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Tech Goliaths taking a lashing

We have all become painfully aware of the involvement of technology to our daily lives and how it has been keeping keep eyes on us for more information about our lives.

This has been particularly noticeable with Facebook, the social media giant through the use of Ads. If you decide one day your interested in getting a DVD player and you decide to search for some on the internet, the next time you go to Facebook the Ad’s you’ll see are for DVD players. At first this was creepy and unsettling, but then the mechanics behind it came to light and you couldn’t help but be impressed with their advertisement team.

As time has passed however, there have been stories of companies like Facebook and Twitter that had information floating around from news articles and fake news that caused an uproar. Social media giants have been taking a lash for their uncontrolled content and the effects it has played in society. Now we are seeing a more strict and invested reaction by these social media giants to prevent the same issues from occurring and to help keep their business model on track.

Social media giants aren’t the only companies being scrutinized for their actions or inaction’s. Companies like Google and Apple are also under fire for their role in the technological web of rule breaking. For example, apparently Apple had released an update that slowed the older models of their phones in hopes that customers would upgrade and generate income for the company. There has been a lot of slack by the government when it comes to keeping these rising tech giants within the confines of the law, but now it seems legislation has their eyes set on these tech corporations.

The biggest concern right now in terms of the technology we use today, is the health effects it has on our children. Companies have made it their goal for many years to increase the amount of time people use their products, and that goes for children’s applications as well. There is worry that children are too susceptible to the technology available to them and that may lead to development issues, and because of this, there is some questioning of the ethical development of such technology.

Technology is coming under wraps by the government more and more as time passes, and this could have some positive and poor effects depending on where your interests lay.

Keep up to date on your technology and it’s vulnerabilities and solutions with RE2Tech. We make I.T. easy!

Have you taken precautions? Is your sensitive information at risk?

Give us a call or send us an email for all your I.T needs! We at Re2tech make I.T. happen!

Phone: 952-223-4422

helpdesk@re2tech.com

 

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Coding and technology: Chance the Rapper showing our young how to get ahead

Take a Chance with technology

This past December , Chance the Rapper, the Chicago based Rapper known for his dedication to the younger generations and their success, made a visit to some unsuspecting youth.

The famous rapper made a visit to Adam Clayton Powell Paideia Acadamy with a goal in mind. Chance wanted to express the possibilities technology held for the younger generations and how learning coding and other forms of technical skills will be invaluable to achieving ones future.

Chance walked into a room full of 5th graders working diligently on their coding skills. As soon as Chance made his appearance the classroom boomed into awe’s, screams and tears. Chance has made it a point that coding has been a way for him to get into the industry and that the upcoming generations should also take advantage of the opportunities before them.

Chance stated that showing up, and actualizing yourself and ideas for people can be life changing, and that he hopes that showing up to this class will inspire the 5th graders to achieve what Chance has achieved, and more. Apparently Kanye west had visited Chance’s school when he was younger and that this event had a profound effect on chance and his ambitions.

During Chance’s visit to the Adam Clayton Powell Paideia Acadamy, Google announced a $1.5 million donation to Chicago Public Schools and SocialWorks which would be used for computer science education across the Chicago Public Schools.

Google.org’s principal Justin Steele was helping to direct the efforts and stated that it was exciting to see so many people interested in coding. That coding will not only provide the students with the ability to create content but also the platform and the tech involved.

It is truly amazing what can occur when the people pool their efforts and direct their passion.

 

Keep up to date on your technology and it’s vulnerabilities and solutions with RE2Tech. We make I.T. easy!

Have you taken precautions? Is your sensitive information at risk?

Give us a call or send us an email for all your I.T needs! We at Re2tech make I.T. happen!

Phone: 952-223-4422

helpdesk@re2tech.com

 

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Hackers Beware

I know you are all tired of seeing the word “hacker” everywhere. But to be honest, i’m certain it will only become more relevant as we move forward. Due to hackers playing such a prominent role in the modern world, our constant efforts to fight hackers and the ransomware and malware they bring forth will for the foreseeable future be a relevant topic.

