Revamped Microsoft Windows Defender a Capable Malware Thwarter

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There’s unfortunately no getting around the fact that alongside advances in computing are advances in malware. Engineers do an admirable job of keeping up with the newest and most dangerous of those malwares, but there’s always new wrinkles on existing ones that make it much more of a challenge. All of this may not be very concerning to the average individual who goes online for recreational or avocational purposes, but if you’ve got sensitive information related to your business and no choice but to have it stored and transmitted in digital form then this is a genuine issue.

Now here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any Canadian web hosting provider in that we are definitely in that 2nd category, and we always have to be on our toes when it comes to responding new digital security risks as part of offering the peace of mind we need to offer to our customers. Any host that’s running a legit web hosting business is going to have extensive protocols in place related to this, but there’s a need for introspection and being proactive with identifying potential deficiencies and making upgrades.

Now we know as well that some of you are firmly in the Mac camp, while others are equally as dedicated to PC. We’ll leave Apple out of it for today, as what’s noteworthy this week is that Microsoft’s newest Windows 10 OS is featuring a new and revamped Windows Defender that not only improves on malware defence, but also expands that benefit for anyone who’s been using Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

From ‘Semi’ to ‘Full’

Windows 10 users are well accustomed to Windows Defender being automated for protecting their PC from malware. However, for enterprise users who rely on Microsoft Defender for Endpoint there’s a lot more coming in the way of what can be done for dealing with malware. And all thanks to a simple setting change.

Microsoft Defender has always shipped with a default automation level that was set to ‘semi.’ With that the software automatically inspects files, processes, services, registry keys, and any area that may contain threat-related evidence and then prompts a response action to contain that malicious threat. However, it will only do so with approval from those identified as in charge of security with these organizations.

If they’re not made aware of the need, too often it can be neglected until someone realizes a malware infection and then the damage is done. The newest version of Defender is designed to have a default public preview setting that will allow many more sets of eyes to be aware of what the Defender finds out there and sees as worthy of monitoring and / or defending against.

To accomplish this Microsoft is switching the default automation level to ‘Full,’ meaning the malicious threat can be dealt with automatically and without the need for approval. This means malware can be stopped before doing additional damage and making it so that security operators don’t need to be reactive in flushing out the problem once it’s already been introduced.

 

Why the Change

The general industry consensus is that Microsoft is switching to automatic remediation because malware detection has slipped to the reactionary side of the scale more than it was previously, where beforehand it was more possible to have malware protection software catching the problems before they really had a chance to take root.

All of this is good news for Enterprise users, as since the automatic investigation and remediation capabilities were first added to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint there has been tangible improvements with malware detection accuracy. Other nice features included in the new Windows Defender for Enterprise are options to undo remediation actions and overall a much better automated investigation infrastructure. There are already more than a handful of documented cases where organizations with fully automated tenants successfully contained and remediated threats that they likely wouldn’t have if they had remained on the default ‘semi’ setting.

In these instances the primary contributing factor was delays in response times related to these restrictions on who could either view the potential threats and / or take the needed action to counter them. This will likely go a long way into allowing businesses to be much more secure with data and sensitive information and the peace of mind that comes with that is something that can’t be overstated. We can certainly vouch for that part of it, even if we do so in a somewhat indirect way.

‘Full’ becomes the default setting for Windows Defender beginning on February 16 of this year. Of course, masters can change it if a security team wants to retain control of the action and is okay with assuming the added risk.

The Workings of 5G

Reading Time: 3 minutes

2021 has long been earmarked as the year that 5G network capability was going to really start to factor into the digital connectivity future like it’s been predicted to. We’re just a few weeks in, but in the 3rd week of January next year we’re going to have plenty to say on what this year was like when it came to 5G. 5G phones are already being readily bought by those who need to be the first to have a whole digital device experience, and we know it’s going to be huge in as far as IoT technology is concerned.

