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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

With a Massive Botnet Recently Disrupted, Let’s Review What a Botnet Is

It was very recently revealed that a global law enforcement effort took down a massive botnet that was in action for almost a decade. In light of this, we wanted to review what a botnet is and how it works, drawing from these events for some context.

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What Opportunities Do Small Businesses Have in 2024 with Their IT?

Nowadays, finding a business that does not use technology in its everyday processes would be extremely challenging. That’s just how things are today. This technology also typically sees advances in capabilities and accessibility, particularly for the small and medium-sized business sectors. This year, 2024, seems poised to be no exception.

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Net Neutrality Seems Poised to Return in Upcoming FCC Vote — Here’s Why It Should

The topic of net neutrality has had a tumultuous past few years, with steps forward canceled out by steps taken back. However, new efforts are being considered to restore the policies that made net neutrality what it was in the first place.

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Apple Users Hit with Rare Cyberattack: What Can We Learn?

On Wednesday, April 10, 2024, Apple deemed it necessary to send a rare alert to certain users via email, spread out across 92 nations. As Apple’s website states, these threat notifications “are designed to inform and assist users who may have been individually targeted by mercenary spyware attacks.” Let’s review these attacks so we all understand this threat better.

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These Modern Technology Documentaries Bring Interesting Ideas to a Broader Audience

One of the best things about the move towards streaming in media is that since people love watching real-life stories, studios have committed to creating documentary content that provides interesting perspectives. Many people don’t have a comprehensive understanding of technology, especially as it relates to real-world situations, so dramatized documentaries can be a good source of information. Today, we’re going to go through three riveting technology documentaries that are available on streaming services.

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Unfortunately, Scams Are Commonplace

The constant fear of falling victim to scams has become a harsh reality and is far from ideal. However, the good news is that there is always time to acquire the skills needed to avoid such scams. Let's explore ways to enhance awareness regarding the challenges posed by scams, not only in a business context but also in everyday life.

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AI and Work in 2023 and Beyond: A Retrospective

2023 was a banner year for artificial intelligence, with the technology exploding into the mainstream and being more accessible by the public than ever before. Let’s explore how what we’ve seen in the past year in terms of AI has changed things for workers and workplaces everywhere.

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The NY State of Health Enrollment Period Presents the Opportunity for Scams

With the end of the year upon us, New York State’s health insurance markets and assorted health plans are open. Current enrollees received renewal reminders a few weeks ago, prompting them to act before their coverage lapses.

Unfortunately, as is often the case in such situations, this urgency has given scammers the opportunity to target New Yorkers trying to maintain their insurance coverage.

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National Student Clearinghouse Data Breach Exposes Personal Information of Over 50,000 Individuals

One major nonprofit has become the victim of a disclosed major data breach, affecting 890 schools all across the US: the National Student Clearinghouse, or NSC. The organization has announced that they have experienced a considerable data breach that has put their clients’ data at risk. What does this mean for affected organizations and their clientele?

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ALERT: SFCU Members are Being Targeted by a Phishing Scam in Oneonta

Central NY residents who use Sidney Federal Credit Union have been seeing a rash of phishing scams that could put their information and their money at risk. Here’s what we know so far, and how to protect yourself from this targeted scam.

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Is AI an Existential Threat to Humanity? The Answer: Maybe

Artificial intelligence is a hot-button issue in today’s business technology landscape, and for good reason. It’s being implemented in various software tools and platforms with mixed results. There are some concerns over it, particularly in regard to intellectual property, but there are also major issues with it related to “the profound risks to society and humanity,” according to an open letter.

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Should AI Development Be Stopped? Experts Say So

It seems that you can’t turn your head nowadays without seeing artificial intelligence being incorporated into some software or platform. However, many leaders in the technology space have expressed their concerns about—as they put it—the “profound risks to society and humanity” that AI poses, outlined in an open letter. 

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How Scammers Almost Got $15k from My Parents

This is a true story, and a perfect lesson on how cybercrime and scammers use your emotions against you to get you to fall for their tricks. I think it’s also a lesson on just how helpless a victim of a scammer can become, as well as how immune the bad guys are while performing these horrible acts on people.

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ALERT: Dangerous Zero-Day Threats Found in Recent Samsung Chipsets

Google’s Project Zero team has discovered 18 zero-day vulnerabilities impacting the Samsung Exynos modems—four of which enable remote code execution. Let’s talk about what this issue does, and what needs to be done to minimize risk.

