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Cyber Attack Leads to Twenty-Four Million Dollar Loss

Norsk Hydro, a Norwegian aluminum company that employs over 30,000 people, has been hit by malware just last week. They said they are slowly bringing affected systems back online, but this incident will still cost the company about 300 million Norwegian Kroners, or twenty-four million US Dollars in damages. Most of those misfortunes had been in its Extruded Solutions division, which makes aluminum veneers.

Production in this section was down 20-30%. One of the machines, which makes doors and windows, was completely stopped. Machines that were normally an automated process were now being ran manually by the workers at some locations.

Contact us and minimize your downtime now!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

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Apple Owes $31M to Qualcomm for Patent Infringement

Qualcomm has just recently won a legal dispute against Apple. A jury in San Diego has determined that Apple owes Qualcomm roughly $31M for infringing three patents that deal with battery-life.

The patent apparently involved technologies that Apple had used in their iPhones. Qualcomm had asked to be paid up to $1.41 per iPhone that has violated the patent. Qualcomm has filed several patent suits against Apple recently over the past few years. These smaller suits are just small battles in the war over terms that Apple deems unfair.

The iPhones involved in the violation include the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and X. All were found to infringe 2 patents, while the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X were infringing an additional patent. It is not clear whether Apple is going to make an appeal, but we do know that Apple has filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm for charging for intellectual property that it has no right to. This case meets the courtroom in April.

Contact us today to ensure a safe computing experience!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

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Windows 10 Will Uninstall Bad Updates

Windows 10 seems to be learning how to avoid problematic updates. A recently published page on the Microsoft support site describes what Windows will do in the event of a recent update causing a boot failure. First, Windows will uninstall the recently updated software and roll-back to a configuration that has worked before. It will then, block the removed update for 30 days.

This approach will be taken for driver updates as well as the regular monthly updates. It’s normal for Microsoft to block updates like these to prevent them from being distributed to other resources after the issues have been found. Blocking the update will allow the proper amount of time for a fix to be released. Most of the time, when update issues are discovered, they are patched and updated in three to seven days.

Microsoft hasn’t made it clear whether this will happen during the semi-annual feature upgrades. They usually refer to these as feature upgrades, whereas the publication only refers to updates. The tool that Windows utilizes to install feature upgrades is separate from the update installation tool, so we believe that nothing has changed for the semi-annual upgrades.

Give us a call to update your systems! We Make I.T. Easy!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

 

Image Credit: Microsoft

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Zero-Day Vulnerability affects Chrome and Windows 7

Security analysts at Google and Microsoft have watched assailants utilizing a mix of a fixed Chrome weakness and an unpatched Windows 7 vulnerability. The declaration of the issue comes as a major aspect of their vulnerability disclosure policy. Both the Windows bug and Chrome bug deal with accessing memory that should not be accessed by the user.

Most current internet browsers utilize a “sandbox” to help ensure against online assaults. This is like a virtual environment that websites, and their corresponding code, run in. These sandboxes are supposed to guarantee that untrustworthy code can’t get out and attack important system assets, however joining these two bugs together into causes just that.

 

Google fixed their bug last Friday. Unlike other updates which you can see immediately, this fix requires a manual restart. The Windows 7 bug has yet to be fixed but is believed to only affect Windows 7 32-bit systems. Meanwhile, Microsoft is urging Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10.

Give us a call or email us to assess your vulnerabilities!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

 

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NSA releases cyber-security software to open source.

The National Security Agency (NSA) creates software that can be used for hacking and testing vulnerabilities. Most, if not all, of this software is kept secret and only used by the NSA. However, during a conference on Tuesday, the agency presented their program, Ghidra, which they have decided to make open-source.

Ghidra is a reverse engineering software. Programs are first written in code, then compiled to run. After this compiling process, it is typically difficult to reverse. What Ghidra allows you to do is turn that compiled program back into a human readable format. This is very important to cyber-security because it allows researchers to break open malicious software and see how it works.

