Flash Begone!

Adobe Flash: You Will Not Be Missed

Flash is going to be going away in about a month. Adobe announced the end-of-life (EOL) for Flash about two and a half years ago. Microsoft will be removing the built-in Windows version in 40 days. Flash is currently built into chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Edge, Brave, Vivaldi and so on), and will no longer be included at all in a couple weeks, and the only other browser that has supported it (Firefox) will block it in late December. By mid-January no browser will support Flash and any website that relies on it will have major compatibility problems. Facebook game players have been terrified of this because it’s going to finally kill Farmville.

HTML5 is the replacement for Flash. Flash is closed-source and historically extremely insecure – directly responsible for over half of all malware infections. Flash was originally designed by Macromedia which was later bought by Adobe. Adobe’s entire system has always been designed around closed-source and limiting access to how their software works, which means that it doesn’t have the ability for outside code review or security analysis. HTML5, on the other hand, is open-source, designed by the same people that designed the Internet itself. It does have a digital rights management (DRM) stub which allows publishers to prevent data from being copied (like Netflix), but it’s nowhere near as closed as Flash has been.

Those few sites that lament the loss of Flash don’t understand the risks and troubles that we’ve all experienced as a direct result of this uniquely horrific technology. There are over 1,000 known vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash. At 24 years old, that’s an average of 42 vulnerabilities per year or 3.5 per month. At the time of publication, 652 of the vulnerabilities score a “perfect 10” on the CVS risk scale, and 894 vulnerabilities score 9.0 and above. Put simply, 90% of the known vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash are considered Critical and are capable of completely taking of the affected device.

If you don’t want to wait, you can eliminate Flash yourself using the Adobe Flash Removal Tool.

Updates 2020-11-13

Welcome back, Folks!

Today is Friday the 13th of November, 2020. It’s not Patch Tuesday, but updates from Microsoft, Apple, Google, and others have triggered an out-of-cycle update.

This Month in Technology

Ransomware authors have long used ads on services like Google and Facebook to distribute their malware, but are now using Facebook ads for “social proof” to promote their own effectiveness and encourage compliance to their ransoms.

Animal Jam has been hacked, restaurant POS ModPipe is being actively hacked, Dell printer drivers are being flagged as malware, and Vertafore (a company offering insurance validation) has allowed over 27 million records of Texas drivers to be compromised.

After over a decade since the release of Stuxnet to target PLCs in Iranian nuclear facilities, other PLC vendors for different industries are now being massively targeted using similar methods.

Microsoft finally acknowledges that the use of your phone number for 2FA (two-factor authentication) actually weakens account security.

The EFF has a great write-up of HP’s current bait-and-switch, and Google has announced that their free unlimited photo storage “forever” isn’t quite forever after all.

The Judge in the Epic Games lawsuit has dismissed Apple’s claims of theft.

Twitch has clarified their new copyright policies and encourages users to simply disable background music when they stream.

I think the biggest difference between those who study history and the low-information crowd is that those of us who have taken the time to research instead of taking what the media spoon feeds us invariably suffer from Cassandra Syndrome. We’re forced to witness while people who have made no bones about reducing the population push an untested vaccine created in less than 6 months that purportedly resolves the ADE response flaw that virologists have failed to address over the last 18+ years to provide an estimated 90% protection from a virus with less than 0.02% mortality.

Now for the good news:

We continue to win against insane abuses of the legal system.

Let’s Get Busy

Patch Tuesday was only a couple days ago, so while these updates (except for Big Sur) are relatively small (under 1 GB total), keep in mind that there’s likely still several more GB for people that haven’t patched yet.

Apple released updates for macOS Big Sur 11.0.1, Safari 14.0.1, macOS Catalina 10.15.7, Security Update 2020-005 High Sierra, Security Update 2020-005 Mojave, Security Update 2020-006 High Sierra, and Security Update 2020-006 Mojave. These are security updates.

The next major version of macOS has been released, macOS 11 (Big Sur), which includes some major changes under the hood and many new cosmetics and compatibility capabilities for iOS/iPadOS software.

Performance changes for some features are estimated to be as much as 1.9x faster, though with history as a guide, I would assume this statement applies only to very recent hardware, and anything older than 2 years will actually experience significant performance lags in actual use.

Some devices as old as 2013 are technically “supported” though performance and reliability on older hardware is going to be the biggest consideration. If your goal is the iOS-ification of your Mac, Big Sur will start you on that path. If you plan to upgrade then you will need to have at least 30 GB free space before installation and you’ll lose approximately 4 GB permanently. This is necessary due the to new upgrade process for the static operating system partition. My advice is to wait until at least version 11.1 before upgrading to Big Sur. They’ve already fixed some significant problems, but Apple has a history of releasing major software insufficiently tested and with significant unanticipated issues.

With the release of macOS 11, be aware that any Mac running High Sierra (10.13) and older is no longer supported. Please upgrade to Mojave (10.14) if you can, or remove your device from the Internet.

Google Chrome OS 86.0.4240.198 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version. A reboot is required.

Important Notes

Everything above this section should be checked by everyone on every computer. Chances are good that close to every single computer you touch will be affected by those updates. This is not the case with the items below, though you should still check each line item below to see if it applies to software you have installed.

Please remember that while I list many different applications within these updates, most people should ONLY install updates for a program if they already have a previous version of that program installed.

It is essential to maintain all the applications you have installed on your computer, but often you can minimize the time investment and the potential for exploitation simply by uninstalling software you do not need.

Also note that using the applications own “check for updates” function, when available, will best preserve your current settings, and often avoid any crapware that might come with a fresh installer. Use this option if it’s available to you.

Finally, if you’re sick of doing this all yourself, let me! Call or email me any time, and we can set you up with subscription SaferPC updates which will be installed each month whenever necessary. Click, call or email for more details:
https://saferpc.info/updates/
209-565-12PD
shawn@12pointdesign.com

Browser Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to everyone.

Brave 1.16.76 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://brave.com/

Google Chrome 86.0.4240.198 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.