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ALERT: Critical Security Flaw in Samsung Smartphone Modems

Google's Project Zero, a team of security analysts employed by Google who are tasked with finding zero-day vulnerabilities, has found critical security flaws in Samsung modems (used in smartphones and other communication devices). This flaw could enable hackers to remotely gain access to vulnerable devices without any intervention from you, the user.

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In Battle Employee vs. AI, Everyone Can Be a Winner

For many years now, there’s been a bit of a fear of AI—artificial intelligence—in the workplace, all while it has been put into practical use more and more often in many businesses. This all ties back to the work of Alan Turing, who (amongst his accomplishments in computing) created what we know as the Turing Test as a means of gauging how intelligent a computer is. 

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Disney Presents New Tech to Help Re-Age Actors

Have you ever heard of the Uncanny Valley? It’s the theory that explains why the human race tends to prefer humanoid robots, but only up to a point, after which we find them unsettling. It’s one reason why so many people found the 2019 film Cats bothersome to watch. The Uncanny Valley has also been present in film in recent years, especially when actors who have passed are recreated digitally to make an appearance, or when talent needs to look older or younger than they are.

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Despite Rough Waters, Expect More AI in 2023

There’s no denying that the economic forecast at the moment is a bit bleak, with murmurings of a recession growing louder by the day. As this situation develops, many companies are likely seeking out opportunities to trim the fat. Despite this, however, we anticipate that artificial intelligence will actually see a bit of an uptick. Let’s go over why.

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IT Costs are Rising on a Global Scale…Here’s Why

No matter how big your business is, you’ll always have technology expenses. It’s just a fact of the current workplace, and your profits will be inexorably tied to how well your IT works for you. Furthermore, the more IT costs rise, the more impact small and medium-sized businesses will feel from them. Today, we wanted to address this issue and how you can minimize the frustrations that stem from seemingly uncontrollable technology costs.

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What Can Businesses Expect in 2023?

2023 is right around the corner, and if the past few years are any indication, it will be rife with challenges for businesses to overcome. Let’s consider some of these challenges, and what technologies can help minimize or even eliminate them.

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An AI-Generated Piece of Art Has Created Quite the Controversy

It is a legitimate question whether something is actually art if it isn’t created by a human being. That’s before you are exposed to it, however. In fact, an AI created a piece of art that was crowned the winner at the Colorado State Fair. Let’s take a look at AI art in the context of this competition.

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Could an AI-Enhanced Wearable Proactively Monitor Your Health?

While we typically focus on how various technologies can be used in business applications as a way to boost a small or medium-sized organization’s capabilities, we occasionally come across a topic that is just undeniably cool (and that we can bring back around to business concerns, to boot). We recently heard about the development of a flexible new wearable that uses AI to monitor the health of the wearer that we wanted to discuss with you.

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Hundreds of Applications Could Potentially Expose Data Through Basic Errors

At the beginning of September, it was revealed that a relatively simple issue existed in nearly 2,000 mobile applications that potentially exposed some (read: a lot of) sensitive data. Let’s take a brief, basic look at the situation to see if there are any lessons that can apply to your business.

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Debunking the Myth of Quiet Quitting (and Why It Might Be Confusing)

Quiet quitting…it’s a buzzword that many might misunderstand that has seen increasing virality on social media. Let’s take a few moments to honestly evaluate what quiet quitting really means, and what it means for your business.

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Emotions Can Run High in the Workplace… Here’s How to Manage Yours

The average person will spend an estimated one-third of their life at work. One third. That’s a lot of time, providing plenty of opportunity to accumulate stress. Over time, these emotions could potentially overwhelm your employees and lead to a breakdown. This is, naturally, harmful to your business, so let’s explore some strategies you can share with your team to help them deal with their workday stresses.

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Why IT Spending is Bucking Current Economic Trends

With inflation proving to be a significant concern for businesses at the moment, reaching highs that it hasn’t in decades, there is a distinct need for businesses to get as much value as they can out of the investments they make.

Let’s discuss a few technologies that offer this more desirable cost/benefit ratio so you can consider them for your own use.

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Cloudflare Stops Largest DDoS Attack on Record

Cloudflare has foiled the plans of yet another major hacking attack, a record-breaking DDoS attack of the likes we have never before seen. Let’s examine what goes into such an attack and what you can do to keep your business safe from their influence.

