How I found out my Credit Card was Compromised!

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Target Credit card Reader by Mike Mozart

Someone used my Card

So lately I have been talking about credit card theft, over the past few weeks.   It happened to me last Thursday.   I got a text from Lifelock, telling me there was a problem with my credit card and that some of my information was on the net.  I also got a wake up call from my bank at 7:59am, wanting to know if I happened to buy stuff from Assurance Wireless, and PTEL Wireless.   Most of the charges were under the 200$ limit on my credit card but it was also used as a test buy for a pop vending machine for $1.75.   The reason this was flagged by my credit card company was that I rarely don’t travel and when I do travel far, I will alert my credit card company so they know that I am traveling!

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One without using my credit cards

I’ve taken a stance for this week not use any other credit cards just to find out if my other credit cards were compromised this week.   I do not believe my other credit cards which is few and in between that I have and use are out in the open to.  I just didn’t want to risk them also getting loose.  I do have a great PayPal credit card that I have not used for the last past week.   I do not use that card often but I do like to use it on Amazon (Amazon Affiliate Link).

What I’ve learned!

I’ve learned that I will start either paying for the gas at the register with my credit card or just give them cash.   I’ve have been tracking all my credit card purchases with an email ever day about what was charged.   So I have been doing the right thing to prevent this type of theft from going anymore than a day but I also do not want to have this happen to me.   So I am going to list what I will be doing differently from now on!

  • No More pay at the Pump Purchases — This might be one way that it was compromised but I am unsure of it.  I usually look at the card reader before I even put my card in it.   I’ve decided to cut the risk by going inside and paying in cash or with my credit there.
  • Reduce my use of paying with Credit card — Whenever I go out and about I will pay more with cash then I will with my credit card.   It will also help me to keep track of my money more and possibly save money!
  • NFC — When I get the money, I will go buy a NFC Unlocked Phone (Amazon Affiliate Link).   This way I protected by tokens instead of revealing any real information that might be associated with my credit card or even my personal information.

That is pretty much my plans to help make sure I do not become a victim of this crime again.   These criminals may think they are better than me but they will get arrested sooner or later because it is just a matter of time!

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Hack: Send and Receive Messages on your Facebook App On Android!

Facebook Messenger App by Kārlis Dambrāns

Facebook Messenger App by Kārlis Dambrāns

Facebook Application

Seems people aren’t installing the Facebook Messenger that I’ve talk about even Darth Vader wouldn’t use the App right now!  So I’ve used the Facebook App to send and receive messages off Facebook but I haven’t been using the Messenger app.   Let’s make that clear, I still am able to get messages on my App:

Still get messages on my phone!

Still get messages on my Android Devices!

How?

I am sure you are wondering just how I did it. This post is to to help you understand how you can do just that! I believe Facebook is keeping the messages as a legacy for older Android system(s). It can be access simply by installing the messenger and removing all permissions on the app. I think there is a flag in the Facebook App that turns on the extra chat menu because Facebook doesn’t want you to leave their Application just to message a friend on Facebook. So this way it is there to keep you on Facebook when you’re doing Facebook things.

Tutorial

In order to do this hack you will need to download two different programs for each device your want this to work on!   First off this is a hack and no real programming skills are needed to do this.   You just need install these two apps from the Google Play Store:

  1. Advanced Permission Manager
  2. Facebook Messenger

After you download both Applications Open up the APM (Advanced Permission Manager) and go to ALL APPS:

Screenshot_2014-10-18-11-28-33

Search for the Facebook Messenger Application. Once you found it will look something like this:

Screenshot_2014-10-18-11-25-03

Go Turn every check mark into an (X) by just tapping the check mark. Once you go through and change all permissions. You then will see something like this:

Screenshot_2014-10-18-11-25-58

Hit “Save and Re-Install“.   It will say it is “Working Hard“.   It will then show you this:

Screenshot_2014-10-18-11-27-40

So you now have to Un-Install the Messenger App and reinstall the new APP. You will need to allow Third Party installs on your phone. Once you installed the new permission free app, you will need to reboot your phone or device and load up Facebook. You should see your message menu re-appear. As long as you keep the messenger app on the device that extra menu should stay available from now on. I do not know how long they will allow this but it works just fine for me. You will see “MESSENGER has stopped responding and closed” When you receive new messages but I find that less of an annoyance than them having getting even more information from me!

If you found this post useful consider buying something from Amazon with my Amazon Link. You pay nothing more than what you pay for the price of the item but I receive a small commission from what you buy from them.

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Credit Card theft is on the rise! How to save your money in all things!

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The recent thefts so far!

So we have several different retailers who have announced breaches in their credit card system.   So here is a list of the situation thus far with the breaches.

