Set up automatic updates for Brew on Mac OS X

Automated updates for the core OS has been available for several years now on Macs, and Apple has added the ability to update automatically apps you have added from the AppStore as well. However, if you have installed open source apps with Brew, chances are that you may forget to update them regularly. This is likely to create vulnerabilities on your system, allowing attackers to get in undetected by most antiviral and anti-malware software.

To close this loop, a very simple tool can be installed, similar to the auto-update function at the OS level. Here is the “cookbook recipe” to follow:

brew update
brew upgrade
brew install terminal-notifier
brew tap domt4/autoupdate
brew autoupdate –start –upgrade –enable-notification

These commands will

  • update the brew repository,
  • upgrade all the existing apps,
  • install the terminal notifier incase you don’t have it yet
  • install the autoupdate script
  • start the autoupdate to run on a regular basis

Don’t be like the picture below ? (Curtesy of xkcd.com)


Tinkering with CryptoMining

If you are in SecOps, you probably have seen the threat of CryptoMiners running on compromised hosts. This article may not be for you, but if you would like to dive deeper inside of the working of crypto-mining you will find a few resources here to get you started.

For the example I use the Moonlander 2 ASIC USB stick as you can pick one up form Amazon for as little as $50 as of March 2020, and it has all the features needed to work with a Raspberry PI. It allows to mine LTC (Litecoin.org).

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential git autoconf automake libtool pkg-config libcurl4-openssl-dev libudev-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libncurses5-dev raspberrypi-kernel-headers
cd
mkdir miners
cd miners
sudo unzip Linux_3.x.x_4.x.x_VCP_Driver_Source.zip
cd Linux_3.x.x_4.x.x_VCP_Driver_Source
make
sudo cp -a cp210x.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/usb/serial

Another example is the GekkoScience Bitcoin SHA256 Stick Miner, which lets you test how to mine BTC (bitcoin.org). 

I use the Raspberry PI, as it is a very low cost environment you can build with your children at a very young age. You can do a lot more with it then just teaching about Bitcoin, Blockchain, and mining.

The resources below have all the documentation necessary to get started.

The Moonlander device tends to lock up after a successful run with bfgminerand the miner isn’t detected on successive runs with the status message: 

------------------------------------------
NO DEVICES FOUND: Press 'M' and '+' to add
------------------------------------------

The solution is to remove the driver (cp120x) and unplug / plug back in the USB stick:

  1. sudo rmmod cp120x
  2. unplug USB stick
  3. wait 10 seconds
  4. plug USB stick back in
  5. check if the driver is re-registered by running lsmod | grep usb the output should look like
    usbserial XXXXX X cp210x

Resources

Raspberry Pi 4 on Amazon

Olimex

Moonlander 2 USB Stick ASIC on Amazon

Moonlander 2 USB Stick getting started instructions

Moonlander  ASIC setup on linux

VCP kernel drivers

GekkoScience Bitcoin Miner Setup on Linux / Raspberry Pi

GekkoScience Termius R606 Miner Setup

Raspberry PI dependencies for building kernel modules

ASIC Miner Valuation estimations

US made ASIC miner

 


Cyber Security Advice for Medical Practices

The sudden increase in cyber attacks happening all around the world is not without its reasons. More than 80% of information – including private details about ourselves – are now stored digitally. Every information is valuable to attackers, which is why we are now seeing more attacks as well as new forms of attacks targeting individuals and large corporations.Cybersecurity for medical practice

For medical practices, information security is essential. Patient information and details about the practice’s operations are too valuable to handle carelessly. There are ways to improve cybersecurity throughout your medical practice and we are going to discuss some of them in this article.

Follow the Standards

The healthcare industry is highly regulated down to the last letter and information security is no exception. The HIPAA medical information security guidelines are something that every healthcare service provider must follow.

Fortunately, most solutions available to the industry already take HIPAA compliance very seriously. You know you can count on the software, devices, and other solutions that comply with HIPAA to safeguard your information. Following the correct security standards is a great first step to take.

Secure the Equipment

Using the correct, well-secured equipment is another must. You can’t count on poorly secured equipment, especially in today’s world where attacks to IoT and electronic devices are more common than ever. Similar to choosing software and solutions, there are standards to follow.

