There is an interesting article by Nick Heath at ZDNet.com (click here to read it), about how researchers converted a Raspberry Pi board into a piece of spy-hardware. According to Wikipedia, the Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, to help promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and is approximately the size of a credit card.
Since this was a proof of concept test, we do not know how long it will take until something like this is reduced in size. However, this test does prove the point that the security of computer hardware can be vulnerable to such spy-hardware technology. Electronics continues to evolve and further hardware size reduction is continually being created. NWBackup expects in the not too distant future, that some type of spy-hardware installed in a computer will be made to look like a regular computer part, perhaps encased in materials printed from a 3D Printer. It could even be enclosed in matching plastic of the computer’s front plastic face cover, for example.
Once spy-hardware devices are reduced in size and made to blend in with the internal or external parts of a computer or server, etc., then all it would take is finding a way to gain access to computer hardware during production, during shipping or during set up, to install such a spy-hardware device. There are already other devices on the market to steal computer information, such as the information in your credit cards. Credit Card Skimmers and ATM Card Skimmers (such as the ones you can see pictured by clicking here), allow thieves to attach the Skimmers to ATM machines for example, then an unsuspecting customer swipes their credit card & the card’s details are then in the hands of the data thieves.
So NuWave Backup can see in the future that there may very well come a time when those of us who are concerned about our computer data’s security, may want to open up their equipment and search for such spy-hardware. If a business for example, has no choice but to allow various people access to areas that contain the business’ computer hardware equipment, the business may need to search their equipment on a routine basis for hidden spy-hardware. As technology advances, so will the risk of even sneakier computer data security threats.
Biometric Security Measures have been touted as a possible way to help increase computer data security, as well as to control access to secured areas that have classified data or equipment stored inside. Retinal scanners are electronic scanners which can look at a person’s retina details in their eye and compare what it sees to the records already stored in its computer database. If the scan of the person’s retina matches a record found in its database, the security door or computer will allow the person access to the restricted area or computer equipment. You may have heard or read about Facial Recognition Software. This is similar to Retinal scans, in that a person’s face is scanned, compared to the records in the computer’s database and if a match is found, it allows the person access to the restricted area or computer equipment.
Another type of biometric security is fingerprint or palm print scan analysis. A scanner scans the person’s fingerprint or entire hand and like the others mentioned above, the scanner will compare what it sees to the records in its computer database. If the scan of the person’s fingerprint or palm print matches a record found in its database, the scanner will allow the person access to the restricted area or computer equipment.
As soon as someone invents a security measure, other people will try to hack or break through the new security measure. Facial recognition scanners have been out for some time now and some can be fooled by simply holding up a photograph of an authorized person’s face to the scanner. Here is a BBC News article that shows that fingerprint scanners can also be fooled, click here to read. Basically, a doctor in Brazil used silicon prosthetic fingers to sign in for colleagues, to fool the biometric employee attendance scanning device used at the hospital where she works near Sao Paulo. I am not certain where an article was that I read within the last year was from, but it said that researchers were working on new biometric scanners that would also check to make certain that whatever physical body part of a person’s body was to be scanned; would also have to be still attached to a person’s living body, by being able to sense that the body part still had a blood supply or other living bodily functions.
While that is another step forward, it can still result in problems, for example, a criminal can still force another person to hold their head up to have their retina scanned, for the criminal to gain access to whatever or wherever they wanted to break into. So while biometric security scans seem like a good idea, their still is a way to go in improving biometric scanners, until they can become a more reliable type of security measure. That is if they can ever be proven to be reliable enough for those wishing to use the technology to safeguard their property. NWBackup recommends a layered security plan approach; try to have at least 3 or 4 different types of security measures whenever possible, to help keep any type of important records or areas from being broken into.
NWBackup is offering Special Savings Deals to save you a substantial amount of money by selecting one of our money saving Paid Monthly Plans, to suit your computer data backup needs. Our Prepaid Plans save you even a greater amount of money over our Paid Monthly Plans. Please click on the picture for more details about our Plans and Services. We explain about our Services and the easy and well laid out Plan choices we have for you to select from. Your data files are encrypted before being transmitted to our servers, for your important computer information’s security:
Click the picture for our Special Savings Deals
We accept payments through PayPal for easy to make payments and their security, for your peace of mind. You do not even need a PayPal account to make a payment with them. Simply use your credit card and soon you will be backing up your important computer data and information using our encrypted online off-site computer data backup service.
If you have a computer rebooting by itself, it could be one of a variety of problems. One common cause may be the computer overheating, resulting in the computer’s heat sensing protection system turning off your computer, or rebooting it. However, if your overheating problem continues after the computer reboots itself, it may have cooled down just enough to restart, but then as it gets too hot again, it may reboot once again and even many times thereafter.
