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Do You Need IT Penetration Testing?

Posted by websiteverification on January 19, 2012

IT penetration testing is a process used to assess the safety and security of a computer system or network by faking an attack from malicious hackers.  The procedure is related to a vulnerability assessment, but includes a lot more.  A vulnerability assessment is performed by a machine looking throughout your network.   With a penetration test, a professional penetration testing resource reviews the results of the vulnerability scans and also validates the results against the network or application.  Because it is an actual human being performing the review, there are frequently new findings that a machine doesn’t catch.  Also, because the test is usually carried out from the position of a prospective hacker, it will more often find the vulnerabilities that hackers find.  You may have heard penetration testing referred to as ethical hacking.

Penetration testing is done for many different reasons.  Some of these are: To discover high risk vulnerabilities that can result from low risk vulnerabilities.  To recognize vulnerabilities that may otherwise be hard to identify with automated network or vulnerability scanning software. Testing networks to be able to successfully detect and respond to hacking attacks.

Penetration tests are an element of a security audit.  The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the security and auditing standard require both annual and ongoing penetration testing.

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SEO Optimization Cost – Tips To Make SEO Costs More Affordable

Posted by websiteverification on September 1, 2011

SEO Optimization Cost – Tips To Make SEO Costs More Affordable.

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Online Business Owners Should Improve Online Conversion Rates

Posted by websiteverification on September 1, 2011

Online business owners everywhere are constantly trying to improve sales and profits.  If you own a business online, you may know that one way you can do this is by improving your conversion rate.  When referring to conversions in online marketing and sales we are referring to when a visitor comes to the website and completes the business owner’s intended action.  Such as, buying something on the website or joining an email list or newsletter.  Ultimately, the conversion occurs when the visitor becomes the customer. The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who perform the intended action…the percentage who make a purchase or whatever the intended action is.

Finding the online conversion rate for your website is really important if you want to be successful. Conversion rates are a really good way to measure the success of your website and help you see what things may be working and what things aren’t.  There are many things you can do to improve your conversion rate and increase online sales and profits.

Create user reviews about the products or services you offer on your site.  This can accelerate conversion on your website and improve conversion rate.  You may choose to reserve a section or page on your site for previous customer’s reviews. When someone searches for something that you sell, they will be directed to your site to see the reviews.

Produce better substance for your website that clearly targets the conversion goal.  For example, if you are selling clothing online, make sure that you have pictures, text, video, etc. relating to that clothing.  Make certain you add content to your website regarding any special sales or clearance.

Improve your website navigation structure.  If your website is not easy to navigate, visitors will be less likely to continue to visit the site.  Be sure that the way it is structured makes it easy for visitors to browse and find what they want without having to think too much about where to click.

Remember, increasing conversion rate is essential in increasing sales and profits when it comes to an online business.  If you want to increase sales (and who doesn’t?) think about using some of these ideas to improve your conversion rates.  Also, there are some companies that will help you with this and do it for you.  Check them out if you are interested!

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You Can Overcome Website Vulnerabilities That Can Lead to Hacking

Posted by websiteverification on March 18, 2011

All website and online business owners are concerned about the website vulnerabilities that may affect their site.  This is because internet threats are everyone.  One in particular is hacking.  Everyone has heard of computer hacking, but do you really know what can happen to your website if it is hacked? How can you overcome website vulnerabilities that lead to hacking?

Wikipedia describes computer hacking as the practice of changing computer hardware and software to accomplish a function which is outside of the creator’s original purpose.  Essentially, hacking is unlawful use of a computer and its network resources. Crimes such as identity theft, credit card fraud or other computer crimes are often the result of hacking.

Some hackers are technology buffs who enjoy learning how computers work and may even consider computer hacking as a form of art.  However, computer hacking is illegal unless it is done under contract between an ethical hacker and an organization.

Vulnerability scanning is the best way to protect your website from the vulnerabilities that can lead to things like hacking.   It is crucial that you test your website applications on a regular basis to ensure the safety of your computer systems and web data, as well as your customer’s private information. According to the PCI Security Standards, you should have your website and system scanned at least quarterly by an approved scanning vendor.  The vulnerability scans will identify any type of vulnerabilities found in your website so you can fix them.

So if you are doing what you should be and taking the steps to protect your site and overcome website vulnerabilities, then you will look out for computer hackers.

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Avoid Website Vulnerabilities

Posted by websiteverification on November 11, 2010

When you have created your own website, you need to be aware of the risks of website vulnerabilities.  You spend a lot of time producing your website and maintaining it.  You don’t want an attack against your site because most likely, you would have to start all over.  Be sure that your site is not vulnerable to malicious attacks.  Below are listed some of the most prevalent website attacks that you should be aware of.

Cross Site Scripting

Cross site scripting (also known as XSS) has been proven to be the most prevalent threats to websites. XSS happens when one of your web applications gathers malicious data because of an attacker setting it up. Malicious attackers insert client side script into web pages that are viewed by other users.  When the user clicks on a link to your site from another website, instant message, or email message, it attacks your site.  The attacker is then able to gather data from your site, and it can cause major problems. The best way to avoid this is as a user, only open links from web pages that are trusted.  Cross site scripting is one of the most common threats to websites.

