Don’t be scared by scareware

Have you ever used your computer only to find a pop-up on your screen telling you that your computer is in urgent need of repair, or that you have a virus? If so you have been the target of something called scareware. Scareware cases are increasing, and more and more people are falling victim to the fake warnings. Let’s take a look at what scareware really is, and how you can avoid a costly mistake.

What is scareware?

Scareware is becoming a huge problem and many people have fallen for the scam. Scareware is nothing more than a pop-up that will appear on your computer screen. The pop-up will tell you that you have registry problems that need to be fixed, or that you have dozens of viruses that need to be taken care of immediately. The pop-up will include a link to a piece of software that will look like and will act like a virus killer.

Continue reading Don’t be scared by scareware

Microsoft on Hackers: If you can’t beat them hire them

In the past several weeks there have been many high profile websites which have been hacked. Sony, Sega, and Citigroup have all had their security breached and because of their lack of security, and possible lack of knowledge on how to secure their sites, some 140 million people around the world have had their personal information stolen.

Microsoft can now be added the list of high profile companies who have been hacked. Microsofts Xbox Live service recently came under attack, but instead of taking legal action against the culprit like the other companies listed have done, Microsoft done something quite different.

Age is nothing but a number

Xbox Live is one of the largest gaming networks in the world. Millions of people play their games online over the service and the potential for loss is staggering. If someone hacked into Microsoft servers they would have access to tens of millions of user accounts.

In May of this year, someone did the unthinkable and they gained access to the largest online gaming network in the world. The hacker gained access to Xbox servers through a fault found in the popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game, and while the hacker had access to millions of accounts, they decided to do nothing with that information. It seems as though the hacker was just playing around to see if it could be done. Obviously Microsoft did not see the funny side of things, especially as a similar attack rendered the Sony Playstation Network useless for 6 weeks.

Continue reading Microsoft on Hackers: If you can’t beat them hire them

Citigroup joins group of online hacker victims

Another day, another new cyber attack on a major corporations website. Recently Citigroup announced that their websites security was breached. Initially Citigroup said that less than 1% of their customer base would be affected by the breach, but that number has since risen.

Hackers at large

The attack took place on May 10th 2011 and it immediately compromised 21 million online accounts. Citigroup said that less than 200,000 accounts were affected but that number has since grown to almost 400,000, and the number could rise even more in the coming weeks.

All of the usual information was stolen from the site including names, addresses, but Citigroup states that social security numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth, and card expiration dates were not stolen. Only time will tell if they are correct about that.

Citigroup now joins Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and Epsilon as victims in the hacking wars. The question that needs to be asked is why are all of these major corporations websites so easy to hack? So far in 2011 there have been a staggering 114 million accounts exposed because of websites being hacked.

Lack of security

It seems to me that the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Epsilon and now Citigroup should be doing everything in their power to make sure that their websites are safe and secure, yet hackers seem to be able to break down their defenses with ease. Only after the initial attacks occur do these companies take measures to make sure it does not happen in the future, Citigroup also falls into this category.

Following the attack on the companies servers, a Citigroup spokesperson said it has put fraud alerts, and enhanced monitoring services on accounts there were deemed to be at risk. Why not have these safety measures in place from the very beginning, and instead of putting these enhanced features on certain accounts, why not put them on every account? Surely the customers deserve this level of protection. Unfortunately it probably boils down to money and extra cost. However, it seems as if the feds are finally stepping in.

Greater security needed

The FDIC has said that in future all banks will have to offer improved security to their customers, and that new regulations surrounding site security will be put into place. The chairman of the FDIC has suggested that banks put extra layers of protection in place so that account authentication is stronger. While this may mean that logging into your account may take a little longer than normal, it will certainly be better than having your personal information stolen.

The good news is that Citigroup seemed to react very quickly to the breach on their servers. Citigroup has notified all of those who were affected, and immediately sent out new credit cards too. Customers were also told to keep an eye on their accounts to make sure that there are no unauthorized purchases.

I am hoping that companies around the globe are taking note at the current trend of website hacking, and that they take measures to secure their servers, and customers personal data now while they still have the chance. Lets hope that there are no more accounts added to the 114 million that have already been affected this year.

