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Posts tagged as “security”

Another Yahoo Security Breach Affects a Billion Accounts

After announcing in September that 500 million accounts had been compromised in a 2014 security breach, the company announces today that an additional billion accounts have been hacked in a separate incident.

Yahoo logoYahoo logo

Breaking News

If you’re a Yahoo user, you should strongly consider closing your account. If you decide to keep your account open, you might as well post your username and password to Facebook and send them out in a tweet, for all the good Yahoo’s security precautions will do for you.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Six WordPress Plugins Vulnerable

In the same week that we learned from W3Techs that the popular open source content management system (CMS) WordPress now powers a full 25 percent of all sites on the web, we learn that six popular WordPress plugins contain serious security vulnerabilities. The later news comes to us by way of security firm Wordfence, which specializes in WordPress security and develops the Wordfence security plugin for the platform.

WordPress logoWordPress logoThis news isn’t surprising, nor is it cause for alarm. Because WordPress is by far the most popular content management platform on the web, it’s an obvious target for hackers, and third party plugins are the most obvious way inside. However, the folks at Automattic, which develops the platform, have proven themselves to be diligent at finding vulnerabilities and keeping them patched.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Is Microsoft Enterprise Mobility a Trojan Horse?

It’s been easy to think that the FOSS world has little to worry about from Microsoft these days. By the time Steve Ballmer was forced out a few years back, the company seemed to be a basket case. Windows was becoming less relevant by the minute, many consumers were sparing themselves the expense of Office by adopting LibreOffice and OpenOffice and efforts to launch Windows Phone were going nowhere, even after Steven Elop drove Nokia to the brink of bankruptcy, allowing Redmond to purchase the Finnish company’s once unstoppable phone business at fire sale prices.

Microsoft logoMicrosoft logoAlthough some have been trying to sound the alarm, many of us have been lulled into complacency brought by a belief that Microsoft is no longer a real threat and that we are now free to concentrate all of our energies on growing Linux and FOSS, which is basically all we’ve wanted to do.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Boycott Novell Lenovo?

It was in 2009. I possessed the best laptop that I had ever owned…to that point in time anyway. Small, but not cramped. A display that was beyond any adjective. “Dazzling” is what comes to mind, but many would probably categorize that as marketing hyperbole. That’s fine. That laptop lasted almost to the end of 2013 before the motherboard suffered catastrophic failure. I had received the machine already much used. I liked it so much I actually mourned my loss.

Lenovo logoLenovo logoI never found one that was even close to the quality of my Lenovo X60s…until recently.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

The Elderly & the Scam Masters

It always happens to someone else. Right? I mean, what are the chances it will happen to me? Or you? Be it winning the lottery or developing a debilitating disease. We all know someone who knows someone who…well, you know how it goes. It will happen to someone else.

And it did, two days ago. Across the street from me.

scammerscammerClaude and Jane are good folks. Both in their mid 70s. They live on their combined retirement funds and spend their time keeping busy with kids, grandkids, and from what I hear, a great-grandchild in a matter of months. They come over for coffee or tea at times, and we always see them at community center events. They are not well off by any standard, but they do okay…until last Saturday.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

OSCON: Purism Respects Your Rights & Freedom

Your digital rights — do both your hardware and software respect them?

Because if they don’t, Purism might have the answer to this shortcoming.

At OSCON, Purism has on hand the Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops – the numbers designating the screen size (13-inch and 15-inch, respectively) — which are both designed, chip-by-chip and line-by-line to respect your rights to privacy, security and freedom, which is Purism’s philosophy.

Purism logoPurism logo“We developed Purism so that users can have access to the highest quality computers without compromising these beliefs,” the Purism website states. “The founder of Purism developed the Philosophical Contract, that we all abide by, which was adopted from the Free Software Foundation, and expanded to include hardware manufacturing as it relates to software.”

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Yet Another Reason to Avoid Windows 10

Forget that the folks at Microsoft were wrong about the “Start” button and the interface formally known as Metro. It seems they’re still convinced they know what’s best for their users. So much so that the new Windows, due to be released next week, will have users click off on an EULA that pretty much gives Redmond carte blanche to update the system at will, which will include updating apps as well as Windows itself, with no real way to opt out — except for users of the Enterprise edition.

Windows logoWindows logoWe learned of this on Friday through Tim Anderson at The Register, who supplied these lines from the EULA:

  • “The Software periodically checks for system and app updates, and downloads and installs them for you.
  • You may obtain updates only from Microsoft or authorized sources, and Microsoft may need to update your system to provide you with those updates.

  • By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice.
Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Wetware: The Most Important Trend in Malware

Blaster worm screenshotBlaster worm screenshot
Hex dump of 2003’s Blaster worm, that left a message for Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.
On Thursday, Christine Hall looked at the economy of cybercrime. I also took a peek at the Symantec report, and indeed, the statistics are sobering. There is one statistic, however, that Symantec has ommitted from its report. They did not report – at least not numerically – on the trend of growing wetware vulnerabilities that take advantage of users’ bad habits.

Don ParrisDon Parris

Don Parris wears a Facility Services cape by day, and transforms into LibreMan at night. He has written numerous articles about free tech, and hangs out with the Cha-Ha crowd, learning about computer security. He also enjoys making ceviche with his wife, and writing about his travels in Perú.

Looking at the Cracker Hacker Economy

Today I spent some time looking at a white paper issued by the security firm Symantec called Website Security Threat Report, which is basically a catalog of malware threats for the non-techie suits who control the purse strings for web facing server deployments — sort of a “here boss, this is why we have to spend so much money on security” type of thing. Most of it’s old news to those of us who, for whatever reason, follow tech news, but some of the trends noted by the folks at Symantec are interesting enough.

As a matter of fact, there’s a bit of sobering news for sites like FOSS Force, as again in 2014, technology sites top the list of the type of sites most likely to be exploited by cracker hackers, with the number on the rise. According to Symantec, last year tech sites represented 21.5 percent of sites infected by malware, up from 9.9 percent in 2013. Even more disturbing is that number two on this list are hosting sites, up from the number three position in 2013, with 7.3 percent of malware infected sites.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Limit Your Linux Super Powers With su & sudo

I recently offered some security tips aimed at new system administrators. And hey, the home users among you should take note, after all, you’re the administrator of your home system! One of the tips was “Don’t run as root.” Today I would like to expand on that a bit. First, we’ll take a look at why you should limit the use of your super powers. Then we’ll look at the best ways to use su and sudo to help you limit your risks.

Don ParrisDon Parris

Don Parris wears a Facility Services cape by day, and transforms into LibreMan at night. He has written numerous articles about free tech, and hangs out with the Cha-Ha crowd, learning about computer security. He also enjoys making ceviche with his wife, and writing about his travels in Perú.

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