NSI IT Support Team warns: 75% of all rootkits reside on Windows XP

By Tom McDonald | Jul 29, 2011 12:09:00 PM

NSI's IT Support Team has reviewed the data:  After a 6 month study that consisted of over 630,000 samples has found that when it comes rootkits, Windows XP has 74% off all the infections, followed by Vista with 17% and Windows 7 with 12%.  Microsoft even admits that Windows 7 is over 5 times more secure than XP in there last quarterly security rate. Although AVAST, an anti-virus software company, has pointed out that Windows XP infection rates might not be all Microsoft’s fault, as many of the machines running Windows XP are running pirated versions which aren’t allowed to be updated through Microsoft leaving the OS vulnerable to various types of virus’s and rootkits.

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Android Phones Lead in Returns; Hardware Faults. Latest from NSI CT

By Tom McDonald | Jun 27, 2011 12:06:00 PM


A new yearlong study conducted by WDS, has found that Android devices are more likely to develop hardware problems than other brands of smartphones. This hasn’t been a huge surprise as Android has made a name for itself by bringing affordable smartphones to the masses on each network. Being Android is an open platform and is free to use by anyone, it is the ideal OS for lesser known cell phone manufactures who are want to release their first entry level phone. The unfortunate part of this is that these no name phones are bringing down the overall quality rating for android, which is something RIM and Apple can control as they develop their own hardware. The study does note that name brand Android phones, like HTC, Samsung, or Motorola, have much less returns due to hardware failure.

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Lenovo Leads as Most Reliable Laptop Brand with Asus Trailing Close Behind

By Tom McDonald | Jun 15, 2011 10:05:00 AM

RescueCom has released their quarterly report outlining the top 5 Laptop brands based on quality. Lenovo laptops ranked highest with a score of 254, followed by Asus with 242. Toshiba took third with 164, followed by Apple with 149 and HP with 122.

RescueCom is a computer repair center and has been recording their data since 2006. They determine each brand’s reliability rating by looking at 3 different factors:

  • Looking at each brands market share in that given time period compare to the percentage of repair calls for that specific brand
  • Component Quality used within the laptops; the better the quality of the components the less likely they are going to fail
  • Likelihood the customer will need a third party support on their PC; a lack of manufacturer support sends more customers to third party vendors for support
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New Study from AMD shows more than 1/3 of companies are now using the cloud

By Tom McDonald | Jun 2, 2011 11:42:00 AM

A new study from CPU maker, AMD, shows that over one third, 37%, of companies are now using cloud infrastructure for their data centers with an additional 43% of companies investigating implementation. And this isn’t just small companies who are relying on the power of cloud technology, with 63% of those using the cloud saying that they have data stored in there worth over $250,000, meaning billions of dollars worth of information is now sitting securely off-site.

Cloud computing has been growing over the past couple of years, and has increased with the wide spread of virtualization allowing companies to scale their IT department easier and more efficiently. 1 in 10 companies are now storing over 10 million dollars in the cloud now, but there is still concerns from security experts who point out that are still some flaws that have come to light recently with companies like Sony having their servers hacked and Amazon’s cloud service going down for an extended period of time leaving many companies unable to access their information. While security was still sited as the number one concern when moving to a cloud infrastructure, these flaws in the cloud computing model haven’t deterred companies from moving to the cloud, having the benefits of accessing their information from anywhere and allowing companies to outsource certain IT tasks to an outside company.

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Judge Rules that People aren't the same as their IP Address

By Tom McDonald | May 4, 2011 11:50:00 AM

A US judge recently ruled that people are not IP addresses, creating a major setback for the music/movie industry and their legal teams. Before this ruling the legal teams would look at popular torrented files that were being shared illegally and would copy the available IP addresses in connect with the illegally shared file. From there they would get a court order demanding the IP’s information be handed over from your ISP, depending on the ISP you use either a cease and desist letter is sent out or the information is handed over. Most times these legal maneuvers end in an out of court settlement, with the settlement being split between the lawyers and the music/movie studios.

But with a recent court case, a US judge has ruled that having a user’s IP address isn’t enough to accuse them of illegally downloading files. The Judge, Judge Harold Baker, mentioned a Buffalo court case of a man being accused of distributed child pornography, when in fact had an unsecure router that was being used by a neighbor to traffic the illegal files. Because anybody can have access to your internet if you have an unprotected router, the judge decided that there isn’t enough information from just having a user’s IP address to convict them of wrongdoing as anybody, a neighbor, or even someone pulled over near your house could be doing these illegal activities without your knowledge.

