NoScript – Another Key to Staying Safe

My NoScript stopped working yesterday so I had the chance to peek over Chris’ shoulder as he was reinstalling it.  I almost felt naked without it.  I know that NoScript protects me and ensures that I’m not sharing private data with entities that shouldn’t have it.

What is NoScript?

NoScript is a free extension that works with Firefox, Chris’ browser of choice. It blocks all web content that requires Javascript, Flash, and Silverlight in order to fully display content.  In order to display that content, you must specifically allow it by adding the website to your “white list.”

Why would I want to block Javascript?

Many of the bad actors out there use Flash and Javascript to install malware onto your machine.  There have been times when I have clicked on a website without realizing what it was.  Once the site opened, I realized I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE.  If I did not have NoScript installed, it would have run all of the scripts on that site without asking permission ahead of time.  Once the scripts start running, they can install all sorts of stuff on my machine.

How do I get NoScript?

Start by opening your Firefox browser and then follow these easy steps:

  1. On the top menu bar, click on “Tools”, and then “Add-ons”
  2. A new tab will open. Then click on “Extensions”
  3. In the search box, enter “NoScript”
  4. Click on “NoScript Security Suite”
  5. Then click on “Add to Firefox”

My websites look all weird now!

Once you’ve installed NoScript, you’ll notice right away that pages won’t load as you expect them too.  You’ll need to spend some time training NoScript about which web sites you trust.  Notice that at the top right of your Firefox window, you’ll see a red “S” that looks like this:

NoScript

Now What Do I Do?

Click on that button and you’ll see a list of websites that NoScript is not allowing to fully load. Then click on “Temp TRUSTED” or “TRUSTED” for each site that you want to load.  You’ll be surprised at the number of scripts that want to load for each web page!  Sometimes, you’ll need to do this another time or two until the page loads to your satisfaction.  Here’s an example for Facebook:

NoScript

Note that if you select “Temp TRUST”, you’ll need to redo this step each time you load that page.  Once you’ve selected which sites you’ll trust, click on the green circle to “reload”.  Once you reload, there may be additional pages that the website wants to load.  I’ve noticed that these are generally for tracking and ads.

I hope this keeps you safer on the Internet!

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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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Secure Texting with the Signal App

I know I’m a little behind the times, but I just found out about Signal, a secure texting app that provides a higher level of data encryption than any of the other texting apps out there.  I’ve been looking for something different ever since I found out that Facebook acquired WhatsApp.  (And, again, a little behind the times since Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014!) But, then again, even the founder of WhatsApp thinks that it is time to dump Facebook as this tweet reflects from earlier in the year.

Secure Texting with Signal

What’s wrong with WhatsApp? I thought it had secure texting:

And, while WhattsApp says it provides secure texting, it is still owned by Facebook.  From the WhatsApp website:

“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message use our app. Many messaging apps only encrypt messages between you and them, but WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.”

And, in my view, a for-profit company known to sell private data to the highest bidder is not on my “to be trusted” list.

Why is Signal better:

When I found out about Signal a few weeks ago I downloaded it right away.  I was surprised to see who of my contacts are already using Signal.  Even some of my family are in that list!  Signal is a secure texting messaging app.  It is free for the download from iTunes (you’ll need iOS 9.0 or later), or the Google Play Store (you’ll need Android 4.0 and up). Because it provides end-to-end encryption no one can view the messages you send except you and the recipient.

From the Signal website:

“Signal messages and calls are always end-to-end encrypted and painstakingly engineered to keep your communication safe. We can’t read your messages or see your calls, and no one else can either.”

“Signal has never taken VC funding or sought investment, because we felt that putting profit first would be incompatible with building a sustainable project that put users first.”

In addition to secure texting, you can also use Signal for phone calls and video chat.

Here’s what Mashable has to say:

“By allowing you to have truly private conversations, Signal changes that equation. Why is this so important? This year, perhaps more than ever, we’ve seen just how asleep at the wheel tech giants are when it comes to nefarious actors using their platforms to sow discord and incite violence. Taking your conversations, and, by extension, valuable data about your so-called social graph off those platforms is one way to fight this.”

And more from Wired about secure texting:

“There’s one messaging app we should all be using: Signal. It has strong encryption, it’s free, it works on every mobile platform, and the developers are committed to keeping it simple and fast by not mucking up the experience with ads, web-tracking, stickers, or animated poop emoji.”

