Monday, December 22, 2014

New toys have malware

With the Christmas season upon us, we will be getting gifts that plug in. Many rechargeable gifts now come with USB charges, although many of us will think it is completely safe to plug these new devices into your computers. There are many reports of these devices containing malware; most of these devices use USB connection because it is convenient. They were never meant to connect to your computer, but people know that you will and because of that they have malware ready to inject into your system.
If it is not designed to connect to your computer, but it has a USB do not connect it to your computer. The best practice is to always use a wall plugin, they have more power available than your computer. Most of the malware that has been found in these devices is known as injector viruses, these kinds of malware install without knowing it. Often times this opens the gateway for other software to be downloaded. Of course all without the user knowing.

Scott Gamet

A+ Net+ 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fake Android Update - Malware

          There is a never ending amount of fake Windows updates. One of the most recent ones that I can remember was for Windows 8.1, you clicked a link and it came up with an official looking update screen. Well it was not a Microsoft update and it generally left the computer useless. This is not to mention the Java and Flash updates that are fake. So the point is that there is a great deal of fake updates, today I saw one for Android.
          This is the first one that I have personally seen, or heard of. Now people will root there phones and sometimes turn them into a brick, or put a custom mod on that may turn it into a nice paperweight. This is not what I came across today. Here is a screen shot of what I saw:

          The funny thing is that I arrived here after clicking a link to a local news website from Facebook. The new Facebook internal browser was used, not Chrome. There was a dialog box that informed me I was low on memory and asked do you want to clear up memory Yes or No, I clicked NO. This was in the background and the dialog box was in the foreground.
          Needless to say this is not an official update and I am not entirely sure what would happen if I click Update, although I am very sure it will install several different pieces of malicious software. Be on the lookout for these kind of traps, they are out there and they will do real harm to your phone.
          I have made several attempts today for this to happen again but with no luck. I have been able to find two other articles about this, but neither one have said how they got to the link. Mine was through Facebook and I hope that it was just a coincidence.

Scott Gamet


#Windows 8

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Windows 8 Updates

This is written specifically for Windows versions 8 and 8.1, but it also applies to Windows 7. We all know that Windows updates are very important, they fix problems and bugs in the operating system. Some updates are considered critical, these should be installed as soon as possible (ASAP). Many of us though just ignore it until we absolutely have to install them becauses there is a reminder box in the bottom right corner.
Microsoft releases patches and updates every month on a Tuesday. This is affectionately referred to as Patch Tuesday, this is the second Tuesday of the month. Microsoft started this with the release of Windows 98, since then this has become a standard procedure for everyone.
With the last few updates there have been some very important, critical, updates that needed to be installed. These updates also included a few hidden updates, these are updates that are installed but do not show up in the Windows Update program. For some of us we do not turn our computers off at night but rather just put them to sleep. When we do this the updates do not get installed, also it is good to restart your computer at least once a week that way it clears out the temporary files and improves performance.
Because many people just put the computer to sleep instead of turning it off Windows basically forces you to restart. This is not with all updates nor is it every other one, it appears to be random. Your computer starts to have odd issues, such as your web browser doesn’t open or your Quickbooks will not open. You can see them running under applications though, i have also seen word documents not opening and other Microsoft products stop opening.
So what is the first thing we do? We do a power cycle, also known as restarting the computer. the first thing that shows up on the screen is that Windows is installing updates and do not turn your computer off. Once the updates are installed and the computer restarts everything works. The one thing I want to stress is that you need to either turn your computer off at least once a week. Some people have a set day that they restart or turn it off, doing this is just a best practice and can save you a giant headache down the road.

Scott Gamet
A+ Net+

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Service Updates June 2014 - Patch Tuesday

Happy patch Tuesday everyone. Microsoft has announced the service updates for the month of June 2014, this month is full of some rather large updates. There are updates for every current version of Windows, that’s right all versions of Windows server 2003 and up as well as Vista and up. The most import of the seven are the first two that are critical updates for Internet explorer and Office, both of these are for every version of Windows and will require a restart. The critical updates are to fix another zero day flaw for Internet explorer.

