Jim Kotan's Blog

My blog to talk about a variety of "stuff"

Monday, August 30, 2021

T-Mobile, AT&T Hacked -- And are targeting customers!! How to protect yourself !!

 Greetings, folks !!  

MAN, I cannot believe how time has flown since my last post !!  

Please do send me emails asking questions, recommendations on more posts, or offering ideas on how this can be made better !! 

So, our latest items of serious note: 

1.  AT&T and T-Mobile have both been hacked.  

The Hackers and Scammers will phone you, send you text messages, emails, etc., attempting to convince you to give up your information.   They want to take over your phone, your account, everything they can.   

DO NOT EVER GIVE ANYONE (even me, if I'm helping you, at YOUR request) your private information.   Bank info, Social Security #, Passwords, Date Of Birth, ANYTHING unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN it's legitimate.  Reach out to ME to confirm something is legit or not.  If I do not know I will research it and get back to you.  If it's bogus I will show you links.   If I am sure it's good, I will STILL recommend caution, including MANUALLY go to that provider's REAL web site (e.g., www.T-Mobile.COM, or www.ATT.COM) NEVER clicking on a link, OR telephone the Customer Support number on your Statement.. 


2. Remember, if YOU did not originate the call then check their web sites for the valid info.   

  • I found the following by typing in "att.com support" and "t-mobile support" in my browser.   

AT&T:   https://www.att.com/support/    ;   Wireless support: 800.331.0500 or 611 from a mobile device

T-Mobile:  https://www.t-mobile.com/support/     1-800-T-Mobile

PLEASE, do not click on any links I provide.  Links can be hacked without me knowing.   Instead, make note of the link (even copy it to an editor) and view it before opening it to ensure it is legitimate. 

NEVER just click on a link or attachment in an email.  Be aware of what is being sent.   See my other posts for more on this issue. 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

TruWest Credit Union has 10 tips to protect yourself from scams during the coronavirus crisis:







Note from JK: I received the following from a highly reliable US Dept Of Justice Officer here in the Valley.  It has many great recommendations for keeping yourself safe online.   If the US DOJ agrees with these recommendations, I do too..
NOTE:  The following line has a Link in it... Prior to clicking on ANY link (including anything you see on this blog!!), hover your mouse over it to see what it says behind the scenes.. Hovering over the text is safe, as long as you do not Click it..  In this case, it is "https truwest.org/" (I removed the :// in this part, and replaced it with a space, so you are certain to see the text). 


TruWest Credit Union has 10 tips to protect yourself from scams during the coronavirus crisis:

1. Be cautious when reviewing emails, especially those related to COVID-19. Do not click links or open attachments in an email unless you are expecting the email and/or you are certain as to the validity of the email and the sender.

2. Keep all your computer programs updated, especially the computer’s anti-virus/anti-malware software and operating system (i.e. Windows, Mac OSX, etc.).

3. Beware of advertisements for COVID-19 cures, treatments or vaccines. If a random Internet site has a treatment or cure that isn’t already widely known and in use to help current patients, it’s probably too good to be true. Always contact and ask a healthcare professional.See More

4. Beware of charity scams. Always check with services such as Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, GuideStar or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance to research a charity before making a donation.

5. Beware of calls, emails or texts from anyone claiming to be the IRS or any other government entity wanting to discuss your tax return or stimulus check. The IRS will always contact you through standard postal mail.

6. Avoid consuming and sharing misinformation. Always consult reputable sources for updates about COVID-19, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Arizona Department of Health Services. Only share information on social media, or other channels, from reputable sources.

7. Beware of get-rich-quick schemes or questionable investment opportunities related to COVID-19. Scammers are capitalizing on the desperate search for work by those who may have lost their jobs and are unemployed.

8. Beware of in-person or online “clinics” selling COVID-19 testing services. Contact your healthcare provider if you suspect you have the illness. If your symptoms are critical, go to the closest emergency room or dial 911.

9. Employ unique, strong passwords for every critical online account, such as those for banking, financial investments and healthcare. Use a password manager to keep track of your passwords in a secure manner.

