It has been quite some time that I’m writing an article at Vastspace. Not really that I’m lazy to write, just that I cannot think of a topic to share. Today, I’m sharing something that I have done during my last weekends, anti-virus.
Anti-virus has become must-have protection on computers, especially if you are using a Windows OS computer. I have a Linux, a Mac, and a Windows laptops I have Sophos on my Mac, ESET on my Linux Ubuntu and now Norton360 on my Windows laptop.
You have many choices on Anti-Virus, not for Linux though. What is the best? Actually, I cannot tell who is the best as an end-user but I can share with you the performance and usability of the popular one like Bitdefender, Norton360, Avast, Avira, and Kaspersky.
These are a few of the makers that I have shortlisted for my Windows laptop. I have been using Bitdefender. It has done a good job, blocked many attacks. However, it has given me the feeling that I should try others. So, I did and I installed trial copies except for Norton360 that I have bought the actual one.
Most default settings work for end-users but I need it more sensitive and details as I handle important data, However, as soon as I increase these values the CPU utilization is high. Even it is installed on an i7-9750H CPU laptop, multi-tasking like turning on Spotify is just acceptable.
However, if you are comparing on full scan speed, Avira and Avast are quicker. I don’t like the UX and there are too many false-positives of Avira. Avast has nice UX, lower CPU utilization and memory footprint are smaller.
I have done some readings at AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives as well as some searches on the internet. I realized Bitdefender is mentioned everywhere, it looks like they have very good online marketing. I’m not saying that they don’t make good anti-virus, I was once their supporter but I feel maybe I should try something else.
Finally, I have chosen Norton360. It has given me a sense of security using the software and logging in online to my account. The CPU utilization is high like others, guess you can’t avoid if you are doing a full system scan but you can use the software to see both Norton’s CPU utilization and the system’s utilization.
Small thing but it is useful, I do not need to open my task manager to see what service is hogging my CPU. Also, the best value at this point in time, you get unlimited VPN and 75Gb of storage if you are buying the Deluxe package for 5 devices.
I did not test out the password manager and the parental control most anti-virus have included. My priority mission is still keeping the bad guys out.
Not long ago, I have bought this cheap china laptop for US299. It was so cheap but have a backlighted keyboard, 256Gb SSD storage, a brilliant 1920 x 1080, 2.4/5Ghz band WIFI, Bluetooth 5 and it is a Windows 10 Pro. It is an N4100 Intel Celeron CPU with 8Gb RAM. It is not fast but with US 299, it is a steal.
I have raised the TDP power from 7 watts to 14 watts, it has generated more heat but still doable. My action is like overclocking the CPU, hopefully, it performs better. Unfortunately, for an i7 CPU users the overclocked N4100 laptop has performed much slower than expected on Windows 10. This is the first time I get an alert when I’m installing Bitdefender anti-virus.
It is asking me if I’d like to proceed while my notebook has not met the 1500Mhz CPU requirement. I did and it is even slower than before. I have realized on my mistake that I have overestimated a budget CPU laptop.
60% or more of my works is affected by the slowness of this budget laptop. For that money, you probably can do some word processing, internet surfing and couples of the youtube video, simply not amazing, I almost wanted to shelve it.
At a 2nd thought, I installed Ubuntu desktop Linux on this laptop. Guess what? It is alive and most applications I use come in Linux installer too. Now, I have ESET anti-virus, Whatsapp, Thunderbird, Chrome browser writing this article and listening musics on Spotify playing through a pair of bluethood earhphone.
It is definitely not as responsive as my i7 CPU laptop but nether it is slow. Next time you can install a Linux desktop on a slower computer too. I always have the impression that the Linux desktop is borng. It was in the past but it is not the case anymore, I simply love it.
These are a few advantages to use a Linux desktop for me;
a. Better security, as there are much lesser viruses and malware. Even for that reason, I install ESET real-time anti-virus protection.
b. Cheaper ownership. I have paid much lesser to get the same jobs done.
c. Useful out of the box functions have given me the convenient of my works like the terminal, the Linux CLI command, the snapshots, etc.
Moving to a Linux desktop is easier now. The learning curve is not steep than before as there are more ralated articles n the internet and more users.
This is not an economy class but we are here to tell you the web hosting trend today. We can see the drop in demand of the dedicated servers but increases in VPS.
