An Important Message from Barry Zack

Dear All,

Recently, my wife – Linda – and I decided to consider my retirement options. I have had an amazing career including stops at Computer Sciences Corporation and Progressive Insurance. Being a consultant allowed me to travel the world and to solve the most complex IT issues of the day. However, in the back of my mind I was yearning to be closer to my family. And in 2007, we decided to acquire Pantek, which allowed me to work with my wife and my son – Richard – on a daily basis.

Over the years Pantek has consistently grown. I took great pride in solving the myriad of IT issues on behalf of our clients. Some of my best moments at Pantek were working with our employees to quietly surprise our clients with creative solutions and great customer service. Our clients mean everything to us. It humbles me that we now have superb clients in all 50 states and in 35 countries around the globe. Amazing.

And so it is with great emotion I inform you that Linda and I decided to sell the majority of the company to a Cleveland, OH-based investment group. It was a decision that we did not make lightly, having heavily vetted the incoming investment and new management team.

Over the next few weeks a transition plan will be put into place. Richard will stay on in his current role of Chief Technology Officer to help focus the strategic needs and tactical plans to grow the company. A new board of directors will assume the key planning needs of Pantek. And finally, I get to introduce to you the new CEO of Pantek – Michael Fischer (see his note below). Michael was formerly the CEO of Thinsolutions, which he successfully grew and sold to Konica Minolta. I really believe he is going to grow Pantek with a continuing focus on our customers and our employees.

I will be staying on board for a while as an interim COO helping Michael get his “sea legs” with the business. But I am always available to hear from you. I look forward to the conversations.

Thank you for being a part of Pantek.

Barry Zack
Interim Chief Operating Officer – Pantek

An Important Message from Michael Fischer

To the Great Clients of Pantek:

I am very proud and humbled to take over the reins at Pantek from Barry Zack. Barry and his family – wife Linda and son Richard – have built a wonderful company and culture. The plan very simply is to continue the great tradition and build upon the excellent reputation that Pantek has developed over the years.

One of the early draws for me to Pantek is the fact that the systems and processes that have been developed will enable the business to be grown while still delivering the same excellent service that Pantek clients have come to count on.

We intend to keep the same fantastic personnel that you have come to know and love and our intention is to add talent and technology where necessary so we can offer a broader scope of services in the future. We will be investing aggressively in Pantek and our intention is that those investments will directly increase the value that Pantek can bring to you.

I want you to know that I am committed to you as a client of Pantek. As the CEO of Thinsolutions for many years, I would like to think that we grew as fast as we did because we focused on the needs and the business goals of our clients. Rest assured that I will work to enhance Pantek’s already strong client relationships.

I am eager to talk to you about your business, the goals you have and how Pantek might be able to assist. If you have any questions or comments about this transition please call or email me at mfischer@pantek.com or at 216-344-1614 x204.

Regards,

Michael Fischer
Chief Executive Officer – Pantek

Critical Linux vulnerability announced: Ghost bug

A major security exploit has recently been identified and announced by security experts, nicknamed the “Ghost Bug”. It is especially severe because it potentially allows remote users to gain complete root control over Linux servers.

“Ghost” affects most Linux distributions. Resolving the vulnerability requires updating the glibc package AND rebooting your server.

All Pantek consultants have been advised of this issue, and trained in the appropriate response procedure. If you would like our assistance to determine if your server is indeed vulnerable, or to fix the vulnerability, please open a ticket with us at https://portal.pantek.com/clientarea.php

For most installations, we can typically resolve the issue within 15 minutes. Some custom or more complex installations may require more time.

Pantek clients who have purchased Level 2 or Level 3 Managed Service Plans will receive a separate notification, as management of these third-party security issues is included without incurring extra charges. You can find more details on our Managed Service Plans here:

http://www.pantek.com/managed

You can read more about this vulnerability here:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/01/highly-critical-ghost-allowing-code-execution-affects-most-linux-systems/

What is the POODLE bug and how can I check/patch my server?

A new exploit has hit the internet in the form of a vulnerability of a legacy encyption implementation, SSLv3.  The POODLE bug exploits an older encryption protocol and may allow a hacker to gain access to a secure session between a client and server utilizing SSLv3.  More info on Poodle can be found here: http://www.troyhunt.com/2014/10/everything-you-need-to-know-about.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TroyHunt+%28Troy+Hunt%29

Transport Layer Security (TLS) and its predecessor, SSLv3, are commonly used to encrypt data between a user and their web server and provide a secure connection for the user. If a secure connection between the browser and the web server cannot be negotiated using the most updated version of TLS, it will downgrade to make the connection using an older version of SSL such as SSLv3. This is where the problem starts because the flaw in SSLv3 may allow hackers to gain access to encrypted information such as HTTP cookies used in the session via a man-in-the-middle attack.

This vulnerability is not as critical as Shellshock or Heartbleed as attackers cannot exploit this flaw remotely. However, it is important to fix this issue as it could put sensitive data at risk of being exposed.