Caution: Parts in your computer can be very sharp and other parts get hot enough to give you a very bad burn, so if you are not careful, you could hurt yourself. Some parts may give you an electrical shock causing serious injuries or possibly death, even after you disconnect all power cords. If you have any doubts in your abilities to clean your computer safely, it is best to take your computer to a computer service technician.
Check to see that all of the outside ventilation holes in your computer’s case are not blocked by objects, or a layer of dust and dirt. Laptops can easily overheat if they are placed on carpet, bed sheets, clothes, etc., or other materials which close off the ventilation holes on the bottom, sides or top of your laptop.
Take a look at this informative video showing some good tips and camera views on how to clean a computer:
How to clean a computer
Then you can:
- First, go to your computer manufacturer’s website and see what they recommend on how to clean the inside of your computer. Their website will also explain how to safely open your particular computer for cleaning.
- Follow your computer manufacturer’s directions.
- NWBackup recommends disconnecting all cables and wires, before opening up the case.
- You may want to clean the computer outside because a lot of dust can fly around. Wearing a dust mask is also a good idea.
- Once you are certain that all power cords, other cords and wires are disconnected, open the case and check for dust and dirt. Even a light coating of dust can cause overheating problems, so it is best to give everything a good spray of compressed air.
- Sometimes bugs can even get inside and try to make a home. There could be ants, spiders, cob webs, pet fur/hair or other things.
- Be careful and do Not touch any of the electrical circuits inside your computer. Some electronic components still hold electricity even after the power is turned off and all cords and wires are disconnected.
- Read and follow the directions on the compressed air can to blow out any dust and dirt from the inside of the computer and always hold the can upright. Many cans come with a very small diameter straw which you attach to the spray nozzle and the use of the straw is highly recommended; as it can spray a focused blast of air at whatever parts you aim it at and can also help keep the can and your hands further away from any circuits.
- You may have a few or more different types of fans in your computer and all of them can help bring in and put dust and dirt on the computer parts the fans are meant to help cool down. Carefully hold the fan blades to prevent the fan from spinning, as you can see in the above video.
- While you are at it, hold your keyboard up and use the can of compressed air to clean it out also.
- It is best to do this at least twice a year and if the environment where your computer is at gets dirty more frequently, for example: if you have a dog or cat, then check the computer for dirt every few weeks.
Cleaning out your computer with compressed air is fairly easy to do yourself and it is not too expensive for cans of compressed air = look for them on sale. Cleaning computers is considered part of general computer maintenance and can help extend the life of your computer.
NuWave Backup is happy to announce
our New Specials:
When you sign up for one of our Paid Monthly Plans which start at only $13.00 US per month for 50 Gigabytes of encrypted computer data storage space, you will also receive either:
1 Month Free (a 13th month) for any 12 month Paid Monthly Plan, or even better;
2 Months Free (a 25th month and a 26th month) for selecting any 24 month Paid Monthly Plan!
Please click here for Paid Monthly Plan details.
Our Prepaid Plans substantially save you even more money and for selecting a Prepaid Plan you will also receive:
1 Month Free (the 13th month) for any 12 month Prepaid Plan!
Please click here for Prepaid Plan details.
If you have any questions, please click here for our Contact page.
You may have read in the news that for a while now, various businesses have been increasingly suing each other over patent infringement cases. Such lawsuits have been going on for decades and are making lawyers rich.
I help out a lot of people with their computers, as problem solving is something I enjoy, not to mention helping people. Last year I met a friend of my Uncle’s who needed some computer help. Went over and talked to him, made some suggestions and he mentioned that he has problems with his vision. I recommended that we get him a new larger monitor like the ones I use. He took my advice and bought a new Samsung 24 inch monitor, his old monitor was only 17 inches diagonal. It was not until after we set up his new monitor, that I realized how bad his vision is. If I had known how bad it was, I would have suggested him getting at least a 30 inch monitor. Even on the new 24 inch monitor, and with my increasing the font size, he still sometimes requires the use of a magnifying glass, but fortunately not as often as he used to.
Samsung is currently involved in a patent infringement case with Apple. However, Samsung has went too far. Before I begin bad mouthing Samsung, you should also know that as I am typing up this article, there are two 24 inch Samsung monitors in front of me. And a couple Samsung hard drives in my computers. I have been very happy with them, until now that is. So what did Samsung do to upset me so much?
This particular Samsung – Apple patent fight involves a German patent Samsung holds, on pressing a button to activate a text-to-speech feature. Apple’s phones are accessible to blind and vision impaired users out of the box by triple tapping on the phone’s only front button, which launches the VoiceOver feature. You can click here to read the news story from BBC News titled “Samsung patent lawsuit would have left blind iPhone users in the dark”. Fortunately the German court hearing the case overturned the lawsuit.
