Friday, June 27, 2014

Here are five tips to protect your identity online.

1. Change passwords once a month. Passwords are the keys into your life. If a criminal gets access to your email or any of your online accounts, it's surprisingly easy for them to worm their way into other aspects of your life.

Assume your passwords will periodically get compromised. Adobe, AOL, eBay, Kickstarter and Yahoo have all had major security glitches in the past few months.

2. Give the wrong contact information at checkout. Recent data breaches, like last year's Target hack, show that companies aren't responsible enough to safeguard that information. Every time a store clerk asks for your zip code or phone number, that data gets aggregated. So retailers not only have databases that show where you live. They can find out much more about you, like your salary, credit history and birthday.

3. Need photo ID? Don't show your driver's license. This is a general rule for privacy. Don't reveal more than you have to. A driver's license shows your birthday and address.

Next time your doctor's office asks for identification with a photo, show them something else, like your office building badge.

4. No banking apps. Be particularly careful about access to your bank accounts. Although most credit cards have fraud protection, your checking and savings accounts don't.

Because of how easy it is for a computer to get infected with a malware that spies on you, we don't recommend shopping and banking on the same computer.

5. Keep one email account for junk mail only. When companies demand an email address, give them a dummy address. That way you don't have to be bothered with all the spam and annoying advertisements; and it shields your real email from junk. Plus, if those companies get hacked, your real account remains safe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

New technology allows you to watch lightning strikes around the world in real time.


There's a mesmerizing new project from an organization called Blitzortung.org that lets you see real-time lightning strikes around the world. It works using a network of volunteers willing to purchase and set up a $275 detection kit consisting of an antenna system, amplifier and controller.

Once activated, each station can spot the radio signals from a lightning strike and transmit the precise time and location to the Blitzortung.org's servers. From there, the lightning is displayed, complete with a bug zapper sound, on one of five maps including North America and Europe, along with a line between the strike and detecting station. Curiously, a sensor in New York can pick up lightning in Cuba, for instance, since the low frequency RF waves from lightning can travel thousands of miles.

Source: Engadget

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Did you know, in many states, it is illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving?

Did you know, in many states, it is illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving? It is, however, legal (in most states) to use a Bluetooth headset.

Check out our newly stocked line of Apple and Samsung Bluetooth headsets below. For as little as $29.99, you can drive safely...and legally!



*These devices will work with any Bluetooth enabled phone - Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, Motorola, HTC, Sony, etc.

**We are not lawyers here at IES; we're technology experts! Of course, laws vary from state to state. Please check into your local laws before using any wireless device while driving.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Critical alert regarding a new variation of the Crypto-Locker Trojan.

There is a new variation of the Crypto-Locker Trojan currently attacking computer networks in the US. This is rampant right now so your extra vigilance and care is extremely important.

Do NOT click on any email attachments, faxes, PDF files or any other attachments unless you are 100% positive that it’s from someone you know well AND you are expecting the attachment. Many local companies have already been affected and their networks taken down by this Trojan. These emails are made to look like they are coming from banks, shipping companies and many other vendors we all use on a daily basis.

There is currently no antivirus or anti-malware that can protect you from this nor can it remove and fix the problem afterwards. The only resolution is to format and re-install the affected systems and servers and in many cases, unless you have an offsite backup solution, your critical data is encrypted and unable to be restored. We have found that even paying the ransom will not get your data back as the criminals do not respond even after you’ve send the money.

This is a network Trojan as well so if your local system gets infected it will attack and encrypt any and all files on shared drives – essentially putting your local data beyond your reach and un-useable.

If you make a mistake and click on the attachments which take you to a link outside your office you will be informed that your data has been encrypted and to send a payment to ….. If you see this popup, please immediately turn off your computer, unplug it from the wall and remove the network cable that connects you to your network, the server and the internet. This might help with protecting some of the data on your network shares.

We will keep you informed and updated as this Trojan continues to make it way throughout the US.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns related to this, please do not hesitate to contact our office at contactus@iesadvisors.com or 781-816-9437.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Big changes are coming to the iPhone messaging platform.

Apple's next mobile operating system means significant changes for how iPhone users send and receive messages.

