Understanding the New ‘Perimeter’ Against Cyber Attacks

Hacker in hood with laptop initiating cyber attack. View from the back.

If you yourself haven’t been the victim of a cyber attack, you very likely know someone else who has, and in fact the numbers suggest that upwards of 90% of organizations experienced at least SOME level of an IT security breach in the past year. Further, it’s believed that one in 6 organizations have had significant security breaches during the same period.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’ve established ourselves as a top Canadian web hosting provider but we’re always keen to explore industry trends – positive and negative – that impact what matters to our customers. And our array of customers covers pretty much any type of interest one could have in operating on the World Wide Web.

Cyberattacks have pretty much become a part of every day life. While not to suggest that these types of incidents are ‘inevitable’, there is only so much any one individual or IT team can do to guard against them. Yes, there are standard PROACTIVE web security protocols to follow, but we will not look at those here given the fact that they are quite commonly understood amongst those of you who have that as part of your job detail and responsibility within the organization.

Rather, let’s take a look at being REACTIVE in response to a cyber attack here, and in particular with tips on how to disinfect a data centre and beef it up against further transgressions.

Anti-Virus and Firewalls – Insufficient

It would seem that the overwhelming trend with cloud data security revolves around the utilization of firewalls, believing them to be a sufficiently effective perimeter. Oftentimes, however, exceptions are made to allow cloud applications to run and in thus doing so the door is opened for intrusions to occur.

So much for firewalls securing the enterprise.

Similarly, anti-virus software can no longer keep pace with the immense volume of daily viruses and their variants that are being created in cyberspace nearly everyday. A reputable cybersecurity firm recently announced the discovery of a new Permanent Denial-of-Service (PDos) botnet named BrickerBot, which serves to render the victim’s hardware entirely useless.

A PDoS attack – or ‘phlashing’ as it’s also referred to – can damage a system so extensively that full replacement or reinstallation of hardware is required, and unfortunately these attacks are becoming more prevalent.It is true that there are plenty of useful tools out there such as Malware bytes that should be used to detect and cleanse the data centre of any detected or suspected infections.

Making Use of Whitelisting And Intrusion Detection

Whitelisting is a good way to strengthen your defensive lines and isolate rogue programs that have successfully infiltrated your data center. Also known as application control, whitelisting involves a short list of the applications and processes that have been authorized to run. This strategy limits use by means of a “deny-by-default” approach so that only approved files or applications are able to be installed. Dynamic application whitelisting strengthens security defenses and helps with preventing malicious software and other unapproved programs from running.

Modern networking tools should also be integrated as part of your security arsenal, and if they are configured correctly they can highlight abnormal patterns that may be a cause for concern. As an example, intrusion detection can be set up to be triggered when any host uploads a significant load of data several times over the course of a day. The idea is to eliminate abnormal user behaviour and help with containing existing threats.

Security Analytics

What’s the best way to augment current security practices? Experts in this are increasingly advocating real-time analytics used in tandem with specific methodologies that focus on likely attack vectors. This approach revolves around seeing the web as a hostile environment filled with predators. In the same way behavioural analytics are used in protecting against cyber terrorists, we need to take an in-depth look at patterns to better detect internal security threats.

However, perhaps the most important thing to realize is that technology alone will never solve the problem. Perfect email filters and the transgressors will move to using mobile networks. Improve those filters and they’ll jump to social media accounts. The solution must address the source and initial entry concepts, with training and education implemented so that people in the position to respond and ‘nip it in the bud’ can be explicitly aware of these attacks just as they first begin.

End-user Internet security awareness training is the answer, but we are only in the formative stages of making it accessible for users across all the different types. Much of it is all about teaching users not to do inadvisable things like clicking on suspect URLs in emails, or opening attachments that let in the bad hats.

Putting all staff through requisite training may be expensive and time consuming / productivity draining, but we may be at the point soon where it’s no longer an option to NOT have these types of educational programs. The new reality is that what we previously referred to as ‘the perimeter’ no longer really exists, or if it does it’s by in large ineffective in preventing the entirety of cyber attacks. The ‘perimeter’ is now every single individual on their own, and accordingly the risks are even greater with the weakest link in the chain essentials being the entirety of your system defences.

