Category: Internet Security

Google Password Checkup is Such Great News!

With the frequent news about security breaches, are you concerned that your passwords might be compromised?

Have you registered with https://haveibeenpwned.com/?

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

I’ve got great news for you!
Google Chrome Can Tell You if your passwords have been compromised!

Google has created an extension (software program) for its Chrome web browser that will alert you if a username and password is known to be unsafe.

The extension is called Password Checkup and it checks a database of 4 billion credentials that have been compromised (stolen and exposed) in various data breaches.

When the extension detects an insecure password, it will display a big red dialogue box telling you to immediately change your username or password.

Of course, allowing an extension to read all your usernames and passwords raises concerns about privacy.

Google is well aware of this and has designed an encryption system to keep all your information private and anonymous:

“We built Password Checkup so that no one, including Google, can learn your account details. To do this, we developed privacy-protecting techniques with the help of cryptography researchers at both Google and Stanford University. For a more technical description of these innovations, check out our security blog post.”

Here’s a short video tutorial on How to Install Password Checkup

Or follow these steps:

Click on the 3 stacked dots (upper right)
Hover over “More Tools”
Click “Extensions”
Click on the menu icon (upper left corner)
Click on “Open Chrome Web Store (lower left corner)
In the “search the store” box, type “password checkup”
Click on Install
Click the X to close the confirmation window

If Password Checkup lets you know that a password you use is unsafe:

Sign in to the account with the unsafe password.
Create a new, strong password for the account and any other accounts that use the same password.
If the site offers another security measure, like Two-Step Verification, consider setting it up.

Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below

If you need help, you can schedule an appointment on my calendar here

I’m so excited to have a simple solution for keeping your passwords safe!
I hope you will forward share this tip with everyone you know.

Enjoy!
Mardi

P.S. I try to use as little Geek speak as possible, but you do need to understand a few terms.
I highlight them in bold so you can check yourself and look up the ones you don’t know.

Here’s a little self-test for you. How many do you know?
What is a web browser?
What is a browser extension?
Why does it matter if your account is taken over?
What is a dialogue box?
What does “account credentials” mean?
What does “compromised password” mean?

How To Make Your Technology Less Frustrating and More Fun This Year

“It’s that holiday time of year again, and that means it’s over the river and through the woods to…well, fix my family’s Wi-Fi and other tech problems.”  From: The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support  by Jason Fitzpatrick
family-dinner-3407701_1280
Do you have someone in your family who takes care of your techie problems for you?

I was that person for my mother. In fact, she was the one who suggested that I start this tutoring business to help other retirement-age adults.

I often laugh and tell people, “I’m your person, when you don’t have access to any techie relatives or you don’t want to impose. ; )

I recently read a fun article by How to Geek. The Complete Guide to Giving Better Family Tech Support  and I realized that it’s time to remind you that, “a few times a year someone needs to make sure computers are up to date,photos are backed up, and the tech is humming along as it should, so you won’t be in a in a position to have people exploit your computers, lose your photos to a hard drive crash, or otherwise be miserable because you just didn’t know any better.  After all, you aren’t out there keeping up on all the tech news and reading how-to guides.”

image of computer with 2019 on the screenAnd, there’s another great article for the New Year… Lock Down Your Tech With These New Year’s Resolutions by Justin Pot.  It urges people to:

  • “Use a freaking password manager
  • Lock Down Important Accounts With Two-Factor Authentication
  • Backup Your Computer (Seriously)
  • Update (or Upgrade) Your Router
  • Clean Out Your Browser Extensions
  • Remove Unused Third-Party App Access From Google, Facebook, and Other Accounts
  • Encrypt Your Computers and Phone”

As I often say, “using technology is like driving cars, they need check ups from time to time, and you have to know the rules of the road for your safety and security.

sparkler-839831_1280No Worries…There Are Easy Ways To Get It All Done:

  • Read the two articles and follow their very clear instructions or
  • Send these tips to your “Family Tech Guru” so he or she can do it or
  • Hire me to teach you how to do it or
  • Hire me do it for you

Whatever you decide is fine, but  please make a decision and “get ‘er done” so you can have less frustration and more fun.

Wishing you a very happy new year and may your techie world be simple, easy and fun this year!

Enjoy!

