USB4 Clocking in at 40 Gbps

This “PC World” and other USB4 related stories are emphasizing the upcoming USB4 spec compatibility, so to speak, with Thunderbolt. While this is understandable, given that its port can be used by devices of both protocols, I cannot get enough of the bandwidth that USB4 promises! 40 Gbps is outrageously fast!

Although this is actually equivalent to the bandwidth or data transfer rate of Thunderbolt, remember that this is USB we are referring to! USB 2.0 speeds clocked in at around 480 Mbps. So … this is incredible progress. Unfortunately, the USB4 spec will not be officially in effect at stores until about 2020.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3347403/the-new-usb4-spec-promises-a-lot-thunderbolt-3-support-40gbps-bandwidth-and-less-confusion.html

Microsoft Azure Archive Storage

Azure Archive Storage is perfect for rarely referenced or used data. Whether the data is archived health, government, business, or any type of data, the data may nonetheless need a place to be stored, ‘just in case’ … Or it may be a legal or organizational requirement that mandates all the data be stored away. Azure archive storage is low cost storage for just this purpose. In other words, this data simply needs to be securely stored away, preferably at a low cost.

This Azure archive storage is perfectly suited for any organization tired of using old tape back ups as well as for aging video and other multimedia content. It is also perfect for corporate or governmental requirements mandating data be kept for say, 7-14 years. In addition, the data storage is automatically encrypted after transfer.

General Azure storage pricing is available in tiered pricing, with Archive Storage having the “lowest storage cost and higher data retrieval costs”. In other words, if truly rarely accessed and destined for long-term storage, data stored at this tier is a very good deal.

Further information on Azure Archive, Blob and General Storage.

Identity Offerings in Azure Marketplace

The services and products available in Azure Marketplace is always growing. It is a very impressive market, with offerings in categories ranging from “Compute” [of course!], to Analytics, Databases and to Security and Identity. In fact, Identity services look very intriguing: “Alert Logic” and “ZScaler” target a relatively new acronym: “BYOL” (Bring your own license). The “ZScaler” service in particular is interesting in that its service can “create fast, secure connections between users and applications, regardless of device, location, or network”. Their connector can be installed within the Azure Cloud instance. “ZScaler” looks to be very useful for both private and hybrid clouds.

 

 

 

WordPress Gutenberg

The new WordPress editor, “Gutenberg” has arrived. It is very sleek. Gutenberg is the epitome of object-oriented page building! It is building block driven: literally, you make pages by using Gutenberg’s building blocks, and working within the blocks. It is very sleek!

 

Gutenberg’s WordPress page:

https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

 

Microsoft Case Study on Company Using MS VDI

This is a very interesting real world read about a large company moving to Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infastructure.

Rakuten Group Secures Sensitive Data with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

“… Rakuten has turned to Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Remote Desktop Services (RDS). Not only does RDS provide an easy path to integrating heterogeneous systems, but it also provides an additional layer of security so new systems do not compromise Rakuten’s existing corporate infrastructure.”

Read about it here

Chrome Not Working With Latest Windows 10 Update?

Chrome and the latest Windows 10 April Update have a very big issue together, considering the millions of PCs running Windows 10 AND Chrome worldwide. Chrome will not open up SSL based sites after the latest April Windows 10 update [1803]. Some are pointing to the CryptSvc [Windows certificates service] as the cause of the issue or creating a conflict with Chrome. Going over the various sites covering this issue, it is clear that a viable solution has not been found. Consumers and businesses end up reformatting drives or reinstalling Windows 10 fresh without the latest version update [1803], or worse, chasing false hopes such as “uninstall your anti virus” [that is not the issue and a poor decision] or “stop the CryptSvc” [very bad, and wrong, idea].

Windows 10 April Update – Chrome now just “Establishing secure connection..”

The secure connection problem points to TLS or HTTPS or even the new ‘QUIC’ technology perhaps? This is just intuition at this point, but I would guess that QUIC is involved – it is a Google creation that ties in with data transport, and the symptoms point to it as a possible culprit that does not play nice with the latest Windows 10 update.

QUIC is a new transport which reduces latency compared to that of TCP. On the surface, QUIC is very similar to TCP+TLS+HTTP/2 implemented on UDP. Because TCP is implemented in operating system kernels, and middlebox firmware, making significant changes to TCP is next to impossible. However, since QUIC is built on top of UDP, it suffers from no such limitations.

https://www.chromium.org/quic

 

Microsoft Data Box for Heavy Data Migration to Azure

This is fantastic – onsite data can be VERY, VERY large, or ‘heavy’, depending on how you define it in non technical terms. Moving or migrating from an office [or even a traditional datacenter] to a Cloud service can be daunting, given the amount of data needing to be uploaded to a provider. Uploads through the Internet can conceivably take days or weeks! Enter the “Data Box” or smaller “Data Box Disk” from Microsoft Azure. These secure devices can be ordered from Azure. Once they arrive, simply plug them into your network [or server], then rapidly transfer crazy amounts of data to them before shipping the device back to Azure for upload to your Cloud account.

