Author: Brett Bogler

Microsoft Finally Announces SQL Server on Linux

WP18After the long and rocky relationship between Microsoft and Linux, the dust has finally settled with the release of the Microsoft SQL Server, compatible with Linux.  The Microsoft SQL Server hosts an array of new features including end-to-end encryption, in-memory support, and more advanced business intelligence capabilities. The news broke when Executive Vice President of Microsoft, Scott Guthrie, released a blog post headlining the SQL Server as a cross platform performer, excelling both on premises and in the cloud.

Guthrie writes, “SQL Server on Linux will provide customers with even more flexibility in their data solution.” Finally Microsoft and Linux have reached an understanding.

The collaboration stems from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who has encouraged in full force that Microsoft and Linux can and will work well together. The company has now enabled support for Linux on Microsoft Azure, as well as partnered with companies such as Hortonworks and Ubuntu on Linux support. In addition to this Microsoft has also launched open-source efforts including open-sourcing ASP.NET. The lion’s share of Microsoft’s code has also been moved off of CodePlex and onto GitHub.

SQL Server for Linux is currently available in a private beta, and will roll out in early 2017.

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2500449,00.asp?mailing_id=1592938&mailing=SmallBusiness&mailingID=74D263B8F2379AE682EE8634F4F85239

Chrome 49 Update Increases Extension Visibility 

[caption id="attachment_5575" align="alignright" width="351"]WP 16 You may have noticed this new aesthetic in the top right corner of your screen.[/caption]

Google Chrome has a large fan base of users who have most likely noticed the changes made with the most recent update.  A string of icons now appears in the upper-right corner of the browser window due to Chrome 49. This icons should look vaguely familiar considering they are the extensions installed on your computer. This enforces that each extension has a persistent UI surface.

Google released a statement in which they describe protection as the most influential reason for the change. Hearing frequently that users are blind to the extensions they have installed due to sideloading and installation by phishing this update ensures users are knowledgeable about their extensions. Extensions utilize computing resources and can significantly impact performance and security.

You may notice the color change feature. The icons in your toolbar now change colors to show you which extensions have and do not have impact on your current activities. For instance, if the extension has no impact on the current page, then the icon turns gray to signal the lack of impact. The icon will light back up when the extension impacts the page you are working on again.

Tip for those of you who are wondering where the other icons have gone, your browser window might be small or you may have quite a few extensions installed. Click on the Chrome menu button on the far right of the toolbar. This will allow you to access the icons that have been dumped due to lack of space. You will no longer be able to delete these icons for good, so make sure you know how to access your hidden icons.

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2500377,00.asp?mailing_id=1587787&mailing=DailyNews&mailingID=510C4584BD5C3E3CDD5A15D97D2B87C0

Microsoft releases 13 security bulletins – 5 critical, yikes!

Eight of the bulletins released by Microsoft resolve remote code execution vulnerabilities.

Microsoft patches bulletins

The five critical patches released are for RCE flaws. MS16-023, 024, 026, 027, and 028 are the patches that reach Windows Media Parsing RCE bugs, Windows PDF Library holes, and Microsoft Edge corruption flaws. Included in these five are the codes for execution flaws for IE and to correct 13 memory corruption vulnerabilities. The monthly fix for Microsoft Edge is a part of the list, patching 10 memory corruption flaws that could lead to even more execution flaws as well as information disclosure bugs.

The other eight bulletins are listed as a notch down from critical, as “important” for both RCE and EoP. Although these patches are not needed immediately, without attention many lead to greater future problems and security errors. It would be best to identify which patches fit your immediate needs and which will become problematic in the future. For instance the MS16-030 is listed as important, though if left alone a hacker could exploit the two Windows OLE memory RCE flaws if the Windows OLE fails to validate user input. Unless your users are completely accurate, without fail, this should be patched.

If you would like to see the complete list of bulletins, in more detail, please visit:

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3041843/security/microsoft-released-13-security-bulletins-5-rated-critical-but-8-patching-rce-bugs.html?token=%23tk.NWWNLE_nlt_networkworld_security_alert_2016-03-09&idg_eid=b0bd995e2814d7f58c50105dd3327c12&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NWW%20Security%20Alert%202016-03-09&utm_term=networkworld_security_alert#tk.NWW_nlt_networkworld_security_alert_2016-03-09

Transmission BitTorrent App Infects OS X with First Ransomware…

If you recently installed the Transmission BitTorrent App, most likely you are one unhappy user.

