2014 Hacker Attacks: There Were More Than You Know

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While the world was in an uproar about the alleged North Korea hack on Sony Pictures, many other organizations were compromised as a result of loopholes and deficiencies in their web security. Many of these attacks did not receive as much publicity as the North Korea and Sony Pictures fiasco did. Here is a brief look at some of the other cyber attacks that were going on around the same time.

Who Were the Biggest Hacks of 2014?


Rackspace was the victim of a several hour DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack that left its DNS servers at their London, North Virginia, and Chicago data centers overwhelmed. Company engineers noticed that its DNS requests weren’t resolving at around 12:54 AM EST on December 22, 2014, as a result of the DNS attack. To fix the issue, Rackspace engineers began reducing the amount of services that were running on the affected servers which may have caused some of their legitimate traffic to be blocked.

Approximately 12 hours later, Rackspace had restored much of its DNS service, but not without complications. A small percentage of DNS services that were routing legitimate and DDoS traffic had been blacklisted, and the resolution required further investigation and tweaking by engineers. The complete breach was resolved later on that day.

To prevent further complications from this attack, Rackspace began implementing a Root Cause Analysis to gain better insight and information on what lead to the DDoS attack so they can take the necessary precautions to prevent this type of incident from happening again in the future.

ICANN Network

An unknown hacker used email spoofing to compromise ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in November 2014. The hacker gained access to the company’s internal systems using the credentials of an employee. During the attack, emails were created to look as if they came from ICANN’s domain and sent out to other employees in the organization. The emails may have contained links to bogus websites, which encouraged employees to type in their security credentials, thus providing the hacker with access to their usernames, passwords and other types of confidential information.

Employee names, email addresses and other personal data are stored in ICANN’s Centralized Zone Data System (CZDS) and were compromised as a result of the breach. In addition to the CZDS being breached, ICANN’s blog, GAC Wiki, and WHOIS were all compromised as well.

To resolve the breach, ICANN disabled and reset all passwords and advised its employees to take extra precautions with other online accounts that they have used the same username and password for.

JP Morgan Chase

In what may be forever known as the attack that should have never happened, JP Morgan had to deal with the aftermath of a cyber-attack that reportedly affected at least 83 million of its customers and small business clients. Had JP Morgan implemented a security update to add a two-step authentication process to its servers, the security breach could have been prevented.

The bank states that this situation was very limited in its scope and the only information compromised was email passwords, addresses, and phone numbers. To determine the extent of the breach, JP Morgan is currently in the process of running an internal review to discover any other remaining and potential loopholes that could create security problems in the future. As of this moment, the origin of the attack is not known.

PlayStation Network and Xbox Live

On December 7th, 2014, PSN servers were down. Hacker group Lizard Squad informed the world on Twitter that it was responsible for the attack on PlayStation Network. While Lizard Squad is known for using DDoS attacks on their targets, officials at Sony are not sure if the attack is DDoS in nature. The PlayStation Network was previously taken offline back in August 2014 by the same group. Lizard Squad is also claiming responsibility for the attack that left Xbox Live servers down for several hours on December 1, December 5, and again on December 25, 2014.

PSN’s attack comes right on the heels of a previous attack on Sony in which a large amount of private company information was exposed to the public, via the internet. At the current time, not much information is available on how the attacks were resolved, but both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Networks are up and running.

Challenges These Companies Face

Security breaches and cyber attacks are on the rise. While no company is completely safe, large companies are far more likely to be compromised because they have access to more sensitive data that hackers want. Large companies are experiencing an increasing number of security breaches and are often left scrambling in embarrassment to clean up the mess that these breaches create.

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Some of the most world’s popular companies such as JP Morgan Chase, ICANN and Xbox are not quite prepared for the methods that hackers use to infiltrate their systems. While careful consideration must be given to each organization’s infrastructure, it is apparent that drastic and revolutionary security measures need to be taken sooner than later. As companies resort to adding more software and technology into their infrastructures, more effort needs to be given to identifying the vulnerabilities that software and technology create.

Evolution of Cyber-Attacks

The face of cyber-attacks has evolved. Now hackers use many different tactics including spear-phishing, DDoS, USB devices and other fraudulent methods to compromise some of the world largest and most well-known organizations. These attacks don’t happen all at once; instead they happen persistently. Once hackers gain access to a system, they lurk and systematically steal information for extended periods of time. In many cases, an organization can be compromised using an employee’s credentials while the employee and the company remain unaware of the breach.

