Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Passwords worth real gold

A quick ‘must read’ for you today.

Russian hackers show who values passwords

As I’ve said here before, it is time end-users realize their personal data has value, including username and password. For those who can’t calculate that value, know that Facebook didn’t develop a $189 billion market cap harvesting corn on Farmville. That cap was built on personal data willingly provided by its end-users.Read more..

[note: “end user” is Geekspeak for you and me – computer users.]

Today’s quote:It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” ~ Mark Twain

Copyright 2007-2014 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.
And please, never forget – one person can make a difference.
Find a way to make someone’s day today.
(Best advice I ever heard? Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

August 8, 2014 Posted by | advice, cloud computing, consumer electronics, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News, passwords, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A few headlines of (possible) interest

Here are a few items of interest, for your consideration.

THE FLABBY ERA How Far Fitness Has Fallen

You’re pathetic. Really. According to the latest research, human fitness has decreased so dramatically in recent years that even the strongest of us would consider ancient men to be, well, monsters.Read more..

Heartbleed Havoc: 10 Passwords You Need To Change Right Now

Facebook, Google Gmail and Amazon Web Services, among other services, are urging users to change their passwords in response to the Heartbleed bug.Read more..

Americans Can’t Pass Their Own Citizenship Test

An impressive 91% of immigrants who seek to take an American citizenship test pass it. A sampling of Miami residents — all of whom were naturalized American citizens — didn’t fare as well. And by not faring so well, we mean only 1 in 15 passed. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!Read more..

* 10 Ways Hackers Will Get The Best Of You

CRN pulled together some top ways, identified in the Verizon Data Breach Report, that hackers can get the best of you and your business.Read more..

U.S. search warrant can acquire foreign cloud, email data, judge rules

Comments made by Verizon’s chief lawyer (and heavily disputed by legal experts and academics at the time) have been proven false.Read more..

[ What are the big picture implications here??? ]

* Wallpaper apps on Google Play contain mobile Bitcoin-mining malware
Dendroid RAT slips into Google Play

Five wallpaper apps in the Google Play store – that are now no longer available – did deliver on the background images that were promised, but also delivered a new piece of mobile Bitcoin-mining malware known as BadLepricon.Read more..

Yippee yahoo.

Not so bad.. Nissan Shows Off Self-Cleaning Car

Nissan is testing a new “super-hydrophobic” paint that will repel dirt, water, and oil.Read more..

I want that! ( hmmm… I wonder if a can of silicon spray.. )

*     *     *

Bonus: (I know at least one reader will like this..)  Eckhart Tolle speaks at Google Fireside: “Living with Meaning, Purpose and Wisdom in the Digital Age.”

Today’s quote:Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Copyright 2007-2014 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.
And please, never forget – one person can make a difference.
Find a way to make someone’s day today.
(Best advice I ever heard? Don’t sweat the small stuff.)

April 28, 2014 Posted by | advice, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, Google, hackers, Internet, News, passwords, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advice for hijacked Yahoo! mail

From the Reader Mail Department

A Reader wrote in with a question that might be pertinent to some of you..

Contact Tech Paul
Message:” I’m almost sure people have cracked my password to yahoo, because everytime I want to open my account, the password does not work
How do I find out who has gotten into my yahoo email?”

Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

A: Unless it is someone in your own environment (with access to your computer) I doubt anyone could figure out who has “broken into” (and it sounds like, ‘hijacked’) your email account. In the recent past, Yahoo has been “hacked” and 100,000’s of email address/passwords stolen, many times. (for example, http://www.zdnet.com/yahoo-confirms-400000-accounts-hacked-less-than-5-valid-7000000812/).

But I wouldn’t worry about the “who” so much as I would worry about regaining control of your account; and the way to do that is through Yahoo!.
(Usually the process is started by clicking the “forgot my password” link.)

Try these methods, in order.
1) http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101007173522AAkWiz9

2) http://pctechnotes.com/how-to-recover-your-hacked-yahoo-account/

If you verify that you were indeed hijacked, you might have luck writing to Yahoo! and asking for an investigation… But since Yahoo! Mail is a free service, I doubt there is much they’ll do. But you can try.
And a computer forensics specialist might have methods I am unaware of, but they do not work cheap.

Good luck, and regards, TP

Today’s quote:I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” ~ George Washington

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, passwords, tech | , , , , , | 1 Comment

More Passwords Stolen…

All you need to do to realize that Layer 8 is unteachable, and “user education” programs basically useless, is look at the issue of their passwords. The personal computer has been with us for roughly 30 years now. The password basics are well known, and oft-repeated:

  • Make your passwords eight or more characters;
  • Vary punctuation, symbols, letters and numbers;
  • Change passwords every three months;
  • Use different passwords for different accounts.

And this next is one I tell everyone..

  • Don’t mail off your password because you received an email saying your account “needs to be updated”. (this is called “phishing.”)

Yet, people.. well, they still use “123456”, (or “password”) and worse, use it for everything. Almost everybody. Even the “savvy” (when was the last time you went through and changed all your pwords?) aren’t so savvy, it seems. (And I include myself. Changing 400+ passwords takes all day!)

Today’s headlines:

* NEWS: 6.5 Million LinkedIn Users Possibly Exposed

* LinkedIn’s security issue reveals obvious: Passwords, users always a weak link

Here’s the problem: Passwords may be the most imperfect security measure around, but it’s tough to nudge out a practice that has been around for decades.” Read more..

