not confirmed.

However, the following tips to stay safe are based on industry best practices and what is known about Xagent for minimizing the possibility of being infected by it.

It's possible that the infection comes with a trojan named Komplex. Found in late 2016 to be infecting Macs through a combination of emails sent to specific targeted users containing a PDF attachment that held the malicious code.

Opening the PDF would lead to infecting the system.

This is a common ploy for infection from many trojans; it's extremely important for users to practice safe internet habits and not open or preview emails from unknown senders...

and under no circumstances should you ever open an attachment that is sent to you from someone you don't know.

Read more at TechRepublic

                                                                                               Richard

Dangerous Scenario  To TOP

Feb 12, 2017

     Have you experienced this Dangerous Scenario?

Imagine for a moment that you and your family have just sat down at the dinner table when your phone rings.

You respond with your usual "Hello" and a strange voice asks if they are interrupting something.

You respond, possibly with a trace of annoyance, "Yes".
The caller hangs up.

Why was that dangerous?

The bad news is that some of these calls are going from aggravating to malicious.

There are scammers making these seemingly harmless phone calls, but you won't believe how they are using these calls against their victims.

If they record you saying "yes," they can use it to claim that you agreed to certain charges. They then threaten to sue you if you attempt to deny the charges.

These calls usually show up with a local area code on the caller ID. This lets the victims' guard down, thinking it's someone local and they might know the person who is calling,

What you need to do:

Police urge everyone who receives a call like this to immediately hang up. It's not rude to hang up on a potential scammer.

Caution is always the best action, especially in today's world!

Warn your family and friends - and try your best not to ever answer a stranger's question with, "Yes".


(Thanks to Linda Defore and Kim Komando for this heads-up)
                                                                                                            Richard

Password Security Update  To TOP

Feb 1, 2017

                      Password Do’s and Don’ts 
                    Updates from
KREBSonSecurity


The Internet Of Things (IoT) connectivity with our daily habits continues to develop with greater interest in the amazing capabilities of the internet.

But, it also has spawned the malware that amplifies its downside - a threat to your Internet Security.

Strong and secure passwords are essential to maintaining the security of your Internet connections to the fascinating World Wide Web.

So why not take a new look at the passwords you use? Are they
as secure as they were - now that the IoT is blossoming?


Here are a few tips from the KrebsOnSecurity Blog for creating strong passwords. Take a moment to review these, and consider strengthening some of your passwords if they fall short.

Create unique passwords that use a combination of words,
    numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lower-case letters.

Do not use your network username as your password.

Don’t use easily guessed passwords, such as “password” or
   “user.”

Do not choose passwords based upon details that may not be
   as confidential as you’d expect, such as your birth date, your
   Social Security or phone number, or names of family members.

Do not use words that can be found in the dictionary. Password-
   cracking tools freely available online often come with dictionary
   lists that will try thousands of common names and passwords. If
   you must use dictionary words, try adding a numeral to them, as
   well as punctuation at the beginning or end of the word, or both.

Avoid using simple adjacent keyboard combinations: For
    example, “qwerty” and “asdzxc” and “123456” are horrible
    passwords and that are trivial to crack.

Some of the easiest-to-remember passwords aren’t words at all
   but collections of words that form a phrase or sentence, perhaps
   the opening sentence to your favorite novel, or the opening line
   to a good joke. Complexity is nice, but length is key. It used to
   be the case that picking an alphanumeric password that was
   8-10 characters in length was a pretty good practice. No more!


            Read the rest of Krebs valuable article here:
              http://krebsonsecurity.com/password-dos-and-donts/

                                                                                                             Richard
                                               
 

GOOGLE Chrome Trap!  To TOP

January 25, 2017

Most of us know how clever, and devious today's  Cyber criminals have become.

They always seem to be one step ahead of our security professionals who must not only prepare defenses against them, but need to anticipate what devious and malicious ruse they will come up with next.

Although not all scams are initiated through malicious messages, there is a new malware attack involving bait-and-switch websites that you need to know about.

If you are a Google Chrome user, this affects you.

