EarthLink Position on Heartbleed Bug on Consumer Systems

heartbleed

The Heartbleed bug is a recent vulnerability that has been circulating news articles this week.  EarthLink has validated that we are not using any impacted versions of OpenSSL in our consumer systems like webmail.earthlink.netmyaccount.earthlink.net andmy.earthlink.net.

Please keep in mind that using the same email and password combination for multiple sites can pose a risk if any one of those sites is compromised. We strongly suggest that you choose a unique password for your EarthLink email address that you do not use on any other websites. This will greatly improve the security of your EarthLink account, and thank you for being a customer of EarthLink.

Apple’s New iOS 7 – Big Success, Big Headaches

Plus, some tips to help EarthLink members make the transition to iOS 7

Apple iOS 7  new for iPhones and iPadsLast Wednesday Apple released a new version of its iOS operating system, iOS 7, that runs iPhones, iPads and iPods.

According to an article headline today on LATimes.com the launch of iOS 7 was “so massive it almost broke the Internet.” Hyperbole aside, it really was huge.

IT departments at many companies struggled to maintain the performance of their systems due to the significant spikes in Internet traffic going to Apple.com as employees rushed to update their iPhones and iPads.

Individual users struggled too.

If you tried to download iOS right away, you likely experienced some of the issues I did: conflicting reports about the download being available, then not available. Unexpected error messages. Verrrrrrrrrry long download times.

I guess that’s to be expected when 200 million devices download a single update, which is the number of downloads Apple confirmed on Monday.

So, was it worth it? If you’ve downloaded iOS 7, you can tell us by leaving a comment below.

I’m personally enjoying it on my iPad. Looks good. Works well. The only problem is now I have to work a little harder to pry my iPad out of the hands of my kids.

Here’s a helpful list of 15 tricks to help you transition to iOS 7 from Forbes.com.

And here are some links related to iPhones and iPads and EarthLink services:

We also offered perspectives on the recent Apple release news on our business-focused IT Insights blog:

Big Website Outages: What It Means to You

What’s up with being down?

If you’re a Google, Microsoft and Amazon user, you may recently have had a feeling that the sky was falling, or at least that there was a black cloud over your head. Why?

On Friday, Google services went down.

On Saturday, Microsoft’s Outlook.com service went down.

On Monday, Amazon.com went down.

That’s a lot of high-profile website outages. But the impact of the downtime was not evenly felt.

Google’s outage was amazingly brief: somewhere between 2 – 5 minutes. But the impact was huge. It was not just Google search that was down. Not just Gmail. But all Google services. So many people use these Google services that it was estimated that overall Internet traffic dropped 40% during those few minutes of downtime.

Microsoft’s outage was confined to a few services – Outlook.com, SkyDrive and Contacts – so it affected a fraction of the people impacted by the Google outage. But it lasted for days, not minutes. So if you used Outlook.com for your email, it was a seriously bad outage.

Amazon’s outage was for their main Amazon.com website for U.S. and Canadian customers (not related sites like Zappos.com or other country-specific versions of the Amazon site). Reports about the length of the downtime vary from about 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Not too long, but they may have lost some business as frustrated shoppers turned to other online retailers. And because Amazon.com averages $117,882 in sales every minute, a 40 minute outage could mean $4.72 million in lost sales (of course customers may simply have come back and purchased later).

Google’s brief outage also had real costs. The company is said to make about $108,000 per minute. So their 5-minutes of downtime would mean $545,000 in lost revenue.

So, what does all this mean? High-profile outages often lead to speculation about cyberattacks by individual hackers, hacker groups or even Chinese government hackers. But it doesn’t appear that hackers were behind either of this past week’s outages.

In all likelihood it’s just a high-profile coincidence. But it can be a meaningful coincidence and an important reminder.

