Monthly Archives: April 2010

New writers coming soon!

In the next week or so we will be adding to new contributers to the website. Mike Stone who is currently at Champlain College working towards the same major as I, Computer Networking and Information Security. The other writer that will be joining us is Steve Rhinesmith, who graduated from Champlain College last year, earning a degree in Computer Forensics.

Look for our About Us page to hear more about the three of us, as well as what we are interested in posting about on this site. It will be up in the next week or two, along with other submissions by myself and my two co-workers.

Thank you, and stay tuned!

Social Networking Privacy

I wrote a formal report for my Ethics class last week, my topic was how social networking has basically destroyed internet privacy.  As more and more data is collected and viewed on these sites, less and less information can be considered your own.  Once its up there, its considered the public domains information, especially the information that you leave public on social networks.  This data is mainly used by advertisement companies to target their audience more, but it is also used by the social networks to focus their energy on making their websites more tailored to their users.

Social networks are a great addition to the internet, only problem is that it has made it that much easier to steal someone elses identity.  An interesting article I found while researching for this paper was at the New York Times website,http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/technology/17privacy.html.  One data pooling experiment caculated with a 78% accuracy out of 4,000 users if they were gay or not.  Another research experiment done by the University of Texas was able to connect users accounts even with their identity information stripped down, with 30% accuracy.

If you are interested to hear more, go to the New York Times article, I might post my report in a while.  Its just very interesting to me that we are so hyped up on privacy, but when it comes to the internet, we really don’t have any privacy to speak of.  When you put yourself out there like I do to all of these different services to connect with other users as well as connecting your life to the internet you really have to step back and ask yourself why are you giving out this information?  The reason I have created this website is because I want to share my insight on the technology world and how it affects both my career as well as others.

McAfee Corporate Disaster

Last week the corporate world got a little bit more hectic, at least for those relying on McAfee as their anti-virus software on Windows XP computers.  It seems as though a corporate update that went out created a huge issue with its users computers when it came up with a false positive that deleted the svchost.exe file within Windows XP users.  This of course made the computer crash and restart.  When the computer was started up again, of course it had no networking capabilites anymore since the svchost.exe file handles network traffic on your computer.

McAfee seems to be on the ball with this disaster of an update, informing users that if this should happen there are a few options that you can do to remedy this situation.  The entire article is here if you care to or need to see how to fix this issue, but I will give an overview of what needs to happen.  Basically you need to copy the svchost.exe file from an unaffected computer, take that copy to the affected computer to replace the deleted file, and then proceed to update to the newest definition files so that it wont happen again.  This of course means a lot of staff to go to each and every computer affected to fix the issue, which in some places is around the 30,000 to 60,000 users (http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/21/mcafee-update–shutting-down-xp-machines/).

You would hope things like these wouldn’t happen, but they sometimes do and we all have to just basically go with the flow and deal with it.  We take a lot for granted when we use services that are out there to protect us.  They don’t always work, sometimes they do more harm than they help us.  This of course could have happened with any anti-virus software, trying to keep up with false positives is a full time job, mind you this scenario is a bit strange since Windows XP and svchost.exe has been around for quite a few years.  But in the long run it wouldn’t be that far fetched that it will happen again.  McAfee hopefully learned a valuable lesson from all of this, if it happens again though I doubt people will be so reliant on their service.  Personally I wouldn’t poke McAfee with a ten foot pole.

Bacula

Here is my opinion on Bacula. If you don’t know what Bacula is, its basically a backup system for Linux, Windows and Unix computers. I have been developing a infrastructure for a software company in Montreal, Quebec for the last three and a half months. Basically I have looked at almost every aspect of the program, and I have to say it is extremely useful. The only downside to this open source project is that the documentation is pretty slim when it comes to using it and troubleshooting why it wont work. The Internet is a great resource, most of the issues I ran into were scattered all over the place from people who had similar issues, and some of course I just looked at and found a workaround.

Overall I think this program is a great tool, and highly suggest this to the highly technical users out there looking to use a central backup system that works for pretty much any OS. If you have little to no experience with Linux though, you will be extremely lost and I would suggest something simpler like SyncBack or BackExec from Norton. Also if you have the money, go out and buy a commercial product, they usually have a lot more technical support and are easier to implement.

If you are interested in checking it out, follow this link to the main website. It will give you all the information you will need to see if its the right solution to your backup strategy. What works for one company doesn’t necessarily work for another so be sure to research all your options.

http://www.bacula.org/en/

I will be posting more as the weeks go by, as well as adding more content to this website. Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed, and eventually I will set up a mailing list for those of you who wish to hear more. Leave a comment below on other topics that you are interested in related to the IT world and I will defiantly look into them.