Category Archives: Security

Stop Using WhatsApp If You Care About Your Privacy

Yet another reason to use Signal

Stop Using WhatsApp If You Care About Your Privacy

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Don’t Give Away Historic Details About Yourself

Please be safe out there

Social media sites are littered with seemingly innocuous little quizzes, games and surveys urging people to reminisce about specific topics, such as “What was your first job,” or “What was your first car?” The problem with participating in these informal surveys is that in doing so you may be inadvertently giving away the answers to “secret questions” that can be used to unlock access to a host of your online identities and accounts.

Don’t Give Away Historic Details About Yourself — Krebs on Security

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Why We Should All Ditch Other Messaging Apps for Signal

If you’re already on Signal you can find me there too. If not, I’d like to suggest it…

Why We Should All Ditch Other Messaging Apps for Signal

And here are my reasons.

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Facebook Lockdown

Warning: I may get slightly snarky below. I’m not intending to belittle anyone’s intelligence, but to forcefully promote the importance of privacy and security.

So… recently I know a number of people’s Facebook accounts that have been “hacked”, and since I don’t want to bore you with the technical details I do want to provide some basic security advice and show you how to lock down your account.

First the basics… While I know it may be super tempting, or you “just weren’t thinking”…

  • NEVER click on a link you don’t recognize and have a reason to click on. I don’t care if it’s unicorns and rainbows or will create world peace. Stop clicking on links for no reason. What’s a reason? Ex, your friend messages you and says, “Hey [what they would normally call you], here’s a great recipe we tried last night and [some family member of theirs] really enjoyed it [link]”. Notice how actual identifying information was included in that and it was targeted?
  • But what about all the great articles on Facebook? Do you recognize the domain? Do you have a real reason to be going there? Maybe you should log out of Facebook and delete your account? But anyway, same rules apply… unless you recognize where the link is going to and you have a real reason – don’tclick on the link!
  • Here we’re going to get a little Facebook specific, but NEVER install apps, games, or allow third party access to any part of your profile unless you are 100% sure of the legitimacy. In fact, delete all apps with access to your account. Ready, for a real link? Here’s where you can delete apps with access to your account. You’ve heard of Cambridge Analytica, right? If not, go delete your Facebook account right now and never log back in.
  • Ok, back to the basics… Never use the same password for sites. Hint, your Facebook account getting hijacked isn’t usually because of a bad password, it’s usually for one of the reasons above which I why this is listed forth. Still… don’t use the same passwords.
  • Ok, ready for probably the most important thing you can do other than following the items above? Enable two factor authentication EVERYWHERE. In fact, go back and read that article I wrote 4 years ago.

Ok, now I’m getting tired as this may be one of my longest posts ever. So, to wrap it up, here’s how to enable two factor authentication on your FB account (note, even 2FA won’t protect you from clicking on stupid links and installing apps).

  1. Install an authenticator app on your phone like Google Authenticator.
  2. Go to your Facebook security settings: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=security
  3. Under “Setting Up Extra Security” enable “Use two-factor authentication”
  4. Under “Code Generator”, click the “third party app” link to generate a QR code you can scan w/ the Google Authenticator app.
  5. Follow the instructions.

Now, go enable 2FA for your other important accounts like banking and Google/GMail.

But most importantly, stop clicking on links!

PS: Again, apologies for any snarkyness. It’s interesting because in the wake of the cambridge analytica, #DeleteFacebook, and other campaigns I’ve been thinking of what it would take to create a distributed, secure, no ads based, non-profit social network. If you know of one already I would be interested. If not, and you’re a developer who might be interested in working on such a project, please let me know.

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The Matador Defense – TWiT

I would strongly recommend listening to the segment on Facebook

This Week in Tech 658 The Matador Defense | TWiT.TV

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Scary Chip Flaws Raise Spectre of Meltdown — Krebs on Security

Please be sure to update/patch every device you have. On most Windows machines, you should be able to do a manual reboot (Start -> Power -> Restart) and have the updates applied. On iOS you want to go to Settings -> General -> Software Update

Scary Chip Flaws Raise Spectre of Meltdown — Krebs on Security

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10 Unusual Things I Learned From Mr. X – Altucher Confidential

Ep. 265 – 10 Unusual Things I Learned From Mr. X – Altucher Confidential

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Find the Members of an Active Directory Group

The simplest way to get the list of users in an Active Directory group is to use the following command right from the command line:

NET GROUP "my_group" /DOMAIN

And yes, that is the work “DOMAIN”, not the domain you are in. The only value to change in the command is my_group

Ref: Is there a way to view the members of an Active Directory group if you aren’t a domain admin and can’t log into a domain controller?

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Apple vs FBI

So my mom asked my opinion on the current standoff between Apple and the FBI over their insistence on building a back door into the iPhone “just this once” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). As I said to her…

I completely agree with Apple’s stance. Once they create such a method to circumvent the security on the phone, I guarantee it will be ordered to do so from now until eternity. That is unless you believe everything the government and law enforcement tell you. In that case, then yes it will be just one time (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Let’s also address certain politicians insistence on “opening up” security and “using our heads”…

START: Sarcasm and Contempt
Yeah, let’s open up security all over the place. In fact, then no one will ever be able to transmit anything securely ever again. Hint: “open up” just means lets build in a vulnerability, a bug – intentionally!! You didn’t want your credit card info submitted securely now do you? Probably should let the gov’t be able to scan all your photos and financial documents, and travel plans, and basically anything that’s stored digitally. Not like that’s everything now a days.

Not that hackers or “bad guys” would take advantage of that or anything. Gahh!!

END: Sarcasm and Contempt

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Heartbleed and the Importance of Two-Factor Authentication #1aDay

With the recent announcement of the Heartbleed vulnerability it’s more important than ever to consider your security precautions. Of particular importance you should be…

  • Using a password manager like LastPass or KeePass
  • Using Two-Factor Authentication wherever you can
  • Using strong passwords wherever you can’t use Two-Factor Authentication

So now a few details…

What is Heartbleed and why do I care?

For those who are not server administrators, Heartbleed made it possible for attackers to steal information from servers memory. Of importance to you, that information may have included usernames and passwords. Should an attacker have your username and password I’m sure you can figure out that they could do not nice things with that information.

What can I do?

Use a password manager like LastPass or KeePass

Tools like LastPass and KeePass are great because they give you a secure and central place to store your usernames and passwords. Plus a service like LastPass includes additional tools and can provide valuable services like they did with Heartbleed to let you know where you should be updating your passwords. Concerned about using a service like LastPass? Here’s a good article on why you may not need to worry.

Use Two-Factor Authentication wherever you can

As that article above pointed out, you should be using Two-factor authentication wherever you can. Two-factor authentication requires an additional step in addition to entering your password, usually by sending a message to your mobile phone or using an app on your smartphone. Basically, with 2 factor authentication, logins require something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone). In short, two factor auth prevents Heartbleed because should an attacker have your password, they still don’t have your phone and thus would not be able to login as you.

You can find a good site with lots of places that allow two factor authentication here. My suggestion, support companies like these with take security seriously.

Use strong passwords wherever you can’t use Two-Factor Authentication

If a site does not allow two factor authentication, I would highly recommend that you use a strong password. Here’s another place where a service like LastPass or KeePass come in handy because they can generate strong passwords for you.

Change your Passwords

Keep an eye on this list for when and where to update your passwords. Even if a site sends you an email saying they weren’t affected, it wouldn’t hurt to change your password and add it to your password manager. Chances are you weren’t using a secure one to being with.

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