TFA (Two-Factor Authentication) a.k.a., 2FA


Something I mentioned in answer to a question about hacked websites and hacked Gmail this morning, while I thought it relatively new, has (now that I think about it….) been around for many years! By that, I mean decades. Way back when, before the Internet was known to so many people, we had really cool two-factor authentication services up and running at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, in Sunnyvale, CA.240px-lockheed-logo_winnie-mae

So, enough with the history, already….

Today, you can find many purveyors of this security feature. Below, I’ve included links to two articles on Google’s offering and two articles on Apple’s versions. Enjoy!

LifeHacker’s Article on TFA

Another LifeHacker Article on TFA

Two-factor authentication for Apple ID

And, one more, from Apple….

Security How-To: Enable two-factor authentication on iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan

Considerations Prior To Your Windows 10 Upgrade

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  1. Is it necessary?
    The simple answer is, no. While that answer assumes you are happy with your current Windows 7 or 8 operating system, the answer is further qualified or disqualified by benefits and the all-important idea – Free (until July of next year), which is a pretty good deal.
  2. What are the benefits?
    Long ago, I learned to use the sage advice of others to answer my questions. It would take several blog posts to fully detail all of the benefits of using the new Windows 10 OS. So, here is a link to several articles others have written. Do your research and decide for yourself. The primary reason for my upgrade is, that’s just how it is with me. I must run Windows 10, so I’ll know how to help you. And, I like it.
  3. What are the drawbacks?

    Advice extracted from this article: “Better the Devil ye ken, than the Devil ye don’t” — those are wise words, born of much pain.

  4. Why not wait?
    If it really doesn’t interest you, or it doesn’t matter in the least, there’s no reason to not simply wait. Watch the dust settle, or just go outside for some fresh air – it’s so nice in the desert, this time of year! Eventually, Microsoft will issue hundreds of patches and probably, “Service Pack 1,” as it has for other versions of Windows. By that time, Windows 10 should be pretty stable. End your waiting prior to July 28, 2016, however, if you want a free Windows 10 upgrade.
  5. Links I’ve used while writing this post:


Today, I was going to take the plunge with Margaret’s computer. My wife has little interest in the version of Windows running on her computer. When I asked her if she would like me to upgrade to Windows 10, she laughed (the best result I can get….) and said, “You may as well ask me if I want the X11 refrigerator! Does it keep things cold? Then, yes.”

The answer to your question is, yes. I think a Windows 10 upgrade, for most people, should have little impact. For power users, it is definitely a meaningful upgrade.

Kim Komando is a great source for advice about Windows 10. She is far more paranoid about the “security risks” of having Microsoft track your activities than I am, however. Still, her site provides a wealth of information about things worth considering before you make the leap to Windows 10.

Thanks, again, Kim!


Image from Kim’s website, click for the original article.

Will full attribution to “America’s Digital Goddess”
– I say, “Thank you, so much!” Kim Komando has been at this a lot longer than I have…

After you read the referenced article (on, you may find a deeper appreciation for the tech guys and gals who can actually work through all of the steps suggested by her advice!

My advice differs, quite a bit, actually. There are several tools we use to restore your computer to working order. If you want to spend a couple of days learning about malware and what it takes to remove it, I suggest: Bleeping Computer or Malwarebytes websites. The punchline is; right there on the home page of Bleeping Computer:

There are 1018 Virus Removal Guides.

But seriously, folks… If you should find yourself at Kim’s last step (of the 3 simple steps…), where the only solution is to wipe your drive clean and re-install your operating system, I really wish you had called me sooner! Also, if you are not backing up your data, we really need to talk.

When a virus won’t go away, or has damaged your computer software past the point of repair, there’s only one solution left. You have to wipe the hard drive and reinstall your operating system.

My next post should be about your second computer. What?
Did you just say you don’t have one? NO-OH-OH! Cringe, heavy sigh.

At Mousehelp, we provide compassionate care for people with computers.
Yes, you can simply search for Palm Desert Computer Repair.
Need help with your online presence? We do SEO, websites and blogs, too!

