Information Technology Archives - Clever Solutions Ltd

3 Security Issues in many WordPress Websites

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Blog, Information Technology |

22% of websites around the world use WordPress. That’s over 75 million websites! As the most popular website content management system in the world, WordPress has become a big target for hackers. Many hackers target WordPress websites which do not take security under serious consideration. When creating a website, many business owners & marketers are more concerned with the design and content of the website. As a result, the security aspect is ignored. This does not mean that using WordPress is not safe. No online system is 100% secure. What the above means is that website security must be given its due attention. There are many reasons why hackers do what they do. Although hobbyist hackers may do it for fun, professional hackers can earn a lot of money by hacking websites. When a website is hacked, the hacker can manipulate content, send website visitors to a different website instead, add links to dangerous websites which may include viruses, and so on. The first step to being protected is analysing your security situation and being aware of any vulnerabilities your system has. Here are three common issues in WordPress websites: Using WP-admin to log-in In order to log-into many WordPress websites, one normally adds /wp-admin or /wp-login to the end of the domain name. So it would look something like this: http://www.example.com/wp-admin. The log-in page loads up and one enters one username & password. What a hacker might do is use a software program to automatically target the wp-admin page and automatically start trying different username & password combinations. Solution: change the page to login from wp-admin or wp-login to a unique one such as www.example.com/tieqa. Outdated Software WordPress is a system that is continuously being improved with new features and better security. A WordPress website also uses themes & plugins that contribute to the website’s design and functions. All these must be updated regularly. The updates often fix security vulnerabilities, the details of which are often available online for all hackers to see. At the time of writing, the latest WordPress version is 4.0, yet the majority of websites still use an earlier version. Solution: make sure your WordPress website uses version 4.0, and has all the themes & plugins updated. Before updating take a backup just in case. Comment spam A common headache for many website owners is the amount of comment spam they receive on their blogs. Often these spammy comments include many links to other websites. The danger here is that when clicking to some of these websites, your computer might become infected with a virus. Or the website might install a program that notices when you are using your credit card online and sends...

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5 ways Comodo Endpoint Security Manager can help your business

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Blog, Information Technology |

Our dependency on Information Technology has reached unprecedent levels. Whatever type of business you run or work in, the security of your IT infrastructure is crucial. Would you be able to operate effectively without your computers, tablets, and laptops? I don’t think so. As professionals who offer IT support to a number of companies, we see first-hand companies having to spend and lose hundreds (sometimes thousands) of Euros in order to recover from viruses, hacks, system attacks and malware. Often such things happen at the worst possible times too. When you have tight deadlines, or when you’re finally working with a partner or client you’ve been chasing. That’s when you get hit. Security gives you reliability. Here are 5 ways in which Comodo Endpoint Security Manager can help your business security: The Virus Free Guarantee (how’s that for reliability!)- Comodo actually guarantees that you will remain virus-free if you use their technology properly. They’ll provide you with $5000 for every endpoint that gets infected. That’s how confident they are.Comodo uses an auto-sandboxing technology. What this means is that when you download a suspect file, it is only run under a set of restrictions so it won’t be able to harm your computer. At the same time, you will still be able to run the file. Monitor Endpoint Health – being able to check the health of different endpoints at one go is a big time-saver. When using Comodo Endpoint Security Manager (ESM), you can use the patent-pending panoramic display to check 11 critical metrics of each endpoint at one go.This requires minimum administrative effort and at a glance, gives you peace of mind that your computers are running well. Remote Viewing – this gives you the possibility to receive quicker IT support (and hence, reduce downtime). Comodo ESM has a feature that allows your IT system administrator to access your computer from his office. Even if you happen to be away from your office, as long as you have a working internet connection, your IT support would be able to examine any problem with your laptop or computer. The Comodo Endpoint Security Manager is licensed per user rather than per endpoint. This means that your laptop and your smartphone count as one. Licensing fees for this product are already very competitive and this licensing method makes it even more so allowing you to actually save money since Comodo ESM comes at a lower cost than most other anti-virus software. The Defense+ is a collection of advanced security prevention technologies designed to preserve the integrity, security and privacy of your operating system and user data. With Defense+ you can go about doing your job with the peace of mind that...

