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Computer Hacking Methods and Protection

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Protecting your computer against hacking is different from protecting it against viruses that you accidentally or unknowingly invite into your computer that then cause damage in one form or another. Anti-hack is about protecting your computer against external entities that are deliberately trying to get into your computer to cause damage and to steal from you – or cause damage. Viruses are impersonal and hacking is personal.

Anti-Hack software is now out there for sale in addition to anti-virus software. These products protect you in ways that anti-virus software does not. Following are some examples.

DoS (Denial of Service) Attacks:

DoS attacks occur when too much traffic is directed to your company website at once. The web server essentially ‘chokes’ on the amount of traffic trying to squeeze into it’s network hardware. Attack scripts are easily downloadable and you do not need to be an experienced engineer to launch an attack. Upset customers seeking some sort of revenge or disruption, competitors interrupting your site, or these days, as in the recent major hospital attacks, the trend is to hold your web site hostage until some ransom is paid or some demand met. “Ransomeware” is a relatively new term, but it is gaining a lot of visibility in recent times.

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) Attacks:

Akamai’s Prolexic Security Engineering and Response Team (PLXsert) recently issued a threat advisory warning of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks abusing the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) interface. PLXsert SNMP DDoS attack campaigns target various industries including consumer products, gaming, hosting, nonprofits, and software-as-a-service, mainly in the US (49.9%) and China (18.49%). The attackers used an online tool posted by the hacker group ‘Team Poison’. This latest wave of attacks targets devices running SNMP which by default is open to the public Internet unless that feature is manually disabled. Anti-hack software is now being created that help prevent SNMP attacks such as this by preventing the attacker from forcing network switching to secondary gateways.

SYN/AWK Attacks:

This is a little complex but basically, a SYN flood attack is similar to a Denial of Service attack in that there is request made to the web server that ties up its resources and makes it unavailable to other connections. When a computer or web browser tries to connect to a web site, what’s called a 3-way handshake is used to establish the connection between the two computers. In a SYN/AWK Flood attack, the computer offers its hand (1-way), the server reaches out to meet it (2-way) but the offered hand is quickly withdrawn. The server waits for the hand to come back until it ‘times-out’ and then the cycle repeats millions of times. The 3-way handshake is never established and all other connections are refused while this is happening.

USB Auto-Run Attacks:

By default, Windows runs any executable, program, or script on a USB drive the second it is inserted into any computer or laptop. This means that anyone* with unauthorized code, like a virus or a key-logger or backdoor program – all of which are easily downloadable – can walk past any computer in your building, insert the USB drive for just a second or two, and take control of your entire business without you knowing about it. Anti-virus software knows this and will try to block known vulnerabilities, but what about the unknown ones that were created this morning?

*I want to get them thinking locally here too. Friends could do it, your wife could do it, your kids could do it, the babysitter, your priest, etc…

Remote Connections:

Here’s a test; right-click on My Computer and select the Remote tab, or, in Windows 8, right-click This Computer and click the ‘Remote Settings’ link on the left side of the System panel that opened. Is ‘Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer’ checked? Click the Advanced button and you will see how far this goes and how easy it is for your computer to allow others to connect to it. You can actually allow others to take complete control of your system.

This was designed for a helpdesk in a major corporation to connect quickly and easily without a lot of authentication fuss. The average home, school, and SOHO system is obviously not on a corporate helpdesk so closing these interoperability ‘features’ will help protect your system against external intrusion. If you ever need them back on, you can explicitly turn them back on. But we don’t believe they should be on by default. Neither does the NIST, the USAF, The DoHS, or even the NSA. Check for the current settings on your computer – then update if necessary – I’ll bet you find that this setting is on, allowing remote control to externals.

Microsoft Program Inventory:

In Windows 7, Microsoft quietly introduced a feature they call ‘Program Inventory’. A direct quote from Microsoft states: “The PDU inventories programs and files on the system and sends information about those files to Microsoft”. Not only are you constantly sending information about every installed program on your machine, but also information about every single file that a program can open. Read that quote again: Microsoft ‘inventories all of the programs and files on your system’ and they admit it somewhere buried in the guts of the operating system.

But they didn’t tell you before they implemented it. You would be shocked at what they are doing with Windows 8 and especially the new and free upgrade to Windows 10. How on Earth could you have a sustainable business model giving away your main product unless there was some massive reward for doing so. Your information is most likely that reward. Find this window in your system settings to turn off the feature if you wish to protect the privacy of your information.

Conclusion

While no system can be completely 100% secure in today’s rapidly changing computer threat landscape, there is absolutely no reason to give intruders a helping hand. Easy-connection and interoperability features and settings need to be switched off by the dozens. The goal is to make it more difficult for intruders, much more difficult, rather than to continue to have operating systems with hundreds of open doors, windows, and step-ladders into private areas just waiting to be exploited.

Windows 10 is particularly vulnerable and there are many settings you should be considering turning off to protect yourself further so be sure to learn more about this – there are many video guides for doing this available on YouTube today.

In summary, there is a definite reason why hacking is on the rise globally. People have realized just how easy it is now to gain control of your computer – and they are doing it.

Get Your Business Ahead in the SEO Game With WordPress CMS

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Search engines are equivalent to god for online businesses! They are the source of traffic and visitors. Without their benevolence, it’s not possible for any entity to grow beyond the bonsai height. Clearly, having a high-quality website or web-driven application that is developed keeping in mind search engines goes a long way in serving the purpose of brands. After all, for a business on the web, nothing matters as much as getting a constant stream of online traffic. This is where the real utility of SEO or search engine optimization comes to the fore as it is the way forward for marketing business on the internet.

Further, it’s now important for businesses to have high-ranking web pages to perform well in search engines and let more traffic or visitors come their way. This is why every website owners should be concerned with SEO and take efforts to select a right content management system for website development. The selection of a CMS should be done on the basis of SEO-friendliness else your business might not be able to receive the kind of traffic to get propelled ahead in the market. As a business owner, you have to find a platform that is best suited for optimization.

Clearly, the road to online success is not that easy for businesses as they are required to choose the right CMS to get ahead in the all-important SEO game. Over the years, WordPress has emerged as a popular content management system for offering several advantages in the SEO game. Its edge lies in regards to on-page optimization which opens a lot of opportunities for businesses looking for internet marketing at low cost. The CMS is capable of creating HTML pages which search engines can understand with ease. In addition, its SEO-friendly permalinks where links to pages and posts can have keywords help a lot in visibility.

Similarly, WordPress is the kind of CMS that can use permalinks so that search engines, and also visitors, don’t have problem in understanding things. The system also comes with the option of setting title tag and headings even without writing the HTML tags in a manual manner. To top it all, this platform enables easy content creation which is why it helps businesses a great deal with optimization. So, businesses using WordPress can create high-quality content in a hassle-free manner and they even won’t face any issue with images and videos as well. And lastly, there is also the option to get optimized images in a simple manner.

In overall, we can clearly see how choosing a right platform can open the world of opportunities for a business on the internet. So, you should definitely hire a top WordPress development company and be rest assured of optimization benefits through search engines. You can also feel confident about getting traffic on a regular basis and this is how your business will grow even without investing in internet marketing efforts. This is how the ever-growing competition of the web can be tackled with ease.