This attack requires both the client and the server to be using SSLv3 in order to be exploited.  The easiest way to protect yourself is to upgrade one or both ends of the connection.  On the client side, the only browser that still does not support TLS is Internet Explorer 6.  Fixing this bug will effectively leave IE6 users out in the cold, security-wise.  Modern browsers have the capability to turn off SSLv3 connections.  See: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/poodle-fix-how-to,news-19775.html

On the server side, you can disable SSLv3 in Apache relatively easily:

On CentOS, modify the file /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf
On Ubuntu, modify the file /etc/apache2/mods-available/ssl.conf

Find the SSLProtocol line (add it if it doesn’t exist) and change it to read:
SSLProtocol all -SSLv3 -SSLv2

Save and then restart Apache:
sudo service apache2 restart

On Plesk Panel servers, please be aware that if you’ve made any custom Apache changes to individual sites, you may have to make this modification on each site’s configuration file  (usually located at: var/www/vhosts/{domain_name}/conf/vhost_ssl.conf)

You can test your site to see if it is vulnerable to the POODLE bug at: https://www.poodlescan.com/

All Pantek Support Engineers have been advised of this issue, and trained in the appropriate response procedure. If you would like our assistance in determining if your server has been affected, or to fix the vulnerability, please open a Support Ticket via the Pantek Portal: https://portal.pantek.com

Typically, our team can determine if your server is vulnerable, and apply to appropriate fixes with a time expenditure of 15 minutes, although this may vary with certain configurations.

Pantek Clients who have purchased a Managed Service Plan (Standard, Premium, or Platinum) will receive a separate notification, as management of these third-party security issues is included without incurring extra charges.

You can find more details on our Managed Service Plans here:  http://www.pantek.com/managed

Thank you for your attention to this critical security issue.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Major New Security Vulnerability Alert

A major security exploit has recently been identified and announced by security experts, nicknamed Shellshock. It is especially severe because it potentially allows remote users to gain complete root control over Unix, Linux, and OSX servers through an exploit in the Bash shell.

Due to the extreme severity rating of this vulnerability (10), we are informing all Pantek clients, and encourage you to check your server status immediately.

You can find out more details of this vulnerability here:

http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2014-6271

This vulnerability affects versions 1.14 through 4.3 of GNU Bash.

Patches have been issued by many of the major Linux distribution vendors for affected versions, including:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (versions 4 through 7) and the Fedora distribution
  • CentOS (versions 5 through 7)
  • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, 12.04 LTS, and 14.04 LTS
  • Debian

All Pantek Support Engineers have been advised of this issue, and trained in the appropriate response procedure. If you would like our assistance in determining if your GNU Bash has been affected, or to fix the vulnerability, please open a Support Ticket via the Pantek Portal: https://portal.pantek.com

Typically, our team can determine if your server is vulnerable, and apply to appropriate fixes with a time expenditure of 15 minutes, although this may vary with certain configurations.

Pantek Clients who have purchased a Managed Service Plan (Standard, Premium, or Platinum) will receive a separate notification, as management of these third-party security issues is included without incurring extra charges.

You can find more details on our Managed Service Plans here: 

http://www.pantek.com/managed

Thank you for your attention to this critical security issue.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Major New SSL Vulnerability

A major new SSL vulnerability has been recently identified by security experts, nicknamed the “CCS Injection Vulnerability” or “MITM CCS Injection Attack”. It is especially severe because it allows anyone on the Internet to decrypt your encrypted data sent using SSL/TLS and HTTPS technologies, at any point between your server and the client accessing your encrypted data. Attackers can eavesdrop and modify your encrypted communications if your both your server and the client is vulnerable; and can completely hijack the authenticated session, even if only the server is vulnerable.

You can find out more details of this vulnerability here:
http://ccsinjection.lepidum.co.jp/

To determine if your server(s) are vulnerable, check what version of OpenSSL is installed. All OpenSSL versions ARE vulnerable EXCEPT these listed below:

OpenSSL 1.0.1h is NOT vulnerable
OpenSSL 1.0.0m is NOT vulnerable
OpenSSL 0.9.8za is NOT vulnerable

If your server(s) are vulnerable, in order to fix this vulnerability, you will need to upgrade your version of OpenSSL; and ideally completely re-issue and re-install all your SSL certificate(s).

All Pantek Support Engineers have been advised of this issue, and trained in the appropriate response procedure. If you would like our assistance to determine if your server(s) are indeed vulnerable, or to fix the vulnerability, please contact our support team using any of the normal methods. For fastest response, we recommend opening a Support Ticket via the Pantek Portal: https://portal.pantek.com

Typically, our team can determine if your server is vulnerable with a time expenditure of 15 minutes. Vulnerable servers can typically be patched and SSL certificates replaced with an additional 30-45 minute time expenditure, but this may vary with certain configurations.

Pantek Clients who have purchased a Managed Service Plan (Standard, Premium, or Platinum) will receive a separate notification, as management of these third-party security issues without incurring extra charges. You can find more details on our Managed Service Plans here:

http://www.pantek.com/managed

Thank you for your attention to this critical security issue.

