If you use the Internet you really need to CHANGE all your passwords

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OK folks, call it what you want we’ve had a glorious data breach but accidental this time.

Not on the scale of Yahoo! where the US equivalent of GCHQ forced the company to include a backdoor on their servers to allows the US National Security Agency unfettered access to your BTInternet email and any other Yahoo! provide email. That was over 1 billion email accounts.

But it would be prudent to change as many online passwords as you can this weekend and subsequently. The potential list of compromised web sites runs to a 22.6M zipped text file that this person has compiled here.

My personal recommendation is to use a password manager which you store on your PC in conjunction with DropBox, OneDrive or your Google Drive. I personally recommend KeePass. It’s available for Mac, Windows and Linux. It’s also available on your mobile phone as well but some folks may need help setting that up so it links with your PC copy of the encrypted passwords stored on DropBox, OneDrive or your Google Drive.

If you have the inclination and want to learn more about protection your online accounts have a look at this site https://twofactorauth.org/ Please follow totnesIT on twitter where I’ll be posting more on how to do this.

What KeePass looks like on a computer

Continue reading

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The Amazon way to buy a budget laptop

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Normally I recommend 8GB of RAM and as near to an i3 processor in terms of speed with an aim to spend about £300. Early 2017 this is do-able. Just I’ve just spotted a new trick I would be quiet happy to do myself.

Second hand from an Amazon refurbisher. Why? £100 cheaper, some sort of warranty and buyer protection via Amazon.

Go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Click on “Shop by Department”, this top left hand side just under the logo
Click on that phrase, you’ll not get a list, scroll down until you see “Electronics & Computers”, under this heading you’ll see “Laptops” – click on this link.
Now then next page will basically show you the Amazon list of computers for sale but we just want to narrow it down to all laptops for sale with 8GB RAM Computer Memory. Continue reading

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On twitter as a business? Let your customers reach you!

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On twitter for business?

Are customers trying to reach you?

Top twitter advice: under “Security and privacy” enable “Receive Direct Messages from anyone“, makes you much more accessible to customers 🙂

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What should I do if I think I have been hit by malware or a virus?

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I wonder if you can advise me.  My pc seems to be running OK, but yesterday while browsing a You Tube clip, I stupidly clicked on an ‘interesting’ box which said Ivana Trump was filing for divorce!  As if.  Big mistake, the computer froze up and I couldn’t get rid of the page.  I got a dialogue box (presumably courtesy of my AVG antivirus? or something similar) that told me both in writing and in an American voice that I had just been infected with a virus  that could harvest personal information and credit card numbers etc.  The only way I could get rid of the page was to kill the computer, which I did in a panic, too quickly before I had properly taken in the details that were there on the page.

The first thing I did when I turned back on was to

  • run the Spy Bot programme and AVG antivirus free editions.
  • I made sure they were both up to date first.
  • I did a full computer scan with both.
  • AVG didn’t find any threats and
  • Spy Bot picked up a list the usual sort of things, and I understand that those things were ‘fixed’.

The computer seems to be working OK, but I am nervous of doing anything like buying on line or going into a bank account.  Basically anything that needs me to enter a password or pin.

Is there anything else I should do?  When I go on to a site I always check for the padlock and https on the address line.

I think there are about three choices at this time:

You can choose to trust that your anti-virus and anti-malware got on top of the problem

Scan the machine using a special set up detailed on this page linked below:

“If that doesn’t work, you may need to step completely outside of Windows and use a bootable anti-virus tool. This type of anti-virus tool boots into a clean environment–entirely outside Windows–to find and remove stubborn malware you may not be able to see or remove from within Windows itself.” http://www.howtogeek.com/126911/what-to-do-if-you-get-a-virus-on-your-computer/

But the most thorough way is to:

  • back up you data only from machine
  • wipe it & restore it back to factory
  • scan the backup files for viruses
    • you’ve left the more susceptible windows system files behind at this stage
  • restore the backup files
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UK Banks planning to wriggle out of fraud compensation

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Not content with not passing on low Bank of England interesting rates like the petrol companies and pump prices.  The banks want us to pay for the cost of fraud whilst removing thousand of branches around the country.

