Monday, January 23, 2012

How To Stay Safe Using Facebook

Whether we like it or not Facebook is here to stay. Unfortunately with its ever growing popularity, it's become a hot target for hackers, spammers and internet criminals.
Consequently, it's become extremely important for users to understand how to stay safe when using Facebook.  We'll cover some techniques to help protect your personal information and computer from being attacked.
Facebook is becoming more popular everyday. With millions of people to be targeted, Facebook is definitely a battleground for security and privacy. This website has become a worldwide hit and consequently has become a target for those intent on spamming and stealing private information. In this article, we will cover many techniques to allow you to safely use Facebook.
Friend only Real Friends
It is important that we only share information with true friends and not distant acquaintances. Many people try to friend as many people as possible, perhaps even people they barely know. We believe it is important that people eliminate friends they barely know from their friend list. An alternative would be to create Groups of close friends and only blast more personal messages out to this group. This technique does require more involvement whenever you post.
Think before Clicking on Links
There have been several viruses that have hit Facebook users, many of which have caused links to malware or inappropriate content to be posted on Facebook. It is important that you exercise care before clicking on any links.
Shortened links that do not fully disclose the destination site should be expanded before being clicked. You can expand short links with a browser plugin or visit a site like checks shortened url’s for malware.
Facebook Applications
Facebook applications have access to all your Facebook data. We suggest users eliminate applications that are unnecessary or seldom used. Many applications are granted access to posting on your wall or pulling information from other websites. There are security risks with all this functionality.

  1. Select the Triangle in the upper right corner
  2. Select Account Settings
  3. Select Apps from the left column
  4. Click the x next to any App you do not recognize or need

Beware of:

  • IQ tests
  • Polls
  • Voting for a celebrity polls

There have been Facebook applications, in these areas that have lead to unwanted cell phones charges, privacy breeches, or other malware.
Privacy Settings
If you want to maintain your privacy, then don’t use Facebook. If you want to control your private data within Facebook, it is important that you configure privacy settings correctly. Facebook updates its privacy settings regularly, so it is important to check your current settings frequently.

  1. Select the Triangle in the upper right corner
  2. Select Privacy Settings
  3. Set your Default Privacy to Friends 

The main sharing circles are:

  • Friends
  • Custom
  • Public

Obviously you want to minimize the Publicly shared information as much as possible. You  may want to clamp down with Custom to reduce the expansion of your private information. checks your Facebook Privacy settings and shows you how to fix possible privacy setting errors.
Insure that you have set Facebook to not allow search engines to access your profile. Be sure the box for public search results isn’t checked.
Sharing Sensitive Information
The following information is sensitive and may not be desired to be shared with others. Thieves can use this information as well those trying to piece together your identity or those attempting to hack your passwords.

  • Vacations or times away from home
  • Real birthday, at least no year
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Pets names
  • Children’s names
  • Address
  • Phone numbers
  • Schools attended
  • Religious views
  • Political views

Facebook Passwords and Access
In addition to a secure password, Facebook supports double authentication which combines a password with authentication on a mobile phone. You will get a SMS text message on your cell phone whenever someone logs into your account from a different computer. It's wise for all users to enable this feature.

  1. Select the Triangle in the upper right corner
  2. Select Account Settings
  3. Select Security from Left Column
  4. Select Login Approvals
  5. Check Require me to enter a security code each time an unrecognized computer or device tries to access my account

Facebook Website Tracking
Facebook has been tracking websites visited outside of its own. If you would like to prevent this from occurring, install the browser plugin
Facebook Photo Matching
Facebook has facial recognition technology that can automatically label who is in a given picture. We suggest that you disable this feature or at least prevent it from recognizing your kids within a photo.
Facebook related Email Spam or Phishing
E-mail and instant messages have been used to propagate spam or phishing on Facebook. To receive a message about a new picture, and the link takes you to a Facebook or Twitter login page. The page is faked in an effort to steal your login credentials.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Biggest Malware Threats To Your PC in 2012

