Show of 06-22-2019

Tech Talk

June 22, 2019

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Mary: Shurtz, Here is the speed test for my FiOS Service w/ Verizon. My speed test showed 10 MB upload and 5 MB download speeds. I only have FiOS internet (no TV and no phone and don’t want TV or phone from them which are the only plans that give a better price plan or so Verizon has told me.) and pay 47.99/mo for this. I’ve called to try & get a better plan, but, in order to improve this he next step up is almost double my current price. Anyway, is this the reason why when I make phone calls via my OOMA service causing the receiver of my call to say that they cannot hear but ever other word? It happens intermittently; not all people say they cannot hear me. Thanks! Mary
  • Tech Talk Response: Your upload and downloads speeds are adequate for VoIP. Is there something on your network that is using bandwidth? You should not have any problems. Check the latency. Use www.broadbandreports.com and go to tools to find the speed tests. There is a discussion thread about a problem with Ooma and Verizon for some customers. Ooma has worked with Verizon to reroute the traffic and this worked for some regions. Ooma support is reading the threaded discussions and responded to voice quality concerns. Just Google “voice quality Ooma Verizon” to get to these threads. Ooma also has live customer service on their website. Try that instead of the support number.
  • Email from LedbyBrain: Dear Dr Shurtz, This is how my main, professional Gmail acct is set. I have enabled POP, IMAP, and archive deleted emails. I want to be sure a have a retained copy of all sent mail messages for at least 18 months. Will this ensure that? I am using Apple Mail client to view this account. I found an article on the internet that said that Gmail sent mail is not saved! Thank You!! LedbyBrain
  • Tech Talk Responds: You configuration looks good. Gmail never delete mail, except for the Trash and Spam folders after 30 days. A sent email is put into the inbox when some answers the email. It you delete that message stream, the sent email is also deleted. That is the most common error when losing sent emails. Good luck.
  • Email from Duc: Dear Tech Talk. I coach a local sports team and all the communication with my team is in my Hotmail account. Unfortunately I cant access my email. How do I get into my Hotmail/Outlook.com account if I no longer have access to the phone number I set up on the account when I created it years ago. Thanks, Duc, an Ohio coach
  • ◾Tech Talk Responds: It appears that when you are traveling to different countries, Microsoft is now often requiring that even when you know your password you also must be able to provide a code that is sent to your phone or an alternate email address associated with the account. Two-factor authentication is the best way to combat account theft.
  • It is critical that you keep your recovery information up to date. Not doing so is the fastest way to lose access to your account forever should something go wrong. It is also a way to end up unable to access your account until you return home after traveling.
  • Microsoft does have an account recovery process. It will opt to send you a code to either an email address for a phone. If neither of those channels works, you must provide enough information to prove who you are. You will be asked for information like:
    • Your name and birth date.
    • Your location.
    • The answer to your security question(s), if you had one or more set up.
    • Other passwords that you may have used on this account in the past.
    • The subject lines of any emails you may have sent recently.
    • The names of any folders you’ve created in your account.
    • The email addresses of any contacts to which you’ve recently sent email.
    • Billing information, including a credit card, if you have any associated with the account.
  • The goal here is simple: to be able to provide enough information to prove that you are who you say you are: the rightful account holder. Then that information is sent for an internal Microsoft review. No changes will be made to 30 days to prevent unauthorized attempts. They notify the owner via email of such attempted recoveries. If you are successful, you will be sent a reset link for your account. By the way, you can also set up a recovery code. You can save this code and provide this code to recover your account, if your email or phones are not available. Good luck, Coach.
  • Email from Bill Conley: Gentlemen, I recently reinstalled my Dell Latitude with Windows 10, storing all documents to an external hard drive. Prior to system reload had removed folder encryption from all folders, no more file titles in green, all black. Unfortunately I failed to notice that my Outlook pst files were still encrypted. Since they were encrypted under previous OS load, they are now inaccessible. Address Book, all email files are now out of reach. Do you have a means other than NSA of decrypting? Your assist most appreciated. Bill Conley.
  • Tech Talk Responds: If you encrypt data on your computer, you need a way to recover that data in case something happens to the encryption key. If your encryption key is lost or damaged and you do not have a way to recover your data, the data is lost. You will also lose data if you store your encryption key on a smart card and the smart card is damaged or lost. To make sure you can always access your encrypted data, you should back up your encryption certificate and key.
  • Encryptions is managed by the Certificate Manager, which is opened by typing certmgr.msc into the search box and pressing enter. Using this application, you can either import an encrypted file or backup your certificate. If you import encrypted files you will have to point to the appropriate EFS (Encrypted File System) certificate. If you did not back up your EFS certificate, your files are lost.
  • Email from John in Fairfax: Dear Tech Talk. I just came back from vacation. I had over 2400 photos on my memory card. When I went to off-load the photos to my computer, the card was reading blank. I know that I did not reformat the card. Is there any hope for me to recover the pictures that I took? Thank, John.
  • Tech Talk Responds: You have three options. First, take the memory card to a different computer and see if a different computer can actually make sense of it.
  • If so, copy that data off immediately and back it up. Second, try a data recovery utility like Recuva (https://www.ccleaner.com/recuva). Finally, you might want to look into locating a data recovery service. They may be able to recover data from that memory card that more traditional tools that you and I have access to would not be able to get.
  • However, 2400 pictures without a backup is not a good practice. You need to find a way to copy your pictures during your vacation to reduce the risk.
  • Email from Mike in Alexandria: Dear Doc & Jim. Your show is very informative & I enjoy the historical profiles. I have been an Android user for many years and been upgrading my phone, every 2-3 years.  I would like to keep some of the old ones for emergency purposes or re-purpose them as media players or whatever. I would like to minimize the number of apps on them and then perform some sort of reset to “refresh” them to kill the clutter from use.  But I don’t want to reload & configure each app one at a time after the reset. What is the best way to delete the apps & keep the ones I want still configured appropriately after the reset? How do I reset my old phones to get them to a pristine state? How do I identify the phone as one of my previously “active” Android devices, so Google Play will only reload the subset of apps that I left on my phone at reset time? What are the biggest pitfalls? Mike in Alexandria, VA
  • Tech Talk Responds: When you transfer your number to a new phone, you old phone will automatically be disabled and will not connect to the cellular network. However, you will still be able to access the Internet using Wi-Fi. You can have multiple devices connected to one Google play account. However, if you stream music only one device will be authorized at a time. You can reset the phones and delete all data to bring them back to their pristine state. However, if you want to keep the apps, your only choice will be to manually delete them.

