It network faxing capabilities

If you sense resistance during the IT network sales cycle, listen very carefully to the prospect's objections. Many times, they like what they hear, but small business owners need to hear three or four different opinions in order to bolster their confidence. Take time to understand exactly what's driving the investment in this planned IT network.

In small business IT consulting many of your prospects and clients will have similar IT network needs.

Consider Faxing Needs

Most small business employees have similar experiences when it comes to sending faxes. When a document that needs to be faxed is complete, the employee prints the document and cover sheet, gets up from the desk, walks over to the fax machine, and stands there waiting on line until the fax machine is available. This creates an enormous productivity bottleneck.

Ask Questions about IT Network Needs

To understand the cost of not addressing the single Internet access account or fax machine dilemma, talk with the small business owner. Here's a sample line of questioning you can use to shed some light on the real costs and limitations of sending faxes through a fax machine:

How many people in the office send faxes regularly?

What's the average number of pages in each person's fax?

Does each person typically create a cover page to go along with each fax?

How many faxes a day are sent out?

How often are people sending the same fax to multiple recipients?

How far away is the fax machine from most people's desks?

How many hours are wasted on a daily basis with people waiting around to send outgoing faxes?

How many hours does this translate into annually?

What's the average hourly wage of the people impacted by this productivity issue?

The Bottom Line about IT Networks

It is a good idea to have a blank contract with you when you ask these questions. Why? Because it's very hard for any rational small business owner or manager to refute your

Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consultants Secrets. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Wireless installation checklist

Buyer Beware - Ignorance can be a financial waste and a lot of hassals. Before you buy any wireless equipment, you need to be sure about what you're doing. There's nothing worse than having everything there and finding that it doesn't work in your house, or with your computers, or over the distances you need. Here's a handy checklist of the things that you really ought to do before you go out and spend any of your hard-earned cash on wireless networking equipment.

Interference Checks

While it won't stop a wireless network from working altogether, interference in its frequency range can slow it down significantly, as well as reducing its range. If something is causing interference, the first thing you'll know about it is when your connection stops working -- unless you know what to look for.

There are two very common causes of wireless interference: wireless phones and microwave ovens. 2.4Ghz, the most common wireless networking frequency, is also a commonly-used wireless phone frequency. It is possible, though, to find phones that use other frequencies. Microwave ovens, on the other hand, operate at around 2.4Ghz by definition. It should be alright to have devices like these in your house, but certainly not in the same room as any computer that you plan to use a wireless connection with.

Wall Construction

Wireless can, in theory, pass through walls and other partitions easily. In practice, though, some walls are more solid than others, which means that they are more likely to block some of the signal. Note that it's only your interior partitions that matter, not the exterior ones. This does, however, include your floors, if you want the connection to work between levels.

Wireless does well with partitions made from: drywall, plywood, other wood (including doors), glass.

Wireless has trouble with: brick, plaster, cement, metal, stone, double-glazed glass.

Basically, it's all to do with how porous the materials are -- ones that let more of other things through also let more of your wireless signal through.

If you have a wall made of one of the 'bad' materials, it's not the end of the world. It just means that your wireless connection might have a slower speed or a shorter range. You may want to spend more than you otherwise would to get better equipment and overcome this problem.

Decide Your Budget.

You need to stand back, take a look at your needs, and decide how much you're going to spend. Do you have long distances to cover? Do you want your connection to go through stone walls? Each factor will help you decide how much you should be looking to spend -- remember that the more problems you have, the more power you will need. On the other hand, if you live in a small wooden house, you can probably just go for the cheapest thing you can find.

Read Reviews.

It's well worth searching a site like amazon. com for wireless equipment, and taking a look at people's reviews to see what the different brands out there are like, and what you can get for your money. It is always a very bad idea to buy something without getting a second, third and fourth opinion, especially if you're buying it online. If you can, try to get to a computer shop and see some wireless networking equipment in action before you commit yourself.

Install and Update Windows XP.

Finally, your wireless life will really be improved if you have the latest version of Windows. Because wireless is such a new technology, it wasn't really around in any significant way back when Windows 98, ME and 2000 were released, and support for them wasn't built in to the system. You'll have a lot more trouble getting wireless to work on systems like these than you would on Windows XP.

Even if you've got Windows XP, though, that doesn't solve the problem entirely. Windows XP Service Pack 2 (an updated version of Windows XP) contains much easier-to-use tools for configuring and using wireless than the un-updated versions do. If you've been using your copy of Windows for a while without updating it, you should really make sure you've got all the latest updates from http://windowsupdate. microsoft. com before you go any further.

Overcoming small business networks sales objections

Do you need help overcoming sales objections?

Do you sell computer networks, or other IT-related products and services to small businesses?

This article provides tips and hints so you can be overcoming the most common sales objections heard when selling networks to small business prospects, customers, and clients.

The problem generally begins when you start talking about a network upgrade. Around the time, many small business prospects, customers and clients will dwell on cost.

These small business prospects, customers and clients often neglect to consider the soft costs of not properly investing in a network… such as lost employee productivity when imprudent corners are cut, downtime when fault-tolerance is an afterthought, and service costs from computer consultants when difficult-to-support or "dead-end" solutions are selected primarily because of their low price tag.

No matter how thorough your initial consultation, IT audit, site survey and network design reports, some unforeseen client objections may pop up just before you get the client's authorization to proceed (generally a signed contract and retainer or deposit check).

Why Overcoming Sales Objections is SO Crucial

Because one relatively minor concern might threaten to derail the entire sale, you need to gain the critical business development skills for overcoming sales objections, with some of the biggest small business network deal-closing obstacles.

Empowered with these strategies for overcoming sales objections, you'll be much less apt to get emotional, defensive or just plain annoyed. You can then stay focused on keeping your eye on the ball and figuring out the best way to solve the prospect's or future client's problems …and of course, close the sale. Remember, your company isn't in business to solve prospects' problems; only those of paying clients.

Overcoming Sales Objections: Apathy

I hope you get a good night's sleep before this sales objection rears its ugly head. You need a powerful force to overcome apathy.

If small business decision-makers have an apathetic outlook toward the prospect of implementing a network, your decision-makers might take weeks, months, or perhaps even years before feeling a sense of urgency about your proposed network project.

However, once you discover the roots of this apathy, you'll be better able to push (or at least nudge) the approval process along.

Here's a typical example you'll find in the field: The small business owner sees no problem with their existing peer-to-peer network. One or two seemingly innocuous foul-ups, however, can cause the small business owner to see the "light".

With a Microsoft Windows peer-to-peer network, for example, the "server" seems perfectly reliable until the person working on the PC functioning as the server inadvertently hits the reset button with his or her knee.

If you need to be overcoming more of the common sales objections, you must be very adept and recounting these kinds of cautionary tales with the right timing, delivery and empathy.

Using Network Reliability to Overcoming Sales Objections

PC/LAN network reliability can also get called into question when the user of the peer-to-peer server inadvertently performs an unannounced, unscheduled shutdown and restart because a software setup program prompted a reboot.

With peer-to-peer networks, protecting data is usually also an afterthought. If the peer-to-peer server isn't protected with fault tolerant hard drives, a reliable tape backup drive, a server-class UPS, and updated antivirus software, a peer-to-peer server becomes an accident waiting to happen.

So while any of these factors can turn apathy into your opportunity, sometimes a little divine intervention steps in to help you in overcoming sales objections.

One day a lightning storm and blackout pushes your client's "server" over the edge. When power's restored, the server cannot even boot up to its welcome or logon screen. So now, the small business owner is scrambling with the internal guru at 2 a. m. trying to restore the company's corrupted contact management database, which contains 25,000 records and three years of data.

Fear of Catastrophic Data Loss and Overcoming Sales Objections

Situations such as catastrophic data loss, although horrible tragedies for those affected, are great motivators for combating apathy and overcoming sales objections. All of a sudden, the small business owner becomes extremely receptive to your suggestions about your proposed networking solution, which of course features centralized security and data protection.

Discontinued technical support is another powerful counterforce for overcoming apathy-rooted sales objections, especially when you're talking about vertical, industry-specific software, such as niche applications designed for accountants, attorneys, physicians, realtors, auto body shops and restaurants.

After a certain point, the independent software vendor (ISV) selling vertical, industry-specific software draws a line in the sand and stops providing technical support, annual updates, and patches for older versions of their product.

So if your client is an accounting firm that needs updated tax tables (they'd basically be out of business without them), your client is forced to upgrade the tax software, which often in turn forces an upgrade of the server. This results in a call to your firm to upgrade their server (and several related highly lucrative product sales and service opportunities for your firm), all as a result of the "domino effect" from an ISV calling the shots.

With this kind of scenario, you don't even need to do much of the work in overcoming this sales objection. Your prospect's, customer's, or client's vertical ISV has done the “heavy lifting” so to speak in overcoming sales objections.

So besides fears of unreliable systems and vendor-mandated upgrades, you can also overcome apathy by discussing your prospect's, customer's or client's competition (without naming names, of course). If you work with many small businesses in the same industry, and you're seeing a software or more general technology trend that drastically alters the competitive landscape in your prospect's or client's industry, by all means call this to your prospect's or client's attention, as a means of overcoming sales objections.

The Bottom Line

If you sell and service IT-related products to small businesses, you need to develop your sales skills for overcoming sales objections. This article introduces you to three different major categories of small business IT sales objections and helps you understand simple anecdotal closing strategies for overcoming those sales objections… and most importantly, closing more big-ticket sales.

Copyright MMI-MMVI, ComputerConsultantsSecrets. com, All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Does the google desktop really put your privacy in jeopardy

There has been a lot of talk recently about Google Talk and how there are serious privacy concerns with the new application.

The biggest concern seems to come with the ability to search and share multiple computers with one account. In other words, you could use a single desktop search account to search, index and allow you to share files between your desktop and laptop for example.

But are these concerns grounded in truth? Is there really a privacy issue here?

I downloaded and installed the new Desktop Search beta the other day. It has some interesting new features such as the ability to remove panels from the sidebar and dock them anywhere you like on your desktop.

And there are several more panels available to let you do anything from manage what is indexed, to passing time by playing games.

One of the coolest features is its ability to reach beyond the desktop it is on to do a variety of things. Now, I can play tic tac toe with co-workers, or even friends around the world.

But the biggest, and most troubling update to some is the ability to remotely index files, as well as share them using Google servers to temporarily store the items.

By turning this feature on you give Google the right to store your files for up to 30 days. Therein lies the crux of the issue – there seems to be no way around this 30 day requirement.

All I have to say is 'so what?'

So what if you have to give Google this ability? Google will encrypt the data so that no one else can access it. And even if there is some sort of DOJ subpoena requiring access to these files I don't think it would stand up in court.

This is because Google has set up a network whereby all your Google activities are tied to one Google account. Your personalized home page, gmail, google analytics, adwords and adsense accounts all share the same Google account. Therefore, it would be difficult for anyone to get a subpoena to review information pertaining to only part of that account.

Legalities aside, if you are that concerned about the privacy being surrendered to Google in order to use this system then don't sign up for it.

