Mike Foster's IT Security & Best Practices Blog

Latest Posts

Recover Quickly if Ransomware Attacks at Remote Worker and Home Computers

Ransomware is a common problem. If an attacker encrypts all your files and demands that you pay ransom to unlock your files, you will want to be able to recover quickly. Regular backups are not enough. Continue reading ‘Recover Quickly if Ransomware Attacks at Remote Worker and Home Computers’


The UK Is Preparing to Attack Hackers with Army, Navy and Air Force.

The UK is preparing to attack hackers with Army, Navy and Air Force. Continue reading ‘The UK Is Preparing to Attack Hackers with Army, Navy and Air Force.’


Protect Yourself and Your Organization – New Ransomware Outbreak with Added Poison

A new strain of Ransomware, dubbed P e t y a, is gaining momentum infecting companies and home users. Worst of all, in addition to holding files ransom until you pay up, it appears to be infiltrating corporate networks to steal usernames and passwords too. Be sure that you: Continue reading ‘Protect Yourself and Your Organization – New Ransomware Outbreak with Added Poison’


Protect Yourself: Do Not Connect a New Computer to the Internet

Some people turn on a brand new computer, connect to the Internet, and download anti-virus to the their new computer. When you think about it… Continue reading ‘Protect Yourself: Do Not Connect a New Computer to the Internet’


Straw, Sticks, or Brick: How to Tell Which Your Network Is, and How to Improve It

Just yesterday, someone told me they think they are secure because they have anti-virus, strong passwords and a firewall.

Last weekend, I asked my daughter to tell me a fairy tale. She chose The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. As she told the story, it became so clear that organizations use straw, sticks, or brick to build their cyber-security protection. See which you are, and how to improve: Continue reading ‘Straw, Sticks, or Brick: How to Tell Which Your Network Is, and How to Improve It’


Get Apple’s Urgent Patches that Fix Dozens of Security Holes

For those of you with Apple products, Apple just released some important updates.

Knowing that updates might cause a problem, please back up your computer first. You are backing up all the time already, right? Time Machine is a wonderful tool and is built in. If you want to supplement Time Machine with an additional backup, Carbon Copy Cloner from Bombich dot com is very popular and clients experience great results. You’ll need a couple of external USB drives, but the investment is worth it.

In case you are not familiar with how to apply patches, here are instructions:

On your Apple computer, even if your computer is set for automatic updates, it is good to verify that you have the most recent patches. Click on the image of the apple in the top left corner, and choose App Store. If not already selected, choose Updates inside the title bar that already contains the words: Featured, Top Charts, Categories, Purchased, and Updates. You may see many updates for your applications, and those are fine to apply, but the urgent one is the update called macOS Sierra Update and the version is 10.12.5. If you’ve not updated in a while, you may see other macOS updates too.

iPhone and iPad users, press on the Settings icon that looks like a gear. In the left-hand column, select General, and you’ll see Software Update on the right-hand column near the top. The most recent patch is for iOS 10.3.2.

If you want to configure automatic updates for your Apple computers, find instructions by searching for this phrase in Google: Automatic security updates os x site:apple.com

If you want to configure automatic updates for the iPhone and iPad, find instructions by searching for this phrase in Google: Automatic security downloads iOS site:apple.com

Please forward this to everyone you know who uses Apple devices and you want to help be more secure…


Patching – 10 Steps to Seal the Holes in Your Armor

You’ve likely heard of the massive ransomware attack that has taken down so many organizations, including hospitals, around the world. The ransomware appears to have exploited a bug for which Microsoft released a fix a little over a month ago. Follow these 10 steps to help protect your organization from this, and from future attacks: Continue reading ‘Patching – 10 Steps to Seal the Holes in Your Armor’


The Google Scam Shows How, If someone You Know Gets Hacked, it can Make You Look Bad Too.

The Google scam: If anyone receives an email that contains a link to Google Doc, do not click on the link. Even if the email appears to be from someone they know and trust. Google did not get hacked, but someone else who has your email address in their contact list probably did. Anyone who clicked on that link needs to go to https://myaccount.google dot com/permissions and remove the one called Google Docs

This kind of stuff happens all the time, not just to Google, but to other unsuspecting people.

If someone receives an email that appears to have been sent by you, and the email contains a malicious link, lots of people would think it was your fault. There is a good chance that you did not get hacked, just like Google did not get hacked, but you may get blamed anyway. What probably happened is that one of your friends, or at least someone who has you in their contact list, got hacked. Then the attacker chose to send the malicious message, that appeared to be from you, to all the other contacts stored in that person’s contact list.

Spread the word encouraging the people you know to be sure they are secure, since, if someone you know gets hacked, it can make you look bad too.

And, tell others that, when they receive a malicious email message that appears to be from someone they know, that person they know may not have been hacked.

For your own protection, forward this message to everyone who may have you in their address book.


The Jet Seemed to Explode

We were flying at more than 500 mph, seven miles straight up. It was around 11 pm and we were over the Northern US during a snowstorm. The big explosion in the plane surprised everyone… Continue reading ‘The Jet Seemed to Explode’