Samsung, in their quest to sue and make money (as if they don’t have enough money already), actually tried to prevent Blind and Vision Impaired people from being able to use their phones! I personally feel that this is a disgraceful thing to do. So much so in fact, that I will Boycott Samsung products until they issue a worldwide apology to all the people who their idiotic lawsuit was going to harm. Even if Samsung does issue a sincere apology, I may still boycott Samsung and find alternative manufacturers of the electronic products I will buy in the future. This is how extremely shocked and disappointed I am at this company that I used to (but no more!) recommend to friends, family, co-workers, colleagues and customers.
When you use NuWave Backup’s computer data backup service, you will have encrypted copies of all your important computer information stored on NuWave Backup’s dedicated private servers, which are located on two continents. Your computer files are encrypted before they leave your computer for extra security. In fact, your backed up computer information now uses the even more secure AES Encryption as the default encryption method. This is a stronger encryption method, than the Triple DES Encryption which was the previous default method.
NuWave Backup offers various Plans to suit your backup needs:
Using the NWBackup Service gives you an alternative to having to pay a hacker who is blackmailing you. If your computer data is ever “Ransomwared”, you can just reinstall your operating system and then install the backup program. Once it is installed and set up, simply restore all the files and computer data that has been backed up previously to the NuWave Backup servers and you will be back in business.
Another great benefit of using our encrypted online off-site computer data backup service, is that if you buy a new computer to replace your old, broken or stolen computer, and have already been using our encrypted backup storage service, you can install the backup program on your new computer and then restore (download) all of your backed up files to the new computer, from the NWBackup servers.
The list of cyber attack victims keeps getting longer. Both Apple and Microsoft have announced this week that they have been cyber attacked. It seems there is no quick and sure way to stop hackers any time soon. NuWave Backup’s previous Blog article which you can read by clicking here, Cyber Attacks and Encryption, shows a small partial list of others that have also been cyber attacked earlier this year. It is only the 23rd of February 2013. Can you imagine how long the list will be of cyber attack victims in Paolo Passeri’s 2013 Cyber Attacks Timeline Master Index, by the end of this year? An easy preventive measure that you can do yourself right now to help protect your computer information, is to look over the NuWave Backup Plans that we offer.
By selecting a Plan now, installing the backup program and setting it up to automatically encrypt and send all of your important computer files to the NWBackup servers, you can help give yourself the best chance at a successful computer data recovery. So in the event you have a computer problem in the future, or if a hacker should break into your computer and cause you trouble, you will have a way to restore all the files that you have backed up to our servers.
Around the world people are using the Internet to transmit and store sensitive personal and business information each day. The computer data that you transmit and store can contain things like Passport numbers, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, personal living addresses, personal and business information, bank and credit cards information, health information, retirement and investment information. Other forms of computer data formats people send and have in their computers are picture, audio and video files, among other formats.
If a hacker gains access to your computer, decides to delete all your data and you can not be recover or un-delete it, what will you do? What if a hacker attempts to blackmail you, by holding your computer data for ransom (click here to read about “Ransomware”)? Losing all your important computer information can be a huge loss in many ways, including financial in the case of businesses or even personal finances. Do you really want to have to give in and pay the blackmailers, so they ‘hopefully’ give your computer data back to you? That is, if the blackmailers are nice enough to do so.
When will cyber attacks stop? This is a great question and it seems that no one from anywhere in the world has the answer. How do you stop hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) all around the planet from hacking? If you can find the answer to this, it may make you a very rich person.
A Sydney, Australia-based journalist named Michael Lee has made a post at ZDNet, click here to read, in which he writes about “Why encryption doesn’t solve the data sovereignty debate”. It is a very interesting article. However there is a part he mentioned quoted from another person about “it would be rare to see anyone whose business is at such a high risk that they need complete encryption”. This is the opposite of what NWBackup believes is an essential part of trying to insure that your important computer data stays safe.
We have talked about why Encryption is such a good thing to use in previous articles, please click here. You can read a list of some of the businesses and government agencies from around the world who have already been cyber attacked and some even hacked by clicking here. These places have been cyber attacked or hacked this year:
Ladysmith First United Church
Mexican Defense Ministry
Dept. of Roads, Nepal Ministry of Transport
A subdomain of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Philippine Training Computer Center
Azerbaijan Special State Protection Service
Bank Capital Services Inventory Website
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
Sony Music for Mexico Website
Algerian Chamber of Commerce
A mail server was breached at the University of Western Sydney, AU
The University of New South Wales, AU
Over 14 banks around the world this year so far
Wilton Brands LLC
Official website of Renault Argentina
Turkey’s Council of Higher Education
U.S. Sentencing Commission
The United Nations
This is only a partial list of cyber attacks and hacked data bases for the month of January 2013. It is not practical to post a near complete list here, however such statistics can be found at websites on the internet. NWBackup highly recommends our readers to click on the following links which contain a fantastic index created by Paolo Passeri of those who have been cyber attacked:
Special Thanks to Paolo Passeri. The few (and if you take a bit of time to read the information at the 3 links above, you will understand why I say “few”) above mentioned places that have been hacked or cyber attacked, I read about in news reports and in Paolo Passeri’s January 2013 list.