Not hard to see why all of this resonates big time with those of us here at 4GoodHosting, and like any other Canadian web hosting provider it just so happens that we’re in an industry that is going to be in the front row for all of this. And while we’re dynamite with reliable web hosting in Canada, we freely admit we’re not the science types. We imagine most of you are the same way, no matter how digital savvy you are with devices and speeds. But who doesn’t like a quick overview of how things work?

So that’s what we’ll do here. Discuss the wavelength workings of 5G so you can know what’s actually happening to make your iPhone 12 or Galaxy S20 capable of what it does in the near future.

Different 5G Spectrum Bands

Low-band, mid-band, and millimeter wave are 3 different segments of the electromagnetic spectrum. All three are within the radio wave range, but part of the spectrum is also light, gamma rays, X-rays, microwaves, and much more.

Low-band: 600MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz

Mid-band: 2.5GHz, 3.5GHz, 3.7-4.2GHz

Millimeter wave (high-band): 24GHz, 28GHz, 37GHz, 39GHz, 47GHz

Things are crowded in the radio wave range of the spectrum. Nowadays much of radio spectrum is being dedicated to mobile devices, but it also hosts broadcast TV, HAM radio, and aircraft communication, and more. Radio spectrum ranges from 30 Hertz to 300GHz — 1 GHz being equal to 1 billion Hertz. That’s a very large range, so it makes sense that spectrum at the far ends of it can act in different manners.

Low-band is spectrum on the lower side, known with longer wavelengths than spectrum on the higher side. This makes it more robust and able to travel longer distances, but at the expense of bandwidth. Waves become shorter and shorter through the mid-band frequencies, gaining bandwidth but losing transmission distance and finally reaching millimeter wave.

Millimeter Wave Primary

A millimeter wave is the smallest size of a wavelength, and can range from around 10 millimeters to 1 millimeter. It’s an extremely effective swath of spectrum because of its large bandwidth, but it’s also very sensitive to external variables. Things like walls, trees, or even just rain. Current low-band antennas are fine for covering several miles or more across large patches of city, residential areas, or rural expanses, but mmWave can be used for small, targeted deployments like inside an airport or stadium.

 

 

This is called Fixed wireless and its what most carriers are attempting with 5G. It’s already very readily available on many major network providers. Another very promising aspect about mmWave for both telecommunications companies and consumers is the opportunity for larger channels of spectrum, which should work out to the significant speed benefits most people are looking to forward with 5G.

Information Freeway

Tapping into mmWave was a pivotal breakthrough leading to 5G wireless, and it allows for some blazing fast, multi-gigabit speeds. mmWave has the potential to really turn the web into an information freeway that’s super fast. Beam-forming is going to be a huge part of that, by focusing spectrum and shooting it directly at recipients. Major telecoms will be snapping up large contiguous sections of mmWave spectrum to create their super expressway networks.

However, if you do benefit from mmWave in the next year or so it will probably be an intermittent experience on mobile, and likely one heck of a drain on your battery.

Mids and Lows

Improvements will be more incremental wit 5G on mid-bands and low-bands. The new wireless technology is more efficient than 4G LTE on existing bands, but not by much. 5G is also designed to piggyback an existing 4G network, and improving on 4G speeds. As carriers gradually upgrade their equipment it should become dominant, making for networks with much more consistently high speeds.

We should still expect the first few years of 5G to be bumpy though. But it looks great and in the not-too-distant future we should start to see it start to pick up speed.

Repurposing Outdated Phones with Samsung’s Upcycling Program

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Most of us are aware of just how problematic the issue of discarded e-waste is, and on a global scale too. There’s not so much as one component inside any device you’ve ever had that was biodegradable, and so every piece of every phone you’ve ever owned still exists somewhere. If you’re not aware of how much e-waste disposal is a problem then Google search Guiyu, China or Agbogbloshie in Ghana. It’s important that as societies we start to produce MUCH less of this type of waste.

It’s no secret that big tech has designed devices with planned obsolescence in mind; that is, making sure that you buy a new device within a few years. That also has to come to an end, and here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any other Canadian web hosting provider in that being at the front of the digital movement in life and business means we can relate to how so many people think they ‘need’ the latest and greatest in smartphone and smart device technology.

