Show of 03-21-2020

Tech Talk

March 21, 2020

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Helen in Rockville: Dear Doc and Jim. I have heard you talk about two-factor authentication for your important bank and email account. Can I enable it on my Amazon account? That is a high value target with credit card information. Love the show. Helen in Rockville, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: Two Factor Authentication adds an extra layer of security to any online account, making it more difficult for someone to break into your account without your permission.
  • Once enabled, two factor authentication will require anyone who tries to log in to your account to have physical access to your mobile phone in order to log in, even if they know your password.
  • If you shop at Amazon you can easily enable Two Factor Authentication on your Amazon account. Just follow these simple steps:
    • Click here and log in to your Amazon account.
    • Hover your mouse over the Account & Lists link and click Your Account.
    • Click Login & Security.
    • Scroll down to the Two-Step Verification (2SV) Settings line and click the Edit button.
    • Log in to your account when prompted and then follow the prompts to enable Two-Step Verification and Login Security Codes.
  • That’s all there is to it. After Two Factor Authentication has been enabled on your Amazon account you will be safe from hackers.
  • Email from Sue in Gaithersburg: Dear Tech Talk. I am getting ready to turn over some files to another party and I do not want him to know when these particular files were created. Do not worry, there is nothing illegal or immoral going on here. I don’t want the files’ creation dates to become an issue. Is there any way to change a file’s creation date in Windows 10? Sue in Gaithersburg, MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: Microsoft didn’t include a tool in Windows for directly modifying the date stamp on a file, but it can be done.
  • A free utility called Bulk File Changer from Nirsoft makes it easy to change the Creation Date, Last Modified Date and Last Accessed Date on one or more files.
  • Link to download page: https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/bulk_file_changer.html
    • Visit the Bulk File Changer download page at the Nirsoft website.
    • Scroll down the page until you see a pair of download links.
    • Click the link for the version of Bulk File Changer that you wish to use. (Note: I recommend the 64 bit version if your PC has a 64 bit CPU.)
    • After the download is finished, copy the zipped folder to the Windows Desktop.
    • Right-click on the zipped folder and click Extract all, then click the Extract button.
    • Right-click on the BulkFileChanger.exe file and select Run as administrator. Note: If you’re prompted to allow the program to run, click Yes.
    • Click File>Add Files and select the files you wish to change the creation dates for.
    • After you have finished selecting your target files, click Edit>Select all to select all of the files at one time.
    • Click Actions>Change Time / Attributes.
    • Check the boxes beside Created, Modified and Accessed and then change the dates in the boxes to dates of your your liking.
    • After you have all the dates changed to your liking, click the Do it button.
    • Close the Bulk File Changer window.
  • The files you selected are now “stamped” with their new dates.
  • Email from Bob in Maryland: Dear Doc, Jim and the ever-present and slightly amusing and slightly annoying Mr. Bigvoice. As I was listening to ANOTHER great show today on Leap Day 02.29.2020, I realized there might be someone else amusing for Profiles in IT. How about Sandy Lerner? She founded Cisco Systems with her husband, then they were booted out of Cisco in some takeover, then she started the makeup company Urban Decay. Bob in MD
