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Beware of Technology

May 23, 2018
Foxbiter News

Technology has become a huge part of our lives. We use tech in almost every aspect of our day. I have children of my own and I know how they love their tech gadgets. 

Here are 10 ways to balance your children’s technology use:

  1. Talk to your family about tech pros and cons

While your children will likely be resistant to a conversation that suggests limiting their tech usage, you are best served bringing it up within the context of your tech usage as a family.

Explain to them that as grateful as you are for all the ways technology helps improve your lives, you want to look closely at your tech usage to be sure there is a healthy balance of activities.

As a family, brainstorm a list of pros and cons. Discuss all the ways technology helps improve your lives—like providing information, connecting you with friends, and providing services of convenience. Also talk about all the ways it can threaten your quality of life—like distracting from homework, making you tired, taking time away from family and friends.

  1. Encourage and support hobbies/sports

The more you get your kids involved and active, the less time they have to be bored. The less time they have to be bored, the less time they have to spend on their cell phone or playing video games. Sports teams/clubs offer your children many benefits in all aspects of their lives. One of the most important benefits is providing them with an opportunity to create real relationships —in person, and not through their cell phone screens.

  1. Schedule weekly outdoor activities

It is important to schedule time for your kids to be outdoors, whether this be planting a garden, or going on a hike in the park. Playing outside is important for your child’s development, both physically and mentally. It also gives them an appreciation for nature and stimulates their curiosity.

  1. Make a point to have tech-free family meals

There are tremendous benefits of having family meals—especially the opportunity to communicate with one another. It is a time to engage, reflect, learn, and connect. But this type of meaningful communication cannot happen when everyone has their phones out texting. Make it a point to remove the phones from the dinner table—friends and work can wait.

  1. Keep tech out of the bedroom

If you haven’t already, prohibit the use of technology in your kids’ bedrooms. This means no TV, no computer, and no smartphone. They won’t be happy about this, but explain to them that this will give them an opportunity to use their bedroom as it’s intended—to rest and recharge.

  1. Say no to new tech toys

Parents inevitably feel the pressure to give their kids the latest and greatest of everything, particularly the newest tech devices. Resist at all cost! Your child does not need a new smartphone every time a new version comes out.

An upgrade is perfectly fine now and then, but wait until the waning performance of the existing device actually warrants a new purchase. In this manner, you can teach your children how to appreciate what they have, how to wait patiently for what they want, and how to be a responsible consumer who doesn’t perpetuate society’s increasing “throw-away” mentality.

  1. Hold off on a cell phone

The sooner you allow your son or daughter a constant tech companion, the sooner you introduce the possibility of technology dependence. Try and protect your son or daughter from the tether of tech addiction as long as you possibly can, at least until they start middle school.

  1. Know which friends encourage unhealthy use

Make sure you are aware of your child’s friend’s technology usage. If you are sending your child to a friend’s house to play, does this mean they play video games the entire day? Communication with parents about their house rules is perfectly acceptable before sending your child to a friend’s home. If they are able to act and do whatever they’d like, you may find disciplining your child to be more challenging.

  1. Assess and monitor their tech activity

Play your kids’ video games. Watch their television programs. Visit the websites they frequently use. Read their texts, emails, and posts to their social media pages. This need not be done in secret. Let your son or daughter know it is a privilege to use the tech devices with which you provide, and it is your right to monitor their activities.

The more accustomed they become to tech “independence,” the harder they’ll fight you on this. Don’t give in. It is your right, as a parent, to do this. And there are plenty of computer monitoring programs and apps to help you do just that.

  1. Set up consequences for violations of tech rules

Your son or daughter is going to make mistakes, like sneaking extra tech time or using inappropriate language in texts, emails, or social media posts. So before you initiate tech limitations, set up a clear set of consequences should these rules be violated. The most effective consequences are those in which you confiscate the device for a specific about of time.

