Remember to Update your WiFi Router Firmware to Stay Secure

Written: January 18, 2018

Today I received an email from Netgear, my vendor for WiFi router used in the home office, so I read through it and decided to follow their security advice and follow the simple steps.

Netgear email

email from Netgear

It’s also best practice to double-check any email message like this by viewing the From address, and then hovering the cursor over any link just to make sure that you know where the link is pointing to before actually clicking it. This email passed my scrutiny, so the next step was to browse the link and find out what version of firmware I already had:

Firmware Version 1.0.0.16

So yes, there was a newer version of firmware at 1.0.0.18, so I started the update process and watched the progress bar:

firmware updating

Firmware updating

The update process only took a few minutes, so not a big deal in lost productivity for me. When the firmware update was complete I checked to see the latest version number of 1.0.0.118:

Version 1.0.0.118

You should always update to the latest firmware when your WiFi Router vendor sends you an email. When you purchase a new WiFi router make sure and register your product so that you can receive these useful update email notifications.

My previous update was in October 2017, so it looks like Netgear takes security seriously and continues to support their WiFi routers with new releases as soon as they find any exploit.

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Keep Your macOS updated, or else be insecure

Written: January 4, 2018

It’s a common myth that Apple Mac computers are not hacked, and that somehow they are inherently more secure than Windows computers. Every computer ever created is a target of hackers, so it’s a best practice to keep updated from your computer vendor whether it’s Microsoft, Apple or Linux. This week there’s a lot of press being written about an Intel CPU security flaw. Here’s a link with more details at 9to5mac.

On your Mac just double-check that you are at macOS 10.13.2, click the Apple icon, then choose About this Mac:

 

macOS 10.13.2

macOS 10.13.2

So this security bug affects CPU chips from Intel, AMD and even Arm.

Welcome to 2018, keep your OS updated, and may your business continue to grow this year.

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Automobile Monitoring with RightTrack, Epic Fail

Written: December 15, 2017

I recently compared automobile insurance prices and found out that Liberty Mutual offered me a 40% savings advantage over my current coverage, so I switched companies and then heard about a high-tech program that they offered called RightTrack where a small device is placed in my car then linked to my smart phone with an App to monitor driving patterns like:

Two devices arrived in the mail and I easily installed them on the windshield of our cars. Next up was to download the App and pair with the devices, which worked out OK.

RightTrack device

RightTrack device

I also asked my wife to install the App, however when she opened the App it began to constantly crash on her phone, then I noticed that when I opened the App it was also crashing on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone:

App Crashes

I phoned tech support about this and they had me un-install then re-install, but to no avail after 60 minutes of efforts.

Today I received an updated version of the RightTrack app, however it fails to find my Location Services, which are turned on:

Version 2.40.52 Fails

Version 2.40.52 Fails

My oldest son just signed up for auto insurance with Progressive, which also offers a monitoring device in cars to provide feedback to the insurance company on how you drive, and thankfully his experience had no drama, it simply worked out of the box as advertised.

Conclusion

I’m loving the lower auto insurance rate provided by Liberty Mutual, however their RightTrack app is a total failure. If you look at the app on the Google Play store it has the worst rating of only 1.5 stars. This is a huge embarrassment for Liberty Mutual, but I have low expectations on them actually fixing the App because it has been broken for about one year new. It’s really too bad, because the folks at Progressive have already figured out this type of monitoring system, so it’s not like Liberty Mutual or RightTrack are breaking any new technology ground here.

You would assume that a large company like Liberty Mutual would require that their technology vendors like RightTrack would actually test out their App before releasing it to the public, but somehow that didn’t happen here.

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How does Wikipedia Work?

Written: October 31, 2017

Every day I’m on the computer and a question arises, so I quickly go to Google on my web browser and type in a search phrase. Then the magic happens, I receive pages of results that help to quickly answer my question. Most often at the top of page one is at least one article from Wikipedia, that famous online encyclopedia of free information written by volunteers.

But wait, it isn’t really free because there are real costs to running such a web site, so this year I decided that since I use Wikipedia daily that it has real value to my business and personal life, so I made a donation. What about you?

Wikimedia

After donating, here’s the nice email response that I received:

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your support of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. Your contribution of $ 25.00 supports Wikipedia and helps secure the future of free knowledge for everyone.

Wikipedia is possible because of a powerful idea: that people, like you and me, can participate in building the world’s knowledge and making it freely available to everyone, everywhere.

Today, thanks to the support of millions of volunteer contributors and supporters, you can wander Wikipedia for hours. With more than 40 million Wikipedia articles and 35 million freely licensed images, Wikipedia can answer almost any question, and take you places you’ve never been.

Your donation supports the creation and sharing of free knowledge in real, practical ways. It helps us make Wikipedia fast, secure, and accessible to everyone in the world. It helps us bring free access to Wikipedia in places where high mobile data costs prevent people from going online. It helps us support people who are digitizing knowledge currently locked away in analog archives. It protects Wikipedia from threats to free knowledge and the open internet.

Your support means that you can find the information you need now, wherever you may be—to settle a bet with a friend at a dinner party, or to understand the world around us.

Donating to Wikipedia makes you the champion of a powerful idea.

Wikipedia will continue to evolve, grow, and meet new challenges. We’re excited and eager to meet these and more. Your donation will help us get there. We can’t thank you enough for your support. On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, thank you for investing in our future and taking this journey with us.

Katherine Maher
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Many employers will generously match employee contributions: please check with your employer to see if they have a corporate matching gift program. For your records: Your donation, number CNTCT-22812562, on 2017-10-31 was $ 25.00.

This letter may serve as a record of your donation. No goods or services were provided, in whole or in part, for this contribution. Please send mail to: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 98204, Washington, DC 20090-8204, USA. U.S. tax-exempt number: 20-0049703

 

Join me and consider making your donation today.

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