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KmartAnnounced a few days ago that their system has been breached and that it was malware that was intentionally infected their payment system and their POS!  It is also the first time in a long time that it was proactive in that looked for problems before it was detected by anyone else.

Signature System — A POS Vendor which included Jimmy Johns which makes Gourmet Sandwiches.   It was identified by Krebs on Security in July!   It was another Malware infected system.

Home DepotAnnounced September 8th, 2014 about credit card theft.   Some of the things that was also stolen was the location of card in question and thus could be used in the local area, with out being noticed by the credit card provider.

Dairy Queen —  Announced rather quickly, their Point of Sale system had Malware and they also went and looked for signs of this infection.   It was clear that it was a form of the Backoff Malware that has been used in other POS of vulnerable systems.

Damages So far!

It has been unknown just how many people cards have used to buy things or even to sell on the black market.   As you can see I will not talk about the money that has been lost because I do not know.  So I will talk about how to prevent this from happen to you or at least know the instant your card has been used without your permission or knowledge.

Keeping your Money!

As far as I’ve learned it isn’t a science for me.   I am going to talk about my techniques to help keep me safe from losing too much money.

  • Receipts -–  When you use your credit card, always ask for receipts when I use my cards.
  • Tracking — Keep track of what you spend and where you spend it.   If you know where your money is going than anything that jumps out as being un-authorized.
  • E-mail —  My bank sends out an email daily to me.   Some banks even sends out alerts for even the suspicious charges.
  • Prepaid Credit cards — for those times when you must pay for stuff on questionable sites or even paying for gas at the local gas station.   I use a prepaid card to do just that because you never know about card reader being hacked.

Finally this one is also the best way to prevent credit card theft.   You can always pay with cash and prevent any malware from getting your card information.    I also recommend a personal service just like Lifelock (Affiliate Link), I have been a member for six months and have been really happy with them.

 

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Reviewing the Life View Unlocked (Blue) by Blu

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post is to the Amazon website, which I am affiliated with. I make a small commission when you buy stuff off of Amazon when you use my links. It however doesn’t cost you any more than it did before. I do this to help recoup the cost of the item or items that I bought!

Specifications!

  • 5.7 inches IPS Display- HD (1280×720), Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • 12MP Camera with LED Flash with HD recording (1080p), 5MP Front Camera
  • 16GB Internal Storage
  • 4G HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps 850/1900/2100
  • 1.2 GHz Quad-core Cortex-A7 Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Life View brings the latest technology in a slim modern design, for the ultimate Phablet experience. View pictures, videos, emails, social networks, books, magazines, newspapers, maps and games like never before. Enjoy a totally new visual experience of all your files and apps with a large 5.7 HD display that incorporates BLU’s Nex Lens and Infinite View Technologies. Also, get impressive durability thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass 2. Get more things done, with faster processing and outstanding multitasking capabilities, thanks to its 1.2GHz Quad-Core Processor and 1GB of RAM. Create and share your most important moments in life, with an incredible 12MP HD camera. Share your life as you make it, with its frontal 5MP camera for video calls.

The First Impressions!

I have used this phone for over 3 months and thought it was time to do a full review.   Even though The First impressions of the phone was straight on for me.  I’ve loved this phone from the day I gotten it.   When I first got this phone, I didn’t know what it would have been like with it.   Now I use it every day to stream video and Netflix to my Chromecast Media Player!  To a point this phone has some huge potential for me.   I now have a good enough camera to take pictures with and to use while I am at work.

The Pro’s and Cons!

Now I am going to talk about the phone and how it has handled with me the last few months and get into detail about the drawbacks and good feature of the phone.   So It features a 720p display with a 5.7 inch phone can be very useful on the road and let you stream the shows or movies straight to the phone.   It isn’t necessary a High Definition display but it does keep the price below 300$ to make anyone jump through hoops just to have a chance to use it.   I’ve even had people ask if it was an Samsung Galaxy S3 or an Iphone, I however  just chucked and said it isn’t anywhere near a S3 or Iphone.   The basic down to earth understanding of the phone is that it is less expensive than those and still get your close to the quality of those phones.   It doesn’t come with LTE, which means you can only use HSPDA for data speed.   So you won’t go faster than 21 Megabytes Per Second, which isn’t something to laugh at.  It comes with a dual SIM card, so you could get two different phone numbers for one phone.

This is a budget phone, for those who do not want to fork out the money for a S3 or even the Iphone.  You pay half of what you would pay for the competitors prices and still have a decent phone to do what you want with.    However if your are looking for a good MVNO, then I would recommend Straight Talk Wireless which works just fine with this phone.