  • Tech Talk Responds: Sandy Lerner’s suggestion, prompted me to feature Bill Yeager. His is the guy who technology they lifted for the first multi-protocol router. Thanks for the suggestion.
  • Email from Mark in Richmond: Dear Tech Talk. What is the quickest way to delete browser cookies? Enjoy the podcast. Mark in Richmond
  • Tech Talk Responds: It is easy to do. With your preferred web browser active on the screen, simply press the Ctrl+Shift+Del key combination and your browser will immediately display a window or tab from which you can quickly delete the stored cookies or any other browsing history data.
  • Cookies are tiny files that the websites you visit place on your hard drive (with the assistance of your web browser). These files are used for many different purposes, but primarily for the following:
    • To carry certain bits of information over from one browsing session to the next (i.e. settings, preferences, login status, etc.). This is a very beneficial use of cookies in most situations.
    • To track your “movement” around the web (which websites you have visited, what you have searched for on those sites, etc.).
  • Because of the widespread abuse of browser cookies by spammers and scammers, many people prefer to keep them cleared away from their hard drives as much as possible.
  • The easiest way to do that is to simply disable cookies altogether in your web browser’s settings screens, but this is a “nuclear” approach that can make the Internet more difficult to use and offer a less than desirable user experience.
  • A good compromise is to either set your browser to automatically delete all of the stored cookies every time you close the browser or periodically delete them manually as mentioned above (by pressing Ctrl–Shift–Del).
  • Email from Doug in Wichita: Question from Kenneth: I have a two year old Dell laptop that is use to access the Internet. The laptop connects directly to the modem via a wired Ethernet connection. I do not use Wi-Fi for security reasons.  The problem is the Ethernet port stopped working on the laptop and it will no longer establish a connection. Everything else besides the Ethernet port seems to be working though. My question is can the bad Ethernet port be replaced? Doug in Wichita, KS
  • Tech Talk Responds: A bad Ethernet port in a laptop can definitely be replaced, but it is probably not worth what it would cost. You can purchase an inexpensive USB to Ethernet adapter that’ll effectively turn an unused USB port into an Ethernet port! There is virtually no installation or setup required in order to use them. Simply plug it in and install the driver! I recommend buying a USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet adapter. Since your laptop is only two years old it probably has at least one USB 3.0 port so all you will need to do is plug in the adapter and get right to work. There are a number of good options on Amazon in the $15 to $20 range. Good luck with your surfing.
  • Email from John in Baltimore: Dear Doc and Jim. I just got a new iPhone. I kept my iPhone6s. How can I use my old iPhone for something useful?. It is just collecting dust now. John in Baltimore
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can still surf the web when you are on Wi-Fi even though the cellular connection is no longer is active.
  • You can also turn it into a security cam or a metal detector. All you need is an app to make it happen.
  • To make it a security cam, in the free application EpocCam. This app will send streaming video directly to any web browser in the world. You’ll need to enter your Wi-Fi connection’s password and jot down the IP address the app gives you for monitoring the video/photos. Then visit that IP address with the browser on any connected computer, smart phone or tablet to view the action (if there is any).
  • To make it a metal detector, just download and install the Metal Detector 4+ app. It is real app created by Alexandr Balyberdin. It is free with no ads. Just put your phone a stick, and you will have a metal detector.

