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Has Facebook hijacked your email?

By M Davies   /     Jul 21, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     0 Comment

At the end of June, Facebook users started to notice that their email addresses on their profile had changed from whatever their default was to their Facebook username @facebook.com and there was much complaining.  Boo!  Of course, the Mark Zuckerberg conspiracy theorists already were drawing conclusions such as “Facebook is going to start forcing you into using their email address.” and the like.  You can read the full Mashable article about it here.

 

After further investigation, Facebook stated that the email address issue was caused by a bug in it’s mobile applications.  When contacts were synced from the application to your phone, something triggered the primary email address in your profile to change to the @facebook.com address.  The glitch supposedly has been corrected.

 

You may want to double check your profile page on Twitter to be sure you have the correct email address.  You can do this very easily.  First login to Facebook as you would normally.

 

Then click onto the link for your profile page.

 

 

Look for the “About” link under your profile picture, click on it.

 

 

Next, scroll down to the “Contact Info” section and take note of the email addresses listed…

 

 

If they are correct you don’t need to change anything.  If they are not correct or a @facebook.com email address is showing, click on the edit button to change it.

 

 

After clicking edit, you can add or remove emails from your list (using the links at the bottom), or choose to show or hide them on your timeline with the circle drop down box on the right hand side.  If you only want certain groups of people in your friends list to see your emails, you can use the drop down box with the heads to pick who can see it.

 

See!  Easy peasey!  I just wish Facebook would work on improving their mobile app so things like this don’t happen in the future.

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Just another Malware Monday

By M Davies   /     Jul 08, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     1 Comment

If you don’t have Internet access on Monday morning, your first instinct may be to call your ISP and complain about their service being down.  STOP.  NO!  Bad netizen!  Put down that phone.  You may be infected with the DNSChanger trojan horse/malware.

 

What is DNSChanger?  According to the DNS Changer Working Group:

 

On November 8, the FBI, the NASA-OIG and Estonian police arrested several cyber criminals in “Operation Ghost Click”. The criminals operated under the company name “Rove Digital”, and distributed DNS changing viruses, variously known as TDSS, Alureon, TidServ and TDL4 viruses.

 

Why is it such a big deal now?  From Wired Magazine and PC Magazine:

 

Due to concerns by the FBI that users still infected by DNSChanger would lose internet access if the rogue DNS servers were shut down entirely, the FBI obtained a temporary court order to allow the Internet Systems Consortium to operate replacement servers to serve DNS requests from those who had not yet removed the infection, and to collect information on those still infected in order to promptly notify them about the malware.  While the court order was set to expire on March 8, 2012, an extension was granted until July 9, 2012, due to concerns that there were still many infected computers.

 

Your first clue to infection may appear when you go to Google or Facebook.  They are warning users of their infection so that they can take care of it ahead of Monday.  Here is what the warning messages look like:

 

(Google)

 

(Facebook)

 

If you don’t use the Google search engine and do not have a Facebook account, you can also check your DNS entries using this handy dandy DNS Changer Check-up Page:  http://www.dns-ok.us.  If the image comes back green, you are clean.  If the image comes back red, your internet is as good as dead (in the water).  I’m such a crappy rhymer, hence why I work with computers and am not a rapper.  Anyway….

 

If you are inclined to, you can also check your DNS manually for the “bad” entries.

 

According the DCWG, these are the bad entries:

 

Starting IP Ending IP CIDR
85.255.112.0 85.255.127.255 85.255.112.0/20
67.210.0.0 67.210.15.255 67.210.0.0/20
93.188.160.0 93.188.167.255 93.188.160.0/21
77.67.83.0 77.67.83.255 77.67.83.0/24
213.109.64.0 213.109.79.255 213.109.64.0/20
64.28.176.0 64.28.191.255 64.28.176.0/20

 

To check for the bad entries, in Windows you need to pull up an MS-DOS prompt on your computer.

 

Windows XP:  Go to Start -> Run -> Type “cmd” (without the quotes) and click ok or press enter.

 

Windows Vista & 7:  Click on the Windows Circle (Start Menu) -> in the search box type in “cmd” (without the quotes) and press enter.