10. Practice smart online shopping. Never use a debit card for online transactions as scammers may be able to empty your bank account before you have a chance to dispute the charges. Only shop with reputable businesses employing the proper security on their website (beginning with “https”). Browse directly on the online shopping site instead of clicking links that may have been manipulated to send you to a potentially fraudulent site.
  • Note from JK:  I almost never, ever use a Debit Card.  I ONLY use my Credit Card as my form of payment anywhere I go, although sometimes when I shop online I may use PayPal and have them charge directly to my credit card. Just be certain to pay that credit card off every month!!

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Stay CALM, Stay Safe, Think Before You Act

(This is not complete yet.   I will be updating this more over the next few days but I am slammed with other work right now).

A number of new ruses are being created by the "Bad Guys" to get your money or your information.
An alert recently came out from the FBI warning of the latest scams whereby the scammer will try to get you to send them money...   Usually it is in the form of a Gift Card you purchase at the store, or perhaps giving them your bank account info..  These are scams..

As we are all aware, any time there is a disaster or a crisis, the scammers try to use that as a method by which they can get you to give them money...
As always, the following are a list of DOs and DON'Ts whenever you get an email, or an unsolicited phone call...

  • DO ensure you have at least three trusted people ("Trusted Three") whom you can call to ask about a call, text, or email you received.  I am blessed to be one of several folks' "Trusted Three". When I do not know the answer, I will absolutely look for it!
  • DO remember -- anyone asking you to pay them via Gift Cards (other than your known, close family) is probably a scammer.
  • DO remember -- if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
  • DO remember -- the Government does not send emails, nor call you demanding money
  • DO ensure your Antivirus software IS installed and Up To Date!! 
    • Not sure if you have Antivirus Software installed? CONTACT ME, or look at some of my previous Blog Entries
  • DO remember -- if the caller gets really aggressive in an attempt to get you to give them money, it's very likely a scam... The best thing to do is ask them to hold on, go to another phone, call the police and tell them you think there is a scammer on your phone line and you want to know what they would like you to do.  In some cases they will ask you to keep that person on the line as long as possible so they can attempt a trace.. 
  • DO remember -- if you get a Pop-Up on your computer to call a number for "Windows Support", it is likely a scam.  Most of the time, this can be prevented by using (and regularly updating!) your Antivirus software.

  • DO NOT give our your Date of Birth, Bank or Credit Card info (ever!!), Home Address, Social Security Number , etc., unless you are CERTAIN this should be given out... AND NEVER, EVER give it out unless you have verified with one of your "Trusted Three"
  • DO NOT allow anyone to connect to your computer remotely unless you really do know them and why.. 
  • DO NOT Click on any link in an email unless you are CERTAIN what it is.. 
  • DO NOT ASSUME it is just a harmless text file, photo, or video attached to that email
  • DO NOT Click on links in FaceBook unless you are sure it's safe.
  • DO NOT allow someone to be one of your FaceBook "Friends" unless you actually know them.  Unsure if you do? ASK THEM!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ransomware Trojans ("viruses") getting even sneakier -- We have to protect ourselves more.

I don't want this to be considered an advertisement, but it may come across as that... Apologies in advance.  I just want folks to ensure they are protecting themselves..
While I do not care what Antivirus / AntiMalware / AntiTrojan, etc., product you use, I want you to be certain it will protect you against Ransomware..

Here is why:   The nasty stuff is now able to do so many things that will harm your computer (and your "stuff" -- pictures of the [grand]Kids, steal your tax return files, your Budgeting program, etc.), that it is even more damaging..

I received a notification this morning that Avast has an amazing deal -- Avast PRO for $60/year for a single computer, *OR* $90/year (plus tax, of course) for up to TEN devices (Apple or Android phones or tablets, as well as PC and Mac computers)..   I needed to change my subscription anyway so for a small amount more, everything I have is protected..  My company laptop, company desktop, phone, and tablet.

Crowdstrike has Falcon Pro, which gives you Antivirus and Ransomware protection.   I think that one is like Seven dollars per month per computer..

Whatever you are using please, please be certain that whatever product you use DOES clearly state it will protect you from Ransomware...

I pray everyone reading this Blog is tremendously blessed by the Awesomeness of Father God !!
Jim

Friday, December 27, 2019

Stay Safe Online

I belong to several professional organizations, and one of them recommends the following site for keeping yourself safe when online : https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/

Please review this site and use it to ask yourself "What do I [reasonably] need to do to keep myself safer?".