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Tags: #foxbiter #technology

7 Ways to protect your Personal Identity Online

May 10, 2018
Foxbiter News

I was doing a training video on Protecting personal identity online these are some helpful suggestions.

dentity theft is any kind of deception, scam, or crime that results in the loss of personal data, including the loss of usernames, passwords, banking information, credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers and health ID’s, that is then used without your permission to commit fraud and other crimes.

Up to 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year according to the FTC1, and at least 534 million personal records have been compromised since 2005 through attacks on the databases of businesses, government bodies, institutions, and organizations2. If those breaches were spread evenly across the U.S. population of 310 million, everyone would have had their identities stolen one and two-thirds times.

For some consumers, identity theft is an annoying inconvenience and they can quickly resolve their problems and restore their identity. For others recovering their identity can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars, take months to resolve, cause tremendous damage to their reputation, cause them to lose job opportunities, even influence the rejection of loan applications for school, homes or cars because would-be employers or loan companies see the damage on your credit scores. Some consumers have even been arrested for crimes committed by someone using their identities and have had to prove that they were not guilty.

How are identities stolen?

Consumers become victims of identity theft through many types of exploits. These can happen the old-fashioned ways when crooks (including family members!) steal mail from your mailbox, rummage through your trash for bills and bank statements, steal wallets and purses, or make an extra copy of your credit card - perhaps when your waiter or clerk walks off to process your payment.

Online identity theft occurs when users fall for tactics like phishing and confidence scams; or download malware onto their computers or smartphones that steals their information; use wireless networks that are insecure; take out money from an ATM that has been rigged with a skimming device that collections your information; share their passwords with untrustworthy people, or by having their information stolen when data records are breached on companies, government, and educational sites.

7 key steps to preventing identity theft online:

  1. Protect your computer and smartphone with strong, up-to-date security software. If your computer or phone is infected with malicious software, other safeguards are of little help because you’ve given the criminals the key to all your online actions. Also be sure that any operating system updates are installed.

  2. Learn to spot spam and scams. Though some phishing scams are easy to identify, other phishing attempts in an email, IM, on social networking sites, or websites can look very legitimate. The only way to never fall for phishing scam is to never click on a link that has been sent to you. For example, if the email says it’s from your bank and has all the right logos and knows your name, it may be from your bank - or it may not be. Instead of using the link provided, find the website yourself using a search engine. This way you will know you landed on the legitimate site and not some mocked up fake site.

  3. Use strong passwords. Weak passwords are an identity thief’s dream - especially if you use the same password everywhere. Once the thief knows your password, they can log you’re your financial accounts and wreak havoc. You need passwords that are long (over 10 characters), strong (use upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols), and that has nothing to do with your personal information (like name, age, birthdate, pet)

  4. Monitor your credit scores. By law you have the right to three free credit reports per year; from Experian, Transunion, and Equifax.

    These three credit bureaus work together through a website called so you can quest all three reports at once in one of the following ways:

    1. Go to the Web site. Through this highly secure site, you can instantly see and print your credit report.

    2. Call toll-free: (877) 322-8228. You’ll go through a simple verification process over the phone after which they’ll mail the reports to you.

    3. Request by mail. If you live in certain states, fill out the request form and mail it to the Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. (Get more details.)

    Note: Remember that after you request a report, you will have to wait a year to get it free of charge again from the same credit reporting company. (Of course, you can pay for a copy of your credit report at any time.)

  5. Review your credit score. Look to see if there are new credit cards, loans or other transactions on your account that you are not aware of. If there are, take immediate steps to have these terminated and investigated.

  6. Freeze your credit.Criminals use stolen ID’s to open new lines of credit. You can thwart their efforts to use your identity by simply locking (called freezing) your credit so that no new credit can be given without additional information and controls. Many states have laws giving you the right to a free credit freeze, but even where states don’t provide legal mandates, the large credit bureaus provide a voluntary security freeze program at a very low cost.