Hackers have discovered another way to break into websites that have weak security, so they can fool visitors into downloading malware.

Here's how this malware scam works. Three factors are needed for it to be successful:

1. Victim is using the Chrome Browser on a Windows machine.
 
2. Victim lives in an English speaking country - The U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia are being targeted.
 
3. Victim is sent to the malicious site through search engine results (You would have to click the link to the site that shows up in a search).

If all of these factors are in place, you could fall victim to this attack.

The hackers are inserting JavaScript into poorly secured websites. If you're using Chrome and click the link from a search engine result the JavaScript makes the website
unreadable.

If you  see a bunch of gibberish, or "diamonds," making it impossible to read, that's the scam result.

When you realize the page is unreadable, a fraudulent Chrome message appears saying that "The 'HoeflerText' font wasn't found, which is why you can't read the
page."  You're then asked to update the "Chrome Font Pack."

Warning! Clicking on the Update button on this message will infect your computer with click-fraud adware.

Hidden ads will be loaded and clicked on automatically. This is how the criminal gets paid, by ripping off legitimate ad networks.

At this time the risk to Chrome users is that their computer is infected with click-fraud adware.

However, this scheme could change at a moment's notice.
The hacker could change the malicious link into something worse, like encrypting ransomware.

The best defense is knowing what to look for. If you visit a site and it asks you to download a font update, do NOT do it!

You can remove "The HoeflerText font wasn’t found" automatically with help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. These
applications are recommended because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.
                                                                     
                                                                           Richard
Ransom Ware?  To TOP
January 21, 2017

malwarebutes protectionThank goodness for my Anti-virus software. I have no idea how many 'Ransomware' attacks it has deflected...

... and according to the Malwarebytes Labs current
blog posts, the cyber criminals pushing ransom attacks will probably become worse in 2017.

Malwarebytes has protected me, but this is not a paid promotion (I am not an affiliate and get no compensation for posting this).

Seems like everywhere you turn, there’s another story about a new ransomware threat. Unfortunately, this
trend in cybercrime is not going away.

On the bright side: As dangerous as ransomware can be, it’s not insurmountable.

So instead of closing your eyes and praying you will not become a prisoner,

Take a look at the Malwarebytes Lab's helpful advice on protection here:

http://www.123response.com/ar/t.php?id=912

By The Way, about 5 years ago before I installed
Malwarebytes, my computer was abducted by a slick bunch of 'ComputerNappers" and it cost nearly $500 to make it operable again.

All of my files are now backed up online. (Check Out 25
options for backing up your files)

Stay Safe and Be Secure -
                                                                      Richard

 
Generous Giving  To TOP

December, 2016

              
Seasonal Generosity and the Scammers

Many of us share with the less fortunate during the Christmas season.

It's also an active period for Scammers and Cyber crooks. As many times as we are reminded of the dangers, the increasing cleverness of the ner-do-wells can still trap us into taking the happy edge off of our holidays.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes reminders and case histories to Alert us, but who remembers to check the FTC website?

Here's a reminder from the FTC Blog - and very appropriate:

             Make sure your money goes to real charities.

"As a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge shows us year after year, the holidays are an important time to share with people in need. Unfortunately, sometimes charity scammers try to take advantage of your good will. And even when you’re dealing with legitimate charities, it’s still important to make sure a charity will spend your donation the way you want it to. Always check out a charity before you give."

Here's the link the the FTC blog where you can learn more
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog


BE AWARE!

Internet of Things  To TOP

November, 2016
                    Is your Refrigerator Secure?

Recent hacking and malware activity has led me back to one of my must trusted resources on Internet security, the KrebsOnSecurity Blog.

And if you have heard anything about the hacks and Denials of Service associated with the IoT - the Internet of Things - you should be cautious, too.

Especially when it comes to creating Passwords for things like your Refrigerator, Network cameras, DVRs, some printers and routers, etc.

Here's just one Important Tip on Password Do’s and Don’ts from a recent Brian Krebs blog post:

Do not use words that can be found in the dictionary. Password-cracking tools freely available online often come with dictionary lists that will try thousands of common names and passwords. If you must use dictionary words, try adding a numeral to them, as well as punctuation at the beginning or end of the word (or both!).

