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Security News: Citrix Breach

If you haven’t heard, Citrix was breached through a compromised employee account due to password spraying.

Password spraying is an attack that that attempts to access a large number of accounts (usernames) with a few commonly used passwords. Traditional brute-force attacks attempt to gain unauthorized access to a single account by guessing the password.

The exploitation of weak passwords has become an increasing area of worry for all of us in the IT area where security is relevant. It’s been said that a compromised account was used to access and steal 6TB of sensitive data from email, file shares, and database applications.

At this point the question in your mind is or should be: What could have helped to prevented this?

My simple response is: Develop a policy of using and enforcing strong passwords, configuring proactive authentication monitoring to take the time to look for password spraying and please audit user passwords against common and aquired leaked password lists.

Citrix said it “still doesn’t know what specific data was stolen, but an initial investigation appears to show the attackers may have obtained business documents”.

While Citrix is moving as quickly as possible,  its a sad turn of events that companies are reactive only and measures to prevent such attacks are lacking.

Is this your company? Let’s hope not, because you can be next.

For more info from Citrix stop by their blog –

iTunes Gift Card Scam


This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…

I think you get the drift here.  These scams will continue as long as people keep falling for them. So don’t be a sheep and follow the those who have falling victim to this scam.

Many individuals throughout the country have received scam emails meant to defraud them out of hundreds of dollars. In recent incidents, victims received emails designed to appear as though they were sent from a trusted contact, such as a CEO, CFO or management of an organization.

Emails related to this campaign display the name of a familiar contact and originate from various Gmail accounts.

Communication typically begins with a brief message asking the recipient if they are available, followed by a request to purchase several iTunes gift cards and provide the redemption code on the back of the cards to the sender via email.

These requests are commonly sent under the ruse of a fundraiser or charity, or state that the sender is unable to purchase the gift cards themselves due to time constraints. It recommended that users who receive unexpected or unsolicited emails from known senders requesting them to make a purchase of any kind to always verify the sender via another means of communication before taking any action.

Its also highly recommend informing staff, friends, and family about these types of scams as education and awareness will help to prevent further victimization.

Work and Play Smart my Friends and Colleagues


McGruff the Crime Dog Celebrates His 38th Birthday on July 1, 2018

The symbol of the National Crime Prevention Council celebrates another year delivering crime prevention and safety information nationwide. So remember to take a bite out of Crime


Celebrate McGruff’s and the National Crime Prevention Council’s efforts to “Take A Bite Out Of Crime” by joining us on your favorite social media site.

Back in 1980, a dog in a rumpled trench coat said, “You don’t know me yet. But you will.” Since then, McGruff the Crime Dog has taught millions of people that the police can’t fight crime alone – crime prevention is everybody’s business and everyone can help “Take A Bite Out Of Crime.”

Through television commercials, comic books, live appearances, and more, McGruff has encouraged Americans to take common-sense steps to reduce crime. Some of his favorite messages are

  • To lock doors, leave the lights on when away from home, and let neighbors know when you go on vacation
  • Do things that build a sense of neighborhood and create communities that don’t produce crime and where people look out for each other and kids to feel safe
  • Get involved, join Neighborhood Watch, and clean up streets and parks
  • For children and teens to protect themselves from substance abuse, bullies, and gang violence


In 1978, the Advertising Council, Inc., accepted the mission of helping the nation learn ways to prevent crime. The Ad Council gave the assignment to Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (now Saatchi & Saatchi), which volunteered its creative time and talent. That work was supported and informed by a group of 19 agencies, which formed the nucleus of the Crime Prevention Coalition of America. Today the National Crime Prevention Council manages the National Citizens’ Crime Prevention Campaign, featuring McGruff the Crime Dog and his slogan, “Take A Bite Out Of Crime.”

