Start Shopping Now for the Best Tech Gifts this Christmas
Tech Talk, Technology

Start Shopping Now for the Best Tech Gifts this Christmas

The big shopping season is nearly upon us and this Christmas is sure to be a challenge for gift-givers wanting to wrap us some tech. Supply chain issues and chip shortages continue to plague the technology world, which could make the availability of some items sporadic. Still, here's my list of the best tech gifts for 2021. Apple AirPods Pro I just purchased the Apple AirPods Pro for myself last week. I was able to buy them at Target saving $60 off the going price of $249. The audio quality and noise-canceling features are shockingly good. It's definitely a step up from the older AirPods I kept in my pocket. They're available on Amazon right now for $200. Apple HomePod mini If you haven't heard the sound quality of the Apple HomePod mini, then you're missing out. You can p...
Ransomware Attacks Shift to Mid-Sized Targets
Computers, Tech News, Tech Talk

Ransomware Attacks Shift to Mid-Sized Targets

The latest Coveware research has been posted with some startling trends in ransomware attacks for the third quarter of 2021. There were numerous takeaways collected from the data and many of them paint a dangerous picture of things to come. As the government begins a serious crackdown on attacks against large corporations, the focus of attackers has shifted to smaller and mid-sized targets. The government's reaction has been attributed to the massive Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. The focus towards smaller targets can be seen in the median ransomware payment of $71,674, which is a 52.2% increase since the second quarter of this year. The average ransomware payment of $139,739 is essentially unchanged. This is attributed to a smaller number of larger ransomware payments, but a...
Music and the Mac
Computers, Tech News, Tech Talk

Music and the Mac

The latest Apple event was clearly focused on two things - music and the Mac. In fact, that's exactly what Apple's Tim Cook said right from the get-go. It was also quite nostalgic to hear a traditional Mac startup sound mixed in at the beginning. Audio Stuff Apple has created a new Apple Music subscription called Voice Plan for $4.99/month. This will be the cheapest plan available to access Apple's music library.New colors for the Home Pod Mini in yellow, orange, and blue, priced at $99. All of the colors look fantastic.The third generation of AirPods is being released with spatial audio for $179. Lots of new features in these AirPods. MacBook Pro Apple is calling the new MacBook Pro a "beast of a machine" with an impressive set of specs and features. MacBook Pro has th...
Facebook Down! Facebook Down!
Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

Facebook Down! Facebook Down!

Users around the world probably noticed the massive Facebook outage on Monday, October 4, 2021. If you're a regular user of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, or Oculus, then you were probably affected. There were many rumors circulating around the Internet as to what was causing the problem. Everything from an expired domain to a hacker attack was blamed for the outage, but ultimately, indications were pointing to a DNS error due to improper BGP routing. What are DNS and BGP? DNS is short for Domain Name System (or Domain Name Server) and is the method by which domains (like facebook.com) are translated into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. DNS basically works like a directory, pointing domain names to the IP addresses of servers on the Internet. When DNS fails, traf...
Apple Event Highlights from September 14, 2021
Tech News

Apple Event Highlights from September 14, 2021

Apple CEO Tim Cook presented the Apple Keynote on September 14, 2021. Like all Apple event openings, this one was dramatic and well-executed. This is just a brief overview of some of the things I took note of during the keynote. iPad The new iPad has a more powerful A13 Bionic chip. Apple says it's 3x faster than the closest Chromebook and 6x faster than the closest Android tablet. The new iPad has a better 12-megapixel camera with a wide 122-degree view and will get iPad Pro's Center Stage. The new iPad will ship with iPadOS 15. The new iPad starts at $329 with 64GB of storage (double the amount from the previous model). iPad mini Apple is giving the iPad mini an all-new design with a liquid retina display. It will come in several new colors: purple, pink, starlight, and ...
Apple Security Updates and Event Announcements
Tech News, Tech Talk

Apple Security Updates and Event Announcements

On Monday, September 13, 2021, Apple issued an urgent update for its devices to fix two security vulnerabilities. The patch fixed two issues. The first was CoreGraphics, in which a PDF could execute malicious code on a device. The second problem was with WebKit, which could lead to malicious code on a website exploiting a device. Apple admits that both problems have been actively exploited. Both of these problems do not require any interaction from the user, which is a serious vulnerability (also known as a zero-click attack). Apple has recommended that everyone update their devices immediately to fix the vulnerability. In response, the company has issued iOS 14.8, macOS Big Sur 11.6, and watchOS 7.6.2. Apple Event Announcements Following on the heels of the unexpected securi...
Apple Wallet is Underappreciated
Tech Talk, Technology

Apple Wallet is Underappreciated

I've learned to love Apple Wallet over the last several months. Combined with my Apple Watch, it's a powerful duo that is really becoming an indispensable part of my daily activities. I have to admit that I really learned to love Apple Wallet when I took my trip to Florida this past June. When I went to Disney World, I used my Apple Watch and the Wallet almost exclusively. I can't say that the experience was without its minor problems, but it was still very useful. Disney created the Disney MagicMobile Pass that replaces the Magic Band by using your Apple Watch and Wallet instead. For the most part, it worked well. But I've also found other ways to use my Wallet in combination with my Apple Watch. I use it all the time to make purchases large and small. It's a convenience I've l...
Uncategorized

Questions Arise from Most Recent MSP Ransomware Attack

Managed service providers (MSPs) typically utilize third-party software platforms to access, monitor and patch client computer systems. These platforms provide a huge array of tools to help us do our jobs. These tools are installed by the MSP on client computers, servers, and other devices. With these tools, we can perform almost any task remotely, thereby minimizing disruptions on the client-side and providing our customers with a superior experience. While most MSPs have procedures in place to minimize threats (indeed, that's usually the point), third-party software applications are now becoming the target of attackers. That's because these applications typically have extensive access and permissions to operate on systems unfettered. Over the weekend, one MSP software provider cal...
White House Urges Companies to Take Steps Against Ransomware Attacks
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

White House Urges Companies to Take Steps Against Ransomware Attacks

As previously stated on this blog, ransomware attacks are up 485% year-over-year according to an industry report. In just the last few months, several high-profile ransomware attacks have impacted corporations, sending shockwaves that have not only impacted large corporations but individuals and their personal wallets. The White House penned an open letter urging private companies of all sizes to take ransomware more seriously. The letter outlines several steps that companies need to take in order to secure themselves against a ransomware attack: Implement best practices to help prevent and stop the spread of cybersecurity threats.Backup data, system images, and configurations. Regularly test backup systems and keep backups offline.Update and patch systems promptly.Develop and t...
Do You Really Need to Pay for a Domain Listing?
Internet, Websites

Do You Really Need to Pay for a Domain Listing?

In today's mail, I received an invoice for $289 for website services. Specifically, the invoice wanted payment for listing my apheus.com domain in their directory. Now let me begin by saying that I'm not going to pay this invoice. It has nothing to do with my domain registration or website. I don't need this "service" and I doubt if any other legitimate business would need it either. In a nutshell, these types of services skirt along the lines of a scam. Now of course the companies that offer these directory services would argue that they are providing a legitimate service to their clients. And it is true, they are actually delivering the service they promise - they are listing the domain in their directory. However, in most cases, these "invoices" are designed to trick domain owne...