Archive for the ‘security’ Category

Disaster Recovery Planning – What to Watch For

Disaster recovery for any firm requires extensive logistical and resource planning. Every company is unique in the manner in which it operates. Therefore, every disaster recovery plan has to be tailored to fit a company’s exact needs. Almost every company stores some information digitally on servers and network attached hard drives. The migration to digital data storage has undoubtedly made things a lot easier. However, it has also exposed companies to certain risks and threats.

Data Backup Plans
Digital information can be compromised or lost due to theft, as well as from physical damage. It is a fact that natural disasters can and do occur. Natural disasters can cripple national power grids, causing power failure. They often also cause physical damage to buildings. Both situations can lead to data and monetary losses for firms.
The most effective way for a company to protect itself is to have a disaster recovery plan. Companies tend to hire external firms to help them plan out protocols for disaster recovery. Some enterprises formulate their own protocols, which might include partnering with a data center.

Pitfalls to Avoid
Whether a company hires an external firm or creates a disaster recovery plan by themselves does not matter. There are certain factors that have to be kept in mind in either case. There are numerous pitfalls that companies can face during disaster recovery planning if they are not careful.
The first thing that companies forget to do is frequently test their disaster recovery plan. Firms evolve over time, and a disaster recovery plan should also adapt to such changes. Also, disaster recovery planning entails strict protocols that have to be initiated instantly upon the time of a disaster. A company has to ensure an instantaneous response to a disaster. Therefore, it is imperative that recovery plans should be regularly tested.

A firm should update and test its plan at least yearly; ideally, an enterprise should conduct a test every six months. Moreover, testing a disaster recovery plan regularly helps company managers understand the time it will take to get operations back online. A recovery plan takes time to complete successfully. Therefore, it is important to figure out how long it will take for a company to recovery fully.

A second pitfall is not planning for full recovery with a plan. A disaster recovery plan should exactly replicate the current situation of a company. Once implemented it should not just provide temporary solutions. It must provide all protocols to bring a company back to 100% function. This is especially true in regards to hardware requirements. For instance, a company might be running its operations using 10 servers. However, its data backup plan might only be to run eight servers. Something will not be able to run as needed due to the missing pair of servers. As is true for most things, the devil is in the details. Therefore, it is important to lay out a plan that caters to each and every requirement of a business’ operations.
Finally, numerous companies do not plan for every scenario. A disaster is unpredictable, and it can have any numbers of effects on a company.The best disaster recovery plan is one that to attempt to anticipate all possible impacts from all possible scenarios.
Consequently, every company invests a significant amount of money in disaster planning, no matter how it performs it. However, when a disaster occurs, the plan will more than pay for itself in loss prevention and preparation.

Author’s bio: David is an IT professional and technology freak. He works as a software developer in a company which boasts of providing the best disaster recovery plan.

AVG Threat Labs Beta Debuts

AVG Technologies, developers of the world’s most popular free anti-virus software, today announced a limited public beta test of its new online tool, AVG Threat Labs. Designed to help consumers combat criminal elements on the Web, Threat Labs is an innovative online information portal that merges the quantitative Web threat detection data that AVG routinely collects from its almost 100 million users with data from AVG’s LinkScanner technology.

AVG users with LinkScanner already installed are protected in real-time from sites containing malware. Threat Labs complements this software by enabling the user to type in the URL of a specific Web site to gather more information. Users not currently using AVG software still benefit from visiting Threat Labs as this unique tool provides an instant and complete safety analysis of a Web site including detection statistics, a detection timeline, an analysis of linked sites and a detection map. AVG’s Threat Labs augments AVG’s existing free, downloadable anti-virus software and enhances the company’s unique “people powered protection” approach to security.

Pop-up Spyware issues and How to Repair

Security Breach

I have been finding more and more machines are getting a pop-up that states “You are infected with ?????? viruses and ?????? spyware. Click here to download our program to remove this.” or some such wording of that nature. Whatever you do, DO NOT do this. It is a fake. It is in my opinion that this is more a form of aggressive advertising than anything malicious, however it is still an invasion of your system and as such falls under the heading of Virus.

I have seen it get past all the major Antivirus programs: Symantec’s Norton, McAfee, AVG, Avast, Trend Micro, etc… However, they do on occasion pick it up after it is on the system, if they are not disabled by it first. Some spyware programs pick it up and remove it, but again not very often.

The best way to prevent it’s intrusion is to hard shutdown the machine as soon as the pop-up happens. You will want to close any programs you have open first, but do not touch the pop-up. To hard shutdown, press and hold the power switch for approx. 15 seconds until the system shuts off. Yes, you’ve been told not to do this, and yes, it will leave temp files behind, but it is better than having your system infected. After it shuts off, you can then reboot the machine and keep your fingers crossed that the pop-up does not come back. Run your antivirus program and any antispyware programs to see if they detect anything.

If you are unlucky enough that the system is truly infected with it, then removal can become very sticky. The best I’ve been able to find to remove it is “Malware Bytes”, which you’ll need to run from safe mode. While in safe mode you should also run “Hijackthis” and remove any reference to AV360, Antivirus 2008, etc… You might also need to go into “My Computer”, “C Drive” and into “My Programs” to remove any directories that the trojan may have created. After all that is done, you’ll want to reboot into normal mode and run “Malware Bytes” again. Unless the system is too far gone, this should do the trick. If it doesn’t you may end up having to format and reload everything, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

If you care to add any other suggestions or experiences, I’d be happy to hear them.

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