January 31, 2019 By Computer Techs
January 31, 2019 By Computer Techs
Email scam uses data from breached websites to craft authentic looking email – How to check if your data was exposed
A new email scam has been quickly spreading with different variants that claims to have hacked the recipient’s email account and includes a password used by the recipient. One variant further claims to have caught the recipient looking at pornographic websites, and demanding “ransom” in the form of Bitcoin payment to prevent the release of webcam photos being sent to all the recipient’s contacts. An example email is shown below.
If you’re the recipient of such an email you may think “how does a hacker break in and know my password?” The answer: they didn’t hack your account.
Here’s how they have the information: Data breaches from companies such as LinkedIn, Yahoo and countless others have exposed the email addresses and passwords of millions of users. Clever scammers have taken widely available information from the data breaches and crafted emails that forge the recipient’s email address and insert a password used on a breached web site. With the addition of potentially embarrassing information, the “sextortion” scammer asks for money in the form of Bitcoin to prevent the release of information to everybody in your contact list (which they don’t really have).
In summary, just ignore/delete the email and change the password on any websites that match the password in the email. You shouldn’t be using the same password on multiple sites anyways.
To find out if your email address(es) have been exposed in a data breach, you can safely enter your email address in the following website: https://monitor.firefox.com
September 19, 2018 By Computer Techs
If your smartphone or tablet is slowing down, closing your open apps could help speed it up. When you “close” most apps on a smartphone or tablet, it actually remains in memory running in the background. Over time you may have dozens of apps running in the background which can make it feel slower. Read the instructions in the articles below to close open apps.
May 28, 2018 By Computer Techs
The FBI is urging owners of routers used in most homes and small offices perform a power-cycle (reboot) of their device to help disrupt the spread of a newly discovered malware targeting such devices. Vulnerable routers include popular devices from Netgear, Linksys, and TP-Link – however this is not a complete list.
A reboot is done by unplugging the thin/black power cable from the rear of the router, waiting about 15 seconds, then plugging it back in. After a few minutes all of the lights on the front of the router should return to normal and your internet connection re-established.
If you need help with rebooting your router, call your internet service provider at the phone number listed on your bill for assistance. If you own one of the router brands mentioned above, you can contact Computer Techs and we will reboot your router for a nominal fee.
For more detailed information about the VPNFilter malware, security journalist Brian Krebs has a detailed article here.
If your router is older than 5 years old, learn more about replacing old insecure devices, and installing firmware updates on newer devices by reading Is it time to replace your Wi-Fi. Computer Techs installs router firmware updates as part of our check-up & updates service, as well as our scheduled maintenance plans.
May 15, 2018 By Computer Techs
Wi-Fi enables you to use your computing devices wirelessly throughout your home. If your Wi-Fi router or internet gateway (provided by your internet provider) is over 5 years old, it’s time to replace it with newer, more secure technology.
In the past year security flaws have been found in the Wi-Fi protocol that’s used in all routers and gateways, and patches have been released as firmware updates for only the newest routers manufactured in the past few years.
A benefit of replacing your Wi-Fi not only fixes current known security vulnerabilities, a new Wi-Fi router can increase the range and reliability of your Wi-Fi. The latest mesh networking technology can blanket your home in wireless coverage using 2 or more linked Wi-Fi radios.
You may have to contact your internet service provider to have your Wi-Fi updated. To find out if you need new Wi-Fi, contact us to for an evaluation of your current Wi-Fi equipment.
April 17, 2018 By Computer Techs
If you’ve lost your mobile smartphone or tablet, or if your device is stolen, you can often find its location by going to a dedicated website on your computer. But before your device can be located, your mobile device needs to be setup to allow it to be located. Now is the time to check and make sure your device is setup – before your phone gets lost or stolen. [Read more…]
September 11, 2017 By Computer Techs
Updated 9/13/17 to include information from Consumer Reports:
Equifax, one of the large credit reporting agencies in the U.S. recently announced a data breach that may affect 143 million Americans. In case you’re not familiar with the population of the United States, that number is equal to just about every adult who’s ever applied for credit. Initial reports indicate that exposed data may include names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Note that Equifax DOES NOT have access to passwords to your financial accounts.
