Tech – for Everyone

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

Read all of this

Folks, truly a ‘must read’ for you today. Please read the whole article, and please have your thinking caps on.

Google turns in a user for allegedly possessing criminal material

Find out how Google detected illegal activity on their systems and how they responded to the discovery.Read more..

[ .. and you may want to peruse the numerous comments as well .. ]

And if that wasn’t enough for you, More Good Reading: Hacked Canadian ISP leads to virtual currency theft

A hacker who gained privileged access to a Canadian ISP’s network hijacked net traffic from foreign networks and stole more than $83,000 in virtual currency.

The hacker, who experts believe may be a former employee of the Canadian ISP and is working alone, compromised the servers of firms that generate virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin.” Read more..

[ um.. “firms that generate virtual currency”..? ]

*      *     *

Today’s quote:There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.” ~ Aristotle

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 13, 2014 Posted by | cyber crime, Google, hackers, Internet, News, security | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Business As Usual: 1.5 million Stolen Facebook Accounts For Sale

One Cyber-Crook Offers 1.5 million User Accounts.. Sold In Lots Of 1,000

1.5 million stolen Facebook accounts up for grabs (click to read)

Researchers at VeriSign’s iDefense have discovered a single hacker selling 1.5 million stolen Facebook account credentials on an underground market. The stolen credentials were put up for sale by a hacker with the handle “kirllos” who is believed to be from Eastern Europe. The hacker is selling batches of 1,000 accounts with 10 Facebook “friends” for $25 and 1,000 accounts with more than 10 “friends” for up to $45. It is estimated that 700,000 accounts have already been purchased. Compromised Facebook accounts can be used by cybercriminals to spread malware, send spam or attempt to defraud a user’s “friends.” – AM” cybercrime

Kind of glad I never went in for that “social networking”/self-marketing hype. And I sincerely hope, Dear Reader, yours was not one of “krillos'” victimized accounts.

Related:
* Global cybercrime treaty rejected at U.N. (click to read)

“Russia, China and a number of developing countries could not reach agreement with the United States, Canada, the U.K. and European Union.”

* Facebook Safety: A Primer

Hmmm… wonder why China and the Ex-Soviets don’t want to get onboard..?

Maybe it’s because: “The Internet’s “shadow economy” of cybercrime is worth over $105 billion per year. Online crime is bigger business than the global drugs trade¹. No country, no person, no business and no government is immune from CyberCrime.”

Today’s recommended reading: Your Computer Is Lying To You… The Epidemic Of Rogues

Today’s free download: WOT is a free Internet security add-on for your web browser. It will help keep you safer from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky Website. It’s easy and it’s free.

  • So easy a child can use it
  • Ratings for over 20 million websites
  • Downloaded 3 million times
  • The WOT browser add-on is light and updates automatically
  • WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, and webmail – Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!
  • Settings can be customized to better protect your family
  • WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

[addenda: Regular readers may be getting a bit tired of my Internet security-related postings. I do understand. There’s been more of them lately. But, I ask you to ask yourself this question: what does that tell you? (about the Internet, I mean.) I hope you will conclude that you need to be proactive in protecting yourself (and being more paranoid) while online.]

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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April 28, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, News, security, social networking, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do Not Want That Update? How To Stop A Nag

IE 8 is an “Important” Update, Yes, But I Don’t Want It

Sometimes we need to tell Windows Update to stop prompting us to install a particular Update.
Ups_avail

When Microsoft has released important and/or critical Updates (aka “patches”) for us, Windows has various ways of letting us know, including a System Tray icon. [note: The normal route for accessing Update choices is Start >Windows Update, or Start >Programs >Windows Update. Click “View available updates”.]

I am a big fan of Updates. I (almost) always install them the moment I become aware of them. I use Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector to keep an eye on all my installed programs’ update state.. and I recommend you do too. Updates are ‘good’ and you want them.

