Top 5: Tech tips for disaster preparedness

by: TechRepublic

No matter where you live there’s always the potential for the weather to go bad. Very bad. I’m talking hurricane, tornado, or even earthquake bad.

So before you’re glued to the weather app watching the onslaught build, if you even get that much notice, you need to put together your disaster data plan.

Here are five tips for tech disaster preparedness:

1. Have a backup phone in your emergency kit.
A cheap Android phone can give you access to important communications and data if your main phone is damaged.

2. Get a solar charger.
Battery life will be critical if the power goes out. A solar charger can help you keep connected in situations where wireless is still up but the electricity where you are isn’t.

3. Store important notes offline.
Whether it’s Evernote or SimpleNote, list all your critical information in a file you can access even if connectivity is down. You don’t want to get caught needing to know one thing to get the Internet back to working but need the Internet working to find out what it is.

4. Keep redundancy in mind.
This is the more widely applicable principle behind the extra cell phone. Host data in multiple locations, preferable places with different geographic risk factors.

5. Plan and test.
Get your team together and make sure you have a plan for what happens. Then test it. Find out if your redundant system will kick in and remain seamless. Do this twice a year minimum. Make it simple for people to remember what to do in a crisis and make sure it’s going to work!

Now all this is assuming you and your team are physically safe. This is also assuming you already put together your 72-hour kits and all the other essential emergency preparedness you need as a human! If you haven’t done that, that’s the most important tip. Do it. Now.

ATON Celebrates 25 Years Supporting Government IT Needs

SOMERVILLE, NJ – ATON COMPUTING, INC, a Somerville, New Jersey Information Technology firm, is celebrating 25 years serving the private and public sectors of the state with the launch of a new and more concise web site.

“ATON has been at the leading edge of the IT revolution for the past 25 years, supporting the needs of county and municipal governments,” according to ATON principal Walter Hansen. “The changes that have taken place over that time are incalculable, but with perseverance and a dedicated staff of
professionals we have kept pace.”

ATON focuses the expertise of its 9-person professionally trained staff on computer networking, business continuity, cloud computing solutions, and cyber security/risk management, providing hands on hardware & software integration specifically configured to meet the technology needs of government and the private sector.

The easily navigated web site at focuses on the core values instilled in the staff by Hansen who stresses that providing comprehensive Information Technology services has earned the confidence of a broad client base. The range of services includes custom Microsoft network design and installation, software program implementation, cyber security, and training that enhances efficiency, provides protection, and results in a positive return on investment.

He continued, “Our staff of IT engineers is committed to anticipating next generation solutions within a network, on a mobile platform, and in the cloud.”

The staff of IT professionals maintain current technical credentials including: Microsoft MCSE, MCSA, MCTS & MCP; Cisco CCNA, VMware’s VCP, A+ Core Services; numerous hardware & software product certifications.

The site is also geared to educating and informing visitors with regular posting of news and information that has the potential to impact government and business including expert opinions on issues from ATON staff.

For information on ATON Computing, Inc. services, access the web site at or call 908-725.3700.
PRESS CONTACT: Rich Reitman 908-526-1390 or

Equifax Data Breach

Equifax, one of the three largest consumer credit reporting and financial services providers in the United States, released a statement announcing a data breach that involves the personal information of an estimated 143 million US consumers. The company stated that it discovered the breach on July 29 and further forensic analysis revealed it resulted from the exploitation of a web application vulnerability that was used to gain unauthorized access to files containing sensitive consumer information. This access reportedly occurred from mid-May through July 2017. The information accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.

Credit card numbers for 209,000 US consumers and dispute documents with personally identifying information for 182,000 US consumers, were also accessed. Rick Smith, the Chairman and CEO of Equifax, released a YouTube video and a FAQ sheet regarding the breach and is asking consumers to contact their call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers who have additional questions. Equifax also launched the website which outlines the details of the data breach and provides additional resources for consumers. Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents were impacted. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for one year through TrustedID Premier to those affected by the breach.


The NJCCIC recommends all of our members assume their sensitive personal information was compromised in this breach or one of the many incidents that have occurred in recent years and take immediate action to protect themselves against identity theft. If you were affected by a recent data breach, we strongly urge you to enroll in the free credit monitoring service provided by the victim organization. While credit monitoring is helpful in detecting suspicious or malicious activity, consumers should also consider identity theft insurance, which covers losses incurred as a result of successful fraud. The NJCCIC also recommends our members consider placing a security freeze on their credit, closely monitor bank and credit card accounts using SMS or email alerting options, and report any fraudulent activity to the Federal Trade Commission and your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible. While it may be an inconvenience, a credit freeze will prevent unauthorized loans and lines of credit from being opened in your name and it can be lifted whenever legitimate credit inquiries are necessary.
Additionally, the NJCCIC encourages all organizations that use web applications to access and manage sensitive data review the NJCCIC threat analysis titled, “Web Apps: Vulnerable to Common Threats, Firewalls Recommended”, consider deploying a web application firewall, and regularly perform security audits of all web applications.

Botnet of Things

The relentless push to add connectivity to home gadgets has introduced a new risk into our society – the Botnet of Things. In October, 2016, a botnet of up to 100,000 hacked gadgets knocked-out Internet infrastructure provider Dyn, resulting in major website failures throughout the Internet.

Hackers are taking advantage of the growing number of webcams, DVRs, refrigerators, etc. that are connected to the Internet. These devices are not designed with security in mind and cannot be patched. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an insecure platform on which bad guys can initiate attacks for both profit and disruption. The BoTs will become larger and more powerful as the number of vulnerable devices increases.

In a perfect world, our devices would run only secure software and they would be connected only to secure networks. That’s not going to happen anytime soon so we are just going to have to live with our desire to have everything talk to everything.

For the complete story, see the article by Bruce Schneier in the MIT Technology Review