How Many Hurdles are In Between a Thief and Your Phone’s Data?

Let’s face it: If you can rember 5 phone numbers of even your family members in today’s time (unless it’s part of a jingle), you are on the cusp of being an informational genius at this point.

Today, we as technology-addicted humans put in not just phone numbers, but intimate family-based information, account numbers to insurance and bill-paying outlets of all kinds and most importantly: PASSWORDS to the stuff that helps you and/or your company make money.

But what are you doing to protect that literal electronic treasure trove you have on your phone? A recent article over at CNN.Com (listed below) has found that only one in three smartphone users are using a password to protect their data. That means that 7 people, literally have an open-door policy to – well – anyone. Having just changed phone companies (oddly enough, to the exact same phone, just a different carrier) I realized as I was choosing the passcode for my new technological terror how as a connected IT professional, just how critical it is to have a password in place.

passcode-phone-image

At any one time, I have access to company’s websites, my own websites, personal information of every kind all within a moments touch to help me make my day more productive, and to have one, mobile, digital “place” to get all of the information right now. And THAT’s why there’s a passcode, not only to get “into” my phone, but also the information management software that’s on my phone.

What are YOU and the people (especially your sales staffs) doing to help ensure that if one of their phones, with sensitive customer information were found/stolen? Are you using a password to block instant access to your mobile phone’s content? Read the article via the link below and then tell us here what YOU and your company have implemented to prevent the true nightmare scenario…

“Three of 10 Smartphone Users Don’t Use Passwords” at CNN.Com

Do I Need Virus Protection For My Apple Computer?

With roughly 600,000 computers worldwide infected with the Flashback Trojan is your computer protected? For years many people have had the assumption that if they are using a Mac then they do not have to worry about viruses or malware, but with more people using apple products today you can almost guarantee that they will become the focus of attack. No system is 100% safe from viruses or malware. If you are a home user, do you care if your families pictures are destroyed when your computer becomes unusable do to a virus? Do you care if your tax information and social security number is released online because you have a Trojan on your computer? If you are a corporation you could face serious legal problems if client information is released on the internet. Lucky for you it is not very hard to protect your computer from viruses and malware. Below are just a few free and pay for anti-virus programs that you can use to protect yourself from threats.

Free

Kaspersky – Free Flashback Removal Tool
Kaspersky Download

Avast
Avast Download

Sophos
Sophos Download

ClamXav
ClamXav

Pay For

Norton
Norton Download

McAfee
McAfee Download

Are Hackers Tracking You via Your Cell Phone?

While it sounds like something from the movie Enemy of the State, new research from the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering indicates that attackers can capture the same information used by cellphone companies to track cellular handsets to pinpoint a target’s location. This attack leverages features of the GSM communication stack to perform location tests without the alerting the target.

These location tests are used by cellular providers to find the best path on their networks to route calls and can be accurate to a 10-block area in metropolitan areas. 3rd party access to this data usually requires a warrant. However using commodity hardware and open source technology, the researchers were able to directly capture this information. They did not have to contact the local cellular company for access.

The authors conclude that this formation could be used by oppressive regimes to track down dissidents or for thieves could target a person and identify when they were no longer at their home.

The authors have contacted carriers and phone handset manufactures, such as AT&T and Nokia to discuss mitigation techniques and are working on responsible disclosure statements for cellular service providers.

Source Article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120216165701.htm#.T0JUDgoV6-4.email

Playbook security hole makes personal information available

RIM PlaybookResearch in Motion just cannot catch a break with their tablet, the Playbook. Not only are sales lagging behind Apple and Android offerings, forcing RIM to cut pricing to $299; but now security researchers have discovered email and other personal information could be stolen via malware. The security weakness is exploited using Playbook Bridge, a software designed to link to a Blackberry phone via Bluetooth. While Bridge protects information in transit, a file readable by any native application on the Playbook contains the users BBM username and password. A rouge application could potentially read this file and use the contained credentials to retrieve any information stored in the user’s BBM account.

RIM has acknowledged the vulnerability and promised a fix in the upcoming Playbook OS 2.0 update, which is due to be released in early February 2011. RIM has also recommended that users avoid installing applications from untrusted sources, which will reduce the risk of exposure.

Source: CIO.com – Email, Personal Information on PlayBook Left Vulnerable to Hackers

5 Strangest Returns to EPC, Inc. – Part 1

EPC, Inc. has been fortunate enough to become a juggernaut in the IT Asset Recovery business and our reputation as one of the best solutions for end-of-life IT equipment continues to grow.

Those of you that consider “IT equipment” computers, printers, servers and more – you’re absolutely right. The vast majority of equipment returned falls into these categories, but you may be surprised what makes its way back to EPC.

