Security pros blunt alleged Iran cyber attacks

Cyber Attacks

 

New criminal charges linking Iran to 2011-2013 cyber attacks on the U.S. put suspects’ names and faces on an episode that plagued 46 banks and financial institutions nationwide — and hundreds of thousands of their customers. Account holders who logged in online encountered blank screens, dropped connections or extremely slow responses, security experts said in interviews Thursday, hours after authorities announced indictments of seven suspects with ties to the Middle East nation’s government and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The attackers also unsuccessfully targeted control of the Bowman Dam in Rye, N.Y., which is a suburb of New York City.
At the banks, a coordinated global counter-attack geared up.

“The victims knew very well what was going on,” said Rod Rasmussen, vice president of cybersecurity at Infoblox (BLOX), a California-based company that delivers critical network protective services. “Their services were being totally disrupted.”

The incident involved an assault known as a distributed denial of service attack. That means attackers gain remote control of hundreds or thousands of computers by infecting them with malware. The attackers then execute commands that use the infected computers to flood targeted systems with vast quantities of data, blocking normal exchanges.

“At the time, we had a high-confidence that it was state sponsored,” said Roger Barranco, senior director of security operations for Akamai Technologies (AKAM), a Massachusetts-based specialist in content delivery network services. “The main thing was the intensity level … lasting 12 hours sometimes.”
Mounting such lengthy assaults typically would run up expensive computer costs beyond the reach of more mundane attackers, the experts said.

The early attacks succeeded, said Rasmussen. Online service for customers of Bank of America, American Express, Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and other well-known financial institutions were disabled for hours at a time. “We experienced intermittent slowing on our website that would have disrupted customers’ ability to access their account information,” American Express spokeswoman Amelia Woltering said in a 2013 USA TODAY interview.

But the hackers left tell-tale electronic clues.

Alex Castillo, A network security expert and owner and CEO of CSI Technologies said “What these cyber terrorists don’t understand is that were better at this than they are, once they tip their hand we got them. We have some of the most intelligent people in the world working with us.”  Cybersecurity experts who checked Internet protocol identifications linked to the attacks found that much of the disabling traffic originated from a few hundred computer servers. Coordinating with firms that hosted the servers, response teams removed the infecting malware and shut down the traffic.

Although cyberattacks have increased dramatically in size and quantity since the Iran-linked episode, Barranco said there have been fewer signs of state-sponsored assaults in recent years.

Nonetheless, what should customers of a bank or financial firm do if their log in efforts are slow, or reach a blank screen?
“If they’re concerned, they should call that particular bank or business,” said Barranco. “They’ll get back to you with an answer about what’s happening, and what’s being done.”
“You don’t want your end users to think their records are at risk,” he added.

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Computer Repair Services and Prices

All computers will eventually need services and repairs.

There are some user services that can be performed by those with average computer knowledge; however, repairs are best left to professional technicians. Indeed, most people do not know that the computer must be opened and physically cleaned at least once per year. Dust collection traps heat inside the computer’s case. Excess heat affects the stable operation of electronic components, and can lead to their ultimate demise. So remember clean your computer and make sure the air vents are not blocked.

This is one way to avoid costly computer repairs, Also even if your not having any major problems it’s a good idea to have a computer technician come out and check your computer for any problems that have not actually shown up yet, a good maintenance schedule would be once every year for home users and once every 6 months for business systems. A small charge for maintenance now could help you avoid a costly repair in the future.

Some of the more common computer repair service prices are based on hourly technician costs. Typical hourly rates range from seventy five dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars per hour. However, after the initial hour, some companies will begin billing at rates based on the closest five or ten minute increment. These rates are further affected by the size of the company hired to perform computer repairs or services. Additionally, some companies offer flat rate charges for various services. And always remember you get what you pay for, the lowest price is not always your best option.

