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iOS flaws that hijack iPhones patched by Apple

People believe that iPhones are secure, however new reports out today have Apple scrambling to fix vulnerabilities that are actively being exploited.

There are three flaws that have come out, and all are known as 0-day (zero day). These flaws were previously unknown and based on what some users are saying has been in use for years. At least from 2014.

The flaws allow the attacker (or government in this case) to take over a victim’s phone when they click on a link in a text message. This description of the flaw is according to Lookout a cybersecurity firm that looks for security holes in mobile products, and Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

“This is the most sophisticated bad actor we have ever seen targeting mobile phones out in the wild,” said Mike Murray, vice president of security research at Lookout.

The Spyware was discovered when pro-democracy activist Ahmed Mansoor received two text messages promising “secrets” about prisoners tortured in United Arab Emirates jails. He was immediately suspicious as he has been the target of Malware before and has been jailed for activism before. The past incidents of Malware have been traced back to the UAE government by security researchers.

Apple has since released a new version of iOS that fixes the flaw and is encouraging all users to update to the latest version as soon as possible. Fortunately this should protect users from this immediate threat as Apple’s devices are update more regularly than Android.

The ideal home networking environment

The typical home will have a router provided by the ISP with its own wireless network. That was fine a few years ago, however, going forward it is unlikely that will suffice for the typical family. Now a family of four could have as many as 20 devices on the network, requiring coverage all over the house. This is why it is important to get a network set up correctly with future growth in mind. Here are the components of an ideal home network:

Router

The first point to upgrade would be the router. Internet connection speeds get faster every year, some exceed 100Mbps, which means you will need a router that is capable of gigabit speeds. Also, new routers provide additional features like segmentation, parental controls, etc.

Wireless access

There is no point in buying range extenders and wireless bridge devices. The best devices to get now are mesh-capable wireless devices like Google Wi-Fi or EERO. These units talk to each other and provide best in class performance for homes.

Ethernet

Network attached storage devices, and streaming players work best when connected to a wired network. The best way to do this is to get a router with multiple ports and connect these devices directly. If it is possible, run a cable from the router to a gigabit network switch and connect all devices with physical network ports directly.

Cameras

There are affordable home security cameras that connect and use the wireless network. The problem is that several of these cameras can use up most of the available wireless network bandwidth. Get around this by setting up a separate network only for cameras. This will also provide additional security.

How to Improve Circulation for Overheating Command Centers

Summary: Good circulation is a necessity in every command center.

Command centers require an immense amount of power. With a variety of high-tech equipment like your network operations center video wall stored within each center, there needs to be a significant amount of cooling to create a comfortable balance. This guide will walk you through some ways that you can improve the overall circulation in your command center.

Be Careful Using Standard A/C Units

As you already know, command centers must be performing at peak efficiency 24/7. If an emergency were to occur and a computer was malfunctioning because of excessive dust, severe issues could arise. Your standard A/C units may supply significant cooling to a spot, but it can also spew out clouds of dust if not cleaned properly. An alternative would be to purchase an HVAC unit that comes with disposable filters. You’ll want to clean these on a monthly basis.

Install Water Cooling

Computers tend to run hot when they start overclocking and working themselves beyond their capacity. If your command center utilizes software and programs that are demanding, you might want to integrate water cooling within each computer instead of your standard fan. The latter tends to blow out dust and can create an environment that’s filled with dust particles. Water cooling on the other hand provides less dust output and keeps the entire computer cool and at safe temperatures.

Relocate Equipment

Another option you can take advantage of is relocating certain equipment to a sealed off area. Not only will this provide more room for your operators, but it can also reduce the amount of heat and dust coming out from each computer. Be sure to consult with a professional A/V integrator beforehand like ConstantTech.com to ensure everything can be moved safely without causing any interruptions.

Use Google’s Pixel camera software on other phones

When reviews of Google’s Pixel phone came out, the camera was the highlight of the phone. In fact, it was a testament to the work Google had put in that photos from the camera were talked about in the same ballpark as the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7. Most smartphones use the same Sony image sensor, in other words, what makes one camera better than the other is the software. The Google Pixel camera app was special, and now it works on other phones.