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Of Vulnerability, Complacency and the three pillars of Data Security

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Blog, Information Technology |

The backbone of modern business is based on information. Investments are made to use digital process to serve clients quicker. Digital information availability strongly affects the efficiency with which processes are performed. Nowadays, it is normal that businesses have different types of data stored either at the company’s data centre or on the cloud. A company may have a billing system, business records, CRM systems, emails, web servers, production systems, HR systems, ERP systems and much more, sharing a common set of servers. As a result, concerns are brought up about who should have access to different subsets of all this information. The Three Pillars  One of the first issues that is brought up is confidentiality. It is not wise to have business records published for all to see. Indeed, data protection laws restrict what personal data is made publicly available. Confidentiality pulls in a different direction to availability. While confidentiality is about segregating information according to its sensitivity and restricting it accordingly, availability is concerned with making information accessible and available. There is a third consideration that needs to be address and this is integrity. What is the use of all the data if we are not sure that it is accurate and reliable? Integrity includes authenticity; non-repudiation and accountability, meaning that information has not changed in an unauthorized manner and that the origin of the data can be traced and associated to a particular user. This triumvirate of forces forms a balance in order to allow information to flow to those who are allowed to see it, be changed by those who are allowed to change it and restrict it to anyone else. The balance is never easy to find. There are always risks involved. The only secure system is a system that is switched off, disconnected and locked up. But that kind of a system is not useful to anyone. As a result certain risks have to be taken in order to balance Availability, Integrity and Confidentiality. As an example, one particularly easy to understand risk is the possibility of hardware failure. When hardware fails, availability is affected. During the system design phase and on regular intervals thereafter, one has to weigh the cost of not having the information system available against the cost of having a fail-over system.  In the majority of cases, losing information is catastrophic to the business concerned. Another example is the risk that arises from the fact that systems are connected to networks and in many cases to the Internet. Operating systems and software applications are not perfect. Vulnerabilities are discovered during their lifetime and these are usually repaired through security updates. Vulnerabilities are like master keys to your system. They...

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Clever Accounting and the development of the Accounting Profession

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 in Blog, Information Technology |

Just like other aspects of business, the Accounting profession in Malta and elsewhere, is changing. Customers often demand a flexible service leaving accountants with very tight deadlines. In addition, the role of the accountant is no longer just to take care of the monthly accounts. Accountants today are increasingly expected to provide financial advice about tax planning, cash flow analysis and more! This international trend has helped bring about the rise of accounting software-as-a-service (SaaS) in Malta. This is typically web-based accounting software that is paid on a subscription basis (e.g. monthly or annually). One advantage of such software is that it allows the accountant and the business owner to access accounts from anywhere, anytime, and simultaneously. This makes life easier for everyone as for example, it becomes easier to take your work home. Clever Solutions Ltd has recently launched the Clever Accounting Software Package that is based on the SaaS model described above. Apart from increased flexibility, this service is secure and provides users with automatic backups of their data (which are many times not done properly, if at all). Clever Accounting is a straight-forward, easy to use application. It is a solution that is licensed, unlike much accounting software in Malta (and abroad). It also provides reporting capabilities empowering both the accountant and the business owner. Software like this is the result of change in the accounting industry. Where do you stand in all this change? What is for sure is that many accountants and business owners will try to resist this change. These are the same people who don’t believe in the paperless office even though its’ been done. These are the same people who think the Internet is just for kids and not for business, despite the millions of business deals done online. These are the people who think business will be the same in 5 years time. It won’t. When it comes to trends, there are the latecomers and there are the leaders. As an accountant and small business owner, the questions you must ask yourself are: am I a latecomer, or am I a leader? Am I the person who’ll try to resist the inevitable, or am I the person who’ll make the most out of change? If you want to make the most out of change, then contact us and we’ll show you what your accounting software should be like in...

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7 surprising reasons for open source software

Posted by on Jul 16, 2012 in Information Technology | 2 comments

As a person who has been involved in the IT industry for over 30 years, I was quite surprised when I came across this blog article on open source software in the BPiM LinkedIn group. This post deals individually with the misconceptions on open source listed in the linked article. First of all, it is important to be clear on what open source software is. In simple terms (and this is actually complex), the main points that define open source software are:  free redistribution, the source code must be publicly available, and derived works must be distributed according to the original license. You can find the exact (page long) definition here. To sum it up briefly, there can be four cases: –        Proprietary software you pay for, example: Microsoft Office –        Proprietary software  that is free: AVG –        Open source software you pay for: Red Hat Enterprise –        Open source software that is free: Firefox This article deals with the software that falls in the last two categories. Consultation: the article linked to above implies that choosing open source software leaves you on your own. This cannot be further from the truth. There are many IT companies that support open-source software. For example, we at Clever Solutions Ltd, help clients understand the benefits they may enjoy when they choose to use open-source software. Like us, there are many other companies worldwide that support open source software. Open source software generally offers an alternative business model, where users have no or little initial investment and only pay for continuous development and professional support. This support is sometimes advantageously available from multiple vendors, unlike with proprietary software, and thus reduces your business risk. Integration: When you first build your custom software, it is impossible to cater for all possible future scenarios. When requirements change and additional functionality is required, it is often the case that shortcomings are discovered, requiring previous code to be modified. For open-source software, with worldwide user take up, many of these shortcomings would have already been taken care of. Thus when further development is required, the probability of getting stuck due to inflexible code is more remote. It is important to remember that open-source does not mean free or unprofessional, and that many governments and millions of businesses rely on open-source software. That on its own says a lot. Customisation: I have to reiterate that there are many companies who provide customisation for open source software. Although one may think that bespoke software caters for all your whims and needs, one has to consider two important factors: 1) how long will it take to develop the software and 2) how much will it cost? Open source software may not be a 100% fit...

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A Short History of Persistant Data Storage Media

Posted by on Mar 13, 2012 in Information Technology | 1 comment

Over the last 50 years, pressure from users who constantly require more storage for data has pushed research and development to produce higher density storage. In this article, we shall take a look persistent data storage media starting from the arrival of the famous Floppy Disk. The floppy disk was not the first invention that was capable of storing data, but its size and availability gave personal computers a huge boost. The origin of the floppy disk can be traced to IBM when in 1967 a device for uploading microcode to their System/370 mainframe was required. The result was an 8″ Floppy Disk that had a storage capacity of 256KB. These drives where used in microcomputers of the early 1970s. A popular operating system of the time, the CP/M, was sold on 8″ disks. By 1976, a 5.25″ version of the floppy disk was produced. The first model could save 90KB of data. Disks were very expensive. I remember purchasing 10 disks for Lm30 (€70) in 1982. It is no wonder that, at the time, many people used to cut another index hole and a read/write slot so that the disk could be used on both sides, doubling the storage to 180KB. Advances in drive production saw the storage capacity of the 5.25″ drive to increase to 1.2MB. In 1983, a consortium of 23 media companies agreed on the 3.5″ diskette format. Apple used the new drive in their new Macintosh computers and consequently popularised the new media, which could save up to 1.44MB of data. The next significant development for the personal computer was the hard disk. The first hard disks to appear on the market in the early 80’s, had a capacity of 5MB. Over the years, the storage capacity of hard disks doubled every two to four years. From the 5MB drive of the early 80’s, the highest density drive available today is 4TB, almost a million times increase in capacity. Although the hard disk has found itself in practically all personal computers, it is now facing challenges from other technologies. Tthe Solid State Disk (SSD) has already found itself in a number of computers. With no moving parts, the SSD is much faster than a normal hard disk. Currently the cost per GB for a SSD is much higher than that for the HD and perhaps this is what is keeping hard disks reigning in data storage for the time being. One storage media that saw its existance even before the floppy was the tape drive. In fact, before the floppy drive became a standard peripheral in personal computers, a cassette recorder was the device used to store applications and data. However, the tape drives...

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