Apr 18, 2018

6 Ways How Business Can Use a Live Video Streaming App

Video is the content people are ready to consume for hours and hours. You and your business can definitely benefit from it, and in this article we will tell you, what you can use video for.

Already, big social networks and video services acknowledged its power. Netflix shows the extreme boost, and social networks get their users addicted to live streaming apps. Facebook, Instagram and other have also successfully onboarded this wave by opening their own streaming capabilities to the world, and saw the rapid growth immediately.

Some businesses create a video streaming app and use it as a marketing tool. 

Here are some numbers:

  • The views of branded content has increased 99% on YouTube… And 258% on Facebook! 
  • By 2019 80% of all internet traffic will be associated with videos.

As you see, promotion with the help of videos is very effective and will make your current and potential customers care for what you have to offer. However, in this article we will talk specifically about live video streaming. Why?

The main reason is that live streaming is even more effective. According to Tubular Insights, people spend 8 times more on live streams than on regular on-demand videos.

You may wonder, why is it so? From the first sight, it may seem that on-demand videos must be more popular, as people can see them whenever they have time. Live streams, on the other hand, are available only when they are being recorded, and some life issues can come in way.

However, live streams are really more engaging, because they are exclusive and they allow to talk with the viewers in real time via comments.

Here we’ll talk about the ways you can use live streaming for your business, and the best practices of connecting to your customers via broadcasting.

1. Host Webinars

Webinars are always popular. Share your knowledge with people and thus prove yourself an expert, and make your customers more loyal to what you do. Webinars can be either paid or free. The best practice is to host free ones, if your business hasn’t gained fame and reputation yet: this way you’ll be able to get more customers to watch you.

Paid webinars are a great option for companies that are already rather famous in their sphere, and customers already know something about them.

2. Host Q&A Sessions

Q&A sessions are the best way to add some personal touch to your business, to show that behind your logo and a website there are humans that are ready to help. Q&A sessions are great to reply to some concerns your clients might have, to educate them and to show how you work.

You can prepare to such session and gather all frequently asked questions. Another way to do it is to answer questions from comments or tweets with a hashtag in real time.

3. Stream Live Events

A conference or some other important events in your company are a great reason to take your smartphone and launch a live streaming app. Go ahead and show your customers how your company evolves and how your employees gain new experience. 

Live events are a great reason to stream them, whether it’s a presentation of a new products somewhere at the conference or a meeting with celebrities. Make your viewers feel like they are present there, don’t forget to react to their comments and show the best moments of the event.

4. Host an Interview

Interviews with experts and influencers are the best way to get viewer attention, as they will enjoy seeing someone they already know. The main thing when you host an interview is to make it lively and interesting. You really need to work on those questions you’re going to ask, and switch between topics frequently enough to avoid boredom and repetitiveness.

5. Show what’s behind the curtains

Don’t let your customers see only what you would normally show. It is important that you keep your broadcasts informal. Show how your business works on the inside, let customers meet those people who work for them every day to deliver the best service.

You can also show some details of your product creation process. People may enjoy what they get, but what really makes you unique in their heads, is your story. Make your brand personal and alive, and people will appreciate it.

6. Share Important News

Today people will prefer to watch a branded video or enjoy a live stream from a company than read a text, so the best way to tell your customers about any changes or new products in your company is to host a live broadcast and then make it available for later.

These are six ways you can make your business more memorable for customers with the help of live streaming.

Final Thoughts

The greatest thing about using live video streaming app for business is that you don’t need a production team and a big marketing budget to broadcast - just grab your Android or iOS device and think about things you’re going to share. Live streaming doesn’t have to be official or perfect - the most important thing about it is your open attitude and a genuine wish to share something awesome.

You can use any platform or social media on your phone to share live streams, but if you already have your own mobile app, you can add live streaming functionality to it. A mobile development company like Mobindustry can help you with that.

If it corresponds to your business model, you can also create an additional source of income by providing paid webinars with useful information that will educate the viewers.

Find your own creative ways to benefit from live broadcasting: it is definitely worth a shot!

Apr 17, 2018

Learning computer coding opens up 'endless world' for these kids

In this episode of PBS News Hour a nationwide computer science immersion program sets up shop at a couple Virginia elementary schools. The program is called Code To The Future.

