January 2016 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Random Free Hosting Site

We'd like to congratulate The Pickett House for being the winner of this month's free site hosting. At the beginning of each month we will call up our own site's homepage. Whomever's site is the featured site when the page loads will get FREE hosting of one domain for one month. It's just our way of saying thank you.

Hard To Recognize Social Engineering Scam

There is a new, in-the-wild tech support scam that has moved from Amazon Web Services to Rackspace's managed cloud network. What it does is spread alarming popups ads that claim a site is infected and directs the reader to click on the ad for help.

The general public is also more susceptible because they run directly in the browser and prey on people's well-founded computer security fears by displaying fake warnings. What makes it even more effective is the fact that the scam page triggers a continuous series of pop up alerts preventing the user from closing the page. Out of desperation, users may end up calling the 800 number to get the situation resolved.

The next step has the victim being told by someone posing as a tech support person from a major company that for a fee they will fix the problem. Microsoft estimates that about 3.3 million people have fallen victim to scammers in 2015 and have paid out more than 1.5 billion dollars to the perpetrators.

How To Keep 15GB Of OneDrive

Microsoft has grudgingly agreed to let current OneDrive users keep their 15GB of free cloud storage and 15GB of free Camera Roll "bonus" storage, rather than dropping you to 5GB as Microsoft had previously stated. Of course, there's a catch: You have to be aware of the offer and willing to endure a bit of spam.

To take advantage of the offer, visit this Microsoft page. You've already navigated the first hurdle: Because users have to manually opt into the offer, OneDrive users who are unaware of the deal won't be able to take advantage of it. And there's a small catch: By selecting the offer, you agree "to receive promotional e-mails from OneDrive." Microsoft also says you may unsubscribe from them - how to do that, however, isn't exactly clear.

Old Article Worth Seeing Again

How Good Is Your Password?

The latest recommendations from cyber experts suggest the following guidelines for creating strong passwords.
A strong password should contain:

  • AT THE VERY LEAST 8 characters
  • Combine upper and lower case letters, numbers, punctuation marks and symbols
  • No inclusion of words found in the dictionary or the names of your friends and family
  • No easy to discover dates like birthdays or anniversaries

You should have a unique password for all of your important accounts and it is suggested that you change your passwords every 90 days and not reuse them for different sites.

Can’t think of a good password? There are tools such strongpasswordgenerator.com that will create a good password for you. You can even decide the length of your password and what type of characters to use. Some others strong password generators are random.org and freepasswordgenerator.com.

The problem with a strong password is how are you supposed to remember these nonsensical passwords? Most security experts recommend the use of a password manager such as Dashlane.com, LastPass.com (our personal favorite) or 1Password.com, which have apps that can go with you from your computer, phone and tablet.

DO NOT store your passwords in a public cloud, in a Google doc, in e-mails that can be hacked, on your phone’s notepad app.

Whatever method you decide upon to have truly secure passwords, remain ever vigilant as you cruise along the Internet. There are hackers around every bend and it’s up to you to keep an eye on your online accounts.