Monday, 28 August 2017

The CIA’s Superior Computer-Hacking Skills

Our country is just one nation that makes up the rest of the world. And considering how many countries there are coexisting with us (albeit not always peacefully), it’s hard to maintain law and order all the time. It’s what governments are for. Well, aside from collecting taxes, the government is tasked to maintain peace and order and manage the affairs of the state. It’s a lot of work actually and can’t be done by a single individual. It’s why there are different agencies that enforce the law and some who act like Sherlock Holmes and try to put a stop to criminals before they even strike.

Technology keeps on progressing and it makes perfect sense for the government to invest in foreign intelligence service. In the US, it’s the CIA’s job to gather, process, and analyze data that may affect national security on a global scale. CIA is actually a civilian service that taps on human intelligence and is expected to report their findings to the Cabinet and the President of the United States of America. The law allows them to perform covert operations and gather foreign intelligence at the request of the president but not take part in enforcing the law because it is the FBI’s jurisdiction.

Wikileaks on Thursday published more than 150 pages of materials that explain how the CIA used USB drives to sneak malware to the air-gapped machines. After all, even these computers need to exchange data, and the only way to do it is using USB drives or external hard drives.

A platform called Brutal Kangaroo contains tools that can be used to target computer systems not connected to the internet, Ars Technica explains. Drifting Deadline is a tool installed on a computer of interest. When a USB drive is connected to it, the tool will infect it with malware that would then be passed to the air-gapped computer.

These advanced malware versions would be able to infect air-gapped computer immediately after the USB drive is plugged in. Some of them required no user interaction and could be activated by default behaviors in Windows, such as Windows Explorer displaying icons, or the letter corresponding to the thumb drive that was just inserted.

(Via: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/cia-hacks-computers-aren-t-even-connected-internet-190134195.html)

Given that the CIA’s work is based on gathering foreign intelligence, it’s a given that they have to be computer-savvy because the world is more digital than ever. They have to be crafty and resourceful in gathering foreign data that may be of value to the government especially when it’s the national security on the line.

Terror attacks happen more often today than it did in the past and we don’t want more Americans to die in the hands of heartless terrorists who only want to cause chaos and disrupt the natural order of the world. Wikileaks just enlightened the world how smart CIA agents are because they can even hack computers that are offline, meaning these PCs aren’t even turned on in the first place.

The latest documents are 150 pages in length, and they describe a CIA malware toolkit named Brutal Kangaroo for taking control of air-gapped computers by using specialized USB drives. According to WikiLeaks, the components of Brutal Kangaroo create a covert network within the target network, which makes the job easier.

It should be noted that Brutal Kangaroo contains 4 chief components — Drifting Deadline (thumb drive infection tool), Shattered Assurance (server tools for handling thumb drive infection), Broken Promise (postprocessor to take care of the collected information), Shadow (primary persistence mechanism).

Brutal Kangaroo is able to infect USB thumb drives using a Windows operating system flaw which can be exploited by hand-crafted link files. In the next step, when an infected drive is inserted in the target computer using Windows 7 and .Net 4.5, Drifting Deadline component deploys the malware.

(Via: https://fossbytes.com/brutal-kangaroo-malware-cia-offline-computers/)

While the rest of innocent and law-abiding Americans citizens don’t have anything to worry about this computer hacking ability of the Central Intelligence Agency, foreign individuals who have evil plans for anyone living in America or any American citizen should be very afraid because the CIA will find a way to get you and you can count on them to hack your computer first before they apprehend you, because they will.

The CIA hacks offline systems through the malware, Brutal Kangaroo. You may not have to worry about Brutal Kangaroo if you are not a terrorist or a criminal yourself but you aren’t immune to malware that is spreading all over the web today. When you get hit by this bug, you lose access to important data and you don’t want that to happen. Data recovery may be your last resort although having backup data is a good precaution. Learn more about data recovery here: http://www.harddriverecovery.org/clean_room.html. For an older system like RAID, this http://www.harddriverecovery.org/server-recovery/ may come in handy.

