OCS banner and logo
Keeping clients' computers safe and profitable for over 30 years

Home Forms About Current Newsletter subscribe 
Search All Articles

Browse by Category

powered by pmc2m

Security Articles

Check the Privacy Terms of your Credit Cards

June 2024 – Credit card companies are collecting information about everything you buy. They then sell that information to marketers. Here's how to turn mitigate this with a few credit cards.

Firefox Cool Features

June 2024 – Firefox offers some advanced privacy settings and the ability to remove some tracking information when copying an address.

Interesting Articles

June 2024 – The new Kobo readers are repairable. Smart cars and TVs are selling your driving and viewing habits.

Why Spam is Hard to Stop

May 2024 – Why doesn't your email provider's spam filter work better? Let's look under the hood at how scammers can obfuscate their phishing attacks.

Why I recommend DuckDuckGo Email Addresses

May 2024 – DuckDuckGo Offers an email forwarding service that will protect you from trackers and reduce your spam. It works well. The unique email addresses will become more and more useful in the coming years.

Gift Cards Scams

April 2024 – Gift card scams are a major source of fraud. Here's some examples of how they work, and also how you can protect yourself.

Interesting Articles

April 2024 – 3D Printed food! CISA's router recommendations and my own article on router safety.

Scam of the Month

March 2024 – Tax season, Tax scammers. Be very careful during tax season because miscreants are out to fleece you. They can come up on to of search results and appear legitimate. Here is an explanation and two good mitigation strategies.

Interesting Articles

March 2024 – Four articles that caught my interest recently. Historical photos, Google settles a $5 billion privacy suit, here's why. Police are getting our medical records without a warrant and the FBI warns of QR code scams.

KeePass Can Replace Authy Desktop

March 2024 – Twilio's authy desktop authentication app is being discontinued. Here are my recommendations to replace it. I've included a tutorial on using KeePass for your Time-based One Time Password authenticator.

Sweepstakes Scams

February 2024 – These are clever scams that actually send you a check, and then request a fee or tax after you get the check. Then, they'll send you more money.

Secure My Email

February 2024 – SecureMyEmail is the easiest and simplest way to send and receive secure email messages and attachments. This inexpensive service knocked my socks off, it is so easy for both the sender and recipient.

Incogni Update: Data Broker Cleanup

February 2024 – I'm updating my review of Incogni data broker removal service after using it for almost a year. I'm going to stick with it. I get much less email and phone spam.

Scam of the month

January 2024 – The FTC warns us about QR Code Scams. Be sure you know where the code is sending you before you go there. Here are two programs you can use to prevent being sent someplace nefarious.

Check Washing

January 2024 – Crooks can wash the names and values off checks and fill in whatever they want. Here's how it works and what you should do.

Tech support scammers exposed

January 2024 – support, scam, scammers, call, center

Scam of the Month

December 2023 – Tech support scams are prevalent. Here's how to avoid them and what you should do if you are caught by any virus threat.

Windows 11 Privacy Settings

December 2023 – Increase your Windows privacy by using O & O Software's OO Shutup 10++. They'll reset dozens of Windows settings to be more privacy sensitive.

Ad and tracking checkers

December 2023 – I ran a battery of tests on five browsers with and without my favorite ad blocker installed. Here are the results and recommendations.

Scam of the Month

November 2023 – A call comes in and a friend or family member needs money right away. In this case, the scam was someone pretending to be the Grandson of a friend needing bail money. But there are lots of them.

Best VPNs

November 2023 – What is a VPN? Who should use one? Which ones are good? All this and more.

California's Delete Act

November 2023 – California passed a Delete Act which will create a central registrar for all data brokers and a central place for a user to opt out of all registered brokers. This will include audit requirements. Hopefully this will be an example for the nation.

Global Privacy Control

October 2023 – Global Privacy Control (GPC) is a new standard being adopted by some states and by the European Union. It sends a signal from your browser to websites requesting that they don't sell or distribute your data. Here's how to turn it on.

Email -- Your Weak Link

October 2023 – Email is your weak link. If hackers crack your email password, they can wreak havoc with your life. Here's how to protect your email account with both desktop and mobile devices.

Two Interesting Articles

October 2023 – America's new Cyber Trust Mark. What is it and why have they done it. Also, hackers are now selling your private information for as little as $15 because it leaks out of credit bureaus.

Setup Auto Reboot for your router

September 2023 – Why you should set your router to automatically reboot and how to do it.

Router Maintenance

August 2023 – Serious dangers are becoming more frequent as attackers take over home and small business routers. Here's how to keep your router updated.

Removing your name from data brokers

July 2023 – Well over a hundred data brokers collect and sell all sorts of information about you. 12 of them were hacked and lost their files on me. Here's how to remove your name from many of them and what to expect.

How to Wipe Your Router and Why you Should

July 2023 – We've recently learned that our routers contain substantive information about us and our networks. It is important to wipe your old router before re-cycling it.

Macrium Reflect

July 2023 – Macrium Reflect is ending their free version and raising their prices. I still recommend it. Here are your options and my recommendations.

Emailing Instructions for Check Writing

June 2023 – Many organizations have a President or other manager email a bookkeeper to write a check to someone. This is no longer a safe practice. Miscreants are sending bookkeepers emails and attached invoices that seem real. What is the proper policy?

Firefox Protection Dashboard

June 2023 – Firefox's new Protection Dashboard is an excellent tool for this browser. How do you use it and what will it do for you?

Passwords - The latest

June 2023 – Password cracking tools are getting better and better. They are progressing right along with other computer and Internet technology. Many passwords that were safe, are insecure now. Here's how they are cracking your passwords and what you need to do about it.

How Many Times Were You Pwned?

June 2023 – HaveIbeenpwned is a valuable Internet resource that maintains a database of companies that had account breaches. They have 674 breaches and over 12 billion breached accounts! Here's how to use the site to check your email address.

A Better Way to Do One Time Passwords

May 2023 – This article recommended Twillio's Authy for the desktop, which was killed by Twillio. There is some general 2fa information that may be of interest, but not the recommendation of Authy.

NSA - How to secure your home network

May 2023 – The NSA has an excellent PDF pamphlet on how to secure a home or small business network. They give excellent advice.

Hacked Ring Cams

May 2023 – Two men were charged with hacking Ring home security cameras and swatting the owners. They posted the fiasco online using the ring camera video.

Four Simple ways to preserve your privacy

April 2023 – Here are 4 simple ways to help preserve your privacy online. Each one is presented simply and with links you can use. All these methods are free.

Never Use the Same Password Again

April 2023 – Probably the worst security mistake beginners make is re-using their password. Databases are available online containing 22 billion usernames and passwords. Never use a password included in that database. Your username password combination are probably there more than once, so don't repeat them.

Check Your Router

March 2023 – A reminder to check your router for firmware updates. This is almost as important as updating your operating system. While you're doing that, here are a few other options to lockdown your router.

US Bank: Single Brain Cell?

March 2023 – US Bank provided me with a wonderful laugh this month. While explaining how we should never click on links in unsolicited emails they ...

Tax filing info sent to Facebook

February 2023 – Many tax services were selling your private information to Facebook and other services until they got caught. How to tell if a company is going to sell your information.

Check your passwords

February 2023 – How to improve your password system, or create a new one. Basic rules for password and other vital information storage. Mistakes you should avoid.

Best articles of 2022

January 2023 – Here are the articles that I thought were the most important from last year. You might have missed one, or simply would like to review some.

Backup Check

January 2023 – A backup that isn't checked, is not a backup. You need to know where your files are stored and be sure the important ones are backed up.

The anatomy of a computer hack

December 2022 – I take you step by step through how a client of mine gave up control of his computer and possibly his credit card to a con man through an email scam. Hopefully, this will help prevent this from happening to you.

How to check if a site is legitimate

December 2022 – Eleven signs to look for to determine if a new site is trustworthy. Then, a few links to services that allow you to find out how these signs apply to any website you choose.

Blocking Popup Messages

December 2022 – How to block the annoying pop-up messages on websites telling you they use cookies.

Backup batteries for routers

November 2022 – In addition to a backup battery for your computer, you can get a less expensive one for your modem and router. This can allow you to use the Internet for awhile if the electricity goes out.

