Cyber Attacks That Tampers With Your Privacy

 An increase in technology also increases the possibility of evolved cyber attacks and/or threats. As we get wiser in systems we use or measures to take, so do our hackers, whose aim is to compromise our systems, security, data, and other information, including account numbers, emails, and passwords. This interference can lead to theft of identity, loss of funds from a financial institution, and much more company devastation. 

In this article, we hope to educate you on prevalent attacks that many cause from your online presence and actions that can be taken to mitigate and prevent further trouble.

What Are Some Common Cyber-Attacks?

Computer Crime: Internet Phishing a login and password concept

SSL Stripping

What is SSL stripping? This is also known as an SSL downgrade attack and is an attack used to compass security enforces by the SSL certificates on websites. HTTP and HTTPs function in the request-response protocol, but they deem it more secure as for the request encryption through SSL. 

SSL is a secure protocol used for communicating sensitive information; this information includes but not limited to banking details, email correspondence, to name a few. An encrypted connection between both parties creates this protocol’s security; this is usually a client application and a server. For a secure connection to be established in most scenarios, the following occurs.

  1. A user sends an unsecured HTTP request
  2. The server replies by HTTP and then redirects the user to a secure protocol (HTTPS).
  3. The secure session begins when the user submits a secure HTTPS. 

For the SSL strip to happen, a hacker intercepts the redirected HTTP to the secure HTTPS protocol and interferes with requests between the user and server. The hacker proceeds to establish the connection (HTTPS) between her/himself and server, and an unsecured bond with the user, the hacker acting as a third party.

Help Of a VPN

A Previous article titled Why Invest In A VPNinforms you how a VPN can be your best option for hackers, identity theft, and generally cybercriminals. Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows users to have a secure connection to other networks via the internet; this is usually done remotely. A VPN hides your IP address, which then protects you from identity theft by encrypting your data; all this is done by routing you through a private network. With information encrypted being sent from the user to your intended location, data intercepted by hackers would be unreadable.  

Min-in-the middle

A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack happens when the attacker/hacker intercepts the communication to inject malware to your device, be it PC or mobile. The MITM usually consists of three parties: the victim (user), the website, or entity the victim is attempting to communicate with and the interceptor/hacker. 

The MITM methods are most times to steal the browser cookies, phishing, and to identify login credentials that are stored. These allow your attacker(s) to insert themselves between the victim and the intended entity to gain relevant credentials and other valuable information.

Fake Hotspots for Wi-Fi

One of the most natural things for hackers to do may be to set-u a false wi-fi hotspot name Barnes & Noble, McDonald, or everyone’s favorite Starbucks. These frauds would look most reputable and would be seen as convenient and identical to the network commonly used. Once connected to this network and data transmission begins, hackers will have access to all your details. This to the hacker is like “taking candy from a child.”

Packet Sniffing

This is considered as the gathering, collecting, and logging of possibly all that passes through your computer network. When using a website with an unprotected network can allow your hacker to attach hi/herself unto packets of information passing between you and the website trying to reach and process.


Why Invest In A VPN?

Multiple questions are surrounding the need and reasons to invest in a VPN. This article seeks to inform you of and answer the majority of issues surrounding the blur of VPN.

What is a VPN?

The abbreviation stands for Virtual Private Network; this is a virtual pathway between devices. A VPN allows its users to create a secure connection to other networks via the internet. With the feature of encryption, it safeguards your every move on the internet, be it working, shopping or banking, proves to be one of the best tools on the market to ensure your internet privacy.  

 

How does a VPN work?

Did you know that VPNs were initially set up by Microsoft in 1996, to have employees remote securely to the company’s internal network?

Virtual Private Network (VPN) works by routing your traffic through a VPN server instead of sending it directly to your internet service provider. What this does is data that is transmitted via the internet, such as your online searches, uploads, and others appear to be coming from your VPN server and not your devices used for browsing. 

In our previous article titled IP Address Security, you would have read how a VPN aids in protecting your IP address, which is a unique number associated with your home or office network. This unique number is visible to the web; hence investing in a VPN hides your IP address by rerouting your traffic, thus protecting your identity with the added encryption feature.

 

Why Use A VPN?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who asked me; why do I need to use a VPN? My answer was, why not? Not several people use the tool for varied privacy reasons. At that time, I thought we are more modernized, and everything is or can be done online.

Public Networks: public network wi-fi, which is found in your favorite places as your favorite coffee shop, and other areas are exceptionally high-risk. If a hacker is on this same open or public network, this individual will easily spy on your activity with the high potential of accessing and using your private information. Having a VPN secured network will have all hidden, and your identity secured.

