Anthem Lies about sending out EMAILS! Bad MOJO!

Very Bad Anthem!

it isn’t every day you get this email from Anthem telling you about the cyber attack on their servers.   I am for one not going to beat a dead horse but this email quite surprised me.   I was at work, so I wasn’t able to look into this email very much.   I got home and started digging deeper into this email and reading it.   I was quite surprised to see links in the email and I thought, wow these guys do not even think about security.   It was that obvious that they would add links to their to the emails.   EVEN THOUGH They said in their email:

We know you might be concerned about clicking links, so Anthem did not include any in this message. However, some email programs and smart phones automatically add links. Remember, you can always type a web address manually in your browser instead of clicking through from this email.  [SEE PHOTO ABOVE]

Digging Deeper

So I was using Google mail for my emails now, so I said to show me the original email message.   This way I could see if they were telling the truth about not adding email links to this one.   It was false.   I found not only HTML links but also track back links to their site.   They even had an empty image pixel to let them know you read this.   I guess so they won’t get sued.

anthem_mojo4

This told me one thing, they just plain lied about not including links.   This was an HTML link and thus their promises are nothing but uneducated.   I then dug even deeper to see what else they did in this email and I found something strange:

(<span class=”applelinksWP”>AnthemFacts.com</span>)

<span class=”applelinksWP”>www.consumer.gov/idtheft</span>

<ul>

  • Equifax security freeze: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp
  • Experian security freeze: http://www.experian.com/consumer/security_freeze.html
  • TransUnion security freeze: http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/credit-freezes.page

</ul>

So what is the class=”applelinksWP”, I went searching and it seems to be technique in Apple to hide underline links in IOS.  I am an Android user and am quite astonished that they think I have enough money to buy anything Macintosh such as a IPHONE, or even a MacBook!

Story So far!

So I have to question just what their intentions are, if they are going to be public about their attack and keep people from asking even more questions, this is not the way.   Nothing they said or have said sits well with me, for the plain fact they weren’t truthful or that they tried to hide the links in their emails and they KNEW IT.   I’ll believe them when hell does freeze over.   Anthem, You made a mistake by sending out this email because It just proves you KNOW nothing about security or that you want to reassure the media and everyone involved that you were not at fault.   I say differently, you obvious need to learn to be more truthful!

Anthem Lies to the Media!

In the last part, Anthem announced a few weeks past that they wouldn’t be emailing members but that seem to be a lie also because the hidden Image source (See picture above) goes directly to their servers. Another point proving they do not keep their promises.

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5 apps for the computer repair technician!

30 Plus computers, 1.5 techs.  by Howard Jefferson

30 Plus computers, 1.5 techs. by Howard Jefferson

5 apps that I use!

In every tool kit we have our own special apps that we use to Diagnose and repair a computer that is acting up or just isn’t working right. This little post is about what I have used the most of in the past few months to help others who might want to expand on their application database. I am sure some people have their favorite but maybe it is time to expand it!

Malwarebytes

Logo-500x120

I’ve used this applications to remove some really nasty viruses or Malware that some exploit in the system. Sometimes even the clients just don’t listen to the technician who complains to them about not clicking on every link that is sent to them in emails or downloading from sites that look suspicious.  It however isn’t like you can prevent the client from doing the wrong things but at least you can get rid of those little buggers!

DNS Benchmark

dnsbenchmark1
This is a great little application to test to see if you’re having a network problem or if your computer is just slowing down.   If you’re having trouble getting on the internet this is a great resource for those who might be having a difficulty getting a constant good connection.  Sometimes it isn’t the computer fault but the DNS server who is so bogged down and can’t handle the bandwidth.

WSUS Offline Updater

wsusoffline1

This is good to have ready for those systems that just wouldn’t update any other way.   Seems some viruses or malware prevent downloading of the updates to prevent the exploit from being patched.   It also used to prevent the Microsoft  Malicious Tool Remover from being downloaded and used to remove that infection.  Sometimes though clients just don’t have access to the internet and this is one way to help protect their system.   Easily download all the latest updates to Windows and have them on the Go!

