Archive for the Category ◊ security ◊

Another Creepy FaceBook Feature – Spy Cam
Monday, August 13th, 2012 | Author:

Facebook has developed a camera so it can detect users when they go into a store. All under the guise of providing targeted information.

Yeah, right….

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2187801/Were-watching-The-camera-recognise-Facebook-picture-time-walk-shop.html

Free at LastIt was not easy, in fact it took a lot of work to copy all of the information that I wanted from my blogs, Picasa photo account, and other places, and put them on my own website and domain.

After all that work, I finally hit the delete my account button, and I would love to say my information is gone. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Google will keep my information for a while. That is how they do business.

If you are reading this, you are reading my blog on the new site of Paul’s Computer Repair, controlled by us, not Google.

If you are not a believer and think this is all Google scare, just think about how much information, private information is in the hands of one company.

Here are the accounts I had information on:

Blogger (3 blogs, and the wife has 2), Google checkout (now wallet), YouTube, Google Adwords, Picasa Web Albums, Gmail, Google Analytics (website statistics), talk (Google chat), docs, igoogle home page, and every time I did a search on Google.

That is a lot of info, and that is not all of it. There are many other “products” that they collect information from. One of the latest is Google + which I have stayed away from, that is the FaceBook challenger, and of course, collecting lots of information ab0ut every user and their friends.

There have been a lot of articles and stories about the lack of fair privacy policies that users can understand. There have also been many incidents showing the power and amount of information that Google is amassing.

Here is a recent example article about the combining of data from CNN

So of course Google decides to help us out, and combine all of our accounts into one. Making the privacy so much easier for us. This combining of all of your Google related accounts will happen on March 1st, whether or not you like it.

Anyone with any brain knows when a company touts how it is going to help you, the first thing is, what is the company getting out of it?

Well, Google is a huge advertising company, they are not a search engine company, which is what everyone thinks of. They sell advertising and data on people’s habits. They have too much of it, and are becoming very scary.

Another thing that is scary, adding to their list of info they keep is the Android operating system they own. Every phone that has it is run by this company, who has every bit of information that goes through your phone. And if that is not enough, Google has been found to have recently bypassed security in Apple’s Safari and IE9 browsers.

I am done with Google. I really like their search engine and I have used it for years, but they have gone too far.

There is an alternative, using Startpage.org. This site uses results from Google, but the info that goes to Google is from them, and your privacy is never breached. Pretty cool idea, check it out at startpage.com

Cookies, Flash Cookies, Removing them – Part II
Wednesday, September 01st, 2010 | Author:

In my last Blog, we I talked about what the cookies are, and some of the dangers they can be.

Today I am going to talk about how to manage and get rid of cookies from the computer.

First, I will start with regular old cookies. In my opinion, the best tool to manage cookies on your computer is CCleaner. If your computer has been on my bench for repair, you will have it on your desktop.

Crap Cleaner (Ccleaner) is one of the best free cleaner utilities around. I like the Ccleaner SLIM, that is a smaller version without the option of it installing a useless toolbar.

Ccleaner will clean out your temp files where a lot of the crud like malware and viruses like to hide out, and it will clean out Windows and other program temp files that you do not need and just take up disk space.

A really cool feature of Ccleaner is that you can tell it if you want it to keep some cookies. For example, if you go to a weather site every day, it is nice for it to remember you are in 97355 zip code, so you don’t have to enter it every day for the weather report. The cookie keeps that info for you, and it is safe. So you can tell Ccleaner to NOT delete that cookie.

In Ccleaner you click on the Options button, then Cookies. The left window shows cookies that are on the computer, and the right shows the ones you want to keep.

 

Just click on a cookie to highlight it, then click on the arrow pointing to the right and that will save that cookie. If you don’t want a particular one, just leave it alone, it will be deleted.

The other really nice thing about CCleaner is that it cleans out the dreaded Flash Cookies that I mentioned in the previous blog.

Older versions do not have this feature, so you should update CCleaner if you can.

To see if your version will clean out the Adobe Flash Cookies, click on the cleaner Brush Icon, then Applications. Scroll down and look at the Multimedia section, and make sure Adobe Flash is there, and checked off. I leave all the items here checked off.

There is another way to “manage” the adobe flash cookies, but I don’t like it and think it is cumbersome. You go to the adobe website, and from their website, you run a program that allows you to manage the cookies on your computer, that Adobe allowed on there in the first place.

I just don’t like it at all. To me it is really slimy that Adobe does not put something in the software that you load on the computer to remove those cookies.

But you get what you pay for, and for free, that is what we get, advertising junk. If you are interested in that process, here is a link on how to do it that way.

Warning, as soon as you click on this site, it is looking at your cookies, and displaying them for you to manage.

There are some good things to set in here, including disabling flash cookies completely.

I went into mine and disabled any access, and made sure all disk storage space says NONE. Click on do not allow on the other choices.

Make sure you click on each tab above, and change the settings in each section if you want to turn off those cookies.

Adobe Web Cookie Management Tool

If you use FireFox you can use the Better Privacy add-on to help manage the Flash cookies and other privacy settings.