Common Services

Common services include software installation, operating system upgrades, setting up a new PC, network setup, file and data backup/recovery, memory upgrading, upgrading/adding a hard drive or optical drive to the system, installation of computer case fans and processor coolers, video card installation, and physically cleaning the inside of the computer. These services are performed on working computer systems, and will usually take two to three hours. Services such as these will cost around $160.00, depending upon the technician’s hourly rate. Moreover, some service and repair companies will offer a coupon discount for first-time customers, and may even offer promotional discounts at various times.

Common Repairs

The most common repair problems are due to viruses, spyware and electronic maintenance issues like hard drive defragmentation and Windows registry problems. Blue screen errors, printer problems, error messages, internet connectivity issues and computer freeze-ups are also typical repair problems. Electronic maintenance typically takes two to four hours to complete, and can cost from $120.00 to $250.00. Virus and spyware removal costs are dependent upon the seriousness of the infection and the magnitude of the damage they caused to system files and data. Costs can run from $75.00 to more than $300.00 for severe cases. Connectivity issues and error messages can take several hours to fix. Costs for these repairs usually run from $80.00 to $175.00.

Apple Computers

Macs can be wonderful computers, however as most mac owners know, Not every computer repair shop is equipped or has the knowledge necessary to work on apple products and most repairs for apple computers and laptops are usually more expensive than their PC counterparts, make sure your computer tech has experience working on apple products.

At CSI we pride ourselves on being the best most knowledgeable Computer repair company in TX. Our prices are very competitive and our customers are always satisfied.

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Security Cameras in Nursing Homes

Protest against abuse in nursing homes.

Protest against abuse in nursing homes.

 Recently, a federal bill meant to allow nursing home patients or their families to place a camera in the resident’s room failed to pass the Senate Medical Affairs Committee. They tabled the matter, for now. But some states such as Texas and Oklahoma have already passed laws allowing certain monitoring devices, a move which will enable government officials to gather facts about the benefits, drawbacks and challenges of implementing a nationwide rule.

 

In Texas, the first state to pass such a law in 2001, the resident or guardian must pay for the equipment and a notice must be posted outside the room stating that electronic monitoring is being used. A nursing home may not refuse to admit or discharge a resident because of a request to install a device.

 

I do want to make it clear that I personally oppose any federal legislation that would make cameras in nursing home rooms mandatory. Thankfully, I don’t believe that is on the agenda. I feel that the decision should be made on a case by case basis with consideration of all factors.

Why would cameras be a good idea?

There are many reasons I can see that lend strength to the argument for cameras in nursing home rooms:

Cameras focused on your loved one’s care would allow the family to monitor care providers.

Any kind of abuse and/or neglect would be recorded, and if an abuser happened to be on the staff, then he or she could be caught and terminated.

There’s also less chance of maltreatment happening in the first place, since awareness of the cameras could stifle the urge to abuse.

On the flip side, the family would also be able to observe the wonderful care that many staff members provide.

In addition, family members would be able to check in on they’re loved one at any time remotely from they’re smart phone or computer.

It’s also ideal for family members who live out-of-town or extended family that wants to see they’re loved one but is too far away to make the trip.

 

Whether or not to install a camera depends on the situation. To me, if cameras need to be used in a nursing home, they should be used judiciously and with allowance for the feelings of the resident, when possible.

 
In many areas of the country most nursing homes provide good and excellent care, but there’s no way to be absolutely certain that abuse will never be an issue. Any facility can hire someone who is qualified on paper and charming of personality only to find out that he or she is a thief or worse, an abuser.

 
At CSI, I have installed dozens of security cameras in nursing homes, for the family members of residents, And I can tell you that the piece of mind of knowing you can check in on your loved one at any time is priceless. If you have a loved one in a nursing home and suspect abuse, Or you just want to be able to check in on them without having to drive to the home a security camera system could be the solution you need.

 

Please feel free to contact us if you would like free information or a free estimate on a security camera system by the contact form on this website or by calling us at 210-875-7978

 

 

 

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