APIPA

APIPA stands for Automatic Private Internet Protocol Addressing.

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APIPA is in every version of Windows since NT and all versions of Mac OS X.

APIPA is a DHCP mechanism that provides DHCP clients with self-assigned IP addresses when DHCP servers are not available. When there isn’t a DHCP server available, APIPA assigns IPs from 169.254.0.1 to 169.254.255.254 with a default mask of 255.255.0.0.

Clients leverage ARP ( Address Resolution Protocol )to verify their address doesn’t conflict with another on the network. APIPA is enabled on all interfaces of all DHCP clients in pretty much all modern operating systems.

10 Cybersecurity Myths

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A new infographic by Varonis, titled “10 Cyber Security Myths Putting Your Business at Risk” identifies what is the myth and what is the reality. If you are like most small business owners, you probably aren’t a digital security expert. So, having a look at this infographic may be the best way to identify weaknesses in your security protocol.

With small businesses increasingly becoming targets of cyber-attacks, it is extremely important for owners to stay abreast of the latest developments in digital security.

On the official Varonis blog, Senior Director of Inbound Marketing Rob Sobers writes, “The proliferation of high-profile hacks in the news cycle often tricks small- and medium-sized businesses into thinking that they won’t be targets of attack.”

But this may not be the case, Sobers warns. Staying in the know makes it much harder for you to fall victim to the relentless attacks by cybercriminals.

Sobers ads, “If you or your employees believe any of the myths below, you could be opening up your business to unknown risk.”

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The number one myth listed on the new infographic? ‘A strong password is enough to keep your business safe’. Although a strong password is important — and certainly better than ‘Admin1234′ — you need to do more.

Having a two-factor authentication and data monitoring adds another level of protection. And adding this layer of protection is in many cases enough to drive the average hacker to look for easier targets.

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Another myth listed on the infographic? “Small and medium-size businesses aren’t targeted by hackers. This is obviously false because hackers are opportunists who will target anyone as long as they can benefit from it. And small businesses are not excluded from this.

The 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report has revealed 58 percent of data breach victims are small businesses, so the idea the size of your business might exclude you is definitely a myth.

Cybercriminals hack computer systems for a variety of reasons. Once they breach your security, they could use it to launch a DDoS attack, use your IP address for other nefarious purposes and more.

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Much like some businesses believe they won’t be attacked because of their size, other businesses wrongly assume that they won’t be attacked because of the industry they’re in. This myth also goes hand-in-hand with the belief that some companies don’t have anything “worth” stealing. The reality is that any sensitive data, from credit card numbers to addresses and personal information, can make a business a target.

What’s more, even if the data being targeted doesn’t have resale value on the dark web, it may be imperative for the business to function. Ransomware, for example, can render data unusable unless you pay for a decryption key. This can make attacks very profitable for cybercriminals, even if the data is deemed “low value.”

anti-virus-myth

Anti-virus software is certainly an important part of keeping your organization safe — but it won’t protect you from everything. The software is just the beginning of a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. To truly protect your organization, you need a total solution that encompasses everything from employee training to insider threat detection and disaster protection.

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While outsider threats are certainly a concern and should be monitored extensively, insider threats are just as dangerous and should be watched just as closely. In fact, research suggests that insider threats can account for up to 75 percent of data breaches.

These threats can come from anyone on the inside, from disgruntled employees looking for professional revenge to content employees without proper cybersecurity training, so it’s important to have a system in place to deter and monitor insider threats.

IT-cybersecurity-responsibility

While IT has a big responsibility when it comes to implementing and reviewing policies to keep companies cyber safe, true cybersecurity preparedness falls on the shoulders of every employee, not just those within the information technology department.

For example, according to Verizon, 49 percent of malware is installed over email. If your employees aren’t trained on cybersecurity best practices, like how to spot phishing scams and avoid unsafe links, they could be opening up your company to potential threats.

public-wifi-password-myth

If your business has employees who travel often, work remotely or use shared workspaces, they may incorrectly assume that a password keeps a Wi-Fi network safe. In reality, Wi-Fi passwords primarily limit the number of users per network; other users using the same password can potentially view the sensitive data that’s being transmitted. These employees should invest in VPNs to keep their data more secure.

computer-infected-myth

A decade or so ago it may have been true that you could tell immediately if your computer was infected with a virus — tell-tale signs included pop-up ads, slow-to-load browsers and, in extreme cases, full-on system crashes.

