Tech and Teens: Navigating the Digital World – Safely

March 14th, 2011

Tech and Teens

Tech Industry Most Trusted Industry in the World

February 4th, 2011

According to a survey performed by Edelman, the company found that the Tech industry has been, and continues to be the most trusted industry in the world.

The survey was the result of asking 5,075 people from 23 nations their levels of trust for various industries (among other questions).  A variety of interesting data came from this survey, including the fact that the banking and financial industries are now the least trusted according to the survey.

Neither of these findings come as any real surprise in light of recent events.  The financial industry has taken the heat for a number of blunders in the last two years, and consumer confidence has dropped as a result.

More importantly though is the finding that Tech is the most trusted. Consider the effects that trust can have on a business, an industry, or even an entire country’s economy.

Let’s take a look at trust when it comes to an IT company.  Think about the sheer volume of information that IT companies have access to, never mind the confidentiality of some of that information.  We hear rather frequently, it seems, about some company being hacked, or losing important data.  Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to have affected the view of the industry as a whole.  Here is why I think that is:  Our perception is colored by our direct experiences, not anecdotes about hackers and insecurity.  When you choose a company to manage your information and technology needs, you need to be certain that it is a company you can trust.

This is true whether you’re considering a business-to-business relationship, or considering a company to handle your personal information.  Facebook, Google (Gmail), Microsoft (Hotmail), Yahoo – no matter who you are, one of these companies is likely to have your personal information.  How well do you trust the companies that have your personal information?  How well do you trust the companies that you do business with on a regular basis?  How well do you trust your tech companies?

In business, trust is critical.  Many players in Tech industries understand this.  How can a company expect critical information to be handed over without some assurance or confidence?  Again, many people in IT understand this – we’re constantly looking for better ways to secure your data and make your company more successful.  For a company like Greyhound, your success is our success.

via Gizmodo, SkiddMark, The Car Connection, AutoBlog
Source: Edelman

Windows 7 Professional TOP BENEFITS for small and medium business

December 16th, 2010

Business customers just like you told Microsoft what they were looking for in their PCs. The answer came in loud and clear: performance, ease of use, and security. Designed with these needs in mind, the Windows® 7 Professional operating system delivers a powerful combination of innovation, improved performance, and productivity. Why is Windows 7 Professional right for your business?

1. It’s fast and reliable. Responsive and ready—you can start using your PC quickly with fast startup, shutdown, sleep, and resume from Standby. Further performance improvements lead to fewer interruptions and prompts, as well as faster recovery from problems when they happen.

2. It works with what you have today. Specifically designed with compatibility in mind, Windows 7 Professional works with a broad set of devices and applications. In addition, Windows XP Mode* provides you with the flexibility to run many older Windows XP productivity applications right from the Windows 7 desktop.

3. Helps you find what you need quickly. Find what you need fast with instant search, Jump Lists, and a larger, customizable taskbar with pop-up previews. Type a few letters in the search box, and files, applications, or even menus appear in seconds. Similar types of documents (such as financial records or customer lists) can be grouped into Libraries—making it easy to find them even if they are stored in different folders or on different PCs.

4. Makes the things you do every day easier. Everyday tasks are streamlined and simplified—with commonly used resources put within easy access and clutter minimized on the desktop. Enhancements to the Windows Aero® desktop experience (such as Aero Snap, Aero Peek, and Aero Shake) help you intuitively navigate, arrange, and work with multiple open windows on the desktop.

5. Helps you easily share your files and printers. If you’re a small business without a server, you can easily share documents, printers, and devices across multiple PCs running Windows 7. For businesses with a server, Windows 7 Professional lets you connect PCs quickly and more securely to both your wired and wireless domain networks. This can better help you manage security and the costs of multiple PCs. In addition, with Location-Aware Printing, your documents automatically get sent to the right printer—whether you’re at work or at home.

6. Allows mobile workers to stay productive anywhere. Windows 7 Professional makes mobile computing on the go easier with access to all your mobile settings in one place and greater connection and networking options. Now you can access and share all your work computer programs, files, and network resources—whether you’re at home or on the road. You can even disconnect from the network, work offline, and then have your network files automatically and seamlessly updated with any new changes.

7. Helps you easily restore deleted files or folders. Windows 7 Professional lets you schedule automatic periodic backups to save your data or an entire system image to a network location or a local drive. This helps you quickly restore individual files or folders that get accidentally deleted or even an entire PC in the event of a hard drive failure or the presence of malicious software.