Why Use a VPN In Home?: The VPN affords you the opportunity of IP address protection, but it also allows you to hide your internet provider. You may say that is not important, but you avoid discrimination of price and geo-blocks on media with it. 

 

Six Reasons To Use A VPN

The piece of mind for secure connections where ever you go:

We mentioned the public network earlier. While it is not security or privacy correct, we all fall short of using that coffee shop wi-fi or the airport wi-fi as we need to connect, to check and reply to that email or simply view social media, I have. In doing that, we shared our information with multiple people in our location. 

Accessing video streaming content where ever you travel worldwide:

True story: A year ago I took a trip to the Caribbean while on the island I decided to get connected to the internet and watch my favorite investigating series, only to find out it wasn’t available in my geo-location. My first shocker of many that could have been resolved with a VPN. 

Seen that a VPN allows you to connect to a US-based server or an equivalent home server while you take those memorable trips, this has your streaming services thinking you are still at home.

Be safe shopping locally or internationally online:

We can’t deny the convenience and benefits of shopping from your most comforting spot (home or office), can’t deny online shopping. 

A reminder from the previous article “website security” shop or disclose sensitive information only to SSL certified websites, which means your website should have the closed lock to the front of “https.” In this, the site is more secured for you.

Feel secure when banking online:

From the various conversations with customers and clients, one of the most important to both parties to secure other than their social security number (SSN) is their banking information. Your VPN provides an additional security layer, which puts your mind at ease because we all love the convenience of online banking.

Ability to remain anonymous:

Often we may hear the phrase, “our phones listen to us,” and that is true. We often search for items in our search engines, and they pop up on our social media page(s), which proves our devices listen but safe to say they provide answers. 

Your VPN allows you to remain anonymous from shopping for flights to checking in your hotel room as these websites also track your activity.

What fears of public wi-fi?

It cannot be said too many times, airports and other places with public wi-fi offer you this opportunity to be entertained or busy while waiting on your flight or even coffee. You may not realize that this would be a hotspot for identity theft just waiting to happen.

 

Advantages of:

  • Censorship avoidance: Though illegal in most cases to circumvent restricted government information sometimes it is necessary and a VPN allows that.
  • Stream from any location: A VPN gives you the grand privilege to stream your favorite videos from whichever location you are. 
  • Beat price discrimination: Your location and internet service providers play a huge role in this area. Have you ever realize that your more sought after items from your browser usually populates your social media pages and other sites? Your VPN helps in minimizing in that department.
  • Don’t be tracked: Cannot be said too many times a VPN adds that layer that hides you from hackers and other cyber type criminals. 

Disadvantages of:

  • VPN Blocked: I learned this at an inopportune time on my part, that companies do get wiser in detecting VPN. Here I was settled to stream one of my favorite series and the website gave me an error as it was detecting my VPN. 
  • No cookie protection: There are cookies that sole purpose is to make the websites work better, in those cases, the VPNs will not be able to block cookies. You are allowed with the privilege of deleting cookies that track or some virus protection such as AVAST that allows you a secure browser. 
  • Potential slow speed: This happens as there is a lot more pressure on website traffic putting it through a VPN, with all the steps of finding a private network. 
  • May not have complete privacy: This point must be most alarming. While your VPN blocks and secure from hackers, government entities, and any other lurkers, your VPN providers can see all activity if they wish.

Reasons Business Needs A Responsive Website

It is not new, and, should not be surprising that this is a topic to have. With the modernization of technology, your website should be responsive on all devices, tablets, mobile phones, and with all operating systems (OS). This responsiveness aids in captivating users and increases the speed at which your web-page moves, which should be aligned to new-age technologies. 

This blog will outline the effectiveness of a modernized website and how much of a critical element this is to your business.

Increase In Mobile Device Usage

With the increase in mobile usage, this is no surprise that the majority of browsing is now done on mobile devices. This is so as, in my opinion, and others would agree your mobile device is always with you, and with the multiple wifi spots or cellular data, it makes “life easier.” The statics report below will better explain mobile browsing increases:

 

  • According to official Google statements, over fifty percent (50%) of searches are done on mobile devices, and this increases by approximately ten percent (10%) each year.
  • As for internet usage on mobile devices in the United States of America, some Europian countries and India over thirty-six percent (36%) of users make use of the internet on their mobile devices.
  • Over sixty-five percent (65%) of customers provide better reviews on brands or products that offer an excellent mobile experience.
  • Research also shows that ninety-five 95% of users access emails on smartphones while over fifteen percent (15%) of users use tablets.