Tip of the day: Manage Windows Updates prompts.
Currently, Microsoft Update is annoying me by continuously nagging me that there are Updates available. And when I click on the icon to see just what these updates are…
Hide_Update

.. and I see that there is just one Update Microsoft wants me to install (the others only rate “optional”) — Internet Explorer 8.
Now, I understand why Microsoft wants us to be using a more secure browser (and I understand why it’s considered “important”) and I will upgrade from IE7 on most of my machines — but not all. Not yet.

So I right-click on the Update I don’t want to be nagged about and then click on “Hide update”.

That’s it. I’m done. Windows Update will no longer prompt me to install this (now) ‘hidden’ update. At a later date, to see Updates that I’ve hidden, I just click on “Show hidden updates”. I can undo my change.

Note: This technique can be used on troublesome Updates that cause incompatibility issues such as BSOD. If a Windows Update install causes you trouble, and you need to uninstall it, the “Hide” tip won’t help you (it’s too late). Please refer to the 3rd answer in this article, IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*, to see how to remove Updates.
After you get that Update uninstalled, (then) use the Hide feature to prevent Windows Update from re-Installing it on you again.

Today’s free link(s): Panda Cloud Antivirus – Free Cloud Protection
Panda Security has launched a brand new type of antivirus, and Security blogger Bill Mullins has this excellent write up. “FREE, antivirus thin-client service for consumers which is able to process and block malware more efficiently than locally installed signature-based products.” Click the link for more..
[update: For more, also see Panda Cloud Antivirus – Is it netbook ready?]

Today’s free download: Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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April 30, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Hacker Theft Could be the Largest Credit Card Crime in History

Hackers breach Heartland Payment credit card system

Heartland Payment Systems hpy on Tuesday disclosed that intruders hacked into the computers it uses to process 100 million payment card transactions per month for 175,000 merchants. The number of victims is still unknown.

Heartland’s disclosure coincides with reports of heightened criminal activities involving stolen payment card numbers. Security firm CardCops has been tracking a 20% year-over-year increase in Internet chat room activity where hackers test batches of payment card numbers to make sure that they’re active.

To read the full news story, click here.

My two cents: This is why, folks, you don’t want to get all excited about “cloud computing”, or allow your governments to create large “databases”.. like a “national health registry”, or “crime database”.. and why I don’t use “online backup” to store my files.
Why trust someone else’s server? The Conficker outbreak shows you how well servers get patched..

I feel bad for the folks at HPS.. the cost to “clean this up” is going to be astounding.. For more on that see, Credit card hackers find new, rich targets.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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January 22, 2009 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

$1 Million Reward Offered

As so often happens when the Powers that establish Law and Order fail to protect us, folks take matters into their own hands. It’s only natural, I think.

One doesn’t really need to study, or be particularly tech savvy to know that there really isn’t enough being done to prevent cybercrime.one-million-dollars

And, I think we understand that there are aspects to this *new* “shadow economy” that make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the Powers That Be to be effective, should they even try to do something about cybercrime.

The other day, when a person called me (at Aplus Computer Aid) for my help “to make these porno popups go away”, and I had to tell them that they had been tricked into installing a rogue antivirus.. and explained all the implications.. they were somewhat stunned, and muttered, “I’d like to find the guy who did this to me..”
His was a typical reaction.

(For more on rogues, and to see an instructional video, please see my article, Scare Tactics.)

Almost everyday, someone asks me, “what is being done about this?”, and I tell them the truth; basically, nothing.
How would you find the guy? And when/if you did track him down, in the Ukraine, or China, or Bangladesh, or Peru.. how would you prosecute him?

I am pleased to report that cybercrime is being taken more seriously by the Powers, and the laws are changing. International cooperation is starting to happen. But that didn’t stop an estimated $105 Billion dollar loss last year.
BILLION.
$105.
(Hey, that’s what insurance is for.. right?)