Phishing as a service

November 2022 – The process of creating phishing attacks to steal your credentials was automated. This will increase the number of attacks. Expect more and better phishing attacks soon.

Important Security Warnings

November 2022 – Don't use shortened links like those from tinyurl or bit.ly. They can be inserting trackers (or worse) between you and your destination. Also, don't download Qatar's world cup apps.

Emergency Info on Your Phone

October 2022 – We can easily setup important medical and contact information that will be available to emergency responders. Here's how.

Interesting articles

October 2022 – Four articles I found particularly interesting last month.

Router safety

September 2022 – Routers stand between you and millions of nefarious characters who'd like to break into your computer. Here's the steps necessary to keep it secure.

Firefox total cookie protection

September 2022 – Firefox has created an excellent third party cookie prevention system which seems to be better than any of their competitors. Here's how it works.

Better safety with NextDNS

August 2022 – NextDNS offers another layer of protection for all your devices. It protects you whether you are at home, work or elsewhere. Here's how it can help protect you.

Interesting Articles

August 2022 – Change your android and iPhone location permissions, fake apps and banking malware articles.

Android Insecurity

July 2022 – Last year Google removed over 1 million malicious apps from their play store. This indicates a significant problem. If they are missing or just haven't found 1% of the malicious apps, then we can assume there are over a thousand in the store today. How can you protect yourself?

Proton Me

July 2022 – If you ever need secure email, file storage, file sharing, calendar or VPN then Proton should be checked out. They have a range of account prices from free to enterprise level. The free account will work for many and the $50/yr. account will satisfy most of the rest of my clients.

Zelle Scams

July 2022 – Zelle is a banking endorsed payment transfer system that is fast, secure and free. Definitely something you should consider for some of your bill pay or to send money to others for any reason.

T-Mobile's nefarious action

July 2022 – T-Mobile now monitors and sells what browser you use, what websites you visit, your WiFi networks and even what apps you use. They sell the results to anyone who will pay them. Here's how to opt out.

Global Privacy Control

June 2022 – What is the new Global Privacy Control header and how will it protect you? When will California begin prosecuting websites that don't enforce it? How can you make sure you are taking advantage of this new privacy tool?

Quack it

June 2022 – Don't google, quack.


June 2022 – Tresorit is potentially useful for anyone who wants to store and sometimes share files securely. If you fall into that camp, then you should understand what Tresorit offers. It provides this job very well.

Proton's CEO fights dictators and Big Tech

June 2022 – Proton is a big name in secure email, and is expanding out to a secure drive, VPN and calendar. Highly respected. Here its CEO, a former CERN particle physicist, talks about providing security for dissidents others.

7-zip Windows Archiver

May 2022 – 7-Zip is an essential tool for many Windows machines. It'll handle many archiving formats, as well as encrypting archives. Here is how and when to use it.

Tracking Important information

April 2022 – Here's how to track all your software licenses, Unique passwords and other critical information. All your passwords should be unique.

Sharing file securely

April 2022 – Often files should be securely shared with others. Even if the sharing doesn't need to be secure, sometimes the files are too big for email. Here are various methods for sharing properly and a few to avoid.

For fun

April 2022 – 3 one liners hoping for a smile

Best articles of 2021 part 2

February 2022 – Links to the five best articles from the last six months of 2021.

Interesting Articles

February 2022 – Links to articles I've found particularly interesting. Smart TVs, FBI Warnings and more.

Opt out of advertising

February 2022 – How to opt out of some customized advertising in Windows and Android. Widen your privacy circle.

Duck.com email addresses

January 2022 – Free email addresses from DuckDuckGo will strip out any trackers and then forward the message to you. Just sign up for an address and point to your current email address.

Best articles of 2021 Part 1

January 2022 – A short description of the best and most important articles from the first half of 2021.

Ublock Origin

December 2021 – A quick guide to the best ad and tracking blocker. It will reduce your Internet risks in under 5 minutes.

Macrium Reflect V8

December 2021 – Macrium Reflect is an excellent safety precaution. Here's how to get the new version, both paid and free, for home and business.

Victim training

November 2021 – Your bank and other trusted sources are training you to be a victim of malicious hackers. Here's how to escape their training and 90% of the attacks we are facing.

Turn off Fast startup

October 2021 – Faststartup is Microsoft's hairbrained idea to make your computer start a half second quicker, but maintain kernel issues from your last run. It is the default in Windows 8 and 10. Here's how to turn this nutty idea off.

Interesting articles

October 2021 – Two interesting articles. One about disguised third-party trackers using the cname technique. One explaining varioud forms of HDMI cables.

Three categories of encryption:

September 2021 – How to quickly judge the type of encryption you are promised by vendors. Understanding E2EE and when it is important.

Interesting articles

September 2021 – 3 articles I found particularly interesting this month. What happens to some online accounts on your death? NY City's biometric privacy laws and and inside look at an industry that uses cell phone apps to track and unmask you.

FBI Monitors phones of 10,000 people without a warrant

August 2021 – The FBI and Australian Government sold an Anon privacy phone and VPN service to people on the dark web for a few years. It enabled many drug busts and arrests, but bypassed American civil liberties.

Review of Asus Ax3000 router

August 2021 – Why I consider the Asus RT-ax3000 an excellent choice for a home or small business router.

Excellent Fake Amazon Scam

August 2021 – An excellent example of a fake Amazon scam and how to spot one.

Buying a new router

July 2021 – What to look for when buying a new router and what all that jargon means.

Google Backup

June 2021 – A step by step guide to downloading a copy of your Gmail Emails from Google to your local computer. Also, how to view, search and print emails from your new local archive.

Critical Security considerations

June 2021 – What to consider and some tips to staying safe in our new cloud based world.

Secure email services

June 2021 – Two secure email services and a discussion of the issues with secure email. Followed by some tips for those who only infrequently need secure email message transmission.

Email Options

May 2021 – A look at various email options and some recommendations for better services that respect your privacy.

What is a VPN good for?

May 2021 – What VPNs do and do not do, with two recommendations.

Interesting Articles

May 2021 – Articles on security and privacy invasions by Google and the lack of security for voting machines.

Two Ad-blocker tests

May 2021 – Two sites to test your ad-blockers.

The Best Password Managers

April 2021 – What types of password managers are there and which are best?

Fleksy mobile device Keyboard

April 2021 – Fleksy is the best keyboard I've found for typing on my tablet. I type much better and quicker with it than any of the other 8 or so keyboards I've tried. It is a free download for Android and iOS. It is also privacy oriented and isn't sending your typing out or tracking you.

Interesting Articles I've read

April 2021 – A few news stories I found interesting. T-Mobile sells customer info unless you opt out. Lastpass sells your information. Sending encrypted email with ProtonMail.

Malicious ads in search results

March 2021 – Malicious ads sometimes appear in search results mimicking legitimate sites. They even appear to point to the correct sites. Here's how to avoid getting trapped.

Send files securely

February 2021 – Email is insecure, so sending private information via email is dangerous. Additionally, many email providers have maximum size limits for sending and receiving. Tresorit gives you a very easy way to encrypt the files on your computer. Send them encrypted, and then have the person who downloads them decrypt on their computer.

Amazon privacy

February 2021 – You have a lot of control over what information Amazon makes available to others. Here's how to exercise it.

Finding stuff in Keepass

February 2021 – As important as saving your passwords and other information in a password safe, is being able to retrieve it. Here are three ways to make finding your keepass stuff easier.

Layered Security for 2021

January 2021 – Protecting yourself and your office or home from Internet miscreants, requires a multi-level approach. There is no simple silver bullet. There are layers of risk management that need to be addressed.

Improvements in Ransomware distribution

January 2021 – We are seeing the advantages of specialization and division of labor play out brilliantly in the new ransomware market.

Check your privacy settings

January 2021 – As laws and regulations take effect, we are gaining some possible control over who tracks us, and shares our information with marketers. It is worthwhile to visit places that have your information and opt out of their merchandising you. Here's a headstart.

Best articles of 2020

December 2020 – A list of the best articles of 2020. These are the ones I think are most important.