Better Privacy for FireFox

Here is a very good Video that covers pretty much all of the solutions I have mentioned. It is only 5 minutes, but very informative and easy to follow. It does cover the Adobe Website and some of the privacy settings.

Passwords – Why is important to have Secure Passwords?
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 | Author:

 I HATE passwords! There, I said it. I hate trying to remember them, and having to change them after so long.

When I worked for technology companies the IT Police in our company always wanted secure passwords, must change them every 90 days, they cannot be the same, and on and on…

Then when I worked at an Internet provider they started making customers have passwords that were not dictionary words, and must have 8 characters and Upper and lower case, and numbers and symbols…

Wow! That just makes my head swim, especially when they are talking stuff like e8[2W7!9. My brain cannot remember stuff like that, I know some people can do it, but I just can’t get my gray matter around that kind of nonsense.

Seriously though, passwords are critical for your safety online, and to protect you, your information and identity.

Many people use simple, easy passwords so they can remember them, I have been guilty of this in the past myself. But over time the IT Police has worn me down, along with seeing how bad identity theft and virus infections have become.

I wanted to share this interesting information on the top ten passwords people use on this particular site called Rockyou.

This study found that that the shortness and simplicity of passwords means many users select credentials that will make them susceptible to basic forms of cyber attacks known as “brute force attacks.”

Nearly 50 percent of users used names, slang words, dictionary words or trivial passwords (consecutive digits, adjacent keyboard keys, and so on).

Here is a lit of the top ten most used Passwords on the rockyou site:
1. 123456
2. 12345
3. 123456789
4. Password
5. iloveyou
6. princess
7. rockyou *
8. 1234567
9. 12345678
10. abc123

Recognize any of these? Remember, the rockyou password is in the list because this study was from the rockyou website. So it would reason that Facebook, myspace, etc, would be other similar top passwords.

So what do you do, how do your protect yourself?
Some may disagree with my points here, but I try to balance having a secure password with something I can remember and not have to write down, and also being reasonable.

Most of us over the age of 30 may not be privy to all the cool slang and shorthand that the “kids” use today, and honestly, that is a good start. They use numbers and sometimes symbols to describe things or write shorthand over text or computer messages.

If you have no clue, check out this link explains leet speak AKA l33t speak – This is a good example of replacing letters with numbers.These acronyms can be part of a good password, or at least the concept works really well in coming up with ideas for a good password.

Use Word Pictures/Symbols
For example, a 3 looks like an E backwards. So start with meager1 It could be spelled m3ag3r1, replacing the e’s with 3s, and guess what, you now have a word that makes no sense, and no would could just guess easily.
 
But this is still not strong enough. Add in a Capital letter, use @ for a, add symbol or two… and you have !m3@G3r1! – now that is a good, strong password.

When you look at the word, you can still kind of see the original, but it is way different and very difficult for hackers to find out a password like this. This is not as strong as a 14 character password, but it still is harder than 12345 or princess!

Toss the Dictionary
Remember to stay away from dictionary words. Using the first letter from a sentence or stuff works well too. Take for example “My dog is a Golden Retriever and was born in 1989” How about 19mD1AgR89 ? Here I just put the 19 in front, the 89 in back and upper and lower cased the letters. I replaced the i with a 1. This is also a good, strong password.

Here is a great link to a Microsoft site that will allow you to test the strength of your password. In my book, getting to the STRONG category is good and where you want to be at least.

Keep ‘em Different
The second tip I have is to have a separate password for each bank account, or other financial account such as Paypal or eBay. This way if somehow someone gets your password, they can only get into one account.

Make a different password from your financial ones for everyday stuff. Logging into your favorite Social Network Site, checking out a discussion forum, or whatever. Make it different than the really important stuff.

Change ‘em Up Periodically
Change up your passwords every few months or so. Come up with variations on your password, or something completely different, and keep them in a rotation. I know I will get flack on this one, but this in my opinion is the only way to do this sanely and not go crazy and still be safe.

The bottom line here is that “password” or using common names or terms is not sufficient any longer to protect yourself. Get a few good passwords, remember them, don’t write them down, and rotate them periodically.

Computer Funnies – Laptop Security
Thursday, October 01st, 2009 | Author:

Category: Funny, laptop, security  | One Comment

Chris Paget is an “Ethical Hacker” who is exposing a huge weakness in the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips. These chips are the ones that have been feared for a while by privacy advocates and others.
The chips are so small they can be implanted in humans easily, and have been done in the military, and many people fear that religious implications by being something related to the mark of the beast.
Paget has a YouTube video showing how with a couple of hundred bucks on eBay, he can get the equipment to read other people’s passport numbers in public. See the video here. It took him 20 minutes to find information on someone while driving in San Francisco.
The scary thing is that RFID is not secure and anyone can intercept the information with the right equipment and it is not too hard. Credit cards, Drivers License, Homeland Security and other agencies are looking at using the technology.
The “Pay Pass” swipe and go is a good example of an RFID chip in use along with the pet identification.
I just don’t see any good in using this type of technology from a privacy or security standpoint. It just seems like a big brother type of device and our individual privacy is not being considered. This is another place the government needs to back off and not push technology for technology sake.

Category: hacker, privacy, RFID, security  | One Comment