Products for reverse engineering already exist and are available to anyone, but for a price. Ghidra, on the other hand, is 100% free and open source, meaning anyone can look at the source code. It also runs on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. This will aide in training cyber-security apprentices due to the availability.

Looking to upgrade your cybersecurity? Call us!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

 Image Credit: NSA

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Vulnerability Leaves Cisco Routers Exposed.

Cisco has issued a security alert, warning users of a very serious attack concerning three models of devices. It has been given a 9.8/10 on the severity rating scale. The weakness can be tracked on Cisco’s website here.

This attack can be used over the internet and bypasses administrator authentication. This means anyone can break in and make changes that you did not authorize. Cisco devices RV110W, RV130W, and RV215W were left vulnerable. These models are used in small businesses and households, which means many them will remain unprotected due to a lack of I.T. personnel.

Fortunately, Cisco has released a fix for this issue. However, the announcement of the vulnerability has sent hackers into go-mode. There have been reported over 12,000 of these devices online, a lot of them being in the US and Canada, and these devices are now being scanned for and attacked.

If you own one of these devices, contact us to save your data and privacy.

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

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ICANN is under attack

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is a non-profit organization focused on doing their part in keeping the internet more accessible. They have just announced that there are ‘ongoing and significant’ risks to the Domain Name System (DNS), which helps direct traffic to where it needs to go. There have been increasing reports of certain attacks, which includes domain visitors being redirected to rogue servers. A number of these attacks seem to be state-sponsored attacks coming from Iran, while others come from countries like UAE and Lebanon.

They believe that some of these attacks have solutions. In most cases, using DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) would aide in securing domains with signatures that verify that you are connecting to the correct destination. This does not make it completely impossible to spoof DNS, but it does make it significantly more difficult.

ICANN is looking to gain support through a meeting in Kobe, Japan which will start on March 9th. This will most likely not lead to a solution immediately. However, this meeting will highlight the need to do something — especially when it is unlikely that the attackers will stop anytime soon.

Call OR email us so we can take a look and keep your data safe!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

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Learning With Technology

Technology in the Classroom

Technological Learning Environments

Technology used to be something that wasn’t easily accessible. To use a computer you would need to wait quite a while for the startup, and finding a computer would be difficult in itself. Today that is all changed, as computers come in all forms of shapes and sizes and are now synonymous with our societies development. 

Many used to criticize children that were in middle or high school for having their own flip phone, and yet, now there are tablets in elementary schools. Our future generations are now being taught with the HELP of technology, like tablets and smart boards. 

What Changed?

Our understanding of technology and it’s uses has reformed in multiple areas across society, and one prominent area is schools and education. Technology has become a powerful tool to help develop and improve the human potential across many major educational fields like math, science and art! 

Thanks to the interaction between psychology and the developments surrounding human learning, retention, positive reinforcement, and understanding, technology has been tempered to give children an experience that is expansive and thorough, exponentially increasing their processing and understanding. 

If we were to compare the rate of understanding in math, for example, with our current generation to the past generation, we would see a higher rate of understanding at more advanced levels than we did back in the 80’s. 

What about our Traditional Teaching Methods and Interactions?

While technology has become a prominent source or education, many schools don’t rely on that alone, as it is an isolated experience. It is valued knowledge that children interact in social settings on a daily to build their skills in areas outside of math and the like, to help them be strong communicators and  persons in society. These classrooms are called “blended environments” and still involve the use of pen and paper and whiteboards with dry erase markers. Many studies have shown a strong retention rate in children and adults who learn through strong physical actions like writing and expression, rather than pressing on a touch screen. 

The interaction with technology in a classroom is a balancing act that is thus far going well, we many teachers and professionals have identified key aspects of both traditional and new age learning styles, and the incorporation of both, rather than one over the other, has shown great results. 

Our future will never be certain, but our present can help prepare us for any future. Give us a call today at RE2 Tech and let us teach you about your home system and technology, while we upgrade your defenses from the malicious users around the world! 

We Make I.T. Easy! 

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

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Windows 10 October Update

Windows 10 Update for October is Losing Some Functions

Recently Omnisence wrote an article about the upcoming Windows 10 update that had some questionable features, now we are seeing some changes for the October update that remove some functionality. To see the Omnisence article, click here.