Use DNS Filtering

December 2020 – DNS filtering blocks some potentially malicious sites from sneaking into your computer. It can also be used to block types of sites you do not want to access your system. Everyone should use it.

Blocking Trackers

November 2020 – What are trackers, and how do they work. Why should you block them. Grades for the major browsers on privacy, security and ad-blocking.

Mobile Device Browsers

November 2020 – Rating a few browsers for mobile devices on Android.

Windows 10 Version 1903 end of life

November 2020 – Security support for Windows 10 version 1903 ends December 8 2020. You must update.

How to check you Ballot

October 2020 – Oregon has been doing mail in balloting for a long time and do it reasonably well. Here's a link to check registration, ballot tracking, ballot drop boxes and more election related information.

Safer Mobile DNS Service

October 2020 – Why and how to get secure DNS service easily with Android devices.

Scams to beware of

September 2020 – Miscreants are targeting older people posing as Amazon support and getting into their computers. Here's how to stop it.

Controlling Webcam privacy

September 2020 – How to control access to your webcam.

Recycling Computers

August 2020 – Before you recycle your computer, you should remove the private data from it. But how is this done? I cover both SSD and HDD drives and wiping it entirely, or just your data so it can be given to someone with the OS and some software intact.

Cliqz died

August 2020 – Cliqz was one of my favorite browsers. They came with ad and tracker blocking built-in and were excellent on privacy. Based on the Mozilla Firefox engine. Sadly, they were unable to monetize their technology sufficiently and are closing their business. I am concerned that their browser will not continue to get the latest security updates from Firefox, so recommend people abandon it.

Create Windows 10 installation media

July 2020 – I explain and recommend making two emergency boot disks for your computer. One for your image backup program, the other for Windows. New Windows installation disks should be made after each major feature update.

How to Postpone Windows Feature updates

July 2020 – Windows 10 Feature updates should be postponed. I explain how and why here.

DOD Pays Hackers

June 2020 – Each year the Department of Defense invites hackers to attack them and pays for successful attacks. This year they found 2,836 flaws.

Locking your computer

May 2020 – Here are 4 different quick and easy methods to lock your computer when you leave it.

Android Insecurity

May 2020 – Problems with Android security. Don't bank with them.

6 coronovirus scams

May 2020 – A quick review of 6 of the new scams sweeping the glove along with the pandemic.

Check your backups

April 2020 – If you haven't checked your backup recently, assume it is not working! I review three kinds of backups and how to quickly and easily check whether each is working.

Brave for Android

April 2020 – Brave is currently my browser of choice for Android devices.

When to do Windows Updates

April 2020 – I consider the question of how quickly to apply Windows security updates and show how to postpone updates for a week if you would like to.

Using Keepass to track license expires

March 2020 – Keepass can be used to monitor expiration dates for antivirus and other subscriptions and renewals.

Startup programs

March 2020 – Startup programs run whenever you log into your computer. They run in the background, consume resources and slow down your computer. Here's how to check and control them.

Blokada: Excellent Android Ad-blocker

March 2020 – An excellent free open source adblocking app for Android devices. This will block ads across all your apps, not simply inside a particular browser.

Think about their business model. part 2

February 2020 – Be careful and figure out the business model of software and services you use. Too often, they are tracking you or even installing malware.

Best Articles of 2019

January 2020 – I've selected the best articles of 2019. Some answer problems my clients come to me with while others answer problems I wish they'd come to me with. Finally, there are three general security articles.

Fingerprinting protection

January 2020 – Device fingerprinting is increasingly used to track you on the web. No cookies are needed. What is it? How does it work? How can you protect yourself?

Germany chooses Firefox

December 2019 – The German Federal Office for Information Security tested 4 browsers, and endorsed Firefox for the best security for all German agencies.

IoT Security tips

December 2019 – Safety tips for a connected world. Four suggestions for improving your security.

Microsoft Security Improvements

December 2019 – Microsoft offers some new and improved security features we should know about. One I recommend taking advantage of.

Millions of Windows 10 users may lose Microsoft support

November 2019 – Millions of Windows 1803 users will lose security updates after the November update. Here are steps you should take.

Windows 7 support ends

November 2019 – Windows 7 support ends January 14, 2020. Replace your computers now.

Firefox and Cliqz offer DNS over HTTPS

November 2019 – Firefox and Cliqz browsers are offering improved security and privacy with DNS over HTTPS. Here is how to improve your security with a few simple clicks.

Adding Windows Defender scan

November 2019 – You can easily have Windows Defender do periodic scans of your computer. This is a simple 2nd opinion addition to your regular anti-virus.

Two Factor Authentication

October 2019 – Though two factor authentication is all the rage, if you use a password manager and have good, unique, random passwords, then it might create more problems than it solves.

Keepass wins awards and recommendations

October 2019 – Keepass was given Editors choice awards or recommended by over 50 Windows magazines or websites. It has also been selected by some European governments as the password safe standard and is installed by default. Keepass also participates in software auditing projects.

Virus total browser extension

September 2019 – The VirusTotal browser extension provides a quick and easy way to check a website or link.

Election Hacking

September 2019 – A NY Times 5 minute video showing how easily some election machines are to hack. Important for those who want secure fraud free elections.

RansomWare Protection

September 2019 – The dangers of Ransomware and some things you can do to reduce your vulnerability.

How to change your search engine

August 2019 – To help you move to a better, safer and more private search engine, I've provided instructions for changing the search engine default in most major browsers.

QuickSearch Keepass plugin

July 2019 – The QuickSearch plugin adds customizable incremental search to Keepass. I've replaced Keepass's built-in search with it.

Firefox Tracking Protection

July 2019 – Firefox has new and excellent tracking protection. Here's how to use it.

Alternatives to Google Search

July 2019 – Google search, though dominant, is becoming worse and worse. They are factoring more and more irrelevant weights into your results, substantially weakening them. They also track you. Here are lots of superior options.

Video: Google Search Malware

July 2019 – This video shows an actual screen capture of the malware attack through an advertising search result. This is a common attack and it is good to know what it looks like. It is a video of the attack. You will not be in any danger.

IoT attacks increase

June 2019 – Attacks against IoT (Internet of Things) devices accelerates. Avoid them if possible. If not, buy from a company that takes security seriously and updates their firmware.

Keepass Update

June 2019 – Some new Keepass features and a review of some old ones you might have missed.

Online Credit card skimmers

June 2019 – Digital card skimmers breached thousands of online retailers in the last year. They've sold millions of customer card information. Here's how they work.

More Facebook Villainy

June 2019 – Facebook might be the biggest threat yet to online security. Here's a rundown of their recent detestable acts.

Credential Stuffing

May 2019 – Credential stuffing is the large scale, automated attempt to match leaked usernames and passwords to hundreds of potential sites.

Darpa voting system

May 2019 – Darpa is funding some excellent research on voting machines. They are building open source systems that will give verifiable results and be openly tested.

Mobile banking apps insecure

May 2019 – Mobile Banking and other financial services apps are shockingly insecure. If possible, remove them from your phones.

Uninstall Java

May 2019 – Uninstall any Java version you have. It is no longer getting updated by Oracle for commercial use. If you find you need it, Open source options are available.

How I setup Keepass

May 2019 – I change many of the default Keepass settings to make it easier to use or and safer. I've found more of these "tricks" over time, so even if I set you up, there could be new stuff here.

Avoid Malvertising

April 2019 – Malvertising (malware embedded in advertising) is one of the most common vectors used by hackers to attack your computer. This article explains malvertising and why you must use an ad-blocker to protect yourself from these attacks.

Equifax more problems

April 2019 – Get your unsafe Equifax account before some miscreant gets your account instead. Despite incompetent security and the inability to properly store passwords, it is safer to get your MyEquifax account than to leave it for someone else to get.

Using AdGuard

April 2019 – Adguard is an excellent option for blocking ads, and protecting you from malware sites, tracking and pop-ups. Here's a look at the product and some setup advice.

Windows 7 support ends

March 2019 – Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. This means your security updates will cease. If you have a Windows 7 machine that touches the Internet, you should replace it sometime this year.

CloudFlare's DNS service

March 2019 – CloudFlare is offering an excellent DNS service we should be using on our mobile devices.

