23 Nov 2016

November 2016 – New Domain name email SCAM! – How do I protect myself from data breaches?

We’ve brought this edition to you mid month due to a new scam that has just started hitting email boxes in Australia today..

New scam: Domain Abuse Notice: from DomainCop.net

Today we received the first of many random domain name abuse emails targeting owners of domain names stating that your domain name has been blacklisted due to spam/spreading malware.

The Exact email reads (links and domain name have been removed):

Dear Domain Owner,

Our system has detected that your domain: is being used for spamming and spreading malware recently.
You can download the detailed abuse report of your domain along with date/time of incidents. (Click Here)

We have also provided detailed instruction on how to delist your domain from our blacklisting.

Please download the report immediately and take proper action within 24 hours otherwise your domain will be suspended permanently.

There is also possibility of legal action depend on severity and persistence of your abuse case.

Three Simple Steps:
1. Download your abuse report.
2. Check your domain abuse incidents along with date and time.
3. Take few simple steps for prevention and to avoid domain suspension.

(Click here to download your report)

Best Regards,
Domain Abuse Admin
DomainCop Inc.
Tel.: (139) 729-41-97

Please DO NOT click these links, this is a scam, and likely will infect your machine and your network.

Simply delete the email.

As this is a new Zero day scam, a lot of AV and spam filters are still not picking this up, so please be alert.

Security and Data Breaches

Over the last month, we’ve heard of even more data breaches.

The personal data of 550,000 blood donors that includes information about “at-risk sexual behaviour” has been leaked from the Red Cross Blood Service in what has been described as Australia’s largest security breach.

We all remember the headlines Ashley Madison had their userbase hacked in July 2015, but did you hear of the hack on the Adult Friend finder/Penthouse sites in October this year?

Surprisingly it didn’t made national headlines, but has exposed over 412Million user accounts and is being touted as the largest data breach EVER recorded surpassing the 2013 hack on myspace which ‘only’ exposed 359Million accounts!

So, what can we do to protect ourselves from data hacks?

Password security and different passwords for every site is the first thing, but I hear you..

‘ I cant remember all those passwords’.

It’s a problem, but companies like ‘lastpass’ ‘keePass’, ‘True Key’ etc are all offering secure password storage with two factor authentication meaning even if they get hacked your passwords are secure due to double encryption and you holding the only decryption key.

Until Next month REMAIN VIGILANT!

09 Aug 2016

August 2016 – Windows10 Anniversary, 5G announcement and more!

Wow! what a busy start to the financial year it’s been!

In case you’ve been asleep….. Interest rates have been dropped again to an all-time low, Microsoft have ceased offering Free Windows 10 upgrades, but released their ‘anniversary update for Windows 10 (more on that in a second), Pokemon Go was released, the Hillary and Trump show gains momentum, Spam and Scams are getting more prolific and the Olympics have begun. Phew!

As well as all this excitement EtheTech have launched our new replacement automated Ticketing and CRM management tool after months and months of preparation and configuration.

The new system allows you to log and manage your own tickets from within our system and get live updates and job status reports directly with our techs and team leaders.

To check the new system out and log / review new tickets simply browse to http://bit.ly/2aBLo3G

 

As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft’s general release Free edition of Windows 10 has now ended, however users with any sort of assistive technology requirement (spoken prompts, text to speech, magnify text etc) are able to download the Windows 10 Upgrade (in its normal form) still for free by visiting:

http://bit.ly/2aqaoey

There is no slated end date for this upgrade. So theoretically, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free using this link.

Microsoft also released their anniversary update for Windows 10. Another 3.5gb download though is proving to be a problem for a lot of users, especially those who rely on mobile tethering for their internet.

Notwithstanding the size of the download, a LOT of users are experiencing problems with their machines after installing the anniversary update, and if you haven’t already enabled system restores (which are OFF by default in Windows 10) turn them on and create a restore point before updating.

Once you have this anniversary update though, you really want to turn on the ‘Updates from more than one place’. This is like a localised WSUS system that allows your PC’s on your network to ‘share’ windows updates between themselves instead of each machine having to download the 3.5Gb anniversary update as well as every other update on each machine.