So it is easy to see, especially if you read Paolo Passeri’s lists, that cyber attacks and hackers are targeting everyone, no matter who, or what they are, all around the world. NuWave Backup highly recommends that you use encryption to help safeguard All your important computer data. Take a look at our various Plans which start as low as $13.00 US a month, to see which Plan best suits your needs. We offer encrypted online off-site computer data storage Plans at affordable prices.
Many cities do not have traffic lights timed for people to travel efficiently, nor are the lights timed to reduce traffic congestion. This can result in people rushing up to lights to try to beat a red traffic light, in the hopes that they may save a little bit of time and arrive at their destination sooner. But how much time does running a red light save? Maybe a couple minutes? Maybe you might get to your destination several minutes sooner if the trip was long, but it is not worth the safety risk of causing an accident, nor the fine you can get for running a red light. These points prove that trying to run traffic lights is a very bad idea. Did you know that they are now coming out with stop sign cameras also?
Cities are installing red light cameras at their worst intersections for accidents. Another reason cities are installing them is that these red light cameras are a big cash-cow for the cities, bringing in a lot of money from the fines collected. However, the overall problem still remains = the traffic lights are still not programmed efficiently to help save drivers time, fuel and wear and tear on their vehicles.
Rushing up to the next red light costs you extra money for the extra gas you use in trying to get fast enough to go through that yellow or red light, which might have a red light camera there anyway. Concentrate on the traffic up ahead as you drive. If there is a light that is changing to yellow, it is safer to coast up to it, instead of gunning the engine just to rush up to the light which will be red by the time you get there in a safe manner. Here’s something you can do to help yourself: Learn to coast. By coasting, I mean to allow your car to travel downhills, for example, without giving it extra gas. Many times people will apply the gas pedal even after they have started going down a hill. Remember, most cars weigh between a couple thousand pounds to around 6 thousand pounds. Once you get the vehicle moving, you might not need to give the car more gas to get up to the speed limit. The weight of your vehicle and gravity can be enough to increase your speed without wasting your gasoline.
If you see other vehicles stopped and waiting up ahead at a light, take your foot off the gas pedal and coast the rest of the way there. Coasting will slow your vehicle down by using gravity, instead of having to apply your brakes so much. Remember, every time you press down on the gas pedal, you literally burn away your hard earned money that ended up going into the gas tank. And every time you press down on the brake pedal, you wear down your brake pads that much more, resulting in your brake pads going bad sooner than they have to. I have found that just by coasting, I do not have to apply the brakes nearly as often as in the past. Lots of times I can now stop applying the gas pedal as soon as I see a light change to red up ahead and as I coast up to it, the light can turn green and traffic is picking up speed. Or, I only have to apply my brakes a little bit to come to the complete stop and wait until the light turns green and the cars in front start going again. By coasting, it may result in my not having to apply my brakes for a traffic light much (if at all) and if the light does turn green before I get there, I save money on not having to apply extra gas to get my car moving again from a dead stop.
Another benefit is that it will even help you relax a bit more and feel good, by knowing that you are doing something to save your hard earned money from being used up in ways that are not safe or necessary. Any time you need to apply the brakes, do so. However you can help yourself reduce some of the times you would have to apply the brakes, just by taking your foot off the gas pedal and allowing gravity to slow your vehicle down for you when approaching a stop, or by allowing gravity to increase your speed for you when starting to go down a hill. Always remember: Safety First. Any time that you need to apply your brakes, or apply the gas pedal to drive in a safe manner, be certain to do so. But when you are certain it is safe and circumstances permit, you can try coasting only if you are certain you understand what coasting is about and only if you are certain you can do it safely. Consult a professional driving instructor if you have any doubts about your abilities to drive safely. Attending driving classes may also result in lower car insurance premiums, as some auto insurance agencies give driver’s education discounts for their customers who pass authorized driver’s education classes. More good driving tips can be learned in such driver’s education classes and NWBackup highly recommends them for everyone.
As posted on a variety of news sites such as The Miami Herald’s website, click here to read the article, Rep. Mike Roger, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that 95 percent of private sector networks are vulnerable and most have already been hit by cyberattacks. Rep. Roger also says 95 percent of private sector networks are vulnerable and most have already been hit. “They’re taking blueprints back, not just military documents, but civilian innovation that companies are gonna use to create production lines to build things. They’re stealing that, repurposing it back in nations like China and competing in the international market.”
