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Welcome to 2018 – Beware the bond villain

Spectre and Meltdown. If this conjures up visions of Bond supervillain Ernst Blofeld stroking his cat and plotting the demise of the world, you’re showing your age.

Spectre and Meltdown however are real and serious security flaws to welcome us into 2018. They’re processor level vulnerabilities recently discovered that allow access from user applications into system memory, and potentially expose passwords and security certificates on almost any system.

To be clear, this is not an operating system issue, and affects systems running Windows, Mac, Android or iOS equally. Software and Antivirus vendors have been quick to respond with security patches to block the vulnerabilities. Our Alto EndPoint Management (AEM) customers have already had these patches automatically applied to all managed devices, but PLEASE ensure you update your mobile devices or any computers that are not managed by our AEM service. You don’t want to kick off 2018 with cat-man villain getting hold of your Luno password or Bitcoin private keys…

On that topic, 2017 was a massive year for Crypto Currencies – the first year probably that most people ever said ‘Bitcoin’ or ‘ICO’. There seem to be 2 camps here, people who fundamentally believe that this is a massive ‘tulip’ bubble, and people who see blockchain technology as a global game changer that will affect the way we transact and interact on every level. Ignore currency for a moment and think about the impact on corruption if government procurement processes were built on a blockchain base? Atul would probably still be peddling no-name-brand PC’s in the burbs of Joburg.

The utility applications of blockchain technology far outweigh simple monetary transactions. So while I am far from a trader or investment analyst and really can’t comment on whether 2018 will see the growth that 2017 did or if the bubble will burst, I can tell you that blockchain technology is here to stay and that 2018 is likely to see actual useful applications of the technology beyond a pretty graph on Luno or Kraken.

For those of you that are in the crypto game or are thinking of getting in, realise that you potentially can hold significant value outside of traditional banking platforms, and the onus is on you to ensure the security or your personal technology, or lose your shirt. To that end:

  • PLEASE enable 2 factor authentication on any accounts you have. My preference is AUTHY, which allows backups of your 2FA tokens (trust me, you don’t want to lose your phone that has Google Authenticator on it and spend weeks trying to reset those tokens with exchanges)
  • Strong, randomized passwords are critical across ALL your online accounts. Use a good password manager, my preference here is LASTPASS PREMIUM.
  • There are only 2 kinds of people. Those that have lost data, and those that will lose data. Make sure you have encrypted, automated, offsite backups of all your computers. Or just get CLOUDBOX.
  • And please, ensure your devices are regularly (automatically) updated.

Of course if you would like a hand with all things IT for your business, take a look at our CLOUDBOX., AEM, and truly UNLIMITED SUPPORT solutions. We’ll give you the peace of mind to focus on whether to HODL, sell, or buy the dip.

Here’s to an exciting and prosperous year, stay safe out there.

Olly.

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