However, today’s modern malware is much more stealthy and hard to detect. Depending on the strain your computer or network is infected with, it’s quite possible that your compromised machine will continue running smoothly, allowing the virus to do damage for some time before detection.

BYOD-security-myth

Employees often assume that their personal devices are immune to the security protocols the company’s computers are subjected to. As such, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have opened up companies to the cyber risk they may not be aware of. Employees who use their personal devices for work-related activities need to follow the same protocols put in place on all of the network’s computers.

These rules aren’t limited to cell phones and laptops. BYOD policies should cover all devices that access the internet, including wearables and any IoT devices.

cybersecurity-preparedness-myth

Cybersecurity is an ongoing battle, not a task to be checked off and forgotten about. New malware and attack methods consistently put your system and data at risk. To truly keep yourself cyber safe, you have to continuously monitor your systems, conduct internal audits, and review, test, and evaluate contingency plans.

Keeping a business cyber safe is a continuous effort and one that requires every employee’s participation. If anyone at your company has fallen victim to one of the myths above, it may be time to rethink your cybersecurity training and audit your company to assess your risk.

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Source: Varonis, Smallbiztrends

Filter Bubble

A filter bubble is an intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption.

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Websites make these assumptions based on the information related to the user, such as former click behavior, browsing history, search history, and location. For that reason, the websites are more likely to present only information that will abide by the user’s past activity.

A filter bubble, therefore, can cause users to get significantly less contact with contradicting viewpoints, causing the user to become intellectually isolated.

Personalized search results from Google and personalized news stream from Facebook are two perfect examples of this phenomenon.

What are filters and where exactly is the “bubble?”

Language and location are the two most basic filters Google and other sites use to deliver personalized results. If you are searching Google for an electrician and you speak English and live in Ohio, Google knows there’s no need to show you the link to a bilingual electrician in Texas.

There are many other factors that Google and others use to personalize results to you. All of these filters create a bubble around you. The information that filters deem important to you goes into the bubble; the rest stays outside of the bubble and does not show up in search results.

The term filter bubble was coined by internet activist Eli Pariser in his book, “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You” (2011).

Pariser relates a case in which a user searches for “BP” on Google and gets investment news regarding British Petroleum as the search result, while another user receives details on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for the same keyword. These two search results are noticeably different and could affect the searchers’ impression of the news surrounding the British Petroleum company.

According to Pariser, this bubble impact could have adverse effects on social discourse. However, others say the impact is negligible.

How Are Filter Bubbles Created?

Algorithmic websites, like many search engines and social media sites, show users content based on their past behavior. Depending on what you’ve clicked on in the past, the website shows you what it thinks you are most likely to engage with.

Social Media companies, like Facebook, want you to keep using the product. So instead of being a feed of all the information, Facebook is selective with what it puts in your feed. People often assume that the information they see is unbiased when it is actually skewed towards their beliefs.

Here is what Mark Zuckerberg said emphasizing the importance of news feed in Facebook and how they need to customized from user to user:

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Rarely do we go past the page-1 of our Google searches? Highly filtered results (which most of us prefer – living in a bubble), meaning other stuff gets demoted. And the personalization increases as algorithm gets more training on your interests, and thus the wall of bubble goes thicker and thicker.

Why are Filter Bubbles Bad?

After a while of only seeing results they agree with, people begin to believe that they are more correct and then their views are strengthened and solidified. This means that when someone disagrees with them, both of their views are likely to be more polarized. As a result, these people are less likely to agree with each other, or even talk to each other.

Filter bubbles are a kind of “intellectual isolation”. This isolation creates ignorance to other perspectives and opinions.

The negative of personalization and filter bubbles is that you will only see information that you like. Google is not going to challenge or disagree with you. (Its search results and what flows into your “bubble” are all based on algorithms.) It’s important to know, you’re only seeing one side of the story: Your side. When we are only surrounded by information and people we agree with, we miss opportunities to learn and grow.