Profiles in IT: William Yeager

  • William Yeager is an engineer, best known as the inventor of the first packet-switched, multi-protocol router. Cisco licensed his software from Stanford for its first router OS.
  • William “Bill” Yeager was born June 16, 1940 in San Francisco.
  • In 1964, he received his BS in mathematics from the UC Berkeley.
  • In 1966, he received an MS in mathematics from San Jose State University.
  • In 1970, he received a PhD from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA.
  • After getting his PhD, he worked at NASA Ames Research Center where he wrote, as a part of the Pioneer 10/11 mission control operating system.
  • In 1975, Yeager was hired by Stanford’s Knowledge Systems Laboratory, as a member of Dr. Elliott Levanthal’s Instrumentation Research Laboratory.
  • Bill was responsible for a computer laboratory for biomedical applications of mass spectrometry, which identified inherited rare diseases from the gas chromatograph, mass spectrometer data generated from blood and urine samples of sick children.
  • His significant accomplishment was to complete a prototype program called CLEANUP to extract spectra from GC/MS data, which was used by the EPA to detect water pollutants.
  • At Stanford in 1979 Bill wrote the ttyftp serial line file transfer program, which was developed into the MacIntosh version of the Kermit protocol.
  • In 1980-81 the Xerox PARC gave Stanford some Alto workstations and Ethernet networking boards.
  • The Alto was far in advance of other workstations (it would soon show Apple the way to the Macintosh), but it was the Ethernet technology that inspired Stanford staffers.
  • Yeager wrote a small routing program to connect computers at the medical center with those in the computer science department.
  • The crowning jewel was creation was a small box that functioned as a “Ship of the Night” multiprotocol router. They called it the “Blue Box” for the color of its case.
  • The box’s computer board was one that a graduate student, Andy Bechtolsheim, had designed for a network workstation for engineers (he went on to found Sun Microsystems).
  • The box’s software was written by William Yeager. His network operating system route Parc Universal Packet (PUP), XNS (Xerox Network Systems), IP (Internet Protocol), and CHAOSNet.
  • The approach of using separate routing protocols and management for each supported protocol family has come to be known as “Ships in the Night” because the two routing protocols share the hardware/software resources without ever actually interacting.
  • In 1984 Yeager conceived of a client/server protocol and designed its functionality. Yeager, with Mark Crispin, created the IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) protocol.
  • Bill wrote the first Unix IMAP server and later MacMM, the first MacIntosh IMAP client.
  • Secretly, Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by two members of Stanford’s computer support staff: Len Bosack, who was in charge of the computer science department’s computers, and Sandy Lerner, who managed the Graduate School of Business’ computers.
  • Their goal was to lift as much of the routing technology as they could for their startup.
  • Yeager’s code was licensed by Cisco Systems in 1987 and comprised the core of the first Cisco IOS.
  • For the software, Cisco gave Stanford $19,300 in cash and agreed to royalties of $150,000 and product discounts. Yeager apportioned the royalties, giving his 80 percent share to his department.
  • In 1995,Yeager was hired by Sun Microsystems.
  • At Sun as the CTO of Project JXTA he filed 40 US Patents, designed and implemented the JXTA security solutions. JXTA (Juxtapose) is an open source peer-to-peer communication.
  • He led Sun’s WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Forum team with the major objective, merger the WAP protocol suite with IETF, W3C and Java standards.
  • During this same period of time he invented the iPlanet Wireless Services, which served as a Java proxy between IMAP Mail servers and either WAP Servers, or Web Browers.
  • In 2003, Yeager, with Jeff Altman, established the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) Peer-to-Peer working group. Bill was the working group chair until 2005.

Pet Peeve of the Week: High Jacked Email Subject Lines

  • Have you ever sent an email to someone about Topic A
  • They then respond to that email with Topic B, not Topic A.
  • When you search for the email relating to Topic B, you cannot find it.
  • You can only find Topic A emails.
  • The frustration then begin to grow and grow and grow.
  • That really bugs me…..and it happened with week many times.

CoronaVirus Math: It Looks Bad

  • The number of infected people is growing exponentially.
  • To further understand exponential growth, take the number of confirmed cases in your area and multiply by 10 (or 50 if you believe Harvard and Massachusetts General Estimations) to account for the cases that are not yet confirmed.
  • This number of infected people doubles every ~3 days as the infection spreads. So literally take your number, and multiply by 2. Then do it again. Then do it again. Then do it again. Do this multiplication exercise 10 times in total.
  • 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x (the number of estimated infections in your city today
  • This result is the estimate for the actual cases in your area 30 days from now. The math will take 30 seconds to complete with a calculator and you must do it to understand the math to see how it grows. This end number is the number of cases in your city 30 days from today if a large percentage of the population do not practice social distancing.
  • Example from where I live in Fairfax, Virginia, Oregon:
  • 16 confirmed cases x 10 = 160 Actual Cases. (as of 3/21/20)
  • 160 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 163,840 COVID cases in 30 days. This is 16% of the population of Fairfax Country, which has approximately 1M population.
  • 160 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 1.31M COVID cases in 39 days.
  • Then we have the hospital bed problem. Approximately 15% of the cases need hospitalization. .
  • But, on average 65% of beds are already occupied by patients unrelated to the coronavirus.
  • Some hospitals are at 90% or 95% capacity already. So multiply the number of beds at your local hospital by 0.35 (35%) and that is how many beds are available for COVID Positive patients.
  • That was the problem that they encountered in Italy, resulting in a higher death rate.
  • It’s math, it’s not hype, and it’s why whole countries are going on lockdown.
  • Most hospitals have on average, 40 or fewer ventilators. 5% of patients require ICU treatment and most of these require ventilators. There are very few ICU beds compared to regular beds in hospitals, which have negative pressurization to keep airborne diseases from spreading throughout the hospital.
  • These numbers you just calculated are The Big Problem: Too many patients, not enough beds, and a serious shortage of ventilators, masks and other PPE if we don’t practice extreme social distancing.

