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Messages - Hudson Owen

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176
Writers' Cafe / Re: How Does One Contact Amazon?
« on: June 22, 2015, 12:22:57 pm »
Step 1: navigate to authorcentral.amazon.com

Step 2: log in




Step 3: click on help to the left of your name




Step 4: Click on Contact Us on the left side of the screen




Step 5: Should be pretty self explanatory

 

The first page of Author Central has my picture, bio, and books.  It looks nothing like what you are showing me.

177
Writers' Cafe / Re: How Does One Contact Amazon?
« on: June 22, 2015, 10:07:36 am »
click on the help tab, just to the left of the author name.  Then click on contact us on the new page.

What browser are you using?  Firefox doesn't look anything like what you are describing.  Help is not just to the left of the author's name.

178
Writers' Cafe / Re: How Does One Contact Amazon?
« on: June 22, 2015, 09:38:09 am »


I see author page and books, looking for sales info and customer reviews.

179
Writers' Cafe / Re: How Does One Contact Amazon?
« on: June 22, 2015, 08:37:18 am »
Go to author central.  Click on help tab by name.
Select issue, then go down to selection two and contact by phone.  I'm assuming that's what you're talking about?

There is no selection two, just information about orders.  They don't respond directly by phone.  No phone number is listed.

180
Writers' Cafe / Re: How Does One Contact Amazon?
« on: June 22, 2015, 08:28:18 am »

181
Writers' Cafe / Re: How Does One Contact Amazon?
« on: June 22, 2015, 08:16:12 am »
Go to author central.  Click on help tab by name.
Select issue, then go down to selection two and contact by phone.  I'm assuming that's what you're talking about?

Not necessarily a phone number.  Thanks.

182
Writers' Cafe / How Does One Contact Amazon?
« on: June 22, 2015, 07:42:43 am »
I used to know.  Can't find it now.

183
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 19, 2015, 09:15:40 pm »
You didn't have the malware on your PC before, so that's why it never happened before. Some malware only targets secure content, or content that they know might let you deal with the malware (like antivirus sites). Your problem sounds to me like perhaps like secure logins were being impacted which you are conflating with "sites of value" to you.

Without getting too detailed, what you describe wouldn't typically be how a hacker would approach getting back at you were they inclined to do so and had some basic knowledge like your email address. What would happen is they would phish you until you accidentally gave up some critical piece of info or allowed malware to be placed. Then you'd turn on your PC one day and it would be a complete brick, or your sites would be erased/defaced/changed or you would be locked out of every one of your accounts because they've changed the passwords or canceled them.

DDOS would not work on you, because you aren't a destination, you're a visitor. DDOS could potentially work on all your valued sites, but it would be insanely difficult simultaneously, affect more than just you, not typically have the symptoms you describe, and would not be solved by anything done to your PC by a technician.

And then what typically happens when random malware reaches your PC, is it behaves oddly, particularly in conjunction with the internet and security protocols (like certificates) and performance suffers, which is precisely what you describe. Occam's Razor to me...

You tech people describe a world without human intent.  Malware just floats around like amoeba in solution.  Everything in the human world can be explained by simulacra in the computer world.  Thus Speaker-to-Animals takes me aside, in a mildly superior way, and tells me that in all her 15 years of IT, she has never seen a deliberate hack.  Really?  In all her 15 years as a cop, she has never seen a crime?  We'll call it a medium-size American city.  Really?  Occam's Razor, indeed.

184
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 19, 2015, 08:52:37 pm »
I have no experience with Kaspersky so I can't offer an opinion there. The most likely answer is often -- but not always -- the right answer, so having good protection and employing safe computing practices is always a good idea and the first step in avoiding problems. Every anti-malware program has holes, nothing is perfect, so I avoid recommending specific products anymore. (In the days before Windows I used to recommend McAfee but I specifically recommend against their software now.) Because there is no perfect software protection, safe practices are your primary defense, and software should be seen as a fallback for when you make mistakes. We all do, especially since some are extremely tricky to avoid or don't seem like mistakes in general even after a particular instance goes bad. Security is a spectrum, after all.