Thursday, December 26, 2019

"Oh, no, what is happening to my computer???" "What do you mean, I've been hit with Ransomware?"

Just this morning, I was working with a company here in the US and learned that their servers had been hit by the "RYK Ransomware Virus".   This starts by renaming your files so their file "extension" is changed from TXT, or EML, or XLSX, or DOCX, etc., to now have a ".RYK" appended to the end...  The files are then encrypted, which results in every one of them now being unusable.   Gone.   Forever...  UNLESS you pay the bad guys a ransom in a currency called "BitCoin"..    Then there is still no guarantee that they will give you a valid key that restores your files..  In fact, many will not.

SO, you need an Antivirus software that gives you Anti-Ransomware capabilities..  I am sure there are others, but the product I use (about $20.00 per Year) is Avast Antivirus PRO.. 
AND you need to make regular backups of everything on your computer to an external source.  I personally use Carbonite, but there are many out there...

Whatever you use, be certain you are protected...

Friday, December 06, 2019

Do you have Security Cameras installed and connected to the Web? How secure ARE THEY?

More and more people are installing WiFi-connected security cameras around their properties, however they are not taking the extra precautions to ensure the cameras are secure, which opens them up to ANYONE being able to view those cameras via the Web.

There is a site called InseCam (Insecured Cameras) to which you can go and see the various cameras found without security (in other words, using the DEFAULT Passwords!).
http://www.insecam.org/en/bycountry/US/
  (Report by ABC 15 Phoenix News:  https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/see-which-websites-may-be-spying-on-your-surveillance-cameras)

While many of these are public areas, some are of the interior of people's homes !!!    "So what, Jim, I don't care, there's nothing to see" -- Except the times you are, and are not, home -- so thieves can plot a time to free you of the burden of you possessions..  (Or worse).

I am a proponent of security cameras, but ONLY when they are properly secured...  Before installing them (or having them installed), ensure you know the steps required to change the password, and make it something difficult (for instance, Rn73-gow(Xxt72+p), because the more difficult it is to guess, the more secure you are.   If you can view those cameras remotely, others can, as well !




Friday, November 29, 2019

YouTube video of "Social Security Agent" Scammers calling an Apex, NC Police Captain while she was at work.

I just ran across this YouTube video from August 27, 2019... It has some great information about protecting your confidential data.
The "Social Security Administration" called Captain Stevens on her cell phone stating they were sending Sheriff's Deputies to arrest her if she did not completely cooperate with them.

(This is similar to my post a few months ago, about [SECURITY SCAM --  "Department of Social Security Administration"] )

THIS IS A SCAM -- Do not EVER confirm any information, nor provide any personal information.. They will use it to scam you..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs1VaQRMfNo

Either hang up on them, or play with them to make them get frustrated and hang up, in order to mess with their minds..

Remember, these low-lifes will use every tactic they can think of to make you think this is legitimate..   Same basic scam as the "IRS Agents"...

PROTECT YOURSELF!!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Curious about what some of the data breaches have been in 2019 and how they may affect YOU?

 
https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-emerging-threats-2019-data-breaches.html
I will wager an enjoyable beverage that, if you live in the US, and have done any business with any company in the past five years at least some piece of your data has been compromised..
As of earlier this year, FOUR BILLION records have been compromised...


  • Capital One credit card (guess who has now gotten in to that wallet, as well?)
    • Name, Address, Social Security Number, Reported Income, Linked Account #s !!  
    • They state they have notified customers by MAIL.. 
  • Evite 
    • Only 100 Million accounts compromised, so you stand only a 1-in-3 chance of your data having been grabbed
  • Door/Dash -- Food Delivery Service 
    • You would not be at risk if you have not signed up for (Delivery workers, restaurants, and customers
  •  American Medical Collection Agency 
    • They collect overdue payments for a variety of medical labs.
  • Georgia Tech University
    • You should only be concerned it you have ever been affiliated with them
    • Names, addresses, Social Security numbers and birth dates.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency 
    • Anyone who has received funds from natural disasters, e.g., hurricanes, floods, CA Wildfires

And finally, one of the potentially  most harmful in the future:
  • Biostar 2
    • "Fingerprint data, facial recognition data, face photos of users, unencrypted usernames and passwords, logs of facility access, security levels and clearance, personal details of staff."
    • Think of worst-case scenarios -- someone gets your fingerprint data and facial recognition data, which will one day be used for access via biometrics..  They can fake looking like you to some devices.
    • Now this one only affected those who signed up (usually through their employer), but think of the potential risk?


