Saturday, July 14, 2018

What is spearfishing? Spearfishing has recently been in the news with the Mueller investigation mentioning the Russian operatives doing spearfishing in July 2016 on Democratic Party accounts. Spearfishing is a special kind of phishing. Phishing is when emails are sent to a bunch of email addresses to attempt to get people to reveal personal information. Quite often phishing emails are sent telling you that you need to click on a link about a package delivery or something wrong with a bank account etc. What they are then wanting in these emails is for you to enter your account number/name and password and it is a factious login screen and that they now have your login information. Spearfishing is a specialized kind of phishing. Instead of sending the emails to every email address in a domain they send to select addresses as they are looking for login or other type information only from certain people, usually higher-ups or people in positions to have privileged access. In the case of the spearfishing with the Democrats we know at least one of them was the head of Clinton’s campaign and that he clicked on the link either giving them information or downloading a file that then gave them access to his account. In that specific case we know he was suspicious and did what he should have done and asked his IT people but was given wrong info and told it was ok email. If you get an email like was in that spearfishing attempt the best bet is always don’t open it and delete it. A fair number of computer hacking jobs occur from the inside so even being told by someone in the company it is ok, may have been untruthful information. Best bet is don’t open and delete if any question in your mind and then contact the company/person/organization separately to see if it was real. If it was they will get information from you in another way. It is strange that phishing for information is spelled with ph and spearfishing is with an f. However Mueller news reports have it correct and a Cisco cybersecurity class I am taking spells the same.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Does shutdown really mean shutdown?

With the latest updates to Windows 10, one of Microsoft’s claims is that Windows shuts down and faster now. While it does startup quicker when you turn it on it is not as a result of speeding up the shutdown process, but no longer actually shutting down. Windows by default now goes in a sleep state when you choose shutdown instead of a powered down state. A sleep state is where Windows saves an image of what all is in memory and turns off power but has not shut down all the items running. Then when you turn the computer back on, Windows does not go thru starting everything from scratch but puts everything back in memory as it was when it was shutdown (actually went to sleep). You will find your browser opens all tabs that were open previously (and no prompt about if you want to restore tabs as Chrome does when tabs open when it closes. If you want your computer to actually shutdown when you choose to shutdown (in the Windows world words mean different than in real world, see start for stop) there is a few steps you can do to get the prior way of operating. Click on start button then choose control panel (the gear shaped icon above the power icon). Then choose the System icon. Choose Power and Sleep in the list on the left. Under Related Settings choose Additional Power Settings. Click Choose what the Power Buttons Do. Now click Change Settings That Are Currently Unavailable. Uncheck Turn on Fast Startup. Click Save Changes and you can close Control Panel.