Archive | Kansas City IT

Kickstarter Hacked – Takes Three Days to Tell Anyone

February 16, 2014Leave a reply

The popular crowd source finance site Kickstarter was hacked!  In an email received today, Kickstarter CEO Yancey

Strickler statedOn Wednesday night, law enforcement officials contacted Kickstarter and alerted us that hackers had sought and gained unauthorized access to some of our customers’ data.”

Now, think about this for a second.  First, Kickstarter knew this past Wednesday that they had been hacked, and, only now are telling customers about it.  That’s three days that the hackers had to use the data they stole.  Second, Kickstarter had no idea they had been hacked.  They were told by “law enforcement officials” that they had been hacked.  I’ll bet their security people are having nightmares about theforthcoming pink slips about now.kickstarterhack

But Wait!  There’s More!

Again, from the email Kickstarter sent to customers, “As a precaution, we have reset your Facebook login credentials to secure your account. No further action is necessary on your part.“.  Well, I do have to give it to Kickstarter for closing the hole (speculation here, but it looks like it’s in their FB Connect systems or related code).  But, it might not be a bad idea to change your Facebook account password about now.

Good News!  It Wasn’t A Total Loss!

Kickstarter also said that. “No credit card data of any kind was accessed by hackers. There is no evidence of unauthorized activity of any kind on your account.”.   I am happy that Kickstarter didn’t lose my credit card data.  But I think I’m changing my PIN anyway, and check the account a couple times a day for a while.  And my Kickstarter account is more than likely going to be totally reset as well.

What’s The Lesson?

The simple lesson is that nobody is safe.  Kickstarter is a good company, with a popular online product, and good people working for them.  And if they can get hacked, so can you.  What’s the Lesson?  Keep your security updated.  Make sure your anti-virus is backed up with an anti-malware system in addition to remote cloud backups.  Don’t go surfing strange sites.  And change your passwords on a regular basis.

Need help getting all that done?  Click on our Contact link (above) and let us know.

 

The Fastest Growing Version of Windows is??? XP?

February 11, 2014Leave a reply

What BetaNews thinks of Windows8

In January new installs of Windows XP outpaced new installs of Windows 8! Which, on it’s face, seems odd. Windows XP is 14yrs old, it’s “End of Life” is April 8, 2014. And more people are installing XP than Windows 8. Don’t believe me? Check out BetaNews for the raw info.  This is telling us something important about what people really want their computers to do for them, the acceptance of the software lifecycle, and just how bad a product Windows 8 really is.  Of the latest version of Windows8 BetaNews states it’s “A Frankenstein Product Stitched Together With Compromises“.  Not good.

What to do?  Keeping XP around isn’t a real solution.  With no more security updates that would be like walking into a lions den with a steak and a bottle of BBQ sauce instead of a whip and a chair.  And, Windows8 isn’t looking all that good either.  Or, is it?

The biggest problem with Windows8 is that it isn’t WindowsXP, or Windows7 (Vista doesn’t count, it’s so bad it’s worth totally ignoring).  But, back to the main issue, how do we make Windows8 as comfortable to use as XP, or Windows7?

Totally doable if you have the people that know how to do it!  You don’t have to engage in risky behaviors (keeping XP) in order to have the ease of use, solid performance, and low learning curve.  All you have to do is make Windows8 behave like Windows7.  And that is something OPENRSM can do.  With no extra costs, no extended configuration time, and little to no visual change in how you do things on your computer.

You need to upgrade yourself out of the WindowsXP trap and keep everything you like about it.  OPENRSM can do that.  IT is a Process, Not a Project.  “Let OPENRSM manage this process for you.

 

 

 

 

Guarding Against Cyberattacks on Your Business

March 13, 2013Leave a reply

In every business there is always the “Oh Crap”! moment when a PC get’s infected with something.  And some more often than others.  What to do?

Well, using a quality set of firewall/filters/anti-virus is part of the solution.  And more than likely the only parts of the solution you’ve heard about.  But, there’s a whole other area of expertise afoot.  Who, Where, and What….  in RealTime.  There are tools that enable individual networ

ks to monitor such things (really expensive tools) but sometimes it’s better to back up and get the 50,000ft overview.  That’s where Realtime Threat Monitoring comes into play.

