Synology Urges You To Be On Guard Against Ransomware

Ransomware is some of the nastiest pieces of software in existence and in theory, it could hit anyone. Some people naturally have a greater risk, through the kind of work and tasks they do with their systems. But in theory, anyone can be unlucky enough to be hit with this kind of evil doing through security holes in the software being used.

This warning and reminder isn’t based on a specific new kind of ransomware, it is more to raise awareness of this kind of threats. Encryption-based ransomware such as CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, or TorrentLocker are on the rise, and they don’t just target Windows-based systems as many belief, they have also begun targeting network-based storage devices. Because of its stealthy nature and disastrous effects, ransomware is commonly perceived as a sophisticated, highly destructive, and unstoppable malware threat.

An advanced user isn’t really afraid of ransomware as they usually make backups of everything onto their network connected devices – or work directly from there via permanent shares and iSCSI setups. In the case of an infection, they simply wipe their system and install it again, and that would be the end of that story. Creators of this kind of nasty software know that and they want a piece of that pie too, which is why they have started to attack other systems besides workstations.

Where there is a threat, there is a way to defend yourself against it, at least in 99.9 percent of situations.

  • Update your operating system. Most people are up-to-date on their Windows and OS X updates simply because you’re being told when they’re available. But when was the last time you updated your NAS OS? Most NAS systems have automatic update features available and you should at the very least enable this for critical updates.
  • Install security software. A good anti-virus software is a good place to start and you’ll find solutions such as Avast or Intel security in your NAS’ app features. It will take up some resources to have it running, but those are resources that you should be happy to give up. Especially if you use the automatic download features found in all NAS units.
  • Disable Remote Desktop Protocol. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a very common target for malware, which is why you should disable it if you don’t absolutely need it.
  • Install Mobile Apps and use Push Notifications. Applications for your smartphone and tablet are another great way to stay on top of your headless systems. Together with the push notifications feature you get up-to-date statuses from your system right into your pocket.
  • Beware of your actions. The golden rule is as it always has been, beware of what you do. Take the one second extra to hover a link and check the destination in the status bar before you click it, turn off features such as Hide file extensions for known file types, and don’t trust anything until you have verified the authenticity.

This time, the warning came from Synology, but in theory, it could have come from any of the big manufacturers. The bigger a company and brand gets, the more likely it is that their systems will be actively searched for vulnerabilities. Luckily Synology and other NAS’ have even more features that will help you in case that you get hit by this kind of malware.

A multi-version backup of all your files is naturally the best defense. If everything is backed up, then the evil ones can take their ransom demand and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Backup all your vital files from your system and onto your NAS is the first step and from there on you should have at least one more backup step – this could be a cloud solution, another NAS, or external drives, for example. Synology’s new Cloud Station Backup app can do all this for you through a single app, so it is as easy as it’s ever been. Hyper Backup is another awesome tool that lets you enjoy a full range of multi-version backup destinations from local shared folders, expansion units, and external hard drives, to network shared folders, Rsync server, and public cloud services. It can also isolate data for further protection from internet threats.

If your system supports Snapshot Replication through Btrfs file system, then you got another level of protection right there. Snapshot Replication allows you to replicate data from a primary site to an offsite location up to every 5 minutes and 15 minutes for LUNs, ensuring all your critical data in shared folders or virtual machines in iSCSI LUNs can be recovered quickly in the event of a disaster.

Synology also put up a mini-site that summarizes all these information along with the step to follow if you should have been effected. The fact that this site even was made, speaks for the severity of these attacks and how far they’re spreading. So be aware, practice safe surfing, and show an evolved behavior.

Meem – The Charging Cable That Will Backup Your Phone for You

So honest answers only, when was the last time you backed up your computer? We are recommended to do this every week but so many of us leave it until we’ve already lost our computer to some nasty malware or power surge. If we do that to our computers with all our pictures and documents on, what do we do with our phones? Do you ever back up your phone? Meem, a company in the UK, is looking to help you do just that.