If you're an Apple user, this is a big deal. Messages is the most frequently used app in iOS, and is how most users share texts, photos and videos with each other.

With iOS 8, coming this fall, Apple is borrowing features from popular messaging platforms like Snapchat and WhatsApp while unveiling some new tricks of its own.

Here's a quick look at the new messaging features announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference...

Audio and video messages
The text window in the next version of iMessage will contain a little microphone button. Users hold a finger down on the button, record a short audio or video message, and send it with the swipe of a finger, all without leaving the app.

In this way, Apple is taking a page from WhatsApp, which also allows audio and video messages. Facebook bought that startup, which has a huge user base overseas, in February for $19 billion.
Audio files will appear in your Messages stream as jagged lines. Simply tap on them to listen to the message. Apple did not say Monday whether there will be a limit on the length of the messages.

Self-destructing messages
Photo and video messages that disappear after a few seconds have been popularized by Snapchat, the mobile messaging app that reportedly spurned multibillion takeover offers from Facebook and Google last year.

This ephemeral format has been especially popular with teens and young adults who like to exchange silly or racy messages without fear they'll be haunted by them later.

Now Apple is getting into the game. Audio and video messages within iOS 8 will automatically vanish within a few minutes unless you adjust your settings.

"You don't want to have to clean these up. Audio and video messages can take up space," said Greg Joswiak, head of iOS product marketing. "So they're set to self-destruct unless you choose to keep them."

Do not disturb
Sure, group messaging threads among friends can be fun. But sometimes all the back-and-forth chatter gets out of hand.

This feature lets you mute a thread for a while while reserving the option to rejoin the conversation later.

If you've ever been on one of those noisy threads that just keeps buzzing in your pocket, now you will be able to choose when to leave.

Lock-screen functions
If you're in a hurry, responding to a message on an iPhone can be a little cumbersome: You have to punch in your passcode and then hit the Messages icon just to get started.

With iOS 8, users can listen and respond to audio messages without leaving the lock screen -- just by holding the phone to their ear. The phone detects when it's next to your face, plays the message and lets you record a brief response. Lower the phone, and the message is sent automatically.
 
Other stuff
If your contacts choose to share them, their locations will pop up in group-messaging threads.
For the first time, users will be able to add or delete someone in the middle of a group-messaging thread.

And message attachments - images and videos mostly - will be collected in one place so you don't have to scroll back through longstanding threads to find them.

Source: CNN Tech

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Google now testing super secure email.

It's called "End-to-End" encryption, and it's the best way to stop anyone from snooping on your emails. Google would turn your emails into jumbled code, and the only person who can see the email in plain text is the trusted person on the other end.

Hackers don't stand a chance. In fact, neither does the National Security Agency. It's the kind of encryption ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden used to communicate with journalists before he went public last year with damning documents proving the extent of U.S. government surveillance. It's what spies use...it's that good.

But End-to-End is not available just yet. In a blog post, Google said the program is in a public testing phase. After that, you'll be able to download the app and add it to your Google Chrome Web browser. If you use the browser, it'll work with any Web-based email provider.

"We recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection," wrote Stephan Somogyi, a Google product manager who oversees security and privacy, in the blog. "But we hope that the End-to-End extension will make it quicker and easier for people to get that extra layer of security should they need it."

Here's how Google's super encryption would work: Imagine you want to send a sensitive letter by mail. You can't just lick the envelope shut. Postal workers might open it. But they can't open a lock.
Your friend buys a padlock, opens it and sends it to you. He keeps the key. You receive his lock, place your letter inside a box and close it with your friend's lock. You send it. Now only he can open it with his private key, which never left his possession.

Google will let you share locks, but never keys. So far, End-to-End encryption has proven tamper-proof.

This is only the latest move by Silicon Valley giants to beef up their security since last year's revelations that the U.S. government is gathering our emails and phone calls without warrants. In December, executives at the world's largest technology firms called on the U.S. government to respect Internet privacy rights, dial back its intelligence gathering and make spying programs more transparent.

Since then, Microsoft and Yahoo have been working on encrypting the information they house and transmit. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called President Obama directly to complain about the NSA. And they've all shed light on the scope of secret data requests.

Source: CNN Money