Scam of the Week: Scammers use FINRA as Phish Bait

Earlier this month, cybercriminals impersonated the largest brokerage regulation company in the US: the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Seeing such a vital organization be used as phish bait is chilling. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, this scam is easy to spot!

The phishing email starts with the vaguely-startling subject line “ATTN: FINRA COMPLIANCE AUDIT”. The email is sent from supports[at]finra-online. The email asks you to review an attached document and respond immediately. The short email message closes with, “If you’ve got more questions regarding this letter don’t hesistate to contact us.” Anyone who falls for this scam and downloads the attachment will find that the file is actually a nasty piece of malicious software.

Here’s how you can stay safe from similar attacks:

  • By asking for your immediate response regarding an audit, the bad guys create a sense of urgency. These scams rely on impulsive actions, so always think before you click.
  • Watch for poor spelling and grammar in supposedly-official messages. Did you catch the spelling error in the example above? The word “hesitate” is misspelled as “hesistate”.
  • Check who sent the email. In this case, while the email address included the name FINRA, it did not use the official FINRA.org domain.

Content provided by KnowBe4

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Delegated Access

This week will probably have a hint of familiarity to it.  It’s because I’m going to piggy back off a tip I had a few weeks ago.

Hopefully you remember this tip where I talked about the importance of password security.

If you don’t, I’ll wait a minute while you go review that now.

I’ve already gone over the importance. I’m not going to go down that long rabbit hole again.

I’m here to talk specifically about one of the items I mentioned. Delegated access.

It has come to my attention that many people do not know what this is! So how would you know to use it if that is the case?

Delegate access is giving access to someone, or permission to someone, to be able to access your email (there may be other applications that have the same type of thing, but I’m talking about email specifically right now).

Business goes on, whether we are sitting at our desk or sitting on the ship deck…..relaxing….listening to the sound of the waves…..drink in hand…..being lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking…..

Seriously. This pandemic has got to end. I need a cruise.

Anyway. I digress. The point is, that just because you aren’t working doesn’t mean that no one else is. And so there are things that have to be addressed. And I don’t know about you, but the one thing that doesn’t mesh with my sunny deck day dream is having to check my work email.

But, as the good learner that you are, I know you realize that giving someone your password to just hop on your computer while you are gone is a bad idea!

This is where delegated access comes in. You give someone delegated access, which they have to accept. They can then open your emails up in their own browser or Outlook on their own computer. They can check emails as you, they can respond as you – and when you come back, we just retract that delegate access. It’s less hassle for them because they don’t have to log into your computer and pull themselves away from their desk, and it’s less risky for you because your account is still secure.

Plus, you know that icon on your desktop where you put all your deepest, darkest secrets labeled “TOP SECRET -DO NOT READ”. You know anyone getting on your computer is going there first, right? Now you don’t have to worry!

So next time you’re running away….I mean, going on vacation…..ask us to set up your delegate access for you. We’re happy to do it!

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Remote Printing at Home

This pandemic thing is really starting to grind my gears.  Here we are, a year later, and many of us are still working remotely.

Funny how despite how long it’s been, there are still more tips to help make it easier for you!  For example, have you been wondering how to print something from your work computer on your home printer?

You know…..aside from driving to the office, unplugging your computer, putting it into your car, setting it up at home and plugging it into your home printer.

It really is something so much simpler than that, but it also isn’t super obvious if you don’t know what to look for.

First of all, I should preface with the fact that this is for those of you who are connecting to your work computer using Remote Desktop. If you are using another program, this tip isn’t for you!

When you open up your Remote Desktop app, you usually see a box that shows the Computer Name in a field that you can type in, and possibly a filled in User Name if you regularly connect.

What you may not have paid much attention to is that at the buttom left, there is a drop down menu that says Show Options.

If you click on that little drop down menu, it expands the box so that you can see several tabs along the top of other settings you can alter.

Once extended, you want to select the Local Resources tab. This is going to be where you tell the computer you are connecting to what to take or share from your local computer (the computer you are actually sitting at).

You can see at the bottom there are check boxes for Printers and Clipboard.

If it’s checked, that means that your local resource will now be shared on your remote computer. So if you have a printer at home called Home Printer, and you connect to your work computer – you should see Home Printer as one of the options when you tell something to print!

And of course, then it should actually print to your home printer.

