Family and Friends, please pay attention – Backups

ransomware-illustration

Family and Friends, please pay attention. This is very important and could save you a lot of frustration and emotional heart breaks.

People’s lives are stored on computers and devices. Every one takes digital photos, and most people save them on computers. Some do not even do that and just leave it on phones. I want you to think about this for a minute. Where are your wedding photos and video’s? What about your children’s important moments like school performances, sporting events and birthdays?  What about the photos of loved ones, boyfriends, girl friends, husbands, wives and parents.

I hope I have your attention and have you thinking now. So hear me out as an IT professional. Most people do not make backups. The people that do make backups use manual methods that are not consistent; myself I am just as guilty. My Time keeps reminding me it has been 43 days as of when I write this of my last backup. (I am actually safe because I use iCloud as well).

Two reasons off the start why this is not good enough if you are one of those people that thinks they are backing up.

  • It is manual, you will eventually forget to do it, or get complacent because nothing has happened and stop doing it.
  • This hardly protects you, except for if you accidently delete a file or your hard drive crashes or you lost your laptop.

The concerns are, natural disaster and your home is destroyed. Think wild fires for small towns, floods near rivers, a house fire, earth quakes and super hero’s from space fighting it out on your lawn. Ok I admit I watch to many marvel movies. The greatest concern these days is ransomware viruses. These are viruses that infect your computer, encrypt all the files and they demand payment to restore it. A regular external hard drive plugged in USB is not immune to this at all. It will become part of the encrypted mess thus, your backups are gone too.

The only solution is to have two kinds of backups, one that is offsite and the local one to be inaccessible to the user. It is such a small price to pay to preserve such a important part of your life.

Now I work for a IT company and we offer protection for a very affordable price. But this isn’t about bringing business to the company I work for. I want my friends and family to be safe so I will tell you what you need to do on your own but would encourage you to use my company. If not for yourself think about parents and grand parents that are not tech savvy that could use our help.

Step 1: Get a network attached storage device. They care called a NAS. If this is your only method of backup you should get one with two hard drives. If you will be using offsite backups as well then you can get away with a single drive but it is not recommended.

Step 2: Configure the device with a login account with a secure password.

Step 3: Configure backup software to connect to it via this secure login. The software is totally free for Windows Computers, and Mac’s have many options to. DO NOT set this up as a drive to use for yourself. It is only for backups. The second you make it a mounted drive you lose protection from Viruses.

Step 4: Setup internet backups in the cloud. I can provide this for a very cheap monthly price and our data center is located here in BC, so nothing is going out of the country. But you can also use Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and so on.

I really don’t care which of the cloud providers you use, each have different strengths and weaknesses. The NAS box I recommend has the ability to sync up to these services directly as well making this process automated. FYI my company offers as much storage for the same prices.

So that is my rant, think about how important your files are, besides pictures work files, documents and receipts and other things. You might be thinking I am safe, all my photos are in my facebook. Well that is true until you get banned or hacked.

Single Drive NAS box that can also connect to online services like DropBox to automate offsite backups

Prices are as of the posting of this, they can change in the future and is a guide only. Small shipping charge for sending completed units, NAS box plus Hard Drives setup. Setting up the backup system which is done remotely over the internet has a small charge as well.

Qnap 1 Bay, I can do for $230 plus Tax (No Hard Drive)

http://www.ncix.com/detail/qnap-ts-131p-1-bay-personal-cloud-94-137848.htm

Qnap 2 Bay, I can do for $275 plus Tax (No Hard Drives)

http://www.ncix.com/detail/qnap-ts-231p-2-bay-personal-cloud-fe-137847.htm

Hard Drives, for the 2 Bay NAS you need two Hard Drives.

1 TB Ironwolf Hard Drive, I can do for $85 plus tax

http://www.ncix.com/detail/seagate-ironwolf-st1000vn002-1tb-sata-15-135300.htm

2 TB Ironwolf Hard Drive, I can do for $120 plus Tax

http://www.ncix.com/detail/seagate-ironwolf-st2000vn004-2tb-sata-e6-135301.htm

3 TB Ironwolf Hard Drive, I can do for $148 plus Tax

http://www.ncix.com/detail/seagate-ironwolf-st3000vn007-3tb-sata-d1-135302.htm

4 TB Ironwolf Hard Drive, I can do for $182 plus Tax

http://www.ncix.com/detail/seagate-ironwolf-st4000vn008-4tb-sata-15-135303.htm

6 TB Ironwolf Hard Drive, I can do for $285 plus Tax

http://www.ncix.com/detail/seagate-ironwolf-st6000vn0041-6tb-sata-f9-136977.htm

8 TB Ironwolf Hard Drive, I can do for $365 plus Tax

http://www.ncix.com/detail/seagate-ironwolf-st8000vn0022-8tb-sata-e9-136979.htm

10 TB Ironwolf Hard Drive, I can do for $500 plus Tax

http://www.ncix.com/detail/seagate-ironwolf-st10000vn0004-10tb-sata-4e-134127.htm

