Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Using Public Wi-Fi Safely

The British telecommunications company BT has recently announced that it is on target to turn on 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in London in time for the start of the Olympics in July. This news has only served to demonstrate the prevalence of the internet in today's society. More and more people are connecting to the internet while they are out and about in coffee shops, libraries or even on the train. The use of these hotspots or open wireless access, however, is not without risks. The release of the Firefox extension 'Firesheep' has helped demonstrate how easy it is to find and take over the sessions of people using open, unencrypted Wi-Fi and gain access to Facebook, email, and bank accounts. Convincingly named networks can also lead people to connect their computers to that of a hacker. You should not be dissuaded from using public Wi-Fi altogether, but can follow some simple rules and guidelines to keep your information safe.

Firstly, and most obviously, try not to visit websites that have sensitive information while you are using public internet. It may be tempting to buy something new or check your bank balance while you are out but it is in your own interest to wait until you get home. If you do need to access these websites on public Wi-Fi make sure that the data you are sending is encrypted. Most banking or e-commerce websites will use SSL ('Secure Sockets Layer') to encrypt important data. You can also use SSL on many other sites, although some will not use it by default. Both Twitter and Facebook will let you enable the use of SSL in your account settings while email clients such as Gmail and Hotmail will use SSL automatically. You can tell if SSL is being used if you see 'https' instead of 'http' in the address bar.

Choose your network wisely, if there are several networks that could be the free Wi-Fi offered by your local coffee shop, double check with someone who works there to find out which one it is. Try to choose hotspots using security technology WPA2 rather than WPA or WEP as it is stronger. Make sure that your computer will not automatically connect to unknown wireless networks and ensure your firewall is turned on. You can also check that 'sharing' is turned off; this is a useful feature for connecting to printers and other devices wirelessly when using a secure network, but when connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot it could leave your computer wide open to unauthorised access.

One of the most important ways that you can use a public Wi-Fi network more securely is through the use of a VPN. VPN stands for 'virtual private network' and will create a 'tunnel' of encrypted data. VPNs are particularly popular with businesses; they are used by workers outside of the office in order to keep any data and information as secure as it would be inside the office. Many VPN providers offer 'business VPNs' to companies - this means that their members of staff who are out of the office can work securely and stay connected to the rest of the office. Personal VPNs or 'VPNs-for-hire' are equally available. There are hundreds of different VPNs on offer so you need to choose wisely and find one that you can trust as it will be handling your data and information. Using a virtual private network is a quick and easy way of securing your online activity in a public place and is a useful way to work away from the office securely.

Keeping your information safe on your own secure home network is extremely important, so it follows that you need to be extra vigilant while you are online out and about. Using public Wi-Fi safely need not be stressful; you just need to make sure you are aware of the potential risks and take steps to avoid them.

© Izzy Evans 2012

If you would like to find out more about Virtual Private Networks in the UK you can visit UK VPN

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Shopping Cart Abandonment Is About Losing Customers

But there is a way to regain them.

You research the market. You conduct focus groups to measure desire. You design and test a prototype tailored explicitly to answer the needs of your customers. You name your product enticingly, package it alluringly and price it attractively. Then you build a Web site that displays it appealingly, with a design that highlights it attractively and copy that describes it reverently.

Yet sometime between the moment they arrive on your site and the moment they must commit by entering their credit card numbers, too many of your customers vanish. This is called Shopping Cart Abandonment.

Shopping Cart Abandonment is one of the biggest problems every E-commerce Website's management must overcome. Here's how:

FIRST: If customers are navigating your buying process up to the point of credit card submission, you should realize that it's unlikely your product is the problem. The problem is your customer's assessment of your site's level of Internet security as LOW.

SECOND: It is, therefore, advisable for you to secure solid trust assurance and security tools to diminish Shopping Cart Abandonment. This takes an SSL Certificate. But you shouldn't stop there. Since Shopping Cart Abandonment is about losing sales, doing everything you can to prevent buyer apprehension is the solution.

