Friday, December 23, 2005

Good Password Tips and Password Management

These days a single computer user may have dozens of passwords. If you use computers at your job you may need to access secured databases, local workstations and numerous accounts online and each is supposed to have its own unique password. Though many people don't require a logon for their home PC, they will definitely have one for email or websites that they manage. Here is a guide to assist you in strengthening your passwords and password techniques.

After reading this article you will know the following:

-How to make good passwords
-Good password practices
-Techniques to manage all of your passwords

How to Make Good Passwords

Choose a password with the following criteria:

-At least 8 characters in length
-At least 1 number
-At least 1 special character
-Upper and lowercase.

Passwords with difficult combinations make it harder for tools like L0phtcrack, Brutus, John the Ripper, Cain and Able and other password crackers to decipher your password.

When creating a password, don't use personal information such as birthdays, children names, or first and last names. Avoid using words or phrases that can be easily guess or cracked with a "dictionary attack." Do not use the same password on the different systems. If you work in a classified environment, passwords should be treated at the same level of classification as the systems they protect.

Good password practices

Never share your password with ANYONE including your Administrators, Help Desk personnel or System Administrators. IT professionals at your job or Internet Service Provider (ISP) will not normally ask you for your password. If they do need it then you should give it to them in person and ensure you change it as soon as they are done with their task. A common "Social Engineering" tactic used by malicious hackers consists of calling up unsuspecting users and pretending to be from the computer support staff. Another tactic is to have trusting users email the password or type it into what looks like a legitimate site; this is known as "phishing."

Be aware of your surrounding when you are typing your password. Watch for "shoulder Surfing" or people watching what you type as you are entering your password. If you use the web to access critical information (such as online banking, or medical information) ensure that the site uses some type of secured method of encryption. You will know this if the site's URL begins with an "https." SSL and Secure HTTP are sometimes indicated by a tiny lock in a corner of the page. If there is no encryption then it maybe possible for unauthorized users to view and/or capture the data you enter and later access the account using a "sniffer." A sniffer is a tool that captures all "clear text" or unencrypted data. SSL and Secure HTTP encrypts data so that it looks like gibberish to tools like sniffers.

Techniques to manage all of your passwords

It is best to memorize your passwords however if you have literally scores of passwords from work, home, online business ventures and the bank and you do not have a photographic memory, you may want to write them down and put it in your wallet. This simple and practical task is what author of Beyond Fear, and system security phenomenon, Bruce Schneier, recommends as does Senior Programmer for Security Policy at Microsoft, Jesper Johannson.

Using Password Management applications such as Password Safe, a free Microsoft application for storing passwords, and Password Vault (also free) can help you to effectively manage your passwords.

Another management technique is to allow Windows (and other Operating Systems) to automatically fill in the data. This is great for trusted SECURE environments such as home systems in which you don not need to hide any account information from anyone, but not such a good idea for the work environment. It should also be noted that systems without a high level of Internet security (protected with firewalls, updated patches, NAT enabled, etc) should not use the auto fill features as the passwords are many times stored on the system in clear text making it easy for malicious code such as spyware, trojans and worms to steal your passwords and account information.

The greatest thing you can do to protect your password is to be aware that at every moment someone somewhere would love to access some or all of your accounts. It is not always cyber criminals looking for you banking information, sometimes it is just curious people who happen upon your username & password. It may even be someone you know. Be aware.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Create Your Own FREE Web-Site in 30 Minutes!

"How to Launch a Profitable Web-site in 30-60 Minutes From NOW - Without Having to Spend a Dime!

...No Experience Needed!"

Dear Friend,

I guarantee you're going to love this...

Today I'm going to reveal how you can have your own web-site up and running and ready to profit in just 30-60 minutes from this very moment!

Here's a sample of a site just created last night using the incredibly simple formula I'm about to reveal:

http://ultimate-body.blogspot.com

Pretty nice, 'ey?

