How To Reveal The Password Behind Those Asterisks

November 20, 2017

Over a period of time you most likely auto login to most sites due that your browser saves and auto inserts the username and password for you. The password is typically not revealed; instead you will see a row of dots or asterisks. The problem I have seen people do when they auto login; especially over long periods of time, is that they will forget the password or where they wrote the password down.

If you ever get into that situation, one solution is to download and run “Asterisk Password Spy”. Asterisk Password Spy works on wide range of platforms starting from Windows XP to new Windows 10 and can help you to easily find (and record) the passwords from any Windows based application.

Here is how to use Asterisk Password Spy:

  • Launch AsteriskPasswordSpy on your system
  • Now simply drag the ‘search icon’ to any password box to reveal the passwords.
  • When you place it over the password box, it will automatically highlight it and password is added to list as shown in the screenshot below.
  • Finally you can save all recovered password list to HTML/XML/CSVfile by clicking on ‘Export’ button and then select the type of file from the drop down box of ‘Save File Dialog’.

SOURCE: SecurityXploded – Asterisk Password Spy


12 Holiday Scams To Watch Out For

November 16, 2017

The holiday season makes for a busy time for us all; including, the hackers and scammers. I came across an article from CBS Pittsburgh (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) where they interviewed a person by the name of Jason Glassberg who is the Co-Founder of Casaba Security. What caught my interest was that Mr. Glassberg provided a listing of 12 scams that you need to be on the lookout for this holiday season that I thought was worth a repost here on the blog.

1. Fake Retailers Online

“A website that’s put together in a way that makes you think you are going to an Amazon.com, but in reality they’ve gone and changed the O in Amazon to a zero,” said Glassberg.

Once on the site, hackers can install malware on your computer or steal your credit card information.

2. Phony Online Deals

Glassberg says if you see a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Fake Apps And Mobile Games

Before you download an app, search online to make sure there are not any complaints against the one you want to download.

4. Watering Hole Websites

These are fake websites that want to install malware onto your hard drive. These are usually fake news sites.

5. Card Skimming

These are readers that people use to get a copy of your credit card when you use an ATM or get gasoline. Glassberg says the only defense is to physically check the machine.

6. Fake Emails Or Text Alerts

This is the phishing attack that can look like it is from your bank, government agency or even a friend.

7. Charity Scams

These are fake emails or phone calls from an organization that sounds like a charity. Glassberg says they will ask for a credit card payment immediately or even a gift card. Glassberg says if they ask for a gift card, you can be almost sure this is a scam.

8. Clicking On A Link From A Hacked Friend

If you have a friend who is hacked, you may get an email that appears to be from them so check with them first if the link seems suspicious.

9. Ransomware

You are affected by a piece of malware that wipes out all of the data on your computer, and you are expected to pay a ransom to get it back. Glassberg says to just regularly backup your data.

10. Wi-Fi Hacking

Keep your WiFi equipment up to date

11. Fake Call Centers

This is an old scam that is popular during the holidays. Someone will call and claim that you owe money for a past due bill. Glassberg says to verify with your company.

12. Car Fob Redirector

Some hackers have now been able to build a “redirector” that replays your car unlock mechanism. Glassberg says to lock your car using your key.


SOURCE: CBS Pittsburgh (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA)


Want to compress a bunch of documents into a single encrypted file for archiving?

October 12, 2017

If so, take a look at BCArchive… This FREE program is specifically designed to compress a group of files/folders to a single encrypted file that is password protected.  I like the idea that, after installing, you can activate BCArchive from the Explorer file menu, which comes in real handy when you need to protect and archive files on the fly. Always keep in mind that when you password protect the file archive, to remember the password.

BCArchive is compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10 (32-Bit/64-Bit)…

To give you an idea how good this program is, here is a list of the options:

  • Create Compressed and Encrypted Archive File Protected by Password
  • Create Compressed and Encrypted Archive File by Using the Public Key of Another User
  • Add Several Passwords to an Existing Archive File
  • Apply more than one Public Key to an Archive File Enabling a Number of Users to Decrypt the Archive
  • Generate New or Use Existing Secret/Public Key Pairs in PKCS-12/X.509 Format
  • Compress and Encrypt Data to a Self-extracted Executable Program
  • Synchronize, Import, Export Functions
  • Includes BCTextEncoder Utility

SOURCE: Jetico – BCArchive


FREE Security and Optimization Software That I Use To Protect My Computer(s)

October 3, 2017

I have been doing computers since the 1980’s. During that timespan of nearly 40 years I have never paid for antivirus software. As a matter of fact, when I purchase a new computer, one of the first things I do is remove the pre-installed security software (such as Norton or McAfee’s). I have found that these security software packages cause more headaches than they are worth; are a resource burden to the computer; require annual subscriptions, and are so embedded into the Windows registry and system that you have to use special uninstallers to remove them. One important point I do want to make is that if you ever decide to remove the current antivirus or antimalware software from your computer, make sure you visit the software developer’s site to determine if they have a special uninstaller you can download to remove the software.  If you don’t do this, you are at risk of leaving remnants behind of the software that can impact the continued operation of the computer and may conflict with any other security software that you install. For your convenience, here is a resource at eset (click here) that will help you with uninstalling security software.

