October 12, 2017 – Planes, Eclipse and File Sharing

A Message from the Common Table

October 9, 2017

Where did the time go? Writing something for the Newsletter just flashed upon me like a bullet train in France or Japan. Why don’t we have these? I am writing this with about 30 minutes left on our intrepid NL composer’s deadline.

At the September meeting we showed you how to backup and recovery. All of you went out and made a backup, right? I made an effort to backup almost all of my data to a cartridge drive system.

This month our member Cliff Culpepper will present about his experiences with model airplanes. Yes, they use a lot of technology to make them fly. I am looking forward to his presentation. This will bring back many memories that I had in the 60’s. I spent a lot of time building gliders, hand thrown airplanes and a lot of control-line gas engine powered planes.

I hope to see all of you at the meeting. I will still want to show my video of the eclipse and talk about the experience.

Galen Bolin
President PCCC

Malware reassurance

The popular media (and some technical press) have recently reported a couple of potentially serious attacks on our digital security. Everyone’s heard about Equifax’ loss of almost 150 million personal files. Fewer may be aware of malware delivered to over 2 million users along with the popular administrative utility CCleaner. In both cases the immediate risk to most people may not be as serious as would be expected.

In the case of CCleaner, a malware distribution installer was attached to the installation package delivered from Avast. The malware installer of itself will not do any harm. It contacts an online server and says “I’m here, send me something to attack this computer.” When the security team that discovered it at Cisco dug deeper into the risks; they discovered that, for now, the response was “go back to sleep” unless it had the opportunity to invade computers at one of 20 specific companies. Thus individual users are probably not at immediate risk. CCleaner Command and Control Causes Concern.

Ordinary people may not need to be in such a rush to protect themselves against the Equifax attack either. There is an unpublished report that that intrusion may have been from a “state sponsored hacker;” specifically China. If spying is the impetus, they may have scooped up an entire database to find details on a handful of individuals. Unless you are a high government or corporate official, you may not be at risk for now. Unfortunately, once this type of information is loose from its owner, it will find its way onto the black market and eventually into the hands of criminals with other intent.

In both cases you may be able to breathe easier, but not easy. For CCleaner, the suggestion is to always try to download software from its publisher (in this case, Piriform🙂 or very well trusted distribution sites. Always decline the add-on junk many companies try to push onto you along with their actual product. For Equifax, go ahead and take the recommended precautions; but you don’t have to fight the overloaded phone lines or quickly – and poorly designed – immediate websites.

Tip of the week

Safely transfer files over the internet

Do you need to send someone a file that’s sensitive or just too big for an email?

Mozilla (the Firefox people) have a system to securely transfer files across the internet. You upload a file to https://send.firefox.com/ and give your correspondent a web address to download it.

That’s the entire interface. Just drag and drop and done!

The system protects your file from trolling. It’s only available to the person who has the link. The file is wiped after the first download or 24 hours if it’s not picked up. Either way, it will be difficult for anyone else to get hold of it.

If you want to send more than one file, just add them to a ZIP file and they become one. You can make the file even more secure by password protecting it before you attach it. The zip format supports adding a password as do modern document files (ie: doc(x), xls(x)); whether generated in Microsoft Office or other editors.

If your file has any value (for example, financial documents), send the address and passwords via a secure channel – not in an email or text, which are easily intercepted. Or send the codes with a few characters missing which you give to the other person on a phone call.



Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030 for sale.

I’m asking $300. It’s in like new condition. It has 2300 hours of lamp use on eco mode. The LCD is rated at 4000 hours at standard mode. This projector is ideal for a nice home theater system. It still gets 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon and is selling used on Amazon for around $500.00. If interested, I’ll help you set it up.
Email Richard at Richard@RKinkelStudio.com

Free – to anyone who can find value in it – pre-21st century technology:

– DC 2120 backup tape cartridges (40MB-400MB raw) with parallel drive – (2) Iomega Zip-100 drives (1 parallel, 1 SCSI) and cartridges – 100s and 100s of 3-1/2” floppies (720 and 1.44) – more.
Contact editor@pc3.org.

The PCCC meets at the BBB in Matthews.
Maps and directions are below.
Join us with your bag supper at 5:30 or the meeting at 6:30.

The PCCC meets at the BBB, in Matthews. The location is 9719 Northeast Parkway, Suite 300, Matthews. Northeast Parkway runs behind Windsor Square Shopping Center on Independence Blvd. The BBB is in a new office condo which may not be well marked; approximately across from Kohl’s back entrance.


MEMBERS: send your free, non-commercial ad to editor@pc3.org
Commercial advertisers: contact treasurer@pc3.org to join the appropriate membership level at https://pc3.org/membership.