None Responsive Websites Equates Bad Reputation

It is indeed a fact that the monitors do get more substantial with time, and the devices for responsiveness testing varies. This variation includes but not limited to the size of the screens or the operating systems. As mobile users’ increase, so should your business grow. Just as the rise in mobile users with the modernizing of generation, so will the frustration increase with that frustration, usually your company survey and then the reputation. The majority of those unsatisfied customers will indeed inform you that they were not catered for, you are not with the time, or the time spent on your website was time wasted. 

Excellent User Experience Is A Must

Have you ever been on a website that does not suit your mobile needs, and you immediately exist and find another more like that of the competitors? According to Google Think Insights on smartphones and tablets, if a user does not see or feels comfortable with what they are looking for, they will most likely go to the competitors’ website. This is approximately seventy-one percent (71%). It is also proven that it has a great experience using your website there is a fifty-nine (59%) percent chance they will be interested in the product you have to offer.

Responsive Websites Loads Faster

In this, your SEO advantage is way high, and a responsive design typically loads faster than a mobile site. With this, you must know that internet users, especially those on smart devices, enjoy the information on their research at the quickest time.

Responsive Sites Adjust To All Devices

In recent times website designs were done for a particular sized monitor, fast forward to the Millenium we are designing for several screen sizes and operating system. This is the main advantage of responsive sites the ability to create for all screen sizes.

Responsive Sites Converts Visitors Into Customers

It is a fact that once visitors enjoy service, they will return the frequency may become a family. For example, I went on vacation to a particular hotel in Jamaica, and for hotel picks, I return there quite often; the service was excellent. The same goes for a website. You meet the visitors’ needs in that timely manner. They will return with a possible referral.


Before Closing The Deal On Your Design

 

What is your final decision? That ought to be your number one question before closing on a design. What is my decision? Why did I choose this?

 Though tedious may be the craziest part of getting ready for the project you and your team will need to go through this. Research the graphics, the media and the overall content knowing where to put what and why. This will also determine the competency and the direction your project will flow to. Now here are a few questions to take into consideration in closing the curtains on your design:

 

  • What is the design or theme?
  • Is the design easily understood?
  • Is the design suitable for the intended purpose?
  • Are the images supporting the theme or purpose?
  • What is the relevance of the content to the design?
  • How is your design compares to that of the competitor?
  • Are you happy with the design? 

 

What Is The Design or Theme?

This, in my opinion, should be the first question for any creative for a project as this will help you determine if this theme/design is suitable for your business as the design then becomes the face of your business.

In making a decision on this worthiness will clear multiple paths as in selecting a theme and finalizing the design these must be remembered; your catered demographic and for the designer, you think of the client, (it is best to narrow things down so as not to overwhelm yourself as a designer and your client). 

 

Is The Design easily understood?

  Usually, all graphic personnel design to grab the attention of onlookers which then push clients to ask for a redo(make it simple). As the designer, it is best to understand your client before taking the valuable time to design and redo. You are to understand so much so you can be the storyteller to the client’s best design. It helps if you also come to the table with templates or clients can do this as well. 

NB: Remember to limit these so as not to be overwhelmed.

 

Is The Design Suitable For The Intended Purpose?

This question is son vital and can never be asked too many times in the conversation between the designer and client. It is okay to have a well-designed project but in all that it must serve the intended purpose or this is a loss of time and money. Your design should not only match the functionality of the website but the meaning of your business and easy to use by users/customers.

 

Are the images supporting the theme or purpose?

The images that age used in a project should at all times complement the project’s design and theme, and this should always be at the forefront of the designers’ minds. The final design should be able to stand with its layout.

Using inapplicable/unconnected /irrelevant images in design will totally annihilate the message behind your theme. This is however avoidable by using images that will tell the story the client and the business wish to have told their audience. 

 

What is the relevance of the content to the design?

In this, your content is the overall information on your design. Now, this can be stressed enough all this should be relevant to the story being told. 

Typography is a great deal in this as the font style the words used, the highlights, and all others that tell the tone in which you are bringing across the information. Best believe the font size and words used do affect the theme and its overall story you are telling in that design. 

Before closing on your final design remember all elements play an important part in the story and your story needs to flow in sequential order. In doing this evaluation before the closing deal and rolling out you will be able to tell the importance and see if release that project is a final or even make some necessary changes.

How Is Your Design Compares To That Of The Competition?

