Biggest Online Security Threat is You

Security Stock 11081

We can put the best antivirus on your computer (Malwarebytes), but ultimately they’re ineffective you work around them. It’s not just phishing attempts. There’s a whole bunch of reasons humans mess everything up.

Phishing is Getting More Sophisticated

Most of us know not to click that link pretending to be from Amazon or our local bank.  Phishing emails used to have telltale signs like broken English and generic greetings like “Dear Customer.”  Scammers have upped their game.

Last summer a massive attack used Google’s document sharing system to trick users into clicking a link.  I consider myself pretty sophisticated but I fell for it on one of my accounts.  I do product reviews and just assumed it was a press release.  I often get those through Google Docs.

The Wall Street Journal (paid article) explains the seven deadly sins of why we click that link:

  • Confidence: ‘Trust us, this is normal.’
  • Greed: ‘Get your cheap pills here!’
  • Urgency: ‘The boss says hurry up and click.’
  • Fear: ‘Your PC is infected! Click to fix’.
  • Shame: ‘Click here to see what everybody is saying about you.’
  • Lust: ‘Psst! Check out these nude celebs.’
  • Sloth: ‘Didn’t update your OS? Thanks!’”

That article talks about how major companies and politicians got snared by one of these sins. All you need is one person to make a mistake to infect a whole company

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) isn’t Enough

We love 2FA.  That’s the system that texts you when an unknown login attempt happens and let you approve it.  Hackers use the above sings to get you to disable it.

Mashable reports on an NSA analysis of how people get tricked into turning off their protection.  All you really need is to take the typical phishing a bit further.  I know every time my system does updates my bank thinks I’m on a new system because the browser is updated.  I go ahead and put in my special code to gain access.  I could easily be tricked into giving up my second factor.

We’re Not Dumb, But Scammers are Smart

Although I’ve come close, I’ve never gotten taken in by one of these scams.  I’d chalk that up to luck rather than skill.

A few stories I read made me feel slightly better that I’m not dumb.  One refers to a New York Supreme Court Judge taken for over one million dollars. Southern Oregon University was taken for $1.9 million.

You’d think Google and Facebook are smart enough to avoid getting taken.  Nope. Both were victims of a scam that raked in $100 million.  With the combined power of these two companies and their sophisticated systems, I feel kinda helpless against it.

Cisco, a computer networking company, tried to train employees not to click links in a unique way.  It sent them phishing emails to see who would click. Sneaky, but it worked

It Doesn’t Need to Be Email

We’re all protective of our emails, but sometimes the threats come in the old-fashioned way.  This link explains how someone from Starbucks was tricked into sending money.  Scams like this rely on the seven sins mentioned earlier.  Security has to be on everyone’s mind and not just focused on how the threats come in.

How to Prevent It

The obvious first line of defense is computer security.  We can help with that. Not just antivirus, but making sure you’ve got the latest security patches.  Beyond that, you have to be extremely skeptical.  This article sums it up best:

“There’s often a misconception that everyone needs to be a security expert — but that’s not the case. Security is not everyone’s day job, but ultimately, often all users need to have a mentality of caution — they have to be mindful of what they’re doing, and be aware that their actions on corporate equipment, and can be far-reaching.”

When in doubt, don’t click the link.  Pick up the phone and call someone directly!

Photo by Hivint

Keyloggers and What You Need to Know

keyloggers

Last year, Lawrence was hit with it’s first reported keylogger attack at KU.  It’s a problem sweeping the country.  The problem in Lawrence is mild compared to some schools.

For example, one student changes his grades 90 times in a 21-month period along with five of his friends.  That article explains why schools are a target.

“Keyloggers are cheap, they’re easy, and the targets – schools and universities – too often have paltry budgets for equipment, software and skilled administrators.”

While I’m sure KU has upped their security since then, it just takes one mistake for a hacker to install a keylogger.  Free State and Lawrence High School should be on alert as students applying to colleges might try to do this.

With all these attacks, the patterns are the same

  1.  Someone uses a public computer to enter in grades or
  2. They fail to notice something attached to their computer

If you’re responsible for entering in people’s grades, do it on your own private computer.  If you see something unusual connected to the computer, don’t put in your password.  Instead call your IT department.  If you can’t call them, call us!

Photo by Robbert van der Steeg

This Windows Tool Could Put Us Out of a Job?

security 2

With a recent Windows 10 Update, Microsoft included a pretty cool tool to fix (or at least warn you) of problems with your PC.  I jest about putting us out of a job.  We’ll still be fixing PCs and Macs, but this tool makes our job easier.

It’s the Microsoft “Device Performance and Health Report”.  This video explains how it works.  It lets you know of any potential problems and even suggests some fixes.  Of course, if the problems still persists, or you just need help fixing some of the problems, give us a call, send us a text, or write us an email.  We’re here to help with your PC problems.

