Facebook Scraping SMS and Call logs

In case you haven’t heard or know about this Facebook scraped (grabbed/uploaded and stored!) call, text message data for years from Android phones! [Read about it here – https://goo.gl/acrfJW]

[Many are saying that this didn’t/couldn’t happen on iPhones, but I believe that as much as I believe that Facebook when they say

“.. that the company keeps the data secure and does not sell it to third parties”.]

For years now, I have never used Facebook Messenger on any phones, ever; I tested the app security a couple times and during install it requested accesses to all kinds of stuff including sms and phone logs, contact information access to phone storage etc.. (I have a security extension (X Privacy – requires root) that lets you see EVERY process an application requests access to. I saw the permissions the application asked for and knew it would be bad. Looks like, I was right.

To access messenger messages I use a computer Browser or a web session on my phone set to use the ‘desktop agent’. I’ll explain that at the bottom of this post.

So what to do now if you’re one of those who have been snared:

On phone app:

How to manage contact uploading with the Facebook App.

Facebook will upload your contacts from your device if you have continuous uploading turned on. To turn off continuous uploading in the Facebook app:

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  2. Tap App Settings.
  3. Tap Continuous Contacts Upload to turn this setting on or off.

You can also tap Sync Your Call and Text History to turn this setting on or off. Syncing your call and text history makes it easier to connect you to your friends.

How do I delete contacts I uploaded to Facebook?

To delete contacts you’ve uploaded to Facebook:

  1. Go to the Manage Invites and Imported Contacts page.
  2. Tap the box next to the contacts you want to delete.
  3. Tap Delete Selected.

You can view or remove your uploaded contacts on the Manage Invites and Imported Contacts page.

Now if you wish to view messages on your phone without the FB messenger you can login to your Facebook account with a browser (for that I use Opera) and set the ‘user agent’ option to desktop – this will tell the FB servers that you are connecting from a computer and not a phone. [Just make sure the address you type in the address bar is https://facebook.com and NOT m.facebook.com – the ‘m’ sets it to mobile.

Open Opera Mobile Browser:

Tap on Opera Menu and you’ll see Settings option, tap Settings

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In the settings scroll down to the Content section and you’ll find the Default user Agent setting.

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Tap that and you can set the agent to Desktop

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Now when you open that Browser and go to a website you’ll see the ‘desktop’ version and not the mobile version. Like I said I use this for Facebook to check/send messages and also see differences in how FB presents things on my timeline based on the agent.

Block a phone number or contact iPhone

Block a phone number or contact iPhone

There are a few ways that you can block a phone number or contact.

Phone

If you’re in the Phone app under Recents, tap  next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll to the bottom of your screen, then tap Block this Caller.

FaceTime

If you’re in the FaceTime app, tap  next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll to the bottom of your screen, then tap Block this Caller.

Messages

If you’re in Messages, open the conversation, tap , then tap the name or phone number. Scroll to the bottom of the Info screen, then tap Block this Caller.

When you block a phone number or contact, they can still leave a voicemail, but you won’t get a notification. Messages that are sent or received won’t be delivered. Also, the contact won’t get a notification that the call or message was blocked.

Manage your blocked phone numbers and contacts

To see the phone numbers and contacts that you’ve blocked from Phone, FaceTime, or Messages:

Phone

Go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification.

FaceTime

Go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked.

Messages

Go to Settings > Messages > Blocked.

From these screens, you can add or unblock contacts or unblock phone numbers.

To add a contact from Phone, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact. Then tap the contact that you want to block. To add a contact from Messages or FaceTime, go to Settings > Messages or Settings > FaceTime, scroll down and tap Blocked, tap Add New, then select the contact that you want to block. To unblock a contact or phone number, swipe left over the number, then tap Unblock.

Filter iMessages from unknown senders

You can filter iMessages from people who aren’t saved in your Contacts.

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To filter iMessages, go to Settings > Messages and turn on Filter Unknown Senders.

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In Messages, you’ll see a new tab for Unknown Senders but you won’t get notifications for these iMessages.

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Report spam or junk in the Messages app

You can report iMessages that look like spam or junk from the Messages app. If you get an iMessage from someone who’s not saved in your Contacts, you’ll see a Report Junk link under the message. Tap the link to forward the sender’s information and the message to Apple.

To report SMS and MMS messages, contact your carrier.