You can still download and use the new Desktop Search with most of its new features, but you don't have to use the file sharing.

But what if you want to share files between computers?

Well, do what I did – go to your favorite electronics store and buy a flash drive. I just bought a USB flash drive with over 2 gigs of storage for under $100. Now I can easily transfer anything between any computer with no worry of some government agency wanting to know what's on it.

As I said, I do have the new Google Desktop installed, and I did look at the settings for the search and file sharing, but I didn't turn them on. I have no need to be able to search my home computer from work and vice versa, nor do I need to share files between the two computers.

And if I did, I'll simply use the FTP site I have set up on a computer at home or the aforementioned flash drive.

Really, when it comes to all the other ways that Google captures your personal data, from search history to Gmail, should we be all that concerned that some files may end up being stored on a Google server somewhere?

I think we should have other concerns. For example, I think we should be concerned about what Google already knows about us via those services I mentioned earlier.

I think business owners should be concerned that such a service would allow employees to easily steal and transfer data to and from work.

I think if you are that scared of the US government infringing on your privacy then you shouldn't have a Google account, nor Google Desktop Search nor a Gmail account. In fact I don't think you should have any Internet accounts because quite honestly everyone is a target for the DOJ. Further, I can almost guarantee you that your local ISP will fold and hand over the data much easier than Google will.

So before you start complaining about how Google could infringe your privacy, remember that YOU have the ability to stop it from happening. It's just a matter of choosing to do so.

Tcp ip architecture model

1. Network interface(Data link) layer

2. Network layer

3. Transport layer

4. Application layer

Network interface layer

The lowest layer of the TCP/IP model. Its task is to provide access to the transmission physical medium and it differs according to the implementation of the medium.

Network layer

The network layer provides network addressing, routing and datagram transmission. Used protocols that will be of interest further regarding DHCP are IP and ARP.

IP protocol

It is the basic protocol of the network layer and in general the internet as a whole. It sends datagrams, which are independent units that contain information about the destination, source and the sequence number of the datagram. The sequence number is used for message reconstruction, since the delivery order of the datagrams might not be the same as their order in the message and delivery reliability isn't guaranteed at all.

IP protocol versions:

" IP v4 - 32 bit addresses. Provides approximately 4 billion unique addresses which aren't sufficient at present times.

" IP v6 - 128 bit addresses. The transition to v6 will bring (is bringing) higher security, QoS, packet segmentation and many more IP addresses. (the transition from IP v4 to IP v6 must be supported by the system provider)

ARP protocol

The ARP abbreviation stands for Address Resolution Protocol. This protocol is used to find the physical address (MAC) based on a known IP address. If required ARP sends information concerning the wanted address to all the stations in the network - Broadcast. The stations consequently answer with a message containing their MAC. If the wanted device/station is outside the node/segment, the appropriate router will answer instead of it.

Transport layer

The transport layer is implemented only in terminal devices and it adjusts the behavior of the network according to the requirements of the device/application.

Application layer

The application layer is composed of programs that use net services to fulfill the needs of users. Examples of specific protocols are for instance FTP, DNS and DHCP.

Application protocols use TCP, UDP or both services at the same time. So called ports are used to differentiate between application protocols, they represent a type of label of the application. It is possible to change the ports in the settings of the service, but each service has a default port that isn't changed for most services and is used as an unwritten standard.

" FTP = 21

" DNS = 53

" DHCP = 67 + 68

Finding your mac address on wired and wireless network cards

The Answer To The Media Access Control Question


Over the past few weeks I have received quite a few e-mails about Ethernet cards, both wired and wireless, and more specifically, about Media Access Control (MAC) addresses. I think the main reason I’ve received so many questions about Ethernet cards and MAC addresses is people trying to secure their home wireless networks and their desire to use MAC address filtering. This type of filtering in wireless networks can be configured to allow or deny specific computers to use or attach to the wireless network, based on the MAC address.

My first thought was to write an article just about MAC addresses and wireless Ethernet. After thinking about it I decided to expand on this and go over some specific information about Ethernet cards and communication.

Different Ways Of Finding Your MAC Address And More


There are several ways of finding your Ethernet and communications protocol information. Many Ethernet card manufacturer’s have proprietary software that can reveal this information but they work differently depending on the manufacturer. So we will use the Windows 2000 and XP “ipconfig” utility since this is available in the majority of Windows Operating Systems.

First, go to “start” -> “run” and type “cmd” without the quotes. Then hit the enter key. At the command line type “ipconfig /all”, again without the quotes. Actually, just typing ipconfig without the /all will work but will only provide you with abbreviated information regarding your network cards. An example of what you might see by typing the “ipconfig /all” command is below with each item commented in green lettering:

Fault Tolerant And Highly Availability Computer Systems


There are several ways of finding your Ethernet and communications protocol information. Many Ethernet card manufacturer’s have proprietary software that can reveal this information but they work differently depending on the manufacturer. So we will use the Windows 2000 and XP “ipconfig” utility since this is available in the majority of Windows Operating Systems.

First, go to “start” -> “run” and type “cmd” without the quotes. Then hit the enter key. At the command line type “ipconfig /all”, again without the quotes. Actually, just typing ipconfig without the /all will work but will only provide you with abbreviated information regarding your network cards. An example of what you might see by typing the “ipconfig /all” command is below:

OutPut Of The “Ipconfig /All” Command


Windows IP Configuration

Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : Home Computer

This is the name of your computer, typically defined during the windows installation. However, it can be changed after installation.

Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . : domain. com

If your computer participates in a network such as a Microsoft Windows domain this item may contain the name of the domain.

Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Unknown

The Node Type may say Unknown, or peer-to-peer, or in some cases “hybrid”. It is a setting that has to do with the Windows Internet Naming Services used in certain types of Windows domain networks.

IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

This setting determines if Windows XP or 2000 will function as an IP router. If you have two or more network cards you can setup your system to act as a router, forwarding communications requests from one network to another. Windows 2000 can be configured to do this in a pretty straight forward fashion; Windows XP will need a registry modification.

WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

WINS Proxy is another setting that is related to the “Node Type” we discussed earlier. It is normally not a required setting in a home or small office network, or newer types of Microsoft Windows domains.

Ethernet adapter Wireless Network Connection 2:

If you have multiple Ethernet (network) cards in your systems, as I do in this laptop, you will have multiple listings. This one happens to be the second Ethernet card, an internal wireless Ethernet card.

Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcom 802.11b/g WLAN

This is the description of the Ethernet card, usually the Name / Manufacturer and type of Ethernet card. In this case, it is a Broadcom wireless Ethernet card built into my laptop.

Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-90-4B-F1-6E-4A

And here we have the MAC address. The MAC address is a 48 bit hexadecimal code and is suppose to be a totally unique address. It is 48 bits because each number or letter in hexadecimal represents 8 bits. Hexadecimal numbers range from 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A, B,C, D,E, F. There are 6 alpha-numeric codes hence 6*8=48(bits). The first 3 codes identify the manufacturer of the card and the remaining codes are used to create a unique number. Theoretically there should never be a card with same MAC address on a local network. However, there are a few exceptions. There are software tools that allow you to change this code. In fact, this is a step some hackers take to attack other systems on a local network. I say local network because MAC addresses are not routable between network segments. By spoofing this address, you can impersonate another machine on the local network. Traffic that was bound for the intended target can be redirected to the hacker’s machine. This is the address you would also use to populate a MAC address, or physical address table when setting up your wireless access point to support MAC address filtering.

DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes

DHCP, or the Dynamic Host Control Protocol, if enabled means your computers IP address is being provided by a DHCP server on you network. The DHCP server could be your wireless access point, cable/dsl router, cable modem, or a server on your network. Also, if a DHCP server is not enabled on your network, your computers Operating System will auto generate a random IP address within a certain predefined range. This means you could network a group of systems together without having to manually assign the IP settings.

IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . :

This parameter provides you with your current IP address. The address listed above is what is called a "private" address. There are certain classes of IP addresses that have been set aside for private use. This means for your internal, local, or private network at home or office. These addresses are not, or should not, be routable on the Internet. The Internet routes what are called “valid” IP addresses. Your cable/dsl router or cable modem has a valid IP address assigned to its “external” network interface. The external interface may be your phone line or cable TV cable.

Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :

The Subnet Mask is a special number, or in some sense, filter, that breaks down your IP address, in this case private IP address, into certain groups. IP addresses and Subnet Masks can be a complicated matter and would take an entire article to go over.

Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

The default gateway, the IP addresses listed above, is the IP address of the device that will route your request, such as when you try to browse a website, to the Internet. It is a bit more complicated than that though as gateways or routers can route traffic to various different networks, even other private networks. At your home or small office, this gateway most likely is your cable/dsl modem or router.

DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . :

The DHCP server, remember we talked a little about this above, is the device that assigns your computer an IP address and other information. DHCP servers can assign all kinds of information such as; Default Gateway, Domain Name Servers (DNS), IP address, Subnet Mask, Time Server, and much more.

DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . :,

DNS Servers are internal or external servers that resolve Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDN), such as www. defendingthenet. com , to IP addresses. This is done because computers don’t actually transmit your requests using the domain name, they use the IP address assigned to the FQDN. For most home or small office users, the primary DNS server is the IP address of your cable/dsl router. Your cable/dsl router than queries an external DNS server on the Internet to perform the actual resolution of the FQDN to IP address. The address is an internal private device on my network whereas the is an external public Internet DNS server and is present just in case my router has trouble performing the DNS resolution tasks.

Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Sunday, March 19, 2006 6:38:16 PM

This information tells you when your computer received its IP address and other information from a DHCP server. You will notice it says “Lease Obtained”, that is because most DHCP servers only lease the IP address to you from a pool of available address. For instance, your pool may be through So your DHCP server has 50 IP addresses to choose from when assigning your computer its IP address.

Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Wednesday, March 29, 2006 9:38:16 PM

When the IP address, assigned by the DHCP server, lease expires it will attempt to lease you the same or another IP address. This function can typically be changed on the DHCP server. For instance, on some fully functional DHCP servers, you can configure the Lease to never expire, or to expire within 1 day and so on.

Why Are MAC Addresses So Important And How Do They Work


To jump back to MAC address for just a bit. You may think that IP addresses are the most important thing when it comes to network communication. The reality is, MAC addresses are very important because without them computers would not be able to communicate over Ethernet networks. When a computer wants to speak with another computer on a local network, it will make a broadcast request, or ask a question, of who owns a particular IP address. For instance, your computer may say “Who is”. Using the information above, my default gateway is and will answer “I am “00-90-4B-F1-6E-4A””. It sends back its MAC address. That MAC address then goes into what is called a Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) table on your computer. You can see this information by going to the command prompt like you did above and typing "arp – a". You will get information like the following:

Internet Address Physical Address Type 00-12-17-5c-a2-27 dynamic 00-12-17-5c-a2-27 dynamic 00-0c-76-93-94-b2 dynamic 00-0e-2e-2e-15-61 dynamic

How A Hacker Can Use MAC Addresses In An Attack


You will notice the IP addresses and to the right of them the MAC addresses. Without this information, without the MAC address, you would not be reading this article right now. MAC addresses are not routable like IP addresses. They work on your local or private network. However, devices on the Internet perform the same tasks. Routers and switches maintain a list of their peer devices MAC address just like your computers and devices on your home or office network. I mentioned above that MAC addresses can be changed in order to redirect requests. For instance, if I were on your office network and you had an internal web server that took personal information as input, I could tell your computer to go to my laptop for the web site by broadcasting my MAC address tied to the real web servers IP address. I would do this when you computer asked “Who is the “Real Web Server””. I could setup a fake web server that looks just like the real thing, and start collecting information the real web server would normally collect. You can see how dangerous this can be.



