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Monday, March 1, 2010

WordPress Security Plugins - Half the Battle

You might think that installing a few WordPress security plugins does the entire job of protecting your site. Security plugins can help make your site safer (i.e. database backups, login lockouts). Most people don't realize that there's much more involved in order to protect a WordPress blog.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Surf Anonymously - Protect Your Personal Information by Hiding Your IP Address

Identity theft is one of the worst crimes anyone will experience. As the name of the offense suggests, it is an online crime wherein another person uses your identity for their personal gains. More often than not, your personal information is used to purchase products or even acquire services. The bad thing about this crime is that you may not know it before you see unknown credit card charges or collection calls about the products you did not acquire.

This type of online crime can happen to anyone who frequently uses the internet for various forms of transaction. If you are constantly shopping or paying your bills online there is a possibility that someone is already trying to monitor your activities. That could lead to identity theft once they gain access to your information.

Gmail Login Security Tips

Google's systems are subject to cyber attacks just like every other email server. The best way to counteract the threat of this breech of security is to keep up to date with the Gmail security features and suggested actions.

The easiest step toward ensuring your Gmail log in information is secure is to simply not give it out. Emails you receive asking for your personal log in information should be ignored. Gmail, nor any other company or server, would solicit this information directly from users. Also, you should change your password regularly. Gmail recommends you change your password at least twice a year without repeating the same code in the same six month span.

Tips For Creating Strong and Secure Passwords

Computer hacking happens when hackers who know your password do not have to resort to technological exploits, instead they can log on and do anything that you can do on the computer or network. Keeping your password secret is one of the most important things you can do to in information security to protect your computer against security breaches.

The first step in information security is creating strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed or deduced. Tips for creating strong passwords include the following: Do not use personal information for your password. Social security numbers, driver's license numbers, phone numbers, birth dates, spouse names, and pet names are all factual information that can be found out by others.

Monday, August 18, 2008

If You Sell Anything Online Your ePockets Are Being Picked

You and I are a lot alike. We are both software publishers and eBook authors getting hosed on a regular basis. You and I, my friend, are victims of software piracy that accounted for over $24 BILLION dollars in lost revenue over the last two years*. There are so many ways people can get your product for free these days. If we continue doing nothing we will lose even more money this year as potential customers become more and more aware of just how easy it is to obtain digital products without paying for them.

The question is, why do we put up with this? When we sell our downloadable products they are being easily and freely distributed (read: STOLEN) by the very same people that we are trying to get to purchase. And don’t be fooled, this still occurs very regularly today even though a lot of us take precautions against it. This confirms that people want our products, they just don't want to pay for them …because they don't have to. In fact, 70% of potential customers won't if they can get it for free*.

We know the ideal scenario; what’s supposed to happen. Consider Bob Jones and his knot tying eBook, “Scoutmaster Bob’s Guide To Knots”. Bob uploads his eBook to his web server and creates a sales link to sell it, and this sales link goes through to his payment processor. After the order is placed the customer is redirected to the download page, or "Thank-You" page, in order to automate the delivery process.

Now Bob figures he’s all set up and starts his massive promotion efforts. He spends lots of time and money getting people to visit his site and convinces them to place an order because it really is a great product. So, the customers place orders via the sales link then are redirected back to the download page automatically to get what they’ve paid for. Perfect automated system, right? Sorry Bobby, in a perfect world maybe. But here’s what really happens.

“Back Door” #1:

Our boy Bob sets up a sales link, a download redirection link (where people go after successfully ordering) and spends time and money promoting his site. People come and visit his web site and feel that they could really use such an extensive knot tying resource and want a copy of it. A couple people place orders and Bob is happy. Because Bob has created such a great product they tell their friends about Bob’s eBook. But instead of telling their friends to check out Bob’s web site they simply email them a copy of the actual eBook. Why not, it doesn’t cost Bob any money right? Those people then tell their friends, who tell their friends, who tell their friends. A couple of weeks later Bob’s knot tying eBook is in the hands of hundreds, even thousands of people…for free. And this is just the first “back door”.

There are three (3) "Back Doors" that people use regularly to easily obtain free access to your product:
Back Door #1: Get a copy via email, newsgroups, forums, eBay, MSN, ICQ, ... whatever
Back Door #2: Get refunded and keep the product
Back Door #3: Locate the download page without paying

And here’s another scary fact: For every 10 copies downloaded, 4 of those are stolen*. How lightly would you take it if you sold a tangible product, like a t-shirt, and only 6 out of ten t-shirts that left the store were paid for? These are lost sales and income forgone, there’s no more blunt way to put it. If you can guarantee that the only way they can get your product is through your payment process you’ve just stopped that leak and increased your profits.

