Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Home Depot B2B EDI “support” is a model of Asian outsourcing failure.

Home Depot outsourced it’s B2B and EDI (Electronic Document Interchange) support to India, Pakistan or somewhere in Asia long ago.  It’s a model demonstration of the failures that can come from outsourcing.  The long running jokes about Indian call center support embraced by US technology and telecommuncations companies have spread across almost all areas of I.T.   This particular failure on the part of Home Depot is of particular importance because it causes disruption in their vendor supply chain.

Honorable mention goes to Home Depot for their selection of unqualified candidates to work in their B2B support center.  Not only are they generally unhelpful and unknowledgeable regarding things like their own EDI mapping specifications, but Home Depot has found it acceptable to hire those who ONLY speak Farci or Urdu with almost zero ability to speak English.  This is no exaggeration or matter of interpretation.  My guess is the top of the totem pole in Atlanta probably isn’t even aware how bad the situation is with this language barrier.  I challenge anyone in their stateside senior management to call their own B2B support department and hold a conversation.  Our organization has been required to call in our Indian and Pakistani product managers to sit on calls and speak with the HD B2B support staff in their native language because they genuinely did not know the words in the English language to communicate high level technical information to our internal EDI staff or our application vendors.  This is when you know they’ve gone too far in their quest to offset costs.

Predictably Home Depot could play the “we can’t find U.S., Canadian or European workers with the skill set to fill these roles”.  Well, you didn’t find them in India or Pakistan either.  Furthermore the document specifications and translation sets are written in English code, specifically XML. If they can’t speak it my guess is they couldn’t read a map or the specification sets during training either.

We are at a point of impasse in our organization right now when it comes to turning up a new trading partnership for Home Depot Canadian distribution centers even though we have a signed supplier agreement because we literally can’t find anyone in Home Depot B2B who can communicate with us in English.  Furthermore when we engage our language translators they still can’t grasp technical concepts well enough to even provide us proper document specifications for their domestic and international programs.  This is why Home Depot’s long running B2B outsourcing initiative deserves a resounding FAIL.

Home Depot has millions of dollars to fix this problem and insure faster supply chain integration.  Apparently the decision not to fix the problem is completely based on trying not to pay U.S., Canadian or European technical specialists the wages such B2B and EDI expertise demands, opting instead for cheap, unqualified, outsourced Asian call center operatives who are at best ineffective in their roles and in many cases detrimental to vendor supply chain integration.

No comments

Google Translate is a security risk.

Lots of articles out there about why it’s not safe to translate sensitive internal business documents using Google Translate.  Most of these articles discuss accuracy and confidentiality.  But Google translate is also dangerous because it acts as a proxy by design, making it a security issue.  That means you can plug in a URL in any language, including English and Google will display the contents of the site.  This undermines any corporate security measures put in place to keep employees away from blocked or compromised sites.  The answer is a translation service from Google or a competitor built for business.  This would allow for administrative logins to manage what sites can be translated and monitoring of what documents are uploaded for translation.   It’s also a revenue generator for the first service to come up with administrative translation control.

No comments

Can I decrypt files encrypted by RYUK? Is it possible to decrypt .ryk files?

No.  There is no decryptor for RYUK at the time of this post.  If you need the file(s) and don’t have a backup you will need to reach out and pay the ransom for a decryption key.

No comments

Details of a ransomware attack and how to thwart the ransom.

Here are the basic steps included in a ransomware attack and how vulnerable people and ports are used to accommodate the attacker.  Conditions must be met.

  1. The attacker relies on stolen credentials.  These are harvested in the form of viruses delivering malware.  Specifically in recent attacks Emotet as the delivery agent for the Trickbot trojan.  All too easy with users susceptible to social engineering.
  2. Trickbot uses lateral movement across systems, relying on SMB to navigate the network, stealing passwords, mail files, registry keys and more.  It communicates the stolen material back to the bad actor, the black hat.
  3. Trickbot also launches the Empire Powershell backdoor and downloads the Ryuk virus upon the black hat’s command.  Armed with harvested credentials, the black hat is now ready to execute Ryuk and encrypt files at will.
  4. The black hat scans for a vulnerable port of entry on an external interface.

