How to open an encrypted message after receiving a notification

Once you  receive an encrypted message from our practice by email, you will complete the following steps.

You will receive a message that looks like this:

This is what the encrypted message notice looks like.

Click on the link that says, “Click here to view your message.”

The link will take you to our secure message portal, where you will see your message.  If you have not yet created a password for our secure message portal, you will be prompted to do that before you can view the message.

In order to view the full report, please click on the link that says, “Final Report.pdf.”

When you click on the link, depending on your browser settings, you may see an option for saving or simply viewing the PDF document. If you have trouble with this step, please contact your IT department.

Whether you save or view the PDF, you will see something like the example below when opening the document.

FBI issues another warning about tech support phone scams

I’m pasting this in verbatim, because The FBI has very effectively communicated the extent of the problem. Be very careful about giving remote access to your computers to people you don’t know and trust!

3 November 2014

Alert Number

The IC3 has produced Scam Alerts in the past advising the public of an ongoing telephone scam in which callers purport to be an employee of a major software company. The callers have strong foreign accents. The callers report the user’s computer is sending error messages and numerous viruses have been detected. The caller convinces the user to give them permission to run a program allowing the caller to gain remote access. The caller advises the virus can be removed for a fee.

Intimidation tactics used in this scam have influenced victims to pay fees associated with the removal of alleged viruses. It has been reported to the IC3 an individual who paid the required fees, later received a call advising the victim the funds paid for the services went to India and were used to purchase weapons for ISIS. The call came with an additional request for money to remove the victim’s name from a black list.

In a new twist to the tech support scam, cyber criminals attempt to defraud using another avenue. The scam is executed while a user is browsing the Internet. In this scenario, a website being viewed provided a link to articles related to popular topics. The user clicked the link and was redirected to a website which produced a window that advised the user’s computer had been hacked. Another window was displayed that contained a telephone number to obtain assistance. The user reported all attempts to close the windows were ineffective. Upon calling the number for assistance the user was connected with an individual who spoke with a heavy foreign accent claiming to be an Apple representative. During the process the user’s web browser was hijacked. Restarting the computer in an attempt to regain access to the Web produced another message with a different telephone number to obtain assistance.

The execution of this fraud is similar to what was reported in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) dated 07/18/2013. The PSA reports on a version of ransomware that targets OS X Mac users. This version is not a malware; it appears as a webpage that uses JavaScript to load numerous iframes (browser windows) and requires victims to close each iframe. The cyber criminals anticipate victims will pay the requested ransom before realizing all iframes need to be closed. The full PSA can be found at

If you are a victim of this scam or a similar scheme it is suggested:

To file a complaint at www.IC3.GOV
Resist the pressure to act quickly
Be cautious of clicking on unknown links

The POODLE exploit

If you’re on the web much, have any online banking accounts or watch TV news, you’ve probably heard about POODLE in the last few weeks.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to post some links here for those of you who are interested to peruse.

What you need to know about the SSLv3 “POODLE” flaw (CVE-2014-3566)

If you use the Internet at all, you’ll want to disable SSLv3 on the apps you use, too.  Here’s how you can disable SSLv3.

And, once again, I want to encourage EVERYONE to backup!  Please call us if you need help setting up a backup system.  Or, please just click on this link to buy Carbonite now.

Stay safe out there!

Wired technology writer suffers a major hack

Matt Honan recently found his digital life in a shambles. Bad guys were able to access his online accounts AND his personal computer.  They wiped every shred of data from his MacBook.

If Matt Honan, a technical writer for Wired Magazine,  can get hacked in such a fashion, so can any of us.  We now rely on our computers and the Internet for almost everything!  We store photos on our computers and in the cloud. We bank online. Who doesn’t order stuff online? Almost nobody!

The question is, what can you do to protect your accounts and your data?

Are you backing up your data?  If you are, are you backing up the right data?  

ConnectNC takes data protection seriously.  If you need our help getting the right stuff backed up, please give us call or open a ticket.  We have several backup options available, and can develop a plan for you or your business.

Read Matt’s story here:

Unexpected email with an unexpected link? Don’t click on it!

FedEx Bad Email


No matter what Internet Security software you’ve installed (you DO have something installed, right?), don’t ever click on a link you receive from an unexpected source!  These can include, but are not limited to, notices from FedEx about a shipment to you, or that you sent, Verizon (or other company) phone bill that is extremely high, notice from a bank (with which you probably don’t even have an account) or any other official-looking notice from a company asking you to click on something.

Read the message carefully.  You’ll almost always see poor grammar, spelling and punctuation. There will often be odd contradictions.  In the email to the left, the sender claims to be FedEx, but asks you to go to your US Post Office for a package.

There may be otherwise empty email messages from friends, too, that contain a link.  Never click on those either!  That’s a hallmark of a hijacked email account.  Let your friend know to change his or her account password asap.

If it’s too late because you’ve already clicked and installed a trojan, give us a call:  910-695-7068.

Please review your tax information Phishing Scam

If you receive a message purporting to be from Intuit Inc with a subject similar to “Please review your tax information,” Do not open the message or click on any links. Do not respond. Simply trash the message.

Here’s the text of the message that’s circulating now.

With a view to guarantee that precise data is being maintained on our systems, and to be able to grant you better quality of service; INTUIT INC. has participated in the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Name and TIN Matching Program.

We have found out, that your name and/or Social Security Number, that is stated on your account does not correspond to the information on file with the IRS.

In order to verify your account, please use the following link.


Corporate Headquarters
2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, CA 94043

Joomla Vulnerability Alert

According to Joomla developers, a weakness and a vulnerability have been reported in Joomla!, which can be exploited by malicious people to bypass certain security restrictions and conduct cross-site scripting attacks.

1. Certain unspecified input is not properly sanitized before being returned to the user. This can be exploited to execute arbitrary HTML and script code in a user’s browser session in context of an affected site.

This vulnerability is reported in versions prior to 1.7.3.

2. An error in the random number generation when resetting passwords can be exploited to change a user’s password.

This weakness is reported in versions prior to 1.7.3 and 1.5.25.

Solution: Update to version 1.7.3. or 1.5.25.