April 15, 2012

When in doubt start pointing fingers

Well it looks like Google is in a bit of hot water with the government

Google fined $25,000 for impeding FCC investigation

That's it?  Twenty-five thou is not even pocket change for this company, it's more like pocket lint.  They lose more than this between the cracks of the server farm frames every day.

In their infinite wisdom, The Goog has decided they are not turning anything over to the eeeevil US government merely because some of their more zealous employees broke a little bitty law. Pish and tush!

But Google also collected passwords, Internet usage history and other sensitive personal data that was not needed for its location database project, the FCC said.


After all they are only following the dictum of Eric Schmidt their executive chairman.

"If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”


Which, it seems, the company took to include the collection of your username and password along with other data as they drove by.

However, I guess this bit of government interference has been just a tad too much for the old Goog to tolerate. One of the "don't be evil" founders has taken to the news media to loudly proclaim:

Web freedom facing greatest threat: Google founder

Seriously? Apple, Facebook, and the government are all out to destroy the internet? They are all eeeeevil!!! But the Goog... the Goog is pure of heart and wants only the best for us all!

Right.

While portions of the government seem hell bent on taking away our internet freedom, why do I have the feeling Brin is talking about one particular agency? 

Maybe The Goog should take Eric's advice above.  After all he's one of their top guys. Isn't that why they pay him?

Now, how long before I'm totally delisted form Google for this completely offensive post.  Ha.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 09:47 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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April 10, 2012

Patchy - Patchy Please

New windows updates came out today.  Time to patch as there are exploits in the wild already

Interestingly enough on reading the article linked above, we're back to nasty stuff being passed along via Windows Office documents.  Please be careful and don't just open stuff that hits your inbox!

You'd think after all these years people would kinda get that.  But apparently such is not the case. 

In Apple news, they will be releasing software to get rid of the Flashback trojan.  They are also trying to take the botnet offline.  Of course as with any botnet, the only way to get rid of it is to get rid of all of it.  Depends on how distributed it is as to whether they can take it down.  We shall see. 

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of your computer.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 08:44 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 05, 2012

All That Java - small update

I'm a little late blogging this. Sorry about that. But here's a quick tip for everyone browsing about the web. Windows, Mac, it doesn't matter.

If you have Java on your system please disable it!  (instructions on that to follow)

Yes you see it in bold because this has been the week of the Java meltdown and it's not pretty. If you've missed the high drama surrounding this bit malware fun and games you can catch up via this post at F-Secure.

Mac Flashback Infections

If you aren't interested in backtracking through all of it, suffice it to say, Apple left Java unpatched for about 6 months... finally sending out the patch yesterday after the news hit the internet that it was a problem. Guess what happened... the Java hole that had been patched by Oracle but NOT by Apple was exploited on Macs running Java. All people had to do was hit a web site with an infected Java applet and voilà! instant own by the trojan.  Yippee Skippee.

So let's start with the Mac people... did you get owned? (If you are running a new machine with Lion you might not have Java - it does not come on Mac with Lion and would only be there if you downloaded it)

If you are a Mac user, certainly check your updates and make sure you've got it patched. Then open a terminal window (it's in Applications --> Utilities --> Terminal.app). Terminal looks like an old DOS window with cute things like your computer name and $ where you would enter text if you knew what to type.  Well, here you go, enter the following - you can cut and paste from here:

defaults read /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment

Hit enter. If it says:

"The domain/default pair of (/Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info, LSEnvironment) does not exist"

Breathe a small sigh of relief. If you run Firefox, you'll need to change the Safari.app to Firefox.app and do it again. 

Next copy and paste this into the terminal window:

defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES

Hit enter. Once again if you receive:

"The domain/default pair of (/Users/joe/.MacOSX/environment, DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES) does not exist"

All is well and you are set. (BTW the "joe" above will be your login name)  If you got anything other than the "does not exist" message for either of these commands, see the F-Secure Disinfection Page  to get rid of it.

Now... on to the fix.  Disable Java!  You can do this in several ways.  Either disable Java in the browser, disable it on the system or remove it from your system.  I would suggest disabling both the system and browser, wait about a month. If you haven't broken anything, remove it from your system.  That should be the least traumatic way to do this. If something is broken, you'll then have to decide if it's worth keeping Java or not.  You could keep it and only enable it when you really need to use it.

So here we go:

Windows:
On the system.  Go to control panel. In the search bar type in "Java". This should bring up the Java entry. Click this to open the Java panel. There are several tabs across the top, click the "Java" tab. Click on "View" it will open a new little window.  Uncheck the "Enable" box and click "OK".  Then "OK" again to close the Java box. 

In IE (this might be different for different versions - I have the latest so I hope you don't have to search too hard to find this).  Open the "Internet Options" box.  In the latest version it's located in the "settings wheel" on the top right of the browser.  Click the "Programs" tab and the the "Manage add-ons" button. Scroll down and you should see the Java plugin(s).  Disable them. 

In Firefox open the "Options" box.  Under the "General" tab (the first tab!) Click the "Manage Add-ons" box.  Disable the Java plugin(s). 

Restart the browser. That should do it for Windows. 

Mac:

Open Finder. Type in "Java Preferences" in the search bar.  You will have to scroll, but it should be in the list of stuff there.  The icon is a cup of coffee with a window background.  Click it to open.  Depending on your system you may have both a 32bit and 64bit Java.  Doesn't really matter, just uncheck the boxes under the "general" tab.  Then you can close the window.

In Safari:
Open Preferences. Go to the Security tab and uncheck "enable Java".  That's it.

In Firefox - go to Tools -- Add-ons and disable Java. 

Now at least you might not pick up any unwelcome little trojans.  Maybe.  At least for a little while.

I hope the instructions make sense.  If not, you can ask, or you can find a local geek who can help.

****

I don't have Chrome, but it looks like you don't have to do anything if you do have it : For Java specifically, Chrome now disables Java by default on all pages and prompts you to allow it to run each time a site needs it. So you should be okay with the browser part.

***
Update 2: I should be clear that Apple didn't patch Java for about 6 months. But the current exploited hole is one that Oracle patched in February.  Be that as it may, there were other Java patches in the meantime just not noted as being exploited on Macs like this one.


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