8. Helps you better protect and secure confidential information. Protect your business’s confidential information, such as credit card numbers or employee information, with the Encrypting File System. This provides user-level file and folder encryption, enabling strong data protection and control.

9. Quickly find what you’re looking for. Use Windows Search to find a specific file, program or e-mail in a few seconds.

10. Manage open windows and gain quicker access to all your stuff. Resize and arrange windows simply by dragging their borders to the edge of the screen. Use Pin and Jump Lists to keep the programs and files you use the most right at your fingertips.

11. Offers greater online protection. Help keep your business up and running with Windows Defender offering enhanced protection from Internet threats, spyware, and other forms of malicious software. At the same time, the Windows Internet Explorer® 8 Internet browser helps protect your data and business information by delivering improved protection against security and privacy threats.

12. Helps you solve PC problems quickly. Windows 7 Action Center gives you one place to view, diagnose, and solve common PC problems. Now you can easily access built-in troubleshooters for several different types of problems, such as printing, Internet connections, performance, or power issues.

13. Upgrades are quick and easy. If you start with Windows 7 Home Premium and realize you want the extended business functionality of Windows 7 Professional, it’s a quick and easy process. All you have to do is purchase an upgrade key to unlock the additional features. In just 10 minutes, the whole process is complete. Simply go to the Start menu, under Extras and Upgrades, to begin.

14. Allows you to easily set your PC to presentation mode. When presentation settings are turned on, your mobile PC stays awake—yet system notifications, instant messages (IMs), and other interruptions get turned off so they don’t disrupt your presentation. You can also choose to turn off your screen saver, adjust the volume, and change your desktop background image. Your settings are then automatically saved and applied each time you give a presentation.

15. You’ll experience fewer security prompts and update requests. Stay safer with fewer interuptions.  In Windows 7 Professional, all your updates and alerts are managed under active controls, so you can deal with them on your own time.

Micrsoft releases 40 critical patches this week!

December 16th, 2010

Microsoft said that two of the new patches were of the highest priority and should be deployed right away to protect against criminal attacks on Windows and Internet Explorer.
Dec 14 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) issued one of its biggest-ever security fixes on Tuesday, including repairs to its ubiquitous Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser for flaws that could let hackers take control of a PC. Microsoft said on Tuesday that two of the new patches — software updates that write over glitches — were of the highest priority and should be deployed immediately to protect
users from potential criminal attacks on Windows and Internet Explorer.  The world’s largest software maker said it also repaired other less serious security weaknesses in Windows, along with security problems in its widely used Office software
for PCs and Microsoft Exchange email software.
Altogether, Microsoft released 17 security patches to address 40 problems in its products.
The constant patching of PCs is time consuming for corporate users, who need to test the fixes before they deploy them to make sure they do not cause machines to crash because of
compatibility problems with existing software. (Reporting by Jim Finkle; editing by Andre Grenon)

Google DoubleClick Unknowingly Served Up Malicious Ad

December 13th, 2010


JavaScript-based drive-by attack automatically infected website visitors with fake antivirus

By Kelly Jackson Higgins
DarkreadingOriginal Article

Major online ad network Google DoubleClick this month inadvertently posted a malicious advertisement on websites that infected users visiting sites running the ad.

This was no typical malvertising campaign attack, says Wayne Huang, CTO and researcher at Armorize, who discovered the threat. The ad automatically installs a rogue antivirus program on the victim’s computer and holds it for ransom until the user purchases software to “fix” it.

“It’s a JavaScript program that tries to exploit multiple vulnerabilities in your browser. It will succeed and then a malicious program is installed without the website or malicious ad tricking you to” install it,” Huang says.

The malicious program includes both a backdoor Trojan and the fake AV. “It’s a real Windows program, and if you try to execute another program, it won’t let you do anything. It tells you your hard disk is failing,” he says.

The malware in question is HDD Plus, which has been mysteriously spreading around the Internet during the past few days, including via msn.com, according to Armorize. “A lot of people were talking about it, but no one said one of the means it was spreading was through DoubleClick,” Huang says.

The attackers used a name similar to the legitimate AdShuffle online ad firm, but with an extra letter “f,” just enough to fool DoubleClick into posting the ad on websites. The ads first appeared around Dec. 4, and DoubleClick had caught and removed the malicious ad, which featured greeting cards as well as other items, by Dec. 8, according to Huang, who says he doesn’t know how many users might have been infected.