WP15The recently released version of Transmission BitTorrent for OS X contained the embedded KeRanger ransomware, the debilitating program designed to lock and encrypt files in order to extort money from consumers. In case you didn’t read our previous post about ransomware, this malware is extremely debilitating to consumers and business owners alike. It locks files and infiltrates all external hard drives and shared networks, making external hard drive back up prevention useless in protecting sensitive data.

The March 4th version 2.90 of the application contained the malware. The Transmission’s website is encouraging all users who have downloaded this version to upgrade to version 2.91 or at a bare minimum delete the 2.90 version from their computers. If you would rather, wiping and restoring your system to an earlier time period is also an option. Make sure if you utilize this option, that you restore your device to a period before the Transmission 2.90 installation.

Now if you find yourself infected, resist paying the $400 asked to restore your files. There is no guarantee that paying this fee will result in any data retrieval and could possibly be a complete waste of your money. If you decide to do nothing, at least remove the malware installed. Leaving the installation only allows the ransomware more opportunity to further exploit your system.WP14

If you would like to do a little investigating of your own, a new blog post from Palo Alto Networks’ threat intelligence team lists the steps for finding out if you have been infected with the KeRanger ransomware.

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2500391,00.asp?mailing_id=1587787&mailing=DailyNews&mailingID=510C4584BD5C3E3CDD5A15D97D2B87C0

 

Ransomware

 

Ransomware Malware Ransomware is the devilish and extremely debilitating program designed to lock and encrypt files in order to extort money from consumers, business owners, and even government officials. It seems that no one is safe in the fight against ransomware. Most ransomware programs are targeted at the most popular operating system, Windows. Ransomware programs can and will target other systems such as Android applications, Mac OS X and possibly even smart TVs in the near future. Not only is this an unsettling forecast for consumers, but also a call to action for preventative measures to protect your most important data files.

What can be done? Most users have learned the hard way that it is better to back up sensitive data to an external hard drive. However, this type of malware is tuned in to this. When a ransomware program infiltrates a computer, it infects all accessible drives and shared networks, encrypting all files found. This makes for a very irritating discovery of locked data across the board.

Rather than rely on the external hard drive method for backups, it is suggested that consumers adopt a new best practice. Ensure at least three copies of sensitive data are made, and stored in two different formats. At least one of these copies should be stored off-site or offline. This way if ransomware locks files away consumers are not forced into a sticky situation of deciding whether to risk paying for the data retrieval or losing the data forever.

What to do when faced with ransomware? Not much can be done once ransomware has attacked. Most security researchers advise not paying for files to be unlocked, as there is no guarantee that the hackers will provide the deception key once paid. Security vendors also worry about the implications for fueling the fire. The more consumers give in and pay for the safe return of their data, the further encouraged ransomware criminals become to continue this practice of extortion.

If I haven’t said it enough already, I will say it again. Prevention is key. Know how ransomware reaches your computer. Be especially careful of email attachments, word documents with macro code, and malicious advertisements. Always keep the software on your computer up to date. It is especially important to ensure that OS, browsers such as Flash Player, Adobe Reader, and Java are always updated when available. Unless you have verified the senders, never enable the execution of macros in documents. Finally and most importantly, perform daily activities from a limited user account rather than an administrative one. And always, always, utilize a well running and up to date antivirus program.

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3041001/security/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-ransomware.html

Three Unbelievably Tiny Computers

The market for a device that can easily replace the standard PC has taken a new approach to size. Don’t be fooled, you may be surprised when you find out what is hiding inside these small machines.

Zotac Zbox Sphere

This computer not only breaks the mold in terms of size, but shape. The Zbox is in fact, not a box, but a sphere. Simply twist the circular top and feast your eyes on the interior powerhouse of the computer. The top half of this tiny PC houses an Intel Core i5-42WP 300U motherboard and 4GB of memory. The back panel provides six USB ports, as well as an HDMI and DisplayPort. In addition, the Zbox includes a 802.11ac WiFi module and a spot for an Ethernet cable if preferred. This almost bowling ball like computer packs a serious punch in terms of creativity and power. WP 4

 

 

 

 

Intel Compute Stick

This tiny PC resembles a USB thumb drive, and has stirred massive attention since its release in early 2015. The Intel Compute Stick plugs into any monitWP 5or’s HDMI port, an added bonus for anyone working in tight spaces. Concerned about over heating? Fear not, this tiny machine has a fittingly tiny fan inside, ensuring fast performance without
overheating. Unfortunately the stick does not have an internal battery and thWP 6erefore must run off micro USB power at all times in order to function. What the Intel Compute Stick lacks in battery capabilities it makes up for with a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and 2GB of RAM, with micro SD support for up to 128GB of storage. That’s a lot of power crammed into 4.5 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