What IS that solution? It's the SSL Certificate's advanced big brother, the EV SSL Certificate. The EV SSL is a vast improvement over the typical cheap SSL Certificate. It comes with the renowned Green Address Bar that announces total trust, safety and ID security to every single customer who arrives on your site. It comes with trust marks you display on as many pages of your site as you deem advantageous. These are Interactive insignia that actually tell every customer whose mouse cursor glides over them that your company has taken steps to ensure the security of their credit card transaction. The EV SSL also comes with unlimited server licenses. And the best EV SSL Certificates even come with a built-in PCI (Hacker Vulnerability) Scanning and Compliance Service, 24/7 phone support and impressive warranties.

Today, E-commerce customers are picky about purchasing, skittish about security, and all too ready to weigh the benefits of items on multiple Websites before they buy. You need all the Shopping Cart Abandonment defeating help you can get. And a highest quality EV SSL Certificate is the best way to go.

So here's the tip of the day: Google EV SSL Certificates and find out more ASAP!

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Safeguarding Information Security and Technology

Undoubtedly, Information technology has become increasingly important. It has become a part of the day-to-day operations of businesses, companies, government and non-government organizations. Daily living of an average individual involves computer and technology: communication, e-commerce, online banking transactions and other financial and work-related activities. Companies, entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises have become more reliant on information systems to support and deliver diverse and complicated business processes which include accounting, inventory, marketing, payroll, research, sales tracking and even remote business operations that involve real-time surveillance.

There have been fair, satisfactory and even excellent results brought by information technology. The general public has been clinging to what one might consider as the perfect solution to an ever-increasing demand of complex processes of problem solving that delivers fast and reliant results. Indeed. But the jubilation is not absolute. As information technology has become prominent in its importance, so does the threat that comes with it. Despite the advancement of information technology, security and privacy have become an increasing pain in the ass. While superior information technology system has been built by the experts, maintaining its security has become harder for administrators and end-users. Today's users have become increasingly wider- ranging from vast majority of employees in many companies and organizations and a huge fraction of households all of which are exposed to security and privacy threats.

Majority of the security features are a hassle and awkward to use and can present a great obstacle to use in getting work done in such a desired pace. As a result, internet security measures have been bypassed, disabled or ignored too often. Subsequently, when security gets in the way of functionality, end-users tend to disable the very security features that protect them from cyber threats. The result is that they often engage in actions, consciously or unconsciously, that expose them to these cyber threats while compromising system security and exposing sensitive and confidential or personal information.

Privacy tools and software have become increasingly difficult to use. Over the course of time, as cyber threats have become increasingly vast and complex in operation, the very core of the tools that are designed to protect end-users have become user-unfriendly, difficult to understand by an average user and a bit expensive to avail. These factors have contributed greatly in the end-users decision of ignoring protection tools that puts them at risk to cyber threats.

Computer technology must be geared towards protecting its users. Privacy and security software developers must come up with a protection model and features that do not interfere with system usability. They must come up with tools that are efficient and cost-effective. Web designers and developers for banking and e-commerce must triple their standard in making these websites secure and infallible of threats.

It is of utmost importance that creators of information technology and end-users work hand in hand to protect the system that we depend on for our day-to-day cyber activities.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wildcard, MDC And SAN/UCC SSL Certificates - What Are They And How Can They Help You?

Most e-commerce Website owners, CFOs, CTOs and IT Administrators know exactly what DV, OV and EV SSL Certificates are. But do you know what a Wildcard, an MDC or an SAN/UCC SSL is? Or the advantage each one affords you, and why? Let's find out.

A Wildcard SSL can be of great use to a company or organization that wishes to display its umbrella entity and more specific subdivisions on separate Websites. This is especially true when this company or organization wants to economize on the cost of the SSL Certificates they purchase to secure them all. Take, for instance, the John Doe Fashion Empire. This hypothetical corporation requires both a corporate primary domain Website and numerous sub-domain Websites to cover its various fashion divisions. By purchasing a Wildcard SSL Certificate, for only about twice the cost of one typical DV SSL Cert, John Doe's CTO can secure not only JohnDoeFashions.com, but also Ladieswear.JohnDoeFashions.com, Menswear.JohnDoeFashions.com, Childrenswear.JohnDoeFashions.com, Rainwear.JohnDoeFashions.com and Formalwear.JohnDoeFashions.com. It's the perfect merger of security and economy.

