Category Archives: AntiVirus

Moving to Panama – Technology Cons

This is the second post on technology’s role for people moving to Panama.

In this post I will focus on some of the dangers that technology poses for those that are new to using technology.

Passwords

Let’s start with the most obvious. The technology I am talking about requires the Internet to be useful. Connecting to the Internet will require an email address and an email account requires a password.

This is the first point of failure for most people. They don’t realize how important it is to have a hardened secure password. I have written several posts that cover the password subject and won’t cover the topic in detail here. A search on this blog for “passwords” will bring up old posts.

I will summarize what I have previously written as follows. All sites and emails requiring a password should have unique passwords. If you are using the same password for multiple things, you are already in danger. Continue reading Moving to Panama – Technology Cons

Another Apple Sierra Problem

The previous problem was that Sierra broke magic Jack. I chose to ignore it because I have MJ installed on my cell phone.

Today, I discovered that Time Machine was not doing its backups. Actually. I probably can’t say this is a Apple Sierra problem, but a problem with SOPHOS AV. It is preventing the Time Machine from running. Unfortunately, I can’t uninstall SOPHOS cleanly, so I am going to have to call Apple for help.

I expect SOPHOS needs to be removed by manually deleting some internal files and I don’t trust myself to do that without Apple on the line.

Hope I can get it resolved tomorrow. Tuesday is my day to watch the Google announcements.

Security Alert for AVAST Users

As a result of listening to a couple Netcasts, I have been made aware of a security problem, if you use AVAST as your Anti Virus software. I have used AVAST for a long time, but it has now been removed from my MacBook Pro laptop.

I have replaced AVAST with SOPHOS, which I have used in the past.

This is just a heads-up to anyone using AVAST as their AV.

The following Netcast of Security Now covers the problem, but the video is a 2 hour video.

AntiVirus Software is Needed By Everyone

AvastMany years ago Apple promoted its products as being immune to viruses and malware.

Of course this was never true. It was only because Apple had such a small share of the market that it wasn’t a target.

Any operating system is vulnerable to malware and viruses.

On my Mac gear I run AVAST. It does a good job and every morning I get notices when it detects a problem.

I still have people tell me they are going to switch to Mac because they want to move away from computer viruses.

Mac does still have fewer viruses and malware specifically written for it, but it is not immune.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Jump Into The Internet

More and more seniors are jumping into the Internet. Some are moving to countries like Panama to “Enjoy Paradise”, and need a cheap way to stay in contact with family back home. Some are introduced to FaceBook by their grand children. Some have heard that they can sell their junk on eBay and get more money than at a garage sale.

There is no question that in today’s world, the Internet has become a necessary part of life.

Unfortunately the vast majority of newcomers are not equipped with the knowledge of the traitorous waters they are entering into to protect themselves.

Maybe it is time for another warning that most will skip over without reading.

I do not care if you are a Microsoft Windows advocate, an Apple fan or a Linux maverick. None of the systems are absolutely safe. All have worked hard to make their systems safer, but there will never be a completely safe system as long as humans are using them.

I happened to stumble onto this article and it brought to light a new set of flaws I had not considered. I think most people that use AntiVirus programs never think about the vulnerabilities of those systems. Continue reading Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Jump Into The Internet

Some Apple Experiences

My first PC was an Apple II. I loved it. It started the PC revolution. However, Bill Gates landed the contract to provide the operation system for IBM and my work required my migrating to the Microsoft environment. My second PC was an IBM.

Once parts started becoming available, I built all of my PCs. I could build a higher quality system than you could buy from a vendor. The same is still true. Dell, HP and others are caught up in the commodity market and that tends to drive quality down to have competitive prices.

When Jobs returned to Apple, I liked Apple’s equipment, but I could never justify paying more than it would cost me to build an equivalent system.

My last Microsoft system was a Gateway, because I found a very good deal. It was well built and a screamer. Once I moved it from Windows Vista to Windows 7, it was a fine PC. Windows 7 is the best OS Microsoft ever built in my opinion. I know there are still XP advocates, but I liked 7 much better. However, it required a lot of power to run 7 and many stayed with XP because it ran on older hardware. Continue reading Some Apple Experiences

Why I Write About Technology

I realize I write many posts related to technology. Every time I do, I receive comments and emails that tell me that many readers tune out when they see one of these posts.

