*Computing vulnerabilities you should address

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Most people and small businesses are still using hardware and software that is older than five to seven years old. In a general sense, that’s ok. But as the march of improved products and software moves forward, it leaves existing equipment behind. Older than five years is becoming too old to be trusted in today’s world of security breaches.

An old computer that’s still chugging along, running an old operating system and perhaps old programs and applications, doesn’t seem to be a big deal. After all, they still seem to work just fine. Why spend money on new equipment or software if it’s adequate and functioning?

Walker White, president of BDNA, a company that tracks and analyzes end-of-life (EOL) data for hardware, software and medical devices, says that the main problem with out-of-date software and legacy hardware is that once they pass their EOL cycle, the vendor no longer maintains or supports the products, resulting in security vulnerabilities and risk.

Here’s a look at the hardware, software and mobile device vulnerabilities you should tackle now to reduce risk and increase security.

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* Is Amazon Echo always listening?

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Do you use Amazon’s Alexa?

The Amazon Echo has seven built-in microphones so it can hear you from across the room, even if you have music playing. It’s an amazing piece of technology.

However, having a device in your home that’s always listening poses some privacy concerns. For example, is everything you say being recorded and if so, who has access to the recordings?

That’s why you need to know about these essential Echo security settings to help alleviate those concerns.

So … Is Amazon Echo always listening?

The short answer is yes.

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*Stop Your Smart TV from Spying on You

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The trend is to not just have a big screen TV, but to have a big screen Smart-TV.

But are you putting your privacy at risk by having one? Recall the recent controversy with the Samsung Smart TV’s hearing even your most personal conversations and only giving you a one line warning in their privacy policy?

What you can do to protect yourself will depend on what brand and model TV you have.

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* Smart-TV’s and Refrigerators can Be Used to Attack Businesses

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We all remember last October’s massive Internet hack using ordinary household Internet connected devices. The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more and more a favorite tool of hackers.

Those devices which ranged from webcams, to security systems, to home appliances, were victims to the Mirai bug. This bug was easily planted because homeowners seldom change the passwords or log-in credentials of ordinary household appliances.

But many people are still scratching their heads…. ‘Can my baby monitor or my refrigerator actually bring down the Internet?’

While IT experts have long predicted security risks associated with the rapidly proliferating Internet of Things (IoT), this is the first time the industry has reported actual proof of such a cyber-attack involving common appliances. And now with the Mirai attack in October 2016, the methodology has gone mainstream.

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*7 new IoT attacks ready to be launched

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The rapid spread of Internet connected devices into every facet of our lives will have consequences far beyond our current thinking.

Security-wise, the internet of things (IoT) is going as badly as most computer security experts predicted. In fact, most consumers don’t fully appreciate the potential threats IoT devices pose. Anything connected to the internet and running code can be taken over for malicious purposes.

Given the accelerating proliferation of internet-connected devices, we could be hurtling toward catastrophe. Personal security cameras, for example, were recently used to conduct the largest denial-of-service attacks the world has ever seen, not to mention allowing strangers to spy on the very people the cameras are supposed to protect.

Worse, the coming wave of IoT attacks includes those that could injure or kill people. This isn’t hypothetical. I’m talking about real attacks that are already possible today. And no one has done anything to make these attacks less likely to happen.

Following are seven next-wave attacks that we can expect to see soon.

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*Simple Cyber-Security measures we should all practice

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It is time to give up the idea that security breaches are for big corporations and high profile figures. Any one of us can become a target. And we must learn the basics to protect ourselves.

Despite the stories you hear about the sophisticated methods employed by hackers, in most cases, it is simple negligence that allows them to carry out their attacks.

A 2014 report from IBM states that 95 percent of security breaches result from human carelessness. For example, despite all the warnings you see about creating strong passwords, you’d be surprised to learn that “12345” and “password” remain the two most common passwords on the internet.

Remember, it was “password” that was used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, that allowed intruders to gain access to his emails that sank her campaign.

First things first … Keep backups of your data

Keeping regular backups of your data outside of your computer has many benefits, especially for data recovery situations. But it is also important from a security perspective, as some breeds of cyberattacks, such as ransomware , target and corrupt your data in order to extort money from you. In such situations, having backups of your data can save you time, money, and headaches.

It’s so important that we place “Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!” at the bottom of every article on TechViews News.

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*New Dangerous Phishing Scam Is Coming After Your Gmail Account

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It’s a new year, and with it comes a new, and incredibly sneaky phishing attack. Ahhh, you think you can easily spot one of those when it comes in your email? It’s usually that overconfident attitude that gets people into trouble.

This new phishing attack easily hops from one Gmail account to another by searching through your email inbox and replaces attachments with a new link that looks like it’s from Google, except that it’s not.

The deception here is that the receiver sees a legitimate email from someone already in their Gmail address book, but it’s the attachment that’s been tampered with. Ugh, very sneaky.

The email will come from a familiar address in your contacts, complete with an attachment (an image or link) to click on. Some of these emails are even designed to look like replies to previous emails to your contacts, making it even harder to spot the scam right away.

But once you click on this attachment, you’ll be sent right back to your normal Gmail login page, or at least what appears to be your normal login page. It won’t be the real Google sign-in screen, a simple look at the URL will show more text than Google’s login URL.

But if you are in a hurry, or not checking your emails for validity, it’s would be easy to assume you just have to re-input your login info. The catch here is that very, very seldom will you be redirected back to your login page just to read an email.

And that’s where they get you.

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