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Spammers hit new Windows 10 users with ransomware

Shane Davis : August 4, 2015 6:56 pm : Blog, Security

ransomwareSecurity experts are warning Windows fans not to fall for a new spam campaign designed to trick users waiting for the new version of the OS to open an attachment crammed with ransomware.

Cisco’s Talos team claimed in a blog post that the spam run was a typical attempt to ride the coat tail of this popular event in order to get the attention of as many email recipients as possible.

“The fact that users have to virtually wait in line to receive this update, makes them even more likely to fall victim to this campaign,” they stated.

The spammers themselves have taken several steps to make their emails appear to have been sent by Microsoft, including a spoofed “from” address of ‘update@microsoft.com’ even though the IP address is linked to a machine in Thailand.

The color scheme used throughout the unsolicited message is also very similar to that use by the Windows team, and the attackers have added in both a disclaimer and a message claiming the email has been scanned by anti-virus.

However, they failed to spot several mistakes in the text of the message characters which haven’t parsed properly.

“This could be due to the targeted audience, a demographic using a non-standard character set, or the character set the adversaries were using to craft the email,” Talos claimed.

If a user is tricked into opening the zip attachment to get their copy of ‘Windows 10’ and runs the corresponding executable, they will find their machine made unusable thanks to CTB-Locker.

This crypto-ransomware variant gives users 96 hours to pay a fee or face all of their computer files being lost forever.

It uses elliptical curve encryption which is said to have lower overheads than other types and hosts much of its infrastructure on Tor to avoid detection. Users must make payments in Bitcoins to make tracking even more difficult.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the threat of ransomware is growing and will continue to grow as long as users give in to the tactics. As a defense, I encourage all users to backup their data in accordance with your companies best practices. Your backups should be stored offline to prevent them from being targeted by attackers.

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Project Loon: The future of Worldwide internet coverage

Shane Davis : August 3, 2015 9:31 pm : Blog, New Tech

Sri Lanka is well on its way to having improved Internet coverage.

Google’s high-altitude Project Loon balloons will soon blanket the island nation with affordable, high-speed Internet. Government officials and Google executives inked a deal to get the connected balloons flying over the Indian Ocean in the next few months.

A specific timeline has not been revealed, but Muhunthan Canagey, head of local authority at the Information and Communication Technology Agency, stated that Google is expected to complete the setup by March.

Local Internet service providers, he said, will get a speed and quality boost once the project is active. Operational costs are also expected to decrease.

Google announced Project Loon in the summer of 2013, confirming plans to provide Internet access to underserved areas via the high-flying balloons. The effort started with a pilot program in Canterbury, New Zealand, with 30 balloons in the air and 50 testers on the ground.

By November 2014, the project had logged around 3 million kilometers of flight, and expanded to include 20 balloon launches per day. Just shy of its two-year anniversary, Google announced that Project Loon was almost ready for lift-off around the world—first stop, Sri Lanka.

In a recent speech, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera noted that “from this event onwards advertisements or headlines saying (Sri Lankan cities) Matara covered or Jaffna covered will become part of history.”

Samaraweera said he is “proud to declare that we are at the cusp of reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world.”

“In a few months we will truly be able to say: Sri Lanka. Covered,” he said, as reported by the country’s official government news site.

google_project_loonProject Loon is just one way Google is looking to expand Internet coverage around the globe. Last year, it bought satellite maker Skybox for $500 million to help improve its maps, but also Internet access and disaster relief. Earlier in the year, Google also bought Titan Aerospace, a company that makes solar-powered, near-orbital drones that can fly around for about five years nonstop.

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Windows 10 is here! but are you ready to upgrade

Shane Davis : July 31, 2015 6:27 pm : Blog, Software

windows_10_logoWait, doesn’t it always make sense to download something for free? Microsoft released its brand-new operating system this week, and you can get it at no cost, but make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you upgrade.

