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Malware – 2016 Rio Olympics will be a key theme to bait users

Already “fake Olympic 2016 tickets” and other spammed items are now circulating. Major world events like this, offer the proverbial cheese in the mousetrap for “click happy” users.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3098187/security/hackers-are-targeting-the-rio-olympics-so-watch-out-for-these-cyberthreats.html

Hackers are targeting the Rio Olympics, so watch out for these cyberthreats. The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will attract more than just athletes and tourists this year. Hackers from across the world will also be on the prowl, trying to exploit the international event.  That means visitors to the Olympics and even people watching from home should be careful. Cyberthreats related to the games will probably escalate over the coming weeks and could creep into your inbox or the websites you visit.

During past major sporting events, hackers have come up with fake ticketing and betting services to commit fraud on unsuspecting users. They’ll also use phishing emails and social media posts to spread malware.  Computer users will see these messages and links, expecting to view a video on a record-breaking Javelin throw or a bargain on great seats to the event. But in reality, they’ll end up downloading ransomware that can take their data hostage, Kapuria warned.

Leadership – How to bounce back from setbacks

John Maxwell shares an excellent leadership article related to value of sacrifice in making tough decisions

http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/bounce-back-from-your-setback

Do you know any rubber-band people? — They’re the people who, no matter what happens to them, always seem to bounce back. They may experience an illness, a family tragedy, or a run of bad luck, but it never seems to keep them down. Life can stretch them to their breaking point, but – like a rubber band – they always find a way back to their original shape.

Would you like to know their secret? — Resilience is the ability of an object to return to form after it’s been bent, stretched or compressed. People can have resilience too. In fact, I’ve been in leadership a long time, and of all the traits I’ve learned as a leader, perhaps none has been as useful to me as resilience. The ability to bounce back from a setback often makes the difference between losing and winning. As the saying goes, you only lose if you quit!

1. Fail Forward — There is no setback so severe that you cannot recover in some way, but it takes a certain mindset to make that recovery possible. I speak often of failing forward—learning from mistakes in order to become better. You cannot let your setbacks defeat you.

2. Commit to Growth — This is a natural outcome of choosing to fail forward. When you start looking for lessons, you set yourself on a path for personal growth. As you learn about yourself in your struggles, you also learn about the people around you. You begin to reflect on what you want from life, and what it would cost to get you there.

3. Recognize the Value of Adding Value — I have long quoted Zig Ziglar, who said, “If you’ll help others get what they want, they’ll help you get what you want.”  Let the value you’ve given to others return to you and help you through your dark hours. You’ll emerge stronger – and more committed to adding value to others in the future.

4. Find Strength Beyond Yourself — Life has no shortage of difficulties, but the good news is that no matter how difficult things may get, you can bounce back. That’s the beauty of resilience. No matter how many setbacks you’ve faced in your life, it’s never too late to cultivate resilience. You too can grow to become a “rubber-band person,” someone who bounces back from setbacks every time.

Hardware – Seagate 10TB Barracuda Pro

Seagate is introducing the world’s largest hard drive designed for consumers for around $540 as described below

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3096292/storage/seagates-10tb-barracuda-pro-is-the-worlds-largest-consumer-hard-drive.html

Got a thirst for more storage on your PC? Seagate has heard you and Tuesday morning introduced the world’s largest capacity consumer hard drive for desktop users. The 10TB Barracuda Pro doesn’t play just the capacity card though. Seagate also aimed to make it a high-performance hard drive, fitting it with a massive 256MB of cache. The drive also spins along at 7,200rpm rather than the typical, lower-cost 5,400rpm large drives.

Of course, “performance hard drive” may sound like an oxymoron in this age of SSDs that can easily hit 1.5GBps read speeds, but all things considered, the 3.5-inch Barracuda Pro is still fairly peppy, with rated a 220MBps sustained transfer rate. Well, for a hard drive anyway.

The Barracuda Pro uses Conventional Magnetic Recording and doesn’t resort to sealing the drive and filling it with helium or exotic magnetic technology to achieve its high capacity. The operative word in all of this is “consumer,” as 10TB hard drives for enterprise have been around for some time. Western Digital’s HGST began shipping a 10TB helium-filled model in late 2015. Seagate followed suit with its own 10TB helium-filled drive this January. The new 10TB Barracuda Pro has a list price of $534.99, which means street pricing should  be considerably lower than an enterprise 10TB drive.

