IT Security in the News

IT SecurityWe are following three IT Security news stories that have gained mainstream attention. Today on the blog we are going to re-cap all three stories, and talk about what they mean for the IT world

Garmin pays up

Garmin is still recovering from the ransomware attack we talked about on last week’s blog, you can read it here. The company reportedly received a decryption key, meaning some sort of ransom was paid. The original ransom demanded by the hackers was 10 million dollars, but Garmin has not acknowledged the ransom publicly. A week and a half since the attack, device users are still having issues related to the services taken offline.

This attack is an example of why it’s important to have a quality backup solution, and an incident response plan. When Garmin was attacked, they had to take all services offline, which included phone, email, and chat support. Not only did they have to disrupt the service they provide, but they also had no way to communicate with customers other than statements on Twitter.

Follow-up on massive Twitter hack

Twitter released more information about the hack that compromised many high profile accounts. They are citing a mobile spearphishing attack on employees as the cause. Twitter says employees were compromised, allowing hackers to access internal company tools. Twitter made a point to say, the employees who were compromised were not in a position to access the tools needed for the attack. Criminals used the information they had on some employees to attack more technical employees and gain access to the tools needed. In part of their statement Twitter said, “This was a striking reminder of how important each person on our team is in protecting our service.”

We couldn’t have said it better. As Jack always says, your employees can be your biggest asset, or your biggest liability. This is also a reminder that it’s not just the employees who are working in the IT department who are important. Any infiltration of the company systems can lead to an attack on the database or system tools.

Microsoft to buy TikTok

TikTok has been under increased scrutiny since Amazon “mistakenly” told all of its employees to delete the app. You can read our blog post , ‘Is TikTok Safe?’ Here. The US government has continued to talk about banning the app in the US since this new publicity. Over the weekend it was reported Microsoft is looking into buying TikTok for the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand markets. Microsoft has vowed to make data security their number one priority. They have until September 15th to complete the deal. Investment organizations are predicting the deal could be in the 50 billion dollar range.

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Posted by Charles Wright in Recent Posts

Long Term Digital Photo Storage

Hard Drive BackupDigital photography for the majority of consumers is only about 10 years old. The idea of long term data storage is a new concept for most people, but we are being forced to learn about these methods and services to preserve family memories.

Storing digital photographs is a new skillset for the average consumer. For the first 150 years of photography, we stored images in generally the same way. The image was burned onto a substrate and there was a physical record of the image. These images took up space, but were more stable than the images we take today.

We are taking more images with these cameras always in our pockets, a lot more images. Estimates suggest that we took about 1.2 trillion images last year, that number doubled in only 6 years from 2013 estimates. With all of these images, how do we keep track of the images that are important to us?

Digital data is much more convenient than the glass or film images used to be stored on, but it is also more vulnerable. In this new age of photography, we are faced with file corruption, hard drive failure, and the simple human nature of not moving content when a device is upgraded. Storing images is no longer a passive exercise. A glass negative from 1850 could be put in a drawer and forgotten about, taken out today, scanned, and the image could be easily replicated. Now think about your first smart phone or early digital camera. Where are those images from just 15 years ago?

These are the issues we are facing as all images are taken and stored digitally. Below are some resources on backing up images, but the first step is making backup a part of your digital routine. These principles are geared towards digital images, but it’s just as important to backup your business data. Backup solutions are an area of expertise at Quanexus. If thinking about storing your family pictures gets you thinking about how your business stores data, give us a call.

Local Backup

An external hard drive is normally the first solution consumers turn to. A local backup is generally inexpensive and reliable. If you use a separate digital camera that produces large files, a local backup solution is a must. External hard drives need to be replaced every 3-5 years and the data should be backed up in more than one place.