One of the reasons we often ignore backing up is because we don’t think we have the time, we are simply too busy or in a rush. Ways to speed this up are to back up while you are doing something else, downloading updates? time to back up. With a phone this is more difficult because we rarely leave the devices alone, constantly checking for messages or emails.

The one time we do leave our phones alone is when they are charging, normally overnight. The Meem cable comes with internal storage that copies your phone contacts and photos every time you use it to charge your device, this means that you just simply charge it like you would at the moment and have an instant backup from your phone.

Kelly Sumner, chief executive of the company behind the device, said that while many phones use the cloud to back up your devices, some don’t trust online service and you are limited by the requirement for an internet connection.

Have you backed up your phone recently? How about any other device you use every day? I think this cable will help a lot of people with their devices, giving you security and safe knowledge that your data is there if anything happens to your phone.

Comedy Team Uses Only The Prius Backup Camera to Create Movie

I don’t know why nobody has come up with this idea earlier, or maybe they have and just realised how stupid it was. And while it is kinda stupid, it’s also quite impressive and funny at the same time. So what is? Well, someone actually went along to use just the Back-Up camera in their Toyota Prius to make a feature film. At least, that is what it appears like, but I don’t think that it is entirely true.

The Mommy Sketch Comedy group of Los Angeles, CA released a new YouTube video that appears to be a behind the scenes of the first feature film shot entirely on Prius backup camera. I do however think that the video is all we get in this regards, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t funny to watch. It might even give someone the idea to do just that for real. After all, we have seen films created entirely with iPhone’s and other similar gadgets, so why not a Prius Back-Up camera.

The Mommy Sketch group consists of Andrew Heder as a writer, director and improviser and Ryan Kelly as a writer, director, editor, and improviser. Other than this sparse info, the group doesn’t provide much information on themselves. The do have more videos around, but they aren’t that many yet. The group appears to be relatively new with the YouTube channel just about a half-year-old.

The 6 minute behind the scenes video will teach you how to frame your shots from the backseat, how to deal with a crew member suffering from a donut-induced coma, and how to avoid running your cast over. All relevant skills to have, at least in this case. I won’t spoil more of it before you watch it except to say, I hope you don’t have a fear of directors wearing scarfs.

Google Photo Update Helps Save Space On Your Device

We all love taking pictures, first it was that camera you took around and wound up after every shot. These days though you either have that high-definition camera or if you are caught unprepared for the moment you use your mobile phone. The only problem with using your mobile phone to take all those life changing moments on camera is that you often store other things, such as your music or apps on there too. With so many things on your phone, Google Photo hopes to make keeping those memories slightly easier.

Stated in a post on Google+, Google Photos gets several new features in an update released today. First up is its ability to “Free Up Space” via a new button on the settings screen. This button starts to bulk-delete copies of photos, but don’t worry, it only does this to photos that have been backed up.

Users can now also downgrade their photos from “Original Quality” to “High Quality”,  a process which will create a smaller file by compressing your photo, this means you can store more photos, as long as you don’t want to view them in their full glory all the time.

How often do you find your space running out on your phone or tablet? Are these changes welcome additions or just options for those holidays pictures you might take next year?

“Pay The Ransom” Says FBI Ransomware Advice

Ransomware is a significant threat to huge corporations as it is to you and me, the notion of every single byte of your personal files being locked up is a frightening thought to those who have treasured memories in the form of images and documents. How effective is Ransomware? It turns out very considering the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is warning companies that they may be better of paying the ransom to the attackers in order to see their files again.

This centres on the success rate of Cryptolocker, Cryptowall and also other forms of ransomware that utilizes ultra-secure encryption algorithms in order to lock up data.  Joseph Bonavolonta who is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s CYBER and Counter intelligence Program in its Boston office was speaking at the Cyber Security Summit 2015 where he stated that “The ransomware is that good”.

This form of attack has been around for more than a decade which is slightly surprising considering one associates this technique as a newish phenomenon. Although the last three years have seen attacks rise sharply via both malicious email attachments and also drive by downloads which include Malvertising.