Mardi

P. S. Please share this with your loved ones so they can get the help they need too.  Thanks!

You Can Be A Hoax Slayer

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Friday, I received a call from a client about a phishing scam that was very convincing. It’s time to review the guidelines again.

“Be wary of ANY message that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to upgrade account details, rectify a supposed account issue, or implement new ‘security’ measures. If you receive a suspect message, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it contains. Instead, login to your account by entering the address into your web browser or via an official account application.”

This particular scam was pretending to be from Microsoft Outlook Team but there are others for Facebook, Yahoo, dating sites, and more.

Here is a great resource for you: Bookmark http://www.hoax-slayer.com It has information about email, social media and internet scams. Many thanks to Brett for his voluntary service on our behalf.

Please share this with the people you care about and encourage them to call me whenever they have a question or need help with their techie tools and toys. My passion and mission is to help you and your loved ones more fully enjoy the many benefits of computer technology while keeping it it simple, easy and fun. Thanks!

Enjoy!
Mardi

No More Password Hassles with LastPass

No More Password Hassles!

Treat your password like your toothbrush.
Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.

Clifford Stoll                                      Read more at brainyquote.com

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Are you ready to put your password hassles to rest once and for all?  I’ve got a great solution for you!   Get LastPass password manager.  It’s free! It will generate secure passwords for all your accounts and insert them automatically. You only need to remember one master password.  Everything is encrypted and safe.

No more updating pages and pages of accounts and passwords or going through a bazillion steps to reset the ones you forgot!  LastPass even let’s you know if you have an account with a company whose data base has been compromised so you can change your password immediately.

I’ve been using the basic features of LastPass for years, but I just took a class on it to learn more and I am very impressed.  I had the opportunity to teach a client how to use it this week and she is so happy and relieved that she’s telling all her friends.

You can learn more about it here  www.lastpass.com  I urge you to use it.  The little bit of time it takes to install and learn how to use it, will be minimal compared to the time it takes to clean up a mess if someone hacks any of your accounts.

Please share this with everyone you know so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident with their computers and techie gadgets.

Please post your thoughts or comments below….

Thanks!

AOL Phishing Scam

AOL Phishing Scam

One of my clients sent this to me yesterday. It’s a Phishing scam, just as she suspected. Good job Harriett!

AOL HELP.

Your two incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database,In order to receive the messages Click Here

 to Login and wait for response from  AOL Mail

.We apologies for any inconveniences 

Best Regards,

The AOL! Mail Team
I was suspicious because of the reference to holding back only two emails.  A big company like AOL doesn’t have time to notify people of small stuff like this.  (Most of the time, companies don’t even notify us of big changes!  LOL )  Mail held up by a “data base upgrade” would most likely just come through later, after the upgrade was completed.

Of course, being the intrepid, curious researcher that I am, I just had to click on the link to see what would happen.  This is what showed up…

URL Terminated  

The TinyURL (p95eoub) you visited was used by its creator in violation of our terms of use. TinyURL has a strict no abuse policy and we apologize for the intrusion this user has caused you. Such violations of our terms of use include:

  • Spam – Unsolicited Bulk E-mail
  • Fraud or Money Making scams
  • Malware
  • or any other use that is illegal.

If you received spam, please note that TinyURL did not send this spam and we do not operate any email lists. We can not remove you from spammer’s database as we have no association with spammers, but instead we recommend you use spam filtering software.

This confirmed my suspicions.  I let Harriet know and thanked her for letting me know.

You are always welcome to email me when you have a concern like this. My mission is to make your computing experience more enjoyable and to help others as well.

Please forward this to everyone you know so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident with their computers and techie gadgets.

Thoughts or comments about this topic?
Please comment below.

Thanks!

Phishing Alert: Watch Out For This!

I thought you should know about this right away.

After seeing my Techie Tip about phishing on Saturday, my daughter sent the following email about a phishing problem with Anthem Insurance.  Even if you don’t have Anthem Insurance, this will reinforce what I said about “phishing. ”

Heh Mom, Did you know about this?

Last week, Anthem announced that data might have been accessed about Anthem Healthcare clients.  Apparently, hackers are taking advantage and sending emails and making phone calls asking to verify information.

Here is the email from the Human Resources Department where she works.

