Category Archives: Virus

Working from your local coffee shop? Encrypt or die!

Here’s a short video that shows you how an attacker could use simple hacking tools and a rogue wireless access point to steal login credentials.

For the full article see the blog at Sophos here

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‘USB condom’ prevents device hijackings at rogue ports – NBC News.com

usb-cable-endI know that sounds like a gag headline.  But if you need to plug your phone (or other device) into an unfamiliar computer just to get some juice then you need to know the risks.

Standard USB ports and cables have several electrical channels, some of which are used to transfer power, the others data.   When you plug in you risk:

  • Moving viruses between the computer and your device (in either direction)
  • Your contacts and photos being copied to the computer.  This can happen nefariously or, more commonly, because the computer helpfully performs a backup

A USB condom simply blocks the current on the data channels, meaning only the power channels make the connection between the device charging and the one being charged.

Simpler options are available, such as buying USB cables that only have the power parts installed, but they don’t offer anywhere near as good a headline 🙂

via ‘USB condom’ prevents device hijackings at rogue ports – NBC News.com.

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October 6, 2013 · 8:15 am

iPhones can auto-connect to rogue Wi-Fi networks, researchers warn

iphone_pwSecurity researchers say they’ve uncovered a weakness in  iPhones that force users to connect to Wi-Fi networks that can then steal passwords or other sensitive information.

AT&T iPhones instruct the devices to automatically connect to a Wi-Fi network called attwifi when the signal becomes available, a service designed to speed up browsing.  But attackers can set up their own rogue Wi-Fi networks with the same name and collect sensitive data as it passes through.  AT&T are not the only company that are doing this, so don’t be smug if you have another carrier.

Researchers tested their hypothesis by setting up several Wi-Fi networks in public areas that used the same SSIDs as official carrier networks. During a presentation on Wednesday at the International Cyber Security Conference, the Skycure researchers set up a network that 448 people connected to during a two-and-a-half-hour period. 

The most effective way to prevent iPhones from connecting to networks without the user’s knowledge is to turn off Wi-Fi whenever it’s not needed. Apps are also available that give users control over what SSIDs an iPhone will and won’t connect to.

via iPhones can auto-connect to rogue Wi-Fi networks, researchers warn | Ars Technica.

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Filed under Computers, Free Software, Online Security, Technology, Virus

Hackers attack WordPress ‘Admin’ accounts

ImageOver the past couple of weeks websites using  WordPress have been under fire from a very sophisticated brute force attack involving over 90,000 IP addresses. 

Some hosting providers handled this better than others.  

The best ones experienced  some slowness and minor outages while others simply went down for a couple of days.

While it has subsided the attack is still ongoing so here are a few steps that you should consider taking to help shore up your defenses.

  1. Make sure that your plugins are up to date.  Often plugin updates are released precisely because they have security holes and leaving these unattended for a long time is an open door to hackers.
  2. Don’t use administrator accounts called ‘admin’.  This is akin to using a password of ‘password’.  Some hosting vendors created these by default on installation.  If you have one of these then create another administrator account, log in using that one and delete the ‘admin’ account.
  3. Create strong passwords.  Ideally at least 8 characters and with a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters such as ^%$#&@*.  If you have too many passwords to keep things straight then consider using something like Lastpass.

These three simple steps won’t keep you totally in the clear but, like an alarm on your car, it should move the troublemakers on to an easier target.  

 

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Filed under Free Software, Online Security, Virus, Web Design

Google Cloud Connect : The Free and Easy Alternative to SharePoint

Houldsworth's Random Ramblings

Unfortunately Google Cloud Connect has been shut down as of Aprils 30th 2013.  For more information and steps that should be taken if you already have this installed please visit this link:  http://googleappsupdates.blogspot.com/2013/05/cloud-connect-shut-down.html


MicrosoftSharePoint is a great collaboration tool but is far too complex for most small businesses and home users.   Fortunately the folks at Google have provided an answer that is both simple to use and totally FREE!   Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office .

Recognizing that 95% of the time Microsoft SharePoint is nothing more than a place to store and share documents Google has provided a way to merge that functionality very neatly into Google Docs .