One reason I can see is the price. If you do not need the resources in a dedicated server, a VPS will help you save money. However, if you are calculating per gigabyte on RAM and the hard drives you will get, a dedicated server is cheaper.
In most cases, a dedicated server is not fully utilized. Average, we see servers used 40% or less is common. There are servers used as low as 15% at all times.
What are the reasons these customers have chosen a bare metal server over the VPS, here are my observations;
Past experience – In the past, virtualization is not popular and less stable. The choice is limited.
Privacy – Do not want a shared instance even it is virtualized.
Over-Provisioned – Expected traffic was underwhelmed.
Misled – Inexperienced, they were misled by the salespeople.
I’m a practical person and in my opinion, VPS or you call it a VM can fulfil 75% or more of the requirement. It is a matter of price. Most of these guest machine either they are low-weighted so they can have more guest machines in a node or the storage is expensive. There are cases you need storage space like a mail server.
However, you can see the price is coming down because of competition. Due to the demand, this will affect datacentre operators as well. As soon as it is virtualized, the footprint of the same in the dedicated servers will get smaller too. However, if the provider increased his ship in virtualization, his footprint will get larger in the datacentre.
So, it has depended very much on what they have focused and the market demand.
Both the Cloud server and a VPS are fundamentally the same. They are virtualized, but in terms of function, they cloud be different. Operating both the cloud server of the VPS are the same, you do need special skill on a cloud server or a VPS.
The major difference is the storage. When you are labelling your service as cloud means the guest machine will move to another host when the resided host has failed. VPS works directly with the local storage.
If the resources are spread to a few hosts like MySQL, Web Server, Tomcat, etc are known as cloud hosting. They could be confusing especially to a beginner. So Cloud server is better? In a certain way, yes if your instance has failed. The guest machine (Cloud server) will move to another host.
There are more points of failure for a cloud server set up. The setup requires more equipment, costs are higher and there are more interconnects. So it is quite a debatable question which is better. Most importantly, you have a backup and you can restore quickly.
However, I reckon a VPS might perform better at the same CPU class due to the shared storage. Even it is a fibre connection, it will definitely cost more. In the industry, many providers jump into the bandwagon using the word ‘cloud’ on their services to get more people to sign up.
As a consumer, we need to ask more pre-sales question if you are buying a ‘Cloud’ service, it could be misleading. Anyway, you can know more about the service what you are paying.
Today, it is a short topic. I probably need a couple of day breaks. Anyway, it is about security and convenience. Most have gotten used to accessing an email account, an admin portal etc with just username and easy to remember password. I’m sure I was used to be like you, or anyone else. Right?
However, there is a need to enhance this area, especially a login to a place where it contains sensitive and important information. An extra layer of the sign-in mechanism is placed on the top of your usual login and limited to the authorized person. It can be a 2-factors authentication, another encoded Admin URL. or another password layer, Whatever what it is, you have to spend more time and effort to sign in. Some very secure login might have multiple layers before you reach the sign in screen. The idea or objective is to make unauthorized login not possible.
While I’m describing, you already can feel the hassle, not yet doing it. Can you imagine the extra layers of the sign in can make you pull your hairs? I have seen many cases. For me, I’m kinda got used to it, my job needs me to sign in to servers. If I’m unable to practice good security measures, I will have troubles educating my clients.
if you preferred to be convenient, your security is compromised. We must learn to adapt such hassle and environment to step up our security. It is a must for today cybersecurity.
I’m not sure but I have spoken to many, they have a faint idea on what is HTTP and HTTPS. What is SSL certificate and why some buy an SSL certificate? Here’s your chance. You should have a better understanding of an SSL certificate after reading.
The major difference between HTTP and HTTPS is secure for the later. When you are visiting HTTPS website your communication to the server is encrypted by an SSL certificate has installed on the web server. Without a proper CA signed an SSL certificate your browser will alert you as an error, will stop you to proceed unless you add the website to your exception list.
OK. Some not so technical literate customers will claim this as an error from the server. This is because you do not have an SSL certificate installed, thus the error from the browser, not the server. Why you did not install an SSL certificate? An industry practice, web hosting providers will not install and never install an SSL certificate. I will tell you why if you read on. However, some control panel like cPanel provide an SSL certificate on the server hostname and having said that the hostname must be qualified resolvable hostname in order to work.