There are several other easy ways you can find your MAC address but they can be a little confusing if you have more than one internal network card. Most external USB, or PCMCIA wired and wireless Ethernet cards have their MAC address printed on them. In cases where the wired or wireless network card are inside your computer, such as in laptops, the MAC address is sometimes printed on the bottom of the laptop. Even Desktop systems cards that are inserted in PCI slots have the MAC address printed on the Ethernet card.

You may reprint or publish this article free of charge as long as the bylines are included.

Original URL (The Web version of the article)


http://www. defendingthenet. com/NewsLetters/FindingYourMACAddressOnWiredAndWirelessNetworkCards. htm

About The Author


Darren Miller is an Information Security Consultant with over seventeen years experience. He has written many technology & security articles, some of which have been published in nationally circulated magazines & periodicals. If you would like to contact Darren you can e-mail him at Darren. [email protected] com. If you would like to know more about computer security please visit us at http://www. defendingthenet. com.

Why use url shorteners

You must have seen them. Web addresses like http://tinyurl. com/2gj2z3 which, when you click on them, take you to another web page. Why use them? Are there any risks in using them?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It's the posh technical term for a web address. Web addresses normally take the form http://www. somesite. com/somepage. html, which is not too much of a problem. But some site names can get very long, and so can page names. The increased use of database-driven sites mean that URLs can get very long indeed, and most of them is computer gobbledygook. They are impossible to type in, if you are reading them in a print article, and often get corrupted by word-wrapping when they appear in an email or blog posting.

An URL shortener is a web service that takes a long address that's hard to type, and turns it into a short one. You should use them in articles for print publication, classified ads, emails, blog and forum postings, anywhere there is a danger that the full address may be corrupted, or that someone may need to type the address into a browser manually.

But there is a danger in using short URLs that may make people afraid to use them. The short address disguises the real destination. This makes it easy for somebody to post an innocent looking message encouraging people to click on a link that takes them to a site which infects their computer with spyware, or something equally undesirable.

Some URL shortening services have tried to address this problem. The most well-known service, TinyURL. com, has an optional preview page that shows you the target address before you go there. But you have to know to type "preview" in front of the address, or visit the site and set it as a permanent option. Those who don't know about this are still vulnerable to deception.

A safe URL shortener would not allow the creation of links to undesirable sites. It would also always display a preview page, so the user always sees where the link is taking them before they go there. xaddr. com uses Internet blacklists to prevent its use to disguise sites that are advertised by spam. Its preview page offers a link to McAfee's Site Advisor, which can be used to check the safety of the destination.

Next time you need to write a long web address, use an URL shortener. But to encourage confidence that no harm will come from clicking the link, pick a safe one.

Wireless home security camera

Home security is an important issue for any person. A person’s home is their castle and they want to feel safe and secure. There are several security measures that can be implemented to ensure security such as alarms but one that ensures peace of mind is a wireless home security camera package.

What’s need in the package is a camera to fit either just outside the front or back door that transmits a wireless signal. The best one to buy would be one that has night vision to ensure you can see everything at night. The second would be a receiver. Some receivers have screens so you can watch what’s going on no matter where you are and others need to be connected to a computer or television to see the transmission.

If connected to a computer or television the live feed from the camera can be directly recorded to a hard drive or a cassette or DVD depending on which is convenient. Several cameras can be implemented to get several signals meaning more coverage of the home and the surrounding area.

These wireless home security packages are common and can be purchased at most electronics stores. They are on the expensive side but are worth the purchase for the kind of technology it has. With almost everything becoming wireless these days it was only a matter of time until cameras became wireless also.

Most people need some sort of security measure in place, not for protection, but for peace of mind that they are safe in their home. Although there are several other measures that can be implemented in terms of security, the wireless home security camera is a valuable tool for keeping an eye on things at all times. It will complement any other security measure you have in place and will not disappoint.

Computer consulting and virtual it

Do you own or manage a computer consulting company? Would you like to achieve greater small business success? If so, then get ready to learn why most computer consulting companies get IT (Information Technology) wrong and what you can do about IT.

The Problem: Why Most Computer Consulting Companies Get IT Wrong

Most owners of computer consulting companies make their jobs much harder than need be. Why? Because these computer consulting business owners fall in love with the technology… and view their small business clients as a distant second priority.

However, if you get this part of “IT” wrong, you will doom your computer consulting company to “clueless geek” status. It's crucial that you understand one extremely important principle here: Recruiting and retaining small business clients is your #1 computer consulting priority. Keeping up with IT should never get in the way of the mission of your computer consulting company.

In other words, don't get seduced by the hardware, operating systems or applications. Fall-in-love with the business opportunities surrounding how you solve your clients' biggest business problems with your recommended IT solutions. That's the real mission of a computer consulting company.

The Solution: Blend Computer Consulting and Virtual IT

To put this all in perspective with your computer consulting company, you need to understand and embrace the concept of virtual IT.

Virtual IT is what allows your computer consulting company to function as an extension of your small business clients' companies. Your computer consulting company essentially becomes the outsourced IT department for your small business clients.

As owner or manager of a computer consulting company in this role, you will most likely become the de facto CIO (chief information officer), CTO (chief technology officer), or IT manager for your small business clients.

And just like any well-rounded internal IT department, your virtual IT computer consulting business will need to provide, or arrange for, a complete soup-to-nuts solution that includes services like help desk, desktop support, network administration, engineering, security, training, procurement, and asset management… because anything short of the complete virtual IT solution will leave valuable computer consulting money on the table.

The Bottom Line

Most computer consulting companies are making a huge mistake when it comes to their small business engagements… because these computer consulting business owners fall-in-love with the technology, at the expense of the business opportunities. In order for your computer consulting company to flourish, make sure that you understand the concept of virtual IT and build virtual IT into every major business decision for your computer consulting company. To continue learning more about how you can use virtual IT to grow your computer consulting company, go sign-up right now for the one-hour free training seminar on 5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Computer Consulting Business at http://www. ComputerConsultingBusiness. com

Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consultants Secrets. com, All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Windows server 2003 active directory and network infrastructure

It is a hierarchical representation of all the objects and their attributes available on the network. It enables administrators to manage the network resources, i. e., computers, users, printers, shared folders, etc., in an easy way. The logical structure represented by Active Directory consists of forests, trees, domains, organizational units, and individual objects. This structure is completely independent from the physical structure of the network, and allows administrators to manage domains according to the organizational needs without bothering about the physical network structure.

Following is the description of all logical components of the Active Directory structure:

Forest: A forest is the outermost boundary of an Active Directory structure. It is a group of multiple domain trees that share a common schema but do not form a contiguous namespace. It is created when the first Active Directory-based computer is installed on a network. There is at least one forest on a network. The first domain in a forest is called a root domain. It controls the schema and domain naming for the entire forest. It can be separately removed from the forest. Administrators can create multiple forests and then create trust relationships between specific domains in those forests, depending upon the organizational needs.

Trees: A hierarchical structure of multiple domains organized in the Active Directory forest is referred to as a tree. It consists of a root domain and several child domains. The first domain created in a tree becomes the root domain. Any domain added to the root domain becomes its child, and the root domain becomes its parent. The parent-child hierarchy continues until the terminal node is reached. All domains in a tree share a common schema, which is defined at the forest level. Depending upon the organizational needs, multiple domain trees can be included in a forest.

Domains: A domain is the basic organizational structure of a Windows Server 2003 networking model. It logically organizes the resources on a network and defines a security boundary in Active Directory. The directory may contain more than one domain, and each domain follows its own security policy and trust relationships with other domains. Almost all the organizations having a large network use domain type of networking model to enhance network security and enable administrators to efficiently manage the entire network.

Objects: Active Directory stores all network resources in the form of objects in a hierarchical structure of containers and subcontainers, thereby making them easily accessible and manageable. Each object class consists of several attributes. Whenever a new object is created for a particular class, it automatically inherits all attributes from its member class. Although the Windows Server 2003 Active Directory defines its default set of objects, administrators can modify it according to the organizational needs.

Organizational Unit (OU): It is the least abstract component of the Windows Server 2003 Active Directory. It works as a container into which resources of a domain can be placed. Its logical structure is similar to an organization's functional structure. It allows creating administrative boundaries in a domain by delegating separate administrative tasks to the administrators on the domain. Administrators can create multiple Organizational Units in the network. They can also create nesting of OUs, which means that other OUs can be created within an OU.

In a large complex network, the Active Directory service provides a single point of management for the administrators by placing all the network resources at a single place. It allows administrators to effectively delegate administrative tasks as well as facilitate fast searching of network resources. It is easily scalable, i. e., administrators can add a large number of resources to it without having additional administrative burden. It is accomplished by partitioning the directory database, distributing it across other domains, and establishing trust relationships, thereby providing users with benefits of decentralization, and at the same time, maintaining the centralized administration.

The physical network infrastructure of Active Directory is far too simple as compared to its logical structure. The physical components are domain controllers and sites.

Domain Controller: A Windows 2003 server on which Active Directory services are installed and run is called a domain controller. A domain controller locally resolves queries for information about objects in its domain. A domain can have multiple domain controllers. Each domain controller in a domain follows the multimaster model by having a complete replica of the domain's directory partition. In this model, every domain controller holds a master copy of its directory partition. Administrators can use any of the domain controllers to modify the Active Directory database. The changes performed by the administrators are automatically replicated to other domain controllers in the domain.

However, there are some operations that do not follow the multimaster model. Active Directory handles these operations and assigns them to a single domain controller to be accomplished. Such a domain controller is referred to as operations master. The operations master performs several roles, which can be forest-wide as well as domain-wide.

Forest-wide roles: There are two types of forest-wide roles:

Schema Master and Domain Naming Master. The Schema Master is responsible for maintaining the schema and distributing it to the entire forest. The Domain Naming Master is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the forest by recording additions of domains to and deletions of domains from the forest. When new domains are to be added to a forest, the Domain Naming Master role is queried. In the absence of this role, new domains cannot be added.

Domain-wide roles: There are three types of domain-wide roles: RID Master, PDC Emulator, and Infrastructure Master.