The first thing you should do before making the upgrade is to look closely at the gear you have attached to your computer. I mean closely. You might already know that Microsoft has put great effort into making sure just about every printer and scanner in the known universe will work with the new OS, but what if you own one from an unknown universe? Also, if you have really odd peripherals say, a 3D printer or maybe a drone that needs constant driver updates, think twice about jumping on the download so quickly. Check with the peripheral maker first.

Second, ask yourself some tough questions about why you are updating. Are you an early adopter? It’s definitely less risky than being one of the first people to drive an autonomous car or use a new VR headset when there are so few VR apps. You can expect Chrome to run smoothly (I’m using Google Docs on Chrome running on Windows 10 right now). But any new OS will have some issues. Maybe they are security-related. Maybe your accounting app will crash. Be ready to spend time tinkering and have a good backup plan (and a good backup). At least do the upgrade during a time when you don’t have a load of projects due.

I do most of my work in the cloud these days, and I always have a few computers floating around. It’s an incredibly low-risk upgrade for me. If one of them crashed, I’d grab another, I tend to live on the edge when it comes to computing, but then again, I don’t have to do the payroll for hundreds of employees or develop a marketing brochure using Photoshop by 6 o’clock tonight.

If you get past those hurdles, it’s time for you to think about why the upgrade makes sense. It’s a smarter interface. The Start menu is now located back where it belongs, on the left-corner of the screen instead of taking over your entire screen with tile apps. That means it is easier to use. Before, you had to know where to find simple features like how to turn the computer off. Microsoft has mostly addressed the usability hitches in Windows 8 with this release and it’s getting great reviews.

It’s faster, easier and smarter. It’s also not going to change your world in a million ways. Windows 10 has not made much of a difference in how I work, the apps I use, or the fact that I tend to do most of my work in a browser these days. But there are still some question about whether it will run reliably, and there’s no way to know unless you try it with your apps on your computer for a few days or weeks. It’s pretty tough to go back to a previous OS. Anything new in technology should be assessed for the value it provides to you, not just because it is new, available, free or good.

So in conclusion I am not necessarily saying to skip this release at all. After complaining about Windows 8 over and over again, I will say that Windows 10 is a big step forward in making the OS more user-friendly. I’m happy with the update so far and haven’t have any problems. Your mileage (and tolerance level) may vary. As with any new OS, just be careful before you take that leap of faith.

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Your Android devices can be hacked with a MMS

Shane Davis : July 29, 2015 10:29 pm : Blog, Mobile

Own an Android phone? Be careful, Your Android devices can be hacked with a MMS.

Security researchers have found that 95% of Android devices running version 2.2 to 5.1 of operating system, which includes Lollipop and KitKat, are susceptible to the security bug, affecting more than 950 million Android smartphones and tablets.

Almost all Android smart devices available today are open to attack that could allow hackers to access the vulnerable device without the owners being aware of it, according to Joshua Drake, vice president of platform research and exploitation at security firm Zimperium.

The vulnerability actually resides in a core Android component called “Stagefright,” a multimedia playback library used by Android to process, record and play multimedia files such as PDFs.

A Text Message Received…Your Game is Over

The sad news for most of the Android users is that the fix will not help millions of Android users that owned older versions of the operating system that Google no longer supports, opening doors for hackers to perform Stagefright attack.

Drake has developed and published a scary discovery that uses a specially crafted text message using the multimedia message (MMS) format.

All a hacker needs is the phone number of the victim’s Android device. The hacker could then sends the malicious message that will secretly execute malicious code on the vulnerable device with no end user action, no indication, nothing require

Stagefright: Scary Code in the Heart of Android

The same vulnerability can also be exploited using other attack techniques, such as luring victims to malicious websites.

Drake will present his full findings, including six additional attack techniques to exploit the vulnerability, at Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on August 5 and DEF CON 23 on August 7, where he is scheduled to deliver a talk titled, Stagefright: Scary Code in the Heart of Android.

Almost all Android devices containing Stagefright are in question. According to Drake, all versions of Android devices after and including version 2.2 of the operating system are potentially vulnerable, and it is up to each device manufacturer to patch the devices against Stagefright attack.

When will I expect a Fix?

Google has patched the code and sent it to device manufacturers, but devices require over-the-air updates from companies such as Samsung or Motorola to update their customers’ phones.