We as the Citizens of this fine country must start pushing our FEDERAL Lawmakers to pass STRONG legislation that requires EVERY database that stores personally identifiable information ("PII") to be STRONGLY encrypted, and every breach must be reported Publicly (e.g., Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, etc.), with a $1,000 fine for every record compromised, against every Sr. Executive in that company, within 30 days of the discovery, not a little note 18 months later on a little-known page on their website, or an obscure filing.
This is OUR information, folks!   If organizations want to collect this massive amount of data, they MUST SECURE IT !!!

Happy Friday, and may Father God richly bless you today and this coming weekend!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

1. Do you have an account on Dunkin Donuts' site? Change all your passwords! 2. THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK !! 3. "Sway" from Microsoft, and more!

I have been really busy the past several weeks so have not been able to update the Blog...
So here are a few new things I have heard about.

As always, be careful!  Protect yourself first and foremost!

1. Dunkin Donuts' site was compromised back in 2015, but news of that did not hit the mainstream media for a long time (this year, I believe).
https://www.zdnet.com/article/dunkin-donuts-accounts-compromised-in-second-credential-stuffing-attack-in-three-months/

 The hackers stole email addresses, login credentials, and other miscellaneous info...   They will use those same login credentials to attempt to log in to other sites as you and wreak havoc or perhaps just steal your money... So, don't use the same login credentials (username/password combination) across multiple sites..    You can use a password generator that will help keep you secure..  AND, you can use something like KeePass, which will encrypt your passwords on your phone, tablet or computer, which you can then use to log in securely.
I used to think it was just too much of a hassle, until I learned about what these bad guys are doing..

2. "Think Before You Click": 
ALERT: Internet criminals are now sending phishing attacks related to benefits enrollment and potential pay raises. So, when you get any email or perhaps even a robo-call from "HR" about your "2020 benefits" or "next year pay raise", do not click or open any attachments, but report these suspects email to the IT department. In case you have questions about your benefits or pay, pick up the phone call the HR department using the regular, correct extension.

NEVER click on any link in these emails, or "reply" and attach personal information because both the "From" and the "Reply" email address may be spoofed and you would send confidential information to criminals. Think Before You Click.


3. "Sway" from Microsoft..
The Wikipedia page on Sway usefully summarizes it like this:

"Office Sway is a presentation program and is part of the Microsoft Office family of products. Sway was offered for general release by Microsoft in August 2015. It allows users who have a Microsoft account to combine text and media to create a presentable website. Users can pull content locally from the device in use, or from internet sources such as Bing, Facebook, OneDrive, and YouTube."
A link from my pals as KnowBe4:
Let's take a look at the screenshots on the KnowBe4 Blog:
https://blog.knowbe4.com/the-bad-guys-have-a-new-favorite-online-service-to-exploit-and-it-may-be-one-you-never-heard-of

So, remember:

  1. Enable the ability to see the "File Extension" in Windows, as well as Outlook.  KNOW what that file is before opening it...  In Microsoft Outlook, it could APPEAR to be "Jim_File.html" when in fact it is "Jim_File.html.exe", an executable file which can infect your computer.
  2. Don't click anything without carefully examining that link.   If not sure, don't click... 
  3. Have a GOOD Antivirus software, and set the Sensitivity (aka "heuristics") to as high a level as you can and scan your computer REGULARLY..  You may have a couple false positives (aka, alerts) but at least you can be protected
  4. Periodically use an Online Scanner to ensure your machine is safe  
  5. Backup your computer (and phone, and tablet!) regularly !   I back up all my pictures from my tablet and phone to my computer, then use Carbonite to constantly back up changed files on my computer so I am never risking losing more than an hour worth of information..

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Antivirus? What's that? I don't need that.. I am careful (UPDATED)


Best Free Antivirus Programs for 2019
So many folks today have no clue about the need for Antivirus software, or for BACKUPs, for that matter... 
I am sure you have heard of the "Ransomware" attacks, wherein a user opens an email they think is from someone they know, but is actually from "bad guy".   Depending on what program ("client", "app", whatever you wish to call it), you may or may not be protected from being infected simply by opening an email (not to mention the attachment!).