Microsoft Edge 86.0.622.68 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge/business/download

Vivaldi 3.4.2066.106 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://vivaldi.com/

Media Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

Flickr Downloadr 3.3.2.1 upgrades libraries. This should be treated as a security update.
https://flickrdownloadr.com/downloads/

Game Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

PlayStation PS4 8.00 is a re-release and doesn’t indicate what has changed. This should be treated as a security update.
https://www.playstation.com/en-us/support/system-updates/ps4/

Office Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to most people.

OpenOffice 4.1.8 is a security update. I want to note that I am impressed that the otherwise-abandoned Apache OpenOffice project has released a security update. It is still a little disappointing that it took them 5 months to address it. One more reason to switch to LibreOffice.
https://www.openoffice.org/download/

Converter Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

DVDFab 12.0.0.6 adds support for new encodings and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.dvdfab.cn/download.htm

Utility Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

CCleaner 5.74.8198 resolves a settings bug. This is not a security update.
https://www.ccleaner.com/

CurrPorts 2.63 adds option to align numeric columns to the right. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/cports.html

IsMyHdOK 2.66 updates language support. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Microsoft/IsMyHdOK

NTLite 2.0.0.7722 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.ntlite.com/download/

Developer Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

Node.js 15.2.0 resolves dozens of bugs. This is not a security update.
https://nodejs.org/en/

Web Package Updates

These are likely to be of interest only to web developers.

ScreenConnect 20.11.1622.7619 resolves stability and reliability bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.connectwise.com/software/control/download

phpList 3.5.7 is a security update.
https://www.phplist.org/

Antispam Bee 2.9.3 improves compatibility and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

W3 Total Cache 0.15.2 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

WooCommerce 4.7.0 resolves dozens of bugs and improves compatibility. This is not a security update.

WPtouch 4.3.39 resolves style bugs. This is not a security update.

That’s all for now folks. Keep it clean out there. 😉

Regards,

Shawn K. Hall
https://SaferPC.info/
https://12PointDesign.com/

Updates 2020-10-13

Welcome back, Folks!

Today is Patch Tuesday for October 2020.

This Month in Technology

For those in our local community, the biggest news is that AT&T has abandoned DSL in rural America, reducing Internet access options even further for our friends and neighbors.

The US Treasury has announced that it is now illegal to pay your federal taxes.

The Universal Health Services was hacked (all 400+ locations!) and infected with ransomware, so was Software AG, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was hacked again, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was hacked, the Las Vegas school system was hacked – and since they didn’t pay the ransom student details were leaked, Docsketch was hacked, and the United Nations (UN) International Maritime Organization was hacked. Razer made a boo-boo, and even coffee makers are now being used for ransomware distribution. Grindr was hacked, Microsoft’s Windows XP source code was leaked, almost any current iPhone can be listened into from 20 feet away using only an AM radio, and access to your RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) is being sold to attackers. Evidence exists that your anti-virus is helping the bad guys, and BitDefender is still weak security.

Facebook has been hacked (for years), Facebook for Android has been hacked again, Office 365 & Outlook have been down repeatedly over the last month, Fitbit malware – distributed by Fitbit – can be used to take over your internal network and exfiltrate your data to the web, Bluetooth is still the weakest wireless link, your Comcast XR11 TV remote can be used to listen in to your conversations, BitLocker encryption is vulnerable to a sleep-mode bypass (aka, yet another reason not to use sleep mode), HP Device Manager flaw is a big deal, but not as big a deal as Windows Error Reporting being used to infect your PC.

Apple’s initial iOS 14 release killed batteries on many iPhones, (so did the recent ChromeOS update), Apple’s latest security fix (10.15.7) can kill performance on your Mac, but only if you use Mac software (rolls eyes). Hint: disable and re-enable Find My Mac to fix it. And that’s nothing compared to their T2 security chip vulnerability.

“The” secure reimplementation of BIOS, UEFI, was designed to make security at boot a thing of beauty and prevent third-parties from being able to hijack the boot process. Unfortunately, it simply provided a false sense of security.

2FA via SMS is also a much lower fruit than many realize, but not nearly as bad as SSO.

Many others have joined in the case against Apple & Google’s rent-seeking, who charge significantly more for their “services” than even the federal government, but portray themselves as victims. Insane rules and hypocritical requirements force developers to charge for free services or force users out of their application in order to even be allowed into the Apple ecosystem. What can we really expect from a SF bay area “green” company that lies about their recycling program? Hopefully the courts will use Apple’s own words against them, in that Apple claims that their AppStore is a place to “reliably” download “safeapps.

Former Facebook data scientist exposes her complicity with atrocities and abuse by governments and MNCs.

The Supreme Court heard arguments on the Oracle v Google IP fight suffered the same problem that most legal battles over technology do: poor arguments. Google’s defense failed to explain the distinctive nature of APIs as guides rather than code. Sure, they provide access to the functionality of the code, but are not, in and of themselves, code. The entire argument could be easily equated to vehicles. One does not need to know nor expose the specific design of a Ferrari 911 to know that the vehicle should stop at a stop sign nor yield at a yield sign. The vehicle itself (code – reasonably subject to IP) can operate on any road as long as the traffic signs (APIs) are in place. The signage is consistent across most of the world, even where languages differ greatly. So should the APIs be universally available.

In the current world of tech censorship and cancel culture, nobody can really argue against the necessity for Section 230 to be revised. However, most calls for revision would create an even more abhorrent system where public discourse can not be held without risk of liability to completely unrelated parties.

If you take government money, you are subject to the same rules as government, so says RFK, Jr.

In the new “get woke, go broke” era, it should come as no surprise that when you pander to racists and terrorists, you will be investigated.

Research shows that the lockdowns were not only anti-science, but caused far more harm than the virus itself. On the subject of fraud, are we still supposed to believe that the government’skill a fly with a nukeresponse to COVID is really all the result of bats in an Asian wet market or that masks actually do anything at all?

One would think fraud would be front page news, but the MSM is much more likely to ignore than acknowledge it. To paraphrase Stalin, “A single case of fraud is a tragedy; a million cases are just a statistic.”

