If you are running a Wi-Fi router in your home or business, you'll want to immediately perform a factory-reset and a firmware update. A newly identified malware which has directly targeted over 500,000 Wi-Fi routers across the world, which Cisco Talos calls "VPNFilter," can steal personal information, redirect web traffic, infect other devices and even "brick" infected devices to make them unusable. The malware is confirmed to have affected several Netgear, Linksys, TP-Link and MicroTik models, but likely actually includes many other brands and models.

Fox News posted the story just hours ago: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2018/05/30/russians-hack-wi-fi-routers-what-to-do-right-now.html

Cisco Talos stated in a blog post, "Given our observations with this threat, we assess with high confidence that this list is incomplete and other devices could be affected. We recommend that users of SOHO routers and/or NAS devices reset them to factory defaults and reboot them. Due to the potential for destructive action by the threat actor, we recommend out of an abundance of caution that these actions be taken for all SOHO or NAS devices, whether or not they are known to be affected by this threat."

Linksys Security Advisories: https://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=246427

Netgear Security Advisories: https://www.netgear.com/about/security/default.aspx

TP-Link Security Advisories: https://www.tp-link.com/us/security

MicroTik Security Advisories: https://forum.mikrotik.com/viewforum.php?f=21&sid=5be3ec7169688592d86707665239352f


Accredited Design LLC are experts in the development of Joomla! CMS websites, as well as other CMS's and site frameworks. In our work we pay close attention to developments in technology and upcoming features and systems. This being said, Joomla! version 4 is rumored to be in production. Let's have a look at what it will likely be.

The main details about Joomla 4
The current version of Joomla at the time of this article is 3.7. Joomla 3.8 and 3.9 will be released before Joomla 4 is made available.

Joomla 3.9 will be released mainly as a means to allow easy migration to Joomla 4. Here's the official statement concerning this:

In preparation for Joomla! 4.0, Joomla! 3.9 will primarily be a release containing backports of API changes from the 4.0 development branch to help ease the transition to the next major release for the community. It is planned for 3.9 and 4.0 to release simultaneously.

The release dates for Joomla 3.9 and 4.0 have not yet been decided. From chatter on the internet, It would seem that the first alpha of Joomla 4.0 could be released within the next few weeks.

Click here to view the Joomla 4 project roadmap.

What changes will be in Joomla 4?
If you're a developer you will see some differences from the previous installments of Joomla, but to the average user the only changes you'll notice are in the user interface of the administration area.

Joomla 4 will utilize the Bootstrap 4 framework and Joomla 3 is currently using Bootstrap 2.

Will it be difficult to upgrade my site from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4?
Probably not, but we can't know what exactly lies ahead on this concern until Joomla 4 has been released and we're making our first migration attempts. What is for sure is that the Joomla team is making every effort to ensure that the upgrade to Joomla 4 from Joomla 3 is as smooth as reasonably possible.

Joomla 4 will not be available for a some time yet. There are no alpha versions of Joomla 4 available to the public just yet, and Bootstrap 4 is itself still in early alpha stage.

Joomla 4 will be loaded with great new features and new technology to carry us further into the future of the ever-evolving internet. We look forward to making powerful use of the new Joomla 4 when it is available.

For those of us running Joomla 3 websites, it's a safe bet that we have at least a year of breathing room before we'll need to upgrade to Joomla 4. Bear in mind that at some point in the future, Joomla 3 will be considered obsolete and will become unsupported by the Joomla team concerning updates. The lack of updates means that the framework will eventually become vulnerable to security threats as security holes are discovered by the hacker community. This is currently the situation with Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5, as mentioned in other articles here at AccreditedDesign.com. When Joomla 4 is released and you need expert assistance migrating / upgrading your Joomla website to Joomla 4, contact us for help. We'd be glad to hear from you! It should also be mentioned that if you are actually still running Joomla 1.5 or Joomla 2.5 there's a decent chance that your site is/was already compromised as it's been some time since they've been unsupported. Again, contact us asap so we can get your site upgraded to the latest Joomla version and look for security threats in your current site.