New Windows 10 Danger

February 2019 – Microsoft has added a dangerous new feature to the latest Windows update. They now offer to save all your clipboard content forever in plain text. You can even store them on Microsoft's servers.

Cliqz and Brave now allow add-ons

February 2019 – Cliqz and Brave now allow most add-ons. They do some restriction but not a lot. Brave remains significantly more secure and private than Chrome, but Cliqz is only marginally better than a well protected FireFox.

Syncing Notes between devices

February 2019 – If you'd like to automatically have your notes or other writing synchronized on all your devices, there are some excellent options.

Fabulous Cookie Control

February 2019 – Wonderful Cookie control program. Easy and reliable. Improves safety and privacy.

EU Funding Bug Bounty

February 2019 – EU is now offering significant bounties for finding flaws in popular open source programs.

Monitor your email address for breaches

January 2019 – Mozilla.org has started a new service to allow you to monitor your email addresses to see if they were included in a breach. I suggest using it.

TunnelBear security audit 2018

January 2019 – Tunnelbear has completed its 2nd annual security audit and published the results. Third party security audits are important for determining whether a VPN is actually improving our security and privacy.

Thunderbird, using a master password

January 2019 – Use a master password to encrypt and protect your email passwords. A how to guide for Thunderbird and Intellect.

Best Articles of 2018

December 2018 – Here are the articles I thought were best this year. You might check and see what you might have missed or could refresh.

ID Theft and Mail service

December 2018 – People using unclaimed accounts to monitor delivery of credit card offers and then grab them and use identity.

Google Security Checkup

December 2018 – Google will examine your accounts for some behaviors related to your device security and inform you of possible issues. This is a good thing to do occasionally.

Security Basics

November 2018 – What is the minimum that every user should absolutely do when engaged with the Internet? This article will explain the absolute minimum. Rather like a drivers test. If you don't do these things, you shouldn't be allowed on the Internet superhighway.

Alternative browsers

November 2018 – There are good reasons for using "alternative browsers". I present the cases for and against as well as examples to improve privacy and security.

Keepass. Move your recycle bin

November 2018 – Organize your Keepass folders

Firefox Privacy enhancement

November 2018 – Firefox 63 has added improved and simplified tracking prevention

Don't use Chrome

October 2018 – Chrome users have more trackers watching them than those who use other browsers. I make the case to switch to another browser if you use Chrome. If not, how to make it less privacy invading.

Stop identity theft

October 2018 – Your credit rating and some personal information from credit bureaus is available to anyone for a small fee, even if they don't have your SSN or current address. Why I recommend doing a credit freeze and the new federal law.

Using Adblock Plus

October 2018 – Why you should use an adblocker. One of the best is Adblock Plus. Here's how to use it.

Using Privacy Badger

October 2018 – Privacy Badgeer will help prevent trackers from following you around the web and collecting and sharing what you do.

Checking File Downloads

September 2018 – Sites are imitating legitimate sites and providing good software, but with adware attached. So, for example, keepass.fr is not the real keepass.info site and could provide a malware infected version of Keepass. How to protect yourself. Tips for protecting yourself including the use of VirusTotal.

Adding Fields to Keepass

September 2018 – Adding custom fields, like account numbers, to Keepass entries.

What CIA can Know

September 2018 – The Mueller charges against alleged Russian hackers reveals startling information about what our government can know.

Windows 10 updating

September 2018 – Windows 10 updating is not really automatic. Often you need to manually check, particularly when doing a feature update.

Yet another Credit bureau to freeze

August 2018 – In addition to the big three credit bureaus, and the little 'other one', there is a little known fifth credit bureau that we should freeze, if you want to freeze your credit reports.

Saving Attachments in KeePass

August 2018 – Keepass lets you secure any file as an attachment as well as include secure notes with your records.

Spideroak has fantastic unlimited offer. This week only!

August 2018 – Spideroak One backup has a fantastic unlimited promo available this week only.

Our connected world

July 2018 – Along with the benefits of a connected world, comes many dangers. Every device we connect to the Internet needs to receive frequent security updates. Do yours?

Ninite Updater and Super

July 2018 – Ninite does update SuperAntiSpyware, but it calls it Super. Let it update.

VPNFilter Botnet

July 2018 – The VPNFilter botnet is one of the biggest so far. It could be the most sophisticated. Here's how it works and what to do to protect yourself.

Possible Netflix hack

June 2018 – An inconsistency between how Netflix and Gmail handle email names, has created a vulnerabilty that could cause you to pay for someone else's Netflix account.

Two important KeePass changes

June 2018 – KeePass just keeps getting better. Two of the newest improvements were especially useful. There is now an autosave option and an auto-minimize option.

Monthly Maintenance

June 2018 – Monthly computer maintenance will prevent many problems, just like car maintenance prevents many automobile issues. I've updated my monthly maintenance form. Here are the instructions.

Casino hacked through thermostat of fishtank

June 2018 – The casino's high roller database was stolen by hacking the thermostat on their fish tank!

Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report

May 2018 – Summary of Symantec's 2018 threat analysis report for 2017. Trends in Ransomware, Crypto Currency mining and Supply Chain attacks are highlighted.

Typable Random Passwords

May 2018 – Making passwords a little easier to type when that is necessary. Putting hyphens in passwords.

Replace Malwarebytes with Superantispyware

May 2018 – I've switched my clients from Malwarebytes to Superantispyware, and uninstalled Malwarebytes. It was hassling my clients too much nagging them to upgrade. Those who mistakenly purchased their paid version, sometimeshad conflicts and computer slowdowns. Superantispyware is an excellent replacement for a second check to be run once a month manually.

Check your router

May 2018 – More problems have been found with UPnP open and facing the Internet on routers. Here's how to check your router.

Veracrypt: Securing files

April 2018 – VeraCrypt is a solid, safe, simple way to maintain strong security for some of your files. Their File Container option excellent if you need to keep some of your files private.

Our vulnerable voting machines

April 2018 – Voting machines are getting hacked. Here's the current state of our machines and how Oregon fares.

Current biggest security threat - Malvertising

March 2018 – Currently, the biggest security threat for my clients is malvertising. Malvertising attacks get into your computer while hiding in advertising on legitimate websites. A recent report on a single gang of criminals gives you an idea what the hundreds or thousands of criminal malvertising gangs can do.

KeePass: Entering your username and password

February 2018 – These tricks should make KeePass easier for you to use. Here are lots of ways to submit username and password.

Never click on any unsolicited email link

February 2018 – This is the one true foolproof way to avoid all spam phishing attacks. Use the technique to never fall prey to a phishing attack ever.

Spideroak New Pricing

February 2018 – Spideroak One online backup has added more storage to each of their accounts. Spideroak One appears to be the most secure backup option available.

Great new KeePass2Android feature

January 2018 – Keepass2Android Share feature makes it even easier to access your passwords on your phone or tablet.

Controlling Your Backups

January 2018 – What you need to do to make sure your data is being backed up properly.

Quad9 Update

January 2018 – Quad9 update: Alternate DNS address and new Portland Server cluster for even faster service.


January 2018 – Use signal for simple, secure messaging, and calling. Call and message safely and securely.

The Single best Online Safety Tip

December 2017 – Best online safety advice: Never respond to ANY advertisement. Use a non-advertising search engine and find it yourself.

Quad9 for added security

December 2017 – Quad9 is a simple way and free way to enhance your online security by using a privacy and security focused DNS service.

Update Router Firmware

December 2017 – Updating online devices is important. One of the most important is to update your router. Useful information.

Alternative Search Engines

November 2017 – Though Google dominates search, there are many different and better search engines. Here are some excellent search engines that respect your privacy and provide equivalent or sometimes better results than you'll get from either Google or Bing.

Searx: Search Heaven

November 2017 – Searx is an open source privacy protecting search engine that provides better results than you will get from Google or Bing. It pulls information from as many as 70 different engines.

Image Backups

November 2017 – Include complete images in your backup regimen. This also means making and being able to find rescue media.

iStorage Encrypted Drives

November 2017 – iStorage provides physical hardware encrypted secure USB drives coming in all shapes and sizes. An excellent option if you need physically encrypted USB drives.

