Malvertising: Are The Online Ads You See Legitimate?

Malvertising: Are The Online Ads You See Legitimate?

Since its origins in the 1990s, the internet has been powered by ads. Google, in fact, generates over 70% of its total annual revenue from selling ads. While you’ll undoubtedly encounter ads when using the internet, however, you should be cautious of clicking and interacting with them. Even if an ad looks legitimate, it could be an attempt to trick you into downloading malware.

What Is Malvertising?

The term “malvertising” refers to the use of online ads to serve and deploy malware onto victims’ computers. Since all major ad networks prohibit advertisers from promoting malware, it’s typically performed via code injection. A nefarious advertiser will inject malicious code into an ad network or web page. Therefore, rather than promoting a legitimate business — or a business’s legitimate product or service — the ad will promote malware.

The Dangers of Malvertising

Malvertising is a concern because it can result in a malware infection. Whether you’re using Google, Bing, Facebook or any other high-traffic website, you’ll probably see ads. Many of these online ads are even designed to blend into the surrounding content, meaning you may not be able to distinguish them from other types of digital content. And if you happen to click one of these malvertising-related ads, it could spell disaster for your identity as well as your data. Malvertising is a way for nefarious advertisers to trick you into downloading their malware.

Some nefarious advertisers use malvertising to steal the identities of their victims. They serve keylogger or other data-snooping malware that collects the personal information of their victims. Alternatively, other nefarious advertisers use malvertising to deploy ransomware. Ransomware is a distributing form of malware that locks your data while demanding a payment.

Tips to Protect Against Malvertising

While you can’t prevent nefarious advertisers from using malvertising to promote their malware, there are ways to minimize your risk of becoming a victim. Running anti-virus software, for instance, may identify malvertising-related ads. Assuming your anti-virus software protects against online threats, it may detect or even block these malicious ads.

You can also use an ad blocker to lower your risk of being struck with malvertising-related ads. Ad blockers work by disabling all ads from commonly used ad networks. They aren’t biased towards any particular type of online ad. Rather, they’ll block all ads served from the ad networks used in their database. With an ad blocker, however, both legitimate ads and malvertising-related ads will be removed.

The Benefits of Using a Mesh Wi-Fi Network

Is your business’s Wi-Fi slow or otherwise unreliable? Even if your business doesn’t operate in a tech-related industry, it may still rely on Wi-Fi to perform various online activities. From running sales reports to engaging with clients on social media, you’ll probably connect to your business’s Wi-Fi when performing common online activities such as these. If your business’s Wi-Fi is plagued by slow speeds or frequent outages, though, you may want to set up a mesh Wi-Fi network.

What Is a Mesh Wi-Fi Network

A mesh Wi-Fi network is a type of wireless network that’s characterized by the use of signal-extending nodes. It’s called “mesh” because it supports the use of many nodes. Nodes can be added to or removed from a Wi-Fi network. When a node is added, it will replicate the original signal created by the router. When a node is removed, the additional signal will be lost in that area of the Wi-Fi.

Increased Coverage

You can easily extend the range of coverage offered by your business’s Wi-Fi by switching to a mesh configuration. A router alone isn’t always sufficient. It may offer coverage in the room or area of your business’s office in which it’s used. If a room is a far away from the router, though, you may fail to get Wi-Fi coverage.

Each node in a mesh Wi-Fi network will extend the coverage of your business’s Wi-Fi. Therefore, you can use them to fix “dead” spots. If you don’t have Wi-Fi coverage in a particular room, simply add a mesh node between that the room and the router. The node will replicate the router’s signal so that it doesn’t fade before reaching the room. Rather, the Wi-Fi signal will be strong.

Faster Downloading and Uploading

In some cases, using a mesh Wi-Fi network can lead to faster downloading and uploading times. Slow speeds are often caused by a poor Wi-Fi signal. As the router’s original Wi-Fi signal traverses a long distance, it will degrade. The signal will become weaker and, therefore, only able to support slow downloading and uploading speeds.

If your business frequently experiences slow downloading and uploading speeds over Wi-Fi, using a mesh configuration may help. You just need to place the mesh nodes in the right places. If your Wi-Fi is only slow in a particular area, focus the mesh nodes between that area and the router to speed it up.

What Is a Heatsink and How Does It Work?

What Is a Heatsink and How Does It Work?

Heatsinks are a common component used in modern-day computers. Whether you own a desktop or laptop computer, it probably has a heatsink. Some computers, in fact, have multiple heatsinks. Because they are located on the motherboard, though, you typically won’t see heatsinks — not unless you open up the case. To learn more about heatsinks and why they are such an important component for computers, keep reading.

Overview of Heatsinks

A heatsink is a small metal component that’s designed to absorb heat from an adjacent or underlying component. Most computers have a Central Processing Unit (CPU) and a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). The CPU is responsible for performing a variety of processing tasks, whereas the GPU is responsible for performing image- and video-related processing tasks.

Both the CPU and GPU produce heat during operation. As these components heat up, the risk of failure increases. A CPU or GPU may become so hot that it melts the component’s respective circuitry. Therefore, computer manufacturers use heatsinks to keep them cool.

How Heatsinks Work

Heatsinks work by absorbing heat from the CPU or GPU to which they are attached. If you open your computer’s case and inspect the CPU or GPU, you should see a square- or rectangular-shaped metal component over it. This is the heatsink, and it’s responsible for drawing heat away from the CPU or GPU.

