Number of Infected Websites Doubles in One Year

According to a new study released by security firm Dasent, the number of malware-infested websites has increased to 1.2 million in 2010, from 560,000 in 2009.

Dasient, a company specializing in combating malware on websites, has released a new report claiming that over 1.2 million websites were found to be infected by malware in the third quarter of 2009, more than double the number during same period last year.

These infected websites are especially dangerous since, unlike other forms of malware vectors, they don’t require the user to click on a link or open an attachment. They infect users through “drive-by-downloads” or by just visiting the infected website. Hackers take advantage of the dynamic and interactive features of today’s modern websites and social networking sites to deliver their payload.

Other dangerous forms of infected websites are those hosting fake antivirus scams, which fool users into downloading malware posing as legitimate antivir (more…)

How Your Business Will Benefit from Using Electronic Signatures

Turnaround times are accelerated with the use of electronic signatures because you don’t keep your customers waiting while you search for contracts or forms. Additionally, adding an electronic signature to a document is just like signing on paper. There is no need to change your customers’ habits and they are assured that even with remote handling, all their documents are secure.

Signatures have been the most accepted means of authentication since ancient times. During the Roman Empire, a combination of seals and signatures were recognized as the primary source for document and legal contract authentication. In the 1830s, electronic communications became legally recognized “electronic signatures” when the telegraph and Morse Code were invented. In 1976, Martin Hellman and Whitfield Diffie introduced public key cryptography, wherein cryptographic keys were first distributed over an unprotected public network. The first electronically signed document was an agreement between two nations – a Joint Communique signed by Ireland and the United States in 1998.

What is an electronic signature or e-signature?

There are different definitions for this term, but for the purpose of US law, the US Code defines it as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

 

Why are businesses using electronic signatures?

  1. Electronic signatures help cut costs.Studies show that among US companies alone, 30 billion paper documents are copied or printed every year. The associated cost for each document is estimated to be $6.50. Five hundred documents are signed by the average authorized employee each year, which means that the total annual cost of using paper documents per employee is $3,250.
  2. Electronic signatures are good for the environment.The reduction of paper usage will not only cut down operational costs, but will also help save our environment. For every person who uses e signatures, the savings is equal to ¾ of a barrel of oil, ½ of a tree, or 150 pounds of carbon emissions per year.
  3. Electronic signatures help reduce fraud.When documents are signed electronically, the integrity of the content is guaranteed. E-signatures also enable real-time verification of the handwritten signature as opposed to a pre-defined biometric profile. Any manipulation within a document that involves an e-signature will automatically result in making the signature invalid.
  4. Electronic signatures help increase customer satisfaction.Turnaround times are accelerated with the use of electronic signatures because you don’t keep your customers waiting while you search for contracts or forms. Additionally, adding an electronic signature to a document is just like signing on paper. There is no need to change your customers’ habits, and they are assured that even with remote handling all their documents are secure.
  5. Electronic signatures give entrepreneurs more time to increase sales.Because workflow is much faster with the use of electronic signatures, processing times are reduced and sales people and consultants have more time to spend on getting new business. This can significantly increase the company’s revenue.

E-Signatures and Mobile Devices

Many business owners have come to realize the importance of using e-signatures in business. In fact, some businesses have even adapted this signing process for the smaller screens of mobile devices. If the transaction involves straightforward, simple sales contracts, a mobile e-signature is ideal. The customer sees and agrees to what exactly what is being purchased on the spot, and this allows salespeople to work more efficiently. For lengthy documents however, especially those that have several form fields that require considerable interaction with the client, a PC format is more suitable.

How Legitimate are E-Signatures?

As for the legitimacy of e-signatures, you need not worry. In 1999, the European Union passed the EU Directive for Electronic Signatures, and on the 30th of June, 2000, US President Bill Clinton signed into law the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), which signified that all signed electronic contracts and documents are as legally binding as a paper-based contract.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source

 

Dirty Workspaces Can Pose Serious Health Risks

Did you know that an average office keyboard and mouse can contain as much as 400 times more germs and bacteria than a toilet seat? That’s pretty disgusting, especially when you start to imagine opening a bag of chips and eating from it after using your keyboard.

Ingesting such dangerous bacteria can cause any number of ailments and illnesses, ranging from mild to seriously life threatening. The solution: regularly cleaning your workspace, especially your keyboard and mouse.