We use several realtime tools like this (and they’re so private I’m not even allowed to put up a pic of them).  But there is a public realtime threat monitor out there that will give you the high level overview of what’s being targeted, by who, and where they are that has been released by Deutche Telkom (T-Mobile for my US customers).  If you click on the picture of the tool in action it will pop up a window and you can see what’s happening in the world of cyber threats in realtime from monitoring stations spanning the globe.

And you’ll see why you don’t want your own tool, and will want to just have OPENRSM “handle it” when it comes to cyber security.

 

 

Microsoft Raises Prices, Dramatically

December 4, 2012Leave a reply

Microsoft is having a difficult time with Windows8 and WindowsRT…  Companies and People arn’t buying it.  And, from the testing we’ve done so far, for good reason.

But Microsoft is taking a decidedly interesting approach to slow sales of a product EVERYBODY has said they don’t need, don’t want, and they can’t really see any improvements over previous versions (including Windows XP).  Their answer to the problems with their latest OS version are to raise prices, dramatically.

Microsoft has increased pricing on the following (non-complete) list of products:

  • Lync Server 2013 400%
  • Project 2013 Server CAL  21%
  • SharePoint 2013  38%
  • Windows8 License CALs  15%

So now, new PCs (which you have no choice which operating system is loaded on them) could start costing more under Enterprise Licensing policies from Microsoft.  All because people don’t want their products.  Pretty arrogant approach instead of giving customers what they truly want and need.

 

(information gleaned from an article located HERE)

 

AT&T Usage Billing and Refuses To Say How It’s Computed

November 14, 2012Leave a reply

It seems that AT&T is playing games with it’s new “Usage Billing” forumlas.  And it’s not pretty.

We spotted this article on Slashdot today.  One that our customers that utilize AT&T services should be very concerned with.  You see, AT&T is now billing for how much data you consume.  Which, on it’s face, sounds reasonable.  But in reality it has no basis in reality.  Slashdot user STOX‘ received his first AT&T bill that included usage billing and being a “high tech” guy, he went to check it out.  So, he measured exactly how much data (transmit and receive) he used with a reputable tool that looked at his router’s statistics to tell him the true numbers.  Comparing it to what AT&T was claiming he used there was a very large disparity.  A 20-30% disparity.  AT&T DeathStar Rises with Undisclosed, Proprietary way it computes billing

So, he called AT&T and was informed that the way that AT&T computes data usage was “Proprietary”.  Which is a not so subtle way of telling us that they just plug in whatever number they want, tell us that we’ve used a certain amount of data, and bill for it.  With no way to tell if the billing is in error, accurate, or totally bogus.

Businesses and individuals  that utilize AT&T need to be very conscious about how they are being billed for data rate services.  If the ability to double check what your being billed for is hidden, how would you ever be able to know if your being billed accurately, fairly, honestly?

It takes both technical experience and a deep understanding of what just is and is not allowed to properly interpret telcom billing.  If your on AT&T it’s time to get ahold of OPENRSM to do a thorough review of the services you receive, and how your being billed for them so that you can know just what your getting and what the true costs are.

Windows8 – Now With In App Advertising!

November 8, 2012Leave a reply

Yes, you heard me right.  And HotHardware.com is reporting it, and Microsoft is confirming it.  Windows8 paid applications contain advertising.  Right now ads f

Windows8 Metro (i.e. no Start Button) Interface

or Coca Cola, Ford, and Samsung have signed up (among others) that will  show up in applications (like Finaance, Weather, News, etc.).

With a “normal” operating system and applications (that you pay for) you wouldn’t expect to have ads.  Free apps, sure.  Paid apps, no way.

And there are no notices or warnings, opt-in/out boxes, etc.  The ads are there and you can’t remove them.

I wonder how many people would pay for a Windows8 App that kills the onboard advertising?  It seems that Microsoft may have either created something to raise the ire of every business customer, or, created an opportunity for a clever programmer to join the millionaire ranks.

 

If You Are Using Sophos Anti-Virus You Need To Call

November 7, 2012Leave a reply

It has come to our attention that there are serious flaws that have been identified in Sophos Anti-Virus by security researchers at Google.

