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Microsoft’s Windows 8 has been branded a threat to China’s cybersecurity

Segun Balogun

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Windows 8 a ‘threat’ to China’s security

Microsoft’s Windows 8 has been branded a threat to China’s cybersecurity in a state-backed news report.

China’s CCTV broadcast a strongly critical story in which experts suggested it was being used to grab data about Chinese citizens.

The report comes only days after China banned the use of Windows 8 on many government computers.

Separately, other Chinese media firms called for tech firms that aided US spying to face “severe punishment”.

US monitoring

In the story Prof Yang Min of Fudan University , that Windows 8 posed a “big challenge” to the nation’s cybersecurity efforts,

“Microsoft would no longer open its Windows 8 source code to the Chinese government,” he said. “However the security scheme of the Windows 8 operating system is designed to provide better access for Microsoft to users’ database.”

The report also suggested that Windows 8 was one of the methods the NSA was using to spirit data out of the country. China has been a consistent critic of the wide-ranging surveillance programme carried out by the NSA.

“Your identity, account, contact book, phone numbers, all this data can be put together for big data analysis,” said Ni Guangnan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

“The data might be a good way for the US to monitor other countries,” he added.

In late May, China issued a notice which stopped Windows 8 machines being procured for government departments. The ban was apparently imposed because of a decree about energy-saving devices. However, many media reports said it was brought in because of fears over the security of the operating system.

Microsoft told CCTV that it was “actively co-operating” with the Chinese government on a review of its products to allay fears about what was being done with user data.

Many US tech companies were also criticised in the Chinese media for the help they have given to the NSA surveillance programme.

Yahoo, Cisco, Facebook, Apple, Google and others were described as “pawns” of the US government that had aided attempts to spy on Chinese citizens and steal secrets. All should be punished for their co-operation, said editorials in state-backed media.

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Business

The Cloud and SMBs – a Powerful Symbiosis

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While animals are undoubtedly stronger than humans, it is the advantage of the human species to adjust the environment to its benefit. Still, we never had the ability to resist the urge created by valuable items, which is why sooner or later every discovery of our civilization gets turned towards making profit. Unrelated to history, anthropology and psychology, when it first came to existence, the purpose of cloud was a safe storage of photos and other personal memorabilia in digital form- but not anymore. Today, cloud technology is one of the greatest weapons that SMBs have against their much larger counterparts. Here are few reasons why.

Lower IT Infrastructure Costs

When you start a business, one of the first concerns you face is whether to buy or rent hardware. The first option may be cheaper in the long run, but it requires more capital and it does make things more complicated when you have to replace what you have with a newer model. Similar thing happens with software (whether to subscribe annually or monthly), business networks and various other issues. All of this becomes much easier with cloud computing, seeing how it doesn’t require much investment. What you use is what you pay for.

Smoother Scalability

When it comes to paying proportionally to the resources you use, scalability is another great advantage of going with cloud because there is no guarantee that your workload won’t increase or diminish over time. Furthermore, some industries face great oscillations in work influx through different seasons but with cloud you can change the size of your operations on a monthly basis. In this way, you save some money without having to readjust your prices or lay people off. This is important because both of these things can act as a deal breaker when you find yourself in the midst of the season.

Everything in One Place

Another advantage of the cloud is that it becomes much easier to integrate all your online presence and confine it into a single spot. Sometimes you won’t deal with a single website, but several of them leading to the same place, and even though they don’t see the same amount of traffic, they should all have support of equal quality just in case. Imagine a situation where you have a .com website, but someone takes your exact domain name with a different extension. This is a disaster you simply need to avert at all costs, which means you should buy some of the most popular variations of your domain names. In order not to spend a small fortune on this, you need to find an affordable place where you are going to buy domain name or several of them.

Better Security

Much greater security is also a great advantage because SMBs are always an attractive target to hackers. On one hand, they don’t have the same value to their name as some of the major conglomerates out there, but what they also don’t have is the same level of security. Adequate cyber-security team would cost a small fortune in equipment and paychecks (provided you decided to create an in-house department). On the other hand, you can just go with cloud and let your provider’s team deal with this issue.

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Reliable Backup

USB drives can get lost, HDDs can get destroyed and other equipment might get damaged, misplaced or broken beyond repair. Now imagine you had volumes of data and years of hard work on one of these devices. Just thinking about losing all that hard work is enough to send chills down your spine. However, if you store something in the digital environment, all you need is a security clearance and you will have access to all your data. Provided it is safe from hackers (as already mentioned above) your data will be there to wait for you regardless of which device you access it from.

Conclusion

One only needs to take a look at the business world today and notice that things are definitely changing. No longer are only the major brands able to survive and SMBs and startups doomed to failure. The internet, the social media, and most importantly, cloud storage and computing, has changed this situation greatly.

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Internet Security

Ensuring company safety online

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Internet security is crucial for a successful business

Although there are a few ways to secure your computer and to go online without having to worry about catching any viruses or collecting any malware, but it is not often the case. Malicious malware is around every corner, and it is quite hard to stay protected at all times. It is very important that you never go online without proper antivirus protection, because there is a big chance that you will get hacked, and that you will spread the virus. This is especially important for businesses as they have sensitive data which might get incriminated if security is low and if employees are not careful.