Most heatsinks consist of fins resembling that of a radiator. As the CPU or GPU warms up, heat will transfer to these fins where it’s released using a fan. A fan is attached over the heatsink to circulate air. The fan runs in reverse, meaning it draws the hot air away from the CPU or GPU. There’s usually another fan located on the motherboard that further pushes the hot air out of the computer case.

Are Heatsinks Really Necessary?

In most cases, heatsinks are an essential component that’s required for a healthy and functional computer. Without a heatsink, a CPU’s or GPU’s temperature may rise to dangerous levels.

Some people assume that heatsinks are only necessary if you plan on overclocking your CPU or GPU. Overclocking does, in fact, increase the amount of heat a CPU or GPU produces. Nonetheless, both CPUs and GPUs can produce enough heat to cause internal damage during normal operation, regardless of whether they are overclocked. A heatsink solves this problem by drawing heat away from the CPU or GPU so that it can safely be released out of the computer case.

What Is Data-Centric Cybersecurity?

What Is Data-Centric Cybersecurity?

As cyber attacks continue to increase, businesses big and small are exploring new ways to safeguard their data from unauthorized use. Many businesses still deploy endpoint- and network-level cybersecurity measures. In recent years, however, some businesses have shifted to a data-centric cybersecurity strategy. What is data-centric cybersecurity exactly, and what benefits does it offer over conventional measures?

The Basics of Data-Centric Cybersecurity

Data-centric cybersecurity is an alternative approach to protecting and safeguarding data. It’s distinguished from other cybersecurity measures by focusing on the data itself. With data-centric cybersecurity, measures are taken to protect the data itself rather than the environment in which it’s stored or shared.

The general idea of data-centric cybersecurity is to protect the data itself from cyber threats rather the devices or environments in which it’s stored or transferred.

Traditional vs Data-Centric Cybersecurity

Traditional cybersecurity revolves around measures to protect networks and endpoint devices. You may use a firewall, for instance, to scan incoming and outgoing traffic for cyber threats. Alternatively, you may install antivirus software on your computer or mobile devices. Tactics such as these are considered traditional cybersecurity measures because they are applied on the network or endpoint level.

In comparison, data-centric cybersecurity revolves around tactics to protect the actual data. Whether data is stored on a computer or a mobile device — or whether data is transferred over a private or public network — it’s protected from threats.

Common tactics used for data-centric cybersecurity include the following:

  • Encryption
  • Routine auditing
  • Access control systems
  • Data masking

Benefits of Data-Centric Cybersecurity

Data-centric cybersecurity is able to protect data from cyber threats regardless of where the data is stored or the channel by which it’s uploaded or downloaded. Not all forms of data remain in a single and static location. Data is oftentimes moved around to different devices or networks. Therefore, data-centric cybersecurity measures can protect the data from cyber threats no matter where it goes.

Even if you use data-centric cybersecurity measures to protect your business’s data from cyber threats, you should still consider using traditional measures as well. Relying entirely on any single cybersecurity solution is a recipe for disaster. By embracing a variety of different cybersecurity solutions, including traditional and data-centric measures, your business will be better protected against cyber threats.

Data-centric cybersecurity refers to the use of data-level measures to protect against cyber threats. It’s called “data-centric” because it focuses on protecting the data itself rather than the networks or endpoint devices.

CDNs: A Useful Tool in the Fight Against DDoS Attacks

CDNs: A Useful Tool in the Fight Against DDoS Attacks

Is your business’s website frequently targeted by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks? When a DDoS attack occurs, it can cause a myriad of problems if ignored. The server on which your business’s website hosted will receive a flood of fake requests from various internet protocol (IP) addresses. All of these requests will consume the server’s resources, resulting in slower speeds or even a nonfunctional website. You can protect your business’s website or other web-accessible properties from DDoS attacks, however, by using a content delivery network.

What Is a CDN?

A CDN is cloud-based hosting service that involves the use of a network of servers. It differs from traditional multi-server web hosting by storing and serving cached copies of static content. When a visitor tries to access your business’s website, the CDN will send him or her copies of its static content.

CDNs consist of dozens — sometimes even hundreds — of individual servers. Each of these servers contains copies of static content. They are called “content delivery networks” because they use a network of servers to deliver static content to users.

What Is a DDoS Attack?

A DDoS attack is a cyber attack that involves spamming requests to a server. Performing any form of interaction with a server, even just visiting the website with it hosts, will send a request. DDoS attacks capitalize on this mechanism by spamming a server with these requests.

The DDoS Mitigation Benefits of Using a CDN

A CDN can help mitigate the effects of a DDoS attack in several ways. As previously mentioned, CDNs don’t use a single server. Rather, they use a network of servers, with some CDNs containing thousands of servers. With so many servers, it’s unlikely that they will all be targeted by the DDoS attacks.

DDoS attacks typically target a single server. After all, they are designed to spam a server’s IP address with requests from other IP addresses. Unless a hacker knows the IP addresses of all the CDN’s servers, he or she won’t be able to take it down. Rather, one of the servers may go offline, but the other servers will remain active and unaffected.

Some CDN providers also use software to further identify and protect against DDoS attacks. They’ll scan traffic and requests while looking for signs of suspicious activity. If there’s a DDoS attack underway, the CDN may block the problematic traffic so that it doesn’t take down your business’s’ website.