14K+ Unread Emails

inboxoverloadThis is what happens when you use an email address as your “sacrificial lamb” for subscriptions and any other, “sign up to get this” call to action. You end up with a bunch of stuff you’ll never read. Google gives you a ton of storage space for your email inbox, so you don’t have to worry too much about cleaning it up, unless you let it go on for years, as I have. Going through this history does provide some perspective on where you’ve been, how far you’ve come, and the many paths you’ve explored to get where you are today!

One thing I did glean from a recent review is that Google is pretty good at identifying spam and scam emails. I found a couple of great examples of well crafted scam messages that might trick an average computer user into taking action. My original intention in this post was to share some details about that with you. Instead, I’m going to farm this out to Kim Komando and her post about scams that come around again….


Hacked Facebook Message Exchange

facebook hacked message exchange

Scammer: I was just wondering if you have heard about the empowerment program in conjunction with Facebook Active user Compensation bonus ,the program is to help people and maintain good standard of living of all the entire community,have you gotten any bonus money from David Mott.

Me: I had not heard of this. Tell me more.

Scammer: The promotion was made to some facebook user in other to benefit from them its a randomly picked of profile on facebook and get $150,000.00 did you get yours from them ???

Me: Can we talk on the phone? I’d like details, but this is the first I’ve heard.

Scammer: i thought you have receive your Money,because i saw your name on the winners list when the ups came to my door step to deliver my $150,000,00 cash to me in person
my phone fell into water last night and i have already order a new phone but they haven;t came to deliver it to me yet

At this point, I’ve decided to call the Facebook user/owner of this account and let her know that somebody is using her account to exchange messages with me. Seems this was already known and I was simply the next person to find out about it.

So, what do you do when your Fb account gets hacked? Obviously, you would instantly change your password, but I think a logged in account will be useful until the user logs out. My recommendation, download your data from Fb, establish a new account under a different email address and delete the hacked account. This is an arduous process (I’ve done it for one of my clients), but worth the effort.

I’m not really sure why I wanted to share this with you, but if it helps anyone to be more careful with passwords, then some good comes of it.

One Last Thing

header dataBefore I turn in tonight, I’m going to post. Since I made time this afternoon to record another video for my YouTube channel, I thought I should write a bit to promote it.

This new video will show you how to examine the header data of an email message in Outlook. It’s a bit technical, but that’s easily ignored. Confirming your suspicions is what counts!


IE Exploit and Windows XP

Here’s my grateful shout out to Dominique Fruchtman, of Desert Cow Computers, for alerting me to this new exploit!

Take your pick of sources on this report. It is, as the title suggests, a major security hole in Microsoft’s web browser, made worse by their discontinuing support for XP.exploit IE

So long ago, I wrote an article where I recommend a simple solution: Stop using IE. Standards based browsers (Chrome or Firefox) are simply better for users and programmers. Recently one of my clients showed me an online application they use that will not run in other browsers. This application will only run in IE 10, with compatibility enabled! Why anyone would program anything to run with IE in the first place is a mystery to me.

Back to the subject problem…. Using IE on Windows XP is not enough to cause you to get infected or hacked; you have to actually go to a website that hosts the malicious code, or open an email attachment or link that produces the same result. The problem is; you won’t know something is wrong until it’s too late! The same rules apply as always, don’t talk to strangers, know who sends you email, and watch for obvious signs of spam and scam email messages. Here’s something I wrote four years ago now, about how easy it is to get a virus. A brief update to that piece would be; don’t allow anyone from “Windows Support” to remotely access your computer.

One last word: You really should be leaving XP and moving on to Windows 7 (or 8, if you must), so you can get Windows Updates from Microsoft. The majority of their updates are created to plug security holes. Without their updates, you are left to wonder and worry about the vulnerability of your computer. Also, switch to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, avoid IE as a rule.

Call your local computer support professional and upgrade to a new computer.

OK, seriously, the last word: Here’s a link to a cheeky article from the register, with a catchy title and a dire warning.

