Data Breaches and your Digital Identity

Written: July 27, 2018

In the past week I’ve received two email messages which have a Subject line that contains an old password used online. It was quite alarming to see my old password displayed, then I read the email which turned out to be a ransom demand. No, I didn’t pay the ransom demands in bitcoin, but I did find an interesting web site that catalogs all known data breaches, then lets you search for your email address to see if that address has been stolen during a breach along with other digital information. The site is aptly named, Have I Been Pawned.

Have i been pawned?

Here’s what comes up for my email address:

Data breaches

The first four breaches:

first four breaches

Last six breaches:

last six breaches

Of course, this free web site wants you to purchase their app called 1Password, however you can also protect your identity with strong passwords that you think up.

 

Since it had been several years since I last used that old password, I was basically safe from this ransom threat by email.

Most of your online accounts will send you a notification if your info has been breached, and then you can update your password as needed to stay protected from identity theft.

Stay safe out there.

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Apple Phishing Scheme, Beware

Written: July 16, 2018


I’ve owned Apple products for over a decade now and so I do pay attention to emails from Apple, and this is what just came into my mailbox this morning:

email from Apple?

Email from Apple?

At first blush this appears to be an authentic email from Apple, but then my eye caught the vertical left line in the email body which in Apple mail indicates a Copied section fo text has been Pasted into the message. Apple would never send me a Copy/Pasted piece of text.

Next, Apple would have an account number of display my first and last names, but not so on this email message. So my suspicions were high that this message was a fake, aka phishing message. Clicking on the From name revealed an address that wasn’t from apple.com, so I  knew 100% that this was a phishing message:

Not apple.com

Not apple.com

The final confirmation that this email was not legitimate was to hover my cursor over the link included:

bad link

Bad link

Although an email may look like an official Apple message, I took several steps of precaution and never clicked the link because I knew that something was a bit off with this message. Hopefully you will become more adept at spotting email messages that are instead phishing for details like your real Apple account login credentials, by thieves who want to steal your digital identity.

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Beware of this Quickbooks Phishing Scheme

Written: June 6, 2018

I’ve been using Quicken software for decades now to run my business and personal financial tasks, so today when I received an official-looking email from Intuit Quickbooks I took notice.

Quickbooks phishing email

Phishing email

On the surface this looks a bit legitimate, yet when I probe to view the email from address it shows something invalid:

 

From address

Invalid address

The final determination that this is an unsafe phishing email is to hover my cursor over the Green button, View Bill Here:

 

bogus address

Bogus address

 

The bad guys are out there sending us phishing emails to trick us into clicking on their links and then start to steal our login identity. Don’t fall for it, just research the From address, Link addresses and then decide if it’s legitimate or phishing. Back to work for me.

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My MacBook Pro caught Alzheimer’s

Written: May 12, 2018

I’ve used both PC and Mac computers for decades and somehow most people naively believe that the Mac is more solid and less prone to bugs in the Operating System, well folks, that simply isn’t true, yes, Macs have bugs in the OS just like Windows does. How do I know? Well, for the past few months my MacBook Pro has gradually been forgetting every username and password combination across multiple apps:

My first response was to do a Google search and I found plenty of problems with Apple’s keychain app that mostly just hides in the background, until that is it starts to get corrupted and forgetting username and password information. The only issue was that these Google results all came from many years ago, like 2011, nothing really recent like 2018 which I had expected. Since my MacBook Pro was under warranty with Apple Care I started a Chat session and spent about 30 minutes, but to no avail.

Next, I scheduled an Appointment at my local Genius Bar for a Friday afternoon.

That same week on Wednesday I was pleasantly surprised to find an alert that macOS High Sierra was available for an update to version 10.13.4. I did the update, and presto, my MacBook Pro suddenly remembered everything that it had been forgetting. Problem solved, no need to meet with the Apple Genius Bar folks.

The moral to the story?

When your MacBook Pro starts to get Alzheimer’s, do an OS upgrade, it may just fix everything so that you can get back to work again.

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