The site doesn't cost a DIME to run, and the profit potential is unlimited!

Follow these simple steps to get your OWN site up and running in just minutes from now:

Step 1.

The type of web-site you'll be creating (similar to the sample above) is called a "BLOG". A BLOG is a "content-based" site in an online journal format. Like most web-sites, the heart of a successful BLOG is its "content". Without some sort of content, people would have no reason to visit your site.

So the first step is to secure unlimited content for your BLOG -- content in the form of interesting, educational articles (exactly like the articles shown on the sample BLOG above)...

InfoGoRound (IGR) is a brand new service that will provide you with unlimited *private label* article content that is absolutely PERFECT for your BLOG.
(The content on the BLOG above came from IGR!)

...You can utilize the content that IGR provides in an endless variety of ways just as if you'd written it yourself. You never have to credit the original article authors in any manner, and you can modify or add to the content they provide in any way you desire!!

Another reason I'm so excited about IGR is that you have access to INSTANT content. Normally it would take you days or even weeks to write the amount of content found in the sample BLOG above. But with IGR, all the content you see there was added in just 10 minutes! Amazing, isn't it?

And because IGR's article database is growing on a DAILY basis, you'll have fresh new content that you can add to your BLOG/site on a regular basis!

So to complete Step 1, click here to join IGR right now:

InfoGoRound.com

I almost forgot the best part! ...Thanks to IGR's *optional* Cash for Content program, your (IGR) membership doesn't have to cost you a dime! By writing and submitting just ONE brief article to IGR each month, you'll get a 100% rebate on
your membership! Or, you simply pay the normal $24.95 membership fee. Trust me, either way is an incredible deal when you consider that IGR *guarantees* its members will receive at LEAST 100 fresh new articles per month. Here's the link again:

InfoGoRound.com

After joining IGR, come back and continue on with the next step here...

Step 2.

Before proceeding with this next step, you will need to decide on a topic for your BLOG. I recommend that you login to the IGR members' area and take a look at their various content categories. Simply choose a category/topic that interests you.

Here are a few possibilities, just to get your juices flowing:

-Health and Fitness
-Pet Care
-Real Estate
-Marketing
-Home Improvement
-Music
-Gardening
-Travel

Once you have decided on a topic you are ready to continue...

"Blogger.com" is a totally FREE service that will provide you with everything needed to start and run your BLOG (besides the content).

To set up your BLOG, visit http://www.blogger.com and follow the 3 steps provided to open your BLOG account.

Give some consideration to your BLOG title. Since the sample BLOG above is about health and fitness, the name "ultimate-body" was chosen as the title.

Once you have your account set up, login to what Blogger calls your "Dashboard". Think of this as the "control panel" for your BLOG. This is where you add content to your BLOG, edit your profile, etc.

Really the only two things you need to concern yourself with to get things rolling are the "Edit Profile" section and then the "Posting" section. (Note: To get to the "Posting" section you need to click on your BLOG title found on the Dashboard main page.)

On the Edit Profile page I recommend that you scroll down and fill out the "About Me" section. Visit the sample BLOG above to get an idea of what you might want to enter. Make sure to Save your changes. You can always modify this later.

Next, click on your BLOG title, go to the "Posting" section, and click on "Create". Now you're ready to grab relevant articles from IGR to "fill" your BLOG with content!...

4-5 articles should be plenty to start. You'll want to post a new article or two each week (which will only take a couple minutes thanks to IGR!). But right now you just need some starter content. Inside the *IGR* members area, simply search or browse to find articles related to your BLOG topic. I recommend using the "Format Article" link found near the bottom of IGR's "View Article" pages, to instantly format each article to your liking. Very cool feature.

...Then, simply Copy and Paste each of your selected IGR articles into the text box provided in the Post/Create section of your *Blogger* account! Make sure to click "Publish Your Post" as you enter each article. At any point, you can use the "View Blog" link to make sure your site is coming along as planned.