Given the shaky history of handset manufacturers and carriers rolling out security patches, it is not known how long the companies will take to update vulnerable Android devices against Stagefright attack.

virus_androidHowever, Silent Circle has patched the issue in its Blackphone, as has Mozilla, which uses Stagefright code in Firefox OS.

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Microsoft aims to make machine learning accessible and as easy to use as any other program

Shane Davis : July 23, 2015 10:00 am : Blog, Cloud Services

Machine_Learning2Machine learning makes software smarter and more aware. It’s becoming as integral to our collective computing experience as the Internet itself. But how can developers really get started with it? What’s the first step? Microsoft aims to make that leap a little easier with its Azure Machine Learning service.

A brief overview of how machine learning works

Computer scientists create software designed to work with numerous amounts of data. Machine learning evolved from the creation of algorithms that can train itself in other words, learn from and make predictions on these huge volumes of data.

Where machine learning really shines is in variable analysis: The human brain can only consciously consider a few variables at the same time when trying to make a decision or form a conclusion about some issue. Software, however, is capable of considering far more variables than a human making the same decision, which, the theory goes, will almost always result in a better, higher quality decision — without a fear of so-called “analysis paralysis,” when you refrain from consciously making a decision or rush to a conclusion because your brain cannot handle all of the different variables.

In a time when the quantity of data is doubling about every 18 months, machine learning can consume all that data and actively use it to solve business problems.

Machine learning involves computers and software that get better at whatever their objective is over time, using insights gained through experience without explicit programming. Microsoft defines “experience” in the machine learning context as past data processed through the application, plus human input to guide, correct and gently guide the program more toward achieving its objective. The more data that passes through the software, and the more input data scientists give the software, the better the outcomes the software makes.

What are some examples of machine learning? You can look as far back as the late 1990s when Bayesian spam filtering was introduced to tackle the growing problem of unsolicited commercial e-mail. Other, more recent and fairly ordinary examples of machine learning include:

 

  • Google claims its use of machine learning helps keep 99.9 percent of spam out of Gmail users’ inboxes.
  • Mapping and navigation services that answer the question “What is the best way home?” keeping in mind traffic data, road construction, weather conditions and what time of day the request is being made or what time of day the request is for.
  • Skype Translator, a service that naturally translates from one language to another in real time while a conversation is happening.
  • Facebook’s People You Might Know feature, which looks through your relationships and other peoples’ profile data and activities to find connections to friends you might not already be associated with on the social network.
  • Evaluating the context of the text on a webpage to decide which ads to display and at what cost to the advertisers each click or impression of that ad on the context sensitive page should be worth, especially when the overall objective of the ad campaign differs (from selling products to delivering sign ups or opt ins to a newsletter and so on).
  • Self-driving cars. Chris Urmon who heads up Google’s driverless car program recently gave a TED talk on how a driverless car sees the road that shows, among other things, the amount of data these vehicles need to process in order to make autonomous decisions about what to do next.

In a testament to how machine learning has evolved, all of these techniques have matured over the last decade. What’s different now is the volume of data being generated, not just by humans and their activities but by all the machines and sensors plugged in and connected to the network, generating logs and observations. All of this data from all of these different sources can be combined and used to generate insights and make decisions faster and better than ever before.

While Microsoft has been a big user and applier of machine learning for a while now, its Azure Machine Learning service puts the scale and power of one of the world’s largest cloud platform operators into an easy-to-use package that takes just minutes and a credit card to get started with.

Off-the-shelf machine learning

Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning offering is a one-stop shop designed to get you started with cloud-based machine learning quickly and very easily. It starts in the Azure portal, then configures storage options and provisions virtual networks to connect everything together where IT personnel can create a Machine Learning Studio (ML Studio) workspace and dedicated storage account.

The data that models within the ML studio can use can come from a variety of sources:

 

  • Models can access data already in Azure.
  • Models can query across Big Data in HDInsight.
  • Models can pull datasets in right from the data scientists’ desktops.