Nowadays, an SSL certificate can be paid or free. Most well-known control panels like Plesk and cPanel come with free SSL certificate. These certificates only valid for 3 months and renewed, provide the domain still resolved to the server IP same for new issuing. Here we will explain to you why as it is a form of validation. Yes, before the CA issue you with an SSL certificate, verification is required to check you really own the domain and business.
There are 3 types of validation depends on the type of SSL certificate. DV, OV and EV. Actually, it is more complicated if you are paying more for the certificate. Thos green bar you are with a LOCK, these are extended validated, more steps on verification before an SSL certificate is issued. DV is the cheapest and only require domain verification. DV only requires the applicant to create designated email account to approve the application or you can update the DNS zone records for verification. OV stands for organization validation, you verify the existence of the organization like DUNS, telephone numbers on the Yellow page. The EV extended validation normally requires you to fill up forms telephone verification and further verification is required to check on identity. Because of the validation, hosting provides do not pre-install the SSL certificates.
SSL certificate serves more than secure communication. Basically, it labels your organization. Especially, if you are doing business online, you want your online visitors and customers to trust you, SSL certificate will serve the purpose. I will refrain myself t key in personal details if there is no proper CA-signed certificate website. Information can be hijacked during the transmission, and you never notice.
However, there is a common perception that your website will not be hacked if you use HTTPS with a valid SSL certificate, It is incorrect. Your website is still hackable if you have loopholes or vulnerabilities. Some SEO experts claimed that there is an impact if the website is HTTP. Google lists HTTP as an insecure site on their search engine from July 2018. HTTPS will list faster. HTTPS websites will load faster in Chrome browser. I cannot really tell but SSL certificate is free now at Let’s Encrypt so what is the harm.
The last few days, I’m debating on do I really need a NAS? I have asked myself many questions, and until now it hasn’t come to a conclusion. Basically, I have a few SATA hard drives lying around and as a gadget guy, I’m thinking what can I do with those drives? The idea of NAS strikes. But the question is do I really need one?
Here’s my analysis. A NAS can be something off the shelf or you can build one. The primary purpose is to upload, download and share files within your LAN network with many devices. A NAS is installed 2 drives minimum for redundancy. In case, one drive has failed, your data is safe. When you have 2 drives 2Tb or slightly lesser. Here comes the question? What do you store in a NAS for 2TB space? Isn’t it is cheaper to buy an external USB hard drive?
Actually, a USB 3,0 external hard drive writes and read faster than a NAS. An external hard drive is attached to your computer. For sharing, you need to physically transport the drive to someone. During the transport, if the drive is damaged, you can lose everything has stored. For NAS, you do not need to transport them when you are sharing data. They can be either shared on a LAN or WAN. The answer may not apply to some. If your network router has a USB port for file sharing, it is still possible to share data using an external hard drive.
The shortcoming for an external hard drive is 5Tb for 2,5 or you can maximum 8Tb for 3.5″. If you need a larger capacity device, you still need a NAS and USB drives do not have redundancy. So your current cut off point is 8Tb.
Today, NAS is more than a NAS. A NAS is like a mini server. There are a lot of applications the manufacturers package them into their NAS software. If you got enough RAM, you can use the NAS as your web server, a database server, a mail server etc. Manufacturers are smart, consumers can find many reasons to buy themselves a NAS device. Again, what you are doing probably there is another option. You can use the Google drive to store and share files. NAS will work in the LAN if there is no internet.
I personally think it boiled down what exactly need. If you do not need the large disk space, NAS is not your choice because of the upfront cost will cost more per Gb ratio.
Most will recommend a block-level backup. Theoretically, bl0ck-level backup is utilising less bandwidth and storage. Block-backup can only backup block that part of the file is modified, thus it is using less space. If you are using block-level backup and VSS is enabled to backup a Microsoft Windows Server, you can backup an open file. The file-level backup will fail in this situation. If you have a lot of small files, file-level will take a very long time to backup them. Block-level is especially suitable for this type of situation.
However, file-level is not useless. Actually, the backup allows you doing both. The file-level backup is flexible. You can choose the files and folders to backup. Especially, those don’t need to backup frequently, this can be a faster restoration option.
Either a block or file-level backup, backup is a must in case you need to roll back or restore.