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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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Secure WiFi on Vacation

secure wifi on vacationGrowing up with a Dad who was a psychiatrist, August was always the month for vacations.  (As I got older I used to worry about his patients who were left alone for an entire month!)  There are some things you can do to make sure you have secure WiFi wherever you are in the world.  The most important is keeping your WiFi use safe and secure.

Here are some steps to take before and during your vacation:

  • Set up a throwaway email before you leave.  While you are gone, you will be asked numerous times for your email address.  Lots of times, they just won’t take “no” for an answer.  Head over to Google’s Gmail sign up page for a new (free) account. Remember the password, and be sure you set up auto-forwarding to your main email address.  You’ll want your smartphone to be able to receive any access codes that may be sent.
  • When you’re going for free WiFi, try to use well-known companies.  For example, Starbucks or the Hilton are well known for their secure WiFi and aren’t likely to steal your info for a nefarious use.
  • Whatever you do, don’t try to connect to WiFi with names like “TellMy WiFi LuvHer”, or “FBI Surveillance Van” or  “Hacker 547”.  (Yes, I’ve seen all of those.)  Remember the old adage – “If it’s free, YOU are the product”.  Think about what they might be getting out of the transaction to provide you with free WiFi.
  • Sometimes the rest stops on the Interstate highways will have free secure WiFi, but only if you provide them with your email address and zip code.  This is where that new throw-away email comes in handy.  If they do ask for your name and zip, remember that you don’t have to give them your real info.

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

Chris Ed

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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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5 Easy Steps To Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone

You know how we always tell you to delete the history on your web browser on your computer?  Well, you need to delete browsing history on your smartphone too.  It helps speed up your interactions with the servers.  But it also helps keep your data more secure too, since it deletes any installed cookies as well as your entire history.

If anyone is able to hack into your phone they may be able to gain access to your login information for any number of websites.  It may also help to make you look like a new user to websites that track the number of times you’ve visited.  You’ve gotten that message – “You’ve logged on ten times for free.  Subscribe now!”  I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to provide my email address to another sales organization and an easy way around that error message is to delete browsing history.

It is really very easy to delete your history.  Just follow these 5 steps.

5 Easy Steps to Delete Browsing History on your iPhone

  1. Open up your SettingsHow to Delete Browsing History On Your iPhone
  2. Click on “Safari”
  3. Scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page
  4. Click on “Clear History and Website Data”
  5. Confirm that you truly want to delete browsing history.  It really will delete all of the open web pages on your iPhone. This means that every page you’ve opened in your iPhone’s browser will be gone!  This was a surprise to me because I tend to save my open tabs so I can reference them again.  If there are tabs that you have open on your phone that you would like to keep, it’s best to save them first, then wipe the history!

If you found this helpful, please forward it to your friends!

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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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5 Easy Steps To Delete Cookies On Your iPhone

Chris and I had a conversation this morning about the pesky news sites that limit the number of articles you can read each month. There are some newspapers that I won’t even read online because I get that nasty error message that says: “You’ve reached the limit!  Subscribe now!”  He told me that when he runs into that, the solution is to delete cookies on your iPhone.

WHAAAAAT?! I didn’t realize you could do that.

As I started looking into this, I see that there are other benefits as well. Just like with your computer, you do want to delete cookies on your iPhone regularly to keep your private information safe and secure.  And, just like the rest of of the business world, there are companies out there who want to sell you an app to “take care of this for you”.  Don’t fall for that trick!  It’s easy enough to do it yourself.

5 Easy Steps to Delete Cookies on your iPhone

  1. Open up your SettingsHow to Delete Cookies On Your iPhone
  2. Click on “Safari”
  3. Scroll almost all the way to the bottom of the page
  4. Click on “Clear History and Website Data”
  5. Confirm that you truly want to delete all of your history.  This means that every page you’ve opened in your iPhone’s browser will be gone!  This was a surprise to me, because I tend to save my open tabs so I can reference them again.  If there are tabs that you have open on your phone that you would like to keep, it’s best to save them first, then wipe the history!

If you found this helpful, please share with your friends!

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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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4 Articles about Online Privacy

If you have been reading my posts for any length of time, you know that my biggest bug a boo is privacy.  Second, of course, is security.  In hopes that others will want to learn a little about privacy, I’ve searched the interwebs for some of the best articles out there right now about why online privacy on your electronic devices is important.

