Category Archives: Internet

iPhone VPN and Its Importance

iPhone is not just a gadget, it helps you in several ways like communicating with friends, managing your finances, and you can even buy many things online by this useful phone. For this phone, it is necessary to get a system which can maintain your privacy and security settings and it can manage the filter systems of your iPhone. Virtual private network (VPN) is the solution to your problem. Before checking its uses and importance, it is better to know what VPN actually is. VPN or virtual private network increases the security level of your internet connection. In this way the data circulation becomes safe and secure.

This feature of VPN can also be used in your iPhone as in computers and this feature provides you the freedom to use internet on your iPhone independently. VPN blocks the third-parties that try to enter your connection and create problems in communication, data and browsing purposes. This iPhone VPN also stops hackers from identifying your personal data and emails. This iPhone VPN has a great importance if used in an iPhone. Nowadays, the Wi-Fi technology has become very popular. There are many spots which provide you free internet access so the use of this technology has also become common. Many people use this feature of Wi-Fi and most of them are Hackers so if your phone doesn’t have this VPN, then these hackers can easily see what websites you are browsing and if you are using a website for bank purposes, then they easily get access to your private data.

By looking at this, apple introduced this VPN feature in iPhone so that your data could remain secure and you can use the internet freely. By this feature, nobody will know what you are searching, downloading or browsing on the internet. Not only professional hackers, but school going children can also get your personal data by using different hacking software like Fire sheep. But this can only be done in case, if you do not have VPN in your iPhone. Implementation of VPN can also help in increasing the efficiency of your iPhone network. You can do your whole work with anonymity with this VPN feature.

So, with the increasing popularity of Wi-Fi, it is necessary to get a VPN for your iPhone to make your browsing secure. Many worldwide companies provide you this feature for your iPhone so getting VPN for your iPhone is not difficult.

Internet Security Is More About Prevention Than Disinfection

An anti-malware application is just as good as its resident shield. Anything that gets past an active resident shield will seldom be detected by any anti-malware protection system. Today’s generation of anti-malware packages have heuristic detection technology helping them to detect virus- or spyware-like activity without actually knowing anything about the threat. But heuristic analysis is only a secondary layer of protection, your primary line of defence against malicious software is a definition or signature file containing the details and characteristics of specific malware threats. Even firewalls and spam filters have definition files in the form of blacklists. Neglecting to keep your signature or definition files up to date is like neglecting to pay your monthly insurance premium. Your insurance company will refuse to pay out any claims because you did not maintain your insurance policy. An update a day keeps the malware at bay.

A decent anti-malware application will isolate any known malware before it enters your system, but becomes vulnerable when unknown malware enters your system undetected. It is harder for anti-malware applications to take over a system, already infected with malware, than protecting a clean system from getting infected. Anti-malware software is primarily designed to protect your system from getting infected and its secondary objective is to neutralise threats as quickly as possible before they start to spread throughout your system. I have seen how top class anti-virus systems self-destruct when they are infected with high-risk viruses that were already present on the system, before the anti-virus software was installed. It basically means that the virus infects critical components and files of the anti-virus application, the anti-virus application detects these infected files and delete them or move them to the virus vault. If the anti-virus software deletes any of its critical components, it will eventually shut down, crash or become inoperable. The only way to repair the damaged anti-virus software is to re-install it.