Learn more from Mr. Krebs here: KrebsOnSecurity


Stay SAFE
 

Anti-virus Apps for Androids (EverGreen)  To TOP

Sep, 2016
             
          Internet Security for Android

Your mobile device is just as vulnerable to online dangers as your computer.

You need to combat modern mobile malware & Internet threats, protect your privacy, and safeguard personal data, even if your device is lost or stolen, using a proven Anti-virus program for your Android smartphone..

You need Immediate response to the latest threats which are are emerging all the time, plus -

 *  Premium protection against mobile malware
 *  Immediate response to new threats
 *  Detection of fraudulent and malicious links
 *  Remote control of lost or stolen devices
 *  Protection against phishing attempts
 *  Simple online management

According to TomsGuide, here are 5 top of the line Android Anti-virus applications (Apps)

1. AVAST! MOBILE SECURITY & ANTIVIRUS
    Best Overall Android Antivirus App
    rated 9/10 (Superior)
 
2. BITDEFENDER MOBILE SECURITY Anti-virus
    rated 8/10
 
3 KASPERSKY INTERNET SECURITY FOR ANDROID
   rated 7/10
 
4. KASPERSKY INTERNET SECURITY FOR ANDROID
    rated 7/10
 
5. MCAFEE MOBILE SECURITY FOR ANDROID
    rated 7/19


Click to Read more at Tom's Guide, with prices.

   
 

Courtesy of the Editors at Netscape  To TOP

July, 2016
       Top 10 ATM PINs You Should Never Use
 

If a crook steals your ATM card, there are only four little numbers standing between the bad guy and the contents of your bank account.

What is the first Personal Identification Number (PIN) the crook will try in an attempt to clean you out? That would be 1234, which is used by fully 11 percent of us as our ATM PIN number.

Nick Berry, a data scientist and founder of Data Genetics, a Seattle technology consultancy, analyzed 3.4 million four-digit PINs using the numerals 0 to 9; the PINs were previously released and exposed in security breaches. Berry wanted to determine which PINs were the most popular, and, therefore, left bank accounts the most vulnerable.

He told The Exchange that he discovered a "staggering lack of imagination" when it comes to selecting PINs. Following close on the heels of 1234 are 1111 (6 percent) and 0000 (2 percent).

Bottom line: 
Fully 19 percent of us use one of these three 4-digit PINs--and crooks know it.

And that's not all. More than a quarter of all ATM PINs could be easily guessed by a crook by just attempting 20 combinations of four-digit numbers.

That's astounding when you consider there are 10,000 different combinations of four-digit numbers that can be created using numerals 0 to 9. "It's amazing how predictable people are," Berry told The Exchange.

Why are we so predictable when choosing our Pins. Two reasons. First, we don't like numbers that are hard to remember. Second, we think we'll never be the victim of theft or that we'll ever lose our wallet.

The top 10 most popular ATM PINs:
1. 1234
2. 1111
3. 0000
4. 1212
5. 7777
6. 1004
7. 2000
8. 4444
9. 2222
10. 6969

The top 10 least popular ATM PINs:
1. 8068
2. 8093
3. 9629
4. 6835
5. 7637
6. 0738
7. 8398
8. 6793
9. 9480
10. 8957

Tips on how NOT to choose a PIN:

  • Many commonly used PINS are birthdays, anniversaries or birth years. Avoid any PIN that begins with "19." Every four-digit combination that begins with "19" is in the top 20 percent of the dataset.

  • Do not use "2580." It may seem like a random selection of numbers, but they are the numbers in the middle column of buttons down a telephone or ATM keypad.

  • In the 3.4 million PINs Berry analyzed, the most popular one, 1234, was used more often than the lowest 4,200 codes combined.

 

Smartphone Security  To TOP
October 29, 2015

 Some Common Mobile Security Problems

Use of smartphones and tablets is so prevalent and widespread that we sometimes forget just how vulnerable to cyber attack they(we) are.

