Tag Archive | "Security"

Network Security – The Real Vulnerabilities

Network Security – The Real Vulnerabilities

Scenario: You work in a corporate environment in which you are, at least partially, responsible for network security. You have implemented a firewall, virus and spyware protection, and your computers are all up to date with patches and security fixes. You sit there and think about the lovely job you have done to make sure that you will not be hacked.

You have done, what most people think, are the major steps towards a secure network. This is partially correct. What about the other factors?

Have you thought about a social engineering attack? What about the users who use your network on a daily basis? Are you prepared in dealing with attacks by these people?

Believe it or not, the weakest link in your security plan is the people who use your network. For the most part, users are uneducated on the procedures to identify and neutralize a social engineering attack. What’s going to stop a user from finding a CD or DVD in the lunch room and taking it to their workstation and opening the files? This disk could contain a spreadsheet or word processor document that has a malicious macro embedded in it. The next thing you know, your network is compromised.

This problem exists particularly in an environment where a help desk staff reset passwords over the phone. There is nothing to stop a person intent on breaking into your network from calling the help desk, pretending to be an employee, and asking to have a password reset. Most organizations use a system to generate usernames, so it is not very difficult to figure them out.

Your organization should have strict policies in place to verify the identity of a user before a password reset can be done. One simple thing to do is to have the user go to the help desk in person. The other method, which works well if your offices are geographically far away, is to designate one contact in the office who can phone for a password reset. This way everyone who works on the help desk can recognize the voice of this person and know that he or she is who they say they are.

Why would an attacker go to your office or make a phone call to the help desk? Simple, it is usually the path of least resistance. There is no need to spend hours trying to break into an electronic system when the physical system is easier to exploit. The next time you see someone walk through the door behind you, and do not recognize them, stop and ask who they are and what they are there for. If you do this, and it happens to be someone who is not supposed to be there, most of the time he will get out as fast as possible. If the person is supposed to be there then he will most likely be able to produce the name of the person he is there to see.

I know you are saying that I am crazy, right? Well think of Kevin Mitnick. He is one of the most decorated hackers of all time. The US government thought he could whistle tones into a telephone and launch a nuclear attack. Most of his hacking was done through social engineering. Whether he did it through physical visits to offices or by making a phone call, he accomplished some of the greatest hacks to date. If you want to know more about him Google his name or read the two books he has written.

It’s beyond me why people try and dismiss these types of attacks. I guess some network engineers are just too proud of their network to admit that they could be breached so easily. Or is it the fact that people don’t feel they should be responsible for educating their employees? Most organizations don’t give their IT departments the jurisdiction to promote physical security. This is usually a problem for the building manager or facilities management. None the less, if you can educate your employees the slightest bit; you may be able to prevent a network breach from a physical or social engineering attack.

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Norton Internet Security 2005: Providing the Best Security for Your Computer

Norton Internet Security 2005: Providing the Best Security for Your Computer

The internet is supposed to be a tool that you can benefit from. It is supposed to make your everyday life easier by providing a cheap way to communicate with family and friends, providing a way to pay for your utility bills, and providing a way where you can purchase goods and services without leaving the comforts of your own home.

It is a fact that the internet can provide you with all the mentioned benefits and you can take advantage of it once you are connected to the World Wide Web. However, because of this fact, there are people who have thought of new ways to make money by taking advantage of the internet by committing criminal acts of stealing and invading the privacy by hacking in to other people’s computer to access files that may contain other people’s financial and personal information.

With this information, the internet became one great tool to commit a very serious crime called identity theft. With malicious software that can enter your computer, such as spyware, adware and viruses, these new breed of criminals can access your files that may contain personal and financial information without you knowing about it until it’s too late.

It is a fact that people who have been victimized with this serious offense never considered to take a closer look at their computer. They never thought that there is a malicious program lurking deep inside their personal computers.

Surely you don’t want to be victimized by this crime. This is why it is very important for you to get a good software program to install in your computer to prevent this from happening to you.

One kind of good software program is the Norton Internet Security 2005. This is an award winning software program that have protected millions of people worldwide from spyware, adware, hackers, viruses and other criminal acts committed by cyber criminals.
The Norton Internet Security 2005 software program contains all the necessary tools that will prevent malicious software and hackers from ever entering your computer and commit criminal acts. With this kind of software, you will be sure that you will never worry about being a victim of serious crimes committed in the internet, such as identity theft.