Leadership – Tough decision-making creates personal growth

John Maxwell shares an excellent leadership article related to value of sacrifice in making tough decisions

http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/the-power-of-sacrifice

Everything worthwhile is uphill. I’ve been saying this for a while now, but the more I think about it, the more I know it’s true. Whether you’re talking about personal growth, personal health, business or some other aspect of life, nothing of value is easy. The precious things in life require something in exchange.  Leaders are well aware of the need to sacrifice. The decisions leaders face almost always include some measure of giving up something in order to gain something; for leaders, life is always a set of scales that need balancing. One of the easiest places to see this principle at work is parenting.

As leaders in businesses and organizations, we are called to make tough choices on behalf of our people. Sometimes the sacrifices are obvious and simple. You let go of a little money to gain a better product. You promote a fantastic worker because they’ll make an even better leader. You release a great employee to go and chase their dream.  Sometimes the sacrifices are harder and more draining. You have to cut the budget in order to keep the company afloat. You have to admit your organization made a mistake in production. Or, even harder, you have to admit that you made a bad choice as a leader and cost the company millions.

Windows 10 – Final WIN7 and WIN8 free WGX upgrade notification

For WIN7 and WIN8 users, the final version for the FREE Windows 10 upgrade notification invitation has been released to remind users of the July 29th deadline. 

http://www.infoworld.com/article/3097521/microsoft-windows/last-gasp-microsoft-updates-get-windows-10-nagster-kb-3035583-yet-again.html

With nine days to go, Microsoft really, really wants you to claim your free upgrade to Windows 10. Come to think of it, Microsoft has really, really wanted you to upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC to Windows 10 for more than a year, and backed it with the GWX subsystem — first installed by KB 3035583 in March 2015, 15 months ago.

Now the flirtation includes a yellow exclamation for an icon in the system tray, a popup with a hamburger icon, and a countdown clock that tells you that there’s just 9 days 7 hours 16 minutes and 77 seconds left. You’re given the options of “Decline free offer” and “Upgrade now.” If you decide to upgrade now, you’ll get the old Windows 10.1, version 1511, released last November, build 10586. You will have 31 days to roll back to your original operating system.

Facebook – Messenger reaches One Billion users milestone

Over one billion users registered to any software facility is a rare accomplishment

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/07/20/facebook-messenger-has-1-billion-users/87319582/

SAN FRANCISCO — Messenger, Facebook’s homegrown messaging app, has joined the 1 billion users club, achieving what is still a rare feat in the technology world.  But they are increasingly in favor of Facebook, which now has three apps with more than 1 billion monthly active users; and Google, which has seven, most recently Gmail.  Facebook and Google, as today’s dominant digital companies with reach around the world, have the best shot at crossing the 1-billion-users threshold. Still, they must create the kinds of experiences that consumers crave.   “Facebook and Google are running the show when it comes to making mobile apps that people want to download,” says eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “What they offer are apps that you want to use again and again and, quite frankly, that you need to use again and again. Very few apps can offer that.”

Malware – History of Ransomware 2005-2016

This 22 slide presentation shares a historical recap of developments through the years.  This threat took off significantly during 2013 with the advent of Cryptolocker

http://www.networkworld.com/article/3097534/malware-cybercrime/the-history-of-ransomware.html

Ransomware has been the most pervasive cyber threat since 2005. According to publicly available information, ransomware infections have outnumbered data breaches 7,694 to 6,013 over the past 11 years.  Over the years there have been two distinct varieties of ransomware which remain consistent: crypto and locker based.  Crypto-ransomware is ransomware variants that actually encrypt files and folders, hard drives, etc. Whereas Locker-ransomware only locks users out of their devices, most often seen with Android based ransomware.

New-age ransomware involves a combination of advanced distribution efforts such as pre-built infrastructures used to easily and widely distribute new strains as well as advanced development techniques such as using crypters to ensure reverse-engineering is extremely difficult. Additionally, the use of offline encryption methods are becoming popular in which ransomware takes advantage of legitimate system features such as Microsoft’s CryptoAPI, eliminating the need for Command and Control (C2) communications.