Hackers and other intruders depend on our often casual use and indifference to these threats.

While there are many places through which we can be attacked, one often disregarded avenue is the Operating System.

It may be out-of-date. Security patches or fixes for mobile devices' operating systems are not always installed on mobile devices in a timely manner, often taking weeks or months for them to be provided by the device manufacturer.

Depending on the nature of the vulnerability, the patching process may be complex. Google, for example, develops updates to fix security vulnerabilities in the Android OS, but it is up to device manufacturers to produce specific updates
for their devices.

Then it's up to the Carrier to test it and relay the updates to consumers' devices, making certain that the updates do not create conflicts with the existing device software..

Users should always be aware and on the alert for updates on the Apple iOS smartphones, as well.

And if your mobile device is getting a bit old, say - older than two years, manufacturers may no longer support it. Some manufacturers stop supporting smartphones as early as 12 to 18 months after their release.

The fine article at PCWorld descibes many more common vulnerabilities and threats. A good idea to review it if you have an Android device.



 

What Time Is It?  To TOP

October 19, 2015

Apple's smartwatch is now on the wrists of an estimated 3 million people.

For those of us not yet among the millions of iWatch
wearers, here are a few highlights to get you prepared for yours:

The Standard touch screen is approximately a 1 5/16 inch x 1 1/16 inch rectangle.

It operates on a version of the Apple Operating system (iOS) that's a bit simpler than the smartphone counterpart.

You'll be able to make calls and use Web-based services from the watch when it's connected to a compatible device (iPhone 5 and up, running the latest version of iOS 8). The Watch connects with iPhones via Bluetooth Low Energy and built-in Wi-Fi.

It's available in three styles - Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. Each offers two watch face sizes and a selection of bands and buckles. Apple Watch Sport, with an anodized aluminum case in silver or space gray goes for $349 ($399 for bigger face size).

The most luxurious Apple Watch Edition is made from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys. It's worn with specially designed straps and bands with 18-karat gold clasps, buckles or pins.

The Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000. (With added features, this could run up to around $15,000).

Whet your appetite?


More information here at Tom's Guide.
 

Is Your Smartphone Secure?  To TOP

Sep 10, 2015

Is the Apple operating system more secure than Android?

Mobile Devices are still much less likely than computers to get attacked and infected. And Android is finally catching up to the kinds of strict security measures that Apple has had for years.

Apple’s iOS is still inherently safer and security updates come regularly to all devices more often than they do for Android, but ...


If your preference is Android over iOS, buy a Google Nexus device which gets updated more quickly than any other Android products.

The bottom line: The mobile security situation is looking up, but your best choice for safety now is (read more)

Credit Card Readers and the Threat of Identity Theft To TOP

Sep 5, 2015

All About Skimmers (and the increasing use of Credit Cards)

The series by "KrebsonSecurity" about ATM skimmers, gas pump skimmers and other related fraud devices has become by far the most-read post on his blog. This gallery was put together to showcase the entire series, and to give others a handy place to reference with all of these stories in one place.

ATMkeypadClick the headline or the image associated with each post for the full story.

Please **SHARE**
 

I thought it a good idea to share these reminders with you....Richard To TOP

June 2015

SAFETY TIPS to AVOID PREDATORS    Please **SHARE**

WRITTEN BY A COP: Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or a loved one's life. In daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation... This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, & everyone you know. After reading these 9 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you... Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!)

The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.

AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR , LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE..

If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.

B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door.

Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

        -  -  -  -  - PLEASE SHARE THIS ARTICLE -  -  -  -  -

From the Archives To TOP

 
 
Cell phones could be putting your Safety at risk

HEADLINE - Cellphone `Distracted Walking` Sending Pedestrians to the ER         (From the TUESDAY, June 25 Quality of Life HealthDay News)

Pedestrians are becoming more likely to be injured while using their cellphones and an estimated 1,500 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2010 as a result, a new study(*) finds.

It's impossible to know how many of the injuries could have been avoided if pedestrians weren't using their cellphones. The study also doesn't determine whether the injuries are on the rise simply because more people are using cellphones.