This has been going on for many years actually and in fact, this will not surprise those who have been keeping up with the many news reports about various governments and businesses that have been cyber attacked. This statement is surprising though:
For Rogers, the fix is “very simple.” “Share information about threats online,” he said. “The senior leadership in the intelligence community said that they think that we can stop 90 percent of our problems by just sharing classified cyber threat information.”
So the “senior leadership in the intelligence community” thinks that 90 percent of these cyberattacks can be stopped just by just sharing classified cyber threat information?
If that is the only major thing they are going to do to reach that 90 percent, then I wish them a lot of luck reaching that threshold, or even anywhere near a 25 percent threshold.
Almost every day there are new reports of government agencies, businesses and even people who use their computers only for personal use, being attacked and hacked. Click here to read a short listing of some very important government agencies and businesses that have already been hacked (it is actually scary if you think about it). The reasons why this happens are many:
- Employee data theft and employees colluding with the hackers themselves.
- Employees inadvertently allowing the hackers to gain access to the computer systems by opening up virus containing emails or clicking on links to websites which then install malware.
- Using personal computer devices that have computer viruses already in them (such as USB drives, CD’s and DVD discs) and attaching the device to their employer’s computer network.
- Using software programs that have security flaws.
- Using operating systems that should not be used for anything requiring any level of security for the types of computer work needed to be done, because the OS itself has so many security flaws.
- Faulty and inadequate computer hardware.
- Lack of software and hardware firewalls and not having these properly set up.
- Failure to use or set up properly anti-virus software.
- As well as other reasons.
I believe that there must be more than just one approach to reaching that 90 percent reduction in cyberattacks figure. NWBackup hopes they will be successful in reaching that 90 percent threshold. However, NuWave Backup believes that until improved security and other measures are taken worldwide, things are only going to get worse, instead of getting better in regards to the increasing amount of cyberattacks.
For many years I have used Skype to communicate with people around the world. While there have been times when Skype did not work at all, or very well, those times were quite few when compared to all the other times that it has worked well for us.
There are Skype alternative programs of course, like Ekiga and Linphone. Also there are video chats like OoVoo which run using a browser. I have tried Ekiga, Linphone and OoVoo in the past, the quality of Ekiga is very good, better usually than Skype. My business partner could not get Linphone to work, however we are unsure if it was a problem with his settings or compatibility with his operating system. So for convenience sake we have usually settled on using Skype. This may change very soon with the news that browsers themselves are going to be able to allow video chats, without the need for an extra program or add-on.
According to the ZDNet article written by Sam Shead which you can read by clicking here, both FireFox and Google Chrome browsers will soon be able to allow you to audio and video chat with other people, without the need for any extra programs.
At The Chromium Blog, you can read more about this new technology by clicking here and one of the statements there is:
“For the first time, Chrome and Firefox can “talk” to each other via WebRTC. WebRTC is a new set of technologies that brings clear crisp voice, sharp high-definition (HD) video and low-delay communication to the web browser.”
NWBackup is very much looking forward to trying this new WebRTC audio/video chat capability.
NuWave Backup has been extremely happy with the quality of service and results that Zetter Media has provided us and we have been using their website design services since our site originally went online years ago. Each new version of our website has been an awesome improvement over the previous ones.
From adding new options, to creating an entirely new fresh look of our website, the NuWave Backup site is something that we are always very proud of. Our site is very easy to navigate, understand, reliable and well laid out. Zetter Media is always a pleasure to give our website design and maintenance work to. NWBackup highly recommends them to anyone who needs a new website, to anyone who would like to spruce up their old site, or even give your website an entirely new and fresh look. In addition to website design, they also offer the following services:
Open Source Solutions:
- One of the many great things they offer is a wide range of services for Open Source Solutions.
- Zetter Media can extend and service existing installations, or install new Open Source Platforms for you.
- They also offer template designs for many platforms.
- Secure Hosting with incredibly fast disk I/O even during peak times.
- Uptime: 99.99953%.
- Environmentally responsible hosting.
- Hosting Plans start from as little as £7.00 per month.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) packages help improve the visibility of your website on search engine results.
- Email Marketing Packages provide you with the foundations to send mailings to addresses that are opt-in compliant.
- Managed IT Services provides a broad range of Managed IT Services. Whether you’d like Zetter Media to proactively manage your computer network or to assist your existing onsite staff, Zetter Media can help.
- Social Networking Application Development to develop applications for your business on the popular Facebook and MySpace platforms.
- Zetter Media has nearly eight years experience in internet design, development and marketing.
- They are firmly positioned to maximize your internet position through training, advice, marketing and many aspects of Internet Consultancy.
If you require any of the above mentioned types of work, please click here to go to the Zetter Media website to read through their information, check out some of their website design work and even feel free to contact Zetter Media for additional information and to answer any questions you may have.