┌─[blackhat@parrot]─[~]

└──╼ $nmap -Pn -p 8443 xxx.123.xxx.456
Starting Nmap 7.70 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2019-07-09 16:47 EDT
Nmap scan report for system.contoso.com (xxx.123.xxx.456)
Host is up (0.029s latency).
PORT     STATE SERVICE
8443/tcp open  https-alt

Once a port of entry is found, in this case a very common and vulnerable port used as a remote access interface, the black hat can use the stolen credentials to log in to the network and rely on protocols such as SMB and RDP to access and exploit systems on the network, launching Ryuk to encrypt files on select systems.

So how can you protect systems and most importantly backups so that rapid recovery, the best offence against black hat attacks, remains possible?

  • The obvious first step in recovery is to neutralize all exploits.  It can also be the most time consuming.  Use Windows firewalls to block all SMB traffic and stop lateral movement across systems.  Deploy through domain level group policy.  Open only the ports necessary to deliver anti-malware utilities to clean all machines of any sign of exploits.  Windows 7 systems remain highly vulnerable to SMB attacks without proper patching and configuration.  Best to get them off your network regardless of how annoyed some end users are by the thought of Windows 10.
  • Always make sure your backup files and database backups reside on systems that are not authenticated to the network using domain level credentials.  Make sure they cannot be accessed using SMB or RDP protocols at all.
  • Of extreme importance is to make sure EVERYONE, especially your domain administrators are forced to change their login credentials routinely.  IT staff have a bad habit of being prime offenders of exempting themselves from password changes.  Take a stand.  NO MORE.  Everyone changes their passwords and password complexity rules must be adhered to by every account on the network.
  • Make sure you have machine images that are not accessible using domain level authentication credentials.  If you run a VMware environment make sure you administer VCenter only through local Vsphere credential logins, not AD authentication.  This is not to protect your production images, this is to protect your snapshots.  Hyper-V environments, God help you.  When you are solely reliant on Windows authentication to manage your virtual servers, you’re vulnerable.  I’d have to do more research on exactly how to stop propagation to all systems in a Hyper-V environment.  My first inclination would be spend some money on VMware or a XEN Hypervisor, Nutanix if you must.
  • Have snapshots.  Have recent snapshots.  If you don’t run virtual servers at least have Windows bare metal restore backups for physical machines.  Again these are to be written to appliances that are not connected to the network with domain level authentication.  Snapshot and bare metal backup files should remain recent enough to take into account all hardware and operating system changes that have been implemented.
  • Close vulnerable ports on your public interfaces or at minimum set them to random port numbers.  Obvious ports like 8443 are gonna get hit.

Note: I did not specify anything related to archiving and compliance backups because while essential for certain industries and disaster situations they are not specific to rapid recovery in the event of malicious disaster in which physical hardware assets are not compromised.  

Once you are able to quickly restore a virtual machine or physical system from a recent snapshot or bare metal recover file copies of data files and database backups can be moved into place for restoration to the most current backup set.  Daily is usually the best most small to medium “enterprises” can achieve.  With added expense in resources and configuration backups can be run with more frequency.   Unfortunately even hourly database log shipping won’t save a database from an encryption attack unless those log files are being off loaded in hourly increments to storage appliances that are not connected with domain level authentication.  As always, the question of investment becomes: How much can you afford to lose?

The best defense against Ransomware is a good offence in the form of rapid recovery.  Since these exploits rely on social engineering (gullible people) you can never pretend your network is free of any vulnerability.  Do not design your backup and recovery environment in case something happens.  Design it for when it happens.

No comments

Classless networks are in style. It’s just basic subnetting.

In Binary Net Masking each Octet contains exponential bits from right to left:

1     1   1   1   1 1 1 1
128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1 (128+64+32+16+8+4+2+1=255)

So..