Whatever the case, study author Jack Nasar said the findings show that cellphone use isn't just a danger to drivers. It's also a hazard to those who are only strolling.

"Stop walking when you're going to take a cellphone call or text. Don't do two things at once," advised Nasar, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University who studies cellphones and distraction.

Nasar and colleagues previously reported that pedestrians on public streets are more likely to have close calls with cars if they are using their cellphones. In the new study, the researchers sought to understand the risk on a national level by examining a federal database of emergency room visits from 2004 to 2010.

The investigators found that the estimated number of pedestrian injuries linked to cellphones -- including those that had nothing to do with cars, such as walking into something -- varied from as low as 256 to as high as 597 between 2004 and 2007. The numbers then jumped to 1,055 in 2008, 1,113 in 2009 and 1,506 in 2010.

(*)The study appeared in the 2012 August issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
More Quality of Life information is available every day here
http://www.123response.com/ar/t.php?id=618
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 
 

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives To TOP

EVERGREEN  
 
Are the Smartphone Games your Kids play really safe?

Many of you have visited my web pages about Family Online Safety and shared your experiences about how you protected your children from the ever present, and increasing online threats.

Kids Internet Security - How Did You Teach Your Children To
Be Safe When They Were learning to Surf the Internet?


Now, with millions of our kids spending hours and hours using their own smartphones, the question becomes - "What about their safety when playing games on these smartphones?"

PC Magazine's on line Security Watch Blog recently reported on three of those games that are collecting personal data from our children.

And over at TrendMicro, they noticed an increase in the sophistication of recent mobile malware, both in terms of technique and deployment.

Their flagship mobile product Trend Micro™ Mobile Security Personal Edition uses a cloud-based Smart Protection Network™ and Mobile App Reputation technology to stop threats.

They offer a 30 day free trial of their Mobile Security Personal Edition for Protection of Android™ devices against loss, data theft, viruses and online threats.

So now, I would update my question to include mobile digital devices -

Kids Internet Security- How Did You Teach Your Children To Be Safe When They Were learning to Surf the Internet and Play games on their Smartphones?

We all love kids and have our own methods for tying to protect them. It would be a tremendous gift to share how you have done that for your children.

I invite, and encourage you to share here -
www.firewalls-and-virus-protection.com/kids-safety-advice-invitation.html

Thanks from this Great Grandfather who has many smartphone literate grand and great grandchildren who are precious... and their little fingers can navigate those tiny screens and buttons twice as fast as I ever will.

                                                                  Richard
 

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives   To TOP

EVERGREEN 

    
SPAM driving you to frustration, too? No Wonder!

I have been plagued by SPAM and Ad POPUPS recently. 

So I did some checking and here's what I found -
 
According to Trustwave (http://www.trustwave.com), SPAM activity in June of this year has increased by approximately 500% since February!

68.7% of all email was Spam, most of it originating in Mexico, India and Peru with nearly 75% of that related to Pharmaceuticals
 
The 3 top countries originating SPAM were Spain, United States and Argentina.frustrated by SPAM

No Wonder we're frustrated, Right?
Some more interesting information I found -
 
Trustwave's SpiderLabs Radio June 28th highlights reported Malware in Mobile Apps on the increase and more Bad Apps are showing up in Google Play, even Mobile fake AntiVirus apps.

And this report from the Trustwave SpiderLabs BLOG on Strange Physical Addresses used by SPAMMERS will help you identify some of their tricks used to deceive you into believing that their messages are valid.

Read the compete report here, it's enlightening -
Read these two short articles that will help you when SPAM attacks to your email are driving you to distraction, too -

SPAM from HELL

Caught in a SPAM LOOP

More articles like these in the 
Internet Security Articles Library

Be safe                                                 Richard

My Favorite Posts      To TOP

  Be wary of  Paint.net, it could infect your PC with the FunMoods Malware

Here's a post you don't want to miss - it's by Nichole Dean of Nichole on the net.

She has been a successful net marketer for a good many years with just loads of experience and she just made a mistake that anyone of us could make.

