Archive for the ‘Content Management System’ Category

Unsecured Security

Friday, September 5th, 2014

A few decades ago, IT security wasn’t much of an issue. Sure, there are hackers and malicious code, but most of them were created out of mischief and at worst could only render a computer inoperable. The really dangerous hackers at that time had no real reason to go after the common user. However, these days cyber crime is financially motivated, with syndicates employing hackers and programmers in order to amass millions of dollars through various methods, including phishing, ransomware distribution, or even by hacking rival institutions or companies for a fee.

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What makes this problem even more serious is that there are a number of techniques, practices, and information relating to security that doesn’t really work as intended. They are simply outmoded, compromised, or not true in the first place. They are the IT security equivalent of old wives’ tales. Here are some that you might want to purge from your repertoire:

An Antivirus/Anti-Malware Suite Will Keep You 100% Safe

You can’t blame security software companies for claiming that their products will keep you safe from all attacks, simply because being upfront and stating that they’ll only protect you from most attacks isn’t likely to inspire buyer confidence and leaves them open to competitors willing to promise the moon and the stars. Additionally, it’s not like they aren’t trying – if it were up to security software companies, they’d create an antimalware that completely protects customers, because that means they’d rake in the profits from selling the best product in the market. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that no software suite could ever hope to protect a user 100%. Even the best set of anti malware and anti-virus suites is just half of the equation, the other half is the user being smart and educated about IT security, because he or she is the one aspect of security that no software can account for. (more…)

10 Crazy IT Security Tricks That PT Recommends

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Computer SecurityNetwork security isn’t exactly the ideal place for experimentation, as it relies on tried-and-tested systems and methodologies in order to provide solid security. However, IT security threats these days evolve on a rapid pace and new ones are being discovered or created all the time, so there are times when a little bit of creativity provides new solutions that greatly enhance security without risking any vulnerabilities. Here are ten great examples of crazy IT security tricks that Prestige recommends:

1. Rename Administrator Accounts

Sometimes simple things that help a great deal get overlooked by virtue of their simplicity. This case, it’s something as simple as just changing the usernames of the administrator account. People already know that they should immediately change the password of the administrator account, but the username is usually kept as is for some reason (maybe it’s laziness, or maybe they treat it as a badge of pride.)

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How a DNS Can Help Your Business Grow (Part 2 of 2)

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

In the previous post, we’ve outlined a way on how DNS can aid in your business’ growth, with the chief method being efficient management of your traffic via weighted load balancing and automated failover, both of which ensure that visitors of your company website will never experience slow loading or dropped requests. This is very useful in helping your business grow because it prevents loss of sales due to an inaccessible website (which could be a point of sale or a marketing channel.)

For this post, we’re going to outline several more ways a DNS can help your business grow:

Localize DNS Responses via Origin-Dependent Routing

Origin-Dependent Routing is essentially another means of managing traffic, but this time it is based on the geographic origin of the request. But instead of assigning a weight to each stream or monitoring failure points, an origin-dependent routing system just monitors the geographic location of the request based on the DNS and sends it to a resource that is based within the same region or the nearest one. For example, if a user from Sweden tries to access your website, the network routes said traffic to a server based in Sweden or somewhere near, instead of letting it go through a server from China or Thailand.

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How a DNS Can Help Your Business Grow (Part 1 of 2)

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Back in the early 80s, the Internet was a newly emerging technology with kinks that need to be ironed out. One of these kinks is the fact that the Internet needed a system that will allow users to navigate the world wide web in a natural manner instead of relying on IP addresses, which would have made even the simplest browsing session too complicated for the average user.

Enter: The Domain Name Server. It’s not an overly complicated solution, but the DNS practically solved the problem instantly. Instead on relying on a series of numbers to access a web page, users can just input Domain Names, which then route traffic to the actual servers hosting the files being accessed. Without DNS, everybody would still be inputting 54.57.208.111 or some other IP address on their browser’s URL field instead of an easier to remember address like, say, Google.com.