Profiles in IT: Daniel Mark Lewin

  • Daniel Mark Lewin was a mathematician and entrepreneur who co-founded Akamai Technologies, a distributed Internet content delivery company.
  • Daniel Mark Lewin was born May 14, 1970 in Denver, CO and raised in Jerusalem.
  • He served for four years in the Israel Defence Forces as an officer.
  • Danny Lewin attended the Technion University in Haifa, Israel while simultaneously working at IBM’s research laboratory in Haifa.
  • He received a BA and BS, summa cum laude, from Technion in 1995
  • He enrolled in the PhD program at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1996.
  • While there, he and MIT Applied Mathematics professor Tom Leighton, came up with innovative algorithms for optimizing Internet traffic.
  • His master’s thesis, which won the 1998 Best Masterworks Thesis Presentation Award at MIT, included the algorithms that make up the core of Akamai’s services.
  • This problem has been suggested by Tim Berners-Lee who office was down the hall.
  • The Internet is made up 15,000 separate networks connected at peering points.
  • Because the different networks are not always paid to carry traffic from other networks, these peering points frequently are congested.
  • Many carriers simply provide bogus information to Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), the core routing protocol of the Internet, to divert traffic;
  • The challenge is to delivery content reliably in this environment.
  • He and his roommate Preetish Nijhawan decided to enter an MIT $50K business plan contest. Preetish was business major and had urged him to enter.
  • The business plan ranked in the top six entrants and made it to round two (winning around $100). Unfortunately, they were trounced in the finals and did not even place in the top three (out of six).
  • But their entry did get attention from the tech community and over thirty joined their development team to actually write code to test the theory.
  • He revised the business model and founded Akamai in 1998 with Professor Tom Leighton and MIT Sloan School students Jonathan Seelig and Preetish Nijhawan. Akamai is a Hawaiian word meaning smart or intelligent.
  • In January 1999, Victoria’s Secret aired its first-ever Super Bowl commercial. The ad generated millions of hits within minutes slowing the site dramatically. They turned to Akamai, in partnership with IBM, to solve the problem.
  • Lewin served as the company’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and a board member, and during the height of the internet boom achieved great wealth.
  • Lewin was killed aboard American Airlines Flight 11 during the September 11, 2001 attacks, apparently toward the beginning of the hijacking.
  • Akamai is a network of over 240,000 servers deployed in more than 120 countries.
  • Current market cap is $13.1B.