Sometimes the most likely answer isn't the right answer, though, so it is wise to not close our minds to other possibilities. An example: Back in the pre-Windows days I was seeing some very strange behavior on my computer, which made me wonder if I was being hacked. I ran a BBS back then, so there were some risks that others didn't have. Anyway, I eventually moved my furniture around and the computer ended up on the far side of the room from where it had been. The problems disappeared. Puzzled, I investigated what might be special about its prior location. It turned out that I'd had it just on the other side of the wall from a large electric water heater. I guessed that EMF interference from that heater was the problem the whole time. Fast forward a few years and I find myself working tech support, and talking to someone who was having very strange problems on their computer. I remembered my experience and asked if their PC was located near a water heater. It was, they moved it, and their problems disappeared. So sometimes the right answer to a puzzle is not the most likely or obvious.

Agree with you about McAfee.  If your water heater tale is meant to be analogous to my series of power outages directly preceding the events, I must say that power outages are fairly common in South Brooklyn but I've never seen the false certificates of approval before.   Sometimes when you bang on the machine, the can of soda does not pop out.

185
Hi.   There is a bacteria that eats oil.   I think it likes all oils not just crude.

There is an oil-eating bacteria.  Sentence is correct as written.

186
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 19, 2015, 02:07:52 pm »
I do tech support for a living. I have seen hundreds of virus infections, including all the symptoms you report, and not once in 15 years have I seen a specific targeted "hack." Please if you want to avoid this in the future get a good solid antivirus program and the subscription Malwarebytes and learn a bit about safe surfing, phishing, and how to identify legitimate and illegitimate sites.
People must be nice in your world.  I have malware bytes and i didn't help a bit.  I had AVG, at the time, it too was useless.

187
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 19, 2015, 01:26:28 pm »
Without investigating your specific PC, I can't say exactly what happened for sure, but I believe you're misinterpreting what occurred (or someone improperly explained the situation.)

There almost certainly no "false certificate" placed on Smashwords site. (And if it were even possible, it would be just about the least effective path for someone with the means and will to come after you personally to do so on a PC.)

If there was, then others would see it, and the problem would not be solved until Smashwords did something about it.

Rather, what I believe occurred is that your PC contained malware, and that malware either caused Smashwords legitimate certificate to be malformed, or intercepted your traffic and showed you a false certificate created locally, or hosted on some other server where your traffic from your PC was being directed too rather than the actual Smashwords site.

This kind of thing occurs all the time, and is not typically personal. It occurs because you visited a site (usually unintentionally and/or unknowingly) which infected your PC and is doing the same to many random PCs every day that don't have the proper security at that moment.

But it doesn't happen all the time.  I've been using hotmail for more than a decade and this has never happened before.  What are the odds of my hotmail being blocked as well as my gmail being blocked out of all the millions of websites in the universe?   Just random stuff I picked up.  Add to that my blog and Smashwords and other sites of value to me.  The odds of this happening is in the bejillions.  Isn't is simpler to describe the event as one person trying to hurt another?  THAT happens every day.  All the time.   Instead of punching me in the nose, X used the internet to get at me, and keep her identity hidden.  How nifty!  And it costs me time and money to fix.

188
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 19, 2015, 10:25:08 am »
If we take at face value Hudson's claim regarding a long-term enemy online -- something that does happen for various reasons -- then whether this disruption was caused by that person or something Hudson inadvertently did is impossible for us to determine based on this forum thread.

As for Linux not being ready for prime time, this isn't 2005. Anyone who can adjust to using a Chromebook can adjust to using Linux, other than converting an existing system, which is more technically challenging. Chrome OS is based on the Linux kernel; a Chromebook is similar to an Android tablet with a different physical form, being cloud-centered and able to run Android apps.

What I failed to mention previously is that a denial-of-service attack is generally understood to be a flood/over-use attack, such as swamping a Web site with so much junk traffic that it stops working correctly. If someone took a sledgehammer to your computer they would be denying you it's service but it wouldn't be considered a denial-of-service attack in the normal sense.

Switching from Outlook to Thunderbird could be easy... or not. It depends on how you're using Outlook. If it's just being used as an IMAP client and all of your mail is actually still on the server, you can switch to another IMAP client (including Thunderbird) and it should be relatively painless. If you're using it as a POP3 client and the mall is actually on your computer, switching to using Thunderbird for POP3 would be more challenging. I still have fragments from mail-client changes I made years ago, it can be troublesome. There is a real gain in convenience from having your mail left on the server, but that's not without costs, including reduced privacy and security.

Hey Crenel!

I see what you mean about a sledgehammer attack not being a denial of service attack.  OK.  Granted.  But you've got to admit it's a catchy title and got me a lot of attention.

Would you recommend a Chromebook over an Android device, as a second computer?  It looks like changing email accounts is a bit dodgy.  I hit the wrong button and lose a lifetime of email.  Yipes!