For all of you still frustrated with no NBN and with ADSL service speeds deteriorating country wide, never fear! Telstra is preparing their 5G network for trial in September 2016! Remember we spoke about this many months ago, and now its becoming a reality with boasted speeds anywhere from 1.41Gbps up to 20Gbps (Yes, you read correctly..  20Gig download not Meg!)

So the question remains.. why bother with NBN at all?

Anyway, another month beckons, so we must away!

As always, if you have any questions or queries on anything you’ve read, or want us to discuss, drop up a line or call 1300-ETHERTECH!

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04 May 2016

May 2016 – How can I make my PC run faster ?

Welcome to another month of Boffin!

Well the election budget has dropped, and is good news for small business with the definition for a small business increasing from 2million dollars of annual turnover to 10million dollars.

The Budget is also proclaiming to come down hard on overseas companies who pay little tax in Australia. Google has already restructured its business to reflect the revenue it generates in Australia effective Jan1 2016, after it was accused of not paying enough tax.

Hopefully other organisations will now follow suit!

As always though, the devil will be in the detail, which we’ll wait to see what unfolds.

In IT news though, this week Gumtree Australia announced that a data breach has allowed hackers to steal all email addresses / contact names and phone numbers, and are advising all customers to be wary of fake emails that utilise this information in order to trick Gumtree customers. As always, be weary of all E-mail you receive.

Here at EtherTech we get asked all the time ..

“How much memory do I need in my PC?, and how can I make it run faster?”

Most PC’s these days generally come with 4GB of RAM, a mid-range PC comes with 8GB and a high end gaming machine 16GB or more.

But do you need this much memory?

Memory is definitely a LOT cheaper today than it was in the past, but adding more memory to your PC will not make the machine significantly faster, as it’s the actual Processor in the machine that determines how fast it can execute code. Additional memory will allow you to run ‘more instances’ or programs concurrently, and avoid swapping from memory to disk (which is slow and wears hard disks out quicker).

In real world tests, opening several major applications at once, you’re unlikely to see your PC top 4GB of usage, so in a normal situation 4GB of memory is perfect.

If however you need to work on databases, complex large spreadsheets, CAD or 4K video then upgrading to 8GB RAM has a lot of benefits. With general applications though, an upgrade from 4GB to 8GB will see a slight speed improvement of around 3%.

If you’re looking at making your PC run faster though, and its speed you’re after, then upgrading your Hard Disc to an SSD (Solid State Drive) will have a more pronounced effect on the speed your programs load and operate.

For example a normal power-on start to windows on a Notebook took 63seconds, after the SSD upgrade it took 23 seconds!

Normally you’d expect to see an improvement of around 50% (obviously every system is different), by upgrading to an SSD. *all prices below inc GST.

250gb Samsung SSD – $ 145.00

500gb Samsung SSD – $ 249.00

1Tb Samsung SSD – $ 495.00

 

Installation and imaging of your current PC onto the new SSD so everything is EXACTLY how you left it will cost you $132.00

Call us TODAY on 1300-ETHERTECH to book your PC in for a REAL SPEED UPGRADE!

04 Apr 2016

April 2016 – Windows10 Updating, April Fools Day plus more!

Welcome to another month of Boffin!

With the news that Microsoft’s Windows 10 Operating system now has over 270million users actively using the new software, the time has come to decide whether or not you’re ready for Windows10 in your life.

The biggest issue we’ve found with Windows10 has been compatibility with older programs. Please ensure that if you are considering Windows10 that ALL your applications are supported by  the Windows10 operating system, as downgrading back to Windows7 or Windows8 is possible (at the moment), but is painful to do.

If you have decided not to upgrade to Windows10, there is a nifty utility that once run can turn off the annoying ‘Upgrade to Windows10 now’ feature that pops up all the time and will prevent someone from accidentally upgrading to it if you didn’t want to.