IT Guide for Small Business Owners

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3 Ways to go Green with IT

By Tom McDonald | Apr 22, 2011 2:29:00 PM

Upgrading your computer

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Apple's iPhone Security Fiasco

By Tom McDonald | Apr 21, 2011 1:51:00 PM

It was recently found that Apple has been tracking every iPhone user’s location with a secret hidden file. This came as a shock to most, as Apple has never mentioned this feature, which was most likely added in the iOS 4 update, and has caused quite a stir among privacy experts. This file tracks your location based on cell phone triangulation, which gives a general pinpoint of where you are at that time by locating the signal strength over 3 towers. What is even more alarming as there is currently no way to prevent apple from gathering your data, even with your GPS off, Apple can see where you were at any given time. To make matters worse, this file is unencrypted, meaning that anyone with a little bit of knowhow can pull up this data and check in on your activities.

Currently there is no word on why Apple added this feature to its mobile devices or what it planned on doing with the data, but the data is there assessable to anyone who can gain access to your iPhone or even a backup copy you make during syncing, as the data is transferred from the device to your computer. Current speculation has people wondering if this was even intentional, as both Android and Windows Mobile both track your location, but only the most recent one used. Apple might have been doing the same thing, but do to a bug/oversight it might not be deleting the past data like it should.

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LCD + e-ink can Apple pull it off?

By Tom McDonald | Apr 12, 2011 11:54:00 AM

The Pixel Qi, a screen that uses both LCD and e-ink technology, debuted about a year ago showing its ability to switch between its LCD for video and normal computing and then switch to an e-ink display when being used outside in direct light. This is not to be confused with Barnes and Noble’s Nook that uses 2 separate screens, one a LCD, the other e-ink to bridge the gap, this is just one screen and is able to switch between them both at will. What makes this interesting is Apple’s interest in the technology. Amazon has made a lot of money from eBook sales and Apple was looking for part of the market too, in which case it was able to position itself with the iPad as an eBook reader. The problem with this, which Amazon has been keen to point out, is that the iPad isn’t a real eBook reader and still suffers from problems like not being able to read outside in direct sunlight due to glare, along with lower battery life and the eye strain that comes from staring at a LCD screen.

Recently Apple filed for a patent that would have a translucent e-ink display that goes over the LCD screen in which it could switch the displays automatically as needed. This is an interesting development for Apple, as they are perfectionists at heart, and if they plan on using this technology in future tablets means that have will have to overcome certain tech limitations. These limitations come from trying to mix the two technologies which leaves the LCD with lower viewing angles and makes it look less robust and crisp compared to current LCDs, while on the other hand it also gives the e-ink screen a slight glare, most likely from the glass that covers the display itself. These problems seem minor, and for any other company they would be, but Apple has prided itself with the fact that it uses such crystal clear displays and noticeably lowering their quality might disappoint Apple fans who buy these products for this level of quality.

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Comparison between open source and closed source software

By Tom McDonald | Apr 8, 2011 2:03:00 PM

With Android and iOS being the top 2 OS’s in the mobile market many analysis compare the two by looking at the software model that Google applies versus Apple. Google’s Android is considered an Open Source mobile OS, while Apple’s iOS is considered closed source and each has its own benefits and issues. Google uses an open model, which means that they release the source code for the mobile OS, the source code is the code in English before it compiled into 1’s and 0’s, this gives developers the option to look deeper into the code and alter things as they wish. By having an Open Source software program, you allow developers to alter large amounts of the code to their own preference. Apple’s Closed Source iOS does the opposite, they don’t allow developers to change anything that deals with the operating system itself, and gives developers an API which is set of tools that lets them develop programs for the iPhone, but restricts what they have access to.

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Advantages to having an open model

  • Larger Developer Support – As its open source anyone can develop for the platform, giving it a much larger support for developers and gives them more of a feeling of ownership as they can alter whatever they like.
  • Customizable – In a closed source scenario, developers are given only options to change what the original developer chooses, but having full control lets them customize the look feel and even features of the software giving it much more possibilities
  • More Secure – Open source is much more transparent than closed, this means that anyone can look over the code, by having thousands of people reading through your code, bugs and vulnerabilities are located much quicker and submitted for fixing, it also lets you know if the bug has been fixed as you can check the code after each release.
  • Extended Community Support – As a product ages the original developer might move on and stop developing leaving the product to age with no new fixes or features, but if its open then usually the community takes over and continues working on it allowing the usable life of the product to be extended well beyond what the original developer intended.
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