The Equifax Debacle

October 2017 – The Equifax security debacle is an illustration in shocking incompetence.They didn't patch their software. They didn't know millions of files were exfiltrated from their system. They didn't report it when they found out. Their eventual response was also incompetently done. The Keystone cops would have done better.

Everyone should place a Fraud Alert

October 2017 – Everyone should place a Fraud Alert on their credit reports. The process is simple and free. It requires lenders to verify your identity, usually by a phone call, if someone tries get credit in your name.

Doing a Credit or Security Freeze

October 2017 – I did a credit or security freeze to reduce the problem of identity theft. Here is all you need to know to determine if you should too.

Macrium Image Guardian

October 2017 – Macrium Reflect has a new Image Guardian that protect your images from Ransomware attacks. Also, the free version is now available for single commercial workstations.

Showtime was mining with your computer!

October 2017 – Showtime hijacks your computer to do cryptocurrency mining!

Password Insights

September 2017 – What have we learned after examining millions of hacked passwords and what does it tell you about how to construct your own passwords?

Internal Controls

September 2017 – Internal controls protect you from fraud, some theft and employee embezzlement. Here are some basics.

Free Mobile Apps

September 2017 – What are you really paying for "free" apps?

Tunnelbear VPN Service security audit

September 2017 – Tunnelbear VPN has demonstrated industry leadership, security consciousness, and transparency with their decision to pay for an external audit and publish the results. This is an excellent VPN service choice.

Firefox File Share

September 2017 – Firefox excellent secure simple free file sharing service was discontinued

KeePass Quick Entry Plugin

August 2017 – This KeePass plugin lets you re-open your KeePass file with a short password if you can do it in one try.

Clean up your Google App Permissions

August 2017 – Over the years we give more and more apps permission account for something. Occasionally you should and clean up the ones that don't make sense.

Password protect your email program

August 2017 – Adding a simple pin or password to your Email app can provide another level of protection without very much inconvenience.

Banning Backdoors

August 2017 – A European Parliament committee has proposed a law to ban backdoors and enforce end to end encryption.

MemInfo, Useful free tool

July 2017 – Meminfo is a small graphic guage that shows memory usage in real-time. It is very handy information to have.

Two Useful Keepass Improvements

July 2017 – Keepass's new Password Quality report is an excellent way to check the quality of your passwords and redo those that fall short.Another new feature is listing duplicate passwords.

Don't save passwords in browsers

July 2017 – Letting your browser save passwords for you is a bad idea. It is either very inconvenient or it is insecure. This article shows how various browsers handle saving your passwords and why you shouldn't let them.

18 Security cameras insecure

July 2017 – Security flaws in OEM Security camera maker used by many different companies. They are not getting patched.

HP computers come with keylogger!

June 2017 – Over 90 HP laptops and Desktops come with a keylogger to open your passwords to hackers. This appears to have just been a stupid mistake by Conexant who makes audio chips and HP has provided patches.

My Newsletter's email links

June 2017 – My newsletters contain trackers. Here's what they are doing, and why, and how to opt out.

Faster and easier website login with KeePass

June 2017 – Keepass's Selected Autotype function explained and demonstrated. A better way to login.

How to detect email scams

May 2017 – How to spot email scams in 5 minutes. For scam emails are shown and how to spot them as scams in this 5 minute video.

1903 Wireless Hack!

May 2017 – The first wireless hack occured in 1903 when Nevil Maskelyne hacked Marconi's wireless transmission demonstration from Cornwall to the Royal Institution in London 300 miles away.

Privacy and tracking

May 2017 – A look at three mechanisms for tracking us on the Internet as well as an explanation of various types of cookies. Many links to privacy testing services are provided.

AnySoft Keyboard for Android

May 2017 – Excellent Android keyboard which keeps your typing private. You can think of it as a privacy keyboard. Many options and keyboard styles.

Spideroak Purge Tool

May 2017 – I've created a simple purge tool to reduce the number of previous versions SpiderOak One Backup retains.


April 2017 – A review of who and what is tracking you and what you can do about it.

Qwant: A great privacy search engine

April 2017 – Qwant is a fantastic privacy search engine which does not track you or record your searches.

Will a VPN solve my privacy issues?

April 2017 – Will a VPN solve privacy and tracking issues. What is a VPN? What is it good for?

Second copy 9 is available

April 2017 – Second copy 9. An update to my favorite backup program.

Backup Power Recommendations

April 2017 – Uninterrupted power supply options. A look at 3 recommended UPS solutions for different purposes.

Ransomware Made Easy

March 2017 – Why are ransomware attacks skyrocketing? What can I do about it? Ransomware is being marketed to hackers so they can attack more people more easily and even get technical support and client managment.

Cliqz Browser

March 2017 – Cliqz is a new safer, faster privacy protecting, ad-blocking browser based on the Mozilla Open Source project. It has received funding from Mozilla and is very fast and stable.

Password Hacking Basics

March 2017 – How do hackers crack passwords and what do their basic techniques mean to you? How do you make passwords they cannot crack?

Critical Chrome Problem

February 2017 – Chrome has a vulnerability where your vital address and credit card information can be stolen. Here is the fix.

IOT - Security Risks

December 2016 – Massive botnets consisting of security cameras, routers, printers and even refrigerators are attacking legitimate sites and bringing them down. What the problem is and why it will not stop soon.

NSA's Upstream Surveillance Explained Simply

December 2016 – A short history of FISA and upstream surveillance in short cartoon format from the ACLU

Malwarebytes Update to Version 3

December 2016 – Malwarebytes has been updating users from version 2 to version 3 but this has caused confusion with many of my clients. Here's how to return to the free version for those who do not want to pay for it or receive continuous protection.

Podesta's Mistakes - Let me count the ways

November 2016 – Podesta's DNC email hack was shocking because of the total lack of basic security understanding exposed. He violated so many simple rules. Here's what you can learn from his bad example.

Web of Trust - Untrustworthy

November 2016 – The Web of Trust browser add-on, has been found to be selling personally identifiable information on users. Furthermore, there might be serious bugs that aren't addressed. I've removed it. Here's why and an alternative.

How to make a secure password

November 2016 – Sometimes you need to remember a password that is also secure. For example, the password to your password safe. Here is a method you can use.

VeraCrypt Audit

November 2016 – VeraCrypt, the best successor to TrueCrypt has been well audited. They found some issues most were fixed. VeraCrypt remains an excellent option, but be sure and upgrade to the latest version.

Testing Your Router

October 2016 – Your router is the wall between you and a cesspool of evil stuff on the Internet. It is prudent to test it occasionally and to check for firmware updates.

Yahoo Earns 5 Strikes

October 2016 – Yahoo has earned 5 strikes. It is time to consider perhaps they should be out. They have lost my trust.

SpiderOak New Pricing

October 2016 – Spideroak has new pricing

Monthly maintenance instructions

September 2016 – I've posted detailed instructions to go along with my monthly maintenance form. This should guide you through doing the normal monthly maintenance tasks to keep your computer running smoothly.

Spideroak Simple File Share

September 2016 – SpideroakOne Backup makes it very quick and simple to share a single file that you have backed up.

Check your Backups

September 2016 – Things change. If you don't check that your backups are working and backing up what you want, you might be disappointed when what you want is not there when you need it.

Wordpress Security issues

September 2016 – Wordpress and other simple website creation tools are not a panacea that will allow you to quickly make a website and forget about it. You will need to maintain it and update your site's security, or risk having your clients sucked into a miscreant's lair.

Protect our Elections

August 2016 – We need to protect our election process from hackers and cyber attacks from anywhere, including the makers of the machines. Here's how.

A Hackers Revenge

August 2016 – They messed with his mom. He made them pay.

Interesting News

July 2016 – CityGroup seems to be claiming it has trademarked Thankyou. It is suing at&t for using "AT&T thanks" in their loyalty program. Also buy stampedo ransomware service for just $39 for a lifetime license. It's really easy to use.

Spotting Email Scams

July 2016 – Here is a simple set of 3 techniques for easily spotting most email scams. I've also made a short video demonstrating the techniques.