Do you have an opinion of Kaspersky products?  They sell protection for Android devices, among other things.  I'm thinking mainly of their anti-virus software.  They have pretty good support and check your computer first for malware before a download.  My computer guy used Kaspersky, among other things, to clean my computer.

189
Writers' Cafe / Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 19, 2015, 07:43:37 am »
What happened to me was certainly a denial of service to strategic portions of the internet.  The fact that that these false certificates were placed at particular sites, including Smashwords, shows human intention.

Can I change emails, to Thunderbird,  without losing anything?  I have a lot of stuff on Outlook.

I don't know if I want a Mac.  They get viruses too, and they are inconvenient for some things.

I can certainly purchase Kaspersky.  It's a lot cheaper than the computer guy.




190
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 02:34:13 pm »
It's a disc that you can boot to directly without using the hard drive. It can be extremely handy for "disaster" recovery, and it's also a good way to get a taste of Linux without actually changing anything on your computer. Just be aware that it may be slower, especially if you're actually running off a CD and not a flash drive or similar.

How do I obtain such a disc?

191
Writers' Cafe / Re: Introduction & nonfiction literary agents
« on: June 18, 2015, 02:23:45 pm »
You seem to prefer writing from authors with foreign-sounding names.  I have a memoir of working in hospitals, some famous, in the late sixties, as an orderly.  These are human interest stories.  I circulated in 28 of the 29 operating rooms at the Mass General, in Boston, for example.  Reviews are very divided, lots of one-star reviews.  It's bubbling under the surface, selling consistently a few books a day.  At 17,000 words its too short for paper.  But then, we live in a different age, don't we.  The culture of the late sixties got into the hospitals, and I saw remarkable things.  I thought I'd mention it.

192
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 01:51:40 pm »
I switched to Linux several years ago.  It was a really tough transition for me.  But now I wouldn't want to go back.  It's *so* much stabler, even with the minor inconvenience of having to switch to Linux-native programs or use WINE (which sometimes glitches) to run things.  I recommend either Ubuntu or Mint (whichever you like better) if you want a system that is more like Windows and less "you have to be a programmer to use this."

Having a Linux live CD on hand is a really good idea.  You just download it and have it with your backups, in case of emergencies.  Then, if you ever get major malware, you can boot from that CD, back up all your data, and possibly even, say, use the Internet to find tech support help you need (if, say, the malware you have is blocking you using the Internet in Windows).  Linux is immune to most malware, which is the #1 biggest advantage of it.  (The #2 is that you rarely need to reboot, which is pretty spiffy.)

A live CD is also useful because it lets you try out the operating system without actually installing anything.  Then you can decide whether you like it enough to use it long-term, or whether you'd like to try another type of Linux, or if you'd like stick with Windows.

As somebody else mentioned, moving all your files to the cloud so that you can access them from anywhere is another idea, especially if you might have more than one computer you use frequently.

What is a "live CD"?  The more I hear about Linux, the more I like it.

193
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 01:47:13 pm »
Hudson, I'm going to offer a piece of advice. If you've been infected with malware, even if someone claims they've cleaned it or removed it, you have no way to know if that's been done. Some of the newest malware is almost impossible to remove.

In a highly secure network, they don't EVER put a computer back with a user if it's been infected. They wipe the drives, flash the firmware, and reload from a guaranteed clean golden image.

If you plan on using a computer for business, get two.

Limit physical access to the first. Keep the install and load discs handy. Use it only for business. Make sure it's behind a firewall of some type, a physical firewall, and also enable the OS's virtual firewall if it has one. Enable IPS/IDS if the firewall or software on the computer or physical firewall supports it. Don't install things like Adobe products, or Java. Keep your business files synced to a cloud service like Microsoft Onedrive or Dropbox, but only as necessary. Don't surf the web from it, don't open email attachments on it, and turn it off when not in use. Keep the AV software on it up to date. Keep it patched. Don't insert USB thumbdrives or external hard drives or any kind of storage.

On your second computer, treat it much the same way, but it's your general use computer. Go nuts. Surf the web, open email attachments, etc... Every so many months, based upon what you feel comfortable with, wipe the computer and reload from scratch.

And, if you do all that, you can still get infected or hacked, depending on how much time and effort someone is willing to put in. But, at least you've done what you can to mitigate the risk.

A bootable OS on CD/DVD/Thumbdrive can work wonders. The flipside is that a bootable OS on a CD/DVD/Thumbdrive  along with certain tools on it is a hacker's toolbox.

