What Happened on Friday?

Dear Friends and clients of Jack Russell,
Did you lose your internet service or access to an important website this past Friday? You weren’t alone.  Although it sounds like something out of a James Bond movie, a foreign government attacked a multitude of DNS servers and was able to take down a big chunk of the internet. They did this by co-opting tens of millions of online devices, everything from baby monitors to Nest thermostats, and directing those devices to send data to very specific locations.  This was a very sophisticated attack that likely took months to plan and therefore hardly the work of your typical hacker.  Big online sites such as AirBnb, Twitter, Spotify, Woo Commerce, Shopify, etc, were all brought down, some for a few minutes, others for a few hours.  So what does this mean to you and how can you take precautions?
boom

Imagine if you lost your internet service for a week or more? It’d feel like someone dropped a bomb on your business.

First of all, here’s how this happened. Websites have unique online addresses based on a numerical value. These are the IP (internet protocol) addresses. My site, chefjohnmalik, can actually be found at 192.186.219.73
A DNS server translates that numerical value into the web address of chefjohnmalik.com.  When the websites started going down it was because the DNS servers (not the actual websites) were taken offline. 
The downside is that this will probably (definitely) happen again but who knows when? So please think about this.  If you did lose your internet for a day or so, how would your business survive? What could you do today to prepare you for the next outage? What systems could you backup to a local hard drive (not cloud based) that you could still access even if your internet went down?
If you’re one of my restaurant clients, how could you prepare yourself if Open Table went down on a Friday night? Perhaps you can make a paper copy of the night’s reservations on a daily basis?
If you’re in health care or medical, could you do the same thing with your appointments?  Is your POS system online and if so, what could you do if it went down? How would you make a sale?
Now when this does happen again, you might want to try accessing a particular site directly via its numerical value, all you’ll need to do is find it.
If you’re running Windows, just hit the start button, type in “command prompt” and a black box will open
Type in “tracert” then the web address
A search for my IP address would look like this—>  tracert www.chefjohnmalik.com

The IP address is what comes up next to where it says tracing route to chefjohnmalik.com
Here’s a screen shot of my own IP address.
ip-address
So my suggestion is to spend 30 minutes or so finding the IP addresses of your important sites, save those addresses somewhere safe, then if the same thing happens, you can try typing in the IP address which bypasses the DNS servers and perhaps you can still access your most important sites.
And here’s a story from C/Net on the recent web attack.  “That Massive Internet Outage, Explained

Out loud. In church.

So you’re ready to get on Twitter yet you still have some reservations, so you decided to set up a “private” Twitter account.  Makes sense, right?  That way anyone that decides to follow you has to be approved by you.  And a private account will offer you a level of privacy with respect to all those photographs of your dog or your spouse in a swimsuit that you plan on sending out.  And a private account will protect you when you accidentally get a bit too much liquor in you and decide to send out a tequila fueled #selfie.

drunk

Well…you’re wrong.  And I’d be happy to show you plenty of examples.  But how about if I just tell you.  Let’s say my Twitter account is private, so all my tweets from @chefjohnmalik are protected from being viewed by anyone I haven’t given access to.  Well, what’s going to stop someone from getting on Twitter and searching “@chefjohnmalik,” finding my handle mentioned in thousands of retweets from my followers and then looking at all of those shared tweets?

The answer: nothing.  So much for privacy.

So if you’re thinking of jumping on Twitter then here’s my rule of thumb.  Treat everything you say on Twitter, or any other social media platform, as if your Pastor was going to read it.  Out loud.  In church.  All those platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are free yet there’s a cost involved.  We give up our privacy and we open ourselves up to their promoted tweets and advertisements.  Don’t like it?  Then don’t use it.

Now, shall we discuss Snap Chat?

Look over here!

 

Lose Weight Now!

Learn Spanish Today!

Cheap First Class Airfare to Italy!

Learn to Cook like John Malik in One Hour!

We’ve all seen these “too good to be true” offers when we’re floating through Facebook, right?  And if that’s all there was to these offers, you may not pay any attention to them.  I mean, all these offers sound enticing but if you’re an advertiser, these far-fetched promises aren’t enough.  You’re gonna need a sexy photo to draw eyeballs to your advert.  And that’s where Danielle comes in.

danielleknudson

Now you can’t help but be attracted to this photo.  Your eyes are drawn away from what you’re supposed to be doing to what Danielle is doing.  And suddenly you’re thinking, “well, I really should brush up on my Spanish, I wonder how much those CD’s are?  Maybe I’ll take a look.”

Internet advertisers refer to this as click bait and it makes sense, right?  Danielle is the bait that’s going to get you to click through to the web content.  Facebook charges their advertisers on impressions (just a look) and click-throughs so keep that in mind when you start looking at your Facebook feed.  Treat it as a minefield and you’ll be fine.  Or click away, and be prepared to wander off into the tall green grass, looking for Danielle.