June 24, 2014

And a full month!

Last Friday I published Show 4 of the Itty Bitty Security Podcast!  One show a week so far.  Although I plan on moving the publish days to Tuesday from Friday, so there likely won't be a show this Friday.  Still, not bad.  Just have to keep talkin'. 

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June 10, 2014

Comments... off

I have been inundated with spam.  Way way too much spam.  I turned off comments for now.  Not a big deal as I haven't been posting much.  It is annoying though. Damned spammers. 

If you want to leave me a comment you can drop me an email or head over to the Itty Bitty Security Podcast site where the spammers haven't found me quite yet

*** Update - an entire day with no spam.  Before turning off the comments I was getting 10+ pages of spam comments a day.  Oh well.

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June 01, 2014

And here it is!

I have started a podcast.  The first episode was approved by Apple yesterday.  So I can now announce it.  Yay!  Go here, listen, it will take you all of 7 minutes give or take a few seconds.

Itty Bitty Security Podcast


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May 29, 2014

If anyone is peaking in...

I haven't forgotten my blog, but I've been busy on a project that I will post a link to very soon - I hope!  Stay tuned.

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April 10, 2014

Heartbleed and the Password Monster

This week we have seen exactly how something bad can happen to our virtual world and better yet, how annoying it is to try and get information.

Brian Krebs has had a couple of excellent, easy to follow articles:


One of the things not mentioned and that you can do in addition to checking sites and changing passwords is get yourself a password manager.  I am going to list a few here, check them out.  Everyone has one they prefer for various reasons.  (my preference is 1Password).  They all work, some are more automatic than others. All of them make it easier for you to have better passwords and change them easily.  

The Freebies: 

Password Safe - this one has been around for ages and continues to be developed in open source.  It works great on Windows desktops.  If that is all you need, this one will do it for you.  Check out the fun video under the Quickstart guide link.  

KeePass - I have not used this one, but a number of people like it. Also Windows based like PW Safe above. No cool video, but it will likely do the same job. 

RoboForm - many people love this one. It's more polished than the other two and it works on all platforms. Windows, Mac, tablets, phones.  Very nice for a free platform.  The password database resides on their servers.  Some people are okay with this others not so comfortable. It depends on you're personality when it comes to this. 


LastPass - this is another online based system.  The freemium model means you can get their basic services on your computer for free.  If you want to go with mobile devices too, then you have to pay them. It's not terribly expensive, they do charge per year.   They also hold secure notes among other things.  I haven't used it, but I know people who love it. Ironically, they were hit with the Heartbleed bug although they have fixed their servers.

Pay for:

1Password - I have been using this for several years now and love it. Yes, it's pay for.  It does not run on Windows tablets so if that is important to you, then this is not the one to use.  

They started as a Mac application and it works beautifully on all apple products.  Your options are to have the database on your computer, on dropbox, or (if you are on apple) on icloud.  I have used it via dropbox to sync to my Windows 7, Mac, iphone, and ipad.  It will also sync to android devices.  

I like the flexibility of where the database will reside.  I also like the features of secure notes, software license folder, credit card folder, personal identity folder (to fill in forms on websites).

I'm sure there are others out there, but among these, you should be able to find something that fits your needs and works for you.  

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April 06, 2014

Side Bar... hmmmm

It looks as though my sidebar has disappeared.  Not sure what's going on, but I shall drop a note to Pixy and see if he can fix it.  

Ah - looks like I had some spam that was causing problems. Oh well.  Such is life. 

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March 28, 2014

The end of XP

As you may or may not know, support for Windows XP ends April 8th.  That's coming up in about 10 days.  If you are running XP (yes you have a very old machine) then be prepared.  After the last update, there will be a spate of exploits sent out. 

I know there are people who can not (financially) move on to other machines so here are a few things you can try to keep the wolves at bay - so to speak. 

1. Get either Chrome or Firefox as a browser.  Don't argue with me that you love IE - doesn't matter. It is already a mess with holes in it. It will only get worse after support ends.  And don't tell me one of the above is better than the other... that doesn't matter either. What matters is they are both current browsers and both are continuing to update patches even if they run on old XP.

2. Put Ad Block Plus on your browser of choice.  When you go to the site, it determines the browser and will show you the plugin you need to apply.  Use it!  There will be malicious software being served up as ads on all kinds of sites - even so called "safe" sites. This includes the big ones like CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN etc.  This plugin will stop those ads from getting to you instead of you trying to clean up after them.  I know there are people trying to support their site via ads.  But you can't afford the price at the moment. One bad ad served by one site could brick your computer... how much does it help if you have no working computer?  BTW - on some of the news sites,  this plugin will keep videos from running.  Sorry about that. They are jerks about it and want to sell ads, even if you put your machine at risk.  Walk away. 

