How to Use Cyberduck To Manage Files Stored in the Cloud

Sometimes it’s useful to store public-facing data in the cloud. When that’s necessary, it’s typically done inside the web application by the end user. They’ll upload their pictures, video or other content quite happily using the app. In that case, there’s no real need for an admin to get involved. But when an admin does need to get involved, the best way is often to go forward by taking a step back.

If you’re a systems administrator looking for a way to manipulate content, the best choice might just be an FTP client. Remember those? In the bad old days before Adobe Muse and other design software started letting you just upload whole websites in the click of a button, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) clients were how things got onto the web. And if you have cloud data you need to get right into and manipulate by hand, they deserve a second look. In particular, Cyberduck merits your attention.

Cyberduck is available in over 30 languages. You can get it for Windows or OSX, and it supports a whole range of FTPs. Standard FTP is in there, and so is SSH FTP, as well as WebDAV, Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, and Openstack Swift. That means that if you’re a user of Rackspace Cloud, HP Cloud, Internap, or any cloud storage systems that use Openstack, you can use Cyberduck. And Google’s Cloud Storage meshes with S3 protocols, so you can connect there too.

Getting set up

After you install Cyberduck – and Bonjour, if you’re a Windows user; it’s optional, but not necessary – click ‘Open Connection.’ You’ll get a drop-down, and from there you can select the protocol you want to configure. Copy and paste your credentials to be allowed access to the system you’re connecting to and click ‘Connect.’ You’ll get a password prompt, and FTP users will get a warning that their password will be sent in plaintext – unencrypted. You can bookmark servers during a session so they’re easy to return to for future sessions.

Manipulating files

You can upload and download files with a simple drag and drop. There’s a queue manager for batch upload files and you can view the progress of those uploads. Click the ‘Get Info’ button and you’ll be given the option to manage attributes, and you’ll also be able to configure data on traditional web servers so it can be distributed with Amazon CloudFront, Memset Memstone and Akamai. You can edit files through an external editor, and upload revisions from a temporary stored file.

What about security?

Cyberduck stands out from other FTP clients because its FTP functionality is actually the least important part of what it can do. It also stands out because the majority of FTP clients aren’t great for security, but Cyberduck is. You’re constantly being reminded that standard FTP means your passwords and other data are being sent unencrypted. That’s because FTP was introduced in the 1970s, before encryption was seen as a major issue and certainly before SSL. But FTP continues to be offered on many servers anyway. Many traditional FTP clients leave no alternative, and the best you can usually hope for is SSH FTP. Instead of these limited options, Cyberduck gives cloud access, offering better security too.

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Top 3 Cyber Security Risks for 2015

2014 saw an explosion of concern about cybersecurity, as more and more of life moves online – especially financial life. When big companies and even government agencies were hacked and millions of people’s details were leaked, we all sat up and took notice. But what form will the dangers of cyberspace take in the year ahead?

Cybersecurity is a major mainstream issue. Hacking experts warn that 2014 was the beginning of a new arms race between legitimate web users, companies and even governments, and ever-more-sophisticated hackers on the other. 2015 will see traditional cybercrime like internet password fraud continue, but there will also be brand new threats to accompany new technology.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is the name given to the web of communicating smart devices that will increasingly predominate in our homes and workplaces. When the toaster talks to the fridge and the doorbell communicates with the garage door, that’s great – but it’s great for hackers, too. John Nesbitt is the founder of Cyber Senate, a council of the world’s cybersecurity business leaders. His group believes that ‘the IoT presents unique security challenges in terms of the number of connected devices present,’ and that makes it ‘the main cybersecurity risk for 2015.’

In fact, it’s possible that many of the Things in the IoT have already been hacked – or come ‘pre-hacked’ with spychips. In any case, they’re far from secure: ‘we have sacrificed security for efficiency,’ concludes Mr. Nesbitt.

Cyber-espionage

Governments, non-governmental organizations and other groups are already busily engaged in cyber espionage, including data gathering as well as hacking and other activities. Non-governmental political groups are already players in this game – witness the Syrian Electronic Army’s antics in 2014.

McAffee’s ‘2015 Threat Predictions’ document warns that cyber-espionage attacks are likely to increase in frequency in 2015 and that ‘newcomers will look for ways to steal money and disrupt their adversaries,’ while the information-gathering behind the scenes will become more sophisticated.

Cyber theft

It’s almost certain that cyber theft will rise in 2015, for two interconnected reasons. One is that more people will do more business online. The other is that an increasing proportion of those will be relative novices who lack good cyber-security habits and knowledge.

Some of the risk is out of consumers’ hands, too. In many cases, ‘the payment technology used won’t protect against retailers who aren’t storing payment card data securely, and they will still need to be vigilant in protecting stored data,’ says Symantec Security’s Candid Wüest.

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What if that’s your last phone?

The ubiquity of mobile phone technology makes the idea that you could be holding your last ever phone seem slightly ridiculous. Barring catastrophes, why would we suddenly stop using a technology we so evidently love? Because we basically already have.

What is a phone exactly?