The problem is that consumer preferences and freedoms mean that there’s likely to be plenty of perfectly functional smartphones being discarded. However, if a new program introduced by Korean tech giant Samsung gains any leverage it’s likely that a good number fewer of them will become scrap.

What’s the long and short of Samsung’s Upcycling Program? Let’s have a look at it here today.

From Smart ‘Phone’ to Smart ‘Device’

So while we’ve agreed that the smartphone business isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly, it’s true that some companies have been working to correct that over the last few years, and specifically with programs that disassemble and reuse the metals inside of our phones. Unfortunately that still leaves a lot of waste that isn’t repurposed and if this trend continues we may well be swimming in the stuff within a generation or two.

So the new Galaxy Upcycling at Home initiative from Samsung is arriving not a moment too soon, and what is does is takes your old Galaxy phones and turns them into smart home devices. The program works with Samsung’s SmartThings smart home system and with it users are able to designate their old phones as a number of different things.

For example, how about a childcare tool? You can make it so that your old Galaxy phone’s sensors and microphone serve as a baby monitor and forward alerts to your phone should it hear your baby crying. It could also serve as an IoT SmartThings remote, where you trigger scenes and automations with IoT devices that are set up for it.

Other Possibilities

The Korean smartphone superpower has indicated there’s quite a bit more that their devices could be used for – clocks, music players, security cameras, and more when accessible through the SmartThings ecosystem. All of this really does have a lot of potential, and especially when we think about repurposing a smartphone as a security camera – to take just one example – the camera in your smartphone is almost certainly better quality than the one in your actual security camera.

 

With all this said, the best way to ensure a phone doesn’t end up in an e-waste landfill is to pass it on to someone who can make good use of it. This is exactly what I did with my old BlackBerry Q20, a family member who only needs a reliable talk & text device is still using it.

It’s this coming Friday that Samsung is hosting its Galaxy Unpacked event, where the Galaxy S21 series will be debuted. With it millions of people will be upgrading from their old devices so hopefully, this program might mean fewer of them end up being waste right away. We all stand to benefit from reducing the amount of e-waste produced globally.

Expectations for Cloud Computing in 2021

Reading Time: 8 minutes

A new year comes around every 365 days, and gosh darn if they don’t seem to go by especially quickly for most of us. So here we are in early January yet again, and here at 4GoodHosting we imagine we’re like any reputable Canadian web hosting provider in that we hope all of you have had a good holiday season with your family and ready to get back to it – whatever your ‘it’ is. And as for being happy to see 2020 in the rear view mirror, well we imagine that goes without saying.

Interesting news today that Google employees are now unionizing, definitely a first in the world of big tech. Interesting enough to dedicate some 800 or so words to it though? Not likely. What we usually do here with our blog is share more workplace and productivity relevant for people who have web hosting as means of to a bigger end. If the nature of how you make a living necessitates making use of the World Wide Web, then topics like Edge computing, the Cloud, and incoming 5G network connectivity are among different topics more likely to be of more interest to you.

The way cloud computing has done away with the inflexible need for physical data storage is increasingly only part of the equation when it comes to the Cloud. Which of course is the way major sea change developments in technology tend to go. So what we’ll do here today with blog post #1 for 2021 is have a longer look at what’s being forecasted for Cloud computing for the year to come.

The New Norm in Post-Pandemic World

Cloud services have been essential to keeping economic and personal worlds afloat during tis time, and in particular they’ve been very integral in keeping the economy from slowing down any more than it already did. This is very likely an indicator that we’re going to be relying on cloud computing technology even more in 2021 and well beyond this year.

In particular, we’re likely to see enterprise technology professionals adjusting their cloud strategies looking at both COVID-19 trends and other digital transformation initiatives. Tech vendors like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are going to be going full bore with cloud-to-edge ecosystems that enable seamless new normal lifestyles.

Even More Dominant Public Clouds

The pandemic has pushed the development of public clouds too, and the growth has been quite something to watch. There are estimates of a 34+% increase in enterprise cloud spending for both public and private cloud infrastructures, and we can be fairly assured of leading public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform continuing to cement their dominance in the cloud market and grow their influence across many sectors of the global economy.

