Unfortunately, most home users, and many business users, do not back up their systems. Moreover, many small businesses have older back-up procedures that are often ineffective for recovering files.

Of course, you can run down to your neighborhood electronics store and purchase a replacement drive for your computer, but what about your data on the failed hard drive? How important was it? Did you save it or back it up?

What to do:

If you need to recover data on the hard drive, the first thing to do is avoid trying to reboot or doing anything that involves the drive. Doing so can actually do more damage to your data.

The only irreversible data loss is caused by overwriting bits, physical damage to the drive platters or destruction of the magnetization of the platters, which seldom happens in the real world. In the majority of cases, the malfunction is caused by a damaged circuit board, failure of a mechanical component and crash of internal software system track or firmware.

In the case of actual hard drive failure, only a data recovery professional can get your data back. And the fact that you cannot access your data through your operating system does not necessarily mean that your data is lost.

As a "rule of thumb," if you hear a clicking sound emitting from your hard drive, or if the computer's S.M.A.R.T. function indicates an error during the boot process, something is wrong. You should immediately stop using the hard drive in order to avoid causing further damage and, potentially, rendering the information on the hard drive unrecoverable.

After receiving your failed hard drive, a data recovery specialist's first step will be to try and save an image of the damaged drive onto another drive. This image drive, not the actual damaged drive, is where the data recovery specialist will try to recover the lost data.

The next step in the imaging process is to determine if the hard-drive failure was an actual malfunction, a system corruption or a system track issue.

System corruption and system track issues are normally fixed by using a specialist's data recovery software. System corruption or system track recoveries do not require processing in a clean room environment.

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, damage to a drive's circuit board or failure of the head drives is not uncommon. In each of these failures, a data recovery specialist should work on the system only in a clean room environment. There, the specialist can substitute parts such as drive electronics, internal components, read/write arms, writing/reading heads, spindle motors or spindle bearings from a donor drive in order to gain access to the data on the failed hard drive. In most cases, the data recovery specialist is able to retrieve and return the lost data.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Loveleen_Talwar/2517955

By Loveleen Talwar

http://EzineArticles.com/?Data-Recovery:-How-to-Recover-From-a-Hard-Drive-Failure&id=9888787

 

 

Headlines continue to abound about the data breach at Facebook.

Totally different than the site hackings where credit card information was just stolen at major retailers, the company in question, Cambridge Analytica, did have the right to actually use this data.

Unfortunately they used this information without permission and in a manner that was overtly deceptive to both Facebook users and Facebook itself.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to make changes to prevent these types of information misuse from happening in the future, but it appears many of those tweaks will be made internally.

Individual users and businesses still need to take their own steps to ensure their information remains as protected and secure as possible.

For individuals the process to enhance online protection is fairly simple. This can range from leaving sites such as Facebook altogether, to avoiding so-called free game and quiz sites where you are required to provide access to your information and that of your friends.

A separate approach is to employ different accounts. One could be used for access to important financial sites. A second one and others could be used for social media pages. Using a variety of accounts can create more work, but it adds additional layers to keep an infiltrator away from your key data.

Businesses on the other hand need an approach that is more comprehensive. While nearly all employ firewalls, access control lists, encryption of accounts, and more to prevent a hack, many companies fail to maintain the framework that leads to data.

One example is a company that employs user accounts with rules that force changes to passwords regularly, but are lax in changing their infrastructure device credentials for firewalls, routers or switch passwords. In fact, many of these, never change.

Those employing web data services should also alter their passwords. A username and password or an API key are required for access them which are created when the application is built, but again is rarely changed. A former staff member who knows the API security key for their credit card processing gateway, could access that data even if they were no longer employed at that business.

Things can get even worse. Many large businesses utilize additional firms to assist in application development. In this scenario, the software is copied to the additional firms' servers and may contain the same API keys or username/password combinations that are used in the production application. Since most are rarely changed, a disgruntled worker at a third party firm now has access to all the information they need to grab the data.

Additional processes should also be taken to prevent a data breach from occurring. These include...

• Identifying all devices involved in public access of company data including firewalls, routers, switches, servers, etc. Develop detailed access-control-lists (ACLs) for all of these devices. Again change the passwords used to access these devices frequently, and change them when any member on any ACL in this path leaves the company.