    To determine whether there are any costs associated with placing a security freeze on your credit, and for temporarily lifting that credit freeze when you do seek credit, see State Freeze Requirements and Fees.

  7. Only use reputable websites when making purchases. If you don’t know the reputation of a company that you want to purchase from, do your homework. How are they reviewed by other users? Do they have a strong rating with the Better Business Bureau? Do they use a secure, encrypted connection for personal and financial information? (You should see an Https in a website’s URL whenever they ask for personal or financial information).

  8. Stay alert.Watch for common signs of identity theft like:

    • False information on your credit reports, including your Social Security number, address(es), name or employer’s name.

    • Missing bills or other mail. If your bills don’t arrive or come late, contact your creditors. A missing bill may indicate that an ID thief has hijacked your account and changed your billing address to help hide the crime.

    • Getting new credit cards sent to you that you didn’t apply for.

    • Having a credit approval denied or being subjected to high-interest rates for no apparent reason.

    • Receiving calls or notices about past due bills for products or services you didn’t buy.

Consistently applying these eight steps to both defend and monitor your credit score will reduce the risks of having your identity stolen, and alert you instantly if such a problem arises.


Tags: #Foxbiter #Personal Security

Microsoft Just bought Spotify

April 30, 2018
Foxbiter News
I wonder what Microsoft has in store with Spotify's technology, Knowing Microsoft it is going to be something good. What do you guys think?

Hacking Computers through Electrical power lines (PowerHammer lets hackers steal data from air-gapped computers through power lines)

April 29, 2018
Foxbiter News

Hey Techies,

I was searching the internet looking for interesting articles I found one that just blew my mind. It is an article from Can you believe the way technology is going today. Here is what the article says. Leave me your thoughts.

Researchers exfiltrated data at 1000 bits per second by listening in on the electrical connection of a computer.

  • PowerHammer has two variants, one that targets power lines inside the target building, and one that targets the outside electrical service panel.
  • Mitigations are possible using EMI filters, though such filters are typically designed for higher frequencies than are used in the attack.

Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have identified a method to exfiltrate data from computers using a combination of malware and a hardware implant to monitor the signal being transmitted through the power lines. The method—which the authors dubbed PowerHammer in a report—is yet another attack against so-called air-gapped computers, which are physically and logically isolated from unsecured networks.

The PowerHammer method has two variants, the report said. The "line-level" variant is the faster of the two, and is possible to exploit if attackers can compromise the power lines inside the target building. The "phase-level" variant is substantially slower, though can be exploited from the outside electrical service panel. Both variants require a given device to be compromised by malware in order to encode the data into a format that the line-level or phase-level implant can record and decode.

Specifically, PowerHammer is not itself a security exploit, in the sense that it requires a computer to already be compromised in order to work. For comparison, the practice of Van Eck phreaking also relies on the interception of electromagnetic emissions, though that method simply reads the operating state of the system. Van Eck phreaking does not require a malware implant, and is therefore necessarily limited to intercepting the RF signal given off by CRT or LCD monitors.

SEE: Cybersecurity strategy research: Common tactics, issues with implementation, and effectiveness (Tech Pro Research)

For the line-level variant, the researchers were able to exfiltrate data from a computer running an Intel Haswell-era quad-core processor at 1000 bits per second, with a zero percent error rate. Other tests were not nearly as successful, which underlie the limitations of the PowerHammer attacks, the report said.

A test of an Intel Xeon E5-2620-powered server could achieve rates of 100 bits per second with a zero percent error rate, though transmitting at 500 bits per second resulted in a 26% error rate. According to the researchers, the number of cores used to transmit data influences the power usage of the computer, and therefore the speed at which data can be transferred. Because of this, using all of the available cores would strain the system resources in a way that could make the attack evident to the operator of the computer.