The other con associated with the bubble is Page Ranking. Search engines use this to categorize, and rank pages based on the number of hits or popularity of a given website or content. This doesn’t make the information accurate, but we tend to believe that because it ranks higher in the search than other websites it must be legit. This takes away our ability to dig deeper for relevant information.

How can you burst out of it?

In order to burst the filter bubble following steps can be handy.

  1. To get rid of your search history.
  2. To turn off targeted ads using ad blocking software
  3. Ensuring that you delete your browser cookies
  4. Disabling tracking cookie features
  5. Keeping your Facebook data private, altogether!
  6. Going incognito or anonymous
  7. Private search engines are a great way to avoid filter bubbles.

What is the difference between the Filter Bubble and Personalisation?

Personalisation is the process and filter bubble the result. Personalization makes you only see stuff in your feed that is supposed to be relevant to you. That creates a filter bubble in which everything else is filtered out.

Additional Resources:

Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles” – Watch the eight minute video of his speech at Ted 2011.

I’d love to hear your comments. Do drop a comment below.

Source: Techopedia, Search Encrypt, BlitzmediadesignYingyingxia

HTTP/3

The HTTP-over-QUIC experimental protocol will be renamed to HTTP/3 and is expected to become the third official version of the HTTP protocol, officials at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have revealed.

This will become the second Google-developed experimental technology to become an official HTTP protocol upgrade after Google’s SPDY technology became the base of HTTP/2.

HTTP-over-QUIC is a rewrite of the HTTP protocol that uses Google’s QUIC instead of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) as its base technology.

QUIC

QUIC stands for “Quick UDP Internet Connections” and is, itself, Google’s attempt at rewriting the TCP protocol as an improved technology that combines HTTP/2, TCP, UDP, and TLS (for encryption), among many other things.

In a mailing list discussion last month, Mark Nottingham, Chair of the IETF HTTP and QUIC Working Group, made the official request to rename HTTP-over-QUIC as HTTP/3, and pass it’s a development from the QUIC Working Group to the HTTP Working Group.

In the subsequent discussions that followed and stretched over several days, Nottingham’s proposal was accepted by fellow IETF members, who gave their official seal of approval that HTTP-over-QUIC becomes HTTP/3, the next major iteration of the HTTP protocol, the technology that underpins today’s World Wide Web.

According to web statistics portal W3Techs, as of November 2018, 31.2 percent of the top 10 million websites support HTTP/2, while only 1.2 percent support QUIC.

What is QUIC?

QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) is a new transport protocol for the internet, developed by Google.

QUIC solves a number of transport-layer and application-layer problems experienced by modern web applications while requiring little or no change from application writers. QUIC is very similar to TCP+TLS+HTTP2 but implemented on top of UDP. Having QUIC as a self-contained protocol allows innovations which aren’t possible with existing protocols as they are hampered by legacy clients and middleboxes.

Key advantages of QUIC over TCP+TLS+HTTP2 include:

  • Connection establishment latency
  • Improved congestion control
  • Multiplexing without head-of-line blocking
  • Forward error correction
  • Connection migration

Connection Establishment

QUIC handshakes frequently require zero roundtrips before sending a payload, as compared to 1-3 roundtrips for TCP+TLS.

The first time a QUIC client connects to a server, the client must perform a 1-roundtrip handshake in order to acquire the necessary information to complete the handshake. The client sends an inchoate (empty) client hello (CHLO), the server sends a rejection (REJ) with the information the client needs to make forward progress, including the source address token and the server’s certificates. The next time the client sends a CHLO, it can use the cached credentials from the previous connection to immediately send encrypted requests to the server.

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Congestion Control

QUIC has pluggable congestion control and provides richer information to the congestion control algorithm than TCP. Currently, Google’s implementation of QUIC uses a reimplementation of TCP Cubic and is experimenting with alternative approaches.

One example of richer information is that each packet, both original and retransmitted, carries a new sequence number. This allows a QUIC sender to distinguish ACKs for retransmissions from ACKs for originals and avoids TCP’s retransmission ambiguity problem. QUIC ACKs also explicitly carry the delay between the receipt of a packet and its acknowledgment being sent, and together with the monotonically-increasing sequence numbers.  This allows for precise roundtrip-time calculation.