Apr 16, 2018

Ransomware Detection Methods

Ransomware is undoubtedly the biggest threat among modern day malware. Since the advent of CyrptoLocker in 2013, the number of yearly attacks has been constantly on the rise. The first quarter of the previous year has seen two biggest ransomware attacks ever in the face of WannaCry and NotPetya.

According to data, presented by eSecurity Planet, the number of ransomware attacks for the first quarter of 2017 has increased on 62% as compared to 2016. The number of detected ransomware has increased on 2000% in 2017, as compared to 2015.

According to Barkly, roughly 60% of all malicious payloads detected in the first quarter of 2017 have been ransomware.

The number of mobile ransomware has also increased dramatically over the past year. According to Kaspersky, in the Q1 of 2017 218,265 new types of mobile ransomware have been discovered. Ransomware have also been exploding on the dark web, with new strains constantly being created for sale. The new model, called ransomware-as-a-service has become popular, where all you need to do is simply pay, and you will get a ready-to-use ransomware that you can start distributing via a botnet in a couple of clicks.

Ransomware has also been increasingly targeting more and more businesses as of late as opposed to individuals. The question then is what can be done about it? When ransomware initially appeared, there was no good way to combat it. CryptoLocker public-key encryption was basically impossible to break, and beyond just regular backups there was little you could do. But even if infection meant that operations within your company were halted only for a couple of hours, it still could mean huge lost profits. Ideal scenario – is to detect ransomware attack early and stop it completely

What is ransomware

Ransomware is generally defined as malicious software, designed to extract ransom from users based on restricting their access to their own data. The most popular way to restrict access to user data is to encrypt it, and thus, ransomware that uses encryption techniques is called Crypto ransomware. Such ransomware usually employs sophisticated public-key cryptography that is impossible to crack and goes for certain types of files that is supposed to be the most valuable to the user, such as text documents, images and specialized formats.

However, encryption-based ransomware is not the only type of ransomware there is. Other types also exist, called:

  • Locker ransomware – this type is designed to block user’s access to the system or certain specific applications. Ransomware like that either replaces the desktop with a custom one, making it unavailable, or targets popular apps like browsers by modifying certain files.
  • Scareware – ransomware that uses scare tactics in order to force users into paying ransom. Often uses social engineering and other similar tactics in order to make users pay. One of the most common tactics is to display a message from supposedly law enforcement that includes personal information such as location and name of the ISP provider, making the message more believable. The message will demand a “fine” for certain made-up offense, such as copyright infringement or watching child pornography, and threatens user that if they refuse to pay they will be jailed.
  • Fake ransomware – many modern ransomware strains don’t even bother encrypting user’s data. Instead, they just delete it right away, creating a bunch of dummy files in order to fool the user into thinking that their data is still recoverable. Since it is impossible to distinguish fake and paid ransomware, it is always best to never pay ransom, unless the situation is actually critical.

How ransomware works

There are several ways that ransomware uses to get into your system. The most popular one is using infected spam emails, that are usually distributed by vast networks of botnets. Such an email will usually contain a message that uses social engineering techniques in order to prompt the user to click on an infected link or download the malicious attachment.

Another similar method of spreading ransomware is infected adverts on the net. Once the user clicks on the advert, a malicious JawaScripts starts running, downloading a payload on the user’s PC. Beyond that, ransomware can also be spread on removable drives, or self-propagate via a network by searching for open ports and unprotected connections.

Perpetrators will also use exploit kits in order to leverage known vulnerabilities and get ransomware into your system. Once there, it will phone back (usually, without encrypting network traffic), and then start looking for certain types of data to encrypt. After the data has been encrypted, a ransom note is displayed.

Ransomware uses various techniques in order to protect yourself from being detected or analyzed, including obfuscation and system mapping, designed to distinguish between real system and a honeypot.

How to detect ransomware

While there are ways to mitigate or even prevent some ransomware infection (making regular backups and keeping your system updated), it is always best to have capabilities to detect infection as it happens and be able to prevent any damage.

Traditional malware detection methods rely on known signatures, proving extremely effective against known malware, but almost completely useless against unknown strains. Considering the number of ransomware variants that pop up every day, it becomes clear that signature-based detection is not enough to establish reliable protecting.

Thus, behavior-based detection is often used, aimed at detecting not the malicious file itself, but rather certain attributes and behavioral indicators, that can point to a specific file as being malicious. Such behavior-based detection is supported by advanced data mining and analysis technologies, including machine learning algorithms able to go through large quantities of data and detect anomalies in real time.