Genius said it used Morse code to catch Google stealing lyrics

  • The company recently, whose name is Genius, accused Google of lifting song lyrics from its site.
  • How did Genius know Google was stealing? In 2016, Genius made a few changes to the punctuation in its song lyrics. Sometimes, it used a straight apostrophe. Other times, a curly one.
  • Genius did this in a very specific sequence because (are you ready for this?) when “the two types of apostrophes were converted to the dots and dashes used in Morse code, they spelled out the words ‘Red Handed.'”
  • That’s how Google was caught, according to Genius.
  • Google denied stealing any lyrics. Instead, it said that the lyrics that show up in the “information panels” that pop up in a Google search are from licensed partners.
  • Google also said it will soon include attribution so users will know where song lyrics came from.

Iranian Hackers Launch a New Campaign

  • Analysts at two security firms, Crowdstrike and Dragos, have seen a new campaign of targeted phishing emails sent to a variety of US targets last week from a hacker group known by the names APT33, Magnallium, or Refined Kitten, all widely believed to be working for the Iranian government.
  • Dragos named the Department of Energy and US national labs as some of the half-dozen targeted organizations.
  • A third security firm, FireEye, independently confirmed that it has seen a broad Iranian phishing campaign targeting both government agencies and private sector companies in the US and Europe.
  • Some signs suggest the new targeting campaign is a cyberespionage operation, an expected step from Iran given the heightened tensions.
  • The researchers also note that APT33 has links to data-destroying malware, and warn that the intrusion attempts could be the first step in that sort of more aggressive cyberwar operation.
  • In 2017, FireEye reported that APT33 infected some victims with “dropper” malware that had in other attacks been used to plant a piece of data-destroying code known as ShapeShift.
  • In at least some of last week’s intrusion attempts, the hackers sent potential victims an email posing as a job opening from the Council of Economic Advisors, an organization within the White House’s Executive Office of the President.
  • The email contained a link that, if clicked, opened an application that launched a Visual Basic script on the victim’s machine that installed a malware payload known as Powerton, a kind of all-purpose remote access trojan.

Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Libra

  • Facebook is planning to launch a cryptocurrency it hopes will “transform the global economy.”
  • The currency, named Libra, is being developed by Facebook, but the company intends to share control with a consortium of organizations, including venture capital firms, credit card companies, and other tech giants.
  • To mint and store new coins, access to its underlying “blockchain” technology will be more restrictive than bitcoin.
  • Companies rooted in traditional finance such as Visa and MasterCard have joined from the start, betting that Facebook’s clout gives the project enough potential to overcome any downside to their existing business models.
  • At launch, you’ll be able to send Libra inside of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, with it mostly being meant as an intermediary for transferring traditional currencies.
  • Facebook hopes Libra will be accepted as a form of payment, and other financial services will be built on top of its blockchain-based network.
  • Facebook is also launching a subsidiary company, Calibra, which will develop products and services based around Libra.
  • It’s where Facebook intends to make money off of the cryptocurrency, and it’ll be starting with the launch of its digital wallet.
  • Calibra will also handle Libra integrations for Facebook’s other products.
  • Given Facebook’s reputation for disregarding privacy, the announcement of Libra was followed by immediate backlash from regulators.
  • There is clearly potential if Facebook makes good on its pledge to bring low-cost or free banking to the unbanked and open up areas such as money transfers.

