Category : Online Backup

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

 

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

Setup iCloud

How to setup iCloud on your iPhone

iCloud doesn’t just store your content, it allows you to access your content from all of your apple devices with iCloud setup. This includes music, phones, calendars, contacts and documents.

To set this up on the iphone

1. Make sure you’re running the latest iOS 5
2. Turn on iCloud – you will need an apple ID, this is what you use as a login into your Apple account. To turn on iCloud tap on SETTINGS and select iCLOUD then enter your Apple ID.
3. Customize your settings. You can turn on or off different iCloud Services.
a. You can also get a free iCloud email account
4. Setup up Automatic downloads so your store purchases are automatically downloaded to your various devices.
5. After you complete the initial setup, turn on iCloud on your other apple devices with iCloud (ie: ipad, iphone, ipod, ect…)

USB 3.0 To Come SmartPhones, Tablets This Year

According to many, USB standardized organizations have made many claims that USB 3.0 will come to smartphones and tablets this year.  This is important to our industry and will make things a lot better.  These units will have microUSB ports located on them that will allow this manner of connection which will fit all different size devices.  The ports will allow faster data transfer between mobile devices and hosts such as PC’s, some of which will already have USB 3.0 ports located in them.  Data transfer rates will be roughly between 800 to 1000 Mbps (MG per second).  The current port connection is USB 2.0 and the upgrade to 3.0 will greatly improve speed.  A data transfer with USB 2.0 that takes 15 minutes will be greatly reduces to 1 minute with USB 3.0, quite a difference.  As a result tablets and smartphones will recharge much faster via USB 3.0.

Personal Cloud: WD My Book Live

Backup, backup, backup. Most of us rely on our computing technology for our work, home, and play to keep our data easily accessible. We’ve all experienced it, we’re working and all of a sudden our computer crashes, the hard drive goes bad, or the files we need becomes corrupted and guess what? There’s no backup! What do to now besides cry? We at BVA believe keeping a backup, whether daily or weekly is very important because you never know when something will go wrong. There are all kinds of backup solutions out there for businesses, from tape, disk, or even in the cloud. But not only do businesses need to keep backing up their files, but we as individuals with our personal data should keep backups. I backup my hard drive daily so that I always have the ability to back and grab a file, maybe I changed something and realized I need the original, or the disk I had a file on goes bad and I need to grab a different copy. I just found this new hard drive from Western Digital called My Book Live – WD 2go. This is Western Digital personal cloud storage device that gives you your own cloud hard drive so you can access your data where ever you are. Usually when we talk about cloud storage we generally refer to a service you purchase from some company and they store your data somewhere at their datacenter. With this new Western Digital device you can have your own personal 3TB of storage. The device rest on your personal network and you can access it anywhere. The WD 2go has fee-free remote access to your My Book Live to your computer. Another cool feature are the apps you can install on your smartphone or tablet that will give you access to your files stored on your My Book Live as well. So wherever you go, your files are just a click away.

Unlimited Backup!

Backup’s are extremely critical for individuals and organizations to have in place. One solution I’ve found to be not only extremely cheap and affordable for any user, but also extremely safe and reliable is known as BackBlaze, a $4 dollar per month service that provides unlimited storage, end to end encryption, and integrates seamlessly with both mac and window’s based environments. Not only is this solution a great for anyone, it’s also extremely easy to use and setup, accessible anywhere through their easy to use website, and automatically keep’s itself in sync providing you reports of job success’s and failure’s.

Features Include:

  • Unlimited Storage
  • External Drive Support
  • Military-Grade Encryption
  • Continuous Backup
  • Automatically Finds Files
  • Automatic Throttle
  • Locate Computer
  • Free Web Restore
  • Restore to USB Hard Drive
  • Restore to Flash Drive
  • File versioning
  • 11 Languages

Dropbox

One of my favorite apps that I use daily on my computer and iphone is called Dropbox. Do you want to be able to access your files from anywhere you are? Computer, web, phone, and or tablet? Dropbox is a cool app that allows you to do this seamlessly by simply installing the app on your computer, or your smartphone. Dropbox is cloud service that basically backs up any changes you make to a file no matter which device you’re using to access the file.

Features include:
• 2GB of Dropbox for free, with subscriptions up to 100GB available.
• Your files are always available from the secure Dropbox website.
• Dropbox works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
• Works even when offline. You always have your files, whether or not you have a connection.
• Dropbox transfers just the parts of a file that change (not the whole thing).
•Manually set bandwidth limits — Dropbox won’t hog your connection.

Another cool feature is file sharing. You can share folders and thereby documents so if you need to collaborate with someone, you all have access to the same file. Never be without your files again.

