Recently I have been having some issues with Plex disconnecting and I would have to restart the server but I didn’t think it was Plex that was at fault but Windows as I hadn’t done a refresh for about 3 months!
Today, while starting the new layout using Thesis 2 and WordPress 3.5, I was faced with an issue that had me stumped for a little while. When trying to install a plugin or update WordPress I got the error message
I have been using Windows 8 for about 5 months now in various forms and can say that it i another improvement on the platform. It’s faster to load applications, uses less resources and has a more natural and easy to use interface than 7. The only thing that I have not found a use for is the metro interface and I know I’m not alone in this.Read More
I am constantly hearing stories of people having their bank accounts drained because they were banking online. Some swear they will never bank online again and others try to be a bit more vigilant but always seem to have it happen again. Even if this only happens once a year it is a super pain. You have to go through and cancel all of your cards and wait for the bank to refund your money (generally after an investigation) which can take months. The point of this article will be to give you some tips and tricks to keep your money safe in your account while still having the convenience of banking and shopping online.
Keep yourself clean
Make sure that you are using a solid antivirus (Bit Defender or MS Security Essentials) and antimalware(Malwarebytes Antimalware). This will ensure that the majority of the nasties don???t infect your computer and watch what you???re doing. This is by far the most common method of having passwords stolen, much more common than some??????????thing like brute forcing. The browser you use can also make a big difference to how secure your computer is. My personal favourite is Google???s Chrome Browser.
Use a middleman.
Using a service such as PayPal to interface between yourself and the online store will serve a few functions, most importantly you won???t be showing your credit card details to everyone you want to buy something from. You link your account/credit card with PayPal and then they handle the transaction for you.
Always ensure you???re on a secure connection
Ensure that whenever you???re entering in any sensitive information on the internet that the site prefix is https (e.g http://www.utterancesofageek.com) . This doesn???t mean that the site you are on is a safe one but it does mean that everything you send to that site is encrypted. This again isn???t fool proof but does add another layer of security.
Make sure you???re at the site you want to be
There are sites designed to look identical to legitimate websites but these websites will steal your login information. Make sure the site in the address bar is exactly as you would expect it to be (e.g www.utterancesofageek.com not www.utterancesofageek.co)
Why wait to until you get a statement to see if there is something amiss? Sign up for your bank???s online banking service (normally free) and they should have an option to view your statements online and you may even be able to get them sent to your email more frequently (e.g. weekly).
Use sites you know
By using a site you know and trust you remove a lot of the danger associated with shopping online. If they haven???t scammed you in the past they???re not likely to in the future. If they also have a reputation to protect which is bringing in a lot of business it is unlikely that they would risk all of that for the money in your account.
Do your research
Using a site that you know and trust is all well and good but how do you find one of those in the first place? Well you can use services such as shopbot and myshopping to see customer reviews of their service, quality etc. Use google to find other reviews as well.
Two factor authentication
If you read this site often then you would know I???m a big advocate of two factor authentication. I won???t ramble on about the benefits here but you should be able to enable this via your bank. Any time a transfer to an unknown account is initiated your bank will send you a SMS to confirm it is you.
Hopefully these few quick tips will help keep you safe and your money in YOUR account!
Do you have any tips that I didn???t mention? I would love to hear them. Email me at James<@>utterancesofageek.com (removing the < and > symbols) or sound off in the comments below.
Regardless of whether you know it or not you probably use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) everyday. It’s the technology that is inside the cards at work that you swipe to let you in as well as the same technology in credit cards that allows you to just swipe to pay. Now we are even seeing this technology become even more widespread with the introduction into smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S III (NFC).
RFID has two parts to be able to work, the transmitter and the receiver. The smart card that you use is the transmitter, it transmits the code that opens the door and the thing on the wall you swipe it against is the receiver. The card doesn’t need a battery because the receiver outputs power via the radio waves it sends out and “Wakes” the card up so they can transmit data. For a more detailed explanation of how RFID works read this wiki.
So for a technology that is so widespread how secure is it? Well I’m sad to say that it seems that it’s very vulnerable. There are so many designs about for a home-made RFID sniffer that anyone could build in the shed, combine that with the fact that they don’t even need physical contact with the card it becomes very easy for the bad guys to get lots of details and be undetectable.
Those that are advocates of RFID in credit cards say that it is safe because there is “a security feature that generates a unique code that changes with every transaction” (via Forbes) but that has recently been proven to be false. “The unique 32-bit EMV numbers, it turns out, weren’t that unique. Instead, each shared 17 bits in common and the remaining 15 appeared to be a counter, rather than a random number.”