She clicked a Download button in an email ad for Paint.net, a product that interested her - but she did it without thoroughly examining the ad content and ended up with the Fun.Mood virus.

Fortunately for those of us who are on her blog mail list, she posted a really great step-by-step story of how it happened and best of all - how she painstakingly removed it from her PC.

Please do yourself a big precautionary favor and check her post at
Nichole on the Net here -
http://www.nicoleonthenet.com/11683/

She even included screen shots of what she did. This is really helpful stuff.

Thank you Nichole!

                                                                                ... Richard
  EVERGREEN  To TOP  
Why  EVERGREEN            

Threats to our online security are always with us but aren't always easy to recognize. The cyber crooks are sophisticated - and devious. They understand human emotions like fear, anxiety, and apathy and continually design - and redesign their phishing emails to trap us into exposing our personal and even our financial information.

I'm leaving the "EVERGREEN" posts here as reminder Alerts to a variety of recent phishing practices to help us recognize, or become suspicious of similar messages that can appear in our mail boxes.
                                                     ... Richard
 

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives   To TOP

EVERGREEN  

Reminder about Why Strong Passwords are so Important

One of my most interesting and reliable sources for learning about the latest nasty stuff taking place on the Internet is Brian Krebs' Blog "KrebsOnSecurity"

While reading through his blog posts recently, one of the headlines attracted my attention - "Hacked Inboxes Lead to Bank Fraud".

The meat of his post described exactly what happened to us, a small business, as I reported in my March 30th post - even to the contents of the email sent by a hacker to one of our local banks from our email address - using our email service which the hacker then disabled.

Read Mr. Krebs post here - "Hacked Inboxes Lead to Bank Fraud" and when you get to the part where the Hacker's email is described, you'll see why our local banker was astute enough to be suspicious and contact us for verification.

Worse still, of the 3 examples cited in Mr. Kreb's blog post, one of the banks failed to challenge that email.

The Bad grammar and poor punctuation should have raised the alarm for any trained and responsible bank employee.

Mr. Krebs further points out that "Hacked and phished email accounts increasingly are serving as the staging grounds for bank fraud schemes targeting small businesses. The scams are decidedly low-tech and often result in losses of just a few thousand dollars, but the attacks frequently succeed because they exploit existing trust relationships between banks and their customers".

Which is a call to action to reread my last post –"Does Your Password Pass the Test?", and get some expert guidance on creating your own Strong passwords.

When was the last time you reviewed your passwords? Maybe now's the time to take a new look. TRY THIS TEST >> http://howsecureismypassword.net/

 
 

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives   To TOP

EVERGREEN 

We didn't realize our email password had been cracked, until...


...on a recent Friday morning, we received a 'phone call from a local Bank Manager asking if we had just made an email request for the balance in our account.

This was from a bank where we did not have an account.

A short time later, we realized that our incoming email had stopped - no messages since around the time the Bank Manager called us.

We contacted our eMail Service Provider and learned that our password had been compromised and replaced by the Hacker, who also installed a redirect code that diverted all of our incoming email to his private Gmail address.

Looking back at this episode, it became apparent that our password for this email account was weak - very weak, as a matter of fact.

The eMail Service Provider helped us clean up the mess and guided us in restoring our email service with a much stronger - very much stronger password.

What did we learn?

One - you can't be complacent or unconcerned about the way things are when it comes to your computer and Internet security. You must review and update regularly

Two - hackers and crackers have software that can decipher your simple keywords at cyber speed

Three - our computers are being bombarded constantly by non-human attackers.

When was the last time you reviewed your passwords? Maybe now's the time to take a new look.

TRY THIS TEST >>
http://howsecureismypassword.net/


 

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives   To TOP

 EVERGREEN 

Is That Returned eMail really Something You Sent?


Have you noticed how cleverly the cyber thieves are wording their phishing emails, lately?
  
Have you really sent all of those emails that were bounced - with as many as a dozen daily notices ending in your mailbox with subjects like these-
   
* Returned mail: see transcript for details
  
* Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender
 
I'm sure you noticed that each one of these messages has an attachment that you are encouraged to open.
 
