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Blog posts tagged with 'Tracy Hazelton'

SSL

Users often associate shopping online as a relatively safe method of shopping as long as there is a lock on the browser stating that the website is secured by SSL. But what users often do not know is what that really means and why it is important.

If you have ever been to a website and looking to purchase an item or at least seen the lock in the browsers URL it most likely is a safe and trusted website. But have you ever been to a website that was not secured by a SSL certificate, and come across a message similar to this.
What this message is telling you is that this website is running over a secure connection that does not have a security certificate, or SSL, and is warning you that the site may be unsafe. Now let’s look at what the browser should look like if it is safe.

How does SSL work? SSL works by establishing an encrypted connection with the server in which you are connecting to. This allows you to put in important information such as Social security Numbers, Credit/Debit cards, and login details into the website without fear of this information being sent across the internet in plain text for anyone to read. It is able to do this by using a public, private, and session keys that works together to encrypt the data between the web server and the end user. So now when the user connects to a website such as eBay to log into the account, the computer will connect to the server and request what is called an SSL handshake, now when the user goes to login the data is encrypted with the public key and sent to the server, where it can only be decrypted by the servers private key, and vise versa. One of the most important parts of the SSL is that the web server is verified by a third party to be safe to trust, and they say who they really are. If you were to click on the green lock you will be presented with the SSL details of the website, and who verifies that the website is safe.

So as you can see, before you ever try and purchase something on the internet, please verify that the website is secure before proceeding to enter any private information. By just simply being cautious can save you a lot of time, and headache of possibly having your identity or private information stolen.

Tracy Hazelton
System Technologist
StormsEdge Technology

How Safe Is Your Web Browser?

How safe is your browser keeping you? Not something we think about in our day to day activities on the web. Register to a new website and your browser asks you if you would like to save the login information, out of sheer convenience most of us would say sure, go ahead. Not realizing the potential security risk they may have just put themselves in.

In the computer world there are four major browsers that almost everyone uses, we have Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. All of these browsers have the ability to save login details for website, and some can even go as far as saving credit card information, for easier shopping. But anyone that has access to your computer can gain access to all of your data. Using password revealers is nothing new to the industry, but if you feel the need to walk away from your computer and leave it up, anyone is able to come up behind you and reveal all of your stored login information from your browser with ease.

Another method that could be used for attackers is by using some types of malware that would be able to use a script to recover the stored passwords database, which if there is no master password stored in the browser for the rest of the password, it will most likely be stored in plain text. These database files resides on the PC in the browsers files structure. If the browser is unpatched or out of date this type of an attack would be common.

One other method that could be used is by an attacker using, what is called an XSS hole. XSS is short for cross-site scripting, and this can be used by an attacker by luring the user to go to a malicious website via email, or by phone, and clicking on a link that sends the XSS code to the browser to retrieve the stored passwords, stored cookies, user data, history, and others.

So as you can see there are multiple ways that attackers are able to retrieve your saved passwords from your browser without you ever really knowing. My recommendation would be to first, do not use the autocomplete or auto-save features in your browser and disable them. If you must use them make sure that the computer, and browser are always updated, and if the browser supports it, set a master password on your saved passwords list.

Tracy Hazelton
System Technologist
StormsEdge Technology

Benefits of Using Hardware as a Service (HAAS)

As we all know that replacing computers in an office can be a very expensive process. What if I told you that there is a much more cost effective method to replacing computers and On-Premise servers. This method is what we in the industry call HAAS or Hardware As A Service.

The idea behind HAAS is that instead of having to upfront the cost of replacing PCs that are considered obsolete, or have become defective, is that instead we are able to provide the PC to you on a monthly low cost, and so that anytime there is a problem with the computer later down the road, we will be able to bring you another computer right away, to minimize your downtime.

Some of the other benefits to HAAS is that you can always stay up to date with current technology, as a new PC can be delivered with the latest most efficient O.S and hardware specs needed for your needs. With the monthly rate being fixed cost, you no longer have to worry about that unexpected expense. Using this model will also be able to increase productivity from your employees not being able to get work done to countless and constant computer issues. Now with this service a lot of providers will also include remote monitoring and maintenance to the PC throughout the lifespan of the computer. One last benefit would be that HAAS is a scalable service, as needs for your business grow, all that you will need to do is add more PCs, and if there is a decline for any reason, your HAAS provider can simply pick up the PCs and you no longer have to pay for them. This will keep you from having a closet full of old computers that are not getting utilized.

