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Category : General

Why Do We Do and Say Dumb Things Online?

BBC has an interesting article about a 16 year old who is pleading guilty to hacking into Apple’s network. This kid “boasted about his activities” and broke into their network because “he was a huge fan and dreamed of working there.”

There is something that happens when you’re behind a computer (it’s called The Online Disinhibition Effect) where do and say things you’d never do in person. Would this kid really break a lock on Apple HQ building to get in? I doubt it. Would he physically steal cash from one of their retail stores? Probably not. But that’s just what he did.

The same thing happens to us in chat rooms or via email. People will curse and humiliate total strangers, when they would never dream of doing that at your local coffee shop. We assume we are anonymous. We pretend the other person isn’t just like us.

The next time you’re online, remember the person staring at the other end of your communication. That person is someone’s son or daughter. That person is probably just like you. Oh, and if you didn’t read the BBC article… you aren’t anonymous… we can find you.

Y2K – Real or Myth?

Interesting article from BBC discussing if Y2K was a myth… conclusion: no, it wasn’t, the only reason it was a HUGE problem, was because of IT folks who spent countless hours preparing for it. Basically it would have been a big deal, but they realized that before it happened. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45083650

Data Breaches: What’s Actually Reported

Are you still shredding your bills and blacking out your address on envelopes. I hope not. In this day and age your much more likely to lose you information from a data breach than from someone dumpster diving… and c’mom, I can just google your address to find out who lives there. Check out this recent article about a data breach from the BBC (Click Here), 10 million records stolen, and it happened in June. The Online Trust Alliance estimates there were between 82,000-250,000 security breaches in 2016, and that number is just going up. That’s 200 – 500 companies EVERY DAY! But we only hear about the big ones. How many little mom and pop stores do you think have your info and have terrible security? Probably lots.

 

So, what can you do about it? Here are some ideas to keep you safe.

  1. Realize it’s a matter of when, not if, your data is stolen
  2. Be suspicious of emails you don’t expect
  3. Be suspicious of real mail you aren’t expecting
  4. Use a password manager (My favorite it lastpass.com) and use complex passwords
  5. Encrypt your phone
  6. Encrypt your laptop

 

How Quickly Cyber Criminals Can Take Over

In a recent BBC article, they explain how easy it is for cyber criminals to take over a vulnerable server. And don’t think they aren’t targeting little guys, because they are using automated tools, you’re just as vulnerable as a Fortune 100 company for many attacks.

A test was done by a company that does cyber security to see how quickly a new server with vulnerabilies would be found out and exploited. Withing two hours of putting the server online, bots had found it, and laid siege to the network. Then within 15 seconds, they “Owned the network”

The articles states:


Within 15 seconds of getting access, the bot:

  • sought out and exploited several known vulnerabilities
  • scanned the network to which the server was connected
  • stole and dumped credentials for other vulnerable machines
  • created new user accounts for its creators to use

“It completely owned the network in an automated fashion,” said Mr Rustici.


If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.

Full Article Here: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43788337

How Much Bandwidth Do I Need?

How do you decide what bandwidth you need for your office? The answer to this question can cost you hundreds of dollars in lost productivity for your people, or in additional costs paying for internet you don’t need.

Bandwidth Usage

Here is a list of typical bandwidth suckers and then we’ll calculate a couple different office sizes:

VOIP Phone Call Per Device .5 Mbps[i]
Music Streaming Per Device 2 Mbps
Video Streaming Per Device 4 Mbps
Smart Devices (Phone, Echo) when Idle Per Device 1 Mbps
General Web Browsing Per Device 1 Mbps

 

You also should plan on actually needing about 30% more than what’s calculated for smooth network operation.

Office of 10 People (Heavy Use):

If you have 10 people in your office and you are a creative agency (Art, Marketing, Design, Etc). you’ll probably have 50% of them streaming a video or music at any one time, and they’ll probably all have a smart phone. Of course, all of this assumes they are doing all of this ALL the time, which isn’t true, so as you get to a higher number of uses, you’ll want to change the calculations.

