Be Careful with Your Electronic Assistant

I learned, this morning, that researchers have created a number of types of Malware that can infect Alexa and Google Home electronic assistants. The race is on to keep these items blocked. Be on your guard for requests from your smart speaker that don’t seem to make sense.

“Amazon and Google have blocked spying, phishing apps that keep your smart speaker listening after you think it’s gone deaf, lie to you about there being an update you need to install, and then vish (voice-phish) away the password you purportedly need to speak so you can get that bogus install.

Long story short, don’t believe a smart speaker app that asks for your password. No regular app does that.” – naked security by SOPHOS.  Click the link to read the full story.


Back It Up Or Lose It

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of a near disaster in my office. I proved to myself the value of redundant backups. Many of the people who ask me to help with their computers have no current backups.

I, on the other hand, am a probably a bit overboard. I keep redundant in-office and online backups. There are two large hard drives (4tb and 8tb) attached to my computer which alternate hourly backups of everything (files, settings and apps). All of my files are synced either in Dropbox or OneDrive and are also backed daily on iDrive. This may be overkill but I was never so happy as this past week when I had simultaneous failures of the main ssd in my laptop and the auxiliary drive where I store all my images that are the basis of my Art printing business. Everything was gone but recovery took only a relatively short time.

A good medium path for most folks is to have at least one backup plan which includes frequent, incremental saves. This can be on or off site (Cloud based). The main advantage of off site backup is that it is not subject to any disaster that may befall your home or business. The main advantage of on site backup is that it is a much faster restore and it has fewer ongoing costs associated. (It is necessary to replace drives every two or three years.) Ideally, a combination of on and off site backup is safest.

On site backup is reasonably cheap and easy to maintain. One and two terabyte drives can be had for under a hundred dollars and most of those come with their own backup software for Mac or PC. For my Mac I have always found Time Machine to be convenient and very easy to set up, simply plug in the hard drive, make a couple of setting changes and let it do its thing. For PC, I have used both WD and Seagate drives and their software.

Cloud backup is offered from many sources. I use iDrive as a dedicated system that has served me well. I have used Mozie (which is now part of Carbonite). There is backup ability with Google, Amazon, iCloud, Dropbox, Microsoft, Apple and many others (some more and some less reputable). Some internet security packages, such as Norton also offer cloud backup at an additional cost.

I am not advocating here on behalf of any of the companies I have mentioned. This point of this article is simply that everyone needs at least one automated, frequent backup of their most important data. Having one on site and one cloud backup is better, but please set up something. Hard drives fail, coffee gets spilled…

If you need assistance please contact me.

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