iPhone users beware

If you have the newest iOS [version 6] on your phone, then please DON’T leave your phone unattended thinking a passcode will keep it safe. A You Tube video will show anyone how to hack your phone. The good news is that Apple is working on a fix, so keep a look-out for new updates. Just remember, if you have any questions; I am here to help.

Is your firewall fire-proof?

OK, none of our computers are 100% safe from internet threats any time they are on and connected to the Internet. I admit that. And if you did not know that…POP… I am not sorry for bursting that bubble. Just like driving, it only takes one other driver on the road to cause a collision. Safe computing, like safe driving requires intentionality and vigilance.

But when a company hides secret accounts [known as back-doors] in our security equipment, it raises my ire. Barracuda Networks has been outed for having back-doors, and this article from KrebsOnSecurity says, “It’s not clear for how long the backdoor accounts have existed in Barracuda’s products, but the researchers found evidence that they have been in place since at least 2003.”

It was around this time last year when I heard of a different Security Vendor, who was friendly to the Chinese government, that had not improved their equipment’s internal software in 3 or 4 years.

If you aren’t getting notices that upgraded software exists for your firewall/router, then maybe you should go looking. Or just call me because I am here to help.

Cell phones, data and privacy.

I get a newsletter called WINNEWS and it can be found at http://winnews.com , this is a clip from an opinion article about legal issues in our digital world. You can find the full article at the site listed above. Here is the quote (sorry it is so long).

However, like any technology, location data can be used against you, and it’s not just smartphones that can be used to track where you go. The dumb ones can do that, too. In a 2012 case, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (United States v. Skinner) handed down the somewhat alarming decision that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the location data that your cell phone transmits. That means government agencies can monitor your movements in real-time without being subject to the fourth amendment requirement to get a search warrant.

What about stored records that track your phone’s movements in the past? Oh, you didn’t know cell phone carriers store that data? According to a Department of Justice document, records of the cell towers used by phones (all cell phones, not just smartphones) are typically retained for at least several months, and often longer. The cell tower information can be used to track general location, although it’s not as precise as GPS data. The Obama administration says your cell phone location data is a “third party record” like your banking records, and you have no right to privacy in either.

The fight began when a Texas judge denied federal prosecutors’ requests for court orders requiring disclosure of historical cell tower location data over a period of 60 days. That judge (correctly, in my opinion) ruled it was a violation of the fourth amendment. The feds lost again at the district court level, but they don’t give up easily; they took it to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As of this writing, that case is still awaiting an opinion.

Windows H8?

That title reads like this, “Windows hate?” The tremendous dislike for this new OS is not completely unfounded. Everything is moved yet again. Windows RT won’t run windows apps. The START ORB is gone. And the list goes on…

I have it on a laptop, and it is not bad, just different. Most people won’t recognize the power of Windows 8 until they have it on a touch-screen device.If you have questions, send them my way, as I am here to help.

Java in trouble again?

Why is Oracle having so much trouble fixing these Java issues. Java is nearly ubiquitous in the computing world, so accepting the recommendation to disable or remove java from your computer is troublesome. It is like saying, “There are many nails across the city streets so don’t drive your car!”

It may be time to make web pages without java, but there are hundreds of millions of web pages using Java, so it seems a bit drastic. Until then, use FIREFOX with the NOSCRIPT plugin to block all untrusted java scripts – its FREE and easy to set up. Remember now, I am here to help!