The threat of hackers and malware

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John F
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The threat of hackers and malware

Post by John F » Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:09 pm

I'm posting this message here to alert you to a thread in the CMG Review of Books, for those who don't ordinarily look at what's posted there. It's about a book by Edward Lucas titled "Cyberphobia: Identity, Trust, Security and the Internet," and it's important.

http://www.classicalmusicguide.com/view ... 14&t=45762
John Francis

josé echenique
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by josé echenique » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:57 pm

What a nightmare.

John F
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by John F » Tue Mar 22, 2016 4:38 am

The good news is that informed and careful computer and cell phone users can be reasonably safe. I have been, knock on wood, and I've been on the Internet ever since it was opened to general use. But many of us are not well enough informed, and those who are, may not be careful enough. To correct this dangerous situation, read and heed Edward Lucas's book.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by maestrob » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:11 am

Thanks, John for the info. Avoiding strange emails has been a problem for me: some friends and youngre relatives are not so careful, and they get viruses that send out phishing emails, including one conductor I know at the MET! I avoid "FREE" sites with special downloads for security purposes ("Speed up your computer by downloading this file....") and refuse to click on any attachments, no matter how innocent they look.

There are common-sense ways to avoid being attacked, like not answering the phone unless you know who it is: ever get one of those phonecalls from Microsoft that claim "There has been unusual activity on your computer." and then directs you to a website, all in heavily accented English? :mrgreen:

Lance, I hope you've solved your problems by now...... :)

jserraglio
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by jserraglio » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:30 pm

maestrob wrote: [snip] ever get one of those phonecalls ....?
Not lately. I signed up for the Nomorobo service which zaps most if not all telemarketing calls. Political calls are exempt; wireless and analog carriers are unsupported. Otherwise, it works fine and it's free.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2492079,00.asp

John F
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by John F » Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:22 pm

jserraglio wrote:I signed up for the Nomorobo service which zaps most if not all telemarketing calls. Political calls are exempt; wireless and analog carriers are unsupported. Otherwise, it works fine and it's free.
I don't understand. Mobile/cell phones are wireless, and land line phones are analog (at least mine is), so what kind of phones does Nomorobo actually work on? And how does it distinguish between political calls and other kinds?

Also, hackers have new ways of making robocalls as described in "Cyberphobia," which include spoofing the phone number and ID of the supposed caller and using the Internet as a transmitter. A while ago I was startled when my phone rang and my own name and phone number appeared on the caller ID. Is Nomorobo smart enough to deal with calls made from stolen or nonexistent phone numbers?

P.S. I've now visited their web site. "Nomorobo instantly checks to see if an incoming call is a known robocaller." That may work for the old-style robocalls, like the ones supposedly from Microsoft, but not for the new breed I've described. Nomorobo's method is behind the times.

"Unfortunately, Nomorobo is not available on traditional analog landlines or wireless phones at this time." It's just for VoIP phones, then, and according to the review in PC Magazine, not all of those. I thought that might be so. And that makes it useless for me and, I believe, most people.

I really do advise against not having a conventional land line phone in your home. In a power outage, land line phones continue to work because the phone company sends electrical current to them down the line. VoIP, whose hardware is powered by electricity from your wall outlets, won't work. Yet that's one of the times when you most need a phone, to call 911 if needed and to keep in touch with family, friends, and employer during the emergency. A cell phone will continue to work for a while, but when its battery runs down, you can't recharge it because there's a power outage. (Duh...)

There are security concerns as well. Read the Wikipedia article on VoIP for an overview of some of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_over_IP
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by jserraglio » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:58 am

No database of "known robo callers" could possibly be adequate. That's what the useless Federal Do Not Call Registry uses. As I understand it, the method nomorobo employs relies not on what the number is but what the number does. If the number calls lots and lots of other numbers then it is flagged. All they need is "simultaneous calling" to be enabled by the carrier.

Number spoofing is a relatively old practice, I see spoofed numbers on my CID all the time. Each and every one is blocked.

Bottom line. It works. I get 3-6 bogus calls every day. Cannot recall the last time any such call got thru. One ring and it's zinged. The telemarketers hate it. I love it.

As for hanging on to my obsolete land line, no way! Power outages? No worries. A dedicated 20-buck emergency cell phone is fully charged and ready for use. Its charge will last for a week. After that, I'll charge from a car battery. BTW, didn't Ray Liotta's girlfriend use a land line in Goodfellas?

John F
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by John F » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:40 am

Even if all that is so - and I don't say it isn't - there remains the fact, admitted by Nomorobo, that their system does not work with cell phones, land lines, and (according to PC Mag) some VoIP providers too. And since many of the robocallers "rent" a phone number for a round of calls, then drop it and move on to another - according to the FBI in a C-Span program - they will always be a step ahead of any system designed to thwart them, whether the Do Not Call list or Nomorobo.

Let's get back on topic. Spam phone calls are a nuisance but seldom if ever an actual threat; you just hang up, or use caller ID and/or an answering machine to screen incoming calls. Computer and cell phone hackers and malware are a real and present danger, and one which most users know too little about and fail to take the most basic precautions. They should read "Cyberphobia."
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by jserraglio » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:49 am

John F wrote:Even if all that is so - and I don't say it isn't - there remains the fact, admitted by Nomorobo, that their system does not work with cell phones, land lines, and (according to PC Mag) some VoIP providers too. And since many of the robocallers "rent" a phone number for a round of calls, then drop it and move on to another - according to the FBI in a C-Span program - they will always be a step ahead of any system designed to thwart them, whether the Do Not Call list or Nomorobo.

Let's get back on topic. Spam phone calls are a nuisance but seldom if ever an actual threat; you just hang up, or use caller ID and/or an answering machine to screen incoming calls. Computer and cell phone hackers and malware are a real and present danger, and one which most users know too little about and fail to take the most basic precautions. They should read "Cyberphobia."

jserraglio
Posts: 5952
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 7:06 am
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by jserraglio » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:56 am

John F wrote:Even if all that is so - and I don't say it isn't - there remains the fact, admitted by Nomorobo, that their system does not work with cell phones, land lines, and (according to PC Mag) some VoIP providers too. And since many of the robocallers "rent" a phone number for a round of calls, then drop it and move on to another - according to the FBI in a C-Span program - they will always be a step ahead of any system designed to thwart them, whether the Do Not Call list or Nomorobo.

Let's get back on topic. Spam phone calls are a nuisance but seldom if ever an actual threat; you just hang up, or use caller ID and/or an answering machine to screen incoming calls. Computer and cell phone hackers and malware are a real and present danger, and one which most users know too little about and fail to take the most basic precautions. They should read "Cyberphobia."

They can drop and add all the numbers they want. My experience has been they still will be unmasked as robos and blocked. The nuisance issue is relevant, as is the threat issue.

maestrob
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Re: The threat of hackers and malware

Post by maestrob » Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:18 pm

I really do advise against not having a conventional land line phone in your home. In a power outage, land line phones continue to work because the phone company sends electrical current to them down the line. VoIP, whose hardware is powered by electricity from your wall outlets, won't work. Yet that's one of the times when you most need a phone, to call 911 if needed and to keep in touch with family, friends, and employer during the emergency. A cell phone will continue to work for a while, but when its battery runs down, you can't recharge it because there's a power outage. (Duh...)
John: Not true during tropical storm Sandy: Our landline phone went down for four or five days because the copper lines under the street were flooded. I still keep a landline for power outages, but Teresa has a cellphone, thus we're covered for emergencies of most kinds.

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