Here are some of the features integrated in the Norton Internet Security 2005 that will surely protect you from viruses and other malicious software circulating the internet today:

• Antivirus – This tool will scan your emails, email attachments, websites, IM attachments and your computer files for any known viruses. Once it detects a virus lurking in your system, it will automatically delete it or quarantine it. With this tool, you will keep your computer virus-free.

• Firewall – This particular tool is your defense against hackers. It will detect and reject any unauthorized access in your computer, such as hackers and network viruses. You can consider this tool as your first line of defense against unauthorized access in your computer made by hackers and network viruses.

• Anti Spyware/Adware – Spyware and adware are programs that are very different from viruses but are equally dangerous. It may not destroy your system files, but it can copy it and send it automatically to the spyware developer. Think of it as surveillance equipment software that will monitor every activity you do with your computer. The anti spyware/adware feature integrated in the Norton Internet Security 2005 will block out any known spyware/adware program existing today.

• Automatic Updates – Since there are new viruses, spyware, and other malicious software being developed and released everyday in the internet, it is important to keep your virus and spyware definition updated to keep your computer protected from new threats.

There are a lot more features that you can take advantage of if you have the Norton Internet Security 2005. It will also include Parental Control features, Anti Spam, Popup blocker and others to better protect your computer.

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Computer and Internet Security Issues that you Should Know

Computer and Internet Security Issues that you Should Know

Using your computer and a reliable Internet connection can be the best combination for an ideal business opportunity. You don’t need raise too much capital for your business venture. With just a reliable Internet connection and computer system (which, because of wide availability and usage, become cheaper), you will be able to start your business right away and earn hundreds to thousands of dollars every month, depending on the online business opportunity that you would prefer.

However, you must be aware of the miscalculations that you can commit along your online business venture, especially when you forget to prioritize the protection of your computer system from unauthorized use and data theft. Contrary to the popular belief that a small-size Internet business will make them safe from data hackers and online intruders, there is also a great risk and danger involved once you neglect to protect your computer system, especially the hacking and computer destruction activities that are increasing significantly as the Internet evolves over the years. Most small-time Internet entrepreneurs are blinded by the fact that they are not exempted from these notorious data thieves, which is not true nowadays.

According to a research conducted by AMI-Partners, almost 50 percent of small and medium-sized online businesses failed to execute even the most basic security protection, which includes the installation of anti-spyware and anti-virus programs to their computer systems. This is one of the main reasons why the Mydoom worm triumphed, affecting one out of three small and medium-sized online businesses compared to one out of six large Internet companies. This was also discovered by the ISA or the Internet Security Alliance, a non-profit organization that handles information security issues. In other words, we can conclude that even small online businesses are more vulnerable to online threats of data theft and electronic sabotage.

In fact, every small online business owner must give data and network protection more attention due to the sophistication of data thieves. These thieves have now one of the advanced software programs and hardware necessary to break into the security measures implemented by data mangers. It would be a great waste of time and financial resources if your computer is left unguarded against these advanced data thieves and online hackers. You are on the verge of losing everything—including your computer, which is also a valuable investment.

Thus, it is important that you should consider data security and encryption as one of your top priorities. Keep in mind that your computer system is always vulnerable to this kind of attacks, even if you are just starting up. In fact, big businesses have more chances to recover compared to small business since big business have necessary funds available to recover from mishap. On the other hand, your small business has meager funds to start with your business—and an attack will be catastrophic for your small business.

There are hundreds of software providers that came up with latest solutions to guarantee the safety of your computer system. In addition, there are also Internet security services to guarantee protection of your online data against Internet hackers. By incorporating high level of encryption technology, hackers will have a hard time intercepting the data being stored in your computer system or while it is transmitted to a certain network of computer systems.

Always explore your options. Prioritize what is important and avoid getting caught by a catastrophic incident that will shut down your small business at an instant.

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How to Increase Your Internet Banking Security

How to Increase Your Internet Banking Security

Internet banking companies are working hard to make their servers as secure as possible. They work with experts in the field of security. They hire computer-hacking consultants to show them the vulnerabilities of their systems. There are also things you can do.

The bank will suggest, if not require, that your browser have 128-bit encryption. This just insures that your information will be safe as it leaves your computer just as it is when it is on the bank’s secure server. If you do not have the latest version of your browser, you may not have 128-bit encryption. Make sure you have it before you begin.

Your username will either be given to you by your clicks to bricks bank, or you will choose it at your virtual bank. If you choose it, there will be specific rules about how many characters it must have. It will also tell you whether you must use both letters and numbers, and capitals and lower case letters. Choose something that is not guessable.

