Archive for October, 2010

Spammers ‘Gearing Up’ Botnets for Holiday Rush

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
October 19, 2010, 11:05AM

By: Paul Roberts

Spammers are pushing out e-mail borne malware at unprecedented rates in an apparent attempt to build up botnets in advance of the busy holiday shopping season, according to a report by Google. 

Writing on the company’s enterprise blog, Adrian Soghoian and Adam Hollman of the Google Postini Services Team surveyed data from the third quarter, 2010, and found that virus volume in spam e-mail increased 10% from the same quarter in 2009, even though spam volume decreased by 24% during the same period. 

High profile botnet crackdowns, such as the elimination of the Pushdo botnet in August, likely contributed to the overall decline in spam volume. But new botnets have sprung up to take their place. And, if the volume of spam was lower, it was also dirtier than in 2009. Virus levels increased 111% between August 2009 and August 2010, with 188 million viruses blocked in a single day – a record, according to the blog post. 

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That may indicate a push to build out bot networks in advance of the holiday season, when many users go online to purchase gifts, and spammers are more likely to find success pushing their own wares, the Google researchers hypothesized. 

Other trends worth noting: 

E-mail viruses are taking advantage of previously sent e-mails harvested from the hard drives of infected computers to fool spam filters. The recycled e-mails, outfitted with malicious links or attachments, have a better chance at slipping by filters and getting opened because they use wording and content that’s natural and familiar to the recipient. 

URL shortening services such as bit.ly and tinyurl.com, which have blossomed with the advent of Twitter, are increasingly being used by spammers to mask malicious links. 

Spam masquerading as financial transaction messages and e-mail non-delivery report/receipt (NDR) notifications are increasingly popular lures for spammers, which lard them with malicious links or obfuscated JavaScript attacks that download malicious wares. 

Celebrity gossip – including false alerts about the untimely deaths of high profile celebrities – is a common lure to get e-mail recipients to open malicious e-mail attachments. 

Read more on Google’s Enterprise blog

Office 2011 for Mac released

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac
As anticipated, Microsoft released Office 2011 for Mac.
The suite brings over features from the recent Windows versions of Office,
such as a ribbon interface. It also incorporates the first-ever Mac version
of Outlook, and the long-awaited Messenger for Mac 8. VBA returns after
being left out of the previous version.
Upgraded versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint form the core of the suite.
On the Office website Microsoft is charging $150 for the Home & Student version,
and $280 for Home & Business. The figures differ from ones promised earlier, but
the software can be had much cheaper from other vendors, such as Amazon.
There Home & Student costs $110, while Home & Business is $175. Word, Excel
and PowerPoint can alternately be bought separately for $140 apiece.
Among the many changes in Microsoft Office 2011 is the arrival of product “activation”
done via internet or by phone
The activation ties the use of the software to a specific device and reveals other
information (such as the IP address and hardware configuration), but can be reassigned
to another device any number of times, limited to once every 90 days.

The Home & Student Edition of Microsoft Office 2011 (Family Pack version) still has
three licenses, but in the 2008 edition each license was good for one desktop and
one laptop install, meaning up to six Macs in a household could run the software.
The 2011 license limits each activation to one device, cutting the number of allowable
machines in half. Home & Business editions offer a 1-license and 2-license version.

Fake Microsoft Security Essentials Program Making the Rounds

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Security firm F-Secure is warning that a malicious program spoofing Microsoft’s
free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus program is being distributed via
drive-by download as either hotfix.exe or mstsc.exe.
“Not only does this fake took steal Microsoft’s brand, it also features a
bizarre matrix display of 32 antivirus products, offering to locate you a
tool that would be capable of fixing your machine as ‘Microsoft Security Essentials’
can’t clean the malware it found,” F-Secure said. “In reality, this is all fake,
and the tool has not found an infection in the fail it claims.”
If you are interested in installing the Microsoft Security Essentials application,
the safest method is to go directly to the Microsoft web site and download it there.
If you see the screen below, close you browser,do not click on any of the items, escpecially the Free Install buttons.

Fake AV Image

Small Biz Tech Myth: Mobility gives my employees an excuse to slack off.

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

no myth
Location is becoming irrelevant for many businesses.
With a notebook and a strong Internet connection, people now work on airplanes,
at cafes and even at their desks! While managers once feared the freedom
that mobility offered their employees, they are now embracing it, knowing that
it can extend productivity well beyond the 9-5 workday.
Businesses can reap the benefits of employees’ access to mobile email and
virtual storage for improved collaboration and communication.
Cloud computing and notebook computers with embedded broadband should be
central to your company’s mobile strategy.
A solid mobile strategy can really contribute to your company’s competitive edge.
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent. This means that most of the time your work
is conducted in your car. Accessing email, a database or the Internet, wherever
you are, could be a huge advantage while you’re closing a deal or hosting an open house.
There are other benefits. While mobility lends your business a more competitive edge,
your employees are probably also happier. Mobile employees tend to appreciate their
ability to work remotely and establish a more ideal work environment for themselves,
while contributing to the overall productivity of your business.
A new Brigham Young University study shows that working from home even one day per week results in more productivity and lower burnout rates.