According to the FBI, Cryptowall is the most common form of ransomware considering it had received 992 complaints that totalled $18 million in losses. The FBI still wants firms to contact their local law enforcement agency, but, if a company’s data is locked then in all probability the FBI will not be able to retrieve it without a ransom payment.

An interesting element is the feeling that if attackers keep ransoms low for consumers, a bigger percentage will just pay, after all, many people have expendable income and may be inclined to pay.

I am not sure this advice from Joseph Bonavolonta is necessarily helpful, granted, I can understand his sentiments that the FBI may not be able to retrieve any data without a ransom payment, but, if you advise people to pay then this will keep happening over and over again. Criminals partake in these practices in order to make money; if they are making money then I am sure they would feel it’s worthwhile.

Also, there is no guarantee that you would actually gain access to your data once a ransom has been paid, after all, there is no incentive to do so despite Mr Bonavolonta’s reassurances that “You do get your access back”

The best prevention is to be aware of any email attachments or links contained within spam emails and to Not Click on them, if you’re expecting an attachment from a known source, always verify the email just in case said source has been hacked themselves. Any attachments should be scanned to be on the safe side if you trust the email, if you don’t, don’t download or click anything, I know that Nigerian Billionaire sounds tempting, but it’s not worth it, also, always keep your system backed up for a variety of reasons.

Image source

HGST Partnered with CommVault For Improved Cloud Backup Abilities

High capacity storage solutions often run into one problem and that is the backup. When you deal with petabytes of data where even the archives need to be accessible at all times and in a proper way, it takes both software and hardware to make that happen.

HGST, a part of Western Digital, has now partnered up with CommVault to enable simple scale out enterprise-class cloud backup and data management solutions. Commvault’s Simpana software now features native configuration and management support for the HGST Active Archive System to deliver a backup solution that solves data management at scale and provides instant access to data archives all at a price point that rivals traditional tape. Yes tape, those drives are currently still vital to most large storage backups.

HGST’s Active Archive System, as pictured above, is an extremely simple solution to deploy. All you need is network and power connections and it is good to go with up to 4.7PB raw storage. It is limitlessly scalable and provides the highest capacity per square foot at the same time as it delivers the lowest power consumption per terabyte of storage.

“HGST and Commvault have created a joint technology alliance for HGST and Commvault’s data management platform. HGST has become a fully qualified technology partner that has been validated, tested and supported by both parties,” said Don Foster, senior director, office of the CTO at Commvault. “Customers now have access to the HGST Active Archive System in conjunction with the data management intelligence that Commvault software provides to meet access, retention and archive management goals.”

“Our relationship with Commvault provides a new level of scale and protection, so our customers can better handle the demands of massive data growth, flat budgets and limited IT resources,” said Barbara Murphy, vice president of Marketing, Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, HGST. “In certifying our HGST Active Archive System with Commvault’s Simpana software suite, customers have access to a highly affordable, simple-to-scale object storage system that beats the economics of traditional cloud infrastructures and provides enterprise-class backup.”

While this isn’t something that the average user will ever have, it is surely something most of us will benefit from without even knowing. It will work its magic in the data centres around the world while serving you online features and functions you use every day.

Ransomware Locks Your Android Phone Pin And Asks For Cash

Ransomware is akin to the booming stock market of yesteryear for hackers, the notion of locking an individual’s infected device is a powerful reality for today’s modern day connected gadgets. As such it can be no surprise that a new technique has surfaced which implements a free app on third-party app stores which changes the device’s locking PIN and then asks for $500 as a kind of screw you post it.

Technique of this ransomware.

Let’s take a look at the details; it may take a while so make yourself comfortable. Security firm ESET has detected this threat as a Android/Lockerpin.A, users have no effective way of regaining access to their device without root privileges or without some other form of security management solution installed, apart from a factory reset, but this would delete all data as a consequence.