Drive Image XML

driveimgxml

Sometimes even the client just needs to have their system backed up and they just don’t do it.  This little application is good to keep a back up of their important files for when trouble happens.   It can be very useful for those middle of the night calls saying they need a file or their computer won’t boot.   In which case this is a good little resource to have for those times they are needed.

Spinrite

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I have used this program from time to time.   It is a really good way to get that data back quickly and easily and to test out the system before it gets worse.   There is a way to make boot up in the flash drive without much worry.  It has been a lifesaver for me and my clients from time to time. I’ve even used it to bring bad drives that people have written off because they know nothing about hard drive maintenance!

These are just a few that I use on a daily basis to help keep my clients safe.  Do you have any good recommendations.   I’d like to hear  from you.   What is your favorite application to use while fixing a clients computer?

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How eBay Can Make You Sick (RANT)

 

Ebay sign by Kazuhisa OTSUBO

Ebay sign by Kazuhisa OTSUBO

Some days!

So I had a listing on eBay and seems users think they have the right to get more from the refund than they paid. I really can’t understand how people think they should get more money for returning an item than they deserve. So here is the back story.

I sold a my old “SLEEK 3G Universal Cell Phone Signal Booster” on Ebay and then this buyer gets it and says the charger is wrong so I refund the Ten dollars to the user so they can go buy the right charger for the Amplifier in question.  He then claims the amplifier is not functional and is requesting a full refund.   So now I am having to fight this guy saying I should have to pay for the mistake and that he intends to get a full refund from eBay.   eBay in their infinite wisdom has said I should pay this guy back the full amount.   I am disputing that with eBay and the buyer.   I’m almost about to the point of putting my stuff on sale on sites besides eBay.

eBay Protects buyers

I went searching for how eBay Seller Protection on Google and I found an excellent resource for sellers on eBay.   The problem with eBay is that they never really protect the seller from dishonest buyers.   I feel that eBay should not always side with the buyer because they do not want to upset where they make money and their commission.   I am not happy with eBay, and I should state that if this keeps up.   I’ll go somewhere else to sell my stuff and let the buyer beware.   I am not going to refund the full amount when I receive the item because I have already paid him 10$.   I seem to think eBay will not listen to sellers and I hope they will listen.   Has anyone else had problems with eBay?

eBay made me sick so far

The topic of eBay and how buyer can force you to accept returns even when you clearly stated no returns.   Sometimes buyer remorse seems to be the most reasons why they say they want their money back.   eBay doesn’t understand about products that are for sale on their site.   If they truly understand all the items or had someone who was knowledgeable for each area on eBay then I wouldn’t have to fight this person left and right!  I’m pretty much done with eBay.   I might go somewhere else to sell my stuff!

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How WireShark Helped solve a Network Congestion problem!

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Verifone x510 dial-up by korifey13

Network Congestion Issue!

It was a very peculiar day for me, it wasn’t like I didn’t want this new client of mine but they seemed to be having problems with the speed of their network and it was just way unbearable to use. I came into the office wondering with a little knowledge of the company. I’ve been there before and had a friend who knew me who recommended me to his boss to fix the problem.  So I started to work on the problem at hand, the client was told that he needed to buy a new router and that would solve his problem.   The problem was that the router wasn’t at fault and the real problem was going to be found out!

Router installation!

Installing the new router that he bought before I even stepped into the client’s office was nothing to major.   He bought an ASUS Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router RTN66R [Amazon Affiliate Link].   It however isn’t just for office work but it was a very good choice for the small office environment.  I updated both the wireless connections and LAN connections.   I also told the client that the password should have both letters and numbers, upper case and lowercase.   Even though, this isn’t actually a very importantly needed but it makes brute force attacks so much harder.   Even though with enough ARP snooping, there is a good chance someone can figure out the password and get onto the network but that is besides the point.

The problem surfaces!