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What We Can Learn from the Facebook Outage

We’re all aware of the outage that Facebook experienced a few weeks before it announced its Meta rebrand, which prevented users around the world from accessing the services that the social media giant provides. While it may not sound like a huge deal that people couldn’t share their thoughts with one another for a short time, the ramifications stretched far beyond the inability to scroll through a Newsfeed.

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The LinkedIn Breach Exposes Nearly 700 Million People

Almost daily there is another data breach reported that exposes data for hundreds of thousands or millions of people. This is a troubling trend. One of the most troubling events happened recently as 700 million profiles from the social media network LinkedIn were found for sale on a popular hackers forum. What’s worse is that the company isn’t admitting that it had been breached recently. Let’s take a brief look at this situation and try to unpack what is going on with LinkedIn.

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The Global Chip Shortage a Real Problem for Many

With such a heavy focus on remote work over the past year or so, if you have tried to procure equipment or technology solutions during this period, you may have noticed that it is much harder than usual to do so. The global chip shortage has led to many challenges for organizations, chief among them getting the parts needed to put together critical technology solutions. This opens up a whole other set of issues, though, particularly in regards to disruption of the supply chain.

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Hackers Spark Major Gas Crisis Throughout the Southern U.S.

You’ve probably heard by now, a Russia-based hacking collective by the name of DarkSide targeted Colonial Pipeline, a company that supplies nearly 45 percent of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, with a ransomware attack. Not only does this hack have an effect on fuel prices and availability, it highlights just how vulnerable much of the nation’s energy infrastructure is. Let’s discuss the details of the hack and the raging discussion about cybersecurity that’s happening as a result. 

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Our Top 7 List of IT Myths and Wild Conspiracies

Being in IT, we’ve seen and heard it all. Between the campfire horror stories of technicians to the outlandish IT conspiracies and ‘home remedies’ that get passed around, we’ve decided to compile a list of some of our favorite IT and technology myths.

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FBI Director Insists Government Can Access Any Private Record

Does the U.S. Constitution allow the American government to access the electronic devices of its citizens? According to FBI Director James Comey’s statements at Symantec’s Annual Government Symposium, it certainly does.

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Stolen NASA Laptop contains Space Station Control Codes

NASA spaceship

We've been blogging a bit about ways to prepare for laptop theft and what to do if a company laptop is actually stolen.  Laptop and mobile device theft is a widespread issue for businesses and can lead to data theft which can be extremely costly; much more than the mere price of the hardware. This issue is all too familiar with NASA, which admits that thousands of mobile device theft incidents have occurred over the past few years.

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Are Vigilante Hackers a Threat?

b2ap3_thumbnail_do_vigilante_hackers_present_problems_400.jpg2015 was a brutal year for major corporations, as one by one they fell victim to hacking attacks. Major organizations like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, and even the United States Office of Personnel became victims of major hacking campaigns. A fact that’s often lost amongst these details is that not all hackers use their skill for evil actions, even if they are still illegal.

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How the Personal Information of 200 Million Users Wound Up on an Illegal ID Theft Service

b2ap3_thumbnail_secure_the_information_you_can_400.jpgYou're likely familiar with the various ways that hackers can steal your identity, but you may not be familiar with how hackers anonymously buy and sell people's personal information to interested parties. This is done through online ID theft services and a December hearing before the U.S. Senate highlights how one service was selling personal records on more than 200 million Americans!

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Death Star Technology Services

b2ap3_thumbnail_DeathStar1-400.jpgMay 4th is Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you). In celebration of our favorite space saga, we thought that we would write about our dream job; providing IT support for the mother of all technologies, the Death Star from Star Wars.

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Google Reader Refugees Take To Feedly

b2ap3_thumbnail_feedly400.pngThe expiration date for Google Reader is set for July 1, 2013. Google’s decision to axe the Reader was not because it was unpopular, but rather, it seems like Google wants to focus their energy into fewer products. This announcement leaves many Google faithful out in the cold, and Feedly has welcomed the Google huddled masses yearning to read free.

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Mac Malware on the Rise

It looks like Mac users won't be getting a break from malware as another trojan is breaking out on OS X. In February, malware known as Flashback infected around 600,000 Macs. This month a new trojan called SabPub is making its rounds.

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