The CIA’s Superior Computer-Hacking Skills was originally seen on HDRG



source http://www.harddriverecovery.org/blog/the-cias-superior-computer-hacking-skills/

Monday, 21 August 2017

Malware Continues To Threaten Computer Servers All Over The World

The world is run by computers. It is the reality of our times these days. Almost every nation has centralized their operations and relies heavily on digital data in their every affair. It has transformed the delivery of basic services into a smooth and efficient system that gets the job done every time. Unfortunately, like any form of technology, criminals have found their way to make money from it and this has put a risk countless computer servers all over the world from costly malware that are meant to cripple your system and even your life (and put your business on hold).

Malware attacks are increasingly becoming common now especially among Windows PCs. Cyber criminals are using the technology itself to mess with even more technology for monetary gain. If you are not careful enough, you might end up a victim of these cyber criminals and be asked to pay bitcoins as ransom to get your data back like what happened to thousands of individuals and organizations quite recently when a ransomware attack affected over 200,000 computers.

While not acknowledging any failure on Microsoft’s part for the havoc wreaked by the WannaCry computer worm, Phillip Misner, a Microsoft security expert, said in a blog post that the company had found it “painful” to see so many customers affected. The flaw in Windows first came to light in March, when a leak of cyber weapons developed by the US National Security Agency included code that took advantage of the previously unknown problem.

Microsoft issued a patch at the time that could be applied to current versions of Windows, and Mr. Misner said that would have protected users against WannaCry, provided they installed the fix on their machines.

(Via: https://www.ft.com/content/348d4f7a-3808-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23)

It is unusual for Microsoft to provide support for older software versions that have been released ages ago but they made an exemption this time considering 7% of the computers all over the world still run on Windows XP today and were also affected by the recent cyber attacks to prevent the malware from spreading further.

If not protected, this ransomware can cripple your system by locking it and its keyboard and you won’t be able to access all the data stored on your hard drive. What’s even more stressful about the recent attack is that it affected computer servers of various organizations, thereby crippling government institutions and companies in one go.

The developers of open source video transcoder app Handbrake have issued a security warning to Mac users after a mirror download server hosting the software was hacked.

The alert was issued on Saturday after it was discovered that the original HandBrake-1.0.7.dmg installer file on mirror server download.handbrake.fr had been replaced by a malicious file.

The affected server has been shut down for investigation, but developers are warning that users who downloaded the software from the server between14:30 UTC May 2 and 11:00 UTC May 6 have a 50/50 chance of their system being infected by a trojan. "If you see a process called 'Activity_agent' in the OS X Activity Monitor application, you are infected," read the alert. 

(Via: https://www.macrumors.com/2017/05/07/handbrake-app-security-warning-servers-hacked/)

Whether you are using a Mac PC or a Windows one, you are not safe from these hackers. It is especially more costly for business owners who use several if not hundreds to thousands of PCs running on the same server. It is what happened during the recent WannaCry attack that crippled various industries both public and private.

Cyber criminals have upped their A-game and will go to extreme lengths just to wreak havoc and get the world’s attention (not to mention the ransom money in the form of bitcoins). Their modus is simple. They introduce the malware into your system in the form of malicious email attachments disguised as a regular email you typically get from family, friends, or co-workers. Upon opening, the malware gets into your system and the attacker locks your PC and keyboard, so you can no longer access anything on your computer and your data held as a hostage.

In times like this, you can only hope for a miracle remedy for this situation like the genius 22-year old tech wizard who found the kill switch for WannaCry. However, there are other instances where you may end up losing your precious data such as the very common hard drive failure experienced by most businesses at some point in time. Check this link http://www.harddriverecovery.org/raidcenter/dell_poweredge_data_recovery.html for Dell server data recovery and this one http://www.harddriverecovery.org/raidcenter/hp-proliant-data-recovery.html for the HP Proliant server recovery. If you do experience these issues, don’t hesitate to contact us for professional help.

The following blog post Malware Continues To Threaten Computer Servers All Over The World Find more on: HDRG



source http://www.harddriverecovery.org/blog/malware-continues-to-threaten-computer-servers-all-over-the-world/

Monday, 14 August 2017

Understanding Data Warehouse Automation

For an ordinary person, we likely hear crickets chirping when we hear others talk extensively about computers using unheard of computer jargons. Understanding many of these computer concepts and terms isn’t an easy feat, so we often just stick to what we know best: social media and the Internet.

