Monday, May 29, 2017

5 Steps to Prevent Ransomware

WannaCry Ransomeare
Ransomware attacks are on the rise and in the news again this year.

The recent WannaCry ransomware infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.  Most notably, the British National Health System (NHS) was severely impacted when thousands of doctor and hospital computers were rendered useless by WannaCry.

For the uninitiated, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Paying the ransom is no guarantee that you'll get your PC data back either.

So what can you do to prevent a Ransomware attack?

The best defense is a good offense.

Here are our recommendations to prevent a ransomware or other malware from infecting your PC or mobile device:

1. Keep Your System Up to Date

Ransomware attacks, like other malware and viruses, often exploit well-known operating system vulnerabilities.  In most cases, there are already updates available to patch the weaknesses of the operating system.  But you need to ensure that your PC is up-to-date.  Ensure that your PC is set to automatically install updates and check that your PC is current.

2. Don't Click Suspicious Emails, Attachments or Social Media Links

Stop an attack by avoiding suspicious and unexpected emails, attachments and unknown links on social media.  Ransomware often spreads from PC to PC by email.  Always be wary of suspicious or unexpected emails and attachments.  And with the rise of social media, be sure of attachments and unknown websites from social media posts on Twitter and Facebook.

3. Back Up, Back Up, Back Up

If you love it, back it up.  Don't let your cherished family photos,  videos and financial records disappear.   Back up your data consistently.  And keep copies in other locations than where your computer is located.  You should also retain all operating system disks in case the it needs to be reloaded.  If you own a business, be sure you have a disaster recovery plan in place that also requires backups and offsite storage.

4. Install and Update Anti-Virus software

Maybe you think it can't happen to you.  Whatever the reason, be sure to have a legitimate up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your PC.  And check periodically that it is still active and has the most current virus signature files loaded to discover the latest viruses and malware.

5. Disconnect PC if infected

If you think you've been infected by Ransomware on your PC or other PCs on your home or business network, you can limit the damage by disconnecting each PC from WiFi and/or the cable connection.  This will help to limit the spread of the infection to other machines, especially via email and contacts.

Hopefully, you'll never face the harsh reality of a ransomware attack.  But with these precautions, you limit your risk.

Cool Tech Tips for a Cooler Life!

#ransomware #wannacry #cryptolocker #virus #bitcoin #malware

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Court Rules Against Registering Drones

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled against the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) policy for registering drones.

This decision should mean that most hobby drone pilots will not need to register their drones with the FAA or even keep their current registration up-to-date. (*See legal note below)

We previously wrote about this harsh requirement two years ago.

In the ruling from May 19, 2017, John A. Taylor v Federation Aviation Administration, the court ruled against the FAA's regulations.   Specifically, the court found that the agency does not have authority to regulate model aircraft:

In short, Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act prohibits the FAA from promulgating “any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” The Registration Rule is a rule regarding model aircraft. Therefore, the Registration Rule is unlawful to the extent that it applies to model aircraft.

But the court's ruling is not all inclusive.

Pilots of drones used for commercial use--- even piloted by a hobbyist -- still appear to need to register and maintain a drone registration for their model aircraft.

Most importantly, all drone users must continue to pilot their drones in a safe, responsible and legal manner.

The FAA released a statement on the ruling:
We are carefully reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals decision as it relates to drone registrations. The FAA put registration and operational regulations in place to ensure that drones are operated in a way that is safe and does not pose security and privacy threats. We are in the process of considering our options and response to the decision.
We continue to encourage registration for all drone operators.
So have fun with your drones.  Be safe out there!
* Legal notice.  We're not lawyers.  We don't even play lawyers on TV.  Heck, we don't even watch actors playing lawyers on TV anymore.  So, nothing in this post or on the One Cool Tip site should be construed as legal advice.  Seek qualified legal advice regarding flying your drone.  Seek qualified legal advice on living your life.

Cool Tech Tips for a Cooler Life!
#drone #FAA #UAS #UnmannedAircraftSysten #plane #remote #onecooltip

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Amazon Alexa Now Lets You Make Calls

Amazon's internet-connected speakers now lets you call other Echo devices hands-free.

Amazon Echo
Using the Alexa-powered skill is easy.  You just have to ask Alexa to call one of your contact and your contact's device will start ringing.

To work, you'll need to register your Echo device using the Alexa app.

And your contact also needs to have a registered Echo device connected or use the Alexa app for iOS or Android.

You can also send audio messages to your contacts.

Contacts who also have an Echo device and have registered for the calling feature will be listed in your Alexa app.  You can also call them directly from the app.

At this time, Alex can't call regular telephone numbers.

Not surprisingly, Google announced voice calling to regular phone numbers for their Google Home device.  But calling other Home devices is not yet supported.

To learn more about Alexa calling, check out the Alexa Calling Help Site from Amazon.

Cool Tech Tips for a Cooler Life!

#Amazon #Echo #Alexa #phone #calls

Friday, May 26, 2017

iPhone Calculator Hack Your Never Knew!

The Apple iPhone has a hidden feature that's been hiding in plain sight for years.

iPhone Calculator
Do you know this secret hack?

To backspace as you are entering a number, just swipe left or right on the calculator's display line.

Doing so will wipe out the last number character you entered.

And for all this time we were clearing the entire number!

The iPhone still has secrets to give up.

Now don't we feel silly we didn't know this sooner?

Cool Tech Tips for a Cooler Life!

#iphone #calculator #apple #ios #app

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Google Assistant Now on iPhone

Google Assistant iPhone
The long wait is over.  Google Assistant is now available for the iPhone.

And it works like the Android version.

Apple's personal assistant Siri now has serious competition on the iPhone.

Let Google Assistant help you make phone calls, answer your questions and keep you organized in your daily Google life!

Since Apple restricts apps from having access to all iPhone functions, Google Assistant can't always fully interact with the iPhone.  But the ease of use to access your Google services makes up for this.

The new app is available now in the iTunes store.  Download the app   HERE (fixed).

Learn more about Google Assistant at Google.

Cool Tech Tips for a Cooler Life!

#Google #assistant #iphone #googleassistant #ios