Un-F@#k Facebook

I was logged into Facebook recently to search for and show someone something I saw posted. The person that was with started to freak! They said, “How come your Facebook looks so much different? Where’s all the other shtuff on the pages?”

I explained I use the F.B Purity extension (Available on Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers too) Formally called Facebook Flufbuster. It has been my go to extension to un-f@#k Facebook for some time now. I recommend it to many but they often don’t take the time to read the guides/how to’s on their site or just can’t get it to work as well I they saw on my browser(s).

So for those that are interested or care here you go.

Here’s a view from my timeline:

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Simple easy to read posts and no extemporaneous crap or distractions. Below are my current exact settings:

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Meltdown And Spectre info

I’m sure many have heard of the recent MASSIVE security holes found in computer processors.

The threat is real so you should take notice. Here is a good description  form Stu Sjourwerman of what it is and what to do.:

"Computer researchers have recently found out that the main chip in most modern computers—the CPU—has a hardware bug. It’s really a design flaw in the hardware that has been there for years. This is a big deal because it affects almost every computer on our network, including your workstation and all our servers.

This hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. Normally, applications are not able to do that because they are isolated from each other and the operating system. This hardware bug breaks that isolation.

So, if the bad guys are able to get malicious software running on your computer, they can get access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents. Not good.”

So, What Can We Doing About This?

You need to update and patch all machines on your network. This could to take some time, some of the patches are not even available yet.

In the meantime, we need you to be extra vigilant, with security top of mind and Think Before You Click.

Here is a good site with an FAQ and videos about this SNAFU, that you can refer people to if they want to know more. For instance, antivirus does not protect against this vulnerability.

Improving iPhone Battery Life

First thing to do is make sure there are no iOS updates awaiting installation.

If there are, run those.

Make sure you have more than 35% battery (Preferable to plug your phone into charger).

Tap Settings > General > Software Update.

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Tap Download and Install. If a message asks to temporarily remove apps because iOS needs more space for the update, tap Continue or Cancel. Later, iOS will reinstall apps that it removed.

Next:..

Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and take a look at the list. Do you really need all those apps updating themselves in the background and draining your battery life? Be ruthless and turn off all the apps you don’t need to update automatically. Remember, they’ll still update and work as normal when you fire them up, they just won’t keep running when you’re not using them. If you find that you don’t like the change, you can always head back into this section and toggle the apps back on again.

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Some apps will send you notifications that you don’t really need. Go to Settings > Notification Center and look under Include. Tap on any apps that you don’t need notifications from and choose None under the Alert Style, and then toggle Show in Navigation Center to off and Show on Lock Screen to off.

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You can have your iPhone update Music, Apps, and iOS automatically, but it will eat a lot of battery life. Your iPhone might also choose an inopportune moment to update everything. You can save power and battery life by going into Settings > iTunes & App Store and sliding Use Cellular Data to off, so it only updates on Wi-Fi. You’ll save even more if you just turn the automatic downloads off altogether and update on your own schedule.

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You don’t need AirDrop turned on all the time either, so swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Control Center and turn it off until you actually need it.

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Get along without iPad/iPhone Home Button

Home Button not Working on iPhone or iPad?

Here’s how to get along without it.

Extensive usage or actual damage can cause the home button can become unresponsive.

Using your iPod touch, iPhone or iPad without the Home Button CAN still be done via the touch screen.

You may have to restart you device and login freshly to get basic ‘home/start page’

Here’s how:

1. Open Settings.

2. Go to General > Accessibility

3. Scroll down to the section labeled INTERACTION and tap on AssistiveTouch.

4. On the next screen, toggle AssistiveTouch to the green On position.

5. A white circle with a grey box will appear on screen. Tap this circle to expand it to a big box on screen. The square Home button at the bottom of the box functions exactly like the physical home button – you can use it to single tap, double tap, or long press the home button even if there is a hardware problem. The grey box remains visible and usable in all apps.

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This will put a little ‘Circle’ clip_image004 on your screen that when tapped will bring up this menu:

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You will now have a ‘home button’ you can use.

Fix Microsoft Outlook – Exchange Is Unavailable, Outlook Must Be Online Or Connected

While setting up a few new users I was getting an error while trying to add a new email account.
While walking through the default setup – simply launching Outlook on a new users profile (who, of course, has and email account associated with his AD account) Outlook gave an error message that said, "The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action."

