Nearly every page you visit insists you create a user account and think up a password, from dating apps to hyper-secure banking sites. The human memory can’t keep up with dozens and dozens of these. Some folks get the bright idea to use the simplest possible passwords, things that are easy to remember, like “12345678” or “password.” Others memorize one superbly random password and use it for everything. Either path is likely to make you the latest victim of identity theft.
I have a motto here at “What’s On My PC”… The motto is, when it comes to the world of computing, “Trust Nothing, Verify Everything”…
This article at “The Next Web” is an eye opener. I strongly urge when downloading apps from the online stores that you closely look at what the app wants to access on your device,, the reviews, if ad-supported, where developed, etc… In other words, do a bit of research.
Google desperately needs to curb the spread of Android malware. In September alone, researchers uncovered a total of 172 infected apps on the Play Store. The worst part? These apps had racked up over 335 million installs by the time they were detected by security experts.
Came across a browser extension called Browser Guard (by Malwarebytes) that was actually introduced in July 2018 but is the first I have actually installed it, as a Google Chrome browser extension. It is also available as a Firefox browser extension, as well.
What drew me to this was a recent Malwarebytes news article on how “Browser Guard combats privacy abuse, tracking, clickbait, and scammers“; AND, that Browser Guard has the best protection among competitive browser security offerings, blocking 98.07 percent of malware.
Browser Guard, a free extension, blocks unwanted ads and trackers that intrude upon users’ privacy, while also protecting against clickbait and scams. The extension prevents browser hijackers, lockers, and annoying and sometimes malicious pop-ups, all known scare tactics to trap consumers in tech support scams, exposing them to unwanted content and forcing them into purchasing unnecessary, expensive technical support.
Source: Malwarebytes – Browser Guard
Why buy Antivirus Software when it is included in Windows 10? I would not have said that a couple years back. Windows Defender has progessed to the point that it is the only antivirus software I have installed on my PC. CLICK HERE to see why. With that being said, learn how to schedule a Windows Defender scan (see source link below).
Thank you for visiting…
Rick @ What’s On My PC
Microsoft has provided Windows 10/8 with built-in security software, Windows Defender. It’s free, easy to use, and has great features like other competitor antivirus software in its class. In this post, we will see how to schedule a full scan in Windows Defender
I bet you did not know there is a backup utility built into Windows 10. It is called File History… File History actually was first introduced in Windows 8. It gives you the ability to backup your personal files on your computer and restores them in the event of an issue. Below are the initial steps to setting up File History. You will need an external drive in order to back up your files. The main thing I personally was looking for in this built-in utility was whether I could select specific folders to backup and the answer to that is, you can select specific folders. You can also select specific times you want the backups to occur. If you want a more detailed description of “How to Set Up and Configure File History on Windows 10”, CLICK HERE, to see the writeup at Groovy Post by Brian Burgess.
Thank you for visiting…
Rick @ What’s On My PC
- Backup your PC with File History
- Use File History to back up to an external drive or network location. Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Backup > Add a drive , and then choose an external drive or network location for your backups.
- Restore your files with File History
If you’re missing an important file or folder that you’ve backed up, here’s how to get it back:
In the search box on the taskbar, type restore files, and then select Restore your files with File History.
Look for the file you need, then use the arrows to see all its versions.
When you find the version you want, select Restore to save it in its original location. To save it in a different place, right-click Restore, select Restore to, and then choose a new location.
This is a “must-read” article for everybody at home. If you reuse login credentials and never change your passwords, you are at high risk of being compromised. I have assisted many folks over the years and I saw this all of the time. As a matter of fact, most folks at home will have those login credentials near the computer somewhere, often in plain view…
Thanks for visting…
Rick @ What’s On My PC
The reuse of login credentials in my opinion is the greatest security flaw that we have today.
The advice for users of online services remains the same. First, use a password manager that automatically generates and stores strong passwords for each account you create. Second, where possible, turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) for the sites you visit. This could involve SMS verification or, more secure still, a mobile app like Google Authenticator.