Mouse Box

The tiniest computer of the three is cleverly disguised as a computer mouse. The Mouse Box device contains a quad-core 1.4GHz ARM processor, a 128GB solid-state drive, and built-in b/g/n WiFi. The wireless image transfer module allows for easy visual transmitting in addition to the convenient micro HDMI port. The coolest part? Sticking with the mouse motif, the Mouse Box doesn’t need to be plugged in. The inductive charging mat doubles as a mousepad. Although the Mouse Box is not up for public release quite yet, they most certainly have our attention.  WP 8

WP 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.geek.com/chips/the-11-tiniest-most-powerful-computers-your-money-can-buy-1627324/

Microsoft OneDrive raises the bar for cloud storage

Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage The Microsoft OneDrive, otherwise known as “device cloud”, is available free of charge for anyone who has created a Microsoft account. Included are 5 GB of free storage, easy access to media files, folder syncing, documents, as well as playing and viewing capabilities in addition to simple storage.

Similar to the iCloud for iPhones and iPads, OneDrive allows iPhone, Android, and Windows phone users to automatically upload photos to the OneDrive camera roll. Combining online storage and syncing into one device, One Drive offers a new convenience for Microsoft users who had to previously deal with separate storage and syncing services. Windows 10 has allowed OneDrive to grow as a built-in capacity. If you utilize other technology platforms OneDrive is compatible with Windows 7 and 8, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android.

 

PROS-

Excellent photo viewing and slideshow capabilities.

Clear interface.

Works with Windows phone, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Easily retrieves any file from a PC.

 

CONS-

Storage offerings shrinking according to a recent release from Microsoft.

Not a share target for Windows 10 apps.

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409569,00.asp

FTC: Debt collection, Impostor scams, and identity theft, oh my!

Debt collection, impostor scams, and identity theft remain at the forefront of consumer concerns, and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. The Federal Trade Commission fielded more than 3 million complaints in 2015 alone, a significant jump compared to the 2.5 million received in 2014. Abusive debt collection was 29% of overall complaints. Debt collection was the top complaint mainly from data contributors who collect complaints via a mobile app, producing a surge in unwanted debt collection mobile phone calls.

WP 2Identify Theft was the second most reported behind abusive debt collection, despite increasing more than 47 percent from 2014. Identity theft has been the top category for the previous 15 years and only recently has dropped down on the Federal Trade Commission’s list of most reported complaint. Tax- or wage- related fraud (45%) was the most common form of reported identity theft, followed by credit card fraud, phone or utilities fraud, and bank fraud. The FTC has combated this by providing a personal recovery plan for victims of fraud, available through the IdentityTheft.gov website.

Imposter Scams, where individuals pose as government officials remained the third most commonly reported complaint. The FTC cleaned up a bit, shutting down a fake Medicare operation and working to educate the public through webinars, town halls, blog posts, and twitter.

 

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3039912/security/ftc-imposter-scams-identity-theft-and-debt-collection-top-consumer-grumbles.html?token=%23tk.NWWNLE_nlt_networkworld_security_alert_2016-03-02&idg_eid=b0bd995e2814d7f58c50105dd3327c12&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NWW%20Security%20Alert%202016-03-02&utm_term=networkworld_security_alert#tk.NWW_nlt_networkworld_security_alert_2016-03-02

Cyber Security Threats – Proactive Rather Than Reactive

Word Press PhotosSecurity executives have increasingly urged firms to utilize prevention, encouraging a plan that encompasses Information Technology and business units in order to ensure cyber security.

Why might you ask? As a mere observation, most firms have accepted hackers as a viable threat that will eventually infiltrate their network. Rather than focus on preventative measures, companies have taken to the opposite, strengthening their reactive forces and mitigating the damage a hacker can do once inside. Although important, focus needs to be on cyber security and data breach prevention in addition to recovery after the fact. This change of mindset ensures significant progress can be made to prevent threats, making better use of time and resources for your company.

John Davis, CSO of Palo Alto Networks’ federal division, suggests “Call for a comprehensive risk analysis, mapping out the different segments of the network and examining the needs of the enterprise along with the security concerns.” He encourages information technology teams and cybersecurity teams to work together for a higher level of performance. Prevention tactics bring together these two forces in a more collective manner.

 

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about material presented in this blog post please visit:

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3039955/security/why-cios-to-be-proactive-not-reactive-to-cybersecurity-threats.html?token=%23tk.NWWNLE_nlt_networkworld_security_alert_2016-03-02&idg_eid=b0bd995e2814d7f58c50105dd3327c12&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NWW%20Security%20Alert%202016-03-02&utm_term=networkworld_security_alert#tk.NWW_nlt_networkworld_security_alert_2016-03-02