This guest post is by Brett Day,  from Moore, Oklahoma. He is a featured contributor for Associated Content in Technology. He has a huge interest in the world of technology, home theater, and video games. Brett loves writing and sharing his knowledge on all of these subjects.

FBI pulls plug on the flood of Coreflood virus

Unfortunately computers and viruses go hand in hand, it does not seem to matter how much we try to defeat the digital bugs, they always seem to find a way on to our computers. There has been a major breakthrough in the fight against digital terrorism as recently though as the FBI launched a massive campaign to rid the world of the virus known as Coreflood.

What is Coreflood?

Coreflood is a nasty little virus known as a key-logger. Once Coreflood in on a computer, the hacker can dial in to your computer remotely and can track every single key that the user has pressed. What can this be used for? Well lets say the hacker is watching your computer and you browse your to online bank account, the hacker could then log the keys you pressed as you logged into your account, which means he would then have access to your bank account and your funds. Continue reading FBI pulls plug on the flood of Coreflood virus

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As we’ve talked about a lot on this website, if you’re looking for a way to completely be untrackable while surfing the net, you should look into a VPN.

However, if you just want to delete your Internet browsing history with some kind of privacy eraser, this post (and best coupon we’ve found) is for you.

In case you don’t know, your computer tracks everything you do on the Internet. If you’re looking for a way to hide or erase everything you’ve done from your computer’s records, looking into a privacy eraser is a good idea.

Of course, you can spend hours learning all the places where Windows stores the files of your temporary browsing history on your computer. (Many of these files aren’t so temporary as you might hope. The files don’t erase themselves, as temporary files should.) You can manually delete everything stored on your computer from what you do on the Internet. But remember, you have to find where the cookies are stored, where the temp files are stored, where the images and videos are stored, and where any executables or other active file types are stored.

Alternatively, you can use a privacy eraser to make sure all the things you do on the Internet remain private (hidden and ultimately erased) from other people who also use the same computer.

This doesn’t have to only be used for nefarious or potentially morally objectionable reasons either. While we recommend you talk with your spouse if you want to look at porn or sexual related material on the computer, there are other reasons you might want a privacy eraser.

Let’s say you are shopping for your wife’s birthday. Every image you see online of that perfect diamond tennis bracelet is stored on your computer somewhere.

If you forget to delete the temp files after looking, that image may still be on your computer, even when you’re not connected to the internet.

If she goes digging around looking for a lost file one day, she might just find the surprise you don’t want her to find.

That’s one small example of a great way in which a privacy eraser can be used to erase your Internet browsing history. Extrapolate the example, and you can see how a privacy eraser can be a very good thing to have on your personal or work PC.

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Is Google in Your Wallet?

Everybody loves shopping, and everybody loves getting great deal on products that they buy. Today Google announced their latest product that will be coming this summer. Google’s latest venture is called Google Wallet, and it will be coming to an Android smartphone near you soon.

NFC Technology is the future

In 2009 MasterCard started deploying pay points around the country. Consumers who had MasterCards could simply tap their card on the device and their card would be billed, this eliminated the need to hand your card over to the retailer. Google has taken this technology to the next level and they have built this technology into their phones.

The Google Nexus S has an NFC chip built right into the device. Google Wallet is an app that users will be able to download to their phone, and then add their credit card information, and loyalty card information into the app, then you can then use the phone as a method of payment.

Easy and Convenient

The system is easy to use. The consumer will simply have to tap the pay point with their phone, the transaction will then be completed, and a receipt will display on your phone. If you do not have a CitiCard or a MasterCard, no problem. Included will be a Google card that you can add money to from any credit card.

Because you will be using a smartphone which will be connected to the internet, the phone will be able to look for offers and send them straight to your phone. It will look at your shopping habits and will send offers that will be of benefit to you. Retailers will also have signs up in their stores that you can put your phone on and the offer will be added to your wallet.

You will also be able to search Google.com for offers, and if there are coupons floating around for items you are searching for, Google will ask if you want to add the coupon to your virtual wallet so that you can save money at a later date. Google Wallet is going to revolutionize the way that consumers shop and spend money.

There are already 120,000 businesses in the U.S that offer NFC payment options to consumers and that number is set to expand rapidly. Subway, Macy’s, American Eagle, and many other retailers will be joining Google in their latest venture.

How safe will it be?