Installing an anti-malware application on a system already infected with malware can be troublesome. Many viruses and spyware are aggressive and kill the setup wizard of many well-known anti-virus and anti-spyware packages, preventing them from gaining control over the system. They even terminate some anti-malware scanners if they attempt to disinfect infected files or remove any threats. It is a case of taking over some territory and defending it. Malware can be programmed to do almost anything in order to retain control over your system and it is hard to get rid of stubborn and aggressive programs refusing to surrender to an anti-malware package. Viruses and spyware are normally small, operate very fast and are very flexible. They mutate all over your system, making it hard for anti-malware applications to pin them down. On Microsoft Windows systems, you can always start your computer into Safe Mode when malware refuses an anti-malware application from being installed in Normal Mode, but many anti-malware applications rely on the Windows Installer, something that is normally disabled under Safe Mode. When it comes to disinfecting an infected system, you can’t expect the installer to rely on faulty, damaged, infected or disabled components of the operating system. Off course it is not possible to make the anti-malware application completely independent, but at least develop its own independent installer, with built-in malware protection. This will make it possible to run the software under Safe Mode, where many malicious programs are automatically disabled, making the job of disinfection a little easier for you and the anti-malware application.

Unfortunately there are people under the false impression that they are untouchable when they have an anti-malware application installed on their system. Any defence system will eventually fail if you continue to expose it to constant attacks. I have come across people asking for the best anti-virus protection because they have a friend or cousin using their computer to browse porn web sites, but they do not want to confront this person about it, they rather want to increase the protection on the computer. Porn sites are polluted with viruses and spyware, not viruses alone. It is because if this approach that people fail to remove spyware from their computer, because they are using the wrong tools for the job. You can’t protect your system effectively against spyware, or remove spyware from your computer if you are using an anti-virus package or vice versa. You can’t keep viruses from infiltrating your system by using a firewall alone. It may block a virus attempting to enter your system through a blocked port, but it will not be able to block a virus travelling through a trusted application like your browser.

Today you need protection against malware (viruses, spyware, rootkits, trojans, etc) not just viruses or spyware alone. You also need a firewall and a good spam filter. You need a browser that protects you from phishing attacks, browser hijackers and pop-up windows. Anti-malware applications are not super applications, they have their limitations and you can’t expect your system to stay malware free if you constantly expose it to malware attacks from porn, illegal music and pirate software web sites. You can keep your system clean, your identity safe and prevent someone from destroying his/her life with junk like porn, by disallowing anyone (including your cousin) from using your computer for illegal and indecent activities. Who do you think is going to take the fall for illegal porn, music or pirated software? Your cousin? I don’t think so, especially if YOUR computer and YOUR Internet connection were used. Even if you can prove it wasn’t you, you will still be seen as an accomplice.

So what is the bottom line? Internet security is more about prevention than disinfection. The large number of single purpose disinfection tools, available for specific threats, is proof of this. Definition files are mainly for prevention and detection purposes. When a malicious program exploits vulnerabilities beyond the reach of definition files, you need a specific tool to get rid of it and often a special patch to prevent re-infection. This is why anti-malware developers have to release new versions of their software on a regular basis to stay abreast of the latest threats and vulnerabilities. Developing anti-malware applications, limited by strict standards, protocols and rules, is like arming a S.W.A.T. team with water pistols when they need to go up against a group of terrorists armed with AK47’s. Malware does not play by the rules, it is time that anti-malware developers follow the same route, but without compromising the stability and performance of our computer systems.

The IoT and the Day the Internet Died, Almost

A little over a week ago, the Internet almost died.

Starting on Thursday, October 20, much of the U.S. and parts of Western Europe experienced a massive outage. Some of the most popular and heavily used websites in the world went silent. Poor Donald Trump couldn’t tweet for a few hours.

And it was all because of cheap webcams and DVD players… perhaps even one of yours.

Making Connections

To understand how this happened, you need to understand how Internet of Things (IoT) devices work.

If you’re reading this, you have an Internet connection. To make that connection, your computer or smartphone needs to have three things:

  • A piece of hardware designed to connect to the Internet through a cable or wirelessly
  • Software to run that hardware, which contains its unique Internet “IP” address
  • A way to tell the difference between authorized and unauthorized connections

The last requirement is typically met by a username and password to connect to your Internet service provider. But it’s also possible for other devices to connect remotely to your computer across the Internet – “incoming connections.” Some of those are good (e.g., incoming Skype calls), and some are bad (hackers). Having passwords for IoT devices achieves the same thing – but only if they’re strong passwords.