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Computer Protection Plans Aren’t What They Seem

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Generally, we’re not big fans of extended warranties.  Computers depreciate too quickly to make it worthwhile. The exception being AppleCare.  Apple repairs are not only expensive, but Apple products retain their value longer.

The other thing we’ve found is that companies exclude all sorts of stuff from these warranties.  It’s so bad that BestBuy is involved in a class-action suit for overpromising and under delivering.

When in doubt, ask us.  We’re unbiased since we don’t sell computers or warranties.  Salespeople may claim all sorts of stuff, but it’s what’s in the contract that makes the difference.

Photo by youngthousands

Be Careful Who Repairs your Phone!

cracked iphone screen Day 4

Our primary focus is computer repair in Lawrence, KS.  We don’t do mobile phones at all.  We do get calls, daily, about mobile repair.

Too often the caller wants to know the lowest price.  That’s a bad strategy.  The cheap often comes out expensive as my Mom used to say.  A lousy repair isn’t just a waste of time and money, but is unsafe.  Batteries catch fire and glass breaks.

If that isn’t enough, repair places can install viruses on iPhone and Android phones.  We’re always able to recommend the best places in town for iPhone, iPad and Android repairs.  They may not be the cheapest, but we vet them for reliability and trustworthiness.

Photo by Patrick Hoesly

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An Easy Way to Get Computer Support

Microsoft Windows 10

Too often when we’re at clients we have trouble reproducing a computer problem.  The client remembers some error message, but of course we can’t make it do it when it’s out there.

That’s why we recommend the Windows Problem Step Recorder. It’s built into Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.  This link from Microsoft explains how to use it, although I think this one is written more from a non-technical perspective.

If that doesn’t work, just use your smartphone to take video of the screen and then email it to us.  That phone isn’t only for checking social media and making phone calls.

Photo by theglobalpanorama

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Security Thwarted Through Forgetfulness

USB Flash Drive in the Shape of a Card Catalog Drawer

I forget where my keys or wallet is all the time.  I’ve got Tile to help me with that.  I always know where my laptop is though.  Forgetful people can ruin the best security measures.

For example, a lost USB flash drive in London caused a massive panic and Heathrow Airport.  That drive had critical security information.  Of course, the drive wasn’t password protected and encrypted (like my laptop is!)

Lost hardware is more common than you think.  For example, Washington State University lost a hard drive and had to inform over 1 million people their identity was at risk.

It’s easy to set passwords on flash drives, hard drives, laptops and desktops.  Just give us a call —  we’ll show you how.  Unless, of course, you want to be in the headlines like these people!  I guess it’s fortunate they didn’t name the people who lost the drives.

Photo by slgckgc

Computer Security For Business Owners

Secure Data Cyber Security

If you own your own business, you’re responsible for your company’s computer security.  When there’s a breach, it’s your name in the newspaper.  We can help protect you, but ultimately it comes down to the business owner.

This blog post does an excellent job of giving bite-sized (or tweetable) tips from a non-technical perspective.  That best tip is the last one:

“Keep asking ‘What Else Can We Do?’”

Just like everything in your business, protection is an ongoing struggle.  New threats and new technologies call for new methods of protection.  We’re here to help!

Photo by perspec_photo88

Save Money on Every Technology Purchase

Money SavingsYou already know how quickly technology changes.  As soon as you buy something, it seems like a newer version comes out and your system is already obsolete.  If you pay with a credit card though, you have some protections.

We always recommend paying with a credit card for technology.  Almost all credit card companies double the manufacturer’s warranty.  That means you don’t need to buy that extended warranty.  They also include 90 days of accidental damage protection.

One often-forgotten feature on some credit cards is price protection.  This article from SmartAsset explains the logistics.  I have this on some of my cards.  It took me about 30 seconds online to file a claim.  Sadly my work card doesn’t offer it, so I can only use it for personal purchases.

Photo by 401(K) 2013

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Best of Lawrence Computer Repair 2018 – DoctorDave Again!

Best of Lawrence computer repair 2018

We’re the best in 2019

In case you haven’t heard, DoctorDave Computer Repair won the “Best of Lawrence” contest yet again.

On behalf of our entire team, we all appreciate you taking the time to pick us in this fun contest. I think we do a great job, but it’s better when we hear it from our clients in situations like this. We’re also the top-rated business on Google Reviews and Yelp. People also shared the love on Facebook and Angie’s list. It’s nice to be popular!

This August will be my 15th anniversary of doing DoctorDave full time. If you’re an existing client, look for a special invitation to our 15-year party.

Starting in August, we’ll begin offering our DoctorDave Primary Care Wellness membership program. As a member, you’ll get peace of mind your computer problems are solved for a fixed cost each month. We’ll also include a ton of exclusive members-only benefits. To find out more, get on your newsletter mailing list by clicking here. We’re offering this program to mailing-list clients first.
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