“Anthem notified us today that members who may have been impacted by the cyber attack should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members.  These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a “click here” link for credit monitoring.  Anthem DID NOT send these emails.  If you receive one of these scam emails like the one attached:

  • DO NOT click on any links in email.
  • DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
  • DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you clicked on a link in email.
  • DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.

Further, Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber attack and Anthem representatives are not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.

This outreach is from scam artists who are trying to trick consumers into sharing personal data. There is no indication that the scam email campaigns are being conducted by those that committed the cyber attack, or that the information accessed in the attack is being used by the scammers.

Anthem will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services.

For more guidance on recognizing scam email, please visit the FTC Website:http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.

Anthem has created a website (www.anthemfacts.com), and a hotline, 1-877-263-7995, for its members to call for more information.”

Please forward this to everyone you know so they can be safe too.
Thanks,
Mardi

Looking for Work On Craigslist – Safety Tips

CRAIGSLIST-large570

Hi Mardi,

I am still in Brazil.

I am trying to put an add for a new job on craigslist and I can’t do it.

I open the craigslist page but I can’t find the right place.

Could you help me doing that?

I will try to call you.

I recently received this message from a client and it reminded me to let you know about a couple of hazards to avoid when you, or someone you know, is looking for work online.

When I first moved to the Desert, I was looking for work on Craigslist and encountered two potentially dangerous scams.

The first and most obvious scam, was an email from a company offering me an interview and requiring that I get a credit report to bring to the interview.  They said I needed to get it from the company they recommended and the link to the website was included in the email.

I couldn’t imagine why someone would need a credit report before an interview or expect me to divulge financial information to a company I didn’t know, so I knew it was a scam.

facebook login

The second scam almost got me!  A company said they were interested in me and I could learn more about them at their Facebook page.  At first, I thought it was strange that they didn’t send me to their company website, but then I thought they might be trying to be hip and leading-edge by having a company Facebook page.

I clicked on the link and it took me to a page that looked exactly like the Facebook sign-in page.  I signed in, but had a weird feeling that something was off.  I looked up at the address bar to see exactly where I was and it said “fakebook.com/….”  I thought oh my gosh, they just captured my Facebook login and password!

I immediately opened a new window and went to my Facebook page and changed my password.  Luckily I got there, before they were able to changed my password and lock me out.  Whew!

craigslist banner

There are good jobs available on Craigslist and I actually found one at that time.

You just need to be careful and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Please forward this to everyone you know who is looking for work so they can be safe and feel relaxed, happy and confident while using Craigslist.

Thoughts or comments about this topic?  Please share in comments below.

Would You Believe This?

If you received an email saying this would you believe it?  Think about this

“Your account PayPal is limited you have to solve the problem in 24 hours”

Hello PayPal customer,

We are sorry to inform you that you can not access all your paypal advantages like sending money and purchasing,due to account limitation 

Why my account PayPal™ is limited?

Because we think that your account is in danger from stealing and unauthorized uses .

What can I do to resolve the problem?

You have to confirm all your account details on our secure server by click the link bellow and following all the steps
I received this on Wednesday and I was immediately suspicious for several reasons:

  • The wording seemed awkward,
  • The  “24 hours” time frame seemed unnecessary,
  • My PayPal account is linked directly to my bank account, not a credit card that could be compromised
  • My PayPal password is very secure.

There wasn’t any apparent reason for my account to be “in danger.
I was pretty sure this was a scam.

Screenshot 2015-01-30 at 8.09.29 AM

Instead of clicking on the button in the email that said “Confirm Your Information,”  I went to PayPal directly, logged in to my account and saw that there was no problem there.  The email was a scam just as I had suspected.

If I had clicked on the button in the email that said “confirm your information” and logged in on their web page, I would have given the scammers the password for my PayPal account.  I don’t know if they would have asked for additional information, like the bank routing number or credit card number.  I know better than to go that far with the process.

Screenshot 2015-01-30 at 7.56.16 AM

I clicked on the button to test it for this article and the web address (URL) did not even have the word “PayPal” in it. It was http://realitygameforums.com/confirm.account/verifie.information/update/
“realitygameforums”!  Really!  If it weren’t so treacherous it would be funny!

The reason this is so disturbing is that the email and the verification web page looked so authentic.  Many people could be tricked by something like this and I don’t want it to be you!

This is a common technique for tricking people. It’s called Phishing.

Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.  Phishing – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you ever get emails that appear to be from your Bank or credit card company or any other source that is asking for sensitive information, don’t click on any buttons or links in the email.  Go to your account online and login to see if there are any messages for you; or call the bank, credit card, or other company directly and ask them if there is an issue with your account.

nortonHere is more information from Norton Internet Security ttp://us.norton.com/transactsafely/phishingscam.jsp

To protect yourself against phishing, follow these basic guidelines:

  1. Be wary of emails asking for confidential information—especially of a financial nature. Legitimate organizations will never request sensitive information via email.
  2. Don’t get pressured into providing sensitive information. Phishers like to use scare tactics, and may threaten to disable an account or delay services until you update certain information.
  3. Be sure to contact the merchant directly to confirm the authenticity of their request.
  4. Familiarize yourself with a web site’s privacy policy.
  5. Watch out for generic-looking requests for information. Fraudulent emails are often not personalized, while authentic emails from your bank often reference an account you have with them.
  6. Never submit confidential information via forms embedded within email messages.
  7. Never use links in an email to connect to a web site. Instead, open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar.
  8. Maintain effective software to combat phishing. Norton Internet Security automatically detects and blocks fake web sites. It also authenticates major banking and shopping web sites.

Senior_Year_by_ScarecrowArtist

I hope you have found this information helpful and that you feel more empowered and secure now.

Please send this tip to your friends so they will be empowered and protected too.
Thoughts or comments about this topic? Please share in the comments below.

Passwords Can Be Simple and Safe

Passwords Can Be Simple and Safe

I know you hate having to use so many passwords.  It’s a big pain to keep track of them.  You might even be using the same password for multiple sites and allowing your web browser to save them so you don’t have to login every time.

A recent article by Kim Komando, inspired me to encourage you to take the bull by the horns, do some house cleaning and start using a password manager. This will make your online life so much simpler and safer.
Here are some great tips based on her article, One secret about online accounts every computer user needs to know

You may have created dozens of accounts that have only been used once. Just think of how many times you’ve created a username and password just to read an article, play a game or download something.  This can be dangerous because your information is floating around on dozens or hundreds of websites that may or may not be secure.  Even worse, if you have used the same username and password for every site, every account you have is in danger.  A hacker who gets your account information from one site can use it to get access to your other accounts as well.

The solution is to hunt down and close any accounts you are not using and then change the passwords to your existing accounts so that each one is unique.

A simple browser trick

1) When you create a new online account or log in to an old one, your browser stores the username and password. This makes it easy to log back in later.  It also means you can go now and see what accounts you’ve created.

2) After you locate your accounts, you can close down the accounts you are not using and create unique passwords for the sites you are keeping.

3) Then turn off “password storing” and erase the existing passwords in your browser. The option to erase the passwords is in the same place you view the saved passwords.  (The Instructions are below.)

Use A Password Manager

LastPass, The last password you will ever need

 

 

 

 

 

I know this seems like a lot of work but you only have to do it once.  Then, If you start using a password manager like LastPass all your unique passwords will be stored in a vault and you will only need to remember one master password.  The password manager will even generate secure passwords for you so you don’t have to think them up. You will love it!

If you need help to clean things up or to learn how to use a password manager like LastPass, I’m always here for you. Just call for an appointment.

Invite some friends to a Play Shop in your home, community room or office.  A play shop is a really fun way to learn and only costs $25 hr. per person.

Forward this tip to your friends so they will be safe and happier too.
Thoughts or comments about this topic? Please share in the comment section below.

Instructions for web browser applications:

FIREFOX

To see your login information in Firefox, go to the Firefox menu – it’s the icon on the right with three horizontal lines – and click Options.

Under the Security tab, click the “Saved Passwords” button.

Then click the “Show Passwords” button and click “Yes.”

CHROME

In Chrome, click the icon with three horizontal lines in the upper right and choose “Settings.”

Choose “Settings” on the left, and then click the “Show advanced settings” link at the bottom of the screen.

Scroll down to “Passwords and forms” and click the “Manage saved passwords” link.

If you want to log back into your old account, but don’t remember the password, then you can click on a password and click the Show button next to it.

To see the password, you will have to enter your Windows account password, which does make it harder for casual snoops to get in.