The moment I read that Nintendo’s lawyers said Joy-Con Drift “wasn’t a real problem” I knew they would be sued.

Now for the good news – since I’m making up for last month, I’ll give you three:

Adobe Flash will finally be dead in only 79 days.

Free, limitless power from graphene could literally change everything.

A “vaccine” of sorts has been developed to protect against some forms of ransomware.

Let’s Get Busy

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Patch Tuesday this month is huge. The typical computer should see roughly 2.5 GB in updates today. Let’s get started.

Microsoft released updates for Windows, Edge, .NET, Servicing Stack, Flash, and MSRT (~ 1.5 GB). This includes security updates. A reboot is required.

Apple released updates for iOS 14.0.1 and iPadOS 14.0.1, tvOS 14.0.2, Safari 14.0, watchOS 7.0.2, macOS Catalina 10.15.7, macOS Mojave 10.14.6, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6, iCloud for Windows 7.21, iCloud for Windows 11.4, iTunes for Windows 12.10.9, and Xcode 12.0. These are security updates.

iOS 14.0.1 is a security update. Use Settings, General, Software Update to install the most current version. This version also adds the Orwellian contact tracing feature at the system level. While “disabled” by default, you may validate that it is disabled in Settings, Privacy, Health, COVID-19 Exposure Logging, and turn off Exposure Logging.

iPadOS 14.0.1 is a security update. Use Settings, General, Software Update to install the most current version.

tvOS 14.0.2 is a security update. Use Settings, General, Updates to install the most current version.

watchOS 7.0.2 is a security update. Use your updated iPhone to install the most current version through the Watch app.

Adobe Flash Player 32.0.0.445 is a security update.
Win: https://12pd.com/click?flash
Win: https://12pd.com/click?flashie
Mac: https://12pd.com/click?flashmac

Google has released security updates for Android 9 and 10 which will gradually be published by individual vendors and available to you in the coming weeks. This version also adds the Orwellian contact tracing feature. Disabling Location and Bluetooth will disable the current version of contact tracing.

Google Chrome OS 85.0.4183.133 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version. A reboot is required.

Don’t forget to check your mobile devices, too! Many updates will also apply to your tablet, phone, kindle or television – so check your device-appropriate App Store and install updates.

Important Notes

Everything above this section should be checked by everyone on every computer. Chances are good that close to every single computer you touch will be affected by those updates. This is not the case with the items below, though you should still check each line item below to see if it applies to software you have installed.

The release of macOS Catalina (10.15) means that macOS Sierra (10.12) and older are no longer supported. If you can not install at least macOS High Sierra (10.13) on your Mac then you should immediately remove it from the Internet and use it offline only. It will no longer receive patches or updates and can now no longer be secured.

The now-current release of the Windows 10 (2004) is a huge (about 25% larger than any prior build) so will take a long time to download on slower connections. Windows 10 pushes you to get the latest Windows 10 release every 6 months. If you don’t let it finish and you’re on a slow connection, this process kill your Internet performance forever. If you don’t have the bandwidth to download the bits, I’m happy to provide loaner USB drives to our local clients, or, if you prefer to have me mail it to you please contact me for information.

Please remember that while I list many different applications within these updates, most people should ONLY install updates for a program if they already have a previous version of that program installed.

It is essential to maintain all the applications you have installed on your computer, but often you can minimize the time investment and the potential for exploitation simply by uninstalling software you do not need or use, reducing the attack surface.

Also note that using the applications own “check for updates” function, when available, will best preserve your current settings, and often avoid any crapware that might come with a fresh installer. Use this option if it’s available to you.

Finally, if you’re sick of doing this all yourself, let me! Call or email me any time, and we can set you up with subscription SaferPC updates which will be installed each month whenever necessary. Click, call or email for more details:
https://saferpc.info/updates/
209-565-12PD
shawn@12pointdesign.com

Driver Updates

If you’re using this hardware – these updates are for you.

Display Driver Uninstaller 18.0.3.3 improves removal of DCH CP on older builds of Windows. This is not a security update.
https://www.wagnardsoft.com/display-driver-uninstaller-ddu

Logitech Options 8.30.310 resolves several bugs adds profiles for Zoom and MS Teams. This is not a security update.
https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/options

Logitech Options (macOS) 8.30.293 resolves several bugs adds profiles for Zoom and MS Teams. This is not a security update.
https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/options

nVidia 456.71 adds support for new hardware and improves support for COD beta and other games. This is not a security update.
https://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us

Crucial Storage Executive 6.06 doesn’t provide a changelog so should be treated as a a security update.
https://www.crucial.com/support/storage-executive

Browser Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to everyone.

Brave 1.15.72 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://brave.com/

Google Chrome 86.0.4240.80 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.

Microsoft Edge 86.0.622.38 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge/business/download

Firefox 81.0.2 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.

Firefox ESR 78.3.1 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.

SeaMonkey 2.53.4 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://www.seamonkey-project.org/

Vivaldi 3.3.2022.47 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://vivaldi.com/

Email Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to everyone.

Thunderbird 78.3.2 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/

Internet Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to everyone.

Dropbox 107.4.443 resolves bugs and adds more. This is not a security update.
https://www.dropbox.com/

Zoom 5.3.53291.1011 changes automatic update behavior, and improves poll and link behaviors. This is not a security update.
https://zoom.us/

Prosody 0.11.7 is a security update.
https://prosody.im/download/start

FreeFileSync 11.2 resolves several bugs, improves layout and key bindings. This is not a security update.
https://www.freefilesync.org/download.php

Nmap 7.91 adds support for new profiles and fingerprints, and resolves several bugs. This is a security update.
https://nmap.org/

Npcap 1.00 resolves two minor bugs. This is not a security update.
https://nmap.org/npcap/

Technitium DNS Server 5.3 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://technitium.com/dns/

Media Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

3tene 2.0.6 improves sensitivity calculations, light focal management, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://en.3tene.com/

iTunes for Windows 12.10.9 is a security update. Use Apple Software Update to install the most current version.

Game Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

Steam 2020.10.07 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

Office Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to most people.