The tech industry has worked hard to develop common techniques to identify and stop unwanted incoming connections to computers. Operating systems are constantly updated to deal with the latest threat. Specialized companies do nothing but watch for viruses, bots, malware and other dangers and design software to fight them. Guys like me write about how you can maintain good digital hygiene. That’s why we have far fewer virus outbreaks than we used to.

When it comes to Internet connections, IoT hardware has pretty much the same setup. But there are three big differences.

One is that the username and password setup may be hard to alter – it may even be hardwired by the manufacturer, as seems to have been the case with the devices that contributed to the recent Internet outage.

Another is that IoT devices are always on and rarely monitored. Unlike a computer, they could be infected and you’d never know.

Above all, there is no collective effort to monitor and prevent hacking of IoT devices. Nobody is sending out general security updates, like a McAfee or Norton antivirus service. They can’t, since IoT devices are all different. There’s no common language or protocol that could address threats to all IoT devices at once.

Instead, it’s up to the manufacturer of each IoT device to secure the device and to update its “firmware” when threats become known.

We tried that approach with computers… and it didn’t work.

How This Led to Last Week’s Outage

In the recent outage, IoT hardware made by a Chinese manufacturer – including those cheap bundled home-security webcams you see advertised at Home Depot – was hacked by someone using software called Mirai. It searches the Internet looking for IoT gadgets that use default passwords or simple passwords, infects them and then assembles them into a “botnet”- a collection of devices that can be made to do the hacker’s wishes.

In this case, they instructed IoT devices to send “tens of millions” of connection requests to the servers of a U.S. company that provides crucial Internet routing information. Overwhelmed, the company’s servers crashed… and with it, the Web pages of sites like Twitter, Facebook, The New York Times and others.

This was possible because the software running the Chinese IoT hardware used a single hardwired username and password for all of them – which couldn’t be changed by the user. Once the hackers got the username and password, it was easy to program them to do what they did.

Roland Dobbins, principal engineer of Internet security company Arbor Networks, blames this on the failure of manufacturers to work together to develop a common security approach to IoT. Instead, each company pursues its own designs and ignores the PC industry’s painful experience in this respect.

“I’m not concerned about the future; I’m concerned about the past,” he said recently. “If I could wave a magic wand, I would make it so there are no unsecured embedded devices out there. We still have a huge problem; we still have tens of millions of these devices out there.”

Don’t Disconnect From the IoT

Does this mean that positive predictions about the IoT are misplaced?

Not at all.

First, companies like Samsung, which plans to make all its products Internet-connected soon, now have an incentive to develop ways to fight this. Otherwise we won’t buy their products.

Second, consumers aren’t going to stand for a situation like the old Betamax versus VCR wars – competing approaches to a common need. The IoT is a platform, like the Internet itself, and everyone needs to be on the same one. Manufacturers will sit down and come up with common protocols to secure IoT devices, even if they’re kicking and screaming all the way.

Third, the same market forces that produced Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky Lab and all the other security companies in the computer space are going to produce solutions for the IoT. And there will be money to be made investing in those as well as the IoT itself.

In the meantime, here’s my advice. Get IoT devices… but only the top of the line. Avoid cheap mass-produced off-brands. Ask salespeople about security protocols and whether you can set your own username and password easily. If not, walk away. They’ll get the picture soon enough.

The Threat of 4G Wireless Against Traditional Broadband Internet

As technology advances, it tends to become even more convenient and user-friendly, providing its customers with many new features that make their daily usage much simpler. Mobility is another feature that consumers look for in a product. Just as telecommunications has become more compact and mobile within the last decade, internet technology is moving towards a similar trajectory. With the advent of the 4G network, people are able to enjoy the mobility granted to them by this mobile internet technology without sacrificing the quality and speed of the internet connection.