 

Once you load the MS-DOS window, type in ipconfig /all and check the area that says “DNS Servers”.  If one of the above server addresses is listed, you are infected.  If not, then you are clean.

 

 

And here’s a surprising factoid:  Macs are not immune to this trojan.  Do not assume because you have a mac, you are safe.  There are an increasing amount of viruses and trojans that now can affect macs, and this is one of them!

 

How to check a Mac’s DNS:

 

Click on the Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Click Network

 

Check the DNS Server line to make sure the addresses above are not listed.

 

 

If you find the rogue DNS settings on your computer, there are several removal utilities you can use to get rid of the infection.

 

Name of the Tool URL
Hitman Pro (32bit and 64bit versions) http://www.surfright.nl/en/products/
Kaspersky Labs TDSSKiller http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363
McAfee Stinger http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/free-tools/stinger.aspx
Microsoft Windows Defender Offline http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline
Microsoft Safety Scanner http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx
Norton Power Eraser http://security.symantec.com/nbrt/npe.aspx
Trend Micro Housecall http://housecall.trendmicro.com
MacScan http://macscan.securemac.com/
Avira http://www.avira.com/en/support-for-home-knowledgebase-detail/kbid/1199 Avira’s DNS Repair-Tool

 

I have used both the Microsoft Safety Scanner and the Kaspersky Labs TDSSKiller utilities and they work really well to get rid of all types of Scumware.  I also recommend ComboFix which was not listed on the DCWG’s website.  You can download it from http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix

 

I do not believe that these utilities will correct your DNS settings, however, you will have to fix those manually.  You can get your correct DNS server settings from your ISP, or you can use Google’s…or both….  Google’s DNS server addresses are very easy to remember.  8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.  Your ISPs DNS server addresses will depend on who you are using.  It is recommended that you check out their tech support webpage or contact them by phone to get the addresses.  DSL Reports has a guide on how to change your DNS server addresses for Windows machines.  If you have Mac OSX, use the same steps as above to get to the DNS settings and then you can change them right there.

 

Hopefully, you are not infected.  If your internet connection is still down after all of that, congratulations.  I grant you permission to call your ISP and pitch a fit.

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Blogging bigshots distraught about cybersquat

By M Davies   /     Jul 06, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     3 Comments

A few weeks ago, a survey question was posted in our NEPA Bloggers Facebook group asking our bloggers their opinion about the value of owning their own domain name.

 

 

The vast majority of the people that responded (13) voted for “Super important for branding and SEO”.  2 people responded “I just blog for fun, I’m not paying for that.”  No one responded with “How do you do that? I would like to know.”  However, what I found interesting were the 40 comments that followed.  A few people were reluctant to register a domain because they didn’t know what name they’d choose.  Some people were concerned with the legality of having your own domain name.  Meanwhile others (specifically my blogging cohort Harold) were afraid of cybersquatting and hacking.  This baffled (and still baffles) me.

 

 

?????????  This is just silly.

 

I just surfed over to Network Solutions WHOIS and checked my domain name.  I’ve owned it since 2002 and haven’t had a single issue with cybersquatting.

 

 Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
   Domain Name: MHRYVNAK.NET
      Created on: 14-May-02
      Expires on: 14-May-13
      Last Updated on: 24-Feb-12

I think it is time to set the record straight about Cybersquatting.  First of all, what exactly is Cybersquatting?  From Webopedia:  Cybersquatting is the act of registering a popular Internet address–usually a company name–with the intent of selling it to its rightful owner.

 

Cybersquatters have several tactics that they use to find a domain they want to squat.  (From TechTarget)

1)  Many cybersquatters reserve common English words, reasoning that sooner or later someone will want to use one for their Web site.

2)  Another target is mis-typed spellings of popular web sites.

3)  Cybersquatters will also regularly comb lists of recently expired domain names, hoping to sell back the domain name to a registrant who inadvertently let his domain name expire.