There is a problem with the way that organizations are dealing with these attacks. Companies are scrambling and playing catch up when hackers are steadily evolving their tactics to remain ahead of the game. A deeper look needs to be given to software and security protocol to determine where the risks exist so that solutions can be created to get rid of the loopholes. Organizations should invest more of their resources to implement a host of security strategies and measures to protect its vulnerabilities and its customers.

Top image ©GL Stock Images


Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

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Is There Any Money To Be Made Hosting Mobile Games?

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

The virtual gaming industry is big. When taking into account all types of gaming platforms, such as console, PC, and online based games, the entire industry made an estimated $ 93 billion in 2013 alone. Mobile games have earned an estimated $ 23 billion in the past two years with big names games such as Candy Crush earning $ 1.5 billion individually. When confronted with these staggering numbers, it seems like a great idea to begin hosting mobile games. Indeed, companies that are prepared to understand how the gaming community works, hosting online games could be a very smart business move.

Gaming Specific Opportunities

Some of the concepts of managing online gaming communities are similar to ideas from other areas of business:

  • Not everyone enjoys or wants the same thing
  • People desire progression and rewards
  • Some people want to take shortcuts and are willing to pay for them, while others prefer to work things out on their own

Despite these similarities with the business world, games offer something completely unique: the chance to participate in something fun, not to gain any tangible reward, but to achieve a specific emotion. Playing games is enjoyable and helps expand the imagination, but games are only truly successful when they follow rules and patterns. Taking some of the lessons gleaned from other areas of consumer business and applying them to virtual game hosting allows business-minded hosting services to be successful.

The Fickle Minds of the People

One of the most appealing aspects about games is that they often have a beginning and an end. There are loads of games on the market that follow this pattern, but most online games provide continuous play. This means developers must constantly be creating new levels or have an infinity mode within the game. Just because a game never ends does not guarantee people will keep playing it forever. There must be a progression to keep people interested, but sometimes, avid players will simply pick up and quit playing, never to come back to their old favorites. For this reason, along with others, many game developers create several games at once, always providing something new and exciting. For web hosting companies, this does mean that they may be required to host more than one game, which will likely cost more money.

Foreseeable Obstacles

There are a few issues that may come up when starting or maintaining an online gaming server. These include:

  • Bandwidth – From a technical standpoint, games require large servers with lots of bandwidth to keep games running smoothly. Some of the most popular online games are able to be played with friends or strangers from around the world. Your servers must have enough guts to keep everyone’s games from glitching or taking too long to load.
  • Cheating – There will always be savvy players who want to find the limits and loopholes in a game. If there is any kind of multi-player interaction, it is important to have a plan for cheaters who try to hack the system. This means having game developers and administrators on hand.
  • Negative gamer interactions – One of the downsides to any internet system is the possibility of anonymous bullying, or as a gamer might say, trolling. Part of the administrator’s duty it to monitor and respond to abusive communications between gamers. Of course, this problem can be easily bypassed if players are not able to interact, but this does make game play less fun. Having a legal advisor help you construct terms of service can prevent any legal issues that stem from player interaction.
  • Cost – Any type of hosting service is not going to be a “pay once and earn money now” endeavor. Hosting requires lots of investments of both time and money. In order to keep the gaming community growing and satisfied, you will need to continually spend money. However, with the right business plan and experienced staff, your community will rake in revenue.
  • Willpower – If you are serious about building a thriving gamer community, you need to commit yourself to your plan. Failed gaming enterprises may have fallen because those involved did not realize how much work goes into online entertainment and quit too soon..

How to Get Started

If you are an established hosting service that wants to look into the trends of game hosting, there is no better time to start than now! Even if your company is new, as long as you have the technical knowledge and a desire to learn all there is to know about the industry, you have what it takes to begin hosting. Some things you need to get started are:

  1. Some fun and preferably slightly addicting games – Having games that are fun to play is a sure way to get players hooked. Advertise for game developers to use your new service or create games of your own; a gaming host without games is not likely to be popular or make money.
  1. A dedicated hosting network – Do not try to piggyback your games on another server. Make any connections and additions required to link your traditional hosting and new game hosting networks together.
  1. Games developing staff – Be prepared for errors, shut-downs, and glitches by employing a gaming specialist, or train an existing employee how to repair and maintain gaming programs and the hosting network.
  1. Marketing agenda – Have a plan for getting your name out in the public eye. Determine where future game developers browse and create inline marketing strategies targeting them. Always be ready to push advertisements when business slows to gain interested players.
  1. Plan for the future of your services – Game hosting may not begin showing profits right away, so it is important to make a complete business plan. Do not back out too soon, otherwise you may waste all of your good work.