RID Master: The RID Master is one of the operations master roles that exist in each domain in a forest. It controls the sequence number for the domain controllers within a domain. It provides a unique sequence of RIDs to each domain controller in a domain. When a domain controller creates a new object, the object is assigned a unique security ID consisting of a combination of a domain SID and a RID. The domain SID is a constant ID, whereas the RID is assigned to each object by the domain controller. The domain controller receives the RIDs from the RID Master. When the domain controller has used all the RIDs provided by the RID Master, it requests the RID Master to issue more RIDs for creating additional objects within the domain. When a domain controller exhausts its pool of RIDs, and the RID Master is unavailable, any new object in the domain cannot be created.

PDC Emulator: The PDC emulator is one of the five operations master roles in Active Directory. It is used in a domain containing non-Active Directory computers. It processes the password changes from both users and computers, replicates those updates to backup domain controllers, and runs the Domain Master browser. When a domain user requests a domain controller for authentication, and the domain controller is unable to authenticate the user due to bad password, the request is forwarded to the PDC emulator. The PDC emulator then verifies the password, and if it finds the updated entry for the requested password, it authenticates the request.

Infrastructure Master: The Infrastructure Master role is one of the Operations Master roles in Active Directory. It functions at the domain level and exists in each domain in the forest. It maintains all inter-domain object references by updating references from the objects in its domain to the objects in other domains. It performs a very important role in a multiple domain environment. It compares its data with that of a Global Catalog, which always has up-to-date information about the objects of all domains. When the Infrastructure Master finds data that is obsolete, it requests the global catalog for its updated version. If the updated data is available in the global catalog, the Infrastructure Master extracts and replicates the updated data to all the other domain controllers in the domain.

Domain controllers can also be assigned the role of a Global Catalog server. A Global Catalog is a special Active Directory database that stores a full replica of the directory for its host domain and the partial replica of the directories of other domains in a forest. It is created by default on the initial domain controller in the forest. It performs the following primary functions regarding logon capabilities and queries within Active Directory:

It enables network logon by providing universal group membership information to a domain controller when a logon request is initiated.

It enables finding directory information about all the domains in an Active Directory forest.

A Global Catalog is required to log on to a network within a multidomain environment. By providing universal group membership information, it greatly improves the response time for queries. In its absence, a user will be allowed to log on only to his local domain if his user account is external to the local domain.

Site: A site is a group of domain controllers that exist on different IP subnets and are connected via a fast and reliable network connection. A network may contain multiple sites connected by a WAN link. Sites are used to control replication traffic, which may occur within a site or between sites. Replication within a site is referred to as intrasite replication, and that between sites is referred to as intersite replication. Since all domain controllers within a site are generally connected by a fast LAN connection, the intrasite replication is always in uncompressed form. Any changes made in the domain are quickly replicated to the other domain controllers. Since sites are connected to each other via a WAN connection, the intersite replication always occurs in compressed form. Therefore, it is slower than the intrasite replication.

Peltier associates breaking and fixing wireless security

To the information security professional wireless networking may be thought of as a four letter word to be avoided at all costs. Regardless of the security implication wireless networking can provide cost efficiency, and because of that wireless technologies are here to stay. While many in the profession believe that wireless networks can be easily compromised, this class will show how the appropriate wireless architecture with the proper security controls can make your wireless network as secure as any other remote access point into your network.

In this three day, wireless security workshop, we will examine the cutting edge of wireless technologies. The purpose of the course is to give you a full understanding of what wireless (802.11) networks are, how they work, how people find them and exploit them, and how they can be secured. This hands-on course is based on real world examples, solutions, and deployments. In this course we will actually set up and use wireless networks, determine the tools to uncover wireless networks, and also look at how to defeat the attempts to secure wireless networks.

Course Completion

Upon the completion of our CISM course, students will have:

Constructed a wireless network architecture

Install and configure 802.1x authentication using Microsoft Windows IAS and Server 2000

Install a wireless access point

Distinguish between 802.11x standards

Defeat Wired Equivalent Privacy

Key Take Aways:

An understanding of wireless networks

A CD of common tools and documentation

An ability to search the internet for updates and more information on wireless networks

Detail of Course Content The following topics will be covered:

Wireless History

Radio Frequency (RF) Fundamentals

WLAN Infrastructure

802.11 Network Architecture

802.1X Authentication

Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)/(LEAP)/(PEAP)

Detection Platforms

WLAN Discovery Tools


Wireless Sniffers

Conventional Detection


Exploiting WLANs

Securing WLANs

Other Wireless Options

Legal Issues including GLBA and ISO-17799



http://www. acquisitiondata. com/wireless_security. asp

How a computer consulting business can help your company

While many small companies only call in a local computer consulting business when something computer-related breaks, there's a lot to be gained by forging a proactive, long-term relationship with a local computer consulting business in your area.

Consider Getting Advice from a Computer Consulting Business

If you need to get advice once-in-a-while on how your computers can be better utilized, or you have a specific computer-related problem that needs to be solved, a computer consulting business is generally the way to go.

However, if computer-systems and information technology (IT) are really important to your industry and your company, outsourcing your computer-related service needs to a local computer consulting business is often a much better solution than just piecemeal, ad-hoc usage of a computer consulting business.

Hiring a Computer Consultant

Many computer consulting businesses choose to specialize and end up becoming extremely valuable to their particular area or niche. In many cases, these kinds of computer consulting businesses can know almost as much about your industry and competitive challenges as you do.

So to help your company grow and to make sure it's not being short-sighted with its computer-related needs, consider getting advice from a computer consulting business.

Wearing Lots of “Hats” is Fine… But Don't Let These “Hats” Blind-Sight You

Sometimes small companies already have an idea of what their computer-related needs are when they enlist the help of an outside computer consulting business.

There are several advantages to bringing in an outside computer consulting business, as opposed to trying to limp along with someone internally who just wears the “hat” of the occasional computer person.

One of the most important reasons to bring in a computer consulting business though is that a computer consultant is someone who is an expert in his or her field. This means you can have access to an expert for a fraction of the cost it would take to hire that caliber of professional on a full time basis.

In almost all cases, a computer consultant like this can troubleshoot problem much faster and much more effectively than your internal employees.

A Fresh Computer Consultant Perspective

A computer consultant or computer consulting business can also being in a fresh perspective to your company.

It's often really helpful to have a fresh set of eyes to look at your company and its IT infrastructure. Over time, non-technical small business owners and managers have a tendency to see the same things within their own companies. A good computer consultant or computer consulting business brings a new and fresh perspective into your situation and can help you truly visualize the forest through the trees.

How Computer Consulting Businesses Help

A good computer consulting business or computer consultant is prepared to do any number of things to help your company make the most out of any business or technology challenge it faces. This may include personal coaching, training for small and large groups of employees, and leading strategy-planning meetings with key people… almost as if that computer consultant were your part-time chief information officer (CIO).

The best computer consultants will not enter into your company with a preset plan, but rather will tailor a plan according to the specific needs of your company. A good computer consulting business will have computer consultants on their staff who can quickly find out what the needs of your company are and then come up with cost-effective solutions.

The Bottom Line

In this article, you've been introduced to the basics of why to hire a computer consulting business and what computer consulting businesses can do for your company.

Copyright MMI-MMVI, ComputerConsultingSecrets. com, All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

It s 12 noon do you know who s using your network

The idea of reading email while lounging by the pool, text or instant messaging while doing the laundry, or lounging in the Jacuzzi listening to your MP3 collection is appealing to us all.

Unfortunately, many, or even most, wireless units don't come with security features already functioning. This may not seem like a big issue to someone who is simply setting up a home network, but there are a number of potential problems you should consider.

The most serious problem is the increase in identity theft. If your network is unsecured, the personal data on your wireless electronic equipment is also unsecured. The order you just placed for a book at Amazon may have given your contact and payment information to an unscrupulous hacker!

Nearly every town in which "WiFi" is common will have "War Drivers" and "War Chalkers" at work. These are people who walk or drive around town with wireless equipment, searching for unsecured networks. The "Chalkers" then live up their name, marking curbs and other public items with chalk so that others can more easily find and exploit your network.

Not all "War Drivers" are hackers, of course. Many just want to use your network for free, but the risk is high if you don't learn how to protect yourself. You can usually find quite a bit of free information as to how to secure your network at the website of your router's manufacturer, or by doing a search in a search engine for a phrase like "secure home wireless."

Beyond the truly malicious, there are also your neighbors who may find your network by accident and enjoy nosing into your activities and using your Internet access at will, slowing down your network speed in the process.

Even many businesses use cheap, home-use quality equipment for their company networks. With the poor security often found on small business networks, anyone with a basic knowledge of wireless can access sensitive company and customer data.

If you are unable to secure your network yourself, there are many service companies who will do it for you. A search of your local yellow pages or an inquiry at your neighborhood computer store should yield professional help and get your private data private again

Cabling your home for computer network - still a requirement

Cabling your home for computer network - still a requirement?

With proliferation of wireless networking and communication equipment it is oh-so-tempting to cut the cord and save a significant sum of money in the process. But is everything that a regular computer networking user needs can be done using just wireless network? Let’s take a look at some pros and contras:

1. One important advantage of having a cabled network is the available bandwidth or simply speed. At the present point in time the speed of connection via a simple and inexpensive CAT5E cable can be 1000Mbit/sec, whereas the best that IEEE802.11g (one of the many flavors of Wi-Fi) can offer is only 54Mbit/sec. It may not seem so significant if you think you are only browsing Internet, and the DSL speed available to you is 1.5Mbit/sec. However, if you need to print via your network connection on a remote printer, you should realize that the print jobs, depending on the amount of graphic data in them, can easily reach dozens and even hundreds megabytes. Since 1Byte=8bit one 100MByte print job will take 15 seconds (and in reality this time can be much longer) to transmit via a Wi-Fi wireless connection, and this time shrinks to mere 1 sec or less on wired 1000MBit/s Ethernet connection. Same principal applies to transferring files, backing up files on other computers in the network etc.

2. It is not possible today and with all probability will not be possible in the future to transmit power needed for your networking device via the wireless link. Unless, of course, you would be willing to be subjected to very high levels of microwave radiation. Thus a device that was marketed to you as “un-tethered” will in fact be very much tethered via the power cord or will have to be re-charged every so often. The power requirements are increasingly important for devices that are expected to be always online, such as phone sets. Therefore it is best to have it connected via a cable that can deliver both power and the communication signal at the same time.

3. Wireless communications are very much proprietary and require whole gamut of conversion equipment to transmit multi-media signals. The same CAT5E cable can without any modification support phone, computer network, balanced line level audio signal, baseband video signal as well as host of other, more specialized, control applications’ signals. With inexpensive adapters called “baluns” the same cable can carry significant number of channels of broadband television or carry a baseband video, such as security camera output, through great distances. All of those applications, except the computer network of course, will require specialized expensive conversion equipment if they needed to be transmitted via a Wi-Fi link.