The recommended software for Windows computers I suggest is Veeam Endpoint Backup. It is free but you do have to register with a real email address to get the download link.

https://www.veeam.com/windows-endpoint-server-backup-free.html

Lastly, you can use corporate level high protection Antivirus for a fraction of the price, I can make it available to home users. You do not get the managed service for this price, which is central monitoring by our security department for problems. Nevertheless, this Antivirus has special capabilities that help protect from ransomware viruses. However, nothing is perfect so the most important thing is backups.

You can watch the video of this antivirus here at https://www.computerworks.ca/webroot-secureanywhere/

The filter add on for the Internet Browser does a good job keeping users safe. The file monitoring it does on unknown files and roll back capability of changes my by those unknown untrusted files is the strong point of why its better to use a paid product over free antivirus that comes with Windows.

I can offer this for $60 a year per computer, for more then 3 I can offer a small discount.

If you have read all this, good on you. If you do not want to use my company for your personal security needs then by all means use what I have posted above to secure yourself. At the end of the day I want my friends and family and the friends and family of my friends to be safe. I provided retail links to the recommended devices and hardware, my suggestions for setup is listed. The free backup software is linked and some people already have lots of online storage already and can use it for backups. If you do want this professionally setup and to use the services the company I work for by all means contact me.

The importance of off site backups

1468377492_866fa1c772_zAsk yourself this question and answer yourself truthfully. If my computer was to get stolen tonight, what have I just lost that I can’t get back. Can you remember everything on your computer that is important? Some tax returns here, the kids school word documents there. A weeks worth of work on a report intended for the bosses desk in the morning. Some important photos not uploaded to Facebook yet or chat history with a love one. You might even be thinking I got nothing really important on that computer. But then a month later you remember something that was.

 

 

2291127824_087a497bea_zBut really home robberies are so rare, its not really something to worry about. And myself personally computer theft if not that high on my list. So what about a natural or human caused disaster. Perhaps a fire or a flood does the computer in. For many of us this is a far greater concern and a more likely possibility depending where you live. So its something that gets a passing thought every year at insurance renewal time.

 

 

 

15462325023_85083999b2_zRansomware… Have you every herd of it? Yes, in passing? But you are not really sure what it is. Ransomware is the new kid on the block, and have been poking its ugly head around for the last couple years. And because early versions of this have been so successful financially for criminals a lot of hackers and other criminals have copied the methods and type of attack causing a big increase in Ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is pretty ingenious when you think about it. Traditionally Viruses would do things like make itself noticed on the computer so the maker of it got famous. It was a game. Others used viruses to steal documents from computers to sell on the black market. I really do wonder what a SIN /SS number is worth these days on the black market. But most of the time these viruses at worst only crippled the computer and the data was actually safe. Ransomware is different. It is designed to hold your data hostage. Using strong encryption methods Ransomware will encrypt all your data and demand money to release it. Most of the time those that paid didn’t actually get the data back. And the files are lost for ever because no recovery method can actually recover an encrypted file unless a super computer is involved, and lots of years to break it. You might remember that last year the FBI had some problems getting data off a iPhone that was encrypted.

The only real solution and viable option of protecting data from Ransomeware, theft and natural disaster is off site backups that are automatic. External hard drives, USB drives, tape backups, zip drives and yes I just said zip drive just so the young ones can go look up what is a zip drive, all offer the same kind of protection. That is, if the person making the backups remembers to A) test the backup media and recovery options, B) remembers to plug in the backup drive, C) remembers to unplug it when completed and D) actually take it to a secure location like work or a friends house or in the case of a business a secure storage facility like Iron Mountain. The failure in this method is, well, humans. Face it we suck. We are inconsistent with what we need to do, and get easily preoccupied with other tasks. We tend to let things slide with a “I will do this tomorrow” mentality but tomorrow never actually comes. The fact is most of us fail to maintain such a routine and because nothing bad happens for a very long time we get complacent with not doing it.

Automatic offsite backups through the internet solves almost all of these problems. While not 100% perfect since technology can sometimes break, for the most part the Automatic nature of offsite backups means you are well protected and never need to lift a finger. Additionally its off-site which means its protected from all the the above. Network servers and attached backup devices are susceptible to a virus. If you can save your work on it, a Virus can ruin that work since a virus will have at least as much access to stuff as you do.

So if you have questions about off-site backups or would like help to get setup to protect all the unimportant data and those few really important things you can’t think of until its gone kind of files then give me a shout to set you up.