According to Rishin Patel Insight Medical Partners’ President and CEO, newer equipment is designed to be more secure from the ground up, especially compared to older alternatives. His company provides easy access to the most advanced products and technologies so that medical practices can remain safe and protected.

Have a Backup Routine

To have a strong information security foundation, the third thing you need to add is a good backup routine. Maintain on-site and off-site (cloud) backups of sensitive information so that your medical practice can recover from catastrophic cyber attack seamlessly.

In the event of a ransomware attack, for instance, you can wipe your computers and restore essential data from various sources. When hardware fails, there is still a cloud backup to turn to. Adding a good backup routine to the practice’s everyday workflow completes the equation and provides your medical practice with a good security foundation.

Train the People

Once the foundation is laid, it is time to tackle the biggest information security challenge of them all: the people. Bad habits like using a weak or common password, exchanging login information or user access with coworkers, clicking URLs from illegitimate sources, and copying data to a flash drive and then not handling it properly are still the most common causes of cyber attacks.

It is imperative that the people involved in handling information know how to handle information securely. Information security trainings are great for changing some of the more common bad habits quickly. As an extra layer of security, putting in place a set of security policies is also highly recommended.

There are still so many things you can do to protect your medical practice from cyber attacks, but these first steps are the ones to take to get started. Be sure to implement these measures immediately before your practice becomes the victim of a cyber attack.


Data Loss: The Impact It Has On Businesses

There are no boundaries to data loss, it happens to companies of all shapes and sizes, from large corporations to small startups. The main issue with data loss is the fact that it can strike at any time, resulting in a domino-like effect of serious consequences for the business.

Wondering how data loss can impact your business? Below are some examples of the seriousness that a loss of data can cause for a company. Data loss

Productivity disruption

Should your organization lose data, one of the first things to suffer will be workplace productivity. Whether the loss of data has been caused by a computer hacking, network outage or failure of software or hardware, it can have a serious impact on your business’s productivity, as it can take hours, or sometimes even days to get your lost data back. However, should you choose to invest in and use a professional data backup service like MySql data recovery, you can make the process of getting your company back up and running after a data loss, much easier.

Reputation damage 

Of course, one area of your business that it’s less easy to fix after this kind of disaster is your reputation. In the digital world, news travels fast, so if your company ends up on the news due to its website being down or files being missing, you will have customers asking questions about what’s happened, and your answers may cause long-term damage to your company. When data loss occurs, customers feel let down, because it’s their private and confidential data that is on the line, as well as yours. So when your company loses that data, it puts your reputation on the line and can have a long-lasting impact on your business and its success in the future.

Loss of customer loyalty

After a data loss event, customer loyalty is often also tarnished. You customers feel like they can’t trust your business with their sensitive information, and so they choose to take their money elsewhere. Once word spreads about this, you may struggle to find new clients, which could have a huge impact on your business and its success. This is something that no one wants to happen, as it can have such a huge impact on your business’s success. Of course, while you could lose customers as a result, you could also be creative and find ways to win them back, as Virgin did after their big data loss in 2017. They apologized, put better safeguards in place for data, and offered everyone affected a cheaper deal on their services.

While data losses can be a total nightmare for businesses of all shapes and sizes, suffering a data loss doesn’t have to mean the end of your company. It simply means being smart about the next steps that you take, and making sure that you find ways to retain your customers and gain new ones, despite the breach in security and the lack of customer confidence in you and your brand.


NewPush Recognized as Top 20 VMware Cloud provider 2017

CIO Review recognition

NewPush started using VMware technologies from its inception in 1999. At the time the first dot com boom was just heating up. Many virtualization technologies were emerging for the Intel platform. Over the years we kept focusing on providing enterprise-grade infrastructure. Meanwhile, we have kept increasing the role of VMware as we understood that for Intel-based hardware VMware provided the most reliable enterprise solutions. As a result, we have moved the use of VMware from our development labs to our production systems and data-centers. Since the 2010’s we are formally a VMware partner providing VMware Cloud solutions. Most noteworthy, the last few years have shown a tremendous growth in the capabilities VMware Cloud delivers. Therefore it is our pleasure to announce that once again, CIO Review has recognized NewPush as a top 20 VMware technology provider.
20 most promising VMware Cloud solution providers - 2016