Click on the following link which will automatically run the util https://www.grc.com/files/never10.exe

It’s very Self-Explanatory, and you can turn off (or on) your Windows10 upgrade option.

Remember the final date to get the free Window10 upgrade is 29th July 2016, after which time you’ll have to pay for the upgrade (if you want it).

April Fool’s day 2016 came and went without much hoopla this year. It seems almost every company did ‘something’, I suppose that’s what having too much money in the marketing budget is all about? The biggest FoPa was Gmail who put its foot in its mouth by introducing a ‘feature’ into Gmail that caused many users to lose email, so they abandoned it half way through the day.

Google also announced their new Bluetooth enabled Searchable Socks, to eradicate the missing sock syndrome from washing. Just search for them.

Krispy Kreme launched their 3Donut Printer which allows consumers to print their own donuts.

Other than that we think it was pretty dull this year.. A quick google search of April Fools Jokes 2016 will show a lot more.

You may have also read this last month about the FBI trying to force Apple to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone, but to no avail. The FBI has now dropped the court case, as they’ve been able to employ a 3rd party to unlock the phone and give them access to the information it contained. This is very interesting, as the FBI has a mandate to share all information between all departments. Currently there are many other cases that are awaiting the unlocking of iPhones to gain access as well. Apple have stated that as soon as they have access to the method they will block it. So don’t fear, your information will be safe.. soon..

The other big news of course is the ongoing Panama Leaks, where over 2.2Tb of data was leaked containing all the information and financial affairs of over 200,000 companies. This is by far the biggest data breach/leak to date (bigger than WikiLeaks and all others), and will be far reaching in terms of tax avoidance scams.. Watch this space..

As always, please drop us a line about anything IT related!

Until next month!

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15 Mar 2016

Telstra NBN woes with VOIP and solution for 3rd party routers !

As you may have heard, once (if) NBN ever rolls out in your area, the objective is to decommission the ageing copper infrastructure used by Telephony / Fax / ADSL / Alarms etc and move/port your existing telephone number over to your NBN carrier.

The following is a case study based on Telstra residential and the issues we faced in using a 3rd party router in place of the Telstra Supplied DLINK DEVG2020 or the Technicolor TG797 or later.

Firstly, you need a working NBN Service. For this example we are using FTTN with no Battery backup. Single PSTN telephone line being ported to VOIP. So connect a Cat5 ethernet cable to the NBN NTU into port UNI-D1 only.

This cable then will connect to the WAN port on your telstra supplied modem.

As we all know the Telstra routers are very basic, and if you wish to retain your existing router setup telstra will not support you with VOIP settings or help. There are many solutions out there regarding Bridge-mode etc, but these will NOT allow you to retain your voice component of the service.

Out of the box if you plug your Telstra supplied Technicolor or DEVG router in, it will auto configure (we assume based on MAC address) and within 10minutes your PSTN land line will be ported to VOIP and you can place and receive calls over your normal handsets. This is good. Now while this is connected, browse to the modem on 10.0.0.138 and disable DHCP and all wireless access. save and reboot. (if you need access in the future manually assign a 10.0.0.x address and plug into a LAN port on the Telstra modem).

Now simply  unplug your telstra modem and connect your own Router WAN port to the NBN Cat5 cable and reconfigure your router for Ethernet over IP. Now connect the Telstra modem WAN port into a LAN port on your router (and make sure DHCP is enabled on your router).

Because the Telstra modem has already registered and setup your telephony, it will now call out to the Telstra SIP Servers and register your phone THROUGH your other modem (disable firewall etc on your equipment first to ensure it all works).

You now have VOIP working BEHIND your own router connected directly to NBN! Congratulations!


We did recently find an interesting amendment for that article. It appears that if you don’t receive a call on your VOIP line for an ‘undetermined amount of time’ (approx. 15mins) the voip service that was registered will drop off. Calls will come in, but wont ring, and go straight to voicemail (you can dial in and collect them from voicemail though no problems), yet you can continue to make outbound calls with no issues.. If however you regularly receive calls (at least 1 every 15mins or so it works fine. Its as if there is a ‘periodic telstra registration’ requirement for phone registration on idle.

