Bill And George Fall For The Flash Drive Scam

June 22, 2016

What is nice about having your own blog is that you can have some fun with your friends and at the same time educate others…

My elders alway told me, “If it is too good to be true, stay away from it…” Two computer friends of mine, who I will call Bill and George, came across a “no name” flash drive that was advertised as 1 TB for $16 (out of China). They were excited when they received their perfectly packaged “no name” drives (all the way from China) and were bragging to ALL, “look what we got, 1 TB drives for $16″… Their excitement soon turned to blush when they started filling the drive with data and discovered at approximately 10% capacity of the drive the data started spilling out and the drive would not accept anymore data.

Flash Drive Scam Alert

Bill and George were victims of what has become a very common scam on the internet of counterfeit USB flash drives. Many of the these drives can be found on eBay (and even Amazon); typically ship from China; and, often are in packaging (and branding) that replicates popular manufacturer’s such as Kingston, SanDisk, Toshiba and Corsair. Oftentimes, the seller themselves are unaware that the drives are counterfeit and take the hit on this, as the middleman (resulting in poor customer feedback that affects their seller ratings).

So, as you can see great measure and tactic has been taken by these crooks to take your money. Usually, with these drives, most folks do not realize in time, that there is an issue, due to the fact most folks do not “right away” start maxing out the capacity of the drive.

Again, “If it is too good to be true, stay away from it…”.  Here are two tips to abide by when purchasing these drives:

  1. Do your homework… See what is current from reputable manufacturer’s (such as Kingston, Corsair, Sandisk, Patriot, etc…). You will get a general idea of what the current generation drive capacities are (and their true costs). For example, CLICK HERE to see the real cost of what a 1TB drive can be at present…
  2. Buy only from a reputable online source or buy at a local box store… I am seeing that a great majority of these counterfeit drives are found on eBay and typically ship from China (making it difficult to get your money back).

Only Encryption Program You Will Ever Need (very easy to use)

June 18, 2016

There are occasions where we need to safeguard a file or a folder that contains sensitive information. This is especially true if you are storing the files online. The program that I use on a regular basis to accomplish this is EncryptOnClick (by 2BrightSparks). EncryptOnClick meets four of my conditions when it comes to encryption software:

  1. It is not here today and gone tomorrow. I have been using this program going on 5 years (or more) and it continues to be improved and up-to-date with changes in the operating system;
  2. It is very easy to use. Many encryption programs can be difficult to understand and navigate. EncryptOnClick is not one of them;
  3. It can be made portable to carry around on my flashdrive (or stored online for quick download). This is important since I use EncryptOnClick as my main encryption program (at home and at work);
  4. It is a very secure method of encryption (256-bit AES encryption) that is password protected. The encryption file result is also compressed to make the file smaller.

EncryptOnClick

EncryptOnClick

EncryptOnClick Password Dialogue


FYI – Librevault (Alpha Version) Data Synchronization App

June 8, 2016

I want to start off this post by saying, “If you are not a software tester, then do not install Librevault“. It is currently in the Alpha stages of development where instability can (and most likely will) occur. Reason I am posting about Librevault is to let readers know, and those with tech backgrounds know, that an open source data synchronization app, designed to keep files the same on different computers over a network, is in the works. Appears; when and if finalized, Librevault will be FREE and will give you an optional and automated way to keep files (backed up) synchronized (via peer-to-peer) across a network (even at home). 

Librevault

Librevault

 

What is Librevault?

Librevault is a data synchronization app, designed to keep files same on different computers over the network.

Peer-to-peer file transfer

All data is transferred directly from one device to another without the need to upload them to other servers. You can use Librevault in your local network even if the Internet connection is unavailable.

Data encryption

All file content and filenames are encrypted using an industry-grade AES-256 algorithm.

All transmissions are performed using TLSv1.2

The hash algorithm is SHA-3


A Solution To Auto-Encrypt Files That You Store In The Cloud

June 7, 2016

At times I think we are getting to comfortable with storing our personal files in the cloud; whether be Dropbox, GDrive, OneDrive, etc… Once those files leave your PC they are out there and in essence will always be out there (even if you delete them).  A level of protection to look at that I found at I Love Free Software is Cryptomator.

I Love Free Software provides a very nice (and brief) tutorial on how to set up Cryptomator to ultimately encrypt the files you are syncing with Dropbox; however, as pointed out, this process will work with many of the online cloud drive providers.

HOW TO AUTO ENCRYPT FILES
BEFORE UPLOADING THEM TO DROPBOX

 


(Portable) Malware Removal Emergency Kit

June 6, 2016

Hardly a week goes by anymore that I don’t run into someone (or assist someone) that is experiencing a malware infection of some magnitude on their computers. I typically do not commit myself to removing these infections anymore due to the time element (many hours) involved in researching the issue, gathering (and updating) the necessary removal tools, and actually attempting to remove the infection. Removing a malware infection can be frustrating and in the end it is even questionable (after an infection) whether it is completely removed. In the end, probably the best tool to have around is your OS recovery disks.

If you are someone that does provide a service for removing malware, a tool to consider (that is portable), in your tech toolbox, is the Emsisoft Emergency Kit.

The Emsisoft Emergency Kit contains a collection of programs that can be used without software installation to scan for malware and clean infected computers: Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanner and Emsisoft Command-line Scanner.

I downloaded the kit (approx. 233mb) and launched the “Start Emergency Kit Scanner.exe”; peformed and updated the malware signature database files; and, performed a scan. What I found is that it is pretty easy to use; however, I am not sure of the how powerful the scanner is in comparison to the competitors. If you are familiar with this kit, please feel free to let us know your experiences with it. I like the idea it is portable, can be used in safe mode (or from a recovery environment) and can be run from the command-line in order to remove a particularly stubborn infection. Many malware infections will overtake your computer to the point that you may not be able to run, update and/or install malware removal software; thus, the portability of this kit and other outside the box options are a plus.

 Emsisoft Emergency Kit

Emsisoft Emergency Kit



FREE Tool To Remove Adware, PUP’s, Toolbar’s and Hijacker’s

May 28, 2016

Another FREE program that I use to remove unwanted programs and malware is AdwCleaner. This is a must have tool; especially, if you are the one who has the tech toolbox that is used to help others. AdwCleaner is a program that searches for and deletes Adware, Toolbar’s, Potentially Unwanted Program’s (PUP), and browser Hijacker’s from your computer. It comes with a “scan” and “clean” mode. Typically, these unwanted programs, such as adware, PUP’s, Toolbars, and hijacker’s, are bundled in with other software that we install (from the web) on our computers. ALWAYS, during a software installation, pay attention to any other optional software that may (or could) install; and, ALWAYS, research the software you intend to install. Typically, in honest cases, you are given an option (via a check box) to keep bundled software from not installing.

AdwCleaner


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