Your 2018 New Year’s TECH Resolutions!

Say goodbye to 2017 and make some changes to protect your Technology

As with all New Year’s Resolutions- my advice is not to make them SO insurmountable that you set yourself up for failure. On the flip side, don’t make them so easy that they do nothing for you, or that you feel no sense of accomplishment.

1. ORGANIZE!

That being said, my number one Resolution is to Organize. Now this is an incredibly broad word and in its entirety, is way easier said than done. My point here is just focus on ONE part of your life. Your desk, your bedroom, your kitchen. Likewise, maybe just your EMAIL, your to-do list, your daily routine, etc.

My focus here is related to a conversation I had with a friend last night. They were searching everywhere for their medical card (NOT a Medical marijuana one). I asked them if they use Dropbox. She said “yes, it’s great for all my pictures!” I used to do that too. It is so one dimensional though that I was missing the point. When I came to LA Creative Technologies I found a big EMPTY file cabinet. I asked Josh where all his important documents were- like the one I had at my last business that overflowed with papers and junk and mismatched files?

He said- “they’re all in the cloud”. Assuming that he didn’t just throw them all in a bonfire I asked questions and found that he kept scanned copies of EVERYTHING- contracts, tax returns, legal documents, leases, warranties, etc. etc. in a cloud application like Drop Box. Anywhere we go in the world we simply sign in to that app, search for the folder (or even the name of the document, like “copy of Driver’s license”) and Viola! there it is!

So, guess what? No more frantic searching for documents or ID cards that you need once a year and can never remember the “clever” spot you put them in! Try this and you will NEVER look back! AND you will never look for those documents either!

2. UPDATE your software!

Some of the most damaging Cyber-attacks in 2017 involved Ransomware.  In May, the ransomware known as WannaCry affected more than 200,000 Windows computers in 150 countries. Security experts believe the malware spread through machines by getting people to download it via email.

This is the incredible part: Microsoft had already released a security update that would have prevented the WannaCry malware from infecting machines. But the hacked computers were behind on downloading the updates. This episode was an important reminder that keeping your software up to date is crucial.

3. Read Privacy Policies

Amid Uber’s laundry list of scandals, which included sexual harassment accusations and an undisclosed security breach, there was an important revelation that everyone can learn from. It involved Unroll.me, a free service that unsubscribes you from junk mail.

To gather intelligence about its competition, Uber bought information about its main rival, Lyft, from Unroll.me. How did Uber do that, exactly? Unroll.me scanned the contents of its users’ inboxes and sold anonymized data, information that did not have individuals’ names attached to it — in this case, emailed Lyft receipts — to Uber.

You may be shocked to learn about Unroll.me’s business model. But the truth was always there in the fine print: the company’s privacy policy clearly stated that “we may collect, use, transfer, sell and disclose non-personal information for any purpose” and that data can be used “to build anonymous market research products and services.” Still, people were understandably outraged by the misleading nature of Unroll.me. A company that promised to rid you of spam mail scanned your inbox and sold information about you to other companies, including marketers.

So, make it a habit to read a company’s privacy policy. As boring as it sounds, a bit of reading will go a long way.

4. Delete Unnecessary Apps

The Unroll.me episode also raised awareness of the sheer number of third-party apps that may be leeching off your personal information. There are probably apps and web services you don’t remember downloading or subscribing to, and they could still have access to your data.

THIS year do an audit on your third-party apps. On your smartphone, delete apps that you have not touched in several months. For a clean break, in some cases you will also have to visit the company’s website and request that your account be deleted entirely.

Also check your primary online accounts, like Facebook, Twitter or Google, to see which apps are hooked into them. Chances are you have used those accounts to quickly sign up for a web tool or app. The ones you never use may still be leeching off your personal data, so you should disable them.

On Facebook, go to the settings page and click on the Apps tab to see which apps are connected to the account. On your Google account page, you can find a similar apps list labeled “Connected apps & sites.” And on Twitter, go to the Apps page under “Settings and privacy.”

5. Use a VPN

In April, Congress voted to overturn privacy rules that would have made it more difficult for broadband providers like Comcast and Charter to track and sell information about your browsing history to advertisers. The stronger privacy rules never went into effect, meaning nothing changed. But the privacy repeal underlined the sheer magnitude of data that internet service providers can collect and share about you. Subscribing to a virtual private network, or VPN, is a meaningful safeguard for your online privacy.

When you browse the web, a broadband provider helps route your device’s internet traffic to each destination website. Every device you use has an identifier consisting of a string of numbers, also known as an IP address. When you are on the internet, a service provider can see which devices you use and which sites you visit. You must realize that this information is used extensively in marketing and advertising to YOU among other things.

VPNs help cloak your browsing information from your internet provider. When you use VPN software, your device connects to a VPN provider’s servers. That way, all your web traffic passes through the VPN provider’s internet connection. So, if your internet provider was trying to listen in on your web traffic, all it would see is the VPN server’s IP address connected to the VPN service.