Ransomware blackmail extortion attempts are increasing. We previously discussed Ransomware attacks in this NuWave Backup blog article, click here to read. Such an attack happens when a hacker is able to install a small program or script into your computer. Then the Ransomware will; lock you out of your own computer, encrypt your files so that you are not able to access them, and/or the computer virus program may even transfer your files to the hacker, who will hold onto them (and maybe further use your own data files against you, examples; identity theft, credit card fraud, etc.) until you pay the hacker money to get the files back/unlock your computer, which the hacker may or may not do.
As discussed in the BBC News article entitled “Computer virus accuses victims of viewing child porn”, click here to read, hackers are further increasing their Ransomware attacks.
Things you can do to help prevent being a victim of such an attack:
- Set up your computer with the best software firewall program and anti-virus program, or an internet security suite which has both, that you can find and make certain to turn on and properly set them up to run automatically and remember to have your anti-virus program scan all incoming and outgoing emails for computer viruses.
- Make certain your anti-virus program is set to scan all CD’s, DVD’s, Flash Drives and any other extra devices when they are connected to your computer.
- Buy a good hardware firewall and make certain it is also properly set up.
- Use very good secure passwords as discussed in our NuWave Backup FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, click here to read.
- Do not tell anyone your passwords and if you write passwords down, make certain you lock them up so no one can see them.
- Do not open emails from people you do not know. Be wary of email attachments also that may be suspicious and if in doubt, delete the email without even opening it.
- Consider switching to a more secure computer operating system (OS) if possible, as we previously discussed in this article, click here to read.
- Do Not use the Internet Explorer browser and instead switch to a more secure browser such as FireFox, Opera or Google Chrome.
As the BBC News article states, if you become a victim of a Ransomware attack, you should contact your local law enforcement authorities. Once they tell you it is okay to do so, then you can wipe out and reinstall your operating system if you wish. If you have been using the NWBackup encrypted online off-site computer data backup service, then you can restore your important computer files back the way they were. This way you do not need to pay the extortion money to the hacker. We have inexpensive data backup Plans starting as low as $13.00US per month.
I read a report that you can read by clicking here, about a student named Ahmed Al-Khabaz who found a security flaw in his Dawson College’s student records computer system. According to the article by Ethan Cox, Special to the National Post of Canada, the student did the proper thing and reported his findings to College officials. You would think (and hope) that the people in charge at the College, upon hearing that they had a computer security flaw from an honest student who merely did his duty to report it to College officials, would praise him for his efforts. This is not always the case, unfortunately.
The security flaw that Ahmed Al-Khabaz found could be used to gain access to over 250,000 students’ personal information. Student personal information stored on a College’s computer system can contain information such as:
NWBackup has talked about computer security breaches previously in this blog, such as this Computer Security article that you can read by clicking here. The need for excellent computer security is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Even if you have excellent computer security, there will always still be a chance that your computer network can and will be compromised at some time in the future. Your computer systems could even have already been compromised and you may not even know it. This applies to everyone from; small to large businesses, government computer systems and people using computers in their homes.
Computer security is not a joke. Look at this short list of just some of the places that have had their computer network’s security compromised, please click here. It is not a laughing matter, it is something to take very seriously. When someone comes forward and tells you that you have a security hole in your College’s computer system, you:
- 250,000 Student Names and also their;
- Home address,
- Work address,
- Phone numbers,
- Medical records,
- Emergency contact information including the names, addresses and phone numbers of student’s parents/guardians,
- Identification numbers/information such as Passport Numbers, Social Security numbers (if in the USA), Driver’s License information, etc.,
- And yes, quite possibly even payment and credit card information also.
You do Not expel the person, you congratulate the student(s) for helping to quite possibly have prevented the theft, publication and exploitation of over 250,000 of your student’s personal information!
The people involved who found the security flaw could have kept quite and exploited the security vulnerability. However they did not do that and these are the reasons why Ahmed Al-Khabaz is getting job offers, because intelligent people can easily see what a great service he did for his college, as well as all of his fellow students. Ken Fogel, dean Dianne Gauvin and anyone else involved who said or did anything negative towards any of the students involved, you might consider giving Ahmed Al-Khabaz and any other people who discovered the security flaw and reported it to you (instead of taking advantage of it), an apology and even some praise.
- Listen intently and get all the facts
- Praise and Congratulate the people for finding the security hole
- Take appropriate steps to fix the security hole
- Announce to the public that “Some of our students found and reported a security flaw in our college’s computer system which we have fixed and everyone at Dawson College is very grateful to them”.
A writer by the name of Zack Whittaker has posted a very informative article at ZDNet.com, about what Google does when it receives various types of government requests for their users’ data. If you are concerned about how the data you upload online is handled and stored once it is in the hands of a company, you can read his article “What Google does when a government requests your data”, by clicking here. Please note that the specific information mentioned in his article applies only to Google, unless otherwise noted. Other businesses may have their own policies about when they turn over data to governments.
