Author Archives: thorcarlson

HP’s latest trick to boost printer revenue was to distribute a firmware update with a six-month kill switch

HP inkjet printers refuse to accept third-party ink cartridges after stealth firmware update.

HP’s latest trick to boost printer revenue was to distribute a firmware update with a six-month kill switch. The result? A great many printers suddenly stopped supporting third-party ink cartridges without warning last week.

Think Windows’s Built-In Antivirus Will Keep You Safe? You’re Wrong

In recent weeks the Tewksbury Police Department and Swedesboro school district have fallen victim to ransomware. ALL their network files were encrypted and a ransom was demanded for the decryption key. Swedesboro couldn’t do PAARC testing, sell school lunches, or do student grades. The superintendent said “We’re operating as we did in 1981”. The last I heard, the NJ State Police, Office of Homeland Security and FBI were all involved. The Tewksbury PD paid the ransom to get their files back. That’s right, the police department paid the ransom.

This is very serious, and it’s spreading.

See US-CERT’s alert on polymorphic downloaders. It’s dry and a bit long, but we really must protect ourselves if we care about our digital assets.
https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA15-098A

Neil Rubenking’s column shows that Windows Security Essentials and Windows Defender are not up to par when it comes to antivirus protection. There are many more effective free antivirus solutions available. PC Magazine’s choices are listed at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2388652,00.asp

Think Windows’s Built-In Antivirus Will Keep You Safe? You’re Wrong
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2480487,00.asp

What do I do? Periodically, I replicate all our digital assets to an external hard drive. That drive is stored in a fireproof safe, unplugged and offline.

What should you do? I recommend you have two backup drives and switch them regularly. Always have one of them unplugged, infections can’t reach unplugged drives.

Let’s be careful out there!

Ransomware is Real!

Maybe you’ve heard about Cryptolocker or other types of “ransomware”. Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that infects a computer and restricts access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

Please, do NOT follow unsolicited web links in email. Take regular backups of your data and keep an offline backup. Cryptolocker can infect your internal hard drive, your backup drive, and any drives connected to your network. The only truly safe behavior is to UNPLUG your backup drive so it’s not even connected. Your choice is to either connect your drive when you want to run a backup, or have two drives and switch them regularly. That way, you may only lose your data since the last switch.

Read all about ransomware from the US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team). https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA14-295A

Let’s be careful out there!

A Billion Passwords Have Been Stolen. Here’s What to Do Now

Now there’s a headline for you, and perhaps one you shouldn’t ignore this time. Change your passwords! Create a smart password strategy, and don’t use the same password everywhere. Change your email passwords first. If your provider supports two factor authentication, definitely do that. Next change your passwords at banks and credit cards and brokerages, anyplace that handles your money.

Take a look at the article from Money magazine, then get to work changing your passwords.
http://time.com/money/3086151/russian-password-hackers-heres-what-to-do-now/

Let’s be careful out there!

Internet Explorer Exploit Leaves XP Users High and Dry

A new zero day exploit threatens users of Internet Explorer. Microsoft will issue a patch, but not for XP users, so if you’re still on XP stop using Internet Explorer now, switch to a modern browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox. And make plans to move off of Windows XP as soon as you can. Here’s the story: http://www.eweek.com/security/internet-explorer-exploit-leaves-xp-users-high-and-dry.html

If we show you how to back up your PC for free, will you finally do it?

If we show you how to back up your PC for free, will you finally do it? Beyond simple hard drive failure, your PC could fall prey to user error or all sorts of nefarious malware. The only way to ensure that none of your personal files or programs are lost in a catastrophe is to back up everything regularly.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2095481/if-we-show-you-how-to-back-up-your-pc-for-free-will-you-finally-do-it.html