Category Archives: Computing Security

Online Threat: Replying to Spam Email

You could have the best spam email filtering in the world and occasionally, some junk mail goes through. Under the CAN-SPAM Act, businesses are required to provide an unsubscribe link on ALL commercial email. Heavy fines can be levied if a business does not honor your request to unsubscribe.

In spite of this, many of those who send out the millions of pieces of spam every day will simply disregard this law.   In fact, if you unsubscribe or even hit reply to many of these messages, you are only confirming that your address is valid and probably will get it sold to even more mailing lists.

Now please don’t get us wrong. Most of the large online companies, like Amazon and eBay comply with not only CAN-SPAM, but even higher standards of ethics and online privacy. So do many smaller companies, because they realize how important a good online reputation is. We at Banshee Cloud even take an Oath of Privacy.

But there are many companies that even aren’t aware of these requirements and who simply look at the ease of hitting a send button. So many messages are sent to millions of people worldwide by businesses that are completely unaware of the law and ethics of email marketing.

And of course, there are those that simply flaunt the rules with the hope of not getting caught and indiscriminately sending mail out to as many people as they can.

If would like to unsubscribe to a commercial email message via a link in the message, here’s a safer way of doing it:

  1. Right click on the link and select Copy Address/Link/Shortcut or whichever variation your email program or webmail uses.
  2. Go to your favorite major (and well-known) search engine, such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing and paste the link into the search box. If anyone has complained about it, you’ll see it in the search results.
  3. If you followed our previous post and installed WOT, you’ll see the safety of the search results. In fact, if you have WOT installed and you’re already reading your mail in your browser, the links will be rated automatically.
  4. If the unsubscribe link looks safe…don’t open the link yet! First find their domain in the link and go to the company’s web page and find their Privacy Statement. You probably will find a link to it at the bottom of their home page. Sure a company can still lie on its privacy statement, but at least the presence of one is a good indicator.
  5. Finally, with WOT installed, check the reputation of the site. WOT users are pretty vocal about letting people know that a site sends out spam.
  6. If everything seems in order, it’s probably a safe bet that you can safely unsubscribe with the link!

This seems like a lot of work to unsubscribe, but with quality spam filters, the number of messages getting through should be fairly low.   And an ethical business that takes the time to provide a legitimate unsubscribe link should be allowed to continue to conduct email marketing.

 

Stay safe!

#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!

Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security

 

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Online Threat: Downloading Unsafe Files

Seems pretty obvious, but it clearly happens all the time.   One step you can take is to be very very careful of the pop windows and dialog boxes asking for confirmation to install software.

So apply a little common sense. If you are not installing anything, don’t say yes to prompts like this:

UAC Prompt

And like you see in the prompt above, this is from Microsoft. So beware of publishers you don’t recognize too.

And only download software from sites that are trusted and have an https URL. More on that later.

If you’re not sure where to find legitimate software, look it up at CNET’s Download.com:

https://download.cnet.com

Download.com Home Page

Beware of other sites. CNET actually owns the domain download.com but there are sites that spoof them, as anyone can a subdomain called “download”. For example, look out for something like download.unknownsite.com

Once you are on Download.com, you can search for the software in question. CNET does a good job of scanning for viruses and spyware.

And we also recommend that you look at the reviews. Of course, understand that one person saying it doesn’t work is not a sign that the software is bad. There are a number of reasons why software installs fail. But if a significant number of people complain about the software, you can pretty much know to be careful about installing it.

For reference, here’s the listing for Google Chrome:

http://download.cnet.com/Google-Chrome/3000-2356_4-10881381.html

download.com Google Chrome

25 million downloads (just from CNET alone) is a pretty good indication that the software is popular. 5 stars from the Editors is also a great sign. Plus 3100 votes averaging nearly 4 stars is also a good sign.   And it’s no surprise that Chrome has an Editor’s Review.