NuWave Backup is an encrypted online off-site data storage company which offers our customers encrypted computer backups of your important data. Many of the “what if” scenarios mentioned in Zack Whittaker’s article that happens with Google are similar to government requests the NWBackup business can receive. Our company stores your computer data on our backup servers and at least one other copy of your encrypted data is kept on our replication servers for extra redundancy. NWBackup backup servers are located on one continent and our replication servers are located on another continent, to help give you the best chance for a successful computer data recovery, when you have a computer problem or other computer disaster.
NuWave Backup has a variety of Computer Data Storage Plans to choose from to suit your backup requirements:
Paid Monthly Plans:
- “Paid Monthly Plans” are for people who want a longer term of either a 12 month or 24 month subscription period.
- Payments are made monthly and are automatically deducted by PayPal.
- You do not even need a PayPal account in order to use PayPal.
- Prepaid Plans are for people who want to pay in advance for a 6 month or 12 month subscription period.
- Your one-time payment is paid via PayPal and you do not need a PayPal account to make a payment.
- Casual Rate Plans are for people who require data storage for a shorter amount of time (30 Days).
- Payments are made in advance and with No Set Term.
Each Plan has a choice of how much Storage Space to choose from. Here are some examples of the types of files and amounts of data that each Plan may hold:
- 6 Million Emails
- 7,000 Picture Files
- 8,000 Music Files
- 1,000 Videos
- 9 Million Emails
- 10,500 Picture Files
- 12,000 Music Files
- 1,500 Videos
- 12 Million Emails
- 14,000 Picture Files
- 16,000 Music Files
- 2,000 Videos
Please review all of our Plans to decide which Plan is best for the amount of data and the amount of storage time that you require. The above file amounts are approximations only and the amount of data files that you will be able to backup for storage will vary. Examples as to why storage amounts will vary include, but are not limited to:
- JPEG (JPG) picture files can have higher file compression and typically take up less storage space, compared to Bit Map (BMP) picture files.
- It is a similar situation for video files; one video file format may have a lot of compression, or lower quality audio and/or video, or even a smaller screen viewing size, compared to other video file formats. Even text files can be saved in different formats of varying size.
- File sizes can vary greatly due to things such as: the type of format the file is in, and the use and type of compression a particular file has. Therefore, NWBackup can not guarantee you of the ability to backup the approximate amount of a particular file type that you may want to backup. The approximate figures for the total amount of Emails, Pictures, Music or Video files mentioned above, are only estimates and your actual amount that you can backup will vary. It is worthwhile to note that as computer software technology continues to advance, the quality of various types of files are usually increasing, while the files themselves are often decreasing in size, compared to older file formats of the past.
Feel free to read the information we have at the NWBackup website and you will see that storing your picture/photograph files, video files, music files, emails or practically any other type of file, is easy and cost effective. NuWave Backup offers you encrypted online, off-site computer data backup storage space and in the event of a computer disaster or other emergency, the chances of your having a successful computer data recovery will be greatly increased.
If you have a business that has various departments, you should consider creating a Data Disaster Recovery Plan. We have talked about “What backups are all about” in this previous article, please click here to read. Then we discussed “Why it is necessary to keep off-site backups”, click here to read.
Using NuWave Backup’s encrypted online off-site computer data backup service as your data disaster recovery solution can help increase your chances of a successful data restoration. If for example you have a massive fire or flood at your business, any on-site backups you may have kept could also be destroyed in the disaster. Or, your tape drives may fail to work when you need them most.
Consider what plans you already have, if any, on the procedures you will begin in order to bring your computer data infrastructure back online. This will of course vary with each business, as businesses are not the same. Many things need to be thought of, such as “What are the most important departments your business has?” The most important departments are the ones for your employees to get up and running first. For some businesses it may be their customer support departments, if customer support is the business’ specialty, for example. For other businesses, it may be their website and payment processing system. The priority of what systems you bring online first, second, third and so on is something that you and your management team must thoroughly discuss and the larger the business, means that your plan will be that much more involved.
Remember to review your Data Disaster Recovery Plan at least once a year (maybe even as often as each quarter), since your business may grow and change in a variety of ways, resulting in modifications or additions needing to be included in your Data Disaster Recovery Plan.
Using the NWBackup Service to store encrypted copies of your important computer data at our server locations located on two continents, goes hand in hand with having a good Data Disaster Recovery Plan.
According to an article by Help Net Security, a U.S. employee who worked at a U.S. company contracted out the work his employer gave him to do, to a Chinese company. The employee is in his mid-40’s and worked as a software developer who knows a number of programming languages. He has a family and was employed by his company for a long time. To read the specific details, please click here. You can also read the BBC News report by clicking here.
