5 Things You Need to Know About the BashBug

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1. Don’t Panic.

As our favorite galactic traveler’s companion reminds us (ref. Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy), It’s important to keep problems in perspective. The Heartbleed Bug incited widespread panic for what turned out to be limited reasons. This new security bug is reported to be even bigger than Heartbleed, but it, too, has a relatively limited reach. It only affects Unix-based systems that use Bash. The best way to address it is to keep updated on the patches which are sent out. Some routers are also affected, and so updates will be pushed out to handle those as well.

2. What is the BashBug?

Bash is one of the central programs to the modern Unix operating system. It’s used to issue commands to the kernel of the OS. It is a little like the Windows command line. Mac’s desktop operating systems are built on Unix, and that’s why people are concerned. The BashBug is an exploitable nuance of the Bash shell that someone could use to observe and possibly modify an unknowing computer’s information. Basically, it’s like leaving your car window down.

3. I have an iPhone, should I be worried?

No. The iOS is a different operating system from the Desktop OS of MAC, known as OS X.

4. What if someone w/ a Mac emails me? Will my company be at risk? Can I “catch” the Bug this way?

No. The vulnerability is specific to Unix-based OSes. It can’t be transferred between operating systems. Windows has a fundamentally different underlying program, and it does not include Bash, which is the host for this bug.

5. What’s this thing about routers? 

Some routers run on a variation of Linux. Manufacturers will also be pushing out updates to resolve this. Please contact your system administrator (which might be us) to resolve it if you have concerns. We can be reached at 888-244-1748.

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What you can do to improve Outlook performance

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If you’re like me, you are in a constant battle with an ever-growing mailbox that seems to get slower and slower every week. I have used and loved Outlook for a long time. Its stability and ease keep me from moving to its competitors. However, one flaw I have found is that sometimes when I am cleaning up my mailbox, the actual size of the mailbox remains the same. This slows it down. There are a few built-in tools you can use to pep up your mail browsing.

“Compacting” your mailbox removes all the items in your mailbox that you have marked for deletion and lowers the size of your mailbox on your hard drive. Smaller file equals faster access. In Outlook 2010 and 2013 the process is exactly the same.

Select the File tab at the top and press Account Settings > Account Settings.

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Select the Data Files tab > Highlight your data file > Select Settings

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Select Advance and press the Outlook Data File Settings button. Press Compact Now and give it some time (especially if your mailbox is as big as mine!)

 

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Once that’s done there should be some improvement to your Outlook performance, depending on how unhealthy your mailbox is. If you have multiple mailboxes you should consider doing this process on all of them. Good Luck! And remember: if you need help, you can always call us at Everon (888-244-1748).

Will Ransomware Cell Phone Attacks Reach the U.S.? (And what to do if you get infected)

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cell phone attackTwo weeks ago they hit iPhone users in Australia and New Zealand. This week the reports came in that they’d hit Android users in Eastern Europe, specifically Ukraine. We’re watching, waiting to see if-and-when one of them will hit Western Europe and the U.S. — Oleg Pliss and his kin, Simplocker. They’re not people; they are a new round of cell phone viruses, and the difference is that they’re ransomware. Pay them money, or they threaten to hold your contacts, pictures, or even your whole cell phone hostage.

Sound familiar?

No, viruses for cell phones aren’t new. In fact, there’s a whole slew of mobile device virus protection software (Lookout, AVG, Avast, etc.). Trouble is, ransomware is notorious for getting around anti-virus protection.

Early reports indicate that, at least in the case of Ukraine’s Android virus, Simplocker, the level of encryption isn’t as complex as Cryptolocker. That doesn’t make it any less annoying, though. And according to some reports it does no good to try to pay Oleg’s ransom because the payment is linked to a PayPal account that doesn’t exist.

So, being a bit freaked out about this (even though my phone is a Windows platform, which hasn’t yet been affected), I asked my guys, the techs here at Everon, what I should do if my phone were hit by ransomware.

“The best thing you can do is to just wipe your phone,” Jeff Woods, one of our experienced L2s, said.

“And then reload all of your info from your backup,” Frank Lindsey, the L1 Supervisor added.

Um, okaaaay…? I felt like a kindergartener in college. Wipe my phone? And… is it automatically backed up? How do I do that if it’s not?

“Well,” Frank said, “if your cell phone is registered with us, at Everon, you could call and we can do a factory wipe for you. Or most cell phone providers can also do that, if you just call Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, or whomever.”

“Alternately,” James Schaffer, another of our L2s, said, “you could perform your own wipe in your phone’s settings.”

I checked my phone’s settings and couldn’t find where to do this. James told me to go to “Settings” –> “About,” and then click the button that says “Reset Your Phone.” (Of course, this only works if your phone isn’t locked by a virus.)

As far as doing backups, it turns out most phones do have automatic backup features. But iPhones, for instance, have to be plugged into your computer to perform their backups – something many iPhone users never do (they only charge the battery). And then there are the settings on the backup. If you’ve only told it to back up your contacts, you run the risk of losing any pictures you haven’t manually saved. (Or already posted to Facebook.)

There are programs you can use to do your auto-backups, too. Google Drive will automatically backup your mobile data. Dropbox, Picassa, Facebook, and Google+ are other sites that will also perform auto-backups on your data and/or photos if you adjust their settings correctly. (Ah, more settings. Good thing I have tech support here!)

So if your mobile data is all backed up, and you do get infected with something evil that needs last-resort measures, like ransomware, all you have to do is wipe and restore. (One site I found estimated this process would take no more than an hour.) Easy-peasy. If you’ve backed up your data.

Sometimes the best defense is just the ability to recover.

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New Chrome Extension: Checker Plus for Gmail!

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Google Chrome is a very powerful and versatile browser. Likewise, Google’s Gmail service is dependable, user friendly and very customizable.  Programmer Jason Savard has brought these two tools together for something I can’t help but get excited about: his new Google Chrome extension CheckerPlusForGmail. This extension brings to Chrome features we didn’t know we could have with webmail.

The amount of options this extension gives you is unbeatable. From managing multiple gmail accounts, desktop notifications, even letting it read your emails to you while you work on something else!

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Example of the Rich Notification which appears when an new email is delivered.

 

The emails can even be read, achived, deleted, marked as spam, or even replied too with even opening another tab! Genius!

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I hope you find this as time saving as I did!

http://jasonsavard.com/checkerPlusForGmail

How to Stop Internet Explorer 11′s Browsing “Suggestions”

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Whether you like it or not, by now (unless you told the Windows Update not to) you have been updated to Internet Explorer 11.  I, personally, don’t use IE unless I absolutely have too (I prefer Chrome).  But I have noticed that it picked up a new habit from the last version: it seems to be automatically trying to guess the website I am going to, regardless of whether I have ever been there before.  A small nuisance, but a nuisance nonetheless. Here’s how to turn it off.

When in Internet Explorer 11, select the gear in the upper right-hand corner.

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From there, open up Internet Options and select the “Content” tab.

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Under Content, go to the AutoComplete section. Press “Settings.”

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Here is where all the AutoComplete magic happens — the culprit in question is the Suggested URLs, but feel free to experiment!

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Happy Internet  Exploring!