Finally, while some download pages instruct you to Run or Open the download file, as much as possible Save the file to your computer. Then scan it. If you want to be careful, update your antimalware software, before scanning it. Arguably, if you really want to be cautious, wait a day or two for your antimalware software developer to push the latest malware definitions to their updates…and then scan it.

At any rate, we hope these tips keep you safe!

#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!

Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security

 

Online Threat: Clicking on the wrong links.

According to Symantec, incidents of spam email with links to malware increased by 41% in just one month from November to December 2014. http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/malicious-links-spammers-change-malware-delivery-tactics

But that’s just email. We see an increase in the ever-present malware in social media links. It only makes sense, with the increased amount of time people spend on social media.

So what do you do about it? First of all, here’s Symantec’s suggestions:

  • Exercise caution when receiving unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
  • Avoid opening attachments in unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
  • Keep security software up-to-date

And we recommend installing the WOT plugin from www.mywot.com on ALL your browsers. Not only will it provide reputation-based ratings for every website you visit, it will also rate the links in your social media when your use your browser.

Here’s an example of WOT warning about an actual ad’s links on Facebook, with the WOT legend behind it

(you can click on the photo to see it full size):

Red-Link-on-Facebook

And if you click on the links, WOT will even redirect you to a warning page before you go there.

We will be actively working with advocating using WOT to report threats and even bad experiences you may encounter. We love their concept. With over 130 million downloads, this crowdsourced approach to security is the perfect supplement to your antimalware software.

There are of course other alternatives to monitoring links. Many of the commercial antimalware and security products will also warn you. Please be careful about what you download and install. It is unfortunate, but there is a lot of software available that claims to protect you, but further infects your devices. That will be another subject that we will address very soon!

 

 

#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!

Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security

 

 

Top Online Security Threats

We’re fed up. We see so many people lose valuable time and money to breaches in computer security. People get their Facebook accounts broken into. Email gets spoofed. Passwords get stolen. At Banshee Cloud, wwhy-charactere’ve had to clean up servers and rebuild computers because people clicked on links and videos. Or because people were using passwords that were easy to guess.

So we developed a way to bring enterprise-grade computer protection to everyone…not just businesses. But even beyond that, we want to share what we’ve learned from our research and experience protecting computers. So we’ll be posting some of the threats we have seen over social media.

Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security

Find out more about our data protection tools at http://www.banSHIELD.com

#OnlineThreats

 

Updates to banSHIELD!

banSHIELD-Store-LogoWe have updated our banSHIELD suite of security products to incorporate improved protection and a broader response to threats to your computers.   The pricing has been adjusted accordingly to reflect the additional measures now included.

However, we also want to keep this vital product within the reach of as many people as possible.   With this in mind, we are offering $15.00 off ANY banSHIELD product.   Expiration date of offer is subject to the cost of threat responses deemed necessary to keep your computer protected.  This offer is currently valid through March 31, 2015. Limit one coupon per customer please.

Just enter COUPON CODE: bff35a when you check out in our store!

Please visit www.banSHIELD.com for more information!

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Cybersecurity. It’s Not Just the President’s Concern. It’s Something EVERYONE Online Should Address

Today, President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University. Notably, several prominent tech CEOs were not in attendance. And perhaps the Executive Order Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing does raise some personal privacy issues. So understandably, debate has only just begun on this event.

But is this all just political? Statistics certainly support an increase in widespread breaches and vast amounts of personal and financial data from major corporations. A good majority of the American and indeed the world population have already been affected. And that’s just the headlines.

As with all other types of crimes, there are countless incidents that occur each and every day. Many of them are right in your town, your neighborhood…and yes, your home. Of this, our company can attest. We maintain networks and we work with software. And in both areas, we find ourselves appalled at the prevalence of attacks on the computers and systems that we deal with on a daily basis.

It has been a given fact for some time now that Wall Street and the world’s major organizations have all experienced some form of cybersecurity compromise. And that would be quite constantly.

But what about Main Street? All the local businesses and all the households in our country and throughout the world are just as beleaguered.

