Word just go out that the marketing firm EXACTIS has in its possession a database with close to 340 million individual records available until recently ( as of June 2018) on a publicly accessible server. The balk of the database comprises “close to 2 terabytes of data that appears to include personal information on hundreds of millions of American adults, as well as millions of businesses,” claims the magazine WIRED. In their article on the subject, WIRED provides further details:
While the precise number of individuals included in the data isn’t clear—and the leak doesn’t seem to contain credit card information or Social Security numbers—it does go into minute detail for each individual listed, including phone numbers, home addresses, email addresses, and other highly personal characteristics for every name. The categories range from interests and habits to the number, age, and gender of the person’s children. “It seems like this is a database with pretty much every US citizen in it,” says Troia, who is the founder of his own New York-based security company, Night Lion Security. Troia notes that almost every person he’s searched for in the database, he’s found.
You may need to go check https://haveibeenpwned.com/ by Troy Hunt to see if your email address was among the leaked data and to sign up for a notification should your email address appear in such a leak and become available to ‘;–have i been pwned? (HIBP).
As HIBP suggests in one of their recent emails, monitoring Have I Been Pwned for data breaches is a great start, you should take two more steps to protect all your accounts:
- Protect yourself with strong, unique passwords for each website with a password manager like 1Password or LastPass or any of good one of your choice.
- Enable 2 factor authentication and store the codes inside your password manager.
Further recommendation would be that you keep an eye out on your credit records and any other possible social engineering attacks against you or your family.
If you were using OS X Server in macOS Sierra then upgraded to macOS High Sierra, you are probably wondering what in the world happened to the Time Machine Option in OS X Server. A good discussion is going on about the question here, but we do have a solution for you:
As it turns out that Apple decided that Time Machine sharing will now become a part of macOS instead of Server 5.4. You can now used a shared Folder as a Time Machine backup destination using the Sharing preferences in your macOS System Preferences.
According to the Mac Help instructions, to Set up a shared Time Machine backup folder,
- Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Sharing.
- Select the File Sharing checkbox.
- Click the Add button + at the bottom of the Shared Folders list.
- Navigate to and select the folder you want to use for sharing, then click Add.
- Select the name of the shared folder, click Options, then make sure “Share files and folders using SMB” is selected and “Share files and folders using AFP” is not selected.
- Control-click the name of the folder, then choose Advanced Options.
- Select “Share as a Time Machine backup destination.”
- If desired, select “Limit backups to,” then enter a size.
- Click OK.
The question remains, though, of how do you know your remote devices are currently being backed up or how much of their backup has been done and how much is left?
Just as as announced in June 2017, Google just released this July 12 2017 a brand new product called Backup and Sync. In addition to brand new functions like backing up pictures and files from USB connected media, this tool comes to gather the functionalities that were present in Google Photos and Google Drive into one product.
Backup and Sync for Google Photos and Google Drive is available for Mac and Windows comes to move your clutter from your desktop into the cloud. Backup and Sync can be customized to only sync certain folders, to ask you what and where to delete files, and so forth. You can read more about it
With that said, if you are an Enterprise, Business, Education or Nonprofit user, Google made sure to mention that Backup and Sync is not for G Suite users just yet. These will need to wait for Drive File Stream (to be released to “soon” to the public as of the publication of this article).
Google Backup and Sync for Mac
Some Security Considerations
Having all your data stored on the cloud could be a good or a dangerous thing, though. If you already used Google Drive or Google Photos you most likely understand the risks attached to having your life in the cyber cloud. The risks include having all your data stolen by anyone with your password if the password is your last line of defense. So, if you are going to use this or any of the cloud storage of personal or corporate data that is not for public release, please add 2-step authentication as part of your security practices. We would recommend it for all of your accounts where possible.
You probably just want to jump straight to the solution. So, here it is:
- Unplug all peripheral devices from your computer.
- While holding Option + Command + R + P, Power Up the computer, listen for 1st chime, then 2nd chime, then immediately release all the keys you were holding and watch the computer come to life.*
- Proceed to backing up your data onto an external hard drive or other solution you have at hand for backup and remember to backup on a regular basis.
- You are good to go!
Now, What Does Command + Option + R + P Do?
Glad you asked! I did not know either. But I looked That key combination helps reset the NVRAM, sometimes called PRAM, on your Mac. The PRAM is a type of Non-Volatile RAM on your computer that stores some important parameters about your computer’s peripheral devices. This is why you are to unplug all peripheral devices as a first step of this troubleshooting.
According to Apple, “If you experience issues with sleep, wake, power, charging your Mac notebook battery, or other power-related symptoms, you might need to reset the SMC (System Management Controller),” which involves a different set of keys.
Lessons Learned From This Case of Mac Troubleshooting
Lesson Numero Uno: Always backup your computers! It is an investment worth it considering that most external hard drives cost way less than the price of a brand new computer. So, get on the Internet and look up best ways to backup your type of computer and go ahead and do it. You can also just ask your trusted and proven tech-savvy rafiki (translate “friend”) how it is done.
Finally, I want to mention that, as you would quickly notice by glancing on the keyboard nearest to you, the key combination that brings your Mac back to life requires some dexterity you could get from some practice with a keyboard or piano. So, lesson learned, find a piano class and start the lessons as soon as you can.
* The only time this would not work is if the problem is totally unrelated to the solution I am offering. Haha! Smart! I figured that one out by myself!
It happens sometimes that your favorite antivirus locks up your files every time your backup engine tries to access them for, well, backup. You may want to contact customer support for your specific antivirus. In my case, Bitdefender had set itself to protecting my files so much that my scheduled backup failed, failed, and failed… and failed again. So, I ask Bitdefender customer support for a quick guide on what to do. Following is what they said. It turns out to be what worked as well.
Most likely there is some interference with the backup process, adding an exclusion for the backup application process in the Antimalware > Settings section of your policy might fix the situation, I provided the steps below.
- Log in to Bitdefender Control Center.
- Go to Policies page.
- In case you already have a custom policy created, click on it in order to edit. Otherwise, click the + Add button to create a new policy.
- Go to Antimalware > Settings tab.
- Select Custom Exclusions.
- Choose Process from the Type menu.
- In the Files, folders, extensions or processes column, type the full path to the application you want to exclude from scanning.
- Choose On-access from the Modules menu and click the “+” button to add the application to the exclusions list.
- Repeat steps 4 to 8, but select ATC/IDS from the Modules menu.
- Click Save to send the policy to the target machines.
The wbadmin.exe and wbengine.exe files might be the ones for which you need to create the exclusions.
And yes, they were and they worked after I followed the steps. ‘Nough said!
I really couldn’t find a Bitdefender image with free license for reuse with modification, but I found this one about Ebola. So, let’s just learn
How the Ebola virus attacks according to the WHO