The Federal Trade Commission posted a helpful article with suggestions on what you can do to help protect your financial data now that the data breach has come to light. However, contrary to their advice that includes entering your personal information to check to see if you’ve been affected by the breach and sign up for free credit monitoring through TrustedID Premier, a 3-bureau credit monitoring service (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) which also is operated by Equifax (yes, the same company that exposed your data in the first place) – security researcher Brian Krebs recommends placing a credit freeze on your file, and further explains how to do it in this article.
Additional information from the FTC includes:
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
- If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
- File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
Consumer Reports has updated information on How to Lock Down Your Money After the Equifax Breach.
March 22, 2017 By Computer Techs
Screenshots similar to the one above all have one thing in common. They are all trying to convince you that there are problems with your computer or device, and that you need to call a toll-free number in order to fix the problems. However, if you call the number you will be connected to a scammer who will use scare tactics to access your computer and attempt to convince you that there are serious problems with your computer, and that paying several hundred dollars for a “fix” is your only recourse. Remote support scams have tricked millions of people into paying an average of a few hundred dollars each for non-existent problems.
Never respond to a pop-up on your computer or smartphone screen that urges you to call a number for help. If the Window will not close normally by clicking the red “X” on the upper-right corner of the window, try the following:
- At the bottom of the window check the checkbox to “Don’t let this page create more messages” or “Prevent this page from creating additional dialogs” then press “OK”. You should then be able to close your browser normally using the red “X”.
- Turn off or restart your computer using your normal method via the Start button icon on the bottom left taskbar, then Shut down or Restart. If the fake warning website covers your full screen where you cannot see the Start button icon, press the Windows key ( or located near the bottom left corner of your keyboard) which should bring the Start menu to the foreground.
- If neither of the above methods work, press and HOLD the power button on your computer until it turns off.
After turning your computer back on and/or opening your browser, don’t go back to the website or email that you had visited immediately prior to seeing the pop-up.
November 24, 2016 By Computer Techs
Do you have poor Wi-Fi coverage inside your home due to low signal or interference from other nearby Wi-Fi routers? How about poor wireless cell coverage at home due to wireless carriers having trouble locating their cellular transmission antennas, towers and poles in residential neighborhoods? Resident complaints that cell towers will decrease property values or become eyesores within the landscape have persuaded elected officials to deny the permits needed to construct new cell sites.
Fortunately there are a few solutions that will improve Wi-Fi and wireless cell coverage in the home and other small-to-medium size buildings where coverage is weak.
In the past few years new Wi-Fi technology has allowed manufacturers to produce more powerful Wi-Fi routers, range extenders and mesh network devices that increase range, speed and reduce “dead spots” within the home or office.
Wireless cell coverage
All four major U.S. wireless carriers now offer Wi-Fi Calling, which is available on many of the latest smartphones. Wi-Fi Calling uses the existing Wi-Fi connection in your home to connect your phone to the wireless cellular network through your home broadband internet connection. When connected, calls and text messages will typically be as clear and reliable as your Wi-Fi connection.
Alternatively, the carriers also offer a small device that connects to your home broadband internet connection called a “femtocell” which improves the wireless signal to cell phones located nearby. Each carrier has their own branded femtocell – links for the individual carrier’s femtocell offerings follow:
The advantage of Wi-Fi Calling vs. getting a femtocell is that if you have a compatible smartphone and a Wi-Fi router, there is no extra cost to setup Wi-Fi Calling. A femtocell can cost up to a few hundred dollars, however carriers will sometimes discount or fully subsidize the cost for the device for their more profitable customers.
Computer Techs can help with the setup of new Wi-Fi devices, Wi-Fi Calling on your smartphone or a femtocell – just contact us to setup an appointment.
November 8, 2016 By Computer Techs
Updated November 2016:
When helping clients login to their computer or websites, I often see them pull out a scratch pad or sticky notes with various passwords scribbled on the page. There’s a better and more secure method to record your login information. [Read more…]