So, there are a lot of different Antivirus vendors out there.  Some are free, some cost.. Some *I CONSIDER* junk (which others swear by) and some *I* love...  Will they all protect you from Ransomware?  NOPE !!  "WHY", you ask?  Well, the creators of the viruses, Trojans, etc., are getting sneakier, and sneaker all the time...  They research in the "Dark Web" (yes, it REALLY DOES exist!!) about vulnerabilities in software packages, and how to exploit those vulnerabilities..
So the best things you can do are:
1. GET A REALLY GOOD ANTIVIRUS PROGRAM !
2. MAKE BACKUPS OF YOUR COMPUTER!!
Yes, I am intentionally shouting.

So here are some links to consider reviewing:

    • (NOTE: That list does not include FREE AV programs, such as 
    • Avast (My favorite)
    • Avira
    • AdAware
    • (and more)
Don't believe me?   Here is a link to another site that says many of the things I do - https://cipher.com/blog/10-personal-cyber-security-tips-cyberaware/

So hopefully this helps you.. Come back soon and see what gets posted next!


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Amazon Phishing Scam

I received an alert the other day from my pals at Cyber Heist News about a new scam, this one purporting to come from Amazon...

Here's an excerpt of what I received: 
HackRead has come across a phishing scam that’s trying to trick Amazon customers into handing over their account credentials, personal information, and financial details. The phishing emails purport to be notifications from Amazon informing the recipient that they need to update their information within twenty-four hours or their account will be permanently disabled.
When a victim clicks the “Update Now” button in the email, they’ll be taken to a convincing imitation of an Amazon login page. After the victim enters their credentials, the phishing page will present a form for them to input their name, address, city, state, ZIP code, phone number, and date of birth. Next, they’ll be asked to provide their credit card and bank account information.
Finally, the phishing site informs the victim that their account has been recovered and says they’ll be automatically logged out. The victim is then redirected to the real Amazon website.
Of course, now the bad guys have your name, address, phone, and date of birth (DOB), as well as your credit or bank account info... What a spending (and credit obtaining!) spree they can go on with that info.

Remember -- Amazon will NEVER do this..   Nor will the IRS (see my other posts) or your bank, etc...   Listen to your "gut"... If it seems fishy, it is probably "phishy"...

IF IN DOUBT, always call the number you already know (e.g., the number on the back of your credit/debit card, or on your bank statements) to verify the issue..  NEVER click on a link!



Monday, June 10, 2019

Funny item (Slamming the Infantry)


Thanks to all the "Grunts" who also served!!

https://scontent.fphx1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/59893883_2225270330868053_8784592869315837952_n.jpg?_nc_cat=103&_nc_eui2=AeGGtBR0tuN1qZQ5oosDoBMefsXMPpL29rUHJ38WP3iIO8IIYw68UqTX_otiFdlJWzGp30ygfmbOGgV0Kz4wdfVG8CmURdAdwRZ-rLaB1vRMnw&_nc_oc=AQmanYpKW9Iw2UoC3U9dfwr6no_iEMzhMI-WY00NOQxrHqvNmzOcd9c2OfUWKPgQumh6AmVqf3K6GrvCZa-cHNU9&_nc_ht=scontent.fphx1-2.fna&oh=c1bbadd5e16a4a0933c8fc1404e75fdc&oe=5D8397D8

SECURITY SCAM -- "Department of Social Security Administration"

UPDATE:
Video from ABC-15 showing how Safeway employees are helping protect their older customers from scams:
https://www.abc15.com/news/national/a-safeway-employee-rescued-an-elderly-woman-from-a-gift-card-scam

(10 June, 2019, 0720 MST/Phoenix, or 0920 Central DAYLIGHT TIME)

Caller ID: 830-448-0348

I received a call on my cell phone from the above number a short time ago. Since I did not recognize the number, I sent it to voicemail.