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Over time, the Internet has found its way into common and business use, and has developed various accoutrements to help encourage activities on both ends. The DNS is still largely unchanged, but businesses have discovered a few uses that will help them accelerate their growth. Here are a few of them: (more…)

NEWS: Google Engineer Releases Hacking Tool

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

If you have the Flash plugin on your PC and you visit any website that uses the API, you might want to check if you’ve updated it lately, as Google security engineer Michele Spagnuolo has recently discovered a vulnerability in the API, and has released an exploit tool called the Rosetta Flash, which is designed to take advantage of said exploit by creating malicious shockwave files (*.swf files), which can allow the author to gain access to authentication cookies stored in an individual’s PC.

Logo Google 2013 Official

The issue is labeled with the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures Identifier of CVE-2014-4671, and is described as a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) bug. What this means is that the SWF can be embedded on any random website, and any visitor with an out of date Flash plugin will be vulnerable to getting their login information for various sites pilfered. Flash is very common on the web, and there’s very little chance that you haven’t browsed any site that uses it in the last 24 hours. EBay, Instagram, Tumblr, even Facebook and Youtube all use some form of Flash in one way or another.

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In prestige, Backups and Recovery are Part of Security

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Backups and recovery best practices are normal parts of a healthy web hosting experience, but what most users don’t realize is that both are big parts of security, in the sense that not having good backups and recovery contingencies will be a huge gaping hole in your website, VPS, or server’s security, the absence of which renders all other security contingencies less effective.

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Here at Prestige, we value security and we go beyond merely protecting the servers from intrusion. We go the extra mile and include backup and recovery as part of our services, ensuring that customers are not only protected from head-on attacks, but are also able to recover with minimal downtime if there is server outage due to acts of god, or an attack that managed to succeed due to certain extenuating circumstances outside of our control, like as attacks based on zero day vulnerabilities, which is a vulnerability or an exploit in code unknown to the vendor (one great example of this is the Heartbleed Bug.)

Prestige takes a lot of steps to ensure that there is available backup of the servers and that the backups themselves are secure. These include:

1. Having off-site backups – with off-site backups, even if the servers are compromised, we will have a way of restoring the servers from a “clean” source, and that the files can be restored even if the servers were lost to physical accidents. (more…)

Snowden and How He Affected Web Host Reputation

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Edward SnowdenIt’s been a year since American computer professional Edward Joseph Snowden, who is a former systems administrator for the Central Intelligence Agency and counterintelligence trainer at the Defense Intelligence Agency, disclosed to several media outlets thousands of classified documents that he had access to while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency. The act turned the once obscure NSA contractor into the face of a nationwide movement that calls on the US government to be more transparent when it comes to their surveillance of its citizens.

As expected, Snowden’s leak and the wave of outrage that followed affected not just the government but also service providers that handle and host data on the World Wide Web. People were already skeptical of the privacy that are afforded to them on the Internet, but are at least relying on the assurance that companies that collect their private information will keep it to themselves.

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The straw that finally broke the proverbial camel’s back was the realization that their personal info is not safe even if these big name, multinational corporations had no intention of sharing their data, as they can be forced to hand over customer data to government agencies via orders issued by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders without any notice before or after the fact. What’s worse, Snowden’s leak revealed that the NSA has secretly intercepted unencrypted data from Google’s private data centers.

One of the biggest changes that has come out of the Snowden leaks is that US web hosts’ reputation has suffered a great deal, as users now know that no matter which host they use, they tend to be at risk of getting their privacy stepped on by the government. This in turn led to many businesses moving to hosts that don’t have servers located within U.S. jurisdiction.

The main problem that people have with the revelation brought by the Snowden leaks goes beyond the vulnerability of their data on servers hosted on US soil, as that is easily solved by not hosting something that would mean trouble for them from a legal standpoint. The bigger problem is that it gives the government raw, unchecked authority to access private files, which could then be used to build cases for targets of legal prosecution, regardless of the validity or relevance to the current charges.

In order to avoid further losses, many large tech companies such as Google, Yahoo, Dropbox, Microsoft, Apple, and others, have started a group called the Reform Government Surveillance, which calls on the government’s help to restore the confidence of people on the Internet and many IT services, with the first agenda being pushed essentially calling for US surveillance efforts to be reigned in by transparent and clearly defined laws.