Google Cloud Connect not only backs up your work to the cloud but also adds true collaboration to Microsoft Office, allowing others to simultaneously edit your documents while changes are automatically synchronized across computers. Finally everyone…

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Virus Protect your PC with Linux (Dual-boot)

Houldsworth's Random Ramblings


Summary

Difficulty Rating

Time to complete

Install Linux alongside Windows to provide additional virus protection  and access your data if Windows becomes inoperable

 

Less than 1 Hour


InstallingLinux alongside Windows provides a number of benefits, even to novice users. Benefits to installing Linux alongside Windows (a practice known as dual-boot) include:

  1. The ability to run virus scanning software from outside of Windows – more on that later.
  2. Should the Windows system become unusable for any reason you can still boot into Linux to access and backup your files before any drastic action is taken with the Windows partition.
  3. If all you are doing is browsing the web then Linux will boot faster and be significantly more secure that Windows.

Note: The instructions below enable you to set up your machine as a dual boot device.  However if the unthinkable has already happened and your Windows PC is already…

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Filed under Computers, Free Software, Linux, Online Security, Technology, Uncategorized, Virus

Free Anti-Virus – The Best Way to Protect Your PC

Houldsworth's Random Ramblings

SummaryDifficulty RatingTime to complete
Replacing your existing Anti-virus with a free alternative. 20-30 minutes

As I mentioned in my last post, the first question I ask is whether people have a backup.   The second question ask is whether they have up-to-date anti-virus software installed.

A shocking number of people fall into the group of having anti-virus software that hasn’t been updated since their trial period ended, and yet still believe they are protected.

Let me make this clear – if your subscription has expired then you are NOT protected.

But who can blame them?  Anti-virus software is expensive, isn’t it?

If you go with what arrived on your PC then, yes, it is expensive.  PC manufacturers make extra money by including software (known collectively as Bloatware) because vendors pay them.  Norton and McAfee fully expect you to sign up when the trial period runs out…

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Microsoft Office for FREE!

Houldsworth's Random Ramblings

SummaryDifficulty RatingTime to complete
Install LibreOffice as a fully functional office suite that is Microsoft Office compatible. 5 – 20 minutes.
OK…that headline isn’t 100% true.  But I hate seeing people spend money on software they don’t need.
– 
Lately I have run into several people with Macs (or older versions of Office) who find themselves unable to open files from the School / PTO / Local Charity, etc.  because the files were created in Word or Excel.
Like it or not MS-Office is a standard today that cannot be ignored even if you do “think different“.
But before you blow over a hundred bucks on the latest version of  MS-Office I’m going to ask that you give LibreOffice a shot.

LibreOffice is a complete Office suite that is fully compatible with all versions of Microsoft Office.  And since it is open source…

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Filed under Computers, Free Software, Linux, Technology, Uncategorized, Virus

Oh $*@! – Recovering Deleted Files from your PC

Houldsworth's Random Ramblings

SummaryDifficulty RatingTime to complete
Restoring files that have accidentally been deleted, even after the recycle bin has been emptied. 5 minutes.

Oh-no-Second: Def:  The span of time it takes to realize you did something dumb.

Sooner or later you are going to hit the delete button on a file and immediately realize that you shouldn’t have done that.

When that happens the first thing you should do is DON’T PANIC!

Recycle Bin to the rescue!

Lucky for you enough people have done this that Microsoft introduced the Recycle Bin back in the days of Windows 95.  If you delete a file you can recover it quickly and easily by doing the following:

  • Open the Recycle Bin by double-clicking on the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.
  • Find the file you want to recover and click to highlight it.
  • From the top menu choose File and then…

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Filed under Computers, Free Software, Linux, Technology, Uncategorized, Virus

Join Me – Should WebEx be worried?

Houldsworth's Random Ramblings

Anyone who knows me will be aware of my passion for high-quality free software – and today I have a real cracker!

This week I was training a friend who lives on the other side of the country on how to use his new software.  I’m too cheap to pay for a WebEx account and so the search was on for a suitable alternative.  Fortunately I quickly stumbled across Join Mea screen sharing tool that promised “ridiculously simple” screen sharing and, for once, they were not kidding!

Installation was a snap.  Download a tiny 4mb file, click install and that’s it!

Sharing the screen was simple too.  Start the software, send an email with the link provided and wait for the software to tell you that people have joined.  No complicated setup, no ads, and nothing for the viewer to install as everything runs in their browser.  

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