Similar, if not the same, rules are given for your password for internet banking. (You will always choose your password, no matter which kind of bank you use.) Your password is even more important. There are certain ways you can make your password more secure.

For one thing, you can base it on something you know or like. It can be anything that no one would specifically relate to you. It could be a line from a song, for example. You could take the first letters of all the words and make a string of characters for your internet banking password. Then, you could capitalize some of them, throw in some numbers, and you have a password that will be hard to guess but easy for you to remember.

In any case, you should memorize your password and destroy any paper where it is written down. Then, you should change your internet banking password frequently. Do not tell anyone your password, no matter how close you think you are to them. Unless they are on the account with you, there is no reason for them to know it.

It is always important to log off when you finish with your internet banking transactions. If you use a public computer, it is even more important. However, doing internet banking on a public computer, such as one in a library, is not the most secure course.

An industrious internet thief can get your information off a public computer without too much trouble. However, some internet banking companies offer a special service that prevents your banking transactions from going into a computer’s cache memory. If you use this feature, it makes banking at a public computer much safer.

It is also important that, if you do use your computer in public, you assure that no one can see the screen when you are doing internet banking transactions. You should not let anyone see you use your keyboard either. While many people feel comfortable setting their laptops up and doing their business anywhere, it is not always wise.

There are many ways to protect your personal information when you do internet banking. It requires thought and caution, but it can be done. It is important to remember that you are responsible for the way you protect your information online.

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Name, Rank and Social Security Number

Name, Rank and Social Security Number

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. The U.S. Secret Service has estimated that consumers nationwide lose 5 million to identity theft each year. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the average victim spends 607 hours and averages ,000 just to clear their credit records.

Identity thieves employ a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. They may get information from businesses or other institutions by stealing it; by bribing an employee who has access to records; hacking into records; or conning information out of employees. Once identity thieves have your personal information, they may use it to commit a fraud or theft in your name.

How can you tell if you have become a victim of identity theft? Some signs include unexplained charges or withdrawals from your financial accounts; bills or other mail stop arriving (the thief may have submitted a change of address); a credit application is denied for no apparent reason, or debt collectors begin calling about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.

Your computer can be a goldmine of personal information to an identity thief. To protect yourself and your computer against identity theft consider:

* Updating virus protection software frequently. Consider setting your virus protection software to update automatically. The Windows XP operating system also can be set to check for patches automatically and download them to your computer.
* Not opening files sent to you by strangers, clicking on hyperlinks, or downloading programs from people or companies you don’t know.
* Using a firewall program, especially if you use a high speed Internet connection like cable or DSL that leaves your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
* Providing your personal or financial information through an organization’s secured website only. While not fool proof, a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for secure), may provide additional security.
* Not storing your financial information on your laptop, unless absolutely necessary.
* Deleting all the personal information stored on a computer before disposing of it. A wipe” utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive is recommended.
* Checking with an anti-fraud education organization such as CardCops (www.cardcops.com). Card Cops runs a web site designed to help consumers determine whether their credit card numbers may have been stolen. They monitor Internet “chat rooms” where identity thieves illicitly trade and sell stolen credit card numbers. CardCops turns the information over to law enforcement authorities, but also allows consumers to access their database to see whether individual card numbers may have been stolen. In the first two months of operation, the site identified more than 100,000 stolen credit cards.

As with any crime, you can not completely control whether you will become a victim, but you can take steps to minimize your risk by remaining diligent and by minimizing outside access to your personal information.

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How can Government ask for security unless it deploys on its own websites…….

How can Government ask for security unless it deploys on its own websites…….

As government and public sectors are upgrading towards Internet, higher technologies, and electronic transactions to achieve their mission and objectives, they will have to have security as a part of this as they cannot neglect the importance of SSL certificates as they help in handling the online security risks.

Why Government Sector needs SSL?
E-governance refers to online government operations such as online voting, remote access to government networks for communication, coordination and collaboration purposes, online filing of tax returns etc.
• To meet privacy, security and safety standards for their various online operations
• SSL certificates are globally accepted for the authentication and hence can be used for secure remote access to government networks.
• SSL is the necessity as reputation of Public Sectors’ relies on the privacy and integrity.
• SSL certificates are must to deliver secure online information and services.
• SSL ensures the protection of privacy of personal and sensitive data.
• With SSL you can share confidential information over an intranet with out the fear of hacking.
• Secured Socket Layer helps in increased public visibility and accountability towards Government.
• Digital certificates reduces the risks of citizens and taxpayers information by maintaining privacy.
• SSL eliminates the chances of online fraud and identity theft.

