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Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Website And Network Secure

imageEvery day, innocent websites are compromised by malicious hackers. Google identifies almost 10,000 malware-infected websites each day, and half of those are genuine websites belonging to legitimate companies. These companies haven’t done anything wrong, but they find themselves blacklisted by Google, and that’s only the edge of the brutal iceberg.

Hackers inject vicious malware into these sites to infect visitors. They confuse and lure users to dodgy websites and they break in and steal important and often sensitive customer information.

It’s a real and constant problem, but there are easy and simple steps you can take to guard against these attacks and keep your site, your network, and your customers safe and sound.

1. Use strong passwords, keep them secure and change them frequently

We all know that we should choose complex passwords, but sometimes laziness takes over and we slack off. This is a crucial mistake. Obviously, you want to choose exceptionally strong passwords for your server and website admin area, because a vulnerable password here is a free ticket for hackers to cripple your site and do untold amounts of damage.

It can be inconvenient to remember frequently changing passwords, but in the end, it’s a simple solution that can save a lot of headaches in the future. It’s also imperative that you enforce good password practices for your users.

Compromised user accounts are a special hell of their own. Demanding that minimum password requirements are met for registration will force users to make smart choices. Insist on eight characters, at least an uppercase letter and a number or special character. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s worth it.

Make sure that any passwords are stored as encrypted values. Ideally, you’ll use a one way hashing algorithm like SHA. This method means that during authentication, only encrypted values are ever compared. In a worst-case scenario, if someone hacks in and steals passwords, this will limit the damage.

They can’t decrypt them, and they will be reduced to attempting dictionary or brute force attacks, trying every single combination until a match comes up. It’s time consuming and computationally expensive and just not worth the effort for most people.

Your wireless network password should be seriously strong, and the network should be protected by Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) rather than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). WEP encryption is brittle and hackable in minutes these days and should never be relied upon.

It’s also imperative to ensure that your PCs are well protected against viruses at all times to prevent password theft.

2. Be discreet with your error messages

Make sure your error messages aren’t giving away too much information. If your website requires a login, you should pay attention to how your error messages deliver the message that their login attempt has failed. A quick-and-simple, very generic message such as “incorrect login information” is your best bet.

It doesn’t tell the user if half the query is right (especially not which half!) When a hacker is attempting brute force attacks to gain access to usernames and passwords and the error message identifies one field as correct, that’s valuable information for him. He then knows that he’s halfway there and can concentrate all his attention and effort on the remaining field. Don’t make it easy for them!

3. Keep software up to date

Make sure that you’re consistently and quickly applying security updates to all of your software. From your personal PC’s virus protection, to your server operating system, and website software like content management systems, blogging, forums, and blogging platforms.

Hackers are quick to exploit any known holes and bugs, and you want to get there first. Sign up to the mailing lists and RSS feeds of all your software vendors. They’ll be the first to alert you to any security issues and their solutions. Find out and follow it up.

4. Limit Use of your Administrator Account

Keep your computer’s admin account for installing updates and software, or for reconfiguring the host when you have to. Don’t go online while logged into your admin account. Non-privileged user accounts are not just for guests and visitors: you should have one yourself for everyday use. If you browse the web and read your email with an admin account, you leave yourself open for an attacker to gain entry and access to your host.

5. Ask the experts

You don’t have to do it all on your own. There are good tools out there for monitoring your own website, but not everyone has the time or inclination to stay on top of security 24/7.

It’s possible to find monitoring services for very reasonable prices. These companies will check for malicious activity, give you an alert if your website shows up on a blacklist, scan your site for vulnerabilities, and be there for support and repairs if you do fall prey to a hack.

If you’re dealing with databases of sensitive customer information that are attached to your site, it’s probably worth it to get an expert in from the start, sweeping your code for bugs and building in extra lines of defense from the ground up. For small businesses, companies such as SiteLock and Stop the Hacker offer packages for under $100 a year.

This guest post was provided by Amanda Gareis on behalf of Drexel University Online. Drexel expanded into the online learning sector in 1996 and now offers its recognized curricula to a worldwide audience. Drexel Online offers degrees in Information Science, Information Technology, and Computing and Security Technology. The university also provides an Information Technology Career and Salary Guide resource for those looking to enter the industry.


Filed under Cyber Crime, Education, Guest Writers, Internet Safety

Windows Live Photo Gallery – Top 4 Features

My name is Mitz from http://tips4pc.com/ and I have been a Windows computer geek for over 25 years. I have seen software come and go over the years, succeed and fail, but Windows Live Photo Gallery is definitely a keeper.

I know this software is not new, however I feel that people are not seeing its full potential. Some of the features included with Windows live Gallery are so new to all of us, that we do not even know we have these amazing abilities on our computers.

Without further ado, I will mention some of my favorite features in Windows live photo Gallery.

#1. Windows Live Photo Gallery – Searching

Windows live photo Gallery has its own Find tab entirely dedicated to finding the photo or video you want on your computer. This makes it so much easier to find a lost photo or picture on your computer.

  1. Simply go to the find tab at the top of the program.
  2. Choose a folder from the left navigation pane. If you do not know what folder to choose, I usually click on my pictures folder.
  3. You can search by dates, tagged faces, star rated, or even simple text search.

In the screenshot below, I first pressed on the Months icon and narrowed my search down to April 2011. After doing this I pressed on the text search icon on the right. Now I can type in what I am looking for and the search has already been narrowed down for me.


#2. Windows Live Photo Gallery – Photo Fuse

This is by far my favorite feature in Windows live photo Gallery! You can get three or four pictures and turn them into one really great photo. Look at my examples below. Initially I started with two photos, took the best from them both, and then ended up with a photo where everyone is facing the front.


How to fuse photos together?
  1. Select two or more similar photos in the Windows live photo Gallery by putting a tick in the left corner of the photo. This means it is selected.
  2. Go to the create tab at the top and click on the photo fuse icon.
  3. Select the area of the photo that you want to replace.
  4. When you have done this you will see some choices appear. Pick the best part of the photo by clicking on it.
  5. Your photo will now be changed instantly.
  6. Go through and change all the parts of the photo that do not look right.
  7. When you are happy with your picture you can click on the close file icon at the top.
  8. Your picture will be automatically saved. You will see that you now have a new version of the picture in the folder where the original pictures were saved.

#3. Windows Live Photo Gallery – Retouch Tool

If you are an expert at retouching photos using Photoshop then you will probably cringe at the thought of using anything else to do the job. Let me tell you that this retouch tool is just a quick fix and will not do the same job as a professional photo editing program.

Here is an example below. Look very closely at the clothes line in the background. In one photo it has a cloth on the line and in the other it does not. I removed the cloth in literally one second.

All I did was select the area and it was taken away. Now with this kind of photo the Windows Live Gallery retouch tool worked well for me.


How to retouch a photo?
  1. Double-click on the photo that you want to retouch.
  2. Click on the retouch icon at the top of the screen.
  3. Select the area on the photo that you want to read touch. For example, I selected the cloth hanging from the clothesline. You may not be able to select the entire section, therefore just choose a small area.
  4. As soon as you choose the area it will change.
  5. When you have finished retouching the photo simply press close file.

As I said, this photo retouching tool is really just for the simple jobs but it is very handy to have around because it is so quick to do. I definitely will be using for jobs likes this..

#4. Windows Live Photo Gallery – Importing photos and videos

It is fantastic that Windows live photo Gallery is able to import photos and videos from your digital camera. Back in the days when Windows XP was king, we had the Microsoft scan and camera wizard to import photos to our computers. Unfortunately when Windows Vista came along, the scan and camera wizard disappeared from existence. This is why it is great that Microsoft has bought out Windows live photo Gallery as I see this program as more than an equivalent to the Microsoft scan at and camera wizard.

How to import pictures?
  1. On the home tab in Windows live photo Gallery, simply press on the import icon.
  2. Make sure your camera or device is connected to the computer and on so Windows live Gallery can find it.
  3. Choose your camera from the list and click import.
  4. Now you get many choices when import in your photos to your computer. You can review organize or group photos so you will have no trouble finding them in a year or two.
  5. When you are done choosing, categorizing, and so on, choose import.


I strongly suggest that you check out Windows live photo Gallery for yourself! It is seriously an all in one program that is absolutely amazing because it is free. There are so many more features included with this software that it would probably take an entire day to go through.

Guest post by Mitz Pantic http://tips4pc.com/

What is your favourite feature in Windows live photo Gallery? Comment below and let me know.

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Filed under Free Photo Applications, Freeware, Guest Writers, Integrated Photo Applications, Microsoft, Windows Tips and Tools