4)  Since there is an initial and yearly fee for owning a domain name, some cybersquatters reserve a long list of names and defer paying for them until forced to – preempting their use by others at no cost to themselves

 

If cybersquatting is a concern for you, you can register your domain name for several years in advance.  GoDaddy is my registrar (and I know several people have issues with them, YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE GODADDY), and they will allow you to choose how many years in advance you’d like to register.  The minimum you can register is 1 year and then you can bump up in year increments with 10 years being the maximum.  Registering a domain for 10 years vs. 1 year is obviously more expensive, but it is certainly a route you can take if needed.  Also, in my case, GoDaddy sends out registration notices 6 months ahead of your domain name expiring.  You have 6 months to come up with the money to keep the registration going (which is usually cheap anyway) for the next year increment of time.  If you are a responsible webmaster, you will not let your domain expire in the first place.  And if you are letting it expire, chances are there is a reason behind it, and if it is cybersquatted it won’t matter anyway.

 

Yes, there is a likelyhood that your blog could be cybersquatted, but it is rare.  Most cybersquatters are looking to earn big bucks by scamming corporations.

 

If you find yourself in the situation that your domain is cybersquatted, you have a few routes to take to get your domain back.  According to Cybersquatting.com (a online resource dedicated specifically to the law of cybersquatting):

Victims of cybersquatting have several options they can choose from to stop a cybersquatter’s misconduct and recover their domain names. Initially, a trademark holder may simply wish to send a cease-and-desist letter to the cybersquatter, demanding that the cybersquatter return the domain name immediately.  Such a cease-and-desist letter may state that if the cybersquatter does not comply with the letter, the trademark holder will file a lawsuit, which could result in serious consequences to the cybersquatter. The cease-and-desist letter is an inexpensive approach, which can often bring positive results.

Once a cybersquatting victim decides that he or she needs to adopt a more aggressive approach, there are two primary domain name rules providing legal channels for recovering a domain name: the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”) and ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”).

The ACPA allows trademark holders to file lawsuits against cybersquatters in the United States federal courts, and allows for the recovery of up to $100,000 per domain name in damages from the cybersquatter, plus costs and fees. The ACPA also addresses situations where the cybersquatter is located in a foreign country, or where the cybersquatter cannot be identified at all. In such situations, the ACPA enables the cybersquatting victim to recover his or her domain name, but does not allow for the recovery of damages. This process is referred to as an in rem action. The ACPA is set forth in the United States Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. §1125(d)), which is the comprehensive federal law on the topic of trademark infringement.

ICANN, the nonprofit organization that oversees the domain name registration system, has also promulgated rules governing domain name disputes. When anyone registers a domain name, that person is required to submit to binding arbitration in the event of a dispute concerning that domain name, including an allegation of cybersquatting. This binding arbitration is conducted according to ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”). UDRP proceedings are intended to offer an efficient process, where the issues are decided without a trial or oral hearing. Unlike a lawsuit brought under ACPA, however, UDRP does not allow for the recovery of damages, costs, or fees.

 

I find that a lot of complaints about technology come from the users fear behind learning/utilizing it and are not valid.  This is just one example of many that I can think of.

 

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” — Wayne Gretzky

 

“You also miss 100% of the traffic you could have if you had a top level domain name with the proper SEO.” — Me and my $.02

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Siri, Apple’s D Student

By M Davies   /     Jun 28, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     4 Comments

My AT&T phone plan had an upgrade that I was waiting to cash in for some time.  Finally, two weeks ago, I made the trek to the AT&T store in the mall and upgraded my iPhone from the 4 to the 4S.  I decided to upgrade for two reasons:

 

1) My home button kept sticking on the 4.  This is a problem that several people complain of that have the iPhone 4.  Just do a Google search of “iPhone home button sticking” and you’ll come back with several hundred forums and help sites that are dedicated to helping others fix this problem.

 

2) My phone was out of space.  I had the 16 gig model of the 4, and I maxed out my storage space.  I had a ton of pictures, apps, and songs on there, but I couldn’t bare to part with any of them.  For this reason, I was missing out on several important app updates and even an iOS update or two.  I had no room left on the phone to download any of the updates.

 

2 1/2) I thought Siri would be cool to have.

