Patch Tuesday, December 2018

The second Tuesday of each month is known as Patch Tuesday. If you leave your PC powered on tonight, security updates from Microsoft will be downloaded to your PC around 3:00 a.m. The “patch bundle” has all updates for Microsoft’s operating system(s) they still support. It is vital you keep your computer updated with these security patches to help prevent hackers from infiltrating your PC, collecting data or installing spyware to capture passwords and financial information.

Of interest this month

Microsoft Invalid license ROBO-calls  are continuing to plague the public – asking to call their 800 or 866 number. This is a scam to get you to make that phone call so they can get your credit card information. If you DO have a Microsoft license key problem, you’ll see it on your PC and may need to get some technical help to resolve the problem. However, be careful in seeking technical help. Look for reputable professionals or get references from others.

Quora gets hacked – The World’s most popular question-and-answer website Quora has suffered a massive data breach with unknown hackers gaining unauthorized access to potentially sensitive personal information of about 100 million of its users. If you recently received an email about this breach, this is a legitimate alert. You are receiving it because someone has created an account with your Email Address.Quora has taken the precaution to expire the password to account holders but warns – if you use the same password for multiple accounts, this password and email account could be in the hands hackers.

You may recall my advice: Don’t use the same password everywhere you go. There are many applications available to help you manage your passwords. I recommend “Password Safe” from https://www.pwsafe.org/ This lightweight program can store all your secret passwords, and once closed, the program is encrypted. You only need to remember ONE password to unencrypt this application and get access to everything else. The Password Safe program can even create a sophisticated “launch code” that can’t be easily remembered for high security needs. (“Keep it secret – Keep it safe” for you Lord of the Rings fans)

Ransomware outbreak in China – An outbreak (seemingly restricted to China) has infected over 100,000 PCs. Are you protected? There are two products I recommend. The latest version of Macrium Reflect and Malwarebytes are effective in keeping this fate from your computer.

8 Polular Android Apps get caught up in a million-dollar Ad fraud scheme. Cheetah Mobile—a prominent Chinese app company, known for its popular utility apps like Clean Master and Battery Doctor—and one of its subsidiary Kika Tech have allegedly been caught up in an Android ad fraud scheme that stole millions of dollars from advertisers.

Here’s the list of seven Cheetah Mobile apps and one Kika app, which received an investment from Cheetah Mobile in 2016, caught participating in the fraudulent ad scheme:

So, if you have any of the above-listed apps installed on your Android device, it is recommended you uninstall them immediately.

  • Clean Master (with 1 billion users)
  • Security Master (with 540 million users)
  • CM Launcher 3D (with 225 million users)
  • Battery Doctor (with 200 million users)
  • Cheetah Keyboard (with 105 million users)
  • CM Locker (with 105 million users)
  • CM File Manager (with 65 million users)
  • Kika Keyboard (owned by Kika Tech with 205 million users)

In Conclusion – It’s the Christmas Holidays

Expect hacker activity to be high this season. They know many shop on-line and are looking for a bargain. Be suspicious of things that are FREE, something you have WON, or emails that seem unusual – even when it is from someone you know.

Apply your patches from Microsoft (Patch Tuesday) and other providers. Keep your anti-virus and anti-malware software updated and scan your device regularly.

Don’t forget about your smart phone. These can get hacked as well. Malwarebytes protects Android and iPhones.

Use two-factor authentication on accounts where it is offered.

Wishing you a wonderful and safe Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Happy Computing!

Posted in Patch Tuesday.

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