To put this into context for you think about the old credit card skimmers. Someone would need your card so they could swipe it through the skimmer and copy the details then they would need a special machine to write the data they obtained from your card to another blank card so they could then us it to make purchases using your money. This is still in practice and defrauds people of their hard-earned money every year. Now if we go back to the RFID, all the bad guys need to do is bump into you and they will be able to capture all the information they need.
So what should you do?
You can protect all of your RFID with a faraday case wallet that will shield all of your RFID devices from being activated. If this was issued with every smart card then the opportunity the bad guys would have to scan these devices would be greatly reduced (This of course doesn’t account from human error).The only other thing you can do is be aware that these types of attacks exist and to spread that awareness.
This is the second post in the series ???Securing Your Online Identity??? in which I will show you how to secure some of the more popular services we entrust with our personal information. This post will be focusing on what applications have access to your various online accounts that you may use for work as well as personal use (not to mention linked accounts).
At first glance this may not exactly seem like it’s a part of securing your online identity but trust me when I say it is directly linked to how secure your accounts. Besides the fact that most of these apps will have access to your personal information to use however they see fit there is also the possibility that the app will get taken over and, if the app has the permissions, you could have your wall spammed with various??unsavory??comments/pictures. Have you ever seen one of your friends accounts spam out ***WIN a super awesome holiday by clicking this link***? This is one of the leading ways this happens.
Okay so let’s get into it!
1) First off open your web browser of choice and head on over to www.mypermissions.org??and you will be presented with a screen as shown below.
2) Go ahead and click on one of the icons, for this example I have chosen Facebook and Twitter as they are the two biggest. If you are already logged in it will take you to the “app settings page” which shows you all of the apps that have permissions to your account.
3) In??Facebook??you have some options as to what you would like to do with the app whereas in twitter you either give it permissions or you don’t. In Facebook you can edit an app’s settings by clicking the edit button adjacent to the its name.
4)??Now you should have the options to change what the app can see/do with your account. This can be a painfully long process going through each one and setting the permissions but in my opinion it is essential. You will be shocked to see how many apps have access to your account. I started off by going to the bottom and just removing the apps I haven’t used in a while, which cleared up a lot. I then made the tweaks to the apps I still use (which wasn’t many at all) and repeated the process for my other accounts.
That’s it! I know this may seem like a short tutorial (and I suppose it is really) but it will take a while to go through and sort out all of these permissions. Try breaking it up by doing one or two sites a day when you have 15 minutes or so to spare and you will have it under control within a week.
If you know of anything that you think would contribute to this series please don’t hesitate to contact me via the comments below (so everyone can benefit or email me via email??J A M E S??@ U T T E R A N C E S O F A G E E K . C O M??(remove the spaces of course).
This is the second post in the series ???Securing Your Online Identity??? in which I will show you how to secure some of the more popular services we entrust with our personal information.??This time I’m going to show you how to enable two factor authentication for Dropbox. This is a brand new feature for Dropbox that has been brought about by a couple of mistakes and breaches.
If you would like to read more about the issues Dropbox has had you can read this??blog article from Dropbox, this??article from Sophos Naked Security and this article from ArsTechnica. It actually goes further back than that but it gives you an idea of the issues they’ve been facing.
Okay let’s get started!
1) Sign into Dropbox.
2) ??Click on your name in the upper right hand corner.
3) Click on the Settings menu from the drop down menu.
4) Click on the Security tab.
5) Click on the (Disabled) link as shown below.
6) With your phone handy click on the “Get Started” button.
7) Authenticate again by entering your password to verify who you are.
8) Chose how you want to receive your generated key. For this tutorial I am going to use text messages. Then click the “Next” button.
9) Choose your country from the drop down menu as shown below.
10) Enter your phone number minus the first digit.
11) Confirm that the number is correct by entering the code they have sent to you via SMS.
12) Once you have successfully confirmed your number you will receive a fail safe code. Keep this safe because if you can no longer get the codes sent to you this is your only way of getting in without having to contact Dropbox and go through the long winded process of gaining access again. Once you have this code safe click the “Enable two-step verification” button.
13) That’s it! You’re all done and set up now for two factor authentication with Dropbox. Go ahead and click the “Done” button.
14) You should now see that your two factor authentication is enabled as shown below.
This is a huge step forward for Dropbox and the internet in general. I think that the more big services like Dropbox enable two factor authentication for its users the less hassle there will be for the end-user and make it harder for the bad guys to be able to defraud people.
