Blocking Unwanted Phone Calls

Written: March 11, 2019

As your business grows the number of unwanted phone calls seems to also grow, so when I upgraded cell phones to a Samsung Galaxy S8+ I was so pleased to find a new built-in feature to block a number. The most annoying call I receive is from an automated system that sounds like, “You Google business listing is not verified, please press 1 to setup your free…”.

Sure, the recording promises that if I press 9 or some other number that they won’t call me again, but I didn’t want them to contact me the first time so why should I trust that they won’t keep pestering me again?

After I hang up, then I look at my recent phone calls and select the latest spam number. At the bottom right corner there’s a new link, “Block number“. I just click that link and then that ensures that I will never receive a call from that annoying caller again. What relief.

Thank you Samsung for adding this helpful feature to my Android phone.

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Is that Web Password Safe or Hacked?


I read almost every week about a data breach at some large company, so then the bad guys may now have another one of my passwords, but what can I do about it? Well, Google has a list of all known data breaches and when you add their new extension to the Chrome browser and visit a web site that has been breached, it will alert you to change your password.

I’ve been using this Chrome extension for a couple of weeks now and just yesterday it alerted me to change my account password on a particular web page that I use about once per year:

Kudos to Google for making this password checking feature free to Chrome users. At least I know that my old password has been hacked, and that it is time to update it before some bad guy steals my identity for that particular web site.

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Phishing Scam, that’s not really DocuSign

Written: February 14, 2019

Several times per week I receive official-looking emails from what appears to be a trusted company or email sender, so today I just received an email using a From Name of “DocuSign Signature”, which is a little odd because most email messages have an actual person’s name in the from field.

On first glance this email appears to be legitimate because of the logo, header, grammar and fonts used. Being suspicious the first step that I take is to click on the From Address to see who was sending the email, or at least pretending to be:

Bingo, the From Address is not coming from, instead it is coming from, so I am 99% assured that this is yet another Phishing scam to entice me to click a link and end up at a site to steal my login credentials.

A second, but more subtle indicator that this is a scam email is that the message isn’t centered on the page, or left-justified. It’s centered off to the right, which a real corporation like DocuSign would never allow to be sent out.

A third point, if I just hover my cursor over the enticing button, Sign Invoice, it reveals a totally bogus and very unsafe web address:

Finally, the content of the email starts out with, “Dear Recipient” which is always a symptom of a phishing scam. A real invoice from DocuSign would have my complete First and Last Name, plus a known Account Number. This email has none of my account details, so it’s a scam, and I should never click the Sign Invoice.

So, stay safe with your email, be on the guard for clever phishing scams like this one that can at first glance appear to be legitimate, but with a few seconds of double-checking turns out to be unsafe.


Reusing The Same Password on All Sites

Written: February 8, 2019

Online life is complex, so we may take a shortcut and use the same username and password for all of our online accounts, however if there is a data breach and the hackers find out that unique combination, then they may take over some or many of your online accounts. I have an account with Nest and they sent out a very information email alert this week that I wanted to share with you about this security issue:


In recent weeks, we’ve heard from people experiencing issues with their Nest devices. We’re reaching out to assure you that Nest security has not been breached or compromised. We also want to remind you of a few easy things you can do to get the most out of Nest’s security features. 

For context, even though Nest was not breached, customers may be vulnerable because their email addresses and passwords are freely available on the internet. If a website is compromised, it’s possible for someone to gain access to user email addresses and passwords, and from there, gain access to any accounts that use the same login credentials. For example, if you use your Nest password for a shopping site account and the site is breached, your login information could end up in the wrong hands. From there, people with access to your credentials can cause the kind of issues we’ve seen recently. 

We take protecting our users’ security very seriously. For added password security, the team looks across the internet to identify breaches and when compromised accounts are found, we alert you and temporarily disable access. We also prevent the use of passwords that appear on known compromised lists. While we can’t stop password breaches across the internet, we’re committed to limiting the impact of compromised credentials on Nest Accounts. 

While we continue to introduce additional security and safety features, we need your help in keeping your Nest Account secure. There are several ways for you to protect your home and family. Here’s what you can do:

Enable 2-step verification: The most important thing you can do is enable 2-step verification. Security experts agree that 2-step verification offers an additional layer of security. You’ll receive a special code every time you sign in to your account. It’s easy to do – find the steps here.
Choose strong passwords: Create a strong password and only use it for your Nest Account.
Set up Family Accounts: Don’t let other people use your email and password to sign in to the Nest app. Invite them to share access to your home with Family Accounts.
Be alert: Be on the lookout for phishing emails designed to trick you into sharing your email address and password.
Protect your home network: Keep your home network router software up to date and only share those credentials with people you trust. Set up and use a guest network if your Wi-Fi router supports it.

It’s a great responsibility to be welcomed into your home, and we’re committed to keeping you and your Nest devices safe. 

If you have questions or need additional help, please reach out to Nest Support

— rishi
VP/GM of Nest

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