The 4G network provides its users internet access from both their smart phones and their laptop computers, differing from its predecessor, the 3G network. With the 3G wireless connection, you could only access the worldwide web from just your smart phone, resulting in a much slower internet connection. While you could rely on it for consistent internet access, its slow speeds prevented you from fully utilizing all that the internet had to offer. The heightened speeds of the 4G network grants you an internet connection comparable to the internet access you have at home, such as cable or DSL. With a much more reliable internet connection on your smart phone and laptop computer, you can do a lot more, including video chatting, video streaming, and file uploads and downloads.

Essentially, you have the quality of internet connection and access that you would with your cable or DSL connection; however, you also maintain the freedom to move around the city without being tied down to a desk or geographical vicinity. Internet connections have come a long way from dial-up connections, where your computer needed to be connected to not only a bunch of cords, but also the telephone line. Cable and DSL connections operated faster; however, they also required cords to access the internet. With the advent of wireless routers, you could have limited mobility within general vicinity around your home or office, allowing you to access the internet on your laptop without being tied down to your desk. Now, with the 4G network, you can access this same high speed internet anywhere in the city from your smart phone or laptop computer.

Telephones have also become increasingly mobile, resulting in cellular phones overtaking direct phone lines as the most common and relied method of communication. The year 2009 marked the first time in which there were more subscriptions to cellular phone plans than basic telephone lines. It proves much more convenient for someone to have their direct line that can be reached wherever they may be rather than a shared family phone line. Similarly, this 4G wireless internet connection might soon overtake traditional broadband connections as the dominant form of internet. For most people, the wireless connection provides you enough speed and power for what you are accustomed to doing on the internet. So, why pay for two connections when the wireless format provides you with access when you’re at home and when you’re on-the-go?

Exploring Options in VOIP Service Providers

Voice over internet protocol involves phone service provided over an internet connection. People with an adequate connection can typically receive this service instead of contracting through a local phone company. As you prepare to make a final choice, consider your options in VOIP service providers to find one that fits your needs and budget.

Consider Your Necessary Options

Review your current account to determine what options you need and which ones you may be able to omit from your monthly bill. Typical features include call waiting, caller ID, three-way calling, and call forwarding. Note your current bill amount to enable you to compare this cost with the costs you will have after changing your account. It is likely that you will save money by making this change. It is common for VOIP service providers to offer bundling options, but you also must compare each price carefully to ensure that you do not pay more than you would pay for each separate option. Ask for a demonstration if you do not understand any features offered. If you determine that you don’t need features, keep looking until you find a plan that fits your needs precisely.

Research Companies and Terms

Explore different VOIP service providers to learn about these companies. Take notes as you gather information, so you can remember the different features that each company offers. Examine money-back guarantees, details about contract terms, equipment provided, and policies about returning the equipment. Never consider a firm that does not offer at least a 30-day satisfaction guarantee to ensure that you will have recourse if you are not happy with the service. Some companies will use offers of free service to get customers to sign lengthy contracts. It’s optimal if you don’t have to sign any contract at all because this gives you the most protection and flexibility.

Number Portability

Find out whether a company offers number portability, which will enable you to maintain your current number instead of changing to a new number. Most firms provide this feature. Unless you’re willing to update all your contacts about your new number, keep looking until you find a company that will enable you to keep your current number.

Network Test

You might not know whether your internet connection is fast enough to enable VOIP. The problems that people experience with VOIP often pertain to the speed of their connection and not with issues with the company. Therefore, before you proceed, request a network test to evaluate your network. The business should help you conduct this diagnostic test to evaluate your network. A business that does not offer this test may not have the knowledge and expertise to deliver quality assistance.

Technical Support

Issues and problems will invariably arise. As you consider various VOIP service providers, check into the technical support and maintenance provided by each firm. Optimally, the firm needs a system for resolving issues quickly with a team of experts standing by to assist customers.

With due diligence and careful research, you can find a business that will serve your connectivity needs to keep your phones connected at all times.