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January '19

Happy New Year!

Site information and disclaimers



PLEASE - Do not give control of your computer to ANYONE unless you are absolutely certain who they are!  For more information see our Self Help > Scams!   New to computers?  Our updated index may be useful.

In this newsletter

Security issues

Used to be, we would leave our doors, cars and garages unlocked.  But as the world changed, so did our attitude about safety, so these days we are all a bit more careful about securing our belongings.  Suppose a bit human nature, but we seem to be lacking this attitude when it comes to our computers, where convenience still outweighs security. 

With those few reminders out of the way, let us brighten your new year with some recently read articles...

Secure website padlock
Be aware, the padlock shown at secure sites has nothing to do with the site's safety or integrity! Rogue sites may very well use a secure site to try and fool you.  The lock means ONLY that the information between the site and your computer is encrypted!   The article. secure site
"Fileless" viruses

This article discusses a variant of older viruses that essentially do not place a file on your computer, so during a scan, your antivirus application will find nothing.  Instead, if it is successful, it will load into memory and then hide on removable drives and disks.  Previous versions were loaded via phishing scams by email or rogue sites, but the  injection method of a recent version is yet unknown.  Scary!

"Users and especially businesses that still use removable media in the workplace should practice security hygiene," Trend Micro concluded. "Restrict and secure the use of removable media or USB functionality, or tools like PowerShell (particularly on systems with sensitive data), and proactively monitor the gateway, endpoints, networks, and servers for anomalous behaviors and indicators such as C&C communication and information theft."

Some of the following is probably a bit more extreme than need be, but Symantec Security Response encourages all users and administrators to adhere to the following basic security "best practices":

UPNP

This article discusses how hackers have found ways to exploit a router's UPNP (Universal Plug and Play), effectively allowing a connection to devices and computers.

Log in to your router, look for and disable the UPNP option. 

Drive failures

Again, we've been seeing some drive failures where data was not recoverable, at least without utilizing a (very expensive) service like OnTrack.  Fortunately these recent few didn't have valuable data, but it gives us a chance to remind everyone to back up your data and to multiple devices.

Aside:  Out of pure maintenance, we replaced the hard drive on our main computer with a solid state drive (SSD), which is much quicker than traditional a mechanical drive (HDD).  But like moving into a new computer, it took the better part of a day to (re)install everything, configure the system, printers and applications and the like. 

If you're planning on a new computer, or replacing/reformatting your drive, don't forget to take into account everything that goes with it.

Think ahead - passwords, etc.

No one gets out alive so think of your successors/inheritors.  

Have some sort of health directive for your computers/devices, starting with the computer's password to allow them access!  But perhaps also a list of sorts, indicating where things can be found such as wills, tax information and the like.

HP ripping people off?

Allegedly:

This All In One (AIO) computer is labeled as having the Intel i5 processor, but the BIOS information screen shows the motherboard actually has the (much slower) i3 processor installed.  We inform, you determine. (Sorry, Fox.)

HP Rip off
Click for larger image

Various issues

Google Chrome won't open in Windows 10?

Android apps that were removed from the Google store included simulations for driving a luxury car and a fire truck. All the apps were made by the same developer, Luiz O. Pinto.  These apps were disguised as games, but they did not work when users tried to load them in order to play on phones and tablets. Instead, the apps would repeatedly crash but were still able to install malware The article.

After Microsoft complaints, Indian police arrest tech support scammers at 26 call centers The article
If they could get scammers to repay the people they ripped off, that would be meaningful! 

Remember: If you see something on screen to call a number or you receive a phone call indicating your computer is infected, or otherwise needing you to call a support - it's bogus!

Opinions

'True polar wander' may have caused ice age.  The article.  We had this observation last July but we followed the movement through to the present day.   ;-)

Growing and harvesting bioenergy crops—corn for ethanol or trees to fuel power plants, for example—is a poor use of land, which is a precious resource in the fight against climate change, says a University of Michigan researcher.  The article.

When the government provides everything, are higher taxes unexpected?  Come on, French people, wake up! 
The article.  Which brings a question for this country: How much "green tax" are we willing to pay?

So how important is reducing a carbon footprint to you? Are you willing:

Let's face it, we are all willing to reduce our "carbon footprint" but only to a point.

Leaving you with

It's a dangerous business going out your front door. - JRR Tolkien 

And from Al Lowe

A duck stood beside a busy road, waiting for a break in traffic. A chicken walked up to him and said, "Don't do it, man. You'll never hear the end of it!"


Remember...

Thanks for all the help over these years, Jeff...