Cleaning your workspace and workstation also has the added benefit of making your computer work more efficiently. Dust, dirt, and grime stuck in your keyboard and mouse make them sticky and uncomfortable to use, while de-dusting and cleaning the inside of your CPU enables better ventilation that increases its life span and performance.

Cleaning materials don’t cost much (especially when you consider the cost of hospital and medicine bills), and cleaning isn’t all that time consuming so there’s little reason to put it off. Disinfectant wipes which can kill about 95 percent of existing bacteria are available at any grocery store, and you can buy compressed air at most office supply stores to clean the spaces between and under the keys of your keyboard. It takes less than 5 minutes of your time each day.

So why risk the chance of infection and sickness when you can simply take a few minutes each day to disinfect and clean your workspace? It might be terribly trite, but the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” still holds true.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Why Investing in Technology can Actually Save you Money

Money is tight and hard to come by, and a lot of companies are looking to cut costs and sacrifice the non-essentials. For many, taking off a chunk out of the IT budget is one of the ways to try to save money.

However, when it comes to IT services, chances are a bit more investment may actually save money in the long run, since many technologies make operations more efficient and increase of productivity.

An article from Inc. Technology shares 10 very helpful tips on how investing in certain technologies can help your business better weather the recession. The article lists specific technology investments worth forking out money for, including Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Web conferencing, and Virtualization Software among others. There are also many practical tips on making IT work more cost effectively.

To find out more, read the article here:

http://technology.inc.com/managing/articles/200803/moneysaving.html

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Thinking about Security in the Cloud

As we begin to store more and more of our data on the Internet and in the “Cloud,” the threat of that data being accessed and used by someone or something outside of our knowledge or control becomes very real. Data such as credit card information, banking transactions, work history, private addresses and numbers, email and much more are now stored and searchable in everything from Facebook, Google, Twitter, and a host of other applications.

In a June report titled “Assessing the Security Risks of Cloud Computing“, analyst firm Gartner recommends that businesses work closely with their IT department or trusted IT services provider and consultant to understand the risks of storing data in the cloud.

Not stopping there, Microsoft has called for even greater government oversight. Recently, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith travelled to Washington to urge the US Congress to enact legislation that would protect information that’s stored in the cloud.

Microsoft is proposing legislation that would call for:

  • Reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
  • Modernizing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
  • Helping consumers and businesses manage how their information is collected and shared
  • Addressing data access issues globally

The move coincides with Microsoft’s recent efforts to offer cloud-based services not only for its consumer and corporate customers, but the government as well.

Is your business ready for the cloud? What security and privacy policies do you have in place regarding your employees’ use of cloud-based services? Not sure? Contact us today to find out how we can help.

 

Related links:

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Evaluating Your Backup Solution

You can’t have a disaster recovery plan until you first have a good backup solution. Is your backup solution good—or just good enough?

The traditional backup process is done to tape – which has a number of limitations including high cost (particularly as capacity increases), difficult upgrades, degradation over time, and slow backup and restoration.
Over the past three to five years, there has been a transition to hard-disk-based backup solutions that generally offer the ability to easily increase capacity as well as backup and restore much faster.

Whichever solution you use, there are many risks to your data.

Traditional backup processes capture only one snapshot of your information per day. So if your backup is scheduled to take place at 12 a.m., you risk losing the entire following day’s work in the case of a disaster.

The backup process traditionally involves significant manual labor. Someone has to ensure that the correct media is in the drive. Someone has to look at the results of the backup to ensure that it is complete (and ideally perform periodic data restorations). Then, when the backup is complete, someone has to take it offsite for safekeeping.

While some businesses have the capabilities to perform all of these backup-related tasks, many others don’t—and therefore have no idea if their backups will be there when needed.

How can you make your backup system better?

  • First, you should be absolutely sure that every bit of your data is backed up multiple times per day.
  • Second, the human element should be completely eliminated from the equation.
  • Third, restoration should be quick and flexible, so you can bring back any part of your data or all of it, depending on your needs.
  • Finally, the impact on your business should be minimal. In fact, you should be unaware that a backup is even in progress.

We can help you set up and maintain a backup solution perfect for your needs. Contact us for more information.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.