So let’s just talk briefly about the bad parts of the phone.   You get no NFC ability, or even higher brand of MP for the phone camera.   You get a lot for what you pay for this phone.   You get no way to increase the storage space on the phone.   You get a total of 16gb of space but you really only get to use 12gb of space the other 4 is used for the OS and memory for the operating system.  Although, I’ve been having it automatically upload any pictures to the cloud for storage that way I keep my storage needs low on the phone itself.

Conclusion

I’m really happy buying the Life View from Blu, it was getting close to the mid 200 dollar range when I bought it and it seems to be going down even more.   It has been nice to have this phone where ever I go and to use it for what my needs are!   I haven’t even minded the storage issue on the phone.   You really have to decide for yourself if this phone is worth the money or not but I am really satisfied with my purchase!

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System reported a Hard drive failure!

Clent S.M.A.R.T System Says danger!

So I have a client who had his system report that his hard drive was failing.   So I ran SpinRite 6.0 on the HDD.  It report what I suspected that the Hard Drive was getting ready to die.   I couldn’t even scanning with Spinrite because it would give me this error every time I tried to use scan with SpinRite.   I was just surprised that the HDD has not already Died.

My Plan thus far!

I contacted the client and told him my findings on the Hard Drive.  We talked and he said he had the spare hard drive not being used on the system.   So I did my scan on the spare hard drive and it came back clean and no problems.   I called the client and he wants me to use the spare hard drive as the main hard drive and copy all the necessary files to the spare hard drive.   I then would disable the main hard drive to prevent anyone from putting any files on the hard drive.   You can bet if I didn’t do this the hard drive would fail and they had copied something important to the failing hard drive.

The Next step!

I am now going to move all important files off both hard drives because the client doesn’t know what is on the spare hard drive and wants to save them for the just in case scenario.  I intend to put Windows 7 on to the spare hard drive and try to make sure all important files are moved to the new soon to be permanent main hard drive!.   I  just hope this client figures out what he will do next when his computer finally dies.   I think this is the first sign that it won’t last much longer!

Have you had something like this happen before.?  I’d like to hear your story!

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Repairing the HP Pavilion dv9700 and what I did with it!

Image converted using ifftoany

Laptop was Given to me!

The laptop that was given to me was junked by the previous owner due to it not wanting to boot or do anything but the system would do a constant 3 second boot loop.   It wouldn’t do anything else.   I wouldn’t have thought it was something to worry about!   I know it might have been easy to fix but it was a Nvidea Card that caused the laptop to overheat and burn a wire or kill the Motherboard.   I am sure it was the motherboard because I know he hasn’t used it in a few years but I still smell the burnt wires smell!  it seems to be a problem with some of the older HP systems.

The Story thus far!

I decided to take it complete apart and see if I could fix the problem that usually happens.  Taking the HP DV9700 was no easy task, mind you.   The screws you had to remove to get to the motherboard and fan were a lot!  I assume, It would get to hot and something burns apart or comes loose and you have to to attach the parts back.  As soon as I got to the CPU of the motherboard, I could tell that the laptop was overheating by the smell of burnt wires and the discoloration of the soldier joints.   Even the most experienced technician knows the signs of overheating!

Ebay is my way!

I found one on ebay that is on bids for 30$.   The system doesn’t have a HDD, and memory.   The CD ROM doesn’t work very well.  So for the price of the laptop, I can put all the other components from the other machine that was given to me and make this one work.   My plan for the laptop is to wipe the HDD and once that is done.   Give it to a good organization such as my church and use the receipt from the donation to write it off on my taxes.   I think this laptop will be good for someone who wants to use it for educational purposes.  I will then sell the extra parts on ebay that I know work ad get enough money back for the price of the laptop!  Have you had this problem?  I’d love to hear how you fix it!

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Referral Key under handed tactics and why I won’t use them!

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I got this email!

It wasn’t an email that I was expecting with where I worked as a subject.  It wasn’t even something that I would want.   My 3 months are approaching my probationary ending of my 90 days.   So when I got this email, I thought this was something from a friend of mine at work. I was not sure what It was but it seemed like it was a referral service.   It however wasn’t I was expecting.  So I went about looking at what people said about Referralkey.com.  I didn’t expect so many people to talk about it so badly.   Every review I read is that it wasn’t as good as it seemed.

Linkedin Leak our emails!

It seemed there is a way to find out if an email address is actually valid according to some sources.   All they would need to do is try the email address and if it comes back with a person then they have another way to validate an email address.  What was really strange about this is that it didn’t really come from Linkedin.   It came from the referral site, with the email and not with some linkedin!

Referral Key swipes our email address!

Looks to be some sneaky underhanded way to spam people with the hopes that they can refer people and thus you make some money on the side.   I wasn’t really thrilled with how they harvested my email address and I will be going to Linkedin and changing how people can retrieve my email address or even know if they can even view that.   This should’ve been fixed a few months ago but I guess LinkedIn thought it was an unimportant bug.  I’m saying this might make me want to close out my account from them.   I haven’t decided all the way but this is something that I will be a constant reminder about them.