Do your employees work remotely? If so, what is their feedback on this policy? If not, what’s holding you back?

Back Up your PC Lately?

Monday, October 18th, 2010

… Yeah, I’ll get to that tomorrow.
… It takes too long.
… I’m really busy today.
… My computer is new
What excuse do you use to NOT backup your computer? Now, Iomega has a new SSD Hard Drive that will make backups quick, easy, and efficient. Weighing less than a quarter of a pound, this is the device that should eliminate all of the excuses you use.
Iomega SSD Drive
Iomega has a line of pocket-sized external flash storage devices using a USB 3.0 interconnect.
The External SSD Flash Drive has a 1.8-inch form factor and comes in 64, 128 and 256GB capacities,
all with built-in 256-bit encryption. We don’t know if it is single- or mult-level cell flash
inside but assume its multi-level and probably 2-bit.
Also included is bundled-in backup (Roxio Retrospect) and anti-virus software plus a three-year warranty.
There is also v.Clone software, which captures a complete virtual image of your PC,
including the operating system, applications, settings, and all files, and writes it to the
flash drive. You can access the cloned copy and use it seamlessly on another computer, as
if you are working from your own PC. When you reconnect, it will automatically sync your
data to the primary PC, meaning files are always up to date.
The MozyHome cloud backup service is also included.

Here is a list of features:

  • Preformatted and hot plug-and-play
  • No AC adapter needed
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • NAND Flash Type: MLC
  • Max Read: up to 265MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 215MB/s
  • Data Transfer Rates: USB 3.0 up to 5 Gbits/s
  • MTBF: 1.2 Million Hours
  • Hardware Encryption: 256-Bit AES Encrypted Storage Controller
  • Three year limited warranty
  • Dimensions: 4.35″ x 2.72″ x .37″ (L x W x H)
  • Weight:.24 lbs

If you keep valuable data, pictures, etc. on your computer, you may want to consider one today.

Why you need E-mail Archiving

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Do you have an E-mail Archiving policy in effect?
Can you retrieve an email from 2008? How about 2005?
Something important was just e-mailed to your customer.
Did they save it? Is it backed up?
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) revised in 2006 require all businesses large or small
to save business documents for anywhere from three to seven years depending on the type of business.
The need to easily search stored business documents is also critical.
Electronic discovery of relevant e-mails can make or break a lawsuit.
Litigation and compliance are valid reasons to store all e-mails, yet many SMBs do the opposite:
In the interest of conserving storage of rapidly growing messaging stores, they require users to delete e-mails
when their in-boxes grow above a certain size, possibly losing business-critical content and putting the firm at risk.
Even companies that have a policy of saving all e-mails can get into trouble.
Large volumes of e-mails stored on production servers can hurt messaging performance and slow the backup process.

Solution Overview
There are two main approaches to e-mail archiving:

  • On-premise software and appliances
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) with offsite storage.

Customer size, sophistication of the IT environment, sensitivity of the archived data, and the budget all impact which solution to choose.

Is your Identity safe?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Are you using the web safely?
How do you guard your identity when using the internet?
Here’s a few surprising statistics from the Symantec website.

  • Cybercrime has surpassed illegal drug trafficking as a criminal moneymaker
  • Every 3 seconds, an identity is stolen online
  • Average cost to repair identity theft: $1,865
  • A victim of identity theft can spend an average of 165 hours recovering losses

If you would like more information on how to keep your identity secure, call Greyhound today.
586.469.4429

A Fond Farewell to Windows XP

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

It’s time to bid adieu to Windows XP.
As of 10.22.2010, Windows XP downgrade rights will no longer be available.
XP Logo
In 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP. The merging of the Windows NT/2000 and Windows 95/98/Me lines was finally achieved with Windows XP. Windows XP uses the Windows NT 5.1 kernel, marking the entrance of the Windows NT core to the consumer market, to replace the aging 16/32-bit branch.
So, Are you ready to give up on XP? It’s been a rather stable operating system, undergoing 3 Service Packs.
After using XP for 9 years, it may be hard to kick the habit.
Are you ready to move up to Windows 7? Windows 7 has been out long enough to be “road tested.”
Greyhound is actively deploying the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional, and so far, customer response has been positive.
There’s much to like about Windows 7, and with Windows XP support ending soon, it may be the right time to move up to Windows 7.
Call Alan at 586.469.4429 to see how migrating to Windows 7 can increase productivity in your workspace.