Amnesty International Report on Instant Messaging Services and Privacy

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Skype & Snapchat, among other companies, have failed to adopt basic privacy protection as recent stated in Amnesty International’s special report “Message Privacy Ranking” report. The report compares 11 popular instant messaging services.

Companies were ranked based on their recognition of online threats to human rights, default deployment of end-to-end encryption, user disclosure, government disclosure, and publishing of the technical details of their encryption.

“If you think instant messaging services are private, you are in for a big surprise. The reality is that our communications are under constant threat from cybercriminals and spying by state authorities. Young people, the most prolific sharers of personal details and photos over apps like Snapchat, are especially at risk,” Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Head of Amnesty International’s Technology and Human Rights Team said in a statement.

“Snapchat” only scored 26 points in the report (out of 100) and Blackberry was rated even worse at 20 points). Skype has weak encryption, scoring only 40.

The middle group in the rankings included Google, which scored a 53 for its Allo, Duo, & Hangouts apps, Line and Viber, with 47 each, and Kakao Talk, which scored a 40.

The report also stated “that due to the abysmal state of privacy protections there was no winner.”

On a side not protecting privacy rights is also part of the motivation behind the Let’s Encrypt Project, which to use to supply free SSL Certificates.

Amnesty International has petitioned messaging services to apply “end-to-end encryption” (as a default feature) to protect: activists, journalists, opposition politicians, and common law-abiding citizens world-wide. It also urges companies to openly publish and advertise the details about their privacy-related practices & policies.

About the most popular instant messaging app: “Whatsapp” – Facebook has thrown everybody a new surprise twist.

WhatsApp is updating its privacy policy. Facebook wants your data and end-to-end encryption is going to soon be shut off.
WhatsApp , now owned by Facebook, started some uproar this week after the announcement that it’s changing its terms (or privacy) to *allow* data to be shared with Facebook. It means that for the first time Whatsapp will give permission to connect accounts to Facebook. This is after pledging, in 2014, that it wouldn’t do so – and has now backtracked.

WhatsApp now says that it will give the social networking site more data about its users – allowing Facebook to suggest phone contacts as “friends”.

“By coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp,” Whatsapp has written.

“By connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. … For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.”

Many aren’t pleased with the move, especially since WhatsApp previously promised not to change its privacy settings.
If you want to carry on using whatsapp, you can’t opt out of the Facebook connection feature, as the update of terms and privacy policy is compulsory. “This allows us to do things like improve our app’s performance and better coordinate,” says WhatsApp.

The app’s end-to-end encryption will also be stopped. However previously the company implemented it earlier this year and claimed it made conversations more secure.

The popular messaging service’s recent change in privacy policy to start sharing users’ phone numbers with Facebook—the first policy change since WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 – has attracted regulatory scrutiny in Europe.

The Italian antitrust watchdog on Friday also announced a separate probe into whether WhatsApp obliged users to agree to sharing personal data with Facebook.

The European Union’s 28 data protection authorities said in a statement they had requested WhatsApp stop sharing users’ data with Facebook until the “appropriate legal protections could be assured” to avoid falling foul of EU data protection law.

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy involves the sharing of information with Facebook for purposes that were not included in the terms of service when users signed up, raising questions about the validity of users’ consent, known as the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), as the European authorities have responded with.

The Wp29 group also urges WhatsApp to stop passing user data to Facebook while it investigates the legality of the arrangement.
Subsequently a spokeswoman for WhatsApp said the company was working with data protection authorities to address their questions.

Facebook has had run-ins with European privacy watchdogs in the past over its processing of users’ data. However, the fines that regulators can levy are paltry in comparison to the revenues of the big U.S. tech companies concerned.

The European regulators will discuss the Yahoo and WhatsApp cases in November.

“The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) has serious concerns regarding the manner in which the information relating to the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy was provided to users and consequently about the validity of the users’ consent,” it writes.

“WP29 also questions the effectiveness of control mechanisms offered to users to exercise their rights and the effects that the data sharing will have on people that are not a user of any other service within the Facebook family of companies.”

We haven’t heard of any discussion within Canada as of yet.

Thank you for reading the 4GoodHosting blog. We would love to hear from you.

Google & Facebook will be Building a Big Trans-Pacific Fiber-Optic Cable

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Map published by Facebook

Google and Facebook are engaging in a partnership to pay for the laying of what will be one of the highest-capacity undersea data cables – piping data in the form of light all the way across the Pacific; bridging Los Angeles & Hong Kong.

