Archive for May 16, 2017

How Rogers Lost A Customer In Three Hours

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 16, 2017 by itnerd

I just got home from seeing a client who had a very negative experience with Rogers. Now, this isn’t my first time helping a customer to deal with Rogers, but this one was the worst experiences I’ve had. It started when my customer got this email from Rogers:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 9.28.02 PM.png

She attempted to go through the process at the website referenced above, but she ran into trouble. She couldn’t recall what her e-mail password was and the password that she had on file didn’t work. On top of that, when she tried to reset her password at that same website, it said that it could not retrieve her secret question.

So she phoned me. I arrived at the client’s house at 5:30 PM, and after ten minutes of troubleshooting I figured that we needed to do is to phone Rogers. So we did at the number that is in the above e-mail and got through to a technical support rep quickly. He verified some information with my client and then came to the conclusion that because her Rogers e-mail account was so old, it didn’t have a security question which is why the instructions in the above wouldn’t work. He then figured that the fix to this would be to reset the password. He did so and asked us to log into the Yahoo web email portal (as Rogers has an association with Yahoo for email) to verify that it work. He then declared things fixed and hung up.

They weren’t fixed.

Not only could she still not follow the instructions above, but now she was unable to receive e-mail in Microsoft Outlook. However she could send e-mail. Prior to the actions of that tech, Outlook worked perfectly. Thus it was a second call to Rogers. The person we got listened to what we had to say, but she was unable to help. She did some basic troubleshooting, but this was clearly above her head. So she transferred us to Rogers TechXpert who she claimed could solve her problem. After a ten minute wait, we got to a TechXpert tech who again listened to what we had to say, and then used a remote access tool to remote into the computer to do the following:

  1. Look at Microsoft Outlook and see what errors we were getting.
  2. Testing the account name and password in the Yahoo web email portal. That worked.
  3. Trying to walk through the process that was in the email above with no success.

At that point that so called TechXpert escalated to another TechXpert. Here’s where things get weird. Instead of putting that person on the phone with us, she transferred the remote control session to her and hung up the phone. Whatever would happen next would happen via us communicating with this TechXpert via a chat window in the remote access application.

Let me stop here and comment on this. A chat window in a remote access application is the most inefficient way to troubleshoot any sort of issue. Why they went this route is mind boggling and I would never recommend that any of the contact centers that I consult for would ever go this route. What should have happened is that they should have remained on the phone with us. Clearly Rogers doesn’t see things that way.

In any case, we watched as this second TechXpert did the same steps as the first one with the same results. At the end of it the TechXpert gave us and told us that she would need to create a ticket and get back to us in 24 to 48 hours. We got the ticket number and the TechXpert disconnected from the computer.

It was now 6:30 PM and my customer was far from happy with Rogers as she walked into this with working e-mail and she now doesn’t have e-mail that works with Outlook. That is a #fail. I decided to see if I could do something else to help her. Since Rogers has a presence on Twitter, I decided to try that by reaching out to them during the attempts of the second TechXpert to help:

 

Rogers responded and after a few Tweets back and forth, they instructed us to do this:

So she dialed the number in question as she was not on any form of social media and got another tech on line. Now I will give him credit. He tried his best over the next 30 minutes to try and do something for her, but to no avail. He said that he’d have to file a ticket and get back to us in 24 t0 48 hours. That was something that was a bridge too far for my client and she demanded to speak to a manager. After another 10 minutes we got a manager. In short, his stance was that people had already filed tickets and things were going to get fixed. However because she was a customer of Rogers since the mid 2000’s, he originally a “make good” of $50. Then he offered up a free month which for my client was $60. That wasn’t good enough for her seeing as she had to hire me to support her in a situation that she should never had been in. One other thing happened. Via talking to this manager, we discovered that he had no documentation about our very first interaction at 5:40 PM. That caused my client to explode. Clearly some of Rogers employees don’t care enough about their customers to properly document their interactions with Rogers customers. That’s something that I discovered when one of my interactions with Rogers went sideways. The manager was at first insistent that we were wrong, and then backed down from that and apologized for our experience. In the end, my client refused the offers this manager was making and ended the call.

During this interaction, I pleaded with Rogers to help via Twitter.

Now I could understand their stance. There are privacy issues at play and I applaud them for enforcing that. I then tried a different approach to get her some help. Here’s their response:

It blows my mind that you have customer who is so frustrated that they were looking at the Bell website while talking to various Rogers employees who are unable to solve her core issue wouldn’t think outside the box to help this person in some way. In fact, this next Tweet illustrate Rogers inability to think outside the box:

Well….. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen given all of the above. When she saw that Tweet, she declared that Rogers didn’t care. I then typed this back:

Total time invested: Three hours.