Note: Blogger's "Help" menu is EXCELLENT. If you have questions or want to modify your site in additional ways, consult the Help menu and you won't be disappointed.

This is FUN stuff, isn't it?!

Step 3.

The final step is to "monetize" your site. There are two very easy ways to do this. One way is by inserting affiliate links to products and services related to your BLOG topic. You can find thousands of FREE affiliate products and opportunities at places such as:

-ClickBank.com
-AssociatePrograms.com
-CommissionJunction.com
-Web-Sites related to your topic

You can insert affiliate links (and related ads) right within the articles you obtain from IGR and post to your BLOG! You can also add affiliate links in your BLOG's "Link list" if you'd like. To learn how to modify your Link list, go to Blogger's Help menu and Search on "links". Click on "How do I edit my link list?" to proceed.

You'll also be invited to participate in Google's popular "Adsense" program inside
your Blogger account (on the Dashboard home page). Some people make THOUSANDS in commissions every month with Adsense alone! This is one of THE most effective ways to monetize your new BLOG. Google provides you with instructions on how to easily incorporate Adsense listings into your BLOG.

If you ask me, IGR and Blogger.com are a match made in heaven! Every profitable BLOG demands quality content -- content that is FLEXIBLE by nature so that you're able to modify it to suit your needs by inserting affiliate links, attaching your resource box, signing your name as author, etc.

IGR + Blogger = Instant Web-Sites (that don't have to cost you a dime, and that can GENERATE unlimited profit with very little time and effort invested)!

I hope you've enjoyed this special report and I'd love to check out your new BLOG/site when it's ready!

Cindy Curtis

P.S. Make sure to sign up for InfoGoRound.com
today. They have a special offer running right now where, in addition to the ARTICLE content, you'll receive one freshly written private label PRODUCT/MANUAL each month in addition! It's a very significant bonus, worth at least $400 a month. Here's the IGR link again if you haven't joined already:

InfoGoRound.com

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Could Your Email Compromise Your Safety?

Hackers, phishers, viruses, worms... simply having your computer online can expose your data and personal information to all kinds of malicious and worrisome problems. If you're somewhat new to the 'net' or to computers in general, these four tips could help protect you from identity theft, credit card fraud, or a complete computer takeover - all of which can happen without you even knowing about it!

1. What's in Your Inbox? - If your e-mail program allows you to preview the entire message before or while it is being downloaded, turn this setting off. Some e-mails can contain dangerous code that could unknowingly compromise your computer and leave you vulnerable to viruses, worms or worse! Check the options in your e-mail program for a way to disable the message preview pane.

2. Scrutinize Your Messages - Don't ever respond to messages claiming to be from your bank, credit card company, or other financial institution, which ask for personally identifiable information such as card or account numbers, passwords, or other private information - even if the e-mail looks to have come from the actual company. It may be a hoax designed to get you to unknowingly part with crucial financial or private contact information, leaving you vulnerable to credit card fraud, identity theft or credit card theft. Contact the institution or company that claims to be sending the e-mail and verify the contents of the message with them. Chances are - they never sent it. Only use the number on your statement though, and not the number that appears in the e-mail message. It may direct you right to the scammer, who will do everything they can to assure you that nothing is wrong!

3. If it's From a Friend, it must be Safe, Right? - It's logical to assume that a message from your friend or colleague is safe, but that isn't always the case! If you receive an email from a friend or colleague which contains an attachment (could be a media clip, a screensaver, a picture or anything else), call them up to check and see if they really did send it. Many viruses and worms can hijack your computer and blast out a virus-ridden email to everyone in your address book, making it appear that it came from you and therefore, making it appear trustworthy.

