Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7 essential things you must live by as an entrepreneur.

According to the Small Business Association, more than 50 percent of new businesses fail within the first five years. Why? Because many entrepreneurs today are naïve to the struggles and triumphs that accompany owning their own business. They underestimate the amount of time, energy, devotion and care it takes to develop a meaningful, successful organization.

Here’s what entrepreneurs need to keep in mind both before opening shop, and in the first phase of operation -- so they can stay afloat and beat the overwhelming odds:

1). Pinch pennies
This seems obvious, but frugality is essential for entrepreneurs. The biggest area people spend foolishly on is technology. People buy huge servers for potential, yet technology changes so fast, that they bought too much, too soon and could have grown into it. Companies can also save money when investing in an executive team. Entrepreneurs forget that they don't need to build the executive team of a $100 million company when they’re just starting out. The people they hire to start and build the company probably won't be the same ones they’ll need when they achieve certain milestones.

2). Go all in
Entrepreneurs need to be able to commit to working 60, 70, 80 hours a week, to being on call all the time and to taking a substantial pay cut (hopefully only initially). They need to be able to put their business first and themselves second.

3). Be resilient
Building a business is like having a child. You love your child unconditionally and are proud of all their accomplishments, but you know along the way there will be hardships. You don’t stop loving your child because of their mistakes or faults, instead you help them to grow and support them no matter what. This is how entrepreneurs should run a business.

4). Talk to successful people
To succeed, surround yourself with people you trust and who are smarter than you.

5). Build and leverage relationships
When an entrepreneur is just starting out, everyone should know about it: family, friends, former colleagues and acquaintances. Everyone is a potential investor or client. At the same time, entrepreneurs need to develop new relationships. They need to be transparent and honest with prospects, recognize the big events in their lives and show appreciation for their time and consideration.

6). Create the culture
A company's culture must be implemented from day one, communicated daily and instilled in each new hire. Culture is difficult, if not impossible to change. A unique culture is founded on strong values and maintained by a dedicated team.

7). People make the difference
Expand your team with people who share similar values and beliefs, those who are passionate and dedicated and all around good people. They will help grow the business and increase client satisfaction.

Source: Fox Business

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

5 simple methods to improve your privacy online.

It wasn't long after the Internet came into widespread use that online privacy became a growing concern. After all, anytime people are connected through their computers and sharing resources online, there's the potential for prying and abuse.

1). Browser Settings
There are some easy things that can be done to configure a browser for better security and privacy. Among the basics, go into your Web browser's preference settings and set the browser not to accept cookies from sites you haven't visited, also known as third-party cookies. Generally, you'll want to accept cookies from the sites you visit.

Apple's Safari blocks third-party cookies by default; Mozilla intends to make this the default setting soon in Firefox, but for now you'll need to opt for the setting. You have to choose these settings in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Google's Chrome.

Also, the newest versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and several others offer settings for "Do Not Track," a proposed header field that requests that a Web application disable its site and/or cross-site tracking of user activity.

Consider setting your browser preferences to automatically clear cookies when you close the browser.

2). Cloud Storage
Storage of anything private and personal in the cloud should use the strongest form of encryption possible. Strengths of encryption come in various standards. RSA 2048-bit key encryption provides the best possible strength when used with public key infrastructure. The chance of cracking an RSA 2048-bit private key is not nil, but it would take so long that attempting it is not practicable using today's raw computing power.

A strong cipher is the most important consideration. Close behind, however, are the questions of where you should use encryption and with what method.

If you have any data stored on the Internet that you would like to ensure never gets seen by anyone other than yourself, then this is a good candidate for encryption.

The strongest and safest method today for encryption of cloud data is Zero Knowledge. Zero knowledge means that your cloud ISP will have no knowledge of what is being stored on their site. The private key to unlock your data will be created by you on your local drive. Thus only you will have the ability to unlock the data -- not even the cloud ISP will be able to do so.

SpiderOak and Wuala are two examples of ISP Software as a Service sites that offer ZK data encryption.

There are now quite a few SaaS encryption vendors from which to choose, but those that support Zero Knowledge are the safest bet for those with privacy in mind.

3). Two-Factor Authentication
The use of hack-prone password-based access is being gradually replaced by technologies like fingerprint scan, keyfob-generated keys and two-factor authentication methods.