MDC stands for Multi-Domain Certificate. And an MDC SSL can be of even greater use to a company or organization than a Wildcard SSL. If a multi-national corporation had a corporate umbrella Website, numerous separate division Websites and even a number of separate geographic Websites to secure, an MDC SSL Certificate would be ideal. This is true especially if the total number of Websites to secure is up to over the maximum of 100. Let's use the John Doe Fashion Empire as our example once again. By purchasing one MDC SSL Certificate, for only 23% to 93% of what it would cost to buy individual DV, OV or EV SSL Certs for each of John Doe's Websites, the corporation's CTO can secure up to 100 Websites with one MDC SSL. These 100 can include the same Primary Domain Website named above, plus scores of Sub-Domain Websites like the ones named above, as well as scores of Top Level Domains such as JohnDoeFashions.co.uk (the corporation's British Division), JohnDoeFashions.co.jp (the corporation's Japanese Division), JohnDoeFashions.co.in (the corporation's Indian Division), etc. Making an MDC SSL ideal for an international corporation.

SAN/UCC stands for Subject Alternative Name / United Communications Certificate. And an SAN/UCC SSL is another certificate that can come in very handy if you're the CTO of a large company. An SAN/UCC is a special OV SSL Certificate that has been designed specifically for the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 & 2010, the Office Communications Server 2007 and the Lync Server 2010. It can secure three to one hundred Websites that can be described as a Primary Domain plus either or both Sub-Domains and Top Level Domains. Yet, outstanding Certificate Authorities offer you the SAN/UCC SSL at a price that is merely 20% to 95% of the cost you'd incur if you purchased a separate OV SSL for each domain you wished to secure. Any company using one of the servers mentioned above, that must secure a Primary Doman, plus scores of Sub-Domains, plus many Top Level Domains, should look into a SAN/UCC SSL.

The world of e-commerce is maturing, and the hackers, phishers and cyber-crooks that skulk around the Internet are proliferating. Both these realities make your use of one or more DV, OV, EV, Wildcard, MDC or SAN/UCC SSL Certificates more necessary with each passing day. So here's a tip: Look into the one that's right for you soon.

COMODO provides the top Wildcard SSL, MDC SSL and UCC SSL

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Network Security: 4 Common Breaching Methods And The People That Use Them

VPNs still remain the single best way to insure that your business network is safe from prying eyes and thieves. But in spite of being one of the best methods there has been a few high profile cases that have given cause for us to question their effectiveness. Studies have shown that in most instances of security breaches, the breach could have been averted if the administrator would have known of the 4 most common methods used, and who the threat could have potentially come from.

4 Perpetrator Types

Often, knowing where your potential hackers could come from enables you to avert the situation long before it becomes damaging. These are the 4 most common types of people that could potentially hack your network:

Script-Kids - These hackers only want the bragging rights, but don't underestimate their power. Even though they won't steal everything that isn't nailed down, they will brag about the fact that they did it, and how they did it.
Political Maniacs - These guys want to either destroy your reputation, or possibly use your network to further their goals.
Monetary Thieves - These guys will want every credit card, bank accounts, and any other financial data. They will spend like madmen until you discover their hack.
Revenge Seekers - This category includes current and former disgruntled employees that want to get revenge on you and your company for whatever reason.

The 4 Common Hack Types

Security breaches can be avoided if you know how thieves gain access to your network, before they get started, according to experts. It has been reported that the 4 most common methods of gaining entry is:

Man-In-The-Middle Attacks - This hack requires the hacker to listen, (also called snooping or sniffing), for a client to log into the network. The hacker will then use the authentication packet gained to glean the log-in credentials.
Physically Accessed - When a device or machine is stolen that is network enabled. The device may have the passwords stored in a file, or even have the automatic log-in enabled. Even if the auto-log isn't enabled, hackers can decrypt the password files to get access.
Passing Information - Getting access to a specific network often happens due to an employee talking... in many instances this is a disgruntled employee. In the last few years this has become more prevalent.
System Exploits - Almost every hacker keeps up with system bugs and flaws in OSes, and security clients. This is because updating and upgrading systems can be a hassle, and often time consuming. Firmware, software, and security certificates are the mainstay of this category, and once a flaw is found, it is quickly passed around to the community.

It's Up To You

It's easy to see how these types of breaches and hackers can easily be thwarted, once you know the who and how. Security experts all agree that updating systems at least once per month, and if an employee is released, immediately eliminate log-in to your network, will eliminate most of thee threats. They also recommend changing passwords on a regular basis, and in the event a device is lost or stolen, change log-ins for that account.