4. The cost benefit of not running wires around the house is not as simple as issue as it seems. Having installed a wireless network at home you have only eliminated the need to wire for a single application – computer network. A modern home, however, requires all kinds of wiring to run even without regard to computers. The power and phones are obvious examples, as well as thermostats and security systems. Pre-wired speakers are common and most homes today have intercom systems as a desirable option, and those also require extensive wiring. It is very likely that the same contractor running the intercom or security cables is qualified to run computer cables – CAT5E or better. If you are building a home, you should definitely check if computer cabling option is available in your new home, and our advice is to go ahead and purchase it before the walls close. It is going to be a pretty involved and expensive procedure to install the cables later. As an added cost benefit of a wired computer network you will find that all modern computers ship with wired Ethernet network interface card included, and the latest models ship with 1000MBit/sec cards that are essentially free for the computer’s owner.

There are multiple sources of information available on proper planning and design of a residential cabling for voice, data, audio, video and other applications. One of the best sources is the TIA/EIA-570B standard, most resent release of which has been published in 2004. The standard outlines recommended types of the cables, principals of cable distribution in a single - and multi-dwelling units as well as recommended amount of cables to be installed based on the size of the house.

In conclusion, cutting the wire seems like a step forward, some sort of liberation of computer from the bonds of the infrastructure. I would caution the reader, however, to take a more balanced and informed approach before joining the wireless revolution. There are still (and will remain in foreseen future) sound reasons to include properly designed cabling system into the list of your dream home options.

An overview of mobile wireless computing

Being able to work while traveling is essential for every professional these days. That’s why laptops have become an essential item. Using the internet on a laptop is also important if one needs to keep in touch with work. Getting wireless internet for your laptop is therefore essential if you are a traveling professional. It is important that if you do so, get a wireless internet capability for your laptop, to get the best possible deal out there and maximize the potential of your computer. Due to the mobility of the laptop, computer users need not to be limited by wires when travelling so wireless internet is very handy. Wireless internet these days is becoming better and faster and almost a necessity for every laptop.

Having wireless internet on your laptop allows the user to conduct their business in a timely and easy manner. Having a wifi internet connection on the laptop for example, makes conducting business much easier. It is becoming increasingly popular as well. Being able to connect to the internet while traveling allows the user to check emails constantly and therefore keep contacts, to have access to information like checking figures, and enhance their productivity. To be able to connect to the internet using a laptop, the computer must have the wireless capability to connect to a router. It is imperative that the laptop must have the right network card with a WiFi connector. There are many public spaces that allow for WiFi connections in every western city. The quality of the connection differs from place to place since it depends on a variety of factors. In general, the quality of the connection depends on the quality of the wireless signal that your laptop receives. Being closer or further from the source of the signal in the end will determine the strength and therefore the quality and possibly the speed of your connection. A WiFi network allows for constant connectivity in all hours of the day and every day of the week.

Currently, computer and consequently laptop manufactures are investing time and money in enhancing their products networking capabilities and speeds. In the past few years, wireless connectivity has come a long way in terms of quality and strength. When the portable computers were introduced a few years back the notion of the mobile network already existed. Nevertheless, it was not perfected and had many flaws. Over the years however, wireless capabilities have expanded, they have been bettered allowing for greater connectivity, stronger networks, and higher productivity. As a result, and due to the constant technological advancements, laptop users these days can buy the computer and never have to worry about finding a modem, or a router or those inconvenient cables. Just turn on the computer and start surfing the web. Due to the increasing popularity o wireless internet public spaces have been accommodating for this new trend. Public libraries, airports, or even specific businesses provide wireless internet for their customers. In many city centres in North America, there are so many wireless networks functioning at the same place that it is virtually impossible not to find an internet connection to log on to. The only down side to wireless computing is that it might be associated with health risks that we are not yet aware of. Overall, however wireless computing is the way to go for the business professional, the student or every other avid computer user.

Web servers and firewall zones

Web and FTP Servers

Every network that has an internet connection is at risk of being compromised. Whilst there are several steps that you can take to secure your LAN, the only real solution is to close your LAN to incoming traffic, and restrict outgoing traffic.

However some services such as web or FTP servers require incoming connections. If you require these services you will need to consider whether it is essential that these servers are part of the LAN, or whether they can be placed in a physically separate network known as a DMZ (or demilitarised zone if you prefer its proper name). Ideally all servers in the DMZ will be stand alone servers, with unique logons and passwords for each server. If you require a backup server for machines within the DMZ then you should acquire a dedicated machine and keep the backup solution separate from the LAN backup solution.

The DMZ will come directly off the firewall, which means that there are two routes in and out of the DMZ, traffic to and from the internet, and traffic to and from the LAN. Traffic between the DMZ and your LAN would be treated totally separately to traffic between your DMZ and the Internet. Incoming traffic from the internet would be routed directly to your DMZ.

Therefore if any hacker where to compromise a machine within the DMZ, then the only network they would have access to would be the DMZ. The hacker would have little or no access to the LAN. It would also be the case that any virus infection or other security compromise within the LAN would not be able to migrate to the DMZ.

In order for the DMZ to be effective, you will have to keep the traffic between the LAN and the DMZ to a minimum. In the majority of cases, the only traffic required between the LAN and the DMZ is FTP. If you do not have physical access to the servers, you will also need some sort of remote management protocol such as terminal services or VNC.

Database servers

If your web servers require access to a database server, then you will need to consider where to place your database. The most secure place to locate a database server is to create yet another physically separate network called the secure zone, and to place the database server there.

The Secure zone is also a physically separate network connected directly to the firewall. The Secure zone is by definition the most secure place on the network. The only access to or from the secure zone would be the database connection from the DMZ (and LAN if required).

Exceptions to the rule

The dilemma faced by network engineers is where to put the email server. It requires SMTP connection to the internet, yet it also requires domain access from the LAN. If you where to place this server in the DMZ, the domain traffic would compromise the integrity of the DMZ, making it simply an extension of the LAN. Therefore in our opinion, the only place you can put an email server is on the LAN and allow SMTP traffic into this server. However we would recommend against allowing any form of HTTP access into this server. If your users require access to their mail from outside the network, it would be far more secure to look at some form of VPN solution. (with the firewall handling the VPN connections. LAN based VPN servers allow the VPN traffic onto the network before it is authenticated, which is never a good thing.)

Router - transmitting packets

In a previous article we discussed the basics of what a router did. We're now going to get into a more detailed, and yes technical, explanation of how packets are transmitted as well as a few other tech specs of how routers work. So put on your learning caps because you're in for a real mind bender.

Internet data, whether it be in the form of a web page, a downloaded file or an email message, travels over what is called a packet switching network. Basically what happens is that the data is broken up into individual packets because there is only so much data that can be transmitted at one time. Each packet is about 1500 bytes long. Each packet contains quite a bit of information including the sender's address, the receiver's address and of course the information being sent which includes the order of each packet how it should be put back together so that the end user can make sense of the data. The packet is sent off to its destination based on what the router believes to be the best route to follow, which is usually the route with the least amount of traffic and if possible, the shortest route. Each packet may actually given a different route depending on conditions at the time, which in a high traffic network can change every second. By doing this, the router can balance the load across the network so that no one segment gets overloaded. Also, if there is a problem with one piece of equipment in the network, the router can bypass this piece of equipment and send the packet along another route. This way if there is a problem, the entire message will still arrive intact.

In conducting this process, routers have to speak to each other. They tell each other about any problems on the network and make recommendations on routes to take. This way, paths can be reconfigured if they have to be. However, not all routers do all jobs as routers come in different sizes and have different functions.

There are what we call simple routers. A simple router is usually used in a simple small network. Simple routers simply look to see where the data packet needs to go and sends it there. It doesn't do much else.

Slightly larger routers, which are used for slightly larger networks, do a little bit more. These routers will also enforce security for the network, protecting the network from outside attacks. They are able to do a good enough job of this that additional security software is not needed.

The largest routers are used to handle data at major points on the Internet. These routers handle millions of packets of information per second. They work very hard to configure the network as efficiently as possible. These are stand alone systems and actually have more in common with supercomputers than with a simple server one might have in a small office.

In our next instalment we'll look at how to actually trace the path that a message has taken and some examples of transmitting packets.

Password unification

: Premise “Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you have to be dumb.”

First let me point out I’m one of those life-long students. Not because if love college, but because I can never make up my mind on what I want to do. After making some big life changes I decided to take a full year away from school. Yesterday I attempted to register for this coming spring semester to get back on track. Interestingly enough my account has been disabled… sort of... This is where the fun starts.

I expected my account to be disabled, that isn’t the issue here. The problem is how it was disabled, and the messages which I received back from the University. First my account still worked to access class registration, and the University portal but my E-Mail had been completely locked out. This is the main point of my concern. If the university had a unified technology structure the login / password information would be centralized. An account disabled one place should be disabled across campus. Instead some departments disabled my account, and other left it running while I was gone. Worst some parts of the university left it partially running, but unusable.

Strange isn’t it? Why not completely disable my account rather then just PRETEND it works only to give me a nasty permissions error when I attempt to USE the portal which I am already logged into.

Rule #1

“Never let the user see the nasty error.”

Building an application or networked system on any level requires more then just getting the job done. A developer should take the additional time to build functionality for the unexpected. In my case there should have been two things.

A friendly message explaining why my account was disabled and directions on how to re-enable my account.

Rule #2

“Avoid the circle of death; take personal responsibility for the problem.”

First I talked to my counselor who said I should talk to computer services. Computer services told me to talk to the registration office. The registration office told me to talk to my counselor. FAIL, never ending loops are bad, not just in programming but in the real world.

This could have been avoided at each step, but instead the problem was passed onto someone else. All someone had to do was research the problem, and they would have known the problem has come up in the past. The eventually solution was to force someone to register my classes over the phone rather then using my account on the Internet.

Rule #3

“Record problems and make proactive steps to resolve known issues.”

I work in IT and I know how incredibility complicated things can get. But it’s important to always take steps to prevent the situation from coming up again. I am sure that I am not the first person to have their account disabled, and because no one is following rule three; I will likely not be the last. A few simple changes to the application would easily fix the problem, but no one cares enough to do anything about it. This means me, THE CUSTOMER, THE STUDENT, THE IDOIT, to run around trying to convenience people to do their job.

Thanks for the warm welcome back akron,

Crime fighting computer systems and databases

As crime globalizes, so does crime fighting. Mobsters, serial killers, and terrorists cross state lines and borders effortlessly, making use of the latest advances in mass media, public transportation, telecommunications, and computer networks. The police - there are 16,000 law enforcement agencies in the Unites States alone - is never very far behind.

Quotes from the official Web pages of some of these databases:

National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC)

Its mission is to combine investigative and operational support functions, research, and training in order to provide assistance, without charge, to federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies investigating unusual or repetitive violent crimes. The NCAVC also provides support through expertise and consultation in non-violent matters such as national security, corruption, and white-collar crime investigations.

It comprises the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC), and Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP).

VICAP is a nationwide data information center designed to collect, collate, and analyze crimes of violence - specifically murder. It collates and analyzes the significant characteristics of all murders, and other violent offenses.

Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS)

A program within the Washington state's Attorney General's Office that tracks and investigates homicides and rapes.

Violent Crime Linkage System (ViCLAS)

Canada-wide computer system that assists specially trained investigators to identify serial crimes and criminals by focusing on the linkages that exist among crimes by the same offender. This system was developed by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in the early 1990s.

