Backoff Malware Infections on the Rise

Backoff, the malware responsible for a succession of credit card breaches, is increasingly infecting computers in North America, network security company Damballa has discovered.

There was a 57 percent spike in Backoff malware infections from August to September and a 27 percent rise from September to the end of the month.

The malware is reported by the U.S. government to have infected more than 1,000 businesses including Kmart and Dairy Queen. It is the same malware responsible for the colossal security breach of Target in late 2013.

The malware installs itself on retail point-of-sale systems either by exploiting their remote access capabilities or other systems on the network. The malware then scans a computer for credit card information after a customer’s card has been swiped.

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) along with the U.S. Secret Service and other third-party partners together issued a warning in July about the malware which has also hit UPS and Supervalu.

Damballa chief technology officer Brian Foster described Backoff as being particularly tricky because it attacks through local area networks where there is often less scrutiny of traffic. This allows the bug to remain hidden as it does its dirty work.

“Prevention controls cannot stop malware infections,” Foster said. “POS malware and other advanced threats can, and will, get through so we can’t simply build the walls around the network higher. And for security teams, faced with the trawling through a tsunami of events every day, manually correlating these to find the ‘true positives’ is simply not feasible.”

Foster is advising companies to take preventative measures against infection.

“We’d advise enterprises to be prepared, to get ahead by assuming that they will be compromised, and take proactive measures to be ready to remediate,” he said.

To read Damballa’s full report, click here.

(Via Beta News)

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Backoff Malware Infections on the Rise


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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Finding Hidden Content Opportunities For Your Local Website

Once you’ve fulfilled your website’s basic content needs, you’ll need to up the ante to stay competitive in search engines. Contributor Rachel Lindteigen shares some tips.

The post Finding Hidden Content Opportunities For Your Local Website appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Microsoft, IBM Partner to Offer More Cloud Options

IBM and Microsoft are teaming up to give their clients “more choice in the cloud.”

The technology titans have announced their cloud computing partnership will provide their respective enterprise software on Microsoft Azure and the IBM Cloud in a bid to help users reduce costs while finding new business opportunities.

“Together we are creating new opportunities to drive innovation in hybrid cloud,” IBM software and cloud solutions group senior vice-president Robert LeBlanc said in a press release. “This agreement reinforces IBM’s strategy in providing open cloud technology for the enterprise. Clients will now gain unprecedented access to IBM’s leading middleware and will have an even greater level of choice over the tools that they use to build and deploy their cloud environments.”

Client benefits will include:

  • Key IBM middleware such as WebSphere Liberty, MQ, and DB2 available on Microsoft Azure.
  • Windows Server and SQL Server on IBM Cloud.
  • A Microsoft .NET runtime for IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform.
  • To support hybrid cloud deployments, IBM will expand support of its software running on Windows Server Hyper-V, and the companies plan to make IBM Pure Application Service available on Azure.

“Microsoft is committed to helping enterprise customers realize the tremendous benefits of cloud computing across their own systems, partner clouds and Microsoft Azure,” Microsoft cloud and enterprise executive vice-president said Scott Guthrie. “With this agreement more customers will be able to take advantage of the hyper-scale, enterprise performance and hybrid capabilities of Azure.”

 

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Microsoft, IBM Partner to Offer More Cloud Options


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Revenge porn victim reveals harrowing story of betrayal but would send pics … – Mirror.co.uk


Mirror.co.uk
Revenge porn victim reveals harrowing story of betrayal but would send pics
Mirror.co.uk
A mother has revealed the shocking moment she found out an ex-boyfriend had put 'intimate pictures' of her on Facebook. When community worker Thomas Samuel from Bristol posted revenge porn of his ex-girlfriend Folami Prehaye, it was viewed almost …

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Reports: Google Pirate Update Has Rolled Out This Week

Last week, we reported that Google will be pushing out an update to the Google Pirate Update in the upcoming weeks. It looks like Google pushed that update out a few days ago. Torrentfreak reports the update has impacted many torrent sites. Here is a screen shot of the SEO visibility for the site…



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Google Teams Up With Oxford on AI Project

Google is partnering with Oxford University and has hired some of the best minds in the Artificial Intelligence field to “accelerate” its research efforts.

Google vice-president of engineering Demis Hassabis said special focus will be placed on the fields of image recognition and natural language.

Hassabis, who is co-founder of U.K. company DeepMind, which was acquired by Google in January, said the company will be working with two of Oxford’s “cutting edge” AI research teams. Prof. Nando de Freitas, Prof. Phil Blunsom, Dr. Edward Grefenstette and Dr. Karl Moritz Hermann, who “are four world leading experts in the use of deep learning for natural language understanding,” will lead the efforts to “enable machines to better understand what users are saying to them,” Hassabis said in a post on the Google Europe Blog.

Three of the world’s foremost experts on computer vision systems, Dr. Karen Simonyan, Max Jaderberg and Prof Andrew Zisserman, co-founders of Vision Factory, will also join the DeepMind team. The trio are working to improve visual recognition systems using deep learning.

“Google DeepMind has hired all seven founders of these startups with the three professors holding joint appointments at Oxford University where they will continue to spend part of their time,” Hassabis said.

“These exciting partnerships underline how committed Google DeepMind is to supporting the development of UK academia and the growth of strong scientific research labs.”

Google DeepMind will also open its wallet to help establish a research partnership with the Computer Science Department and the Engineering Department at Oxford University.

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Google Teams Up With Oxford on AI Project


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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My Five #105 – browser media

My Five #105
browser media
For anyone that needs a reminder, the Penguin update targets sites with a backlink profile that Google feels is in violation of its webmaster guidelines. This latest Penguin is pretty much the most anticipated algorithm update in the history of Google

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Learn How to Use SnapChat

You may have never heard of SnapChat, but if you have teenagers in your household, then you can bet they have.

You may have already spotted the app on their phone. Why is it appealing? It allows you to send photos and videos with an “expiration date.” The content doesn’t linger on your phone or your recipient’s phone indefinitely as with most social media, and it’s a fun way to share what’s going on in your life at this exact moment. Yet the nature of the application can create a false sense of security, and users need to be aware that there are ways the application can be misused. Here’s what you need to know.

SnapChat is an application available for iOS and Android device users. Signup requires the entry of a username, password, e-mail address and birthdate. The minimum age requirement is 13 years old. Kids younger than this are allowed to use the application (called SnapKidz), to create images and art with the drawing software and save it to their device, but they can’t send anything they create through the application. After you create your account, SnapChat will access your contacts list and populate your address book with a list of people who are already using the app.

Once you’ve got the application set up on your phone, the sharing begins. Take a snapshot of the monster burger you’re about to consume or the silly face your friend just made. The editing icon within the software allows you to caption the photo or draw pictures on it before you send. If you’ve always wanted to add a “bubble thought” to your boyfriend’s goofy look, this is the perfect opportunity. Once you’ve got your masterpiece created, you choose the length of time to allow the photo to be viewed by the recipient – anywhere between one and ten seconds – and then send. When the recipient views the image, it automatically disappears after the amount of time you’ve specified.

A false sense of security can come from believing the images just disappear after the timeframe you’ve set. SnapChat has a feature that is supposed to notify you if someone takes a screenshot of the image you sent them, but it’s not always reliable, and users should be aware that screenshots are still possible. Also, it’s possible for someone to take a picture of the image with a secondary camera or Smartphone. There are even applications available to download and run concurrently with SnapChat that will allow a more permanent image to be captured and stored, circumventing SnapChat’s security measures. This would mean that the image you sent could be shared with unintended recipients, and in a much more permanent fashion. Users need to be aware that they’re not entirely secure, and always use caution with photos they send.

SnapChat recently added the ability to instantly video chat with fellow SnapChat users in your contact list, phone-to-phone. While you’re active in the SnapChat application, say composing a text message to someone, everyone on your friends list can see a little blue icon next to your name, indicating that you’re “online.” With a click of a button, anyone you’re connected with can instantly take over your screen with video chat, without you giving him or her permission (luckily they can’t see YOU if you don’t reciprocate). Still, the ability for someone to be able to get in your face, so to speak, may be unnerving for some people. There are privacy concerns as well. If their instant video is of something you don’t want to see, or something that isn’t appropriate for your given situation (say, in line at the grocery store…) there’s no way to temporarily block the video feed without closing out of the application.

Since a majority of SnapChat users are under the age of 18, another concern has been “sexting” or the sending of nude or sexually-explicit photographs and videos from one user to another. While research shows that this behavior is relatively rare with kids, it’s still an issue of concern. Users may falsely assume that anything they sent will disappear, encouraging less caution than they may be inclined to use when posting something to Facebook or sending a direct email or text. Any image or video sent electronically, regardless of the medium used, could become public, and parents need to talk with their children about potential consequences. Connect Safely has some useful information on the subject here: http://www.connectsafely.org/tips-to-prevent-teen-sexting/.

There are ways to protect yourself and your teen if abuse occurs. Block individual users if they’re harassing you or sending inappropriate content, or simply delete them from your friends list entirely. Report any abuse to SnapChat via safety@snapchat.com, or contact local authorities if you believe there is an imminent danger. If you suspect a user is under the age of 13, you can report them through support@snapchat.com.Lastly, your child’s SnapChat account can be permanently deleted at http://www.snapchat.com/a/delete_accountif you have the username and password. You can also submit a deletion request to SnapChatusing this form: https://www.snapchat.com/static_files/deletion_request.pdf.