Avoiding Scams

Talk to someone you trust. MouseHelp_BC_300If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft (or “Windows”), ask yourself one question: “What is the likelihood of Microsoft ever calling you for any reason?” Then call someone you trust to check your computer for malware. The image below is from, where they’ve posted several articles that do a much better job of illustrating my point. This one is really good!

If you’d like to do the research yourself, here are links to pages from Microsoft, the FTC, and the Better Business Bureau. Each will tell you this is a scam.

Orange Man Telemarketing or Phone Support

The bottom line is this; nobody will call you from Microsoft, or from “Windows”, to help you with your computer. They want your money and they want you to give them access to your computer, so they can install their malware on it, which will allow them to further extort money from you.

You’ve heard it said before; “Just say no!” Save yourself the grief, the money, the aggravation, and the potential for digital disaster. Call me and I’ll help you by cleaning up your computer and by providing a bit of training, so you can keep it clean yourself.

According to Kim Komando


According to Kim Komando (yes, that’s her real name)

“Hackers now targeting your router”

Now, what am I supposed to do? If you are using WiFi at home, you may need to change the password on your router. That is an understatement. Seriously, you really SHOULD create a good password for your network.
Running an open wireless network would be like never locking the doors to your home or car – eventually somebody is going to become an intruder. In the case of your network, you may have much to lose!

The number of people who have the technology and sophistication required to spy on you via your wireless network may be extremely small. On the other hand, updating your router’s firmware, getting a better router, and changing your password – as suggested in the above post – are all good ideas. Call me for help.
Mousehelp at Rouzell

Computer Viruses – How to Get One


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Here is an article I wrote back in April of 2010 – edited for brevity.

Computer Viruses – How to Get One

(Nastiness Delivered Via Internet and Email)

Here are the steps to making sure you have a virus:

  • You click a link to some unknown website.
  • Your computer reports some sort of “malware”.
  • You panic and click the “Please Save Me” button on the page.
  • After all, they did offer to disinfect your computer.
  • Now you have the virus for sure – ouch!
  • Did you just give them your credit card number?
  • Panic has now become extreme panic.

You should call your bank to alert them that someone in the wild world of cyberspace now has your credit card information (if you did fall for that trick). Chances are; your bank won’t ask you if you would like a new card. They will simply tell you; “We are cancelling your credit card and we will be sending a new one to you.” Of course, they’ll put you through the usual drill to ascertain your identity.

That is just one of many scenarios illustrating how easy it is to contract a computer virus. Clicking on “some unknown website” is something many people do quite often through normal searching activity. Another way you can get one is by opening email from an unknown sender. Expanding on that topic could fill an entire page of instructions on how to manage email, so we’ll simply discuss a few senders to avoid.

You will not receive email from the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, or any other package carrier. They just don’t send email to customers out of the blue. So, please do not open email from any sender that says your package was not delivered. It simply is not true. There was no package, the delivery service did not send the email. You should delete it, or add the sender to your blocked senders, or do both. If you do open one of these messages, you are inviting a virus into your computer. Dire consequences include a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, anger, and anguish brought on by knowing you just did something you should not have done.

Likewise, unless you have subscribed to online notification from your financial institution, you will not receive email from your bank. The bad guys have become quite skilled at representing well known banks in a way that looks very official. The email looks like it came from a bank, and usually the message says something to raise concern, like your account status is in question. But don’t be fooled. Do not open that email. If you are truly concerned, you can pull out a bank statement, find the customer service number and call your bank directly to discuss the issue. Or, you can simply delete the email, or add the sender to your blocked senders or do both.

To review:

  • If you get to a website that reports your computer has a virus, close that web page.
  • If you get an email from some delivery service reporting non-delivery, do not open that email.
  • Email messages from financial services providers should only be opened if you have subscribed to their notification service.

Your security software cannot prevent you from going to a website that may download malware to your computer.
It cannot prevent you from opening an email message that contains a virus payload.

This is your responsibility. This is the portent of this article. You must arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to prevent you from inadvertently introducing the nasty stuff to your computer in the first place.

Do you think you have a virus? Do you need help with malware removal?
Contact me at and I’ll be there to help you.