To businesses large and small, it should be a reminder that their systems are vulnerable – and not just to headline-grabbing natural disasters. The reality is that it’s not whether your servers will go down (due to natural disasters, human error, equipment failure or other causes) but when. And when it happens, how fast and how well can you recover, and what will the impact to your business be?  A prolonged outage or one that causes data loss can be catastrophic for many businesses.

cloud disaster recovery (DR) for business continuitySo having a business continuity plan and services such as Cloud Server Backup and Cloud Disaster Recovery are essential to mitigate these very real and very big risks to your business.

And for all our high-speed and dial-up Internet access customers, these outages can be a reminder not to assume your Internet connection is down just because you can’t get to Google.com or Amazon.com.

If you can’t get to the one site you’re trying to visit, it’s always best to test your connection by trying to go to several different, unrelated sites like www.earthlink.net, www.npr.org, www.whitehouse.gov, etc. You may find there’s no problem with your connection. Just a website outage.

New Facebook Search – Time to Check Your Privacy Settings?

Way back in January, we posted about Facebook’s announcement of a coming new search engine they were calling Graph Search.

Well, it’s finally here.

Click here to see Facebook’s official Introduction to Graph Search. It’s a nice-looking overview, and if for some reason the new search isn’t active on your Facebook page yet, you can click the Try Graph Search button at the bottom of the page to activate it.

Privacy Shortcut menu on Facebook

But before you go play around with Facebook’s new Graph Search engine, you might first want to review your own Facebook presence and change some of your privacy settings.

Why? Because the new Facebook search indexes your public posts, your likes, your photos, all your interests and other data you’ve shared on Facebook – and it makes all your information as easy as possible for everyone else on Facebook to find.

So, if you don’t want your boss, your ex-wife, your neighbor, or anyone else – even if they are not your friends – to have access to all your Facebook information, you should take some time to review your Facebook account and your privacy settings. Here’s how to do it:

Reviewing & Changing Your Facebook Privacy Settings

  1. Sign in to Facebook.
  2. ClicFacebook Privacy Shortcut iconk the lock icon at the top of your page (show to the right) to open your Privacy Shortcuts menu (shown above).
  3. Click Who can see my stuff? to open some privacy options.
  4. Click the first option if you want to change who can see your future posts (Friends, Close Friends, Public, etc.).
  5. Click the next Privacy Shortcut option (Use Activity Log) if you want to go back and review the visibility of all of your past Facebook activity (old posts, comments, photos, likes, etc.). This is where you can make individual changes and delete items you don’t want to show up in future searches. Click the pencil icon to “unlike” previous likes (of photos, posts, businesses, etc.) or to delete posts and photos, or change the timeline status of previous posts. Click the people icon next to any post for which you want to change the audience, for example, from Public to Friends. On the left side of this Activity Log page you can also click Photos to manage who can see photos you’ve uploaded or been tagged in. If you don’t want people to find photos of you that your friends have tagged, you can untag yourself.
  6. The next option in your Privacy Shortcuts is called View As. Click that link if you want to see what other people see on your timeline. You can see what your Facebook page looks like to the Public (people you don’t know) or specific people.
  7. To change who can see what on your page, click the Update Info button on your Cover image (you can also click the About link). You can then go section by section down your page to specify who gets to see this information. Below your personal information, you’ll see sections like Music, Movies, Books, etc. Click the pencil icon to hide any of these sections or to change your privacy settings for the section. Your choices here will affect what of yours comes up in other people’s Graph Searches, like People who like Comic Books.
  8. If you want to quickly limit who can see all of your past posts, rather than change the settings one by one on the Activity Log page, click the gear icon in the upper right and choose Privacy Settings from the menu. On this Privacy Settings and Tools page, click the Limit Past Posts link if you want to change all the past content that you’ve shared to the Friends setting. Your Activity Log lets do this for individual posts, which gives you more control, but it takes more time. This option lets you do it all in one click (really two, since they warn you and make you click again).

Facebook has some handy videos and other information explaining some of these search privacy issues.