Update Windows 10 Before November

1803 Warning

I was working with my home laptop this morning and this message popped up in the lower right of my screen. This is Microsoft giving you time to update your computer. Microsoft will no longer support Windows 10 1803. What is 1803? This is a build version. Windows will always be called Windows 10 at this point but there will always be updated builds.

So how do you see which build or version you have on your computer? Right-click on your start button and left-click on system.

Right Click

Once the System panel opens up scroll down and look for Windows Specs and you will see the version.

System

If you are using 1803 or anything earlier I would suggest you update your computer now. Always make sure you keep up on the updates to ensure you are always getting the current security updates.

Two Step Authentication Password Protection

Google

We all have them and we all use them every day in one way or another. We also trust the companies that we use them to keep our information hidden.  What are we talking about? Well Passwords of course. Let’s talk a minute about trusting the companies that you deal with to keep your information and passwords secure. Remember hearing about the Target Breach? So you say you don’t shop at Target or one of the many other retail chains that have been breached. Well, I know you use a password for your banking or even your email. How many people use the same password on every site they visit? If your user name and password gets picked up and put on a public list then you could stand to be hacked on any number of your accounts. Sound scary? Well, it should and you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Step up to what is known as Two Factor Authentication. You can use the FREE app on your smartphone shown above called Google Authenticator or there is one by Microsoft. The idea with these apps is once you turn on Two-Factor on the sites you visit whenever you log into the site it will show the message above. You then open the app on your phone and it will give you an ever-changing number that you enter to access your site. I have also found that if a site does not support this tool they will have a way that they will text you a number to enter to ensure that it is YOU trying to access your account.

I hear you now. This will take to much time to get into my accounts. Wonder if I don’t have my phone sitting next to me? How can I share my account with others NEVER DO THIS! The simple truth is this. We all take an extra minute to lock our house when we go to work and we all take the extra minute to lock our cars before walking away from them. Why not take an EXTRA SECOND to protect all of your ONLINE accounts?

Importance of a VPN

VPN

First let’s start by answering the question, what is a VPN? A VPN is known as a Virtual Private Network. A VPN allows us to connect to our work and have a secure tunnel connection to the office. It can also provide us with a secure way to pass traffic from our smartphone or computer while we are using public WIFI.

Why are either one of these important to us? When you are sitting at home and you are working on your office computer and you use a VPN your computer will act just as it does when you are sitting at your desk. This happens because when you connect the VPN you are basically running a network cable from your office network back to your home. But with the power of the Internet and a VPN connection we don’t need the wire, hence the Virtual Private Network. Once you connect to your office all of your traffic is going through a secure tunnel. This will keep hackers from intercepting your traffic and using it against you or your company. But even more so it allows you if you are a technology person to work on your network and bring up servers just as you would sitting at your desk.

So what can a VPN offer if you are just on your smartphone in a coffee shop? Again the VPN will provide your traffic to be secured from anyone in the coffee shop who might be scanning for Internet traffic. All of you traffic will be going out of your office or home Internet connection. Remember it will act just as if you are sitting at your desk.

Wonder if you don’t have a VPN at home to connect to? Can you still use a VPN and be safer when you are accessing your banking from a public Internet connection? There are many FREE VPN services on the Internet that you can set up an account on and connect to them for that same piece of mind. I found this site for you that has a listing of FREE VPN sites you can use. FREE VPN SITES.

Think of it this way. It will take you one extra step before you access any secure sites on the Internet such as your banking site. You will have to first connect to the VPN then open the sites you want to use. But then again wouldn’t it be easier to just open your car door and run to the mall? None of us would do this, we would first turn off the car and lock the doors. Think of the VPN and locking the door on your Internet traffic.

Network Switching

Networking Gear

Network Switching gear has been around for ages now. It is the backbone that runs every network large and small. I have been a Cisco guy for years. I understand the way that Cisco wants you to setup your VLAN’s as well as setting up ports for security. I recently started programming a new line of switches from another company. When I first began to program I tried my normal Cisco commands and quickly found out that the commands would not work. Then I started researching on Google for programming using this companies IOS. I quickly learned one thing important. The commands were different but the basic idea of laying out VLAN’s and configuring ports held to the same understanding from my Cisco training. It is sort of like programming, once you learn one language it is easy to allow your mind to see the code and write using any coding language out there. I always tell everyone that has ever worked with me. Don’t ever think that you can’t do it because it is different. Always set out to do your best and give it your all. So now after programming ten of these new switches I have the commands down and I am on my way to building a new high speed 10 GB network. I live by the Can Do Attitude! If it computes then I can and will fix it.

Network Firewalls

Firewall

Network firewalls are built to keep the bad guys out of your network while allowing your users to maintain high availability to the Internet resources they wish to use. Setting up a corporate firewall takes time and some planning. Your first objective should be to know what to allow to come into your network from the outside world. I begin with a drawing like the one above. When you allow traffic from the outside world you should only allow a direct connection from the company or service you wish to use. Next we begin to write up any static routes we might need. These items might be a mail server or maybe your web server. Also remember after you setup the static routes you then open the correct ports to that internal IP address. Remember to allow any internal traffic to go out of your network. One tip to keep in your back pocket is if you ever get a rouge machine on your network spamming emails. If you use off site email services simply deny port 25 SMTP traffic from going out of your network. Planning is everything so that you don’t run into issues using the Internet. The last word of advice is to revisit your firewall configuration at least once ever six months. Also buy a firewall large enough to pass the bandwidth that you have, you don’t want it to become a bottle neck for your Internet traffic.