Summary:

“Azure Data Box Family

Data migration to Azure made fast, simple, and secure

Full MS Azure “Data Box” details here.

Blockchain Overview

This Harvard Business Review article is a mostly simple but very solid overview of what Blockchain is and how it is slowly shaping parts of the business world today. I do not necessarily understand the social underpinnings of Blockchain. For example, this paragraph is a bit too ambiguous for me:

“… an incredible tool is shoring up the foundations of social at the level of every transaction—blockchain. Originally gaining notoriety as the data technology underneath the cryptocurrency called bitcoin, today blockchain technology is expanding its reach far beyond the confines of currency and tackling issues involving transactional social trust throughout the world.

However, when some technical armor is placed on it, Blockchain does become a little more clear:

Blockchain is a cryptographically secure, shared data layer that enterprises can use to digitally track the ownership of assets across trust boundaries, opening up new opportunities for cross-organizational collaboration and imaginative new business models. As a shared source of trust, it can extend the scope of digital transformation from a single company to the processes it shares with its suppliers, customers, and partners.

Blockchain, per this article, is going to be a big part of the new Economy, especially relating to the “smart economy”, “IoT” [Internet of Things], compliance, Supply Chain and data security.

 

The Harvard Business Review article [“How Blockchain Will Accelerate Business Performance and Power the Smart Economy “]is here in full.

Windows 10 April Update

Microsoft Windows 10 April 2018 Update

It appears this Update will allow users more control over the sometimes over-the-top Notifications. Per MS, “… people spend an average of 23 minutes per day regrouping and getting back on task after being distracted by a notification”.  They are giving us “Focus Assist” to help adjust notifications as needed.

Source: MSN

Atlanta hit by ransomware attack

This is actually [indirectly] courtesy of the US Government’s NSA, from a few years ago. They actually created the code that exploits Microsoft Servers that face the internet directly.

“It’s been almost a week since the City of Atlanta was hit by a ransomware attack, which encrypted city data and led to the shutdown of some services.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a press conference Monday that the city’s government is working on recovering the network after ransom notes appeared on computer displays on Thursday afternoon. The city has hired local cybersecurity firm SecureWorks to assess the situation.

Reports say the notorious SamSam ransomware was used in the Atlanta attack, which exploits a deserialization vulnerability in Java-based servers. Details of the attack remain largely unknown, but an early investigation may have identified who is behind the attack, said SecureWorks chief executive Michael Cote. Almost a million dollars has been reaped from other businesses that were infected and paid the ransom. It’s not known if Atlanta will pay the ransom.”

Article here.

Top 12 New Technologies For 2018

What are the top 12 technologies business should look for in 2018? Chatbots, Smart Health Tech and IoT, for starters.

But I have to say – the Video one surprised me a little. However, after reading the explanation it does make sense now. Advanced Video [Conferencing, and even VR] technology can really help employees with meetings and presentations, and it could actually be fun, given the right technology and platform.

12 technologies that will disrupt business in 2018

“Video, videoconferencing, and VR

In a survey of nearly 300 companies to determine what makes a great employee experience, researchers at MIT found a surprise at the top of the list: video. Investments in video technology lead to innovation, as well as improved collaboration and productivity, researchers found.

“We see firms investing significantly in interactive video technologies particularly as they spread the use of agile methodology beyond their software development teams to the rest of the business,” says Kristine Dery, a research scientist at MIT’s Sloan Center for Information Systems Research. “This highly interactive agile method of project delivery — with daily stand-ups —  requires teams to either be face to face, or to have the technologies that replicate those more intimate situations as closely as possible.”

Dery predicts that video tech will continue to simulate and improve face-to-face communication with new features, like virtual reality (VR) and other immersive tech (see below), especially as organizations work to fill the skills gap with distributed teams.”

 

Read the full CIO Article.

Windows Folders

Tech Support 101 – You ever try to resize a Windows 10 Explorer [folder/file viewer, not the browser] window only to have the window blow up to full screen? I admit that I have endlessly gone through this – grab the edge of the window and drag it to a desired position on the screen, but once you let go, it maximizes, whether you like it or not! Repeat. Rinse, etc.