Recognizing Elder Scams

People need to ensure that their elderly relatives are aware of scams that target older people, according to Emma McGowan at Avast. McGowan says it’s best to avoid being condescending, and to remain aware that your older relatives have more experience than you.

“First, talk with them about what to look out for and how to protect themselves,” McGowan says. “And here’s an important point of emphasis: You need to talk with them, not at them. Your older relatives have a whole lifetime of experience; a whole lifetime of making their own decisions and relying on their own judgement. It’s unlikely that they’re going to want to be lectured by someone who is 20 or 30 or even 50 years younger than they are. Think about this way: Would you want your niece or nephew to lecture you about the safety of a neighborhood that you’d lived in for longer than they’ve been alive? Of course not! And to the same token, your older relatives don’t want to be lectured about safety online.”

McGowan explains that there are ways to show your relatives how scammers can target them.

“So instead of lecturing, empower them to take care of themselves,” McGowan writes. “One way to start the conversation is by googling their names and showing them what’s publicly available online. This is a good way to visually illustrate to them how easy it is for scammers to get information about someone.”

One of the best ways to help people avoid falling for scams is to tell them to ask you for your opinion if they think something might be a scam. Many scams try to isolate their victims to prevent them from asking for a second opinion.

“You can also offer to be their sounding board if they think something might be a scam, with no judgement,” McGowan says. “Tell them they can share any email, direct message, pop-up — anything — and you’ll help them figure out if it’s legit or not. That way, you get to help your parent (or grandparent or aunt or uncle) and they get the bonus of more time spent with you.”

Content provided by KnowBe4.

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Password Sharing

When I was little, my mom taught me a song.  One of the verses had the words:

If I had a stick of gum, and you didn’t have one –
I’d break mine in two!  Give half of it to you!
That’s sharing, caring, that’s the thing to do!
And whether you know this song or not, I think most of you would agree that you were taught as a child the importance of sharing with others.

Normally, I would wholeheartedly echo this sentiment in all areas of life, but I am here to tell you – there is one area of your life where you should NOT be sharing.  And yet, almost every day I see evidence of it with our clients.  I just don’t think people recognize why it is such a bad idea.
You.  

Yes, YOU.

Sitting at your computer.

Planning your vacation.  Looking forward to a week of relaxation.  Imagining all the activities on your itinerary…..or lack thereof.
I see you writing down your computer password.  And I know what you’re planning to do with it.  You’re going to give it to your co-worker so that they can check your emails for you.  Or input files for you.  Or do something else for you.  On your computer.  As you.

I have three words for you.
Wait.  I have three more words for you.
Just to re-iterate my point, here’s three final words.
I can hear you through my computer screen.

“I trust them!”  “It’s no big deal!”  “We do this all the time!”

First of all, your insistence on making a bad decision doesn’t make it a good decision.
Second of all, it doesn’t matter how much you trust them, or that they won’t do anything bad – it’s still a huge security risk for many reasons.

Let’s start with a basic one.  Your password is no longer a secret.  Whether you write it down to give to them, or they write it down to remember it – it’s written down, and it can be lost or picked up by someone else.  You are no longer in control of who has access to your log in information.  And why is this bad?

One of the whole reasons we have individual log in’s for every employee is that anything done on the computer is traced back to who was logged in when it happened.  Someone transferred a whole lot of money out of the company bank account?  Which computer was this done from and who was logged in?  Bingo, we have our suspect.
Now let’s go to another part of the risk – human nature is a weird thing.  Even when we know we shouldn’t do something, so many of us do it.  And even though I think most people know they shouldn’t use the same password for everything – people still do.

So while you just gave your password for your computer to your co-worker (and whoever else it ends up with)….did you also give them the password to your email?  Your bank account?  Your Netflix?  Your dating profile??
I get it.  Time stops for no man (or woman).  Even while you’re on vacation, work needs to get done.  

However, let me point out that there are other, more secure ways of sharing things with your co-workers.

Do they need access to your email?  Let us set up delegated access for you.

Do they need access to specific files?  Share them (through Google Drive, or SharePoint, or a server share) and give your co-worker permission.

But for the love of all that is holy – stop.  Sharing.  Your password!!!!  

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Night Light Setting

We as a society tend to be big on trends – something that one person or a few people like and enjoy then starts popping up everywhere.