Finally, QUIC’s ACK frames support up to 256 NACK ranges, so QUIC is more resilient to reordering than TCP (with SACK), as well as able to keep more bytes on the wire when there is reordering or loss. Both client and server have a more accurate picture of which packets the peer has received.

Multiplexing

One of the larger issues with HTTP2 on top of TCP is the issue of head-of-line blocking. The application sees a TCP connection as a stream of bytes. When a TCP packet is lost, no streams on that HTTP2 connection can make forward progress until the packet is retransmitted and received by the far side – not even when the packets with data for these streams have arrived and are waiting in a buffer.

Because QUIC is designed from the ground up for multiplexed operation, lost packets carrying data for an individual stream generally only impact that specific stream. Each stream frame can be immediately dispatched to that stream on arrival, so streams without loss can continue to be reassembled and make forward progress in the application.

Forward Error Correction

In order to recover from lost packets without waiting for a retransmission, QUIC can complement a group of packets with an FEC packet. Much like RAID-4, the FEC packet contains parity of the packets in the FEC group. If one of the packets in the group is lost, the contents of that packet can be recovered from the FEC packet and the remaining packets in the group. The sender may decide whether to send FEC packets to optimize specific scenarios (e.g., beginning and end of a request).

Connection Migration

QUIC connections are identified by a 64-bit connection ID, randomly generated by the client. In contrast, TCP connections are identified by a 4-tuple of source address, source port, destination address, and destination port. This means that if a client changes IP addresses (for example, by moving out of Wi-Fi range and switching over to cellular) or ports (if a NAT box loses and rebinds the port association), any active TCP connections are no longer valid. When a QUIC client changes IP addresses, it can continue to use the old connection ID from the new IP address without interrupting any in-flight requests.

For a detailed explanation, read the book: HTTP/3 Explained by Daniel Stenberg

HTTP/3 explained is a free and open booklet describing the HTTP/3 and QUIC protocols.

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Watch this Google Developers QUIC tech Talk:

Do drop a comment below.

Source: zdnet, Google, Chromium Blog, Chromium

 

How to Be Invisible Online (Without Going off the Grid)

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Are you concerned about your online security? With more data breaches occurring daily, it’s crucial to protect yourself with these simple tips.

This infographic is a comprehensive look at how you can reduce your online visibility to protect your privacy, but still be seen by your family and friends. From browsing the internet to safety on social media platforms, you don’t need to be a technical genius to lessen your online risk.

You don’t have to leave the grid to disappear from hackers and unscrupulous businesses who exploit you and your information for their gain without your knowledge. However, it’s critical to protect your data on each platform you use.

Unfortunately, these big corporations don’t always have our best interests at heart. As we’ve seen from the multiple data breaches, there are times that consumers aren’t told about the hack until it was too late. Repairing your credit and personal information after a data hack is scary. By locking down your data now, you’ll save yourself a bigger headache later.

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Source: Barbara Davidson, Robin

How to Find Hidden & Saved Passwords in Windows 10

For years users have wanted to save time and effort when accessing servers on the network, Web sites requiring credentials, etc. So, there have been options in the operating system to save usernames and passwords for faster and easier access. I am sure you have seen this, either in a prompt or a checkbox, asking you to save the password. In Windows, you have the ability to store the credentials for resources that you access often, or just don’t want to have to remember the password.  Although this is a time-saving option, you might want to reconsider using this feature due to security issues.

Key Holder

Windows stores the passwords that you use to log in, access network shares, or shared devices. All of these passwords are stored in an encrypted format, but some passwords easily are decrypted using your Windows login password.

Windows stores the login credential details in a hidden desktop app named Credential Manager. Here is how to find this app, how to see which credentials are stored by Windows and how to manage them:

What is the Credential Manager?