 

As you know, the iPhone 4S has a feature called “Siri”.  Siri is a voice responsive personal assistant of sorts.  There are several commands that you can tell it, simply by pressing and holding the home button on your phone.  I’m sure you have also seen the commercials with Zooey Deschanel and others that demonstrate ways that you can use Siri in real life situations.  While I wouldn’t necessarily call those commercials false advertising, I wouldn’t call them exactly truthful either.  Siri is not as intuitive as Apple would have you believe.

 

Yesterday on WNEP, Bob Reynolds reported on a story about Apple iPhone’s Siri feature not being helpful in an emergency situation, by not being able to dial 911.  The video of it is embedded below.

My first thought after seeing this video on the news was that it was not dialing out because 911 is not in the address book of the iPhone.  So I made a test contact on my phone for “911” and attempted to have Siri call it.  I tested that and found the same result (below).

 

Siri flat out refuses to dial 911 (and also 611 and 411, basically any three digit number ending in 11), which I found to be unusual, and caused me to hit Google up once again to research why it behaves like this.

 

First and foremost, you should know that Siri is in “beta” as per the Apple webpage.  That means it is still a work in progress and Apple cannot make any guarantees on how the product can function until it is released from beta status.  As their website states “we’ll continue to improve it over time”.  During Apple’s last keynote, they revealed that iOS 6 will have enhanced Siri features.  As reported by Ars Technica (and photos taken by my elementary school pen pal Jacqui Cheng):

 

Third-party apps can now be launched with a command to Siri—for example, “Play Temple Run” opens the app. Users can also now tweet from Siri, a formerly noticeable hole in the Twitter integration throughout the rest of iOS. In addition to hands-free mode, Siri now has “eyes-free” mode, where the app doesn’t light the screen, but still reads responses out. Apple is working with BMW, GM, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Honda to bring a “Siri button” to their cars that will work with iPhones within the next 12 months.

 

IOS 6 is expected to be released sometime in the fall of 2012.  There is unfortunately no mention about 911 services in this article, so we won’t know for sure if that will be worked out in the new version until it is released.

 

That’s all well and good, but why the heck can’t Siri dial 911?  Back to Google I went….

 

I found these two Apple Support forums:

 

https://discussions.apple.com/message/17467767#17467767
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3815758?start=0&tstart=0

 

From the second discussion URL:

 

By design. Siri cannot make emergency calls as Apple has not instituted a method to authenticate the call and ensure it is not a prank, as millions have attempted to do since Siri launched. You’ll have to wait until “next generation” 911 is fully launched.

 

That is your answer right there, if you want to call it an answer.  Apple is afraid of people accidentally calling 911 or using Siri as a prankster.  How does a normal POTS line “authenticate a call and ensure it’s not a prank”?  Oh right…it doesn’t….it just dials the number, prank or not.  Apple should really come up with a better excuse than that.

 

Researching all of this reminded me of a video that fellow NEPA Blogger, Summer Beretsky, created several months ago after her fiance got the new iPhone 4S.  Summer blogs about Panic and Anxiety disorders, and she wanted to demonstrate how Siri would behave if she threatened to harm herself.  In this video our Hollywood starlet, Siri, is being her usual unhelpful self:

 

 

In closure, I wouldn’t count on Siri to be helpful in any type of emergency situation at least for the unforseen future.  IOS 6 may address the 911 dialing issue, but it may not.  If you are able to remain calm enough in an emergency to be able to operate a cell phone or normal telephone, I would suggest using the old fashioned method.  Dial 911 instead of relying on Siri to do it for you.  Relying on a computerized robot app that isn’t intuitive may take too long when a human life is at risk.

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Tablet drama

By M Davies   /     Jun 27, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     1 Comment

There seems to be a lot of news today surrounding tablets.  I was going to Tweet about it, but I didn’t feel like all of it would fit into 140 characters plus my phone is dead and my charging case broke this morning.  I guess I could use the web client, but I hate it.  Work with me here, people.

