Was Your Password Hacked Today?

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”3446″ align=”left” size=”small 150 width” autoHeight=”true” quality=”90″] UPDATE:  Whoa! Facebook says hackers try to steal your stuff about 600,000 times daily. A more recent example: Zappos online store was hacked and hackers gained information on 24 million customers. Living Social about 50 million.  While full Zappos customer credit card information wasn’t compromised, all customer passwords had to be deleted. We’re sure you’ve heard of other scary hacks. Online financial information is a huge target.  So if you’ve been a little lax about your passwords, it’s really time sit up and take notice.

So, what to do?

First, Avoid These Common Mistakes

Creating Your Password

Special Tip:

Use a pseudo-random phrase: A great way to create a unique password is to think of a phrase only you would know, and then use letters, numbers and symbols to create the password:

Unique Passwords For Your Important Accounts

Never use the same passwords for your important banking, stock, healthcare and personal information accounts. Hackers test stolen passwords and usernames from a particular site across many internet sites, meaning your identity and banking and stock resources could be severely compromised with single use passwords. Give each of these account types a unique password!

Keep Your Password Reminders In A Safe Place

Most of us couldn’t possibly remember all of our passwords to all of the sites we commonly use. So, if you decide to save your passwords, don’t leave notes with your passwords lying around in plain sight.

If you save your passwords in a file, create a unique name for the file, so that people don’t know what’s inside. Avoid giving the file an obvious name, such as “my passwords”; instead use a unique file name.  Better yet, password protect it – just make sure you can remember the password!

Password managers are available through your security programs and elsewhere, but spend the time to check out reputable resources. If you have a difficult time remembering different passwords, a trusted password manager may be a good solution.

Need A Better Password: There are numerous password generators, but make sure you use a reputable one! As an example, here is a quick PC Tools online version: http://www.pctools.com/guides/password

By following some simple, but important rules, you can substantially reduce or eliminate your chances of having critical information such as your banking, credit card and identity stolen!

Check Out Other New Protection Methods:

As hacking and tracking become neary ubiquitous in our everyday browsing, do a little homework on browser based or device software that hides your identity, email, credit card info and more.



June News & Tips From Sitevision

Lots To Like In Your New IceWarp Email!

IW_sm_HomeScreenWith a new, inside-out redesign, your new IceWarp Email Client aims to please!   For starters, a new graphically appealing and intuitive log-in page allows for company branding and personalized colors.  The same look and feel welcomes users with large LCDs, tablets, in any browser of choice.

Other great features include:

For more information visit the support article here at SiteVision.  You can also view the online Userguide


winblueMicrosoft Rejiggers Windows:

In response to a generally luke-warm reception of Win 8, and IT’s lack of enthusiasm for abandoning the very stable interface of Win7 – Voila, enter stage-left, Win 8.1.  Available as a free upgrade later this year, there are a slew of new features, but what’s one biggie?  The Start Button resurfaces!  According to several sources it’s back in its familiar place and always visible, though the menu trees are gone.  Will it look the same?  Maybe, Maybe not.  Some think it will resemble the stylized windows we show here.
For many, who are disenchanted with Microsoft’s tone-deaf approach to Win 8, the new upgrade won’t be enough.  For others, well, maybe.  According to Forrester, Win 8 in current iterations won’t gain enough traction to become a standard.  IT is particularly adverse to this upgrade.  Interestingly, though, again, according to Forrester, users have warmed up to the new version.  Here are several links to recent articles:  Engadget, Forrester, and The Verge.


Who’s Peeking At Your Skype Chats & Calls?

Oops, your private Skype calls and chats may not be so private after all.  It seems that not only is Skype (Microsoft) scanning messages for security reasons, but it is also scanning “https urls,” which are supposed to be private. Most of us reasonably expect that this type of messaging is private, but perhaps not.  It’s also unclear what Microsoft does with that data.  . Just what Microsoft needed, eh, especially since they have pounded Google for privacy infringement in a long-running “scroogled” campaign. Here’s this interesting perspective from Infoworld


weasymbolWireless Emergency Alerts For Your Mobile Device

You may not have noticed, but if your mobile device is WEA capable you will receive alerts for critical emergencies.  The alerts are issued for extreme weather situations such as floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes; Amber Alerts; or Presidential alerts about catastrophic disasters. The system is a joint effort of several government agencies such as FEMA, NOAA and the Association CTIA, a nonprofit  international trade organization. More information here.

More Java Breaches, Fixes, New Phone Tablet . . .

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”4776″ align=”left” size=”Small 150 width” quality=”100″] Java Problems Ongoing.  Are You At Risk?

As we outlined last month, the serious flaws in Oracle’s Java7 were enough to set the industry abuzz with criticism.  Since our last newsletter remaining flaws in Java7 permitted attacks on Facebook and Apple, though the companies claimed no customer or user data was compromised.  Twitter warned that about 250,000 user accounts were compromised.

In essence if you are running an outdated version of Java you are at risk.  Oracle has scrambled to provide fixes.  The most recent came in early February and contained some 50 security fixes; then another February 19 with several additional fixes. According to PC World, the latest update, Java 7 (Update 15) and Java 6 (Update 41), address five additional vulnerabilities that couldn’t be included in the emergency Java update that Oracle released on Feb. 1 due to time constraints.

For the average user who may be confused, uninitiated and wary, geek.com has provided a handy guide for disabling Java in your browsers.  It should be noted that all browsers as well as Windows, OS-X, and Linux operating systems are vulnerable.