The common tool used by many to check their mail server IP address is blacklisted from MXTOOL. Often, we are hearing from someone his or her mail server is blacklisted. But by who? And how? What will happen if my mail server is blacklisted? How can I resolve? This article will provide you with the information to have a better understanding of the matter.
Firstly, we must understand DNSBL. What is DNSBL? It is referred to as Domain Name System Blacklists, also called DNSBL’s or DNS Blacklists, they are spam blocking lists that allow a mail serveradministrator to block messages from particular mail servers which have a brief history of sending spam. The lists derive from the Internet’s Domain Name Program, which converts difficult, numerical Ip such as for example 18.104.22.168 into names of a domain like example.net, building the lists much simpler to read, use, and search. If the maintainer of a DNS Blacklist offers previously received spam of any sort from a specific domain name, that server will be “blacklisted” and all communications sent from it might be either flagged or rejected from all sites that make use of that specific list. DNS Blacklists have got a fairly long history in internet terms, with the initial one getting created in 1997. Known as the RBL, its purpose was to block spam email and also to educate Internet providers and various other websites about spam and its own related problems. Although contemporary DNS Blacklists are hardly ever used as educational equipment, their function as a contact blocker and filtration system still serves as their main purpose even today. In fact, the vast majority of today’s email servers support at least one DNSBL in order to reduce the quantity of junk mail customers using their support receive. The three fundamental components that define a DNS Blacklist – a domain name to web host it under, a server to host that domain, and a listing of addresses to create to the list – also haven’t changed from enough time when the RBL was initially created to today. Since then, a large number of different DNSBL’s have sprung up and so are available for use, plus they all have their own lists that are populated predicated on what does or doesn’t meet up with their own requirements and criteria for what a spammer is. Due to this, DNS Blacklists may differ greatly from one to the other. Some are stricter than others, some just list sites for an arranged period of time from the day the last little bit of spam was received by the maintainer versus others that are manually managed, and still, others not only block IP addresses but also whole ISP’s recognized to harbor spammers. This outcome in a few lists working much better than others because they’re maintained by providers with a greater degree of trustworthiness and credibility than competing lists may have. Users may also use these variations to select which DNS Blacklist is most effective for them based on what their particular security needs are. Much less lenient lists might enable more spam to complete but may not block non-spam text messages that have been misidentified on lists which have stricter recommendations for how are you affected or what’s left of it. To greatly help facilitate this, DNS Blacklists that are designed for use by the general public will generally have a particular, published policy detailing just what a listing means and must abide by the criteria organized in it to be able to not merely attain public confidence within their services but to maintain it as well.
Now, we have understood what is DNSBL. The commonly used list is from spamcop, spamhus, barracuda etc. They are maintaining an almost real-time updated list to most mail server administrators to block spam emails. This is a common and popular method. As soon as your mail server is blacklisted and listed. Emails are originated from the blacklisted mail servers are bounced until they are delisted.
Have you ever wondered what WAF means? (extracted from Sucuri Website)
WAF stands for Website Application Firewall. In order to make it simple to understand, imagine your website as a house and the people outside on the streets are the traffic that wants to come to your website. Of course, you want to open your door to friends and family, but you also want to protect your house from the bad guys. That is exactly what the firewall does. The WAF is the locked house door. A WAF keeps the malicious traffic off your website. In other words, a WAF is a layer of protection that sits between your website and the traffic it receives.
Why do you need a WAF?
The same way that there are criminals on the streets, there are hackers online. Threats to websites emerge and evolve every day; keeping up with the hacking trends can be very stressful to any webmaster.
Network and local firewalls alone cannot stop hackers from breaking into your website anymore. Many of these solutions are not effective when it comes to stopping malicious online traffic.
Expecting the hosts to take care of your website security can be misleading, as their main goal is to ensure the accessibility of your website. Some hosts, like GoDaddy, do offer website security. Nevertheless, you need to make sure to implement a security solution, like the Sucuri Platform to protect your website for you.
Another important aspect of having a Website Application Firewall on your website is the time it will save you in the long run. After setting up a WAF properly on your website, you would no longer be spending precious time thinking about ways to protect it. Then, if your website was, in fact, hacked, how many hours would you waste trying to find the issue and fix it? I am not even mentioning the amount of money potentially lost from having an unprotected website.
How does a WAF work?
The WAF works as a vaccine for a website. It is a preventive measure taken so your website does not get infected or goes offline. Nobody really likes to be vaccinated, but the cost of getting sick is always a thousand times higher. Having a WAF activated means having a proactive posture on your website security.