We truly find the situation outright ludicrous. If every business and every home that you pass by daily were to be the target of burglary, people would be outraged. Even the most impoverished neighborhoods do not have to deal with a constant barrage of criminals trying to break in. Such a scenario plays right out of a post-apocalyptic zombie movie.

Family in Front of HouseAnd yet our online lives are indeed embattled to that outrageous degree. Every business, every home, every one of us. We are all subjected to a literally unending stream of attacks upon our computing devices.

Attacks on the nation’s infrastructure and corporate databases grab headlines. But every minute and every hour of every day, millions worldwide are silent and often unknowing victims. We call them “The Hackers” in an attempt to categorize and make sense of this threat. There are state-sponsored programs out to cripple our military. There are organized criminals literally ganging up to obtain credit cards and other lucrative items. And yes there really are individuals trying to get into your system just because they can.

But they are there. And they go after all of us, without exception. Move over, zombies. You’re virtually nothing compared to the swarm at the gate. Or as we say in the business, gateway.

 

Introducing banSHIELD: data protection. malware elimination.

banSHIELD-Facebook-Wall-PhotoWe have been dealing with quite a few malware infections on a wide range of networks and home office computers. And we’ve realized that the situation must be far worse on consumer devices. So in the spirit of our obsession with empowering people, we’ve created an entire suite of security products that apply enterprise-grade malware protection and at consumer-friendly prices. Much as we’ve done with our nABLE custom cloud solutions, we’ve gathered the most effective tools available and combined them with our own unique approach and proprietary systems.

It is with great pleasure and a desire to help as many computer users as possible that we now proudly introduce…banSHIELD. The product line is broken down into two families: banSHIELD Guard focuses on protecting your computer and your data. Coupled with some of the best and proven security products available, we have added the very same backup and data storage strategies that we use to protect networks. While we work to keep your data safe, we can also restore your machine in as little as 15 minutes!

banSHIELD Clean is for those dreaded situations when your computer does get infected. Because computer security is just like home security…no matter how sophisticated the locks and alarms, nothing is impenetrable. And just like with homes, there are lots of times when gates have been left wide open. So we have applied our experience in cleaning up business systems to come up with ways to clean up your devices.

So we genuinely recommend you try our banSHIELD Guard products. And call on banSHIELD Clean when you need help. Because there literally are hordes of hackers out there looking to get into your precious stuff. Stay safe, stay secure, stay clean!

Announcing: Support Team Live Chat!

We’ve got a bunch of great news coming up and the first thing is that we’ve set up a Support Team Live Chat system at http://support.bansheecloud.com !   Now in addition to filling out the support request form there, emailing support, and of course calling us, you can chat with us live to get help at any time.

The Live Chat is also available on many of our product websites, so you can also conveniently reach out to us if you have any product questions.

You’ll find these guys in the image below at the bottom of each of these web pages, on both desktop and mobile.  And if you don’t see them, we are also in the process of adding text and banner links to standalone chat pages.  In fact, if you click on the image, you’ll be taken to a chat page.

We look forward to being able to better assist and empower you!

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Securing Your IOS Device with Multifactor Authentication

“Our task now is not to fix the blame for the past but to fix the course for the future” an Anonymous Author said. Apple released a statement that celebrity accounts were specifically targeted and they recommended that iCloud users implement Multifactor Authentication. Looking into the scenario, we are sure that celebrities value their privacy including their web accounts thus some innovations have to be done to address the issue rather than to put the blame on the manufacturers of their existing devices.

Why wait for another incident where your privacy is encroached:  Protect your privacy . . . set up MFA on your IOS device. Do It Now Before it’s too Late!

Learn more here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5570

Would you like us to cover other devices or other topics?  Tell us here:  http://www.computingsuperpowers.com/cant-find-it/

And for more information:

http://www.cnet.com/news/apple-says-celeb-photo-attack-was-targeted-not-widespread-breach/
http://www.cnet.com/news/apple-to-beef-up-security-alerts-for-its-icloud-users/

Holding App

Banshee Cloud incorporates security for your safety in our products, such as The Ultimate Food App.

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