One of the things we often see when we work on clients’ computers is a covered webcam – usually with a strip of tape, occasionally with a post-it note, band-aid, or, in some more extreme cases, with paint or nail polish. It’s understandable to see a camera lens pointed at you and wonder what it’s doing. After all, how do you know somebody’s not watching it right now? This made the national news last year when FBI director James Comey, following advice he’d seen online, admitted he taped over the camera on his computer. This might very well leave you wondering if this is something we need to worry about or do in our daily lives.
byAgent-TanyaB04-30-201611:57 AM - edited 07-14-201608:51 AM
...what about the memories we’ve captured in our photos and videos? We value those and often go to great lengths to protect them. It used to be we kept those things on bookcases or in drawers, photo albums and file cabinets. Not anymore. These days, a lot of what’s important to us are strings of zeros and ones stored on computers. Those things are a lot harder to secure and protect.
on 08-28-201508:30 AM - last edited on 07-28-201609:47 AM by rstyle
As summer winds down, students everywhere are looking for school supplies and picking out the perfect backpack. But just having enough pens and notebooks isn’t enough anymore. Students of all ages are finding they need some tech in their backpacks too. Now is a good time to ensure all that technology is ready to go back to school as well.
According to a New York Times article from last fall, Android devices are a new target for “ransomware”. These malicious software apps act similarly to the fake FBI virus scams that have been attacking Windows PCs for years. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help protect your Android smartphone or device from these scammers and their malware apps.
Has this ever happened to you? You open an “official-looking” email that looks like it’s from your bank, credit card, etc. The message is dire — someone may be messing around with your account, and only clicking on a link to “correct” or “verify” your account information will save you. Hurry! Quick! Do it now! Without even thinking about it, fear of loss drives you to click on the link and supply the information requested (and breaking one of the cardinal rules of online security in the process).
Warning: it isn’t just your computer at risk from hackers. Some recently discovered issues with wireless routers from two different companies show that they too can be vulnerable to hacker exploits that can leave your data exposed to online evildoers. In one case, the affected routers allowed hackers to access data on the victim’s network, while in the other the router was used to distribute a self-replicating worm onto other users’ networks.
As a kid, few things could bring a smile to my face faster than cookies. My mother would always find me more cooperative for unpleasant tasks if she if she ended the request with “then I’ll bake cookies.” In my book, cookies are definitely good things.
Getting a new phone is fun. Whether you bought it for yourself or it was given to you by a loved one, firing up a new handset is one of the true joys of our wireless world. At some point, all phones seem restrictive after you use them for a while. A brand new phone frees you to get some new wallpapers, better ringtones and those cool apps your old device couldn’t handle. Then, of course, there is the wonderful new phone smell…
Like people all over the world, we Agents often find ourselves travelling to get together with our friends and family over the holidays. And, being more tech-dependent than the average citizen, one of our main concerns is what combination of devices and accessories will we be able to take with us. Sure, Agents travelling over-land can error on the side of caution and fill up the backseat with extra batteries and cables. But those of us who need to grab our boarding passes and stand in the airport security line have decisions to make. Considering that we generally think tech belongs in carry on luggage, weight also becomes an issue.
byAgent-TanyaB12-12-201303:17 PM - edited 07-14-201611:14 AM
As the holiday shopping season ramps up, a lot of us are on the lookout for good deals on gifts for family and friends. With all the shopping available online these days, maximizing your gift budget is as easy as firing up your smartphone and hitting your favorite shopping site.
About three years ago, a message began circulating in cyberspace saying that Geek Squad had discovered a Facebook app called “the Christmas Tree App” and we thought it was “one of the worst viruses ever.” This was a hoax.
Apple computer users have mostly flown under the “malware radar” for years. For a variety of reasons, the Mac operating system (OS) wasn’t targeted by hackers as much as Windows was, and Mac users were able to browse the Web largely unaffected by infections. But as Apple’s share of the computing market has grown, cyber-criminals have set their sights on the Mac OS.
Mobile computing devices are letting us access the Web (and take care of business) from just about anywhere. Wireless technology now lets us pay our bills at the coffee shop, check our email while waiting for the kids after soccer practice, or take a conference call while getting our oil changed. Tablets and smartphones make it easy to manage our lives and stay in touch with the office while we are out and about.
One of the great things about the Web is how it allows us to transact business remotely. Internet-based financial tools give us the ability to pay our bills online, manage bank accounts, or sell stuff we no longer need and buy whatever we want from the safety of our living rooms. (Sure beats running to the bank just to stand in line waiting for one of the two tellers on duty.)
So you splurged over the holidays and bought a brand-spanking-new laptop. Or you decided to pool all those gift cards and upgrade your home computing hardware. Let’s face it – you needed to put that old desktop that was still running Windows XP out to pasture. Feels better, doesn’t it?
The holiday season is fast approaching and more people than ever are purchasing gifts for friends and family online. Unfortunately, ’tis also the season for online crime, and cybercriminals are on the lookout for ways to interfere with your online shopping. Whether it’s your smartphone, tablet, or computer, you need to protect your personal information in order to shop safely and securely online.
So what happens when a non-Windows OS gains traction? Well, the inevitable happens – and people using such systems without malware protection face a nasty wake-up call (yes, even systems with fruit-based logos adorning the front). Today’s example? Mac Defender.
With WiFi hotspots popping up in all kinds of places, Geek Squad returned to the lab for a “next-gen” holiday gift. Now “Secret Agent Santas” will take WiFi technology to the next level, releasing WiFi hotspots from the electrical outlet through the use of high-speed USB modems and battery-powered routers.
Language was shortened long ago for ease of Instant Messaging. So when text messaging became popular, people were already armed with ‘c u l8r’, ‘IDK’, and ‘BRT’ (or “see you later”, “I don’t know”, and “be right there” for proponents of the Queen’s English). This computer lingo comes in handy now that social networking sites, like Twitter, are designed for short and succinct updates.
In order to protect yourself it’s important to understand how a phishing attack occurs. Phishing basically comes down to this: An identity thief composes an email that looks official and sends it out to a huge lists of emails that may be either generated by a computer or obtained by other sources. This official looking email ends up in your inbox and usually prompts you to do something like re-verify personal information, like your email address and password. There may be a link in the email that appears to take you to a legitimate website.
Recently, the New York Times website had a rogue ad displayed in one of their banner ad spaces. Visitors to the website may have noticed abnormal operation of their computers, popup ads, or hijacked internet connections after clicking on the advertisement.
How effective is your strong password if an identity thief can change it themselves?
Plenty of attention has been given to helping find ways to generate stronger passwords–avoiding birthdays, pet names, phone numbers, and of course, the list of the most popular, such as “password”, “love”, “hope”, etc. But now that users are starting to make their passwords harder to guess, identity thieves are turning to a new weapon—the secret question.
Passwords keep our precious data and information safe and secure online, making it more important than ever to ensure your passwords remain known only to you. In this Two Minute Miracles video, Geek Squad Agents Daniel Campbell and Gerald “Chip” Underwood provide password tips, including things to avoid and ways to make your password even more secure.