If your ISP uses password-based access, make sure you maintain strong passwords. A password's strength is measured by its ability to avoid being guessed. Many ISPs and portals will test the strength of your password as you create it. Pay attention and be sure that the test returns "strong."

Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. Instead, use strong passwords that are unique to each account - and that's particularly important for your most sensitive online accounts, such as for banking, email, and social networks.

Two-factor authentication is another method that's growing in popularity. Google Gmail now offers a free two-step authentication service. The goal is to avoid having your login stream (which includes your password) from being intercepted by a "man-in-the-middle" attack. Criminals equipped with programs called packet analyzers (also known as "sniffers") can see your streaming data and steal your password.

With two-factor authentication, in addition to entering a password, the system will send to your phone a unique ID number that must be input for authentication as well. Using such a method means the "man-in-the-middle" cannot and will not know what is on your personal phone and so cannot intercept such information.

If your ISP offers two-step authentication, you'd be wise to use it.

4) Encryption for Chat and Email
With Google Talk and Google Hangouts, one can set the chat session to "off the record" to ensure that the chat session is never permanently stored on Google's chat servers.

Also, installing Pidgin for both Windows and Linux - it's a popular multiprotocol messaging software application - along with its "off the record" plugin will ensure that your chat session will remain encrypted and private. This ensures that an additional encryption layer is added to the stream using OTR, regardless of what the underlying protocol provides.

The same encrypted vs. nonencrypted concept applies to email. If you don't want your email read, then it is imperative that you encrypt it. The good news is that encrypting email is technically feasible using GnuPG, PGP or S/MIME standards, for example. The bad news is that few software applications are in circulation that make preparing and sending encrypted email "drop-dead" simple and foolproof in terms of usability by the general public.

5) Surf the Internet Anonymously
Finally, if you really feel strongly about keeping your Internet surfing habits anonymous, you may consider using a proxy for your Internet surfing - though even that won't guarantee complete anonymity.

A more difficult-to-trace method for surfing the Web is called Tor. Essentially, when you install Tor software, you log onto a peer-to-peer (P2P) network representing millions of people, much in the way BitTorrent works. It is encrypted and fully decentralized, meaning not only that it is self-sustainable but also that there is no central server which, if shut down, will stop its Internet activities.

What happens in the Tor scenario is that your IP travels in a random path along the Tor encrypted tunnel and reaches a random endpoint, where your traffic then jumps on the Internet using one of the P2P computing devices as its proxy. That endpoint proxy could be a node anywhere in the world.
If you do try Tor, just go to Google and note which country shows. It will vary from minute to minute - an indication of Tor's anonymity at work.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The new school ID: iris scans.

By the fall, several schools -- ranging from elementary schools to colleges -- will be rolling out various iris scanning security methods.

Winthrop University in South Carolina is testing out iris scanning technology during freshman orientation this summer. Students had their eyes scanned as they received their ID cards in June.

"Iris scanning has a very high level of accuracy, and you don't have to touch anything, said James Hammond, head of Winthrop University's Information Technology department. "It can be hands free security."

The college will be deploying scanning technology from New Jersey-based security company Iris ID.

South Dakota-based Blinkspot manufactures iris scanners specifically for use on school buses. When elementary school students come aboard, they look into a scanner (it looks like a pair of binoculars). The reader will beep if they're on the right bus and honk if they're on the wrong one.

The Blinkspot scanner syncs with a mobile app that parents can use to see where their child is. Every time a child boards or exits the bus, his parent gets an email or text with the child's photograph, a Google map where they boarded or exited the bus, as well as the time and date.

Iris-scanning is part of a growing trend called "biometrics," a type of security that recognizes physical characteristics to identify people. As the technology becomes faster and cheaper to build, several security equipment manufacturers are looking at biometric methods like iris scanning as the ID badge of the future.

In the next year, industry insiders say the technology will be available all over-- from banks to airports. That means instead of entering your pin number, you can gain access to an ATM in a blink. Used in an airport, the system will analyze your iris as you pass through security, identifying and welcoming you by name.

One company developing that technology is Eyelock. The company's scanners are already in use in foreign airports and at high-security offices, including Bank of America's North Carolina headquarters.

