Data Mining

Data Mining

Data mining is a process that allows businesses and other organizations to use the information consumers provide to reveal more than information than they might realize.

Data mining is used to simplify and summarize data in a manner that can be understood, and then allow us to infer things about specific cases based on the patterns we have observed. Of course, specific applications of data mining methods are normally tailored for specific needs and goals. However, there are a few main types of pattern detection that are frequently used.

Anomaly detection: In a large data set it is possible to get a picture of what the data tends to look like in a typical case. Statistics can be used to determine if something is notably different from this pattern.

Association learning: This is the type of data mining that drives the Amazon recommendation system. For instance, this might reveal that customers who bought a cocktail shaker and a cocktail recipe book also often buy martini glasses. These types of findings are often used for targeting advertising.

Cluster detection: One type of pattern recognition that is particularly useful is recognizing distinct clusters or sub-categories within the data. Without data mining, an analyst would have to look at the data and decide on a set of categories which they believe captures the relevant distinctions between apparent groups in the data. This would risk missing important categories. With data mining it is possible to let the data itself determine the groups.

Classification: If an existing structure is already known, data mining can be used to classify new cases into these pre-determined categories. Learning from a large set of pre-classified examples, algorithms can detect persistent systemic differences between items in each group and apply these rules to new classification problems.

Regression: Data mining can be used to construct predictive models based on many variables. Facebook, for example, might be interested in predicting future engagement for a user based on past behavior. Factors like the amount of personal information shared, number of photos tagged, friend requests initiated or accepted, comments, likes etc. could all be included in such a model.

Data mining, in this way, can grant immense inferential power. If an algorithm can correctly classify a case into known category based on limited data, it is possible to estimate a wide-range of other information about that case based on the properties of all the other cases in that category. This may sound dry, but it is how most successful Internet companies make their money and from where they draw their power.

What is net neutrality?

 

What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging deferentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of telephone systems.

A widely cited example of a violation of net neutrality principles was when the Internet service provider Comcast was secretly slowing (colloquially called “throttling”) uploads from peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P) applications using forged packets. Research suggests that a combination of policy instruments will help realize the range of valued political and economic objectives central to the network neutrality debate. Combined with strong public opinion, this has led some governments to regulate broadband Internet services as a public utility, similar to the way electricity, gas and water supply is regulated, along with limiting providers and regulating the options those providers can offer.

The idea of an “open Internet” is the idea that the full resources of the Internet and means to operate on it should be easily accessible to all individuals, companies and organizations. This often includes ideas such as net neutrality, open standards, transparency, lack of Internet censorship, and low barriers to entry. The concept of the open Internet is sometimes expressed as an expectation of decentralized technological power, and is seen by some observers as closely related to open-source software, a type of software program where the maker allows users access to the code that runs the program, so that users can improve the software or fix “bugs”.

 

Proponents of net neutrality see this as an important component of an “open Internet”, where policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow those using the Internet to easily communicate and conduct business and activities without interference from a third party. A “closed Internet” refers to the opposite situation, in which established persons, corporations or governments favor certain uses. A closed Internet may have restricted access to necessary web standards, artificially degrade some services, or explicitly filter out content. Some countries block certain websites or types of sites and monitor and/or censor Internet use using Internet police, a specialized type of law enforcement or secret police.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

Following net neutrality, an ISP will be prohibited from slowing the delivery of a TV show simply because it’s streamed by a video company that competes with a subsidiary of the ISP. That doesn’t mean everyone gets the same level of Internet service, as people already pay for different speeds of service.

So who supports net neutrality? Content providers, Apple and Google among them, support net neutrality. More than 4 million people filed public comments with the FCC about net neutrality, more than any on any issue it has handled.

And who’s against net neutrality? Not surprisingly, over two-dozen broadband companies, including AT&T, Comcast, Cox and Verizon.

 

What is a Firewall?