What would be the next service you would like for me to review?
There isn’t a shortage of ??Android launchers available. My personal favourite is Apex Launcher mainly because it has a lot of great features and is very easy to use.
The thing you notice though as you’re trying to figure ou which is right for you is that they’re all pretty much the same, some are better than others but there’s nothing revolutionary??among??them and this is where Chameleon steps in.
Chameleon isn’t like other Android??launchers, you don’t have icons, you don’t have widgets like you would be used to on android. What you do have though is a new experience. You have multiple screens which is something Android has by default but the way it differs is that each screen is meant to represent different parts of your life, and they’re location aware. Let me explain.
You might have one screen for when you wake up in the morning which would consist of your news feed, twitter, weather and personal emails. Then you might have a screen for work which would have your work emails and different news feed.
Currently the Chameleon launcher is very limited in what you can do with it as it only has 5 widgets (GMail, RSS, Twitter, Instagram & Weather). You can also only use backgrounds that it provides limiting your choices and it seems this may be another revenue stream of the product.
My experience with it so far hasn’t been great. Firstly let me say that this is still in Beta and is prone to have a few bugs. I’m using it on my Asus Transformer Prime, which is quad core, and I have found it to be quite laggy and buggy. Sometimes when I try to add a widget it will just hang there for over 10 minutes and other times it will only take 30 seconds.
My concern is that this seems to take away one of the biggest draws of Android, it customisability. Hopefully Teknison will have an open API that will allow developers to make great new widgets for this launcher because I fear that this project will die without developer support.
The updates hasn’t been great either. To date there has been two updates but the first update did wipe all of my settings so I had the painful task of having to set up my widgets and homescreens again and try adding all of my account back in as well but because there are only 5 widgets I guess it wasn’t that bad.
The devs are promising more widgets will be coming very soon and if you have a look at the site you can see that they obviously have a few built but just aren’t ready for release as they’re probably just??polishing??them before??release.
One thing I really appreciate is that they use full HD graphics. This makes for a great looking launcher and this is something that is lacking for android.
The bottom line is that this product has great potential, hence why I supported it on Kickstarter, but it is not living up to that potential. yet. I’m looking forward to see how the devs improve it and how the entire product matures after being??released??openly on the play store.
I??sincerely??hope that the very??talented??devs teknision can polish this app as I think that it would be a real shame if this project were to just wither away. As I mentioned before though for this to be a real contender it needs to be open, as new apps come to fame people will want them to??integrate??with their launcher.
Have you had any experience with Chameleon? I would love to hear your thoughts on it, sound off in the new comments section below.
This is the second post in the series “Securing Your Online Identity” in which I will show you how to secure some of the more popular services we entrust with our personal information. Today I will walk you through setting up your Facebook account for two factor authentication.
Lets face it Facebook had most of us suckered in and we use it at least a couple of times a week. Not only is it a great way to stay up to date with all of the goings on from friends that have moved away or you just don’t get to see that often but it also lets you stay in contact with new friends.
I will try to keep the steps short and sweet and the entire process shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes.
1)??Go to www.facebook.com, login and open your settings drop-down.
2)Then from the drop-down select “Account Settings”. as shown below.
3) Then from the menu on the left hand side select “Security”.
4) The first three options that are in the list on this page are the ones were are concerned about today.
5) First select “Edit” next to the “Secure Browsing” heading and then tick the box as shown below and hit “Save Changes”. This option uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer), the main advantage is that all of your browsing will be encrypted between you and??Facebook, This is essential if you are using public or unsecured internet.
6) Then select the “Edit” link next to the heading “Login Notifications”. Then select the text/push message option. This option will send you a message when someone is trying to access your account from a computer that you haven’t used before.
7) Last but not least we need to hit the edit button next to the heading “Login Approvals”. If you have set this up you will see the three screens as shown below and it’s as simple as it looks. Just tick the box then “Set Up Now” and then “Close”, “Save Changes” And you’re all done! This will send a 6 digit code to your phone??every time??you try to login from anywhere that is not on your approved list.
You may be wondering why I chose not to set up the “Code Generator”. The reason is because I have never found it useful. Ever. With the login codes being SMS’d to me I only every need to use them. Also please don’t forget to set yourself up a great passphrase that is unique for this site.
What do you think about this tutorial, did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments section below.
UPDATE: See part 1 of this series here??(it’s really worth the read if you have??Google??account.)