Eyelock's technology records video of your eyeball and uses an algorithm to find the best image of each eye. Eyelock is also entering the school market, piloting their devices in elementary school districts and nursery schools around the country.

"Imagine a world where you're no longer reliant on user names and passwords," Eyelock CMO Anthony Antolino told CNNMoney. "If we're going through a turnstile and you have authorization to go beyond that, it'll open the turnstile for you, if you embed it into a tablet or PC, it will unlock your phone or your tablet or it will log you into your email account."

Eyelock's airport security technology can process up to fifty people per minute.
"You walk through without stopping, you look at the camera, it recognizes you in less than one second," Antolino said. "In the case of customs, by the time you approach the customs agent your profile would pull up and present your documents for authorization."

Though some privacy advocates worry that convenience could be coming at the expense of security.

The iris scanning companies note that the data their scanners collect is encrypted -- an outsider would only see 1s and 0s if they went in search of your iris scans. And the companies themselves don't collect any of the data -- the schools, airports and businesses that use them own the data.

"It's sort of like a brave new world; the new technology is sort of scary," said Page Bowden, a parent of a student at Winthrop University's on-campus nursery school. "But when you stop to actually think about it, and think about the level of security that [it] affords you as a parent and your children, it's worth it."

Source: CNN Money

Thursday, July 25, 2013

10 eye-popping statistics proving you need a mobile website.

Technology has been enabling the world to become more and more mobile. We have faster Internet connections, better screens and faster processors. With the trends of mobile device and tablet sales, mobile growth doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. To illustrate how important it is to adapt to the new mobile world, here are 10 eye popping mobile statistics:
  • By 2015 there will be one mobile device for every person in the world.
  • In 2013, more people will use a mobile device to get online than use PC’s.
  • A staggering 50% of local searches are performed on mobile devices.
  • 61% of mobile users who find your business while searching online end up calling the business.
    • 59% of those users end up stopping into the business.
    • 50% of the mobile users who found your business online end up converting into a purchasing customer.
  • If a mobile user is not happy with your mobile website, there is a 40% chance they will go visit a competitors.
  • If a mobile user has a poor experience on your mobile website, they are 57% more unlikely to recommend your business other mobile users.
  • It’s projected that in 2013, tablet devices will make up nearly 21% of the mobile market.
  • 60% of mobile users expect your mobile website to load in under 3 seconds.
Find a mobile device and visit your website, are you happy with the product? Is it easy to navigate and user friendly? Show it to 10 friends and see if they have the same response. If you’re not sure about this either, it might be time to look into a mobile website. If your business hasn’t already adapted their marketing strategy to embrace mobile, it’s time to get started before you’re left behind the competition and having to play catch up.

IES offers the best when it comes to web design and mobile web design. Give us a call today at 781-816-9437 or visit (Yes, our website will work on your mobile device, too!)

Source: Savvy Panda
*Statistics as of March, 2012.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The new Lernstift smartpen checks your spelling as you write.

The sometimes annoying, but frankly indispensable computer aid has spared billions of typographical blushes.
Now, an ingenious prototype pen developed by a German start-up is promising to give our longhand writing a similar sort of safety net.
Lernstift (German for "learning pen") is a digital pen with a difference, carrying not only ink inside its casing but also a tiny computer that alerts users to spelling errors.
Daniel Kaesmacher, co-founder of Lernstift told CNN: "Basically there are two functions. The calligraphy mode which helps you correct individual letters, and the orthography mode which vibrates when a word is misspelled."
The AAA battery-powered Linux computer includes a vibration module and a patent pending non-optical motion sensor which recognizes specific movements and shapes of letters and words.

