Category: Microsoft

What is 2FA? MFA? Are they the Same? Different?

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You will see me talking about 2FA and MFA on quite a few posts and using the terms almost interchangeably – so what do they mean?

2FA stands for two-factor authentication and MFA stands for multi-factor authentication. 2FA really is just a subset of MFA.

MFA is a security protocol where a user is required to verify their identity by providing multiple pieces of identification before gaining access to either a device or application. Typically this is using at least two of the following factors:

  1. Knowledge – something only you know i.e. password, challenge questions
  2. Possession – something you have i.e. Yubikey, one-time password
  3. Inherence – something you are i.e. fingerprint, retina scan

So you can see how 2FA is just a subset of MFA as you only need to have two factors to successfully authenticate. For instance, using an ATM machine requires you to use your card (something you have) as well as your PIN (something you know).

Now if you add something like a USB device (we love YubiKeys!!!) that you have to plug into your system, you now have three factors needed for authentication and hence one example of MFA. A better example of MFA is to use a program or App that requires the use of an external device, like your phone, that requires your fingerprint (hence inherence) to unlock. This then allows you to accept the authentication on an app on your phone or to get a one time password generated by your phone app. If this seems a little confusing or if you are just intrigued, we will be posting more about our offerings of Duo Security and Passly that you can use to implement MFA in a secure way.

WiFi KRACKs Attack

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Now that the information of the vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol has been released publicly, here is a link to what has happened:

https://www.krackattacks.com/

The WPA2 protocol is used in every wireless device on the market today.  If you don’t want to read the whole article, basically what you need to do is to research if your Wireless Router, Access Point, IoT device etc. has had a firmware release to deal with this as well as making sure that all of your operating systems (Windows, Linux and yes, macOS) are updated.

For my customers, I have already applied the firmware updates necessary to negate this vulnerability.

Printer Stuck During Installation

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If your printer gets stuck during the installation phase (i.e. doesn’t get past “initializing printer”), and you can’t ‘remove’ it to try again, here is one solution to get rid of it.

I have run into this issue more often lately and it has always been frustrating to clean up after a failed printer install.  The first step is to get into Device Manager – in Windows 8 and 10, right click the Windows Icon to get to the Quick Access Menu and then choose ‘Device Manager’.   Once in Device Manager, on the Main Menu, select ‘View’ and then ‘Show hidden devices’.

You can now scroll down to the ‘Print queues’ section and then delete the printer that is stuck initializing.

For good measure, go ahead and reboot your computer and then try again.  If you are installing a wireless printer, make sure your anti-virus program allows this process – there are unfortunately too many different anti-virus programs to give you a walk through on how to do this, but hey, ‘Google’ is your friend!

Configuring NTP Server for Time Synchronization

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This post is about how to process a Windows Server 2012 or 2016 domain controller to synchronize its time with a trusted external resource.  Having a valid and accurate time source is critical for a properly configured domain.

Use your favorite search engine to locate the trusted NTP time servers for your area.  I am located in Canada and so I will be using

0.ca.pool.ntp.org
1.ca.pool.ntp.org
2.ca.pool.ntp.org
3.ca.pool.ntp.org

Log into your domain controller with administrative credentials and launch a command prompt.

Stop the time service:

net stop w32time

Enter the following to configure your NTP time servers:

w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:"0.ca.pool.ntp.org, 1.ca.pool.ntp.org, 2.ca.pool.ntp.org, 3.ca.pool.ntp.org"

and then hit Enter.  Remember to use your time servers in place of *.ca.pool.ntp.org.

Let the domain controller know that these are your trusted servers:

w32tm /config /reliable:yes

Restart the Time Service:

net start w32time

Review the results:

w32tm /query /configuration

Ensure everything is proper and typed correctly and if so, close the command prompt.

How to Clear Cached Credentials in Microsoft Windows

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OK, every now and then, I admit I create a post for my own benefit and to make sure I have the ‘fix’ in a handy place for later reference.  This post is about how to clear out the ‘hidden’ cache credentials that Microsoft creates when you use your system to access network related objects like a remote drive share.

If you get into a position where Windows tells you that you have ‘too many failed log on attempts’ or that your ‘credentials are out of date’, than this little shortcut might be the fix.

From and Administrative command prompt, run the following:

rundll32.exe keymgr.dll, KRShowKeyMgr

and hit Enter.  You should be presented with a list of cached credentials.  All you need to do is to ‘Remove’ the one that you are having issues with like a remote network drive share.

Windows 7 Updates Won’t Work or are Terribly Slow

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For those of you who have older hardware and are sticking with Windows 7, this may help you out if you ever re-image/start over with your computer or just can’t get Windows 7 Updates to install/work anymore.

One of the main causes of this is that the new Microsoft update process requires the latest version of .NET Framework to be installed.  This is one of those chicken/egg problems as eventually the update process will install the proper version, but typically, the update process slows down or even errors out before this can get installed.

Now the other issue, is that you will need Windows 7 SP1 installed before you can install the updated .NET Framework.  You can use the following link to get SP1 (as well as any troubleshooting you may need in order to get this installed):

Install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

At the time of this post, the latest install for Microsoft .NET offline install for Windows 7 can be downloaded through the following link:

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6.2 (Offline Installer) for Windows 7 SP1

Please also note that .NET Framework can be a large download as well as a long install.  Don’t worry if your system reboots at least once during the process.

Good way to Free up Storage Space

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There are many reasons why you may be running out of storage space, especially on your boot or Drive C: hard drive.  Here is a good way of cleaning things up.

In Windows 10, click the Windows start button and type in 'cleanup' to automatically search your system.  At the top, the 'Disk Cleanup' app should appear. Click on this to start the process.  You should be asked to select which drive if you have more than one drive in your system:

Select the appropriate drive which should be (C:) and then click the OK button to start the scan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the scan completes, you should be presented with the Disk Cleanup app.If you have upgraded your operating system and do not wish to go back, click on the 'Clean up system files' button.

Click the OK button to add these extra files.  Once the form comes back up, select all of the files that you wish to Delete including any temporary files and troubleshooting files.

Click the OK button again and let the process free up some of that space on your hard drive.

Windows 10 File Explorer won’t launch

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I have run into this one quite a bit lately, specially on systems that open numerous files daily. If you go to open Windows Explorer and it either does not run or crashed, this will probably fix the issue for you. The biggest issue is to get to an Explorer window to disable the issue.
First thing to try is the following:

  1. Right click on the File Explorer icon on the task bar and choose 'Unpin from Taskbar'.
  2. Press the 'Windows' key and the 'X' key at the same time, then select 'File Explorer' from the list.
  3. Right click the 'Quick Access' link and select 'Options'.
  4. Under the 'General' tab, choose 'Clear' in the 'Privacy‘ section.  This will help clear the File Explorer history.
  5. If you don’t want to have to do this in the future and you don’t care about seeing a list of previously opened files, you can change the option at the top 'Open File Explorer to:' from 'Quick Access' to 'This PC'.
  6. Click the 'OK' button to close the form.
  7. Right click on any blank spot on your desktop and choose 'New > Shortcut'.
  8. Type in 'C:\Windows\Explorer.exe' and then click 'Next'.
  9. Rename the shortcut to 'File Explorer' and then click 'Finish'.
  10. Right click the newly created short cut and choose 'Pin to Task Bar'.

You should be all good to go at this point.