Music Streaming x 5 = 10 Mbps

Video Streaming x 5 = 20 Mbps

Smart Devices x 10 = 10 Mbps

General Web Browsing x 5 = 5 Mbps

Total without VOIP (45 + 30%): 58.5 Mbps down

Adding VOIP (VOIP x 10 = 5) 65 Mbps.

Office of 10 People (Light Use):

Here’s a possible scenario of an office with 10 people who are not a creative agency (I would call this an average office). We’re going to assume that at any one time 20% of them will be either streaming video, music, or surfing the web. Here’s the calculation.

Music Streaming x 2 = 4 Mbps

Video Streaming x 2 = 8 Mbps

Smart Devices x 10 = 10 Mbps

General Web Browsing x 2 = 2 Mbps

 

Total without VOIP (24 + 30%): 31.2 Mbps down

Adding VOIP (VOIP x 10 = 5) 36.2 Mbps.

Other Considerations

Speeds Less Than 100 Mbps

  1. Old Building
    1. If you’re in an old building where the wiring was done in the early 90’s, then you may have Cat3, which is limited to 10Mbps.
  2. Hardware Limitations
    1. WiFi
      1. Your WiFi device has a total limit of traffic it can handle. If you’re trying to run lots of computers on a single WiFi device, you’ll likely experience a bottle neck that isn’t close to the full speed of your ISP.
    2. Firewall
      1. You’ll need to have a commercial grade firewall to get a reliable 100 Mbps through your firewall. Google your make and model to see what speeds it can accept. Also, if you’re using any kind of content filtering or gateway services, this will slow down your connection more.

Speeds Greater Than 1000 Mbps

  1. OldBuilding
    1. If you’re in a building built before the early 2000’s, it was probably built with Cat5 cabling. Cat5 cabling limits your throughput to 100 Mbps. Cat5e and Cat 6 both support speeds of 1000 Mbps
  2. Hardware Limitations
    1. WiFi
      1. Your WiFi device has a total limit of traffic it can handle. If you’re trying to run lots of computers on a single WiFi device, you’ll likely experience a bottle neck that isn’t close to the full speed of your ISP.
    2. Firewall
      1. You’ll need to have a really good commercial grade firewall to get 1000 Mbps through your firewall. Google your make and model to see what speeds it can accept. Also, if you’re using any kind of content filtering or gateway services, this will slow down your connection more.
    3.  Switch
      1. You’ll need to make sure your switch can support 1000 Mbps speeds. If not, you’ll need to upgrade. If you want to experience the full speeds.

[i] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.99.7039&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Ransomeware Still a Big Problem

In a recent article from the BBC, they discuss the fact that ransomware is still a huge problem, accounting for 40% of successful breaches. Not only that, but the criminals are targeting small firms too! [See Article Link Below]

So, what can you do about?

  1. Make sure your employees are well trained in how to detect spam in the email.
    • Basically don’t click links you didn’t request or aren’t expecting.
  2. Make sure your firewall is properly maintained
    • Ports should be closed if not needed
    • VPN’s should require two-factor authentication and password complexity
  3. Keep Anti-Virus working on your computers
  4. Have someone to call if you need help.
    • Have a trusted person you can discuss potential threats or weirdness with. Build a relationship now before you’re in a crisis. If you wait for a crisis, you will be needy and depending on who you talk with, you may buy a lot more than you need.

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43713037

2018 Cyber Crime Update

2017 was a crazy year for cyber crime and cyber security. WannaCry hit every continent and most modern countries (See image below), reminding us that bad guys were out there and were just an IP ping away.

So, what should we expect from 2018? Less ransomware, more IoT attacks, and more memory and chip attacks. According to SonicWall’s 2018 Cyber Threat Report, there is a global arms race going on that businesses like yours and mine are getting caught in. “Governments, enterprises and individuals are in the crosshairs of a global cyber arms race,” says Bill Conner, CEO of Sonicwall.

The Risks to Business

He goes on to say that cyber related risks are becoming a top risk for businesses: “The risks to business, privacy and related data grow by the day — so much so that cybersecurity is outranking some of the more traditional business risks and concerns.” and Lloyd’s of Lundon (massive insurance agency) agrees with them “There are substantial insurance gaps, as a majority of cyber risks are not covered by any form of insurance,” says Lloyd’s of London CEO Inga Beale. “Just like natural catastrophes, cyber events such as hacker attacks or internet failures can cause severe impact on businesses and economies.”