Cloud Backup

There are many options for cloud storage, some of them may be included in services you are already paying for. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, they offer full resolution unlimited photo storage. Google offers free storage up to 15 gigs, then adds a fee for more storage. Google does offer unlimited photo backup with their Photos app in their recommended compression. Office 365 has 1 TB of storage for members with OneDrive. Flickr used to be a good option, but has been losing market share and most users are vacating this platform. Last year Flickr began deleting images of users who were not paying for the service. If you only take pictures on your smartphone, a cloud backup could be your primary solution. Most unlimited cloud services limit file formats to keep professionals from uploading large camera RAW files.

Print Photos

We don’t need to develop and print images any longer in order to view them, but printing the images most important to you is another way of backing up those images. Luckily, we don’t need to keep track of stacks of 4×6 glossy snapshots any longer. There are many great online services as well as stores that offer photo book creation. Look for words like “archival, giclee, or pigment ink” for longevity. The prints from the quick printer at the drug store are not made for long term image retention. 

Ultimately a combination of all three of these options will ensure the greatest longevity. Spreading your data out and sharing it with others is the best way to ensure you will still have those memories down the road. Many of the cloud services have options to share folders with other family members.

It might be time to upgrade that old external hard drive that has been making weird noises lately. You already have Prime for their other services, so downloading the Photos app and letting it pull your images gives you another place your images are backed up. And as part of your year end clean up, you create a photo book of the most important images from last year. Keeping backup in your digital data routine and spreading the data out will go far in preserving memories.

At Quanexus we specialize in backup solutions. We help our clients with a combination of a cloud, local, and remote backups weighing the longevity, cost, and data needs for each business. You can use these same tactics with your personal and family photos to ensure they will be enjoyed for generations.


Posted by Charles Wright in Information Security, Physical Security, Recent Posts, Small Business, Virtualization

A Step Forward in Ending Robocalls

The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill aiming to end robocalls. The “Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act,” or TRACED Act would add some provisions to what the FCC is doing now to prevent this increasing nuisance to Americans. The most notable provision is the addition of authentication software to provide a more effective caller-ID. Telecommunication service providers will be required to add this software to their systems if the bill becomes law.

Some voice service providers are already takings steps to block and alert customers to fraudulent calls on their own. AT&T customers may have noticed recently calls coming through labeled “Fraud Risk” and “Telemarketer.” The company is also blocking calls completely that are known to coming from a scam source. All four major wireless carriers provide some sort of call blocking feature. Some are free, while others come with an additional fee.

Americans received 5.7 billion robocalls in October, a new record reported by YouMail. The new all-time record shows robocalls are still a increasing problem.

Tips for avoiding Robocalls:

Don’t answer calls from unknown or blocked numbers.

Scammers can choose from a list of phone numbers to be displayed when they call you using VoIP, so many robocalls will appear as if they are coming from your local area code.

If you answer a robocall by mistake, do not answer “yes” or push any numbers when asked to. This lets the scammer know your number is real, and then can sell your number to other scammers.

Never give any personal information, bank account, social security number, passwords, or other identifying information to a call you receive.

If the caller says they are from a company you do business with like your bank, hang up and call that business back from the information you have from them.

To block legitimate telemarketer calls, register for the National Do Not Call list. This will not stop scammers, but reputable companies selling products adhere to this list.

Quanexus IT Services for Dayton and Cincinnati

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If you would like more information, contact us here or call 937.885.7272.

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Recent Posts, Small Business, Telephone Systems

3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Smart Devices More Secure

Technology is moving so fast, that many of the vulnerabilities and security warnings are being ignored by manufacturers and the consumer may find themselves paying the price.

Related: Cybercrime By the Numbers

With all of the new equipment brought into households throughout the holidays, here are a few suggestions to help safeguard your network environment.

  1. Be aware of the Smart devices and voice activated assistants in your home. Vulnerable, ill-protected ‘always on’ devices can leave your network open and available to just about anyone.
  2.  Make sure that your WiFi has the security feature enabled with a very strong password or passphrase, 14-20 characters with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols is recommended.
  3.  Always keep your devices updated and run the updates as soon as they are available for each device.

If you would like more information contact us here or call 937.885.7272.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Cybersecurity, Recent Posts