This is where the wonderful news comes into play.  A program involved in the pursuit of technological advancements and it’s uses for human safety has taken the initiative in pursuing hackers before they can attack. The latest project from Alphabet’s X moonshot program has started a venture called “Chronicle”. Chronicle is tasked with locating hackers at a speed faster than any human currently can.

Alphabet is the parent company of Google, and stated on Wednesday that Chronicle would branch off and become it’s own company, and finding hackers, it’s main objective. The Chronicle company will develop hacker locating tools and machine learning tools to enhance the locating programs, to increase hacker localization.

Now I know what your thinking “There are plenty of cybersecurity firms already out there, so how is this any different?”. Well, Chronicle claims it may have an advantage above the currently live cybersecurity firms. The head of the Chronicle initiative stated, that by giving organizations a higher resolution of their security situation with the combination of machine learning, large amounts of computing power and storage, they believe they will be able to root out the false alarms that arise in cybersecurity due to the overwhelming amount of data. By preventing these false alarms, and being able to sift through the data of a network at a faster rate, they will be able to identify vulnerabilities and provide stronger security, that may be able to locate hackers before they have a chance to even attempt a deep hack.

This news is very exciting to an optimist like myself. Seeing news on a group that is fighting back against the online terrors and possibly providing a solution to smaller organizations and homes would be a fantastic accomplishment! Can you imagine a day when “hackers” become a term of the past and malicious malware activity becomes extinct? Ok maybe that is too optimistic. Anyway, in the meantime, we need to stay vigilant and on top of our networks! We at Re2tech have the luxuries of a small business, but the experience and work ethic of the bigger businesses! Give us a call today and let’s make I.T. happen!

Keep up to date on your technology and it’s vulnerabilities and solutions with RE2Tech. We make I.T. easy!

Have you taken precautions? Is your sensitive information at risk?

Give us a call or send us an email for all your I.T needs! We at Re2tech make I.T. happen!

Phone: 952-223-4422

helpdesk@re2tech.com

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Googles discovered CPU vulnerabilities, and how it can affect you

Google is a forerunner in the online world for many aspects, but one of the main focuses of Google is security. Google has a “Project Zero” team dedicated to researching vulnerabilities their customers may be facing while also doing their best to provide solutions to the problems.

Last year the Project Zero team had come across a security flaw due to something called “speculative execution”, which is described as a technique used by most modern processors (CPUs) to optimize performance.

This security flaw is seen as a more serious flaw, due to it’s capabilities for leaking vulnerable information to an unknown party. Malicious persons may take advantage of the said vulnerability in the speculative execution process to read system memory that should otherwise be inaccessible. This may lead to the exposure of information such as passwords, encryption keys, or even sensitive information that is present in open applications. It was also noted that a virtual machine attacked through the vulnerabilities of speculative execution could also lead to access of physical memory in the host machine, further enhancing the dangers.

The affected CPUs are rather wide, but include AMD, ARM and Intel, as well as devices and OS running on those CPUs. Google has stated that the research team has updated their systems to defend against the speculative execution attacks, and cooperated with hardware and software manufacturers across the industry to protect a more broad range of technology and people. This cooperation has lead to mitigation of the affected from this form of attack.

Google has released a list of products and machines that have the mitigation and protection in place, the following are secured from the speculative execution attacks.

  • Android- Those with the latest security update are secure. Nexus and Pixel devices are also secure with the latest security update.
  • Google apps/ G Suite- no action needed
  • Google Chrome- There may be some necessary actions required on the users end. A link to the page is here
  • Google Cloud Platform- Google App engine is secure.
    Google Compute Engine: additional action required here
    Google Kubernetes Engine: additional action required here
    Google Cloud Dataflow: additional action required here
    Google Cloud Dataproc: additional action required here
  • All other Google Cloud products have been cleared and are secured.
  • Google Home/Chromecast -no action needed
  • Google Wifi/OnHub – no action needed

Google has stated that in order to take advantage of this new method of attack that uses speculative execution, the attacker must first run malicious code on the system they targeted.

Google has stated that there are three variants of the attack, which cant be mitigated with one method, but needs a specific method for all three attack variant. Some vendors have patches for one or two of the attack variants, and Google is working with them to ensure all three get mitigated over time.