Over the last year I have met numerous business owners doing a great job running their business, but find themselves struggling to keep up with today's ever-changing computer and internet technologies. Some have even expressed a virtually non-existent knowledge of computers and how to use them. In today's rapidly evolving world of the information age, running a business can be a challenge if you know little to nothing of computers. For those local to Southwest Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Colleges system has a solution for you! They offer several computer classes in many areas and are reasonably priced.

The main page for their Continuing Education curriculum is located here: http://uwc.edu/academics/courses/continuing-education

For those in the Richland area, the main page is here: https://ce.uwc.edu/richland-center/catalog/category/computers

Note that Accredited Design has no affiliation with the UW, and they have not in any way asked or paid me to "advertise" these courses. In fact, I emailed them asking if such courses were available and have yet received no reply. I found this information by conducting an online search. Hopefully this information is valuable to someone.

In just the last week I have been contacted by two separate close friends in a panic that their computers have contracted a horrible virus which showed both text and audio alerts that their computer is infected and were directed by a recorded voice and on-screen text to call a technical support phone number for immediate assistance. The screen looked similar to the image below. Click the image to zoom in:

The warning locked their browsers and would not allow the users to leave the page. In both cases my friends both committed the big mistake of actually calling the number and were greeted by people with heavy Indian accents calling themselves Microsoft technicians who were there to help. Thankfully one of them hung up on the criminals before they were able to remotely connect to her computer and after saying they needed payment immediately for "virus removal services". I was able to guide her though steps to regain control of her computer. The other friend fell for it completely and not only gave them access to her computer but also gave them her business bank account routing and account number. The criminals installed a real virus on her computer and also did something called syskey in Windows, which acted to further lock down the computer at any time they choose with the intent to get the victim to repeatedly come back to them to "remove more new viruses". For the latter case, I instructed her to completely power off her computer and bring it to me. Her personal files were extracted from her hard drive with the assistance of a local security expert at "Phoenix Computers" by opening the drive in a separate Linux OS and copying them to a USB drive and then scanned them for viruses. Her computer needed to be nuked with DBAN and then reformatted with a fresh install of Windows 10 to get every trace of the criminals off of it. She also needed to change ALL passwords to ALL her sensitive accounts and websites, including email and also had to close all of her bank accounts and open new bank accounts. The criminals did in fact attempt to withdraw money the following day (after she had already called them back and told them off) but the transactions were blocked due to her warnings to her bank.

This method of scam is on the rise and was even cited by the U.S. FBI in a recent public service announcement:

fbi psa 2014


There are also several YouTube channels dedicated to the art of "Scam Baiting" in which they set up a virtual machine and remove or replace all the Windows system tools commonly used by the scammers to scare and control victims and then proceed to confront them about why they feel the need to steal from people. In almost every case the scam baiter is met by insults and foul language from the criminals. One of the better channels on which to watch examples of this is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOkhTr4FqEAWRz2UecVsh4g but be advised that there is really horrible language when the scammers realize that it's all a setup and that they are being filmed for very public release on YouTube. I recommend donating and liking / subscribing / commenting on such channels and videos to help spread public awareness of this issue, as their actions are about as predatory and malicious as it gets in the cyber sense.


  1. Don't panic.
  2. Don't click on ANYTHING!
  3. Don't call the fake technical support or any other phone number.
  4. If you're on Windows, press CTRL + Alt + Del on your keyboard, and then click the "Task Manager" option. In the new window look for your browser, IE: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and click to highlight it. Then click "End Task". Don't reopen your internet browser yet.
  5. Follow the little guide linked HERE to completely clear your browser's cache, history and cookies. Don't reopen your internet browser yet.
  6. Run a complete Anti Virus scan on your computer before you use it any further. The best in my opinion is to run scans with all of the following:

Kaspersky Internet Security

MalwareBytes Anti Malware FREE!