Once the data scientist is ready to publish, that’s when tested models become available to developers via the API service. The business users can access results, from anywhere, on any device. And any model updates simply refresh the model in production with no new development work needed. It is essentially machine learning as a service.

Azure Machine Learning is already in use by many companies who are using the service in the following ways:

 

  • telemetry data analysis
  • buyer propensity models
  • social network analysis
  • predictive maintenance
  • Web app optimization
  • churn analysis
  • natural resource exploration
  • weather forecasting
  • predictive healthcare outcomes
  • financial fraud detection
  • life sciences research
  • targeted advertising
  • network intrusion detection
  • smart meter monitoring

Conclusion on machine learning

 

machine_learning

Microsoft’s goal with Azure Machine Learning is to make it easy to get started with the data you already have and the staff you already employ just start an Azure subscription, set up a workspace and start playing in the ML Studio. Microsoft provides sufficient additional technical documentation and access to a 30-day free trial. You can also browse the ML Studio gallery to find five-minute educational tutorials on how to get sample data, run experiments, and more.

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Does teaching hacking lead to more attacks?

Shane Davis : July 21, 2015 10:00 am : Blog, Security

white_hat_black_hatA black hat is a hacker who “violates computer security for little reason beyond maliciousness network security, anti-spam or for personal gain”, a definition attributed to Robert Moore in 2005. A white hat has been called an ethical computer hacker and/or a computer security expert who strives to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems. A gray hat is something in between; a hacker that tests systems to find security holes. This involves penetration testing, “pentesting” for short, which is basically initiating a black hat offensive against a company as a test of their systems.

These definitions are just one example of the cloudiness in the world of computer security. Who is good and who is bad depends on whom you ask.

 

Who has the right to be called a hacker?

Real hackers have deep systems knowledge. This does not come from using Microsoft Word to write college papers. It is the result of study and research and a great deal of poking and prodding networks and network devices. In a PC World article, Eric Geier outlines the steps he believes are needed to become an ethical hacker:

  • Pass A+ certification and get a tech support position.
  • Pass Network+ or CCNA certification and work as a network support or admin, then network security engineer
  • Pass Security+, CISSP, or TICSA certification and work in information security
  • Get hands-on experience with penetration testing, then pass the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification

“At that point, you can start marketing yourself as an ethical hacker,” says Geier. All this training is in addition to earning a university degree.

 

The psychology of hacking

But, as the saying goes, with great knowledge comes great responsibility. If you are capable of breaking into the Pentagon network, would you do it? If so, why? The answer to that question could be any of the following:

It’s like Mount Everest – it’s there.

To brag about the accomplishment to friends.

To find vulnerabilities in the system.

To take or extort money.

An adolescent often finds the first two answers convincing. He or she knows it is illegal and wrong, but that network is an irresistible target. Hacking into a computer system is like joyriding with a network instead of a Ferrari. And the Internet makes kiddie scripts and more complex hacks available to all, including young people (or adults) without fully-developed moral compasses. As these kind of hackers mature, they find employment involving computers, especially in the high-paying security field.

Hacking a system to find vulnerabilities, the third answer above, is not black and white. This is exactly what gray hats do for a living. Since more companies such as Google and Microsoft are offering “bug bounties”, some people are attracted to the challenge and the money involved. In fact, in an article called “Hacking for Good”, Bloomberg Business exults, “Hats off to the white hats. These hackers, who break into computer networks and digital devices to find holes before the bad guys do”. They point to Barnaby Jack as one of these heroes. At Black Hat in 2010, Jack showed how to hack an ATM to disburse cash. This shocking demonstration led to measures to enhance ATM security.

Without a doubt, hacking the Pentagon network to take or extort money, the fourth answer above, is just plain illegal. Criminals use whatever means available for their ends, and the computer is another tool in their arsenal.

 

Why hacking matters

The debate over different-colored hats would be academic were it not for the paramount role that computers play in our lives. Nefarious hacking of financial institutions, governments, and power grids is terrifying for two reasons.  Of course, there is the resulting damage, but also the fact that we don’t entirely know how to avoid the incidents. This is where “good hacking”, white or gray hat, is critical. Without the deep system knowledge gained from hacking, our institutions stand no chance of being protected from adolescent mayhem, criminals, or terrorists.