Notepad++ 7.9 adds several new features and fixes over a dozen bugs. This is not a security update.
https://notepad-plus-plus.org/

Adobe Reader DC 20.012.20048 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

Artweaver 7.0.7 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.artweaver.de/

Atom 1.52.0 updates libraries and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://atom.io/

Blender 2.90.1 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.blender.org/download/

Lightworks NLE 2020.1.1 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.lwks.com/

Microsoft Office for Mac 2016/2019 is a security update.

Krita 4.4.0 improves fill layers, multigrid, screentone, brushes, API improvements and more. This is a security update.
https://krita.org/en/download/krita-desktop/

LibreOffice Fresh 7.0.2 resolves over a hundred bugs. This is a security update.
https://www.libreoffice.org/

Nextcloud Desktop 3.0.2 resolves a dozen bugs. This is not a security update.
https://nextcloud.com/

Security Software Updates

One or more of these is likely to be of interest to most people.

OpenSSL 1.1.1h resolves several bugs and improves compatibility. This is not a security update.
https://www.openssl.org/source/

KeePass 2.46 adds several features including TLS 1.3 and mass edit capabilities, as well as resolving bugs, and other improvements. This is not a security update.
https://keepass.info/

RogueKiller 14.7.3 resolves several bugs. This is a security update.
https://www.adlice.com/download/roguekiller/

TinyWall 3.0.8 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://tinywall.pados.hu/

uBlock Origin 1.30.4 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases/latest

Capture Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

ScreenToGif 2.27.3 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://github.com/NickeManarin/ScreenToGif/releases/latest

SnagIt 2020.1.5 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://download.techsmith.com/snagit/enu/snagit.exe

Converter Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

DVDFab 12.0.0.1 is a major update with several improvements. This version improves the GUI and adds several new output profiles. This is not a security update.
https://www.dvdfab.cn/download.htm

AVStoDVD 2.8.9 resolves several bugs, improves performance and updates libraries. This should be treated as a security update.
https://sites.google.com/site/avstodvdmain/

MakeMKV 1.15.3 resolves several bugs, introduces TOR/VPN support, adds support for new stream types. This is not a security update.
https://www.makemkv.com/download/

Utility Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

1Password for Windows 7.6.785 resolves a bug. This is not a security update.
https://1password.com/downloads/windows/

Beyond Compare 4.3.7.25118 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.scootersoftware.com/download.php?zz=dl4

Bitwarden 1.22.2 resolves bugs. This should be treated as a security update.
https://bitwarden.com/

CCleaner 5.72.7994 resolves several bugs and improves compatibility. This is not a security update.
https://www.ccleaner.com/

CPU-Z 1.94 adds support for new hardware and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

DesktopOK 7.95 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Freeware/DesktopOK

DevManView 1.72 resolves an output bug. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/device_manager_view.html

Etcher 1.5.109 is a security update.
https://www.balena.io/etcher/

Everything 1.4.1.992 is a security update.
https://www.voidtools.com/

GoodSync 11.3.8 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.goodsync.com/

IsMyHdOK 2.51 resolves bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Microsoft/IsMyHdOK

LessMSI 1.7.0 improves messaging. This is not a security update.
https://lessmsi.activescott.com/

MS ISO Downloader 8.40 adds support for new Dell models and images, new Win10 builds and adds hash reporting to images. This is not a security update.
https://www.heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/67-microsoft-windows-and-office-iso-download-tool

NTLite 2.0.0.7656 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.ntlite.com/download/

Aomei Partition Assistant 8.10 improves display and startup. This is not a security update.
https://www.diskpart.com/

PSAppDeploy 3.8.3 adds several new features and resolves bugs. This is not a security update.
https://psappdeploytoolkit.com/

RoboForm 8.9.4 resolves several bugs, including the QuickBooks compatibility issue that prevented display of registers and Chrome that caused freezes.
https://12pd.com/click?rf

Process Monitor 3.60 adds support for multiple filter item selection and decoding for new file system control operations and error status codes. While not a security updates, this improves the analytical data collection, thus increasing security awareness.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/procmon

Procdump 10.0 adds support for dump cancellation and CoreCLR processes. This is not a security update.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/procdump

Sysmon 12.0 resolves several bugs and adds support for capturing clipboard operations. While not a security updates, this improves the analytical data collection, thus increasing security awareness.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/sysmon

SysInternals released new builds of many of their applications, as well as ARM versions. While the changes on many of the updates are poorly documented and SysInternals apps are generally more secure than apps distributed elsewhere, you should assume that any updates have security ramifications. If they’re not security updates, they may improve the context or analytical data that is exposed, thus increasing the security awareness of the tools.
https://live.sysinternals.com/

TeamViewer 15.10.5 resolves a licensing bug. This is not a security update.
https://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/windows/

USBDeview 3.01 adds an option to copy the contents of the active cell. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html

USB Oblivion 1.14.0.0 addes support for new modules. This is not a security update.
http://www.cherubicsoft.com/en/projects/usboblivion

WifiChannelMonitor 1.65 adds support for detection of new protocols. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wifi_channel_monitor.html

WifiInfoView 2.65 adds support for detection of new protocols. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wifi_information_view.html

WirelessKeyView 2.20 adds support for displaying WiFi QR Codes. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wireless_key.html

WinGet 0.2.2521 updates libraries and adds new verbs. This is not a security update.
https://github.com/microsoft/winget-cli/releases/latest

WinScan2PDF 6.06 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Microsoft/WinScan2PDF

Developer Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

Android Studio 4.1.0.19 integrates database and emulation, improves diagnostics, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://developer.android.com/studio

Godot 3.2.3 resolves over a hundred bugs and improves stability. This is not a security update.
https://godotengine.org/

Node.js 14.13.1 resolves several bugs. This is a security update.
https://nodejs.org/en/

Node.js 12.19.0 updates libraries, and resolves dozens of bugs. This is a security update.
https://nodejs.org/en/

Visual Studio Code 1.50 improves accessibility features, pinned tabs, adds ARM support, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://code.visualstudio.com/

TortoiseGit 2.11.0 updates libraries and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://tortoisegit.org/

Web Package Updates

These are likely to be of interest only to web developers.

