Items filtered by date: June 2014 - Computit

 

suspect-ddos-attack

Are you having problems with the home internet speed and with surprisingly high internet bills?

Maybe your router is one of the 120,000 used by Australians that is vulnerable to a new type of scam being leveraged by criminals who use them to launch cyber attacks.

The IT security firm Nominum discovered that as many as 24 million routers around the world are affected by a simple configuration issue that hackers can leverage.

The results of these hackers’ attacks are slowed internet speed and potential rise in the internet bills. The reason is that, through various techniques, small DNS query are turned into a much larger payload directed at the target network. The attacker composes a DNS request message of approximately 60 bytes to trigger delivery of a response message of approximately 4000 bytes to the target. The resulting amplification factor, approximately 70:1, significantly increases the volume of traffic the target receives, accelerating the rate at which the target's resources will be depleted. This is what is known as a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) system amplification attack.

Bruce Van Nice, a director at Nominum says “"People may see that their internet service starts to slow down either because their access connection is congested with traffic or because their home gateway is busy proxying these queries and forwarding huge answers back to a target. But they have no idea that their home router is potentially being bombarded with [these] queries.''

DNS amplification is one of the more popular attack types.  It's hard to defend against DDoS attacks. There are actually two separate issues: keeping your network from being attacked by others and hardening your machines so they can't be compromised and used in attacks.

The first step is to protect your own network against being attacked. This is hard to do, since any network is vulnerable to being overloaded by seemingly-legitimate traffic. Turning on ingress filtering will help screen out junk packets. In addition, there are a number of settings that you can adjust to harden it against common attacks. Here's what to do:

  1. Go to Microsoft's security bulletin site. Download all the pertinent patches that you don't already have installed.
  2. Configure your firewall to block traffic on any port you don't actually need.
  3. Review the TCP/IP hardening settings described in " Security Considerations for Network Attacks ". Apply them to any server which is exposed directly to the Internet.

Unfortunately, protecting your machines against attacks can be difficult because attackers keep changing their modus operandi. It's simpler to prevent your computers from becoming zombies and contributing to the DDoS problem.

For more information on how to protect your machine visit our website or contact us.

Published in IT Security

 

google-domains

Google announced in these days its new domain service. The service, which is not active yet, will allows you to buy and manage domain names. Google Domains, this is the name of the service, also helps you build your site, set up email addresses, and manage hosting. In other words will be possible to run and entire website without ever leaving the Google ecosystem.

The service will partner with several website building partners including Shopify, Weebly, Squarespace and Wix. With the Domain service, we will get 100 branded email addresses and up to 100 custom subdomains. Visitors will be also routed through Google’s own DNS system, so they can expect a fast, dependable connection.

The price is not yet quoted, although a window on the Google Domains site suggests that registering a domain will cost $12 a year.

The decision represent a competition move against the ex partner GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar.

For using this latest Google service we will have to wait, although a beta version is available at this link.

For more information visit our website design page or contact us. 

Published in Google

 

Microsoft Windows 8 has no setting to enable or disable the start button as is very committed to force people to use the new start screen. Undoubtedly the start screen does offer several benefits, however a large number of users still prefer the dear old start menu as easiest and quickest way to launch any application. And Microsoft seems to have finally realized that many other users do as well. At its Build conference in April, the software giant revealed that it will bring back a new and hopefully improved Start menu in the next update to Windows.


Meanwhile there are a few things that can be done to get back the windows start button. Try one or all of the below suggestions to see what works best for you


  • An easy and quick alternative for these users looking for things such as the Command prompt, Computer management, Device Manager, Event Viewer, Control Panel, Windows Explorer, etc. try using the shortcut key ( Windows key + X )

  • Crate a Windows Start Menu Toolbar. It is possible to create a start menu into a toolbar, which allows you to access all the programs you normally see in All Programs. Simply:

    1. Enable “show hidden files”: Here's how to display hidden files and folders.

      1. Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options.

      2. Click the View tab.

      3. Under Advanced settings, click Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and then click OK.

        2. Right-click on the Taskbar and click toolbars and then New Toolbars.

        3.Browse to C:\Program Data\Microsoft\Windows and select Start Menu. Then Choose Select Fold 

 

   Now you’ll have a new start menu folder with all your programs.