Over the years, McGruff has made thousands of appearances at community and school events and on radio and television. His messages have changed from urging personal, family, and home security to more broadly based crime prevention concerns. In 1984, the U.S. Postal Service released a first-class postage stamp bearing McGruff’s likeness. By the mid-1980s, McGruff was encouraging people to join Neighborhood Watch and clean up streets and parks so they’d be less inviting for criminals. During the mid-1990s, the Campaign addressed the effects of gun-related violence on children. Current issues include volunteering, bullying, cyberbullying, Internet safety, telemarketing crime against seniors, identity theft, intellectual property theft and safe firearm storage.

Some Facts About McGruff

  • There are 4,000 active McGruffs (number of costumes in use).
  • McGruff has a classy Corvette, a monster truck in Arizona, and a wiener wagon in Florida. But most of all, he likes to ride in patrol cars assisting law enforcement.
  • McGruff’s favorite crime-fighting techniques are to teach children specific tips to be safe at home and school and to help law enforcement officers do their jobs better.
  • McGruff is a “ham,” so he loves doing public service announcements for television and radio or posing for print or billboard advertising.
  • In 2010, McGruff turned 30 years young. He had birthday parties all around the country, making appearances at health and safety fairs and other media events and showing off his 32-foot-tall balloon at county and state fairs. He has blown out birthday candles on countless cakes. He has made the most of these opportunities to spread the word about preventing crime.

Source Info:


Microsoft Developer Network’s (MSDN) Licensing

The Microsoft Developer Network, better known as MSDN, now called Visual Studio Subscriptions, is one of Microsoft’s most misunderstood products.  The Visual Studio Subscription (formerly MSDN) is one of the largest community platforms for developers working on Microsoft technologies.

What You Get in Your Visual Studio Subscription

With an MSDN subscription, you get all the software and benefits you need to stay up on all things code, including monthly cloud credits, collaboration tools, training perks, support, and more—all the latest and greatest from Microsoft.

This also provides IT departments with a cost-effective way to license Microsoft software for individuals involved in the development and test process, but who do not require the full suite of Visual Studio development tools.

The subscription license gives a single user the ability to access/use any Microsoft Enterprise product for Dev/Test purposes (i.e. WinServer, SQL Server, BizTalk, SharePoint, Dynamics, etc, etc, etc). The list of software titles included depends on the level of your subscription.

Beyond giving a single developer user cool software… providing a Visual Studio Subscription for all of the Developer and QA team provides an efficient, per-user, license model for your entire Dev & Test environments. Adopting this model means you do not have to purchase any stand-alone Microsoft products for pre-production.

The Visual Studio Subscription licenses each user for unlimited installs and instances of the products on their local, shared and virtualized

ref: unlimited dev test environments with msdn subscriptions

How much is a Visual Studio Subscription

A standard Visual Studio Enterprise subscription with MSDN costs $5,999 for the first year and $2,569 annually for renewals. VL customers get a discount, of course. An annual cloud subscription (with non-perpetual license) is a flat $2,999 per year. This is as of 2016 and subject to change.


Who can use the Software

Individual developers

Any individual developer can use Visual Studio Community to create their own free or paid apps. In addition, any number of users may use the software to develop and test device drivers for the Windows operating system.

Organizations –

  • An unlimited number of users within an organization can use Visual Studio Community for the following scenarios: in a classroom learning environment, for academic research, or for contributing to open source projects.
  • Any number of users may use the software to develop and test device drivers for the Windows operating system.
  • For all other usage scenarios: In non-enterprise organizations, up to 5 users can use Visual Studio Community. In enterprise organizations (meaning those with >250 PCs or > $1M in annual revenue) no use is permitted for employees as well as contractors beyond the open source, academic research, and classroom learning environment scenarios described above.