After successful installation, this type of malware attempts to obtain user admin privileges by attempting to trick users, it does this by overlaying the activation window with the Trojan’s malicious window which pretends to be an “Update patch installation”. As the user clicks through this innocuous-looking installation they also unknowingly activate the Device Administrator privileges in the hidden underlying window.

This is lethal considering the moment you click “continue” within the installation activation window, your device has fallen victim, the Trojan app has now obtained Administrator rights and has silently locked your device by setting a new PIN for the lock screen. Not long after this has happened, the user will be prompted to pay a $500 dollar ransom for allegedly viewing and harbouring forbidden pornographic material, below is a screenshot of this warning notice.

The device is then locked after the warning screen is displayed within the standard Android lock screen. The new PIN is generated randomly and not sent to the attacker. The only practical way to unlock is to reset to factory defaults.

Lockpin’s self defence mechanism part 2.

Not only does this type of ransomeware acquire device admin privileges it also stops users from attempting to deactivate Device Admin for the malware, they will fail because the Trojan will have registered a call-back function to reactivate the privileges when removal is attempted.

There’s more, this locker also attempts to kill running AV processes when the user tries to deactivate its Device Admin rights. The Trojan tries to protect itself from three mobile anti-virus applications which include ESET, Avast and Dr Web as well as the com.android.settings which prevents standard uninstallation through the application manager.

ESET state that its own self-protection mechanisms will prevent the malware from removing this vendor’s AV. Software.

Distribution of this malware

This Ransomware pretends to be an app for viewing adult/porn videos. In all cases, the application calls itself “Porn Droid”, giggity. 75% of so far infected devices have originated from the US; this is because malware coders are attempting to attack citizens of the US with the aim of collecting bigger payouts.

Unlocking the device

The only way to unlock your device without implementing a factory reset is to root your device; the user can connect to the device by ADB and remove the file where the PIN is stored. For this to work, the device needs to have debugging enabled otherwise it’s not possible (Settings -> Developer options -> USB Debugging) before using the commands

> adb shell
> su
> rm /data/system/password.key

The only crumb of comfort is that you cannot download this malicious app from the official Google Play Store, ESET recommends keeping your mobile AV software up to date if you have one. If not, be careful what you download, if you stick to official routes and be cautious of both unknown and suspicious apps which purport to be too good to be true. Back up any sensitive data and always update legitimate software, tech is becoming more advanced and so are the attackers.

Thank you eset for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of xperiaseries

SilverStone Release New Redundant PSUs in the Gemini Series

One of the most critical components of your system is the power supply. When that fails, nothing runs and that is where redundant power supplies come into play. The second one will kick in if the first should fail or the other way around. SilverStone built upon the previous Gemini models and created the new GM400-S, GM500G, and GM600-G redundant power supplies in a convenient PS2 frame.

As the name suggests, the new Gemini units come with two times 400W, 500W, and 600W load capacity. The 400W model only has an 80 Plus Silver certification where the 500W and 600W models come with an 80 Plus Gold certification. By combining industrial grade components, higher efficiency design, and the inclusion of PMBus 1.2, these power supplies should provide a stable and secure 24/7 solution that will fit in about any chassis.

The units are designed to be hot-swappable and come with convenient pull-out handle bars. The entire range is using an Active PFC, but they won’t come as cheap as a normal power supply. That is pretty much a given, considering that you actually get two when purchasing one. The GM400-S 400W PSU comes with an MSRP of $549.45 price tag, the GM500-G with a $593.45 price tag, and the GM600-G with a $636.79 price tag, all without VAT. That is a hefty price, but it is worth it when needed and considering what you get.

Windows 10 Ransomware Discovered

Well this didn’t take long! A new form of ransomware has been discovered which if downloaded, will automatically encrypt your files before demanding a fee to unlock them. The distributors of this malicious code are attempting to impersonate Microsoft by “offering” users a free upgrade via email. This scam takes full advantage of the Windows 10 download process, which asks consumers to virtually wait in a metaphorical line for the upgrade.

So how does it work?

