Malware Isn’t Just For Windows Anymore – Fruitfly Is Hitting Macs Hard

This year’s cyber threat epidemic started with Windows, then spread over to Linux and third-party apps, and now is here for Macs. While the latest malware Fruitfly is targeting Mac computers, its malware library is also capable of running on Linux systems. 

Though it was recently found conducting surveillance attacks, it’s possible Fruitfly has been infecting Mac systems for over two years. It appears that the base code of Fruitfly is over a decade old, which begs the question: how can decade-old malware start breaching systems now? Haven’t our systems been updated over the last ten years?

It seems the Fruitfly developers have reused old code and modified it to give this malware extra power and capabilities. This cross-platform malware uses old APIs, but if there are any changes in the API, it will break the legitimate program to maintain reverse compatibility as long as possible. Fruitfly may have escaped detection for a long time because it appears that its creators have intentionally limited how many computers it targets. And since Mac systems don’t usually face as many threats as Windows, many administrators have been more lenient with patching their Macs, leaving them vulnerable to attacks such as Fruitfly.

You can identify Fruitfly infections by detecting suspicious network traffic. A file integrity monitor or log analyzer can help you identify an attack on your network, but a breach could be avoided altogether by keeping your systems up-to-date. Since most enterprises comprise different operating systems, it isn’t advisable to employ a separate patching tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The smarter alternative would be for an enterprise to employ a multi-platform patch management solution that helps update every computer from a single console. However, there are only a few solutions on the market that even support third-party patching, and even less that provide complete control over all enterprise devices, including mobile devices

These last few months have already given security professionals a lot to cover, and since cyber attacks are evolving at rapid rate, its high time enterprises maintain endpoint security by keeping their systems up-to-date. The best way to do this is to employ a patch management solution to stay safe from future ransomware and malware. One such solution is ManageEngine’s Desktop Central.

Desktop Central is integrated desktop and mobile device management software. This multi-platform solution helps automate your overall patch management process, and also has some other enhanced features to help secure your networkDownload ManageEngine Desktop Central Now and keep your Windows, Mac, Linux and all your third party applications completely safe and up-to-date. 

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Five Routine’s That Sums Up Desktop Management

IT departments play a major role in systems maintenance and it takes some effort for a system administrator to keep servers and end user workstations up and running for stability and productivity reasons. Lets take a look at system administrator’s daily routine and the importance of it.

1. Downloading and Deploying patches to user computers

System administrator has to identify required patches (3rd party) on systems, download them from the vendor websites and deploy them to end user computers. Managing these patches on a one of basis seems straightforward but it becomes cumbersome on a routine basis and especially when there are many systems to patch. Using a Patch Management solution, these routine tasks can be automated and scheduled to lessen the cumbersome workload on system administrators.

2. Installing software to user computers

Manually installing software on remote computers can be a daunting task and is challenging. A Software Management solution can resolve this complication by allowing a system administrator to deploy software from any location, handle tickets with ease and assist users demands in software installation with simplicity.

3.Troubleshooting remote computers

Troubleshooting servers and workstations for Operating System issues, software installations, security patches, system crashes can be remedied much easily with software management solutions, especially with remote capabilities and centralized management interface.

4. Managing IT assets in your network

Asset tracking for hardware and software in your organization is highly important and can be done with ease with the use of an asset management software. Apart from tracking the hardware and software in the organization, software license management, hardware warranty management, and identifying the usage of software particularly for licensing, restricting unwanted software in your network is important as well. An asset management solution provides a systems administrator the tools needed to effectively gather and manage this data.

5. Deploying configurations and managing mobile devices

Managing and configuring devices such as computers, tablets, phones, and peripherals in a growing organization with rapid demands for technology can be a challenging task for system administrators. MDM and desktop management solutions provide much flexibility and the tools needed to handle these technology challenges in the enterprise.

ManageEngine Desktop Central is one such ideal solution for desktop management, with its bundle of features and pricing compared to some known industry solutions. Desktop Central offers Patch management, Software management, Asset management, Remote support, Mobile device management, Failover Service, and Auditing capabilities. Desktop Central supports heterogeneous platform in 16 different languages. Finally, Desktop Central offers a fully functioning edition to manage 50 endpoints completely free with no hidden cost.

Download Desktop Central now and experience simplified IT management.

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“Unofficial” MVP Perk From Special Friends

A couple of weeks after receiving my MVP Award from Microsoft, I asked my IT Pro peers for some feedback via a Facebook group (Tech Konnect) and MVP Yammer Community on what they use for computer systems to run test environments such as ConfigMgr, Windows builds, Server OS, etc. I realized as a MVP, I need to up my game and build a portable lab environment to conduct testing and create tutorials for the IT Pro community in order to share some technical knowledge. Also, I’m often asked to test various software and tools in return for reviews or product QA feedback, so a proper lab environment is a must.