SQL Injection

SQL injection attacks are another common website threat. SQL stands for “structured query language”.  An SQL injection attack is when a person places malicious code into the SQL strings of your website.  The producer of the website may accept the code while they are creating their website, not realizing that it is malicious.  It will then cause major problems to the website because the attacker will now have access to website data.  They may change or steal data from your website.

Session Hijacking

Another threat to be sure your website is not vulnerable of is session hijacking.  This is when a valid computer session is exploited.  The attacker is able to take over a web user’s computer session by obtaining the session id and then pretending to be the authorized user.  They can then steal important information from the victim.  Session hijacking may or may not be detectable to the website owner.  But if your website is not responding in the normal or expected way, session hijacking could be a possible cause, so be aware.

So if you are an owner of a website, you need to watch out for these website vulnerabilities.  One of the best ways to get rid of any website vulnerabilities is to have quarterly scans of your website by an approved scanning vendor.

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What You Should Know About PCI Vulnerability Standards

Posted by websiteverification on June 29, 2010

The topic of the PCI Vulnerability Standards has been all over the web over the last few years. By now we all pretty much know that PCI compliance is an obligation for all merchants that accept credit cards. But all the talk about PCI has brought up numerous questions as well.  I put together a list of some frequently asked questions to help everyone with some answers.

What exactly are the PCI Vulnerability Standards? The PCI vulnerability standards, usually referred to as PCI DSS (PCI data security standards), consist of 12 detailed requirements produced by the PCI council.  The PCI council consists of the five major credit card companies. The standards were created for the purpose of bringing forth a unified way for businesses to keep their customer’s private information safe and secure. It was put into place September of 2006.

Do the PCI standards apply to all businesses? Any business that accepts transmits or stores credit card information must meet the specifications of PCI compliance, no matter their size.  To put it more simply, if you accept credit cards at your place of business, then the PCI requirements must be followed.

What if we don’t accept credit cards, but we accept debit cards? PCI compliance still applies here.  The PCI standards must be followed by any organization accepting credit or debit cards, or pre paid cards.  Essentially, if you are accepting any kind of cards branded with a logo from one of the five major credit card companies – American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, or Visa – you must be in compliance.

Where is a complete list of the PCI Vulnerability Standards? Check out the website https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org.

How is PCI scanning related to PCI compliance? According to the PCI council, in order to sustain proper PCI compliance, your business should undergo daily or quarterly PCI scans of your system.  An ASV, approved scanning vendor, should scan your system including things like your website, office internet connections, and more.  Basically anything that is connected to a public IP address.

What happens if I am not in compliance? Outrageous fines as high as $100,000 a month may be charged for violating PCI.  This can becatastrophic, especially to small businesses, so do not take this lightly.

This article may or may not have answered all your PCI related questions.  Above all just remember that the PCI vulnerability standards must be followed and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. There is a lot of information available and PCI compliance is very important.

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Another Step to Keep Your Website Safe – Vulnerability Scanner

Posted by websiteverification on February 13, 2010

Vulnerability scanners are one step further than what you already have to keep your website safe.  It is a very important part of website security.  A vulnerability scanner is used by an ASV (authorized scanning vendor) to look for and recognize threats to your computer system. It scans for many different common vulnerabilities on your system and then sends the results to you in a report so you will have the info you need to get it fixed.

I am sure you have all heard about the many threats that are lurking out there on the internet.  Things like malware (spyware, adware), viruses and worms, and internet phishing can cause horrible problems to your computer system and website.  Here is a quick explanation of some of these well known dangers.

Malware (short for “malicious software”) is designed to take over a computer system without the permission of the user.  Malware includes things like spyware and adware.  Spyware can infect computers without their knowledge and steal private information about the user.  Occasionally spyware is concealed within types of adware.  Adware is short for “advertising supported software” and isn’t illegal – which makes people believe it is safe, but that’s not always the case. Computer users should protect themselves against malware by using firewalls and vulnerability scanners.

Computer viruses, as you know, are spread from computer to computer just like a human virus spreads from person to person.   Computer viruses can range in severity; some may cause only somewhat bothersome problems while others can damage your hardware, software or files.  Another threat, worms, is similar to viruses because they spread from computer to computer, but unlike a virus, they can travel without any human action.  Worms use files or data transport on your computer system so they can travel without help.  Always have anti-virus software on your computer and vulnerability scanners to help you avoid these issues.

Internet phishing is the criminal practice of trying to acquire private information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information from unknowing users.  This happens because those doing the phishing disguise themselves as trustworthy businesses or people. It is normally carried out by email and frequently directs users to phony websites that look identical to real ones the user has visited before.

Now that we have reviewed some of the major threats of the internet, be sure to put in place a vulnerability scanner.