3. Add Web of Trust to the browser too.  It's not 100% fool proof, but they make an effort to scan for malware on sites and mark them.  If you hit a "red" site even by accident, it brings up a page to stop you before you go there.  Go read why it's marked as "red".  Most times it is because of malware.  Political sites are a bit iffy as opponents will mark the site "red" based on content.  But do check FIRST.  Don't assume a site is marked as bad simply because of content, WoT will tell you why if you take a moment to go look. 

4. If you download mail to your machine, get an antivirus program and run it (if you don't have one as yet).  Avast has a decently rated free program.  As with all AV - this will protect against old stuff not new, but there is still plenty of the old stuff wafting about the net. 

5.  Don't skip the last set of patches.  Get them all.  

6. Try to stay behind a good firewall like a home router if at all possible.  Don't connect to public networks with no decent firewall. 

7.  Last but not least. For those with enough tech savvy and some adventurous spirit, get a thumb drive and grab a copy of  Ubuntu Linux.  They have made things very easy and it might be exactly what you need to get you through until you can get a new machine with an updated OS. 

Good luck. 

**** UPDATE  Also Office 2003 support is ending too!  If you use this version of Office, you may want to either upgrade if you can or look at the free tools available.  They aren't as good, but they are up to date and patched.  There is Open Office   or Libre Office  along with Thunderbird for mail.  Look at Google for your calendar too.  These might help a bit if you can't afford Office 365. 

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March 09, 2014

More Travel Fun

Last weekend I was on the road again.  Had to hit the office to do some work (which led to an entire week of fixing things and thus no time to blog about the trip) then seeing the kids, and of course the annual Oscar party which is always a delight.

As per usual  I tried to take notes while in the zoos known colloquially as airports.   Enjoy.


Amazing how many people show up late to the airport and depend on the kindness of strangers to let them cut the line.

Seriously Logan... One security lane open?  One??? *sigh*

Tried to get food. Sadly lunch is not available until. 11am. Will have to wait 30 min. Don't want breakfast.

Power outlet fun at Logan.

Lady next to me is loudly complaining about being stuck in the middle seat. Not sure what anyone is supposed to do about it.  Her husband keeps saying he’ll be happy to trade seats with her. Then she says "No No you already sat in the middle seat on the flight out, it’s my turn”. Okay then… time to shut up about it.  

Nice not having the harping about turning off electronics before take off.

My heavens the woman next to me is antsy. I thought I had a hard time sitting still!!! She also takes up quite a bit of room. If she was taller I would have had an elbow in my face a moment ago.  

Chicago totally cloud covered. No pics. Oh well.  

Return trip

Car rental return... man with the white winter coat.  I am all admiration! Whenever I try to wear white I get it dirty immediately.  Not only are you wearing a long white winter coat... it is clean.  I bow to you!

No seats at the wine bar but I outwitted them and had a glass of wine at Chili’s.

Boarding went well. This can not go unpunished. A small mechanical issue has delayed the flight. So far 10 min late. Not bad... Yet.

And we luck out - only a 20 minute delay.  Excellent.

Arrived Logan.  Have to say, it was worth it to pay slightly more for my seats so I could get on and off the plane easier.  Can’t afford first class, but early boarding, that I can do.

Totally oblivious man waiting for his ride. Dumps bags in middle of door walkway. Proceeds to leave them as he wanders around talking on his cell. Keeps walking past door sensor. Open, close, open, close… let’s bring in LOTS of cold air. Finally his ride arrives and he dithers back and forth over which bags go where while the car blocks the bus lane. Good job all around dude!

Slowest shuttle bus driver… ever. I suppose the guy is being careful, but wow.  

And back to car.  It’s there, it starts.  All is good.  

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February 18, 2014

And speaking of Brian Krebs

I always cringe when people start talking about connecting any of their stuff to the internet through their firewall.  It's just asking for trouble. 

Brian Krebs asks, Is it time to harden your hardware?

If you are lost when reading the opening remarks about the routers, scroll on down to the light switches... then read about the problems with Network Attached Storage (NAS).  These things are becoming very popular. 

Heck I have a hard time making people understand that their Operating Systems need to be kept up to date.  Trying to make them understand that other machines need updating too?  Whew...

The problem with the hardware listed here, it's all being touted as making your life easier.  Plug it in, fire it up, voilà  you are online and able to access your house systems from afar. 

Except maybe someone else can do this too... and maybe you don't want them to. 

It's a problem.  How much security are you willing to trade off for the ability to turn your lights on and off when you aren't home? 

OTOH this is probably one of the funniest commercials I've seen with the theme.  I wouldn't use the service, but I giggle whenever I watch it.

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February 17, 2014

A great read

The NY Times does a story on a reporter I admire very much. And they do an excellent job of it.

Brian Krebs profiled by the NY Times

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