Drag the edge of the screen and move it JUST RIGHT. There it is! Anyway, there is an easy fix and putting Tech Support 101 at the beginning of this post is really aimed at myself: all I had to do was pay a visit to the “Ease of Access Center” once and for all instead of procrastinating. Type ‘ease’ into Cortana to locate it or visit the Control Panel.

 

Get to the option that mentions “EASIER” [!]

Scroll to the bottom area. Finally, you need to check, “Prevent Windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen”. Now, my Windows behave as needed.

 

 

Online Networking Resource: TCPIPUTILS.COM

I really appreciate what the folks at TCPIPUTILS.COM provide. They allow for Geo-IP location and domain WHoIs Services, as well as multiple email and networking troubleshooting or research tools. They are unmatched. If a web firewall log or alerts shows questionable behavior emanating from a certain IP address or domain, then this website can be very useful in locating the general source of the IP.

Of course, the service is free unless more extensive services are needed. I may actually take them on this, as this service is well worth it. But for now, the free or basics are sufficient, especially for my petite, humble website.

I received 10+ email alerts that 103.219.194.18 was trying to possibly brute force its way into my WordPress login page. This is very unusual! Interestingly, it was using ‘ADMINS’ as the username – plural? Ok, whatever. But I was able to check this IP on TcpIpUtils.Com and determine the IP is from Hong Kong. I quickly put the block on the IP within my other security software plug-in [WordFence].

A visit to the website is fine, or your can put the IP directly into your web browser, like this:

https://www.tcpiputils.com/browse/ip-address/103.219.194.18

This is what it crunches within 1 or 2 seconds.

Whois information

% [whois.apnic.net]
% Whois data copyright terms http://www.apnic.net/db/dbcopyright.html% Information related to ‘103.219.194.0 – 103.219.194.255’

% Abuse contact for ‘103.219.194.0 – 103.219.194.255’ is ‘removed email address

inetnum: 103.219.194.0 – 103.219.194.255
netname: FENGYENET-US2
descr: FengYe Networks Limited
country: US
admin-c: FNLA2-AP
tech-c: FNLA2-AP
status: ALLOCATED NON-PORTABLE
mnt-by: MAINT-FENGYENET-HK
mnt-irt: IRT-FENGYENET-HK
last-modified: 2017-12-13T01:01:58Z
source: APNIC

irt: IRT-FENGYENET-HK
address: UNIT 04 2c7 2fF BRIGHT WAY TOWER NO.33 MONG KOK RD KOWLOON, HONGKONG HONGKONG 999077
e-mail: removed email address
abuse-mailbox: removed email address
admin-c: FNLA2-AP
tech-c: FNLA2-AP
auth: # Filtered
mnt-by: MAINT-FENGYENET-HK
last-modified: 2016-05-19T09:32:33Z
source: APNIC

role: FENGYE NETWORKS LIMITED administrator
address: UNIT 04 2c7 2fF BRIGHT WAY TOWER NO.33 MONG KOK RD KOWLOON, HONGKONG HONGKONG 999077
country: HK
phone: +85281912525
fax-no: +85281912525
e-mail: removed email address
admin-c: FNLA2-AP
tech-c: FNLA2-AP
nic-hdl: FNLA2-AP
mnt-by: MAINT-FENGYENET-HK
last-modified: 2016-05-19T09:32:31Z
source: APNIC

% This query was served by the APNIC Whois Service version 1.88.15-43 (WHOIS-UK3)

Backdoor in Captcha Discovered

Nothing to see here, folks …

“Backdoor in Captcha Plugin Affects 300K WordPress Sites”

“The WordPress repository recently removed the plugin Captcha over what initially appeared to be a trademark issue with the current author using “WordPress” [Editors note: the original page has been removed, we’re now linking to a screen shot.] in their brand name.

Whenever the WordPress repository removes a plugin with a large user base, we check to see if it was possibly due to something security-related. Wordfence alerts users when any plugin they are running is removed from WordPress repo as well. At the time of its removal, Captcha had over 300,000 active installs, so its removal significantly impacts many users.”

Incredible analysis in the below link. Nicely done by WordFence.

Full article or Blog here

Blocked Countries by WordFence

“China is in the lead” … of blocked countries. My humble website is constantly being sniffed at from the outside. To me it makes no sense on the surface – I have no confidential data or business secrets whatsoever. I do not do eCommerce or any business transactions for that matter. I do not even make poor stock market predictions!

But it makes sense to the potential intruders. These are likely bots just doing recon, searching for WordPress, Plugin or theme weaknesses and other possible pots of gold. Thankfully, I am fully invested in “WordFence”, an outstanding WordPress firewall.