Fields Marshall specializes in internet security, and advising people on VPN's, security technologies, and related services. He writes informational and educational articles for VPNReviewz, to learn more, visit http://vpnreviewz.com/best-vpn-service-providers/

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

What Are SSL Certificates? Why Is It So Important For Every E-Merchant To Have Them?

The SSL cert is the simplest and fastest way for anyone who promotes the sale of goods or services online to protect customer transactions from conniving, credit card pilfering hackers and the malware they devise to help them in their sticky-fingered criminal endeavors. And this makes equipping your site with SSL Certificates vital. Because shopper apprehension of credit card stealing hackers is the No.1 reason why e-merchants lose sales! - Otherwise known as Shopping Cart Abandonment.

Top SSL Certificates give you quick online issuance, advanced encryption, 24/7 e-merchant support, and strong warranties. But most important of all, an SSL Certificate helps you create a secure e-business environment in which sales can proliferate. The best SSL Certificates are designed with a 2048 bit signature, and are recognized by 99.3% of all Internet Browsers. This helps maximizing the reach of your e-business.

Most top SSL Certificates also feature another safeguard called "Point-to-Verify Site Seal Technology." Point-to-Verify Site Seals, or trust marks, verify the steps you've taken to keep customer transactions secure. These steps are publicly displayed whenever a site visitor hovers their mouse cursor over a seal.

Now you know what an SSL Certificate is and how it will help you and your online business thrive. But one important question remains. Of the three most powerfully used SSL types, which one is right for you? Let's find out.

The most basic SSL Certificate you can deploy is the DV SSL

DV SSL stands for Domain Validation Secure Sockets Layer. When your Website employs a DV SSL, its Certificate Authority has confirmed that your site is owned by an individual with a specified and fully registered email address. Top DV SSL provide your Website with Interactive Trust Marks site visitors can hover over to read the actual authentication information the Certificate Authority offers.

An even more popular, basic SSL Certificate is the OV SSL:

OV SSL stands for Organization Validation Secure Sockets Layer. When an e-merchant chooses this more advanced basic SSL Certificate, his Certificate Authority has confirmed both that your Website is owned by an individual with a specific email address, and that your Website is linked to a fully registered brick and mortar address. Top OV SSL provide you with floating and anchored trust marks to display throughout your Website. These increase customer confidence because their interactive capacity allows your potential buyers to hover over or click on them to read the kind of authentication information about you, your Website and your company that is very reassuring.

The most advanced SSL Certificate is the EV SSL:

EV SSL stands for Extended Validation Secure Sockets Layer. And the technology built into an EV SSL definitely supplies your Website's customers with extended validation! The EV SSL validates the security and integrity of your site and the location and identity of your company. But that's not all. Once you purchase an EV SSL, two things happen as soon as an online shopper types your URL into their computer's address bar. FIRST; their address bar turns green, alerting them to the fact that yours is one of the most secure, high quality e-merchant sites on the Web. Then SECOND, their view of both your Home Page and the Site Pages that follow includes floating and anchored trust marks. These insignia announce that your customers' credit card transactions are fully protected and can not be hacked. Finally, top EV SSL are bundled with tools that scan your Website for malware. You are also provided with the PCI Scan Compliance Reports you must submit to banks and credit card companies quarterly. And, of course, the best EV SSL come from Certificate Authorities that provide impressive Warranties and 24/7 technical support services.

So now you know why you need SSL Certificates and all about the types there are to choose from. Want a tip? If you're an e-merchant attempting to make site sales without the help of SSL, you're doing your company, your customers and your bottom line a disservice. Look into getting the right SSL Certificate today.

COMODO provides the top EV SSL Certificates and ot Wildcard SSL

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Cyber Criminals Leverage Olympics for Phishing

As the 2012 London Olympic Games are underway, headlines are going to flood the media with each passing second. The Olympics will most certainly take center stage as the most talked about, tweeted, and shared event over the next couple of weeks, and millions of people will follow the Games online. It is an exciting time for sports enthusiasts, and though it may come as a surprise, probably even more delightful to cyber criminals. It's not because of the athletic events and the excitement they bring, but because of the sheer number of people the Games themselves bring into their world. Sure, for all we know, the king fish of all cyber criminals may just be the biggest Michael Phelps fan there is. But what he really cares about is how many times he can use the name Michael Phelps and convert the people searching for him into another infected machine. For the convicts of the digital world, the Olympics just equates to more people to victimize, for greater phishing opportunities. Their jobs just got a lot easier, at least for the next week and a half.

