Tag Archives: Windows

BTL Cloud Backup Product Features – Part I

Cloud backup software has come a long way. Today, the average software has powerful and sophisticated features. One of the best breeds of software in the cloud backup space is Backup Technology Limited (BTL) software. BTL’s software is powered by Asigra, a leading cloud backup enabling company since 1986. The most striking feature of BTL is its agentless architecture. Professional data administrators will always appreciate the advantages of BTL’s software. Security is never compromised, as it comes with encryption key that can save and recover data to and from the vault systems. The complexity and size of problems are thereby minimised; upgrades are centralised from the vault system, and data backup and recovery becomes a streamlined process. Furthermore, licensing is easy to set up, as a single license acquisition takes care of all the future needs of the organisation.

BTL manages file databases intelligently. Every single file of the database is identified and managed by proprietary algorithm, and the end-user can remain completely unaware of the intricacies that enables the backup of different kinds of data files, from multiple operating system environments, using a single interface.

How does all this happen? BTL’s cloud backup technology consists of two components: the DS-Client, and the DS-System. The DS-Client is installed on a dedicated Windows, Macintosh or Linux server and target backup machines are identified. The DS-Client also allows versioning, which means that backups can be available for a quick restore.

Using standard APIs on the target machines, the system automatically logs into the backup system and captures the data securely. The DS-Client, then processes, compresses, encrypts and transmits the data from the target machines using delta blocking and common file elimination technologies, commonly knows as de-duplication. The system is very intelligent in that it runs un-interrupted in the background, segregating corrupted files; correcting them or marking them for re-try at a later date.

The DS-System is at the core of Asigra Cloud Backup technology. It is installed in an enterprise or service provider data center, or in an IaaS cloud. The DS-System efficiently aggregates data from all remote DS-Clients and maintains, manages and validates the online backup repository.
BTL allows the use of Local Restore tool in order to speed up LAN restorations. Depending on your needs, you can use such tools, as:
• Long Term Storage Policy Making Tool — is a discovery tool to automatically ascertain characteristics of primary data, Client and System Monitoring, Email Message Level Restore, Bare Metal Restore capability, and SNMP Integration.
• File Summary Tool — provides both a synopsis and detailed scanned file information. The report is easily modified with several filters allowing a group of files to be specifically analysed.
• LAN Discovery Tool — identifies the characteristics of data, such as when the last time it was accessed, its age, and file size. This will help the user to make business decisions about how they want their data stored and recovered.
In Part II of this series, we will further discuss BTL’s main features in details.

High Traffic Environments: Backing up your Server in the Cloud

Server backup can be tricky. The backup cloud must support all kinds of operating systems and applications. It should be remembered that servers operate in a high traffic environments. They are always connected to the remote backup server in the cloud via the Internet and continuously service the data requirements of the end user. The server platform can include all flavours of Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, AS-400, Solaris or all kinds of applications such as Exchange/ Outlook, Lotus Notes/Domino, Groupwise, SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, Sharepoint or more.

Agentless server backup is preferable. The agentless software requires only a single instance installation of the agent on a network. All servers connected to the network can then be identified and the agent can be configured to accept backup requests from the servers. The entire backup process can be managed and controlled from a single console.

IT Administrators can schedule backups and decide on the granularity of the backup. For instance the IT Administrator can decide that Windows and Linux systems must be backed up continuously and other systems may be backed up as per a fixed schedule. A single backup can be the backup of all data in a server, a share or volume or directory. The backup may also be of a single file or registry. Backups can also be scheduled to start and stop within a specific backup window.

Multiple servers can be backed up in parallel. The multi threaded backup application ensures that the software can process large volumes of data and support concurrent backup and restore requests. The only limiting factor would be the amount of bandwidth that is available with your organization.

The data being backed up to the server can be compressed or deduplicated using compression algorithms that have been tested and proven. The lossless algorithms can reduce the size of the raw data being transmitted from the server and common file elimination protocols can ensure that the same file is not transmitted twice. Versions of files may be stored with appropriate version numbers for ease of discovery. Retention policies can be specified to ensure that only relevant and active files continue to be stored in expensive storage media and other files are relegated to cheaper storage systems to save on costs.

Backup Technology’s Backup for Servers is high performance software that is designed to operate efficiently in high traffic environments with many of the features that have been discussed above. For more information please visit, http://www.backup-technology.com

Lifeline for Cryptolocker Victims

Security experts have managed to offer a lifeline to those who have been affected by the Cryptolocker malware as they can now unencrypt your data for free.

An online portal called Decrypt Cryptolocker has been created by security firms Fox-IT and FireEye where the victims can get the encryption keys by submitting one of the encrypted files.

Greg Day, chief technology officer at FireEye stated, “All they have to do is submit a file that’s been encrypted from that we can figure out which encryption key was used.”

Greg Day also recommended that those who wish to utilise the portal to receive the keys should submit a file that doesn’t contain any confidential data.

Once the Cryptolocker malware was on a Windows machine/server, it would encrypt files and demand a payment to be made within 72 hours to receive the keys to unencrypt the data. If no payment was received within the window, the keys were destroyed, rendering the encrypted data useless.  It is believed that the requested payments were in the region of $400, €400 or the equivalent in the virtual Bitcoin currency.