What we’ve been doing as a solution to get around this though is migrating our clients with FTTP to use UNI-V1 with battery backup and this eliminates the Supplied Telstra Modem altogether which is a much nicer solution. Plus it gives you battery backup.


For all those people who dont have FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) we needed another solution :

After running some more investigations via wireshark, we have discovered the following NAT’s that you need to open up to get the Telstra Voice to work behind a non-telstra modem.

Setup NAT’s in your internet facing router pointing to the telstra modem using :

TCP/UDP 5060
TCP/UDP 5061
TCP/UDP 3478
UDP 5004

Due to the HUGE number of phone calls and emails to us regarding this article there seems to be some confusion on how to connect up your devices in order to use the above information.

NBN coming into your premises -> (WAN) Your Router (ethernet 1) -> Telstra Router (WAN 1) -> Phones
NBN coming into your premises -> (WAN) Your Router (ethernet 2) -> Switch -> Rest of your network


 

If you found this information valuable. Just hit the link below and hit the 5 star review to help us out!

http://search.google.com/local/writereview

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02 Mar 2016

March 2016 – beware the new cryptolocker targeting web sites!

Welcome to another quick Boffin update!

This month saw our favourite anti-virus/malware application Trend Micro become the #1 product according to the Gartner Group, just proving to us all once again that we’ve made the right choice in choosing TrendMicro to protect our PCs and Server data! Well done! If you’re not using Trend Micro, please call us and let us set you on the right path!

http://blog.trendmicro.com/trend-micro-named-a-leader-in-2016-gartner-endpoint-protection-platforms-magic-quadrant/

However the latest in Cryptolocker attack news is that there is a ‘new’ threat on the landscape. Hackers have now started targeting web servers and websites as well as PC’s. In a similar fashion to the original cryptolocker which encrypted all the files on PC’s and connected servers/ storage this new variant encrypts all the website pages and data and displays a public facing message informing everyone you have been hacked and that to get your website back it’d cost anywhere from .4 bitcoins ($250 ish AUD) upwards.

The method being employed to hack websites is simple. Prey on the companies that have an online presence but haven’t done any patches or upgrades to the underlying software that drives their site.

WordPress and Joomla are favourites as there have been a LOT of security patches and upgrades to fix issues over the last couple of years, and unless you are paying your web developer or hosting partner to maintain and upgrade your website software then you too will be vulnerable.

For the hundreds of websites hosted with EtherTech, we are currently undergoing an audit and will be in contact with all our clients over the next few months with an overview of their site and what needs to happens to A) secure it, and B) upgrade it and keep it current.

Please feel free to employ your web developer to maintain your website with regular updates, or perform the upgrades yourself.

It’s a lot like Windows updates. There are always flaws discovered in applications, the difference is that your website is publically available to anyone in the world, and if its vulnerable to attack, so too will you and your organisation be.

A typical ‘hacked ransomware web page’ has instructions on what happened and how to pay the hackers.

They’re even cheeky enough to have a ‘chat’ option now so you can type directly with the hacker (theoretically so they can help you in paying them).. Abusing them however probably wouldn’t help.

Rest assured that Trend Micro will protect your PC’s and servers from Cryptolocker attacks, but unfortunately it won’t work on your website. The only thing to help that is regular patching and maintenance.

Please contact us if you need any more information, or stay tuned for more updates.

Until next month!

01 Feb 2016

February 2016 – Apple’s recall, new Ransomware & more…

Another busy month to kick off the year here @ EtherTech, and lots of news for you too!

You may have heard that Google has added ‘Aussie’ slang and twang to google maps! Due to the number of complaints from Australia about Google maps not understanding our ‘lingo’. It’s always been a source of amusement for us when a US voice says ‘Kilomeeteeers’ no longer.. as more and more people are talking to their phones now, it makes sense that there would be more customised voice recognition.

Just what we needed.. a new ransomware known as “7ev3n” is the most expensive yet!