• Identifying all embedded application passwords that access data. These are passwords that are "built" into the applications that access data. Change these passwords frequently. Change them when any person working on any of these software packages leaves the company.

• When using third party companies to assist in application development, establish separate third party credentials and change these frequently.

• If using an API key to access web services, request a new key when persons involved in those web services leave the company.

• Anticipate that a breach will occur and develop plans to detect and stop it. How do companies protect against this? It is a bit complicated but not out of reach. Most database systems have auditing built into them, and sadly, it is not used properly or at all.

An example would be if a database had a data table that contained customer or employee data. As an application developer, one would expect an application to access this data, however, if an ad-hoc query was performed that queried a large chunk of this data, properly configured database auditing should, at minimum, provide an alert that this is happening.

• Utilize change management to control change. Change Management software should be installed to make this easier to manage and track. Lock down all non-production accounts until a Change Request is active.

• Do not rely on internal auditing. When a company audits itself, they typically minimize potential flaws. It is best to utilize a 3rd party to audit your security and audit your polices.

Many companies provide auditing services but over time this writer has found a forensic approach works best. Analyzing all aspects of the framework, building policies and monitoring them is a necessity. Yes it is a pain to change all the device and embedded passwords, but it is easier than facing the court of public opinion when a data breach occurs.

David Moye is a Principal with Forensic IT, a firm providing big data solutions to companies nationwide. David helped found Forensic IT in 2003 and has some 25 plus years of experience as a software engineer and solution architect. Along with at least a half a dozen core programming languages, he is a certified DBA in Oracle and Sybase and has spent years working with MS-SQL and MySql. For more visit https://forensicit.us

By David Moye

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/David_Moye/2534159

http://EzineArticles.com/?What-We-Learned-From-The-Facebook-Breach&id=9916574

 

 

 

You will be forgiven for thinking that I am teaching you how to make illegal pirate copies of your software after reading the title above. Well rest assured I won't be walking the plank as this article is for information purposes only. As a programmer I understand how software piracy can hurt companies so I do not recommend it. There is plenty of good software that can be downloaded for free, especially if you don't need all the fancy features of expensive software. This article explains how people used to pirate software from retro computers such as the Spectrum and the Atari ST.

SPECTRUM AND COMMODORE 64

Spectrum and C64 software came on cassette tapes which were inserted into data recorders (or tape recorders) and could be loaded into memory by typing a command such as load"". These computers relied on a series of sound signals which were never pleasant to listen to as they were horrible screeching sounds. Quite often you would have to wait up to ten minutes (for a Spectrum 128k game especially) to load when it could crash, meaning you had to re-adjust the volume and start again. In case of a low recording, the game cassette would usually have a separate copy on the other side.

Most people could copy these games by using a hi-fi system with twin cassette decks. By inserting the original game cassette in the first deck and pressing "play", and inserting a blank cassette in the second deck and pressing "play and record" you could get a perfect copy. You could buy cassette tapes for saving data such as a C15 which allows you to record up to fifteen minutes. Some people would use a C90 which would allow them to store many games at once.

If you didn't have access to twin cassette decks then you could use software. On the Spectrum you could use something like "007Spy" which would allow you to load the entire game into memory and then back up onto a blank cassette. Some games had different ways of loading such as the pulsing (or clicking) loaders, a method used by many Ocean Software games. This led to the release of other software capable of tackling these loaders. The average Spectrum game would consist of a short piece of code (the header), a loading screen and the main code. This is the standard loader, easy to copy.

When the Spectrum 128k +3 was released it came with a built in floppy disk drive. As there were only so many games released on +3 disks, methods were used to transfer them from tape to disk. The standard loader was easy. All you had to do was type merge"" to get into the editor code and save that to a +3 disk (save"a:program-name"). Next you would load the loading screen higher into memory (load "screen-name" code 30000) and save that to a +3 disk. Finally you would do the same thing with the main code and add the load commands to the main header code.

For the more complicated loaders a suite of programs called "007 Trans-Master" was used to convert the files into the standard format so they could be saved to +3 disks.

ATARI ST AND AMIGA

The great thing about the Atari ST and Amiga computers was that you could lay your hands on hundreds of pieces of free software, no need to pirate commercial software. There were many PDLs (Public Domain Libraries) who would distribute free software for the price of a disk and postage, and for their distribution work. The actual software is free and covers anything from demos to games and pictures to music files. There was also the shareware method where you pay a small subscription fee to receive extras for full versions of the software and licenceware where the PDL would offer a small commission to the original contributor.