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Now, I know that I’m online on the domain – the new user authenticated. AND I could ping the Exchange server via name too. Also since there are other users on this device and it’s fairly new I was pretty sure that it’s not a system error.

It finally seemed that the user (PC) was not able to see our domain controller as the global catalog server and hence was not able to find our mail server via Active Directory. [Why this was happening on only this user will have to be further investigated Smile ]

Per MS – This behavior occurs when the Exchange Server computer (where the Outlook client is homed) and the global catalog server are both located in a site that is remote from the Outlook client location. (article here).

The fix:

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type regedit.exe, and then click OK.
  3. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\Exchange Provider
    Note You may have to create the registry path.

  4. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:

    Value name: DS Server
    Data type: REG_SZ (string)
    Value data: FQDN of the global catalog server ( ourDC.domain.local )

Restart the PC and you should be able to reopen Microsoft Outlook and run through your profile set up. If finding the global catalog server was the issue, the problem should now be resolved and the email account should now properly add properly.

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Another LastPass vulnerability

Because I have so very many usernames and passwords, I must use some sort of password database manager.
For sometime now I have been using KeePass – an open source password manager.
Though it using it ‘can’ be slightly more onerous than a completely ‘online’ password manager like LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane or the like, it provides for WAY more security by enabling you to ‘own’ the database AND a seed file. And being an IT security guy here is no way I’d put my passwords in the cloud.

KeePass is technically an offline password manager, but its database can be synced between computers with a service like Dropbox, Google Drive or the like. Of course, at that point, you’re putting your passwords back in the cloud. BUT if you have created a KeyFile and don’t place that in the cloud and use something that is not obvious. You eliminate the ability for someone to just steal your password database and start brute forcing it.

Okay so now some more bad news. LastPass, probably the most widely used online password keeper, is once again in the news for some VERY serious security flaws.

You might want to rethink your password manager solutions or go back to pen and paper.

How to Access Local and USB Hard Drives In Your Hyper-V Virtual Machine

There are dozens of scenarios where you would want to access a physical hard drive from inside your Hyper-V virtual machine ranging from accessing and importing data, dumping data from the virtual machine into the external drive, and importing or exporting disc images.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to access an existing local hard drive in your Hyper-V machine it’s, unfortunately, a bit complicated giving the drives access to the virtual machine. Unlike other virtualization solutions (VMware and VirtualBox) there is no easy way to just share resources between the host machine and the Hyper-V virtual machine.

To use a drive within a Hyper-V machine you need to take the drive, while physically attached and mounted to the host machine, offline and then reroute the offline-to-the-host disk into the virtual machine. Let’s take a look at how to do that now.

A quick note before we proceed: this trick only works with hard drives (magnetic hard drives, solid-state hard drives, and removable USB hard drives) but does not work, alas, with removable media like flash drives.

Drive Preparation and Mounting In Hyper-V

There are two primary steps to the procedure. First we need to manage the disk from within Windows on the host machine to bring it offline (but still powered and attached to the host computer) and then we need to tell Hyper-V to take control of the now-offline disk.

Preparing the Drive

The first step is to bring the disk offline. To do so open up the Disk Management application by searching for the application name or typing “diskmgmt.msc” in the search box and running the app. Within Disk Management look for the drive you wish to pass through to the virtual machine.

Although it’s probably safe to assume, since you’re playing around with Hyper-V and concerned with matters like physical-disk-pass-through, that you’re already familiar with Disk Management it would be remiss of us not to issue a standard warning: Disk Management is a powerful tool and you can do terrible things to your system by mucking about within the management system. Double check each step and make sure you’re working with the right disk(s).

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In our case we want to pass Disk 10, a USB backup HDD, through to the virtual machine so we can dump some backup files from our virtual machine onto the disk. To prepare the disk we must first locate it in the list of drives within Disk Management, right click on it, and select “Offline” from the right-click context menu as seen in the screenshot above.

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Confirm the disk is offline. If you wish to bring the disk back online, after you’re done using it within the virtual machine, simply return to this menu, right click on the disk, and select “Online” to bring the disk back online for the host operating system.

Adding the Drive to the Virtual Machine

Once the disk is offline to the host operating system it’s time to add the disk to the virtual machine within Hyper-V. Launch Hyper-V and, from your Virtual Machines list, select the machine you wish to pass the hard disk through to.