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What is a Firewall?
Regardless of what type of firewall you choose to use, having one on your computer is a really good idea. A firewall helps to prevent computer hackers from accessing your computer through the Internet, and stealing sensitive information or infecting your computer system with some form of computer virus. A hacker can gain access to your system by “back doors” or open ports that connect your computer to the Internet. With a firewall in place these ports are blocked from inbound traffic, effectively closing the door in the hackers face.

Of course, damage can also be done to your computer from outbound traffic as well. Say for instance a hacker was able to slip by you with a Trojan, virus, spyware or phishing scheme that went undetected. The next time you booted up your computer and connected to the Internet, information on your computer could be sent out to the hacker. Many firewalls also block outbound traffic that will help prevent this from happening.

There are basically two ways that Firewalls work. Generally, data that comes in is analyzed by the firewall to determine the IP address it is coming from and the content that it contains. The firewall system then checks to see if this information is compliant with rules that you are able to configure. It can also analyze information at the application level. The firewall program will determine whether or not the application should be able to send or receive data through the port you are connected by.

Firewall programs are extremely important to the protection of not only your computer system, but your personal information as well. Many anti-virus programs come with firewall protection. Firewall protection should be considered an essential part of any computer’s security strategy.

Do need help choosing a firewall for yourself or your company? Call Businets.

How Do Computer Viruses Work?

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How Do Computer Viruses Work?

An infected program is run on the device. This is either a program file or a boot sector program at boot time. In the case of a Microsoft Word document the virus can be activated as soon as the document that contains it is opened for reading within Microsoft Word.

The infected program has been modified so that instead of the proper code running, the virus code runs instead. This is usually done by the virus modifying the first few instructions to “jump” to where the virus code is stored. The virus code begins to execute.

The virus code becomes active and takes control of the PC. There are two ways that a virus will behave when it is run: direct-action viruses will immediately execute, often seeking other programs to infect and/or exhibiting whatever other possibly malicious behavior their author coded into them. Many file-infector viruses are direct-action. In contrast, memory-resident viruses don’t do anything immediately; they load themselves into memory and wait for a triggering event that will cause them to “act”. Many file infectors and all boot infectors do this.

What the virus does depends on what the virus is written to do. Their primary goals however include replication and spreading, so viruses will generally search for new targets that they can infect. For example, a boot sector virus will attempt to install itself on hard disks or floppy disks that it finds in the system. File infectors may stay in memory and look for programs being run that they can target for infection.

“Malevolent” viruses that damage files or wreak havoc in other ways will often act on triggers. There are viruses that will only activate on particular days of the year or act randomly, say, deleting a file every 8th time they are run. Some viruses do nothing other than trying to maximize their own infection to as many files and systems as possible.

We hope you found this information helpful. If you have problems with viruses on your computer, remember that Businets can help!

What is VoIP?

 

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What is VoIP? VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol.

Voice over Internet Protocol is a category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice data in packets using IP rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the PSTN.

Some advantages of VoIP

One advantage of VoIP is that the telephone calls over the Internet do not incur a surcharge beyond what the user is paying for Internet access.

Internet telephony isn’t a new technology — it’s been around for many years in one form or another, but only fairly recently has it become reliable and ubiquitous enough to be a serious choice for business. While Internet telephony was once an oddity often plagued for garbled and dropped calls, these days a well-planned and implemented VoIP system can provide call quality and reliability that rivals mobile phone or landline calls.

How VoIP Works

To understand how VoIP, short for Voice over Internet Protocol, works, it’s helpful to compare it to how conventional phone calls operate. When you place a “regular” phone call using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), also known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) you use what’s called circuit-switched telephony. This system works by setting up a dedicated channel (or circuit) between two points for the duration of the call. These telephony systems are based on copper wires carrying analog voice data over the dedicated circuits.

This is in contrast to newer Internet telephony networks based on digital technologies. VoIP, in contrast to PSTN, uses what is called packet-switched telephony. Using this system, the voice information travels to its destination in countless individual network packets across the Internet. This type of communication presents special TCP/IP challenges because the Internet wasn’t really designed for the kind of real-time communication a phone call represents.