UTAP, stands for The Utah Criminal Tracking and Analysis Project

Gathers experts from forensic science, crime scene analysis, psychiatry and other fields to screen unsolved cases for local law enforcement agencies.

International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) - Interpol's DNA Gateway

Provides for the transfer of profile data between two or more countries and for the comparison of profiles that conform to Interpol standards in a centralized database. Investigators can access the database via their Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) using Interpol's secure global police communications system, I-24/7.

Interpol's I-24/7

Global communication system to connect its member countries and provide them with user-friendly access to police information. Using this system, Interpol National Central Bureaus (NCBs) can search and cross-check data in a matter of seconds, with direct and immediate access to databases containing critical information (ASF Nominal database of international criminals, electronic notices, stolen motor vehicles, stolen/lost/counterfeit travel and ID documents, stolen works of art, payment cards, fingerprints and photographs, a terrorism watch list, a DNA database, disaster victim identification, international weapons tracking and trafficking in human beings-related information, etc).

Interpol Fingerprints

Provides information on the development and implementation of fingerprinting systems for the general public and international law enforcement entities.

Europol (European Union's criminal intelligence agency) Computer System (TECS)

Member States can directly input data into the information system in compliance with their national procedures, and Europol can directly input data supplied by non EU Member States and third bodies. Also provides analyses and indexing services.

Setting up and securing your wireless network

There are more and more individuals opting to work from home than ever before. The advantages to this are many including avoiding the morning and evening rush hours, being able to spend time with your kids and significant other, and doing everything on your own time. Though the pitfalls are many, the one that I will be focusing on in this article is that of setting up a secure wireless network for your home based business. Right now somewhere out there, there is someone with a receiver waiting to pick up on an unsuspecting person’s wireless local area network. Their hope is to garner some sensitive information that may lead to identity theft, and stolen proprietary business information.

Most businesses owners are not technically inclined, though they may be power users, in general security settings is not one of the first things they want to mess around with in their day to day operations. This makes most wireless LANs a great target for information predators.

Here are some general guidelines to follow in setting up your wireless network. Though it may vary from vendor to vendor, the gist is more or less the same:

1. Setup the wireless access/router point via a wired client.

2. Always change the factory setting password to something difficult for someone to guess.

3. Enable 128-bit Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP) encryption on both your access point and network card. From time to time change the WEP key entries. If your hardware does not support a minimal of 128 bit WEP encryption, then it may be time to replace this dinosaur. WEP is only a minimal security precaution, which is better than none at all.

4. Alter the factory default SSID on the access/router point to a convoluted difficult to guess string. Initiate your computer to connect to this configured SSID by default.

5. Setup your access point not to broadcast the SSID if available.

6. Block off anonymous internet requests and pings.

7. P2P Connections should be disabled.

8. Enable MAC filtering.

9. Enable firewall on the network router/access point with demilitarized zone function disabled. Enable client firewalls for each computer in the network.

10. Update router and access point firmware as updates become available.

11. Make sure the physical router is hidden so that a random person can’t reset the settings.

12. Position the physical router near the middle of the establishment as opposed to near windows to prevent others outside from receiving the signals.

These and other settings will collectively help prevent any unwanted intrusions on your private data.

Cisco s catalyst 6500 remains the network switch to beat

San Francisco, California October 10, 2006: Following a lackluster Q3, Cisco Systems emerges as the leader in the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch Market for the fourth quarter. Fueled by increased demand and an overall rise in the average selling price, Cisco experienced significant gains in a market of over $300 Million.

With almost 70% of the projected $1.3 Billion 10-Gig market share and a more powerful, yet affordable design, the Catalyst 6500 is poised to cement Cisco as the dominating force in the industry. With the recent release of an eight-port, 10-Gigabit Ethernet module for the 6500, Cisco is quickly pulling away from the rest of the pack.

In addition, upgrades like the Application Control Engine (ACE) module have prompted companies like Pure Video Networks to adopt Cisco switches to manage traffic of their popular video websites. Implementing simultaneous data center services such as server load balancing, integrated network and application switching/security, the ACE module delivers the highest performance in the industry. The ACE Simplifies application infrastructure by combining the functionality of multiple application delivery appliances into a single module, including server load balancing and off-load, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol, security, and application optimization capabilities.

Already the most successful networking switch on the IT market, the 6500 Series reduces existing operational costs and improves a network's ability to respond to intensive bandwidth demands. In general, customers using the services modules for the Catalyst 6500 reduce their total cost of ownership by taking advantage of simplified infrastructure, improved investment protection, pervasive security, and the high levels of performance, scalability, and innovative technologies.

With over twenty unique service modules in five distinct categories, the Catalyst 6500 ranks among the most scalable, high-performance platform for integrated services. Currently, Cisco offers modules that address security issues, application, networking, network monitoring, wireless/mobility, and IP communications, which can be integrated into existing catalyst switches. Each modules offers upgraded performance and reinforces Cisco's hold on the market for network switches. With more than $20 Billion is sales sine it's release in 1999, the 6500 Series switch has become the most popular networking platform ever.

While Cisco has been able to fend off most threats to their position, rival Foundry Networks, and newcomer Force 10 have recently launched new 10Gbe ready products aimed at disrupting the company's market share. According to literature on Force 10's Terascale E-Series 1200, the E1200 boasts of more than double the ports of the Catalyst 6500 (1260 vs. 576 Ethernet ports/chassis). While this may be good news for the company, Force 10 has been focused on the data center vertical, and is therefore still untested in the enterprise market. Foundry's BigIron RX series switch has received favorable press for it's size/performance ratio and lower prices. With the launch of the new RX series, Foundry has mounted a consistent affront to Cisco's unchallenged reign.

Even with the competition mounting new efforts, the Cisco name is still a major factor among IT professionals whose networks depend on their equipment. Fortunately for the stalwart Cisco, reputation is still the key to market dominance.

The pleasures of a wireless media router

With everything becoming available wireless these days a great innovation is the wireless media router. What is a wireless media router? It’s a router that allows the transmission of signals from the router to anywhere in the house that has a receiver.

Wireless routers are becoming more and more popular. They have many uses, one of which is viewing pictures and movies from your computer on your television. This comes in very handy when you have media files that you can’t burn on CD or cannot be played on your DVD player.

A second use would be to transmit paid television. For example if you paid for HBO usually you would be able to only view it on one nominated television. With the wireless media router you can send the signal you television is receiving, HBO, to any other television in the house. You can even change the channel from the remote television while viewing.

The third use would be watching television at a location where an antenna is not available. This means no more long cables leading from room to room just to be able to watch television.

Depending on the amount of receivers you have you can receive the signal from multiple televisions. How does it work? The receivers are connected to the remote televisions. The router takes the signal from the source television and distributes it to the remote televisions by way of the receiver. On the remote television a certain channel is dedicated to this receiver meaning you can watch independent television, and easily switch the channel to the signal being received from the wireless router.

This also makes running your entertainment room a breeze. The receiver can also be hooked up-to a projector making it easy to view anything you wish. This means you will not need to purchase separate DVD players VCR’s for every room.

It networks how to argue for a bigger budget


IT network managers have to fight the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mindset to win resources. With computer networks, that mindset is dangerously complacent. IT networks will keep pumping data until they die or let in hackers. Here are some winning arguments against "if it ain't broke…"

IT Network Maintenance: Better Analogies

Don’t let your IT network's budget get lumped with IT in general--or worse, operations in general. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" sometimes makes sense in IT or operations. Upgrading workstations or desks can cost productivity, making it self-defeating.

You have to stress that IT networks are different from workstations or desks.

  • IT networks are harder to repair.
  • IT networks cannot be done without until fixed. You depend on them for email, web, file transfers, and in some organizations, printing, fax and telephone. If your network breaks you may be forced to rely on hand-written letters.
  • IT network improvements rarely lower productivity on the front line. Instead, a faster, more reliable network can improve front-line productivity.

Here are the analogies you should stress to counter "if it ain't broke":

  • Plumbing: IT networks will appear to function until they burst. The damage will be more expensive than maintenance ever could have been. In the meantime, you are losing productivity to all the little "leaks."
  • Dams: If a poorly maintained IT network bursts, the eventual flood will harm overall productivity.
  • War: There is no such thing as "good enough" when you are in competition. With an IT network, you're in a quiet arms race with hackers. You are also competing with your business competitors in terms of productivity.
  • Health: Your IT network has to be in top physical condition. You can't make up for bad habits with a week or two of "rejuvenation." Meanwhile, your day-to-day performance will suffer.
  • Cars: Don't wait for your IT network to conk out. Get a regular tune-up of up-to-date equipment.
IT Network Maintenance: What Can Go Wrong

Now, let's drive the point home. Here are some concrete, easy-to-explain reasons to keep your network up-to-date:

  • Power supplies. Without redundant backups, your network is vulnerable to a shutdown. The lost productivity will make extra equipment seem inexpensive in comparison.
  • Integrity. Faulty or contradictory data can break older networks. Newer equipment has solved these problems. Again, the potential cost of lost productivity makes newer equipment a good value.
  • Firewalls. Hackers can leak trade secrets stolen from unprotected networks. Firewall software upgrades are relatively inexpensive.
  • VOIP. Organizations worldwide are switching to VOIP--not just outside-line telephones but also switchboard and teleconferencing. If your network is out-of-date, it may fail when you eventually try this new technology.
  • Speed. Older platforms such as 10BASET will throttle your bandwidth. You can now upgrade to a Terabit or more. Just think of the seconds, minutes, hours, and days lost as staff wait for email to arrive and web pages to load.

Final tip: show how cost-effective IT network maintenance really is. Get a firm cost estimate from a vendor. Just make sure your cost estimate is as competitive as it can be. You can often get new equipment at half the cost of retail by buying refurbished equipment.

Close your case for a better network with this wisdom: no matter what you pay, keeping your network up-to-date is cheaper than the consequences of letting it fall into disrepair.

Network cabling available options

As their IT consultant, your small business prospects and clients will need you to explain the different network cabling options available to them.

Traditional Wired Ethernet (Category 5)

Until very recently, Category 5 data cabling was the de facto standard for both enterprise and small business LANs. Today, you’ll find some enhancements available to Category 5 cabling, as well as booming interest in wireless Ethernet solutions.

If your computer consulting firm won’t be installing Category 5 network cabling for your small business clients’ networks, get an estimate from a local data cabling vendor that can install certified cabling runs to each office or desk.

Ensure the Network Cabling Job is Completed "To Spec"

Most reputable Category 5 cable installers will be able to provide you with hard copy reports of Category 5 certification tests, your assurance that the job was completed "to spec" -- making for a much more reliable networking experience.

The Ethernet Hub and Network Card

To string together a traditional wired Ethernet network based on Category 5 network cabling, your clients will simply need to purchase a 10/100Mbps Ethernet hub or switch, and a 10/100Mbps network card for each PC.

These are very mature, inexpensive products and great for creating inexpensive, high performance small business networks.