For those of you who run test environments on your laptops using Hyper-V or VMware Workstation, what make and model laptop are you using and what are the specs (Hard Drive(s), memory, CPU, etc)?

I received an overwhelming response with many different hardware specifications including suggestions of various makes and models of laptops and much more. One thing that stood out was the amount of memory (RAM) one should consider in order to have a decent lab environment, at least to sustain for example, a Domain Controller, ConfigMgr server, SQL, MDT, and some Windows clients to name a few. “You need at least 32GB of memory”, the crowd roared!

I knew my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with 8GB of memory was not going to cut it and I was stuck since I can’t upgrade the memory and hard disk on the Surface Pro 4. Unbeknownst to me, two of my IT Pro friends who are well respected by me and by the global IT Pro community stepped up to the plate and very generously decided to provide me with a special gift to help me with my MVP and IT Pro endeavours, so I could further expand my technical skills and to give back to the community via my learning and knowledge. For confidentiality purposes, these two special friends of mine will remain anonymous. I have been shocked and speechless from the day I was told that I was to look out for a package (shipped) and even to this day as I use this laptop daily to setup my test lab. I’m so grateful and blessed to receive this generous gift and …………well….., I’m speechless! My friend said “Now that you are MVP, you need the right equipment for testing!”

So, here’s what I received:
1. HP Zbook 14 G2 laptop (Intel Core i7-5500U CPU 2.4GHz, 32GB memory, 256GB Hard Disk, 1TB SSD Hard Disk)
2. Power adapters (two)
3. HP UltraSlim docking station
4. Stickers

  

  

I love my “new” HP laptop, it’s shiny, it’s awesome, it’s perfect! Stay tuned for my future blog post on how I setup my test lab, what I used to build it, and some obstacles I ran into which I ended up resolving. To my two special friends, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! 🙂

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Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award [MVP]

I am truly honored and humbled to receive my first Microsoft Most Valuable Professional [MVP] award on January 1, 2017 in the Windows and Devices for IT category. It was a surreal moment when I received the email (see below) from Microsoft informing me that I was awarded this prestigious recognition. Wow!

My heartfelt Thank you to the MVP Award team, to my MVP Lead Betsy Weber, to my IT Pro peers who recognized my work and efforts in the IT Pro community with the abundance of nominations, and to everyone who has supported and encouraged me to be a valuable influencer and a technical evangelist. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Here’s an overview of the MVP program:

If you know of any IT Professionals who work with Microsoft technologies and should be recognized for their skills, influence, and valuable assistance to the IT Pro community, or if you want to nominate yourself, you can provide nominations on the MVP website.

The best Christmas / New Year / Birthday present!

Finally, here’s my vlog message for my 1st MVP award –

I also talk about the MVP Award on the Harjit & Prayer Show:

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Tips for IT admins In Windows 10 Get Started App

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In Windows 10, version 1607 aka the Anniversary Update, Microsoft added a new section to the Get Started app targeting enterprise IT professionals called “Tips for IT Administrators.” This is only available with the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 version 1607 or later.

This tool enables a Windows admin to quickly access step-by-step instructions on common enterprise IT tasks, for example:

  1. Change the default browser
  2. Create a private store
  3. Work with Windows Update for Business
  4. Links to deployment and management tools, including Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

To access Tips for IT Administrators:

  1. Press the Windows logo key, search for Get Started, then press Enter
  2. Go to Browse topics and select Tips for IT administrators

If you would like to see additional topics added to the Tips for IT Administrators section and have ideas or feedback for the Get Started app, send an email to: winpro@microsoft.com.

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Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) Version 1.2 For Windows 10

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The latest version of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 have been released. The download is available here. You will find the following two download files available for version 1.2 corresponding to x86 or x64 Operating Systems:

  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x64.msu (92.3MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x86.msu (69.5MB)

See here if you would like to determine if a computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows OS.

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Updated – Microsoft Update Catalog Site

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The Microsoft Windows team mentioned on August 15, 2016 that they were working on releasing an updated version of the Microsoft Update Catalog which would eliminate the need for ActiveX requirements in order for the site to work in any browser.

The Microsoft Update Catalog website is being updated to remove the ActiveX requirement so it can work with any browser. Currently, Microsoft Update Catalog still requires that you use Internet Explorer. We are working to remove the ActiveX control requirement, and expect to launch the updated site soon.