Acronis Backup & Recovery 2012 has Some Serious Issues

Acronis has some issues that need to be addressed; bva has been a serious fan of this product, but in older versions that were rock-solid.  I would have to tell you that we are very disappointed with version 2012 and even worked with them directly and even their most tenured technician had problems getting it to work.  Also to talk candidly, that technician never got it set up correctly.  Bva got a full registered copy of Acronis 2012 True Image.  We installed it on a brand new server with a lot of resources as well as a hefty storage target. This storage target has about 7 TB of usable disk space for back up images.  This was the first time we installed this version and we had issues at every turn.  A summation of the problems are as follows:

When installed, Acronis started making problems including:

  • Incredible slowing the speed of the server. When installed, everything was running very slow, enormously time consuming program launch, everything freezes.
  • Once Acronis was installed via testing, everything runs as fast as before.
  • The server agent refused to load properly and when we got them to install they could not be seen by the back up server(main console).
  • Acronis spent several minutes to show the interface. If the backup is lunched (often this freeze the server).
  • Bva found the restoration process problematic and painful.
  • When we started the recovery from backup, Acronis restarted the server which is ridiculous and would get errors such as “Impossible to read the source. Try the destination again”.

bva then reached out to support and chatted with an Acronis technician, according to a GM of the local office, a Guru where we sat on the phone for 2 hours, reconfigured it from scratch, and they still could not get the back up to work properly.  The biggest issues that we see with this product is as follows:

  • Difficult to install and configure, needs to be a lot easier
  • The indexing of the data takes too long
  • The verification process takes way to long
  • The process associated on multi-level back up’s are very tough.  One job needs to be completed before another starts.  We tried to set up a single job where we backed up the data to drives and then to tape.  This simple process took almost two days for 4TB.

Reliable Back Up and Setting Correct Expectations

Over the last five years I have seen a more passive approach to back up and disaster recovery.  Organizations are letting their data reliability take a back seat to system up-time and performance which is starting to become scary.  I typically ask CEO’s and owners what an acceptable amount of downtime for their business and they all reference about 2 to 4 hours.  It always amazes me, these types of expectations people in power have about how quickly their systems can get back up.  Never taken into account is how long it takes to build their new system as well as the time consuming process of moving data from one location to another.  It is something that is always over-looked in normal system installations.  Many businesses out there feel that their system can be up in 4 to 5 hours and typically when we review and assess a small to medium size business, we find that the average rebuild time for a single server that has a disaster is roughly 10 hours.  Of course the 10 hours for a single server consists of:

  • server build via operating system install and patching
  • application set up and configuration
  • shares/drive set up
  • data migration
  • testing and validation

It is very important to build and structure a network system that can facilitate an agreed level of downtime.  In other words, if management decides that the network can only be down for 4 hours, no matter what time of the day it might be, that will drive a completely different back up system and methodology then if bva is told that 12 hours is satisfactory from 8am to 5pm on weekdays.  Documenting the process and timeline for bring back up the system is critical and imperative.

Many businesses are looking to move their data into the cloud and normally referenced to bva that it is a cheaper alternative to onsite back up, but I can tell you that is not the case.  Moving the data offsite in a reliable and consistent manner can be a bit tricky depending on the solution.  For the solution to thrive, you need a reliable telco provider such as fiber as well as a stable power grid.  Depending on the solution, data roughly can cost $4 to $12 per gigabit (GB) depending on the compliance standard set forth for data retention.  (30 days, 12 months, 5 years, 7 years)  There are several great softwares out there that can be loaded on any server and completely hardware agnostic.  This software drives the back up job and can point it to any iSCSI target. This software can also move the data offsite to any destination you prefer and typically the software you select will provide that option via several data centers.  Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and even Apple are a few that have gotten in this business and will continue to grow and large back up solution providers.

Desktop Imaging – Good or Bad

bva gets many inquires about how should organizations back up local desktops.  Of course as technical professionals, bva recommends having nothing on the desktop with regards to important data.  But never the less it is always a subject matter that gets voiced and requested from management.  Having the ability to build and push an image to a user desktop is a great and easy way to ensure user satisfaction and lowers administration time.  That being said it is starting to be a common development when moving email into the cloud such as Exchange Online with BPOS/Office365.  There is currently no way of backing up the mail store which is painful.  That being said the way around that is to back-up the local OST file that can be backed up to local disk from the desktop.  Of course for restoration purposes you really need to move the OST to PST for restoring with typically takes another migration tool that is not free and needs to be purchased per mailbox.  A great way around that is to simply image the desktop and keep that image locally on slower or cheap disk.  That covers you on many levels from our perspectives and has many copies of data on different sets of hardware,  something to consider.

The popular software that we are using as of right now are as followed:

  • Acronis® Backup & Recovery™ 11 Advanced Workstation  Website Link – Use console to manage machines locally or remotely, Includes Acronis Management Server for single point of centralized management, Group machines into static on dynamic groups, Automatically include multiple machines or group of them to backup task, Monitor backup and recovery activities on all machines from a single place, Build customizable reports.
  • Symantec Backup Exec 2010 Desktop and Laptop Option  Website Link – With the majority of business-critical information residing outside the data center or off corporate servers, protection for desktops and laptops is a must. The enhanced Desktop and Laptop Option delivers continuous data protection to desktops and laptops whether in the office or on the road. Not only improving data protection and efficiency, this option enables users to restore their own files and maintains synchronization between multiple desktops and laptops so the most up-to-date file versions are available on all of a user’s computers. Because the Desktop and Laptop Option does not require a dedicated stand-alone server as competing products do, it easily integrates into existing IT infrastructure and policies, helping lower the total cost of ownership.  The new push-install functionality from within Backup Exec centralizes deployment. Backup Exec 2010 includes support for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP 64-bit OS, as well as delta file transfer, reducing the total amount of data being backed up. With this release, this option is integrated with Backup Exec Retrieve (available with the Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server) for even greater simplified file recovery.