Wireless Ethernet Based on 802.11b (11Mbps)

802.11b wireless is also a relatively mature standard that provides up to 11Mbps Ethernet service. Although wireless networking hardware is more expensive than comparable wired Ethernet equipment, your clients will save on the installation costs of Category 5 data network cabling.

It could very well be break-even cost-wise and there’s no need to drill holes in your clients’ office walls or in the baseboard.

Drawbacks to Wireless Ethernet

First, since the standards between different 802.11b-compatibile products are still relatively new, you can sometimes experience great difficulty in trying to connect 802.11b products from different vendors. If possible, stick with the same 802.11b hardware vendor across the board.

Second, security standards are still evolving. The wireless encryption protocol (WEP) that 802.11b products use is widely known to be "easily" hack-able. Just be sure that your clients are aware of the security limitations before they commit to wireless Ethernet.

The Bottom Line About Network Cabling

Even if your computer consulting firm doesn’t handle Category 5 and other kinds of network cabling work, you need to be involved in the design specifications and supervision of network cabling. For assistance working with data cabling companies, see Partnering with Other Computer Consultants and Subcontracting Success both available for immediate download.

Copyright MMI-MMVI, Small Business Computer Consulting. com. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Rfid its implications and how to defeat

Imagine a future in which your every belonging is marked with a unique number identifiable with the swipe of a scanner, where the location of your car is always pinpoint-able and where signal-emitting microchips storing personal information are implanted beneath your skin or embedded in your inner organs.

This is the possible future of radio frequency identification (RFID), a technology whose application has so far been limited largely to supply-chain management (enabling companies, for example, to keep track of the quantity of a given product they have in stock) but is now being experimented with for passport tracking, among other things. RFID is set to be applied in a whole range of consumer settings. Already being tested in products as innocuous as shampoo, lip balm, razor blades, clothing and cream cheese, RFID-enabled items are promoted by retailers and marketers as the next revolution in customer convenience. Consumer advocates say this is paving the way for a nightmarish future where personal privacy is a quaint throwback.

How RFID works

There are two types of RFID tags: active and passive. When most people talk about RFID, they talk about passive tags, in which a radio frequency is sent from a transmitter to a chip or card which has no power cell per se, but uses the transmitted signal to power itself long enough to respond with a coded identifier. This numeric identifier really carries no information other than a unique number, but keyed against a database that associates that number with other data, the RFID tag's identifier can evoke all information in the database keyed to that number.

An active tag has its own internal power source and can store as well as send even more detailed information.

The RFID value chain involves three parts: the tags, the readers and the application software that powers these systems. From there, the data generated by the application software can interface with other systems used in an enterprise, or, if they obtain the information or collect it themselves, concievably by governments or more nefarious organizations.

Where it’s used today

Global companies such as Gillette, Phillips, Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart and others see huge savings to be made from the use of RFID, and there are numerous pilot projects underway which are indicating savings in supply chains as well as the ability to add value to both product owner, product reseller and customer.

But they’re just pilots, mostly. RFID is a long way from being everywhere, so far. Pharmaceutical tracking has long been held out as one of the flagship applications of RFID in the short term, yet just some 10 medications are expected be tagged using RFID technology on a large scale in the U. S. during 2006, analysts predict. Slow roll-outs are contrasting sharply with the optimism of a year ago, when evidence suggested tripling or even quadrupling of RFID for consumer goods tracking. Why? Uncertainty over pending legislation. There are a complex mixture of federal and new state laws (in particular Florida and California) intended to combat drug theft and counterfeiting that have implications for RFID. The details are still being worked out.

Where it’s likely to be used tomorrow

Depending which analysts you believe, the market for RFID technology will represent between 1.5 and 30 Billion USD by the year 2010. Analyst firm IDTechEx, which tracks the RFID industry, believes more than 585 billion tags will be delivered by 2016. Among the largest growth sectors, IDTechEx forsees the tagging of food, books, drugs, tires, tickets, secure documents (passports and visas), livestock, baggage and more.

Buses and subways in some parts of the world are being equipped with RFID readers, ready for multi-application e-tickets. These are expected to make things easier for the commuter, and help stem the fraud from the current paper-ticket system. However the biggest problem facing rollouts of RFID for commercial micropayment tracking is apparently not technical, but involves agreeing on the fees charged by the clearing house and how credit from lost and discarded tickets will be divided.

Passport tracking

One of the highest profile uses of RFID will be passport tracking. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the U. S. Department of Homeland Security has wanted the world to agree on a standard for machine-readable passports. Countries whose citizens currently do not have visa requirements to enter the United States will have to issue passports that conform to the standard or risk losing their non-visa status.

American and other passports are being developed that include RFID-based chips which allow the storage of considerable amounts of data such as fingerprints and digitized photographs. In the U. S., these passports are due to start being issued in October of 2006. Early in the development of these passports there were gaping security holes, such as the capability of being read by any reader, not just the ones at passport control (the upshot of this was that travelers carrying around RFID passports would have been openly broadcasting their identity, making it easy for wrongdoers to easily – and surreptitiously – pick Americans or nationals of other participating countries out of a crowd.)

Those security blunders were initially corrected by adding metal shielding to the passport cover to minimize its readability when closed, dialing back the range of the electronics and adding a special electronic protocol called Basic Access Control (or BAC). This scheme required the passport to be opened and scanned before its data could have been properly interpreted by an RFID receiver. Unfortunately, in early February 2006, Dutch security experts managed to “listen in” on the communications between a prototype BAC-protected passport and a receiver and cracked the protocol. Which means the international authority developing this new global passport standard may need to go back to the drawing board as of this writing, because ‘bad guys’ could clearly stand in line at passport control and capture passport information. Details of the Dutch hack here.

Implications for privacy seekers

RFID has clear implications for those who are worried about their privacy and safety. Some of them are obvious, and some of them are not.

- Can be read without your knowledge – Since the tags can be read without being swiped or obviously scanned (as is the case with magnetic strips or barcodes), anyone with an RFID tag reader can read the tags embedded in your clothes and other consumer products without your knowledge. For example, you could be scanned before you enter the store, just to see what you are carrying. You might then be approached by a clerk who knows what you have in your backpack or purse, and can suggest accessories or other items.

- Can be read a greater distances with a high-gain antenna – For various technical reasons, RFID reader/tag systems are designed so that distance between the tag and the reader is kept to a minimum. However, a high-gain antenna can actually read tags from much further away, leading to privacy problems. Governments or others could punch through privacy screens and keep tabs on people.

- Difficult to remove – RFID tags are hard for consumers to remove; some are very small (less than a half-millimeter square, and as thin as a sheet of paper) - others may be hidden or embedded inside a product where consumers cannot see them. New technologies allow RFID tags to be printed right on a product and may not be removable at all

- Disruptions if maliciously jammed – RF signals can be jammed, which could complicate everyday life if RFID tags became essential. Imagine a central bus or train station, maybe an airport, where suddenly everyone could neither be ID'd or access their cash accounts. A single hour of jamming during morning rush over a large area could cost a large city untold millions of dollars in delayed commerce and transport. It would be worse than a mass-transit strike, and easier to repeat.

- Could be linked to a credit card number – The Universal Product Code (UPC) implemented with barcodes allows each product sold in a store to have a unique number that identifies that product. Work is proceeding on a global system of product identification that would allow each individual item to have its own number. When the item is scanned for purchase and is paid for, the RFID tag number for a particular item can be associated with the credit card number it was purchased with.

- Potential for counterfeit – If an RFID tag is being used to authenticate someone, anyone with access to an RFID reader can easily capture and fake someone else’s unique numeric identifier, and therefore, in essence, their electronic 'signature'. If an RFID-tagged smartcard is used for shopping, for instance, anyone who intercepted and reverse-engineered your number, and programmed another card with it, could make charges on your account.

- Marking for crime – Even after you leave a store, any RFID devices in things you buy are still active. A thief could walk past you in the mall and know exactly what you have in your bags, marking you as a potential victim. Someone could even circle your house with an RFID scanner and pull up data on what you have in your house before robbing it. As a result, there are now discussions of “zombie” RFID tags that expire upon leaving the store and reanimate if the product is ever returned to the store and returned to the supply chain.

- Marking for violence – Military hardware and even clothing are beginning to make use of RFID tags to help track these items through supply chains. RFID is being used today by the U. S. military to track materials in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some analysts are concerned about particular items being associated with high-level officers that could trigger roadside bombs via an RFID scan of cars going by. (Thankfully, RFID tags retained close to the body can rarely be scanned. For instance, UHF tags, the kind being most widely deployed, are virtually unreadable near the body because of its high water content.)

Some have suggested that mobile phones are already as great a threat to privacy as RFID. In the case of mobile phones, information about your whereabouts and calling patterns is regularly available to your service provider, a centralized and highly regulated source of information gathering. An adversary with special-purpose equipment would also have the capability of tracking your mobile phone, but this would require significant expertise and investment. See our separate article "Cell phone hazards".

What makes RFID a more significant privacy threat than mobile phones is the fact that readers will be readily available and ubiquitously deployed. In other words, RFID readers will soon be an accepted element of everyday life, while eavesdropping equipment for mobile phones is unlikely to be.

How to thwart RFID technology

There are a few approaches you can take to thwart RFID tags ... but before you take proactive steps, note that sometimes the very absence of a tag or its signal in places it’s expected could arouse suspicion. For instance, if you’re carrying what is expected to be an RFID-tagged passport and your tag isn’t working, say, you may invite unwanted scrutiny. Be careful which tags you choose to disrupt.

The simplest, most permanent approach to disable RFID tags is to destroy them. If you can detect them and wish to permanently render them useless, remove them and smash the small chip component with a hammer. If you’re not sure whether a product you own contains a tag, consider putting it in a microwave to destroy the tag if the object is otherwise safe to be microwaved. Be careful with some plastics. Note there have been reports of RFID materials catching fire in microwaves.

If removing the tag is not practical, there are four general ways to disrupt RFID tag detection.

- Blocking – Construct a conductive foil box (even tin foil is good) around the tag. If you are concerned about RFID emissions from work badges, school IDs, new generation drivers licenses, credit cards, and even cash in the future containing RFID tags, buy or make an RFID-proof wallet. RFID wallet project details are easy to find on the Internet.

- Jamming – Since RFID systems make use of the electromagnetic spectrum like wireless networks or cellphones, they are relatively easy to jam using a strong radio signal at the same frequency the tag operates. Although this would only be an inconvenience for consumers in stores (longer waits at the checkout), it could be disastrous in other environments where RFID is increasingly being used, like hospitals, or in military combat situations. Such jamming devices, however, would in most cases violate government regulations on radio emissions. A group of researchers in Amsterdam have theorized that a personal RFID jammer is possible (their paper is linked to from the version of this article that lives at our web site, www. powerprivacy. com) but the device seems only theoretical at this time.

- Repeated interrogation – Active RFID tags that use a battery to increase the range of the system can be repeatedly interrogated to wear the battery down, disrupting the system.

- Popping – Generating a very strong pulse of radiation at the right frequency can cause RFID tags to resonate and break.

