DDoS? And Why YOU May be to Blame

Last week, many websites and apps were severely compromised, especially on the East Coast. Apps like Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, AirBnB, and Netflix slowed to a crawl or were shut down altogether.  A DDoS attack was launched against Dyn, a New Hampshire company that provides DNS routing.

Level3 Outage map on 24Oct16 Screen Shot by Geek For Hire, Inc.

Level3 Outage map on 24Oct16
Screen Shot by Geek For Hire, Inc.

What did you just say?

  • DDoS = A “Distributed Denial of Service” occurs when hundreds of thousands of messages are sent to specific internet addresses with the intent to overload that service and shut it down. (In this case, the intent was to take down Dyn in order to affect many websites and not just one.)
  • DNS = The Internet’s Domain Name System translates the URL’s we enter, like www.google.com, into “the numerical IP addresses needed for the purpose of locating and identifying computer services and devices.” (From wikipedia)

In the past, most DDoS attacks were focused on a particular website.  Last Friday, the attack was focused on a company which the NY Times calls “one of the Internet’s giant switchboards”, which had a devastating impact.

So, how is this MY fault?

Do you have a surveillance camera on your front door? A wireless printer? A “smart” refrigerator”? All of these are connected to the internet with their own numerical IP address.  The “bad guys” can run through a list of IP address to see which addresses can easily be compromised.  Once they’ve identified these devices, they can use them to add to their arsenal to send the messages that create the attack.

I still don’t get it.  How is this MY fault?

Do you use a password on all of your internet connected devices? Is it secure? A password of “admin”, “123456”, or “password” is NOT secure!  Have you ever been out looking for free WiFi, and something like “HP-M475-5E3F78” was presented as an available WiFi that you could connect to?  That is what happens when someone does not put a password on their printer.  There are literally millions of WiFi connected devices in the US.  How many of those are vulnerable to participating in these types of attacks?

Please make it a point to use a secure password on all of your internet connected devices.  Change it today!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Speech to Text Punctuation

I’ve been using my phone’s speech to text feature more and more.  I use the feature to compose emails, send text messages, and search on my phone’s internet browser.  I have experienced some frustration that the phone doesn’t always do what I tell it to do.  I’ve modified my instructions somewhat so that more and more often, the text result ends up looking more like what I intend for it to look!

For example, when I want to begin a new paragraph, “Return” and “next line” don’t work, but “New Line” does, and so does “Next Paragraph”.  Note that “Next Line” will give you one standard return, but “Next Paragraph” will give you two lines in between the paragraphs.

Other symbols include:

  • ? – “Question mark”
  • . – “Period”
  • ( – “Open Parentheses”
  • ) – “Close Parentheses”
  • @ – “At symbol” doesn’t work but “at sign” does.
  • * –  The asterisk is really tricky.  Even with perfect diction, it gets confused.  I’ve found it’s easier to edit that after I’m done speaking.
  • + – “Plus Sign”
  • – – “Minus Sign”
  • & – “Ampersand”
  • % – “Percent sign”
  • # – “Pound Sign”
  • ! – “Exclamation point”

I’ve also had issues with the word “to”, “two”, and “too”.  It usually translates it as “to”.  I’ve learned to say “Too Many”, or I just edit when I’m done speaking.  I’ve not been able to reliably get it to correctly type “two”.

Other numbers under 10 will almost always translate as the number word and not the symbol itself.  Numbers over 10 translate as the number symbol.

On a teeny tiny phone screen, sometimes using the speech to text feature makes life a whole lot easier.  I hope these tricks help you too!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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What to do with your Samsung Galaxy Note 7

If you have a Galaxy Note 7, right now is the time to turn it off and bring it back to the store.  Why? Here’s an excerpt from an October 9th story in CNET:

“Samsung’s exploding phone woes continue with more reports of replacement Galaxy Note 7s exploding.

A Minnesota teenager told a Minneapolis-St. Paul TV station that she felt a “weird, burning sensation” in her thumb while holding her Galaxy Note 7 Friday afternoon. That report was followed Saturday by news that a Kentucky man had to go to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after another replacement Galaxy Note 7 caught fire earlier this week.”

Since the phone was introduced on August 2nd, there have been reports of fires, explosions, smoke, and extreme heat.  The first reported explosion occurred on August 24th in S. Korea and on September 2nd, Samsung issued a full recall of the phone citing a faulty battery.  (A full timeline is provided on Fortune Magazine.

Credit: Samsung.com

When I first heard about this problem a week or so ago, Samsung was advising customers to bring the phone in for replacement. They exchanged the original model of the Galaxy Note 7 with a newer version of the same item. As of October 10th, Samsung has advised all Galaxy Note 7 owners to bring their phones back to where they were purchased.
However, when this article was published, Samsung is still selling the 7 on their website, but does offer tips for maintaining normal operating temperature for your device.

I think the best advice is just to bring it back and pick out a new phone.  Since it has only been available in the US since August 19th, and most of our readers are not early-adopters, you may still be under a 30 day exchange policy offered by your place of purchase anyway.

And, another chance for a reminder from Geek For Hire, Inc., to make sure you back up your data, especially the pictures on your phone, on a very regular basis!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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18 Keyboard Shortcuts for the Mac

Two weeks ago our blog was about some of the Windows shortcuts available.  This week, it’s all about the Mac.  The Command Key is the “key” to most of these shortcuts.  This is what it looks like:

 Command Key | Geek For Hire, Inc. |

Shortcuts

Command + A = Select All

Command + B = Bold

Command + C = Copy

Command + E = Eject the disk

Command + F = Find

Command + G = Find again

Command + H = Hide

Command + I = Italics

Command + M = Minimize

Command + N = New

Command + P = Print

Command + Q = Quit

Command + S = Save

Command + T = Show/Hide the fonts window

Command + U = Underline

Command + V = Paste

Command + X = Cut

Command + Z = Undo

Are these helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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