A report published recently cautioned readers of this nasty new malware, which encrypts victims’ files and demands 13 bitcoins for the key. Thirteen bitcoins is the equivalent of just over AU$6,800, making it the most expensive ransomware to date. 7ev3n is also highly destructive — it installs a batch file that disables the infected machine’s bootup and recovery capabilities.

There is no cure for the ransomware at this time, and even you pay up, the task of making the system usable again is painstaking, the report warns. Fortunately, 7ev3n is not known to have significantly spread. Backup Backup Backup!, and Trend Trend Trend! Call us today to get this done!

Apple last Friday announced it is recalling AC Wall Plug adapters designed for Australia.

In rare cases (12 worldwide cases in 12 years!) the plug pack could split and create a risk of electric shock if touched. The plug packs were included with most apple devices between 2003 and 2015.

plugpack

If your plug pack has a 4 or 5 digit number as shown in the pic, you can take it to any apple store and have it replaced free of charge. There are literally millions of these plug packs out there.

Speaking of Apple vulnerabilities, there is a ‘prank’ circulating at the moment on Twitter / Facebook etc that can crash your Iphone, Ipad or even Mac’s completely.

If you come across a link to crashsafari.com DON’T OPEN IT! The link you click generates an extremely long URL and then causes your safari browser to overload, heat up, crash your device due to excessive temperatures and reboot. Not good for your device’s longevity! Apparently over 150,000 people have fallen victim to it so far.

Windows 10 is now six months old, and over 200million users have taken up the free upgrade offer from Microsoft.

Don’t forget, the free upgrade applies only to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1. You have one year from July 29 to upgrade your PC to Windows 10 for free. After that year is up, you’ll have to purchase Windows 10 yourself.

Until Next Month !

05 Jan 2016

January 2016 – Wheres my NBN ?!

2016 already.. Amazing we’re back at work already for another year!

We hope everyone had a merry Christmas and a safe new year, I know everyone here at EtherTech did, but it all seems a distant memory already…

NBN.. what is going on and why don’t I have it yet?!

The Abbott, now Turnbull, coalition government came to power over two years ago with a promise to change Labor’s fibre to the premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network (NBN) to one using less-expensive fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technologies, spruiking its network with their three word slogan: “Fast. Affordable. Sooner.”

It is now clear that the Coalition’s broadband network will not provide adequate bandwidth, will be no more affordable than Labor’s FTTP network and will take almost as long to roll out.

The Coalition’s original target was to bring at least 25 Mbps to all 13 million Australian premises by 2016. That target has now been quietly dropped and replaced with a target of more than 50 Mbps to 90 percent of premises by 2020.

image-20150908-1989-g1n00e

At the end of July 2015, almost two years after the 2013 election, only 67 premises had been served by multi-technology-mix technologies. In the meantime, as shown (in the graph above), the roll-out of FTTP has continued, albeit at a lower rate than Labor originally intended.

Australia’s broadband capabilities are falling behind its international peers. According to internet companies Ookla and Akamai, Australia’s broadband speed lags well behind other advanced and even emerging economies.

In 2009, Australia’s average broadband download speed was ranked 39th in the world. Since then, our international ranking has steadily declined and slipped to 59th place earlier this year.

What’s worse, comparisons and trends of internet speed in Australia and in a range of developed and developing countries show that FTTN technology – a key part of the Coalition’s plan – will not be enough to meet the needs of Australian broadband customers.

In short, FTTN technology will cement Australia’s place as an internet backwater. Our world ranking could fall as low as 100th by 2020.

In many forward-looking nations, FTTN technology has never been entertained as an option. In some countries where it has been installed, network operators are planning to move away from FTTN in favour of more advanced broadband technologies like FTTP. In doing the opposite, Australia is moving backwards in our opinion.

Parts of this article first appeared on The Conversation.

So, when are you getting NBN ? well maybe by 2019.. if you’re lucky.

If you have any questions about the NBN or are already on NBN and want to move to EtherTech data plans, please give us a call on 1300-ETHERTECH

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