Brits who use online banking services vulnerable to criminal hackers could be made liable for financial losses stemming from theft, as intelligence officials, central bankers and Downing Street seek to shirk responsibility.

The potential policy shift could see firms or individuals with poor online security left without compensation if their bank accounts are hacked. Customers vulnerable to hacking could also be locked out of vital online banking services under the proposals, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.


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This week I’ve been many having fun hacking

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I bought a RTL2832U from ebay downloaded a few apps and now have RF Analyser on my tablet https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mantz_it.rfanalyzer

These used to cost a serious amount of money in times gone by.

With the right kit, application – tracking traffic wardens…

My second hack was getting KeePass to work under Linux with plug-ins especially 2FA. Getting your own banking calculator thingy to generate a new code every time you log into a web site securely without out having to resort to using the same password or a post-it note. This seems to be pretty much an underground thing. I’ll post something up about KeePass in the future, but needless to say it allows you to manage your password hell.

My last break through was tracking a way to fix a bug in a lovely log-in in platform called GetGlef – more on this later…

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“Probably the most environmentally browser plug-in in the World!” Print Edit by DW-dev

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Print Edit by DW-dev: Choose areas of a web page you don’t want to print by selecting them and clicking on hide, press “Preview”, then “Print”


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Outlook and Mail, think logically – why would you use them?

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People often ask me about Outlook and Microsoft Mail in all it’s forms and I always say, “sorry I don’t support any of them, I only support GMail”

  • Your past email is on your PC or laptop
  • If you have it installed on multiple machines, then your sent mail is in multiple places
  • If you upgrade your computer exporting to a new has always been a painful process
  • Backing up is not something people remember to do
  • Eventually if you keep using Outlook or Mail, or for that matter Mail on a Mac – they will corrupt themselves. People unknowing accumulate 4 DVDs worth of email and wonder why their email no longer works
  • Most modern hard disks fail within 3 years

v GMail

  • You can see it and reply on ANY device you come across and see all your replies
  • Your email is held on 5 different locations in the world
  • You can choose to back it up or pay a month fee and get a third party company to do it
  • After you have created a GMail email address, GMail can be programmed to collect email from your old email address (up to 3 or so) but if your old email can forward and delete you can have hundreds of old email account coming in
  • Number one misconception you cannot use GMail offline, yes you can, there is a plug-in for it; strangely enough called GMail Offline



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29th July – last day for Windows 10 upgrade requests

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This is the last day(z) to request a FREE upgrade from any Windows 7/8 installation. To be the first!

This free upgrade is going to be available until July 29, 2016.

The best guide is on CNET here:

If you cannot download the little bit of software needed to force the windows 10 icon to appear. Then you can download it from here, as you can imagine it’s a busy… But this was alive today at 15:00


On the right hand side in the middle you should see a download link “Download ZIP”, when you have downloaded it, go to your download folder and follow the instructions from the CNET page above.

Download ZIP

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New to Windows 8? Classic Shell & Make a recovery disk

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Classic Shell 
If you are new to windows 8 – the first thing to do is to install Classic Shell & make a recovery disk.

Classic Shell turns you windows 8 into something that looks like windows 7 / XP

Make a recovery disk
Why? Because you don’t get one in the box in the more and you’ll regret it if you don’t.
The official way to do it is here:


But as usual there are a few missing bits…

  • If it says it needs a 16GB USB stick , it probably needs a 32GB USB stick as when a 16GB stick has been prepared it could be significantly smaller that the 16GB it says it needs
  • Before you start the creation process, see if you need a second USB stick in case you need to create a USB stick containing “drivers” for the machine
  • Next via the menus look for manufacturers approved route to make a recovery disk – do both the Microsoft route and the manufacturers route if you have a choice
  • Lastly put the USB stick in the rear of the machine if it’s a desktop (Don’t ask me why)

Here is quite a good video of the process

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