4. Read Your Messages in Plain Text - Some e-mails written in HTML (the coding language that makes up many web pages) can be harmless. Others can contain malicious code that can hijack your e-mail program, browser, or your entire computer - and send your personal and financial information out to a hacker or scammer without you even knowing about it! Stay safe by setting your e-mail program to only show messages in plain text format (often in the options or settings section of the software). This will prevent threatening code from installing itself and compromising your system and private information.

Possibly one of the best ways to protect your e-mail is simply by exercising common sense. The Internet is a lot like a crowded plaza. Would your banker or credit card lender walk out into the middle of the throng of people and shout out to you to ask for your account information? Would you tell him where everyone could hear? Definitely not! The same caution should be exercised when checking your e-mail. These tips can help you stop scammers dead in their tracks while keeping you from becoming another victim of fraud or theft.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

How to Boost Your Traffic and Profits with Content!

Are you aware of how vitally important and valuable CONTENT is to your online business? In fact, content can do more to build your business and profits than
just about any other resource or service available.

Following is a list of 5 key ways that content can help build your traffic, subscribers, and customers starting today!...

1. Boost your search engine ranking and daily visitor count by posting keyword rich articles and content on your web-site. For example, if your business involves
offering products and services related to fitness, posting fitness related articles and content will attract unlimited prospective customers on a regular basis!

2. Generate double or even triple the number of newsletter subscribers you do currently, simply by offering content in the form of "special reports" or
manuals as bonuses for subscribing to your publication. People love freebies, so give them what they want and watch as your results increase!

3. Create an automated cashflow by using content to formulate multi-part email training courses with related web-site or affiliate links "sprinkled" throughout each course. Use an autoresponder service to automate the delivery of your training course (such as a 5 part training course delivered over a 5 day period).

Training courses can also serve as excellent bonus offers for your prospective newsletter subscribers.

4. One of the most important keys to a successful online business is not JUST having a list of mailing list or newsletter subscribers... It's about building a trusting relationship with your subscribers (ie, "cultivating" your list)...

By sending informative articles (content) to your list on a regular basis you will establish yourself as an expert on your topic of business, as well as gain the
trust of your subscribers over time. As a result, your subscribers will be EAGER to take advantage of your "paid" product and service offers. (Just make sure that you NEVER take advantage of the relationship you develop with your list by offering products or services of poor quality just to make a quick buck!)

If there is one "constant" in Internet marketing, it's this: A cultivated list of subscribers is as good as money in the bank. Write that down and never forget it!

5. Another excellent way to generate no cost traffic is by submitting ready-made articles to "content hungry" web-site and newsletter publishers with your "resource
box" attached. A resource box is nothing more than a little 3-6 line "bio" about you and/or your web-site - including a link to your site (or even instructions on
how to subscribe to your newsletter)...

When submitting or offering your article(s) for reprint purposes, just make sure to specify that each article is to be reprinted "as is" with your resource box
attached.

...Even one article can go a LONG way towards generating no cost traffic and visitors for you. Just imagine your article being sent out to a newsletter subscriber base of 100,000 individuals - many of whom will be reading YOUR included resource box and clicking on your URL to learn more about what you have to offer!

Well there you have it, 5 sure ways to build your online business exponentially with the help of articles and content...

With the declining effectiveness of many of the online advertising methods that we've relied on in past years, content is only strengthening its position as the ultimate KEY to generating unlimited traffic, subscribers, and customers!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Analyzing Website Traffic

Analyzing your web traffic statistics can be an invaluable tool for a number of different reasons. But before you can make full use of this tool, you need to understand how to interpret the data.

Most web hosting companies will provide you with basic web traffic information that you then have to interpret and make pertinent use of. However, the data you receive from your host company can be overwhelming if you don't understand how to apply it to your particular business and website. Let's start by examining the most basic data - the average visitors to your site on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

These figures are the most accurate measure of your website's activity. It would appear on the surface that the more traffic you see recorded, the better you can assume your website is doing, but this is an inaccurate perception. You must also look at the behavior of your visitors once they come to your website to accurately gauge the effectiveness of your site.