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SSL Certificates Are a Key to Site Security

Posted by websiteverification on January 14, 2010

If you want your site to have the best security possible, SSL is something you need.  And while SSL is super important, you should know that SSL alone is not enough for site security.  Secure Sockets Layer technology secures your online business and your customers will know that they can trust your site.

The way that SSL works is by encrypting the data that is transmitted during a transaction in order to protect the sensitive information from being hacked or stolen.  Encryption means that it scrambles the data and then unscrambles it once it is transmitted.  Each SSL certificate includes unique information regarding that particular certificate owner and then a certificate authority verifies the identity of the certificate owner once it is issued.

If you run a business online and you accept credit cards on your account, you must have SSL. Another reason you need SSL is if you require a login to your site or if you process personal info like addresses, id numbers, etc.

As an online shopper, you might wonder how to be sure the site you are shopping on uses SSL.  They way that you can tell if your info is secure, is that you will notice that “http” is replaced with “https” in the address line.  Also, you will see a small padlock in the status bar at the bottom of the browser window.

SSL is a very critical part of site security if you plan on having a successful online business.  Remember that while it is important to your website it is not enough. The SSL certificate only protects data transfers, not your whole website. Think about other types of site security for the ultimate online business. Things such as third party business verification, privacy policies, and being PCI compliant with pci scanning are also a must!

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All about Trust Seals

Posted by websiteverification on December 16, 2009

Hopefully you are considering trust seals for your website if you are an online business owner. If so, you may not be sure which trust seals you need.  Where you even aware that there are different types of trust seals? Trust seals, small images placed on a website to verify trust, come in different styles and types.  I will explain about three different trust seals that are available to website owners.

A Privacy Seal, provided by companies like Truste, prove to customer that you have privacy policies in place that will protect their information.  Another type of trust seal, a business seal, proves to customers that business is verified by a third party.  The third party verifies things such as your companies address, phone number, and email.  This process proves that your company is legitimate and truthfully portrayed.  The third type of trust seal is a security seal.  A security seal tells your customers that you are using a secure connection (SSL) when processing their payments.

When you have decided which type of seal you need then you need to decide which provider to go with.  There are many providers that offer seals in a variety of costs and descriptions. When deciding, the best thing to do is compare their products and prices to determine which would suit your business best. By placing trust seals on your website, you will most likely see an increase in sales due to an increase of customer trust.

After purchasing your trust seals, be sure to keep them current.  This is the most important thing when it comes to trust seals. Each seal includes an active logo that appears in the image.  It needs to be current each day. Otherwise, the seals are worthless.

So, consider putting privacy seals (from a provider such as Truste), business seals, or security seals on your website.  You will be glad that you did!

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Website Security Ideas for Shoppers

Posted by websiteverification on December 16, 2009

Online shopping has become more popular over time because of the ease of shopping from the comfort of your own home. Although online shopping has become a common activity of many folks, research has shown that a lot of people still refuse to purchase items over the internet.  This is almost certainly due to the fact that customers do not feel safe when shopping on the internet.  Below I have listed some solutions for online shoppers who want to increase their safety while purchasing on the internet. It all comes down to proper website security.

Set up anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spyware software on your computer – You must have this to protect your computer and system against viruses that may harm or steal information off of your computer.  Check for updates to your software continually and choose a legitimate business to download or purchase the software from. In addition, you should consider applying the highest level of security available from the software that still gives you the functionality that you need.

Know the websites you are doing business with –When shopping on the internet, be as careful as you are when shopping in town. Make sure the website is owned by a business that you trust or have heard about from someone you trust.  Also, look for trust seals, or trust marks.  Online businesses that have been verified by a third party may display trust marks on their website proving that they are current and up to date with website security. If you are visiting a site for the first time, try and find out their physical business address and phone number on the website. Find out their return and exchange policy, and definitely take a look at the privacy policy.

Don’t forget to read the website’s privacy policy – Anytime you are leaving your personal or financial information with a website, you should read the privacy policy. You will want to know that your private information is being stored and used in a way that is legal and safe.

Make use of the website’s safety features – A lot of extra security is added to your transaction if you utilize the website’s safety features, such as passwords, personal questions, etc.

Never reply to emails that request personal or financial information from you - Attackers will try to get hold of your personal information by pretending they are a legitimate business and asking for you to confirm personal account information.  Any business that is legit will not ask for this type of information through email.

Make sure your information is being encrypted – Most websites use SSL (secure sockets layer) to encrypt information so that it cannot be stolen while in the process of the transaction. The way to know if the website is using a SSL is the URL will begin with https, instead of http.  Also, there should be some sort of a padlock icon.

Make purchases online with a credit card rather than a debit card– There are specific laws that limit your legal responsibility for falsified credit card charges.  You may not have the same level of protection if you use your  debit card.

Check your credit card statements regularly – Keep a good record of all your transactions at the time of purchase and then compare them to your bank statements.  If there are any discrepancies, report them at once.

These are just a few solutions to help keep you safe when you shop on the internet. It is important that you use these tips for website security when shopping online.

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