Atari ST software was normally copied using dedicated disk copiers such as "Fast Copy" while the Amiga used the popular "X-Copy". However some disks were protected and therefore other more powerful copying software had to be used.

PROTECTION METHODS

Software publishers have used many forms of production to deter copying such as the more complicated loaders on the Spectrum. Other methods would require the user entering a word or letter from the manual before they could get into the game, or choosing a series of colors or symbols from their book to match the ones on screen. Some games allow you to think you have copied them until you have played them for so long and notice some nasty surprise. The game "Shadow of the Beast" turns the screen upside down on certain levels for example.

This lead to the rise of Cracking Groups such as the famous "Pompey Pirates" on the Atari ST who would hack into the game and remove the copy protection. They would then release a number of games (hacked and packed) onto a single floppy disk which were passed around to various users.

CONCLUSION

The battle between software publishers and pirates is an on-going one and people will always want free software if they can get it. Old retro software is freely available for download on various websites for people who want to re-live the old days so there is little need to copy them from originals. I am not going to tell you how to copy the latest PC software. I only wrote this article to explain how people used to back up their software for the older systems. I stated that there is a lot of free and in-expensive software available for the PC and I urge you to use that rather than resort to piracy.

Dean Sharples is a writer and programmer with many years experience. He has written articles on subjects such as Home Business, Retro, Religion and Programming. He is a Muslim and comes from Manchester, UK. You can find out more about Dean at: http://www.deansharples.com

By Dean Sharples

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Dean_Sharples/2602391

http://EzineArticles.com/?How-People-Used-To-Pirate-Retro-Software&id=10026617

 

 

Data loss is a tragedy that every computer user has to suffer from at least once a couple of years. This issue is frightening and disgusting. In this article, we are going to take a look at 5 common causes of data loss and the precautions that you should take.

1. Deletion of files by mistake

Today, most people lose their important data due to their own mistakes. For instance, they delete their important files by mistake and they have no backups of the files. Without an iota of doubt, we delete many files every day on our computers.

Precaution: it's better if you create a backup of your important files. This way you can recover the files quickly in case you delete them by mistake.

2. Viruses Attacks

Virus and malware attacks is another common problems these days. And most viruses tend to corrupt our important files. As long as you are connected to the web, you can't avoid the risk.

Precaution: if you want to prevent the data loss by malware and viruses, make sure you invest in a powerful antivirus to protect your computer against virus and malware attacks. The antivirus app will give you a warning each time a suspicious activity is going to happen on your computer due to a virus.

3. Mechanical Issues

The failure of a hard drive is an annoying issue. Of all the hard drive issues, the mechanical issue is the most common. Typically, the issue is associated with the spindle or the head of the drive. If this happens, you have no choice but to repair the damaged components. However, don't make the mistake of doing it yourself.

Precaution: instead of opening up the drive yourself, we suggest that you take proper care. For instance, you should never drop the drive or hit it hard against a solid object. This can help you prevent a lot of mechanical issues associated with your computer hard drive.

4. Sudden Power Outages

You may be familiar with the term "power failure" in the world of computers. You may have experienced power outages. In case of a power failure, you may lose some important data, especially if the light goes out while you are trying to modify or compose a file. Without any doubt, the file may get corrupted.

Precaution: if you want to prevent the data loss against a power outage, you may want to make use of a surge protector. You can also use a battery or some other type of Uninterrupted Power Supply.

5. Water Damage

Apart from the factors given above, your hard drive may also get damaged if exposed to water. For instance, if you spill some liquid on your computer by mistake, your hard drive may get damaged. In another scenario, you may end up dropping your computer into water.

Precaution: if you want to prevent water damage, we suggest that you try to reform yourself first. This means that you should correct your bad habits. Try to keep your computer away from water.

So, these are a few common causes of computer data loss and the precautions that you may want to take.

Hard drive failures can occur at any time. If you need help with data recovery, you should check out a few data recovery services, such as Data Clinic.

By Shalini Madhav

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Shalini_Madhav/2396631

http://EzineArticles.com/?5-Common-Causes-and-Precautions-of-Computer-Data-Loss&id=9960470

 

 

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