  • Finally there are few different tools that can be installed to mimic the start button.  In my opinion the best two options are:

     

    1. Start Menu 8. Start Menu 8 emulates the classic Windows 7 start menu, both in style and function. Pressing the windows key will open the menu and display a list of folder shortcuts on the right, a search bar on the bottom, and a list of program folders for easy access to all your applications. For the most part, Start Menu 8 looks, acts, and tastes like the old Start button, but also comes with a few tweaks and enhancements.

        2.Classic Shell - Another great free and open source software tool to add the start menu and other previous Windows features to Windows 8. The Classic Shell menu displays shortcuts to all of your programs, documents, and settings.

 

 

For more information and for assistance please contact us or visit our services page.

Published in Tutorials

 

Amazon.com is jumped into the crowded Smartphone market with its own phone called Fire Phone, directly confronting with Apple and Samsung.

The introduction continues Amazon's evolution from online book seller to global technology titan.

The phone, like the other Amazon’s electronic devices, including readers and tablets, is tightly integrated to Amazon online shopping and presents some very interesting technologies and points of difference.

  • Fire uses a four dedicated front facing cameras and a infrared technology to recognize and track where your face is both in the day light and in the dark. The reason for this id to enable a feature called “dynamic perspective”: the tech will dynamically change your viewing experience depending upon your perspective, as well as how you hold and move the phone. 
  • Amazon’s Fire Phone won’t have Google’s services. In fact the phone will have its own applications and its own App Store.
  • Firefly feature will make your shopping in Amazon even easier. It can identify songs and products via microphone and camera, then is Amazon the products will automatically queued for you to buy. Firefly also utilises the phone’s camera to recognise phones numbers of local businesses.
  • Fire users will get unlimited cloud storage for their pictures
  • Fire phone is built with Corning durable Gorilla Glass 3 panels on both the front and the rear, but the glass isn’t shatterproof so if you have a habit of breaking phone displays, this presents twice the risk.
Published in Androids

 

How many times we hear about people saying “I spend lots of money every month for my website and I don’t get the desired traffic of results”. There are so many things that can go wrong with a website and doesn’t matter how much money you spent to make it, because is all about how you design your website, and how you manage your website.

To achieve a successful website is a good rule to follow these essential tips and you will see that the results will not take long to show.

  • Before you start to build your website, consider what purpose it serves in your business? A website can be used to sell a product or service exclusively, to give information, as a brochure to attract more business or showcase projects, or even a combination of things.Each purpose needs to develop with a different technique.

    For example if you are an author selling a book, a very simple website can do the job. You just need to describe your book, write down some testimonials and obviously bring to the action of Buy NOW.

  • Understand your target market. What’s worse of not getting traffic is getting the wrong traffic. Meaning people who are not interested in buying your product or services, but rather someone trying to sell YOU something. Therefore is important to deeply understand who we are talking to.
    • Male or Female?
    • What level of education do they have?
    • Do they have children?
    • What’s their level of income?
    • What do they enjoy to read?
    • What are their problems to be solved?
  • Lead visitors to action. Don’t make the mistake of throwing all your content in the front page, this makes your visitors confused and willing to leave as soon as they get there. Is better to focus each page on a particular content and decide what you want your visitors to do. Don’t be shy, make it clear and easy to understand and you’ll see the results.
  • Link your Website to Social Media.  There is no doubt that the explosion of social media has been huge over the past few years.. Social media is an essential marketing channel to build relationships with potential and existing customers.Especially Google plus is an extraordinary tool. In fact activity in Google plus can influence search engine rankings, sometimes quite significantly. Google has also indicated that social media interactions are a factor in their search engine ranking algorithm.
  • Upgrade your website. Think about your website as a constant work in progress rather then something static.  Both your business and technology change over time and in this changes have to be reflected on your website. Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) is quoted as saying that successful businesses must "change often and change quickly" to survive in the modern world.

If you want to get more information on how to build a successful website contact us or visit our website.

Published in Tutorials

A research conducted by the anti-virus firm Avast has revealed that hackers use weak passwords just like everyone else. In fact after analysing a sample of nearly 40,000 passwords collected from years, Avast’s Antonín Hýža found that only 10 percent of passwords were "beyond normal capabilities of guessing or cracking." The researcher provided then some interesting statistics around hackers password choices.

