👍 #787 – Phishing: How to Know It When You See It

I've come close to falling for it a time or two, I'll admit it. It's the #1 way scammers and hackers fool you: phishing. It's responsible for everything from identity theft to malware, including the dreaded ransomware infestations we keep hearing about.

This week's featured article is a refresher on what phishing is, and perhaps even more importantly, how to recognize it.

Also this week:

Your landlord provides Wi-Fi? Great! Now protect yourself.

Perhaps my most common and yet unanswerable question: Why?

It was characterized as an epic hack. And yet, it seems, little has changed, except, I hope, your awareness.


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Phishing: How to Know It When You See It

I've received an email from Microsoft asking for billing details and threatening the end of my Outlook.com account. Contacting Microsoft resulted in referral to a support alias, but no answer. Is this a problem, or a forgery?

Phishing is a word you hear a lot in the news these days, and this question brought it to mind.

You're right to be suspicious: this definitely sounds like a phishing expedition.

Continue Reading: Phishing: How to Know It When You See It

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This Week's Articles

Is Wi-Fi Provided by My Landlord Safe?

I'm a cable internet user now, but I'm moving into a new apartment where the landlord provides free wireless internet to me and two other tenants in the house. I just have to supply a wireless adapter/card for my PC. How do I take advantage of my new landlord's offer and at the same time protect my personal electronic information from the other tenants — and my landlord — when I cannot control the router?

By having administrative access to the router providing your internet access — be it an open WiFi hotspot, a hotel, your place of employment, or even your internet service provider, or ISP — the provider can monitor your usage. Accidentally or on purpose, they may also allow others on the network to sniff your traffic.

It doesn't matter whether the connection is wired or wireless.

Continue Reading: Is Wi-Fi Provided by My Landlord Safe?

Why Ask Why?

I was helping a friend the other day with some Windows issues and a not-uncommon question came up, one that I often dread.


As in, “Why did they do that?”

It's a common question that gets applied to computers and software of all generations and iterations. Recent versions of Windows have certainly generated a healthy share of “Why?” questions — but trust me, it's nothing new at all.

The problem is, asking “Why?” is more often than not an exercise in futility.

Continue Reading: Why Ask Why?

What Can We Learn from Mat Honan?

Update, December 2019: The events prompting this article, and the admonitions within it, date back to the summer of 2012. It's hard to believe it's been seven years. It's even harder to believe how little has changed, and how timely this story and its lesson remains.

“How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking”, on Wired.com, is a tale of account hacks leading to the compromise of several accounts and, ultimately, the irretrievable destruction of precious data, including photos of the author's infant daughter. The tale of woe features lax security from the author and major services — all of whom ought to have known better.

The author watched as it happened, powerless to stop it.

It makes for chilling reading, and I strongly recommend you review it to see how horribly things can go wrong.

Let's look at the lessons learned, and some of the steps you and I can take to avoid, or at least seriously minimize, the risk of ever experiencing something similar.

Continue Reading: What Can We Learn from Mat Honan?

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Posted: December 17, 2019 in: 2019
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