From the category archives:

Business Survival

DDoS cyber attack can harm you

If you have been reading the papers this morning you already know about Operation Payback, a group looking to avenge what they consider attacks by the corporate world against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Operation Payback attacked and shut down the websites of Assange’s Swiss bank, Amazon, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Facebook and Twitter. The group whose members collectively call themselves Anonymous, blast websites with a program called DDoS. And it is a threat to you as much as it is to banks, corporate giants and rock stars. Here’s a good explanation of what DDoS is about taken from Christian Science Monitor’s story this morning.

“How does a DDoS attack work?

“Individual computers join together to form a collective unit that tries to access the same website thousands of times per second. Most website servers aren’t designed to take that many requests at once, and they collapse under the pressure.

“In many DDoS incidents, computers are directed against their target without the knowledge or consent of their owners. Operation Payback appears to be volunteer-driven, calling upon interested people to download its program and point it at a chosen target.

“Like a firehose pouring into a kitchen sink, a high volume flow can overwhelm a system quickly, causing a server to crash – or a kitchen to become flooded. But in both cases, the problem only lasts as long as the flow continues. Once the firehose turns away, or once Operation Payback targets a new system, the accumulated attempts can wash through – down the drain – and leave little permanent damage.”

For now, Operation Payback uses the computers of their supporters. Who knows if that will change if the group of cyber-attackers decide they need more computers to level attacks at more than one or two sites at a time.

Where will they get those computers? The same place that other DDoS attackers get them, from me and you, usually by hacking into systems and through trojans and malware. While the malware on your computer accesses Facebook a bigglion times a second, try using your computer!

More than ever, be vigilant about your virus protection, and especially avoid opening email from anyone you don’t know and expect to receive email from. Even these measures may not be enough, so back up of your vital data and plan how you can salvage your computer if it starts spewing bullets.

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Is it legal to download and use internet photos?

We hear this question from our clients often. The answer is almost always NO!
You cannot download and use photos from the internet unless the site specifically states that you may download photos and specifies the exact conditions under which you can use them. For instance, you may be given permission to use a photo for personal use. Placing that photo on a commercial site violates copyright code.

What if the site doesn’t say the photo is copyrighted?

It’s copyrighted anyway. You may be surprised to learn that when any U.S. citizen creates anything new (original), that work is automatically accorded a copyright. No forms, registrations, or applications required. It just is and the new photograph is protected even when the photographer uses it on a website without an explicit statement of copyright. The creator must be able to establish that s/he created the artwork. The most common way of doing this to demonstrate that s/he snapped or used the picture prior to an infringement by someone else.

So where can I find free or low-cost photos for my website?

Try www.photoexpress.com, www.istockphotos.com or www.fotolia.com
For other materials to share, remix and reuse legally try http://creativecommons.org

Note:
Always carefully read terms of use and if you are still in doubt, email the website administrator and ask permission before using that great photo you found.

If you are a serious artist, writer or photographer, you will want to look into additional protections for your work before risking it on the Internet.

In any legal matter, always seek professional advice.

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