Riviera Beach Will Pay $600K to Hackers

  • For three weeks, Riviera Beach, a city of 35,000 people in Florida, had its computer systems held hostage.
  • On Monday, the city council voted unanimously to pay $600,000 in bitcoin to the hackers who caused the problem.
  • After a city employee clicked on a malicious link in an email, ransomware quickly spread throughout Riviera Beach’s computer network, locking it down unless the city paid a 65 bitcoin ransom.
  • Email wouldn’t work, 911 calls couldn’t enter into computer records, and systems that controlled the water utility were offline, according to the Palm Beach Post.
  • The city council first tried resolving the issue by paying $941,000 for new computers, but now it’s decided to pay the ransom.
  • The payment will come from the city’s insurer, though it is still unclear if the hackers will decrypt the locked files afterward.
  • City governments that do not pay after ransomware attacks can end up with costs higher than what the hackers initially demanded.
  • After Atlanta suffered a ransomware attack in March 2018, the hackers demanded $51,000 in bitcoin. The city refused to pay, and that cost it an estimated $17 million in damages.
  • Malwarebytes, a cybersecurity company, said in an April report that ransomware attempts on businesses jumped by 500% in the last year.
  • At least 170 state and local governments in the US have suffered ransomware attacks since the first one in 2013.

European Mobile Traffic Was Rerouted Through China

  • For more than two hours on Thursday, June 6, European mobile traffic was rerouted through the infrastructure of China Telecom, China’s third-largest telco and internet service provider (ISP).
  • The incident occurred because of a BGP route leak at Swiss data center colocation company Safe Host, which accidentally leaked over 70,000 routes from its internal routing table to the Chinese ISP.
  • But instead of ignoring the BGP leak, like most ISPs, China Telecom re-announced Safe Host’s routes as its own, and by doing so, interposed itself as one of the shortest ways to reach Safe Host’s network and other nearby European telcos and ISPs.
  • If any other ISP would have caused this incident, it would have likely been ignored.
  • But, it was China Telecom, the same Chinese ISP that was accused last year in an academic paper of hijacking the vital internet backbone of western countries for intelligence gathering purposes.

Banning Huawei would cost EU Telco $62B

  • Banning Huawei and fellow Chinese equipment maker ZTE from Europe’s roll-out of 5G telecom networks would cost EU mobile operators up to $62 billion
  • The operators would also face delays of up to 18 months in getting next-generation 5G out to their customers.
  • The US is currently demanding that companies in Europe and other allied nations drop Huawei as a 5G equipment supplier because of Washington’s fears it could compromise intelligence services.
  • Huawei and ZTE account for around 40 percent of the EU market supplying mobile equipment.
  • European rivals Ericsson of Sweden and Nokia of Finland, as well as South Korea’s Samsung, do not have the capacity to handle the shift from 3G and 4G networks to 5G in Europe while honoring contracts already signed in North America and Asia.
  • A ban on Chinese vendors would severely lessen competition in the mobile equipment market, increasing prices and driving additional 5G rollout costs.
  • A ban would also “result in slower rollout of 5G networks in Europe.
  • The US government in May prohibited American companies from selling Huawei US-made components it needs for its equipment. That measure could threaten the survival of Huawei.

Uber Drones to Make Meal Drops This Summer

  • Uber Elevate, the aerial arm of rideshare service Uber, last week announced that it will start a fast food delivery by drone test service later this summer in San Diego.
  • Delivery destinations won’t be houses or apartment buildings, however, but instead will be “designated safe landing zones,” according to reports.
  • Those landing zones could include the roof of a parked Uber vehicle in one scenario. An Uber courier would receive the package and hand-deliver it to the consumer.
  • McDonald’s is one of Uber’s partners, and it has been developing special packaging to keep food hot and intact during the aerial portion of a delivery.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration only granted its approval last week. The FAA has designated San Diego as one of the 10 U.S. locations for the testing of commercial drone service.
  • Walmart reportedly has filed more drone patent applications than Amazon for the second year in a row.
  • Wing Aviation, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, in April announced that it also has received certification from the FAA to begin delivering small packages in two rural Virginia communities near Blacksburg.
  • S. startup Zipline already is utilizing drones to make blood deliveries to remote hospitals and aid stations in Rwanda, for example.