Checking Downloaded Files

June 2016 – Verify that the file you have is from the company you that you thought it was, and does not contain a virus.

Cloud storage considerations

June 2016 – Before you store your information or your clients', you should consider the security of the online storage service. Here are the principles you need to know.

Google's Find my phone

June 2016 – Google has an easy way to find, ring, lock or even wipe a missing phone.

Brian Krebs 3 Rules for Internet Safety

June 2016 – These three simple rules will go a long way to protecting you on the Internet.

News this month

June 2016 – Home robots are making real progress, and Snowden on the state of surveillance.

How to check out websites and files

May 2016 – There are lots of sites on the Internet that you can use to check out a website you are considering doing business with or getting something from.

To Suite or not to Suite?

May 2016 – With security, as with many things in life, simpler is better. When security companies try and do everything, usually, some of it is done poorly. You are better off getting specific programs to do specific things.

Interesting News

May 2016 – A gun that looks like a smart phone, and Chrome stops supporting Vista.

Mobile App of the Month

May 2016 – Kaspersky Labs' QR Scanner checks for dangerous links in QR Code targets.

Will Congress Make Security Illegal?

April 2016 – The Draft Burr-Feinstein Bill essentially makes good security illegal. It cannot work, will not help, but will hurt our security. Legislating that pigs will fly, won't make them fly. Here's an explanation and links to action you can take.

Interesting News

April 2016 – Uber's transparency report, An amazing 60 minute section on cyber security, and Google's report on hacked websites - 16,500 per week.

Some Software Updates

April 2016 – Here are some updates you might have missed as Ninite doesn't cover them. - GWX Control Panel, Chaos Software, SpideroakOne, Nod32.

Apple Abandons Quicktime

April 2016 – Apple has given up on Quicktime for Windows, and despite known vulnerabilities will not patch it anymore. If it is on your computer, uninstall it and find an alternative.

Setup a Guest network

March 2016 – Gain better security by setting up a guest network for your guests and Internet connected devices like Roku, Xbox or Nest.

Get Hacked on NYTimes

March 2016 – Ransomware is being distributed on the NY Times, BBC, MSN and other legitimate sites. We will explain ransomware and how to reduce your exposure.

Interesting News

March 2016 – New movie about drone attacks. How NSA's Skynet program uses cell phone data to target drone attacks and a Girl's iPhone bursts into flames above the Pacific.

Interesting news stories

February 2016 – Interesting news stories about a new edition of Monopoly without paper money and information about choosing the right padlock.

Just say no!

February 2016 – Frequent scam with people calling you to try and get you to let them into your computer to "help you".

Stop Windows 10 Spying

January 2016 – Microsoft has brought the phone tracking customer spying from the phone to the desktop PC. Here's how to control it.

Some interesting news stories

January 2016 – 2 news stories: Isis is using its own secure messaging application, so the are safe from the NSA backdooring normal programs, and the EFF has released their annual report on which online companies and working to help preserve our privacy.

Disable Flash Always On

December 2015 – Flash is dangerous. Having it running and ready to activate at all times is a mistake. Force it to "ask to activate".

Experts Versus Non-Experts

November 2015 – Google researchers compare regular users with security experts to reveal differences on security practices and beliefs. We can all learn from how we differ from the experts.

Proper Password Encryption

October 2015 – A simple clear overview of the concepts for encrypting passwords and using the result to encrypt data. I use Keepass as an good example.

Review your passwords

October 2015 – Passwords tend to stick around for years, so it is necessary to review them and update them occasionally. You need to get rid of any that are too short or duplicated.

Trustgo Android Mobile Security Discontinued

October 2015 – I've recommended Trustgo Android antivirus in the past. It has been discontinued. I now recommend Avira. Here's why.

Get your My SS Account now, before someone else does

September 2015 – It is a good idea to setup your My Social Security Account online now. Though it is likely to be hacked. If you do not setup your account, someone else is likely to set one up using your name and steal your benefits.

Passive Key hacks

September 2015 – Most cars using passive key technology to unlock and start cars can be easily hacked. Here's how it is done and how to prevent it.

Preventing the StageFright Attack

August 2015 – What is the Android vulnerability called StageFright and how can you avoid it.

Backup your Google stuff

August 2015 – Two ways to make local copies of your Google saved files. This makes copies of Google drive, Contacts, Calendar, Photos and much more.

Adblockers are necessary

August 2015 – When you go to most news websites about 40% of the data they send you is advertising. This slows your browsing down and increases your cell data fees. But even worse, there is often malware embedded in their advertising. Adblockers are necessary for safe and fast Internet access.

Window 10 Wifi Sense

August 2015 – Wifi sense makes no sense and should be stopped. This article explains the differences between the fantasy and the reality of this kind of childish nonsense.

$30 device to bypass the lock for cars

August 2015 – Link to an Engadget article about how to use a $30 device to bypass the pass codes for most locked cars and some garage doors.

Recommended Windows Programs

July 2015 – My recommended Programs for Windows with links to get them.

Potentially Unwanted Programs

June 2015 – How to prevent PUPS (potentially unwanted programs) sometimes called Foistware. Simple rules and techniques to reduce your exposure to unwanted software installations.

Wonderful Keepass Plug-in

June 2015 – AutoTypeSearch, a Keepass plug-in, pulls up a search if the Auto-Login fails to find a match. This allows you to quickly find and login even when Auto-type fails.

Use Mailwasher Pro to stop spam

May 2015 – Mailwasher Pro is an excellent spam blocking tool used by over 8 million people. It has been around for 14 years and is very well refined.

Auto Login with Keepass

May 2015 – Keepass allows you to log into a website or program with the press of a hotkey (CTRL-Alt-A). This article shows you how to adjust it if the default conditions don't work.

Remove Gadgets

May 2015 – Microsoft discontinued gadgets because of severe security problems including allowing hackers to take complete control of your computer. But, many people didn't get the message and still have gadgets running. Remove them.

Paypal Account Recovery

March 2015 – Paypal allows anyone who controls your email account to take control of you Paypal account. So you need good email passwords.

Stop Using the Android Browser

March 2015 – Android's stock browser is security challenged. Google will not patch it for versions below 4.3 (KitKat). It should not be used.

Credit Report Freeze - Stop Financial Identity Theft

March 2015 – You can stop credit bureaus from reporting on your credit. This will stop creditors from lending to anyone who appears to be you. Identity theft is usually done by taking out credit or renting an apartment in your name. Who might benefit from this and how is it done/

Give someone your Master Password

March 2015 – Password safes are a must, but it is important that someone you trust has your master password to your password safe just in case you get hit by a bus or a toilet seat falls on your head, or something else untoward.

Interesting Phishing scam

March 2015 – Here is a new phishing scam and some prevention techniques.

Backup Your Google Drive

February 2015 – Why you need to make a local backup of your Google Drive and how to do it.

Amazon Account Recovery

February 2015 – How Amazon quickly and easily allows you, or any hacker with access to your email, gain access to your Amazon account and reset your password and then your recovery email address.

SpiderOak New Pricing

February 2015 – Spideroak has changed their pricing structure, providing a lower cost less storage option and a higher cost more storage option, but eliminating the current $100/yr for 100 GB option. Current users with current accounts do not need to change and their option will be honored.

Lenovo Installs Superfish Malware on New Laptops

February 2015 – Lenovo installed very dangerous malware on new laptops from Septmeber 2014 to February 2015. Here's what it is. How to test for it and how to remove it.

The Best Articles of 2014

December 2014 – My own picks for my best articles of 2014 in case you might have missed any.

Google Account Recovery

December 2014 – How does Google handle account recovery (when someone claims to have lost their password) and what you should do to check your settings.

Recent Major Company Breaches

October 2014 – Many major companies experienced security breaches recently losing millions of people's private information. What happened to whom? What attacks will be coming. What can you do?

Have I been Hacked?

October 2014 – Two safe places to check and see whether your email address was compromised in any of a number of security breaches.

Mozilla is protecting their code from the NSA

October 2014 – Mozilla is protecting themselves from an NSA forced backdoor followed by a gag order. Here's how.

Certificate Revocation

October 2014 – What is certificate revocation? How does it work? Why you should change the Firefox Default.

