Author: Jason Hazlett

Parenting in the Technology Age

A very relevant and sobering article on parenting in this age of technology. Please do everything you can to help your children get good at “real life” first and foremost. Keep technology on a short-leash. Kids will pick up all of the tapping, swiping and clicking that they need to be successful in their lives and careers simply because they are growing up in a world surrounded by computers and devices. Trying to go back in time to help a child after technology has become a destructive addiction and compulsion in their life is not an easy thing to do.

The Tech Industry’s Psychological War on Kids

More Major Security Flaws

Two major security flaws in the world’s computers, mobile devices, and servers have been revealed. Is anybody surprised? Settle in, no need to have a “Meltdown”.

Taking security seriously has been a lower priority by the tech companies until relatively recently. In fact, technology tends to be one major product in our lives which is released for sale in varying degrees of unfinished. Finishing the products and fully testing them is very costly, and if you can get away with selling unfinished products–why not?! Car companies would get away with selling unfinished products if they could, but people tend to die and there are costly recalls to contend with. People keep right on buying unfinished tech products and using “free” online services, so keep it coming!

“Cloud” services are very convenient but when you put our data together with a bunch of other people’s on a system that is managed by a giant far-away company–guess what–your data is more at risk of being broken into. If you are a paying customer to a cloud service, you can call in to the call center and if you can get through to a real person, really give them a piece of your mind about the lack of security! Sadly, while this might might make you feel a bit better, the person you talk to probably has little to no power to change anything. For the “free” online services (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) I hate to tell you this but you are not even a customer, you are the product. Advertisers are the customers. Therefore the only real recourse you have is to delete your profile and stop using the service. But then, how will you keep in touch with your friends? Remember clicking that little “accept” button when you set up your “free” account? Buried in the legalese, it said that in exchange for your use of the service your personal data can and will be used in ways you probably don’t appreciate.

Our lives have become laced with technology to a point we can hardly remember what low-tech life was like. Do you remember life before the barrage of group text messages? People actually made plans in advance and stuck to them–WOW! Can you imagine a world in which you could not share videos of your cat’s funny tricks with the whole world instantly? It was rough, but humankind manged to survive.

Happy New Year. Try not to do anything on your computers or devices that you would not everybody to know about. Put as little information into “The Cloud” as you can. That should keep you about as safe as possible.

Fake Phone Calls from Microsoft

If you get a call from someone saying they are from Microsoft and they have detected a security threat on your computer that they want to help you with, do not give them access to your computer or any financial information. It is a scam plain and simple. We have seen several of these in the last 48 hours.

If you want to see a security expert playing along with such a scammer, see this article: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/malwarebytes

CCleaner Tool Infected

The CCleaner software tool was recently infected with Malware. This is a very popular and legitimate tool used by many professionals and laypersons alike.

If you used CCleaner between 8/15/17 and 9/11/17, you should uninstall it and then download and install the latest version which has been fixed. Also, make sure to run some security scans with your antivirus software to make sure your computer system is clean.

Please see this link for further details:
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/18/tainted_ccleaner_downloads/

Please let us know if you have any questions, or need any help with this.

Popular CCleaner software tool infected with malware.

Cyber Attacks Increasing Frequency

Cyber attacks are the “new normal” and they are aggressively targeting all sizes of businesses at an alarming frequency.

If you are unsure about your “Disaster Recovery Preparedness”, “CyberSecurity” and/or backups, we can help. If you have your IT “house in order” you can tell the cyber-attackers to “go fly a kite.” If not, you are forced to negotiate payment to get your data unscrambled.

See this article for today’s news regarding the British Health Services and FedEx being hit:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-security-hospitals-idUSKBN18820S

Charter Outage Update

UPDATE: Charter Internet service is back up. It started coming up last evening around 8:30 PM and stabilized by about 11:30 PM. So far no news stories available explaining what happened and why it took so long to fix.

Charter Outage Update: Confirmed this is a “fiber cut”. In other words, somebody was digging where they should not be yesterday afternoon about 2:45 PM. Charter’s message says they are working on it and getting done as quickly as possible but will not provide any ETA for restoration.

That seems an unfortunate customer service decision. Any news, even bad, can help customers of Internet, phones, and/or TV service make plans.

As soon as we know more, we will post it here. When service *does* come back on, expect it to be “spotty” as many humans and many automated systems will be hitting the connection hard with a big backlog of transactions to process.

Tech Support Scammers

Reminder about tech support scammers. They look convincing enough to fool a lot of people. If you do get scammed, order a chargeback on your credit to get your money back. If you let them take control of your computer, get it looked over by a reputable local shop. It is possible that “back door” access may have been left by the perpetrators. Once you take your money back, you definitely don’t want them to get back into your computer.

They’re after one thing — money. And when they can’t get it, they’ll resort to any…
zdnet.com|By Zack Whittaker

Ransomware Reminder

*** PLEASE BE AWARE *** Cleverly crafted ransomware messages are being sent out in large numbers. We receive 10-30 per day here, and there are always a few that do not get put into the “Junk” folder.

They are designed to make you curious enough to click through one time and then the malicious software starts encrypting all files on your computer and network. You then receive a politely worded ransom note asking you to pay to get your own files back. See our screenshots, don’t open these files. And if you do, don’t click through the security warnings! For more information see this article: Wikipedia Ransomware article.

In the end, if you do click on one of these types of messages early detection is critical. If possible isolate the computer where the problem started by disconnecting it from the network and give us a call so that we can minimize the damage and get you back up and running quickly.

Fake Fax E-Mail

Fake Fax E-mail

Ransomware word document attachment

Typical looking Word document.