When it comes to ransomware, key behavioral indicators include:

  • Encryption API – the majority of ransomware skips reinventing the wheel and just uses already available encryption APIs for encrypting user data. Often times, standard Windows functions, such as CryptEncrypt are used. And while the use of said function can’t reliably point to a ransomware by itself, it can be combined with other indicators to make detection more reliable
  • File type change detection – data within each file can be described via a specific signature. Mass changes in file signatures can be used to detect mass file type changes, which can be taken as an indicator of malicious mass file encryption.  
  • Comparing similarities between different versions of the file – another indicator of the file being encrypted is when there are significant differences between the new and old version of the file. If significant differences in hash functions of many files have been detected over a short period of time, they can indicate ransomware infection.
  • Moving, renaming or deleting files – monitoring changes to Master File Table can lead to the discovery of ransomware. When encrypting files, ransomware often changes the flag of the original file in the table, thus deleting it and overwriting with the encrypted version. Mass changes to the status of many files on the table can be indicative of ransomware infection.
  • System mapping activity – ransomware will check certain system parameters in order to make sure that the targeted endpoint is valid. It can be something as simple as checking a location and language settings and searching for certain file types, or full system mapping. Any such activity can serve as an indication of ransomware.

These are only some indicators that can be used in ransomware detection. Depending on the ransomware type, you may need to detect system locking activity, such as creating a new persistent desktop, rather than any file operations. Also, ransomware files can be scanned for things like ransom note text, while network communications can be checked for an attempt of ransomware to connect to the server.

However, it is worth remembering that any single one indicator cannot be reliably used for detecting ransomware. It’s only when several indicators are detected together that the behavior analysis system can reliably pinpoint malware.

Behavior analysis systems like this have become the backbone of next-generation anti-viruses and other anti-malware systems, aimed at catching not only ransomware but also other elusive threats, such as compromised accounts, fileless malware, insider threats and fraudulent activity, etc.

Protecting yourself from ransomware

Ransomware protection is not something that you can set and forget. Instead, it’s a layered, continuous process, that involves multiple different types of controls. Having a reliable detection tool is great, but it can only get you so far. Beyond that, you also need to make sure that your software is always up to date and that you always have backups ready in case attack wasn’t caught early.

Filter network traffic, block ads in corporate browsers, and prohibit email attachments in order to minimize the possibility of getting infected. Also, you should make sure that your employees are educated on the dangers of spam emails, social engineering, and compromised accounts, and that they thoroughly follow all security policies that are enacted in your company.

Remember, while combating ransomware initially looks hard, it will allow you to strengthen your general security posture, and it will immensely help you when it counts the most – when your data is under threat.

Apr 13, 2018

How to brute force RDP, FTP, Telnet and HTTP With Hydra

In the above video (Sorry, it's one of those annoying ones with no commentary or sound) we see how someone could use the THC-Hydra utility built into Kali Linux to brute force RDP, FTP, Telnet and HTTP. The truth is, you can actually brute force all sorts of protocols with it, including SMTP.

Apr 12, 2018

How To Use Rufus To Create A Bootable USB Drive

Rufus is an "online" tool used on Windows systems to help create bootable USB drives.

The system has been created to give people the opportunity to put pre-compiled images (ISO files) onto a USB drive, making it bootable. Freely distributed, it's mostly used to put systems into USB format, including the likes of Windows 10 and various Linux variants.

The point of the system revolves around the bootable feature. Bootable USB drives require an EFI "partition" to be created on the drive in order for the "boot" to be recognized by Windows. Simply copy/pasting the ISO file's contents onto the drive will not do this. This has made the use of a tool such as Rufus is often regarded as essential in the modern computing landscape.

The way the system works is by combining two important elements - the ability to write / copy the contents of ISO files onto a USB, and the ability to format the drive to suit. The formatting part is vital because it means that you're able to essentially put any type of data onto it (regardless of the source); the ability to write/copy files is important because it allows you to add files from any location.

When you load up Rufus, you have a number of options. The most important is that you're able to select an ISO (or some other content) that you wish to put onto the drive. The most important thing to realize with this is that there are a number of "pre baked" solutions you can use, one of which being "FreeDOS".