Despite how it looks from the outside, hosting a gaming server is not all fun, fun, fun. It takes a great deal of dedication, experience, and grit. When done properly however, it can be a great business opportunity, especially if you are able to host the next surprise hit. The market opportunity is out there, and all a hosting company needs to do it lay a solid hosting foundation and start attracting the right developers and players. There is billions of dollars to be made in online gaming, it is only a matter of creating an environment that is capable of supporting and nurturing the demand.

Top image ©GL Stock Images


Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

Hey, We Are Employees Too! (Why Is There a Resentment for IT Pros?)

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

In the company I’m working in and the companies I’m providing consultancy services, I always feel a little bitterness both from the management and from the end users. I can safely say that government tax officials are more welcome than myself, no matter how I behave or what I wear. Really, am I the only one feeling like this? No. I have spoken this issue with many colleagues and they admitted that they feel the same when they leave their inn and join other employees. It seems that non-IT personnel simply sees us as people that do not belong to where they belong. It seems like we are not considered as yet another employee; say an accountant’s first impression on a marketing person is way positive compared to the impression on an IT person.

The IT pro image on people’s minds are shaped with the 80’s/90’s movies, where geeks are sitting in a dark rooms in front of monitors(green text over black background), typing commands furiously in incomprehensible languages and breaking into systems, fueled by coke/beer and potato chips/pizza. This image still keeps. No matter what an IT pro becomes, no suit or business jargon can erase this image. We are bunch of geeks hiding our secret craft from the mere mortals, speaking in a sci-fi language. I doesn’t matter if we sit down in the same cafeteria, eat the same meals, use the same public transports, we are incommunicable geeks.

This image is complicated further by the fact that almost all of the world’s businesses depend on information technologies and IT pros are the side effect. Even if you are running a one-person shop, you still need a computer somewhere to perform some tasks and you need an IT pro to keep your computer up and running and to keep your data safe. On the other hand, IT pros are generally types that do not want to rely on somebody else. This creates a one-way relationship and causes avoidance on the non-IT side at the very best.

The reliance on IT pros, especially in terms of data, no doubt gives IT pros the power. In an enterprise all the databases, personal and shared files, emails, archives, backups are managed by the IT department. It is the IT department who accesses and controls such data. This access to and control of the data and the information is unparallelled in the enterprise. Knowledge is power and IT controls it. That makes IT too big and too intrusive.

IT professionals are also seen as a threat to employees’ jobs. It is the IT pro who disables a person’s account when his employee contract is terminated. This makes people see the IT pros as the one who terminates their job while the truth is IT pro is no different than a human resources personnel who sign the termination papers. The other departments involved in the termination process – the boss, manager, human resources, personnel, security – are not blamed as much as IT.

The expectations from the IT professionals are sometimes much more than any expectation placed on any other profession. The ultimate expectation is an immediate resolution of an impossible problem. And this happens daily, a couple of times. A secretary’s broken down computer has to be repaired ASAP. It does not matter if you have other support incidents and requests in the queue. It does not matter if you are in the critical stage of a process. That computer needs to be fixed now. No response time is fast.

And this support must be provided over the telephone without any diagnosis: “I told you it is not working” is all that an IT pro needs to know to solve the issue. IT Pros are expected to understand and solve the problems over the telephone with the information supplied by a person who has no or little understanding about the issue. As expected, the level of support provided will vary from mediocre to impossible. The support person needs to see the problem, which almost always involves having direct access to customer’s hardware. It does not matter if the support person is well trained, dedicated and persistent. Working with no information is simply not possible. It is interesting to note that no doctor is expected to diagnose a patient over the telephone without seeing him, but people cannot think the same for the IT professionals (including my dad).

Once people realize that you get a hold of gadgets (read: servers, operating systems, access points, switches, remote connections), the line between IT support and personal support diminishes. BYOD has also contributed to this blurring line. Yes, we have to solve your connection issue on your tablet as per the company’s policy but we don’t have to understand why this game crashes from time to time on your shiny new smartphone. On the other hand, the knowledge gap between the customer and the IT pro is widening every day. Once the users knew how to find their ways with their gadgets, now they are “simply tapping it and it is not happening.” Both this gap and the blurry line works against the IT pros’ image.

Finally, we are expected to make the impossible. We are expected to provide 24/7/365 support and 24/7/365 availability of the systems. It does not matter if we are operating in a complex environment with different hardware and software vendors, grift application infrastructures and complex equipment. Gmail can be unavailable, that is fine. Outlook.com can be unavailable, fine, you can try a few minutes later. Company’s email system is unavailable? What is the IT people there if they cannot keep the mail server up and running? When will it be fixed? Still they didn’t find out the issue? Bah, they are paid so well but cannot manage a simple email system.

