Blog Archives

“Consumers backing up information more frequently”

 

Do you backup your data on a regular basis?

A new survey from a leading online backup provider found that PC and Mac users are backing up sensitive files and documents more regularly than they have in the past. Approximately 10 percent of computer users now back up their systems daily, compared to only 6 percent in 2011.

“These are the best results we’ve seen since we started tracking data backup five years ago,” online backup expert Gleb Budman said.

While not everyone backs up his or her computer on a daily basis, many people are doing so more frequently than in the past. The study noted that approximately 20 percent of computer users back up sensitive documents and applications roughly once a week, compared to only 14 percent in 2011 and 2 percent in 2008. Another 36 percent of survey respondents said they duplicate sensitive files roughly once a month, compared to only 26 percent who did so in 2008.

“It’s great to see that the desire to protect photos, videos, music and other data is becoming an everyday part of using a computer,” Budman said.

The survey also revealed, however, that roughly 29 percent of U.S. computer users have never used online backup tools to bolster data protection and minimize the chances of unnecessary data loss. The study noted that this trend varies between age groups, as roughly 35 percent of individuals older than 55 never use remote backup, while only 24 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds neglect to duplicate sensitive documents.

Source: Consumers backing up information more frequently – Online Backup News.

If you are backing up your data, what tool(s) do you use?

 

Tablets to Surpass Notebook Growth in 2016

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Interesting, but not surprising.

The demand for tablet computers such as the iPad is growing so quickly that shipments of them are projected to surpass notebook shipments by 2016.According to market research firm NPD DisplaySearch, the mobile PC category is poised to soar from 347 million units in 2012 to more than 809 million by 2017. Tablets will be leading the way for that massive growth in the next few years.Tablet shipments are expected to grow from 121 million units to 416 million units by 2017, compared to 208 million shipments in 2012 to 393 million shipments in five years. Tablets will likely surpass notebook shipments in 2016.

Source: Tablets to Surpass Notebook Growth in 2016.

Computer Security Tips

Some great basic tips for the average user to protect your computer:

English: A candidate icon for Portal:Computer ...

English: A candidate icon for Portal:Computer security (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Firstly, the most important computer security tip is to have anti virus software. These programs will not let your data be lost in case some viruses enter your system. They make backup files as well which allows you to retrieve any files that you lose. However, make sure that the anti virus you use is good software. Do not settle for any substandard program for it may harm your PC instead of doing any good to it.

Another very important point pertaining to computer security is that you should not open attachments with emails which you receive from unknown senders. Many of these emails are intended with the purpose of transferring viruses into your system. They can damage your files or the entire computer so better not open them.

Using strong passwords is also a very important tip to secure your computer. You should use long passwords with a mixture of digits and alphabets so that they cannot be easily hacked.

via it’s all About Computers

One major addition to this list that I would make is:

Change your user account so that it is NOT an Administrator account.

Report: Full Upgrades to Windows 8 Only From Windows 7

Some beneficial information if you’re planning to upgrade to Windows 8.

Microsoft has not yet set a release date for Windows 8, but most analysts expect it to go on sale this fall, most likely in October.

The upgrade paths that Foley’s sources spelled out were the same that Microsoft revealed in February when it released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the first public beta.

Microsoft said then that only Windows 7 PCs are eligible for a full upgrade to Windows 8, one that retains applications, data files, user accounts and Windows settings.

Windows Vista and Windows XP machines can be upgraded to Windows 8 — assuming the hardware meets the system requirements of the new OS — but cannot bring along all the bits. Vista users who upgrade will retain user accounts and files, as well as Windows settings, but not already-installed applications. XP-to-Windows 8 upgrades preserve the least amount in a move: User accounts and files only.

Read the rest:  Report: Full Upgrades to Windows 8 Only From Windows 7 CIO.com.

11 hidden security threats and how to stop

This is a must read.