As the story goes, an employee figured out that he could hire a Chinese company to do the work that he was given and responsible for doing, by the company that he was employed by. The U.S. company he worked for did have some security precautions in place. For example, they gave the employee a RSA Secure Token, which is a special USB drive that has an LCD display to show a special code that must be input to gain access to a particular computer system, such as the example in this picture:
The employee mailed this Secure Token to the Chinese company so they could access the computer information at the US company he worked for. Based on invoices that were found during a law enforcement official’s search, apparently the employee may have been hired to do work at other companies, but he contracted that other work to the Chinese company also.
In a way this sounds funny, however the fact is that this is a bit scary and sad. First, the guy is intelligent, as not everyone can learn several programming languages. The article states that he was making a six figure income and that the employee was surfing the internet and basically wasting his time as well as his employer’s time also.
So you have to ask yourself: Why didn’t this intelligent guy who was apparently bored with his work, why didn’t he just open his own company? On one hand, he had the knowledge and expertise apparently to do software programming work. It should have been fairly easy for him to open his own business, hire other people to do the work and even hire someone else to run his company, so he himself could just goof off all day long if that was his desire. On the other hand, if he tried to open up his own business and hired other people, maybe his own employees that he hired would end up taking advantage of him, as he apparently did to his former employer.
Well, a very important thing to note is that his contracting out his own work to the Chinese firm was going on for quite a while. This may show a lack of oversight that the firm he used to work for has over some of their employees. Now that this problem has come to light, the U.S. firm is no doubt reviewing their security policies.
What will be the results of all this? I imagine something along these lines, but let us remember that he is innocent until proven guilty:
- The employee will probably be charged with various things, maybe fraud, theft, possibly giving classified data to a Chinese company which may include international copyright and other charges, depending on the content of the data that he gave the Chinese firm access to, as well as other things.
- The employee may go to prison, might have to return all the money he made fraudulently, not to mention fines and fees.
- He and his family may be forced to give up their house and other types of property and financial savings.
- If it is also proven that he did the same thing to other companies, all of these charges, fines and penalties may substantially increase.
Of course this all depends if he is found guilty of any charges imposed on him, if and when he goes to trial. So what can people learn from this incident?
- If you are an employee and are bored, try to find a different job so that you won’t be bored, look into a new career possibly, or retire, as it is not worth risking your family’s security as well as your own future doing something that you should not consider doing.
- If you are an employer, you must make certain you know what your employees are up to at all times, as much as possible. While the majority of employees are hard working and responsible, there are those who do not have such values and work ethics. Employers must also try to treat their employees with respect, just as they should be respected by their employees = it is a 2-way street.
- And the company that makes the RSA Secure Tokens should consider adding in GPS tracking, so that the company that owns it can quickly and easily be notified if the device is on its way to a location that it should not be at, like half way around the world.
While I enjoy the PC-BSD operating system for myself, my business partner prefers another OS (Operating System) and here is his article about it:
About 7 weeks ago, I embarked on a mission to find a Windows replacement desktop, one that works straight out of the box. An operating system that is easy to set-up and doesn’t require a computing degree or the use of command prompts.
For Linux editions this has pretty much been impossible. I have tried most of the standard offerings such as Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. and had issues with sound, printing, Skype and flash to mention a few. Ubuntu has always been a strong contender, especially in the Kubuntu derivative.
Now my PC is no monster with lots of specialist drivers required, as I use a standard ASUS motherboard and an AMD CPU. You would expect that most of the offerings would cope adequately with what I have, but that is not the case.
Linux still has to pull its finger out and get the basics right before they go redesigning the desktop, it seems stupid to me to get a user to use a new desktop when not everything works out of the box. It’s also not good enough to expect people with no IT training to go to a command line to install software, or even worse to remove it. These things have to be fundamentally addressed so people have a real alternative.
Out of the current bunch I ended up installing Linux Mint Cinnamon, click here to go to their website. Look I gotta say this; I was skeptical about this being a real alternative, especially since in the last edition it had a bad habit of crashing and not being recoverable. The Cinnamon desktop is not going to get any awards for originality, but you know what ? It’s clean, simple and works straight away. The alsa sound system works and swapping between usb headset and PC speakers is really easy and just works.
The update manager is something that people using windows will be used to, it notifies you when it needs to be run, and operates smoothly in the background once running. The program manager is good, simple and it works. So does everything that I have installed using this method. The printing system is good and found my network printer with little effort and automatically installed the correct drivers. This is a big thing, on other distro’s I was left struggling to get the printer to work.
There is a great list of products available for free and that work very well with the desktop. Its reliability has been awesome, I have not had a crash since it was installed, and I am a heavy user, even a power outage didn’t phase it.
Importantly though; anyone could install it, the default values during the install are smart and will be enough for most people. I think this is a real winner and if this is what the guys at Linux Mint can do now, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us with the next release. Do yourself a favour, download the live edition and have a look, I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.