How to Become a Professional Ethical Hacker

As with time, while we developed the technology and we are keeping busy like a bee, we have been able to drastically evolve and improve the level of technology. But with the evolution of technology, it also left behind, its residue and that has turned out to be the vulnerability and the loops of the technology which could lead to a situation of hacking, where the important information and data might be accessed in the purpose of theft, modification or destruction etc. So, these hackers turned to be the troubled-genius of the information systems where they can combat and breach the enabled security in your device and can leave you mugged.

In recent times, the need for the Information security also increased, where someone can help in preventing the situation like these and can save you from the moments of apocalypse. Now, these people who are the nemesis to their unethical counterparts, have been able to help us in providing the proactive Information security and save us from going into sleepless nights. They ensure the safety and the security of our data and information and guard it from any catastrophe. We call them “Ethical Hackers”. So, how does it sound to be an ethical hacker? Does it fancy you? If yes, there are few brief points you might want to look and understand to be a professional ethical hacker.

You need to understand the various kind of hacking, which can be classified into White Hat, Grey Hat and non-ethical hacking. You need to evaluate the all three to understand them very well. Only a deep knowledge can help in combating any sort of breach or unauthorised access in the information system. Also, it can help you in ensuring the proactive security to the systems, while discovering the vulnerability of the Information systems. A deep knowledge and potent skills can help you in becoming a good ethical hacker.

You need to identify the basic requirements to be an ethical hacker. Whether you need to undertake a course or a diploma or you need any other licensing done. Make sure you do your homework well and then go hit the bullseye.

Upon successful evaluation of the basic requirements, you need to run the horses of your brain where you need to decide, whether would you like to work in hardware or software securities? Believe me, this field is so vast and you do want to take the chances of riding on two boats at a time. Master a formula first and then go for another. So, choose it carefully.

Along with your conventional diploma or the certificate program, don’t forget the UNIX operating system. It is known as the bible of the hacking, and it is known as the original operating system developed and designed by the hackers only. Make sure you learn it well.

Once you acquired your knowledge, it’s the time to know your strength and your weaknesses. Now, give yourself a try and implement your knowledge by practically doing things on your own system. Write down the complete analysis and then go for another round. Go until you succeed and turn highly skilled.

Last but not the least; identify the commercial aspect of your program. Find out the job prospects or running your own showmanship. There are many lucrative jobs and positions required in the market with both private and government sector or you can make yourself a living in facilitating the services. Once you get with it, Jobs done.

How To Protect Intellectual Property

In today’s day and age, the sanctity of our intellectual property can only be as safe as our computers and storage devices are. Given the intangible nature of this asset, it must necessarily be saved on a digital storage device. This presents a challenge to safeguard intangible property, as most digital storage platforms are really not the safest place to store something. Given the rampant data theft, violation, loss, and breach, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to say most storage platforms really are not the safest platforms to save your data.

For most companies, their intangible asset is their source of enduring competitive advantage over their competitors, and it is imperative for them that this advantage is not lost at any cost. From the software and IT industry to the pharmaceutical industry, no company in the world can sustain their profitability without securing their intellectual assets. Moreover, issues of jurisdiction and product emulation prevent any legal recourse, which again is an important reason for reconsidering the best possible way of preventing infringement of property rights.

The sad truth that, at times, even employees may steal valuable intellectual property and sell to the highest bidder in the black market. As such, it is important that all companies use a few imperative measures to protect themselves from theft, violation, breach and emulation of intellectual property. By the very intangible nature of this type of property, its protection necessarily means safeguarding storage devices and data, on which intangible property is saved. As such, the most effective means of protecting these assets is by a few innovative data protection measures.

Using reliable network management to protect data is perhaps an important step in securing a company’s inventory of data which contains this valuable property. For this, using the most advanced and secure network protocols are necessary, and no compromise should be made on price. Under weak network security, any valuable data company’s data is just waiting to be devoured.

Another important step in protecting intellectual property, stored on digital platforms ensuring that all clients, partners and employees of a company are trustworthy, and would not sell company’s valuable information whenever possible. Of course, trusting someone is always difficult, yet it is important that the company’s valuable intellectual property is not threatened by those who profit at the expense of their company.

Perhaps, using encryption for securing all data, which stores valuable intellectual property, is the most important way of ensuring that no stranger is able to infringe or steal intellectual property. Using the best encryption software can really go a long way in protecting theft of valuable intangible property which takes a lot of investment and working hours to make.

Using a balance of these three techniques, it will be highly probable that our intangible property can be secure. Of course, there are many other techniques which can also prevent theft of asset of such value, but these techniques are important to build a preventative base for data protection.

Open Source Computer Forensics Investigations

The world of computer forensics — like all things computer — is rapidly developing and changing. While commercial investigative software packages exist, like EnCase by Guidance Software and FTK by AccessData, there are other software platforms which offer a solution for obtaining computer forensic results. Unlike the two aforementioned packages, these open sources alternatives do not cost hundreds of dollars — they are free to download, distribute and use under various open source licenses.

Computer Forensics is the process of obtaining information from a computer system. This information may be obtained from a live system (one that is up and running) or a system which has been shut down. The process typically involves taking steps to obtain a copy, or an image of the target system (often times an image of the hard drive is obtained, but in the case of a “live” system, this can even be the other memory areas of the computer).

After making an exact “image” or copy of the target, in which the copy is verified by “checksum” processes, the computer specialist can begin to examine and obtain a wide range of data. This copy is obtained through write protected means to preserve the integrity of the original evidence. Information like pictures, videos, documents, browsing history, email addresses, and phone numbers are just some of the information (or evidence if being collected for possible court purposes), which can often be obtained. Even deleted elements are often retrievable.

Some of open source packages available for free download include SANs SIFT (SANS Investigative Forensic Toolkit), DEFT (Digital Evidence & Forensics Toolkit), and CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment) bootable CD’s. These powerful packages are built upon a Linux Ubuntu windows type (graphical environment) operating system and feature dozens of tools, with each disk containing many of the same open source tools, offering similar capabilities. Some of these tools are The Sleuth Kit (a complete platform in and of itself), Photorec (great for recovering all sorts of deleted files), Scalpel (another deleted file recovery tool), Bulk Extractor (bulk email and URL extraction tool), Chntpw (a utility to reset the password of any user that has a valid local account on a Windows NT/2k/XP/Vista/7/8 system), Gparted (a partition editor for creating, reorganizing, and deleting disk partitions), and Log2timeline (a timeline generation tool).

Cyber Stalking: The Digital Frontier

On the digital frontier, stalkers have updated their weaponry and they are gunning for the unprepared. Cyber stalking is a criminal behavior which occurs when an individual uses the Internet to harass, humiliate, damage, or threaten someone. Most states have included electronic forms of communication as part of stalking or harassment laws. Cyber stalking crimes are classified as misdemeanor or felony offenses depending on aggravating factors which may include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation or parole, victim under 16 years, or repeatedly victimizing the same person. Based on specific circumstances, these offenses are subject to punishment ranging from probation to ten years in prison.

Forms of Cyber Stalking

Cyber stalking takes on many forms which may include sending victims harassing or threatening emails and text messages and/or posting personal, false or humiliating information on social media. In some cases these perpetrators may send viruses, spam attacks, and harmful programs via e-mail to compromise or destroy the victim’s computer. Even more ominous are cyber stalkers who intend to locate and confront their victim by obtaining personal information such as home and work addresses and phone numbers.

Scope of the Problem

The Department of Justice reports that 6.6 million people are victims of stalking in the United States. More than 25% of stalking victims, report that they were harassed on the internet during their lifetime. Most of these victims experienced significant anxiety or fear and believed that they or someone close to them could be harmed or killed. Most victims know the person stalking them. However, some stalkers fantasize or harbor grudges against public figures or celebrities they have never personally met.

Types of Cyber Stalkers

Cyber stalkers present mental health problems that vary from irrational anger to psychosis. They range from people who are angry ex-partners who feel unfairly rejected to more seriously disturbed individuals who are compulsive, vengeful, or delusional. The motivation for these crimes is to control, intimidate or influence the victim. The harmful effects of cyber stalking most commonly include severe emotional distress and damage to one’s reputation. In serious cases physical, sexual, and fatal assaults have been reported.

Preventive Measures

The following security guidelines are designed to help you prevent cyber stalking by closely protecting your personal information.

  1. Keep antivirus software updated.
  2. Use strong passwords.
  3. Never put personal photos, account profiles or email addresses online.
  4. Do not download unknown e-mail attachments.
  5. Don’t sign into accounts when using public Wi-Fi networks.
  6. Never reveal your home address.
  7. Privatize any online calendars or itineraries.
  8. Delete or password the details of any events you plan to attend.

Managing Cyber StalkingIn the event you become a victim of cyber stalking, here are some initial recommendations to follow.

  • Inform the person that further contact unwanted will be reported to police.
  • After this first warning, stop all responding to that individual.
  • Record the time, place, and details of all unwanted contacts or incidents.
  • Scan and clean your computer thoroughly for malicious software.
  • Change all passwords.
  • Block unwanted calls/ internet contacts.
  • Change phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
  • Inform family, close friends, and employers.
  • File complaints with the stalker’s ISP and websites.
  • File a police report with documented details of the cyber stalking.

Summary

Cyber stalking is a criminal behavior which occurs when an individual uses the Internet to harass, humiliate, damage, or threaten someone. Preventing cyber stalking emphasizes online security and safeguarding your personal information. Managing incidents of cyber stalking includes severing all contact, recording all incidents, and making formal complaints to both internet providers and law enforcement.

Top 4 PCB Surface Finishes – Pros and Cons

PCB Surface Finish Solutions Pros & Cons

PCB Surface finish form the critical interface between the board and the components. In recent years, their widespread availability has overwhelmed some electronic designers. This post hopes to shed some light on the pros and cons of the four most dominant PCB surface finish solutions on the market: Organic Solderability Preservative (OSP), Electrolysis Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG), Electroplated Nickel Gold and Immersion Tin or Silver. The following post applies to Rigid Printed Circuits Boards (PCB) and Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC).

Note: PCBs are generally made of rigid materials and will not bend during their application. FPCs are usually thin and made of materials capable of bending and/or movement during application. Processing and application requirements dictate whether the PCB surface finish is electroplated, electrolysis, immersion or deposited.

  • Conditions that influence PCB Surface Finish Selection:
  • Oxidation protection of PCBs metal traces (usually copper).
  • Surface solderability for electrical and mechanical component attachment.
  • Surface bondability for chip mounted components using gold and aluminum wire.
  • Any combinations of the above.
  • Mechanical applications (e.g. stress, strains etc.).
  • Environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, relative humidity etc.).
  • Mechanical contacts requiring abrasion resistance and oxidation protection.
  • General Discussion of Available Surface finishes

Organic Solderability Preservative (OSP)OSP has a limited shelf life. Its most frequent use is soldering when the protectant is dissipated during the process, thus no additional removal processes are needed.

Caution: once removed, the bare copper is exposed and subject to oxidation. When multiple finishes are needed on the same PCB, OSP can be applied over other types of surface finish (e.g. wire bonding and soldering, mechanical contact surfaces and soldering, etc.).

Electrolysis Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG)

ENIG is a widely used surface finish for soldering, aluminum wire wedge bonding and mechanical contact points (connector pads, test points, etc.). The copper surface has an electrolysis nickel layer deposited (150 micro inches minimum) to seal the copper. A layer of gold is then deposited to protect the nickel from oxidation and provide a solderable surface to the nickel. The gold is absorbed and dispersed into the solder. The gold is an immersion process and the thickness is self-limiting (2 to 3 micro inches max).

The nickel layer is very brittle and cannot be subjected to stress or strains in the Z axis without cracking. Flexible PCBs are especially susceptible to this with all areas subject to potential bending supported with rigidizing materials.

Caution: Improperly controlled ENIG processing can result in weak solder connections which may not be visible and/or result in failure. A typical sign of failure is a flat black copper pad after the attached component has been forcibly removed.

Electroplated Nickel Gold

In today’s complex circuits, this surface finish is very limited because it requires that all surfaces to be plated have to be electrically connected (i.e. an electrical charge must be present for plating). These interconnections must then be broken to make the circuit functional. The plated nickel is very solderable and not subject to the solderability issues of ENIG. The plated gold has no limits on thickness and can support wire-bonding processes like Thermo Compression Bonding (i.e. ball bonding).

Caution: Thicker gold can result in solder joints being too brittle when using lead based solders.

Immersion Tin and Immersion Silver

These processes provide solderable surfaces but tend to have oxidation and tarnish issues that impact solderability. They are not widely used or available.