There is often a great misconception about what is commonly known as "hits" and what is really effective, quality traffic to your site. Hits simply means the number of
information requests received by the server. If you think about the fact that a hit can simply equate to the number of graphics per page, you will get an idea of how overblown the concept of hits can be. For example, if your homepage has 15 graphics on it, the server records this as 15 hits, when in reality we are talking about a single visitor checking out a single page on your site. As you can see, hits are not useful in analyzing your website traffic.

The more visitors that come to your website, the more accurate your interpretation will become. The greater the traffic is to your website, the more precise your analysis will be of overall trends in visitor behavior. The smaller the number of visitors, the more a few anomalous visitors can distort the analysis.

The aim is to use the web traffic statistics to figure out how well or how poorly your site is working for your visitors. One way to determine this is to find out how long on average your visitors spend on your site. If the time spent is relatively brief, it usually indicates an underlying problem. Then the challenge is to figure out what that problem is.

It could be that your keywords are directing the wrong type of visitors to your website, or that your graphics are confusing or intimidating, causing the visitor to exit rapidly. Use the knowledge of how much time visitors are spending on your site to pinpoint specific problems, and after you fix those problems, continue to use time spent as a gauge of how effective your fix has been.

Additionally, web traffic stats can help you determine effective and ineffective areas of your website. If you have a page that you believe is important, but visitors are exiting it rapidly, that page needs attention. You could, for example, consider improving the link to this page by making the link more noticeable and enticing, or you could improve the look of the page or the ease that your visitors can access the necessary information on that page.

If, on the other hand, you notice that visitors are spending a lot of time on pages that you think are less important, you might consider moving some of your sales
copy and marketing focus to that particular page.

As you can see, these statistics will reveal vital information about the effectiveness of individual pages, and visitor habits and motivation. This is essential information to any successful Internet marketing campaign.

Your website undoubtedly has exit pages, such as a final order or contact form. This is a page you can expect your visitor to exit rapidly. However, not every visitor to your site is going to find exactly what he or she is looking for, so statistics may show you a number of different exit pages. This is normal unless you notice a exit trend on a particular page that is not intended as an exit page. In the case that a significant percentage of visitors are exiting your website on a page not designed for that purpose, you must closely examine that particular page to discern what the problem is. Once you pinpoint potential weaknesses on that page, minor modifications in content or graphic may have a significant impact on the keeping visitors moving through your site instead of exiting at the wrong page.

After you have analyzed your visitor statistics, it's time to turn to your keywords and phrases. Notice if particular keywords are directing a specific type of visitor to your site. The more targeted the visitor - meaning that they find what they are looking for on your site, and even better, fill out your contact form or make a purchase - the more valuable that keyword is.

However, if you find a large number of visitors are being directed - or should I say misdirected - to your site by a particular keyword or phrase, that keyword demands
adjustment. Keywords are vital to bringing quality visitors to your site who are ready to do business with you. Close analysis of the keywords your visitors are using to find your site will give you a vital understanding of your visitor's needs and motivations.

Finally, if you notice that users are finding your website by typing in your company name, break open the champagne! It means you have achieved a significant level of brand recognition, and this is a sure sign of burgeoning success.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Become an eBay PowerSeller!

Here's another eBay email scam. I just got this email today saying

"Welcome to a community of sellers that have achieved exceptional levels of success and positive feedback on eBay! We invite you to join us as a PowerSeller. If you agree with this rank please Become an eBay Power Seller within 24 hours. Very important! The registration is active only once."

The URL points to this IP address: 81.196.125.18
It doesn't go to eBay. In fact it belongs to someone in Romania.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Another Paypal Scam

I received an email today telling me that I am eligible for a payment from a class action suit against Paypal. All I have to do is click on a link to credit my bank account. The email looks like it comes from Paypal, but I am sure that it is a scam. The URL doesn't even go to Paypal.