Image Credits
Broken Window – Jon Collier Image License
Computer on Fire – Matt Mets Image License
Virus – Yuri Samoilov Image License

A good movie!

Last summer a real awesome movie came out. Originally I had written off as being something stupid. I ignored it based on the trailer. Ironically this is one of those movies that trailer does not do it justice. A now former friend convinced me to go see it in theatre. The movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. 

To say this movie was a pleasant surprise is a understatement. The  cinematrography was excellent. The special effects mind blowing. The actors selected for the roles they played perfect and a adventurous story line made this a pleasant wonderful movie to watch. It’s one I would enjoy seeing again and again with friends. 

I only bring this up now because I just finished watching it again. I don’t recall ever posting anything about it really and its ashame I didn’t because it’s a movie that deserves being talked about. 

So that’s it for this blog post. Thought this town after watching I would post something about it. I don’t want to go into a review about the movie itself and ruin it for people that have not seen it. I highly recommend any one that has not seen it should.     

Windows 10 release date and more

My Computer has alerted me to the free upgrade through Windows Notification area and it appears Windows 10 is available on July 29th of this year. You can reserve your free copy via email. Now I wonder how this works with people who have more then one computer like myself.

windows10message windows10message2

How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

Web startups are made out of two things: people and code. The people make the code, and the code makes the people rich. Code is like a poem; it has to follow certain structural requirements, and yet out of that structure can come art. But code is art that does something. It is the assembly of something brand new from nothing but an idea.

Source: How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet

Why Has Yahoo Killed Flickr? 5 Alternatives For Photo Sharing – Forbes

In an exclusive article, Gizmodo penned a powerful exposé about how Yahoo has bludgeoned Flickr. The title conveys the brutal reality of how the internet giant slowly ruined one of its best web properties. Eric Jackson frequently writes about Yahoo! and offers ideas on how it can turn the ship away […]

Source: Why Has Yahoo Killed Flickr? 5 Alternatives For Photo Sharing – Forbes

Done With Flickr

yahoo-flickr

I want to congratulate Yahoo on a fine job of destroying an asset that was once something really great. I have two accounts with Flickr, my old Pro account which I have been paying for many years and a free account with the new 1TB limit. The option to purchase pro accounts is gone. One of the features in the pro account that was worth paying for was photo stats. In fact this was one of the few reasons I paid for a Flickr account. This feature is removed from all new accounts. And the community is worried that it will be retired from current accounts down the road. Additionally it seems the information from the stats is no longer accurate anyways. So with no reason for me to continue to use Flickr I might as well save my photos on Facebook. Again I want to congratulate Yahoos fine management of Flickr. Some might call it inept or incompetent but clearly those people fail to see Yahoo just wants to kill the service off.

I am so done with Brita Water

file7361252678835

It is getting harder and harder to justify the expense of using Brita water filtration. Looking for evidence and sources that conclude it makes any real difference on the quality of drinking water is non existent outside of company sources. Further more, I live in a city with some of, if not, the cleanest tape water in the world. I have decided to yank out the inner portion of the container which houses the filter and use just straight tap water. Doing it this way nets a lot more water to in the container. I have never had a problem with the taste of tap water in metro Vancouver. I do like very cold water. And suspending water in the fridge helps kill off what little chlorine is left from the water. What I do find amazing is how much information about how bad water is but from sources that all sell water filtration systems. I can’t help but notice the incredible biased point of view of these companies that claim_MG_3631mesabar1 tap water is bad while selling products to “clean” tap water. Lastly I was totally disgusted with the bottom of the water container. I have not been tearing it apart cleaning it often enough. I suspect many people neglect that being its not easy to take apart the inner section that holds the filter. And may wrongly assume its just filtered water so you don’t have to clean it often. What ended up on the sponge was disgusting…. I can’t believe I have been drinking from that container with that kind of gross buildup of whatever it was. I only have myself to blame for not cleaning it more often. But still, I think I am going to just stick to tap water for now, save money and the environment because honestly those filters is just another consumable and disposable product that is added to waste disposal when we really don’t need to use it at all, at least not here.

Additional

There is some valid evidence that depending on age and construction of a building the water quality can suffer due to the pipes. In such cases maybe a filtration system can make a difference. Reverse osmosis would be my first choice in such a case. I still see little value in Brita which the basic filters only removes chlorine. I also live in a rather new building so the pipes are not a concern for me at this point either.

A Deep Dive into Data Privacy: It’s Not Just Big Companies, Folks

This is a good article on the issues of data privacy and the issues companies face protecting it. The good is that most companies really do want to protect personal data. The bad is most don’t have any ideas how to do it effectively

Article: A Deep Dive into Data Privacy: It’s Not Just Big Companies, Folks

1 2 3