However, if you are an entrepreneur, you need to familiarize yourself with these tech concepts especially if you have plans of expanding your business across different platforms and corners of the globe. Going digital is inevitable and you need to have a great and efficient computing system in place to manage and store your data, so you know just what is happening to your business all the time.

To quote the Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI) from WhereScape’s own pages, “Data warehouse automation is much more than simply automating the development process. It encompasses all of the core processes of data warehousing including design, development, testing, deployment, operations, impact analysis, and change management.”

(Via: http://www.computerweekly.com/blog/CW-Developer-Network/What-is-data-warehouse-automation)

Simply put, data warehouse automation is a process wherein you automate and accelerate the development cycles of data warehouse without compromising consistency and quality. In short, you just automate the entire process. This is especially helpful in big enterprises that handle big data in their daily operations to let you do more things quite faster without spending a fortune on it.

So online grocery is hard, and doing it profitably demands extraordinary levels of efficiency powered by the creative application of technology and automation. For a traditional retailer, building that solution is a massive and daunting prospect. Yet online is also a phenomenon that is here to stay, because customers want the convenience, enjoy the choice, and appreciate the time they don’t have to waste trudging around a conventional store.

The great thing about having an online grocery delivery pipeline into customers’ homes is that, once it’s in place and being used regularly, all manner of other products and services can potentially flow up and down it. If you can do online grocery, then you can do some other forms of online retail; but the reverse definitely does not implicitly follow. The potential size of the worldwide online grocery market combined with these spin-off opportunities is why grocery really is the holy grail of online retail.

That’s the end business case we put forward at Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer, currently operating in the UK. Unlike other online retailers, our customers’ orders are picked and packed in huge automated warehouses before being delivered to their kitchen tables in one-hour slots by Ocado’s own delivery fleet. All the technology that powers this disruptive business model has been built in-house over the past 17 years. Ocado has been profitable at an order level for many years but has chosen to invest heavily in building its technology platform.

(Via: https://hbr.org/sponsored/2017/05/how-an-online-grocery-platform-could-reshape-retail-as-we-know-it)

Although generally used by a local business, an online grocery system is the perfect smaller-scale example of data warehouse automation at work. They have an extensive yet efficient data management system in place to keep track of inventory, supplier details, customer details and many others. It ensures the grocers move the items on time to gain profits and cut down on losses from spoiled produce.

It’s not clear if Amazon has made any strides towards developing the futuristic "robot vans" mentioned in the CNBC story. But considering this is the company that recently made its first delivery by drone, the prospect doesn’t really seem that farfetched.

The big upside for automated delivery is the savings that come from operating with no labor costs and maximum efficiency. As the Barclays report notes, 80% of grocery delivery costs are attributed to labor expenses and wages. The upfront investment needed to install this technology is significant, but this is where Amazon has a significant advantage. The e-commerce giant has capital to burn. Low-margin traditional retailers, by contrast, just don’t have as much money to invest in this kind of advanced technology.

Combined with Amazon’s data-mining capabilities, growing infrastructure and flat-out ambition to become a dominant player in grocery, automation offers another way for the online retailer to quickly scale up. Granted, that may not seem like much of a threat given the company’s current operations. So far, AmazonFresh has grown very slowly, expanding to just over a dozen markets in the span of 10 years. 

(Via: http://www.fooddive.com/news/grocery--can-amazon-earn-grocery-dominance-with-more-automation/441720/)

Another great example of a company that uses data warehouse automation and became successful at it is no other than Amazon itself. Amazon Fresh provided an avenue for online grocery retailers to reach out to a wider market by selling their products online and providing grocery delivery in America. People these days prefer online shopping rather than going to physical stores and supermarkets to shop for things, which is why companies that can master the process of data warehouse automation may hit the jackpot and thrive where others have failed.