After we got all the wireless networks up and running, I did some test and found no problem until we started plugging in all the Cat 5 Cables [Amazon Affiliate Link] that also connect all the devices to the router.   We’d see the problem from all over the office almost as soon as we plug-in all the cables.  We’d see the network just slow to a crawl in as few as 5 minutes of everything plugged in.   I first thought that the frayed cords of some of the CAT 5 cables were to blame so we started replacing at least one of the cables when I noticed that only one cable that was causing the problem.   Whenever this one cable was connected the network would act this way.  So I followed the cable to the source and saw that only one device was connected to this cable, ti was a Verifon VX510 used to payment options.

Spanning Tree DoS!

After looking over the device it was saying “NO *GO VARIABLE”  and I was curious about what it was doing in the background.   So I grab my copy of WireShark and bridge connections from my wireless to Lan connection.   I basically was the man in the middle and just watched what was sent and on the network while the device was active and connected via a Cat 5 cable to the computer.  It showed the  device was sending an almost constant spanning Tree request to the ip 192.168.2.15 which isn’t being used by anything but a printer.  I didn’t know how to update the Verifon VX510, so I told the client that it was just bogging the network down by sending out those requests almost constantly.   I am sure there was an easy fix but this was far out of my ability range,   Since I haven’t used one of those devices in my business I let him fix the problem.  He said he’d have them download the software and stuff that needed for it to run properly and he suspects the programming of the device before he even got it was not programmed as it should be.   He said the problem began the same day they plugged that device in and they just didn’t put the two together.   So if you’re having the same problem then this might be the issue!

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Hard drives and Bad sectors what most people don’t know!

Broken hard drive? - Day 148 of Project 365 by Matthew

Broken hard drive? – Day 148 of Project 365 by Matthew

Is it bad?

So after my post yesterday and me going to show them that the sector was recovered.   They said that wasn’t really fixing the bad sector just moved the bad sector to an un-allocated unused sector.  All though the absurdity of just why a hard drives develops bad sectors is quite enlightening to those who know anything the internal hard drive mechanics.

 

As you can see even Steve Gibson agrees with me on the idea that hard drives are much more prone to have Bad sectors than most people are willing to admit or like.   When I first heard the guy say it is bad, I really wanted to ask him this question:

“If your car had a bad tire or even a bad alternator would you scrap your car?”

It’s becoming an epidemic for people just to throw away a hard drive and go buy a new one.   When the Hard drive can still be used with no major concerns or fears that you will lose your important data.

Hard drive Health

The notion that having a bad sector indicates your drive is on its way out is very far fetch to me.   Any number of reasons could cause the hard drive to have a bad sector, a Grown Defect is something that happens over time.   When any Hard drive is made, you could very easy have a small defect that over time just grows to the point of making a sector of the hard drive bad.   I’m not making this up either and HowtoGeek has a great article on how hard drives have bad sectors.

Growing up

I remember when I was just a kid that we’d have all sorts of bad sectors on hard drives and it wouldn’t stop my dad from using the hard drive.   You’d have to manual mark the sector as bad and move the contents to a new sector but it was routine in the good old days and we were glad to do it.   I never once thought of having a bad as anything but having a bad sector and the hard drives weren’t dyeing or seeing the reaper per say.   They will always have bad sectors on any hard drive you buy but the companies don’t want you to know that.   The bigger the drive space the more prone you are to have bad sectors.   It is just the nature of the beast.   I’m now working on a 1 tb Hard drive that I bought from them for dirt cheap to see if it is truly bad or if they are just trying to create even more waste.   Only time will tell.

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Hard drives that still have some life in them!

IMG_20150205_053129

Local Retailers

I found a local computer repair store that recycles computers and sell them to prevent land fill waste.   They had what they would call broken hard drives that are bad.   I started laughing and said they not bad, they’re just misunderstood.   So I bought three of their BAD Hard Drives to test out with Spinrite.

SpinRite is a computer software program for scanning magnetic data storage devices such as hard disks, recovering data from them and refreshing their surfaces. The first version was released in 1988. Version 6.0, still current as of September 2014, was released in 2004.[1] SpinRite is run from a bootable medium (floppy disc, optical disc, bootable external storage device such as a USB stick) on a PC-compatible computer; it uses its own operating system and ignores the one installed, whether functional or not.