The malware targets Internet Explorer, but it also uses exploits that go after PDF plug-in flaws in other types of browsers. Huang says most AV packages should detect the malware now. The attack demonstrates just how easy malvertising attacks can be executed, he says.

“You don’t need to compromise a website, just submit an ad on an exchange,” he says. “It’s as easy as registering a similar domain name as an existing advertiser.”

Jonathan: This is exactly the reason why every computer needs a good anti-virus program installed.  More than that, it illustrates the importance of having all Windows Updates performed along with regular application maintenance.

While no security system is completely hacker-proof, having an updated anti-virus program is at least a line of defense.  The days where you had to visit a “bad” site to get a virus are gone.  Viruses don’t just come from adult sites or sites with questionable content anymore.   At Greyhound, we’ve received similar reports in the past where users were browsing reputable news sites or sites relevant to their business and ended up with viruses on their PCs.

Consider this: the average amount of time it takes to remediate a virus attack is in the neighborhood of 4-6 hours.  It can be less, or more depending on the virus and the severity.  During that time, that employee cannot complete their work.  Also consider the rate of recurrence on many of these viruses.   Compare that productivity loss and repair cost with a regular maintenance cycle.  A little prevention goes a long way.

Stolen laptop affects 3,700 Henry Ford patients

November 24th, 2010
Melissa Burden / The Detroit News

An estimated 3,700 patients were affected by the recent breach of Henry Ford Health System’s unsecured personal health information, according to information from Henry Ford Hospital posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Health and Human Services by law must post breaches of unsecured protected health information that affect 500 or more people.

An employee’s laptop with the information was discovered stolen Sept. 24 from an unlocked urology medical office. Henry Ford Health System officials earlier this month would not say how many people were affected in the breach, but that it had notified the male patients who had received prostate services from the system between 1997 and 2008.

From The Detroit News

Jonathan: These sorts of breaches are preventable, but highlight a very important point.  The Internet is NOT the only attack vector.  While it is important to keep your systems patched, up-to-date, and protected with anti-virus software, all that effort is in vain if your devices aren’t secure physically.  Hard disk encryption can prevent breaches in case of theft, but it’s much easier to make sure your laptop is in a secure location – a locked desk drawer for example.

Is USB too slow in 2010?

November 17th, 2010

Faster data transfer between gadgets has been on top of consumers’ wish list.
Enter Light Peak, the new buzzword in peripheral connectivity.
Forget serial, forget USB 2.0, forget USB 3.0, lightpeak has the potential to replace
the existing peripheral connectivity technologies.
Light Peak is an optical cable interface designed to connect devices in a peripheral bus.
The technology has a high bandwidth at 10 Gbit/s, with the potential to scale to 100 Gbit/s by 2020.
Currently in development by Intel, Light Peak is being developed as a single universal replacement for
current buses such as SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire, PCI Express and HDMI, in an attempt to
reduce the proliferation of ports on contemporary computers. Bus systems such as USB
were developed for the same purpose, and successfully replaced a number of older technologies.
However, increasing bandwidth demands have led to higher performance standards like eSATA
and DisplayPort that cannot connect to USB and similar peripherals. Light Peak provides a
high enough bandwidth to drive these over a single type of interface, and often on a single
daisy chained cable.
lightpeak image
Light Peak can be at least twice as fast as USB 3.0, also known as Super-speed USB, and can deliver bandwidth starting at 10 Gigabits per second, with the potential to extend to 100 Gb/s. At its lowest
speed, it means you could transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds.
If Intel can pull it off, it would mean a big change for consumers. The ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus, or USB, has changed the way we interact with our computers. USB has allowed almost every consumer
electronics product from keyboards, and printers to digital cameras and personal media players to be connected to a host PC using a single standardized socket.
This year, major PC and accessories makers are introducing products that use USB 3.0, whose data transfer rates of 4 Gb/s is up to ten times faster than USB 2.0.
Unlike existing cables used by current technology, optics transfers data using light instead of electricity. That makes its faster, allows for smaller connectors, and thinner, more flexible cables than what’s currently possible, says Intel.
Light Peak uses a controller chip and an optical module that would be included in devices that support the technology. The optical module, which performs the conversion from electricity to light using miniature
lasers and photo detectors, will be manufactured by Intel’s partners, while the chip maker will produce the controller.

Spammers ‘Gearing Up’ Botnets for Holiday Rush

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

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

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