So as you can see is that there are multiple benefits to utilizing HAAS from a service provider, especially if your company is rapidly growing, or even needing to replace multiple PCs for any reason.

Tracy Hazelton
System Technologist
StormsEdge Technology

Advantages of Using WordPress

WordPress? Isn’t that just a blog? That’s what most people think when you say you can build their company website with it. Truth is, there are many huge corporations who are well known that are currently using WordPress as their web backend.

Some of these companies include Fortune, Xerox, MTV News, Sony Music, and many more. Because of the easiness to change, add, remove, or update content. This makes Wordpress one of the most popular platforms to build on. Gone are the days of having to have access to the web server to change content on a website, with Wordpress you can access your website backend from any internet connected device with a browser. For your SEO person Wordpress is the easiest to work with and search engines love it for its simple code for them to be able to index easily.

Anyone that has ever played with Wordpress will be able to tell you that the best way to add any functionally you could think of is by using plug-in. Instead of spending months coding your own functionality to a website, there are thousands of plug-in that have been prebuilt. All you have to do is download and customize the plug-in for your site. Remember “there is an app for that” by Apple? Well the same holds true for the plug-in as well, whether you are looking for easy image slide shows or more security for your site, you can find a plug-in for that.

Has your company grown? Well if it has, one of the benefits is that Wordpress can grow with it. You can have thousands of pages on your website and not have to worry about the impact of performance. Need to build a store on our site, no problem, once again there is a plug-in for that.

Want to change the look and feel of your website? This can easily be done by selecting one of the thousands of themes available in the Wordpress repository. And don’t worry about the install, just like plug-in all you have to do is upload it into Wordpress and activate it.

The truth is, I could go on forever discussing all of the benefits to using Wordpress, but if you truly want to see the benefits for yourself, you just have to try it. So why not try the platform that even Google recommends for business websites?

If ever you need help with your WordPress site, contact us at 817.284.077!

Tracy Hazelton
System Technologist
StormsEdge Technology

Cloud File Storage Security

Is our data really secure using services like box.net and drop box? The answer to this question may come to a surprise to most. Using services like these may be convenient but I would not recommend trying to sync any important documents using these types of services.

It was not long ago that drop box had a vulnerability that had been brought to their attention by an outside source; While Drop box knew about it, they simply stated “We don't believe that this is vulnerability. If someone accidentally shares a private Drop box link it can be disabled at any time from the Drop box website, on the Links tab”. Since then Drop box has added a checkbox in their settings to share with collaborators’ only. There are ways to still secure your files without having to rely on box or drop box to “hopefully” secure your data. Many geeks tend to use encryption volumes such as true crypt for windows, or box crypt for mobile devices. This will allow you to be able to encrypt your sensitive data before it gets uploaded to your online file cloud. This way if your data is leaked for any reason there is an added layer of protection for your sensitive files.

So as you can see there are some security risks when using services such as drop box and other. But the good thing is that there are good solutions to help combat the potential loss of important information and documents.

Tracy Hazelton
System Technologist
StormsEdge Technology

Windows 10 Coming Soon!

So it is official, Microsoft has announced the name of the ever so popular Windows Operating System, Windows 10. At a Press conference in San Francisco, Microsoft had a preview of the new look and feel of the desktop. After getting much pushback of the live tiles, which was introduced in Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft has decided to appease the masses by bringing the beloved start button back to Windows 10, while still trying to move the “Unified” Operating system forward. In the new start menu it now offers both the windows 7 layout and the live tiles, so that users have the best of both worlds in just one button.

Another issue that Microsoft wanted to touch base on is the touch portion of the OS. If you have a windows 8 or 8.1 tablet or laptop that is touch screen, you know as well as I do that the responsiveness is a bit “laggy” or “Jittery” when using a pen or fingers. Microsoft has taken the criticism of the issue and is working to create a better touch, keyboard, and mouse integration. They are calling this new approach Continuum. It is supposed to work by automatically switching between modes by detecting how its users interact with the device. As Microsoft admits that it is still a work in progress, and will be an ongoing process up until the release,

So the question remains, as we now know to look forward to the new release. Is the new O.S going to be able to revive Microsoft to its old glory days, or will we have another Windows 8 flop.

Tracy Hazelton
System Technologist
StormsEdge Technology

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