EMV Credit Card Chips Don’t Stop Fraud

EMV Thief - @SeniorDBA

New chip-enabled credit cards, known as EMV cards, which started rolling out to U.S. consumers starting in 2015 were intended to stop credit card fraud. Credit card companies like Europay, Mastercard, and Visa promoted EMV (which are the initials of the companies promoting the standard) as a merchant-funded way to force transactions over to a process known as “chip-and-PIN” where the computer chip inside the card would virtually eliminate illegal credit card cloning by organized crime.

A report from Gemini Advisory, a research firm, is showing that there were more than 60 million cases of credit card theft in the last 12 months. It also shows that 93% of the stolen cards used the new EMV chip technology that the card companies said would eliminate this type of crime.

The report states: “45.8 million…records [were] likely compromised through card-sniffing and point-of-sale (POS) breaches of businesses such as Saks, Lord & Taylor, Jason’s Deli, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Forever 21, and Whole Foods. To break it down even further, 90% or 41.6 million of those records were EMV chip-enabled,” which is stunning information.

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Visual Studio 2019 Roadmap

Visual Studio - @SeniorDBA

Microsoft has released their planning calendar for future versions Visual Studio. In this newly released roadmap, Microsoft detailed some of the features that will be coming to the IDE in Q1 of 2019.

As requested by the user community, there is improved Xamarin.Forms support in Visual Studio 2019, it will also be multi-monitor dots per inch aware (which should help improve clarity on monitors with different DPIs and resolutions), and some services will also be moved to the background to improve load times.

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SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 3 is released by Microsoft

SQL Server - @seniorDBAMicrosoft announced on 10/31/2018 that they have released SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 3 (SP3). It is free and you are encouraged to download and apply the patch immediately.

The new SP3 patch comes two years after the last service pack and Microsoft says it brings some new capabilities like “performance, scalability and diagnostics” improvements.

This is a “cumulative update” which means that you can upgrade all editions and patch levels of SQL Server 2014 to the latest SQL Server 2014 SP3. This means it contains all past SQL Server 2014 hotfixes, so you don’t have to do anything around checking patch levels or applying hot fixes before applying this update.

Microsoft’s announcement lists improvements expected by installing the SP3 fixes. It’s a long list that you can read here:

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Using Nmap to easily find SQL Server Instances

Nmap and SQL Server

Nmap is a free, popular, and powerful port scanning tool that is available for multiple Operating Systems, including Windows. Although it looks like a simple port scanning utility, it has a lot of potential to help a understaffed data expert find SQL Server instances on your network.

Nmap does a few things very well, if you know how to use the tool:

  • Detecting which systems are listening on the network via pings (ICMP protocol).
  • Checking an IP Address even if it’s not responding to pings (great for appliances that might be configured to not respond to pings).
  • Scanning ports on those discovered hosts to see which ports are open.
  • Identifying which operating system the discovered host is running.
  • Identify what program or service is listening on each detected port.

All of the abilities make Nmap a great tool for detecting Microsoft SQL Server installations, even if you can’t find them from within the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

Note: Many network people view Nmap as a “hacking” tool, so if you’re going to use this tool within your organization make sure you have alerted your management and networking team to verify they understand what you are doing and to settle any authorization questions. Some people will really freak out, so just know that going into this demo and understand the risk involved.

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Set the Minimum and Maximum Memory in SQL Server

RAM - @SeniorDBA

SQL Server will dynamically adjust how much memory it uses while assuming it can use a much memory as it can find on your database server. You can configure minimum and maximum amounts allowed with some simple settings, which can prevent SQL Server from consuming too much memory and causing other issues. The easiest way to set the minimum and maximum values is to use the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

Open SSMS and right-click the database server, then click on Properties in the menu. Select the Memory page to show the options available to set minimum and maximum server memory (in MB). 16MB is the smallest number that can be entered and largest is 2,147,483,647MB (2,048TB which is the default value). You can set this to a more realistic value for your environment based on sizing calculations and how much memory is expected to be available once Windows is loaded and any other programs are started.

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How Microsoft made C# Open Source

Open Source - @SeniorDBA

The powerful C# general-purpose object-oriented programming language was developed by Microsoft (Anders Hejlsberg) as part of its .NET initiative in 2000. The most recent version of C# is 7.3, which was released in 2018 as part of Visual Studio 2017.

Microsoft decided to continue the development of new language features using the open source model, so they completely re-wrote the language in C# and published the source code on GitHub.

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Free Download: SQL Server Management Studio 17.9

SQL Server

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is an integrated environment for accessing, configuring, managing, administering, and developing all components of SQL Server. SSMS combines a broad group of graphical tools with a number of rich script editors to provide developers and administrators of all skill levels access to SQL Server.

Microsoft has announced the latest release of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) in September as a free download. This release features improved compatibility with previous versions of SQL Server and a stand-alone web installer.

Get it here:

Download – The version number for the latest release is 14.0.17285.0

New in this release

Version 17.9 includes:

  • ShowPlan:
    • Graphical Showplan now shows the new row mode memory grant feedback attributes when the feature is activated for a specific plan: IsMemoryGrantFeedbackAdjusted and LastRequestedMemory added to the MemoryGrantInfo query plan XML element.
  • Azure SQL:
    • Added support for vCore SKUs in Azure DB creation.

You can also download the preview version of Version 18.0, which should be used at your own risk since it has not been fully tested.