Most education for security professionals has focused on defensive measures. This is not enough to beat the bad guys at their game. EC-Council declares that its Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification deals with “hacking techniques and technology from an offensive perspective.” To emphasize this point, the title of their next step of certification is called Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT).

 

hacker

To take the CEH course or certification test with EC-Council, a candidate is required to have at least two years of “security related experience” and must sign an agreement to not misuse the knowledge in any way. However, because the CEH certification is much sought after, other organizations have created courses for preparation. These courses are available to whomever is willing to pay.

Should offensive hacking techniques be taught by EC-Council and other public entities such as universities? A growing number of people, however, are adamant that hacking is a way to arm IT personnel to deal with attacks.

What do you think, will this type of education lead to more attacks?

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Google is taking it to the Streets

Shane Davis : July 20, 2015 5:18 pm : Blog, New Tech

google_sidewalkIn June of 2015 Google announced the creation of a new company that will develop technology to improve city life for residents, businesses and governments.

Google has teamed up with Dan Doctoroff former Bloomberg CEO and ex-deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York to advance the effort. Doctoroff will be CEO of Sidewalk Labs, which will be based in New York.

Doctoroff will contribute his experience in building and managing cities, and Google will provide funding and support.

Sidewalk Labs aims to tackle the biggest challenges cities face, said Google CEO Larry Page, including making transportation more efficient, lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage, and helping governments operate more efficiently.

Responses to Sidewalk Labs

Comments on local blogs range from ecstatic praise to request for jobs to criticism to the extreme.

Some are: “can you ask them to develop very little self-driving robots to remove dogs’ excrements and other trash from the streets” and  “When you say everyone I hope that’s not just about solving first world problems of six figure salary techies. I want to hear more ideas about how to help the homeless and by help, I don’t mean just move them out of sight.”

There are document that point to the Cities Alliances Guide to City development Strategies, which includes recommendations on the following topics:

  • Livelihood, such as job creation, business development, and sources of household income
  • Environmental sustainability and energy efficiency of the city and the quality of its service delivery
  • Spatial form and its infrastructure
  • Financial resources
  • Governance

Life as Google Might See It

According to personnel, Sidewalk Labs possibly will create things that are highly and much more completely instrumented then tie that instrumentation to automated city management systems, services and planners. The benefit for Google is that the resulting information would be invaluable to people that want to sell you stuff.

If they get to critical mass, it would be nearly impossible to displace Google which would, for all practical purposes, be abstracting the government and directing it. With Nest, Google has our homes; with self-driving cars, our transportation; and now with this, they’ll get pretty much everything else.

Questions about Sidewalk Labs’ Vision

Apps in and of themselves don’t make a city more efficient; they can serve only as an overlay to infrastructure, and much of the infrastructure in most established cities in the United States is crumbling, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 report card for America’s infrastructure. We’ll need to invest US$3.6 trillion in infrastructure projects by 2020 to remedy this problem, it says.

Creeping Into a Crowded Market

Lots of companies, including IBM, have been involved in smart cities projects for years, and their efforts are more extensive than Sidewalk Labs’ initial aims.

A lot of cities are doing proposals for smart lighting but the problem is that they require a full IP network for the next 10 to 20 years.

Officials want to automate their cities and link all the databases together so they can plan out traffic patterns, revenue models, where they should put parking spaces, etc. One city is that is doing this is San Jose, which has begun piloting an Internet of Things project.

Google, Apple, Microsoft and other companies are motivated to get into the smart cities market, because they’ll have the databases and consumer information, and we will get locked in to them.

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Windows XP: Should you move should you stay? Or is this the wrong question?

Shane Davis : July 17, 2015 6:35 pm : Blog, Software

windows_xp_time The office world is changing. Web-based applications and mobile apps are becoming more widespread and the way applications are obtained and delivered is becoming more standards-based to meet today’s multi-platform requirements. While this works well for the future, there will always be a requirement to access legacy applications, which adds countless complex processes for any business as it moves to the next Windows OS migration.

