Month: October 2017

Tips & Tricks: Excel Last Command

Repeat last command in Excel Pressing F4 in Excel repeats the last command. A great example we found on Reddit: if you select a cell and highlight it yellow, you can then highlight any other selected cells yellow by pressing F4.

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Tech Terms: Zombie Computer

A zombie is a computer that has been implanted with a daemon that puts it under the control of a malicious hacker without the knowledge of the computer owner. Zombies are used by malicious hackers to launch DoS attacks. The hacker sends commands to the zombie through an open port. On command, the zombie computer sends an enormous amount of packets of useless information to a targeted Web site in order to clog the site’s routers and keep legitimate users from gaining access to the site.

The traffic sent to the Web site is confusing and therefore the computer receiving the data spends time and resources trying to understand the influx of data that has been transmitted by the zombies. Compared to programs such as viruses or worms that can eradicate or steal information, zombies are relatively benign as they temporarily cripple Web sites by flooding them with information and do not compromise the site’s data. Prominent sites as Yahoo!, Amazon and CNN.com were first brought down in 2000 by zombie DoS attacks.

Zombies are also referred to as zombie ants.

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Tips & Tricks: Lock Your Computer

Prevent unwanted access to your computer by locking it when you get up. 

Windows + L will lock your system right away, requiring a password (if you’ve set one) to log in again.

On macOS use Cmd + Option + Power to log off. On the latest revision of macOS (High Sierra) a quicker option to simply lock the screen was added which works using the shortcut Cmd + Ctrl + Q.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Week 5: Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Threats

The theme this week is: The essential systems that support our daily lives – such as electricity, financial institutions, and transportation – are all dependent upon the Internet. Building resilience in critical infrastructure is crucial to our national security. Week 5 will look at cybersecurity in relation to keeping our traffic lights, running water, phone lines, and other critical infrastructure secure.

The Internet has become a vital part in our lives, including the operation of pretty much everything. I went to the dentists after Hurricane Irma and the dentist could not even take x-rays for patients because the x-ray machine has to be connected to the Internet. That is a minor item, but think of all the medical equipment that needs power and or Internet. This is a huge vulnerability.

Most of the time we are concerned about our smartphone connectivity to the Internet and protecting our personal information, but the most important aspect is the availability of utilities (power, water, etc.) for everyone. Here is a brief article discussing the electrical grid: “cybersecurity experts offered solutions to protect the U.S. electric grid, including moving the grid off of the public Internet, and using quantum encryption capabilities.”

When it comes to protecting your business from cyber threats, Zerofail Southeast is here for you. Contact us today for more information, info@zerofailse.com.

Tech Terms: Malvertising

Malvertising is a deceptive process of injecting and spreading malware through otherwise legitimate online advertising networks that display ads on reputable web sites and pages.

A portmanteau of “malicious advertising,” malvertising has become more problematic in recent years, as newer forms of malvertising can infect computers and mobile devices without any action taken on part of the user – in other words, without the user even needing to click on the malware-laden ad.

The Payload and High Costs Associated with Malvertising
Malvertising code can secretly run on your computer, deliver malware payloads, and execute the payload before you or your security software has a chance to identify and prevent it from happening. And malvertising creators have started scanning their products before releasing them into the wild to make sure that they aren’t readily picked up by antivirus software.

The payload of malvertising can range from loading ransomware onto a computer to injecting keystroke-monitoring spyware to any range of activities that interfere with or disrupt the proper functioning of a computer, mobile device or network.

A joint report published in late 2015 by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Ernst & Young has estimated the digital industry loses approximately $1.1 billion a year to malvertising.

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Tech Terms: ASCII

Pronounced ask-ee, ASCII is the acronym for the American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It is a code for representing 128 English characters as numbers, with each letter assigned a number from 0 to 127. For example, the ASCII code for uppercase M is 77. Most computers use ASCII codes to represent text, which makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another.

Text files stored in ASCII format are sometimes called ASCII files. Text editors and word processors are usually capable of storing data in ASCII format, although ASCII format is not always the default storage format. Most data files, particularly if they contain numeric data, are not stored in ASCII format. Executable programs are never stored in ASCII format.

The standard ASCII Character Set
The standard ASCII character set uses just 7 bits for each character. There are several larger character sets that use 8 bits, which gives them 128 additional characters. The extra characters are used to represent non-English characters, graphics symbols, and mathematical symbols.

Several companies and organizations have proposed extensions for these 128 characters. The DOS operating system uses a superset of ASCII called extended ASCII or high ASCII. A more universal standard is the ISO Latin 1 set of characters, which is used by many operating systems, as well as Web browsers.

Another set of codes that is used on large IBM computers is EBCDIC.

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Tips & Tricks: Select Multiple Files

Select multiple files using the keyboard To select a bunch of files using your keyboard, you can press Shift + Down Arrow to select a single file or Shift + Page Down to select a large group of files at one time. Ctrl + A will select everything.

Tech Terms: Server

A server is a type of computer or device on a network that manages network resources. Servers are often dedicated, meaning that they perform no other tasks besides their server tasks. On multiprocessing operating systems, however, a single computer can execute several programs at once. A server in this case could refer to the program that is managing resources rather than the entire computer.

Different Types of Servers
Different types servers do different jobs, from serving email and video to protecting internal networks and hosting websites. There are many different types of servers, for example:

  • File server: a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server.
  • Print server: a computer that manages one or more printers, and a network server is a computer that manages network traffic.
  • Database server: a computer system that processes database queries.

Are Servers Just Desktop Computers?
Many people mistakenly believe that a server is a typical desktop computer, but simply running a server operating system on a desktop computer isn’t a replacement for real server hardware. For the average home user looking for a basic, infrequently used server, one built from a desktop computer could work but most businesses will find that a ready-made, dedicated server is a better choice. A server is engineered to manage, store, send and process data 24-hours a day it has to be more reliable than a desktop computer and offers a variety of features and hardware not typically used in the average desktop computer.

Server Hardware
One of the best choices for a small business is a dedicated server built from the ground up as a file server to provide features and expansion options that a desktop computer lacks. Before investing in server hardware, you need to consider many things including the server operating system, applications, storage, processor, form factor, memory and more to help you choose wisely.

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Tips & Tricks: Rename Files

Rename files sequentially in Windows or Mac You actually don’t need to download any programs to perform a batch file rename. Instead, you can select all the files you want to change, right-click the first one in the list, select rename (or use F2), and type in the name. This will automatically change all the other files with the same root name with a suffix: (1), (2), and so on.On Mac, you can do something similar. Select the files, then right click and an option to rename the whole batch as a series will show up.