INTERNET EXPLORER

You can’t view saved usernames and passwords directly in IE. You would need a third-party program like IE PassView.  However, I recommend that you don’t use Internet Explorer anyway.  It is easily invaded by spyware. I use Google Chrome but Firefox is good also.

SAFARI

In Safari, go to Safari>>Preferences>>Auto-fill. Click the Edit button to view the saved passwords.

Need Help?

If you need help to clean things up or to learn how to use a password manager like LastPass,  I’m always here for you. Just call for an appointment.

Invite some friends to a Play Shop in your home, community room or office.  A play shop is a really fun way to learn and only costs $25 hr. per person.

Forward this tip to your friends so they will be safe and happier too.

Simple Fixes for Webcam Spying

Are you scared by all the news stories suggesting that hackers can spy on you through your computer and gadget cameras?

My mother has been really concerned about it and I understand how scary it can be.  It is almost overwhelming and really annoying when all these “advances” in technology bring new challenges and require more education!

You don’t need to worry though, I’m dedicated to calming your fears and giving you the information and help you need so you can relax and enjoy your toys again.

Despite the potential dangers, webcams are great tools for chatting long-distance with friends and family, and conducting  business.

When you understand how they work and how to secure them, you will feel much better and have more fun.  Enjoy!

Please help others by forwarding this to all your friends and relatives and encourage them to subscribe to my techie tips so they can be protected and have peace of mind also.  They can click right here to subscribe.  If you are into social media, you can use the sharing buttons provided. That will be a big help also. Thanks!

INTERNET-ENABLED CAMERAS  Internet Cameras

Internet-enabled security cameras and baby monitors are becoming more and more common because they are inexpensive and easy to set up.  These gadgets connect to your Wi-Fi network and they are a great way to keep an eye on kids, aging parents and your possessions.

However, many people don’t follow the directions when setting them up and leave the default username and password in place. Hackers have made it their business to know all the default login information for every gadget on the market.  If you don’t change the factory settings they could find your camera online, log in, and watch you or put you on a website with thousands of other cameras for curious snoops to browse.

Good News!
The solution is easy: just remember to change the default password when you set up any type of new gadget. If you buy a camera that doesn’t have a password, exchange it for a different model.

COMPUTER WEBCAMS  lamptop cam

Once hackers get on your computer, they can use programs to turn on your webcam without triggering alerts like the webcam light. Thus, covering or unplugging the camera when not in use is a good idea.

However, hackers could still have full access to your computer. They could rummage through your email, browser history, passwords, documents and anything else they want.

And, of course, when you do use the webcam, they can eavesdrop.

To get on your computer, hackers use a remote access tool, or RAT. That’s what tech support agents use to get on your computer remotely to change settings or fix a problem. Fortunately, remote access tools require your permission, so a person can’t just take control without your permission.

However, hackers have many ways to trick you into letting them on to your computer — fake email attachments, malicious links, Trojan viruses, and phony tech support calls.  Once you’re tricked into running a file, clicking a link, or inviting them on to your system, they can take control and do whatever they want.

More Good News!

The solution is pretty simple. Just avoid unsolicited email attachments and links, run up-to-date security software and don’t believe anyone who contacts you claiming to be tech support for a major company.

Operating systems on your computer may have a remote access tool (RAT) built in. This makes it easier for real tech support to get on your system, but it also makes it easier for a hacker to trick your system into letting them on.

To turn off Remote Assistance in Windows, go to Start>>Control Panel. In the Search box in the upper right corner, type “remote” and then click the “Allow remote access to your computer” link.

Uncheck the “Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer” option and click OK.

For Macs, go to the Apple icon and select System Preferences. Click the Sharing icon and uncheck Remote Login, Remote Management.

If you use a company laptop, it could have similar software on it. Companies are supposed to disclose the presence of that kind of software but they don’t always do it, so if it doesn’t belong to you, be mindful of what you do on it.

smartphone cameraTABLET AND SMARTPHONE CAMERAS

Tablets and smartphones also have cameras but I haven’t heard of any malicious apps or spying apps that can trigger the camera.  That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or won’t exist in the future but I will let you know if that changes.

A word to the wise….if there is something you really don’t want the world to see, don’t put it on your smartphone or tablet.

If you have any questions or comments about this or if you have any suggestions for future tips, please post a comment below and let me know. I always love to know what you think and how I can help you. Thanks!

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