Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

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

Opinion

Even The Tech Guy can't explain Windows tablets

One of the people commenting on my last blog (Which laptop to buy?) suggested that the person asking for computer-buying advice get a Surface 2 tablet with Windows RT. I purposely ignored Microsoft Surface tablets because I don't...

11/27/13

Opinion

Which laptop to buy? A computer nerd's advice to a non-techie

What follows is an email (much of it paraphrased) from a non-techie asking a couple nerds for computer buying advice. It was forwarded to me for my two cents. I have been advised by my niece and sister that I should get a...

11/25/13

Opinion

Is a pop-up ad from optimize-app.com a new type of attack?

Yesterday, while reading an article in Pulse on my iPad, I was interrupted by a pop-up ad (below), seemingly from optimize-app.com. The pop-up was modal, blocking all use of Pulse. I turned on airplane mode (just in case), clicked...

11/20/13

Opinion

Choosing a hard drive for a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device

Someone I know is upgrading their local file backup scheme from external hard drives that plug directly into computers, to a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device. A NAS is a special purpose computer, sold without hard drives,...

10/31/13

Opinion

Chrome browser on Windows fails to update embedded Flash player

Three days ago, on October 8th, Adobe released a new copy of the Flash player, version 11.9.900.117 (see the Release Notes and Announcement). That same day Google announced that "We are updating Flash Player to version 11.9.900.117...

10/12/13

Opinion

The Microsoft way

Back on September 17th, Microsoft issued a warning about a serious bug in all versions of Internet Explorer that bad guys were known to be exploiting. If an Internet Explorer user visits a malicious web page, their computer can get...

10/03/13

Opinion

Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world

If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password. Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi...

09/12/13

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