Change

Hello Everyone,

The name (URL) of the blog has changed. All new posts will be from technologyjones.com. I hope you like the new look and greater variety of article topics. Thank you .

John L. Jones

New Home On The Web

Hello Everyone,

First, thank you very, very much for subscribing to my blog.  This will be the last post at this blog. My new blog is thinkaboutsecurity.com. The blog will focus on computer security information, news and tips for the home and SOHO PC user. There will also be some posts about technology in general with regard to websites, products and services that may save you time, help your PC run better and make computing less stressful.

I hope you find time to take a look at my new blog. If you like what you see, please subscribe. Thanks again.

John

DO YOU TRUST AMAZON, TOO MUCH?

 

I know many people use and trust Amazon WITHOUT QUESTION. There is a new scam that is relying on that trust (and Amazon’s good name) and trying to use it against you.

Beware online shoppers! The latest email phishing scam looks just like an order cancellation notice from Amazon.com. As always, be sure to double check suspicious emails you receive from Amazon (or any online retailer) before you click on any links.

THE SCAM:
The scam email comes from someone pretending to be Amazon. The email address may look like order-update@amazon.com. The subject line of the email reads, “Your Cancellation” and an order number. The body of the email tells you that your order has been successfully canceled and provides a summary of the order and it contains links.

WHAT TO DO:
Amazon recommends that you delete any cancellation notice with an eight digit order number. However, just because your email has a longer order ID number doesn’t mean that it is real.

To double check your email, be sure to hover over the links to verify their destination. Amazon emails only link to sites that begin with http://”something”.amazon.com. (Note the period before “amazon.com.”)

Sites such as “payments-amazon.com” are not actually Amazon. Amazon also never uses an IP address (a string of numbers separated by periods) followed by a directory name, such as http://”123.456.789.123″/amazon.com/. As with most phishing scams with links, the crooks are hoping you do not pay close attention to the actual address\link that you are clicking on…what I call “blindly clicking.”

If you click on the link in the scam email, you will be taken to a site that will ask you (over and over) for your Amazon.com username and password. Also, the site may try to install malware on your computer without your knowledge. The malware will further search your computer for personal information and transmit it back to the crooks.

CONFIRM CANCELLATIONS: 
• Go directly to Amazon.com by typing www.amazon.com into your web browser.
• Click “Your Account” in the upper-right corner.
• Go to “Your Orders” and see if an order matches the details in the email you received.

There are some very talented and smart people out there that are always trying to figure out a way to get someone’s personal information. The crooks get better and better every year. Always be suspicious. Computer safety is no different than anything else in life, to get better at it requires reading, knowledge, and practice. I have a quiz for you. Go to the links below and see how good you are at spotting fake websites.

http://www.opendns.com/phishing-quiz/

https://www.phish-no-phish.com/

 

Safe Computing,

John L. Jones

TOO MANY SOCIAL-NETWORK EMAILS?

 

If you are like me, you get more than enough emails every day. If you subscribe to any of the social networking sites, I am sure you have learned that social-networks can be an additional source of unwanted emails. Depending on your settings, you may get an email every time someone mentions you or shares a photo of you.

Facebook has settings that let you control the number and type of notifications you get. I know what you are going to say.

“Wonderful, but who has all day to try and find the right settings?”

I agree, especially if you use multiple sites. Many social networks seemingly on purpose make it difficult to find and understand their privacy settings, but there is hope.

Notification Control is a FREE service that sends you directly to the notification settings for many popular social networks.

Among them: Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, Meetup, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Go to notificationcontrol.com, click the service whose settings you want to change and automatically you will be taken to the notification-settings page for that service.

Here’s to less unwanted emails,

John L. Jones

A DEAD USB FLASH DRIVE…BUT I DON’T CARE

You can ask 10 people and probably get 10 different answers to the question: What is the best USB flash drive to buy? Take a look at the screen shot below.

 

This week a USB flash drive a friend gave me 6 weeks ago stopped working. I had only used the flash drive nine times. I did everything right in terms of being careful how I inserted the drive and always went through the proper software method of safely ejecting the drive before actually pulling it out of my laptop, but it still died way too soon.

There are two points to this post.

  1. Always backup your data. I put a lot of  useful and important information on that drive in a relatively short period of time. However, when it stopped working, I was not worried. I have a backup of the entire drive. Data that is very important to me gets backed up to a DVD, external hard drive and Dropbox or Google Cloud Storage. SecondCopy is my favorite software program when backing up files to a DVD or external hard drive.