Do you know how to guard against scareware? How about Trojan horse text messages? Or social network data harvesting? Malicious hackers are a resourceful bunch, and their methods continually evolve to target the ways we use our computers now. New attack techniques allow bad guys to stay one step ahead of security software and to get the better of even cautious and well-informed PC users.

Don’t let that happen to you. Read on for descriptions of 11 of the most recent and most malignant security threats, as well as our complete advice on how to halt them in their tracks. (Source: Infoworld)

Here are the threats:

1. Shortened URLs

2. Data Harvesting

3. Social Network Impostors

4. Web Snooping

5. Scareware

6. Trojan horse texts

7. Lost laptops, exposed data

8. Rogue Wi-Fi hotspots

9. Weak Wi-Fi security

10. Endangered data backups

11. Unpatched software

Go here to learn about the threats and how to protect against them.  And learn about 5 security myths as well.

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Securing Gmail

Google Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

The best way may be encryption.

Well, if you want to take a significant step in keeping prying eyes away from your electronic correspondence, one good encryption technology that predates Google altogether is worth looking at. It’s called public key encryption, and I’m sharing some instructions on how to get it working if you want try it.

Unfortunately, better security typically goes hand in hand with increased inconvenience. But some human rights activists who used Gmail right now likely wish they’d put up with a little hardship to help keep hackers at bay. I’m not going so far as to recommend you use e-mail encryption, but I think this is a good time to take a close look at it.

Just be prepared for a major drawback.

Weighed against the encryption advantages of privacy and message signing is the fact that you’ll lose access to service you may like or depend on.

When you see an encrypted e-mail in the Web-based Gmail, it’s gibberish. Google doesn’t index it, so Gmail search doesn’t work. And the strong points of cloud computing–reading your e-mail from your mobile phone, your friend’s computer, a computer kiosk on the airport–isn’t possible. You’re once again anchored to your PC with the encryption software installed. (Source: CNET)

In the end it all depends on the importance of the data.

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Creating a local host for your WordPress blog

(H/T – E1evationLLC)

Although I still use the freebie hosting site I’ll have to seriously consider doing this once I move to self-hosting my WordPress blogs.

Many of us have personal blogs or blogs that make us a second income. And we don’t want to go upsetting our readers by coding and developing them on the Internet. Imagine if every time you visited MUO there were design changes, buggy issues or features constantly being moved about and deleted!

So developing your WordPress blog offline is the best option because you don’t interrupt readership (assuming the blog is online already and you’re simply updating), you don’t have to upload pictures and media and you can view your blog easily without it being live on the internet for everyone to see you shoddy design work. The easiest way to do this is to learn how to set up a blog offline. This is done by creating a host on your PC which acts like a host on the Internet such as GoDaddy. (Source: How to set up a WordPress blog on your PC using a local host – MakeUseof)

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PC demand strong …

in advance of Windows 7 release.

People are snapping up new desktop and laptop PCs long before the launch of Windows 7, a sign of strong demand in the market, analysts say.

Demand for PCs improved in July and August, which is “something special, because the expectation was that many people would delay purchases until after Windows 7 came out in October,” said Manish Nigam, head of technology research in Asia for Credit Suisse, at a technology conference in Taipei.

Microsoft marketing in advance of the release may have played a role.

Consumers often wait until after the launch of a major new operating system to buy a new PC for fear of having to pay for the upgrade and to avoid the hassle of loading the new software themselves. This time, strong marketing for free or discounted Windows 7 upgrades for new PC buyers ahead of the official launch of the OS on Oct. 22 appears to have worked.

The advertising blitz for Windows 7 “will be a major positive for the PC industry,” iSuppli said.

Hype for the new OS, which won solid reviews from many people who tested it, and lower prices for PCs are already drawing buyers.

The big question – when will corporations get back into the game?

The big question mark for the PC industry is when corporations, which account for nearly 60 percent of PC shipments, will start replacing aging fleets of computers.