Further, the efficacy of the attack decreases sharply with lower-power systems. A test of the Raspberry Pi 3B allowed the researchers to exfiltrate data at a speed of 5 bits per second with a 1.9% error rate. Attempting to transmit at 20 bits per second generated an error rate of 18.2%.

The phase-level variant attack suffers similar performance degradation. The researchers note that background noise with the phase-level is substantially higher, as power is shared with everything else connected, such as appliances and lights. The researchers could achieve speeds up to 3 bits per second at a zero percent error rate, though this increased to 4.2% at speeds of 10 bits per second.

Additionally, the operating differences in virtual machines hamper this attack. While the researchers observed frequencies between 0 and 24 kHz in CPUs without virtualization, virtual machines operated only between 0 and 7 kHz. According to the report, the virtual machine manager "initiates a periodical context switch which suspends the transmitting process (and its threads), in order to transfer the control to the host machine," which limits the operating frequency to 7 kHz.

The researchers indicate a variety of mitigations in the report, including the use of EMI filters installed in either the power outlets, or the power supply itself, though caution that EMI filters are typically designed to filter higher frequencies than are used in the attack.

Tags: #Powerhammer #Foxbiter #IT Consulting

Announcing Windows Admin Center

April 17, 2018
IT News

A few days ago Microsoft announced Windows Admin Center. What is Windows Admin Center?

If you’re an IT administrator managing Windows Server and Windows, you probably open dozens of consoles for day-to-day activities, such as Event Viewer, Device Manager, Disk Management, Task Manager, Server Manager – the list goes on and on. Windows Admin Center brings many of these consoles together in a modernized, simplified, integrated, and secure remote management experience.

Here’s how Windows Admin Center helps IT admins:

  • Simple and modern management experience: Windows Admin Center is a lightweight, browser-based GUI platform and toolset for IT admins to remotely manage Windows Server and Windows 10 machines.
  • Hybrid capabilities: Windows Admin Center can manage Windows Server and Windows 10 instances anywhere including physical systems, virtual machines on any hypervisor, or running in any cloud. Connect to the cloud with optional value-added features like integration with Azure Site Recovery for protecting your virtual machines, and support for Azure Active Directory to control access with multi-factor authentication.
  • Integrated toolset: Rather than switching between several different tools and contexts, with Windows Admin Center you get a holistic overview of your resources and the ability to dig into granular details. In addition to server and client machines, it allows you to manage failover clusters and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) deployments.
  • Designed for extensibility: We’ve been working with early-adopter partners to refine the extension development experience in a private preview of our SDK. That means soon you’ll be able to extend Windows Admin Center’s capabilities to 3rd-party solutions. For example, you’ll start to see 3rd party hardware vendors use Windows Admin Center to provide management of their own hardware.

The New Windows Admin Center is not a replacement for RSAT though it has many of the same functions. I would really like to know if any IT Pros have had the chance to use it in their environment and if so please let us know what you thought of it.

Apple Store’s worst feature? Customers, says ex-employee

July 08, 2016
IT News

You’ve always wondered what life is like at an Apple store, haven’t you? Behind the scenes and in an employee’s heart and mind, what’s really happening? What’s he or she really thinking? On Saturday, Business Insider published an interview with a woman who says she worked at a UK Apple store between 2011 and 2015. She says a lot. Or, at least, uses many words. At heart, though, she suggests that the very worst thing about the stores isn’t the management, the products or even the cultlike nature of the Apple brand. Instead, she said, it’s the fact that you’re simply a retail worker who usually gets treated poorly, “not necessarily by the store, but by the customers. It is an incredibly….Read More on CNET.

10 top social media marketing success stories

July 08, 2016
Foxbiter News

Pop quiz. It’s Black Friday, one of the year’s biggest shopping days. Your company sells a product online that would make a great holiday gift. So you, (a) offer a juicy one-day discount; (b) ignore the day completely and do business as usual; or (c) charge customers and give them absolutely nothing in returnRead More (Computerworld)

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