But right now online merchants have no idea who is really downloading their products, or what happens after the downloaded. They lose total control of its distribution. Some thieves/weasels/snakes …whatever you want to call them… even go so far as to sell stolen software and eBooks as their own for a greatly reduced price. This is probably the greatest risk to selling a digital product, and if you ask anyone that’s been doing it for a while they will have experienced this nightmare first hand. The people out there that do this are much worse than one guy that just gets your product for free. These people distribute hundreds or thousands of your product and you don’t see a cent of it. They saturate the market and decrease the value of your product, until it’s virtually worthless. They have to be stopped.

“Back Door” #2:

Back to Bob. There is another big problem for Bob when it comes to protecting his eBook. He doesn’t know that many payment processors promptly, and without hesitation, honor each and every refund request, no questions asked. Seriously…no questions at all, one simple email is all it takes. There's usually no need for the customer to explain anything, just that they would like a refund. They will get their refund right away and the you, the merchant, don’t have a say in the matter at all. And you guessed it, they get to keep the product, for free. There is no requirement to return the product like with a traditional refund, since there's no way to be sure the product was really deleted. Imagine the absolute uproar brick-and-mortar merchants would be in if customers were allowed 100% unconditional refunds on request, and the customer gets to keep the shirt, vacuum cleaner, DVD player, or whatever? Ridiculous right? But it happens to online merchants like Bob every day.

“Back Door” #3:

Lastly, Bob’s uploaded product is also easily and regularly downloaded for free by potential customers right from his own web site. People can get to his download page in any number of ways. For example, open up Google. Type this into the search box: “thankyou.htm ebook download”. Now go to the second and third pages. Here are some free products for you if you were the type to download copyrighted material without paying for it. Of course I’m not suggesting you do that, in fact I ask you NOT to download these products, just look at the thank you page to see that the “back door” is certainly easy to find. These people are just like Bob, and they work hard to create their web sites and their products. They are simply unaware of the kick-in-the-teeth they’re taking by not protecting it.

Some conscientious merchants claim, "I'm safe, I protect my download location with a third-party tool that creates my download location on the fly." This is a false sense of security and it only blocks one back door. Basically this protection method simply hides the download location, but the product is still just as susceptible to being freely distributed after the download. And it can still be kept if a refund is issued. This is equivalent to the banks simply hiding all the money instead of putting it in the bank vault.

So how are online merchants like Bob, and you, and me supposed to stay afloat? As it is now, the only way to turn a profit is to rely on people’s goodwill in hopes that they will do the right thing. And be content in the fact that some people don't know how easy it is to get online products for free, so these people actually pay for the product. So, if you think about it, within this system it's pure luck that anyone actually pays for a digital product.

But there is hope. There is a real way to stop all types of thieves and freebie-seekers. We must protect the product itself with unique identifiers and access codes for each customer. And until more of us become wise to this one simple truth rampant software and eBook piracy will continue to plague online merchants.

* - average 40% worldwide software piracy rate for 2001 & 2002, and dollar losses totaling $24.05 billion, based on intensive studies by the Business Software Alliance, and the report - "Quantifying Online Downloading of Unlicensed Software : Survey of Internet Users for BSA - May 29, 2002"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How Did This Happen to Me? Top 10 Ways to Get Spyware or Viruses on Your Computer

If you use the internet, you have probably been infected with a virus, trojan or spyware. According to the SANS Internet Storm Center, the average unprotected PC is infected within 20 minutes of normal internet usage. Many people want to know what they did to get infected. Unfortunately, usually it was just one wrong click.

Here are the top reasons people get infected and how to prevent these common internet security threats.

10. Exchanging files in chat rooms.

You should never download files from sources you don’t trust. Viruses and other internet security threats can look like valid files or photos. Always scan files with a virus scanner before opening them.

9. Clicking on popup ads.

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t like popup ads. But whether you like them or not, you should never click on them. Popup ads can take you to a website that secretly downloads adware onto your computer. Enabling a popup blocker on your computer can help protect you. Some popups come from adware programs that have downloaded onto your computer, so if you still see popups after installing a popup blocker, scan your computer for spyware or adware.

8. Email attachments.

Viruses can be sent out as email attachments to infect your computer if you open them. If you download your email into an email program, scan all email attachments with a virus scanner. Most major webmail programs scan attachments before you download them, but you should still not download files from unknown sources. “Phishing” email, claiming to be from your bank or other financial institution which asks you to provide personal information or download something to your computer is another common email threat.

