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Is Your System Cyber-Secure?

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Rcurl
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An ounce of prevention
Rcurl   1/22/2015 6:04:49 PM
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I'm glad you're being proactive to prevent data loss.

Over the years I've lost significant chunks of my data on two occasions. One was due to a mistake when I was upgrading hard drives and I ended up copying data the wrong direction.  The other time there was a lightning strike while a backup job was running which took out not ony the computer, but also my only backup drive.

Lessons learned.  Keep more than one backup, and keep one of them totally detached from the system (air gap). Test the backup system from time to time to make sure the backed-up data is viable.

I have not had any data loss due to viruses or other kinds of hacking so far (knock on wood), but I do have my router locked down pretty well and have good (PAID) antivirus software. My biggest concern has been a loss due to tornado or fire. Our plan for a while was if there was an emergency or tornado warning, grab the blue case that contains the backup drives and important documents and head for the storm shelter. I finally got smart and put a NAS server in the storm shelter with 8 terabytes of raid 5, it's own monitored UPS, and the Ethernet connection diectrically isolated using optical fiber. In addition I still keep three external drives in rotation so one is always in the safe deposit box at the bank.  After you've had a data loss you get paranoid about these things.    

Of course, now I'll probably be killed in a freak ice cream truck accident, so it will all be for nothing anyway...........

 

 

David Ashton
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Backing up
David Ashton   1/22/2015 7:26:03 PM
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Some good advice Max (and Rick).  I occasionally do DVD backups, which are good (air gap) but not often enough.  I have got into the habit of leaving a USB drive on my router, so I can back up from my computer to it, but of course that will do no good if it's online when one of these nasties strikes.  I must get into the habit of NOT leaving it on, just plugging in when I back up.

betajet
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CEO
Microsoft Virus Bait
betajet   1/22/2015 7:38:15 PM
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JMO/YMMV:

I use the most effective anti-malware software: GNU/Linux.  Sure you hear about a few GNU/Linux leaks now and then, but the reason that they're gnews is that they're rare.  If they reported every serious bit of Windows malware there wouldn't be time for anything else.

For even better security, run on an ARM processor.  That way you're protected from x86 binary malware.

And never, ever, ever, open attachments that you did not specifically ask for.

And beware of operating systems that hide file extensions so that an .exe file or script can masquerade as a .pdf.  But I repeat myself.

There was a good piece about ransomware in the New York Times earlier this month: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/opinion/sunday/how-my-mom-got-hacked.html

Oh, I guess I'm being a little hard on Windows.  Go ahead and use Windows but my advice is: don't ever hook it up to the Internet.  Myriad pieces of malware are just waiting for you to do it.

from_Tokyo
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Firefox add-ons
from_Tokyo   1/22/2015 11:30:31 PM
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Don't forget to instal (and use!) relevant add-ons for Firefox to prevent unwanted downloads. Popular add-ons include things like AdBlocker and NoScript.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: An ounce of prevention
Max The Magnificent   1/23/2015 9:46:10 AM
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@RCurl: ...I finally got smart and put a NAS server in the storm shelter with 8 terabytes of raid 5, it's own monitored UPS, and the Ethernet connection diectrically isolated using optical fiber...

Hi Rick -- knowing you I would have expected nothing less -- you are one of the most "prepared" people I know.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Backing up
Max The Magnificent   1/23/2015 9:59:29 AM
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@David: ...I have got into the habit of leaving a USB drive on my router, so I can back up from my computer to it, but of course that will do no good if it's online when one of these nasties strikes...

That's right -- the same thing applies to anyone who has an open network connection (physical or wireless) to a backup machine -- also to an external hard drive that's left connected to the computer -- if the malware can "see" it, then the malware will take it down.

mhrackin
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CEO
Re: Backing up
mhrackin   1/23/2015 10:16:08 AM
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@max, @david: I have a 2TB USB HDD that I leave connected to my network router (along with a laser printer).  However, both HDD and printer are externally powered, and I leave them OFF.  I only power them up when I need to print or back up.  It's a minor inconvenience (sometimes I need to restart the router in addition) but it IS more secure.  The HDD and router are powered by a separate 1KVA UPS so I can safely run a major all-night back-up without worrying about any surges or small outages interfering.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Microsoft Virus Bait
Max The Magnificent   1/23/2015 10:21:25 AM
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@betajet: There was a good piece about ransomware in the New York Times earlier this month: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/opinion/sunday/how-my-mom-got-hacked.html

That is a really good article -- very interesting. For myself, I loathe theives in general and cyber-theives in particular -- it just outrages my sense of fairness that some plonker can -- in any form -- steal one's work that has taken so much time and effort to create (also destroy precious memories in the form of photos and suchlike).

I really wish governments around the world would start taking this seriously -- and facilitate extradition of these criminals -- and also that there were substantial penalties -- chopping their privates off would not be unreasonable as far as I'm concerrned.

Do you recall when that kid in Singapore was sentenced to a public caning for graffiti? A news crew in Los Angeles went around interviewing taggers (tagging is any unauthorized marking, etching, scratching, drawing, painting or defacing of any surface of public, private, real or personal property) asking if they had heard about the kid in Singapore and -- if they had -- would they carry on tagging in America if we had the same penalty and they all said "No way!"

I think that if the creators of CryptoWall 2.0 were tracked down like dogs, castrated, and then locked up for the rest of their lives, then (a) I would post a video on YouTube of me doing my happy dance and (b) I think other would-be malware creators might think to themselves "Maybe it's better to get a real job and stop leaching off civilized society."

Max The Magnificent
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Blogger
Re: Firefox add-ons
Max The Magnificent   1/23/2015 10:29:57 AM
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@From_Tokyo: Don't forget to instal (and use!) relevant add-ons for Firefox to prevent unwanted downloads. Popular add-ons include things like AdBlocker and NoScript.

I just went to the Mozilla/Firefox site -- it seems that "Ad Blocker" has been discontinued -- now they recommend "Updated Ad Blocker" but it doesn't seem to have very positive reviews.

The No Script one looks good -- very positive reviews -- 2,000,000+m users and five stars from 1400+ reviews -- I'm adding this to all of my Firefox installations.

Thanks for these suggestions -- I would be interested in any more suggestions.

Max The Magnificent
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Blogger
Re: Firefox add-ons
Max The Magnificent   1/23/2015 10:39:02 AM
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Here's a good video about installing and using No Scripts

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