When I test software applications from questionable origin or if I have a need to explore the dark belly of the internet, I go to Sandboxie to perform these functions in a sandbox that protects my computer from potential malware. Sandboxie has been around for years and according to the article at gHacks (see source link below), it is now completely FREE. Appears, Sophos is now the new owner of Sandboxie… Rick @ What’s On My PC
Sandboxie, a sandbox program for Microsoft’s Windows operating system, has been turned into a free application. The latest version, Sandboxie 5.31.4 was released on September 10, 2019; it is the first version of Sandboxie that is available as freeware.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning about a new email scam in which malicious cyber actors send unsolicited emails to taxpayers from fake (i.e., spoofed) IRS email addresses. The emails contain a link to a spoofed IRS.gov website that displays fake details about the targeted recipient’s tax refund, return, or account. The emails instruct the recipient to access their refund information by entering a provided password on the spoofed website. By entering the password, the victim unintentionally downloads malware that could enable the malicious cyber actors to take control of the affected system or obtain sensitive information.
Macrium Reflect is image-based backup and cloning software.
Macrium Reflect creates an accurate and reliable image of a hard disk or the partitions on the disk. In the event of a partial or complete system loss, you can use this image to restore the entire disk, one or more partitions, or even individual files and folders.
Visit “Ask A Tech Teacher” and get two posters to share with students about the basics of Internet safety…
If you’re running any version of Windows 10, you should update your computer as soon as possible. Microsoft recently alerted users that it patched two critical remote code execution (RCE) “wormable” vulnerabilities, which could have allowed hackers to spread malware to both your — and others — PCs without your knowledge or any interaction.
Windows Defender is the default antivirus software that comes pre-installed on Windows 10 and is the antivirus software that I use here at “What’s On My PC”. The best part is that it is FREE!
Performance issues, privacy concerns, and other problems make it harder than ever to recommend third-party antivirus solutions on Windows. Now it’s about to become even more difficult: TechSpot reported that AV-Test, an independent organization that evaluates security products, gave Windows Defender perfect scores across its three evaluation categories after testing 20 antivirus products made for Windows 10 throughout May and June
What I have found that most people when they get rid of their devices they neglect to erase or wipe the device clean of their personal information (files, pictures, contacts, messages, etc…). The National Cyber Security Centre, UK’s independent authority on cybersecurity, has a nice tech writeup on resetting (wiping clean) and reprovisioning your iOS, Android and Windows Devices (see source link below).
For each platform, the most useful restore methods are explained in full, alongside the risks of using them. We then recommend one of the methods to use for the following four common scenarios:
- Scenario 1: Sanitising a device believed to be compromised with malware
- Scenario 2: Preparing a device which has not previously been managed
- Scenario 3: Reissuing a device to a different user in the same security environment
- Scenario 4: Sanitising a device for release to lower security domain or sale
(Win 10 / 8 / 7 / Vista / XP)
Ultra Adware Killer is a simple but powerful adware remover for Windows, which has the ability of detecting and removing adware for all the users in a system.
It removes browser toolbars, ad-ons, plugins, unwanted search providers and hijacked home pages, and also potentially unwanted programs (PUP’s). It also allows to optionally reset MS Edge, Chrome and Firefox’s preferences.
If you own any smart devices at home, you may want to read this article at Malwarebytes Labs that will teach you how to tighten the security on those devices. Like anything else that is connected to the internet, there is always the risk of being compromised.
Let’s face it: No matter how often we warn about the security concerns with smart home devices, they do make life more convenient—or at the very least, are a lot of fun to play with. It’s pretty clear this technology isn’t going away. So how can those who’ve embraced smart home technology do so while staying as secure as possible?
Here are eight easy ways to tighten up security on smart home devices so that users are as protected as possible while using the new technologies they love.
c|net has put together a list of the best antivirus solutions for Windows, encompassing both free and subscription options. These picks of the best antivirus programs are a combination of recommendations from independent third-party labs AV-Test and AV-Comparatives and our hands-on testing.