We still call the devices we use so much ‘phones,’ but it’s increasingly obvious that the difference between a phone, a phablet and a tablet is… whatever manufacturers can get us to say it is. The device you can send your emails from, browse the web via apps or browsers or both, take pictures and communicate via instant message services, will also let you make voice calls. And that’s about all it has in common with the old cord-and-handset machines we used to call phones. (Speaking of which, as of 2013, about 30% of Americans didn’t have a landline at all!)

What do we actually use our phones for?

The telephone is for talking to people. But increasingly, that doesn’t describe our phones at all. what we actually do with them is move data. And the amount we’re moving is huge and growing.

Something else that seems to be huge and growing is the phones themselves, and the same cause is at the root of both effects. That would be the 4G technology known as LTE. LTE lets you move gigantic quantities of data over 4G networks, but it’s energy-hungry. Hence the size of phones, which are growing to accommodate bigger batteries in back and bigger screens in front.

Even when you do make a phone call, it’s not really a phone call

You talk into a phone and your voice is turned into electronic signals and transmitted. That was true when you had to wind phones up and it’s still true. but the way it’s done has changed fundamentally. 3G and older cell networks used dedicated connections to move your voice: virtual landlines, preserving the phone-ness of phone calls. But 4G and LTE don’t do that. Your voice becomes data packets, just like the rest of the internet. Even when you make a phone call, you’re really using a technology that has more in common with Facetime or Skype than with anything Alexander Graham Bell would have recognised. You might already have had your last phone.

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The Most Innovative Tech Products of 2014 – and What To Look Out For This Year

2014 was a killer year for innovative tech products – some of which represented improvements on existing technology, while others pointed ahead to whole new worlds. Here are the top X innovative tech products of 2014 – plus X to watch out for in the year ahead!

1: Virtual reality

If Oculus Crescent sounds like a transformer, that’s appropriate. The Oculus Crescent Cove VR headset is the latest offering from the virtual reality company Facebook bought for $2bn in 2014. VR has been a perpetual flop for tech companies, but Oculus might be the ones to make a go of it, especially now the graphics and other tech is in place to support it. And with Facebook’s reach behind it, we might be hearing a lot more about it in 2015. (Alternatively, Google Cardboard offers a different take on things…

2: Virtual currency

Bitcoin came of age in 2014, and mobile payment methods like Apple Pay and similar offerings from Google and Paypal are set to make us forget, not only cash, but physical payment of any kind, even credit cards. Being able to pay directly with a smartphone sounds pretty innovative now, but by next year, it might just be normal.

3: The best of everything, ever

Apple made a desktop with the best screen ever, its near-15-million-pixel, 27 – inch iMac Retina display. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 has the best screen that’s ever been in a smartphone. And the iPhone 6 has the best camera ever put in a smartphone, while Android got enough of a reboot to make it a serious contender. Even already extant technologies got way better in 2014.

4: And for my next trick…

What does the coming year have up its sleeve?

Microsoft is releasing Windows 10, designed as a multiplatform OS that will work on smartphones, laptops, desktops, and even the Xbox. It’s also got a bundled browser that isn’t Internet Explorer!

Samsung expects to be able to ship a bendable phone by the end of the year. The company foresees mass-producing flexible displays before the end of 2015. And, finally, hot on the heels of the world’s largest iPad comes… a really huge, 12-inch iPad, the iPad Pro, blurring the line between laptops and tablets.

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The Best 3 Alternatives to Basecamp

Basecamp is 37Signals’ flagship project management software. Originally created as a tool to let freelancers manage projects, it’s gradually added functionality and customers until it’s now the most popular content management software solution out there.

It’s not all roses for Basecamp though. Because it’s so simple, many people complain that even basic functions like the ability to assign tasks to multiple people or even time tracking, are absent. And unlike when Basecamp was first thought of, there’s some serious competition now.

1: ActiveCollab

ActiveCollab comes in web-based and self-hosted, and it has some pretty heavyweight customers, including Stanford University and the British BBC, as well as Adobe. It’s integrated with Xero for time tracking and invoicing, and starts at $25 a month for a package that gets you 5 users, 5GB of storage and unlimited projects. If you want unlimited users, projects and storage you can go up to the $299 per month premium package, and you can even buy an self-hosted version of the software for $499 and put it on your own servers.

2: Asana

Asana promises ‘teamwork without email’ (subtext: project management without Basecamp). It offers Google Drive integration, and the ability to forward emails to Asana and have it turned into a task automatically, and it also offers a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts to shave off seconds. Asana is free for the first 15 users and goes up to $50 per month for 16-30 users, and tops out at $800 for 100 users. There are unlimited projects and tasks, as well as private projects and teams.

3: Freedcamp

Freedcamp is designed to emulate Basecamp: it’s an alternative because it’s a free knock-off, ‘the closest free alternative you will ever get to Basecamp,’ in the company’s own words. Freedcamp is good enough to number ABC, Chase Bank and even Google among its customers, so its simple, Basecamp-like user interface and array of group communication tools that include a wall, browser alerts and social media integration means it’s basic but effective. In reality Freedcamp is only free if you’re happy with just 20MB of storage. If you want more, you’ll have to upgrade, to 1GB of storage for $2.49 per month or unlimited storage for $39.99 per month.

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