SP Networking

May 21, 2014

Thwarting Hackers After They Invade

My response when asked about an article posted in the Wall Street Journal: WSJ article: Thwarting Hackers After They Invade

I don’t believe our security environment has changed. The security of information networks continues to be a cat and mouse game. The tools get updated but the basic methods remain the same.

The article sounds more like an infomercial than a news article. One of lessons I’ve learned in sales(and refuse to do) is to create FUD(Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). FUD is exactly what this article is trying to create so that Symantec can sell their latest product.

Rather than fighting to keep the bad guys out, new technologies from an array of companies assume hackers get in so aim to spot them and minimize the damage.

That’s like saying you’re going to take the locks off your house and install security cameras and secret compartments to hide your valuables.

FireEye Inc. FEYE +0.73% created technology that scans networks for malicious-looking computer code that made it past the first line of defense.

Just sounds like using two antivirus programs instead of one. How about just getting a better antivirus software?

Symantec also is developing technology to look for more-advanced malicious software inside a network that mimics offerings from its rivals.

Or they could just use the same technology to make their anti-virus better.

Mr. Dye estimates antivirus now catches just 45% of cyberattacks.

Even comparison sites estimate the Norton catches around 76%(one of the lowest). This is an obvious attempt at FUD.

Ted Schlein, who helped create Symantec’s first antivirus product, describes such software as ‘necessary but insufficient.’

This is the caveat where they want to make sure everyone still buys their antivirus product. This is a true but misleading statement. It is correct that antivirus software alone is insufficient. That is why we have other security settings, firewalls, permission settings, passwords etc.

I believe Norton is merely taking advantage of our current computer security climate with the end of support for Windows XP machines, the Snowden NSA leaks which are revealing just how vulnerable all networks really are and the flood of credit card data breaches. They have used this environment to create and sale a new product.

The root of the product, in my opinion, will not be security but data collection. They want to monitor activity on your network and screen all of your internet activity(“a spam blocker and a tool that scans a user’s Facebook feed to guard against dangerous links.”). There is a large market for the data gathered. Norton would be able to monitor and collect user data on an even more direct level than Google, Facebook, Apple and the other large internet companies. This would even give them the ability to block the other companies and sell the information to them.

Our method of network security is tailored to our clients and uses many layers. The exact methods and tools are generally determined by the client’s want, budget and the value of the data/network we are defending. We use a combination of software, appliances, software update policies, computing best practices and monitoring(monitoring for our managed services clients only). We use a managed antivirus client with real time threat reporting which is monitored by SP Networking. We use a combination of hardware and software firewalls to block malicious/unwanted traffic. Software updates are applied regularly and monitored for success. Domain administration acccounts and external accounts use stricter password complexity requirements. Internal accounts use higher complexity requirements where feasible/allowed. Services and networks are monitored in real-time with configured alerts. Data loss is protected through onsite and offsite encrypted backups. It’s a combination of tools and methods that protect your network.

There is no guarantee against intrusions. If you want to prevent outside access you will have to disconnect from the internet. If you want to prevent inside access you need to shut down the computer and lock it in a vault. If your plan is “Thwarting Hackers After They Invade” then you have already lost.

Mar 14, 2014

HP – the beginning of the end

It looks like SP Networking will no longer sell or recommend HP printers and toner. HP recently announced that we can no longer purchase toner and supplies for resale unless we sell $15000 worth of supplies every six-months. A requirement like that for a small managed services company like ours leaves us no choice but to look elsewhere.

I am already of the opinion that HP computers are garbage. Now they are trying to put their printers in the same category. What used to make HP printers a good choice is that SP Networking could easily source parts and supplies. If it becomes expensive for us to source supplies then HP becomes of little value to us or our clients.

Luckily there are companies available to fill the void. Brother has been around for awhile now and is making some really good printers. They still need to make their manuals and repair parts more readily available. Dell is in the printer game now too with re-branded Lexmark printers. Lexmark’s quality has definitely improved over the years. If these companies and others continue to improve, they will push HP into irrelevancy.

I believe HP is cutting their own throat the way Xerox did in the 80’s by trying to monopolize the market after they have competition. They are just going to close themselves off and drive their smaller supporters away.

Mar 10, 2014

Computer Repair Technician – THIS POSITION IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE

THIS POSITION IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE

SP Networking is currently looking to hire a part-time or contract computer repair technician.

JOB DESCRIPTION

This is a part-time position with the possibility to convert to full time.

You would be responsible for:

  • information technology support and maintenance
  • troubleshooting and resolving client computer and technology problems
  • communication of status to clients and supervisor

QUALIFICATIONS

Requirements:

  • minimum 2-5 years related technical experience
  • valid drivers license
  • dependable transportation – will be reimbursed for local travel
  • pass drug screen
  • able to obtain a TWIC card (basic security background check)
  • physically able to lift 60lbs (relocate computer/servers/printers as needed)

Skills:

  • ability to work independently (this is not a training position)
  • computer troubleshooting and problem resolution
  • email configuration and troubleshooting using Outlook and mobile devices
  • desktop laser printer troubleshooting and problem resolution
  • network connectivity troubleshooting and problem resolution
  • wireless network connectivity troubleshooting and problem resolution


Feb 18, 2014

How to create a WordPress blog entry

    1. Logon to your WordPress website:
      1. URL: yourdomain.com/wp-admin
      2. Username:
      3. Password:

      enter logon and password

    2. Click Posts

select Posts

    1. Click Add New

select Add New

    1. Enter a title for the post – (use relevant keywords, should be seven or less words, ie. Computer Repair Services in Lake Charles, Louisiana)
    2. Enter the blog/article – (you can copy and paste from a Word document)
    3. Select or create a Category
    4. Enter Tags – (relevant keywords for this article)

follow the next steps

    1. Set a Featured Image – (do not use copyrighted images, a picture from your phone works great or purchased stock photography)
      1. Click Set featured image
      2. Drag an image from your computer to the dashed square to upload
      3. Click Set featured image

set featured image

  1. Publish the article
Feb 7, 2014

How to tell if your fan is going out.

It might be time to replace the fan, or in this case, the entire computer. Sometimes the best computer repair technique is replacement.

When working on or repairing computers, SP Networking always checks the inside of the computer for damage, swollen or popped capacitors and excessive dust buildup. Fortunately, this job was a computer replacement and not a computer repair job.