VMware Cloud Solutions

Important milestone for NewPush

This recognition for the second time in a row is a milestone that is important to us. We have worked hard to pioneer and to be successful in deploying state of the art VMware based cloud technologies, and we have worked harder even to maintain a leadership position in this crowded space. Our work continues to focus on NSX, vSAN, and the vRealize suite. As we continue our quest to provide the best cloud services to our customers, we look forward to deploy advanced analytics capabilities centered around Splunk Enterprise security essentials.

Forward-looking posture

Cloud technologies keep changing at an ever-increasing pace. In this year’s edition of CIO Review, we dive deeper in iGRACaaS, identity governance, risk and compliance as a service. Companies who stay ahead are going to continue to have a competitive advantage, by providing a better customer experience. By partnering for technology decisions with NewPush, you can spend more time with your core business, while ensuring that you have a trusted partner with a proven track record to help you keep a competitive edge on the IT front. If you would like the NewPush advantage for your company, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. We are here to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Connecting local Active Directory Cloud (AD) and Azure

Active Directory Cloud Enablement

Connecting local AD to Azure

Active Directory Cloud Simplifies user Access (Microsoft)With the deployment of more and more Office 365 services, managing separate AD instances can be daunting. Fortunately, Microsoft offers great tools to get your Active Directory Cloud initiative working. Azure’s AD is the backing AD for the Office 365 services. In this article, I am providing a summary of the key points to remember when connecting to Azure’s AD.

Microsoft provides a very powerful set of tools to easily connect a local Active Directory to Azure. There are also some advanced options available if you decide to use Azure as a full-blown AD server for your organization. However, it is important to be very careful. Here is what can happen if the connection isn’t done right: most if not all of the users will be locked out of their account. That means, no email (Outlook), no SharePoint, no OneDrive.

 The key is to configure the ADD connect the tool with a custom setting in order to make sure that the local domain doesn’t take over the Office 365 domain. The following steps assume that you have Office 365 deployed for your main domain. For example, NewPush.com is our main domain. 

Quick summary to connect the Active Directory Cloud 

1)    Check that all your local users have their email address set up properly in the “mail” attribute of your local AD. At this stage, you should also make sure that you have an Office 365 account set up with Global Admin privileges, and on the default Microsoft domain (e.g. [email protected]

2)    Installing the ADD. This is straightforward, however, make sure to not finish the install with the defaults, as we modify the sync rules in the next step. If you already installed, and have the wrong settings, you need to uninstall, reboot and reinstall.

3)     Select custom synchronization setting and select the mail attribute as UPN for sync which results in your main domain remaining the one used on Office 365. 

References for Active Directory to Azure Connection

1)      http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=47594

2)      https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/connect/active-directory-aadconnect-get-started-custom   Custom installation of ADD connect Start to end. 

 Please let me know if you found these instructions helpful, and do not hesitate to send me feedback.


The Growth in Geographic Information Technology

The Growth in Geographic Information Technology

Every day, a staggering amount of new data is produced, and business and governments look for ways to utilize that data to help them plan and strategize, cut costs, innovate, and deliver services. While some companies and organizations are working at the cutting edge of data implementation, many companies are still lagging far behind when it comes to making optimum use of that data.

Geographic information technology has emerged as a critical data implementation tool that allows companies and governments to drill deeply into their data and use that data to help them determine their future direction.

What is Geographic Information Technology?

Geographic information technology allows data to be analyzed and then displayed on maps. It can be used to analyze anything from locations where it would be most profitable for a restaurant chain to open up a new outlet, finding out which areas of a city are responsible for the most pollution, and tracking disease outbreaks.

How Does a Geographic Information System Work?

A GIS system captures, stores, and analyzes data related to its position on the planet’s surface. Many different kinds of data can be displayed on one map, which allows patterns and relationships between elements to be discovered.