FreeDOS is essentially a clone of MSDOS that was distributed for free. In the absence of any bootable media for you to put onto a USB, you can use FreeDOS to perform disk utilities (such as fdisk) - a good set of computing utilities that not many people are familiar with. On top of this, you're able to specify which file system the drive uses as well as whether it uses "quick" formatting or not etc.

The reason this is important is because it gives you the ability to manage the various underlying ways in which you're able to manage different hardware components a system may have. This also means that you're able to identify any potential issues that could be preventing a system from booting.

I most recently downloaded a version of Windows 10 (1709) as an ISO. This was around 4GB, which was too big for any DVD's - meaning I had to put it onto a USB drive that had the required capacity. Without any native support for this in the Windows I was using, I had to turn to Rufus - and it worked extremely well.

Apr 11, 2018

Comparision of SAAS, PAAS & IAAS

There are usually three concepts of cloud service, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Whether it is IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS, each has its own intricacies, but today we're going to help you to differentiate SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

SaaS - Software-as-a-Service is generally charged depending upon the number of users and charges are recurring monthly or yearly. Companies have the choices to add or remove users at any time without additional costs. Some of the most well known SaaS solutions are Microsoft office365, SalesForce, Google Apps. It is a responsibility of SaaS provides to manage Server, Network, and Security related threat intern it supports organization to reduce the cost of software ownership by removing the need for technical staff to manage install, manage, and upgrade software, as well as reduce the cost of licensing software.

PaaS - Platform-as-a-Service, A cloud service, typically providing a platform on which software can be developed and deployed in short it provides a platform to the software developer.

PaaS decreases the amount of coding required, automates company policy and aids the migration of apps to hybrid clouds. With PaaS, users can better manage servers, storage, networking and operating systems in general. All apps built using PaaS include characteristics of the cloud, such as scalability, availability, and multi-tenancy. In addition, it is quicker and cheapens the process of creating, testing and launching apps.

PaaS is utilizing the infrastructure services and add software platform services to it. The basic idea is to help the application developer to his core strength and relive him from dealing with the application hosting platform. PaaS providers are more responsible for dealing with servers and their major role is to provide clients an environment in which the operating system and server software, as well as the server hardware and network infrastructure, are taken care of. This helps users to focus on the business side of scalability, and the application development of their product or service.

IaaS - Infrastructure-as-a-Service - A cloud service that enables users to get access to their own infrastructure - computers, networking resources, storage. These can be typically virtual resources but could be real, physical resources as well.

This is the most basic of the service offerings. The service provider has to take care of these devices or virtual machines including all their services they depend on, e.g. networking, hardware or operating system patches. This basic service is interesting for a number of uses especially for highly customized software which cannot work on PaaS or even cannot be fulfilled by SaaS. The disadvantage is that for this service the user must have appropriate experts for all lower level technologies like operating system and more. This kind of service offers a greater flexibility for any online software but also demands deeper a higher amount of technical skills in the different area.

Many IaaS providers now offer databases, messaging queues, and other services above the virtualization layer as well. Users get benefited with IaaS as they get bare metal infrastructure on top of which they can install any required platform.

With this article, we hope to outline what is Cloud computing, how we use it and how it can help our clients to get benefited from it.

Apr 10, 2018

Free Cloud Based WAF Up To 4GB Of Bandwidth

The other day I was looking at potential alternatives to Incapsula. I've been using them for quite some time, but I've had plenty of issues with them over the years. On top of that, they pretty much charge an arm and a leg if you are hosting multiple websites.

Well, I may have found a decent alternative. It's called CloudBric! Here is what they are offering per their feature page:
Web Application Firewall:  
Cloudbric blocks all kinds of web attacks accurately and quickly with the industry-leading logic based analysis detection technology, powered by Penta Security Systems. 
DDoS Protection: 
Cloudbric mitigates and blocks DDoS attacks which attempt to exhaust resources and make websites inaccessible. 
SSL Certificate: 
Besides detecting and blocking malicious traffic, Cloudbric also provides free SSL certificates that encrypt communication between all visitors and the web server.
They also recently announced a console upgrade that allows cloud load balancing. One thing that I don't see that they offer though is CDN/Caching abilities. If that's not important to you then I think it's worth checking out.

The best part is that it is free for up to 4GB of bandwidth per month. Over that, and here are the prices:

If you are struggling with DDoS issues, but are constrained by budget, I certainly think CloudBric is worth looking into.

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