 

  1. Some people may feel that all USB flash drives are created equal, that has not been my experience. I prefer drives from Sandisk. I have a 16GB Sandisk USB flash drive that I have used just about every day 2 years. I have washed and dried (left it in my pants pocket a few times) the drive twice and it still works perfectly.

 

Remember, there are two types of drives, those that have failed and those that will…if you keep it long enough.  It is very wise to have a backup plan.

Thanks for your time,

John L. Jones

1 Comment

Digital Stalking. Are You Sharing Too Much?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think about every social media site that you use. Now think about the information you are sharing on these sites. There is a new mobile geo-location app called Girls Around Me. The app makes use of the public information that is shared in Facebook profiles and Foursquare check-in information.

Many people use their mobile phones or tablets with Foursquare to check-in to various places to keep up with their friends and know where they are, find out what is nearby, and to learn about various discounts at local bars and restaurants. With GPS enabled smartphones and (or) apps, it is relatively easy to track down where a person is located.

With this information, the Girls Around Me app creates a map with a radar that shows what women are nearby. Yes, this is all done without your knowledge. Not only does the person (possible creep) using this app know that you are nearby (club, bar, store or restaurant), but depending on how much information you have made available on Facebook or Foursquare, the person will also know:

  • Your full name
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Schools you attended
  • Hobbies
  • Favorite books or musicians
  • Political position
  • Birthday

Always limit the amount of personally identifiable information you share online. You never know when information from your various social media sites will be combined and making it easy for strangers to know who and where you are. The links below will help you improve your privacy on Facebook and Foursquare. Please click on the Girls Around Me link. I think you should see how this technology is being marketed.

 

Facebook Privacy 101

Foursquare Privacy 101

Girls Around Me

 

Know. Be Safe.

John L. Jones

3 Comments

HOW TO AVOID MALWARE

Malware is a term used to describe a broad category of software that could damage your computer or steal your information that includes viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and rootkits.

If you are not sure what these terms mean, go to Google and type in the word define and the term you want to look up. For example:

The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true when it comes to malware. It is much easier to avoid getting infected than removing some virus infections.

Prevent Malware – Make Basic Sense

Do you drive without using a seat belt? Would you knowingly go to a bad part of town, at night, with money hanging out of your pocket…repeatedly?

No amount of security or antivirus software can keep you 100% safe, especially if you do dangerous things online. You do not have to be a computer geek or expert to keep your computer safe. You have to use your instincts, think twice before clicking, and use Google to research\check things out. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

Proper Computer Safety Behavior

Email: Do not click on links or files in emails from people you do not know. Be very careful even if you know the person. There are viruses that infect computers, search the email address book and send itself out automatically to everyone it found in the address book. It may look like your family member or friend sent you that email, but it really was the virus. If you are suspicious and don’t know the person, just delete the email. If you are suspicious and know the person, contact them and ask did they send you an email.

Downloads: There are plenty of useful and virus free software on the internet at little or no cost. However, there is also plenty of software that is infected. If you are not sure about what you are about to download, leave the site and do some research. You can always come back to the site and download the software later.

Disc or USB Drive:  I am sure your family, friends or associates will not try to infect your computer on purpose. However they may unknowingly give you an infected disc or USB drive. It is a good idea to scan all discs and USB drives for viruses before opening any of the files stored on them.

Pop-up window: Some pop-up windows will try to scare you into believing that you need to click and download their particular software to keep your computer safe or get a free virus scan. At this point your computer is probably not infected, but as soon as you click anywhere on the pop-up window, your computer will likely be infected. Use Task Manager to close the types of pop-ups by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete and select the pop-up window and click End Process.

Illegal File-Sharing Services or Websites: My recommendation is, DON’T GO THERE!  One sure way to highly increase your chances of getting infected with a virus is to download illegal software, music or videos from illegal file sharing sites or services.

Other Things You Can Do To Protect Your Computer

It is possible to practice proper computer behavior 100% of the time and still get infected. The very smart (but devious) people that write viruses are getting better at sneaking their malware onto computers. Below are some additional steps to take to increase your malware protection level: 

Update your Operating System: Use Windows Update. Microsoft is always trying to make their products more secure when they hear about virus threats. Keep your Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 operating system up to date.

Update your Browser: It does not matter which browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox or Opera) you use, keep it current. Also, take advantage of your browser’s ability to block pop-ups and control downloads.

Antivirus Software: There are some people that buy antivirus software, install it forget about it. The software is never updated. New viruses are created every single day. You must keep your antivirus software updated.

Firewall: You must have control over what information comes in and out of your computer. A firewall will give you that control.

Take control and be safe,

John L.  Jones