The pen employs a menagerie of sensors, including a gyroscope (for measuring orientation), accelerometer (for calculating propulsion) and magnetometer (a device that measures the strength and direction of magnetic fields) -- all to calculate the pen's 3-D movements.
Lernstift recognizes all writing movements, the company says, written on paper or in the air and built-in Wi-Fi allows scribblers to connect with smartphones, computers or other pens in a network.
The pen was invented by software developer and Lernstift founder Falk Wolsky after seeing his wife's frustrations at watching their son struggle with his homework. Why can't pens give instant feedback on mistakes? she asked.
His imagination fired, Wolsky set about constructing a prototype before assembling a team of hardware and software experts late last year.
"We are at the stage where the individual components do their job. We haven't put it together yet, but the response to the idea though has been overwhelming," Kaesmacher said.
The pen has been designed primarily as an educational tool and the Munich-based company are hopeful that dyslexic children will find the new pen particularly useful.
Greg Brooks, Professor Emeritus of Education at the UK's University of Sheffield gave the pen a cautious welcome.
"It's a neat idea in principle, but as ever the proof will be in the using of it," Brooks said via email.
"Will it learn individuals' quirks of handwriting, or insist on one style? I can see how it might be programmed to spot obvious spelling errors (non-words), just as the spellcheckers in word processors do -- but none of those can yet cope with real-word errors."
A Kickstarter campaign recently got underway looking to raise £120,000 ($180,000) and tests in schools will begin later this year.
The first pens will initially recognize only English and German spellings, but other languages will follow, says Kaesmacher.
"Learning your native language is one thing, but it's also the perfect tool to adapt for foreign language students," he says.
"From a cultural point of view, the pen is a wonderful bridge between cursive and technological worlds."
Eventually, the company plan to offer pencil, fountain and ballpoint pen options with a launch price between €120-150 ($160-200) falling to under €50 ($60) depending on how fast the company grows.

Source: CNN Tech

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Do you really need antivirus software?

Do you need antivirus software on your PC? If you're not sure of the answer to that question, then the short answer is yes. The longer answer is that security software is only one piece of what should be a simple, straightforward, and systematic approach to your PC's health.