First, a bit of background. EPC, Inc. is owned by CSI Leasing, one of the world’s largest IT lessors that provide leased equipment around the globe. Companies will receive, for example, 2,200 new computer systems, and the now off-lease equipment is acquired by EPC, Inc. and sold to schools, businesses, people in our 5,500 sq ft retail showroom – anyone that wants to save money. This “IT Equipment received back off-lease also includes some items you’d have never thought would grace the halls EPC.

Not only does this first of many listings of “weird returns to EPC, Inc.” make for an interesting read, it’s also a great way for those looking for the “out of the ordinary” to find solutions thanks to EPC, Inc.

5.) Medical Centrifuge: Centrifuges are machines that rapidly spin fluids to separate substances of different densities by using centrifugal force to produce a form of artificial gravity. They come in from medical companies of all kinds when medical equipment is upgraded.

4.) X-ray Machine: Yes, those machines that you see inside of hospitals, medical clinics and dentists office across the nation that are taking pictures of bones, screws, metal plates and foreign objects eventually make their way into EPC, Inc.

Read more

A New Year is Upon Us: EPC Closed for New Year…

EPC, Inc. hopes that everyone had a prosperous and memorable Christmas Holiday! EPC will be closing for the New Year Holiday weekend at the end of business Friday December 30th at 6pm, and will reopen Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012.

EPC looks forward to providing more great savings, deals and solutions in 2012 and are appreciative of your time, interest and feedback. Please be sure to visit our New/Social Media streams on the Internet (via Facebook and Twitter )to tell us more about how we can meet your needs. Award-winning customer service is a hallmark of EPC, and we are eager to see what this new year will hold for us in new arenas.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

EPC Closed for the Christmas Holiday

EPC, Inc. hopes that you and your families will have the best holiday ever! EPC will be closed Saturday December 24th, 25th & 26th, 2011. We will be reopening on December 27th at 9am. Thank you for choosing EPC!

The Value of Facebook Helps EPC, Inc. Continue to Innovate…

There can be no denying that Facebook, like so many of the other New/Social Media tools available, is a force to be bargained with. With more than 800mil current users and the number climbing quickly daily, the networking power of Facebook has become an avenue of information, marketing and potential profit for any business.

EPC, Inc. would like to remind everyone about their Facebook presence online and invites YOU to “Like” EPC in an effort to grow the awareness and viability of our Facebook tether to the Internet.

Simply click here to visit and “Like” our presence on Facebook now!

It’s one of the best ways to find out about our current events, our charity efforts, our recycling initiatives and sales throughout the year. You won’t be sorry you did!

Also be sure to look for a great new sales presence via Facebook for EPC’s Sale Staff. It’s yet another way that EPC, Inc. is using the Internet and New Media to innovate and elevate a great sales experience for our customers!

Do YOU have a Facebook account? Thought about creating a profile for yourself or your company? Tell us in the comments section below how YOU are using Facebook to change the way you communicate, network and do business. We’d love to hear about it!

Help us understand “the Value of Facebook” now.

EPC is a Certified BAN e-Steward Company

Firsts have been a common occurrence at EPC, Inc. over the years. Whether it was launching a different kind of computer company back in 1984, to the pioneering of computer sales on the now online juggernaut eBay, EPC has always had a hand in being the first to launch great new efforts. That tradition continues.

Today, EPC, Inc. was recognized by The Basel Action Network, a global toxic trade watchdog organization, as it’s first Missouri-based e-Stewards-certified across multiple sites. This certification is also the first to span EPC’s multiple facilities that includes EPC’s facilities in Earth City, Kansas City, and Stafford (Houston), Texas.

Please take a moment to read the official press release included below, and congratulations to all of the people whose dedication, hard work and very detail-oriented, long hours help to provide Missouri with a true warrior in the fight against E-waste.

EPC BECOMES FIRST MISSOURI BUSINESS TO RECEIVE MULTI-SITE E-STEWARDS CERTIFICATION

ST. LOUIS, December 20, 2011 — The Basel Action Network (ban.org), a global toxic trade watchdog organization, has announced that EPC, Inc. has achieved e-Stewards® Certification at its St. Charles headquarters, at its e-Scrap facility in Earth City, and at its facilities in Kansas City and Stafford (Houston), Texas. EPC is the first Missouri electronics recycler with multiple facilities to achieve the certification.

EPC’s facilities in Las Vegas and Columbia, SC have been recommended for certification and are expected to be officially certified by the end of 2011.

“EPC has long been committed to the strongest and most demanding environmental standards,” said Dan Fuller, founder and President of EPC. “We have built a national and international reputation on adherence to the highest ethical guidelines. Acknowledgement of our efforts by the impartial and exacting auditors of Orion Registrar is greatly appreciated by us as recognition of the dedication of our trained and motivated staff at our facilities in St. Louis, Kansas City and in metropolitan Houston.”