This project is the second partnership Facebook has joined in. It is yet another current example recent big business in the submarine-fiber optic cable industry. This internet-centric industry has traditionally been dominated by group of private, and government, carriers.

Companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon operate huge-scale data centers that deliver various internet services to people worldwide. These internet big boys have are quickly reaching a point where their global bandwidth needs are so high that it makes more sense for them to fund cable construction projects directly; rather than to purchase capacity from established carriers.

Previously this year, in May 2016, Facebook announced that teamed up with Microsoft on a high capacity cable across the Atlantic called “MAREA”. This cable will be linking internet backbone hubs in Virginia Beach, and Bilbao, in Spain. Telefonica will be administrating this future transatlantic data line.

Europe and the Asia Pacific region are important markets internet services giants. The MAREA cable will boost bandwidth levels between both companies’ data centers both in Asia and the US.

The submerged fibre line is named the “Pacific Light Cable Network”, named after Pacific Light Data Communications, Inc – the 3rd partner of the project.

Both the MAREA and Pacific Light cable will be built by “TE SubCom”; one of the biggest names in the submarine fibre optic cable industry.

The 120Tbps (Terabits per second) PLCN system will provide greater diversity in transpacific cable routes, as Facebook recently published. “Most Pacific subsea cables go from the United States to Japan, and this new direct route will give us more diversity and resiliency in the Pacific,” Facebook’s article states.

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One difference that PLCN and MAREA have from traditional transoceanic cable systems is they will be interoperable with different networking equipment; rather than being designed to function with specific or proprietary landing-station technologies. Companies will be able to choose what optical equipment best fits their needs best. When better technology become available, the companies involved will be able to change or upgrade that equipment – as better technologies becomes available. Equipment refreshes can occur as optical technology improves.

When equipment can be replaced by better technology at a quicker pace, costs should go down and bandwidth rates should increase more quickly.

Another cable, “FASTER”, is backed by Google and several Asian telecommunications and IT services companies, became operational in early 2016. Yet another big submarine cable project is the “New Cross Pacific Cable System”, which is backed by Microsoft and several Asian telecoms. NCP is expected to light up in 2017.

Also earlier this year; Amazon Web Services made its first direct investment on a submerged cable – helping make the planned “Hawaiki” Submarine Cable project between the US, Australia, and New Zealand possible. Both before-mentioned cables are to be surfacing in Oregon.

High speed optical cable is bringing the world together at the speed of light faster than ever before. At the speed of light, approximately 186,000 miles per second, data can circle the whole world more than 7 times a second.

Due to factors such as this, 4GoodHosting.com intends to continue serving websites all over the world, and reaching a larger, global market of new customers who wish to have their website hosted from Canada. (a most liberal, low-key & relaxed country)

United States/Canada to cede internet oversight to emerging UN global cabal

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The name of the organization with seen to remain the same, “ICANN”, but the people is power over the organization is about to shift, without your vote, Oct 1st to an assemblage of the world body politic, mostly compose of despots and dictators. The effect of this is still yet to be seen, but one key person involved in today’s political fray, presidential candidate Donald Trump, opposed the lackluster plan.

Basically, the current domain name system as you have grown to know, and trust, is about to go under changes that could easily lead to intimidation and censorship against free speech. Protection of grassroots political speech is also at risk. The world can go on with less adult websites, but the world simply won’t be as good or nice of a place without freedom of speech in other regards. The founders of America frequently stated that the citizenry must always be vigilant and jealously guard their rights and freedoms. This is the attitude now on the podium of Donald Trump; the only candidate opposed to the plan to hand over control of the internet to a conflicted party of those seeking ever more power in the world.

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is currently conducting verbal opposition to the semi-secretively planned transition of oversight of the internet’s domain name system (DNS) management from the US-based governance to the UN, a global organization of political stakeholders from around the world; which could abrogate and hand-over control of the internet itself to authoritarian regimes such as China and Saudi Arabia and others; foreseeably threatening online freedom. Internet DNS is basically a directory for internet-connected devices that helps translate domain names to numerical IP addresses.