Before asking citizens to participate in and adapt to various online systems, it is very important for the Government to follow the standards and take care of its online security. SSL certificates are as important as public votes and support for the Government to survive.

Consequences of not deploying an SSL Certificate on a Public Sector / Government website –
• The Government institution/organization will lose credibility if it does not take appropriate security measures. The public sector plays a very important role in the overall economy and direction of a country. It is important that the citizens of a country trust and believe in its government bodies and other public sector institutions.
• Technologizing the public sector is a dream come true for most advocates of technology, since technology increases efficiencies. It is very difficult to get people to use such online systems, if effective security measures are not used.
• The public sector is likely to deal with extremely sensitive information in domains such as defence and national security. The security of such information is of paramount importance for the country and cannot be compromised at any cost. This is one of the highest levels of security requirement.

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What Are The Security Risks Of Online Merchant Accounts?

What Are The Security Risks Of Online Merchant Accounts?

Online security has advanced a great deal in the past ten years or so. Online merchant solutions have taken the best advantage of this advancement in technology by allowing many online businesses to take advantage of the convenience of accepting payments online and delivering goods to their customers without actually meeting them.

However, as with every positive point to any development there are a few negatives as well. Though merchant transactions on the internet has improved to prevent online theft, popularly referred to as ‘cyber theft’, there are ‘gurus’ in the field of software development who would rather lend their expertise and knowledge to hacking or breaking into online businesses and online payment processors to steal and plunder.

Many online merchant establishments have experienced their digital products, such as PDF files, music, video and what not being downloaded by cyber criminals who have somehow managed to circumnavigate their secure payment gateways, thus causing a loss to the online merchant establishment.

Many online payment processors have also experienced theft by people breaking into their client’s accounts and transferring cash online. Online credit card fraud is also nothing new to online merchant transactions.

The answer to preventing online merchant fraud is to use a reliable service that has proven their expertise in the field of online merchant solutions. They will have to have honed their skills in developing SSL technology.

This is an Acronym for ‘Secure Socket Layer’ technology. SSL encrypts the data being transmitted over the net and is almost impossible to decipher. This actually reduces online fraud considerably.

If you have a reliable developer to create your software for you, you can proceed with your plans of setting up an online merchant account and cash in on many deals your competitors are profiting by at the moment.

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Improving Web Site Security

Improving Web Site Security

Hackers are devising new attacks and new ways to slip past security measures every day. One of their favorite kind targets is a Web site. Three quarters of all attacks on Web sites are designed to hamper the forms, log-in pages, shopping carts on online shops and other Web content. Since the design of Web applications make them accessible at anytime from anywhere, it is important that a Web site has protection that works well all the time. This not only protects important consumer details such as credit card numbers; it also protects the Web site itself.

Even the best firewalls, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and other protective measures will not enough to guard Web applications against every attack. It is infinitely more difficult for security professionals to figure out what new and innovative trick will be used to bypass security than it is for the hackers to find that trick

It can seem as if there is no solution to this problem. What is needed is a program that can check Web applications and further improve the security. That program is Acunetix WVS. It deals specifically with SQL Injection and other vulnerabilities like XSS. It helps to secure Web sites from harsh attacks, checks for scripting in cross-sites, and strengthens the authentication pages and passwords. It also audits shopping carts in an effort to prevent attacks. With the security audit reports peace of mind can finally be gained.

CRLF injection, directory traversal, code execution and file inclusion attacks are other ways to cripple a Web site’s security. Authentication as well as input validation attacks are also likely.

The Google Hacking Database (GHDB) can identify important data like the logon pages, network information and so on and so forth that might be vulnerable, making it an important tool to improving Web site security. With the Acunetix, the queries wedged in the Google Hacking Database will be launched long before something goes wrong.

Acunetix gives suggestions on how to correct any problems through its report generator that will create quick reports and data to zero in any vulnerabilities that might exist.

It is necessary to reconstruct HTTPs and analyze them for cross-site scripting and SQL injection to ensure better security. Also important is HTTP fuzzer to validate the input and test the overall performance of the Web site.

It’s vital that passwords be configured and protected. Input configuration should utilize HTML form fillers as a matter of course. This allows testing how certain occasions and different inputs influence how the site behaves.

Important things to consider:

1. Is the Web site ready and prepared for a dictionary attack?

2. Support from other technologies such as PHP, CGI and ASP.

3. Search directories for weak permissions

4. Detect errors in pages as early as possible

5. Re-auditing all changes in the Web site to check for new vulnerabilities

dotDefender 2.1 is one of the programs that can protect and secure. It takes care of spammer bots, attacks, probes, SQL injections, hijackings, pronounced tampering and even proxy takeovers.