Sometimes it’s something small, such as trends in names people pick for their kids.
Sometimes it’s trends in fashion – which are very cyclical by the way…..vintage always comes back in style.  Can we say jump suits anyone?
Sometimes we see trends in technology.  Although keeping up with technology trends is tricky in a very accelerating technological world (and expensive!).  
And then there are health trends.  Remember when everyone was convinced that eating eggs was bad for you?  And then good for you?  And then bad for you?  

I’m pretty sure eggs are good for you again.
One health trend I’ve been seeing pop up more and more on my radar is the effect of blue light on your eye health.

I’m not going to get into the science of what blue light is by definition – that’s what Google is for.  
What I will get into is two things.  First, blue light is a positive thing because it helps our bodies to recognize day and night, which is part of our bodies natural ability to regulate things like melatonin.

But second, blue light is damaging to your eyes.  Your eyes can block out UV light really well, but they can’t block blue light.  Extended exposure to blue light will cause greater strain on your eyes and can increase the risk of macular degeneration.  

And the reason that this is concerning nowadays is because blue light is EVERYWHERE.  Your phone screen.  Your computer monitor.  Basically any kind of screen.  Florescent light bulbs.  LED lights.  The list goes on.

So what can we do about this?  We can’t just stop using electronics and lights.  There are a few things that you can do though that can help.

One thing is that when you are purchasing electronics, see if there is an option for either a built in blue light filter or some sort of screen protector you can purchase and apply that has blue light protection.
Another option that I’ve been seeing is that you can get blue light blocking glasses.  Just like reading or prescription glasses, but with no corrective lenses.  Just the blue light protection (though, for those of us who wear prescription glasses, you can usually add a blue light protective coating to your prescription – ask your doctor about it).
One final thing you can do is to adjust the settings on your computer.  Windows 10 has a setting that is called the Night Light setting.  It really seems to be aimed more at the helping-you-sleep-at-night-even-though-you-were-working-late-staring-a-screen-that-throws-your-body-balance-out-of-whack angle, but I think it’s still something that’s worth knowing.

If you go into your computers System (right click on the Start menu and click on System) and then click on Display, you will see Night Light.
You can easily toggle it off and on if you would like to do it that way.  You can also click on the Night light settings beneath the toggle button and schedule times when you want it on or off (there’s a default schedule of sunset to sunrise, but you can also set specific hours), and adjust the strength of the night light.
Just a word of warning to anyone who works with colors a lot – when the night light settings are activated, the colors on your screen will appear warmer than they really are.  So colors will print or appear on another screen as a different shade than what you see.  So maybe toggle off the setting really quick before sending out invitations to Aunt Mildred’s 100th birthday party – don’t want people thinking that Aunt Mildred is sickly.

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Lost Files

This weeks tip is pulled from  a scenario that I run into pretty regularly with our clients.  Let me set the scene.

You’ve spent all morning on your computer, putting together the perfect PowerPoint presentation.  There are colorful slides.  There are snazzy animation components.  You’ve even incorporated a video link to a hilarious YouTube video that is topically relevant.
And before you tell me that you don’t use PowerPoint, this applies to any kind of file format that you might be saving.  A Word document, Excel, a .jpeg.  Anything.

So you’ve invested a large amount of time into your project.  You make sure that you saved it and named it appropriately.  You move on to other things.
Then Karen in HR says that there is a change that needs to be made to your file.  You go to open it up and…..you can’t find it.
This is usually the point at which I receive a phone call from someone who is slightly on the verge of a nervous break down because they can’t find their file.

And let me interrupt this message to say this:  I am not posting this tip to tell you to stop calling me when you are in this situation.  If you are panicked, you might not remember my tip, or remember places to check.  Heck, you might just need me to help calm you down as we work it out.