He strongly contends that the US Congress should act swiftly block the handover, scheduled to occur next week on Oct. 1 2016, or as his campaign policy director Stephen Miller stated “internet freedom will be lost for good, since there will be no way to make it great again once it is lost.”

The ‘handover’ of the internet DNS was proposed in March 2014, implying the transfer of oversight from the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and is soon expected to fully occur; unless Congress now acts quick and votes to block the move. Recently the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) finally signed off on the agreement.

Some congressional negotiators are currently working to finalize an agreement on a new spending package, due September 30th , allegedly containing a provision to delay the transition.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports the Obama administration’s planned transition to give the UN control over everyone’s domain names. If that happens, a highly entrenched foreign political power would have control if anyone’s domain expires earlier than expected, without option to renew – and perhaps even with more authoritarian controls.

This is the workings of the current government and system that everyone worldwide is paying taxes in support of. Please share this article and/or speak your mind directly with others who should be concerned as well.

This page explains domain purchasing today.

On Choosing the Best CMS for Your Particular Needs

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You may have heard of the 3 more popular content management applications: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla – but you are not sure which one is best for your needs. Perhaps you remain curious; so we will focus the the two ‘other’ choices besides WordPress: Drupal & Joomla.

Each particular CMS will provide the basic functions of: adding, deleting, and publishing various types of content. Each program has different strong points (and weaknesses) which should be considered whole-cloth, prior to making your ultimate decision.

First write down your business’ objectives and goals. This should be is the first step in selecting the best CMS application suited for your particular business needs. Ultimately, optimally serving your business’ unique target audience.

Choosing the right CMS (by the way, easily confused with CNS (Central Nervous System)), is the backbone for your project it will save you a great deal of headaches later. A reliable web host, with super customer support, also saves you from initial and future headaches. With 4GoodHosting.ca you can get both ultra-reliable hosting and the CMS of your choice for free: Joomla, Drupal, or of course; WordPress – or any of the 200+ free scripts we offer you with any of our hosting package.

Drupal:

In 2016, there is an estimated 1 million+ websites built atop the Drupal CMS. Drupal is common to government offices, universities and colleges, Non-government Organization, Canadian & otherwise global enterprises. America’s White House website is taking advantage of Drupal’s strong website security features. Drupal is a comprehensive, expandable, powerful content management framework suitable to be the foundation of virtually any type of website.

Drupal’s Advantages:

  • * Tested Enterprise-level security; advanced control over URL structure
  • * Lots of functionality – including advanced menu management, graphics modification utilities, poll management, and administration/users management
  • * Built for high performance; pages load fast because of its defaulting caching features
  • * Ability to handle large amounts of content & data
  • * Extensive selection of themes, modules & extensions
  • * Ideal for community platform sites (requiring multiple users – admin, editors, logged in users requiring customized content, private groups, etc.)
  • * Large robust community generally responsive to inquiries and concerns.
  • * Good SEO configurability
  • * Clean/professional looking designs/themes.

Drupal’s Disadvantages:

  • * High/technical learning curve; not user-friendly
  • * Developer skills needed to install and apply upgrades requiring experienced knowledge of PHP and HTML languages as well as CSS
  • * More expensive: premium themes and plugins (modules) are prices considerably higher than say WordPress (and Joomla)
  • * Big name Brands who are Using Joomla:
  • * The Weather Channel
  • * NBC.com
  • * Twitter
  • * Oxford University
  • * Verizon Wireless
  • * The White House
  • * The Economist Magazine
  • * Forbes Magazine

Joomla:

Another good option for small to mid-sized websites or e-commerce stores (or for building a community or a social network with a membership features, forums, newsroom, articles, and a writing staff). However, if you need something more powerful for larger/enterprise projects where scalability, stability, & high versatility are essential, then learning and using Drupal would be more appropriate.

Joomla is becoming an increasingly popular CMS platform. Trailing WordPress, it is the 2nd most accepted CMS. Joomla is currently housing over 3 million websites.

Joomla level of complexity is somewhere between WordPress (simplest) in most advanced and enterprise-class Drupal.

Joomla has the extensibility of being extended in order to produce even new functionality. Joomla has won the Packt Open Source Awards now several years in a row.

Joomla entails a slight learning curve, particularly for novices, yet webmasters usually wind up happy with Joomla’s built in features.