Let’s be honest, one of the main reasons if not the only reason to have graphical design is to be in the market place or be the very best when we get there.  Businesses usually do their graphic to indulge their part-takers of the market place hence, you need to know what is trending in design to be apart of the competition. 

Making sure you are able to be apart of the intended market place your designs are to be simple easy to use and eye-catching to the potential user. Your intentions are to be recognizable and also able to stand out. 

 

Are You Happy With The Design?

Finally, as the design, your question should be, is my client happy? Have I told the story correctly? Will the audience love it?

As the client, are you happy?

Ensure all revisions are done so as not to have any regrets on either side. In asking these questions ensure that the answers are honest so as to have an effective delivery and launch. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 


Website Security

Congratulations, you have successfully launched your website but, is it all done? how secure is your website? and is it ready for business? These questions are the best to ask at the end of the project and just before launch. At this point we are thinking of potential cyberattacks, encourage potential visitors and maintaining your reputation. In this article, you are going to be informed of your new best-friend website security. 

Now, What is Website Security? You might ask. This is an action or application taken to ensure the protection of website data is not exposed to cybercriminals or prevent exploitation of websites of any form, this is an ongoing and essential part of your website management.

 

Why is it Important and What does it Protect?

Website security is important as it protects as hacks, simple. Having security is just as important if not more than all other aspects. Look at it this way, no security results in potentially being hacked, being hacked can result in data loss, data loss results in a damaged reputation, possibly blacklisted, lawsuits and this can result in some huge fines.  

Some of what you will be protected against are as listed:

Defacing: replacing your website content/material with other malicious data.

Malware: This can be used to steal sensitive information.

Blacklisting: The possibility of your website being removed for search engines.   

All of the above shows lost and now results in favor of your or your business.

 

As for your users some of what the will be protected against includes:

Phishing:  In most cases, this is found happening emails, however, this is now seen in various web browsers and is designed to trick the user into giving up sensitive information. 

Malicious Redirect: In this case, the attack redirects the user from the intended site to another. 

Stolen Data: Cybercriminals oftentimes attempt to save users’ data which may vary from as simple as your name to SSN and also payment information done online.

 

BROWSE I A SECURE ENVIRONMENT

How Do You Secure Your Website?

There are many steps to take in securing a website, here goes to name a few:

 

Web Application Firewall: A web application firewall (WAF), stops automated attacks usually carried out by malicious bots that seeks to attack from your more vulnerable points to exploits or even slows down and crashes site through a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

SSL Certificate: This certificate protects data collected by the website as it is being transferred to the server. Though considered a basic security measure a site on any browser labeled “insecure” is without an SSL certificate and is suggested to stay off. 

The cost of an SSL certificate may vary depending on the site and their of at that moment. Some of the most popular sites to get your SSL certificate are:

  •  SSL.com
  • Namecheap
  • The SSL Store
  • GoDaddy
  • GlobalSign
  • Digicert

Just to list a few and you will see that all sites offer to vary in prices.

Though we have only touched the surface of what website security is remember, “a breach in your website security cost more the longer it stays”.


Developers/Clients Time Management

              Time management shows a vast amount in an individual’s life. Personal time management is an essential skill to have as it depicts your professionalism, respect for one’s self, respect to others’ time and is of value to your workplace and team. From the standpoint of a web developer, what does that mean for you as a client or as the developer?

              Speaking from experience it can be frustrating and tiresome being on one project or conversing about the same thing for a long period of time. Waiting on deliverables only to find out questions are being asked that were to be discovered at step one. Personally, I know that all too well and that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Imagine waiting for a project for nine (9) months that you have given the color scheme and additional information for, then to be told that the color scheme given would not work with your image and no prior conversations, bitter taste.

              So as to ensure both clients and developers time is spared there are discussions that are to be held at the beginning showing mutual respect and understanding in ones’ time. Conjunction needs to be met where the development team and the client know exactly what is been done on a project and there is complete transparency.  In having complete transparency and the conjunction to be met the first two (2) communication will be the longest. If you have read the previous article titled Top 10 Questions To Ask Your Potential Developer will detail the areas that need to be cover before a client of a developer puts pen to paper or finger to keyboard.

              So as to ensure that the communication does not seem outlandish there are a few questions that we advise you ask to ensure there is a mutual understanding:

  • The functionality of the system 
  • Colors schemes
  • Designs 
  • Delivery date

              The last is never the least. Delivery dates are the cherry on top for any project hence, these are to be taken seriously as we say at Larvation Wed, “If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense”, and, in always we know, “time is money”

 

Spend your time wisely ensure it yields positive results.