5 Mistakes to Avoid While Installing Network Cables

If you have shifted to a new home or soon shifting your workplace to a new building, you are probably already thinking of installing network cables as one of the first tasks. But wait, till you read further. Whoever said that “learn from the mistakes of others”, must have been a genius.” So, let’s just utilize the suggestion practically and have a look at the most common mistakes made while installing network cables, to avoid doing it ourselves.

Using Separate Cables for Voice & Data

If you ask any relevant person about their biggest mistake while network cabling their home or workplace, you will get to hear it as one of the most common answers. Earlier, twisted cabling was comparatively expensive so people opted different cabling for both. But now the cabling itself isn’t that much of an expense.

In fact, latest phone systems require data-level cabling so you don’t have a choice but to get suitable cabling that supports both. Not thinking about the possibility of you installing any of those phone systems in future describes another major mistake.

Compromising with the Quality/Version

A network connection isn’t temporary. With the ongoing advancements, it would be a grave mistake to still choose the cheapest and most basic cables available. Although it isn’t mandatory to go with totally high-end cables, it would be a smart option to go for quality Ethernet cables capable of facilitating a robust connection.

That being said, you might not need a 10gbps speed right now, but let’s just say 100Mbps should also not be what you settle with.

Cabling Parallel to Electric Cables

Setting up your networking cables parallel to electric cables can disturb the magnetic field of the cables and cause major disruptions. You can also end up losing transmission at times or very slow communication between the wires taking place.

So deciding your cable path, therefore, is very important rather than just going randomly about it.

Cutting Cables Too Short/Long

You certainly don’t want your cables stretching hard to reach out to their destination connectors. So, the best way to go about it is to measure the exact distance of your connections and take just about a few inches more for ease. Don’t cut them too short.

If short cables are a problem, too long ones are a bigger problem. Every cable has its capacity and if you choose lengths longer than their competence, you might suffer with slower and frequently disruptive connections. So, consider distance limitations of your cables seriously.

Not Testing Cables Simultaneously

Do you want to end up scratching your heads when your network cabling is done but you end up realizing that there had been a few faulty cables that refuse to aid the connection? We know the answer. So, the best way to avoid this is to go about checking every single cable while establishing the connection.

It might sound to be a time-consuming task given you are paying a hefty amount for labor but trust us it’s better than paying them(much more) later for fixing a brand new connection.

Other than that, don’t go about a haphazard connection. Plan in advance and go for cable organization as it comes really handy in long run and can save a lot on labor costs for maintenance. Additionally, you should also take care of the codes and ordinances of your region.

Looking from utility point of view, network cabling these days is as much an important job as electric wiring. So, it is important to get good cables, equipments, and proficient labor to avoid regretting later. To ensure everything goes smoothly, it’s a good idea to hire professionals for the job rather than planning it out yourself.

Technology Update for 2017

Seeing high CPU utilization? It may not be a fault with your computer.

Does your computer stutter when browsing certain websites? Does Windows Resource Monitor show high CPU utilization? Does your Mac’s Activity Monitor show your CPU being overutilized? Usually, these symptoms would indicate a computer issue that would need troubleshooting but that may no longer be the case.

Your computer could be being hijacked to mine cryptocurrency. This is referred to as cryptojacking.

An increasing number of websites are including currency mining threads that use your processor to mine for their gain. More advertising networks are being hacked to include cryptocurrency miners and more malware than ever before is now using your computer to generate revenue rather than destroy or impact your data.

Forget Bitcoin, Monero, Litecoins, Dogecoins and Feathercoin are the new kids on the block and everyone wants a piece of them.

How does cryptocurrency mining work?

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are purely theoretical. Nothing exists, no paper money, no coins, no accounts, nothing. Everything is controlled by ledgers. Those ledgers are maintained by the companies that run the currency. To protect the currency, every transaction is encrypted and as you know, encryption is very resource intensive.

To help the system work, the processing of ledgers and transactions is farmed out to other machines, such as your PC to process. Your CPU will be given an encrypted transaction to process and the tools with which to do it. Your processor completes the calculation and sends the result to the central ledger.

In consensual cryptocurrency mining, you are then paid a fixed amount per transaction. You can run these transactions persistently to mine cryptocurrency.

The trouble is, websites and malicious code are using our computers to mine cryptocurrency without our knowledge. We pay for the electricity and contend with a slow computer but get none of the benefit from it. According to the piece from Adguard linked above, 500 million computers are being used to mine cryptocurrency without their owners even being aware.

Some of the websites that feature cryptojacking code profess no knowledge of it. Given the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency, we have to take their word for it.

How to tell us a website uses cryptojacking code

There is a quick and easy way to tell if a particular website uses cryptojacking code. If your CPU utilization spikes on a particular website or page, go to a different page. If utilization drops, it is a good indication that it is cryptojacking you. You could also shut down your browser as a double check.

How to prevent cryptojacking

While not as dangerous as malware or a virus, cryptojacking is still using your computer for someone else’s gain. That is not acceptable and we need to do something about that.

Your first line of defense is an adblocker. As many types of cryptojacking code are served through infected ads, a good adblocker can stop them.

Next is a good quality malware scanner. Some types of cryptojacking code are delivered through malware and will not be detectable by an adblocker. If you see CPU utilization spike, run your scanner and remove anything it finds. If you still see high utilization, run your antivirus too, just in case.

Finally, there are some browser extensions emerging designed to block all manner of cryptojacking code. Extensions such as AntiMiner, NoCoin and MinerBlock are being tested to see if they can protect your computer.

Some websites are being up front about using cryptocurrency mining to help pay the bills. These sites we have no problem with and would suggest letting them use your computer to help keep the lights on. As more of us block ads to protect ourselves, this trend is likely to continue. If the website is honest, I see no issue with it. If they try to hide it, they deserve to be blocked.

Prerequisite Skills Needed in Every eCommerce Developer

Every single day, new businesses are entering the online segment providing the facility to people to order things by sitting at their home and receiving them at their doorstep. As more people are getting used to the online environment, the need for eCommerce stores is rising because supply has to cover up the demand. Needless to say, this prompted businesses, including retail, grocery or electronics to build up a downright online eCommerce store as a counterpart of their physical store which would successfully augment their earnings.

However, developing a robust online store isn’t an easy job. Even if you have a trusted eCommerce development team at your end, struggles are inevitable if you do not have enough competent developers who can well comprehend the significance of your business and features needed in the store. Take a look here at some of the most crucial and much-needed skills your hired eCommerce developer must have.

#1 Great hold on the various eCommerce platform

The first thing to count upon for hiring a developer for an eCommerce site is whether the developer has sound knowledge and immense feat on different platforms used for building the sites. Having great expertise on front-end, back-end, platform extensions and its custom themes, are imperative for development as it assists in creating a better version of custom-oriented websites.

#2 Knowledge of User-experience

It is always about captivating the customers and providing them highly appropriate and contextual information. A brand is incomplete without the customers and hence, user-experience is one of the top concerns. However, it is not an easy way to come up with a great user experience. The developer must have the inherent knowledge of UX as there are many things to be fixed. From deciding website navigation to designing menu tab, product filters to call-to-action buttons, checkout to sitemap and wireframes, all fall under the dominion of UX.

#3 Deftness in developing sites with Custom themes

The eCommerce developer you are engaging for your site should possess the skill of customisation so that they could customise the CMS in accordance with your requirement. This is a prior concern now for online business development because a decent website must carry a distinct design that will perfectly complement the brand and attract the potential number of customers.

#4 Front-end and Back-end development skills

While the above eCommerce skills are important in developers, back-end and front-end development skills are essential too. From creating CSS, Javascript, presentational HTML code in building a solid user-interface to backend development, all must be considered. Back-end development is about fixing up the architecture behind the website, which must be looked carefully to make it pleasing to the eyes of visitors.

#5 SEO aspects

Lastly, Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the main pillar of an eCommerce site that drives the success. It is the SEO aspect that lets a website link appear on the top in search engines rankings. This is how others will know about your business, offerings, products or the brand. It is not only essential for getting sales but also putting your brand in a way so that search-engine crawlers can find it out at better when searched with relevant keywords.

On an obvious note, there are many other skills that developers must bear to successfully develop a downright online store, but these are the most crucial and innate skills. Thus, before partnering with an eCommerce development company for your online business venture, make it sure that its developers have got these skills to build a lucrative store.