Facebook stored users’ passwords in unsecure manner

Facebook app

Facebook stored passwords for hundreds of millions of users, exposing them for years to any person who had internal access to these password files. Passwords are usually encrypted, but errors led to some 200 million to 600 millions passwords being exposed. Passwords that were affected were for Facebook, Facebook Lite and Instagram. More information can be found here.

This is a good reminder of the importance of:

  • Changing passwords often, while making them not easily guessable
  • Using 2fa (Two Factor Authorization) applications on your mobile phone, such as Authy
  • Configuring Facebook to send you alerts in the event an unauthorized computer or mobile device logs into your account
  • Using Facebook to audit your account to see what devices are currently logged into your account, to determine if there are any that may look suspicious

If you’d like assistance with setting up any of these items, or have questions, let us know!

Web browser Firefox can now block auto-play videos

The latest version of the Mozilla browser Firefox can now block auto-play videos with sound. Chrome has previously introduced this ability, but Firefox’s has the ability to block more videos in a more user-friendly manner of setup. It can also be configured to exclude only certain sites, and include others. More can be read here.

Features such as this are good for those on limited download plans. If you’d like assistance with configuring this feature, just let us know!

Google urges Chrome users to upgrade to latest version

Due to a security vulnerability, Google is urging users of their Chrome web browser to update to the latest version. As the article mentions in the first link below, Chrome updates are usually automatically performed.

To see the current version of Chrome on a Mac, you can access the Chrome menu in the top left while in the browser and choose “About Google Chrome”. The second of two links below explains how to check if on a Windows-based PC.

This is another example of ensuring that your software is kept up to date.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/367015/stop-what-youre-doing-and-update-google-chrome

https://www.pcmag.com/feature/364079/how-to-update-google-chrome/2

Adobe fixes Premiere issue that blew MacBook speakers

MacBook with Adobe products

Earlier in February, it was reported by multiple sites that some MacBook Pro owners had an issue with Adobe Premiere Pro CC “blowing” the speakers due to a software bug. Adobe has confirmed this issue and introduced an update to address it. The below link explains the problem and resolution.

Issues like this show the positive results of making sure software is kept up to date. For users with slower connections that prohibit quickly downloading updates and other files, ask us how we can assist with getting the most out of what you already have.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/23/18237501/adobe-premiere-pro-cc-macbook-pro-speakers-blown-patched

Apple Watch provides potentially life-saving benefits

The Apple Watch can provide monitoring of various health markers, during rest, exercise and even sleep. This can provide various clues to potential health issues.

As the below linked article indicates, this is exactly what the Watch provided. An “Apple Watch user in Washington has credited his Apple Watch with alerting him that his atrial fibrillation had returned.” Because of this history of health markers that the Watch provided, his doctor was then able to put him on blood thinners to prevent a possible stroke.

Wrongful death lawsuit brought after fire allegedly caused by iPad

Firefighters putting water on fire.

“A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Apple in New Jersey after a man died in an apartment fire which allegedly began when his iPad burst into flames.” As has been seen in the past, especially in the recall of Samsung phones due to higher propensity for them to catch fire, it is important to understand the risks (while fairly rare) that a Lithium Ion battery could catch fire.

Here are a few user tips to practice when charging your mobile device:

  • When charging your device, do so in an area away from flammable materials. Best to charge on a fireproof tray or other fireproof item.
  • Don’t charge your device in bed while sleeping, and don’t put it under the bed covers or pillows.
  • It is wise to not leave a device charging when you’re not near it. In the event of any issues, you want to be able to address what’s occurring as soon as possible.
  • Be aware of how hot your phone gets while in use or especially when charging. Refrain from charging for long periods of time in areas of direct sunlight or other hot places, such as on the dashboard of a car on a hot day.

Doing the above things will assist in keeping you safe. Below is the link to the article on the lawsuit for further review.

Multi-level hack on email provider destroys almost two decades of data

People holding message bubbles

“Email provider VFEmail said it has suffered a catastrophic destruction of all of its servers by an unknown assailant who wiped out almost two decades’ worth of data and backups in a matter of hours.” The hacker (or hackers) acquired multiple passwords related to the service, and formatted all hard drives related to the serving of email. They were discovered in the middle of formatting the backup server. The email is “effectively gone” as stated in the article.

This is a good reminder that it’s important to have a backup of your IMAP mail or other online email (such as Yahoo Mail or Gmail) to your local computer, which also has a backup. Backups are a good idea always, in all circumstances.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/02/catastrophic-hack-on-email-provider-destroys-almost-two-decades-of-data/

Hackers use malicious Windows file to access MacOS

Mouse pointer hovering over the work security

Hackers are utilizing the file type “.exe” to unload malicious software onto MacOS powered computers. As the article linked below mentions, by default, .exe files won’t run on a Mac. The malicious download worked around this limitation by bundling the .exe file with a free framework known as Mono. Mono allows Windows executables to run on MacOS, Android, and a variety of other operating systems.

Users should be cautious of downloading any software from insecure resources such as Torrent sites. Torrent sites provide users with the ability to download any type of software, movies, games, etc, which leads to a “Wild West” scenario, where all bets are off with the type of files that you’re actually downloading.

It’s also wise to ensure children are not accessing these sites either, and to block access to Torrent resources on company networks.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/02/clever-trick-uses-windows-executable-file-to-install-malicious-payload-on-macs/

8 Tips to keep your Cell Phone charged when the power goes out

iPhone charging

Whether you’re going to be away from a typical power source for a while, or suddenly fall victim to a long-lasting power outage, there are several things you can do to make sure your cell phone continues to be available. Cell phone power can be ironic: always charged when you don’t need it but when you need it most, the battery dies!

Here are a few tips…

  • Always ensure your phone is charged, especially if it has an older battery (and consider getting a new battery installed if possible, if you don’t plan on getting a new phone in the near future).
  • Make sure that a device such as a laptop, which has an internal battery, is fully charged. In an emergency, you can use the laptop to charge the phone.
  • A separate fully-powered USB storage bank can provide peace of mind. In the event of long-lasting power outages, there are also chargers with solar and hand crank capabilities to keep phones available for emergency calls.
  • Another inexpensive piece of hardware is an adapter for the power port (“cigarette lighter”) in most automobiles, for those older vehicles that don’t have built-in USB ports.
  • Enabling Low Power Mode on an iPhone, by going through the Settings App and selecting the Battery setting, will help conserve power. Further, turning on “Auto Lock” in the Settings can also help with power consumption, locking the screen automatically after a user-defined time.
  • Of course, not excessively using the phone, especially with watching videos or surfing the Internet, is a wise choice.
  • Double-clicking the Home button on the iPhone, and swiping up on any applications currently open in the background that you are no longer using, will prevent them from causing further battery drain.
  • Finally, if you have the ability, you can visit a local coffee shop, restaurant or grocery store for power charging and WIFI use. If using WIFI, it is wise to put your phone on a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to beef up the security, as most public places do not have adequate computer network security to protect the data that you are sending and receiving (we’ll save that discussion for another blog post). Just expect that wherever you may visit, seating (and power outlets) may be at a premium!