Dada Mail 11.12.0 adds image embedding and resizing, improved scheduling capabilities, library updates and bug fixes. This is not a security update.
http://dadamailproject.com/

Drupal 9.0.7 resolves dozens of bugs. This is a security update.
https://drupal.org/download

Docker Desktop 2.4.0.0 updates libraries and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.docker.com/products/docker-desktop

Nextcloud Server 20.0.0 updates libraries, adds a new dashboard, Talk bridging support, and several other new features and improvements. This is not a security update.
https://nextcloud.com/

HumHub 1.6.4 is a security update.
https://www.humhub.com/en/download

Joomla 3.9.22 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.joomla.org/

OpenPetra 2020.09 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.openpetra.org/

phpMyAdmin 4.9.6 and 5.0.3 are security updates.
https://www.phpmyadmin.net/

Autoptimize 2.7.8 is a security update.

BuddyPress 6.3.0 resolves bugs. This is not a security update.

Email Log 2.4.3 adds a new filter and enhances nonce. This is not a security update.

Social Post Feed 2.17 adds support for new embed types. This is not a security update.

WooCommerce 4.5.2 resolves a couple bugs. This is not a security update.

WP Mail SMTP 2.4.0 updates libraries, improves compatibility, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

W3 Total Cache 0.15.1 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

WordPress Zero Spam 4.10.2 improves compatibility. This is not a security update.

That’s all for now folks. Keep it clean out there. 😉

Regards,

Shawn K. Hall
https://SaferPC.info/
https://12PointDesign.com/

Updates 2020-08-11

Welcome back, Folks!

Today is Patch Tuesday for August 2020.

This Month in Technology

I pride myself in my sarcastic wit and infinite patience, but these days I spend so much time shaking my head in such shame for humanity that I’m afraid I’m going to get whiplash.

I’m trying to keep on the topic of technology, but it’s hard when that very technology is being used to silence, stalk, abuse, and defame so many. What’s worse is that when they’re caught they just throw money at those investigating them in order to escape culpability.

Cancel Culture was obvious to authors in the 1930s, but has been ignored over the last decade because those who speak up are themselves cancelled. Richard Stallman explains his position on digital currencies being evil, and how technological tracking will inevitably be used for cancel culture. (Heck, even Bill Maher opposes cancel culture!) Sadly, it may be too late to stop at this point, since cancel culture has now escaped planet Earth to infect the cosmos.

Canon was hacked, Avon was hacked, Intel was hackedGarmin was hacked, Walmart was hacked and is being sued under the CCPA over it, Capital One was finally punished for being hacked, Dave was hackedLedger was hacked, exposing a million accounts and emails, Tor has been hacked (the vulnerabilities have actually been known for *years*), nearly a thousand enterprise VPN servers have been hacked, 62,000 NAS devices have been hacked and infected, and Twitter was hacked (by a Florida teen who exposed Twitter’s “nonexistent” censorship tools). Is it any wonder Twitter was hacked since it took them almost two years to patch an app vulnerability?

A dozen VPN providers used an unprotected and insecure storage to harvest details of over twenty million (20,000,000) users, including payment details and traffic history.

Google is harvesting data from third parties to build rival apps, but it doesn’t stop there – they also “accidentally” enabled their Google Home smart devices to listen 24/7 and record their environments.

A TeamViewer vulnerability allows anyone running a version older than those released *yesterday* to be hacked, and of the 79 Netgear router models that have known security vulnerabilities, Netgear has announced they won’t patch 45 of them – including several AC models that are only 3 years old, and Snapdragon chip vulnerabilities put over a billion Android devices at risk. On the subject of defective hardware, BadPower can light you up!

Microsoft is flagging HOSTS files used to block unwanted telemetry as malicious. Evil extensions continue to be evil. AT&T “accidentally” tells all their customers they have to replace their brand new phones in order to continue to use cell service, Humana (Tricare) “accidentally” told 600,000 US military veterans that they were infected with COVID-19.

Advertisements are evil privacy-erasing monsters, but Ad URLs are worse.

Now for the good(?) news:

Recently, the lockdowns are responsible for more suicides and deaths by overdose than COVID-19. That’s gotta be a silver lining somehow, right?

Let’s Get Busy

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Patch Tuesday this month is huge. The typical computer should see roughly 2 GB in updates today. Let’s get started.

Microsoft released updates for Windows, Edge, .NET, Internet Explorer, Office, Servicing Stack, and MSRT (~1.3 GB). This includes security updates. A reboot is required.

Apple released updates for macOS Catalina 10.15.6, Security Update 2020-004 Mojave, Security Update 2020-004 High Sierra, Safari 13.1.2, Xcode 11.6, iCloud for Windows 11.3, iCloud for Windows 7.20, iTunes 12.10.8 for Windows. This includes security updates. Use Apple Software Update to install these updates. A reboot is required.

iOS 13.6 and 12.4.8, and iPadOS 13.6 are security updates. Use Settings, General, Software Update to install the most current update.

watchOS 6.2.8 and 5.3.8 are security updates. Use the Watch app on your iPhone to install the most current version.

tvOS 13.4.8 is a security update. Use System, Software Update to install the most current version.

Adobe Flash Player 32.0.0.414 is a security update.
Win: https://12pd.com/click?flash
Win: https://12pd.com/click?flashie
Mac: https://12pd.com/click?flashmac

Google Chrome OS 84.0.4147.110 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version. A reboot is required.

Don’t forget to check your mobile devices, too! Many updates will also apply to your tablet, phone, kindle or television – so check your device-appropriate App Store and install updates.

Important Notes

Everything above this section should be checked by everyone on every computer. Chances are good that close to every single computer you touch will be affected by those updates. This is not the case with the items below, though you should still check each line item below to see if it applies to software you have installed.

The release of macOS Catalina (10.15) means that macOS Sierra (10.12) and older are no longer supported. If you can not install at least macOS High Sierra (10.13) on your Mac then you should immediately remove it from the Internet and use it offline only. It will no longer receive patches or updates and can now no longer be secured.