7. Instant messaging.

Because people are cautious with email attachments, new viruses are spreading through instant messaging programs. Infections look like valid files or photos, so always be careful accepting file transfers, even from sources you trust.

6. Downloading music.

Many websites that advertise free music downloads are loaded with spyware. You can even get spyware from these websites without manually starting a download. Other sites make you accept a spyware download to get the music you want.

5. Browsing websites.

Some websites use “drive-by downloads” – misleading dialogue boxes to secretly install spyware programs. Sometimes spyware can install even if you do not choose “yes” or “accept”. Keep your browser security settings on default to protect yourself against these infections.

4. Installing free programs or screen savers.

Check the license agreement of any program you install to confirm it does not come bundled with other programs. License agreements are supposed to explain if the software you are downloading will cause advertisements or other downloads. These programs may have long or confusing license agreements where they have buried this information. Always carefully read what you agree to before you download free software.

3. Adult-related websites.

Many of these sites make a profit by forcing viewers to download spyware and adware to access their site. You may not be able to view these sites if you are using a secure browser or have your security settings too high.

2. P2P programs like Kazaa or Limewire.

If you share music using peer-to-peer networks, you may be forced to download advertising software onto your computer. This software can generate popups from within your computer. In these cases, you may see popups even if you are not online.

1. Gaming websites.

It may seem that viewing spoilers for online games will let you win faster, but it can slow down your computer with spyware. Mick Lathrop, part of StopSign’s Spyware Research team says, “I get most of my spyware samples from gaming-related websites.” Avoid any site that requires a software download to access information.

Even if you have an anti-virus product on your computer, confirm that it protects against the growing threat of spyware. Enable a popup blocker and firewall for further protection. Using safe browsing habits and good security software can keep you safe on the internet.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Shopping Online For Your Horse Gifts Safe?

Shopping for horse gifts or other gift items on the internet
is quick, convenient and is probably safer than you think.
However, you still need to be aware that it is essential to
vigorously protect your privacy and financial information
when making purchases online.

If you take the necessary precautions to protect
yourself when shopping for those special gifts for horse
lovers, it should be no riskier than buying by mail order or
over the phone.

To make your shopping experience a safe and happy one, the
Following suggestions may be of help:

1. When shopping, always be sure that the Web site is secure
before you provide any financial information, like your bank
account number or credit card information.

Secured Web sites will use encryption to scramble your
information when transmitted over the Internet.

There are a couple of ways for you to identify if a Web site
is secure.

a. A Web site address that is secure is preceded by "https".
For example,https// letter s at
the end of http indicates that Web site is secure.

b. Look for a yellow or golden closed lock or an unbroken
key at the bottom of your browser window.

Web sites may use other symbols to indicate their Web
site is secure, so if you don't see the two symbols
mentioned above continue to investigate and see if you can
locate other symbols or information indicating their Web
site is secure.

2. Still uncomfortable with providing your billing
information over the Internet? Then you might want to ask
the business you're shopping if they use alternate methods,
such as the telephone.

3. Whenever possible, it is recommended paying by credit
card; this will offer you added protection if a dispute
should arise.

4. If you prefer not paying by credit card, request that
your purchase be sent C.O.D. You can make your payment by
check or money order, this is easier to trace than cash. It
is probably a good idea that you never pay in cash for
obvious reasons.

5. Some businesses display the Better Business Bureau logo
on their Web Site, others do not. If you're not feeling at
ease, consider checking with the Better Business Bureau for
a reliability report. The report will include such
information as; the length of time the company has been in
business, the company's complaint history and whether
the business participates in BBB programs, such as dispute

6. If you shop online auctions, be sure you exercise the
same good sense you use for your other transactions. Do your
homework. Check the "feedback" areas of online auction
sites; most of the time they are a good source for getting
information about other buyers' who have purchased from the
seller. You can always check with the Better Business
Bureau nearest the seller for any complaints if the seller
is a business.

Copyright © Mike Gorzalka All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008



Computers and securities must form a strong partnership to keep information safe and secure. It is important for people who spend time surfing the web to understand much of the information given out is easily accessible by individuals who desire to eavesdrop on the data. Unless the web site you are viewing has taken special precautions to secure the web pages, they are open for anyone with the right tools to intercept information over the Web.

Data security has taken on new meaning in recent years, particularly with the introduction and widespread use of the Internet for people and businesses to take care of the things they need to do. Many people see the Internet as a big open door inviting almost anyone to enter their system and stay for a while. With the proper measures, this does not have to be the case and you can effectively close the door and only allow a select group of people inside.