So be ready, make sure you have an updated firewall in place that is properly setup, antivirus on your computers, a good password manager, and cross your fingers…

Countries infected by WannaCry

BitCoin Mining: Warning to the miners

If you are mining Bitcoins, you may want to reconsider. A new study from RWTH Aachen University shows that the ledger used to verify transactions includes illegal content, such as child abuse imagery. The ledger is stored locally on the miner’s computer, and because that content is on your computer, you are liable for it…. We’re still in the beginning of Bitcoin, don’t get too carried away.

Study: https://fc18.ifca.ai/preproceedings/6.pdf

Why You Need to Clean Up your Computer

The Norton Community recently posted a good blog on why you should clean up your computers [See Blog Here]. Here’s a brief summary on what you need to do and why it matters:

Why you need to:

  1. Outdated and unused software can be a vulnerability to cyber criminals
  2. Have a clear backup system will help you recover from hardware failures and viruses easily and efficiently
  3. Being aware of what’s supposed to be on your computer, will help you realize when there’s something you didn’t ask for
    1. These programs could be sucking up your resources (at best), or (at worst) doing malicious things
  4. Keeping programs and operating systems up to date helps to keep your computer secure from known threats

What to do:

  1. Clean up unused programs
    1. Go into your “control panel” –> “programs and features” and look over all the programs you have installed and delete programs you no longer need, or that you don’t think are supposed to be there.
    2. You can sort this by “Publisher” or “Installed On” to see what’s recently come through.
    3. Typically, anything that says “Toolbar” is a good idea to just delete. Just use the built-in toolbar from Chrom or Opera
  2. Look into your backup software ( if you don’t have one, check out ShadowProtect, they have good reviews and a decent pricepoint)
    1. Has it been running effectively?
    2. Is it working the way it should?
  3. Checkout your Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware
    1. If you’re a single user, Windows Defender (Free and built-in) should be just fine. If you’re an enterprise, you’ll want something more robust
    2. Is the AV/AM updating regularly?
    3. Has their been any threats detected?
  4. Check your Windows Updates
    1. Have they updated successfully?
    2. When was the last time you checked?
  5. Run your defragmentation
    1. Good idea if you feel your PC slowing, or you have used a lot of data. This won’t work if you have a solid-state drive, but those are super fast anyway and can’t get fragmented (or, technically, they are already fragmented but it doesn’t matter).

New Team Members at Velox

We’ve Grown!

We’ve been fortunate to grow in the last year and add some new teammates! You may have already spoken to them on the phone, but we wanted to formally introduce them to you! We’re really excited to have them on board, and we think you’ll enjoy working with them too!


Lisa Ellefson

Nerd Rating: 4.2

Lisa joined Velox back in February and is part of the Red Team.

Lisa first encountered computers and programing when she was nine with a cast-off Ti-99 (google it). Since then she has been fascinated with technology. After working for a small consulting firm for several years she decided it was time to make it official and got her Microsoft Technology Associate Certificate in networking. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology at Colorado Technical University.

Lisa moved to Bend in 1999 and when she isn’t being a complete technology nerd, you’ll find her watching her kids sporting events, off-roading, camping, or riding Central Oregon trails on horseback.

 


Brandon Henkeline

Nerd Rating: 3

Brandon joined Velox back in February and is part of the Gold Team.

Brandon first become interested in technology as a kid when he started to take computers apart and reassemble them (and they worked!). This eventually led him to build his own computers to meet various needs. He graduated from COCC in 2016 with an associate’s degree in Computer and Information Systems with an emphasis on networking.

Brandon has been a resident of Central Oregon since 2005 and when he’s not on his computer you will find him enjoying time with his wife and amazing son and daughter, golfing, or enjoying the great Central Oregon outdoors.

 


Some Have Moved On

Jon Theesen has moved on to persue a career as a sound engineer and we’re excited to watch this next stage of his career.

If you know of someone looking to work in IT, check out our careers page.