Here’s the core issue. Rogers wants its customers to be secure. That’s noble. However this customer had issues and nobody could troubleshoot a problem that was Rogers responsibility and resolve it in a timely manner. Plus she had to hire me to help which given that Rogers is one of Canada’s largest teclcos should never, ever happen. On top of that when I reached out for help on Twitter, the only medium that they were willing to help was on Twitter and Facebook. This is an all around #EpicFail and shows that Rogers really needs to do something about the customer service that they provide. Because, they took a customer who has been a with Rogers since the mid 2000’s, and put them on the path of of leaving Rogers for Bell.

That’s pretty sad.

Rogers could rescue this situation if they stepped up and accept responsibility for the fact that this customer went through a ton of hoops that she didn’t need to and solve her issue to her satisfaction. Then they need to work out some way to make good that is equal to the the hassle that she’s been through. If they did that, I think that she’d stay a Rogers customer. But I honestly don’t think that is going to happen. What I think will happen is that Rogers will fix this password issue, her e-mail will work in Outlook, and she’ll move to Bell in a month or two. Though I’m open to being proven wrong.

Rogers, over to you.

UPDATE: I put up this story on Twitter and on the blog and it took FOUR MINUTES for Rogers to respond:

I responded with this:

Rogers responded with this:

I did so and got a response that my client will be contacted within 24 hours. I’ll be watching to make sure that happens. Updates as they come.

UPDATE #2: There is an update to this story here.

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Linksys SEEMS To Be Rolling Out Updated Router Firmware To Stop Routers From Getting Pwned

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 16, 2017 by itnerd

You might recall that I recently told you about vulnerabilities in numerous Linksys routers that were found by a security researcher which if exploited could end up in the router becoming part of a botnet among other things. Linksys was apparently working on updated firmware and it SEEMS that updated firmware is rolling out. I use the word seems for reasons that will become clear momentarily.

If I do a search of the Linksys download site for the latest firmware for the EA9500 which is one of the affected models, I see this:

Capture

Please note the highlighted section. A new firmware dated May 8th has been posted. I also verified that the previous firmware on this page was from early March of this year. I went to the release notes and saw this:

Firmware version:   1.1.7.180968
Release date:       May 8, 2017

- Update for compliance of the latest CE requirements (European models)
- Resolved intermittent issue of MAC filtering on wireless network not working properly
- Resolved issue of IPv6 incompatibility when prefix is not 64-bit (e.g. British Telecom)
- Resolved issue of DHCP reservation feature not working properly if user changes local network configuration
- Enhanced system stability
- Various security fixes

So it has “various security fixes”, but it isn’t clear if they are the fixes for this issue that was so widely reported. And if you search the Linksys website, there isn’t any additional info. So you have to assume that this is the updated firmware that affected Linksys router owners should install without delay. It would be nice if Linksys could clarify this and reinforce the urgency of installing this new firmware so that they ensure as many owners of their routers as possible get this fix. Plus it would close the loop on this issue.

More info as it comes as I have reached out to Linksys and IOActive (the group that found these issues) for comment.

UPDATE: I got this from Linksys late today (May 18th):

UPDATE #2: The release notes have been modified:

Firmware version:   1.1.7.180968
Release date:       May 8, 2017

- Update for compliance of the latest CE requirements (European models)
- Resolved intermittent issue of MAC filtering on wireless network not working properly
- Resolved issue of IPv6 incompatibility when prefix is not 64-bit (e.g. British Telecom)
- Resolved issue of DHCP reservation feature not working properly if user changes local network configuration
- Enhanced system stability
- Addressed IOActive security issues
- Additional security fix

Apple Released A Pile Of Updates Yesterday… All Of Them Are Security Related

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 16, 2017 by itnerd

Yesterday, Apple released updates for macOS (10.12.5), iOS (10.3.2), tvOS (10.2.1), and watchOS (3.2.2), not to mention iTunes and iCloud for Windows. In other words, pretty much every iDevice and iService got an update of some sort. Now no new functionality was added in any of these updates, and only a tiny amount of bugs were fixed that almost made it not Apple’s while to release these updates.

So why bother? The answer is security. If you take a look at this page and click on each update, you’ll see that Apple’s goal was to fix a bunch of security related issues. If you add them all up, you’ll get 67 security fixes. That’s not a trivial number. But it is indicative of the times that we live in as nothing is immune from being pwned. I’d recommend updating all your iDevices and iServices ASAP as it is certain that now that these security issues are public, the forces of evil will be exploiting them shortly.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses The Recent Ransomware Attacks

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 16, 2017 by itnerd

Last Friday morning, a ransomware attack started spreading across the globe, infecting tens of thousands of computers. Those affected included over 40 health service trusts and FedEx’s offices in the United Kingdom, a telecom in Spain, and the Russian Interior Ministry.

The malicious software, transferred over email and stolen from the National Security Agency (NSA), exposed vulnerabilities in computer systems in almost 100 countries in total, constituting one of the largest ransomware attacks on record.

The attack was in fact largely preventable, if only more Windows users had installed the critical security patch that Microsoft released for it two months ago and followed a few other security rules.

“Criminals took advantage of the fact that most people still don’t do enough to protect their computers,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN (Virtual Private Network). “We at NordVPN strive to raise public awareness about what each person could do to protect their data.”