 

First, the Google Nexus tablet was unveiled today.  Watch the demo below:

Mashable thinks the Nexus could take on the Kindle Fire (sold by Amazon).  The price point is extremely competitive: the 8GB model will cost $199, while the 16GB device will be priced at $249. Google is taking pre-orders now and will ship the Nexus 7 in mid-July to the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.  Personally, I didn’t really see anything that excited me.  I really don’t like the Android OS, no matter what form it comes in.

 

In the same breath, Ars Technica is reporting that a Judge barred the sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1 in the US for violating a design patent for Apple’s iPad.  What I found most interesting about this particular article was that the patent may be invalid in light of discovering a concept video of a tablet newspaper put out by Knight-Ridder several years ago.  As you may or may not remember, Knight-Ridder owned the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader from approximately 1997 to 2006 before selling it off to another company.  Check out the video below:

Neither me or my husband own a tablet yet and honestly do not see the need for one.  I have a laptop which is very portable, a smart phone and an iPod.  I feel like if we did purchase a tablet, the kiddos would get more use out of it then we would.  They love the Angry Birds, these kids today.  My MIL and SIL both own the Nook and love it.  They are heavy book readers.  I like to read too, but I enjoy a normal book.  I’m in front of a computer screen for enough hours a day, I don’t need to be on it to read a book as well.

 

At any rate, it should be interesting to see how the new tablet and lawsuit drama plays out.

 

Stay tuned.

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Haxes, Taxes, and Annoyances to the Maxes

By M Davies   /     Mar 26, 2012  /     Annoyances, Technology Hates Me  /     0 Comment

After a week, I'm back online.  My websites were hacked.  Well – at least 2 of the 3 were hacked.  I don't think mhryvnak.net was, but kind of sort of was due to the domains all being linked together through Dreamhost's web panel.  The ass kicker here is, I was not the only one.  There's a 30+ page thread on Dreamhost with several customers experiencing the same issue.  A fellow local blogger (Shannon Nelson) also had her site hacked on Dreamhost a few weeks ago.  After doing extensive research, our hacks were different – her site was hacked via JavaScript.  Basically, an  iFrame linking to a website with malicious software was inserted into her WordPress installation.  On the other hand, my hack was a base64 hack which happened via PHP.  You can read more on that here:  http://danhilltech.tumblr.com/post/18085864093/if-you-get-eval-base64-hacked-on-wordpress-dreamhost  I still have some clean-up work to do, and then I'm going to re-evaluate my hosting provider options.  I have 3 options that I'm currently looking at.

We had to submit a request for an extension for submitting our taxes this year.  I can't recall a time that I've ever done this.  It turns out our taxes are uber complicated this year, and the tax guy actually had to look up the tax code to figure out how to file.  After holding off until he figured out how to do them, he worked on a bunch of other people's and our taxes got pushed to the back of the list.  Now we are working on borrowed time.  Terrific. 

This morning I discovered that the power supply for my new Macbook pro was dead.  I plugged it into the wall and it refused to power up.  I reseated the cables and tried another outlet and still no dice.  I determined that the power brick part of the cable was messed up.  I'm not sure exactly got messed up with it, but it wasn't working.  I guess, if I knew more about electricity, I could hook it up to a multimeter and test levels.  The happy ending of this story is that the local Wilkes-Barre best buy had the exact cable I needed, so I didn't have to wait for an Apple RMA.  The bad news is, it cost 80 effing dollars.  We just purchased this Mac in November.  There's no reason the damn power supply should be bad already, but it is what it is.  It's covered under Apple Care still, so I'll get a replacement for free, but it's just another annoyance.

Follow-up to our electricity issue in the bedroom (…ummmm…I just realized that may sound perverted, but no, we actually have an electrical problem in the bedroom…):  We have a bad whosa-ma-whatsit in the fuse panel.  What are they called?  Circuit breakers?  Fuses?  I told you I don't know much about electrical things.  We purchased a new thingee majig from Lowes to replace the bad one — which by the way is leaking a white substance, and Rich is going to try to replace it tomorrow.  I'm not sure how this is going to end up.  He says he's going to kill the power to the entire house before he attempts it.  Still…I'm nervous. 

Can anything else go wrong lately?  I probably shouldn't say that too loud, or I'll be struck dead by a lightning bolt or something. 

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