There are a number of different ways you can get the data security you need to protect your system through the use of software. Some of these programs work to defend your system by providing encryption which basically scrambles information so it can not be utilized until it has been properly unscrambled on the system or another one. You can find programs that will inspect your system, looking for holes others may take advantage of and offering solution.

Software exists allowing the person in charge of the network to know the instant an intruder is noticed on the system so appropriate steps can be taken quickly. There are many other good programs on the market you help you protect your system and data. Be proactive and find the solutions you need before you absolutely need them.

Getting Data Security Software

By far, the best place to start your search for the data security software you need is through the Internet. You can learn in detail about different software packages currently available and choose the one or combination of them to provide the security you need. Making sure your data is secure should not be left to chance.


Email encryption can be a great step to make sure the messages you send via email are kept completely private and out of the view of anyone else. One of the great things about living in the USA is the ability to pass snail mail from one person to another without worrying about anyone reading through it and casting aspersions. Some people living in countries not so free do not have the freedom to send mail without fear. The same privacy we receive in snail mail is what we should expect when sending digital mail to people we care about. While you do not need to worry about the government reading through your email (for the most part), other people may eavesdrop. There are a number of people who get a thrill out of looking at other people's email without permission by using various programs to snoop into the email.

One of things to consider is some people do not use any kind of email encryption whatsoever. These people are basically writing information on a wall for anyone who desires to read it and look it over. While you may not be passing any personally sensitive material, you may not want people to know the details of your life found in the emails you send.

Email encryption basically allows your computer to encode your message so that it does not make sense to people who may intercept it. The person it is meant for can decode the message to read it properly


Security software is all about protecting your computer systems and data from those who would like to gain access to it for a variety of reasons. Many companies have found it necessary to create websites to tell the world who they are and what they have to offer but it also carries with it a problem. The moment you put up a web server at your site, you are inviting the world to your site and possibly to other portions of your system.


Spam filters can be one of the best tools you can use to get rid of practically all of the junk mail you and/or your company receives. It is amazing the amount of spam delivered to people all across the United States of America each and every day. Various companies help to deliver hundreds of millions of advertisements and contacts to people each and every day through email in the USA alone.


Intrusion detection systems can be the safeguard you need to protect your computer system from unauthorized access by people who do not have your permission to be in a particular area of the system. It is a step to make sure your data and IT systems are as safe as possible all of the time. You should recognize the possibility of intruders entering your system from remote locations outside of your network and from inside it as well.


Virus protection should be a part of every single computer used to surf the Internet or to work as part of a network. If you can read this page, posted on the web, you need to have some sort of quality virus protection on your computer. It seems almost everyone has had some kind of bout with a virus of some type either catching it and destroying it or suffering from its damaging effects.


Email filters can read your email so you do not have to read every single message delivered to your computer. It is amazing to consider the impact email has had on people's lives since it was first introduced to the general public back in the 1990's. I can remember the computer systems designed to specifically handle email and very little else so people could keep in contact with friends and relatives many miles away.


Encryption is one of the most popular ways information is protected and has been a way to send hidden or secret messages from one place to another. The idea is based on an age old practice called cryptography which is a coded message sent an individual who has the key to unlock the message in code so that it makes sense. Coded messages have been found dating back as far as the Roman Empire.


Computer virus protection should be one of the most important aspects of your computer system no matter if your computer is part of a huge network or is a single personal computer. There are a couple of different kinds of viruses and many variations of them, some of which have literally traveled around the world. Usually, once a virus has settled into a computer, it looks for the opportunity to duplicate itself and email itself to others.


Web server software is one of the most important aspects of your server allowing people to view your website at any time day or night. The Internet has had a profound effect on the entire world and continues to grow more and more each hour of every day as people produce unimaginable amounts of information worldwide. Unfortunately, with all of the web traffic, there are also some people who do not use the Web for good.


Web site filters are a wonderful way for companies to make sure their employees are visiting websites appropriate to their job description. One of the major difficulties with the Internet is the amount of inappropriate websites popping up when you search for almost anything on the Internet. Imagine what would happen if your receptionist is looking up information pertinent for his/her job and a pornographic site pops up as a customer enters the door who catches a glimpse of the pictures on the monitor.