VPNs have their drawbacks. They often slow down internet speeds significantly, and some apps or services don’t work properly when you are connected to a VPN. I also wasn’t able to buy my 5th Groupon in a row during a sale because they found I was using a VPN from a different state (we’ll leave that story for another time…). But everybody can benefit from using a private network, especially in certain situations, like connecting to an open Wi-Fi network at a cafe or an airport.

BONUS Resolution!

For the love of Pete (Or any other person or Deity you choose), get a case and screen protector for your phone!! Just because you got it FREE or only $199 (with an MSRP of $999) after agreeing to pay $30 extra dollars a month, DOES’NT mean that it will be free again when you drop it.

Newer phones are made more and more out of glass and are even more susceptible to damage. For someone who worked in the cell phone industry over 18 years, this author doesn’t leave the store without a case and screen protector in hand (or at least an order placed on Ebay/Amazon for one)

 

I hope these help you to enter 2018 more aware of Internet Technology and how it can and WILL improve your life. People say technology is doing damage in some ways to society, but I feel it’s all in the hands of the users. Literally. Let it IMPROVE your life, not take it over.  I wish you all a Wonderful, Happy and Healthy New Year!

See you in 2018.

 

Some of this information was quoted from New York Times writer Brian X. Chen’s article “5 New Year’s Resolutions to protect your Technology”

 

Apple Mistake! You can log into macOS High Sierra as root with NO password

 

A simple-to-exploit flaw in macOS High Sierra, aka macOS 10.13, allows users to gain admin rights, or log in as root, without a password.

The security bug is triggered via the authentication dialog box in Apple’s operating system, which prompts you for an administrator’s username and password when you need to do stuff like configure privacy and network settings.

If you type in “root” as the username, leave the password box blank, hit “enter” and then click on unlock a few times, the prompt disappears and, congrats, you now have admin rights. You can do this from the user login screen.

The vulnerability effectively allows someone with physical access to the machine to log in, cause extra mischief, install malware, and so on. You should not leave your vulnerable Mac unattended until you can fix the problem. And while obviously this situation is not the end of the world – it’s certainly far from a remote hole or a disk decryption technique – it’s just really, really sad to see megabucks Apple drop the ball like this.

Developer Lemi Orhan Ergan alerted the world to the flaw via Twitter in the past hour or so:

Dear @AppleSupport, we noticed a *HUGE* security issue at MacOS High Sierra. Anyone can login as “root” with empty password after clicking on login button several times. Are you aware of it @Apple?

You can access it via System Preferences>Users & Groups>Click the lock to make changes. Then use “root” with no password. And try it for several times. Result is unbelievable! pic.twitter.com/m11qrEvECs

View image on Twitter

It gets worse. You can use this programming blunder to disable FileVault…

But there is a workaround for now. If you have a root account enabled and a password for it set, the above blank password trick will not work. So, keep the account enabled and set a root password right now…

Everyone with a Mac needs to set a root password NOW.
As a user with admin access, type the following command from the Terminal.

sudo passwd -u root

Enter your password then a new password for the root user.
Anyone got a better fix?@SwiftOnSecurity @rotophonic@pwnallthethings

Netflix and Chill?

New Netflix branded scam to be aware of:

You got to be careful!

 

Heads-up! Bad guys are emailing you that your Netflix account has been suspended, and it looks just like the real thing. As usual, they are trying to get your login information and your credit card data.

Don’t fall for this scam! If you want to change the settings of any subscription services like this, never click on links in any email and just type the name of the site in your browser or use a bookmark that you set.

Whatever email about Netflix you see in the coming weeks… Think before you Click!

To learn even more about how to keep your office safe- Download our latest E-Book titled Cybersecurity Tips for Employees here:

Click E-book Below

How to Keep your DJ Library Safe for Ten Bucks Per Month

I’ve been through countless revisions of music backup routines as a D.J. who also happens to be the owner and head geek of an I.T. company. Read below to find out EXACTLY how I protect myself from losing my Serato and itunes libraries for less than the price of an import 12″

Going all the way back to “I’ll occasionally (translation: never) remember to plug in my backup drive and start a backup, to waiting forever for Time Machine backups to complete before finding out they were “corrupt” and had to be redone to….well, no backup at all for way-too-long stretches of time.

At this point I’ve settled on a couple truths about myself

  1. A backup will only be successful if it’s 100% automatic.
  2. It needs to be easy to to get this library back exactly as I have in the shortest possible time.
  3. I won’t store my library or my primary backup on an SD card or USB drive.
  4. My music needs to be accessible and browsable in the cloud, from anywhere
  5. The solution needs to support iTunes & Serato
  6. I hate Time Machine because it’s slow and buggy.
  7. I’ll only feel safe if my music is backed up in two different places: to the cloud, and also on another computer or network drive that I physically own.
  8. I need to be able to see what my entire collection looked like as a “snapshot” at any point previous point in time.

Awesomely enough, it’s not that hard or that expensive to build a solution that covers all of that — especially if you compare that labor & cost to the inevitable wild-eyed-crying-panic-attack you’ll have when you realize you left your hard drive on the train. or your dog pees on your laptop. or your computer boots up with a question mark and you realize your hard drive is fried. or whatever, I’m sure you’ve got some good stories…every music fan does.

