ROUTER HACKS

When your browser starts redirecting you to strange sites or you are inundated with pop-up ads, I’m sure your first thought is that you have a virus on your computer.  It’s usually my first thought.  In the past two months I’ve had two clients experiencing this behavior.  In both cases I ran virus scans and malware scans and nothing turned up.  More research was required.

What I turned up, although still rare, is a router hack.  This is something that is very hard to protect against, maybe impossible for now, but what happens is that changes are made to your WiFi router to redirect your browser to sites you did not request.  It is something that can be fixed but requires someone to examine the router and change settings.

If you suspect this problem there is an easy way to test.  If your browser is redirecting you to strange sites, try another device like another computer or tablet in your home using your WiFi.  Use the browser on that second device and see if the same thing happens.  If so, it’s probably the router and not a virus on your computer.

SCAMS AND MORE SCAMS

Many of you have heard my seminar on Internet Scams and Identity Theft.  Just this past week I received two calls, automated calls, purporting to be from the IRS informing me that I have an outstanding balance and the IRS is about to issue a warrant for my arrest if I don’t call now.  As I mention in my talk, this is a total scam, the IRS does not call you about outstanding balances.  If you were to call the number on the recording you would be asked for your Social Security number and other identifying information that would be used to steal your identity.  Just hang up on these calls.  They are meant to scare you and they do sound scary but please, just hang up and ignore them.  And, please, tell people you know who may be vulnerable to hang up on these calls.

MANAGING MUSIC – iTUNES

Many clients have extensive iTunes libraries but have not yet integrated iTunes with their stereo or do not have a music system and want to listen on something other than little speakers attached to their computer.

There are two good solutions for this problem:  the first is to use Apple’s built-in AirPlay to stream music to an Airport Express attached to an existing music system;  the second is to use Sonos technology.  With Sonos, if you have an existing music system you can use Sonos Connect to stream from iTunes and you can listen to internet radio like Spotify and Pandora.  Plus, if you want music in other rooms you can add Sonos wireless speakers.  On the other hand, if you do not have an existing music system you can build a fine one using all Sonos equipment.

Control your inbox with Gmail filters

Overtime I have subscribed to many newsletter and get many promotional emails from places where I’ve made purchases.  I like to keep all this email separate from the email I receive from friends, family or is business related.  There is an easy, incremental way to do this using Gmail filters.
Here are the 10 easy steps:
1) Open the promotional email.
2) Click on More at the top of the page.
3) Select Filter messages like these.
4) A dialog box will open.  Click on Create filter with this search (bottom right corner).
5) Click on Apply the label.
6) Click on Choose label.
7) The first time you do this you choose New label. I titled my folder “All Promos“. Click Create.
8) Next, near the bottom of the dialog box check Also apply label to matching messages.
9) Check Skip the Inbox near the top of the dialog box.
10) Finally, click Create filter.
When you want to include email from another source in All Promos, you do all the steps except at Choose label (Step 7), you choose “All Promos”.
You can repeat this process for any other category you choose, like newsletters.
By checking “Skip the Inbox”, these messages will not show up in your Inbox, so be sure to check these new folders for new email.
Note that Gmail can be set up to sort out promotional email without these steps.  However, what I’ve outlined is applicable to any category you wish to set up.  I also like having control over which messages I send directly to the All Promo folder and which I allow to show up in my inbox.

Shellshock Bash Bug

The Bash bug or the Shellshock bug has recently appeared in the press as the latest threat to computer security (remember the Heartbleed bug!)  This is the article from the New York Times.
Apple reports that it’s desktop products are safe from this bug (unless you have changed some very advanced settings which the vast majority of people do not do. These settings are mostly for developers.)  Apple Servers are not safe.  It is important that your Mac be password protected.
Windows users, for once,  are not vulnerable because Windows is not built on Unix.
These types of problems are not going to go away.  Protecting your computer and managing your passwords will continue to be required to protect your identity and your data.

iCloud and iOS 8

iOS 8 implements new features in iCloud which will allow for more storage and sharing options of your documents and photos.  The problem is that these new features are not compatible with the existing iCloud.  Once Apple releases its next OS X for Macs, code named Yosemite, it will all be compatible. This may be in October.
Bottom line:  if you get a new iPhone 6 or update your existing phone to iOS 8 do not turn on the option for iCloud Drive in Settings.