Server software is at the very heart of any computer network as it provides the tools needed to make the network operate properly. After investing in quality hardware for the network, it is of equal importance to make sure the software used is of high quality and performs the tasks you desire efficiently without fail. You want to make sure you have a powerful combination of both hardware and software


The Childrens Internet Protection Act was introduced to congress in 1999 with the idea of providing some level of protection for the content minors are allowed to view on certain computer systems. All schools with minors in attendance must follow the rules established by this law. Also, any public place providing Internet access to the public which includes minors must also follow this law.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Anti-Spyware Protection: Behind How-To Tips

There is no doubt that "how-to articles" have become a separate genre. One can find such an article about almost anything; there are even some entitled "How to Write a How-To Article". And, of course, the Web is swarming with the ones like "10 Steps to Protect Your PC from Spyware"(if not 10, any number will do; odd ones like 5,7,9 are most popular) or "How to Forget About Spyware For Good". Please don't accuse me of being sarcastic -- I am not; all these articles by all means are informative and so very useful. They all include really handy tips to protect you from this recently emerged plague called spyware. But…

A typical how-to article is short and snappy, with all unnecessary particulars carefully avoided. An ideal one is a clear scheme of what to do and how (because it is a how-to article). Some essential facts will surely be omitted just for the sake of brevity. Let's look into the author's "trash bin" for info ruthlessly (and maybe baselessly) thrown away.

Hint one: What on earth is spyware?

When you decide to apply "anti-spyware protection", you'd better realize what you want to be protected against. Unfortunately, there is not such thing as complete security. And…

"There is no such thing as spyware in itself"-- you are perplexed, aren't you? I bet you are; what's more, it was Kaspersky who recently expressed this opinion. "The term spyware is basically a marketing gimmick," wrote Kaspersky in the company weblog on March 03, 2005. "Just to separate new ersatz-security products from traditional ones, just to push almost zero-value products to the security market."

This quote (extremely curtailed and out of the context) have already spread all over the Internet, but it is very useful to read the whole posting to see the whole picture, so visit

Few definitions caused so much controversy and confusion as did "spyware". Eugeny Kaspersky blames marketers for having coined this term--and partially he is right. But only partially.

As a professional, he classified various malicious programs according to their structure and characteristics; in this classification there is indeed no place for "spyware", which is too vague term to exactly denote anything with a particular structure.

On the other hand, marketers and journalists needed an expressive, easy-to-remember word to name existing (!) information-stealing programs to tell users (who may be not so versed in software as its developers) how to protect their computers.

What is "spyware" then? Spyware is a commonly used general term for any type of software that gathers personal information about the user without his or her knowledge and transmits it to a destination specified by the author of the program. Spyware applications are frequently bundled in other programs--often freeware or shareware--that can be downloaded from the Internet.

So, the term is very general and doesn't reflect either structure or characteristics of such software. After all, it is only a conventional word for programs that steal information.

According to Kaspersky, programs which are now called spyware, have existed for years. It's true. Who disagrees? Password-stealing Trojans were actually known as far back as in 1996. But it's also true that most dangerous information-stealing programs are on the rise. Spy Audit survey made by ISP Earthlink and Webroot Software (the survey lasted for a whole year 2004) showed--16.48% of all scanned consumer PCs in 2004 had a system-monitor, 16.69% had a Trojan.

Another bitter truth is that some unscrupulous producers now are jumping at the chance of making quick money. There are lots of suspicious, low-performing, or adware-installing products. See, for example, the list at But saying that all the dedicated anti-spyware solutions are like that…To put it mildly, it's a bit too much.

Hint Two: Too Many Promises Made -- Is it Possible to Keep them?

There are loads of software programs nowadays created for fighting spyware. An ordinary consumer tends to get lost in plenty of information and lots of products, which are supposed to help him get rid of spyware. If all the advertising claims were true, it would have been easy. In reality it isn't.

Anti- spyware and anti-viruses work almost the same way. The efficiency of most anti-spyware programs is determined (and restricted, too) by signature bases. The more code clips (i.e. signatures) there are in the base, the more effectively the program works – it means the more spyware programs it can identify. Only programs from the signature base are recognized as spyware; all other spy programs will be running unnoticed and unstopped.

So, absolutely all the signature- basis- containing programs are pretty much the same, whatever their ads say. They all rely on the same "match pattern"; the difference is only how many signatures each of them contains.

What conclusion we can make here? The bigger the signature base, the more reliable the product is, no matter whether it is anti-spyware or an anti-virus. If the software applies signature base, it's better to choose a product from a big company, which can afford spending plenty of money on research and updates.

Another conclusion we can make is that all such software without constant updating pretty quickly becomes useless and even dangerous, because users still expect it to protect their PCs. New spyware is constantly being developed, and anti-spyware developers have to catch up with it all the time. This race started when very first malicious programs appeared, and it is impossible to say whether it will ever end.
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