Joomla’s Advantages:

  • * Installation is simple (developer knowledge of CSS, PHP, or HTML is not required) updates installs are easily done through web browser
  • * E-commerce made easy
  • * Thousands of free extensions available (for increased functionality of your site)
  • * Advanced administration panel offers many functions for complete optimization
  • * Manage users simply and easily
  • * Joomla’s application framework makes it possible for developers to create powerful add-ons
  • * URLs generated are SEO friendly
  • * Active community support (programmer tools and tutorials for users )

Joomla’s Disadvantages:

  • * Some learning curve to ride – but not as much as Drupal.
  • * About half of the plugins/extensions & modules are for purchase
  • * Limited configurability options (particularly for advanced users); Limited “access control list” (ACL) support
  • * Occasional compatibility issues with some of the plugins, which requires some PHP skill to iron-out the functions to work properly

Big name Brands who are Using Joomla:

  • * IKEA
  • * IHOP
  • * Harvard University (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences )

If you have some experience with content management systems and you’re not wanting WordPress for any reason, and if diving into Drupal seems quite daunting, then Joomla might be your best option. Thank you for choosing 4GoodHosting.com as your 5.0 Google rated, A+ BBB Canadian Web Host.

“Irish”(Similarly Canadian) Search Warrant Found Invalid – Microsoft Currently Victorious in Fight for User Privacy

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(US & Canadian News) Microsoft actually championed a huge victory in regards to user privacy {which certainly has affect on Canadians using Microsoft products and services: Email, Cloud Storage, Skype, etc.) on July 28th. An appeals court has ruled that a federal warrant to seize email from a Microsoft server in “Ireland” is invalid.

Federal investigators received a spy warrant (for email contents) as part of a criminal investigation in December 2013, which touched off a debate between the tech-industry and law enforcement about jurisdiction & data storage.

The timing of this coincides with Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) – where the company’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith promoted a vision for the internet that respects people’s rightsand is “governed by good law.”

Microsoft said: “We obviously welcome today’s decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The decision is important for three reasons: it ensures that people’s privacy rights are protected by the laws of their own countries; it helps ensure that the legal protections of the physical world apply in the digital domain; and it paves the way for better solutions to address both privacy and law enforcement needs.”

Privacy protections for information stored on paper should persist as data moves to the cloud. This decision helps ensure this result.

— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) July 14, 2016

Microsoft has publicly acknowledged a need for cloud providers, particularly those based in the U.S., to win back over consumer trust.

Representatives for like-minded lobby groups include: the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), i2Coalition, plus big tech companies such as: Rackspace, Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, and Verizon – and notably in this case Ireland’s Parliament – and each submitted briefs in support of Microsoft’s initial statements and position.

“We conclude that Congress did not intend the SCA’s warrant provisions to apply extraterritorially,” the judges said in the ruling (PDF). “The focus of those provisions is protection of a user’s privacy interests. Accordingly, the SCA does not authorize a US court to issue and enforce an SCA warrant against a United States‐based service provider for the contents of a customer’s electronic communications stored on servers located outside the United States.”

Thank you for reading and sharing the 4GoodHosting Blog.

Hosting Upgrade Considerations


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Is your website becoming much more popular?

If you are searching for reliable yet inexpensive, and fast loading website hosting, “shared web hosting” or “V.P.S.” (Virtual Private Server hosting) service are two good, but not identical, options. The most common choice, to do it at rock bottom costs, shared hosting, but for many businesses the limitations of shared hosting eventually becomes outgrown.

Migrating from a shared server plan to a VPS (or an entirely “Dedicated” or “Standalone Server) is typically the next step.

4GoodHosintg provides free upgrade migration services; to solve any nervousness when you may decide to upgrade your website to its own server.

Some signs you have outgrown Shared Web Hosting:

Skyrocketting Traffic

For low traffic websites shared hosting is ideal. If you are noticing your traffic increase consistently, or if you are offering high-bandwidth content such as video(s); you may need to upgrade to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) for dedicated bandwidth, and for a lower-latency (faster) less congested network connections.

When your business/website grows in size: your email, disk space, CPU & RAM (Random access memory) requirements will also eventually surpass your existing shared hosting plan. The growth of your business will often dictate the need for upgrades.