The location data used can be cross-referenced with other information in the database to show information about the people in that place, such as their education levels, income levels and life expectancy. Another example would be mapping locations of water or air pollution and then looking for the source based on all of the farms and factories in a given area.

An organization will need specialists holding a geographic information science and technology degree in order to implement and administer a GIS system. Members of a company’s IT team can also undertake a part-time online GIST program to acquire the relevant education and skills.

Which Types of Organization Can Benefit From Using a Geographic Information System?

Because the benefits of understanding location data are so far-reaching, a wide range of companies and government departments can gain from using a geographic information system.

The US Department of Defense uses analysis provided by data specialists at National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to identify potential threats to national security.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention uses GIS to help shape public health-related policy decisions.

Local government bodies provide location data mapping to various departments, including those responsible for public utilities and services, property tax assessments, highways, and town planning. For example, accident hotspots can be identified and steps are taken to minimize risks in those areas. Location data can also help to develop a local tourism strategy or plan new residential communities.

Companies can use a geographic information system to manage their supply and distribution chain more effectively, to plan new locations based on local income levels and population density, and the road and other transport networks that make traveling to the location feasible.

Geographic information technology enables a better understanding of data and can ensure smarter use of resources and more efficient targeting of services, both in the public and the private sector.

Reference

http://gis.usc.edu/msp-resources/articles-blogs/reasons-why-gis-Matters/


Backup and restore vCenter Server Appliance

There are times when things don’t go as smoothly or work as planned. For example, during routine VMware maintenance, while performing a basic step, you lose your VMware vCenter. As a result, you lose the ability to manage important aspects of your infrastructureDepending on your time constraints for the maintenance window, you may have to consider backing out of the changes. This can be a challenge in of itself. Here are some steps that can help. The idea is to have a smooth backup and restore of the vCenter Server appliance. 

The original problem

I mentioned even basic things can go completely wrong. This was the case when I tried to replace the built-in/default SSL Certificate with a standard CA signed one, on a vCenter Server Appliance 6 (VCSA) with the built-in tool, the Certificate Manager. I did follow the instructions on the terminal, but at the end, something went wrong and the tool reported roll-back to the original Certificate. However, that didn’t work either, it never finished and while the certificate seemed to be “in place”, the “vpxd” service didn’t start and that caused the web-client to not load in.

Until this day we are still not sure with the VMware technician what was the root cause, and why the “fix steps” didn’t work. At some point, I decided to just install a new vCenter and restore the original vPostgres database. It is worth to mention, we are using the recommended method with VCSA: 2 appliances, the vCenter appliance and the PSC appliance. The PSC is the most important functionality is that it handles the Single Sign-On, so I’ll refer to them as vCenter and PSC, both need to be operational to make the solution work.

The solution: steps to restore vCenter Server Appliance, including some troubleshooting steps

  1. Take a snapshot of the PSC.
  2. Take note of the vCenter server build number.
    • Connect to vCenter with SSH or console, authenticate and enable shell
    •  Run the following command to get the build of your vCenter:
      vpxd
      You should see something like this:
      VMware VirtualCenter 6.0.0 build-3018523
  3. Backup the vCenter database: Back up and restore vCenter Server Appliance/vCenter Server 6.0 vPostgres database
    • The following KB article describes the steps: kb.vmware.com/kb/2091961
    • Make sure you don’t mix vCenter Server and vCenter Server Appliance steps. The first is the Windows version, in this case, we need the second, linux one.
    • First, I saw a weird error message when I was running the script. It was because vPostgres was not running, but the error message did not explicitly state that. Make sure to start the vPostgres service by running:
      service-control –start vmware-vpostgres
  4. Decommission the vCenter Server appliance: Using the cmsso command to unregister vCenter Server from Single Sign-On
    • The following KB article describes this step: kb.vmware.com/kb/2106736
    • In case you get an error like this, while you are trying to use WinSCP: “Host is not communicating for more than 15 seconds. If the problem repeats, try turning off ‘Optimize connection buffer size’.” then check out this KB for the solution: kb.vmware.com/kb/2107727
    • In case PSC cannot talk to vCenter Server appliance anymore, which was the case for me, you can still unsub vCenter from the PSC with the following command, that you need to run on PSC:
      /usr/lib/vmware-vmdir/bin/vdcleavefed -h HOSTNAME_OR_IP -u administratorYou should see something like this: “vdcleavefd offline for server HOSTNAME_OR_IP
      Leave federation cleanup done”Replace HOSTNAME_OR_IP with the correct hostname/ip of your vCenter appliance.
  5. Re-deploy a new vCenter with the same Build number (you noted in step 2), and Networking settings.
  6. Recover the vCenter database: Back up and restore vCenter Server Appliance/vCenter Server 6.0 vPostgres database
    The following KB article describes this step: kb.vmware.com/kb/2091961
  7. Make sure all services are starting, and vCenter properly working.

