October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

It is that time of the year again folks! As stated on the Department of Homeland Security Website,

This October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is commemorating its 15th year as an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity.  NCSAM 2018 is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the Nation during cyber-threats.  DHS is the federal, national lead for NCSAM.  DHS also co-leads NCSAM with the National Cyber Security Alliance.

A colleague of mine gave me a report about publicly available hacking tools that was released by the National Cyber Security Centre.  I found it very informative; get your copy of the report in the link below…

Joint report on publicly available hacking tools (NCSC)

Breakdown of different types of WSUS Updates

Recently, I had to explain the difference between the types of updates showing in our SCCM update catalog and figured that it might be helpful to others looking for a detailed explanation.

The update categories are as follows:

 

A security-only quality update:

• A single update containing all new security fixes for that month
• This will be published only to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), where it can be consumed by other tools like ConfigMgr, and the Windows Update Catalog, where it can be downloaded for use with other tools or processes. You won’t see this package offered to PCs that talk to Windows Update.
• This will be published to WSUS using the “Security Updates” classification, with the severity set to the highest level of any of the security fixes included in the update.
• This (like all updates) will have a unique KB number.
• This security-only update will be released on Update Tuesday (commonly referred to as “Patch Tuesday”), the second Tuesday of the month. (This is also referred to as a “B week” update.)

A security monthly quality rollup:

• A single update containing all new security fixes for that month (the same ones included in the security-only update released at the same time), as well as fixes from all previous monthly rollups. This can also be called the “monthly rollup.”
• This will be published to Windows Update (where all consumer PCs will install it), WSUS, and the Windows Update Catalog. The initial monthly rollup released in October will only have new security updates from October, as well as the non-security updates from September.
• This will be published to WSUS using the “Security Updates” classification. Since this monthly rollup will contain the same new security fixes as the security-only update, it will have the same severity as the security-only update for that month.
• With WSUS, you can enable support for “express installation files” to ensure that client PCs only download the pieces of a particular monthly rollup that they haven’t already installed, to minimize the network impact.
• This (like all updates) will have a unique KB number.
• This monthly rollup will be released on Update Tuesday (also known as “Patch Tuesday), the second Tuesday of the month. (This is also referred to as a “B week” update.)

A preview of the security monthly quality rollup:

• An additional monthly rollup containing a preview of new non-security fixes that will be included in the next monthly rollup, as well as fixes from all previous monthly rollup. This can also be called the “preview rollup.”
• This preview rollup will be released on the third Tuesday of the month (also referred to as the “C week”).
• This will be published to WSUS using the “Updates” classification as an optional update. It will also be available via Windows Update (where all consumer PCs will install it) and on the Windows Update Catalog.
• With WSUS, you can enable support for “express installation files” to ensure that client PCs only download the pieces of a particular monthly rollup that they haven’t already installed, to minimize the network impact.
• Starting in early 2017 and continuing for several months, older fixes will also be added to the preview rollup, so it will eventually become fully cumulative; installing the latest monthly rollup will then get your PC completely up to date.
• This (like all updates) will have a unique KB number.

Mojave has arrived…make sure to create your bootable USB drive now!

As expected, Apple has released their latest desktop OS (Mojave 10.14) to the masses.  Aside from setting up a new virtual machine that I use for testing the latest OSs, one of the next things I like to do is create my own bootable USB Flash Drive that I use to perform clean installs on other Macs with.

Here are the steps I followed which resulted in the successful creation of a bootable USB Flash Drive with Mojave ready to install:

Step 1: Format the USB Drive to be Bootable
This is going to format the drive so that it will be a bootable installer, without doing this the drive may not be bootable. If you don’t want to erase the drive, find one you don’t mind formatting instead.  Connect the USB drive to the Mac and launch Disk Utility, then select that USB drive from the left side drive list (be sure you select the USB drive you want to make the bootable installer from)  Click on the “Erase” tab and format the drive as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled), then choose “Erase” and confirm.  Next go to the “Partition” tab and under ‘Partition Layout’ click on the pulldown menu, changing it from “Current” to “1 Partition”.  Change the name to “Untitled” from ‘Untitled 1′ then click on the “Options” button.  Choose “GUID Partition Table” as the partition scheme and choose “OK”.  Click “Apply” and confirm the creation of the partition.  Quit out of Disk Utility when finished.  Now that the drive is ready, you can move on to making the actual installer.

Step 2: Making the macOS Mojave Installer Drive
The next step will actually make the installer drive from the previously formatted USB disk.  If you already have the macOS Mojave installer application in the /Applications/ folder on the Mac, you can skip directly to the “Terminal” part.  Download macOS Mojave from the Mac App Store.  DO NOT INSTALL IT!  When the download completes and the “Install macOS Mojave” app launches, quit out of it immediately then quit the installer.  Launch Terminal app and enter the following command exactly as shown below, copy and paste works fine:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app –nointeraction

Enter the administrator password when requested (this is required to use the sudo command – the password will not show up and it looks as if you’re not entering anything, that is normal behavior for the command line), then hit the RETURN key to start making the installer.  You’ll see a series of message like the following, let it finish until you see the “Done” message – this may take a while as multiple GB of data have to be transferred:
“Erasing Disk: 0%… 10%… 20%… 30%…100%…
Copying installer files to disk…
Copy complete.
Making disk bootable…
Copying boot files…
Copy complete.
Done.”

When finished and the terminal reads “Done”, exit out of Terminal, you’re ready to use the newly created bootable installer drive!  Good luck!

Common SCCM Site System Roles

Recently I was asked to give a breakdown of the different site roles within SCCM.  Hopefully this serves as a good reference for those requesting it and/or needing it:

Software update point   A site system role that runs Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and allows Configuration Manager to use the WSUS catalog to scan Configuration Manager clients for software updates.

  • Application Catalog web service point: A site system role that serves as an Application Catalog web service point.
  • Component server: Any server requiring a Configuration Manager service to be installed.
  • Distribution point: A Configuration Manager server role that stages packages for distribution to clients.
  • Endpoint Protection point: A site system role that serves as a endpoint protection point.
  • Management point: A site system role that replies to Configuration Manager client requests and accepts management data from Configuration Manager clients.
  • Site server: The main site system role that hosts the Configuration Manager components and services.
  • Site system: A server or server share that hosts one or more site system roles for a Configuration Manager site.
  • Component server: Any server requiring a Configuration Manager service to be installed.
  • Reporting services point: A site system role that  provides integration with SQL Server Reporting Services to create and manage reports for Configuration Manager.

Welcome New Readers!

Hi Everyone…My name is Thomas Abouriali and welcome to the OCD Techs Blog!  I hope for it to become a must read for those who are seeking knowledge and advice on how to resolve technology issues stemming from products created by companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google.  My purpose for creating this blog is to spread the knowledge I have obtained during my 25 year love affair with all things technology.  When reflecting upon the journey I have taken to get to where I’m at today, I’m amazed at how many things have changed since I was a young boy ripping apart my first PC and learning how to put it back together with no help.  Nowadays, everything is so specialized from a software perspective but the one thing that has not changed is my obsession for learning about all the latest innovations that technology has to offer.  This is the primary reason why I named this the OCD Techs Blog…it is a tribute to a lifetime of obsession, curiosity, and obtaining knowledge to help better serve others both personally and professionally.  Not only do I plan on writing about all things tech, I also plan on keeping things “light” so to speak and want to write about other things I “obsess” about! 🙂  I hope you will join me on this journey and feel free to chime in with your questions, thoughts, or comments at any time and please spread the word to others who may be interested in reading!