Industry insiders are forecasting that AWS will retain its leading market share, but contenders Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba will stay close on their heels. We will likely see Global cloud spending growing many times faster than overall IT spending through this period. These same insiders foresee worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure doubling to around $500 billion over the next 2 years.

That amount of money has to be smart money, so it’s very indicative of how dominant this technology is likely about to come.

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Strategies

Over 2020 the ever-increasing dominance of the public clouds moved traditional enterprise computing companies to form more strategic focuses on hybrid and multiclouds. In response to this over 2021 IT professionals will seek out hybrid and multicloud tools to avoid ending up being locked into any one specific provider, or group of them. Looking at an estimate that some 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy and 80+% have a hybrid cloud strategy, all of this makes sense.

We’re likely to see hybrid / multicloud offerings from AWS, Microsoft, and Google created with an aim to coax enterprise cloud managers into increasing spending with them. Other private-cloud big players will continue to strengthen their hybrid / multicloud integrations with the dominant public cloud services in order to bolster enterprise IT market shares.

Growth of Platform as a Service Equalling More of Public Cloud Revenue

The widespread work-from-home trend definitely factors in here too. And with SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings in particular. Many of them have been essential parts of the platforms required for companies to move large portions of their staffs into functioning work-from-home arrangements. If remote work is to remain a mainstream approach – and it almost certainly will be – then SaaS providers of all sorts will be poised for runaway growth.

It’s predicted that for 2021 SaaS will remain the largest cloud market segment by revenues, moving up to an estimated $117.7 billion within 12 months from now. As big as that seems, PaaS (Platform as a Service) based application services will see even speedier growth, and it will be driven by enterprise customers’ increasing emphasis on cloud-native, containerized, and serverless cloud platforms.

Solutions based on associated low-code platforms will be essential parts of how enterprises conduct application modernization, digital transformation, and business continuity strategies.

Making Intelligent Edge the Principal Cloud On-Ramp

The rapid shift of most economic sectors to remote work has pushed a boom in mobile devices, AI (artificial intelligence)-powered automation, autonomous robotics, and industrial IoT (Internet of Things) platforms. It’s for this reason that in 2021 public cloud providers will move an increasing share of their workloads to intelligent-edge platforms. The advantage being the low latency norms of by these applications.

Look for about 90% of industrial enterprises to be using edge computing by this time next year. As 5G is rolled out globally in the coming years, demand for cloud-to-edge applications will skyrocket. More of these workloads will involve edge-based, AI-driven processing of smart sensor data and Tiny ML (machine learning) workloads.

29 Million ‘Cloudies’ on the Way

If there’s one specific point that indicates how much Cloud computing is going to explode in the immediate future it may be this; Amazon recently announced plan to train 29 million people worldwide to work in cloud computing. An undertaking of this size and scope wouldn’t get the expenditure it will need if there weren’t some extremely concrete indications of where the digital world is definitely going.

A new year comes around every 365 days, and gosh darn if they don’t seem to go by especially quickly for most of us. So here we are in early January yet again, and here at 4GoodHosting we imagine we’re like any reputable Canadian web hosting provider in that we hope all of you have had a good holiday season with your family and ready to get back to it – whatever your ‘it’ is. And as for being happy to see 2020 in the rear view mirror, well we imagine that goes without saying.

Interesting news today that Google employees are now unionizing, definitely a first in the world of big tech. Interesting enough to dedicate some 800 or so words to it though? Not likely. What we usually do here with our blog is share more workplace and productivity relevant for people who have web hosting as means of to a bigger end. If the nature of how you make a living necessitates making use of the World Wide Web, then topics like Edge computing, the Cloud, and incoming 5G network connectivity are among different topics more likely to be of more interest to you.

The way cloud computing has done away with the inflexible need for physical data storage is increasingly only part of the equation when it comes to the Cloud. Which of course is the way major sea change developments in technology tend to go. So what we’ll do here today with blog post #1 for 2021 is have a longer look at what’s being forecasted for Cloud computing for the year to come.

