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Is Your Copier A Security Threat? Other network Devices?

Any device attached to your network poses potential risks, in terms of stuff on the network, computers — desktops, notebooks, and servers — tend to get the lion’s share of press as tempting cyberattack targets, along with unsecured web sites, gullible/careless users, CD/DVD-ROMs, USB flash drives, PDF files, smartphones, VoIP PBXs and a few other things, not all of which, to be sure.

Often overlooked are the other devices on the network that, while not considered to be “computers,” have the same core components: a CPU, and possibly also permanent storage, either a hard disk, or flash RAM. For example, printers and multi-function devices can have sensitive data left on their storage, which requires proper safeguarding while the machine is in use, and when a company disposes of it. But there’s additional devices at risk, and more types of risks and threats besides data sitting on the drives.

Network-attached devices include postage machines, UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems, Point-of-Sales systems, digital signs, security cameras, proximity readers, facility management systems, power, lighting, HVAC, and alarms. It’s not just about “printers and copiers,” but since these are devices that people can picture most easily.

Historically, printers were single-purpose devices, with embedded operating systems with limited functionality, often proprietary, and which frequently did not attach directly to the network but were shared via a PC acting as a print server. Over time, these devices have evolved, Now they run complete operating systems like Windows or Linux, and they have multiple services running. A printer can also do web printing, FTP printing, sending outbound email and FTP.

And some of these protocols aren’t necessarily secure, meaning they’re not encrypted, and the web or FTP server running them may have vulnerabilities, e.g., an old version of the APACHE web server, and have known vulnerabilities which haven’t been patched on this machine… how many companies actually patch their printers? They know to patch their workstations and servers, but they may not even know they need to patch their printers.

Every time you print or copy a document, a digital copy is stored on the hard drive. If you compromise the printer via the web server you may be able to access whatever documents have been printed, copies, scanned, etc. And there have been cases where people have been able to access the hard drive to store malicious code there, outside the reach of virus scanners. There’s no anti-virus software on the printer, so you can store malicious code there for later use.

The other way these devices — especially printers and copiers — is in terms of physical security. Servers are probably in a data center, with restricted access. Employees’ computers not have quite as good security, but they’re often in rooms you need a ID or key to get into, or in offices. But copiers, printers, mailing machines and other devices are often in rooms where everybody has physical access. If you don’t have some user authentication required to use a device, like an ID code or a security fob,, anybody may be able to walk up to the front panel, and print from the device, or yank the hard drive and copy it.

But what happens when you’re done with that copier or printer? Remember, today’s digital copiers aren’t directly making a copy — they’re scanning the page to the hard drive, and then printing it from there, so the document is on the hard drive, just like it would be if you’d sent a file from the printer. Anyway, if it’s on lease, the supplier may send it to the next company, or a refurbisher may ship them overseas… with your data still on the hard drive.

Treat every device on your network like you would any other PC, workstation or server, as much as you reasonably can, in terms of getting and using security.

Six questions you should ask to assess security of networked devices.

  1. Where and how is it installed on the network?
  2. Who has access to it?
  3. What services is it running?
  4. Is it still using its default password?
  5. What kind of storage capabilities does it have?
  6. Is cryptography implemented properly or even used at all?

adapted from informationweek.com

  • 08/17/2010
  • IT

PrattvilleAL.gov – New Site Translation Feature

We just implemented a site translation feature for The Official City of Prattville website. The site now has 58 available languages reaching to more than 98% of internet users.At the bottom of any page, you may click a flag or use the drop down to change it to whichever language you need. This will accommodate their international businesses and our international traffic on their website. prattvilleal.gov

Here are 9 good reasons why you need a multilingual website today rather than later:

Cost Effective Marketing Tool
Having the ability to communicate to a whole new international audience in their own language will undoubtedly yield results not only in a financial sense but also in terms of marketing and creating awareness of your brand, service or product. A multilingual website in the grand scheme of things is probably one of the most cost effective ways of marketing your company, capturing new users, building relationships with new clients and giving your brand an international outlook.

New Customers
Ultimately what a multilingual website brings you are new customers. By having your site accessible to potentially thousands of people you are showcasing your company across the globe. For non-English speaking users looking for your product or service, you automatically capture their attention.

With every language added to a website there is the potential for an increase of between 100% in sales. Even if a multilingual website is translated into a few of the major world languages, i.e. Spanish, French, German and Italian there is potentially a 400% increase in sales. There are few other ways to get such an increase for such little investment.

A multilingual website demonstrates you are thinking about the customer. That little extra effort shows you have thought and cared enough about them to offer the website in their language. As with anything in business, if the customer thinks you care, they will want to do business with you.

For many cultures there is an issue of trust when it comes to buying over the internet, especially if they feel it is in a language they are not fully proficient in. Offering them a language alternative allows the customers to feel secure in the fact they know what they are buying, how and who from.

Culturally Sensitive
A multilingual website, if designed properly, overcomes potential cultural barriers through allowing access in a native language. This automatically puts the user in a ‘cultural comfort zone’ due to their being able to navigate, understand and interact with the website.

Beat Competitors
To get the competitive advantage in today’s environment you need to think outside the box. Many businesses try to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Look at your competitors – if they have multilingual websites then why don’t you? If they don’t, then why not lead the marketplace and establish your company or brand abroad before they do.

Shows International Nature
Image is everything. A multilingual website demonstrates you think, work and deal internationally.

Search Engines Exposure
Search engines lead people to your site. In countries such as China, Japan and France, Google, Yahoo and MSN are not the default search engines. Home grown search engines are emerging and they are proving successful because they work in native languages and are focused on the habits and needs of their users. Such search engines are a key to tapping those markets and unless they have access to a particular language through your multilingual website then you will not be found.

In addition, many of the key search engines, especially Google, are developing the capacity to run searches in foreign languages. Having pages of your site available in those languages ensures maximum potential for your site being picked up in searches.

  • 07/02/2010
  • OS

Messy Guys Make Millions Selling Green Cleaning Products

Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry were having dinner with their new investors. The 27-year-old entrepreneurs had finally gotten a million dollars in venture capital to kick-start their company, but it came with stiff financial targets. It turned out this was the least of their problems that night. “We were passing our credit cards under the table to each other,” Ryan recalls, “but none of them worked, because we had maxed them out. Eventually, we persuaded the restaurant owner we were good for the money.” Reader’s Digest: Messy Guys Make Millions Selling Green Cleaning Products

  • 09/13/2009
  • IT

Good Housekeeping **Green** Seal… what does it mean?

Corporations toss it around to claim they’re being good environmental stewards, consumers are numb to it, and the greenest companies tend not to tout it at all. And, as if the meaning of green weren’t hazy enough, this latest label comes from a magazine that has had a long, cozy, and conflicted relationship with its seal-holders and no plans to modify procedure for the new green label. thebigmoney.com: Why the magazine’s green award is bogus.

An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths

Author: Glenn Reynolds

Glen Reynolds’, most recent book, is one of the most optimistic books I have come across in a long time. The book gives a big-picture view of how technology is making the little guy matter a lot more than he has in a long time.

Reynolds’ optimism is infecting. Any aspiring blogger, entrepreneur, or anyone starting out on their own, especially in the content-creation and online publishing areas, will be greatly inspired by this book.