Just how dangerous is it out there? Here's what you need to know:
  • No computing environment is immune. Every platform can be exploited by an attacker. This month's Mac OS X v10.6.5 and Security Update 2010-007 included well over 100 fixes to critical security vulnerabilities, many of which could lead to arbitrary code execution. These are exactly the same types of vulnerabilities that Windows malware writers take advantage of. Fortunately for Mac (and Linux) users, their worldwide market share is small enough that malware writers simply haven't bothered with them. If you use OS X on a Mac, I don't think you need to install security software, but that recommendation could change someday if Apple's platform continues to grow in popularity and attracts enough attention from bad guys.
  • Good behavior alone is not enough to protect you from attacks. Visiting porn sites and downloading pirated software puts you at a much higher risk of infection, but even legitimate web sites can be compromised, and seemingly innocent results in a search engine can lead to hostile sites.
  • Antivirus software is one layer among several. Depending on the type of threat, it can be very helpful, even if you consider yourself an expert PC user. But it is not a magic bullet, and it is no replacement for a well-rounded approach to security.
  • No antivirus software is perfect. It is literally impossible for any security product to identify every possible threat, especially when malware writers are constantly updating their products to avoid detection. Most of the leading antivirus programs can identify and block the overwhelming majority of threats you're likely to encounter online. The fact that they can't reach 100% protection is why security software is only one part of a layered security strategy.
  • Many types of malware are installed voluntarily. Among the most common threats are Trojans, which spread via social engineering. The job of a malware writer is to convince you to run his innocent-sounding program, which secretly does something other than its stated purpose. It might claim to be a new video playback plugin but actually turns out to be a program that hides on your PC and steals passwords or sends spam. Social engineering explains how an entire class of malicious fake antivirus programs made it onto the top 10 malware list for the first half of this year.
  • Malware writers make their living exploiting unpatched systems. One of the top 10 threats found and removed from Windows PCs in the first half of this year was Win32/Conficker. The vulnerability that Conficker exploits was blocked by a Microsoft patch released in October 2008. In fact, that's true of most of the top PC malware variants found in the wild. Four of the entries on the top 10 list for 2010 are based on vulnerabilities that were identified and patched in 2007 or 2008, and none of the others could have been installed without explicit user interaction on a fully updated copy of Windows.
  • It's not just Windows that needs patching. Some of the most effective malware vectors these days are coming through vulnerabilities in products like Adobe Flash and Reader, in the Java runtime, and in Microsoft Office. In most cases, the vulnerabilities were patched quickly by the software maker, but if you didn't apply that update, you remain vulnerable. Ironically, most of these exploited programs are cross-platform; in theory, malware authors can add code to their PDF or Java exploits that target Macs or Linux PCs. So far, they haven't done that. 
  • Attacks via zero-day exploits are rare. Zero-day exploits get a lot of publicity, but they rarely have a widespread impact. The worst variants of these attacks are the ones aimed at specific companies, like the targeted wave of attacks against Adobe, Google, and other high-profile companies in early 2010. And even those only succeeded because they exploited unpatched systems using an outdated browser.
If you want your Windows PC to be secure, here are the essential steps.
  1. Use a modern operating system. Sorry, folks—Windows XP simply isn't secure enough for ordinary people to use today. It was designed more than 10 years ago, and it lacks many of the core architectural changes that make later Windows versions more resistant to attacks. Address Space Layout Randomization and Data Execution Prevention are core features that block some classes of exploits completely. File and registry virtualization (a key part of the much-maligned and misunderstood User Account Control feature) prevents hostile programs from writing to system folders. Removable drive exploits, which have represented a very common vector for spreading malware recently, do not affect Windows 7 or Windows 8.
  2. Keep your OS up to date and backed up. Turn on Windows Update and make sure it's running properly. That single step will protect you from virtually all widespread malware attacks these days. If you're worried about a buggy update hosing your system (highly unlikely, but theoretically possible) make sure you have a full image backup on hand. Every version of Windows 7 allows you to perform a full image backup to an external hard drive; if you schedule that operation for the day before Patch Tuesday every month (or better yet, for every Monday), you'll be able to recover from any kind of problem. Oh, and leave the Windows Firewall turned on unless you've replaced it with a third-party alternative.
  3. Keep applications updated also. Adobe has greatly improved its updaters in the past year. If you're prompted to update to a new version of Flash or Reader, do it. Microsoft Office updates are delivered automatically through Microsoft Update; make sure that those are being installed as well. Remove unwanted programs that could represent a security threat. Many new PCs come with Java installed automatically. If you don't use it, remove it.
  4. Be suspicious of any new software. As I noted on the previous page, malware authors count on tricking you into installing software that claims to do one thing but actually takes over your system, stealing passwords or adding your system to a worldwide botnet. If you're not sure a program is safe, don't install it.
  5. Set up standard (non-administrator) accounts for unsophisticated users. That category includes kids, parents, employees, and all of your non-geek friends and family members. With a standard account a user needs to talk to you (and convince you to enter the administrator's password) before installing any new software. That conversation is an ideal opportunity to teach your family members and employees about the warning signs of potentially dangerous programs. (This is another good reason to upgrade from Windows XP, by the way, where running with a standard account is difficult because of badly written programs that require administrator rights; both Vista and Windows 7 do a better job of allowing those programs to run without compromising the integrity of the system).
  6. Use a modern browser. If you're still using Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6, stop it. I think IE8 is a good alternative, especially when coupled with Protected Mode (a security feature in Windows Vista and Windows 7). If you prefer to avoid IE altogether, that's a great choice. As I continuously explain to all of my clients, there are several good reasons to prefer alternative browsers such as Firefox or Google Chrome to any version of Internet Explorer. For starters, both Mozilla and Google have generally been faster at releasing updates to security issues than Microsoft.
  7. Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date. There are plenty of effective programs in this category that can run with a minimum of chatter and will block the overwhelming majority of threats. I recommend ESET NOD32 Antivirus to every client.
And one final word: Don't be paranoid. Common sense and the good practices outlined above will offer excellent protection for any consumer PC and leave you free to work and play in comfort.

*As an Inc. 5000 company, ESET has been pioneering the antivirus industry for 25 years. They have received awards from Information Security Magazine, SC Magazine, VMware, and countless other recognized names in the computer industry. IES is proud to be partnered with such a highly trusted and recognized company.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How does it feel to be the richest man alive, for one whole minute?

When Chris Reynolds opened his June PayPal e-mail statement, something was off.

