• Posted on April 25, 2017 12:25 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    What DLNA Is DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance. The DLNA is a trade organization that was founded to set standards and guidelines via a certification program for home networking media devices, including many PCs, Smartphones/Tablets, Smart TVs, Blu-ray Disc Players, and Network Media players. DLNA certification lets the consumer know that once connected to your home network, it will automatically communicate with other connected DLNA certified products. DLNA certified devices can: find and play movies; send, display and/or upload photos, find, send, play and/or download music; and send and print photos between compatible network-connected devices. Some examples of DLNA compatibility include the following: If your smartphone and TV are DLNA certified, you should be able to send audio and video from your smartphone to your TV via your home network. If your TV or Blu-ray Disc player and PC are DLNA certified, you should be able to access audio, video, and still-image files stored on your network connected PC and see or listen on through your TV or Blu-ray Disc player. If you have a DLNA certified digital camera, you can send images, using your home network, to your TV, DLNA certified PC or another compatible device. The History of DLNA In the early years of networking home entertainment, it was difficult and confusing to add a new device and get it to communicate with your computers and other network devices. You might have had to know IP addresses and add each device separately along with crossing your fingers for good luck. DLNA has changed all that. The Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) was started in 2003 when several manufacturers got together to create a standard, and implement certification requirements so that all products made by participating manufacturers were compatible in a home network. This meant that certified products were compatible even if they were made by different manufacturers. Different Certifications for Each Device's Role in Sharing Media Products that are DLNA certified typically are recognized, with little or no setup, as soon as you connect them to your network. DLNA certification means that the device plays a role in your home network and that other DLNA products can communicate with it based on their own roles. Some products store the media. Some products control the media and some products play the media. There is a certification for each of these roles. Within each certification, there are DLNA guidelines for Ethernet and WiFi connectivity, for hardware requirements, for software or firmware requirements, for the user interface, for instructions to make the device networkable, and for displaying different formats of media files. "It's like a car's all point inspection," said Alan Messer, DLNA board member and Senior Director of Convergence Technologies and Standards for Samsung Electronics. "Each aspect must pass testing to get a DLNA certification." Through testing and certification, consumers are assured that they can connect DLNA certified products and be able to save, share, stream and show digital media. Images, music, and video stored on one DLNA certified device -- a computer, network attached storage (NAS) drive or media server--will play on other DLNA certified devices -- TVs, AV receivers, and other computers on the network. The DLNA certification is based on product types and categories. It makes more sense if you break it down. Your media lives (is stored) on a hard drive somewhere. The media must be accessible served up to be shown on other devices. The device where the media lives are the Digital Media Server. Another device plays the video, music, and photos so you can watch them. This is the Digital Media Player. Certification can either be built into the hardware or be part of a software application/program that is running on the device. This particularly relates to network attached storage (NAS) drives and computers.  Twonky, TVersity, and TV Mobili are popular software products that act as digital media servers and can be found by other DLNA devices. DLNA Product Categories Made Simple When you connect a DLNA certified network media component to your home network, it simply appears in other networked components' menus. Your computers and other media devices discover and recognize the device without any setup. DLNA certifies home network products by the role they play in your home network. Some products play media. Some products store the media and make it accessible to media players. And still others control and direct media from its source to a particular player in the network. By understanding the different certifications, you can understand how the home network puzzle fits together. When using media sharing software and devices, you see a list of these categories of devices. Knowing what they are and what they do will help to make sense of your home network. While a digital media player obviously plays media, the names of other devices are not as evident. Basic Media Sharing DLNA Certification Categories Digital Media Player (DMP) - The certification category applies to devices that can find and play media from other devices and computers. A certified media player lists the components (sources) where your media is saved. You choose the photos, music or videos that you want to play from a list of media on the player's menu. The media then streams to the player. A media player may be connected to or built into a TV, Blu-ray Disc player and/or home theater AV receiver, so you can watch or listen to the media it is playing. Digital Media Server (DMS) - The certification category applies to devices that store a media library. It may be a computer, a network attached storage (NAS) drive, a smartphone, a DLNA certified networkable digital camera or camcorder, or a network media server device. A media server must have a hard drive or a memory card on which the media is saved. The media saved to the device can be called up by a digital media player. The media server makes the files available to stream media to the player so you can watch or listen to it. Digital Media Renderer (DMR) - The certification category is similar to the digital media player category. The device is this category also play digital media. However, the difference is that DMR-certified devices can be seen by a digital media controller (further explanation below), and media can be streamed to it from a digital media server. While a digital media player can only play what it can see on its menu, a digital media renderer can be controlled externally. Some certified Digital Media Players are also certified as Digital Media Renderers. Both stand-alone network media players