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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