PDF files – Latest Target of Phishing Scam

Malware and viruses are always just a wrong click away, and to keep yourself protected you need to be on top of the latest trends that are targeting home and business users. This past month I have been noticing an increase in PDF attachment attacks around the office. As with previous email based attacks this is simply the latest attempt to infiltrate your network security by using the weakest link. YOU! Yes, in my opinion humans are the most vulnerable vector to attack and successfully enter a network.

How the latest PDF Phishing scam works.

A friend, coworker or client has already been infected with malware. At this point the attacker has taken control over their system and would like to spread his virus via email. The malware quickly enumerates the victims address book and fires off emails to unsuspecting targets with the viral payload attached as a PDF document. As the recipient you open the PDF, jump through a few hoops and the attacker now has control of your computer as well as your email credentials and more.

How to spot a bogus attachment, and prevent infection.

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Commodore 64 Mini – Looks Like fun!

Well folks here’s another retro gaming platform revitalized into a mini computer.  The C=64 was and still is my all time favorite platform and this Mini version may be on my purchase list once its released in March. First we saw the NES Classic Edition hit stores before Christmas 2016 and it was an immediate sell out, followed by the Super NES was released last year for $199.99 at Amazon The next logical step was to release the Commodore 64 Mini!

Commodore 64 Mini – will be released with 64 games!

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Spruce up your laptop with SSD

Laptops and Notebook computers cost a fraction of what they did years ago. A decent general purpose laptop can be had today for around $500. However as time marches on our older computers can begin to feel slower due to more resource demanding applications and operating systems.

Maybe its not time to toss out that used laptop! With some easy modifications you can spruce up your laptop and get a few more years of good service life out of it.

Add a Solid State Hard Drive – SSD

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Know instantly when users are LOCKED OUT of Active Directory

One of the dreaded jobs of the Sys. Admin is getting the call, I’m locked out. Its the same call every time:”I don’t know what happened, I’m just locked out.” You say something to the effect of, “Did you forget your password? Did you type it in wrong? Caps lock on?” No matter what the case wouldn’t it be nice to know a user was locked out before they called you. Plus it would be great to know if someone was hacking away internally or externally at your network.

Passwords Are Important.

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Remote Desktop 2012r2 – Shadowing Unspecified Error

In an effort to combat the Specter/Meltdown vulnerability Microsoft has rushed a few patches out into the wild that have been creating some odd issues on workstations and servers alike. I want to address the Unspecified Error when attempting to shadow a session in Remote Desktop 2012r2.

This is what happens when you rush a patch into the wild:

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Build Your Own Police Scanner for $20

During my college days I worked in Radio Shack part time to help pay the bills. Its unfortunate Radio Shack has gone extinct, however when you are unable to adapt to the changes in the market only the strong will survive.  During my career at The Shack one of the products that fascinated me was the police scanner. I spent hours behind the counter dialing up different frequencies and listing to calls all over New York City.

It was the dawn of the digital tuner age where a listener could punch up a frequency for police or fire and be right in the action.  476.3875 – BOOM.. you’re listening to NYPD! 482.04375 – Fire dispatch on the air! A few more clicks of the keypad and 482.2437 EMS is coming in loud and clear

Can you still buy a scanner?

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Remote Fix Your Parents Computer (from the comfort of your own home)

If your parents are like mine they are tech savvy enough to get by. What I mean by that is they know how to launch Fire Fox and surf the web, maybe play checkers or chess and print a few documents when necessary. The problem arises when something goes wrong with their computer. Maybe they click on something they shouldn’t and get a virus or malware infection. Then again a Microsoft update could change some setting they are not familiar with and causes stress and a phone call to you. These days you have your own family and live an hour away from your parents and really can’t make the trip back home right now. This is where a remote solution comes into play!

Remote Solutions

Next time you are at your parents house, install one of these remote solutions and be prepared for the dreaded “my computer is broken” phone call.

Skype

Microsoft’s free video-calling software doubles as a very decent screen sharing program. Although you can’t directly interact with your friend’s desktop or take control of their computer yourself, you can view their screen as you both continue speaking, which makes the troubleshooting process more straightforward. And with the recent revamp of its appearance, Skype is easier to use than ever.
SKYPE.COM

Chrome Remote Desktop

This extension for Google Chrome can go beyond the web browser to share anything on a computer screen with someone else. Chrome Remote Desktop gives one user full control over the other computer for an experience almost like sitting in front of your mom’s  machine.
CHROME REMOTE DESKTOP

TeamViewer

Businesses use the professional TeamViewer tool, but it’s simple enough for anyone to use. And for personal,  use—like helping out Dad with computer problems, it’s also free. It allows full control of the remote system
TEAMVIEWER.US

 

Remember when installing any remote viewing tools to keep passwords safe and out of prying eyes. Other than its nice to visit Mom and Dad for a few hours and fix their computer, a remote solution can come in handy when time is short or distance is long.

Thank you for reading my blog,
Joe

 

Make a Sony E-Reader Picture Frame

The technology world is continuously changing. Today’s awesome technology is tomorrows trash, its just a simple fact of life. I truly believe we should do what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle our old tech.  Today while rummaging through the archive of stuff I came across an old Sony PRS-600.

The Sony PRS-600 was released in 2009 and by all standards ready for the trash heap. Before sending this device off to its finial resting place I decided to make a cute black and white picture frame.

Step 1 – Prepare the PRS-600

Using an old  2GB SD card, I loaded up around 300 of my favorite photos, inserted it into the unit. On the settings menu I configured the PRS-600 to never shut off, and run a perpetual slide show with a 60 second delay between images. Continue reading “Make a Sony E-Reader Picture Frame”

Add extra SATA power to the Optiplex 9020

The Optiplex 9020 is quite a number of years old now, and many are beginning to come out of mainstream service. As with many of my projects, I like to re-purpose older hardware for new tasks.

In this case I want to add an SSD drive along with a standard spinning disk. I will be using a smaller 400gb SSD for the boot drive, and a larger 2tb HDD for my storage. The only problem is the Optiplex 9020 only has one SATA power connector in the small form factor.

Adding SATA power to Optiplex 9020

Before we begin I want to define the pin out of the SATA connector so you understand what’s going on. Also understand you can get the same result with a $7 splitter from amazon

SATA connectors are made up of 4 colorshttp://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnectors/sataindex.jpg Continue reading “Add extra SATA power to the Optiplex 9020”

Elf On The Shelf Photo Contest

It’s that time of year again when all the Elves are endlessly sitting on shelves. This year my office is having a contest for best Elf on the shelf photo.

Since I work in IT, I figured my photo entry must be IT related.

Destroying Laptops Is Fun!

I found an old HP i3 laptop that was broken sitting around the house and decided to have some fun. In my head I pictured the Elf going through the screen (in one side and out the other) looking as happy as can be!

The first step was to remove any useful components still inside the laptop. I was able to recycle the hard drive, memory and processor. I also removed the mother board,  DVD writer and battery and properly disposed of them.

Cutting the hole.

Dremel

First I dew an outline of the hole on the display using a sharpie, then using my Dremel MM45-06 Oscillating tool  I cut the hole all the way through the laptop. WARNING! Laptop screens contain glass, use work gloves and eye protection while cutting.

 

Stage The Elf.

 

I tried the Elf in a few positions to test how we would look.

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