Archive for July 9, 2019

Martello Partners with Suria to Power Network Performance in Malaysia

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 9, 2019 by itnerd

Martello Technologies Group Inc. today announced a partnership with Suria Business Solutions, a provider of IP Telephony and Unified Communications & Collaboration (UCC) systems, applications, service and solutions to more than 500 customers in Malaysia and Indonesia.

As an authorized partner of Mitel, Suria offers its customers a range of Mitel UCC systems, including the MiVoice MX-ONE and MiCollab, as well as software assurance to protect and enhance the long term value of this investment. Martello’s software, offered to Mitel customers as Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA), delivers proactive performance monitoring of Mitel systems, so that voice quality and other problems can be resolved before they impact users. Suria’s new partnership with Martello will allow the telecom solution provider to offer additional solutions to its customers, including Martello’s SD-WAN and link balancing technologies, as well as IT Ops visualization software.

While the speed and cost of fixed broadband internet in Malaysia has improved in recent years, the growing use of real-time services such as video conferencing and streaming by businesses, can strain available bandwidth and degrade performance. Martello’s solutions address the performance of both real-time services and the IT environment, making existing networks more flexible, secure and resilient, while optimizing bandwidth and monitoring performance. The result is high-quality performance for real-time applications and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Martello’s solutions have been widely acclaimed in the industry. In September 2018, Martello received a Frost & Sullivan Leadership Award for NPM (Network Performance Management) and ranked as Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Company, at No. 28 on the Growth 500 list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies. In June 2019, Martello was recognized for the second consecutive year on the widely respected Branham300 listing of Canada’s top ICT (Information and Communications Technology) companies. The Company has expanded its solution portfolio with several acquisitions, and recently provided a business update on its market and channel expansion, product innovation, acquisitions and capital market activities.

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OpenText Expands Google Cloud Strategic Partnership

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 9, 2019 by itnerd

OpenText, a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), today announced new partnerships, services and product integrations to help customers move critical EIM workloads to Google Cloud. As part of this expanded relationship, Google Cloud has selected OpenText as its preferred partner for Enterprise Information Management Services, while OpenText has named Google Cloud its preferred partner for enterprise cloud.

Seven months after announcing a new strategic partnership, OpenText and Google Cloud are announcing and launching new product integrations in key areas:

  • OpenText intends to leverage Google Cloud’s multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud offering, Anthos, to deploy and manage containerized EIM application workloads in a multi-cloud environment. Today, OpenText is announcing the general availability of containerized versions of several EIM applications including Content Server, Extended ECM, Documentum, InfoArchive and Archive Center on Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • OpenText intends to use Google Cloud to enable multi-layered global disaster recovery services for customers with business-critical EIM workloads running in the cloud, on-premises, and in hybrid cloud architectures.
  • OpenText intends to integrate its portfolio of products with G Suite allowing a seamless experience of using G Suite with various EIM activities and ensuring the world’s largest organizations can unlock the full value of their data.
  • OpenText intends to integrate with key Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services from Google to create purpose-built solutions for specific industries as well as overall value add to the existing OpenText EIM Suite of products.
  • Google and OpenText will partner on expanded joint go-to-market activities to help enterprise customers move critical workloads to the cloud quickly and effectively.
  • Joint go-to-market activities will initially focus on industries including financial services, media and entertainment, healthcare and public sector.

For more information on OpenText EIM Solutions for Google Cloud and the latest developments announced at OpenText Enterprise World 2019, visit: https://www.opentext.com/enterprise-world/global.

Apple Releases New Notebooks…. And Expands Their #KeyboardGate Repair Program At The Same Time

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 9, 2019 by itnerd

Just a few minutes ago, Apple released new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13″ notebooks and announced their back to school promotions at the same time. That’s where the good news ends. The bad news is that it seems that these new notebooks still use the butterfly keyboard which is the source of long running complaints in the Mac universe. How do I know this? Well, here’s the big hint. Apple has a repair program for these keyboards which I wrote about here. Here’s a picture that I took of the models that were eligible for repair at the time:

keyboard

Now if you look at the same page today, here’s what you will see:

crap

The highlighted computers are the ones that were just released today. So once again, Apple has released computers with a known to be problematic keyboard. That does not inspire confidence and it is really perplexing. But I guess that Apple can’t or won’t redesign the keyboard and are just going to ride the butterfly keyboard as long as it can until they do a complete redesign of the MacBook Pro. And yes, Apple will fix notebooks with keyboard issues under this repair program. But let’s be honest. This program shouldn’t exist as the keyboards should simply be reliable.