It goes without saying: cyber criminals would not be half as successful if we were not so gullible. At least partly, their success is directly proportionate to how cautious the rest of us are. Cyber criminals are not as much innovators as they are crafty, situational, and "trend" shaping. They take advantage of our nosiness, so to speak-our basic human need for information. They manipulate the effect that sensational news has on us. They prey on our unyielding desire to be cognizant of all of the major events that matter to us and the people we like to keep up with-unfortunately for us, the Olympics contain a lot of both. They exploit the fact that the web has overwhelmingly become our mechanism for everything social-social engineering, in fact, is the term for it-and they are leaping at the chance to engineer whatever it takes to get a hold of your intellectual property.

Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book. In the simplest of explanations, it usually involves cyber criminals leveraging "trending topics," either by borrowing upon factual current events (i.e. presidential elections, government scandals, sporting events, holidays, celebrity gossip) or totally making them up (hence the term social engineering). They frame it as if it is a news headline and create a hyperlink to what is actually a disguised malicious website that when accessed, initiates a drive-by download and infects visitors' computers with malware. Cyber criminals blast these phishing emails, trying to hook you with their bait. They generate websites on certain topics as they go, and insert executable code within them. This may be done in many forms with several different types of exploits. And just when we thought we knew what they were up to with these generalized, random emails, they got smarter. Another form of phishing, appropriately termed "spear phishing," is when the message is personalized to you. The bad guys research information about you and then tailor the email to suit your interests and there you have it: a trending-topic attack, made specially just for you. They use topics that are relevant and probably seem important. We have seen cyber criminals take advantage of a celebrity death, a scandal, or even Black Friday to send these phishing emails. They also use what is called "black-hat SEO," the dark version of SEO. Cyber criminals will SEO their malicious sites so that they outwit search engines and climb the page ranks as if they were normal sites, avoiding the hassle and inefficiencies associated with emails. They'll even purchase keywords to ascend to the top of search results quicker, increasing the chances of your Google search for Jamaica's Usain Bolt ending with a virus.

Why do people click on these links? Why haven't we got smarter? And what are they after? People click on these links because we're naturally anxious to see the breaking news or capitalize on the great specials, discounts, or shocking pictures that they promise. Cyber criminals are always using the freshest news to lure us in, wherein lies the strength of this tactic. We have a natural tendency that makes us want to engage and be impressed, or at the very least informed, so we have something to talk about. Cyber criminals are after information, in hopes that it leads to more information, which leads to money. Maybe they can hack and infect your business computer and come away with all of your R&D documents, so they can build off of your work and make something better to commercialize. Or maybe you have your online banking credentials stored on your computer somewhere that they can penetrate and steal. They either get to your bank accounts themselves or sell your information on black markets for someone else to do it. Think about it: they wouldn't go through so much hard work if they weren't smart, if it did not work, or somehow make them richer in the end. Think of the whole process as a fishing analogy. Once you click on the link, you are a fish that just got hooked, and once the malware is in, they start reeling in their rods, picking up on all the extras as they reel in your information.

Suffice it to say, while we are dazzled by the athletic feats of our favorite athletes competing for the pride of our countries, cyber criminals are hard at work, competing for your information, probably with the use of these trending topics that the Olympics will constantly provide, in order to socially engineer an attack. While search engines ramp up their defenses and algorithms to weed out these fake sites, it's important that we as users protect ourselves as well, especially now that we are aware. There's anti phishing software out there that makes safe web browsing easy. It's difficult to know whether you have clicked a malicious link until it's too late, but there are tools that can warn you ahead of time. Enjoy London 2012 and access legitimate sites for updates on medal counts, scores, and highlights... not the ones that come through your email. Don't bite the bait!

Fortunately, there are companies out there committed to preventing the spread of phishing, like KaspAV, a division of Guardian Network Solutions and authorized Kaspersky reseller. KaspAV specializes in providing the ultimate anti-phishing solutions in order to prevent harmful types of malware from lodging itself into your system and facilitate safe web browsing.

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