and networked TVs and home theater AV receivers can be certified as Digital Media Renderers. Digital Media Controller (DMC)- This certification category applies to go-between devices that can find media on a Digital Media Server and send it to the Digital Media Renderer. Often smartphones, tablets, computer software like Twonky Beam, or even cameras or camcorders are certified as Digital Media Controllers. More On DLNA Certifications Often you will see the DLNA logo on a product or product description. But rarely will you see what certification it has been given. To know a product's capabilities, you need to know its certification. The DLNA website lists many products under each certification. This can help you to find what you need -- a Digital Media Server, a Digital Media Player, a Digital Media Controller, or a Digital Media Renderer. Other DLNA certification categories that include those for digital media printers and specific certifications for mobile devices.The mobile certifications include Mobile Digital Media Server, Mobile Digital Media Player, and Mobile Digital Media Controller.There are also DLNA certifications for Mobile Digital Media Uploader and Mobile Digital Media Downloader. These certifications relate to the mobile device's ability to upload media through the network to a computer or other media server. An uploader can send files to be saved on a media server. A camera may have this ability so you don't have to connect directly to the computer or another device. Similarly, a mobile digital media downloader can find media on your computers or media servers and save the file to itself. For example, you can find music in your music library and load it to your phone via the home network. Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 are compatible with DLNA as a Digital Media Server, Digital Media Renderer and Digital Media Controller. However, you will need to set up the media sharing and network home group. More and more Digital Media Players are also Digital Media Renderers. This means that you can send files to play on it or you can choose files from sources directly from the player's menu. If you are looking at the list of digital media renderers on your controller -- smartphone or computer app, or camera-- and you don't see a media player that is connected to your home network, then it is not a Digital Media Renderer. You can not send media to that device. Once you have used a Digital Media Controller to start playback from the Digital Media Server (the media library's source) to the Digital Media Renderer (that's playing the streamed media), you no longer need the controller. In other words, if you used a cell phone to start the playback, you could leave with the phone and the playback would continue. More Info Understanding the DLNA certifications helps you to understand what is possible in home networking. DLNA makes it possible to walk in with your cell phone loaded with photos and videos from your day at the beach, press a button and start it playing on your TV without making any connections. A great example of DLNA in action is Samsung's "AllShare"(TM). AllShare is built into Samsung's line of DLNA certified networked entertainment products -- from cameras to laptops, to TVs, home theaters and Blu-ray Disc players--creating a truly connected home entertainment experience. For a complete rundown on Samsung AllShare - refer to our supplementary reference article: Samsung AllShare Simplifies Media Streaming Digital Living Network Alliance Update As of January 5, 2017, the DLNA has disbanded as a non-profit trade organization and has relinquished all certification and other related support services to Spirespark, going forward from February 1, 2017. For more details, refer to the Official Announcement and FAQs posted by the Digital Living Network Alliance.

    Blog Entry, Cloud Apps, TECHNOLOGY
  • Posted on April 17, 2017 11:46 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    A hacker is a tech-savvy user who manipulates and bypasses computer systems to make them do the unintended. Sometimes this manipulation is noble, with the goal to create something beneficial. Other times, hacking is harsh and done with the wicked goal to hurt people through identity theft or other harm. You are likely familiar with the stereotypical 1980's hacker: the evil criminal who is socially isolated. While this stereotype does indeed describe some modern 'black hat' hackers, there exists a subset of hackers who are not criminals. In fact, there are many hackers who use their knowledge for good. This is broken down into three categories Today, 'hacker' is a descriptor that subdivides into 3 categories: 'Black Hat' Hackers: criminals and wrongdoers. 'White Hat' Hackers: ethical hackers who work to protect systems and people. 'Grey Hat' Hackers: dabble in both black hat and white hat tinkering. Classic 'Black Hat' Hackers = Criminals/Lawbreakers 'Black hat hacker' = criminal with evil intent. Gu / Getty This is the classic definition of a hacker: a computer user who willfully vandalizes or commits theft on other people's networks. 'Black hat' is a stylish way to describe their malicious motivations. Black hats are gifted but unethical computer users who are motivated by feelings of power, money and petty revenge. They are electronic thugs in every sense of the word, and they share the same personality traits as emotionally stunted teens who smash bus stop windows for personal satisfaction. Black hat hackers are renowned for the following common cybercrimes: DDoS Distributed, Denial of Service (flood) attacks that impair computer networks. Identity theft, Phishing, scams, social engineering schemes. Vandalism of systems, defacing, disabling, removing access. The creation of destructive programs, like worms, and CryptoLocker! 'White Hat' Ethical Hackers = Network Security Specialists 'White hat' hacker = security professional. Yan / Getty Different from the classic black hat hackers, white hat hackers are either driven by honorable motivations, or they are mercenaries working on honorable agendas. Also known as 'ethical hackers', white hats are talented computer security users often employed to help protect computer networks. Some white hats are reformed black hats, like former convicts who take on work as store security guards. While they themselves may have been unethical in the past, their current vocation is considered a white hat. With experience in what the 'bad guy' can do, these reformed hats, are among the most skilled at protecting their clients. Ethical hackers are motivated by a steady paycheck. It is not surprising to see ethical hackers spending those paychecks on very expensive personal computers in their personal lives, so they can play online games after work. As long as they have a good-paying job to support their personal habits, an ethical hacker is usually not motivated to destroy nor steal from their employer. Special note: some white hat hackers are 'academic hackers'. These are computer artisans who are less interested in protecting systems, and more interested in creating clever programs and beautiful interfaces. Their motivation is to improve a system through alterations and additions. Academic hackers can be casual hobbyists, or they can be serious computer engineers working on their graduate-level degrees. These are the people who create new viruses, as proof of concepts.  