That’s a pity.

My advice remains the same. Avoid any MacBook that has a butterfly keyboard. At least until Apple comes out with a notebook with a keyboard of a different design that is proven to be far more reliable. After all you don’t want to be stuck with a expensive notebook that is unreliable.

Bell Jacks Their Throttling Limit To 512Kbps For Their Unlimited Plans….. And Does A Little Bit More

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 9, 2019 by itnerd

In this post from last week where TELUS made the change to make their unlimited plans part of their regular offerings, I was expecting Bell to do the same. Instead they did something different. According to Mobilesyrup, they did two things.

The first thing that they did was they increased the throttling speed from 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps which matches TELUS but also leaves Rogers who still offers 256 Kbps in the cold. Thus I fully expect a response from Rogers on that front.

The second thing that they did is as follows:

Further, Bell confirmed to MobileSyrup that it had extended the promotional Bell Unlimited plans, and there is currently no end date. When the plans initially launched, the website listed an end date of June 30th.

Clearly Bell doesn’t want to commit to making unlimited plans part of their normal offerings for reasons only they understand. From my perspective that’s kind of lame seeing as their two main competitors have committed to unlimited plans which means that Bell really has no choice but to do the same thing.

Watching the “big 3” actually try and compete with each other is kind of interesting. I wonder what’s going to happen next on this front?

 

Zoom Has A Serious Vulnerability That Can Trigger Video Calls With Almost Zero User Interaction

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 9, 2019 by itnerd

Security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh has discovered a serious vulnerability with the highly popular Zoom Video Conferencing service. In a Medium post, Leitschuh demonstrated that simply visiting a webpage allows the site to forcibly initiate a video call on a Mac with the Zoom app installed. Which of course is not good. There was another issue that he discovered that allowed any web page to do a denial of service attack on the Mac. But that was patched leaving the original vulnerability in play. Leitschuh disclosed the problem to Zoom in late March and gave the company 90 days to fix the issue. But it wasn’t fixed and thus he’s going public.

But there’s more to this story. When you install Zoom on a Mac, it installs a localhost web server as a background process. The purpose of this web server is to accept requests regular browsers wouldn’t. Such as whatever Zoom needs to do to facilitate video conferencing. What gets my attention is that this service can re-install the Zoom client on a Mac without requiring any user interaction besides visiting a web page. Which is very sketchy in my mind. That means that uninstalling Zoom won’t solve this issue. And it also sounds kind of malware like. 

Now you can mitigate this attack vector by disabling the setting that allows Zoom to turn on your Mac’s camera when joining a meeting. But the real fix is to uninstall everything related to Zoom and not use it at all. The  bottom of the Medium post includes a series of Macintosh Terminal commands that will uninstall the web server completely. I would strongly suggest that you go that route as that’s the best way to protect yourself.

Now what does Zoom have to say about this? Well in this ZDNet article, they had this to say:

Video conferencing company Zoom has defended its use of a local web server on Macs as a “workaround” to changes that were introduced in Safari 12.

The company said in a statement that it felt running a local server in the background was a “legitimate solution to a poor user experience, enabling our users to have seamless, one-click-to-join meetings, which is our key product differentiator”.

That to be blunt is total crap. They should be completely aware that now that this is public, there will be attacks inbound using this vulnerability. On top of that, the bad press from this is guaranteed to drive customers away from using their service. I’ve already had a few inquiries from clients of mine and my advice is simple. Don’t use Zoom for videoconferencing purposes until they can demonstrate that it is secure and they don’t need to do the sorts of things that they were caught doing so that their users can have a “seamless” experience.

UPDATE: In a blog post, Zoom says that there is no indication this vulnerability was ever taken advantage of because if a person did click on a malicious link, it would be readily apparent that a video call started (and thus their webcam was hijacked) because the Zoom client user interface runs in the foreground upon launch. Which may be true but isn’t the point anymore. The point is that they reacted poorly to this issue. Having said that, the company did say a fix was inbound. I’d love to know if that fix addresses all the issues that I raised in this article. Because if it doesn’t, I’ll continue to recommend that you avoid Zoom because of the potential risk that it poses.