Google recently removed several apps from the Google Play Store after discovering they violated the Play Store terms of service—and, more importantly, could be used as stalkerware. That doesn’t mean they’re deleted from your Android device, though, so now’s a great time to remove them.
If someone falls for the scam and does fill in the information requested on the fake webpages, the scammer would then have their name, Amazon password (and if that password was used for other websites, access to those accounts as well), birthday, address, credit card information, and Social Security number, Wired reported.
Google Chrome offers to save passwords for all your online accounts. It then stores and syncs them to your Google account as part of the Smart Lock feature. Chrome also has a built-in password generator that automatically creates strong passwords at the click of a button.
As you know, browsing with Google Chrome or any browser for that matter, your privacy is compromised to the degree that your browsing habits, etc… leave tracks as to where you have been. This is typically done via cookies (that identifies the user when you visit specific sites) and via your browsing history. This is all fine and dandy to a certain point, but there may be occasions where you do not want this information stored and want to protect your identity.
The solution to this problem, on those certain occasions, is to go “incognito”. If you look up in the dictionary, “incognito” is defined as “having one’s true identity concealed”. Nearly all browsers give you the ability to go into “incognito” mode, but for the sake of this article, I am going to tell you how to get into “incognito” mode using Google Chrome. It is very, very easy…
Simply click the vertical three-dot icon on the top-right of the browser and select “New incognito window.” On mobile, tap the three-dot icon on the bottom-right (iOS) or top-right (Android) and select “New incognito tab.” That is it, simple as that… In Google Chrome, when in incognito mode you will see a darkened browser background and you will obviously see “You’ve gone incognito”. You can also get into “incognito” mode by hitting “Ctrl+Shift+N” in combo, on your keyboard.
Now, something I do want to point out. This does give you some privacy protection to a certain point, but do not think this is keeping you from being seen at work. Incognito mode only is concealing your behavior. On work networks, the network administrator, if necessary can track unusual activity via a workstations or devices IP address.
When I was managing a computer network and teaching others, one of the first things I would teach people is how to lock their computer when they walked away from the computer for an extended period of time. In the work environment, this is especially important from a privacy and security perspective.
With Windows 10 the easiest method is to hit the Windows Key + L . When you return to your computer to start working again you will be required to enter your password or pin.
A more modern automated method is also available in Windows 10 and it is called “Dynamic Lock” where you can pair your PC and your Smartphone via bluetooth; providing, your computer is bluetooth ready. You can setup “Dynamic Lock” by going to Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options
Nothing is more distressing than losing your phone or thinking it has been stolen. For peace of mind, as soon as you set up your new phone, take a moment and lock it down by configuring the lock screen. Most phones during the initial set up prompt you through a process to lock down your phone, either via a PIN, pattern, password, fingerprint and/or facial recognition. My phone, I have set up to use a combination of these, with the fingerprint recognition I feel is the most powerful. My phone also allowed me to pick a 6-digit PIN, which I feel really makes it tougher to overcome.
If by chance you skipped over the process to secure your phone when you initially set it up or you desire to modify the current settings, you can do this by heading to the system settings. The system settings on most phones can be accessed via an app icon (labeled “system settings or settings”) or by pulling down from the top of the screen and tapping on a “cogged gear icon”. From the system settings, you are looking for the Security Menu. The menus and options may slightly vary from phone to phone but look for anything that is related to “security” and once there you should see various options to lock down your phone.
Just do it for peace of mind… These phones are computers in our pockets and contain a mother load of personal information.
Let’s be honest, you can’t kill robocalls completely. But you can block more of them than you might think.
Though robocalls will never disappear completely there are some things you can do to keep your phone from ringing off the hook all the time.
Google may be storing everything you say to your Google Home and keeping the recordings forever, just as Alexa does. Google recently changed the default behavior not to keep the recordings. But that change only affected new users—not existing ones.
There is nothing more distressful than losing your smartphone… If you own an Android device, such as a smartphone, tablet or Chromebook, you most likely performed the initial set up using a Google Account (i.e. Gmail account). As a result, you have a feature where you can remotely find, lock or erase the device in the event the phone is stolen or lost (Note: The phone must be turned “on” in order for this to work). You can even ring the phone and send information to the phone requesting that the phone be returned. You will need to go to a computer, log into your Google account, in order to make this work. Follow the steps below to put you on the road of recovery. You can go ahead and practice this…
- Open a browser, like Chrome . If you’re using someone else’s device, use private browsing mode.
- Open your Google Account.
- In the “Security” section, select Find a lost or stolen phone.
- Select the lost phone, tablet, or Chromebook.
- Follow the step-by-step suggestions to help find and secure the device.
ADDED TIP: Also, did you know, if you have a Google Account, and you are logged in, you can perform a Google Search, type in “Find My Phone” and Google (with a map) will find your phone within about 50 feet.
I encourage you to visit the source link at the end of this article to learn more about ransomware and how you can protect yourself…
Ransomware locks up a victim’s files until money is paid. Here’s how to protect your data and avoid an attack on your computer network..
I encourage my readers to visit “Make Use Of” (source link below) to learn 10 tips to keep your online bank account secure. One of the tips that jumped out at me is that it is safer to log into your bank account using the bank’s app on your smartphone (through your cellular service), versus accessing your bank account from your desktop or laptop computer which is more susceptible to malicious attack.
Switching to online banking comes with some security risks. These tips explain how to keep your online bank account safe.
I bet you did not know you could go “Incognito” in Google Chrome, where your browsing history and cookies are not stored, where your privacy is protected? Typically, when browsing the web your browser tracks you with cookies. Have you ever noticed when looking for a specific product that this product or products in similarity start popping up in the ads? If you were in “incognito mode” this would not occur. Chrome won’t save your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms while in incognito mode. In other words, your “activity” is not tracked and stored.
How do you get to “incognito mode” in Google Chrome?
It is actually very simple. To open an incognito window in Chrome, click the three-dot icon on the top-right corner of the browser and select “New incognito window.” You can also get into “incognito mode” by using the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+N (while Google Chrome is open).
Please know, that “incognito mode” does not hide the sites you visit from your place of employment, your internet service provider, etc… Even though your browsing history is private, on the computer that you are working from, your IP address can still be logged to indicate where you go and have been on the internet.
Recently, during the evening hours, I lost my internet service connection. Our internet is provided by the local cable company and has been exceptionally dependable. Initial reboots/resets of my modem and router failed to recover the service. My gut instinct told me this was not a typical loss of service. Many folks in my neighborhood also lost their digital phone service, which caused panic to set in. I later learned the attack affected over 40 percent of their customer base (including businesses). After several days, the service was eventually restored. The culprit was a “malicious and targeted attack from outside our network,” in a DDos attack (distributed denial of service) where the service was intentionally flooded with data sent simultaneously from many individual computers. I knew something to this effect was going on due that it got to a point I could reboot the equipment and regain service for a short period of time; then, it would drop out again.
All in all, when done, and the service was restored, I learned some things:
DON’T PANIC… We live in a digital world that we are dependent on, where the source of service if attacked, can bring down the whole house, affecting many people and many types of internet-connected devices. BE PREPARED… Learn how to reboot your equipment. Communicate with the neighbors or family to determine if they have service. A cell phone, in this case for many people, provided phone AND internet service. If you have a neighbor who has no cell phone, be the good neighbor. Follow the local news to see if it is widespread. Learn where (online) you can determine the status of the network you are connected to. In my case, I used my cell phone to get updates online from the cable company, instead of calling them on their overwhelmed customer service lines. I then passed this information on to my neighbors. When the service is restored, help each other to get the equipment back up and running. I ended up helping others reset their modems and testing to make sure they had their phone and internet service back; thus, saving them the expense of a service call (which may have taken days to get an onsite response).
In the end, I think what bothered me the most was seeing sneering comments online where people were complaining of the service going down. Having managed a computer network for a government agency, I had visions of IT people working (24/7) stressing out over this to bring back service; which, they eventually did. Also, this is concerning from the standpoint, and has to be questioned, “Is our country really prepared for these cyber attacks and is the proper funding being provided to provide the necessary defense measures?”.
If you’re looking for a password manager for your Android, below are five of the best. Source link to get more on these apps is reflected below. On this list, here at “What’s On My PC”, I use LastPass (on all of my computers and devices).
- Keeper Password Manager
1. The habit of trusting URL shortened websites
2. The habit of trusting form webpages, even if it is not encrypted
3. The habit of trusting public wifi networks
4. The habit of installing apps
5. Using a password as it if is the one ring to rule them all
The best way to protect yourself online and at home from fraud and scams is through knowledge. Posted below are links to the latest “Fraud, Scams and Alerts” at the Federal Communications Commission. Take a moment to read down this list; even if you do not open any of the links. Being knowledgeable is the best protection that you will ever have when it comes to the evil intent of others.
Fraud, Scams, and Alerts:
- After Storms, Watch Out for Scams
- Avoiding Bill Shock on your Mobile Phone
- Call Splashing: Long-Distance Calling from a Public Phone
- Caller ID Spoofing
- Careless Dialing Could Cost You Money
- Cell Phone Fraud
- Cramming – Unauthorized Charges on Your Phone Bill
- Don’t Fall for the 90# Telephone Scam
- International Modem Dialing Scams
- IP Relay Fraud
- FAQs about Junk Faxes
- Low Power FM Radio Scams
- Mexico Collect Call Scam
- ‘One Ring’ Wireless Phone Scam
- Slamming: Switching Your Authorized Telephone Company Without Permission
- Spam: Unwanted Text Messages and Email
- Unwanted Telephone Marketing Calls and the National Do-Not-Call List
- Voicemail System Hacking
- Watch Out for Auto Warranty Scams
There are various ways to back up your data. You can back up your data to an external device (see examples HERE) or you can back up your data to a cloud-based backup service, or back up your data to both an external device and a cloud backup service. You might even make more than one backup to external storage devices and keep the two copies in different places (providing protection and access to your data even if one of the backup devices is destroyed or inaccessible. Preserving your valuable documents and images for future access and use requires planning, as well as the use of automatic backup services.
Source: World Backup Day 2019
Facebook confirmed Thursday that hundreds of millions of user passwords were being stored in a “readable format” within its servers, accessible to internal Facebook employees. Affected users will be notified, Facebook said, so they can change those passwords.
Microsoft has developed and started testing Windows Defender Application Guard extensions for both Chrome and Firefox to better protect enterprise PCs. The feature, which used to be an Edge exclusive, keeps PCs safe by opening web pages not included in administrators’ trusted sites in a virtual container. That way, it can prevent attackers from gaining entry into the company’s system if the website turns out to be malicious.
BetaNews providing good software option to remove data from a computer or hard drive; especially, if you are getting rid of it.
O&O SafeErase 14 is a commercial tool you can use to either wipe an entire drive or securely erase files which will result in no-one being able to recover data from your system.
It is important we hash out, over and over, the importance of how to stay safe online and what to look for. Jacqui over at “Ask A Tech Teacher” posted an article, “Teaching Basic Cybersecurity Measures To Everyday People (For Parents of Digital Natives)“, that are tips geared toward the strategy of teaching our kids the basics on how to be safe online.
After reading this article, I said, you know what(?); this article, everyone should read. We all have that kid in us and these tips are great tips that all of us big kids need to read and follow (“Harmful Links; Viruses & Malware; Suspicious Downloads; Utilizing a VPN; Best Email Practices, HTTPS > HTTP When Providing Information Online; Using Antivirus Programs; and Update Software”).
One thing I want to point out in addition to these cybersecurity protections is that three-quarters of the battle when using internet-connected devices; such as the computer, tablet or smartphone, is learning the terminology and definitions. Get the terminology in your head and it will all start making sense and will make using these devices more of a joy, instead of a burden; PLUS, before you know it, you will want to be teaching others.