The distribution works by sending an email to consumers offering them a free Windows 10 upgrade. A sample of this type of email is below, firstly, the “from” address on the email is spoofed, (update<at>microsoft.com). This is not actually from Microsoft but from an IP address in Thailand. The attackers are also using a similar colour scheme to that of Microsoft with the aim of luring consumers into associating this email as genuine.

The next red flag is courtesy of the letter format which does not parse 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. Another suspicious but sneaky technique is the mail virus scanner which indicates the email is fine, it links to an open source mail scanner, but this is designed to trick users.

What is the Payload of the virus?

If this email is taken as a genuine correspondent from Microsoft, you will be asked to download a zip file which contains an executable file. Once run, the below screenshot will pop up. The payload is CTB-Locker, a ransomware variant and is currently being delivered to users at a high rate, whether it is via spam messages or exploit kits, adversaries are dropping a huge amount of different variants of ransomware. The functionality is similar to this kind of ransomware with a few extra features which include, the use of elliptical curve encryption which provides the same public/private key encryption but it’s a different type of algorithm with lower overheads.

Another feature for this locker includes using hard-coded IP addresses on non-standard ports to establish communication. There is also a significant amount of data being exchanged between systems, which are largely uncharacteristic for ransomware. An analysis of network traffic reveals that there were ~100 network streams to various IP addresses.  The most common ports being utilized are 9001, 443, 1443, and 666.

So how do I protect myself from this threat?

Be very careful with emails of this nature, look at the details and if unsure, research it, this is a powerful weapon at staying current and educated on the nature of these threats. Always question a “Free Upgrade” which is sent to your inbox, never open or install executable or any other file without checking the authenticity of the email and file. If in doubt, don’t open it.

These scams are becoming more sophisticated for the average user with the aim of virtually locking your files up. Always perform regular backups and use an up to date antivirus scanner as a matter of course.

Thank You to Cisco Blogs for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of digitallife

HGST Launched the 10TB Ultrastar Archive Ha10 HDD

HGST has set a new standard for mechanical hard drives with their helium filled drives and the latest one based on that technology have just been launched. The new HGST Ultrastar Archive HA10. brings 10TB of storage capacity specially designed for Active Archive applications.

This is the third drive based on HGST’s HelioSeal technology and it is the first 10TB enterprise-class drive in the industry. By integrating SMR into the drive, HGST achieved a higher density than other HDD vendors.

Shingled magnetic recording (SMR) is a relative new standard. Where traditional hard disk drives record data by writing non-overlapping magnetic tracks parallel to each other, shingled recording writes new tracks that overlap part of the old and thereby allowing for higher track density.

Due to the way SMR works, this method will have some impact on write performance as it might need to rewrite more data than it actually has to store. This is combated by a great use of firmware and drivers, but the drives are optimally suited for sequential backups rather than random writes. Sequential writes is the most common way backups are done, making this drive absolutely perfect for archive backups.

The HGST Ultrastar Archive HA10 drive is rated at two million hours mean time between failure (MTBF) and is backed by a five-year limited warranty. It has a 10-15 unrecoverable reduced bit error rate, rotational vibration safeguards, and 600K load/unload cycles.

Bill Nye’s Solar Sail Back In Touch After Reboot

We’ve all had the problem, something’s gone wrong and all of a sudden you panic! In my case, it’s normally something goes wrong with the wireless and you rush around checking your computer and your router making sure they are both working fine and you can connect to the internet again. In this case, though the two pieces of machinery were a little further apart when Bill Nye’s Solar Sail spacecraft started communicating again with the engineers back on earth.

The LightSail craft, our initial article on the launch here, had stopped sending information back to Earth after what is believed to be a software glitch. After attempting to remotely reboot the spacecraft failed they had only one chance left, a natural reboot, where the LightSail would reboot itself.

The LightSail successfully managed to reboot itself and call home, the company behind the project, Planetary Group, are confident that once their software has been patched and they are ready they will begin deploying the LightSails sails and continue testing the crafts space travelling capabilities.