So why do I do it? Well, for one thing, technology has always been a large part of my life, both as a hobby and as a profession. However, a bigger reason is that if you are a person moving from the US or Europe or any first world country and have most of your family ties back in your country of origin, then you will have to become more familiar with technology than had you not moved.

Even though I realize you have to be a little conversant with technology or you would not be reading this blog, and even though I have written similar posts in the past, I will do one more.

MAIL

As you can see from the recent posts, on Proof Of Life, the mail system in Panama is not very dependable. Most people use a Mail Forwarding Company to receive normal mail and packages. Not cheap, but dependable. I currently use Multiservicios International De Chiriquí.

Most of these types of services are similar. None are perfect, but if you find one you like, switching will rarely be worth the trouble.

For the amount of mail I get from the US, this has been the cheapest I have found.

To satisfy a Proof of Life address, I am now using a PO Box in David. I will use it only for Taxes and Social Security. I also will not count on it being 100% dependable. I am still waiting for my first letter from the US which was sent a month ago. Next week I will chat with the management. I hope they don’t go postal. Continue reading Why I Write About Technology

A TidBit Of Mac Experience

As I go through my learning curve with the Mac, I will post some of my experiences and observations. While I consider myself competent with Windows and relative competent with Linux, I am still a novice with OSX for the Mac. However, OSX and Linux are cousins, so it is not totally foreign to me.

This morning, I was reading an article that had a Mac Question section and one of the questions was
related to needing an AV program on the Mac.

The rapid growth of Mac users is making it more of a target and the advice given was that there were still two camps of users – those that use AV and those that say there is no need.

I fall in the camp of better safe than sorry. The author went on to recommend two “free” Anti-Virus programs. One was Sophos Anti-Virus.

Free is good and I decided to download it and give it a try.

I started a scan before I left to take photos of the Container Seven unload.

When I returned. I was surprised to see a warning from the scan. It had found a Trojan in a file. Upon inspection, it was a Windows OS file that has accidentally been brought over when I copied my backup files to this fresh environment.

The Trojan was not a danger to this system, but is a danger on Windows.

One reason to have a AV on a Mac is that, while the Mac is less vulnerable to malware and viruses, it can still be a carrier and transmit forwarded viruses to others via email and other means.

To this point, Sophos looks like a good thing to have. I will keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t consume too much CPU time.

New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users

Here is another article from the New York Times on the growing dangers of Wi-Fi insecurity. People in this part of the world seem to think that they are immune from the dangers, because they think it is only 1st world countries that have the technology to sniff out your information.

Think again, because the technology is getting cheaper and more available everyday. Cities like Boquete and Panama City, whose tourist trade continues to grow, would be a prime targets. Some spots in David, such as TGI Fridays and McDonald’s, would also be prime targets.

Everyone using the Internet needs to be practicing Safe Internet Intercourse. There are several things you can do.

  1. Use a stronger password. Many people think that using cute words such as superman or panamapete are fine. They are not. A strong password should be at lead 8 characters long and contain both upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters. So how do you take a simple password and harden it without making it difficulty to remember? It is not tough. How about $uper123Man as a replacement for superman or Panama123%ete for panamapete. A simple substitution of characters in your current passwords will be adequate.
  2. Don’t connect to Wi-Fi that does not use WAP encryption. If your hotel or favorite restaurant has an unsafe connection, talk to them about hardening their connection. If the connection uses WEP encryption, it is not enough. How will you know if it is WEP? The password will be specified as WEP or WAP. WAP is more secure.
  3. Consider using a VPN. What is your peace of mind worth? My VPN, WiTopia, costs me $69 a year. That allows as me to protect regular PCs using a Windows, Apple or Linux operating system, as well as my iPad.
  4. If you have a home Wi-Fi, turn off the broadcast mode. With broadcast on, anyone driving down the street can see if there are Wi-Fi systems available. If your network can’t be seen, it is harder to be hacked. If your router provides a guest channel, don’t use the same password as your primary channel.
  5. Always keep your OS current on fixes. ALL operating systems are vulnerable, but the most vulnerable are those that are never maintained.
  6. Keep your Anti Virus current. On my Windows PC I use Microsoft Security Essentials. It is free and very good. I have never had a virus on any Windows OS I have owned, but I am meticulous with my maintenance. If you think you are immune because you own a MAC, think again. One of the last Apple updates was the largest security fix release it had ever done. And with MAC gaining market share, its threat level increases. The same is true with Linux.

Remember my new acronym SII, and practice Safe Internet Intercourse. I don’t condom condone anything else.