Individual packets may — and almost always do — take different paths to the same place. It’s not enough to simply get VoIP packets to their destination. They must arrive through a fairly narrow time window and be assembled in the correct order to be intelligible to the recipient. VoIP employs encoding schemes and compression technology to reduce the size of the voice packets so they can be transmitted more efficiently.

Business VoIP services is commercial-class versions of residential VoIP services that provide small and medium-sized businesses with advanced features and functionality such as private branch exchange (PBX) capabilities, conference calling, desk-to-desk calling, music on hold and automated attendants.

While residential VoIP plans typically feature a flat-rate pricing structure and allow for only one call at a time, most business VoIP and enterprise VoIP providers offer tiered usage plans and support multiple simultaneous calls.

 

Are you interested in starting a VoIP phone system for your office? Call Businets Today!

Social Engineering Attacks

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Social engineering attacks use the art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information. It is usually the second portion of a spear phishing attack, and often times a success for the attacker.  It can also be a direct attack by someone who has figured out the best path into tricking a victim into trusting them, The types of information these criminals are seeking can vary, but they are ultimately searching for a way to access your personal information, like log in’s and passwords, so they can then gain access to things like your bank account or credit cards, and take them over.

Criminals use social engineering tactics because it is usually easier to exploit your natural inclination to trust than it is to discover ways to hack your software.  For example, it is much easier to fool someone into giving you their password than it is for you to try hacking their password. This happens all the time.

If you find yourself in a situation where a Facebook friend’s old account is suddenly active again, this could be an instance of a Social Engineering attack. Emails are commonly used as well. Stay wary of anything that seems out of the blue, and never give out your passwords.

Security is all about knowing who and what to trust. Knowing when, and when not to, to take a person at their word; when to trust that the person you are communicating with is indeed the person you think you are communicating with; when to trust that a website is or isn’t legitimate; when to trust that the person on the phone is or isn’t legitimate; when providing your information is or isn’t a good idea.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a Social Engineered attack, you have multiple places that you can go for help. Banks are often able to recover stolen accounts, and there are professional security companies, Like Businets, that can help you as well.

What is a Server? What are they made of?

server (n.) A computer or device on a network that manages network resources. There are many different types of servers. For example:

  1. File server: a computer and storage device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network can store files on the server.
  2. Print server: a computer that manages one or more printers, and a network server is a computer that manages network traffic.
  3. Database server: a computer system that processes database queries.

Server

You hear it all the time, “Our servers are down!” and this is never a good thing. These devices house information for internal computer systems, and the internet as we know it. They are a necessary hardware that provides the computing power required to run business software systems. Every time you command your computer or device to access a file, program, or webpage, you are accessing a server.

Fun Fact! The world’s biggest data center is based in Chicago, and is backed up by 53 generators. It utilizes 8.5 million gallons of cooling fluid per year. It is 1.1 million square fit in size and was converted to telecom use back in 1999.

Businets is an authorized HP solution provider. This kind of dedication to the latest and greatest technology is what makes Businets the leader in server installation in Virginia for the last 20 years. We’ve designed customized technology solutions for some of the leading institutions in the Fredericksburg area. We’re proud of the clients we’ve been privileged to serve over the years— clients like medical, government (local and state), schools, law enforcement, real estate, builders, law offices, sports complexes, government contractors, retail, food service, newspapers, politicians, insurance agencies, property managers, maintenance companies, cleaners, beverage companies, telemarketers, surveyors, engineering firms, auto dealerships, and even a giant greenhouse – just to name a few.

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Malvertising

Malvertising is a deceptive process of injecting and spreading malware through legitimate online ads through reputable web sites and pages. Anyone can fall victim to this. Ads can infect you from your local newspaper website, your local radio station, and pretty much any other website that allows advertising. This technique can go completely undetected by the manager of the website causing infections, as often times the ads look identical to the ads that are supposed to be there. Attackers have become so skilled at masking ads, that they can even disguise ads from paid ad networks to look like they belong, but they don’t. As if you needed any other reasons not to trust online advertising.