The Story so far!

I seriously have loved Spinrite for several years and have used it for multitude of situations that I could talk about in detail but this one story is really interesting because the local recycle facility kept telling me these were worthless and not repairable.   They even write “BAD” on the hard drive to prevent from using these guys in good components.   I decided it was time to use my registered copy of Spinrite to have some fun with these so-called “BAD” hard drives that the retailers didn’t trust or think was salvageable.   I started with the first hard drive which was a 500 GB Barracuda got really HOT and had so many seek errors.   I knew instantly the SMART controller was not working properly and swapped it with a new one.  The system picked this up and it was running much cooler and fixing problems on this hard drive.   The second hard drive, well it was another 500 GB Barracuda and it never got hot and as you can see the hard drive only had one sector that needed to be recovered (See Photo above).   I suspect it was the Master Boot Record that was faulty and this was why it was considered bad.  The rest of the sectors were working great and without problems.   I then took the last hard drive which was 160 GB Barracuda, did that scan and found nothing really wrong with it.   I then started a level 4 on that hard drive and it still didn’t find any major problems after 68 hours of operations for that hard drive.

Ebay these guys!

I’ve had an Ebay account for several years and it was time to use it.  I am going to keep at least one for myself as a way to keep a backup of all my data.   You can view what I am selling on Ebay now and maybe you might want to buy these two hard drives.   I’ll be going to the place this week to buy even more hard drives to test with Spinrite and probably even sell on ebay!   It couldn’t hurt, you never know when you might need to swap out a hard drive anyways.

Lesson so far

I am going to enjoy going into their shop this week just to show them I’ve got their hard drives working! I can’t wait to see their faces when I tell them they are running just fine!  I can’t wait for the newest version of SpinRite so I can have fun and use it on even more drives!

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Wifi Turns on due to Straight Talk App!

Screenshot 2015-02-03 at 1.04.19 PM

The Straight Stalk!

I’ve had a love and hate relationship with Straight Talk and I remember talking about their data usage in the past!   I must say I am still using my Unlocked Life View Phone by Blu, and have much success with this little phone for the past few months.   The problem of late is that recently I’ve had the Straight Talk app installed on my phone for convenience of adding airtime without having to use their website or even calling them.

The Low-down

As Straight is a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) they make their money by not having to pay for the data while using their phone.  The problem is that they are constantly trying to make money by under handed tactics.   I understand that they are in the business to make money and that they should just consider the importance of telling users when you install an app that they will DRAIN your battery by turning on the wi-fi and keeping the app running.   Way to go Straight Talk, I would go to another MVNO that is also Unlimited if their was a good one around here.   They also say that you can’t tether your phone even when you buy the recharge cards.

If your wi-fi is turning on automatically this is the reason, it will connect to ANY available WiFi network without your permission and this could be an unsafe practice for people who use their bank apps on the phone.    I advice people to uninstall this dirty little app and pay over the web or on the phone.   Far safer than having this app installed on your device.

To uninstall the app, please visit the app on Google Play Store using your device!

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Windows 7 stops updating After Tomorrow! (End of Life: 1/13/15)

Windows 7 DVD hologram design by Long Zheng

Windows 7 DVD hologram design by Long Zheng

Microsoft Leaves another OS!

It was 7 Months ago that Windows XP was retired and there was no more updates to that system. Microsoft extended Windows XP support for the embedded system and that ends on October 12, 2021.   So you have a few years to not have to worry about the Point of Sale for a few more years also.   So the main problem with Windows 7 coming to an end next week is that you no longer have any updates or patches to the Operating System to keep it from getting infected.  I am sure there will be some zero day vulnerabilities be found on Windows 7 in the coming months or years..  Although Google’s Project Zero can be a valuable resource to find out about Windows 7 Vulnerabilities before they get used on your system.

What’s Next for me!