October holds Window 10’s  newest update which is bound to alter the way in which we navigate our computer as things get moved around and replaced or updated. As Windows 10 grows and evolves it is inevitable that some features will run its course and become obsolete, and Microsoft has just released a list of such features. (That list can be found here)

Certainly some are itching to know what is being chopped from the Windows 10 service and there are a few that have gained a lot of attention.

One change that is coming is for the Snipping Tool, a commonly used feature. Worry not, the feature isn’t getting removed, however it is getting integrated into a larger function. Snip & Sketch is an improved feature for the Snipping program that will still let you do the usual actions but now includes the functionality of delay snipping, which will prevent the ‘snip’ from being taken away, which may prove useful for some!

Microsoft has kicked the Hologram app to the street for a overall better application called Mixed Reality Viewer. The new app will still allow for viewing 3D art in a virtual reality.

Phone Compatibility 

Many have become fond of the Phone Companion app, and if your looking for it on the update, you won’t find it. Not because the app has been removed, but simply because it has been incorporated into the Phone page, under the settings tab. Many applications and features have had a merging of in Windows October update for 2018 in order to better function overall in terms of search-ability and performance.

If your worried about the services and apps you use on the daily, give the list a gander and if something you use is fully removed, look for a replacement program online to prevent blindsiding and stress.

What do you think of the update information so far?  Best Windows update yet? Let us know!

As always, if you have any computer, technology or security questions or problems, then give us a call at Re2tech!

We make I.T. easy!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Email: helpdesk@re2tech.com

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Four Major Keys to a Strong Password

Four Keys to Creating a Non-Hackable Password

Creating passwords has never been an easy task. Deciding what word(s) or phrase to use is an eternal struggle, and then adding special characters like capitalization, punctuation or numbers to that is just a disaster for remembering the password.

Generally we hear stories about people who used simple and easy to remember words or phrases as their password getting hacked, and the blame falling on that easy to remember password. Due to this tendency of password selection, people often find themselves locked out of their email accounts or something more important.

To help remedy this prevalent problem in today’s day and age, we have created a simple four-step list to abide by when creating passwords that will greatly improve the security of your accounts!

  1. Special characters and capitalization- Most all websites require this already to even create the password, but what we want to emphasize is a more creative use of these characters. For example, instead of using the exclamation mark “!”, try one of the other special characters and place them in the password in an unexpected location rather than at the end of the password. The exclamation mark is the most commonly used special character, and almost always used at the beginning or end of the password.
  2. False Information on Security Questions- Security questions are supposed to be a backup option to help recover your password when you forget it. However, as hackers got more resourceful these questions became a liability rather than a security. Most all people can find the answer to these security questions with a quick scan through someones social media page and render your accounts useless. To work around this, try creating answers that are false, for example “what was your pets first name?” Normally the answer would be “spot” or something, but instead have the answer be something you can remember and that others cannot find, like “Gluteus Maximus”.
  3. Four-word Quote or Phrase- “Ima/Steal/All/Pineapples” can be a more secure password than  Onomatopoeia2! This is because an eight-letter word isn’t all that hard for hackers to break into. Rather than just a single word password that is long, try making your passwords into unconventional phrases or quotes. Avoid popular sayings and the never dying quotes like “Luke I am Your Father”. This will create a strong password as a base, and then incorporating some special characters and numbers will really secure the password and your important accounts!
  4. Checking the Strength of your Password- To see how well your password holds up, you can always check it with the many available password analyzers which will pit your password against millions of known passwords  and offer suggestions if needed to make yours stronger.

Using these tactics when creating passwords will allow for a strong security on your accounts and an ease of mind when hearing news about security breaches. Taking the extra time to secure a strong password is always important and rewarding, be sure to take your security seriously!

As always, stay safe on the web, and be careful where you go and what you give your information to.

If you have any problems with your computer or networking services, give us a call at Re2tech or visit our web page!

Phone: 952-223-4422

Website: www.re2tech.com

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