The now-current release of the Windows 10 (2004) is a huge (about 25% larger than any prior build) so will take a long time to download on slower connections. Windows 10 pushes you to get the latest Windows 10 release every 6 months. If you don’t let it finish and you’re on a slow connection, this process kill your Internet performance forever. If you don’t have the bandwidth to download the bits, I’m happy to provide loaner USB drives to our local clients, or, if you prefer to have me mail it to you please contact me for information.

Please remember that while I list many different applications within these updates, most people should ONLY install updates for a program if they already have a previous version of that program installed.

It is essential to maintain all the applications you have installed on your computer, but often you can minimize the time investment and the potential for exploitation simply by uninstalling software you do not need or use, reducing the attack surface.

Also note that using the applications own “check for updates” function, when available, will best preserve your current settings, and often avoid any crapware that might come with a fresh installer. Use this option if it’s available to you.

Finally, if you’re sick of doing this all yourself, let me! Call or email me any time, and we can set you up with subscription SaferPC updates which will be installed each month whenever necessary. Click, call or email for more details:
https://saferpc.info/updates/
209-565-12PD
shawn@12pointdesign.com

Driver Updates

If you’re using this hardware – these updates are for you.

Display Driver Uninstaller 18.0.2.8 resolves issues with NVIDIA removal. This is not a security update.
https://www.wagnardsoft.com/display-driver-uninstaller-ddu

Browser Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to everyone.

Brave 1.11.104 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://brave.com/

Firefox 79.0 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version

Firefox ESR 68.11.0 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.

Google Chrome 84.0.4147.125 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.

Microsoft Edge 84.0.522.59 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.

Vivaldi 3.2.1967.41 is a security update. Use Menu, Help, About to install the most current version.
https://vivaldi.com/

Email Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to everyone.

Thunderbird 78.1.0 is a security update. Direct updates are disabled for 78.x so you will need to download and install the update from the Thunderbird website:
https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/

Internet Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to everyone.

BrowsingHistoryView 2.41 adds support for local /cfg file. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/browsing_history_view.html

Dropbox 103.4.383 doesn’t provide a detailed changelog, so should be treated as a security update.
https://www.dropbox.com/

FileZilla Client 3.49.1 resolves a cosmetic bug. This is not a security update.
https://filezilla-project.org/

FreeFileSync 11.0 improves Google Drive sync and backups, adds WSL symlink support, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.freefilesync.org/download.php

Npcap 0.9996 resolves several bugs, including stability/crash problems. This is not a security update.
https://nmap.org/npcap/

Technitium DNS Server 5.0.2 resolves several bugs and updates libraries. This is not a security update.
https://technitium.com/dns/

WinSCP 5.17.7 is a security update.
https://winscp.net/eng/index.php

Zoom 5.2.42619.0804 resolves several bugs, improves compatibility and hardware support, and adds several new features. This is not a security update.
https://zoom.us/

Line 9.6.0 adds effects stickers. This is not a security update.
http://line.me/update

Media Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

3tene 2.0.2 updates libraries, improves compatibility, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://en.3tene.com/

iTunes 12.10.8 is a security update. Use Apple Software Update to install the most current version.

darktable 3.2.1 resolves almost 100 bugs, improves lighttable, CSS styles, Color Picker, preferences, and many more. This is not a security update.
https://www.darktable.org/install/

Picard 2.4.1 resolves a dozen bugs and adds support for new formats, improves functions and stability. This is not a security update.
https://picard.musicbrainz.org/

Office Updates

One or more of these are likely to be of interest to most people.

Adobe Reader DC 20.012.20041 is a security update. Use Menu, Check for updates to get the most current version.

Adobe Lightroom 9.3 is a security update.
https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/lightroom/apsb20-51.html

Magento 2.4.0 and 2.3.5-p2 are security updates.
https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/magento/apsb20-47.html

Adobe Reader Mobile 20.3 is a security update.
https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/reader-mobile/apsb20-50.html

Adobe Prelude 9.0.1 is a security update.
https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/prelude/apsb20-46.html

Adobe Photoshop 20.0.10 and 21.2.1 are security updates.
https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/photoshop/apsb20-45.html

Adobe Bridge 10.1.1 is a security update.
https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/bridge/apsb20-44.html

Atom 1.50.0 resolves several bugs and updates libraries. This is not a security update.
https://atom.io/

Blender 2.83.4 resolves dozens of bugs and improves performance. This is not a security update.
https://www.blender.org/download/

LibreOffice Still 6.4.5 is a major update to the stable version of LibreOffice. This build resolves over 100 bugs and improves stability over the previous beta “Fresh” line. This is not a security update.
https://www.libreoffice.org/

LibreOffice Fresh 7.0.0 is beta software. While this is a major update to the beta version of LibreOffice, nearly 200 bugs were resolved over the last few days so you should only use this if you are comfortable using beta software that is very likely to crash. This is not a security update.
https://www.libreoffice.org/

Notepad++ 7.8.9 resolves 9 bugs that improve cosmetics after the recent updates. This is not a security update.
https://notepad-plus-plus.org/

Paint.net 4.2.13 resolves several bugs and improves low-quality exports. This is not a security update.
https://www.getpaint.net/

Security Software Updates

One or more of these is likely to be of interest to most people.