Being able to travel without the use of fuel would make space travel not only more sustainable but could lighten up the spaceships we use considerably. This, however, goes as a reminder that no matter how safe you think are you, it always helps to have a backup, be it an automatic reboot for your multi-million dollar spaceship or your latest essay for school it helps to be prepared.

Thank you The Verge for the information.

Image courtesy of ISSS.

Kingston Adds Automatic Cloud Backup to the DataTraveler Locker+ G3

Kingston has made the already impressive DataTraveler Locker+ G3 even safer with the new automatic cloud backup feature. The DTLPG3 already features hardware encryption, password protection and fast USB 3.0 speeds, and now also cloud backup.

The new automatic cloud backup feature works through the ClevX USBtoCLOUD software that works with cloud providers such as Google Drive, OneDrive, S3, Dropbox, and Box. The DTLPG3 drive locks down after 10 failed login attempts and automatic formats the content, so a cloud backup might not be the worst idea.

The drive can perform up to 135MB/s at reading and 40MB/s at writing operations, is available from 8GB to 64GB capacities, and is backed by a five-year warranty.

Features and Specifications

  • Hardware encryption: the best in personal security to keep your data safe
  • Superior password protection: user sets a password to prevent unauthorized access
  • Easy to use: no application installation required
  • Versatile: Works interchangeably between Mac OS X and Windows systems
  • Secure: drive locks down and reformats after 10 invalid login attempts
  • Stylish: Durable metal casing with built-in key loop
  • Optional Cloud Backup: access data stored on DataTraveler Locker+ G3 from your personal cloud storage (see below for Cloud Services Supported)
  • Co-Logo Program available: Customize DataTraveler Locker+ G3 by adding your logo and/or digital files and instantly increase your organization’s brand recognition. The Customization Program offers unique packaging, custom profiles, color adjustments, content loading and more, all with easy and convenient ordering.
  • Supports: Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP & Mac OS X
  • Guaranteed: five-year warranty with free technical support
  • Capacities2: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
  • Speed3: USB 3.0 speed: 8GB: 80MB/s read, 10MB/s write
    16GB: 135MB/s read, 20MB/s write
    32GB–64GB: 135MB/s read, 40MB/s write
    USB 2.0 speed: 8GB: 30MB/s read, 10MB/s write
    16GB–64GB: 30MB/s read, 20MB/s write
  • Cloud Services Supported: Google Drive, OneDrive (Microsoft), Amazon S3, Dropbox, Box
  • Dimensions: 60.56mm x 18.6 mm x 9.75 mm
  • Minimum System Requirements:
    – USB 3.0 compliant and 2.0 compatible
    – Two (2) free consecutive drive letters required for use4
  • Operating Temperature: 32°F to 140°F (0°C to 60°C)
  • Storage Temperature: -4°F to 185°F (-20°C to 85°C)

Thanks to Kingston for providing us with this information

Toshiba Presents Two New 3TB Portable Hard Drives

Toshiba announced two new 3TB portable hard drives where one is an addition to the Canvio Basics line and the other is the brand new Canvio Connect II portable hard drive. Both new hard drives take advantage of the new 3TB 2.5″ Toshiba HDDs that are built with four 750MB platters.

The Canvio Basics is a simple USB 3 portable hard drive without much to say, except that it is a lot of storage on a little form factor. The line of drives is highly popular due to the reliability, size and most of all, price.

The unveiled Canvio Connect II portable hard drive is a little more interesting and doesn’t just bring along 3TB of storage, but also remote access capabilities, local and cloud backup and the ability to share and stream content. The backup system isn’t just limited to files and folders either but can handle complete system backups as well. Users can further secure everything with a password and optionally upload it to the cloud. Everything can be scheduled so you can lean back and let the Connect II take care of the rest.

The Canvio Connect II comes with 10GB free cloud storage and is backed by a 2-year warranty. It will be available later this month in 500GB ($99.99), 1TB ($119.99) and 2TB ($199.99) versions while the 3TB model will release later this year.

Thanks to Toshiba for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Toshiba

Google Now Allows You To Download All Of Your Data

Google has started offering users access to an easy export service that allows them to download all the data from their Google Accounts.

