In case you didn’t know, Windows 7 will be decommissioned and unsupported come January of next year. You’ll need to plan on upgrading these bad boys (I have two) or replacing them. But, I wanted to take this time to walk down memory lane with Windows 7.
In true Microsoft fashion, Windows 7 was an operating system that replaced a terrible version (remember Vista?), they seem to get this right every other time. It was released in 2009. Here are some of features you’ve probably come to take for granted that were introduced in Windows 7:
- “Pinned” programs on the taskbar
- “Snapping” windows to the sides of the screen
- “Shake” to minimize all windows except the one you’re shaking
Rest in Peace
Australia just passed a data encryption law that requires companies to give law enforcement access into devices without the user’s permission. “Police can force companies to create a technical function that would give them access to encrypted messages without the user’s knowledge”.
What if there was one plug that charged your computer, connected its monitors, internet, and every accessory you could want. Well, it’s here! The new Thunderbolt 3 by Intel is amazing! It can transfer data up to 40Gbps (That’s about 400x faster than your internet speed at 100Mbps). Check out this article on the new plug, I’m hoping all laptops will be using it soon!
Like every year for technology, 2019 will continue to see changes. Not just because 2019 is anything special, but because it’s also right before 2020. We see trends continuing that large software companies are forcing smaller companies into a cloud-based model (think Amazon and Microsoft), web applications that are hosted in the cloud are the targets of cyber criminals, and some major technology will end its last full year of support and needs to be migrated. The last item is especially of note, because it will cost businesses thousands of dollars to mitigate this risk, so start planning now. We’ll look at the last item first, then trends, and the risks associated.
Costly Replacements Coming
In January 2020, Microsoft will be ending support for all Windows 7 and Server 2008 (SP1 & SP2) operating systems as well as exchange 2010. These will no longer receive security patches or updates.
What does this mean for you? Any of these systems will pose a serious vulnerability to you and your business. For any Windows 7 machine you have, you either need to replace, upgrade, isolate or trash the computer. Below is a breakdown of the costs you should expect.
Costs per computer:
• Upgrade to Windows 10: $200 license + 1 hour of tech labor.
• Replace: $1,000 per computer (varies greatly), plus setup time.
• Isolate: Disable internet access, 1 hour or so of setup time. This option may render the computer useless for modern workers.
• Trash: Wipe the hard drive and recycle the computer, about 30 minutes per computer.
Continue reading . . . http://cascadebusnews.com/whats-coming-prepare/
In a recent article in the BBC, they mentioned how 81,000 users private messages have been leaked and posted for sale on the dark web (See article). The article mentioned how the hackers got into their Facebook accounts by using browser extensions, “Personal shopping assistants, bookmarking applications and even mini-puzzle games”. Be cautious when you install extensions for any browser. Even if you install the extension and it’s safe when you install it, that doesn’t mean that the company who made that couldn’t sell the extension to another company (or hacker) and then they now have full access into your system.
When you do decide to use an extension, follow these recommendations:
- Make sure you know and trust the company that has published the extension.
- Make sure you understand what kind of data the company is collecting and why they need it.
- Regularly review your extensions to make sure you still want/use them.
Really Interesting article about a ransom-ware strain that encrypts your computer, and then asks for admin credentials to your computer in order to decrypt the files! Don’t do it! In effect, you are getting conned twice. The first time they got your files, the second time they could have everything!!!
SANS published an interesting article (see below) showing that Windows Defender is now supporting sandboxing.
So what is sandboxing? And why is this a good thing. “Sandboxing is a software management strategy that isolates applications from critical system resources and other programs.” – Tech Definition. Sandboxing allows applications and code that come into your system to first go to the sandbox and “play” and be watched to see what they do. In this sandbox, the code and the application can be analyzed to see whether it’s malicious, or acting normal.
There are a couple of places you can deploy sandboxing, and it’s a good idea to have them at each level. The first level is on your firewall. Before code can even get onto your computers or servers, your firewall analyzes the code and makes sure it’s not malicious. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of clean up! The other place sandboxing can happen is with your local anti-virus/anti-malware software (as mentioned in the article). At this point the code is on your computer, but at least it’s still isolated! So that’s a bonus!
I was reading an interesting article comparing Linux vs Windows (see below), and I realized most people have never toyed with a Linux OS. While Windows clearly has the market for business desktops, with Windows 7 being replaced using a Linux at home would be a worthwhile experiment. Currently I have two Linux OS’s at home, and three Windows.
There is a huge world of free open source applications (including Linux) that are powerful and fun to use.
Here’s a link on how to load Linux on your computer: https://www.wikihow.com/Install-Linux. But keep in mind, you’ll lose your old OS and most of your files.
We’ve all heard many times how important passwords are, here are a list of common passwords people use, please don’t use these as it will make breaking your password really easy.
- Season + year (e.g. Winter 2018)
- Local Sports Team + Digits (e.g. Seahawks3)
- Company Name +Year/Number/Special Character (e.g. VeloxSystems2018@)
So how do you compile a good password? Think length, and random. I like to use a good password manager (Lastpass.com) or a random word generator (https://randomwordgenerator.com/). Try to get your password to be over 12 characters and yet easy to remember, like a lyric to your favorite song, a favorite quote from a movie, or just a phrase you like, then add some numbers and symbols. Here are some good ideas to get ideas flowing
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.