More from: Uncategorized

From Russia with Love? Your Home Firewall may be spying on you.

There was a concern when electric meters were modernized to allow remote reading that the meters were really being modified by insidious dark forces to  spy on homeowners. There was even a joke that went something like:

My wife asked me why I was carrying my gun around the house. I told her “Decepticons”. She laughed. I laughed. The toaster laughed. I shot the toaster. Good times.

There is a lot of truth in humor: sometimes more than we want to admit.

The router brands that almost everyone uses to connect to their Internet utility could now be part of a widespread hacked Internet of Things (IoT) network known as VPNFilter. For now it is thought to be targeting Ukraine but there are over half a million hijacked routers so far. The hack installs itself and cannot be removed by rebooting the router. This is a VERY GOOD REASON to change your old LinkSys router to use the (free) OpenWrt Project instead of the factory supplied LinkSys OS and deny access to control the router from outside your LAN. At the least, you can read up on the OpenWRT project web site to understand more about how software is installed in your router, and how to restore your router to its factory original state.

People install OpenWrt because they believe it works better than the stock firmware from their vendor. They find it is more stable, offers more features, is more secure and has better support.

This just in email from DarkReading.com

More than 500K home/SOHO routers and storage devices worldwide commandeered in potential nation-state attack weapon

So far, the infected devices that make up the backbone of VPNFilter include Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, and TP-Link home routers and QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

Cisco stopped short of naming Russian state-sponsored hackers as the attackers behind VPNFilter, but also didn’t rule it out, especially with the BlackEnergy connection and Ukraine-specific attack network. “The code overlap we saw was an exact copy, including even an error,” Williams says.

The entire article can be found at https://www.darkreading.com/threat-intelligence/destructive-vpnfilter-attack-network-uncovered/d/d-id/1331886


IRS issues notice on state and local tax deductions

IRS Newswire is an IRS e-mail service. If you know someone who might want to subscribe to this mailing list, please forward this message to them so they can subscribe.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice today stating that proposed regulations will be issued addressing the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes. Notice 2018-54 also informs taxpayers that federal law controls the characterization of the payments for federal income tax purposes regardless of the characterization of the payments under state law.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limited the amount of state and local taxes an individual can deduct in a calendar year to $10,000. In response to this new limitation, some state legislatures have adopted or are considering legislative proposals allowing taxpayers to make payments to specified entities in exchange for a tax credit against state and local taxes owed.

The upcoming proposed regulations, to be issued in the near future, will help taxpayers understand the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions and the new statutory limitation on the deduction of state and local taxes.

Taxpayers should also be aware the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are continuing to monitor other legislative proposals being considered to ensure that federal law controls the characterization of deductions for federal income tax filings.

The limitation imposed by the TCJA applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026.

Updates on the implementation of the TCJA can be found on the Tax Reform page of IRS.gov.


Legislators Meet for  Special Session

Today in email from Indiana district 15 Senator Liz Brown:

Earlier this week, the General Assembly reconvened for a one-day special session to pass a handful of important bills, including measures to increase funding for school security and align Indiana with the major federal tax reform passed in 2017.

House Enrolled Act 1230 provides additional funding for school security and requires the Department of Education to conduct an audit of every school’s safety plan in the wake of the February school shooting in Florida. HEA 1230 allows up to $5 million for the Indiana Secured School Grant Program and up to $35 million from the Common School Fund to be used for school security-related equipment and capital projects.

 House Enrolled Act 1315 provides emergency assistance to aid the turnaround efforts in Indiana’s only two financially distressed school corporations – Muncie and Gary. More importantly, from a statewide perspective, HEA 1315 establishes a process to annually monitor the financial health of all school districts so the state can provide support for local turnaround efforts without the need for more drastic interventions like what became necessary in Muncie and Gary.

House Enrolled Acts 1316 and 1242 update Indiana’s tax code and other tax policies to respond to recent federal changes, including the major tax reform legislation passed in 2017. Without this legislation, Indiana businesses could face $100 million in increased tax compliance costs because they would have to keep two sets of accounting records – one for state taxes and another for federal taxes.

These four bills were in final form at the end of the regular session in March, but ultimately did not pass due to time constraints.

The process set forth by legislative leaders was the most transparent and efficient for a special session to date, and while we should’ve completed our work in March, I believe we set an example for the future.

Click here to view the full versions of the bills.


Windows 10 Delete Fingerprint Data

How to remove fingerprints from Windows 10

If you ever delete an account from Windows 10 BUT FORGET to FIRST delete all the fingerprint data belonging to that account, the fingerprint data stays forever in that specific device. The only way you can create another account and use your fingerprints to login again is to get new fingerprints. 8*)

But there is a fix! Following the threads all afternoon I eventually came across this thread on Microsoft’s support blog. https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/93a122ff-3455-4b29-b3e8-2b72d49d19e3/windows-81-delete-all-fingerprint-data?forum=w81previtpro

DELETE C:\Windows\System32\WinBioDatabase\[GUID].DAT file and then restart the computer.

I had to boot into a Linux partition to get enough “administrator rights” to delete the files, but once deleted I could once more use the fingerprint functionality.

 


Bios Time Windows vs. Everyone Else

locked-computer-cartoonWindows stores time on the BIOS clock as Local Time, while other systems use UTC time. This means if you dual boot Windows with another system the clock will be messed up. Windows can be told to use UTC in the BIOS clock by a registry edit.

Add the key:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation]
“RealTimeIsUniversal”=dword:00000001