What you get is not an official version of the app. A Ukranian developer has ported the app so that it works on other Android phones with the Snapdragon 820/821 or 835 processors. One of the staff at XDA Developers ran the app on LG G6, a OnePlus 3, a OnePlus 3T, a OnePlus 5, and a Samsung Galaxy S8 without any issue.

What makes the Pixel Camera app special is the HDR+ image processing that produces great images in even low-light conditions. The app uses the Hexagon digital signal processor to take a continuous stream of images from the time the app opens. When you take a shot, all the app does is mark the time, and use the images to build the best possible HDR image.

Please remember that the app probably includes optimizations for the specific hardware in the Pixel and will probably not produce images as good as the Pixel.

Medium and Large-Scale Network Monitoring Efforts Are Scaling Upwards

Summary: Network Operations Centers are bridging the gap between network security and scalability.

 

A Network Operations Center (NOC) plays a crucial role for any medium or large-scale network monitoring effort. Within the center, your staff will monitor and respond to any problems with the network. The NOC will also form a link between the detection of a network problem as well as implementing a solution – typically by sending a technician to the remote site.

 

Some companies are in a transitional phase of growth, meaning they are not open every 24/7. Additionally, their network is vast enough to have a NOC center constructed, but can’t justify the expense of staffing it outside of business hours. In this case, many companies will utilize after-hours notifications that email or call the technician in the case of a misnomer or other error that appears.

 

Within the NOC, control center consoles are outfitted to work alongside the central master console. This console essentially accepts inputs from thousands of remote devices that are in your network.

 

Alarm Remotes

 

Alarm remotes are special monitoring devices that are designed to collect alarms from contact closures and sensors, which will send the signal back to the NOC. Note that a single alarm remote can cover dozens of remote devices, depending on the alarms that they each put out. It’s important to remember as you develop and upgrade your NOC, it’s important that you avoid several common pitfalls that will negatively impact the overall performance of your center as well. This can be countered by opting for a integrator such as Constant Technologies Inc. that can provide a custom-built center that’s perfect for any solution.

The problems with Cryptocurrency

The blockchain, cryptocurrency, and token platforms rival machine learning and artificial intelligence as the biggest new tech trends set to disrupt existing industries. In just a few short years, there are hundreds of crypto tokes, with a combined market value in the billions of dollars. However, there are still a few issues that these platforms need to address before they can become mainstream:

Volatility

The biggest issue with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is the volatility. Financial instruments don’t exhibit the sort of volatility we see from these virtual currencies. Often, the value can rise and fall in hours by staggering amounts. Once Bitcoin and other currencies achieve a level of stability that hovers around one and two percent annually, we will see the potential for wider adoption.

Security

What makes Bitcoin popular is also its greatest threat. The blockchain is akin to a public ledger that nodes on the network verify. However, the problem is that users can add certain bits of information to the transactions and blocks anonymously. What happens when the content is controversial or illegal? Everyone who has a copy of the blockchain, in theory, is in legal trouble.

Anonymity

Bitcoin is popular because of its pseudo-anonymity. There are tokens which are completely private that will probably not see wide adoption due to the potential for criminal and illegal uses. For a token to succeed in the wider space, it cannot be with anonymity, as governments and authorities will not allow such a situation to exist.

 

How do you mine a cryptocurrency?

Even though it is getting harder and harder, people are still mining Bitcoin and other Altcoins, hoping to benefit if and when the value of Bitcoin goes back to pre-crash levels. For those new to the process, mining is where you use your computer or graphics card to perform complex calculations for the cryptocurrency network and get paid in that currency.

There are two ways you can mine, with a CPU or a GPU. The CPU is the processor in your computer, and a GPU is a high-end version of the card that drives the display on your computer. Nowadays, GPU mining is much faster and more productive then mining with a CPU. Also, dedicated miners buy multiple expensive GPU’s and build mining rigs.

You cannot mine all currencies with a CPU, some are too complex and require a GPU for any economic benefit. Mining with both CPU’s and GPU is very power intensive affair and requires a lot of electricity. In locations where electricity is expensive, it is not economical to mine.