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Right click on the machine and select “Settings…”

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From within the Settings menu for that specific virtual machine, select “SCSI Controller” from the left hand navigation pane. Select “Hard Drive” and click the “Add” button.

Note: We’ve presumed you wish to pass the hard drive through to the virtualized operating system which means you already have a SCSI controller and virtual disk for the OS. If you do not yet have a SCSI controller you will need to first select “Add Hardware” at the top of the navigation pane and add a “SCSI Controller” to your virtual machine.

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Select “Physical hard disk” and then, from the drop down menu, select the disk you brought offline in the previous section of the tutorial. Don’t worry there’s no chance you’ll accidentally select a disk from the host machine that you didn’t intend to use. The only disks you can select in the physical hard disk menu are disks that are powered and attached to the host machine but in an offline state. If you didn’t put it offline it isn’t even an option.

Confirm the disk selected is the disk you want. Press the “Apply” button and then “OK”. Boot up your virtual machine.

Accessing Your Pass-through Hard Disk

In the vast majority of cases the disk should be automatically detected by the host operating system as if it was simply a physical disk attached to the real machine the virtual machine is emulating.

If the disk isn’t immediately accessible to the virtual machine operating system you may need to open up, in the case of Windows, Disk Management and bring the disk online. When using other operating systems you’ll need to perform an equivalent action to access the disk through the virtual OS.

A very important word of caution here. The OS in the virtual machine has no idea that this disk actually belongs to your host machine and it will act upon the disk however you tell it to act upon the disk. If the disk does not automatically mount in your virtual machine OS you need to use a mounting procedure (refer to documentation for the particular OS in question) to mount the disk in the non-destructive way so that it can be returned to the host operating system later on.

When you no longer need the disk in the virtual machine simply boot down the virtual machine. Do not attempt to make changes to the drive state via the host machine until you’ve turned off the virtual machine the drive is connected to.

You can outright remove the hard drive from the virtual SCSI controller in your virtual machine if you aren’t going to use it again or you can leave the entry. Any time the physical drive is disconnected from the host machine or you’ve made it online for the host operating system the drive will simply appear as unavailable to the virtual machine.

Fix Elevated applications not having access to mapped drives

Fix Elevated applications not having access to mapped drives

One of the side effects of UAC is the inability to access the mapped (over net use) network drives from the applications running in privileged mode (Run As Administrator). This means that when you run the command prompt or an application (like SpecWin) with elevated privileges, they won’t display the disk letters of the mounted network shares.

A quick way to show what this looks like. Open command prompt, as a regular user, not an administrator and run/enter:

net use

Your screen should look something like this:

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And if you change directories and looked at what’s there, it would look something like this

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If you run the command prompt ‘As Administrator’ the prompt will look something like this:

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If you try and change drives you will get something like this:

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This behavior of the system can lead to some inconveniences when trying to run apps elevated often.

Why does it happen? This peculiarity is connected with UAC mechanism for a user with the local administrator privileges. The matter is that when this user signs in, two access tokens are created: the first token provides access without the administrator privileges (the filtered access token, with which most apps are run) and the second is the administrator token with full privileges in the system (all apps approved elevated in UAC are run using it).

When connecting shared network folders, they are associated with the current session for the current process access token and are not available with another token.

There is a solution. To implement it, you have to make some changes to the registry:

Open the registry editor (regedit.exe)

Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

Create a new parameter (DWORD type) with the name EnableLinkedConnections and the value 1

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Restart your computer

After the computer has been restarted, make sure that you have access to the network drives from the apps run with the administrator privileges.

How it works. After you enable EnableLinkedConnections parameter of the registry, LanmanWorkstation and LSA will check if there is the second access token associated to the session of the current user. If this token is found, the list of the mounted network drives will be copied from one token to another. Thus, the network drives mounted elevated will be seen in the standard mode, and vice versa.

Ref:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3035277/mapped-drives-are-not-available-from-an-elevated-prompt-when-uac-is-configured-to-prompt-for-credentials-in-windows

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee844140(v=ws.10).aspx

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/49e551df-8e18-45fa-b4bf-923b5a317337/windows-8-issue-with-drive-mapping-and-uac-enabled-enablelinkedconnections?forum=w81previtpro