More than a year after Microsoft shipped its final update for Windows XP and just ahead of Microsoft’s removal of extended support for anti-malware on July 14th 2015, a considerable number of large organizations still haven’t made the move from this legacy OS. Although the number of Windows 8/8.1 PCs accessing the internet exceeded the number running Windows XP for the first time, Windows XP is still alive and kicking.

Many refer to the headache of migrating business-critical proprietary applications, but time is running out fast. End-of-life custom support agreements can cost millions and XP organizations are far more vulnerable to malware and other malicious attacks. The latest statements from Microsoft about Windows present organizations still on XP with a migration conundrum, move to Windows 7, 8.1 or 10?

There is no right or wrong answer. In fact, I would argue that it isn’t even the right question. A better question is this: what’s the best way to manage application migration from one Microsoft OS to another?

Managing a migration from XP to another Windows OS is not a minor tasks. But the operating system switch is the (somewhat) easy part. The complexity of the applications today, compared to the last major migration activity around 10 years ago, makes managing the migration of thousands of applications time-consuming and expensive. Without the right approach, employee productivity can be seriously impacted and migration costs can spiral out of control.

Which OS?

Let’s deal with the OS question first.

From a longevity perspective, Windows 10 is the clear leader. However for organizations in highly regulated industries such as financial services, moving to Windows 10 before Q3 2015 would be a big leap of faith.

Microsoft’s updated Windows 8.1 might be a good option for businesses requiring mobile/touchscreen capabilities for some employees – for example, engineers out in the field. However, from an IT perspective it is difficult to adjust the way that the interface works to ensure the OS always launches and remains in classic mode. Windows 10 is superior in key areas for enterprises (security, management and user experience). A move to Windows 8.1 requires considerable investment in staff training.

If your business wants to avoid retraining overhead and resulting loss in productivity, Windows 7 remains a smart option. Although it is now five years old and mainstream support ended in January 2015, it is a proven solution with a current market share of almost 60 percent. Also, a move to Windows 10 further down the line should be much less of a disruption than the move from XP to Windows 7.

Some organizations might want to look at a hybrid OS strategy: Windows 7 for office-based staff, and Windows 8.1 for field-based staff, like salespeople and utilities engineers who need to update centralized databases in real time. This approach adds a layer of complexity relating to the connectivity and applications required, but this could make up for it by improved productivity.

Application migration planning

Once an OS has been selected, that’s when the hard work begins. The main challenges for the IT team stem from the need to migrate infrastructure and applications in a short timescale, while continuing to support business services and adhering to the service level agreement.

Few applications have ever been deployed out of the box without a degree of customization, adding an extra layer of complexity to any application migration project. It’s no trivial task figuring out how the application has been customized and why.

Once you know what you are dealing with, it’s easier to set about simplifying your environment by justifying your applications: removing duplicates, non-strategic applications, and applications with functionality now incorporated into other applications. Some of the applications within customer profiles can simply be removed. A common discussion point often is adding important features within corresponding products: for example, the ability to create PDF files from within the latest version of Microsoft Office removes the need for a separate PDF creator in many cases.

Like essay writing in school, the key to a successful migration really is in the planning. Once the groundwork has been prepared, the process of packaging, remediating and virtualizing applications can take place using industry-standard toolsets. An audit of which applications live where, helps organizations to easily manage their software lifecycle going forward as well. By implementing a methodical, proven approach known to deliver the best possible outcomes, organizations can minimize risk and avoid the dual presence of project over-run and cost escalation.

If these hurdles seem too high, there is another way to deliver business services. I’m talking of course about moving to the cloud.

The rapidly changing applications landscape provides your business with an ideal opportunity to remove themselves from years of technical complexity and increasing datacenter infrastructure, maintenance and refresh costs.

A strategy focusing on rapidly changing business needs could be the facilitator for moving to cloud services. There is now a growing appetite to migrate even core business services to a more dynamic and fluid method.