These are our findings about why IT professionals are considered as “the other ones.” Looking at the issues from the other side’s perspective, I cannot say they are at all wrong. My personal experience says these perspectives come to normal when we, the IT pros, have our coffee with the employees on the non-IT side and tell them a little about our problems. Not in an our regular jargon, but in a way that can be understood by everyone. Be sure that the bridges will be built.

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Web Hosting Geeks’ Blog

How Smart Consumers Know the Cheapest Web Hosting Out There

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting Comparison

Web Space NeededA frequently-asked query:

I have a domain I got on Yahoo and I want to transfer it to a cheaper host. What is a good host?

Answer|Web Space FreeExpert Answer: Warning! Using unreliable cheap hosting can leave you devastated and your hard work may be gone in seconds. Web hosting is one of the most important part of your web presence and can mean the success and failure for your business.

Common Mistakes

There are numerous web hosting providers available on the market. Oftentimes, people thought that these web hosting providers are created equally which means that it won’t matter if they get the cheapest web hosting providers without even bothering to check their reputation.


It is easy to transfer a web host to another web host given that you have separate accounts for your domains and hosting service at different companies. In this set up, you just need to login to your domain registrar and change the nameservers of your domains in accordance with the specifications of your new web host. Then add your domains to your new web hosting account. It might take between 2-48 hours before the domain propagation will be completed.

However, the problem is on getting a new web host to transfer into. Some prefer the cheapest web hosting plans without even verifying the quality of their web hosting service. Oftentimes, they tend to have frequent server downtimes and unreliable web hosting service. To really get the best web host, you need to review your web hosting requirements whether you need shared hosting, dedicated server hosting, virtual private server(vps) hosting or perhaps a reseller hosting service. With this step, you can easily filter the best hosting candidates of your choice but review them carefully if they have a good reputation with regards to quality hosting service. IF you really want to have a lesser expense in getting a web hostign service, you can use special discounts and coupon codes that most top hosting companies are providing for their customers.

Before we answer the above question, let us review the 7 things to look for in a good web hosting. An excellent hosting:

  1. has friendly Live Chat for tech support to billing (not only sales),
  2. gives more-than-enough webspace,
  3. offers unlimited bandwidth,
  4. gives multiple add-on domains,
  5. has easy-to-use Site Builder,
  6. has Fantastico and QuickInstall to quickly install apps like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, OSCommerce, ZenCart and more
  7. can be easily upgraded to VPS or one of the cheapest dedicated server plans if and when your business require.

best Domain Hosting

hostgator|web space freeAnswering the above question, more than 80% of experienced Webmasters recommend to try Hostgator. If you are building your first website and needs a hosting plan, experts usually highly recommend going with Hostgator because they are the best domain hosting around.

What if you find out that Hostgator sucks after you signed up with them? HG has an amazingly long, 45 days money back guarantee so you have ample time to test them out. They are rated A+ by Better Business Bureau which shows their commitment to customer satisfaction. You also do not have to pay for the first month. You can just try their fully functional hosting service – you pay only $ 0.01 (you need to use the special coupon). Do you know any other hosting company that can give you that kind of assurance? Anybody can grab an account from Hostgator for almost FREE.

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Click the coupon below try Hostgator cPanel hosting for almost free. If you already know that Hostgator is what you want, you can even save 25% off the normal price with the Hostgator coupon 2013 below.

Why You May Want to Avoid Hostgator

To be honest, no web hosting service is perfect. Drawback of Hostgator includes:

  1. No free domain name – but you can easily get a domain name from the best domain registrar such as Godaddy or Namecheap for $ 10 or less. That is fairly cheap considering a domain name costs no more than a few cups of coffee.
  2. You need to pay full price after your first invoice – well, they need to make money too and all the support and great service do come with a cost

If you are still not sure if HG is right for you, or you have specific query about anything at all, try the Live Chat at HG. They are fast and knowledgeable. Just shoot them some questions before you decide.

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Web Hosting Comparison

Why there is still Emphasis on registering a Website Domain

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Register Website Domain Provides Cheap Domain registration India, which helps you to register domain name fast, simple, and affordable.Our Domain search allows you to search all country domains with ease steps!!
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Are there Disadvantages to VPS Hosting?

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Many think that when they're unhappy with their shared web hosting, VPS is the next natural choice. While they're not wrong and VPS does have a ton of benefits to offer
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