Technology Advisor Blog

Beware of Phishing attempt to "Authenticate your Account"

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 7/25/17 9:12 AM

Phishing.jpgStay alert when reading through your email.  Our Cybersecurity advice focuses on "layers" of security, and even with all the technology in place to protect you, the "bad actors" will always resort to new tricks.  End user education and vigilance are key.

We've been alerted about a new phishing wave making the rounds.

These emails state that the email address has been flagged for suspicious activity and the user is required to click a link to authenticate the account. 

Please note that these emails are NOT legitimate emails sent by the hosting platform. If you notice emails that contain suspicious links or attachments, please avoid clicking on any links, and please remind all users in your organization to stay alert.

A few additional reminders include:

  • Never share personal information via email
  • Visit websites directly from browsers and bookmarks - not email
  • Double-check attachments before you click or download them
  • Watch for misspellings and strange greetings (Hello Madam!)
  • Be suspicious of emails that evoke a sense of urgency and ask for your immediate action
  • When it comes to wire transfers, be extra vigilant.  Confirm with a face to face or phone conversation.
  • When in doubt - DO NOTHING!

Think before you click!

 

Tags: email security, phishing, cybersecurity

eMail Delays in the "Always On" World

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 7/17/17 2:02 PM

ModDownDetector-Down.jpgern technology enables us to accomplish so much, but when there's a disruption, we're reminded of our dependence, and it's painful!  Last Thursday and Friday, many users were affected by delays in sending and receiving emails.   The systems at Rackspace, one of the leading cloud providers in the world, became overloaded and disrupted services for many users, including a number of Ekaru clients.

We have been tracking the situation closely, and spoken to many of our users, and the situation was mostly resolved on Friday.  We've provided updates on our website and social media pages, and we're always available by phone for questions.   Thank you for your patience and understanding!

None of the leading providers are immune from disruptions and downtime.  Office 365 had three disruptions in June, and Amazon Web Services had a major outage in February.  In an twist of irony, Down Detector, which monitors web outages was itself down as a result of the Amazon outage.  Although Amazon, Rackspace, Office 365 are known for excellent up times, there is always the chance of an exception.

Here is a summary from Rackspace regarding the timeline that affected users:

  • "We identified an issue with system performance during the week of July 3. While minor, we were concerned that it had the potential to grow worse over time. After discussing the issue with our vendors and consultants, we elected to perform proactive maintenance designed to double our total capacity. The additional capacity would provide plenty of headroom and prevent the issue.
  • On the evening of Wednesday, July 12, the capacity was ready, and engineers initiated the process to re balance users across the new hardware.
  • An unknown bug associated with moving users caused high system load across affected systems, and impacted only those users who had been moved.
  • During the time of impact, when an affected user tried to access their mailbox, they would have seen access errors, incomplete message listings, or other errors. Mail delivery was also slowed for a time, and this would have affected a broader set of users.
  • Email messages were not lost or destroyed, but would have been inaccessible by some users during the time of impact."

More analysis is underway, but for now, the important thing is that performance has been restored.  

We know how stressful events like this are for all users, and we are here to help in any way we can, but in some ways this is the technology equivalent of being stuck on an airplane at the gate with a mechanical delay or weather delay - sometimes it's just out of our control!  Work was performed around the clock to restore services.

 

 

Tags: eMail

Ekaru Gives Back:  Donates Socks to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 7/5/17 3:22 PM

BHCH-2017 Sock Drive-W.jpgEkaru, recently donated socks to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless.  As a "Thank You" to all clients who returned a customer satisfaction card last month, we have donated 126 pairs of socks.  

About Boston Healthcare for the Homeless:  “For 29 years, our mission has remained the same: to provide or assure access to the highest quality health care for all homeless men, women and children in the greater Boston area.” 

Why socks?
“Access to shoes and socks is often limited for the homeless men and women living in shelters and on the streets. Rain-soaked feet, ill-fitting shoes, constant standing and diseases like diabetes take their toll on the feet of homeless people.”

To learn more about Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, and learn about ways you can help, visit:  www.bhchp.org

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