Stratford University’s response to COVID 19

  • We did the math and decided that we must enforce social separation.
  • On March 17th, Stratford has moved entirely online and remote.
  • We purchased enough Zoom licenses for our students and staff.
  • We have set up VoIP phones for each employee.
  • We now have a virtual financial aid offer, a virtual library, a virtual student support office, a virtual career services office, and a virtual advisor system.
  • We spent one week of intensive planning before launching on March 17th.
  • We plan to remain in this mode until April 6th and then we will revaluate
  • When we return, all students and staff will be screened for elevated temperature by our nursing department.
  • We need to stop community spread, or our hospital system will be overwhelmed.

CoronaVirus Update: Five Tech Companies Providing Free Remote Working Tools

  • Many companies are looking for ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within their workforce by asking people to work from home.
  • For example, Twitter has asked its entire workforce of 5,000 employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
  • Here are five tech companies that are making it easier to work remotely, and are making their services more accessible to small businesses and organizations:
    • Microsoft has started offering a free trial of the premium plan for its Teams chat app, according to Business Insider. That trial will allow users to record meetings and take advantage of 1TB of storage, neither of which are available on the normal free version. Microsoft is making the extended premium trial available for six months.
    • Google will allow free access to the enterprise version of Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education users. That plan includes up to 250 users per call, the ability to record meetings, and livestream capabilities for up to 100,000 viewers until July 1, 2020.
    • LogMeIn is making “Emergency Remote Work Kits” available for free for three months. Those kits are designed for nonprofits, schools, and health care organizations that aren’t already customers.
    • Cisco is offering the free version of its Webex service with no time restrictions. In addition, it will allow up to 100 meeting participants and has added toll-free dial-in features with a 90-day license for businesses that are not already customers.
    • Zoom already offers a free version of its videoconferencing software, but the company is currently working to test its network to “ensure maximum reliability amid any capacity increases, as uptime is paramount,” according to a blog post from the company’s CEO.

Cyber Risks as Employees Shift From Offices to Homes

  • As companies and government agencies send their employees home to avoid contact with the coronavirus, many cybersecurity teams are facing the unenviable challenge of securing sprawling, vulnerable networks.
  • Every time an employee connects to their corporate network from home, they are creating possible access points for hackers to exploit.
  • Instead, the shift to working at home has happened in days. And with so much emphasis placed on simply making sure company operations don’t come to a grinding halt, network security can be an afterthought.
  • But it is a fact, you’re opening a new door that used to be closed. If it’s an opening for you, it could be an opening for an attacker.”
  • The huge influx of people working at home has expanded the places hackers can exploit.
  • There’s also been a surge in hackers targeting work-from-home tools, such as the virtual private networks companies use to let employees recreate secure office connections, said Andrew Tsonchev, director of technology at the cybersecurity firm Darktrace.
  • Hackers appear to be targeting the most vulnerable. Data analysis from Italy indicates that companies that have quarantined workers or instructed them to work from home are prime targets for attackers, according to Cynet, a New York-based cybersecurity company.
  • Employees can do their part at home. Updating passwords and using paid virtual private networks and multi-factor authentication are a good start.
  • Keeping kids off your personal computer, if you use it for work, is a good idea, too, because they could download games or other material infected with malware.