As Marsha Blackburn of US News and World Report says:

“Online privacy is an issue that continues to rightfully concern Americans. According to research by IBM, over ninety percent of the world’s data has been generated in the last two years alone. The explosion of smartphones and internet-connected devices has Americans utilizing online services to do everything from grocery shopping to tracking their health. However, increased reliance on online services has made Americans more conscious about how they share sensitive personal information…”

Who else besides me uses their phone for everything from buying coffee to checking Facebook to tracking steps?  That’s a lot of info that goes out into the “cloud”.  Is it safe?Online Privacy

It’s important to remember that the onus is on you to keep your own data secure as these people who sued Facebook found out.  They thought that once they had logged out of Facebook, it should not be able to track their browsing history.  In this article, the Judge presiding over the case said no.

“Judge dismisses lawsuit accusing Facebook of tracking users’ activity, saying responsibility was on plaintiffs to keep browsing history private. …. US district judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, dismissed the case because he said that the plaintiffs failed to show that they had a reasonable expectation of privacy or suffered any realistic economic harm or loss. …. Davila said that plaintiffs could have taken steps to keep their browsing histories private…”

And Alfred Ng reports in c|net that some of the bargain phones are sending info to a server in China.

“People have enough to worry about when it comes to privacy on their personal devices. Between government surveillance and security vulnerabilities, preinstalled software on the phone itself is an unexpected breach of both trust and privacy for millions of owners who are just looking for an inexpensive phone. ….. Having access to the command and control channel — a communications route between your device and a server — allowed Adups to execute commands as if it’s the user, meaning it could also install apps, take screenshots, record the screen, make calls and wipe devices without needing permission.”

Privacy has become such an issue that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case later this year.  This article in Reuters describes much of the case.

The case reaches the high court amid growing scrutiny of the surveillance practices of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies amid concern among lawmakers across the political spectrum about civil liberties and police evading warrant requirements.

The legal fight has raised questions about how much companies protect the privacy rights of their customers. The big four wireless carriers, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, receive tens of thousands of requests a year from law enforcement for what is known as “cell site location information,” or CSLI. The requests are routinely granted.

The Supreme Court has twice in recent years ruled on major cases concerning how criminal law applies to new technology, on each occasion ruling against law enforcement. In 2012, the court held that a warrant is required to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle. Two years later, the court said police need a warrant to search a cellphone that is seized during an arrest.

Civil liberties lawyers have said that police need “probable cause,” and therefore a warrant, in order to avoid constitutionally unreasonable searches.”

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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 if you sign up.)

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6 easy steps to keeping your computer safe from malware

Geek For Hire gets  calls just about every day from someone who is concerned about an email they’ve received, or a phone call, or a popup warning.  Usually I’m able to tell them that all is well.  How do I know that?  There are a few key things to make sure your machine stays safe from malware.

  1. Have you received a phone call from someone claiming to be Dell Technical Support – or HP, or any of the other manufacturers?  If you have not initiated that call, it is most likely a scam.  They will be very convincing, telling you that you need to install  updates, or that you have a virus.  Hang up!  As long as you don’t give them access to your machine, you should be fine.
  2. Have you received a phone call from someone claiming to be Microsoft?  They generally tell you that your Operating System is not up to date and they need to get access to your computer to download the appropriate files.  Again, these folks are very convincing, but you should hang up.
  3. Have you received an email from a technical company offering to review your machine for viruses and other problems? Send that email to your spam folder and ignore it!  Make sure you don’t click on any of the links in the email.Keeping your machine safe from malware
  4. Have you received an email from “Amazon” claiming that you have just purchased an item for $457?  They just need you to click on this one link to confirm your purchase.  Don’t click on it!  Delete the email!  It is a scam!
  5. Have you seen a pop-up on your machine saying that your machine is badly infected and you need to click on a link to get it resolved? In many cases you may already have some kind of malware installed on your computer.  Once you click on the link, you’ve “given permission” for additional malware to be downloaded and installed on your machine.  In this case you should run your virus scanner to see if it can remove the malware.  If it can’t remove it, or if it says it’s not finding any, you should call for professional help.
  6. Whenever you suspect an issue with your machine, run your virus scanner to make sure your machine is safe from malware.

If you found these tips helpful, please forward it to your friends!

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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 if you sign up.)

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