I suppose if you were the Prince of Darkness and you wanted my soul, if you tried hard enough, you could have it.  But maybe these attacks cost something.  Maybe my enemy pays a hacker a pretty penny for them, and when my computer guy wipes them away in an afternoon, its back to the drawing board.  I don't know.  Maybe the hacker doesn't want to shut me down entirely because I am too interesting to kill off entirely.  I don't know.  All I know is that somehow I keep going.  Yes, I plan on getting a tablet and using that as a second computer.

194
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 01:24:21 pm »
What you need to know about hardware keyloggers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_keylogger


According to Wiki, retrieving the hardware keyloger requires physical access, and I don't see that happening.

195
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 01:17:20 pm »
I could throw my computer out of the window and not miss a beat.

Open a couple of cloud storage accounts (I use Dropbox and Google) and back up your data to those on a regular basis. We all like to think we're Stephen King but the truth is no one cares about your half-finished manuscript at Dropbox. It's a safe place to put stuff. You can, like someone suggested, back things up onto an external hard drive but they are just as vulnerable to attack and viruses as your PC.

Use a web-based email account and ditch Outlook, which is clunky anyway. In the olden days it used to be cheesy not to have an email account with your domain name but that is no longer the case. Email addresses are disposable. Or use a domain forwarder to gmail or somesuch.

Use online services like calendars and address books which also interact with your cell phone. I can get at my files from anywhere.

I made Outlook, when it was hotmail, web-based.  I have roughly 3,000 emails and fifty folders.  I store mss. on it.  I have SugarSynch as a backup, though that is identified as malware by some anti-virus systems.  I've never tested it by asking them to retrieve a document.  My idea of going wide, so to speak, is getting a tablet and using it as a second computer until I can sort out the difficulty on my PC.

196
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 12:18:57 pm »
If you want to "switch" to Linux, I'd plan to spend some serious learning time as Crenel said. Linux is just the underlying OS (of which there are different distributions) and there are a variety of different "desktops" which is more the human interface part. Some distributions include multiple desktops. I have a number of Windows machines, a Mac, and I had a Linux server that I built, but when it died, I didn't bother repairing it.

Frankly, without knowing what your online business needs are, it's hard to say what is a solution to your problem.


I like to press a button and feel safe.  AVG or Avast or Zone Alarm, etc.  I don't know that i'm capable of constructing a good solution to this particular line of attack.  But I'm going to try since having the computer come to me is expensive.

197
Writers' Cafe / Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 12:12:02 pm »
Crenel:

How can a keylogger be hardware!  Good grief!  I can't possibly change all my passwords.  I don't know what my treat level is.  I had AVG and I thought that was protecting me.  Guess not.

198
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 11:13:59 am »
It is a free and open source operating system. Over 95% of the severs in the world run on Linux.

I've been using it as my primary OS for more than a decade now. I use windows, as I said, for Photoshop and games but that's it, so I dual boot with my Linux install on my big HD and Windows on a 360GB slave drive with a shared NTFS partition on the main drive so I can share files between he two if I need to. I have switched between stock Ubuntu and derivatives mostly over the years, Linux Mint 17.1 which I am using now is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, it is a fork or derivative of Ubuntu and Ubuntu in turn is based on Debian Linux.   

This is the distro I am currently using:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wAH2Ax-9mw

I'm at least a country mile behind you technically.  So, I have a 1.8 Giga Hertz processor with a fair amount of RAM.  Do I install it on my system, so that if Windows part is attacked, the Linux part survives?

199
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 10:39:03 am »
It's a free download, I would recommend Linux Mint or Ubuntu, just Google those. A 4GB Thumb Drive is sufficient and there are instruction on how to create a Live Thumb Drive on most Linux distributions sites, I use a program called Unetbootin very easy to do, you just need to format the thumb drive to FAT 32 then it does the rest

Does it replace Windows?  How does it work?

200
Writers' Cafe / Re: Re: Denial Of Service Attack - Update
« on: June 18, 2015, 09:58:58 am »
You have the full subscription version and an up to date anti-virus? Because malwarebytes has a free version that will remove things, but won't do a thing for stopping infections.

I do tech support and I'll say this right now. You seem to think there's some attacker out there, but 95% of virus infections I've dealt with are from trojans. People click on something they shouldn't, download something, go to an unsavory site. If anyone is getting a virus or malware infection more than once every four or five years, you probably should look at some information about how to be a safer web surfer.

I guess I have the free version of Malware bytes.   I have had an online enemy for decades. actually.

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