The New Norm in Post-Pandemic World

Cloud services have been essential to keeping economic and personal worlds afloat during tis time, and in particular they’ve been very integral in keeping the economy from slowing down any more than it already did. This is very likely an indicator that we’re going to be relying on cloud computing technology even more in 2021 and well beyond this year.

In particular, we’re likely to see enterprise technology professionals adjusting their cloud strategies looking at both COVID-19 trends and other digital transformation initiatives. Tech vendors like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are going to be going full bore with cloud-to-edge ecosystems that enable seamless new normal lifestyles.

Even More Dominant Public Clouds

The pandemic has pushed the development of public clouds too, and the growth has been quite something to watch. There are estimates of a 34+% increase in enterprise cloud spending for both public and private cloud infrastructures, and we can be fairly assured of leading public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform continuing to cement their dominance in the cloud market and grow their influence across many sectors of the global economy.

Industry insiders are forecasting that AWS will retain its leading market share, but contenders Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba will stay close on their heels. We will likely see Global cloud spending growing many times faster than overall IT spending through this period. These same insiders foresee worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure doubling to around $500 billion over the next 2 years.

That amount of money has to be smart money, so it’s very indicative of how dominant this technology is likely about to come.

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Strategies

Over 2020 the ever-increasing dominance of the public clouds moved traditional enterprise computing companies to form more strategic focuses on hybrid and multiclouds. In response to this over 2021 IT professionals will seek out hybrid and multicloud tools to avoid ending up being locked into any one specific provider, or group of them. Looking at an estimate that some 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy and 80+% have a hybrid cloud strategy, all of this makes sense.

We’re likely to see hybrid / multicloud offerings from AWS, Microsoft, and Google created with an aim to coax enterprise cloud managers into increasing spending with them. Other private-cloud big players will continue to strengthen their hybrid / multicloud integrations with the dominant public cloud services in order to bolster enterprise IT market shares.

Growth of Platform as a Service Equalling More of Public Cloud Revenue

The widespread work-from-home trend definitely factors in here too. And with SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings in particular. Many of them have been essential parts of the platforms required for companies to move large portions of their staffs into functioning work-from-home arrangements. If remote work is to remain a mainstream approach – and it almost certainly will be – then SaaS providers of all sorts will be poised for runaway growth.

It’s predicted that for 2021 SaaS will remain the largest cloud market segment by revenues, moving up to an estimated $117.7 billion within 12 months from now. As big as that seems, PaaS (Platform as a Service) based application services will see even speedier growth, and it will be driven by enterprise customers’ increasing emphasis on cloud-native, containerized, and serverless cloud platforms.

Solutions based on associated low-code platforms will be essential parts of how enterprises conduct application modernization, digital transformation, and business continuity strategies.

Making Intelligent Edge the Principal Cloud On-Ramp

The rapid shift of most economic sectors to remote work has pushed a boom in mobile devices, AI (artificial intelligence)-powered automation, autonomous robotics, and industrial IoT (Internet of Things) platforms. It’s for this reason that in 2021 public cloud providers will move an increasing share of their workloads to intelligent-edge platforms. The advantage being the low latency norms of by these applications.

Look for about 90% of industrial enterprises to be using edge computing by this time next year. As 5G is rolled out globally in the coming years, demand for cloud-to-edge applications will skyrocket. More of these workloads will involve edge-based, AI-driven processing of smart sensor data and Tiny ML (machine learning) workloads.

29 Million ‘Cloudies’ on the Way

If there’s one specific point that indicates how much Cloud computing is going to explode in the immediate future it may be this; Amazon recently announced plan to train 29 million people worldwide to work in cloud computing. An undertaking of this size and scope wouldn’t get the expenditure it will need if there weren’t some extremely concrete indications of where the digital world is definitely going.

Happy New Year to Everyone and may the coming year be good to you, and let’s hope ‘normal’ returns sooner rather than later.