Individual User Licensing

Licensed are for Design, Development, Testing, and Demonstrating Your Programs

All Visual Studio subscriptions and Visual Studio Professional are licensed on a per-user basis. Each licensed user may install and use the software on any number of devices to design, develop, test, and demonstrate their programs. Visual Studio subscriptions also allow the licensed user to evaluate the software and to simulate customer environments in order to diagnose issues related to your programs. Each additional person who uses the software in this way must also have a license assigned to them.

ref: Visual Studio 2017 Licensing Whitepaper


Can Different Licensed Users Run the Same Software?

Yes. Each member of the development team that will use (install, configure, or access) the software must have his or her own Visual Studio subscription. Two or more individuals may use the same software if each has a Visual Studio subscription.


A development team consists of 6 software developers, 1 architect/developer, and 3 testers. The team is
building an in-house Web-based accounting system and wants to use the software to set up a test environment running Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL Server 2014. If all 10 team members will be accessing the development or test environment, then each will require a Visual Studio subscription. The minimum subscription levels including both of these products are Visual Studio Professional – annual, Visual Studio Professional with MSDN Subscription and Visual Studio Test Professional Subscription.

An organization has two development teams—one based in Seattle and the other in Singapore. Because of the time difference, the two teams are never working at the same time. However, because Visual Studio subscription licenses cannot be shared, each team member in each location must have his or her own Visual Studio subscription

A systems engineer from the organization’s IT department is installing the software needed for a development team—each member of which is licensed with a Visual Studio subscription—on centrally-managed hardware. This systems engineer is not doing any software development or testing. Because a license is required for any use of Microsoft software (installing is a use of the software), they must either acquire production licenses for all software being used in this environment or they must acquire a Visual Studio subscription for the systems engineer that includes the software he or she is installing.


Where the Software can be Installed and Run

The licensed user can install and use the software on any number of devices. The software can be installed and used on your devices at work, at home, at school, and even on devices at a customer’s office or on dedicated hardware hosted by a third party. Most subscriber software can also be run in Microsoft Azure VMs. However, the software is otherwise not licensed for use in production environments.

A production environment is defined as an environment that is accessed by end users of an application (such as an Internet Website) and that is used for more than Acceptance Testing of that application or Feedback. Some scenarios that constitute production environments include:

  • Environments that connect to a production database.
  • Environments that support disaster-recovery or backup for a production environment.
  • Environments that are used for production at least some of the time, such a server that is rotated into production during peak periods of activity


For more info please review Visual Studio 2017 Licensing Whitepaper

Patch Tuesday, June 2018 | Pushing 11 Critical Security Updates

Are you ready for the latest in security patch updates?  I’m not, but it’s that time again.



Microsoft today released security patch updates for more than 50 vulnerabilities, affecting Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, MS Office, MS Office Exchange Server, ChakraCore, and Adobe Flash Player—11 of which are rated critical and 39 as important in severity.

Only one of these vulnerabilities: CVE-2018-8267 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability is a remote code execution flaw (CVE-2018-8267) in the scripting engine, is listed as being publicly known at the time of release. The flaw exists within the IE rendering engine and triggers when it fails to properly handle the error objects, allowing an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the currently logged-in user.

There are a few others included are:

CVE-2018-8225 | Windows DNSAPI Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

The most critical bug Microsoft patched this month is a remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-8225) exists in Windows Domain Name System (DNS) DNSAPI.dll, affecting all versions of Windows starting from 7 to 10, as well as Windows Server editions.

The vulnerability resides in the way Windows parses DNS responses, which could be exploited by sending corrupted DNS responses to a targeted system from an attacker-controlled malicious DNS server.

CVE-2018-8231 | HTTP Protocol Stack Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

The critical bug is a remote code execution flaw (CVE-2018-8231) in the HTTP protocol stack (HTTP.sys) of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, which could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code and take control of the affected systems.

CVE-2018-8213 | Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

Critical remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-8213) affecting Windows 10 and Windows Server exist in the way the operating system handles objects in memory. Successful exploitation could allow an attacker to take control of an affected Windows PC.