"I looked at 40,000 samples of hackers’ passwords and found that nearly 2,000 were unique and 1,255 of those were in plain text. Another 346 passwords were easily cracked from MD5 hashes, because they were shorter than 9 characters. That gave me a total of 1,601 passwords and 300 hashes," Avast's Antonin Hyza said in a blog post.

Almost none of the unique passwords from the samples contained uppercase characters, despite regular warnings by security experts to use a mix of upper- and lowercase characters for passwords, furthermore the researcher discovered that the average hackers’ password has a maximum six characters, contain lower case letters and numbers and it’s derived from the English language.

Here below some chart from the Avast blog explain better how the hackers passwords usually are: (Source: Antonín Hýža, Avast Blog, https://blog.avast.com/2014/06/09/are-hackers-passwords-stronger-than-regular-passwords/)

“On the table below the occurrence of lower-case alpha characters used in passwords is displayed. The most used character is letter aand letters f, j, v, w, y, z are used very seldom. This is the largest set of characters so 38 occurrences of lower-case letter q is still more frequently used than the upper-case character set where S has 28 occurrences. In the special character set, lower-case q is used almost the same as most frequently used “.” with count of 42.”

Upper case lettersand their occurrence is displayed on the next table. They are all very rarely used and when they are, it is either the first letter in the password, or the entire word is written with upper case letters. Only a few passwords actually uses a combination of both upper and lower case.

The next table shows which special characters are preferred by hackers and how much they use them to improve passwords. The first character in this table is a space and it revealed one interesting thing: One or five spaces could be a pretty clever password, but not very secure as it gets tested right from the beginning. Not all special characters are listed below because ,  =  ~  |  [  ]  were not used at all.

 

Source: Antonín Hýža, Avast Blog, https://blog.avast.com/2014/06/09/are-hackers-passwords-stronger-than-regular-passwords/

Published in IT Security

Attending the World Cup in person can be very expensive considering hotels, flights, and stadium ticket prices. So in order to make all soccer fans happy, Google released a Maps Street View package on Thursday specifically for the World Cup. The feature lets people explore all 12 of the World Cup stadiums, along with scenes captured on roads painted in festive tribute to the major global sporting event.

While these maps could be insightful to people who are far from Brazil, Google has also rolled out a few features for those fans who actually travelled down south to see some live goals, indeed the mapping application includes tools for finding the most efficient ways to get to games using buses or trains.

Published in Website & Apps

Google has released a test version of a software called “End to End” aimed to provide a secure method for transmitting data between users.

The move comes after the tech giant announced its support for Reset the Net, a coordinated day of action set for Thursday to oppose mass surveillance online. To the action day other well-known companies will participate including Reddit, Mozilla, DuckDuckGo, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future and Greenpeace.

“End-to-end” encryption plugin allows data leaving your browser to be encrypted until the recipient decrypts it, and vice versa.

In reality the encryption services have been available for years, but were often too difficult for most people on the Internet to use

In a blogpost, Google said its data showed that approximately 40-50% of emails sent between Gmail and other email providers are not encrypted. 

However, the End-to-End extension is not available at the Chrome Web Store quite yet; the alpha development status is been released yesterday so that the community can test and evaluate it, helping Google to make it as secure as it needs to be before people start relying on it.

"We recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection. But we hope that the "End-to-end" extension will make it quicker and easier for people to get that extra layer of security should they need it".

 

Published in Website & Apps

Facebook mission of connecting people in under-developed countries goes one step forward after partnering with wireless operators in certain countries to offer free access to its social network and building drones and satellites that will beam Internet access to remote regions of the world.

Pryte said the tie-up would "make an even greater impact by advancing the work we are doing in collaboration with Facebook's great team, working to further Internet.org's goal of making affordable internet access available to everyone in the world."

 

So far Facebook has acquired 10 companies with its largest acquisition being the purchase of WhatsApp, paying more than $40 per WhatsApp user. Most of the Facebook acquisitions have boon “Talent acquisitions”, in fact its CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that "We have not once bought a company for the company. We buy companies to get excellent people...

Published in Website & Apps

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