Services, infrastructure and even applications can now be “hired” by the minute, or the transaction, and the SaaS provisioning of software like Office 365 and Salesforce.com has prompted a significant shift in the procurement and management of business applications.

Of course this is a significant simplification of the problems at hand. Legacy systems still need to be maintained and accessed, and the cost of business change should not be underestimated. The future is not going away, and it is definitely cloud shaped.

xp_end_of_the_road

If this article interest you, we provide comprehensive IT Solutions that allow our clients answers and peace of mind for any and all computer related issues. We look forward to serving you.

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How to import photos from Android phones to Windows PC

Shane Davis : July 16, 2015 8:04 pm : Blog, How To

When you click on your Android phone in Windows, you can either import photos from your cell phone or just copy them with the Windows File Explorer.  Copying the photos is easier and faster than using the Import option as importing scans folders other than your camera folder under certain circumstances. Here is how to use File Explorer to copy photos from your Android phone.

The process of copying your photos from your Android phone to Windows is as simple as connecting your phone to your computer and opening the File Explorer.  Note that Windows could download and install new software from your phone manufacturer.  If Windows does not recognize your phone when you plug it in, make sure the device is plugged in tightly, or look on your manufacturer’s website for missing software.  This will work 95% of the time with no intervention required. Some charging cables do not make a good connection as your phone becomes well-worn over time, so try another cable as well.

Below, are steps demonstrate how to copy photos using Windows 10 and a Nexus 4 Android 4.4.  The Camera folder might be in a different location for a Samsung or other manufacturers.

1. Plug the phone in to your computer, and in the notification screen at the top of the phone, it will say that the phone is either connected as a Camera or as a Media Device. Either option works for copying files.  To change the option, just click on it.

connected_as_camera

2. Pick connect as a Camera or Media device.

usb_computer_connection

3. When you first open the File Explorer, you are in the home menu. Click This PC.

home

 

4. Click the device’s name. In this example. it says Galaxy Nexus

 

This_PC

5. Click internal storage.

Internal_Storage

6. Click DCIM.

DCIM

7. Click Camera.

Camera

8. Copy the files where you want them.  If you use Cut and Paste, it will delete them from the camera, too. You should do this if you want to empty the picture gallery so that the next time you copy photos to Windows you do not copy the same files twice.

Camera_2      

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T-Mobile Customers can use their phone in Canada and Mexico at no extra cost

Shane Davis : July 15, 2015 10:50 pm : Blog, Mobile

mobile-without-borders-prT-Mobile’s U.S. customers will soon be able to call and text people in Canada and Mexico and use their cell phones while traveling in those countries without incurring any additional fees.

The wireless carrier announced Thursday that all T-Mobile Simple Choice customers will be able to use their phones across North America at no added cost starting on July 15.

Called ‘Mobile without Borders,’ this first-of-its-kind move delivers calling to both land lines and mobile phones as well as 4G LTE data straight from your plan across all three countries at no additional cost. The historic upgrade makes Simple Choice the first and only wireless plan to span an entire continent.

Mobile without Borders is part of T-Mobile’s Uncarrier strategy, which was launched a few years ago in an effort to win more customers. So far, T-Mobile has attempted to challenge its rivals by doing away with two-year contracts, dropping data roaming fees, and allowing its customers to upgrade their phones for free at any time, among other promotions.

It’s clear that T-Mobile’s strategy has been working. The company said Thursday that it added 2.1 million new customers in Q2 of 2015. This marks the ninth consecutive quarter that T-Mobile has delivered over 1 million total net customer additions.

According to Mashable, T-Mobile’s “rise from last-place carrier in the U.S. to third place behind AT&T and Verizon is largely attributed to their CEO’s aggressive Uncarrier campaign.”

tmobileceojohnlegere-630x420

In a video introducing “Mobile without Borders,” T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere explained the rationale behind the new promotion. “I hate limits,” he said. “I hate most rules. I hate barriers, borders and restrictions of all kinds. That’s why I love taking on the big wireless carriers, because they’re famous for hidden rules and for finding more ways to put more barriers, borders and limits around what their customers can and can’t do.”

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