I am sure there will be many concerns surrounding security with services like this, especially as there have been breaches in the security of well known services lately including Android, and Sony. Google assures us that security is tight, and that not only will there be security features built right into the phone, but that there will be multiple layers of security built into the Google Wallet app.

Google will issue each user of Google Wallet a pin number that will be needed to log into the app. That pin number can be used in conjunction with passwords that the user can set for each card in the virtual wallet. All of this security on top of the security that is already embedded into the phone like passwords to unlock the device, will help keep all of your personal data safe and secure. Of course though, we have been told this many times before about various products, lets just hope that this time Google is telling the truth.
The technology is here now, and the retail world is quickly building an infrastructure that will support NFC payments. Google has said that over half of all the smartphones that will be sold next year will have an NFC chip in them so that they can utilize Google Wallet. Google Wallet is scheduled to go live this summer.

This guest post is by Brett Day ,  from Moore, Oklahoma. He is a featured contributor for Associated Content in Technology. He has a huge interest in the world of technology, home theater, and video games. Brett loves writing and sharing his knowledge on all of these subjects

Google handles Android Smartphone security breach smartly

We trust our electronics to pay bills and make purchases online, not to mention they store all of our personal information. With so much information stored on devices like Android smartphones and consoles like the Sony Playstation 3, one has to wonder just how safe and secure they are. The answer it seems is that they are not very secure at all.

Google calls foul play

Just recently Google dropped a bombshell and confirmed that there was a major security flaw in its ever popular Android operating system. Seeing that there are over 400,000 Android smartphones and tablets being activated every single day, the amount of loss that could have occurred could have been catastrophic.

A team of German researchers discovered that Android devices that were connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks could have easily been hacked from remote operators. Once hacked, all information stored on phone could have been accessed by the hacker. Fortunately Google reacted swiftly, and quickly sent out a patch to Android devices around the world.

How can you stay safe on Android?

While the exploit has been fixed there are still some things that users of Android devices can do to make sure that they are safe.

By going to the app store and downloading an Anti-Virus app, end users can have peace of mind that their phone will be protected in the event that they download an app that may contain a virus. Users should also try to refrain from joining unsecured networks, like the ones you would find at Starbucks, or the local library. One last thing would be to only install applications that you know of, and never install apps that come from anywhere other than Google authorized app stores.

As a user of an Android powered smartphone I can say that I am incredibly happy at the way Google dealt with this problem. They moved quickly, identified the problem, and fixed it within 36 hours of the breach. If only all companies were equal when it comes to this.

Sony falls victim too

If you had not heard about the Android problem, then you surely have heard about the breach that Sony has suffered. Sony’s highly popular Playstation Network which lets users play and purchases games online was recently targeted by hackers.

The biggest difference between the Sony breach and the Google breach is that Sony reacted very poorly to the situation. In fact everyone who had ever signed up for the service (some 50 million) had all of their information stolen, including credit card numbers, phone numbers, and addresses.

Sony’s security around the Playstation network was incredibly weak. In fact there was not even a Firewall protecting its servers. The hackers were smart, and they left hardly any traces of the attack. The only thing that was found on Sony’s servers was a calling card left by a group called Anonymous.

After many attempts to fix the security flaws in its network, Sony has failed every time. When they say they have fixed the problem, the network gets hacked again. Two months after the initial attacks, there has been a further 10 breaches in their security systems.

There are obviously some flaws in the security that companies employ when it comes to protecting your personal information, but do not let it stop you from using, and enjoying the many wonderful things that your gadgets can do. Just be careful what information you share, and you should be just fine.

This guest post is by Brett Day ,  from Moore, Oklahoma. He is a featured contributor for Associated Content in Technology. He has a huge interest in the world of technology, home theater, and video games. Brett loves writing and sharing his knowledge on all of these subjects.

What is Spotmau Powersuite?

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For this write-up of SpotMau Powersuite, we’ve pretty much just copied and pasted the text from the Spotmau Powersuite web site to this post.

It’s a bit difficult to get an idea of what Spotmau Powersuite is and what it does on the Spotmau.com site, so we thought by putting the text here and clarifying it a little bit, you’d have a better chance and knowing whether or not this is the right software for your PC. Continue reading What is Spotmau Powersuite?