In a blog post, Google has outlined the new service, detailing that you’ll be able to download “a single archive file for multiple products with a copy of your Gmail, Calendar, Google+, YouTube, Drive, and other Google data”. 

You can literally get a copy of everything, including your calendars and soon, Gmail. The ability to download Gmail data is coming over the next month.

Facebook offers a similar service, allowing users to extract all of their data in one handy file for personal archiving.

Source: readwrite

ADATA launches HC500 External Hard Drive for TV & PC

Ever since the digital TV signal was launched, most set-top boxes and TVs have supported broadcast-recording to USB devices. ADATA has just launched the latest addition to their external drive line-up in form of the HC500 2.5” Hard Drive with TV recording support features.

The new USB 3.0 hard drive is housed in a sand blasted metal case and will be available in the colours Gold and Titanium-black. The available capacity choice is 500GB, 1TB or 2TB. Besides just being an ordinary external drive, it has one additional feature you might find useful, or not. The built-in G-Shock sensor will use the activity LED to warn you with a flashing red light when a shock with too much G-force occurs and it will stay red if the disk has been damaged. This won’t really help you protect your disk more than usual, but it will at least tell you if there is a problem.

The new drive comes bundled with some software as well. With NTI’s Backup Now EZ you can easily create backups of your valuable business and personal files while NTI’s MiST cloud software allows you to create your own personal cloud-drive on this hard drive. NTI’s Backup Now is available for most platforms including mobile ones where the MiST cloud software is a windows only system. The free personal-cloud software is only free for the first year after which you’ll have to pay to continue to use the service.

The physical dimension of this drive are 115 x 77.6 x 15.5 mm and it weighs between 178 and 216 grams depending on capacity. The HC500 USB3 drive comes with a 3-years warranty. There is no word on pricing or availability yet. There aren’t any transfer speeds mentioned either, but it can be assumed that it’s a 5400 RPM drive that is being used inside the housing.

Thank you ADATA for providing us with these information

Images courtesy of ADATA

Windows 9 To Allow Cloud-Based System Image Back-Ups

Remembering to backup your operating system is something 90% of us probably forget to do, with Windows 9 that could change. Famous Windows leaker WZOR has explained that Windows 9 will featured a cloud-based backup system. Windows 9 will automatically backup images of your system’s OS to your OneDrive account meaning should your OS drive ever suffer damage or your OS becomes irrecoverably damaged, you can just download your most recent OS image from your OneDrive account and apply it to your current boot drive, or a new boot drive if your last one broke-down, and you’re good to go. This feature certainly makes sense from Microsoft’s perspective as they have already integrated OneDrive into Windows 8.X and furthermore this would act as a great opportunity for Microsoft to expand OneDrive with even more users.

What do you think about an integrated cloud backup system? Good idea or a security risk?

Source: WZOR

Image courtesy of CloudStorageBest.com

Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Machine, Cloud Services down for Many

On August 18, starting just before 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, users across the globe began reporting problems with Microsoft’s Azure virtual machines, web sites and other cloud services.

“Starting at 18 Aug 2014 17:49 UTC we are experiencing an interruption to Cloud Services and Virtual Machines in multiple regions,” noted Microsoft officials on the Azure status page. As shown in the status-page screen capture below, Virtual Machines is the service most affected by the outage, with web sites down in several US regions and cloud services down in other parts of the US. “Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Websites — Multiple Regions — Full Service Interruption,” read the Microsoft-provided description of the issue.

Roughly an hour and a half later more services were reported down, including Backup, Service Bus and Site Recovery. An updated notice on the Azure page reads, “Starting at 18 Aug 2014 17:49 UTC we are experiencing an interruption to Azure Services, may include Cloud Services, Virtual Machines Websites, Automation, Service Bus, Backup, Site Recovery and possible other Azure Services in multiple regions. We are currently evaluating options to restore service.”

Only 10 minutes later Azure Mobile services and HD Insight also experienced full service interruptions in multiple geographies.

