Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

What is Sidejacking?

/ November 10th, 2010 / Comments Off

Sidejacking is a process in which an attacker uses packet sniffing applications to read the traffic between your computer and a website to steal password information.  These attacks exploit unencrypted home and public Wi-Fi connections.

The majority of websites utilize a secure HTTP (HTTPS) connection to protect your username and password when logging into the site.  Some sites however revert to an unsecure HTTP connection once you are successfully authenticated and transfer session info, such as username and password, via cookies that are vulnerable to sidejacking.

I use public Wi-Fi connections everyday (Panera Bread mostly, but will use Borders if I can’t find a power outlet) and rely on them heavily as I am continuously on the go.  So how do I protect myself moving forward?

Virtual Private Networking (VPN) connections are the answer.  VPN connections create a secure tunnel between your computer and the outside world.  So, in our unprotected Wi-Fi scenario the sidejackers can see the data traffic but are unable to read the contents of the information.

Setting up a VPN connection is actually quite simple.  There are personal VPN providers online such as OpenVPN.net and ItsHidden.com that offer free services and step by step setup instructions.  I am actually in the process of creating my own VPN server through my home DSL with a SonicWall SSL-VPN appliance.

Let’s not forget to lock down our home Wi-Fi connections as well and be sure to use the WPA2 standard.  To date WPA2 encryption blocks all sidejacking attacks.  Double check your routers wireless encryption settings and if your router does not offer WPA2 then I think it’s worth the investment to upgrade your router. Here’s to a safe browsing environment.

Spyware Removal Tools

/ January 5th, 2010 / Comments Off

I hate spyware. That’s right, I said it. I hate spyware. I have a really hard time hating anything in this world but spyware make’s it easy. We’ve all been infected with some sort of spyware, or its cousin malware, and understand quite well how difficult it can be to remove. The majority of the time it’s easier and less time consuming to just backup your data and re-install the operating system.

I have found some excellent tools to assist me in the removal spyware and I wanted to share them with you. The first tool I use is Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.  In my opinion it’s the best removal scanner on the Internet for several reasons.  Number 1, it works.  The infected files found are permanently removed and scan times are super fast.  Number 2, it’s small and unobtrusive.  The application itself does not slow down the performance of you machine.  In most cases it’s the only spyware removal tool i will need, but some infections are more stubborn then others.

The next tool I use is HiJackThis.  Spyware infections love to take over you web browser and send you to only sites they want you to see.  This is called “browser hijacking”.  HiJackThis scans your registry, startup locations and browser settings and simply lists all the contents, good or bad.  HiJackThis does a good job of linking to the web and informing you of what is potential spyware and what is not, so use caution when selecting the items you wish to remove.

The final spyware removal tool I use is CCleaner.   I’ve justed started using CCleaner recently and have been impressed with it’s performance.  It does a great job of clearing old registry items, browser history and freeing up hard drive space.  I recommend CCleaner as a nice preventative maintenance program to keep your PC running fast and smooth.

One other program I would recommend in closing is the free AVG Link Scanner.  I don’t even use traditional Anti-virus software on my PC’s, I use the free AVG Link Scanner.  It’s interacts with your web browser and let’s you know before clicking on a link if the site is safe or not. The majority of spyware finds it way onto your PC through browsing legitimate websites. Check out this video to see how it works.

Website Building with WordPress

/ December 23rd, 2009 / Comments Off

I think I may have bitten off more than I could chew when I decided to rebuild my website.  I’m not a web designer by any means but I am pretty tech savvy and I certainly know what is involved in a website re-design project.  I did a fair amount of research into what technology to use to build my site, as there are many different options available.  Adobe DreamWeaver and Microsoft FrontPage among many others.

I decided that I would use WordPress to build my new site.  WordPress is primarily a blogging tool and web publishing platform.  It doesn’t require a ton of tech know-how to setup and install.  Everything you need is easily accessible via the web interface used to manage the site.  The other really cool thing about WordPress is that it’s free.  Yes, free.  Not something you hear a lot of in today’s business climate.

I certainly learned a lot during this project, so much so that I will be offering WordPress setup and hosting services to all my clients in the very near future.  How’s that for an endorsment.  The Internet needs to be used to build our businesses and WordPress is the perfect tool to help us accomplish just that.