Posts Tagged ‘#data’

LinkedIn Data Breach

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis June 8th, 2012

I noticed a lot of spam in the last few days that was making it to my Inbox.  This is unusual; most of the time my spam filters catch this junk and remove it.  It turns out that LinkedIn got hacked recently, along with eHarmony and  If anyone on those sites had your email address, you may have gotten the same deluge of crap mail.  Most of those were “phishing” mails, trying to get credit card or other financial info so they could steal from you.  What to do?  First of all DO NOT CLICK LINKS IN ANY EMAILS you receive.  Go straight to the sites, if you have an account, and CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD.  Make sure you follow rules for strong passwords; 8 characters or more with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.  This is a storm of data theft that probably isn’t over yet.  Stay Tuned!   (Thanks to the Agence France-Presse for the great article)

Person of Interest

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis May 10th, 2012

If you like Techno-thrillers, you may have been watching the new series on CBS called Person of Interest.  Starring Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel, the show’s premise is that the US Government has a Super Computer that sifts through and analyzes the whole world’s data for terrorism.  It also sees everything else.  By 2013, THIS WILL BE FACT, not fiction.  The NSA (National Security Agency) is building a “Data Center” in Utah that will collect information gathered from all other sources and sift through it.  One of the primary goals is decryption, so it will be able to decode even the most sensitive data floating around the web.  Since there is such a HUGE amount of data out there, I assume that it will look for certain “flags” in order to warn the intelligence community of any possible threats.  This means that if you email a book report for your child about terrorism (or write a blog about the NSA’s activities :-)) you could come up on their Radar.  The US has pumped BILLIONS of dollars into post 9/11 technology.  Many listening posts are already active, they just needed a really big place to store it and analyze it all.  Bottom Line?  Watch what you say, and how you say it… Big Brother is Watching.  If you’d like to read more about the project, you’ll find a great article here.  (Thanks Wired!)

US Internet Speeds

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis March 17th, 2012

Well, I’m not surprised:  the mid-west, Oklahoma included, lags behind the rest of the US in bandwidth, according to a study by Pando Networks (see map).  Growing up I always said that Oklahoma was ALWAYS behind the times by about twenty years.  It’s not as bad now, but still… maybe 5 years?  :-)  In a recent study they sampled data from all over the continental United States, and found big differences between our state and California, for example.  Rhode Island was at the top of the charts, while Idaho hit dead last.  I haven’t seen the push that I expected in the last few years towards fiber optics.  AT&T was actively installing fiber networks for awhile, but I don’t see as much activity lately.   I think part of that is because the push is towards cellular and wireless networks.  But consumer’s thirst for more bandwidth is outpacing the 3g and 4g expansions, so it seems prudent to continue building fiber networks.  I think that eventually the cell companies will have to tie their towers to a really big data pipeline like fiber offers.  Here’s the source article if you’d like to read it.

2011 Cyber Attacks

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis March 1st, 2012

Results are in:  Last year’s majority of “data breaches” (i.e. stolen personal information) for businesses were from Malware and Hacking, according to a new study by Verizon.  This is unusual because other studies frequently show that it’s an INSIDE job.  But the sophistication of external attacks has gone up.  Organized criminals have computers running, night and day, looking for a way in to PC’s across the planet.  If there’s a hole in security, they WILL find it.  The worst news is that many companies didn’t find the problem until months, or YEARS later.  Listen, if you have a business, and you store ANY information about your customers, you need to be proactive about your PC security, both inside and out.  Your customers will be TICKED if you have a breach.  Find a good IT company or person to help you get ahead of the game.  I have clients that pay me to come out every month for a “checkup” just to make sure everything is OK.  Don’t just wait around for it to happen; that can be much more costly in the long run.  Here’s the full article… thanks Network World!


Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis July 13th, 2011

When you move your stuff to a new PC, there are two parts of the puzzle; 1) your data i.e. all the stuff you’ve created.  2) Software: this is a little more tricky.  Any software you use will need to be INSTALLED on the new PC. So if you have a bunch of Word documents, for Installed programs in the Control Panelexample, you’ll want to install Microsoft Office to be able to read and manipulate them.   These are programs that have to tell Windows how to run them, so you either need a disk or a download of the latest version.  WATCH OUT if you put an old disk into a new PC.  The program you’re trying to install might not work correctly with the new computer, especially if it’s a later version of Windows.  Also, be aware that there could be licensing issues, but if you plan to retire the old computer then , at worst, you can call the company and get your license moved to the new PC.


Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis July 4th, 2011

Screenshot of Acronis True ImageThere’s a way to take a COMPLETE snapshot of your PC’s  hard drive called Imaging.  It allows you to recover the contents, including recovery partitions, boot sectors, and all programs.  I regularly (about once per year) make images of ALL my PC’s on an external USB hard drive, so that if I have a disaster I can quckly get it back to working order.  Then I restore my documents and I’m in good shape.  Creating an image requires that you boot to a disk or other media to free up all the files.  Win 7 has an imaging option, but there are better packages available.  Norton Ghost was pretty good way back when, but my favorite these days is called Acronis True Image.  Note that if you make a bootable disk, you don’t need multiple licenses to image several PC’s.


Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis June 30th, 2011

Encryption is a way to scramble your stuff so that no one can read it unless they have the password.  In some cases, like stored credit card info, the law REQUIRES that businesses encrypt the info.  There are lots of encryption standards, but in general the more BITS of encryption, the harder it would be to steal.  For example, 128-bit is twice as strong as 64-bit.  One of my favorite free encryption tools is called TrueCrypt, and can be found here.  It’s easy to use, and you can create a mapped drive that contains all your private stuff.  One of the things I like best about it is that it will warn you if your password for scrambling is too weak.  WARNING:  DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSWORD or you may never get your stuff back!

Hard drive failures

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis January 5th, 2011

One of the most common failures on PC’s is a hard drive (HD) crash.  Sometimes it’s the electronics, other times it’s a mechanical failure.  Laptop HD’s fail most often from getting dropped or jarred.  Most consulting firms and IT shops have a limited set of solutions for this, so they may or may NOT be able to get your important files and information when this happens.  BUT the drive can always be sent to a lab for data extraction.  This requires a “clean room” facility, and a rebuild of the drive.  As you might have guessed, this is expensive.  Typical cost starts at $2,000 and can go as high as $10 k.  For these cases we partner with DriveSavers in California.  They have an outstanding reputation and have been in the business for many years.  As usual, check the cost and reputation of any service BEFORE you commit.  If you want to buy a PC that isn’t susceptible to drive failures, you can get one that has a RAID level 1 (mirrored) array.  It keeps a second drive/copy at all times, in case one drive goes bad.  We recommend this for any mission critical PC or server.  (NOTE: Bigger servers have bigger arrays like RAID 5, 7 etc.)

Back up your stuff!

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis December 30th, 2010

Is it important?  Then BACK IT UP.  We have countless (sad!) stories of people losing a decade’s worth  of pictures, songs, or work because they failed to do this.  There are lots of options, but the three most popular are 1) memory sticks 2) USB or network drives and 3) online backup.  Memory sticks are now available up to 256 Gb, but the price break is at about 32 Gb right now.  USB/network drives offer much larger capacity and often come with software to automate your backup.  The most recent trend, online backup, sends your stuff to “the cloud”.  Carbonite is one of the most popular, and reasonable, online backup services.  Be sure to check pricing, security, and reviews before purchasing any of these.

Win 7 Data Transfer

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis December 18th, 2010

So much to post, and so little time!  So what’s the easy way to move all your stuff to Windows 7?  Use the Windows Easy Transfer feature that comes with all new PC’s.  The simplest way is via external USB drive.  If you don’t have one, they are cheap, easy to use, and can help back up your stuff (more on this later).  Anyway, if you run the Easy Transfer program with your USB drive plugged in, it will give you the option to plug in your drive and PUT THE PROGRAM ON IT.  So you can turn around and plug it into your OLD PC and it will find EVERYTHING and transport it for you!  It’s a REALLY good way to go, because Win 7 stores things a little differently than XP.  This method will get all your favorites, desktop, pictures, music, etc. in the right place in one fail swoop.