Internet

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...
Ransomware Attacks Up 485%
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

Ransomware Attacks Up 485%

According to the most recent Bitdefender 2020 Consumer Threat Landscape Report, ransomware attacks were up 485% in 2020 compared to 2019. And there's no indication that 2021 will see a reduction in attacks. That's a number that should shock most business owners into taking immediate action. Indeed, Apheus is actively warning all of our customers to do something - take action to defend your business against these types of cyberattacks. A ransomware attack can cripple a business. This past weekend, a major pipeline company called Colonial Pipeline was struck by a ransomware attack that effectively shut down the delivery of fuel to the northeast portion of the United States. While there were some immediate ramifications, there will be long-term effects as well. This attack is being ca...
What Are NFTs?
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

What Are NFTs?

So here's something new that my intern alerted me to last week: NFTs. Now you may be asking yourself (just like I did), what are NFTs? NFT stands for non-fungible tokens, which in itself, still doesn't quite answer our question. According to Forbes, an NFT is "a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos." So again, what does that mean? Basically, you have a digital asset such as a cat GIF. You purchase that GIF from the creator for say, $100,000, usually in cryptocurrency. You now own that asset. But you may be asking yourself one of several questions: Why buy it?Why does it cost so much?If it's already spread across the internet, how do you own it?What's the point?! I'm still struggling with understanding this whole NFT thing....
Watch Out for Amazon Scams
Internet, Tech Talk

Watch Out for Amazon Scams

I've noticed an increased number of Amazon scams as of late. Some of my clients have been reporting fairly elaborate (and convincing) messages telling them that they have problems with orders, unpaid invoices, or orders pending delivery. The links in these messages are obviously not goint to take you to an Amazon website. These types of messages are a type of phishing message. Most of the time, they are trying to get into your Amazon account where you probably have your credit card information stored. Once they're in your account, they start placing orders using your name and credit card. When they place the order, they won't usually have it shipped to your home or business. Instead, they'll ship it to a drop point for pickup later. Recently, I uncovered just this situation happen...
The Great Suspender has Seemingly Been Suspended from the Chrome Web Store
Internet

The Great Suspender has Seemingly Been Suspended from the Chrome Web Store

Google's Chrome web browser is a memory hog. It's been that way for a while and it's somewhat annoying. However, I'm still a big fan of Chrome because it integrates so well in my day-to-day operations. So much so that I find it hard to move away. I was using Firefox for a time, then switched back to Chrome, only to switch to Brave (which disappointed me when it stopped syncing), then back to Chrome. So it seems that I'm sticking with Chrome for the time being. I'm even using Chrome on my new Mac Mini, much to the disdain of my intern who is frequently encouraging me to use Safari. But I'm sticking with Chrome for the time being. Even though my main computer is now a Mac, I still use Windows PCs quite frequently, so Chrome helps me keep everything uniform and synced. I'm also a b...
Facebook, Google, and Twitter Are Tracking You
Internet, Tech Talk

Facebook, Google, and Twitter Are Tracking You

If you're online, you're being tracked. Simple as that. I think a lot of people are experiencing the illusion of anonymity. You may think that everything is private, but it's not. But it's not the government that may be tracking you. The vast majority of that tracking is actually being done by corporations seeking valuable data on what you're searching for and how you move across the world wide web. Online tracking is primarily used for marketing purposes and to make your online experience a more valuable one. Online tracking really doesn't bother me, but I can understand why some people would feel a little uneasy online. Everything you do is being tracked. The stuff you search for, the videos you watch, the posts you make on social media. This is, by all means, not meant to ...
The End of Adobe Flash
Computers, Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk, Websites

The End of Adobe Flash

I think everyone can agree that 2020 sucked. However, there was one bright spot on December 31, 2020. It was the end of Adobe Flash. Made popular in the early days of the internet, Flash made moving graphics a mainstay for websites. Movie studio websites and online games took advantage of the software, but it quickly became apparent that Flash had a number of security holes. Constant patching by Adobe couldn't stop the eventual adaptation of HTML 5. Goodbye, old friend.
You Weren’t Alone – Google Was Down Yesterday
Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

You Weren’t Alone – Google Was Down Yesterday

If you were having trouble accessing Google services yesterday (Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, etc.) you weren't alone. Google experienced a widespread outage on December 14, 2020. It has since been reported that the issue was related to an authentication problem. According to Google's Cloud Status page: Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace experienced a global outage affecting all services which require Google account authentication for a duration of 50 minutes. The root cause was an issue in our automated quota management system which reduced capacity for Google's central identity management system, causing it to return errors globally. As a result, we couldn’t verify that user requests were authenticated and served errors to our users.https://status.cloud.google.com/incid...
Outages Caused Problems in 2020
Internet, Tech News, Tech Talk

Outages Caused Problems in 2020

The internet is a magical place. In fact, it's so magical that I don't think that any of us really understand how it works. Apparently, I'm not alone. Even the big guys have experienced outages throughout the year. Let's look back at some of the biggest outages of 2020. Microsoft Microsoft Azure had a failure on March 3, 2020, that lasted more than six hours. It impacted Microsoft's East US region and was caused by a "malfunction in building automation control caused temperatures in multiple rooms of a data center in the East US region to spike impacting Storage, Compute, Networking and other dependent services." This was followed up by another outage impacting European customers between March 24th and 26th. This "outage" was caused when Microsoft's system were overwhelmed by...