DNSQuerySniffer 1.81 adds local /cfg file support and adds Select/Deselect All to column settings. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/dns_query_sniffer.html

Gpg4win 3.1.12 resolves several bugs and improves reliability. This is a security update.
https://www.gpg4win.org/download.html

Hashcat 6.1.1 resolves several bugs and adds support for new algorithms. This is not a security update.
https://hashcat.net/hashcat/#downloadlatest

RogueKiller 14.6.3 updates core engine and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.adlice.com/download/roguekiller/

uBlock Origin 1.29.0 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases/latest

Capture Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

SnagIt 2020.1.4 improves cosmetic controls and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://download.techsmith.com/snagit/enu/snagit.exe

Converter Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

DVDFab 11.1.0.1 adds support for new encodings, adds output configuration exports, batch reporting, and new output profiles. This is not a security update.
https://www.dvdfab.cn/download.htm

MakeMKV 1.15.2 updates muxer to the latest matroska specification, resolves several bugs and adds drive speed control and standalone sdftool. This is not a security update.
https://www.makemkv.com/download/

PDF Creator 4.1.2 resolves a COM interface error and several other bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.pdfforge.org/pdfcreator

Utility Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

1Password for Windows 7.6.780 resolves several bugs and improves cosmetics. This is a security update.
https://1password.com/downloads/windows/

Bitwarden 1.20.1 resolves a crash bug and adds support for Windows Hello or TouchID on macOS to unlock the vault. This is not a security update.
https://bitwarden.com/

CCleaner 5.70.7909 improves compatibility, but is still detected as a “potentially unwanted program” by Windows Defender (and with all the problems CCleaner has had in the last couple years, they could be right).
https://www.ccleaner.com/

CPU-Z Installer 1.93 adds support for newer hardware. This is not a security update.
https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

CurrPorts 2.62 adds ‘Copy Remote Address’ option. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/cports.html

Dell Command Update 3.1.3 improves reliability, compatibility, and stability. This is not a security update.
https://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/04/sln311129/dell-command-update?lang=en

DesktopOK 7.71 resolves several bugs and adds HTTPS updates. This is a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Freeware/DesktopOK

Eraser 6.2.0.2990 adds exFAT support but doesn’t have a changelog. This should be treated as a security update.
https://eraser.heidi.ie/download/

Etcher 1.5.102 updates libraries, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.balena.io/etcher/

Everything 1.4.1.988 reworks some Lite behavior, ensures volumes are mounted before use, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.voidtools.com/

FolderChangesView 2.32 adds local /cfg support. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/folder_changes_view.html

GoodSync 11.2.8 resolves several bugs and improves reliability. This is not a security update.
https://www.goodsync.com/

Homedale 1.88 adds OWE encryption support. This is not a security update.
https://www.the-sz.com/products/homedale/

IsMyHdOK 2.21 vastly improves SSD support. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Microsoft/IsMyHdOK

NTLite 2.0.0.7596 resolves several bugs and adds new settings options. This is not a security update.
https://www.ntlite.com/download/

PointerStick 4.25 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Freeware/PointerStick

PowerToys 0.20.1 resolves several bugs. This is a security update.
https://github.com/microsoft/PowerToys/releases/latest

RoboForm 8.9.1 adds import from Edge and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.roboform.com/

Sysmon 11.11 fixes a bug that prevented USB media from being ejected. This should be treated as a security update.
https://live.sysinternals.com/

TaskSchedulerView 1.56 improves compatibility for devices where the Remote Registry service is disabled. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/task_scheduler_view.html

TeamViewer 15.8.3 is a security update.
https://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/windows/

TraceRouteOK 1.77 resolves several bugs and improves GUI. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Microsoft/TraceRouteOK

USBDeview 3.00 adds several new timestamp columns that can be read when running elevated, and renames the other timestamp fields. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html

USB Oblivion 1.13.0.0 adds ability to clean the Partition Diagnostic journal. This is not a security update.
https://www.cherubicsoft.com/en/projects/usboblivion

WifiInfoView 2.62 improves local /cfg file behavior. This is not a security update.
https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wifi_information_view.html

WinScan2PDF 5.88 improves compatibility with multifunction devices. This is not a security update.
https://www.softwareok.com/?seite=Microsoft/WinScan2PDF

Developer Updates

These are unlikely to be of interest to most people.

ADB 30.0.4 resolves several bugs and improves fastboot. This is not a security update.
https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools

AutoHotkey 1.1.33.02 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.autohotkey.com/download/

Node.js 14.8.0 resolves dozens of bugs and updates libraries. This should be treated as a security update.
https://nodejs.org/en/

Node.js v12 12.18.3 updates libraries and resolves dozens of bugs. This should be treated as a security update.
https://nodejs.org/en/

Redemption 5.24.0.5736 adds several new methods and properties, and resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
http://www.dimastr.com/redemption/

Web Package Updates

These are likely to be of interest only to web developers.

Dada Mail 11.11.0 adds Scheduling and validation, makes Open Discussion Lists always available, significantly improves active troubleshooting, and resolves compatibility with StopForumSpam. This is not a security update.
http://dadamailproject.com/

Docker Desktop 2.3.0.4 improves cross-platform compatibility, installation troubleshooting, and WSL 2 support. This is not a security update.
https://www.docker.com/products/docker-desktop

Drupal 9.0.3 resolves over 100 bugs. This is not a security update.
https://drupal.org/download

HumHub 1.6.2 resolves dozens of bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.humhub.com/en/download

MailEnable 10.31 improves logging, and resolves over 30 bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.mailenable.com/

Nextcloud Server 19.0.1 resolves dozens of bugs. This is not a security update.
https://nextcloud.com/

OpenCart 3.0.3.6 adds PayPal extensions and removes Openbay Pro. This is not a security update.
https://www.opencart.com/

OpenPetra 2020.06 adds consent storage for compatibility with legal requirements,
https://www.openpetra.org/

ScreenConnect 20.8.29574.7520 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.
https://www.connectwise.com/software/control/download

Autoptimize 2.7.6 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

BuddyPress 6.2.0 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

Contact Form 7 5.2.1 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

Social Post Feed 2.16 resolves a couple bugs. This is not a security update.

Register IP – Multisite 1.8.2 resolves a cosmetic bug and improves compatibility. This is not a security update.

NextScripts Social Networks Auto-Poster 4.3.16 improves compatibility and resolves two bugs. This is not a security update.

W3 Total Cache 0.14.3 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

WooCommerce 4.3.2 resolves several bugs. This is not a security update.

WP Add Custom CSS 1.1.6 updates code editor and improves compatibility. This is not a security update.

WordPress Zero Spam 4.9.12 is the latest in a series of fixes to the 4.0 rewrite. Over a hundred changes and many new features and controls are added. This is not a security update.