The Pennsylvania PR executive's account balance had swelled to a whopping $92,233,720,368,547,800.
That's $92 QUADRILLION (and change).
Money that would make Reynolds -- who also sells auto parts on eBay in his spare time -- the richest man in the world by a long shot.
Rich, as in more than a million times richer than Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim. And he's worth $67 billion.
Oh, if only.
"It's a curious thing. I don't know, maybe someone was having fun," Reynolds said.
So he logged online, and reality bit back. His account balance read $0. The correct amount.
PayPal admitted the error and offered to donate an unspecified amount of money to a cause of Reynolds' choice.
"This is obviously an error and we appreciate that Mr. Reynolds understood this was the case," PayPal said in a statement.
Before this incident, the most Reynolds ever made on PayPal was "a little over $1,000" selling a set of vintage BMW tires on eBay.
So what would the would-be quadrillionaire have done with all that cash? "I probably would have paid down the national debt," he said.

Source: CNN

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The bank robbery of the future: cyberattacks.

Bank robbers no longer need to leave the comfort of their own home to rob a bank. No more guns, no more masks. Instead, they hide behind their computer screens and cover their digital tracks.

In today's world, there are multiple ways for cybercriminals to make money long before cash is actually transferred out of a bank account. Robbing a bank has become one of the last cogs in a much broader operation.

Online theft is almost always part of a much grander scheme. Though sometimes a high-skilled individual or single group of cybercriminals will handle all parts of an operation, most cybercrime is split up into several steps, each handled by a different player, according to Vikram Thakur, a principal manager at Symantec Security Response.

Most bank account thefts begin with a single malware developer who sells malicious software on an underground black market to hackers.

On those dark channels of the Internet, criminal hackers can buy tools to steal users' bank account credentials, services to bring down websites, or viruses to infect computers.

"There's more variety and more choices than me going to my local Costco," said Raj Samani, a chief technical officer at the security company McAfee.

It is easier than ever before to find and use these services, Samani said. Hiring a criminal hacker is easy, because today's malware requires hackers to have little technological knowledge to infect hundreds or thousands of computers.

And some services are fairly cheap. For instance, getting a hold of 1 million email addresses can cost just $111. That means there are more and more cybercriminals hoping to get in on an operation.

Once unsuspecting victims' credentials or bank account information has been collected, hackers may resell that data to someone who repackages it in a useful way and redistributes it on the black market.

Not all information has equal value. Often criminals are looking for credentials of wealthy individuals with accounts at financial institutions where they are familiar with the security systems.
"All the mature, smart criminals sell the goods to somebody else and cut themselves out of the operation, out of the cross hairs," said Thakur.

Up to this point in the operation, no money has been stolen -- but thousands or millions of dollars have already exchanged hands.

The cybercriminal who ultimately buys the bank account information may use it to transfer money out -- but that's a much higher-risk endeavor.

At this stage of the heist, cybercriminals may hire a "money mule" to increase what distance still exists between them and the act of cashing out. Mules sometimes use international wire transfers, make online purchases with stolen credit cards or actually go to the ATM using a stolen PIN and a spoofed debit card.

Money mules are often given a small share of the takings for their work, despite the fact that they're the easiest targets for law enforcement.

"There's a huge shortage of those people because they're actually at risk of being caught," said Thakur.

Most of us have at one time or another discovered our debit or credit card was used somewhere across the country. But even if the thieves take money from your account undetected, your financial institution typically covers the loss.

"Even though the threat is substantial, it does not always translate to people losing money," said Thakur.

And the banks are getting better at stopping breaches so that it's harder for criminals to successfully take money out at all.

The number of breaches have gone up slightly over the past year, but the trend is uneven. The Identity Theft Resource Center tracked 662 breaches at both banking and non-financial institutions in 2010, 419 breaches in 2011, and 470 breaches last year.

Financial institutions have gotten 10 times better at preventing data breaches since 1990, said Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management policy at the American Bankers Association.

"It's not a straight march forward," said Johnson. "But I think we clearly recognized that electronic fraud is going to increase."

Source: CNN Money

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The federal government has been asked to stay away from Defcon hacker event this year!

The federal government is persona non grata at this year's Defcon.

For the first time in the 21-year-history of the famed hacker's convention, government employees are being asked to stay away, albeit in a polite fashion.