What strategy you should pursue depends on what RFID privacy threats you are trying to thwart and your technical expertise.

Networking terms educating your clients

It is very important to educate your small business prospects and clients on key small business networking terms and buzzwords. After all, in order to "win them over", you need to be speaking the same language. In fact, you may even want to prepare a "cheat sheet", based on the below definitions, to help you in your prospect and client pre-sales activities.

If you’d like to order a license to reproduce these networking terms for client sales literature, please contact [email protected] and put "Licensing Your LAN Buzzwords" in the subject line.

• NIC (Network Interface Card) - a printed circuit board, adapter card or the underlying supporting chipset that snaps into the motherboard of a desktop PC, notebook or server and transmits and receives packets on a network; used to connect to networks including a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), or a broadband network for high-speed cable modem or DSL-based Internet access or other dedicated Internet access service; most common NIC used by small businesses is the 10/100Mbps Ethernet adapter.

• NOS (Network Operating System) - an OS designed for communications between networked computer systems; popular NOS’s include Apple Mac OS, Linux, Microsoft Windows NT/2000 and Novell NetWare.

• Peer-to-Peer Network - an inexpensive alternative to a client/server network in which a PC doubles as both a workstation (used by an end user) and a server (from which resources are shared); although virtually any OS can be configured for peer-to-peer networking, peer-to-peer networks are often assembled from Microsoft’s least expensive consumer OS’s, such as Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Me and Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition.

• RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is technology generally used to increase a server’s reliability -- by simultaneously writing data to multiple hard drives. While many people also use RAID to improve server performance, RAID eliminates a single point of hard drive failure. Years ago, you could only get the benefits of RAID through SCSI-based hard drives. Today, IDE hard drives can also enjoy entry-level RAID fault tolerance benefits.

• SCSI (small computer systems interface) is a high-end interface for connecting both internal and external computer peripheral devices. Years ago, only SCSI-based storage devices were used in most servers.

• Server - any computing device or peripheral on a network designed to provide shared services and resources to network users; primarily characterized by multi-user usage, as compared to a desktop or notebook PC; common servers include the file, printer, e-mail messaging and collaboration, Web, proxy and database server.

• Wireless Ethernet - set of standards and in-progress standards that allow Ethernet networks to run without physical cabling and utilize radio waves for transmission.

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What is an intranet definition and uses

An intranet is basically a private web based network. It uses all of the technology of the internet but is safe and protected behind a firewall that keeps unauthorized personnel out. Companies have been using them for years as a method of streamlining their internal communications.

Because a web browser can run on any type of computer, the need to maintain multiple paper copies of documents that are constantly changing can be eliminated. Documents like training manuals, internal phone books, procedure manuals, benefits information, employee handbooks, requisition forms, etc. can be maintained as electronic documents and updated at almost no cost. The savings in paper and other material costs can be significant

But the most powerful aspect of an intranet is its ability to display information in the same format to every computer being used. That allows all of the different software and databases a company uses to be available to all employees without any special equipment or software being installed on their systems.

This universal availability of information is sparking an era of collaboration unlike anything ever seen before. The departmental barriers that exist in many companies are slowing breaking down because now colleagues can share information readily using the company intranet.

Options for implementing an intranet

There are a variety of options for setting up an intranet. They include building your own intranet technology, purchasing and installing third-party software, or purchasing access through an extranet ASP. Here is a quick summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach:

1. Building it yourself

Advantages: Complete control of user interface design; ability to customize level of functionality; integration into internal systems, and direct access to user activity.

Disadvantages: High up-front development cost; requires staff expertise in the development of extranets, commitment of internal staff for 6 months to a year for planning, execution, review and implementation; and an ongoing commitment of internal staff for internal and client support, hosting, maintenance and upgrades.

2. Purchasing/installing third-party software

Advantages: Proven track-record of packaged solution; ability to choose functions and to

customize user interface, more rapid implementation compared to building it yourself.

Disadvantages: High up-front purchase cost; commitment of internal staff for customization and implementation; on-going commitment of internal staff for internal and client support, hosting, maintenance and upgrades; and extensive internal and client training

3. Using a Service Provider (ASP)

Advantages: Proven track-record of the application; low cost of entry and predictable cost over time; virtually immediate implementation; no commitment of internal staff for internal support, hosting, or maintenance; and upgrades at no cost by extranet experts, and savings on internal server use.

Disadvantages: Less freedom in user interface design, and fixed functionality.

In the final analysis…

The approach you choose depends on how you work, the technical and financial resources at your disposal, and how rapidly you need to move forward.

Network monitoring for serious ecommerce

: In the real world, businesses come in every size, from self-employed entrepreneurs like me to mega malls like Wal-Mart.

On the Internet, companies come in every size, too, from a stand-alone ebook sales page with webmaster and owner all in one, to 300 pound gorilla like Amazon, with over a million pages, who requires the entire population of a small country to serve as webmaster.

If your site is a single page, it is its own network. But if your site is any bigger, and you have plans to grow, it is a network or is fast becoming one. You need network monitoring.

Most ecommerce webmasters are at least somewhat familiar with website monitoring. Many use a website monitoring service or software to keep track of "uptime" and "downtime".

At your local shopping mall, serious business requires more than just knowing when the front doors are open and when they are closed. Serious ecommerce needs to know more than just when the site is accessible. That is what network monitoring is all about.

What Network Monitoring Monitors

Chances are, your e-business owns one of the following, or uses one of the following remotely:

DNS servers: These are used to translate your site name, like www. URL. com, to the numbers called "IP addresses" that computers understand. If DNS servers are not working properly, end-users will not be able to find your site and will get an error. Usually only an external or remote monitoring service will detect such a problem.

An FTP server: File Transfer Protocol servers are used to help you exchange files with remote users. If you use FTP, a monitoring service can make sure it is always up and running.

POP3 and SMTP servers: These are used for exchanging emails. If you are using email, chances are you are using SMTP and POP3. If your SMTP server is down, everyone who sends you email will receive an error, stating that your mail server is down and cannot accept incoming email. To say that the impression this leaves your customers is bad would be an understatement. If your POP3 server is down, you will be unable to retrieve email from your mailbox. Once again, only external monitoring will prevent such a problem.

Firewalls: Many businesses use firewalls to protect their internal network from un-authorized traffic, such as spyware, viruses and sabotage by competitors. Furthermore, a firewall is your first line of defense. If your firewall goes down, your whole network may actually become inaccessible from outside. In other words, if you host your own web site and mail servers, those will become inaccessible to the outside world if your firewall goes down. Once again, remote network monitoring is required to detect that a problem exists and quickly get it repaired.

Internet connections: Users come to your network from multiple backbones, depending on the company they use to connect to the Internet and their location. It is important to insure that your connection performs well for each user. A remote monitoring service can ping your networks from multiple locations around the world, thus testing most major routes to your web server or network. Before hiring a network monitoring service, check to see that they have both your customer geography and the Internet backbone layout covered.

Very few websites of any size and functionality are anything less than a complete network, and many networks rely on servers in different parts of the world.

A good network monitoring service can ensure, as a base, that all servers are properly functioning, that data can be sent to and received from each server, and that each function sharing the server responds as required. An advanced network monitoring service can even remotely monitor the temperature of your servers.

What you need to monitor depends on how extensive your network is. A network monitoring expert can help you determine what needs monitoring. If you own the servers, or are remotely hosted on dedicated servers, you most likely need everything monitored. If your site is hosted on shared servers, you might need fewer functions monitored.

Protect your network from identity theft now

It is deniable that our works and lives are more convenient and easier when using wireless. We can work anywhere and that is why wireless networks are becoming so popular. Especially if you have broadband Internet access, a wireless router can give you instant communication with the world.

Imagine you are sitting by the pool and enjoying chatting through the Internet. Or lounging in the Jacuzzi listening to your MP3 collection is appealing to us all. Unfortunately, many, or even most, wireless units don't come with security features already functioning. This may not seem like a big issue to someone who is simply setting up a home network, but there are a number of potential problems you should consider.

Identity theft seems to be the most serious problem. If your network is unsecured, the personal data on your wireless electronic equipment is also unsecured. The order you just placed for a book at Amazon may have given your contact and payment information to an unscrupulous hacker! Nearly every town in which "WiFi" is common will have "War Drivers" and "War Chalkers" at work. These are people who walk or drive around town with wireless equipment, searching for unsecured networks. The "Chalkers" then live up their name, marking curbs and other public items with chalk so that others can more easily find and exploit your network.

In fact, not all "War Drivers" are hackers, of course. Many just want to use your network for free, but the risk is high if you don't learn how to protect yourself. You can usually find quite a bit of free information as to how to secure your network at the website of your router's manufacturer, or by doing a search in a search engine for a phrase like "secure home wireless."

In addition, there are also your neighbors who may find your network by accident and enjoy nosing into your activities and using your Internet access at will, slowing down your network speed in the process.

Even many businesses use cheap, home-use quality equipment for their company networks. With the poor security often found on small business networks, anyone with a basic knowledge of wireless can access sensitive company and customer data.

It is highly recommended that you hire service companies to secure your network for you, or else you will have to bear with a risk of being exploited. A search of your local yellow pages or an inquiry at your neighborhood computer store should yield professional help and get your private data private again.

It consulting networking steps

Starting an IT consulting business requires patience and dedication. The hardest part is often getting new clients. In this article, learn some more of the steps you should take before beginning your IT consulting practice.

Step Sixteen: Get Your Networking Contacts into a Follow Up Plan

With every business card you collect, jot down the date that you met them and any relevant notes about them. If you have a follow up request like they said "hey give me a call about that," or "hey call me on Tuesday about setting that up", immediately jump on those.

Follow up on the request tomorrow if not sooner. If you can’t follow up with a personal call, send a handwritten note that says you look forward to seeing them again and if you need any help between now and when we meet again, give me a call. Include your card in the note, and put your contact's card on a rolodex and put him on a 30, 60-day call back schedule.

Step Seventeen: Re-Evaluate Your Networking Organization Options

Take another look at the different networking groups you attended as a guest. Which ones did you like? Which ones have the most potential for the most business opportunities? Start joining and participating. The purpose is to get known and to raise your profile in the community.

Pick out at least 4 groups and join them. Drop off your check personally to the director or office manager. Be direct and tell him or her that you have this new IT consulting business and that you are looking for small business that you can help out with LANs, etc. Ask them what is the best way to get to know these small business owners that are most likely to need your IT consulting services.

At every 60-90 minute event, you should be talking to eight or ten people. Half of them may be a waste of time, half of them could be potential clients, half could be potential referrals. It’s a matter of staying organized and keeping your name in front of them.

After you go through the first ninety days and you’ve gone to one of these every week, move on to more sustainable networking.

Step Eighteen: Do Your First Direct Mail Campaign

Have your testimonials in place from your earlier clients, and get your networking organizations’ directory on disc. Send out a personal letter and your business card to every member who may fit into the IT consulting sweet spot. Offer them a free 30-minute needs assessment coupon with an expiration date. Tell them you look forward to seeing them at upcoming event and then you can always follow up with a phone call.

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