Choosing between VPS and dedicated server

Perhaps you would feel best serving your website by renting your own private server (standalone web server with it’s own dual power supply). However, first consider the differences between VPS and Dedicated servers – to find out which one is best for your application; including cost, as VPS are less expensive than leasing dedicated equipment in our data center.

In either case, 4GoodHosting offers numerous advantages: such as 24/7 customer support, “RAID” hard drive and SSD redundancy, dual-coast back-ups, disaster recovery servers, plus the flexibility of upgrading or downgrading your server hosting package whenever you need with free migrations.

Data Privacy: The One Big Benefit of Traditional Hosting when compared to Cloud Hosting

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The above diagram shows you the architectural difference between cloud hosting solution and traditional hosting solutions. Cloud service partitioning of the overall system stack, as outlined above, only started to become generally promoted in 2008-2009. Traditional dedicated servers, shared server hosting accounts, and VPS hosting were offered all over the internet more than full decade before the word ‘cloud’ became the latest buzzword.

This article is a bit different than most every other ‘cloud hosting’ article published so far. How? Well, there has been alot of hype over the past several years about the cloud approach to web hosting. Although cloud hosting is becoming an increasingly popular method of web hosting, there are some disadvantages to that arrangement. As with each kind of hosting, there are pros and usually at least one drawback associated with each type; and each has a significantly different cost.

Hosting a website in a public cloud offers some benefits that we will review below, but there is one very significant drawback – which is an inherent lack of control over security/privacy of a company’s business data. This means that your information could be vulnerable to hackers and unauthorized users. After all you would be storing your ‘private’ business information out there in some unknown rather geographical location in ‘the cloud’. Would you simply trust that?

If you just have a small website, that showcases your company with some simple functionality such a contact form, then a traditional shared hosting account or VPS (Virtual Private Server) is completely adequate; as it has been for a long time. Shared hosting has been the status-quo since the late 1990s’. Regarding software applications and databases that deal with your actual business data: such as your customer lists, their ordering information, your customer’s personal information or credit-card/banking information, you would logically want that information to be kept ‘in-house’ or internal. Your company’s most important data is usually the proprietary software that your company has developed (usually at great expense), or your company’s entire customer database (which is usually tied together with your customer’s personal credit card or banking details). This is something that you would not normally want to have stored in a public cloud. You are also depending on a second party to safeguard that data.

Information that your mobile operator has on file about you

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Click on image to see it full zize.

Even before whistle blowing hero Edward Snowden revealed the deep penetration the US government has impinged on it’s citizens privacy as you use the internet, there were many reports of government institutions spying on citizens, and cellphone records have often been mentioned in those reports. In spite of this, we have as a whole ‘learned’ to accept it.

Cell phone use records offer tremendous insight into any investigation, because of the sheer amount of detailed information about the individual suddenly under the microscope.

Apart from basic contractual information like a subscriber’s name and address, lots of other data is also gathered and stored on file by mobile providers; such as everywhere you have been with your phone.

This database of data includes who you phoned (and they have the same type of data warehoused on your friends too of course), who you received calls from, who you sms’d, what you said, who said what to you, your tweets and facebook activity, your photographs are up for grabs, videos, and again, everywhere you have been.

There is not much left, as the above is already above most people’s imaginations.

Ransom-ware – how to protect yourself (and your computer)

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This blog concerns the topic of what is known as “Ransomware”.

It is becoming a ever more prevalent annoyance that has been circulating around the internet. The devilish hackers behind it are attempting to extort money from common people.

Like its name implies, “Ransom-ware holds your computer hostage, subsequently demanding payment in order for the person to be able to boot or log into their computer again.”, says Eric Rainbolt, 4GoodHosting’s support manager. It goes onto a victim’s computer through unpatched software vulnerabilities to silently install itself, and sometimes through social engineering tactics too.

“Cryptolocker” is ransom-ware that can spread quickly through email a affects a person’s file that on drives that are mapped to a hard-drive (of SSD) using the drive letters D: , E, or F:. This can also include USB memory sticks, ext. hard drives, or from a network or cloud folder.

Paying the criminals, which we don’t advise, may or may not let you access to your system or your data back, but there have been plenty of cases where the ranson-ware’s decryption key isn’t emailed or when sent doesn’t even work.

Tens of thousands of machines have been affected in the past couple of years – after the ransom-ware pirates have sent millions of emails.

So what can be done about ransom-ware?