This is probably the most asked questions to when we have an End of Life cycle and some people just don’t want to go buy a new system or even buy a new operating system.   I expect that Windows 7 will practical for at least 2 years without much worry but that risk.   The chance increases as it End of Life get farther and farther away.   You’ve got to decide now how you want to spend your money in the next 12 months or if you’re going to hold off for at least 2 years.   You have a better chance of saving money if you plan for the time when you need to.   The problem now is that no one really plans to buy a new laptop or desktop when they do not see the signs.

Different Operating System

I’ve talked in the past about the different Distro Linux Operating systems that can be used instead of Windows 7 or even Windows XP.   If your system is still running really nicely and their isn’t any major problems, you could just switch to a more secure operating system and keep your data safe.   This is has some drawbacks like needing to learn a new Operating System or even if they have the right software or programs that you might need for your personal life or maybe for your business that you use your laptop or desktop for.   Do they have the apps or programs that you must to get your work done?

You have to plan now

So you have to plan what you going to do next and what you are going to do if you keep your system that is working so nicely.   Are you going to sell the system on Ebay and use the money to help pay for a new laptop or desktop?   Are you going to switch to Linux?  I’d like to hear your thoughts on this and what you are planning on doing?

 

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The Operating System switch! When do you switch to a new operating system?

Samsung ATIV Launch 10 by Vernon Chan

Samsung ATIV Launch 10 by Vernon Chan

So Many Operating Systems!

We have Microsoft Windows, Chrome OS, Apple Macintosh’s and Several different Linux Distros. I’m looking through my options of buying a new laptop for my business and home use.   The real problem is finding something that I can use with three different systems on one laptop.   I’ve considered maybe finding a good system that I can create use with Virtual Box or some on Virtual Machine software that way I can have access to all different OS for testing purposes and to be able to talk about my experiences.

Windows

I must say, I’ve been working with Windows since the early days with Windows 1.01 to Windows 7.  Basically, I’ve been working with Windows since MS Dos 5.0 and later, which shows that I like command line.  I’m not to impressed with the look and feel of Windows 8.0 and 8.1.  Ive heard there are hacks to make it looks like Windows Xp or even Windows 7.   The problem with this is that it is entirely the best fit for those who really understand the Windows Kernel.   Even though Microsoft is bringing back the Start Menu to Windows 10.   I’m still not entirely convinced that it is something that I’ll be able to jump back into since I’ve used Chrome OS!

Chromebooks and Chrome OS!

I’ve used this Chrome Acer c710-2856 for almost two years.  I haven’t been doing anything major with this Chromebook because I have to rely on Google to keep my files in the cloud and the problem is that I can’t even actually use any apps.   All Apps are more like extensions and links to a browser.   You have the ability to have some stuff like Calculator and other small app that doesn’t need much programming experience but I am in need to find something that can be used for my business a little better.   I still rely on my Acer Windows 7 laptop for some of the things for hacking a phone to helping a friend with problematic install of Windows.

Linux Distros

I’ve used Linux in the past and it seems to be a very stable and useable operating system.   I can even have a Virtual Machine for Windows if I so want, or even have two operating system on system.   I could very well use this for some of my business without much trouble but it requires me to jump back into the OS and work at it Full time for the first couple weeks.   I can see me getting frustrated because I have to relearn all the quick easy shell codes for Linux and even to have a good desktop for me to easily navigate with.  It isn’t an easy because it is a totally different operating system from Windows but I have played around with it in the past and simply love Ubuntu / Kubuntu operating system.   I could probably find myself exploring other distros just to have fun but I’d probably only use Kubuntu until I found another one that I like better.

Apple Macintosh’s

I will say this operating system isn’t even one that I will consider buying because of their proprietary equipment and programs.   I do not feel I can fully secure a system using their operating system and thus, I have written them off entirely.   I also just refuse to pay the Apple TAX and I’m not an apple fan boy.

Readers review

I’m asking my readers which of the three operating systems is your most favorite and which I should avoid.   You must convince me about why you believe it is the best solution or why you think that is the wrong solution.   I’m hoping to get some idea of how I should go when I finally buy a new Laptop.   You comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.   You can message me on Facebook, Twitter, or leave a comment.

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