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Keeping your data safe is very important

In order to keep your data and sensitive information secured, and that you do not have to worry about anything leaking, it is very important that you use data encryption. Even if you think that you have great security measures installed, chances are that data can be easily obtainable by someone who is good at hacking, and extracting sensitive information is not hard nowadays, making your company very vulnerable. Moreover, the data stolen can be used for blackmail or for ruining your company, but just simply making sure that your data is hard to extract, you have taken the first step towards good security.

Securing your company

Your IT employees cannot do everything and at all times to secure all your employees properly, in most cases it will be necessary to have a good internet provider which will have your company secured. You can also visit Domain.me to help and to educate your employees in terms of how to be secured on the Internet and how to stay clear of malicious malware and software that might harm your computers. Most importantly, they will be able to learn different ways to keep data safe and secured, without having to learn anything too difficult or too demanding.

Always have a backup

It is a good idea to force your employees to create regular backups of everything they do, and if they have hard backups as well, it will be that much better as you can be assured that nothing can be leaked and that there is a low chance that anything might be stolen. However, be careful of the different methods to backup sensitive data, as some are better than the others, but in some cases the service or system might be prone to get attacked as well. Make sure that your backup security is updated regularly and that it is tested for any possible threat to be sure that nothing can go through.

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The range of online threats

To keep your employees updated and safe from all the possible threats online, it will be necessary to hold frequent workshops in order to educate them. Moreover, you need to educate your workforce on how to be safe on the Internet, and how to go about leaving little to no traces behind, so that no sensitive data can be stolen or leaked. In essence, keeping your workers updated and educated about what it is they need to do in order to stay safe and secured online is very crucial, and in most cases it could mean the difference of a successful company.

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Blogging Tips

10 Website Security Issues Every Website Owner Should Be Aware Of

Segun Balogun

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website security

Beyond security reported that, Web sites are unfortunately prone to security risks. And so are any networks to which web servers are connected. Setting aside risks created by employee use or misuse of network resources, your web server and the site it hosts present your most serious sources of security risk.
However sitepronews explained that Technology has become more advanced, and with it, hack attacks in the online world are increasing at an alarming rate.
Hackers use known vulnerabilities in third-party software to target your website and web server, and use it for their advantage.
website securitywebsite security
The object of this maybe just to deface your website, steal your confidential client data, or even worse, use your server resources to perform illegal activities.
There are some simple tips you can leverage to strengthen your website software and sleep with peace of mind.

1. XSS or Cross Site Scripting

XSS occurs when a hacker embeds scripting code into a web form or url, and run malicious code to change your web visitor’s experience and steal passwords or other data.
XSS can also be persistent in nature, where an attacker can manipulate a specific web page and show it as a login screen to users. The recent XSS comment hack on WordPress 4.2 is an example of such a permanent loophole.

2. SQL Injection

SQL injection occurs when a hacker uses a web form field or URL parameter to manipulate your database. Almost all web platforms have a database and generally open source CMS platforms maintain dynamic aspects of the website in the database.

3. DoS or Denial of Service Attack

Denial of Service (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attacks are by far the most notorious kinds of attacks.
That is because, any level of hacker with a small investment can bombard a website, with millions of requests, and make it look like they are from legit users.
This eventually crashes the web server, and takes the site offline, requiring manual intervention to bring it back online.

4. Weak Passwords

We should all use complex passwords, because the weakest link is all it takes to break the chain. It is imperative to use strong passwords for admin areas, but equally important for all users to protect the security of their accounts.
One compromised account can lead to another and that could lead to the admin account being hacked. It is recommended that passwords have a minimum of 8 letters, digits and special characters to avoid quick password guesses.

5. Brute-force Attack

These attacks are trial-n-error methods to guess your username and password. Weak passwords are prone to getting hacked easily.
Methods like temporary blocking of IP’s and accounts, and multi-factor authentication, help mitigate such attacks.

6. Code Injection

Websites with file upload capability, or sites missing proper client and server side form validation, can be vulnerable.
The risk is that any file uploaded, could contain a script which could be leveraged as root-kit ie. administrator access to your website.
Lack of form validation on simple form fields could lead to malicious code being inserted into the database, and could cause undesirable results to your website.

7. Unencrypted Protocol

An unencrypted channel allows man-in-middle attacks to steal information from your users.
The use of a security certificate SSL, whenever passing personal information between the website and web server or database is recommended.

8. Debug Mode on Production Server

Some developers may accidentally enable debug mode on the live production server, which dumps extensive error logs to the browser.
A hacker can then obtain valuable information about the software used by the webserver and target an attack much better. It’s crucial to hide as much internal information about your server as possible to minimize and delay any attacks.

9. Old Software Versions

It may seem obvious, but ensuring you keep all software up to date is vital in keeping your site secure. This applies to both the server operating system and any software you may be running on your website such as a CMS or forum.
When website security holes are found in software, hackers are quick to abuse them.

10. No Backup Plan

No matter how vigilant you are, attackers can find new loopholes to target your website. So in addition to preventative measures, you should also have a backup-restore plan.
Just in case your site is compromised, you should have a team which can quickly restore the last known backup, and avoid reputation and sales loss.

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