“Per our message to customers on the Azure Status page, we are aware of an interruption with Azure services, including Virtual Machines, Cloud Services and Web sites, and are working with our engineering teams to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

The Azure outages come just a few days after a major worldwide outage for Microsoft’s Visual Studio Online service and even though MS VS Online runs on Azure, Microsoft assured it was due to bugs rather the hosting problems. That follows the full service interruption Azure had in the Japan East region last week. The same day Microsoft also had trouble with their CRM Online.

It’s safe to say, the cloud is about as stable as a rainy cloud on fall day.

Update (August 18 10 pm ET/7 pm PT): Looks like almost all is well now. Not sure exactly when the Azure  issues mentioned above were resolved but it seems back to normal for now. But rest assures, the next outage is just around the corner.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of ZDNet.

Christofle Designed “Sphére” Hard Drive Released By LaCie

LaCie has released a strange-looking Hard Drive, in the shape of a Sphere. It is designed by Christofle, the hard drive is enclosed in a spherical case of silver-plated steel.

The product has a USB 3.0 connection interface and comes in 1TB of storage capacity, a perfect place for all your information including photos, videos and music libraries. This peculiar spherical hard drive is also powered through the USB cable, and therefore does not require any additional power cords. It comes with an Automatic Backup feature which can help you keep a copy of your information in case something unexpected happens and you lose it. It also comes with LaCie’s Private-Public security feature for a more secure connection to keep all your information private, and also is energy-efficient with its Automatic Eco Mode feature, lowering the power consumption by 90% when not in use.

Christofle is usually the sign of a luxury brand and elegance. Founded in France in 1830, it has a long history of providing master craftsmanship. And we all know that elegance does not come cheap, and so is reflected in LaCie’s Sphere Hard Drive, bumping its price range to $499.

Features:

  • Design by Christofle, technology by LaCie
  • Hand-crafted and silvered in France
  • No power cable needed

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLfPKrhwCCM[/youtube]

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of LaCie

Western Digital My Cloud 2TB Review

Introduction


Over the last few years, the concept of cloud storage has been growing rapidly around the globe. As you may imagine, there are a large number of applications for cloud storage, be it for a small set of personal files that are kept on the likes of Dropbox or Google Drive; to the hosting of entire websites on cloud servers, but there is one area where many users see a flaw in this concept – security. Before I get on to the reason why some people are put off the cloud, its worth noting that it has a huge number of advantages. Firstly, when we start at the smaller scale options and look at the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive, there is the obvious advantage that you can access your files wherever you are with ease. I personally use both Dropbox and Google Drive for on the go storage and with the added factor of being able to access both services from my Nexus 4 smart phone, I’ve not go to worry constantly about having to copy files to a flash drive so that I can access them at home. With the cloud, as soon as I save them in the respective online folders, they are almost instantly available at home.

Looking at more of a larger scale, there is cloud web-hosting. Now obviously the internet is online, but for the most part, the website that you are accessing, such as us at eTeknix for example, is stored on a single server in a single data centre. Whilst there is a certain element of redundancy with the likes of RAID10 drives setups in place and of course backups are taken care of, what happens when the data centres link is lost to the outside world? It’s quite simple, the site goes down. Downtime for us is something that we dread and cloud web-hosting is built to solve this conundrum. With cloud hosting, a website is stored on a number of different servers that are located in different data centres – the result of this is near 100% uptime.

Bringing all this back down to earth and to the home, I will now refer back to the [above mentioned] worry that many people have when it comes to cloud file storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive – Security. When you upload a file to the cloud, how can you be sure that someone else has not had access to your data? After all you are not able to pinpoint exactly where your files are being stored at any given point. This whole worry over security and knowing where your files are being stored is what has driven Western Digital to come up with a simple, affordable solution. Bring forward the My Cloud.

The My Cloud comes with a very concise set of accessories, there is simply a quick setup guide, Ethernet cable and a power adaptor with UK an EU tips – no bits of unnecessary paperwork to be found here.