Furthermore, according to Information Week mobile developer sites were targeted in the recent attacks, so if you are a mobile developer and feel you’ve been compromised, it’s critical that you check your source code. We’ve included some helpful links if you want to further explore the issue:  Information Week, geek.com, PC World, Oracle Java topics, Oracle downloads


ASUS FonepadHello!  A Tablet That Can Call Home.

The Asus Fonepad is what many of us have been waiting for:  A tablet that’s a phone that’s a tablet.  Who wants to carry a slew of devices around to talk, type, hype and chat?  In short Fonepad is a 7″ Android tablet that features 3G data and voice capabilities.

But, is it really the bomb?  Do you really want to hold a 7” tablet up to your ear?  For some, perhaps, who rely on speakerphone, no big deal?  For others, probably, no way!  As one reviewer put it:  who wants to hold something up to your ear that blocks out the sun?

On the other hand the Fonepad is expected to be relatively inexpensive (about $250 US), resembles the Nexus 7 in many respects, and adds a phone into the mix.  So use the phone or not, it’s there at a very decent price.  Asus hasn’t  yet given a US release date, so for the moment we can wait and see how it’s received in the UK and Asia.


Do Operating Systems Matter Anymore?

While they certainly will matter on the back end — to the average user, the operating system is becoming less and less important.

Why?  For starters, a proliferation of device sizes, shapes, capabilities and operating systems are now in direct competition with the traditional PC model.  Furthermore, Software As A Service (SAAS) is dynamically affecting how we receive and use applications for business and pleasure.

As a business owner, I might utilize several servers, a cloud-delivered custom customer relations management system, and a proprietary accounting system; permit a BYOD environment for certain employees, and use, say, Google Docs or Windows for my daily word processing and spreadsheet applications.

It hasn’t been so long ago that the Microsoft OS had us pretty locked into a rigid my way or the highway mentality. Surely you remember the blue screen of death.  Surely you remember that your primary OS choices were Windows or Apple.  Application delivery is a fast shifting paradigm, and it will be fascinating to see how it coalesces, or, indeed, if it does; and whether it even matters. Here’s more if you want to explore:  ForbesComputerworld.


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March 19th @ 5pm

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SiteVision News & Tips: February 2013

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”4777″ align=”left” size=”Small 150 width” quality=”99″] Beware! Browsers Using Java Still Vulnerable After Oracle “Fix”

Unfortunately, according to numerous experts, it boils down to the fact that Java is flawed.  Period!  View an infected web page and get infected. Oracle’s new edition of Java – the fix issued on January 13, (Version 7, Update 11) –  is already “busted.”

Since then numerous new vulnerabilities have been discovered.  The new flaws, like the earlier highly publicized one, permit an unsigned Java program to break out of its sandbox and do as it pleases with the victim’s computer.

In brief, the current issues are with Java from Oracle which does not run on android, but does run on Windows, OS-X, and Linux – an enormous user base.  Importantly, this can be true in all browsers and versions – in one instance even with the Java Control Panel set on the “Very High” setting.

Adam Gowdiak of Security Explorations in his posting said, “… recently made security “improvements to Java SE 7 software don’t prevent silent exploits at all. Users that require Java content in the web browser need to rely on a Click-to-Play technology implemented by several web browser vendors in order to mitigate the risk of a silent Java Plugin exploit.”

Sadly, according to Michael Horowitz, Computuerworld, “that advice is only useful to techies that understand both Java and Click-to-play.”  According to Horowitz the best strategy for Windows and Mac users is to uninstall Java and hope nothing breaks.

And while this discussion deals with online hazards, offline use has no restrictions in applications at all, with the only cure that of uninstalling Java completely.   Horowitz has a good article on how to be as safe as possible here

NoAs of Now, Unlocking Your Cell Phone Is Illegal Without the Permission of the Carrier Who Locked It . . .

In a rather esoteric (some might call it bizarre)  interpretation by the Librarian of Congress of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, if you want an unlocked phone you now have to buy it that way.

No more unlocking by alternative means, if you get my drift.  The new rule basically says you can’t buy a new highly discounted carrier phone and then unlock on your own. You must have the carrier’s permission.

I guess we’ll see how that works for us, huh? Lots of petitions in the works.  Sure to be more to come.

Virus ProtectionBest Android Apps to Help Keep Your Smartphone Safe

As Smartphones proliferate, so do the dangers.  AV-Test,  an international and independent service provider in the fields of IT security and anti-virus research, says after inspecting 41 different virus scanners for Android,  about half of these scanners are not yet suitable for use as reliable products.

In general, the tried and true come from the desktop products you are familiar with.  The best products in their 2012 tests (with detection rates of 90% and above) were in alphabetic order: Avast, Dr. Web, F-Secure, Ikarus, Kaspersky, Lookout, McAfee, MYAndroid Protection/MYMobile Security, NQ Mobile/NetQin and Zoner.

Note that new 2013 testing has already begun, but you can check out their existing results here

 February Maintenance Schedule

Tuesday, February 19th @ 5pm
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Why SiteVision?

We’re your advocate. SiteVision has been providing web development and hosting services to government agencies and non-profit organizations for over 20 years. We understand how overwhelming it can be to seek out a reliable solution for you website, custom application, and hosting needs.

At SiteVision we are passionate about creating solutions for customers that make their life better. We excel at understanding your business process and developing an application that is easy to learn and operate. We will always be fair, knowledgeable, honest, and professional.