Yet I cannot stress fervently enough, we (computer users) have to get unlazy on this, and we have to take this issue seriously. Identity Theft, Internet Fraud, and “cyber crime” are costing us over a hundred billion dollars a year in actual money, and at least that much a year in “intellectual property”. Yes, with a “B”. Billions.
Believe it: the strength of your passwords is a matter of national/economic security.

We are not “locking the doors” (using good passwords). And we need to be. All of us.

But I am not here to simply nag.. those of you who agree, and would like an easy way to be “password savvy” (and protected) might want to take a look at LastPass. It’s 5 star. It’s free. And it’s easy.

[hint: re-read the sentence above.]

… I have been writing this “advice column” for over four years exactly 5 years, today. In the early days, I used to write an article like this one once a month (as well as a reminder to backup your data). I gave that up — there was no surer way to have no readers (aka “a ratings killer”). But this topic is just too important to let rest. Don’t become a victim of cybercrime. You can start by fixing your passwords.

LinkedIn Users: LinkedIn password breach: How to tell if you’re affected

Also: for a review of LastPass from a “reliable source”, see: A Free Password Manager that’s Just as Good as Roboform

Today’s quote:A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” ~ Winston Churchill

Bonus tip: Every so often I have to help a client “remember” (or otherwise regain access) their main email password.. because they let their web browser “remember” for them, and one day their browser “forgets” (like, after a version upgrade..) and, no, they never wrote it down anywhere.

So, yes, I advise keeping a written list of your pwords BUT!! keeping that list tucked into your recipe book, or sewing kit, or under the bathroom sink (aka “not on a sticky note under your keyboard, or on your monitor..)

I hate to say it, folks, but the world on the Internet today.. you simply have to use some “paranoid common sense”, and not just do the easiest thing. Be safe(r).

A little Geekspeak:

* “breach” is Geek for “they broke in and took everything”.

* “Layer 8” is a polite way to say “average computer user”, which is a polite way to say “pebcak“…

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, free software, Internet, passwords, security | , , , , | 2 Comments

Under the wire..

I have just managed to grab some time and get something posted for you guys today.. and though it is a reprint, I did choose it for it’s appropriateness..

I am in a bit of a muddle here today, as I sit at my keyboard. I have six or seven  directions I could head in, if you will, and am unsure which to share with you, Dear Reader. And how to do it. I think I will just “free flow” today.

I will start with an educational word of caution..
Yesterday Today, I spent hours in a client’s home. They could not access their Gmail.

No. Their account was not “hijacked”. They simply could not remember their password.

They had set one, and then had been letting the computer remember it for them. But, their browser suddenly forgot to remember correctly the other day.
Well, no big deal.. their logins are stored on the “keychain” (it was a Mac).
Which is password protected.
Which they couldn’t remember either.. as they had set it years ago when the computer was new.
Catch 22.

Worse, this person was in the habit of setting passwords, and letting the computer do the work: they knew not a single one of their passwords (except their User password, which they use every day).. and didn’t have them written down anywhere.

I did my best to explain that in this Internet Age, user name + password combinations are our keys: they give you access: and w/o them, you are S.O.L.; and you want to hide a spare (copy) somewhere. Just like you would a house key.
But I could tell that not even the frustration of hours of playing the “guessing passwords game” and dozens of “click here to reset password” emails (Gmail said “No. we don’t believe you are you.”), nor my mild chiding coaxing, was going to change this person’s behavior or attitude. Neither would my bill.

For those who do want a better way to “manage” all your passwords, you may want to take a look at LastPass.

But, I have seen an increase in the number of malware (aka “virus”) infections, and also an increase in the number of infections which included backdoors and keyloggers (this coincides nicely with the approaching tax season..). Many of these infections were spread by email coming from friends and contacts. So now would be a good time to ramp up your email “paranoid common sense”, and not implicitly trust that the email (appearing to come) from your good buddy Joe is safe.

And it’s a good time for me to pitch to you my Got A Computer? Top 10 Things You Should Do article. It is a checklist worth knowing.

Today’s quote:For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.” ~ Alice Kahn

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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January 23, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, passwords | 16 Comments

This Is Important

Folks, the other day I received an email from the webmaster of our local (small town) paper:

Dear *newspaper name*Online registered user:

This morning we learned of a possible breach of the e-mail addresses and passwords belonging to registered users on the *newspaper name* Online website (including the *another name* reader forum.)

While no credit card or other information is involved, out of an abundance of caution we wanted to alert you that it is possible that someone gained access to the e-mail address and password you provided when registering.

While you may easily change your password by going to the *newspaper name* Online website, logging in and then clicking on “Edit User Info,” the more important concern is that you may have used the same e-mail/password combination with financial or other institutions. If so, we strongly suggest that you change your password at those other institutions.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. If you have any questions or would like assistance in changing your *newspaper name* Online password, please don’t hesitate to contact… blah blah blah

The emphasis is mine.

Do you do that?

Do you have, like, one user name + password combo that you use over-and-over ‘cuz it’s easy to remember? Been doing so for years?

Has your bank account vanished yet?

Reason I asked that is, if you do that, you are ripe for the picking. Those people out there in Internet Land, storing your password, do not know how to keep that safe (even though they are paid to do so..) or they do know how, but they are not provided the budget/tools.

It’s up to you.

You MUST learn to Use strong (and complex) passwords. Everywhere. And change them every so often. (click the blue words, please.)

That’s the world we live in. Don’t be a victim. Get smart.

Don’t count on someone else.

*     *     *

Hopefully.. I have caught some

by now.. (written on Thursday). Have a great weekend everybody!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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May 7, 2011 Posted by | advice, how to, Internet, passwords, security | Leave a comment