Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August HOSTS file

The August 2014 MVPS HOSTS file is available now and can be downloaded here: http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

This is a very valuable tool in your set of tools to prevent malware on your system.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Verizon FIOS

Okay, I will admit I absolutely love Verizon FIOS. I quit them, oh maybe a year ago and switched to Comcast. Why? My Verizon Triple Play prices got out of control and I was up to nearly $200 a month! CRAZY!

So, as I said, I switched to Comcast. It was a disaster. Their internet speeds simply cannot compare to FIOS. So there I have said it. I love Verizon FIOS.

I received a note from Verizon a few days ago and included in the note was this sentence: "We love having you in the FiOS community and as a member of My Rewards+. To show our appreciation, we upgraded your Internet upload speed to match your download speed—for free. This upgrade is just one more great benefit of being a member of My Rewards+."

I have to say that was nice to read, but I was paying for, and getting, 50 MBPS download and 30 MBPS upload. I didn't really feel I needed the extra upload speed, but it was free and automatic, so I got it. I just ran a speedtest.net and look what I got (below). AMAZING results. THANK YOU Verizon!

Oh, by the way, when I came back to Verizon recently. leaving Comcast behind, I carefully crafted my package to favor internet and downplayed the TV and also eliminated the landline (more on that later in a separate post).

YouTube Doesn't Know Your Password

Excellent video!



Monday, August 11, 2014

New Site Recovers Files Locked by Cryptolocker Ransomware

This is really amazing! Spread the word. From http://krebsonsecurity.com/


"Until today, Microsoft Windows users who’ve been unfortunate enough to have the personal files on their computer encrypted and held for ransom by a nasty strain of malware called CryptoLocker have been faced with a tough choice: Pay cybercrooks a ransom of a few hundred to several thousand dollars to unlock the files, or kiss those files goodbye forever. That changed this morning, when two security firms teamed up to launch a free new online service that can help victims unlock and recover files scrambled by the malware.

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First spotted in September 2013, CryptoLocker is a prolific and very damaging strain of malware that uses strong encryption to lock files that are likely to be the most valued by victim users, including Microsoft Office documents, photos, and MP3 files.

Infected machines typically display a warning that the victim’s files have been locked and can only be decrypted by sending a certain fraction or number of Bitcoins to a decryption service run by the perpetrators. Victims are given 72 hours to pay the ransom — typically a few hundred dollars worth of Bitcoins — after which time the ransom demand increases fivefold or more.

But early Wednesday morning, two security firms – Milpitas, Calf. based FireEye and Fox-IT in the Netherlands — launched decryptcryptolocker.com, a site that victims can use to recover their files. Victims need to provide an email address and upload just one of the encrypted files from their computer, and the service will email a link that victims can use to download a recovery program to decrypt all of their scrambled files.

The free decryption service was made possible because Fox-IT was somehow able to recover the private keys that the cybercriminals who were running the CryptoLocker scam used on their own (not free) decryption service. Neither company is disclosing much about how exactly those keys were recovered other than to say that the opportunity arose as the crooks were attempting to recover from Operation Tovar, an international effort in June that sought to dismantle the infrastructure that CryptoLocker used to infect PCs."

Continue reading →

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You've been hacked! Here's what to do

Found this on Cnn Money:

"Russian criminals have stolen more than 1.2 billion Internet usernames and passwords, and the odds are decent that some of yours might be among them.

There's no need to panic at this point -- Hold Security, the firm that discovered the theft, says the gang isn't in the business of stealing your bank account information. Instead, they make their money by sending out spam for bogus products like weight-loss pills.

That means you need to stay on your guard. If you see strange messages being sent from your email or social media accounts, you might be among those affected.

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself:

Change your passwords and make them smart: When it comes important services, including email, banking and social media, you'll want to change those passwords. As a rule, create different passwords for different services,and change them every six months or so.

There's a lot of debate about what makes for the best password. Some experts recommend using a password manager -- a single service that you log into which then generates random passcodes for all your accounts.

But the danger with password managers is that they create a single point of failure: if the password manager itself is compromised, all your accounts become vulnerable.

Another solution is to use long sentences or phrases. The more characters you add to a password, the more difficult it is for a computer program to crack -- even if your password is a simple sentence that's easy to remember ("I Need 2 Spend Less Time On Social Media")."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A new virus is tearing apart Windows

From Kim Komando:

"A new virus is on the rise, and this one is a doozy.

Dubbed the "Bladabindi," this is a multi-identity virus that has the capability to fool your firewall by adding itself to the firewall exception list and waltz right in. The malware then targets main systems, like your keyboard, webcam, your browsers and your Windows information.

Bladabindi then siphons your user IDs, passwords, computer name, serial number and country, and steals personal information with no one the wiser. It can also check for camera drivers to record and send video wherever it wants.

This malicious malware is spreading through USB drives. Bladabindi replicates itself into rootware and is disguised under a different icon by the hacker. When the victim clicks on it, it runs the Windows Explorer system as if nothing bad appears to have happened.

Bladabindi has mainly been attacking computers in India, and is currently being tracked by the Computer Emergency Response Team - India (CERT-In). CERT-In is trying to find a way to disable this nasty software, but in the meantime there are a few things you can do to protect your computer.

Scan your computer with a tough anti-virus software and a cleaner kit to determine if it's even on your computer. If Bladabindi is found, it's tough but not impossible to remove.

You should also scan and clean any USB or external drives that you use with a USB cleaner. You should also keep all of your software up to date and patched to beef up security.

And, I cannot stress this enough, you must follow the rules of Internet safety to keep your information safe! Do not click or follow unsolicited email attachments or ads, do not visit untrusted or sketchy sites, use tough passwords, and be vigilant about social media attacks
 
You can find more great safety tips here at my Security Center, and you can also use this program as a last resort."