That voicemail -- clearly a ROBOTIC voice -- stated,
"Sir Kelly Jones calling you from the Department of Social Security Administration. The reason you have received a phone call from our department is to inform you that there is a legal enforcement actions have been filed on your social security number for fraudulent activities. So when you get this message, speak to our office or kindly call us back on our hotline number 830-448-0348. I repeat, that is 830-448-0348. Don't disregard this notice and do return the call before we begin with the legal proceedings against you. Thank you."

OBVIOUSLY this is a scam, so DO NOT call them back.
The REAL phone number for the Social Security Administration can be found on their web page at https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/social-security-administration
(www . USA . GOV / Federal-Agencies/Social-Security-Administration)
A couple ways to recognize it's a scam:

  1. Robotic voice. The Federal Government does not use Autodialers like that.
  2. Grammar. Note where I Bolded and Italicized text. Those are the most egregious grammatical errors and are big red flags
  3. The US Government (Social Security Admin, OR IRS) does not EVER call you like that
  4. They do not use the "Sir / Mr. / Mrs. / Ms." salutation (very common practice in Nigeria and other countries, however)
Well, that's all for this post !!
REMEMBER: There are scammers out there wanting to take you for every dime you have. YOU must protect yourself!

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

SECURITY --> SCAMS to Avoid -- and how to protect yourself in the first place

Unfortunately, there are so many scams out there that I could spend years typing about them all.
Some of the most popular ones target single people (via emails, or on dating web sites) and the elderly, and, especially around tax time, IRS Scams. DO NOT EVER GIVE THEM MONEY!

  1. Many of the ones targeting the Elderly will be callers playing the "Hello, [Grandma or Grandpa]?" game, where the caller will attempt to convince the person that they are their grandchild and have an urgent need of cash, and want you to wire money to them right away.
    • One way to avoid these things are for you to have special code words with your family. Just like if someone wants to pick up our child from somewhere, they have to know the code word. If the child asks for the code word and the person does not know it, the child calls out for help.
    • Another way is to have another phone that you can use to call that family member (or their parents) to validate if anything is actually wrong.. For instance, I have my cell phone and my landline (using MagicJack, for just $40.00 per YEAR). If someone calls my landline and plays this game, I ask them to hold and I call my family member from the cell phone and verify it's valid.  If it is not, I turn around and call 9-1-1 and let the police know I have a scammer on (phone number) and ask if they want to try to trace it.  I then go back to my other line and keep that scammer on the phone for as long as I can, feigning issues understanding them.
  2. Someone from The "IRS" will call you and say you owe them a bunch of money and they are preparing a warrant for your arrest if you do not get them the money NOW.. 
    • They will typically want you to go to a store and purchase iTunes, or other Gift Cards immediately so you can read them the numbers.  
    • In some cases they will want you to go to Western Union and wire them the money (this happened to a good friend of mine from India several years ago, and only at the last moment was I able to convince him it was a SCAM.
    • THOSE THINGS ARE SCAMS !!  
    • KEEP IN MIND -- the IRS will NEVER call you demanding money.  They will send you LETTERS.  
      • ONLY AFTER A LONG TIME, would they possibly send the police
  3. Someone will call from "Windows Support", or maybe from "Microsoft" saying your computer is infected.
    • THIS IS ALWAYS A SCAM !!! Microsoft has NO WAY of knowing whether your computer/phone/tablet is infected with anything
      • DO NOT EVER GIVE THEM YOUR PAYMENT CARD INFORMATION!!
  4. You are a member of a dating site.  Someone is very attractive, has a great biography, and convinces you they are in love with you.  Perhaps they are a "Member of the Armed Forces" (like a Major in the US Army), stationed overseas.. They need just a little money to be able to get home.   
    • Well, first of all, the US Military ALWAYS transports you back home when you are deployed, UNLESS you are traveling for personal vacation.. 
    • The moment ANYONE starts asking you for money, you are very likely facing a scammer. 
    • A long time friend of mine, "Freda", got sucked in to one of these scams.  He convinced her he was a Major in the Army, a Doctor, stationed in the Middle East and was preparing to retire and move back home, but needed some money to get his things home. Once home, they would move to Sacramento, CA and start a Medical Practice there.  "Freda" believed him (this guy was GOOD!!!) and gave him her life's savings bit-by-bit. Turns out he was a scammer, I think somewhere in Africa. 
  5. I always recommend you use a really good Antivirus product.  I PERSONALLY use https://www.f-secure.com/en/home/free-tools/online-scanner">F-Secure's Online Scanner, which will help detect and get rid of viruses, Rootkits, etc..
    • PLEASE NOTE: This one is not a Proactive Antivirus tool, like Avast (above).. This will tell you if something was able to sneak through whatever antivirus product you are running, and it will help destroy that.