How to protect oneself from ransomware

  1. Don’t forget to install latest security updates. Security updates often contain patches for latest vulnerabilities, which hackers are looking to exploit.
  2. Don’t open anything suspicious you get through email. Delete dubious emails from your bank, ISP, credit card company, etc. Never click on any links or attachments in emails you’re not expecting. Never give your personal details if asked via email.
  3. Back up all data. Back up your data in an alternate device and keep it unplugged and stored away. Backing up data regularly is the best way to protect yourself from ransomware because only unique information is valuable.
  4. Use a VPN for additional safety. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware that targets online access points. That’s especially relevant when using a public hotspot. However, keep in mind that a VPN cannot protect you from downloading malware. While a VPN encrypts your activity online, you should be careful when downloading and opening certain files or links.
  5. Close pop-up windows safely. Ransomware developers often use pop-up windows that warn you of some kind of malware. Don’t click on the window – instead, close it with a keyboard command or by clicking on your taskbar.
  6. Use strong passwords and a password manager. Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account setup is using strong passwords, and choosing different passwords for different accounts. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into an account. A strong password has a minimum of 12 characters, and includes a strong mix of letters, numbers and characters. It’s not easy to remember strong passwords for each site, so it’s recommended to use a password manager, such as truekey.com, LastPass and 1Password.
  7. Use anti-virus programs. Make sure you have installed one of the latest reputable anti-virus programs to make sure you are fully protected.

 

Bullying of LGBT Employees In Tech Industry Costs Billions: Kapor Center for Social Impact

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 16, 2017 by itnerd

n April, 2017, study conducted by Oakland non-profit Kapor Center for Social Impact, the Tech Leavers Study [Warning: PDF] — the first of its kind — has taken a detailed look at discrimination in the tech industry, citing an annual loss in the sector of about $16 billion.

The study conducted a national survey of over 2,000 adults who left a job in a technology-related industry or function within the last three years. Nearly 40 percent of those who left cited unfairness and mistreatment as their primary reasons for leaving. With an average cost of replacing a professional tech employee at $144,000 due to lost productivity, recruiting, salary, etc., a large tech company with 10,000 engineers would lose approximately $27 million per year by allowing a culture of discrimination to persist.

While bias and unfair treatment in tech is becoming more and more high-profile — thanks in large part to breaking news stories regarding toxic work environments at Uber and other tech companies — what has not been as well-documented is the treatment of tech’s LGBT employees, who have experienced the most bullying in comparison to their peers, the study reports. Twenty percent of LGBT employees had been subjected to bullying in the workplace, often citing mistreatment as the number one contributing factor in their decision to part ways. Public humiliation or embarrassment was more prominent among LGBT employees as compared to other groups.

While employees of diverse backgrounds left employment due to unfairness, their experiences differed according to race, gender and sexual orientation. Nearly one-quarter of men and women of color experienced stereotyping. Almost one-third of women of color were passed over for promotion—more than in any other group. One in ten women in tech reported experiencing inappropriate sexual attention.

The situation has spilled over into the governmental arena. There is concern on both sides of the aisle that the current administration will repeal an earlier executive order designed to protect LGBT federal workers from discrimination.

This sentiment is echoed by the study, which concluded, “Diversity and inclusion initiatives can improve culture and reduce turnover—if they are done right. Develop and implement a diversity and inclusion strategy that starts with unequivocal leadership from the CEO and executive team, is comprehensive, and implements multiple initiatives.”

 

City of Toronto Launches Photography Contest Celebrating Our Common Grounds

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 16, 2017 by itnerd

The City of Toronto launched its third Snap & Share photo contest today, led by Parks, Forestry and Recreation and presented by Nikon Canada. From May 15 to July 31, 2017 shutterbugs are invited to snap and share photos of our common grounds, the parks, ravines and recreation programs where we come together as a community.

Contest categories include: Our Common Grounds, Hidden Gems, City of Sport, Toronto Blooms, TO Canada with Love, and Toronto Photography Tour. The expert panel of judges for the contest includes Nikon Ambassadors Kristian Bogner; and Neil Ever Osborne and a Toronto-based freelance photographer, Taku Kumabe. Osborne and Kumabe will also provide coaching sessions to the winners of the photography tour category of the contest.

Previous year’s entries have been featured on Toronto Transit Commission shelters, on the City’s social media feeds and website. Winning images will be exhibited at City Hall and other civic centres and featured on the City’s website and in City communication materials.

Judges will review short-listed photos and winners will be notified in September 2017. Prizes include a Nikon D5600 kit with body and an 18-55mm lens, three COOLPIX L840 cameras with 38x optical zoom, eight Nikon COOLPIX A10 cameras with 5x optical zoom and weekly prizes.

Those wishing to participate can get more information and submit their photos via toronto.ca/photocontest.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada’s 150th birthday with “TO Canada with Love,” a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions.

For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/TorontoComms and on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto.