• Posted on July 13, 2017 12:03 pm
    Joseph Forbes
    No comments

    Internet or 'Net' Neutrality, by definition, means that there are no restrictions of any kind on access to content on the Web, no restrictions on downloads or uploads, and no restrictions on communication methods (email, chat, IM, etc.) It also means that access to the internet will not be blocked, slowed down, or sped up depending on where that access is based or who owns the access point(s). In essence, the internet is open to everyone. What does an open internet mean for the average Web user? When we get on the Web, we are able to access the entire Web: that means any website, any video, any download, any email. We use the Web to communicate with others, go to school, do our jobs, and connect with people all over the world. Because of the freedom that governs the Web, this access is granted without any restrictions whatsoever. Why is Net Neutrality important? Growth: Net neutrality is the reason that the Web has grown at such a phenomenal rate from the time it was created in 1991 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee (see also History of the World Wide Web). Creativity: Creativity, innovation, and unbridled inventiveness have given us Wikipedia, YouTube, Google, I Can Has Cheezburger, torrents, Hulu, The Internet Movie Database, Reddit, LifeWire, and many more. Communication: Net neutrality has given us the ability to freely communicate with people on a personal basis: government leaders, business owners, celebrities, work colleagues, medical personnel, family, etc., without restrictions.  Strong net neutrality rules should be left in place to ensure all of these things exist and thrive. If Net Neutrality rules are removed, everyone that uses the internet will lose these freedoms. Is Net Neutrality available worldwide? No. There are countries whose governments restrict their citizens’ access to the Web for political reasons. Vimeo has a great video on this very topic that explains how limiting access to the internet can impact everyone in the world. Is Net Neutrality in danger? Possibly. There are many companies that have a vested interest in making sure that access to the Web is not freely available. These companies are already in charge of most of the Web’s infrastructure, and they see potential profit in making the Web “pay for play”. This could result in restrictions on what Web users are able to search for, download, or read. Some people in the United States are even afraid that changes from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could result in a negative net neutrality ruling. At Fight for the Future's Battle for Net Neutrality site, you can send a letter directly to FCC and Congress and let them know how you feel. You can also file a document into the official FCC proceeding to let officials know whether or not you want Net Neutrality regulations to change or remain in place. It's a super wonky form with a couple of weird things (hey, this is the government!) so follow these instructions carefully: Visit ECFS Express at the FCC website. Type 17-108 in the Proceeding(s) box. Press Enter to turn the number to a yellow/orange box. Type your first name and last name in the Name(s) of Filer(s) box. Press Enter to turn your name into a yellow/orange box. Fill in the rest of the form as you would normally fill in an internet form. Check the Email Confirmation box. Tap or click the Continue to review screen button. On the next page, tap or click the Submit button. That's it! You've made your feelings known. What would happen if Net Neutrality were to be restricted or abolished? Net neutrality is the foundation of the freedom that we enjoy on the Web. Losing that freedom could result in consequences such as restricted access to websites and diminished download rights, as well as controlled creativity and corporate-governed services. Some people call that scenario the 'end of the internet.' What are "Internet fast lanes"? How are are they related to Net neutrality?  "Internet fast lanes" are special deals and channels that would give some companies exceptional treatment as far as broadband access and internet traffic. Many people believe that this would violate the concept of net neutrality. Internet fast lanes could cause issues because instead of Internet providers being required to provide the same service for all subscribers regardless of size/company/influence, they could be able to make deals with certain companies that would give them preferred access. This practice could potentially hamper growth, strengthen illegal monopolies, and cost the consumer. In addition, an open internet is essential for a continued free exchange of information – a bedrock concept that the World Wide Web was founded upon. Net neutrality is important Net neutrality in the context of the Web is somewhat new, but the concept of neutral, publicly accessible information and transfer of that information has been around since the days of Alexander Graham Bell. Basic public infrastructure, such as subways, buses, telephone companies, etc., are not allowed to discriminate, restrict, or differentiate common access, and this is the core concept behind net neutrality as well. For those of us who appreciate the Web, and want to preserve the freedom that this amazing invention has given us to exchange information, net neutrality is a core concept that we must work to maintain.

    Blog Entry, DATA, EDUCATION
  • Posted on April 11, 2017 11:38 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    If your inbox is suddenly getting filled with emails from "mailer daemon", here's what you can do. To be clear, what's happening is (we'll go into more detail below): Email has been sent out and the recipient can't be found (or their inox is full) It's being returned to you because email systems think you sent it I Am Receiving Mailer Daemon Spam. What Should I Do Now? Can I Stop it? When you receive lots of delivery failure reports from mailer daemon, do the following: Scan your computer and devices for malware and viruses. Mailer daemon spam can be the result of an infection with malware (on one of your computers) that sends out emails using your address behind your back; best to rule out this case. Ideally, scan while disconnected from the Internet. If you found infections, do clean your machines and change all passwords, especially those to your email and social accounts. Report the mailer daemon spam as junk mail in your email program or service. This has the spam filter drop similar useless and annoying delivery failure emails in the future. If you feel uneasy about clicking "Spam" on what might train the spam filter to eliminate a kind of email you want to receive in the future—delivery failure reports from mailer daemon—, simply delete all the useless emails from mailer daemon. In addition, you can create a filter in your email program or service that automatically deletes all emails from the same mailer daemon address with the same subject. Now that you know what to do, let us find out how it can happen at all that you receive these puzzling messages. ​Why Does This Exist in the First Place? Mailer-daemon emails are normally harmless and helpful delivery reports, not spam at all. Let's find out how and when these mailer daemon messages are generated. When you send somebody a message and it fails to deliver, you'd want to know, right? Email is a system with many, many different players that works like a postal system: you hand one server (or "mailer daemon") your email, that server passes the message on to another and possibly more mailer daemons down the line until, finally, the message is delivered to the recipient's inbox folder. The whole process can take some time (though usually it is accomplished in seconds, of course), and only that last server knows whether the email could actually be delivered. How Mailer Daemon Delivery Reports Are Generated Since you, the sender, would want to know about the failed delivery, the mailer daemon tries to alert you. It does so using what a mailer daemon knows to do best: sending an email. ​So, a mailer daemon error message is generated: it states what happened—typically, that an email could not be delivered—, possibly a reason for the problem and whether the server will try to deliver the email again. This delivery report email is addressed and sent to the the original email's sender, of course. How the "original sender" is determined is a story of its own, and my guess is that your guess is wrong. If you are at all curious why mailer daemons do not use the "From:" line to determine an email's sender, do not skip the following sidebar. Sidebar: ​How the Recipient of a Delivery Report is Determined As you probably know, every email has both one or more recipients and a sender. Recipients go in the "To:", "Cc:" and "Bcc:" fields, and the email address of the sender appears in the "From:" line. Neither are used by mail servers to deliver email messages, and, in particular, the "From:" field does not determine the email sender—as used for delivery reports bounces, for example. Instead, when an email is initially sent, the sender and recipient are communicated separately from and before the email's content (which, for this purpose includes the From: and To: fields). Imagine me taking a letter to the post office for you. Of course, you have written the recipient's name and address on the envelope and jotted down your address as well. At the post office, I do not simply hand over the letter for delivery and let the envelope take over, however. I say "This is from Corey Davy at 70 Bowman St.", instead, and "Send it to Lindsay Page at 4 Goldfield Rd.; yeah, ignore what it says on the envelope." This is how email works. Before dropping the letter into the delivery basked, the post office clerk makes at a note at the back of the envelope: "Return to: Corey Davy, 70 Bowman St.". This, too, is roughly how email works. Any email will contain a header line (analogous to "From:" and "To:") called "Return-Path:" that contains the sender's address. This address is used to generate delivery failure reports—and mailer daemon spam. How Does Mailer Daemon Spam Start? For regular emails, all is fine. If one cannot be delivered—say, because you mistyped the address, or the recipient has not checked a free email account for years and the account expired—, the mailer daemon generates a delivery failure message to you, the original sender. For junk email, phishing attempts, and messages generated by worms and other malware, the process goes wrong… or, more precisely, the delivery failure is sent the wrong way. To find out why, we have to turn to the sender for a second. Every email needs to have a sender and From: address. This includes spam and emails that spread malware. Understandably, these senders do not want to use their own email address—or they would be receiving complaints, it would be easy to report them, and they would be inundated in mailer daemon… spam. To get an email delivered, it is good to have a real email address set as the sender. So, instead of just making up addresses, spammers and viruses will often look up random addresses in people's address books. Is Anything Being Done to Stop Mailer Daemon Spam? If email servers returned delivery reports to all these falsified "senders" when a junk email or malware email could not be delivered, the problem would be much worse than it is: spam is sent in the billions after all, to mostly non-existent addresses. Fortunately, email servers can take measures to limit the amount of useless delivery notifications they send: ​Mail servers will try to determine whether a return address has been forged before sending a delivery failure message; if the address is obviously not the real sender's, no error email is sent. They will also examine the message content closely to determine whether it is spam; if the message has a very high probability of being junk mail, the server may simply drop the email without sending a delivery failure—which itself would likely be regarded as nothing but mailer daemon spam. Email servers receiving large amounts of delivery failures for an address—typically with content that is either spam or malware—may either silently delete these messages or quarantine them in the email service's "Spam" folder.

    DATA, Emailed, Technicals
  • Posted on March 27, 2017 2:45 pm
    Joseph Forbes
    1

    The Cyber Division of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued an alert to warn the healthcare industry that malicious actors are actively targeting File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers that allow anonymous access. According to the law enforcement agency, attackers have targeted the FTP servers of medical and dental facilities in an effort to obtain access to protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII), and use it to intimidate, blackmail and harass business owners. “The FBI recommends medical and dental healthcare entities request their respective IT services personnel to check networks for FTP servers running in anonymous mode. If businesses have a legitimate use for operating a FTP server in anonymous mode, administrators should ensure sensitive PHI or PII is not stored on the server,” the FBI said. The agency cited research conducted in 2015 by the University of Michigan, which showed that more than one million FTP servers had been configured for anonymous access. These servers allow users to authenticate with only a username, such as “anonymous” or “ftp,” and either a generic password or no password at all. The FBI pointed out that vulnerable FTP servers can also be abused to store malicious tools or to launch cyberattacks. “In general, any misconfigured or unsecured server operating on a business network on which sensitive data is stored or processed exposes the business to data theft and compromise by cyber criminals who can use the data for criminal purposes such as blackmail, identity theft, or financial fraud,” the FBI warned. In 2015, IBM named healthcare as the most attacked industry, with more than 100 million records compromised, after in the previous year this sector did not even make it to the top five. An IBM report for 2016 showed that the volume of compromised records was smaller, but the number of data breaches increased, causing operational, reputational and financial damage to healthcare organizations. A report published recently by Fortinet showed the top threats targeting healthcare companies in the last quarter of 2016, including malware, ransomware, IPS events, exploit kits and botnets.

    Blog Entry, DATA, Hacking
  • Posted on March 26, 2017 12:00 pm
    Joseph Forbes
    No comments

    This list describes common causes of slow Internet connections in homes. A poorly performing connection can be caused by broadband router configuration errors, wireless interference, or any of several other technical issues with your home network. Use these tips to not only diagnose but also fix the causes of slow Internet connections. Many of them apply to wireless hotspot connections, too. 1 Check Your Broadband Router Settings stefanamer/iStock As the centerpiece of a network, a broadband router can be responsible for slow Internet connections if configured improperly. For example, the MTU setting of your router will lead to performance issues if set too high or too low. Ensure your router's settings are all consistent with the manufacturer's and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) recommendations. Carefully record any changes you make to your router's configuration so that you can undo them later if necessary. 2 Avoid Wireless Signal Interference United States Radio Spectrum - Frequency Allocations. www.ntia.doc.gov Wi-Fi and other types of wireless connections may perform poorly due to signal interference, which requires computers to continually resend messages to overcome signal issues. Household appliances and even your neighbors' wireless networks can interfere with your computers. To avoid slow Internet connections due to signal interference, reposition your router for better performance and change your Wi-Fi channel number. 3 Beware of Worms... Internet Worms An Internet worm is a malicious software program that spreads from device to device through computer networks. If any of your computers are infected by an Internet worm, they may begin spontaneously generating network traffic without your knowledge, causing your Internet connection to appear slow. Keep up-to-date antivirus software running to catch and remove these worms from your devices. 4 Stop Network Applications Running in the Background Some software applications you install on a computer run as so-called background processes - hidden behind other apps or minimized to the system tray - quietly consuming network resources. Unlike worms, these applications are designed to do useful work and not the kind a person wishes to remove from their device normally. Games and programs that work with videos in particular can heavily utilize your network and cause connections to appear slow. It's easy to forget these applications are running. Always check computers for any programs running in the background when troubleshooting a slow network. 5 Isolate and Repair Faulty Network Equipment When routers, modems or cables malfunction, they won't properly support network traffic at full speeds. Certain technical glitches in network equipment negatively affect performance even though connections themselves can sometimes still be made. To troubleshoot potentially faulty equipment, temporarily re-arrange and re-configure your gear while experimenting with different configurations. Systematically try bypassing the router, swapping cables, and tests with multiple devices to isolate the slow performance to a specific component of the system. Then decide if it can somehow be upgraded or repaired... or if it needs to be replaced. 6 Work with Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if Necessary Command Prompt - Ping - Unresponsive IP Address. Bradley Mitchell / About.com Internet speed ultimately depends on the service provider. Your ISP may change their network's configuration or suffer technical difficulties that inadvertently cause your Internet connection to run slowly. ISPs may also intentionally install filters or controls on the network that can lower your performance. Don't hesitate to contact your service provider if you suspect they are responsible for a slow Internet connection.

    Blog Entry, DATA, Internet
  • Posted on March 19, 2017 11:16 am
    Joseph Forbes
    No comments

    Websites getting blacklisted is a very extensive problem faced by businesses. When it happens, web masters panic and the vendors face an interruption in their daily business as they struggle to assist their concerned consumers to clean their websites and return online. It can happen due to a variety of reasons. Even Google may blacklist a website, and on an average, it's been estimated that about 10,000+ websites get blacklisted on a daily basis.​ Getting to Know about the Mishap Many businesses cannot afford to install costly monitoring programs or employ security experts and often take time to realize that their site has been blacklisted. Almost 50% of the business owners are warned about the compromised site by a search engine, browser or other alert when they try to visit their own site. Time is the biggest enemy of blacklisted websites as every minute that the site remains blocked is precious and leads to revenue losses due to the bad impact on its marketing activities and eventually sales and loss of the organization’s reputation. Be Prepared to Deal with the Problem It might take several hours or even days to get rid of the malware and protect a website based on the infection’s severity; it also depends on whether or not the website is secured by an effective and frequent backup regimen. The foremost part of the fix is eradication of the malware and restoration of the website. Even after this process, the web masters have to request Google to review the site before getting the block removed. Dealing with Black-listed Websites Web hosts find it to be a nightmare to handle blacklisted client websites, straining their operations and possibly weakening their credibility. Clients generally fail to understand the reason behind the blacklisting of their site and tend to unjustly put the blame on their host. Smart hosting vendors should extend assistance to their customers and help them get over the trouble at the earliest. Hosts that provide robust tools to solve the problem of their clients will finally instil a sense of loyalty and confidence in them. Vendors that lack these tools may waste considerable resources on remediation and in the process, even lose their valuable clients. Blacklist remediation will not be an extensive ordeal if the affected site owners have smart automatic backup regimen in place as they can restore the functionality and files of the affected site easily with the right tools. To help their clients, hosting vendors should be aware of the following remediation steps so that it can be implemented efficiently and quickly as soon as a client finds out that his website has been blacklisted. Look for Malware Check for malware by running efficient antivirus programs on all the computers used by an admin for logging into the website. Also, scrutinize the server logs for any activity by the admin whose computer is infected. Change the logins and passwords for all accounts, including those of database access, FTP, CMS accounts, and system administrator. Ensure that strong passwords are set. A sophisticated hosting provider should let their customers to make these changes easily on a dashboard interface. Let customers know how important it’s to install the latest editions of Operating Systems, apps, blogging platform, CMS, and plug-ins. Delete any new or modified file that has been added to the server after detection of the problem and execute a complete system restore. The restoration can be completed through a single click if you provide a cloud-oriented auto backup and disaster recovery services to your clients. If not, the clients will have to find the latest clean editions of each modified file and manually download them. Request Google to Review the Site and Remove the Blacklist This is the best way for hosting vendors to handle the remediation as soon as possible; just ensure that the tools required for getting a customer’s website back online are ready with you always.

    Blog Entry, DATA, Internet