Mr. Robot


Mr. Robot is a series that I have been missing for sometime now. This is a great series of a hacker who is trying to set the world straight. The show should teach all of us that our life is really a open book when we lay out of lives on the Internet. It also shows that sometimes people are born with a gift to get into the machines. I was glued to the TV and my Roku box for hours on end yesterday. I hope that they continue this series for a long time. I have been watching these on Amazon Streaming video but I am pretty sure you can catch this on NetFlix. 

Clean Your Computer So It Runs Faster

CClenaerMalwarebytes

Your computer needs to be treated just as you treat your car. You need to preform regular maintenance on your computer. I heard that there was a tool that has been being sold for about $20.00. You don’t need to buy anything. There are so many FREE tools on the Internet that will clean your computer and get raid of all the junk from your machine.

I am asked over and over by everyone. “How does this stuff get onto my computer?” Remember these words of wisdom. When you or your kids play these so called FREE games on the Internet these web sites put stuff onto your computer. These small programs are known as ADWARE. We often hear and see computers with pop ups all over the screen selling you this or that. Also when you visit shopping sites they put what is known as SPYWARE. These little programs watch what you buy and will start popping up ads or at the very least when you return to these sites they will push whatever items you bought in the past. So even people I meet who say they never go to questionable web sites can still get junk on their computers.

The FREE tools that I show at the top of this post will keep your computer running fast and smooth. Use the links here to make sure you get the correct ones. There are knock off sites out there trying to sell you these FREE programs.

CCLEANER: Install this cleaner and run it at least once every three months. Or anytime you think your computers is running slow. It finds and removes all types of adware and spyware. If you want continued cleaning you can buy the paid version but in all my years of using it I have never used anything more then the FREE version.

MALWAREBYTES: I also run this FREE tool after running CCleaner. I have found that there might be something that one of the programs don’t catch that the other will. And being they are both FREE why not use them both.

At the end of the day we all want our computers to run as they did when we first brought them home. And don’t ever think that you have to many pictures, or to many programs. Those things do not slow down the computer. It is all of the junk we run into on the Internet super highway.

Protect Your Computer

With all of this talk about the NSA or National Security Agency watching everything we do and monitoring all of our cell phone calls, don’t you want to protect your computer from prying eyes?

Okay now I don’t really believe that the government has the time of day to watch what I am doing on the Internet. But I know there are millions of hackers in this world that would like to get into everyones computers. They enjoy digging and looking for useful information.

We could talk about a thousand reasons to protect your computer, but what I teach people is that you want to protect your computer so that you can sleep at night.

The easiest way to protect your computer is to be sure you have the firewall turned on. On Windows you can find the firewall in the Control Panel then under Security. On the Mac, you will find it under Preferences and Security/Privacy.

What does a firewall do? Simply allows you to put up a virtual brick wall between your computer and the Internet. Although not non-hackable but a small brick wall is better then no wall at all. Now turn on those firewalls!

Firewall

2 Step Verification

Yesterday we talked about security and keeping your digital life safe and personal. Today I was digging around and learning more about 2 step verification. And I found a cool app I wanted to share with everyone.

The app is called, Google Authenticator. This app can be installed for FREE onto your IPhone or Android phone and it allows you to lock it down! I locked my GMail accounts down this morning and it only took me a few minutes.

So how does this add extra security? Easy it adds a layer of security that you are adding to only allow you to access the computer you are sitting at. How does it do this? Easy download the app and then turn to your computer. Visit: Google 2 Step Verification. Log into the site with the account you want to secure. Once you answer a few questions you will see a QR code. Scan this with the app on your phone and it will link the two together.

Once you link the app with your account you will need to authorize each computer you wish to use to access your email. You do this only once every 30 days.

So might this be a pain in the side? Sure security is not easy and it is not suppose to make life easier for you. But it will keep you safe and allow you to sleep better at night. Setup you 2 Step Verification today.

Google Lock

 

Security

Need I say more? In our line of work we see a large lack of security every where we turn. I wanted to give you some thoughts about how you control and secure your digital life.

I treat my digital security just as I treat my personal physical security. What I mean is that I always lock my house and my car when I walk away from them. I also have to always lock my computer screen before walking away from from my machines.

Passwords: Why do so many people in every work place in the world think that is okay to tell each other their passwords? Let me give you a wake up call! People get fired all the time, people leave companies all the time and people can be resentful. They might remember something you said, or you might have showed them a email or maybe they just might delete all of your working files before the hit the door? What ever the case you never ever give your password to anyone.

Now let me reflect this back to my physical items. If one of my co-workers ask me for the keys to my house, I wouldn’t hand them over. If someone in my work place I didn’t even know walk up to me and ask me for car keys, I am not handing them over to them. You need to protect your digital life in the same manner.

I know a lot of you reading this are using the same password for you work accounts that you use for your personal accounts. So go ahead and give someone your password to access your email and next thing you know your banking account is zero! You just do not know?

The bottom line is take a minute or two each day to think about protecting your digital life. And always LOCK your computer before you walk away from your computers.

Hacking