Def Con founder Jeff Moss, aka The Dark Tangent, posted the following plea on the event's Web site late Wednesday:
Feds, we need some time apart.
For over two decades DEF CON has been an open nexus of hacker culture, a place where seasoned pros, hackers, academics, and feds can meet, share ideas and party on neutral territory. Our community operates in the spirit of openness, verified trust, and mutual respect.
When it comes to sharing and socializing with feds, recent revelations have made many in the community uncomfortable about this relationship. Therefore, I think it would be best for everyone involved if the feds call a "time-out" and not attend DEF CON this year.
This will give everybody time to think about how we got here, and what comes next.
The Dark Tangent
Moss, who also advises the Department of Homeland Security on security issues, told Reuters he believes the Defcon community needs some time to digest the recent leaks about U.S. surveillance programs.

"The community is digesting things that the Feds have had a decade to understand and come to terms with," Moss said. "A little bit of time and distance can be a healthy thing, especially when emotions are running high."

But Def Con won't be hiring a bunch of bouncers to throw out the Feds.

"We are not going on a witch hunt or checking IDs and kicking people out," Moss added.

Def Con has always been geared toward hackers, researchers, and other security devotees. But employees from the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and other government branches have been welcome and have attended for many years.

General Keith Alexander, the head of National Security Agency, even gave a keynote speech at last year's event. Alexander was asked at the time whether the government was snooping on its citizens and denied that the NSA was gathering information on all Americans.

Source: CNET

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

YouTube offers creators free use of production facility.

YouTube has opened the doors at its production center in Los Angeles, allowing partners to use their sound stages, video editing equipment, and professional cameras.

The YouTube space allows anyone to attend workshops "to practice your craft, learn new production skills, or discover strategies for promoting your YouTube channel", as well as use their production facility and equipment...all free of charge!

To be considered to work at YouTube Space LA, your channel must meet the following minimum requirements:
  • at least 10,000 subscribers and growing
  • consistent publishing within the last 6 months
  • substantial monthly views (at least 100,000 views per month)
  • a concrete idea of the concept you want to shoot at the Space
  • at least 3 previous collaborations with other YouTube channels
  • a commitment to collaborate while shooting at the Space
  • liability and health insurance
  • at least 18 years old
Check out YouTube's video below:
Source: YouTube

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Speed up your computer...even if it's old!

Speeding up a computer is easy, even if it’s an old computer. Of course, you can’t make the computer run any faster than it did when it was new—not without upgrading the hardware—but you can restore it to its golden days with just a few tweaks.
A Shortcut To Speeding Up Your Computer
Most of the steps in this article will tell you to remove the software crud which has built up on your older computer over the last several years. You can skip doing that if you take a single more drastic step: reinstall Windows.

Reinstalling Windows is quite easy but it will wipe out all of the data you have stored on the computer. (That’s kind of the point: to make a fresh start.) So before you even think seriously about reinstalling, make sure you have a rock solid, proven backup of all your data. (And two backups are better than one.)

Speed Up Your Computer By Removing Old Programs
Most computers build up a layer of cruft over the years as you install programs, use them for a few weeks or months, and then move on to something else. That’s ok—your computer is meant to be used—but leaving old programs on your computer can slow you down.

The problem is that many programs today install helper applications which start automatically when your computer boots. Some of these programs actually can help you, such as a taskbar app for managing your wifi connection, but many of them just waste your computer’s resources by sitting in the background doing nothing useful for you.

If you want to get rid of these wasteful apps, all you need to do is go to the Add And Remove Programs wizard or Programs and features and remove any program you no longer use. This should remove any related startup apps which you no longer need, speeding up your computer.

Dealing With Other Startup Apps
Of course, there are still plenty of programs you still use, and many of them also have applications which start in the background when your computer boots. Again, some of these apps are useful, but others don’t help you. You can speed up your computer further by installing a free startup manager to disable any apps which you no longer need.

Most startup managers won’t remove disabled apps, so you can experiment with disabling as many apps as possible to get the most speed out of your older computer. Then, if you discover you really do want a particular app to start up automatically, you can easily re-enable it.

Upgrading Your Hardware
There are two hardware changes you can easily make to an older computer which can speed it up: more RAM and a Solid-State Drive (SSD). Computer memory (RAM) is pretty cheap these days and relatively easy to install yourself, but you need to be careful and buy the right type. I suggest you use an online memory-buying wizard.