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Google Mail hacked? Or is your account password leaked? Google Says no!

GMAIL by Cairo

GMAIL by Cairo

We’ve seen all the headlines!

I’ve checked with several sources for answers.   I can see where people are suspecting their account passwords have been published.  I can’t find it will ever be known.   People have said in one way or another that the passwords are really old and or not used with their GMAIL account.   I suspect these were used in other areas of the internet.   Passwords for sites other than Google.   I even have Google Authenticator for my Google account and thus I have a 2 step verification on my account.

Gmail Passwords leaked?

Now let’s look at this rationally, if your password was really out in the open then you would see more people when you check out the last detailed activity of your GMAIL account or even your Google account.  You’d see more locations than just you.   You would see russian IP’s or even Chinese IP’s.   It wouldn’t be so difficult to see these if you were really worried about your account being hacked.  This is where I am constantly checking from time to time to make sure no one has access!

Bottom line

If you’re really concerned with your password being out in the open for Google or any other major website that you go to often, it should be common understanding that you might just need to change your password or perhaps you could add a second layer to your login such as the 2 step verification. I am using it to prevent unauthorized access to your Google account.  Google has already did a blog post about the likelihood of someone using accessing your account.  They say no to the possibilities!  You could also use a good password generator, and I have talked about them in the past!  Although the A million leaked passcodes for Google Authenticator could be valuable to anyone they can’t do anything without two more factors!  It however is a BIG joke on anyone who takes it really seriously!   I did for a second until a thought about it!

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Why wanting that android phablet (Fablet) is a sin!

phablet, tablet, smartphone  by Maria Elena

phablet, tablet, and smartphone by Maria Elena

What is a Phablet?

It is basically a Phone and a Tablet.   It  typically have screens that measure (diagonally) between 5.01 to 6.9 inches (130 to 180 mm).  It is such that you have a really big portable browsers, playing game, watching movies using your Carriers cell network.  You can always buy an unlocked Phablet from Amazon.com but that can bring a whole mess of troubles from your carrier.   They tend to frown upon it but that is just them.   The sad truth is that they are worried about network congestion and over use of the towers.   So they claim that they can’t handle it all.  So they institute what is commonly referred to data caps.   Which in my book is not true but they do anyways!

Flirting with that Phablet!

Once you’ve found that Phablet and you keep looking at it.   You done for, there is no hope for you after that.   We’ve got several different ones to choice from.   The LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and then the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 are the current ones in the market to be consider a phablet.   It however isn’t the only ones that you need to worry about!  There are a few on Amazon that could be cheap competitors (Affiliate Link) to the high priced versions.  Even then you have you to wonder about some of the phablets out there, how fast or how much space is on it.

Making the Choose!

It can be any Phablet you may want, I have been using the Life View Unlocked (Blue) From Blu (Amazon Affiliate Link).  I chose the Life View for many factors but one of the many factors was because it was so closely classified as a Phablet and even though it is a little bigger than a regular phone it is a great phone to have! If your looking for more power than the LG G2 or even the LG G3 would be your best bet.  You should look to find an Unlocked phone and buy it without contract.  You will more likely to get what you want a phone to use on any carrier and not having to worry about extra payments.

Some Choices for you to make!

I figured if you here for the phablet you should have a few good unlocked choices for you to consider when you make that final decision and go for it.  These are only a few android phablets that you could chose to make your own:

    • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE Smart Phone (Unlocked) (Amazon Affiliate Link) —  For the price ($299), you get some great features a 13MP camera on back and Front is a 5MP.   6.1 Display HD and you get 16Gb of space.   It resembles the LG G2 with some of the functionality and design.
    • HTC One Max 32GB 4G LTE Unlocked  (Amazon Affiliate Link)– The Price is over $400 on Amazon but I had the HTC Inspire and loved the phone.  I am probably impartial to it because it was a very good phone when I bought the Inspire but it was old and needed to be replace.  You can do so much with this phone that I could spend several paragraphs on it.
    • Life View Unlocked (Blue) By Blu (Amazon Affiliate Link)– This is my last pick for people who are wanting a phone and tablet on the Go. It is just over 200$ but it is far better than paying 500$ dollars for a phone for 2 years. I’ve been using this phablet for over a month successfully and haven’t look back.  You get so much with this phone a 12MP back and 5mp Front. Playing Games and videos are so nice and easy for the person always on the go.

As you can see I have sinned because I went to the darkside and bought me a Phablet myself and I am really happy with it.   Finally, I hope this article has helped you make it easier for you to buy a phablet!

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