But let’s get back to today’s title, shall we? I just read that recently a company had received a blackmail threat:
St. Louis-based Express Scripts disclosed last week it received an anonymous letter that included the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and, in some cases, prescription information of 75 members. The writer or writers threatened to release millions more of similar records if the business failed to pay an unspecified sum of money.

Cyber-extortion.

After following proper procedures (such as notifying law enforcement), and looking at all their options, a new — and I hope effective — strategy was decided upon. This company has decided to offer a $1 million reward for information leading to the conviction of these extortionists.

They’ve posted a bounty.

History has shown that where’s there’s a bounty, there’s going to be bounty hunters.. and so I hope that this is just the first such offer of reward. Somebody needs to go after these guys, before they make the Internet so unsafe it’s unusable (and at the present rate, that’ll be next year).

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 13, 2008 Posted by | computers, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Another advantage of credit cards..

LONDON (Reuters) – Prices charged by cybercriminals selling hacked bank and credit card details have fallen sharply as the volume of data on offer has soared, forcing them to look elsewhere to boost profit margins, a new report says.*

Yes, folks, you read that right. If you want to buy a stolen credit card and PIN, now’s the time because the price has never been better. A Platinum card — guaranteed to be “fresh” and work when you use it — can be had for $20.

This is because hackers have been so successful at planting Trojans on your machines, poisoning websites, and getting people to provide their identities through phishing (spam) e-mails, and using their botnets, that they simply have too much product.

We aren’t just losing the war on cyber-crime, we’re not even fighting one.

So.. since stolen credit cards are now a dime-a-dozen, what is the “shadow economy” organized cyber-criminal to peddle? “New types of stolen data are now commanding a premium, such as patient healthcare information that can be used for insurance fraud or to illicitly acquire and sell medicines.

Other premium data includes business information, company personnel files and intercepted commercial emails.”

Yikes.

These kinds of news stories, and reports, never seem to make make the front page or headline the news. Billions are being stolen from us, every year, the problem is growing, and we don’t seem to care.

And the media doesn’t like finding the “guilty party” in this kind of story because the truly guilty are us.
* From a security perspective, the Internet is completely broken and needs to be scrapped and rebuilt. Nobody knows how to “fix” the old structure. The headline, Tech Experts Are Baffled isn’t very reassuring to the public, and that might lead to the dreaded “consumer confidence” failure.

* We –the common everyday Internet surfer– can’t be bothered with securing our machines, or even learning enough of that “tech stuff” to realize our PC’s are not convenient toys.
“Why get a new Vista or Mac computer? My Windows 98 machine lets me get on the Internet and play BlackJack..” How many times have I heard that???
Some experts say that 75% of all the computers are infected with malware. Wonder why?
What does this story’s headline look like?

* We –the common everyday Internet surfer– KEEP clicking on e-mails that promise us free iPods, or tell us that there’s 750,000 Pounds Sterling waiting for us to simply pick it up.
What does this story’s headline look like?

Awww, I’m getting depressed, angry, and.. frustrated. We deserve to have our identities stolen, and we can’t blame the smart people for taking it from us when it’s this easy.

Yes, a lot of this is not our fault. The Tech Industry continues to sell us crappy products, and would rather be first to market than to check the security of their technology. I wrote about this here, How the Tech Industry is Failing You.

* To read the whole news story which triggered today’s rant, click here.

To visit Finjan (one of the article’s sources) and look at their quarterly analysis of the state of Web security and cyber-crime, click here.

I apologize. I didn’t mean to bring you down. But if you think you can take more, why not read about how the credit card companies are putting unsecured transmitters into your cards now, so a criminal can pick your pocket wirelessly! Credit Card 2.0.

Don’t you just love the folly of Man?

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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July 15, 2008 Posted by | advice, Apple, computers, cyber crime, Internet, Internet scam, iPhone, PC, security, tech, Vista, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments