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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox January 15th, 2021 Edition

Thoughts From My Inbox
January 15th, 2021

I haven’t said it yet, and even though we’re two weeks in, Happy New Year.  I hope you and your families had a very nice holiday season, and that 2021 is off to a great start.  We’ve gone three weeks without any thoughts from my inbox, and while I haven’t had anybody asking where they’ve been, I do hope that you’ve missed me! For whatever reason, the ratio of technology to oddities in my inbox over the past few weeks has been only slightly more than 1:1.  For that reason, you’re getting a few more oddities today.

Something About…

Ransomware

The next time we hear an executive say “Oh, I don’t need security awareness training, but make sure my employees all have it” won’t be the first time.  And oftentimes, the threats come from those same executives’ systems. Either they have refused training or their systems have lighter security (because the user can’t be bothered), or, it’s the fact that cybercriminals know who’s making decisions and who can easily spend the money. According to this piece, ransomware gangs are targeting the ‘crown jewels’ in an organization- fileservers and databases- but are just as happy to target executive machines.  All the more reason that everybody in an organization needs to go through security training.

PayPal SMShing

I’d have to think that the vast majority of this readership has received a phishing email stating that there is an issue with your PayPal account.  Even if you don’t have a PayPal account.  Remember, phishing is a numbers game- there’s no difference in cost whether sending one or 100,000 emails- and somebody is bound to be confused into clicking. Now, cyber criminals are SMShing (phishing via SMS text message) using PayPal as their hook. 

School at Home

If you have school-aged kids at home, you’re probably already familiar with the trials and tribulations of learning at a distance.  You’ve probably made it through a semester and a half, and are just starting another new semester (hopefully getting ready to go back to school in person). Sophos has some great reminders and tips about remote learning, how it effects your technology, and things you should consider to help secure your network and protect your kids.

Protecting Your Cloud

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency just released new background and mitigation suggestions regarding recent cloud breaches.  As we all know, cyber criminals are exceedingly agile… with many still working at home, the bad guys are always looking for new ways to access user accounts, data, and networks.  This piece touches on phishing, forwarding of emails, email rules, and multifactor authentication, as well as suggested defensive measures.  And while we’re on the topic of security at a national level, the NSA just released their 2020 Cybersecurity Year in Review.  Trust me when I say that this will be outstanding bedtime reading!

Roosters

This is your oddity of the week, sent to me by one of our former engineers (and current security trainer).  I can only surmise that the sole reason I received this is because the Canadian rooster in question is named Travis.  The same as our head of operations here at Ashton.  In any case, it would seem that residents of Fredricton, New Brunswick are not permitted to keep roosters.  So Travis had to be rehomed. Hopefully we don’t have to ‘rehome’ our Travis any time soon.

Condiments

I’m not a big fast food consumer, but there are times (generally on long roadtrips) where grabbing something at the drive thru is the easiest thing to do.  If it’s McDonalds, it’s safe to say that I will not be having ketchup with my fries, due to nothing other than logistics.  But now there’s SauceMoto- the condiment container that attaches to your car’s HVAC vents!  Who knew???

Cross Country Skiing

This was somewhat dust covered in my inbox a week or two back when I still had grand plans of sending out a New Year’s edition of Thoughts From My Inbox, but I still get a kick out of it. It’s not about a rooster named after an Ashton team member, and it’s not about anything technology related, but if you’re a fan of the Olympics, you might remember this moment from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.  And while it’s not “Do you believe in miracles?” it’s still pretty exciting, and a memorable call from the announcers.

Shameless Plugs and OneDrive

Are you using Microsoft 365 (fka Office 365) for email?  If you are, you have file sharing capabilities built in through Sharepoint and OneDrive.  Ashton engineer Tyler Stewart just posted a new video to our YouTube channel giving some pointers on using OneDrive with Windows 10.  We just made the transition as a company, and as much as I dislike change, this is actually pretty cool.

That’s all for this week. Rumor has it there’s a big playoff game this weekend, so I hope you have time set aside.  Ratings for last weekend’s game were higher than  game seven of the 2016 NBA Finals, which is all the more proof that Cleveland truly is a football town.  Have a great weekend, and go Browns!

Jim

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