Executives in charge of replacing PCs are more finicky about major OS upgrades than consumers. Decisions they make about new software will affect thousands of computers that they have to maintain. Many are also mindful of how unpopular Microsoft’s last OS, Windows Vista, was. The OS launched in early 2007 to great fanfare that quickly turned to disappointment. Customers complained about a number of issues, from clunky performance to missing hardware drivers. Some people even opted to downgrade back to Windows XP.

The problems Vista faced make the transition to Windows 7 potentially slower among corporate users. Analysts expect them to wait until Windows 7 has been on the market for at least several months and Service Pack 1 has been published before adopting the new OS.

That means PC purchases by corporations probably won’t begin until the middle of next year.

Which could mean of all things a possible PC shortage and/or higher prices.

Credit Suisse’s Nigam believes U.S. corporations may lead the rebound in PC buying next year, noting capital spending hit its lowest level in years at the depths of the financial crisis, even worse than after the dotcom bust.

The investment bank forecasts a 12 percent increase in corporate PC purchases next year based on surveys with corporate IT managers. Such an increase would likely make PC vendors happy, but it could hurt consumers through potentially higher PC prices, considering the shortages already hitting some PC parts. (Source: PC demand takes off ahead of Windows 7 – The Industry Standard)

Either way this is positive news for the IT market.

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Blind to security risks of printers

The article is about UK workers but it’s probably safe to say the results would be similar here in the U.S.

A new survey by Samsung has uncovered what it claims is an alarming lack of security awareness among UK workers when it comes to printing documents.

Just under half of all employees are regularly exposed to sensitive data, such as a document abandoned on a printer, and Samsung warned that awareness of the issues this presents must be improved.

Around 14 per cent of respondents admitted seeing salary details, 22 per cent had seen performance appraisals and 34 per cent had seen CV information.

Samsung’s poll of 4,500 European office workers found that many are not aware of any printing security processes or technologies in place at their company to prevent printer-based information leaks.

UK organisations which deal in a large number of sensitive documents, such as the banking and finance sector, saw the most incidences of data exposure, with 40 per cent claiming to have seen sensitive documents on the print tray.

Samsung warned that eight in 10 UK respondents were not aware that printers store all recent documents on an easy to remove hard drive, while over three-quarters did not know that a networked printer is as easily hacked as a PC.

“The potential for security breaches is vast, and can only be overcome if employees are educated about the pitfalls of leaving abandoned documents, and with the help of a controlled printing process,” said Geoff Slaughter, director of Samsung Print in the UK. (Source: Companies blind to printer security risks – V3.CO.UK)

With all the functionality present in printers today, any security plan must treat them the same way computers and other network hardware are treated.

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A trading platform for cybercriminals discovered

It’s known as the Golden Cash Network.

Called the Golden Cash network, the trading platform allows botnet herders to sell portions of their botnet to the highest bidder. Batches of 1,000 malware-infected PCs can be purchased from $5 to $100, depending on location, Finjan said.

In addition to offering the latest versions of attack toolkits, the global network partners with its members to distribute the Golden Cash bot, which collects FTP-credentials of legitimated websites through infected PCs. Finjan said its researchers were able to identify about 100,000 domains, including corporate domains, whose credentials were stolen, enabling access to the servers.

“Looking at the list of compromised PCs we found, it is clear that no individual, corporate or governmental PC is safe,” Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer of Finjan said in a statement. Ben-Itzhak heads the vendor’s Malicious Code Research Center (MCRC).

The site also includes other tools.

The Golden Cash platform also includes a malware center, where buyers can search for the latest malware that fits their needs, according to Finjan’s Cybercrime Intelligence Report. The center includes a listing of the latest malware and their download locations.

Once infected, PCs are put in a continuous loop with buyers using them to infect other websites, steal passwords and other sensitive information and finally putting them up for resale through the Golden Cash network.

All controlled from a command and control server.

The command and control server is hosted in Texas. The registrant country is China. The proxy website, which tunnels traffic to the command and control server, is hosted in Krasnodar, Russia, Yosef said. (Source: Botnet platform helps cybercriminals bid for zombie PCs – Search Security)

Another reason to make sure you computers and network are hardened and patched regularly.

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