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Security 101: Introductions and vocabulary

Security101NewSeries_SQWith security being such an important part of every task a sysadmin undertakes, and with the stakes so high, we are starting a new series on the GFI Blog that deals with Security 101. The last week of every month, we will cover something along the lines of a “Security 101” topic to help those who need security, but don’t have the background, to improve their skills.

Those of you who are security sysadmins, or who have been managing systems for years, may find this to be a bit too basic, but we encourage you to follow this series anyway, and contribute your wisdom and share your opinions on the topics we cover. Everyone, from the new sysadmin to the 10-year veteran, can benefit from the knowledge of others, and who knows, the story you tell about when something bad happened to you might just save someone else from making the same mistake!

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iOS 8 fixes 53 security flaws in iPhone and iPad

iOS8Fixes_SQApple hasn’t released many security updates in the last couple of months, despite some high-profile discussion in the tech press about vulnerabilities in their popular mobile software. Most notably, Jonathan Zdziarski’s paper on back doors and attack points in iOS generated a good deal of controversy, and a presentation from Georgia Tech researchers at Black Hat USA at the end of July discussed multiple unpatched vulnerabilities in iOS.  Nonetheless, Apple issued no patches at all in July and only one – a fix for Safari running on OS X – in August.

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In search of the perfect form factor

PerfectFormFactor_SQLike Diogenes in his quest for an honest man, or an Arthurian knight in pursuit of the Holy Grail, I’ve been looking – for what seems like forever – for a computing device that doesn’t seem to exist. All I want is a machine that’s as compact, thin and light as my Galaxy Note, has a built-in screen that’s as gorgeous as that on my Tab S, has a fantastic keyboard that weighs almost nothing like my Surface Pro, and has processor and memory power equivalent to my desktop tower. Is that really too much to ask?

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The 24 funniest server naming conventions you’ve ever seen

ServerNames_SQFileServer1, DC05, ORLWEB01… what do these server names have in common? They are boring. Okay, they may be short and to the point, and strictly speaking they probably come close to complying with RFC 1178, but where’s the fun in that? Some sysadmins do like to have a bit of fun even when naming servers so we’ve put together some very cool and funny server naming conventions that we’ve come across. It’s just a server name, but why be boring when you can be witty (or weird). Here you go:

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25 tricks every IT support pro should know

25AdminTricks_SQWhat separates the end user from the IT super user? Tips and tricks, of course! Sysadmins, ubergeeks and other IT pros all know certain tricks, shortcuts, alternative menus and other arcane trivia that make the unenlightened stagger at their skills. Here are 25 tricks every support pro should know.

1. Enable QuickEdit Mode in your command prompt to make it easy to copy/paste. Right-click the title-bar, click Properties, and then check QuickEdit Mode. Now you can simply drag your mouse to highlight text in the command prompt.

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Talking tech to… My devices

VoiceControl_SQVoice recognition has been around for a long time, and the ability to talk to your computer or device conversationally and have it respond exactly as you want was perfected decades ago – in the movies. Real-life voice recognition technology hasn’t always worked quite as well. In the 90s, I struggled with Dragon Dictate, finally giving up with the conclusion that I could type much more quickly than the software could figure out my words. Things have improved since then – a lot – but I still get a good laugh now and then at the way Siri, Cortana and Google Voice misinterpret what they hear.

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Here we go again: Microsoft pulls another problematic patch

OneDriveRecall_SQMicrosoft’s August Patch Tuesday turned into chaos and confusion when a small but significant number of users reported serious problems, including blue screens, after installing the monthly security updates. The company recommended uninstalling some of the patches, removed them from Windows Update and download availability, and then issued replacements. This effectively stretched the patching process out over half the month – something that did not make busy IT admins happy and left some individual users frustrated.

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Cyberstranger danger: Traveling safely on the info highway

J003-Content-Highway_SQI enjoy traveling to new places and meeting new people. Over the last few years, I’ve been to Mexico, Canada, England, Scotland, Belgium, Denmark, Belize, Honduras and a few more. A few months from now, I’m going back to Europe, this time to Spain, Germany and the tiny island of Malta. Something I always keep in mind when I’m visiting unfamiliar places (including here in the U.S.) is that while people all over the world have a lot in common, some places are safer than others.

Honduras, for example, has the highest rate of intentional homicide (murder) in the world (90.4 per 100,000). Denmark, on the other hand, has one of the lowest (0.8 per 100,000), according to the United Nations Global Study on Homicide. Do I take extra precautions in Central America compared to Northern Europe? Absolutely.

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