Category: Internet & Privacy

Why is a tested cloud backup solution so important?

You’ve probably heard this one before – oh, I’ve got a backup. I backup to external USB drive every day, or every week, or once a month, etc. Many people think that just backing up to a tape drive or a USB drive is still a good way to go.

There are many reasons why this is no longer the case. We’re going to talk about and disseminate many of them here in this article.

Once upon a time, people had tape drives. They backed up their servers to tapes. When they needed to restore from a tape, they had this giant library of tapes (hopefully labelled) that they’d need to sift through. If you were lucky, you’d have labelled tapes, one from each day, or maybe one from each week. You’d pop in the tape you needed to restore and restore your data. However, you’d have to reinstall your operating system first, and the tape would just get your files back that you needed – not your applications, or any licensing information, or any configuration of any of those applications.

Fast forward to today. People do file based backups on USB. They likely never run a test restore, so have no idea if the data they backup is even valid, useable or worthwhile to perform the backup. But they do it anyways, and go about their day, and never really worry or wonder about whether the USB backups they have on that USB drive that floats around between offices or sit’s on so and so’s executive computer desk is really needed or not – until the time that it is.

Few people do test restores of their data

As mentioned, it’s great that you backup to that ancient USB drive, but do you ever try to restore your data? Do you know what’s involved, or even how to restore from that USB drive? If you had to restore data from it, what kind of data can you get back and how long? Do you still need to re-install Windows or Windows server first? Are you able to recover any applications from that data?

What happens if the USB drive falls down, is lost, stolen or consumed by a disaster like a fire?

The truth is that hoarding a bunch of USB drives in the server room (labelled or not) is a vulnerable method. Vulnerable to so many things. USB drives, like all forms of technology and media degrade. This is one of the reasons why you don’t see DVD drives floating around much these days as a form of digital media – they degrade, and we can download so quickly over the Internet now they’ve become obsolete.

Having your data on any form of removable media means that it’s vulnerable. It’s vulnerable to being stolen, to someone getting curious and picking it up. It’s vulnerable to being destroyed in a disaster like a fire. It’s vulnerable to one day, just not working anymore. The drive could be dropped, or it’s just too old and computers won’t read the media anymore.

Why is cloud based backup solutions better?

A cloud based backup solution is a better solution for many reasons:

  • Data is not stored onsite. If there is a disaster, data can be restored from the cloud. Even if the building burns up and everything is lost (hopefully no human lives), all of your company data is secure in the cloud. This could mean accounting data and your customer data which is critical in order to continue running your business.
  • Some cloud based backup solutions allow you to use cloud based technologies to get up and running faster. Say that your server stops working, or there is a disaster. Cloud based solutions allow you to “spin up” a server in the cloud, which can function as a temporary or even permanent replacement to allow you to continue working.
  • Cloud based solutions can allow you to access your company files from anywhere in the world, so you can be more mobile, as opposed to all of your files and infrastructure being on-premise and being less flexible, and less mobile.
  • Solutions are available that also allow you to restore to bare metal, or as a virtual machine. If you have lost the server, or you need to restore an entire computer, operating system or server, you can do a bare metal restore which will restore the entire operating system with the files and applications the same way it was setup before. This can save hours upon hours of time to reinstall everything and re-configure it the way it was before the problem happened.

 

MalwareBytes is a good program for Malware scanning

As the title reads, MalwareBytes is a good program to use for scanning for malware and adware on your computer. Over time, malware and adware can be picked up while browsing the Internet. If you are browsing questionable websites at times, it’s more likely that the computer will pickup little pieces of spyware here and there. Usually, the spyware and malware one finds while browsing online is not malicious, but it’s also possible that eventually some malicious malware like a trojan can be picked up.

Browser & Toolbar Hijacks

Some of the most common hijacks out there are browser hijacks and toolbars. Browser hijacks were more popular in earlier days of the Internet, you don’t see them as much now because less and less people use IE. For whatever reason, IE was always (and probably still is) susceptible to browser and toolbar hijacks. With more users switching over to browsers like Firefox and Chrome, more computer users are finding that having multiple browsers enables them to have some fallback measures should one browser wind up full of shall we say, junk.

Toolbars that are annoying you can usually be removed by looking for the “add-ons” area of most browsers. Try disabling unneeded add-ons. MalwareBytes may also pickup foreign toolbars as “PUPs,” or “potentially unwanted programs.” Feel free to remove them when they do.

CCleaner

Programs like CCleaner are also useful. CCleaner will help to remove “dead” files that aren’t really in use anymore, but still taking up space on your hard drive. CCleaner effectively runs a disk cleanup. However, Windows Disk Cleanup kind of sucks compared to CCleaner. Windows Disk Cleanup looks at temp files and dump files (basically data that is a log of what happened when windows had a problem). Windows Disk Cleanup overlooks browser cache though, cookies, etc.

Deleting cookies is a good idea too when you think you may be having a problem with a particular website cookie. It’s a good troubleshooting step in this regard. However, for the most part you typically don’t want to remove cookies unless there’s a particular reason for it, such as one listed above.

Long story short, CCleaner just finds more stuff that you can remove and free up more space.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg deserves whatever happens to him. Jail time?

Lately Facebook has been in the news over some bad PR. The story goes that Facebook helped Trump win the election. While this isn’t illegal or disallowed, the way in which Facebook has done this is in itself, illegal.

The story goes that Facebook, collecting data on millions of people, used that data for ill-gotten gains as it relates to the Trump campaign. While Facebook is blaming Cambridge Analytica as a scapegoat, anyone who follows the news and knows what Facebook is all about, knows that they are truly to blame for this.

So what exactly did Facebook do, that’s so despicable? Mainly, it’s taking fake news stories and targeting them at groups based on race, religion, and other factors. For example, in order for Trump to win the senior vote, Facebook would show seniors ads (fake news stories) meant to either discredit his competitor Hilary Clinton, or to swing votes over to Trump by other means.

Many argue that this same thing happened during the Obama campaign, but not to the extent at which it was facilitated during Trump’s campaign.

Facebook needs to keep taking hits like this to learn it’s lesson. Today, on March 20th, Facebook is said to have lost about 6 billion dollars due to stocks sliding downhill and negative PR. This moves Zuckerberg down from 4th richest person in the world to 5th richest person.

If you think, that’s really just a drop in the bucket for the Zuck, you’re right in that assumption. Facebook was said to be holding an all-employee meeting today, but Zuckerberg isn’t there. Go figure. Probably hiding from the music – bit of a lousy leader, isn’t he?

Zuckerberg's face

Let’s hope he winds up in jail, Facebook tanks and we can all stop using this production killer

Much to his chagrin, Zuckerberg has been requested to make an appearance at the U.K’s committee on digital, culture media and sport. Zuckerberg’s executives have told little white lies to that committee for quite some time. The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S has also started an investigation into whether Facebook has violated deals previously made to ensure that user’s consent is given when sharing their personal information.

Long story short, Zuckerberg and his company have way too much information on billions of people and whatever lies they tell about that information not being distributed to third parties is all baloney. Everyone knows for the most part that Facebook is a cesspool of data thieves and data miners. Facebook does not make a positive impact on the human race.