Email scam – Navy Federal Credit Union

Written: August 22, 2019

Hackers often send me phishing email messages in order to trick me into clicking a link, then trying to login to their fake web page, stealing my login credentials in the process. So how do I keep safe from such attempts?

Just this morning I received an official-looking email, claiming to be from Navy Federal Credit Union.

Navy Federal Credit Union

This email has a beautiful layout, official logo, pleasant stock photo, even nice fonts, so at first glance it looks legitimate, but being suspicious I begin to notice the telltale signs of a phishing scam:

  1. Dear Member – a real company knows my first and last name, along with an account number. Both of those are missing.
  2. Grammar – try reading the first sentence, it’s totally disjointed, so English was not the first language of the hacker.

Clicking on the sender’s email address is always the defining identity test.

Navy email

OK, so even the sender’s email address is bogus, because shuttleplanet.com is not navyfederal.org. The final determination that this is a phishing scam is that pretty, Orange button that they really want me to click, so just hovering my cursor over it reveals that the link has nothing to do with navyfederal.org:

Navy link

There you have it, I know with 100% certainty that this is a phishing email, not a legitimate one, however the sender was clever in making this email appear to be real with use of a beautiful layout, nice fonts and official logo. So be wary of email messages that invite you to click a button or click a link, because it just may send you to a hacker site that steals your login credentials instead.

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Reducing the amount of SPAM email sent from web contact forms

Written: August 7, 2019

My business clients love it when prospects or customers contact their web forms, which then sends an email message, But what do you do when a malicious person has a bot that is visiting your contact pages and filling out bogus web forms?

Who wants to receive that many bogus email message?

Our friends at Google have managed to figure out a way that auto-detects when a computer bot fills out your forms, instead of a human, and they call that technology reCAPTCHA. Best of all, this technology is free to use.

For my WordPress client web sites I typically use a plugin for forms called Contact Form 7, and it has a net integration with Google reCAPTCHA. So, my first step is to browse https://google.com/recaptcha/ and then add my client web site, which then generates two keys:

 

I just click the Copy Site Key, then over in WordPress I find Contact> Integration, then paste in the two values:

 

Once those two keys are installed, then I just browse the client site, and double check that the special Google icon appears in the lower-right corner of every web page, telling me that I’m protected from most SPAM fields.

 

When you hover the cursor over the Google icon, it expands to provide more information:

protected by reCAPTCHA

Try this approach, and see if it doesn’t cut down the amount of spam email messages being sent from your web site forms. My customers love it.

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Update your macOS to Mojave 10.14.6

Written: August 5, 2019

Apple, like many computer vendors provides operating system updates on a regular basis, and in the old days we would drive to the store and buy a CD or DVD with the newest versions. Today we simply see a prompt on our computers that it’s time for an update, like this one:

 

Download time for this specific update was about 10 minutes, then installation time another 20 something minutes, so it’s best to do this over the lunch hour or as you leave the office for the day.

 

Why should we update? Well, mostly to fix bugs and improve security, but here’s the official explanation from Apple:

 

This update:
• Makes downloaded issues available in the My Magazines section of Apple News+, both online and offline
• Adds all publications in Apple News+, including newspapers, to the catalog at the top of the News+ feed
• Adds the ability to clear downloaded magazine issues in Apple News+ by selecting History > Clear > Clear All
• Addresses an issue which prevents creation of a new Boot Camp partition on iMac and Mac mini with Fusion Drive
• Resolves an issue that may cause a hang during a restart
• Resolves a graphics issue that may occur when waking from sleep
• Fixes an issue that may cause fullscreen video to appear black on Mac mini
• Improves file sharing reliability over SMB
For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT209149 
For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

You really want to keep your Apple, Windows, Android and iOS devices updated to the latest releases as a best practice, because our vendors only fix bugs in the latest releases and you really want to be as secure as possible in order to keep your business and home life running as smooth as possible.

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Beware of Mail from CPS Filings

Written: July 11, 2019

I’m busy running my LLC each day, probably like you, and I get to open my mail to find out if there are any new bills. Well, one just caught my eye addressed from C.P.S. in Salem. Hmm, I know that Salem is our State Capital and that my annual LLC report is due, but that isn’t until September.

This bogus letter requests that I pay C.P.S. $185.00 to file my annual $100.00 report. Their web site address is listed as www.cps-filings.com, so what did I browse at their site?

www.cps-filings.com

OK, so now I’m 100% certain that this is yet another bogus company trying to collect a fee for something that I already do by myself and for a lot less. Rest In Peace to C.P.S or whoever is scamming at 2755 Commercial St. SE, Ste. 101-260.

It pays to be alert and question when a new mail requests something fishy, because it probably is fishy.

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