Anti Virus Final Arbiter

Computer Antivirus software continues to be very relevant and necessary these days, despite the fact that social engineering and malware exploits may be more dangerous and numerous. Of course, most antivirus programs these days are combined with other security services [suites] or they do account for the various methods hackers employ to cause trouble, get your information or money. Everyone should use one of the top 4 or 5 rated antivirus programs (Norton, McAfee, ESET etc.) or at least Windows Defender on a PC, if you are on a budget.

But if you get a file or website virus type warning, it is always best to double check or cross reference from VirusTotal.Com. This super useful site allows for uploading files to the site for a quick analysis. Your antivirus would likely quarantine or delete a suspicious file but it is possible a mistake was made, so why not double check? And it is free! Also, any file can be uploaded for a quick ‘virus check’, not just the files giving warning etc. from a scan application. Finally, actual web site addresses can be checked. This can be useful if you are on a site that is acting slow, unusual or one that gives you that weird, uncertain feeling.

Site summary services:

“Any user can select a file from their computer using their browser and send it to VirusTotal. VirusTotal offers a number of file submission methods, including the primary public web interface, desktop uploaders, browser extensions and a programmatic API. The web interface has the highest scanning priority among the publicly available submission methods. Submissions may be scripted in any programming language using the HTTP-based public API.

As with files, URLs can be submitted via several different means including the VirusTotal webpage, browser extensions and the API.

Upon submitting a file or URL basic results are shared with the submitter, and also between the examining partners, who use results to improve their own systems. As a result, by submitting files, URLs, domains, etc. to VirusTotal you are contributing to raise the global IT security level.”

The website:

https://www.virustotal.com/gui/home/upload

Example of a random Windows executable file [from System32 folder] results, below.

This is a safe, standard Windows master boot record related file, called “MBR2GPT”. I know it is safe, but, this is to give a demo of the positive results. If you see a file, any file, that looks suspicious or maybe have never seen before, upload it and see for yourself.

Antivirus Companies Hacked?

In a nutshell: the cybersecurity companies that design software that is intended to protect our computers … got hacked. Therefore, it is fully possible that now the hackers understand the defense mechanisms of the companies that fight cybersecurity, at least at the PC, Mac, workstation level and maybe more. This is not good!

Details are sketchy, as is common with these hacks, and two of the victims [Norton and McAfee] deny any breach, but Trend Micro admits a breach occurred. Although Trend said the hack only affected their “lab”, this does not necessarily make customers feel any better about it, given they are in the CYBERSECURITY industry.

Read about it here

Kubernetes Clusters on Google Cloud Platform

I had a chance recently to dig into the Google Cloud Platform, in particular Kubernetes clusters and virtual machine instances. This is the “Compute Engine” offering of the GCP, or Google Cloud Platform. The GCP also offers much more, for example, Cloud Storage [data, object storage], Cloud SQL [MySQL/PostgreSQL], and App Engine [building web + mobile apps]…

Read the full story here …

Windows Lite, the lightweight Windows 10?

According to “Tech Radar”, Microsoft is working on a lightweight version of Windows 10. The reason behind this project is to have a viable operating system that can be installed on devices, laptops or tablets that are lighter in dimensions. In other words, devices that have relatively smaller ‘specs’, such as memory / RAM, hard drive, or CPU. These devices normally have smaller screens. Think Chromebook.

This is exactly what the article refers to, and personally, I am surprised that Microsoft seemingly gave up on this Chromebook dominated market years ago. Many students and others prefer lightweight systems for a variety of reasons, but classroom learning in a primary factor: elementary and secondary students in particular do not need powerful systems. In fact, cheaper is better in my view, given the beating these systems take in backpacks and in dirty classrooms ;>

Reference:

https://www.techradar.com/news/windows-lite

Live Cyber Attack Threat Map

This “Check Point” [or “ThreatCloud”] cyber attack map is mesmerizing. It is a live cyber or hack attack map containing oodles of attack lines that follow live, currently in progress cyber attacks. The threat map lists the time, the attack name [or virus or hack type], the source and the intended victim location: the target.

The attacks are unrelenting and endless and the lines are ongoing in this dynamic situation.

One take away I have is that every country in the world can be a cyber target. Likewise, attack sources seem to come from almost anywhere in the world, although ‘botnets’ [a group of secretly hacked, controlled computers] are likely a major factor in this.

Here is the web address for the live map:

https://threatmap.checkpoint.com/ThreatPortal/livemap.html

Smart Phone Cleaner!

My favorite part of this product, by “SmartKlear” [Carbon Smartphone Cleaner], by far: “the same technology used in the NASA space station“. Wow, NASA technology at only $14.95!

“This smartphone cleaner kills bacteria and wipes smudges, streaks, and oily fingerprints right off the screen. SmartKlear uses an invisible carbon substance that repels dirt and oil—the same technology used in the NASA space station”

https://www.thegrommet.com/tech-gadgets/smartklear-carbon-smartphone-cleaner

Top Cloud Services Compared

This is a great resource that compares the top dogs of Cloud Computing: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. It turns out they all have various strengths and weaknesses. It is hard to bet against Google with all of its Mega Billions of dollars in cash at its disposal. On the other hand, AWS has the upper hand overall with customer base and raw Cloud products, but Microsoft is very strong in bridging the gap for customers between public and private cloud (or hybrid scenarios), in addition to having its long Server and Support history along with Office 365.

https://www.datamation.com/cloud-computing/aws-vs-azure-vs-google-cloud-comparison.html