For many adults and parents, it can be a difficult task to teach the basic of staying safe online to those who are younger. However, the best strategy is starting conversations at an early age. This advice will be timeless as kids are starting to use the internet at younger and younger ages.
Forgot password? Five reasons why you need a password manager | ZDNet
The rules for creating passwords are simple: Use a random combination of numbers, symbols, and mixed-case letters; never reuse passwords; turn on 2FA, and use a password manager. Here’s why you can’t afford not to. Plus: Five password managers worth considering (click on the source link below to visit ZDNet for the full story).
Google rolls out Password Checkup and Cross Account Protection
Google introduced two new updates that will help keep your data secure, beyond just Google’s sites and apps: Password Checkup, a Chrome extension that helps protect your accounts from third party data breaches, and a new feature called Cross Account Protection.
Malware on our Android devices is typically introduced by means such as portrayed in this article, with one goal in mind; and, that is to steal your data. Think about it, your smartphone contains a profile of YOU; where sensitive data could be used to compromise YOU on a personal and a financial basis. I tell people, treat your smartphone as if it is your wallet…
The malware was disguised as various games, and didn’t have any legitimate function; rather, they crashed every time they were launched. Now for the worst part: Stefanko said that before Google removed the apps, two of them were featured in the store’s trending section.
This is IMPORTANT… If you are planning on getting rid of your old devices (smartphone, tablets, computers), PLEASE take at least (at minimum) the necessary steps to clear the device of your data. Always do a backup to ensure you have all of your files, before doing this.
Reflected below, are steps I extracted from the article (see source link below), that will help you wipe an Android device, a Windows Computer, and a Mac. I don’t know how many times I have assisted folks and they throw the old device in the closet somewhere and the device is still holding their entire life…
For Android devices, open up the Settings app then tap System > Advanced > Reset options, and then Erase all data (factory reset). Over on iOS, the equivalent option is in the Settings app under General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
If you’re using a Windows computer, you need to load up the Settings app then click Update & Security, then Recovery, then Get started under the Reset this PC option. Choose to remove all personal files during the process. If you’re using a Chromebook or Chrome OS tablet, open up the Settings pane and pick Advanced, then Powerwash to get your computer into an as-new state.
It’s slightly more involved on a Mac: You need to restart macOS, then as soon as it begins to boot up again, hold Option+Command+R until you see a spinning globe. Release the keys, then choose Reinstall macOS, then choose Continue. Follow the on-screen instructions and select your main hard drive when prompted.
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I did not know this feature was even there until I read the article at one of my favorite sites (I Love Free Software). Yes, you can now send secure, self-destructing emails in Gmail using what is called confidential mode. I encourage you to learn how to use this feature by following the tutorial that is provided by clicking on the source link below.
This tutorial explains how to send secure and self destructing emails in Gmail using confidential mode. This is a new feature of Gmail which has come with its new interface. While composing an email in Gmail, you can turn on confidential mode in a single click. After that, you can set expiration time of the email using the preset options (expire in 1 day, 3 months, 1 week, 1 month, or 5 years). Apart from that, it also provides passcode feature to securely send that particular self destructing email.
These tips are good educational points for, not only for Students, but for everyone. I have found over the years people do not take online and device security seriously and/or do not have a good understanding of it. I encourage you to follow the source link below to learn the basics and learn how to keep your online presence safe.
Online and device security may not be the first thing that comes to mind with the new school year, but more and more middle school, high school and college students have mobile devices, laptops, and online educational requirements. It is more important than ever that students protect their digital lives as much as adults.
The Russian military is inside hundreds of thousands of routers owned by Americans and others around the world, a top U.S. cybersecurity official said on Friday.
Nothing is safe anymore…
Speaking to an enthusiastic collection of hackers and security researchers at the annual DEF CON convention in Las Vegas, Vigo explained how he managed to reset passwords for a wide-ranging set of online accounts by taking advantage of the weakest link in the security chain: your voicemail.