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New Ransomware Kit Materials Added
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 18 August 2016 03:17 PM

Things change and so it’s time to update the ransomware prevention kit. Some items are new, some are updated. Look at the file dates in the OneDrive share to determine what’s been updated.

If you’re already a Ransomware kit customer go to shared in your OneDrive account to review the kit contents again.

Here’s a list:

  • UpdatedGP. ZIP This folder contains updated versions of all of the group policies. This was necessary to include the new Microsoft requirement that all group policies include a delegation to domain computers. Include software exceptions, zip, java/sliverlight block policies.
  • Resources has an added link to a ransomware summary spreadsheet
  • Protection from Javascripts is a document showing you how to prevent javascripts from running automatically
  • Recovery Key has been updated including more links to published un-encryption keys
  • Fake Ransomware is what it says it is. It is a running fake ransom screen that you can use for training

I have a stash of few more items that are still in editing and testing. So expect some more changes to the kit next month.

Don’t have your ransomware prevention kit yet? Buy it here:

About Third Tier

Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.




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Announcing our Women in IT Scholarship Program
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 01 August 2016 10:01 PM

Third Tier is very excited to announce a Women in IT scholarship fund.

We are pleased to provide $10,000 to launch our scholarship fund. With this fund we will reimburse the exam fee for women who have successfully passed an IT or DEV certification exam. Exams fees are typically $150-$300.

Why are we doing this? Third Tier is a woman-owned business. I might not be here today, owning 3 IT businesses, if my aunt had not given me the money to take my first IT certification exam. This is my way of paying it forward. It shouldn’t be the case that women only make up such a small percentage of professionals in this field. This is our way of helping the women that are here get noticed.

For more information about how to get reimbursed women should visit our Women in IT Scholarship page. 

We are accepting donations to replenish the fund. That link is also available  at

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The new PatchGrid is here!
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 29 July 2016 01:03 PM

June and July’s patches have been anything but smooth. But Susan to the rescue. Her information gathering will keep you safe from that Windows 7 slowdown that’s going around or your Hyper-V hosts refusing to update any further and help you set priorities.


Download it now


Helping IT Professionals is all we do!

Not a Third Tier customer yet? Let me introduce:  We’re Third Tier. We provide advanced Third Tier support for IT Professionals and MicroStaffing for IT consulting firms.

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How to Copy VHD's in Azure
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 26 July 2016 04:43 PM

I’m so glad that moving data around in Azure is easy now! It wasn’t that long ago that I had to move data from subscription to subscription or upload data from on-premises into Azure and frankly it was a pain involving loading several powershell cmdlets after first loading up all of the powershell modules that they required but all of that has changed with a tool called AZCopy.

AZCopy does a lot of things that I will let you discover but I’ll show what it’s like to copy vhd’s from one storage container to another.

On the AZCopy website there are a bunch of pre-made command lines available for you to copy. Here’s the one I used.


AzCopy /Source: /Dest: /SourceKey:key /DestKey:key /Pattern:abc.txt

Next I went into my Azure portal and grabbed the information I need to fill out the command.

The URL of my source storage container

The URL of my destination container

My Site Key

The names of the two files that I wanted to copy.

Paste that information in and you get the commands below. (heavily redacted of course)



Notice those copy times! 1 second for a 50GB VHD and 3 second for the 127GB VHD. Why so fast? This is speculation on my part but most likely because Azure uses deduplication (it does) and so when you make a copy of something all it needs to do is create a new pointer. I love data dedup!

So now I’m ready to use my copied disks in a new VM where we’re going to be testing some webapp design changes.


Helping IT Professionals is all we do!

Not a Third Tier customer yet? Let me introduce:  We’re Third Tier. We provide advanced Third Tier support for IT Professionals and MicroStaffing for IT consulting firms.

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Error uploading media into WordPress
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 20 July 2016 02:22 PM

Amy posts things that Harbor Computer Services, her MSP, runs into in the hopes that it might help your MSP.

Started to have a problem uploading additional photos into the media library in WordPress. When uploading it would appear to work, show the file there, but no preview and when you clicked on it to edit the file an error message presented that says the file contains no content.

Solution: After opening a ticket with ENOM our wonderful host, they immediate determined that an upgrade in PHP from 5.3 to the latest version our site would support, 5.6, would fix it.

To fix this, please go into the PHP Settings of each domain.  You’ll want to set the PHP Support to the highest version your site supports.  Then you’ll want to make sure the “short_open_tag” setting is set to On.


By default our hosting service sets “short_open_tag” to On so there was nothing for us to change there. The PHP setting was simply a drop down box to pick the new version.

Everything is working like a charm after changing that setting. As a bonus, the website is also faster loading too.


Helping IT Professionals is all we do! So hire our experts by the hour to give you a hand. Just open a ticket.

Not a Third Tier customer yet? Let me introduce:  We’re Third Tier. We provide advanced Third Tier support for IT Professionals and MicroStaffing for IT consulting firms.

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