Security firms Fox-IT and FireEye were able to create the portal after security researched had managed to obtain a copy of Cryptolocker’s database of victims after police forces and security firms gained control of part of their network and grab data as it was being sent.

The FBI have also charged a Russian man, Evgeniy Bogachev, aka “lucky12345” and “slavik” who is accused of being the leader if the gang behind Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker.

From analysis, it is thought that as little as 1.3% of all people who were affected by the Cryptolocker malware paid the ransom fee to get their data back. Despite such a low number of people paying, it thought that the gang managed to earn around $3 million.

It is thought that the percentage of those who paid was so low because they either managed to recover their data from backups or just accepted that they have lost the affected data and refused to pay.

Blackmailers Triumph as Nokia Lose Millions of Euros

It has been revealed that Nokia lost millions of euros to blackmailers who threatened to sabotage its smartphone operating system.

It has been claimed that the blackmailers managed to obtain the security encryption key for a vital component of the Nokia’s Symbian software and threatened to make it public if their demands weren’t met. If the security encryption key had been made public, anyone could have written additional code for the Symbian software which could have included malware.

Malware is malicious software that is used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.

After Nokia received the demands from the blackmailers, the police were contacted. It was decided that Nokia would pay the ransom fee and left millions of euros in a car park with the police looking on. The operation soon went wrong as the blackmailers managed to lose the police tail after collecting the money and are still at large.

This incident occurred in 2008 but has only just been made public.

Detective Chief Inspector Tero Haapala from Finland’s police service confirmed that they are investigating the case and that Nokia is the company involved.

Haapala stated, “We are investigating felony blackmail, with Nokia the injured party.”

Since this incident, there has been a large scale of change at Nokia as they now utilise Microsoft’s Windows software for its smartphones and its phone arm has been sold to Microsoft.

Jon French who is a senior security analyst for AppRiver believes that ransom money should never be paid as it only encourages other cybercriminals to target such corporations.

French stated, “Paying can only further show other hackers that they have a chance of making a lot of money from these corporations. Nokia seems to have gotten incredibly lucky that the hacker didn’t release the key anyways.”

It is now critical that all companies ensure that they have the best security plan in place and regularly test it to help protect themselves against the threat of cyber hackers and cyber thieves. This should be supported with a robust backup solution to ensure that data can always be recovered no matter what action a hacker or cyber thieves takes such as modifying or deleting the data.

Windows XP: End of Life

Tuesday 8th April 2014 marked the end of life for Windows XP. The archaic OS, which has been one of the most popular of the Windows operating systems released in the last 13 years, finally reached EOL (end of life) yesterday and was put to eternal rest. The software giant will still release “virus warnings” related to the OS, however no fixes will be offered as part of update packages.

Microsoft will no longer be releasing any Operating System updates after the last batch were rolled out yesterday. Therefore, the highly popular OS will no longer be supported.

Many readers will be thinking, “this makes no difference to me, I upgraded to a newer Windows OS many moons ago”, well hold on there sister, because you may well find yourself caught short by this momentous clocking off of one of the world’s biggest support teams.

Millions of devices still use Windows XP, it’s thought that roughly 25% of all desktops are still running on it. Some of these devices are the backend to important services we use everyday, such as ATMs.

The cessation of further security updates leaves these devices open to securityvulnerabilities as hackers develop ways to bypass any remaining security flaws in the OS itself. If such a vulnerability were targeted towards an everyday service like ATMs, the knock on effects would be huge, affecting millions of people across the globe.

ATM machines are just one example, but if something so common as this can be affected it is reasonable to assume that other everyday services will be affected.

XP itself was released in 2001 originally with a 10-year support life. However, after realizing its popularity in 2007 Microsoft decided to extend this support life to accommodate the many users. But, all good things must come to an end, and Windows XP is no different. The extent of its expiry as yet remains to be seen, but it seems only a matter of time before we read the latest story about exploitation of a security flaw.

Microsoft Office Released for iPad

Well the day has finally arrived when Microsoft launches its Office products for Apple’s iPad. The App Store now has Microsoft favorites, Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

The stripped down versions of the products allow users to view but not create or edit documents but there are some features designed specifically for Apples flagship tablet. For the full user experience, subscribers will need to create an Office 365 account which costs around 70$ a year.

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says “When it comes to Office 365, the vision is fairly straightforward, it is to make sure that the one billion Office users have access to the high fidelity Office experience on every device they love to use. Today’s announcement marks one more step in that direction.”

Carolina Milanesi who is the strategic director of Kantar Worldpanel ComTech believes that Microsoft are finally giving users what they want and that they have been very clever by keeping the connection with Office365.

Milanesi stated, “Microsoft is giving users what they want.The connection to Office 365 was also interesting in that this puts users within Microsoft’s ecosystem at some point.”

It has been a very long time since Microsoft has released a product on a rival O/S before it has been launched on Windows but the move has been welcomed by iPad owners. At the moment the three apps, Word, Excel and PowerPoint are ranked No. 1, 2 and 3 on the App Store’s free iPad app list.

Have you downloaded these apps onto your iPad? Will you create an Office365 account to benefit from the full user experience?


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