MalwareBytes AdwCleaner FREE!

The best free alternative to Kaspersky Internet Security is currently Avast

While Accredited Design does not currently offer any computer operating system security or cleaning services, there are likely to be many in your area who do.

scam alert


In this day and age there is no shortage of scams targeting all sorts of people of all ages in all walks of life. Below is an account of how I narrowly avoided one targeting web developers such as myself. A few days ago, I received a text message on my smartphone from the phone number (681) 233-1381.


Hello, I want to know if you handle Website design for a new company, also if you accept credit cards? kindly get back to me ASAP, so that I can email you with the Job details. Thanks


Only on rare occastion do I receive a legitimate random text message concerning new business, but this sounded like perhaps it could be real, so I replied:


Yes, both. Visit accrediteddesign.com


The next day, I received an email direct to my business email address from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating the following:


Here is the job details

I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in GA and the company is based on Horseback Riding and exercise services, i need a best of the best layout design for it, can you handle that for me ?
I need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.rockinghorseranch.com the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.
1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don't have a domain yet but i want the domain name as besthorsebackriding.com
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
6. I want the site up and running before ending of next month.
7. My budget is $4000 to $8000
Kindly get back to me with:
(1) An estimate
(2) Your cell phone number
(3) And will like to know if you are the
owner ??.

smith Cole


With this, numerous alarm bells started going on in my head and I had a creepy "I'm being stalked" sort of feeling about this. I've been in business dealings in my adult life as long as I can remember, have been in sales and marketing nearly as long and several things seemed very odd to me.

  1. It originated with a text to my phone.
  2. The phone number (681) 233-1381 is unlisted, even in reverse cell phone search and it's a Hurricane, WV landline phone number and he/she says the company is in GA.
  3. How did they text me from a landline?
  4. The name, "smith Cole" seemed odd. A search for the name in WV and GA yielded no results, only "Cole Smith" in Hurricane, WV.
  5. How did they initially only have my cell phone number for texting me, but have no clue about my email or company information to otherwise contact me.
  6. If you read the email closely, it seems English is not their first language, however they speak it fairly fluently.
  7. Why would they ask for my cell phone number in the email when the origination was a text chat and they already had my cell phone number?
  8. Why would they want to know that I'm the owner? Who cares?
  9. What's up with the "project consultant"? Another 3rd party?

So after doing some research and speaking to another friend in web development, I confirmed without question that this was a total scam attempt. The first clue I had was this post:


After speaking with the mentioned friend, he forwarded me these links:




Here’s a quote from scamwarners.com as to how this works.

  • The scammer places a (usually large) order for goods, services or a reservation.
  • The scammer insists on using his own courier/shipper or freight company.
  • The scammer gives a plausible explanation for additional charges to be added to the card. These may include, but are not limited to, another party needing payment but doesn’t accept credit cards, or taking safety precautions by only sharing credit card information with one party.
  • The scammer provides credit card information for payment with a request for the overage to be sent to a supposed third party. That third party is the same scammer using another name. The usual request is for the payment to be sent by transfer via Western Union or Money Gram.
  • Any credit card information you receive belongs to an innocent victim. The scammer is using your ability to charge and process cards as a way to steal money from compromised cards. Any money sent to the scammer is lost, with both the business and card holder as victims.

So basically, had I continued with this person via email, They would have had me process a stolen credit card number in the amount of say, $4,000. Once the payment was made and it was processed and complete, I would have seen this as a sign that it's for real. They would have then asked me to pay this third party project consultant (really the same person, the same scam artist using a different name alias) an amount of say, $1,500 for their content services from my own credit card. The end result would have been that the $4,000 payment they made to me would fall through after about two to three days because it was a stolen card in the first place, and I'd be out the $1,500 I had just legitimately paid to them. I'd never hear from them again.

I hope this information finds someone else before they nearly slip into the grip of a similar scam artist. Always trust your instincts, and always hesitate and investigate if anything seems abnormal to you.

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