It is good to know Google is helping to spread the necessary information for others to protect themselves against such a potentially dangerous attack! As for other means of protection, why not give us a call at Re2tech! We will ensure a strong security for your network and help teach you about your own system along the way! We make I.T. happen!

Keep up to date on your technology and it’s vulnerabilities and solutions with RE2Tech. We make I.T. easy!

Have you taken precautions? Is your sensitive information at risk?

Give us a call or send us an email for all your I.T needs! We at Re2tech make I.T. happen!

Phone: 952-223-4422

helpdesk@re2tech.com

 

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Net neutrality and the FCC’s use of deceased people’s name

Lately the internet has been abuzz about net neutrality and preventing it from being stolen from us, lest we want to see a degradation in our society. Even knowing this, and having sent the FCC millions of petitions and signatures, the chair of the FCC still ignored the pleas of the masses and voted for tearing down our rights to online access and freedom to roam. Not only did the FCC ignore the masses, but the FCC also decided to revive the dead and use them against us.

 

What is net neutrality? 

First lets quick cover the basis of what net neutrality is. Net neutrality is basically a guiding rule or principle. It preserves our right to roam and communicate freely online, without the interference of those in a higher power position. It is free speech for the internet. This allows us to have access to all forms of information without any bias in the mix, restricting what we see and read and learn. For example, if net neutrality does become history, Fox news could pay to have specific internet providers show news from them, and them alone. This would cause a great tunnel vision in our society, and depending on peoples specific situations, cause a rift in general knowledge and understanding, leading to more chaos separation in our society.

Deceased commentators 

So back to the first paragraph, deceased persons coming to life. On multiple instances, there has been a realization that people who have passed away are somehow posting onto the FCC’s site, tickets that are in favor of getting rid of net neutrality. Family members of these deceased commentators have outright called on the FCC for their immoral and illegal actions, demanding they stop such horrid actions and be taken to court for just desserts.

Comments by the deceased were sometimes word for word, the same as other comments by other deceased persons. This shows the action as being a form of spam. But the issue at hand is that the FCC is using identities of Americans who have died to try and defend their actions by putting words in their mouths and pretending they were still alive.

As a response, the FCC has said that unvetted commentary has lost all forms of power online, and will therefore be dismissed. The only way comments will be considered is if they are cryptographically secure identities, tied to living persons.

The FCC has stated they will not help in the pursuit of those using deceased Americans identities.

Net neutrality is obviously something very important for more than just online surfing, it gives access for students and education, for keeping the world in mind and staying up to date on global events and being able to read both sides and come to ones own conclusions. Net neutrality is so much more than just “the internet” it is a necessity in a world ever growing in technological involvement.

Educated yourself on the issue

Learn about net neutrality, make an educated, well thought out decision on the matter, and then give your comments to the FCC. Here is a helpful link to the FCC’s site where you can submit your comments. http://gofccyourself.com

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Phishing or data breaches? Which should you be worried about?

As of late, there has been a lot of talk about data breaches and online security failures. Naturally these instances can be concerning due to their involvement with their customers, like you! It is important to secure your network and be aware of any gaps that may be taken advantage of, however it is also important to watch out for phishing attempts, some believe even more so.

Recently, Google and UC Berkeley researchers have stated that the real fear should lie with the phishing hook waiting for unsuspecting persons. While data breaches can be devastating, it is thought that phishing can lead to more devastating results in the end, for example losing access to accounts and having your life’s work or personal documents/information out of reach. A strong example would be the loss of your Google account, that most persons now use regularly and hold superfluous  amounts of life activities and records on. Phishing generally has a much higher encounter rate than data breaches.

Last year Google did a study, with their services as the focal point, to study the commonalities of phishing, key logging, and data breaches. Through the study, it was noticeable that phishing was much more relevant than key logging or data breaches. Through the process of this study, the gained knowledge was put to use almost immediately, helping to secure around 67 million Google accounts from possible abuse.

Google used large amounts of sources to help discern accounts that have already been compromised by key logging, phishing and data breaches, and it became known that most of those using phishing kits reside in the following order.