2012 is already shaping up to be pretty messy from a computer security perspective. Not only are computer virus attacks up 60% compared to this time last year, but more alarming is the severity of these infections. So what viruses and malware should you be looking out for in 2012? At this time, the climate for attacks is simply brutal. Based on what we've seen and read since late 2011, if the rate and volume of attacks continue, 2012 won't be pretty. Widespread spam-driven attacks, social media scams and plenty of malware look to be on the table for 2012. I've come up with what I believe to be the top 5 threats to keep this article succinct.
So, with that in mind, read our top five threats to watch for in 2012.
Using  legitimate websites by which to stage attacks
The continued presence of  vulnerable Web site code - particularly, vulnerable Word Press blog plug-ins - are going to turn into a big problem in the near future. This coupled with a flood of other malware blazing across the web means we’ll see a lot of sites get hacked in the coming year and used to redirect victims into an exploit kit.
The plug-in vulnerabilities permit malware guys to upload their code onto someone else’s Web pages; Keylogger malware, such as Zeus/Zbot, just rips saved FTP passwords and other stored credentials and ships them directly to People You Don’t Want In Control Of Your Web Site.
It’s already happening, with attacks propagating against other vulnerable code, and the results have been pretty scarily effective. Most of the code we’ve seen uploaded to legit sites redirects the browser into the maw of one or another exploit kits.
Exploiting Vulnerable Web-Browser Plug-ins
Are you using those cool plug-ins that make web-surfing easier? From what I’ve been reading they’re the next gateway for malware. It all starts with Javascript and ends within a few minutes with the victim’s PC owned and the victim’s passwords in the hands of some overseas stranger.
It couldn’t get any more obvious that you need to act immediately. Update Flash, Acrobat, Office, and other vulnerable applications today, right now. Disable Javascript within PDF documents in your PDF reader’s preferences. And at least for the time being, the safest thing to do is to uninstall Java from any system you control, at least until a patch gets released to address CVE-2011-3544.
More Spam? Yep
As ridiculous as some of the spam campaigns this year have been, they must be effective, because the bad guys haven’t spared a moment for months coming up with new and innovative social engineering tricks.
If the spam we’ve seen is any indication, malicious spam we receive in 2012 will come in every available delivery method - email, social networks, IM - and continue to take every conceivable form: shipping confirmations, missed deliveries, reversed credit warnings, utility bills, credit card statements, complaints about you to the Better Business Bureau (whether or not you operate a business), online order confirmations from small boutique etailers, bank statements, electronic funds transfer rejection notices, poorly-spelled ‘friend notification’ emails from a wide variety of social networking sites.
Smartphones and malicious apps
I don’t want to leave the mobile world out of the fun list. The sheer volume of copycat Android malware coming out of, in particular, China is just astonishing. There are whole Markets hosted overseas just rippling with malicious badness, as well as ripoff artists on this side of the pond trying to scam whatever they can.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Should You Consider Switching To Gmail?

Many of our customers express dissatisfaction with their current email service provider. Not enough space, confusing to use, too much spam, and doesn’t work with other email programs are some of the complaints we hear.
My recommendation has been and continues to be... “Switch to Gmail!”

  1. It’s easy to set-up
  2. It’s easy to use
  3. You get plenty of storage
  4. Packed with free features
  5. It’s FREE
Registering takes 5 minutes and is super easy. Follow the prompts and Voila... Your a Gmail user.

Features- With 7.5GB of storage (which is difficult to use up for a personal email account) you will never have to delete an email again.  Other useful features included are; integrated calendars and tasks (which can be shared ), chat/talk functions, social media integration, address book and online document storage.

Integrate other email accounts - Another way Gmail separates itself from other providers is the way other email accounts can be imported and redirected to your Gmail account. This means you can still use your old address if your existing contacts have it, but manage and read all emails from one account - Gmail. If you choose, gmail also allows you to send emails from the non Gmail account.

 Priority Inbox, Filters and labels -  Your new best friend when it comes to fighting SPAM and organizing emails.  Gone is wasting your time putting emails in their appropriate “folder”. Priority Inbox allows you to prioritize which emails you see first and the best part?... YES! it’s all automated so messages go exactly where you want them to.

Easily add additional custom addresses - Gmail allows you to set-up virtually unlimited number of custom sub-addresses. It’s a great way to test whether or not a list your subscribing to is sending out spam. Ever wanted to know who’s selling your email information to “advertisers”? Now you can!

Conversation view - Groups replies with their original messages, making it easy to organize and follow email conversations.

And tons more additional features that I can't fit on a blog post!

I guess what I'm saying is... if you haven’t yet joined the Gmail party, you’re missing out. The reasons listed above are just a few of the many features and options Gmail provides email users to make our lives less chaotic.