255.255.248.0 in binary is
11111111. 11111111. 11111000. 00000000 = /21 (we’ll get to the identifier in a minute)

255-248 = 7
Therefore 255.255.248.0 – supports 7 networks per subnet
255 – 248 = 7 networks

Or

192.168.1.0/21 supports
192.168.1.0-255
through
192.168.7.0-255

The next subnet supports another 7 networks.

192.168.8.0/21
192.168.8.0-255
through
192.168.15.0-255

So where does the /21 identifier come from?

All net mask identifiers start at /32 and go down.
32-21 = 11 mask bits
Count the zeroes in the Binary Mask!

11111111. 11111111. 11111000. 00000000 = /21
11111111. 11111111. 11110000. 00000000 = /20 (32-20 = 12 mask bits)

What’s the full net mask for the /20 identifier above?

1     1   1   1   1 1 1 1
128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1 (8+4+2+1=15)

/20 = 255.255.240.0 because 25515 = 240

 

No comments

Billing customers for internal project management is a bad idea.

There’s a new phenomena in the service invoice category. Imagine this: Your company scores an account set for major growth. It could go from being a $10k account to $150k within a year. When scheduling your internal resources to work on this account and scheduling meetings or conference calls with the client you employ a “Project Manager”. Then you bill the customer back for this “Project Managers” time.

Sounds fantastic until the customer gets the invoice. Four hours @ $120+ per hour for “Project Management”??? Okay, where’s the Project Control document, the Gantt chart? Where is any deliverable at all? Where is there any value add to the customer what-so-ever for the hours you billed them to cover the cost of an internal resource scheduler? This is exactly what NWN Corporation tried to pass off to me over the last couple of weeks as billable work. I told them I would not pay another dime towards the salary of their internal project or resource planners. In fact there seems to be some confusion within some service providers these days as to what the title Project Manager means.

Yep, part of project management is resource scheduling. But unless you are scheduling THE CUSTOMERS RESOURCES you are providing precisely ZERO billable services to the customer. You are doing nothing but charging your Project Manager’s salary back to the customer. Put it in a scenario: I on a security component installation company. Imagine I win a contract to install 100 security cameras. Then imagine that I employ a Project Manager to come up with an INTERNAL project plan and schedule techs for the field. Now imagine I present that persons work as a line item on a bill to the client. WHAT? Why should any customer be forced to pay for someone to create our internal project control documentation and schedule when our techs will be on the job? Absurd. Next up, we will bill by the hour for the work our HR reps do in hiring the staff to do the work. Why not just go all the way to putting a line item for the Receivable Manager’s time to prepare the invoice? How about the janitor? I mean technicians have to pee right? Might as well bill back for toilet cleaning as a line item.

How about learning the difference between internal Project Management and genuine Project Management services for the customer. Nobody owes you a dime for the cost you incur for scheduling your staff or for a non technical person to listen in on conference calls.

No comments

LinkedIn is a security threat.

Scammers, spammers and phishers all have a solid source of information they can call upon to find out who holds what position in a company. LinkedIn provides a reliable, updated corporate hierarchy for them to find the names of Principals and management so they can forge emails in their names for delivery to accounting and payable’s staff they find the names and contacts for where else? LinkedIn.

How do they know the email address to send the message to even if they know the accounting representatives name? There’s a good chance your corporate email address is firstname.lastname@company.com or tsingleton@company.com. Not hard to guess the syntax in companies that don’t use obscurity for security in email address syntax. So the information on LinkedIn is almost like free Lexus Nexus for those with ill intent.

No comments

Google doesn’t convert Digital Storage correctly.

I clicked on “More info”….”Aaron is a Search expert and author of this help page”.

Well Aaron might want to let someone in a nearby nap pod know that there are 1024 bits in a Megabyte.  For about a year when I go to do a quick digital conversion using a standard Google search the answer comes back wrong.

The correct answer is of course 102400 MB in 100 GB.  I’m a little embarrassed for them.   Wait, should I be double checking how much Gmail storage I have left?