I’m writing this post specifically for the Serato DJ’s I know, but this advice holds more or less true for almost any type of DJ or music fan who happens to be reading this post.

And remember, this is just the way I do it. There’s plenty of other articles from DJ sites (I even referenced some below) that talk about a pretty similar methods, but they won’t tell you EXACTLY how to use a Dropbox account and another always-on computer (or a cheap network drive) that will always have an update version (as well as point-in-time snapshots )of your entire music library.

  1. get a paid dropbox account via link: ($10/month. Or see Google drive or other perhaps cheaper / easier / more complicated / just do it the way I do)
  2. install dropbox on your computer
  3. determine the location of all things that need to be backup up (generally the user/music folder but instructions how to verify
  4. use http://www.zibity.com/macdropany.html to sync the Music folder (or whichever as from 3 above to get your library with.
  5. Leave your computer plugged in and powered on overnight — depending where you are in the world you might finish in a night (or it might take a few weeks if you’re in the bush somewhere) but most of your should be done within a few days — you’ll know when your music folder has a nice green checkmark on it.
  6. Now, your entire library is stored in Dropbox, safe and sound. You can browse the song files right on Dropbox, just like the files & folders are on your P.C. — which means any computer you download this to can become your new DJ library with minimal config required.
  7. Now for the fun part. Either find an spare laptop or computer with an external drive connected. Or even better, spend $500 and get a wifi-enabled network drive. And sign into Dropbox on that second device as well. Now, every time you make any change to your iTunes or Serato library, as long as you are connected to wifi those changes will upload to Dropbox, then immediately download to the onsite backup device which is sitting happily in your house while you frolic around the city or world or wherever in the world your music takes yoi.
  8. If you get a new computer, just log into Dropbox, Use macdroptoany to sync your music folder to the system location, and open up itunes / Serato and you’re good to go. Alternately, you can just copy/sync/clone the onsite backup directly onto an SD or USB or external drive or anywhere you need it to get yourself going again. and if you need to see point in time version of your library, can restore the folder from various points in time right out of dropbox (instructions link)

There, now  you’ve got a Disaster Recovery Plan for your D.J/Music life. Congratulation 🙂

 

References

What to buy for a cheap network drive setup

  • https://www.synology.com/en-us/products/DS116
  • Wireless Adapter: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=8076

About Google Backup & Sync, allows you to use Google Drive instead

alternative google, use backup & sync instead : https://www.blog.google/products/photos/introducing-backup-and-sync-google-photos-and-google-drive/

“Backup and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that backs up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos, so they’re no longer trapped on your computer and other devices. Just choose the folders you want to back up, and we’ll take care of the rest.”

Other post with videos etc

Backing Up Your Digital DJ Data

Business Cloud Solutions

With technology evolving at an alarming rate, businesses of all sizes are being forced to morph their technical infrastructure to meet expectations of their customers, clients, and employees.  In order to beat out the competition, it is clear that the most successful organizations across all industries are moving toward cloud solutions to enhance their business practices and provide the best services and products for their client base.  If you haven’t considered migrating some of your infrastructure to the cloud, there is a really good chance that you’re already falling behind your competition because you’re missing out on some of the most available lowest hanging fruit to improve your business.  Consider these three easy-to-implement cloud solutions to make your company more mobile and the most efficient that it can be:

  1. Data storage in the cloud is more reliable than those network attached storage systems that you’re utilizing today.  Should your internet network fail, a hard drive on the NAS die, or too many people are tapping in to the NAS at one time, you’re going to be dead in the water and the productivity loss is exponentially greater with each passing minute.  Cloud-based storage options are often cheaper than purchasing expensive network attached storage units and far more reliable since data centers are almost always replicated in the event of hardware failure, power outages, or bandwidth increases.
  2. Server administration. If your critical servers are being supported in an external environment, out in the cloud, you’re going to have that amazing replication power at an affordable rate.  Live replication will guarantee that your organization will continue to plus along in the event of some sort of failure that you don’t even know about because the 3rd party data center will handle the situation.  This will take a lot of stress off of your internal IT group.
  3. Disaster recovery systems. In the event of a serious natural disaster, wouldn’t it be nice to have all of the critical data and servers off-site?  You can be back up and running in the matter of minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.  In the event that you get slammed by some form of ransomware and you’re locked out of your own files, wouldn’t it be sweet if you could just live-restore from backups in seconds or minutes instead of having to take down some piece of the infrastructure to recover the data?  In some cases, using a cloud software for backups and utilizing the recovery attribute a single time will save enough downtime to pay for the service for 6 months in contrast to relying on in-house IT efforts.

Simply utilizing these three solutions will make your business the best it can be.  The benefits of the cloud don’t stop with those listed above.  We can help you take advantage of the new-age technology that is available to you and leverage it to make your business the best it can be.  After all… It’s a guarantee that your competition is.

Learn more about our cloud services, or give us a call at (323) 454-1312.