  • Nigeria
  • United States
  • Morocco
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • Malaysia

The basis of the phishing attacks, involve a false sense of insecurity. They are emails or something of the like, that state there is a problem and that the message can take you to the solution. These messages are often portrayed very convincingly which tends to be the reason they are believed more often than naught. Another part of the ponies tricks is using Google against itself. Often the messages attempt to gain excess forms of information under the premise of being Google asking for these other forms of information. The other forms of information include IP addresses, device make and model, phone numbers, and location, all of these things are something Google may ask for at times, meaning you need to be that much more vigilant. Through gaining access to these other forms of information, those doing the phishing can extend their area of activity and possibly cause even more of a stir-up on your life.

 

Google found that, while data breaches can be a serious problem, there has only been about 7% of accounts that experienced data breaches, and those accounts have long since been inactive before being breached. In saying that, key logging and phishing accounted for around 12 or 25% of account passwords being used by persons other than the account owners. Most of the phishing victims were in the United States, while Brazil and India being the majority of key logging victims.

No matter the form of security breach, it’s important to continually be conscious of your activity online, and ensure your keeping yourself, life, and information safe. 

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Android security update! KRACK be gone and band-aid adhesion!

Android deployed its recent patch for their phones. This patch holds significant updates, that involve KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack) and also some fixes for the newly released Pixel 2 phones!

Surprisingly, Google actually released three updates for November. There is the main update that involves the normal bug fixes and performance updates. The second patch is in relation to the Qualcomm bug that left users vulnerable to Wi-Fi breaches.

The Qualcomm bug comes second to the Krack update. Earlier this year a weakness was found in the WPA2 Protocol that put thousands of people in a vulnerable position, allowing them to be hacked through most all Wi-Fi points. Krack is all about that new vulnerability in the WPA2, those most vulnerable however would be the Linux and Android 6.0+ devices, this is because their system can be tricked into installing an all-zero encryption key.

The 2017-11-06 patch that addresses KRACK issues affects versions ranging from Android 8.0 Oreo and all the way back to 5.0.2 Lollipop. As for Google’s Pixel and Nexus, the patches thus far released are only up to 2017-11-05, so the KRACK update has not hit those customers yet, but it is presumed they will receive the 2017-11-06 update sometime closer to December.

Along with bug fixes and security reinforcement, Google is now adding functional updates in the mix. When the Google Pixel was released, the XL variation received a lot of criticism due to the screen brightness and burn of the battery that occurred passively. To help diminish these concerns, Google updated the phone with new functionalities. The first would be a new dimming navigation bar, that dims the navigation bar when it is not in use, while also changing to white while in some applications. The patch also lowers the max brightness.

Another complaint was the colors of the display were dull. It seems Google anticipated this possibility and had installed a “Vivid color” check box in the settings menu. However this saturation wasn’t enough for some customers so Google released a new “colors” option that gives three options for saturation, ranging from natural, to saturated, to boosted. Supposedly there have been reports of clicking noises while on the phone with the Pixel, but Google states the November patch fixes that as well.

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WPA2 protocol leaves all access points vulnerable! Including yours!

Recently, some online researchers have discovered a fatal flaw in the WPA2 protocol. This flaw can affect anyone and everyone that is involved with Wi-Fi access.

This flaw allows potential attackers to manipulate vulnerable information such as passwords, e-mails, and other encrypted data, whilst intercepting that information they may also leave ransomware or other malicious content into a website a client is visiting.

The point of weakness is called KRACK, short for Key Reinstallation Attacks. Supposedly the research has been kept under wraps and was designated for disclosure on Monday at 8am.

This point of weakness affects the core WPA2 protocol itself and is highly effective against devices running Android and Linux as well as OpenBSD. To a less extreme measure. it also affects macOS, Windows, and MediaTek Linksys, along with other types of devices. It’s believed that attackers can exploit the flaw to decrypt a cache of data that is normally secured by the ubiquitous Wi-Fi encryption protocol.

The vulnerability allows potential access to credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos among many other possibilities. All modern Wi-Fi protected networks.

The attack functions by forcing the phone/device to reinstall an all-zero encryption key, rather than a real key.  Some may think that visiting only HTTPS-protected pages would solve the issue, however the risk remains due to many sites possibly being improperly configured allowing the forceful action of dropping encrypted HTTPS traffic and instead transmitting unencrypted HTTP data.