Don't Open It!
 
- those emails appear to have been sent from locations overseas, and who knows what malware they will put on your computer. I don't know what those attachments contain because I never clicked on them.
 

 

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives   To TOP

EVERGREEN 

 
Internet Social Media and your kids Safety- are they at risk?

As a parent, grandparent, and now a great-grandparent, I've watched more than a dozen children learn to socialize with other kids - it's part of growing up.
 

As grown-ups, we socialize in many ways. We tweet, we make friends on facebook, we Stumble, Digg, make videos to share on YouTube, and look to make friends on even more Social Media sites .
 

Social networking sites are fun and children want to participate in them, too, but they do present some potential dangers.
 

With the popularity of social networking sites, here are some words of caution.
 

As a parent, the very first thing we should do is teach our children about the possible dangers that exist on the Internet, particularly about situations that might crop up on a social networking website.
 

This free article highlights some of the more Important subjects to review with our children - You can read it in about two minutes

..just click on Internet Social Media and Your Childen's Safety

Here's the short link to share with your friends - http://tinyurl.com/kidssocializing                                                         ... Richard

 

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives   To TOP

EVERGREEN  

   
More and More SPAM  has me ticked off!

I accept that any one who spends much time surfing the Internet for information, and leaving  a name and email address to have access to it -

 - is going to be added  to more and more email lists, and receive more and more 'follow-up' emails. That's fair,

But what really aggravates me is the emails from unknown sources (SPAM) that appear to be stoppable by sending a reply with REMOVE typed into the Subject line.

What a farce! This morning alone I did the "REMOVE' routine for 7 of those messages and  EACH ONE resulted in an 'Undeliverable' message from our ever there 'Postmaster in the sky"

From now on, every unsolicited email that offers the 'reply routine' will be deleted using the REPORT AS SPAM option in my email service.

(Probably won't do much good, but it'll make me feel better)
 
                                                                       ... Richard 
                                                                        

Check the Security Alert Blog Archives - Lots of Cool Posts

EVERGREEN   

  Free report - "Avoiding Current Security Threats"

   You can take steps to avoid today's security threats, and I have outlined them in a special report you can have for Free.

   This report is an update and a bit of an overview of the information published in my newsletters, blog and websites.

   It covers the basics of what to look for and how to prepare your computer to avoid the next high risk threat. It's a quick download (PDF file) which you can obtain by going to the registration page and leaving your email address so that the download instructions can be sent to your email inbox.

   Get Free Report here and share this web address with your friends so the emails you get from them are clean and free of malware.

http://www.richardpresents.com/avoid-threat-registration.html

                                                          ...Richard  
 

To TOP

    
Please accept our INVITATION to Help Parents
Teach Their Kids to be Safe Surfers – an Invitation to Help other Parents, Grandparents and Guardian by Sharing Your Experiences of Teaching Your Children To Be Safe When They Were learning to Surf
the Internet. Please Tell Us About It HERE

 

To TOP

EVERGREEN     Update your Emergency Virus Protection program

Free mcAfee STINGER backup virus scanner and removerIf you don't have your Virus Protection program yet, here's an Emergency Step you should take, Right Now!
 
 McAfee offers a FREE Virus Scanning program named
                  
STINGER.

  It has grown in size a little over the past few years and no longer fits on a single floppy Disk. But so many of the newer PCs, including lap tops don't have a "A" floppy drive anyway, you should burn it to a CD or memory stick for an offline back up tool.

  You can use it as we do, to check any of your PC computers for viruses, without being on line.

  It is an 'After the Fact' application, which means that it does not scan incoming email files, attachments or downloads, but it does scan whatever you have already received online.

  It currently checks, and repairs hundreds of recent viruses. It's FREE to download from
McAfee STINGER                          
                                                                                               
                                                                                                       ... Richard
 

To TOP

More Tags:  ,
          cyberbullying, Firewalls
, Keyloggers,  Disaster Recovery,
         
phishing, , Trojans,
          ,, ,
Conficker, ,
          ,
 Rogue software
 

To TOP


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