As mentioned above, until the U.S. government manages to fix the can of worms that the Snowden leaks have opened, Cloud and Web Hosting Companies with servers in the U.S. will have to contend with losing customers to foreign service providers outside of U.S. jurisdiction.

How Prestige Can Help Your Website be Viewed in China

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

China administrativeWith over 550 million (and growing) Chinese residents regularly accessing the Internet, it is a fresh new market that any foreign company or business would love to tap into. However, actually getting your website viewed in China is way more difficult than simply getting a .CN TLD and translating your website contents into Mandarin.

The thing is that internet users based in China have to go through what most people refer to as The Great Firewall of China, which is basically the Chinese government’s national firewall, which is very restrictive and will block majority of outside traffic. Thankfully, there are processes that you can go through in order to make your website viewable in China, and Prestige can help you along the way.

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First Things First: Getting a .CN Domain

Prestige allows you to use any of your own domain for their hosting service, and also lets you buy one through their partnerships with various online registrars. Make sure you get a .CN domain. While China doesn’t block most domain names, you stand a better chance of being visible on the country if you are using a .cn domain.

Prestige’s Servers Are Fast

The thing about the great firewall of china is that they lead to all sorts of slowdown on the user’s end. Add the fact that many of the Chinese surfers that want to access foreign sites use VPNs, and you’ve got enough slowdown to turn off most impatient users. Benchmarks have pointed to anywhere from 6 to 10 seconds of additional loadtime for U.S.-based servers.

With Prestige, we don’t oversell our servers’ capacities so it will not be bogged down on our end, ensuring that lag from your end is minimized. It’s not going to make your site load instantly in China, but every little bit helps.

Our Company is based in a Country that is On Good Terms with China

It’s not a secret that the Chinese government has a less than sterling relationship with the U.S., and there is some hostility between the two when it comes to IT (all you need to do is do a research on the allegedly federally-subsidised hacking groups from both sides), so the great wall of china is naturally sensitive towards companies that are based on the U.S. While Prestige does have servers in the U.S., the company is a legitimate U.K. business, so most of our servers aren’t on China’s list of IPs to watch out for.

Last But Not the Least: Controversial Content

The Chinese government is extremely strict when it comes to two kinds of controversial content: adult and political. So if you’re planning to build an online presence in China, make sure your site doesn’t have either of the two. What passes for political content can be a little bit hard to pinpoint if you’re outside of China, so try to browse around Chinese news sites – if a news item is being reported in there, you can consider it as something that’s allowed by their firewall.

If your site is hosting controversial content, you can still get through by applying for an ICP license (Internet Content Provider), which is a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information technology (MIIT). However, that is something that you have to personally do as the owner of the website. More details on how to apply can be found at the MIIT website (miit.gov.cn)

How to Calculate the Cost of Your Downtime

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

One of the hurdles that any decent IT department has to hurdle is getting the higher ups to understand the importance of maintaining a stable technical environment, as the higher ups rarely have any idea as to what a system downtime means with regard to the company’s bottom line.

The bosses know downtime costs money, but they rarely understand exactly how much money. This means they rarely understand how devastating a downtime can be. It’s not just executives, sometimes the IT heads themselves choose to bring down a server for maintenance during business hours, not realizing exactly how much they are costing the company. So how do you calculate the exact cost of your downtime?

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First, we need to define system downtime; basically, it is when the system is unavailable to the user. So even if an application and the hardware it runs on are both up and running, if the application can’t be used for any reason, then the system is technically “down.” (more…)

Set Up Your Site’s Crash Plan

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Administrators – at least the ones who actually know how to do their job – already know that no network is completely safe from crashes and outages regardless of how good the administrators are and how robust their systems are, but the August 2003 widespread power outage in the U.S. Northeast hammered the point home, with many firms at that time suffering their first lengthy downtime in many years.

There are a few things that weren’t part of people’s crash plans in the past and were considered overkill, that are now shown to be needed after the August 2003 blackout took out many big name sites. If you want to set up your site’s crash plan and be ready for unexpected outages, you should add the following things to your list:

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