Setting EPC apart from others in the industry, the e-Stewards certification serves as recognition of conformance to strict operational standards including proper health and safety processes, no land-filling of toxic wastes and the protection of data-sensitive materials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports e-Stewards certification and, along with rest of the federal government, has committed to only using certified electronics recyclers for management of electronic waste. The U.S. government is the largest generator of electronic waste in the world.

“By achieving e-Stewards certification, EPC joins an elite group of recyclers that have successfully completed rigorous independent audits to verify conformance with the highest standard for responsible e-recycling,” said BAN executive director Jim Puckett. “Only certified e-Stewards recyclers ensure customers that their hazardous electronic waste is not exported to developing countries and will be recycled in accordance with the most secure practices in the world.”

Contact: Basel Action Network
Lauren Roman, e-Stewards Business Director
206-652-5555
Lroman@e-stewards.org

Contact: EPC
Dave Beal, Vice President
636-443-1999
dave.beal@epcusa.com

About e-Stewards Certification
The e-Stewards Certification program, created by the Basel Action Network (BAN), formally recognizes electronics recyclers that adhere to environmentally and socially responsible practices when recovering hazardous electronic materials. It is the first such program backed by environmental organizations and major corporations alike. The accredited third-party audited certification program is supported by the USEPA and is endorsed by Greenpeace USA, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Electronics TakeBack Coalition and 68 other environmental organizations. It has also drawn the public support of major corporate “e-Stewards Enterprises,” including Alcoa, LG, Bank of America, Nestle and Wells Fargo.

About EPC
EPC, Inc. is a recognized recycler with the State of Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the largest DNR-certified electronics waste recycling facility in Missouri. The company maintains a zero landfill policy and zero export of unprocessed equipment overseas. It is a member of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the National Recycling Coalition, the Missouri Recycling Association, the St. Louis Regional Partnership for Electronics Recovery, the Missouri Partnership for Electronics Recovery, the National Association for Information Destruction and the Investment Recovery Association.

EPC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSI Leasing, Inc., the largest independent IT leasing company in the United States. EPC offers a wide variety of PC-related services, including new and used PC systems, parts and repair services, networking design, web design, web site hosting, repairs and upgrades, and IT asset management services. For more information, contact EPC at 636-443-1999 or visit .epcusa.com. More information about CSI is available at www.csileasing.com.

Get Windows Group Members Using Powershell

I am a big fan of the Powershell scripting language for windows. I was recently asked how to verify what Windows and Active Directory accounts were assigned to groups across an entire domain. I found a script to get the group members for an individual group on an individual computer at Powershell.com. But I prefer to use Powershell’s ability to pipeline commands to significantly automate processes so I re-wrote their script in a function:

function Get-GroupMembers()
{
    param(
        [string]$ComputerName = $env:computername,
        [string]$GroupName
    )
    
    process {
        $QueryPath = 'WinNT://{0}/{1},group' -f $ComputerName, $GroupName
        $exists = $false
        try {
            $exists = [ADSI]::Exists($QueryPath)
        } catch {
            Write-Host
            Write-Error $("Unable to connect to " + $ComputerName + ". " + $_.Exception.Message);
        }
            
        if ($exists) {
            $group = [ADSI]($QueryPath)
            $members = @()
            $group.Members() | 
                ForEach-Object {
                    $AdsPath = $_.GetType().InvokeMember("Adspath", "GetProperty", $null, $_, $null)
                    # Domain members will have an ADSPath like WinNT://<DOMAINNAME>/<USERNAME>
                    # Local members will have an ADSPath like WinNT://<DOMAINNAME>/<COMPUTERNAME>/<USERNAME>
                    $a = $AdsPath.split('/', [StringSplitOptions]::RemoveEmptyEntries)
                    $name = $a[-1]
                    $domain = $a[-2]
                    
                    # determine if member is a 'user' or 'group' object
                    $class = $_.GetType().InvokeMember("Class", "GetProperty", $null, $_, $null)
                    
                    $members += New-Object PSObject -Property @{ 
                        Name = $name;
                        Domain = $domain;
                        Class = $class;
                        ComputerName = $ComputerName;
                        GroupName = $GroupName;
                    }
            }
            $members
        }
    }
}

Since this function uses Try…Catch syntax for exception handling it will only work in Powershell v2. To use this function to find members of the ‘Administrators’ and ‘Power Users’ groups on a particular host:

('Administrators', 'Power Users') | % { Get-GroupMembers -ComputerName 'YourHost' -GroupName $_ } | format-table