Credential Manager is the “digital locker” where Windows stores log-in credentials like usernames, passwords, and addresses. This information can be saved by Windows for use on your local computer, on other computers in the same network, servers or internet locations such as websites. This data can be used by Windows itself or by programs like File Explorer, Microsoft Office, Skype, virtualization software and so on. Credentials are split into several categories:

  • Windows Credentials – are used only by Windows and its services. For example, Windows can use these credentials to automatically log you into the shared folders of another computer on your network. It can also store the password of the Homegroup you have joined and uses it automatically each time you access what is being shared in that Homegroup. If you type a wrong log-in credential, Windows remembers it and fails to access what you need. If this happens, you can edit or remove the incorrect credential, as shown in later sections of this article.
  • Certificate-Based Credentials – they are used together with smart-cards, mostly in complex business network environments. Most people will never need to use such credentials and this section is empty on their computers. However, if you want to know more about them, read this article from Microsoft: Guidelines for enabling smart card logon with third-party certification authorities.
  • Generic Credentials – are defined and used by some of the apps you install in Windows so that they get the authorization to use certain resources. Examples of such apps include OneDrive, Slack, Xbox Live, etc.
  • Web Credentials – they represent login information for websites that are stored by Windows, Skype, Internet Explorer or other Microsoft apps. They exist only in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, but not in Windows 7.

How to open the Credential Manager in Windows:

The method that works the same in all versions of Windows. First, open the Control Panel and then go to “User Accounts  –> Credential Manager.”

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You’ll notice there are two categories: Web Credentials and Windows Credentials. The web credentials will have any passwords from sites that you saved while browsing in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. Click on the down arrow and then click on the Show link.

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You’ll have to type in your Windows password in order to decrypt the password.

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f you click on Windows Credentials, you ’ll see fewer credentials stored here unless you work in a corporate environment. These are credentials when connecting to network shares, different computers on the network, or network devices such as a NAS.

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In the same way, I’ll also mention how you can view Google Chrome saved passwords. Basically, each browser has the same feature, so you can do the same thing for Firefox, Safari, etc. In Chrome, click on the three dots at the top right and then click on Settings. Scroll down and then click on Passwords.

Under Passwords, enable Offer to save your web passwords. You can view the saved passwords.

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History of the Credential Manager:

According to a 1996 Network Applications Consortium (NAC) study, users in large enterprises spend an average of 44 hours per year performing login tasks to access a set of four applications. The same study revealed that 70 percent of calls to companies’ Help desks were password-reset requests from users who had forgotten a password.

Single sign-on (SSO) is an approach that attempts to reduce the time users spend performing login tasks and the number of passwords users must remember. The Open Group, an international vendor and technology-neutral consortium dedicated to improving business efficiency, defines SSO as the “mechanism whereby a single action of user authentication and authorization can permit a user to access all computers and systems where that user has access permission, without the need to enter multiple passwords”

SSO solutions come in two flavors: solutions that deal with one set of user credentials and solutions that deal with multiple sets of user credentials.

A good example of the first type of solution is a Kerberos authentication protocol-based SSO setup.

A good example of the second type of solution is the Credential Manager. Credential Manager is a new SSO solution that Microsoft offers in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. It’s based on a secure client-side credential-caching mechanism.

The Windows 2000 (and earlier) requirement that users must re-enter the same credentials whenever they access resources on the same Internet or intranet server can be frustrating for users, especially when they have more than one set of credentials. Administrators often must cope with the same frustration when they have to switch to alternative credentials to perform administrative tasks. Credential Manager solves these problems.

Conclusion:

Browser-stored passwords make it easy for hackers to get inside your network

allowing a browser to “remember” passwords can pose a major security risk because:

  • Password recovery tools can easily find these passwords.
  • Browsers typically do not use strong encryption for these passwords.
  • Users do not monitor and rarely change these passwords once they store them in their browser.

DO NOT USE THE “REMEMBER PASSWORD” FEATURE ON APPLICATIONS SUCH AS WEB BROWSERS (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer etc.)

For IT Admins:

Get your FREE Browser-Stored Password Discovery Tool from Thycotic to quickly and easily identify risky storage of passwords in web browsers among your Active Directory users. You get reports that identify:

  • Top 10 common machines with browser-stored passwords
  • Top 10 common users with browser-stored passwords
  • Top 10 most frequently used websites with browser-stored passwords

The Browser-Stored Password Discovery Tool is free. You can re-run the Browser-Stored Password Discovery Tool at any time to identify browser password risks and help enforce compliance with web browser security policies.

Source: online-tech-tips, digitalcitizen, techgenix,