Windows Update is broken on XP

Windows Update has been broken for the last few days on Windows XP. As soon as IE8 loads the web page, it fails with error 0x80248015 before the user can search for fixes. I found a fix that worked on all three of my XP machines.

11/21/14

Wi-Fi security vs. government spies

Wi-Fi security vs. government spies

Its one thing to be lectured to about Wi-Fi security and quite another thing to see an actual spy manual. The Intercept just published manuals for interception software from Hacking Team which shows their three types of Wi-Fi attacks....

11/03/14

What's new with Java

There are three latest versions of Java. Tweaking Java to disable SSL 3.0. Securing Java. Explaining the security messages when running Java applets. Expiring old versions of Java.

10/31/14

SSL,TLS, POODLE, email, Fastmail, Popcorn and me

The POODLE flaw in SSL version 3 also impacts email.

10/15/14

Fallout from the JPMorgan Chase breach

Fallout from the JPMorgan Chase breach

What's the fallout from the Chase bank breach? Phishing of course, but phone calls and snail mail can also be abused. I was targeted by a snail mail billing scam. Most website rating systems fail to warn about the site involved in the...

10/11/14

A router firmware update goes bad

Many people don't upgrade the firmware in their routers. It's dangerous and confusing. When I recently upgraded an Asus router, I experienced the danger firsthand. But, there are ways to protect yourself.

10/06/14

Scammed by EarthLink

Scammed by EarthLink

Out of the blue, EarthLink starts charging a customer for Norton 360 software.

09/23/14

Financial firms not offering two factor authentication

A recent article in the New York Times may, hopefully, shame financial firms into increasing their online security. The article, A Two-Step Plan to Stop Hackers by Ron Lieber is about two factor authentication (2FA), a system we...

08/12/14

Consumer Reports drops the ball on airport Wi-Fi

The September 2014 issue of Consumer Reports has one of their most disappointing articles. It's called "Free Wi-Fi takes off at airports" and is on page 10 (it's not available online). The article is a huge opportunity missed....

08/07/14

The security flaws in Tails Linux are not its only problem

If you want to use Tor, then Tails is your best friend. Tails is a version of Linux that sends data through the Tor network. All Internet traffic to/from Tails goes through Tor, making it resistant to end user mistakes. Tails...

07/25/14

Protecting email at a hacker conference

The upcoming hacker conferences, HOPE, Black Hat and DEFCON make this a good time to think about email security. Rather than end to end security, which requires both the sender and recipient to use the same security software, my...

07/10/14

Comcast XFINITY WiFi: Just say no

About a year ago, Comcast started modifying the routers of some of their customers to create a quasi-public wireless system called XFINITY WiFi intended for use, mainly, by Comcast customers. Home users would see a new Wi-Fi...

06/27/14

The Woops of WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) raises its ugly head again

WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) is an alternate on-ramp to a Wi-Fi network. Thinking that clicking on the name of a network and entering its password is too hard, the Wi-Fi Alliance came up with the WPS protocol back in 2007. WPS...

04/12/14

Why Chrome OS should have fewer bugs than other operating systems

In my last blog I wrote that owning a Chromebook is revolutionary because it imposes no errands on the end user. Turn it on, use it, turn it off, get on with the rest of your life. And, Chromebooks do this while still offering...

03/12/14

Chromebooks are a revolution in easy

I didn't set out to write three consecutive blogs about Chromebooks, but since they are a great fit for Defensive Computing, here we are. The last blog highlighted Chromebooks as a safe environment for running Adobe's forever-buggy...

03/04/14

Chromebooks defend against the Flash Player

Recently Adobe released an emergency fix to their Flash player, the second emergency update to Flash this month. The latest patch continues a loooooong line of critical flaws in the software (see my FlashTester.org site for a...

02/26/14

A Chromebook offers Defensive Computing when traveling

Richard Engel of NBC recently reported on how his fresh-out-of-the-box computers were immediately hacked once he landed in Russia. The story got more publicity than it deserved. To make an analogy, what NBC did was the equivalent...

02/14/14

A happy scam story

It's old news that scammers call people, say they are from Windows or Microsoft and offer to remove a virus for a fee. This being Computerworld, readers have probably dealt with this scam for friends, family and/or...

02/07/14

The Adobe Reader consumes mass quantities of hard drive space

I'll come clean right off the bat: I don't like the Adobe PDF Reader. Yesterday I found a new reason not to like it, which I expect will be the next Defensive Computing blog. But, while researching the new issue, I ran across yet...

02/06/14

How and why to check port 32764 on your router

Anywhere that multiple computing devices share a single Internet connection there is a router. Recently routers from Linksys, Netgear, Cisco and others were found to have a huge security flaw. This is the third widespread router...

01/27/14

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