Good news! As of yesterday, the site has been updated and you can now access the Microsoft Update Catalog site using any browser including Edge, Google Chrome, and others with the following URL: http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com. Here’s the blog post by Michael Niehaus with the announcement.

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PowerShell 5.0 RTM Now Available

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PowerShell 5.0 has finally RTM-ed, just in time for Christmas as announced on the PowerShell team blog. Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0 RTM replaces WMF 5.0 Production Preview and it’s supported on Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 SP1.

WMF 5.0 adds new management functionality which includes Just Enough Admin (JEA), PowerShell Classes, PackageManagement, PowerShellGet, and improvement to existing technologies such as Desired State Configuration (DSC), PowerShell Script Debugging, Software Inventory Logging and etc.

Download WMF 5.0 from the Microsoft Download Center. WMF 5.0 requires .NET Framework 4.5 or higher which you can also obtain from the Download Center.

**IMPORTANT**
Systems that are running the following server applications should not run Windows Management Framework 5.0 at this time:

    • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
    • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP3
    • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
    • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
    • System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager

Servers running System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (ConfigMgr) can install and run WMF 5.0.

If you would like to provide any feedback to the PowerShell team, you can do so by using the UserVoice site.

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The following is a post by Neema Saeedi on MSDN which I’ve added for additional details:

Download the correct package for your operating system and architecture:

Operating System Architecture Package Name
Windows Server 2012 R2 x64 W2K12R2-KB3094174-x64.msu
Windows Server 2012 x64 W2K12-KB3094175-x64.msu
Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 W2K8R2-KB3094176-x64.msu
Windows 8.1 x64 W2K12R2-KB3094174-x64.msu
Windows 8.1 x86 Win8.1-KB3094174-x86.msu
Windows 7 SP1 x64 W2K8R2-KB3094176-x64.msu
Windows 7 SP1 x86 Win7-KB3094176-x86.msu

To install WMF 5.0 from Windows Explorer (or File Explorer in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1):

  1. Navigate to the folder into which you downloaded the MSU file.
  2. Double-click the MSU to run it.

To install WMF 5.0 from Command Prompt:

  1. After downloading the correct package for your computer’s architecture, open a Command Prompt window with elevated user rights (Run as Administrator). On the Server Core installation options of Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Command Prompt opens with elevated user rights by default.
  2. Change directories to the folder into which you have downloaded or copied the WMF 5.0 installation package.
  3. Run one of the following commands:
    • On computers that are running Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows 8.1 x64, run W2K12R2-KB3094174-x64.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows Server 2012, run W2K12-KB3094175-x64.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or Windows 7 SP1 x64, run W2K8R2-KB3094176-x64.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows 8.1 x86, run Win8.1-KB3094174-x86.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows 7 SP1 x86, run Win7-KB3094176-x86.msu /quiet.

Additional Installation Notes for Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7:

Ensure following prerequisites have been met:

  • Latest service pack is installed.
  • WMF 4.0 is installed

WinRM Dependency: Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) depends on WinRM. WinRM is not enabled by default on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. To enable WinRM, in a Windows PowerShell elevated session, run Set-WSManQuickConfig.

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ADMX, ADK, RSAT Released For Windows 10 (Version 1511)

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With the release of Windows 10 version 1511, the following tools to support this latest release has been made available, which includes Windows 10 Administrative Templates (.ADMX), Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), as well as the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

Windows 10 Administrative Template (.ADMX)

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT)

Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Microsoft Office 2016 Administrative Templates and Office Customization Tool is also available for download.

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PowerShell & ConfigMgr Blogs

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My good friend Deepak Dhami (aka Dexter), who is an expert in PowerShell and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM / ConfigMgr) is a frequent contributor for great information and resource in these fields. He conducts various user groups and workshops in India to help ConfigMgr admins improve their skills. Dexter has provided the links below on his blog and has generously allowed me to share them on mine in order to further share the goodness.

Feel free to follow and reach out to him. He is always happy to help.
PowerShell MVP profile
Blog
Twitter

Links:

Cmdlet ReferenceDavid O Brien’s Blog
PowerShell Script Repo by ConfigMgr MVP Kaido
Kaido’s personal blog
Coretech Blog by MVP kaido
Ronnie Jakobsen’s blog
Kent Agerlund’s blog
Johan Arwidmark’s blog
Henrik Hoe’s blog
PFE Heath’s Blog
Adam Meltzer’s Blog
Steve Rachui’s Blog
Nickolaj Andersen’s blog
Rob Looman’s Blog
Sean Lillis (Author of PS App deployment Toolkit)
Alex Verboon’s Blog
Laurie Rhodes’s Blog
Adam Bertram’s Blog
Stephane’s Blog

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