No intentions on making the world worse, but to help bright to light problems that need solving. 'Grey Hat Hackers' = Conflicted, Uncertain Which Side of the Law They Stand Grey hat hackers: a mix of good and evil. Peoplemages / Getty Grey hat hackers are often hobbyists with intermediate technical skills. These hobbyists enjoy disassembling and modifying their own computers for hobby pleasure, and they will sometimes dabble in minor white collar crimes like file sharing and cracking software. Indeed, if you are a P2P downloader, you are a type of gray hat hacker.  These are undisciplined members of the profession. Often users with access to tools, and 'kits' that enable their ability to accomplish their goals.  In most cases Grey hats are people who never gained the formal understanding of what they are doing. Gray hat hackers rarely escalate into becoming serious black hat hackers. Often times, Grey hats end up getting caught, or warned into stopping their activities. Subcategories of Hackers: Script Kiddies and Hacktivists Script Kiddies: this is a stylish name for novice hackers who are unskilled. Script kiddies can be white hat, black hat, or grey hat. These are people who feel empowered enough to cause others and themselves damages. Hacktivists: this is the hacker who is also a social activist fighting for a cause. Some people would argue that famous hackers like Lulzsec and Anonymous are hacktivists fighting government corruption and corporate misdeeds. Hacktivists can be white hat, black hat, or grey hat. Only a specified team they support at the time being. More About Computer Hackers Computer hacking is often exaggerated by the media, and very few public narratives give hackers the fair shake that they deserve. While most movies and TV shows of hackers are absurd, you might consider watching Mr. Robot if you want to see what hacktivists do. Every savvy web user should know about the unsavory people on the Web. Understanding common hacker attacks and scams will help you navigate online intelligently and confidently.

    Blog Entry, EDUCATION, Hacking
  • Posted on March 26, 2017 12:00 pm
    Joseph Forbes
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    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
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    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
  • Posted on March 14, 2017 11:45 am
    Joseph Forbes
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    Several small and midsize businesses are susceptible to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. What would be the best way for such businesses to handle this problem? Plan ahead – this is what security experts suggest based on their experiences in the past! A majority of the small businesses and start-ups have small teams with very little resources to defend DDoS attacks. As indicated by the name of the attack, it stops users from accessing the services and a site by hurling lot of data against the firm’s web and hosting services. If you are wondering if DDoS attacks are really so common that businesses need to be concerned about it, statistics indicate that around 2,000 such attacks happen on a daily basis costing a loss of revenue in the range of $5,000 - $40,000 per hour for businesses. Hackers can be fake vandalists, competitors, hactivists or extortionists. If your company isn’t equipped with professional network security experts, here are few things you can do to stay safe from DDoS attacks. Stay Prepared Every business should have a disaster recovery plan ready for DDoS attacks. Some of the best practices should include identifying the key employees who are given the responsibility. Establish the roles of every team member, their tasks and requirements. Give the team the needed practice on a mock basis so that those involved are aware of how to handle things when a disaster happens inevitably. Work with your internal PR and IT teams, ISP and hosting providers to recognize the susceptible aspects of failure, routes of escape and technical gaps. Understand DDoS Attack  There are many well-tested DDoS prevention programs that run advanced algorithms to identify various kinds of traffic. They try to sniff out, identify and filter different kinds of benign and malevolent bots and allow only legitimate traffic. It’s not easy to judge from just one instance if the hack is just amateurish or professional, though it’s fairly assumed that any network attack that crosses 50 Gbps is likely to be professional. Mostly multiplied under the inoffensive category of 'network security programs,' few of the very common hack devices are called stressors or booters. As implied by the name, these devices intensify and focus the payload of DDoS. Be Ready to Respond with Your Guns As in all cases of disaster reaction, stay calm without panicking. Ensure that your services are up and running; give your customers a brief. Your team can respond readily only if you’ve prepared properly. Co-ordinate with your team members and optimize the tactics for the disaster response. Once the attack is mitigated by your tech team, ensure that the communication team is ready to reveal the details to the press and legal team is prepared to handle the possible regulatory and compliance part. If you are asked to pay the attacker a ransom, don’t do it as this will only mark your organization and they may return for more. Once you are identified this way, other hackers may also sense it and come your way. Learn and Implement Once the attack subsides, try to learn things from the attack. Analyse strongly as to what went right and what went wrong.  Ensure that your legal and IT teams collect the required forensic information. Create a communication protocol to deal with the internal team queries, your clients and the press. Try to detect the network holdups from the attack and select an infrastructure with inherent resiliency. Analysis and communication are the two aspects that will go a long way in preparing for the next attack and enhance your team morale. And, you should be wary of the latest threats emerging in the cyber world such as the latest DDoS Extortion Attack.

    Blog Entry, DATA, Hacking