However, I also know that our clients are busy.  So if you know these things to do, it will save you the time it would take to look up our number and give us a call, thus ending your panic a bit earlier.
The first thing I suggest, and the one that is most likely one you already know, is to check your Recycle Bin.  It may be sitting in there, just waiting for you to restore it.  I would say about 20% of the time, somehow a client has accidentally deleted the file.  Obviously not intentionally, but somehow it happened.  And in these cases, I couldn’t even tell you how the file got there.  Sometimes I worry that computers have a mind of their own.
The next option is to open the program that you used to make the file to begin with.  If it was your PowerPoint file, open up PowerPoint.  It will show a list of recently opened files as well as places where you’ve recently saved files.  So you might see your file right there in the recents list, or maybe you thought you saved your file on the Desktop, but according to PowerPoint you recently saved a file to My Documents and lo and behold, when you go to My Documents, there is your file!
The last thing I would suggest trying would be to do a search using Windows 10’s search.  Just type the Start menu (the Windows symbol at the bottom left) and start typing the name that you used when you saved your file, if you remember the exact name.  This will find your file if it’s on your computer!
Like I said before, I don’t put this out there to stop you from calling.  If you need us, that’s what we’re here for!  And many people also have server situations thrown into the works, so it might not be as simple as searching your computer.  And so to all of you I say…..

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Focus Assistant

I don’t know about you, but some days – I can micro manage like a pro.  I can have three programs open, ten tabs in an internet browser, be on hold for a vendor, and be calculating the taxes all at the same time.

However, sometimes I have a very hard time concentrating.  It’s usually when I’m working on something really important that I’m not quite as familiar with.  And when this happens, every little distraction can pull my attention. 

Everything from a new email, to a flashing voice mail light, to a Dell Support assistant notification popping up in the corner of my computer.  They all easily distract me from what I’m focusing on.
So anything I can do to cut out distractions is very helpful!  This includes:

· turning off music or videos I might be listening to
· setting my phone to vibrate
· closing other open programs on my other monitors
· and implementing this weeks tip! 
Focus Assist is a function within Windows that allows you to control the notifications that your computer will pop up on your screen.  Being able to turn these off when I really need to focus may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes those notifications can really turn into an “if you give a mouse a cookie” type of situation…..
The beauty is that there are so many options that you can cater to what you need – you can turn all notifications off, you can set it to only show you priority notifications (which you classify yourself), you can set hours or situations where you might want it in effect.  The possibilities are endless (well, maybe not endless….but there’s lots of options).

Check out the options below:
You can find this Focus Assist menu by clicking on the Start Menu and type Settings.  Once in the Settings menu, select the icon for System, and then you will see Focus assist on the left hand menu.

Happy customizing!

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Calculator Conversions

Every person in this world has strengths or talents.  Things they are really good at.  Things that just come naturally.  
And then on the flip side, everyone has weaknesses.  Things that don’t come naturally.

For example, I have a hard time with being able to envision the length or distance of things.  You can ask me how far away a tree is in the backyard, and I couldn’t give you a guess if my life depended on it.

That’s how I ended up with a 65″ tv that I thought was the same size as the 48″ tv that I admired at my parents house.
I have another problem along the same lines….and hopefully I’m not the only one in this boat.  I also have a hard time with conversions.  I know, stupid American who can’t do metric….but for some reason it’s just something that doesn’t click in my brain!
I can’t be the only one who has this problem.  And I feel validated in this because of the fact that a simple app in Windows makes it so easy.  So clearly they were targeting a specific group of people, right?
I’m gonna go with yes.

So hear’s the secret.  Here’s the news.  Here’s the word, bird.
Open up your calculator.  

Not on your phone.

In Windows.

(If you need help, click the Start menu and just type “calc” and it will pop up as the first option).

You should see the standard calculator like so:
Now prepare to have your mind blown.  See that hamburger menu to the left of the word Standard?

For those of you not in the know – those three lines are called a hamburger menu.  Sorry if I got too tech-y for you.

Anyway….click on those three lines, and you will see a whole menu of options.  Look-ey!
It will convert length, or weight, or CURRENCY.  Temperature?!  Do you see all these options?  My brain never will have to struggle again!

I hope that some of you find as much joy in this tid bit of information as I do.  Happy converting!

Larilyn’s Tip of the Week: Christmas

This week we’re all about Christmas, so I’m going to give you a tip that will hopefully help you avoid Christmas morning headaches.
When you are gift giving this year, if you are giving any kind of technology whether it be tablets, computers, video games, or even just toys – it’s not just about remembering the batteries (though that is important). 
Pay attention to what is and isn’t included in your purchase.  A lot of monitors don’t come with cables anymore.  Sometimes laptops need different power adapters.  Video games sometimes need storage/memory cards.

So my tip is, pay attention to what is and isn’t included but is necessary to use your present Christmas morning and make sure you pick up what you need.  That way every one is happy once the present is opened!