Oct 182012

Finally the deadline has arrived for carriers to notify their customers when they are about to exceed usage limits. The FCC has not created a regulation but has made it clear, if carriers don’t comply they will make it mandatory. Hopefully carriers including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile will comply in full and no longer charge outrageous fees without notifying customers they are nearing the limit. T-Mobile made $675.00 off of us in May just in overage penalties. Never sent us a text or email about it. Charged us $.45 per minute per phone. They send notifications about everything else. How about when your nearing your limit? Coincidence?$?

Its unfortunate wireless providers didn’t step up and do this on their own. You can thank the Consumer Union and the FCC for the pressure.

If you have not been notified before and after an overage please contact the FCC. They have a great form here http://www.fcc.gov/complaints or you can call them 1-888-225-5322. Also, help the Consumer Union track the carriers progress in complying. They have a quick form to submit your story, good or bad. https://stori.es/share/cell-phone-bill-shock

More from the FCC on Bill Shock.

Oct 022012

A very interesting article from the Electronic Freedom Foundation: A new study from Australia presents the latest evidence that loosening copyright restrictions not only enables free speech, but can improve an economy as well. The study, published by the Australian Digital Alliance, indicated that if Australia expanded copyright exceptions like fair use and strengthened safe harbor provisions, the country could potentially add an extra $600 million to their economy. Read More of original article…

Fortunately, there are licenses to combat these closed systems that copyright has fostered. Artists like Nina Paley have embraced free copyright in the face of traditional copyright monopolies restricting her every artistic move (read more…). Licenses such as the Free Software Foundations Copyleft and Creative Commons ShareAlike have made use of the existing copyright law to ensure an authors work remains unencumbered and available for use by others. All the while preserving ownership of the originals and the freedom of the derivatives, ensuring continued usefulness.

Apr 132012

The cats out of the bag. Its official, your Mac can get a virus! Some months ago a exploit was found and its causing a big stir. Often Apple has been regarded as one of the virus-free OS. Unfortunately, its not so simple but up till now there haven’t been compelling reasons to worry. As for the recent flashback exploit, it looks like a clear recovery path is in sight. Although, it took Apple 3 months and over 500,000 infections. Apple has finally released a partial update. Also, there are third party removal tools. I say partial update because the update only works for OSX 10.6 and higher. Thats Snow Leopard and Lion for those who don’t like version numbers. If you haven’t already, go ahead and run your software updates. Be sure to run the updates until it says you have no available updates. If you have Java this update will patch the vulnerabilities. If your computer doesn’t have Java installed, run this Apple flashback removal tool to protect against non Java based exploits.

You can also use f-secure’s removal utility. This is particularly important for those running pre 10.6. Don’t hesitate to contact us, if this tool doesn’t work or you would like assistance. If you don’t feel confident don’t risk it. Don’t forget this removal tool is not in lieu of software updates.

No matter which version of Mac you run, we recommend you be proactive with your systems defense against future attacks. Unfortunately there is no “silver bullet” and the anti-virus products out there are often no better than the nasty code they supposedly protect you from.

Here are the major points of prevention that you can follow to protect your computer and the networks that it accesses.

1. Keep your system up-to-date. Even though Apple might be slow to respond to exploits like flashback, they are constantly releasing security updates. This is very important to run periodically.



2. Keep your browser up-to-date. https://www.mozilla.org, https://www.google.com/chrome and use the “software update”, mentioned above, for Safari.

3. Use OpenDNS as your domain name server. This is a little more technical to implement but doesn’t require the install of any software on your computer. It is a quick change that is made to your network. This change will protect all computers on the network against certain malware such as flashback, phishing, and botnets calling home. Contact us about setting this up on your networks.

4. Lastly, its probably time to install some form of antivirus software. Some of the major AV companies have software products for Mac. We haven’t found one that we like, leave a comment if you use one that is great.
There is a open source project with scanning and real-time protection for Apple OSX . If your interested in using it go to www.clamxav.com. It is free of charge and is supported by donation. Oddly, ClamXav isn’t released under any particular license but the real guts of it use the popular toolkit ClamAV, which is a GPL licensed free software.

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Nov 202011

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “Thanks to protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the government generally can’t snoop through your laptop for no reason. But those privacy protections don’t safeguard travelers at the U.S. border, where the U.S. government can take an electronic device, search through all the files, and keep it for a while for further scrutiny – without any suspicion of wrongdoing whatsoever.” Read more.