The compound word for “malicious advertising,” malvertising continues to become a dramatically wide spread issue, as newer forms of malvertising can now infect computers, servers, and even mobile devices without the user even clicking on an ad to visit an infected link or page.

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Malvertising code can secretly run on your computer, deliver malware payloads, and execute the payload before you or your security software has a chance to identify and prevent it from happening. There are security measures that businesses and individuals can take to stay safe from these types of attack, but they are most often disregarded and overlooked. Malvertising creators have also started scanning their products before releasing them into the wild to make sure that they aren’t readily picked up by antivirus software.

The damage from malvertising can include, but is not limited to:

  • Loading ransomware onto a computer
  • Injecting keystroke-monitoring spyware
  • Interfere with or disrupt the proper functioning of a computer, mobile device, or network.

 

We can help you make sure you are safe from these kinds of attacks. Managed services for your office will help keep your systems secure.

Personal Tech Support for Everyone

Most IT companies put their full focus on working with other businesses. That’s fine for them, but Businets believes in using our expertise helping everyone. The majority of people believe their only options for getting personal tech support for their computers or internet is to call their cable company, visit a big box store, call a company who only works with large infrastructures, or call the closest teenager. That is just not the case if you know about Businets.

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If you’re a Fredericksburg and surrounding area local, you can bring your effected device (PC or printer) to our facility off Lansdowne Road for tech support, where we have a fully equipped computer repair facility. Our “depot” rates are cheaper than our on-site rates and we have more in-house resources to help resolve your problem. Another perk, you are not paying for someone to download drivers or sit around while scanning your computers for viruses, which is what you would encounter at a big box store. We only charge for the time spent repairing your system.

In house repairs can be considerably cheaper than paying a technician to come out. This is especially true for one of the most common problems, spy-ware infections.

Can’t make it out to visit our facility? No problem! No matter the reason, the equipment is too big to move, the problem is too complicated, or if you just don’t want to deal with moving it, we will come to you. We have the right technician for any problem. Your issue will be resolved quickly and professionally by our highly skilled technicians.

Even if you are across the country, or on the other side of the globe, we can help! With remote access technology, we are able to access the equipment in question and help fix the problem.

Just like going to the dentist, doctor, or lawyer, you want a professional to work on your computer even if it’s your home computer. You wouldn’t put your social security number or banking information in the hands of a law or medical student, so why hand it over to just anyone who seems like they might know how to fix a computer?

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RAT’s in the Machine

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RAT’s are one of the most common forms of Cyber Attack, and pretty difficult to find if you have one.  They are designed to provide the attacker with complete control over the compromised computer or computer system. They can be used to steal information, to spy on victims, and remotely control computers.  RAT infections are normally brought on by spear phishing and social engineering attacks. Although RAT’s have been around for a long time, they are still tough for even the most advanced IT Professional to find.

RAT’s are able to open actual network ports on the effected machines, which is a normal operation, so it doesn’t present as a problem to security software. Random Access Trojans are also able to mimic real and commonly used commercial remote administration tools. This can cause the actions to appear as though they are being caused by an actual administrator, so it is often not even questioned until it is too late.

Some Random Access Trojans have interesting names, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. The following 3 RAT’s are among the most common and have very specific purposes.

The Dark Comet RAT gives administration capabilities of the infected machine to the attacker. It was first identified in 2011 and still infects thousands of computers without being detected. Dark Comet uses Crypters to hide it existence from antivirus tools. It performs several malicious administrative tasks such as disabling Task Manager, Windows Firewall, and Windows UAC.

The Alien Spy RAT targets Apple OS X platforms which only uses traditional protection such as antivirus. This RAT collects system information, can activates webcams, establishes secure connections with the C&C server , and provides full access to the infected computer. That’s some scary stuff!

Last, but not least, the HeseberBOT RAT uses Virtual Networking Computing (VNC) as part of its operation. Since VNC is a real remote administration tool, this allows it to remain undetected by antivirus software. HesberBOT then uses uses VNC to transfer files and provide control over the infected machine.

So, which rats are you more concerned about? Be careful out there! Don’t forget to call Businets when you need IT help!