Meanwhile, the problem of hard drive failure and the consequent data loss is an issue experienced by almost everyone now and then. When that happens to you and you are using a Seagate hard drive, this link http://www.harddriverecovery.org/seagate-data-recovery.html may help you understand what really happens during its recovery. If you are using an older system, though, like a RAID 10, this post on RAID 10 Data Recovery http://www.harddriverecovery.org/raidcenter/raid-10-data-recovery.html is probably what you are looking for to help you fully understand how to recover lost data using this system.

Understanding Data Warehouse Automation was first published on Hard Drive Recovery Group



source http://www.harddriverecovery.org/blog/understanding-data-warehouse-automation/

Monday, 7 August 2017

Protect Your Data From Malicious Malware

We are now living in a digital world. It means that we use computers in carrying out different tasks or functions whether on a personal basis or not. Almost all homes are equipped with a computer or laptop and have their own Internet or WiFi connection too. The latter is even considered as a necessity these days and no longer a luxury that it once was before smart technology took over the world.

The use of smartphones and smart gadgets boosts the popularity of the Internet. Aside from that, the centralizing of business and government processes left us with millions to billions of data that needs to be stored properly and can be accessed whenever the need arises. It’s too bad that cyber criminals always find a way to disrupt the world order and cause undue stress among its innocent victims.

Disaster has struck—an unwanted piece of malware took root on your computer. So what's your next step? While the potential damage viruses can cause shouldn't be underestimated, you might be able to get your computer back on its feet without too much difficulty, thanks to an array of helpful tools at your disposal.

We're using the term malware to refer to all kinds of computer nasties, from viruses to ransomware to adware. While each of these threats have their own definitions, the terms are often used interchangeably, and can mean different things to different people. So for simplicity's sake, when we say malware, we mean everything you don't want on your computer, from a virus that tries to delete your files to an adware program that's tracking your web browsing.

(Via: http://www.popsci.com/remove-malware-from-computer)

First and foremost, you must realize that there is a problem and it is pretty obvious too. A warning message will often appear on your screen but there are instances when it does not show at all. Other warning signs to watch out for include crashing applications, lots of pop-ups showing on your browser, and a crawling system.

The basic idea behind ransomware is simple: A criminal hacks into your computer, scrambles your files with unbreakable encryption, and then demands that you pay for the encryption key needed to unscramble the files. If you have important files on your computer, you might be willing to pay a lot to avoid losing them.

Ransomware schemes have become a lot more effective since the invention of Bitcoin in 2009. Conventional payment networks like Visa and Mastercard make it difficult to accept payments without revealing your identity. Bitcoin makes that a lot easier. So the past four years have seen a surge in ransomware schemes striking unsuspecting PC users.

Some ransomware schemes are so sophisticated that they even invest in customer service, helping victims who want to pay their ransoms navigate the complexities of obtaining bitcoins and making bitcoin payments.

(Via: https://www.vox.com/new-money/2017/5/12/15632482/ransomware-explained)

To protect your PC from ransomware attacks, it is a must to conduct regular checkups. Remember that hackers can only encrypt and steal files saved on your PC, so setting up a backup can save you from a headache caused by such an attack. The only unfortunate thing about this is that most individuals and businesses don’t have a backup plan in place, so they are easily victimized by cyber criminals. Also, it seems that the computers affected were Windows PC because of vulnerability in Windows that wasn’t yet discovered before.

Malware is indeed a cause of concern for computer users. However, there is actually more common computer issues that are just as stressful yet don’t usually get the attention it deserves. For instance, hard drive problems are quite common than we would like to admit and everyone is vulnerable to it. If you also don’t backup your files, on say, an external hard drive, you might lose all data saved on your hard drive once it fails. If your hard drive is failing and you need it fixed right away, http://www.harddriverecovery.org/repair-hard-drive.html can help you fix that hard drive and help retrieve all your precious data for you. Meanwhile, if you are still using an old Windows XP or Vista computer, you may likewise encounter a disk read error, this article http://www.harddriverecovery.org/errors/disk_read_error.html can give you tips on how to address this issue. We also offer our expert assistance for a professional service that won’t break the bank.

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Exciting Mac News For All

When it comes to technology, new is always better. These gadgets have the sleekest look and the best features yet there is a big catch, they...