 

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Andrea Eldridge is CEO of Nerds On Call, which offers onsite computer and laptop repair service for homeowners and small businesses. Based in Redding, Calif., it has locations in five states. Contact Eldridge at www.callnerds.com/andrea.

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6 Paths to SEO Success in 2015

SEO is both static and dynamic: Some things, like great informative content, never go out of style. Other tricks and crafty switch-ups are out of date almost by the time they’re implemented. Part of this is simply the nature of the web; ever-evolving as it is. Other challenges are the mysterious and sometimes surprising shifts in Google’s algorithm. For many marketers, this results in the feeling that it’s nearly impossible to keep up.

Here’s the good news: While we can’t predict the unpredictable, most shifts in the landscape come with plenty of warning. As we look ahead to 2015, there are some relatively obvious directions that SEO is likely to take. Below you’ll find the most promising techniques that are most likely to pay off big in the coming year.

Remember that you don’t have to master all the elements of great SEO: Just those that make the most sense for your business. If any of the tactics below feel relevant, make them your SEO priorities for the new year.

1. Social is the New SEO

While I encourage you to not believe the hype that SEO is dead, social is in fact a stronger player going into 2015. Because social media now accounts for over 25% of all time spent online, it’s an undeniable force. Social signals are therefore being more smartly integrated into all the major search engines’ algorithms.

Your first tip for SEO magic in 2015 is therefore a very strong and consistent social presence. Plan cohesive and wide-reaching social media campaigns, and tie them in to the content marketing efforts you’re creating for great SEO too. The more cohesive your marketing messages are across all channels, the clearer the message you are sending to your target audience. Consistency ranks as one of the top marketing techniques that is truly timeless; utilize this in your social campaigns and you’ll see the positive results.

2. Approach SEO as a Real-Time Practice

With the enormous list of powerful real-time social analytics tools, you can now adjust your strategies in seconds and respond to data that clearly articulates strengths and weaknesses. If you’re still using the old school approach of looking at metrics monthly and then plotting future changes, you are way behind your more crafty competitors. SEO needs to have a balance between careful planning and real-time response. If you know something isn’t working, be it incorrectly targeted keywords or website content that isn’t converting, changing it is better than watching more negative results quantify. Use these tools wisely and make educated adjustments in your SEO, and you’ll see the analytics shift into your favor in no time.

3. Go Mobile or Go Down in Flames

It’s just not an option for nearly any business to ignore the incredible impact of mobile on SEO. Experts expect mobile to overtake traditional web browsing in nearly all categories in 2015, so a great mobile SEO strategy is key. Mobile keywords and web use is vastly different than desktop usage in many ways. Study how your target user searches for your content on mobile, and have a small-screen centric strategy to reach as many of these folks as you can. Since this audience is likely to only continue to rise, it’s your go-to if you can only focus on a single segment. Nowadays, it’s better to target just mobile than just desktop searchers.

4. Fast Sites Equal Faster Profits

Slower sites are getting left behind more and more as user attention spans get shorter and shorter. Google has always penalized slower sites and that appears to be increasing, likely in part to the mobile craze. Searchers are even more impatient when accessing data on small screens, so make sure your content and sites load quickly and clearly on all devices. And it goes without saying that everything needs to be intuitively designed, and mobile-friendly too.

5. Timeliness is Godliness

Working in tandem with the real-time philosophy, aim to keep your content as fresh and relevant as possible. Leaving holiday content up even a few days after events have passed can damage search results and credibility in the eyes of your users. Content marketing strategies need to be consistent and frequent. Releasing content just once a week, as an example, will likely not cut it if you want to rank in the top 5 of your industry. Quantity and quality are becoming more and more critical as competition increases.

6. Email is Still a Powerful Force

Don’t count this old standby out as a significant marketing tool. With all the web clutter, well-written and appropriately targeted email campaigns still have some of the best ROI results around.
By coupling email campaigns, SEO, content marketing tactics, and social media marketing in consistent, cohesive, and relevant ways, you have the perfect trifecta to score big in 2015.

As you can see, none of these tips include any black hat tactics – those are becoming increasingly dangerous, as repercussions are significant and can mean your business all but disappears. Search engines and users are on to tricks that lack meaning and integrity. Focus on giving value to your customers, and search engines will certainly take notice too.

What other SEO tactics seem imperative for 2015?

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6 Paths to SEO Success in 2015


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Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor.  Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

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E-Books Set to Surpass Print in the U.S. 

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