SpiderOak Backup

October 2014 – SpiderOak is a great online backup program, but it needs to be cleaned up some and updated occasionally.

How to Wipe your phone

August 2014 – Before you sell your phone, you need to get your stuff off it. Here's how to do it properly.

Patching your router

August 2014 – Recent research indicates that about 80% of the best selling routers have serious security flaws. Routers are rapidly adding many new features, but even more rapidly adding security flaws. Here is some help patching your router.

Phone Passwords

August 2014 – Phone lockscreen passwords are a hassle. One way to avoid them is to use an App locker instead.

New forms available

August 2014 – I have many useful computer related forms available for you to use.

Passwords on phones and tablets

June 2014 – Easy password entry using Keepass2Android on phones and tablets.

Check Your Backups

June 2014 – It isn't enough to just setup a backup for your computer. You need to check your backups and make sure they are really backed up.

Check your mobile Browser

June 2014 – A site to check whether your browser is implementing SSL (TLS) properly.

Heartbleed Vulnerability. What is it? What to do?

May 2014 – The heartbleed vulnerability is a major problem creating both panic sensationalism and real serious potential problems. We look at what it is, and what to do.

How to use the OCS Website

April 2014 – The OCS Website, http://steveshank.com is a valuable resource. Here's how to get the most out of it.

Hover Before You Click

April 2014 – How to check out links without clicking them to prevent infections from email.

Has you account been compromised?

April 2014 – Troy Hunt's site lets you see if your account has been compromised. It checks 160 million accounts to see if you email address is listed.

Computer Maintenance Basics

February 2014 – How to perform all the monthly maintenance tasks needed to keep your computer safe and profitable.

Private Browsing

February 2014 – How to browse the internet like a bird and leave no trace.

I Wipe Hard Drives

February 2014 – I offer a reliable hard drive wiping and computer recycling service.

KeePass Portable

February 2014 – KeePass offers a good portable version and along with the Kingston traveler flash drive, you can alwas have your passwords with you.

Moda Health Insecurity

February 2014 – A letter I wrote to Moda Health regarding the completely incompetent security. I wish there was a way to get this information to someone who could do something.

Government Security

February 2014 – Is Government security an oxymoron or simply a contradiction in terms? A partial list of government sites that have been hacked recently.

Help With Regular Computer Maintenance

December 2013 – Monthly maintenance should be done on all computers. This includes checking for possible problems and updating. I offer this as a service, but explain here what needs to be done.

Adding Image Backups to your routine

December 2013 – In addition to data backups and online backups, image backups should be standard practice. They allow you go get up and running quickly if the hard drive fails, or Windows goes nuts, or you get a virus.

Stagger your credit reports

December 2013 – Rather than doing all three credit reports once a year; stagger them and do one every 4 months.

Get a second Malware Opinion

December 2013 – In addition to your regular real-time malware anti-virus product, I recommend a monthly check with another product from another vendor. Here's a list of free options for that second opinion.

Time to stop using Windows XP

October 2013 – April 8, 2014 is the end date for Microsoft Support of Windows XP and Office 2003. You must stop using them if you are connected to the Internet.

Password Cracking Improvements

October 2013 – Password cracking has been improving very fast requiring stronger and stronger passwords to be safe.

Daily Computer Maintenance

October 2013 – If you do not turn your computer off at night, you should follow these steps every evening.

Website Automates fake IDs

October 2013 – There is now a website that automates the creation of fake ID scanned copies.

Printing from Keepass

October 2013 – How to print from Keepass password safe. This article shows you how to print single entries, groups, or the entire database as well as to configure your output.

Collection of Articles about the Snowden Papers

October 2013 – The Snowden papers represent one of the most important events in modern American and possibly world history. Here are some links I've found most interesting.

Testing Your Secure Connections

August 2013 – SSL Labs provides a tool to check your secure connections to the Internet. I show how to interpret the test and recommend using it on your banks, credit cards, medical centers, and anyone who holds your credit card information.

Syncing Keepass with Mobile Devices

August 2013 – How to sync your Keepass safe between your phone, tablet and desktop computers

Switch from Secunia to Ninite Updater

August 2013 – Ninite Updater is an excellent service to quickly and safely update your most important software. I recommend using it instead of Secunia PSI.

TrustGo Security

August 2013 – TrustGo is an Android antivirus and security app that provides good protection as well as lots of other security features including lock, find and wipe.

Petition Government to stop spying on citizens

August 2013 – 2 petitions that form a strong movement to reel in some of the NSA activity of spying on American citizens. Each taking a different approach. Each done by a strong respected organization.

Using Truecrypt

June 2013 – Truecrypt is excellent for encrypting your files, however, there are many different ways to use Truecrypt to work properly given specific objectives. This article explores a few of them.

My Favorite Android Tablet Apps

June 2013 – These are my current (May 29, 2013) favorite Android Apps for my tablet. Perhaps you'll find something new in here.

Who's got your back?

June 2013 – The Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) 2013 annual report on how major online companies either fight or do not fight for our online privacy.

How Miscreants make money by hacking your PC

April 2013 – Miscreants can make money from attacking your computer even if you just use it for email. Sometimes people don't think they are a target because the information on their computers is not valuable. They are wrong. Here's why.

Enable Click to Play

April 2013 – Due to the continuous litany of threats from browser plug-ins like Java and Flash it is important to set those plug-ins off by default. This will prevent "drive-by" attacks. Fortunately both Firefox and Chrome make it easy to do this. Here's how.

Maintenance Service

April 2013 – To keep your computer safe and profitable, it is necessary to do monthly maintenance. Here is the checklist I use to do it, and some explanation of how it works. I also offer a service where I'll do it for you every month, or quarterly, or I can simply work with you as needed to teach you exactly how to maintain your own computer.

9 Rules for safe Computing

April 2013 – 9 simple rules for keeping your computer safe from viruses and malware.

Secure Internet While Traveling

February 2013 – When connecting to uncontrolled hotspots at cafes or motels you gain a lot of security by using an SSL VPN service to protect your communications from eavesdroppers.

Safe Log ins

February 2013 – People log in to websites backwards. This causes them all sorts of problems. Email gets hacked. Passwords lost. Problems logging in. All this will end if you create your passwords and log in to important sites frontwards, instead of backwards. You begin with your password safe, then the website.

Yahoo Mail Turn on SSL

February 2013 – Yahoo Mail now has the option to access your email using SSL. You should enable this option. It is much more secure. Here's how.

Interesting Outsourcing Event

February 2013 – American Infrastructure Employee secretly outsources his job to a Chinese contracting firm. This throws his company's security team into a panic as their secure VPN channel is being used by unknown Chinese, despite requiring two factor authentication.

Zeus Trojan

December 2012 – The Zeus Trojan is one of the most widespread Botnet Trojans ever created. The code has been sold and the software is now well documented and supported along with add-on modules and feedback for new features.

Turn Off New Vipre Auto Update

December 2012 – Vipre Internet Security now offers security updates for other software. However, it is implemented poorly and should be turned off. Currently it is more likely to hurt than to help.

SpiderOak Tips

December 2012 – Managing File content in Spideroak Backups. Making sure you do not waste space, or have thousands of copies of a file.

Use Firefox's Plugin Checker

December 2012 – Use Firefox's Plugin Checker to keep all you plugins patched.

Three Interesting Books

December 2012 – Two Tech thrillers by Mark Russinovich and a biography by Kevin Mitnick are reviewed

Check your System Tray

October 2012 – It is critical that people learn to check their system tray as many programs are trying to alert you regarding problems they see. I review messages coming from my system tray.

Understanding Password Storage

October 2012 – How are passwords stored? What are hash tables and salting? What are the clues that a website is using insecure methods?

Rules for Online Storage

October 2012 – 4 simple rules for safely using online storage.

More DropBox Security Issues

October 2012 – What the latest DropBox security breach tells us about the company. What did they do wrong?

Keepass Custom Fields

August 2012 – KeePass offers custom fields for each entry. These can be very useful for Security Questions and account numbers that may need to be filled in on a website. They allow you to select the field and copy it without having to scroll through the notes and hightlight and copy.