Patches have started to be developed for devices at the most risk currently. Thus far Linux patches have been developed but there is no word when they will be released. Some however not all Wi-Fi access points have patches available right now.

There will be an official address on November 1st at the ACM conference on Computer and Communications Security in Dallas. Its believed the address will also be available on krackattack.com’s site.

This could become one of the biggest threats to large corporations and government Wi-Fi networks.

Its advised to abstain from Wi-Fi use until patches are available and instead use a wired connection.

contact use with any questions/concerns about your vulnerability 

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Google’s Pixel 2 smartphone!

Recently announced was Google’s Pixel 2 smartphone. Now i know, its just another phone, and this is an I.T. businesses article, so how does this relate? Well that’s where the fun is!

The Pixel 2 has a strong feature with it’s hardware that really might become a big game changer! Pixel 2’s AI technology is becoming the talk of the tech community. With the Pixel 2 comes an accessory that works uniquely well with the smartphone. Headphones! Well, ok, not just any headphones, Google Pixel Buds! These headphones sport Google’s AI technology to the highest degree yet!

The headphones function very simply and without the need to pull out your phone. They incorporate an AI assistant in the head phones that you can ask for directions, among many other features that are similar to Google’s home speaker system Google Home. To change the volume you simply swipe forward on the right headphone to increase and swipe back to decrease. What these headphones have but the Google Home does not, is translation capabilities. Yes, translation, like taking words spoken in English and transforming them into another language totally eradicating language barriers.

So how does it work? While the Google Buds are in your ear, you can simply hold the right ear bud which has touch capabilities, and speak in your native tongue. The Google AI will listen to your words in the known language, and translate through the main speaker of the Pixel 2. This functionality could become an essential tool in multiple ways, especially from a business perspective. This AI technology could help promote cross language engagements and possibly further the partnerships between businesses that would otherwise not be possible due to language restrictions.

Aside from a business standpoint, these headphones could help promote the growth and interaction between people across the world without language barriers and miscommunication occurring!

Thus far the Pixel Buds have 40 languages incorporated into its system, with an expanse in languages likely coming overtime.

This innovative tech is really cool! We think so at least! Give us a call today and inquire about the other cool tech that we personally use as an I.T. company, that can help your home or business network become stronger, and more capable than you might have known was possible! 

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What is Cloud technololgy?

Most often, when someone mentions the ‘cloud’, there is often someone who is too embarrassed to ask ‘what’ the cloud is.

Cloud technology has taken the world by storm (no pun intended) in most all areas these days, the cloud is involved in the information storage/management. Businesses to college campus’ to home networks.

So what is the cloud?

The cloud refers to technology that runs software and services on the internet, rather than locally, on your computer. Most all cloud services are accessed through hosting websites, like Firefox or Google Chrome, however there are some companies that offer mobile apps dedicated to cloud functionality as well.

Well known examples of cloud technology would be Google Drive, the application that people often use for image storage, or documents as well. There is also Apple iCloud, Netflix, Yahoo Mail, and Dropbox.

Why the cloud?

The pro’s of cloud technology are often seen through the ability to access your information on any device with an internet connection. For example say your in India on a business venture and you need to pull up some documents you saved on the cloud while back in Chicago. Just connect to an internet source and you’ll be able to access the same location you saved your documents to! You can even edit the files in India and see the changes back in Chicago! Not only that, but you can allow others to have access to the documents, and they can add or subtract information as well, from all across the globe!

Another nice benefit, is due to the cloud servers doing most all the computing and storage, it means your computer doesn’t need to be a high-end machine! Google actually the Chromebook specifically for that reason. It gives accessibility to a wider range of people with multiple different situations, to be able to accomplish the same form of information sharing/storage.

The cloud is awesome!

Correct! However you must still be aware, that without an internet connection, your completely shut out from all of your information stored onto the cloud. This can become a problem for some people. It’s also important to note, that the cloud could become prone to hacking. If the companies security measures are not strong enough against an outside access, your information may be at risk.

It is wise not to put everything onto the cloud and make a habit of storing the vital/sensitive information on your personal drive with a strong network security (which we can help you with!) so that your information security isn’t in the hands of others.

Give us a call at Re2tech today and we can help you set up a cloud storage option, and bulk up your network security! We make I.T. happen! 

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