You already know that having a website firewall solution is vital to protecting any website. Next, let’s dive deeper into the characteristics of WAFs.
Application firewalls go beyond the metadata of the packets transferred at the network level. They focus on the data in transfer. Application firewalls were created to understand the type of data allowed for each protocol, like SMTP and HTTP. There are specific application firewalls for websites and they are called Website Application Firewalls (WAF).
In general, all WAF solutions function the same way. They are basically a wall between your website application and the visitor browsing your website. A WAFs main goal is to impede malicious requests from damaging your website.
The difference among the many website firewall solutions in the market is mainly how they are deployed and their database. The Sucuri WAF is the most advanced in terms of virtual patching. We take research very seriously. Our firewall analysts work hard day and night so we can provide you the most complete and robust solution in the market. Our WAF filters block up to 100% of the attacks your website can suffer from.
Now that you know what a WAF is, let’s talk about the Sucuri WAF.
Sucuri is a website security company that was born to offer website owners a comprehensive security solution. The Sucuri Firewall is a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) Website Application Firewall (WAF) and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) developed exclusively for websites.
What is great about the Sucuri Firewall is that it functions as a reverse proxy. The Sucuri WAF intercepts and inspects all incoming Hypertext Transfer Protocol/Secure (HTTP/HTTPS) requests to a website. Then the WAF strips the malicious requests at the Sucuri network edge before it arrives at your server.
Another feature that the Sucuri Firewall offers is that its WAF includes Virtual Patching and Virtual Hardening engines. The Sucuri Firewall mitigates threats as they happen.
The Sucuri WAF keeps the threats far from your website without impacting your website negatively. Quite the opposite, the Sucuri website firewall makes a website up to 70% faster, as it is built on a Content Distribution Network (CDN).
Performance optimization is part of the Sucuri WAF features. The CDN caches dynamic and static content across all nodes in the network to ensure optimal performance around the world. The Sucuri WAF configuration makes adequate preparation for global reach, load balancing, failover, and comprehensive performance improvement.
The Sucuri WAF runs on a proprietary Globally Distributed Anycast Network (GDAN). Anycast allows a network to broadcast an IP to multiple locations from a single node, permitting the nearest node to respond to a request. Imagine your website has a global audience: the website is hosted on a server in Houston, but your main visitors are in Asia and Western Europe. If you have the Sucuri Firewall activated on your website, the content would be broadcasted from a Tokyo and London Point of Presence (PoP) via our Anycast network. The result would be an improved user experience as visitors in Asia would get a response from the Tokyo PoP, and the ones in Europe from the London PoP. To sum it up, since Sucuri WAF runs on a Global AnyCast Network, the nearest node responds to the requests, bringing improved availability, resiliency, and failover capability to any website.
This unique configuration allows for high availability and redundancy if anything fails in the network. Moreover, the Sucuri Firewall offers full Domain Name Server (DNS) services.
Another great advantage of using the Sucuri WAF solution is that it can help you increase your SEO rankings. The inclusion of an SSL certificate and improved speed from the Anycast CDN can improve SEO. You might see SEO improvement after the Sucuri WAF is activated because having HTTPS enabled and using a CDN are confirmed ranking signals from Google.
To sum it up, the Sucuri WAF:
Mitigates Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
Prevents Vulnerability Exploit Attempts, such as SQL injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), remote file inclusion (RFI) and local file inclusion (LFI)
Protects Against the OWASP Top 10 (and more)
Protects Against Zero-Day Exploits
Protects Against Access Control Attacks, such as Brute Force attempts
Offers Performance Optimization with its CDN
How can I add the Sucuri WAF to my Website?
In order to add the Sucuri Firewall to your website, all you need to do is add a DNS A record or switch to Sucuri nameservers. The time to go live is dictated by the DNS Time to Live (TTL). In most cases, it takes from 30 to 60 minutes. If you have any issues with the setup, or if you are not technical and need assistance, our support team can guide you through it.
As you have seen, using the Sucuri Website Application Firewall can be very valuable for your website and business. Not only do we offer protection, but also a performance boost and better SEO, which are like gold for any website owner. If you are wondering why you have not added our Firewall to your website yet — don’t worry. Chat with us and we will help you have your website protected today