If you have a powerful computer that is idle most of the day and electricity is cheap, you can easily start mining the most profitable currency available. If a currency is old and has seen a lot of mining, the difficulty increases, making it harder, and longer to gain any benefit from mining. Having said that, even for the sake of experimentation, you can choose a currency, create a wallet, and mine a few coins.

Understanding the “Levels” of NOC Technicians

Summary: Technicians are often categorised based on their skill, experience, and role they play within the organization.

Within every command center lies a team of skilled technicians that are tasked with keeping the organization’s network healthy and running up to speed. Now, because of the time sensitivity factor that plays a large role in how much down time there is between network “hiccups”, each technician must play his or her role in attributing to the overall defense of the network itself.

“Levels”

NOC technicians are categorized based on levels. Each level indicates a certain type of expertise and problem-solving ability that the technician can bring to the table. For example, if there is a hardware failure, and alert may be assigned to a Level 1 technician. He might do some basic diagnosis and reports to the more experienced technicians but ultimately he’s limited to a certain level of authority over the issue.

Upon further inspection, if the alert is more serious than hardware failure, the problem will be address by a Level 2 or Level 3 technician instead. Each technician plays a role in addressing, diagnosing, and fixing the problem at hand. Whomever is assigned to a certain station, and also depending on the amount of experience this individual has, must have a specific level of training so everything can run smoothly. Think of it like clockwork.

NOC Capabilities

Technicians are tasked with continuously searching for any anomalous activities while making adjustments on the go in order to keep the network free and healthy from any malicious attacks. Keep in mind that the capabilities of a NOC go far beyond simple tasks such as diagnosing attacks and fixing them. Some other capabilities include: policy enforcement, patch management, storage management, email management services, and more.

Blog submitted by Constant Technologies, Inc.: For custom control room furniture designed to fit any NOC or command center, visit Constant Technologies, Inc.


 

How to deal with the KRACK Wifi vulnerability

There is a severe flaw in the encryption security protocols in use by wireless networks that could let attackers hijack traffic, inject malware, and even steal passwords. The flaw, known as KRACK, for Key Reinstallation Attack affects every computing platform publicly available today: Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android.

The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks,” Vanhoef wrote on the “official” Krack attack site. “To prevent the attack, users must update affected products as soon as security updates become available. Note that if your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected.”

The good news is that the attack does not work over the internet. The attacker or malicious actor needs to be within the range of the wireless network. This means airports, hotels, and other public wireless networks become extremely high-risk areas for dealing with important or sensitive data.

What do you do?

The first step is to ensure that your home wireless equipment, phones, and computers are running up-to-date software to minimise the risk of an attack. Once you have updates in place, then you’re free to use wireless anywhere. Unfortunately, you will need to avoid using most free and public wireless networks to remain secure until you do patch your client devices.

Android uses encryption to transfer data there is not much danger in using an Android device, even on unpatched networks. So for example, even if someone hijacks the session of your Android device on the wireless network, the traffic from your phone to Google’s servers will be encrypted.

 

Best Practices Sound for Band Directors

Being a great band director is a lot of hard work and practice. It takes dedication to get your students to sound great, and it’s not easy getting that organization together in order to put on a show. Band is highly coordinated, and it requires extreme discipline, especially when travelling around the country. Here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Portable Equipment

You’ll be doing some travel, and your school might have assigned you a vehicle or a budget for this purpose. Make sure the equipment you have to cart around is portable, and fits neatly where it needs to go. Include at least one bag for each student in your ensemble. Portable equipment, like a Bogen amplifier, is essential when you have to travel across state lines, or even just a few miles. It also helps make unloading a breeze.

Set Goals

Set specific goals that measure up to the talent you have to deal with. Make sure that you have some challenges along the way so students stay motivated, but managing expectations and placing the right goals can be important for growth. Not everyone can compete at the top level, but but many can be pushed to persevere and do their best.

Remember the Kids

Being a band director is a rewarding job because you get to spend time doing the music you love with the kids you care about. Try and keep that in mind as you travel to various competitions, and let the stressors roll off of you.

Article submitted by CAM Electronics. CAM Electronics offers the best in quality AV systems for professional use. Contact CAM Electronics to learn more about amplifiers, and other ways to enhance your professional audio system.