OPENRSM has never used, nor provided, Sophos Anti-Virus.  And it seems that our own internal evaluation to not provide or support Sophos has been sustained (for additional reasons) by Google.

You can read the 30 page report by Google HERE:

You can read more about the findings that Sophos is insecure HERE.

And you can always call 816-200-2220, or email info@openrsm.com and OPENRSM will help you with your IT questions.

 

Why Your PCs are Infected

October 17, 2012Leave a reply

Ever wonder why there seems to always be a PC that’s slow, infected, issuing pop-ups, redirecting your Google searches, etc?

It’s because they’re infected!  “But we have anti-virus installed on all our machines” is the usual self-denial cycle that sets in.  Usually followed with “why can’t you keep this from happening?  Your the expert here?”.  Which is a valid question.  And now, what we’ve been telling our customers for years has been documented.

“Zero Day” exploits in Windows, Applications, etc. go for MONTHS WITHOUT THE SECURITY PEOPLE KNOWING IT!

An article in Forbes (click  HERE) tells the tale.  The people who publish software are often unaware of their own security weaknesses for months on end.  Ten months is the average.  This means that your anti-virus/malware software won’t even know about the threat from a “Zero Day” exploit when you click that dubious link that causes your system to become infected.

Or, as the article in Forbes put it…  “…the value of the benevolent hackers who find and report bugs in software before they’re exploited. Without someone to dig them up and demand they be fixed, those hackable flaws are far more common, and remain secret far longer, than anyone may have realized.”

Which is exactly why you have PCs in your business that get “infected” with malware, adware, etc.  And it’s exactly why every business needs to have a company like OPENRSM taking care of your critical business network and systems.  Having people that understand the cold hard realities of protecting networks and pc’s and more importantly, being able to get rid of malware and viruses without your anti-virus protection even knowing that something is wrong.

 

Celebrating Liberty

July 4, 2012Leave a reply

Many of our Friends and Customers know that OPENRSM is a proud supporter of Scouting and Scouts.  And on this Independence Day we’d like to pause and think not only of our own Freedom’s and Liberty.  But also how it is also celebrated by the “Good Turn” done daily by Scouts.  A case in point….  The many replica Statue of Liberty installations across America.

Freedom Corner, Cape Girardeau, MO Photo by Ken Steinhoff http://www.capecentralhigh.com

Freedom Corner, Cape Girardeau, MO Photo by Ken Steinhoff (Troop 8 Cape Girardeau Alumnus) http://www.capecentralhigh.com

The Boy Scouts of America celebrated their fortieth anniversary in 1950 with the theme of “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty”.  Between 1949 and 1952, approximately two hundred 100-inch replicas of the statue, made of stamped copper, were purchased by Boy Scout troops and donated in 39 states in the U.S. and several of its possessions and territories. The project was the brainchild of Kansas City businessman J.P. Whitaker, who was then Scout Commissioner of the Kansas City Area Council (now known as the Heart of America Council).

Over the years many cities and towns have benefitted from the gift from their local Scout Troops.  Some of which have been expanded into a mini-pavillion celebrating America’s Freedom, and the sacrifices made to preserve our freedom.  One of note is located in Cape Girardeau, MO.  The local VFW and American Legion have generously added to the monument with a listing of those from the area that have sacrificed all for their country.

With the same local Scouts, Scout Troops, and others pitching in to both maintain and improve a local symbol of the Liberties and Freedom’s we enjoy.  The Scouts continuing to “Do a Good Turn Daily” for all of us.

Happy 4th of July!

Did You Know Your Facebook Email Address Is Now Your Primary Email Address?

June 25, 2012Leave a reply

And you didn’t even realize you had a @facebook.com email address.. did you?

Oh, but you do! And it was changed to be your primary email address contact on your timeline by Facebook.

And no, they didn’t tell anybody… Until the press decided to start calling Facebook on it. And (in a change for Facebook), they said they did it. And there are more changes coming too.

Far be it for the humble data engineers at OPENRSM to tell Facebook what to do… But actually informing your customers that you are changing fundamental things in your platform AHEAD OF TIME would seem to be the thing to do.

More information (and how to change your email contact back to your own email address) is on “The Talking Points Memo“…

 

 

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