If you have questions or have comments feel free to ask below. If you need help, contact us at [email protected]


NewPush Recognized as Top 20 VMware Cloud provider 2016

CIO Review recognition

NewPush started using VMware technologies from its inception in 1999. At the time the first dot com boom was just heating up. Many virtualization technologies were emerging for the Intel platform. Over the years we kept focusing on providing enterprise-grade infrastructure. Meanwhile, we have kept increasing the role of VMware as we understood that for Intel-based hardware VMware provided the most reliable enterprise solutions. As a result, we have moved the use of VMware from our development labs to our production systems and data-centers. Since the 2010’s we are formally a VMware partner providing VMware Cloud solutions. Most noteworthy, the last few years have shown a tremendous growth in the capabilities VMware Cloud delivers. Therefore it is our pleasure to announce that CIO Review has recognized NewPush as a top 20 VMware technology provider.
20 most promising VMware Cloud solution providers - 2016

VMware Cloud Solutions

Important milestone for NewPush

This recognition is a milestone that is important to us. We have worked hard to pioneer and to be successful in deploying state of the art VMware based cloud technologies. Our recent work focuses on NSX, vSAN, and the vRealize suite. As we continue our quest to provide the best cloud services to our customers, we look forward to deploy the new Docker and Hadoop enablement technologies.

Looking ahead

Cloud technologies keep changing at an ever-increasing pace. Companies who stay ahead are going to continue to have a competitive advantage, by providing a better customer experience. By partnering for technology decisions with NewPush, you can spend more time with your core business, while ensuring that you have a trusted partner with a proven track record to help you keep a competitive edge on the IT front. If you would like the NewPush advantage for your company, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. We are here to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Email Hosting: cPanel (Exim) email loop – Too many “Received” headers – suspected mail loop

Email Hosting Issue: email looping on cPanel (Exim)

When your server’s email flow stops, it is like the lifeblood of a company that stops. As soon as an email issue appears we have to jump on them immediately and get to the core of the problem. Smart trouble-shooting is key. At this point, we have to look under the hood of cPanel. cPanel (WHM) is an email hosting and website hosting automation control panel.

Every now and then, you get a cryptic bounce message that drives you to dig deeper. In this case, we first saw “potential email loop” in the bounce message. However, that was not enough. We had to then look at the email logs on cPanel. The place to look was “Track delivery.” Meanwhile, the customer’s email is bouncing, and the pressure is mounting. In the end, we were able to fix the issue quickly.

Problem: email loop detected on email hosting server

You see the following symptom. You send mail to a user on cPanel, and the following error is displayed in the “Track Delivery” section of the users cPanel account:
Too many "Received" headers - suspected mail loop

Solution: fix MX settings of the email hosting control panel (WHM cPanel)

  • Go to the MX record section of cPanel.
  • Reset the delivery method to local.
  • If the method is already set to local, make sure you change it to “backup”, save, and then back to local.

What else can cause a mail loop? Make sure that you do not have a conflict in domain forwarder or email forwarder.

Background

cPanel uses Exim. On Exim, the destination domain is in /etc/localdomains. If the email is stored on a remote server, list the domain in /etc/remotedomains. The steps to take in the solution section act on the MX record editor of cPanel. These steps force cPanel to properly populate these files.

If you have similar issues and have a hard time figuring out the solution, let us know. We are happy to help with any email system, cPanel, Plesk, Domino, or Exchange. Contact us at support at www.newpush.com, or through the contact us page.