New Pantek Service Offerings

As part of our continuing mission to offer the best Linux and Open Source Services on the planet, Pantek is pleased to announce three new professional service offerings:

Recurring Technical Support Services –  you can now order our Expert Technical Support Services on an automatic recurring term – monthly, quarterly, or annually — for a reduced rate. This new, optional feature is helpful for customers who require an active support contract at all times.

While Pantek has offered a range of Expert Linux Security Services since 1999 as part of our Hourly Tech Support Services, we are now offering two Fixed Price security products:
Server Security Audits: a comprehensive Linux Server Security Audit performed by our Expert Engineers for a fixed price of $1599. Includes a detailed report & recommendations.
Server Security Hardening: recommended for all Linux Servers, our Expert Engineers harden your server against a wide variety of potential security vulnerabilities for $499.


More information on these new offerings can be found at the links above
, and you can be order through either the Pantek Store or the Pantek Client Portal.

Our passion, focus, and experience has always been providing administration, consulting, support, and security services for Linux and Open Source Software. These new offerings expand the range of options for our clients. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

Pantek-team

IMPORTANT NOTICE – Major Security Vulnerability “Heartbleed Bug”

A Major Vulnerability, nicknamed the “Heartbleed Bug” by security experts, has been identified. It is especially severe because it allows anyone on the Internet access to your encrypted data sent using SSL/TLS and HTTPS technologies. This compromises the secret keys used to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. It allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users. You can find out more details of this vulnerability here: http://heartbleed.com

To determine if your server is vulnerable, you will need to check what version of OpenSSL is installed on your server. All OpenSSL versions 1.01 through 1.0.1f are vulnerable, but the following versions are already secure (and no further action would be required):

OpenSSL 1.0.1g is NOT vulnerable
OpenSSL 1.0.0 branch is NOT vulnerable
OpenSSL 0.9.8 branch is NOT vulnerable

If your server is vulnerable, in order to fix this vulnerability, you will need to both (a) Upgrade your version of OpenSSL; and (b) Completely re-issue and re-install all your SSL certificate(s).

All Pantek Support Engineers have been advised of this issue, and trained in the appropriate response procedure. If you would like our assistance to determine if your server(s) are indeed vulnerable, or to fix the vulnerability, please contact our support team using any of the normal methods. For fastest response, we recommend opening a Support Ticket via the Pantek Portal: https://portal.pantek.com

Typically, our team can determine if your server is vulnerable with a time expenditure of 15 minutes. Vulnerable servers can typically be patched and SSL certificates replaced with an additional 30-45 minute time expenditure.

Pantek Clients who have purchased a Managed Service Plan (Standard, Premium, or Platinum) will receive a separate notification, as management of these third-party security issues occurs without extra charges. You can find more details on our Managed Service Plans here:

http://www.pantek.com/managed

Thank you for your attention to this critical security issue.

New Client Service Portal

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Client Support Portal!

This free Portal enhances your support experience with Pantek with several features:

– Open new Expert Linux Technical Support Tickets online in minutes
– View past Technical Support Tickets from 2012 until the present
– Check account Time Balance and purchase additional Support Time
– Add and manage authorized account contacts who can open Tickets
– View past invoices, update credit card and all billing information

If you were one of our beta testers, you already have access and can continue using all features. If not, a new account login & password will be emailed to you this week.

You can access the Portal directly here: https://portal.pantek.com/

We hope you find this free Portal useful. Thank you for choosing Pantek!

Pantek Logo

Pantek has a new office!

Same great staff, same great services! Now moved into our new office.

Pantek, Inc.
4401 Rockside Road #205
Independence, Ohio 44131

1-216-344-1614 or
Toll Free:
1-877-546-8934

Fax: 1-216-524-1522
Pantek Business Hours:
9:00am to 6:00pm Eastern Time Monday- Friday.

Technical Support Services are available 24/7/365, and you can order online.

If you would like more information about any of our professional services sent to you, please fill out our online information request form, and information will be sent within a business day.

Pantek Inc. earns Re-Certification with Green Plus

Congratulations to Pantek Inc. of Independence, OH, for earning re-Certification with Green Plus.

Located outside of Cleveland, Pantek Inc. offers IT services and technical support to clients.  Owners Barry and Linda Zack have always operated their business with the environment in mind, from their office space to their equipment.  The Zacks even take time out to plant trees to not only offset their carbon emissions, but also to give back to the community to improve the local environment.

“We’re pleased to accept our renewed Green Plus certification,” says Barry.  ”As the understanding of sustainability evolves, we’ve kept up, made improvements, and continue to work to improve the environment, maintain a viable ongoing business, and increase our community involvement.  This will continue to be one of our top priorities.”

Congratulations to Pantek!

Green Plus
Green Plus (gogreenplus.org) educates, motivates, and recognizes smaller enterprises for their efforts towards becoming more sustainable. They are here to offer tangible, practical tips and expertise in sustainability.