It can be a daunting task to improving Web site security, but is absolutely critical to do so. By following a few simple steps and using programs tailored to assist in the task everything will work efficiently and effectively.

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Computer Security Certification

Computer Security Certification

If there has ever been a growth field, it is computer security certification. With a good computer security certificate from a reputable college, you can go anywhere. Even if you go to one of those IT training schools the you see advertised on daytime television, your certification computer security will probably open doors for you. There are all kinds of jobs for computer security experts, from Homeland security to private industry. You can help prevent data theft, write computer security software, or investigate hackers for law enforcement. For a security certified network professional, the sky is the limit.

I had never expected to get into computer security certification when I was growing up. If anything, I was on the other side of the law. Many of the experts in computer security certification were hackers when they were kids. I used to try to break into all kinds of things just to see if I could do it. It wasn’t a matter of malicious intent. I just wanted to test the boundaries and see what holes computer security systems had in them. To me, it was more of a game or an intellectual exercise than an act of vandalism. Unfortunately, law enforcement did not see it that way. I was caught when I was 16 years old, breaking into the offices of a major multinational corporation. Because of my age I got off with probation, but I realized that I had to turn my life around.

I got my computer security certification training after a few years of soul-searching. To be honest, I was tempted to give up computer hacking altogether, but finally I realized that this was not the course for me. I was just too fascinated by computer networking and the security issues that it involved. I knew that, if I did not go into computer security, it was only a matter of time before I would get into trouble again. Temptation would overwhelm me, and I would suddenly found myself hacking into something or other. Although a I could get away with it for years this time (I had learned from my mistakes) is still didn’t seem to be worth the risk. In the long run, I would get caught. That is why I got my computer security certification. As a certified information security auditor, I can make my hobby into my life and stay on the right side of the law.

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Norton Internet Security: The Trusted Name in Internet Security Software

Norton Internet Security: The Trusted Name in Internet Security Software

Are you looking for the perfect internet security software for your computer? Are you looking for the internet security software with all the things you need to secure your computer from hackers, viruses, and other malicious programs circulating the internet today?

If you are, then the Norton Internet Security Software should be your choice. This particular software will help you prevent malicious programs and cyber criminals from ever entering your computer and if there are any malicious programs that have entered your computer, the Norton Internet Security Software will hunt them down for you and delete them from your computer.

In today’s world, you have to consider the fact that there are certain people or criminals that are using the internet to steal from other people. They use the internet to get the personal and financial information of other people and commit identity fraud by using this information. Anyone who goes online is vulnerable to be attacked by these people either by harassment or by hacking into other people’s computers.

Norton can prevent this from happening to you. With their latest internet security software, you will be able to prevent hacking and computer viruses from ever entering your computer again. Norton Internet Security Software is integrated with a lot of security programs that will help in preventing different kinds of malicious programs from entering your computer.

The Norton Internet Security Software is integrated with all the different kinds of programs to sufficiently protect you and your computer from being attacked by hackers or cyber criminals by preventing them from accessing your computer through hacking or through malicious softwares.

Norton Internet Security provides one of the most comprehensive security software that you can benefit from. Here are the different kinds of software included in the Norton Internet Security:

• Antivirus – This particular program will scan your computer for any existing viruses that may have entered your computer. Norton Antivirus can also scan email attachments, Instant Messenger Attachments and even websites that may contain viruses.

• Firewall – This particular program included in Norton Internet Security software will help you prevent hackers from accessing your computer and will also prevent network viruses from entering your computer. This is considered as your computer’s first line of defense against hackers and network viruses.

• Anti Spyware/Adware – Spyware and adware are very dangerous programs that can enter your computer without you knowing about it. Its programming is entirely different from computer viruses and therefore, cannot be traced by any Antivirus software available. Norton Anti Spyware/Adware programs are able to detect any spyware or adware that may exist in your computer and automatically deletes them.

• Anti Spam – Phishing emails and spam emails can prove to be very dangerous and very annoying. Norton Anti Spam features will be able to protect you from known phishing emails and spam emails.

• Parental Control – This program integrated in Norton Internet Security Software can be used to regulate and monitor your child’s internet activity. This will block out any websites that may contain pornography and violence.

With all these features that a Norton Internet Security software offers, you can be sure that surfing the internet will be safer for all your family. It will protect you and your family from malicious software and hackers that may access your computer. So, if you need an effective internet security software, Norton should be your choice.

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