So many things to Blog about!


I have decided I am going to try to update the blog as frequently as possible..  I keep very busy, so don't know how long it will be between posts but will really try.

Topics will include:

  1. Database Stuff -- Mainly Oracle, but some SQL Server, some MySQL, some PostgreSQL.  I will try to slip some MongoDB, AWS Aurora, Redshift, etc., in here, too
  2. AWS Stuff -- This will include Architecture, including RDS, EC2, S3, VPCs, etc
  3. Maybe some AWS Training & Certification stuff, as well
  4. Oracle Training Stuff -- I am an Authorized Oracle Trainer and am in the process of becoming an AWS Authorized Instructor, so I will share info here. 
  5. Miscellaneous Stuff -- Whatever else comes to mind. 
  6. Security Stuff - This will include avoiding scams, baits, etc..

Each topic will be in its own blog entry.

September 23, 2011 -- A sad day for KCS

Today KCS lost the greatest man in the world, Bob Kotan, Senior, a WWII veteran, friend, mentor, husband, and fantastic father.

Here is his Obituary:

Bob was born in 1920 and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

After being released from the Service, he met and married "Bernie" in 1946 and over the next 31 years, they raised six children.  Bernie passed away in March, 1978 after a lengthy illness.

Bob  worked in the Office Machine sales and service field in Nebraska, Iowa,  and Minnesota for many decades, including owning Kotan Business  Equipment in Omaha.  Bob retired from the business in 1991 when he  developed Macular Degeneration and was unable to drive himself to work each day.

Not one to sit and just watch television,  Bob became deeply involved in the Nebraska Regional Group of the Blinded  Veteran's Association, having served as President and Secretary until 2009. 

In 1986, he met Julie and remained together until the day he left us.

In  May, 1987, Bob developed cancer and continued to fight the hard fight,  beating it down for over 20 years.  In 2009, it spread to his left lung and in 2010, it spread to his brain  and could not be stopped in time. 
Today, September 23, 2011, cancer won, and Bob stepped  into the arms of loved ones on "the other side" at the ripe young age of  91.

He is survived by his Significant Other of 25 years, Julie Karasek of  Omaha.    Of Bob's and Bernie's six children, five survive him, as well as  four grandchildren and one great grandchild.

"To know Bob Kotan", says son Jim, Founder, President and CEO of KCS,  "is to not just like him but to truly love him. What an amazing man he  was, and such a driving force in the process of KCS becoming what it  is.  Every customer and every member of the KCS team with whom he came  in contact thought the world of him.     'He will be missed' does not  even scratch the surface of how great a loss this is.  God rest that  wonderful man's soul."

Funeral arrangements are:

  • Visitation at Dworak Mortuary, 2466 South 16th Street, Omaha, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm Thursday September 29, 2011
  • Funeral at St. Gerald's Catholic Church, 9602 Q Street, Omaha, at 10:00 Friday September 30th, 2011
  • Memorials to the Blinded Veterans' Association (http://www.BVA.org)


About Me


Hi, I'm Jim Kotan.  I am an Honorably Discharged US Army Veteran (1977-1983), and Life member of the Disabled American Veterans.

I am a huge supporter of CAMP CORRAL, as well as several other groups.

For a large part of my life I resided in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.  In 2015 I relocated to Chandler, Arizona.

I am a Certified Oracle DBA, and AWS Certified  Solutions Architect, (soon to get my AWS Systems Operations Certification), and have done Database Administration (primarily Oracle) for 19 years.
I am the founder and Principal Consultant & Instructor at Kotan Consulting Services LLC, and have done Database and Unix consulting since 1987.

My son, Robert, is serving our country in the military and makes me proud beyond words.  His Bride, Christa, retired in late 2018 from the Army, after serving over 20 years.  Our entire family is so proud of them.

I shall attempt to post things on a regular basis.  I had created this in 2004 and had completely forgotten about it until recently.