New Secunia

August 2012 – Secunia has updated to version 3. This new version does a better job of updating you automatically.

Firefox Plugin Check

August 2012 – Browser plugins are modules added to your browser to enhance its capability. For example to play flash video or run Java applications. Sometimes these plugins should be updated. Firefox's Plugin Check, enables you to check and update your Firefox Plugins.

Why government cyber attacks hurt us

June 2012 – The computer security landscape has changed since governments began buying exploits from hackers and paying over $100,000 for an exploit. This changes the economics of hacking and will make the Internet more dangerous.

The Economics of Malware

June 2012 – An examination of how the Flashback Virus that attacked 600,000 Macintosh computers generated about $3.5 million for its owners. It snagged Google searches and grabbed the ad-click revenue from them.

LinkedIn Breach

June 2012 – LinkedIn lost the hash of 6.5 million passwords, and this breach has some lessons for all of us. You need to make passwords that are unbreakable even if the hash is stolen.

Security Breaches

June 2012 – Security breaches are so common, that Robert Mueller, current director of the FBI says that there "are two types of companies those that have been hacked and those that will be." I found a couple of sites that list the major breaches so far this year.

Imaging Your Hard Drive

April 2012 – Doing a monthly image of your entire hard drive allows you to quickly get up and running in case of a bad virus infection, Windows going crazy, or hard drive failure. It provides an additional data backup as well.

Forms you can use

April 2012 – I have a few forms that should help you working with security and your computers. They are in PDF format and freely available for use.

Interesting Websites

April 2012 – 4 websites I found particularly interesting. Google Art Project, checking your lifespan and life expectancy and SpotCrime, checking the crime in your neighborhood.

Turn Off WPS

February 2012 – When configuring your router, it is important to turn off WPS because it is a gigantic security hole. Here's how.

Excellent New Email Attack

February 2012 – This is a clever new email phishing attack that very much impressed me.

21st Century Passwords

December 2011 – Making strong passwords for small form factor devices

Check your scam detector

December 2011 – A test to determine if you can detect scams on the Internet.

How Windows Gets Infected

December 2011 – How does Window's computers get infected and what can you do about it.

What is Java?

December 2011 – What is Java and why do you need to keep it up to date.

No. Never buy from an Ad

December 2011 – Why you should never click on any link to buy anything

Introduction to KeePass

October 2011 – An introduction to Keepass password safe.

Why switch to KeePass

October 2011 – Reasons to quit using OCS Passwords and move to Keepass password safe.

How to switch to KeePass

October 2011 – Switching from OCS Passwords to KeePass.

KeePass Quickstart

October 2011 – A Quickstart Guide to Keepass password safe.

How to make a good master password

October 2011 – How to make a good master password.

Creating Passwords with KeePass

October 2011 – How to create passwords with Keepass password safe.

HotKey Login with KeePass

October 2011 – How to setup Keepass to log you into websites with the press of a single hotkey.

Getting the most from KeePass

October 2011 – Important tools for making KeePass even more effective.

Video Links to KeePass

October 2011 – Screencasts I've made to help with getting the most from KeePass.

Dropbox Issues

August 2011 –

Android Security Issues

August 2011 – Android security issues and a new Android antivirus answer

Costs reduced for Cyber Criminals

August 2011 – New low cost and free software make becoming a cyber criminal cheap and easy.

DropBox Insecurity

June 2011 – Why Dropbox is insecure and more secure options.

Minimizing your online backup size

June 2011 – How to reduce the size of your backup with MySecureBackup.

Quarterly Maintenance Checks

June 2011 – An OCS service: Quarterly Maintenance Checks

Security News

June 2011 –

An Insecure Router Could Send You to Jail

June 2011 – What you need to know to secure your router and what could happern if you don't.

Safest way to Escape Rogue Antivirus Programs

April 2011 – What to do if you are attacked by a Rogue Anti-virus program.

2 Online Site Scanners

April 2011 – 2 online site scanners

Japan Donation Scams

April 2011 – Making sure you don't get trapped by Donation Scams

Gawker Security Breach

February 2011 – What we can learn from the Gawker Security Breach

Internet Explorer, Insecure Again!

February 2011 – Microsoft continues to ignore security flaws in Internet Explorer.

New MySecureBackup Login

February 2011 – Mysecurebackup gives you a new and better way to login to your account and access files.

New Secunia PSI

February 2011 – Secunia and updated and improved the already great Secunia PSI

Excellent Firefox Security Extension

February 2011 – SSL Personas is a wonderful 'in your face' security extension for Firefox

Windows Remote Library Execution

December 2010 – How to patch Windows Remote Library execution flaw.

Mirrored Hard Drives

December 2010 – It is very inexpensive to have mirrored hard drives in new computers, and it provides big benefits.

Layered Security 2010

September 2010 – A detailed overview of all the different layers necessary to prodtect your computer. Including routers, anti-malware products, anti-virus, intrusion detection and more.

Preventing Rogue Antivirus Programs

September 2010 –

Excluding Folders from Vipre's Active Protection

September 2010 –

Reducing Your Online Backup Size

July 2010 – Reducing Your Online Backup Size

PDF Encryption

July 2010 – PDF Encryption

SSL Part 2: Certificate Authorities

July 2010 – How SSL Works: Part 2- Certificate Authorities


May 2010 – Security News

How SSL Works

May 2010 – How SSL Works

Secure Internet Connections while Traveling

May 2010 – How to set up a trusted connection to the Internet while traveling.

Renewing Nod32

May 2010 – Great product, but not easy to renew your license. Sunbelt's Vipre is an excellent alternative.

Adobe Acrobat Security Issues

March 2010 – Adobe Security Issues

Email Security Tip

March 2010 – Email Security, spotty phishing

David Cornelius Addition

March 2010 – Finding the Java control panel in 64 Bit Windows

Blink card

January 2010 – RFID Credit Cards

Mozilla plugin security

January 2010 – Mozilla Browser Plugin Checking

Security Issue

November 2009 – Secure Login

Paypal Security

November 2009 – Paypal Security

Spam Works!

August 2009 – Spam Works!

Controlling Firefox Updates

August 2009 – Controlling Firefox Updates


August 2009 – My Secure Backup


July 2009 – MRI Machines infected with Conficker Worm


July 2009 – NoScript

Hard Drive Maintenance

July 2009 – Hard drive Maintenance

Update Secunia

July 2009 – Update Secunia

Basic Rules for Browsing

July 2009 – Simple Rules for Browsing

Security Tip

July 2009 – Security Tip, Financial email address

MS - Here we go again

July 2009 – Microsoft OneClick, another debacle

Critical Paypal Fix

May 2009 – Paypal Security Flaw

A Virus Threat

May 2009 – A Virus Threat

Identity Theft Economics

May 2009 – Identity Theft Economics

Security Myths Exposed!

March 2009 – Security Myths Exposed!

Security Truths Exposed!

March 2009 – Security Truths Exposed! How they trick you into installing malware and what the malware economy is like.

Security Alert

March 2009 – Updating Certificates - MD5 Alert

Phishing test

December 2008 – A Phishing Test

Two New Security Threats

December 2008 – Two new security threats

TrueCrypt Updated

December 2008 – TrueCrypt update

2 Firefox Tips

October 2008 – Two Firefox Tips

Security News and Tips

October 2008 – Security News and Tips

Testing Passwords

September 2008 – Testing passwords

Updating Traps

September 2008 – Avoid Updating Traps


July 2008 – OpenDNS

PSI - Secunia program

July 2008 – PSI- Secunia Program

Layered Security

May 2008 – Layered Security

Site of the Month

May 2008 – Site of the Month

Ibackup Updates

May 2008 – Update Your Ibackup

News you Can't Use

May 2008 –

Q&A - Update Flash?

May 2008 – Updating Adobe Flash Player

Security News

January 2008 – BotMaster Controls 250,000 Zombies

Safer USB Drives

January 2008 – Safer USB Drives

How to Decipher Links

July 2007 – Being able to read and decipher links and email addresses can help you avoid online phishing scams.

WEP Needs to Die

June 2007 –

  Copyright © 2005-2024 Steve Shank--ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Please direct questions/suggestions about website to the webmaster