Here’s the more in depth explanation https://www.convertunits.com/from/100+GB/to/MB

“1 byte is equal to 9.3132257461548E-10 GB, or 9.5367431640625E-7 MB”.

 

 

 

No comments

Yahoo is a bastion of old white trash, rednecks, fascists and deplorables.

Word is spreading about the place to hang out on-line if your a hyper-nationalist, fascist, hate the environment and enjoyed your 90’s listening to Rush Limpballs spread his Oxycontin driven madness during lunch while getting mad in a pickup truck.  If you’re a proud redneck and consider being twangy white trash a virtue, the Yahoo comments section is the place for you.  It’s a blissfully ignorant vacation from the Fox Entertainment Trump Propaganda network.  A land of dictator lovers and Russian admirers, racists one and all.  A true hive of low educated, low credit, truck driving inbreds who think the mid west is the “heartland”, not a vast wasteland of white trash hate to be avoided at all costs.  Fly over, don’t even drive through it.

A place where country music shitards and angry gun toting tough guys assemble with flag wearing Nazi’s and near geriatric angry old men to complain about brown skin and spew about how bad they want a border wall.   They’re the most disgusting people around us who think that by beating the other worst Presidential candidate in US history they are “winning” despite their King Drumpf winning only 27% of the votes from all eligible US voters.  Math isn’t their strong suit so they’ll never calculate 73% of eligible voters did not support their ignorant fool who saluted North Korean military officials giving them the best propaganda footage their state run media has ever acquired.  Then he commented about how he wants Americans to “sit up” and listen to him the way North Koreans are forced into patriotism.  Yes, Yahoo.  The place to be if you’re an angry, racist baby boomer looking to blame your life failures on anything and anyone other than yourself.  Truly a deplorable place for deplorables to reinforce each others fantasies of success.  Yet, they’re still loosers.  Always will be.

No comments

More evidence of costly, ineffective EDI Document testing by SPS Commerce

Here’s another email between an EDI Analyst and a map developer regarding an SPS customers documents after they made the choice to let SPS hijack their customer base for an ineffective testing ransom.  Will it ever stop?  Will the incompetence and gouging ever be outed?

Hi Margarita,

 

We’re still trying to sort out the issues we’re having with these ALL*** Invoices since switching to their new connection.

We received the below communication from them advising the required freight charges are not showing on the 810 and that these should come through the SAC loop. The Specs for this is attached for your reference.

 

I’m not sure why this is happening? as I copied the Tested TP kit when switching to their new EDI Connection. So everything that was tested and confirmed as passed should match. I’m beginning to think SPSCommerce did a poor job with handling ALL***’s document testing because when I look back to TEST invoices, none of them included this SAC segment. Therefor it should have failed during the testing period.   

 

Reminder: We do not receive POs via EDI for this TP.

TDOC Name: ALL_810_4010X_TRIM2

 

Example of 810 (All Pro New)

ISA*00*          *00*          *01*044381234      *ZZ*ALLPROCORP     *180105*1008*U*00401*000000036*0*P*>

GS*IN*044381234*ALLPROCORP*20180105*1008*70*X*004010

ST*810*000000005

BIG*20171229*INV0670665*20171228*366884***DI

REF*SW*SOD0141885

N1*SE*Trimaco, LLC*92*7950

N1*BY*Miller Paint Co. – AllPro*92*5240

N4*Puyallup*WA*98373-2414**SN*0195

N1*ST*Miller Paint Co. – AllPro

N3*14207 Meridian E*Bldg C

N4*Puyallup*WA*98373-2414

ITD*01**2*20180128***0*****2% EOM/Net 15th

DTM*011*20171231

IT1**64*EA*8.85**MG*84075*BP*84075

CTP***8.85

PID*F****One Tuff Wiping Cloth  75/box 8bx/cs

TDS*69647

CTT*1

SE*17*000000005

 

 

 

 

Thank you,

 

Desireé ******* | Systems Analyst – EDI | *******, LLC

D: ***.***.***

No comments