The rest of the updates are normal windows updates that may require a restart but on their own probably will not. Windows 8 and 8.1 seem to be the ones who are going to see the greatest amount of updates from this list, so yes Server 2012 and 2012R2 are in their as well, they should be an easy installation. So if it has been a while since the last time you restarted your computer the updates are a good thing, you should restart your computer at least once a week. I recommend for servers once a month.
Scott Gamet
CompTIA A+, Net+


Monday, March 31, 2014

Use the user account and not the administrators account

Many times we setup our computers for the first time and only create one profile, this account is by default the administers account. Many times there is no problem with that, but sometimes we run into problems with the operating system or viruses and next thing you know you are locked out of your own system. Creating a user profile to use on a regular basis and an administrator account that you do not log in to, is the most ideal of situation. The reality is that this is actually really easy to do and will only take a few minutes to do.

The situation that many people do not like it that they will have to put an administrators password in then the User Access Control (UAC) comes up instead of just clicking allow. Although it is easier just to click allow instead of putting in a password, ultimately you could save yourself a giant headache down the road by setting up and using the user account.

This style of setup is what is used in the business world and is considered to be the best practice by Microsoft. If you already have a system running and you are running as administrator by default,it is very easy to add another profile to use on a regular basis. For this we need to go to the control panel, click add or remove user accounts, create a new account, and then select user and name it. Now you can log off your current profile and onto the new user account, you will have to update your login information on your browsers.

Here is a link to a visual representation of the steps.

Scott Gamet
CompTIA A+
CompTIA Network+

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rogue Access Points

How many times have you been at a store or restaurant and they have free WiFi? Now, how often do you actually look at the name of the network? Many times we just connect to them near blindly, or at least without looking at it in detail. At some locations you will find an access point, of course it is an open network, and the business does not even offer in store WiFi.
A few days ago I went to a Waffle House and they have free WiFi, so for fun I turned the wireless on my tablet, there was two networks avaIlable. One of these was stronger than the other, one of these was the real one and the other one was a rogue access point that was run from the hotel next door.
The name of the rogue access point was names Waffle House Guest. This access point was sitting there waiting for people to connect, masquerading as the real access point. I could tell that the other access point was the genuine article because it had individual isolation, the rogue access point did not nor did it have any of the standard protections. There were a total of 25 devices connected to that network, most of those devices were phones but about five were laptops.
After doing a short package capture, I found it very interesting after looking at the capture that someone was logging into their bank. Most of the people were logged into their email and social media accounts, although many of them were actual secure connections, some were not.
The reality is that when you connect to someone's network they legally look at everything you do on your network. Most, if not all, of the companies that offer free WiFi are not looking at what you are doing. Now the rogue access point is another story, they are their just to get what they can from you while you are connected. By connecting to their access point you are giving them that permission to view whatever you are doing, now what they do with it many times is not.

Scott Gamet
CompTIA A+, Network+

Friday, January 17, 2014

The End of XP

Microsoft has announced an end of service date for Windows XP, what does this mean? Well the short answer is nothing. Although Microsoft will no longer be supporting XP that does not mean it will no longer be able to access the internet or, my personal favorite, that it will uninstall itself. These are just some of the stories that I have hear, the scariest past is that I have heard these things from IT professionals.

The reality of an end of life, or end of service, is that there will be no more updates or direct support from Microsoft. The operating system will continue to work, and you will not notice anything different. Microsoft always has an end if service for their software, just like other companies. If they didn't no one would upgrade to newer software. With upgrades to Windows 7 and 8 there are options for direct transitions from XP to these releases, not to mention the additional features and services that are available in these newer releases.

Scott Gamet
CompTIA A+, Network+