That’s all for now folks. Keep it clean out there. 😉

Regards,

Shawn K. Hall
https://SaferPC.info/
https://12PointDesign.com/

Do Not Reuse Passwords

Password security is a growing field and the old conventional wisdom of using a “strong” password and changing it frequently has lead to people using the same “strong” password on many different websites, resulting in their complete identity being hijacked when any one of those sites is compromised.

HaveIBeenPwned (HIBP) is a service that collects data dumps from when websites are hacked and uses the data to provide a service to alert users whenever their accounts are compromised. It’s like a central clearinghouse for account monitoring. Unfortunately, by the time accounts are listed in HIBP it is often years after the account has been hacked and the hackers that originally took the account information have had that entire period to make use of your account details. Many websites store their passwords in plain text, and many of the others that do use password hashing algorithms to store only a mathematical representation of the password and not the password itself neglect to use properly salted hashes, which means that those hashed passwords can often be compared with rainbow tables to effectively convert them to their plain text equivalent. Seeing the passwords that people – still today – continue to use is destroying my hope in humanity. For example, “123456” is used by almost 1% of business professionals for their online social interactions. Dead serious.

The trends on these exposed passwords show that there are very common patterns and weak password consideration is the rule of the day. Few people, and by few I mean I could probably count them on one hand, actually do passwords right. It’s time to take your own security seriously, because the evidence shows that many of those you do business with do not.

Here’s the Problem

Weak passwords you’ve used on service x (Yahoo, for example) will be dumped along with all the other passwords on that hacked service. Those same weak passwords will be tested on service y and service z. And everywhere else. This process is called “password stuffing.”

If you reuse even part of your passwords then you open yourself up to being targeted either randomly or by evil people you may already know. “Script kiddies” live and die by their ability to make an example out of people who they feel have done them harm. You could also become the victim of automated scanners that consume the usernames and passwords from these dumps then try them on every known system from Facebook to Gmail to email to banking services. The passwords will be munged in order to test similar or stylistically equivalent passwords. For example, of the LinkedIn hack, almost 2.5 million accounts (or about 1.5%) used some variant of the site name in their password. Those same accounts probably use some variation of the site name in most of their passwords. This can safely be assumed to be done everywhere, meaning that if you use “linkedin123456” for LinkedIn, there’s a good chance that your Facebook password is “facebook123456”.

So when over a million people used “123456” as their LinkedIn password, not only did it expose that as a very commonly used password, but it demonstrated that those million-plus email addresses tied to those weak passwords were used by people that didn’t take security seriously. If you use a weak password anywhere, chances are good that you use weak passwords elsewhere, if not everywhere. If something as quick and easy as changing a password isn’t done, then you also probably neglect your hardware and software. You’re using older and insecure programs. You’re exposing all of yourself with a single simple decision that you think will make your life easier.

It doesn’t. Reusing even part of a password only makes life easier for whoever attacks you. They can stay in their momma’s basement and spend all day throwing your account details at different sites until they get in. When they do, it doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you. Two or three hijacked accounts, or variations on your passwords from multiple dumps show how you think, and the style and scope of password complexity you use.

Again referring to the 2012 LinkedIn hack, there were over 26,000 variations of passwords that included “12” or “2012” in the password. From this we can imply that users will seed their passwords with the year they changed it. The same accounts are probably still using the same patterns with “2019” or “2020” today.

“Different” !== Strong

Usually these dumps are sold on the black market or used by the original hacker for a while before they’re inevitably released publicly. The data is out there so it’s necessary to use defensive passwords.

You can’t just change a number at the end of your password and possibly think that it’s going to make a difference in your security. The delay it might impose against an organized attacker is less than a single second. You can’t create a strong password by typing random characters on your keyboard. You just can’t. The predictive value of muscle memory, social and cognitive signals, and even keyboard bias result in a relatively small set of potential values for manually-generated passwords.

1337-sp34k offers no additional protection.

Using a strong password is no longer a suggestion. To be secure in the current world you must use a strong, unique, randomly-generated password for any and all sites and services. Failing to do so will result in that password being used as the seed to corrupt your digital life later on. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of eternity.

The rules used to be pretty simple, but were still never observed:

  • DO NOT use a series of numbers and a word or two. (123badpassword)
  • DO NOT use a word or two and a series of numbers. (badpassword123)
  • DO NOT use a word with numbers breaking it up. (1bad2password3)
  • DO NOT use the site name or URL as any part of the password. (mylinkedinpassword)
  • DO NOT use keyboard sequences like “qwerty” or “123456”.
  • DO NOT use any word or name related to you or your life (pets, family, friends, musicians).
  • DO NOT use dates or other simple patterns.

Unfortunately, these rules are still ignored, and even if they were followed to a T, these rules are no longer sufficient for creating a passwords or passphrases manually. Today, any password you can remember is not a good password. It’s time you put the effort into proper password management.

Fortunately, the new rules are actually simpler:

But my browser remembers my passwords!

All modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari) have password management built-in. You can use that in order to generate strong passwords and, while short, they’ll be unique for each site. Unfortunately, since these passwords are stored in the browser they can be extracted by any malicious software that manages to make it onto the device or compromise your browser Sync account, where password managers generally use much stronger encryption.

Websites are still catching up to the reality of password managers

Long passwords, 300 characters or more, are not a problem for your password manager, but they’re probably a problem for the site. BofA limits your password to 20 characters. Yahoo limits your password to 128 characters. Facebook allows much longer passwords, but only requires 6 characters and character case isn’t treated as significant so entropy is significantly reduced, especially for shorter passwords.

Some websites and app logins don’t allow you to copy & paste in the password field which means that they often don’t play well with password managers. Others (like AT&T and Yahoo) refuse to allow certain characters in passwords, so randomly generated passwords have to be manually munged instead of allowing them to be truly random.

Nevertheless, failing to use a password manager means that you’re not using random passwords at all, and are likely reusing passwords to your own peril.

The solution is to get a password manager now and immediately start working to migrate your accounts to it. Almost every password manager today offers password analysis to warn you of weak, reused, and known compromised passwords so you can prioritize changing the passwords for those accounts.

What’s your favorite password manager?