What I have found that is that you can protect yourself with applying common sense and using good free security and optimization software. There are numerous options out there (for FREE), but the list below is the software programs that I use to protect my computers:

CCleaner – the number-one tool for cleaning your PC. It protects your privacy and makes your computer faster and more secure! Make sure you download the FREE version.

BitDefender FREE – featuring virus scanning (and removal), advanced threat detection, anti-phlishing, and anti-fraud. After uninstalling your other antivirus software and you install Bitdefender FREE, you will be asked to set up an account. Once done that task, you are good to go.  You do not have to do anything after that and as a matter of fact, you will forget it is even there.

Malwarebytes FREE – is a next-generation antivirus replacement. The first of its kind for home users, Malwarebytes for Windows employs four independent technology modules—anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti-exploit, and malicious website protection—to block and remove both known and unknown threats. The FREE version does not auto monitor your computer. What I do is routinely scan my computer using Malwarebytes sort of as a second opinion and to complement BitDefender FREE.  If I were to buy software to protect my PC, then I would buy the Malwarebytes Premium edition.

AdwCleaner – is another product from Malwarebytes that is FREE. AdwCleaner does not monitor your computer in the background. Simply download, run, and scan on a routine basis to search for and remove adware, unwanted toolbars, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), and browser hijackers.

Avira Safe Shopping – is a FREE browser add-on for Google Chrome that will alert you to sites that are criminal in nature by highlighting infected sites directly in your search results to ensure you know which sites are harmful before you click. Avira Safe Shopping is your browser extension, which ensures your safety and privacy while shopping online, and provides you with better deals from secure websites.

The list above is my personal preference and has served me very well in protecting my computers. Please feel free to comment below and reflect any other security software (for FREE) that you would recommend.


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Naked Security: Advising Us To Stop Using The Android Unlock Pattern To Secure Phone (to easy to crack)

October 1, 2017

How many of you are using an unlock pattern to secure your device? In a nutshell: it is far easier for an attacker to shoulder surf a pattern than a PIN.

A new report (PDF) from security researchers at the US Naval Academy and the University of Maryland Baltimore County has quantified just how absurdly easy it is to do an over-the-shoulder glance that accurately susses out an Android unlock pattern…. READ MORE


SOURCE: Naked Security


MiniTool Shadow Maker FREE – Quickly back up system and hard disk drives in case an accident happens…

September 28, 2017

These days, compared to yesteryear, there is a multitude of good options to perform a Windows Operating System, selected partitions, and even the whole disk backup (often referred to as disk imaging).

One of the newer options that I recently was made aware of is “MiniTool Shadow Maker FREE”. I like the software that MiniTool develops and will be keeping an eye on (and testing) their rendition of this disk shadowing software. The purpose of this software is to provide you with an exact copy of your Windows OS that will allow you to restore your computer once a disaster occurs (and it eventually will). Disasters like a  system crash, hard drive failure, and more.

MiniTool ShadowMaker offers straightforward solutions to deal with all kinds of backup tasks, including system backup and disk backup. These backups contain exactly the same copy of all the data stored on the original disk or partition. Such backups allow you to recover your computer to the normal state when Windows works incorrectly or partition data get lost.

Main Features of MiniTool ShadowMaker

  • System and Disk Backup
  • Schedule and Event Trigger Backup
  • Differential and Incremental Images
  • Bare Metal Recovery and Universal Restore
  • WinPE Bootable media builder and PXE server
  • Password Protection and AES Encryption

SOURCE: MiniTool ShadowMaker Free 1.0


CCleaner was hacked and used to deliver malware to unsuspecting computers and Android devices…

September 18, 2017

This morning I am catching up on the tech news and the one thing that is jumping out at me is the news that CCleaner was hacked and used to deliver malware to unsuspecting computers and Android devices. I drilled down on this more and based on information from Piriform (the developers of CCleaner), a suspicious activity was identified on September 12th, 2017, where Piriform saw an unknown IP address receiving data from software found in version 5.33.6162 of CCleaner, and CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191, on 32-bit Windows systems. Based on further analysis, they found that the 5.33.6162 version of CCleaner and the 1.07.3191 version of CCleaner Cloud was illegally modified before it was released to the public.

All CCleaner users are encouraged to update their CCleaner software to version 5.34 or higher. The latest version is available for download from here.

CCleaner has been around for years and years and is a “go to” utility that is used by millions to clean and optimize their PC’s in order to protect their privacy and make things faster. I personally have used it for many years.


SOURCE: Piriform Blog – Security Notification for CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 for 32-bit Windows users