An SSD can significantly speed up how long it takes your computer to boot and load programs, but it won’t usually help speed up websites or email, so don’t buy one unless you spend a lot of time waiting for stuff to load from your disk drive. With the right adapter, an SSD will help speed up practically any computer, no matter how old.

Sitting Back & Relaxing
Don't feel like going through the hassle of making your computer faster? Not a problem...that's why we're here! Give our experienced IES technicians a call at 781-816-9437 today and have your computer going faster tomorrow!

Source: Yahoo Small Business

Monday, July 8, 2013

Microsoft to shut down MSN TV on September 30, 2013.

Microsoft is pulling the plug on MSN TV, a service formerly known as WebTV, as Apple ramps up its set-top box efforts.

The pioneering service, one of the first to offer Internet access via television sets, will shut down September 30, Microsoft revealed in an e-mail to subscribers and in an FAQ posted to its Web site.

WebTV, which was founded by Web entrepreneur Steve Perlman in 1996, was acquired by Microsoft for $425 million in 1997.

WebTV offered television-based e-mail and Web browsing via wireless keyboards but struggled to gain traction with consumers. Microsoft rebranded the service as MSN TV in 2001 to accelerate integration with products such as MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail.

The software giant even offered the interactive service for free to new MSN online service, but it has largely taken a backseat to the company's focus on the Xbox game console, which also offers Internet access.

Microsoft cited the myriad ways people can now access the Internet as a contributing factor to the service's demise:

WebTV (later called MSN TV) started in 1996 with the goal to bring new people 'online' and to give those already online an easy, hassle-free means of accessing the internet from the comfort of their homes. Later, MSN TV 2 was released with vastly greater power and features. Since then, the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the internet. Accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to end the MSN TV service on September 30th, 2013. We are working with our customers to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.

Microsoft's exit comes as Apple puts more emphasis on the set-top box sector and as Microsoft itself boosts Xbox TV programming with the upcoming Xbox One.

Source: CNET

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Low on money? Know how to hack? Get on over to Facebook to "research" (a.k.a. hack).

Facebook has paid a $20,000 reward to a UK based security researcher for reporting a bug that hackers could've used to take over users' accounts. 

Last month, UK security researcher Jack Whitton found a way to hack into other users' Facebook accounts without their knowledge, simply by sending a text message to Facebook. 

The flaw, which Facebook has fixed, was in a Facebook service that lets users link their mobile phones with their accounts. This lets them log into Facebook using their phone number instead of their email address, and send profile updates via text message.

To activate this feature, a user sends a text message to Facebook, which texts back an authorization code. This code is what ties the user's device to their account. 

But Whitton found that Facebook's authorization code could be tweaked to work with other users accounts as well. This means a hacker could just change the password and gain complete control over the account.

Graham Cluely, an independent security analyst, says the bug could have had a widespread impact on Facebook users.

"This should – obviously – have been impossible, but due to a weakness in Facebook’s tangled nest of millions and millions of lines in code, potentially hundreds of millions of accounts were vulnerable to hijacking through the simple technique," Cluely said in a Friday blog post.

Whitton informed Facebook about the flaw May 23, and Facebook fixed it five days later. Facebook gave Whitton a shout-out on its list of "white hats," the term for researchers who find bugs and inform vendors instead of using them for financial gain.

Source:  Business Insider

Mozilla, creator of Firefox Web browser, is releasing a new operating system for phones.

Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox Web browser, have released their new smartphone operating system, Firefox OS.
Firefox OS is landing in two lower-end phones, the Alcatel One Touch Fire and ZTE Open, The Verge's Matt Brian reports.

Mozilla's Firefox OS isn't being featured in any premium hardware yet.

Instead,  Mozilla seems to be targeting entry-level smartphone buyers, with the openness of the operating system and HTML5 apps likely to give Android some competition.

Android's success in non-premium sales has proven the liveliness of the low-end smartphone market. And with Apple's rumored low-cost iPhone possibly in the works, Mozilla seems be using this opportunity to debut their new operating system amidst less competition.

Both the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open will debut in Latin America, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and eventually Asia.

The ZTE Open will cost $90 /  €69 if you are prepay customer, and will be available tomorrow.

Firefox phones are expected to launch in the US next year.

Source: Yahoo NewsThe Verge