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The Good Old Days Are Gone

Good quality hardware can be a rare find in a saturated market, and with computers still averaging a high price range a computer that lasts a long time can be very valuable to its owner.  Yet the sad fact of technology’s rapid advancement doesn’t just mean an over-abundance of flashy new computer models, it also means that computers and mobile devices become increasingly dangerous to use as they age.

Active software support by the manufacturer is a reliable sign that your device is not likely to be vulnerable to most of the common cyber threats out there.  Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to end support of a particular model before the one you own starts to fail.  When this occurs, it can be very tempting to just shrug your shoulders and continue using your older device as long as you can.  It’s easier, cheaper, and quite frankly that new stuff looks a lot weirder than your current setup.∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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Secure Your Passwords. Sage Advice From AI

Hey everybody! Let’s make things work!

If you haven’t heard of the Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) rage going on you haven’t been paying attention. I signed up for a trial account at https://chat.openai.com/chat and played around just a bit. Kind of funny that it argued with me about whether Russell Wilson played for the Seahawks. Maybe “argued” is a bit of an overstatement. When I mentioned he played for the Broncos now, I was told “That’s not true.” Apparently the AI engine is working on old information.


A couple weeks later I heard about the ChatGPT AI engine writing poetry. Huh. So I asked it to write me a poem about angels and fairies. Quite fun. I saved that one.

Angels and fairies dance among the stars,

Their wings a blur of light, they move with grace.

∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest
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There are several reasons why you might decide to use a VPN:

The first reason you might use a VPN is to access content exclusive to a particular geographic location. If you buy Nexflix in the USA you can see the content Nexflix has negotiated to share. In other countries they may have different agreements, and you may like the agreements in Mexico far better than those of the USA. With a VPN you can appear as though you are in Mexico, and thus access this content.

The second reason is that you are concerned about targeted ads, intelligent airfare pricing, and other IP based tracking. This is another viable reason to use a VPN, especially if you are regularly running into issues of IP blacklisting, etc.

The last, and most cynical by far, is that a techie friend admonished you for your lack of security concern citing the dire risks of privacy invasion, identity theft, data mining, and spyware.∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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Take Your Privacy Seriously

If you feel a bit like prey when you’re online–pay attention! It may seem like what you do on your computer in the privacy of your own home stays within your four walls, but the truth is: it does not. Every keystroke, online activity (social media, email, favorite websites) comes with a greater risk than you might expect.

Your medical data, personal details, banking information and even opinions are subject to potential exposure because they are available to you on the internet. Be aware that your choices can make that information more secure!

Here are some helpful articles:

From PC Magazine: 12 Simple Things You Can Do to Be More Secure Online
From Forbes: Online Banking Security: How to Protect Your Online Banking Information
From Norton: 8 Ways to protect your private information online
From Politicrossing: Top Five Online Scams to Avoid∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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Keep it secret, keep it safe…

Passwords are the ever-present, love/hate accessory of the modern world. We need them for all of our data, everything from bank accounts to ordering a souvenir postcard. Perhaps the worst part about them, short of having to remember them, is how you end up having to use them everywhere!

It can be so tempting to save passwords when you first make them. Your browser or device will keep it safe from prying eyes, and be only too happy to supply it when you need it, but is that all there is to the story? Not quite. The more you spread your password around, the more likely it is to fall into the wrong hands. Sometimes a public or work computer left unattended is the source of the breach, but quite frankly anyone with access, legitimate or otherwise, to your browser or device can retrieve your password if they so desire.

There are some paid security services that are happy to offer you a safe way to keep your passwords locked up.∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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Bad Bad Email – Don’t Click These Links

Just a note to our readers.  I have gotten quite a few emails of this type lately. It is a simple email. No graphics, just text.  (Although I would not use a graphic to make me think it is legit.)  It says it comes from “USPS” with the implication that the email is from the United States Post Office.  Yet there is no link to the real USPS website.  In fact the link is to something completely arcane.  I did not click the link, don’t need the headache.

Please. Please. Please. If you get an unsolicited email don’t click the link.

Here is what  I saw in the email I received.  Notice the email is from amitotic@….whatever.  It is not the USPS!!

ARGH! Was just told the business has an acquaintance that clicked the link.  Chased down the issue and PAID money to have the item delivered. WHAT!! There was no package, was a complete scam.∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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A Word About Passwords

Part of everyday life, it seems–your passwords are now gatekeeper to your correspondence, financial details, banking information and everything else on the list of details and information that make up all the external components of your life. You need a code at the bank, a code on your phone, tablet and computer, authentication for your medical records and the list goes on.

Experts will all tell you how compromised you are if you use the same password on all the things, or just a weak one, and someone with nefarious plans gets ahold of it.

How-to Geek has some great suggestions for how to create strong passwords or a pass-phrase that can help you keep your details to yourself (as much as possible when they live on the internet, anyway…)

One of the best pieces of advice: Don’t tell anyone what your password is!

How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It) (howtogeek.com∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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If they called you, they probably aren’t good

A constant plague on the population of home computer users is the tech support/computer infection scam.  Basically when someone calls you saying your computer is infected, or when a popup suddenly appears on your screen warning about an infection, you can be sure it’s a scam.  The fact of the matter is that tech companies don’t contact you.  They want you to buy their products of course, but if you have a problem you are supposed to call them.  Tech companies do not keep staff on hand hunting around for problems on peoples’ machines.

Of course there are a few exceptions.  If you pay for a security program to monitor your computer then occasionally you will get a warning message saying that a site is suspicious or a download could be dangerous.  These messages will always identify themselves as the security program you are subscribed to, and they will always be a message, never a person.∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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Avoid The Tax Scam Blues

Tax season is the time of year when scammers are out in full force, trying to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. It’s important to be aware of the dangers associated with tax season scams and know how to spot them so that you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Tax season scammers use a variety of tactics, such as sending fake emails or filing fraudulent tax returns in your name. They may also try to get you to provide personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account details, which they can then use for identity theft or other malicious activities. Knowing how to recognize these scams and taking steps to protect yourself is essential if you want to stay safe during tax season.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.Jan 20, 2023 https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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The world is ending…

If you were to ask someone what it’s like to be scammed, this is a likely response you would get, at least if they didn’t know it was a scam:

Some guy called me out of the blue and told me that the world was ending, but that if I paid him 1.2 Bitcoin I would have a guaranteed spot on the UFO taking the worlds’ elites to the backup planet. I was skeptical at first, but after I let him into my computer remotely he showed me that this really was the case. Of course I paid him his modest fee, and I’m grateful that he somehow found my phone number just in time and was willing to share this private lifeline with me. Isn’t life grand…∞∞∞ >>> Read the rest

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