Windows 10 – Automatic Security update advanced tuning options

In most cases, it is beneficial always let Windows Update automatically install and keep operating system as up-to-date as possible with security patches. Below are a couple of additional options for corporate and home wireless users to help tune this process further as needed: 

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3085136/windows/two-ways-to-control-or-stop-windows-10-updates.html

An up-to-date PC is less vulnerable to attack, so automatic updates are generally a good thing. But sometimes an update will make things worse, rendering a PC problematic or even unusable until the problem is solved.  That’s why some people prefer to hold off on an update until other people have tried it without disaster. But this requires you to take time out of your day to keep up on the news about Windows updates (a Google News alert can help). And if you’re using Windows 10, you’ve got another problem. It won’t let you turn off automatic updates. Luckily, there are two workarounds.

CORPORATE WINDOWS 10 – Change the Group Policy

If you have a Professional, Enterprise, or Education edition of Windows 10, you can turn off automatic updates. But the option is hidden.

1. Press Win-R, type gpedit.msc, press Enter. This brings up the Local Group Policy Editor.
2. Navigate the left pane as if it were File Explorer, to
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update.
3. Find and double-click Configure Automatic Updates

HOME WINDOWS 10 – Metered network trick delays updates

If you’ve got the plain old Home version of Windows 10, you can stop automatic update. But there’s a more serious caveat. It only works with a Wi-Fi network. Ethernet need not apply.  The trick is to tell Windows that you have a metered connection to the Internet—one that can only download so many bits per month without increasing your ISP bill. To tell Windows that you have a metered connection:

1. Select Start > Settings > Network & Internet.
2. The Wi-Fi tab should already be selected in the left pane. In the right, main pane, select Advanced options.
3. Turn on Metered connection.

Microsoft Stream – New video service for enterprise

The new Microsoft Stream service is designed to let users upload and share videos securely within a corporate setting.  It has just been released in beta mode and works with the cloud-based Azure Media Services

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3096782/microsofts-new-service-is-like-youtube-for-the-enterprise.html

It’s called Stream, and it’s supposed to let people easily work together with one another on videos, and then share that content both inside and outside their company.  In the realm of consumer web services, video is ascending. Facebook has been emphasizing video posts on its popular social network, while YouTube is still going strong. Microsoft is trying to take some of that mojo and bring it to the business world with the launch of an open beta for Stream on Monday.

Stream allows users to log in to a video portal that lets them see all of the videos that are shared with them, and do things like subscribe to channels, search for subject matter they want to explore, and follow co-workers whose videos they want to see.  People who create videos can upload footage to the service by dragging and dropping files from their computers. Stream will handle the processing and let people add titles, descriptions, and even a caption file so that hearing-impaired viewers can read along with what’s being said.

The service also has the ability to set sharing permissions that can let anyone in an organization view a video, or lock it down to just a small group of people. That way, it’s possible for users to get feedback on a video from a small group before pushing it out to the wider company.  It’s all powered by Azure Media Services, a cloud-based video streaming system that Microsoft has been building up to host a variety of products including public cloud video encoding services used for the Olympics and Skype Meeting Broadcast, a service that lets Skype for Business customers send out a video feed to thousands of viewers.

Microsoft Xbox – New S model available in August 2016

The “S” model is a  more compact version of the Xbox One and will debut on August 2, 2016

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3096610/consumer-electronics/microsofts-slimmed-down-xbox-one-s-launches-august-2.html

Microsoft’s new slimmed-down version of the Xbox One will hit the streets on August 2, the company announced today, in a launch that coincides with the release of the big Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Unlike the  powerful Project Scorpio console  slated for holiday 2017, the Xbox One S largely features the same basic technical capabilities as the original Xbox One, but in a package that’s 40 percent slimmer than the original. It’s not completely identical, though. The Xbox One S integrates the console’s power supply, adds an IR blaster, and includes support for 4K and high dynamic range video. Games won’t be playable at 4K resolution, however—though  Play Anywhere games  that work on both the Xbox One and Windows PCs will start rolling out in September.