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Data centers these days are busy replacing expensive hardware solutions with "software-defined" everything, but the trend is the opposite when it comes to security. While software still prevails in keeping servers secure, hardware is often being added to the mix as another layer of protection, especially during the boot process, when a computer is vulnerable to dangers such as maliciously modified firmware.
This trend started when UEFI — and Secure Boot — replaced BIOS on computers, and was carried a step further when Google began including an additional custom designed hardware security chip on all servers and peripherals in its data centers. In June, Hewlett Packard Enterprise followed suit and announced it was joining the secured-by-hardware crowd by including its own custom chip on its Gen10 servers. Lenovo also includes a degree of security-on-a-chip technology on its line of servers, through XClarity Controller.
There are several advantages to having security protections contained in chipsets that are separate from a server's CPUs. Being isolated from the server's main components, they are more difficult for an outside hacker who manages to get through a system's defenses to find and penetrate. In addition, they can utilize read-only memory that can be difficult or impossible to modify.
See also: Here's How Google Secures Its Cloud
At its Cloud Next event in March, Google unveiled a custom security chip
Read more

Filed under Web Hosting News by on #

(The Hosting News) – A British man has been charged with breaking into the U.S. Federal Reserve’s server in New York where he stole and publicly posted private information, CNN reports.
The hacker, Lauri Love, infiltrated the Reserve’s computers by exploiting a vulnerability in the database, in which he could face a maximum sentence of 12 years for computer hacking and aggravated identity theft.
He also been accused of going after NASA, the Army, Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Missile Defense Agency, among other U.S. government agencies.
According to New Jersey prosecutors, Love’s attacks “resulted in millions of dollars … More Details >>

Filed under Web Hosting News by on #

Unplanned webhosting/server downtime can disrupt your blog, website or business. It can alienate customers/members/visitors, and damage your and your company’s reputation. It can also impact you economically, as you loose revenue if your site is down.

Unforeseen outages are unexpected events that cause instant website downtime such as hardware or software failures, webmaster or web-host errors, hacking and other malicious acts, natural disasters, network issues, and ISP maintenance. Remember, even with 99% uptime, your website will be down for 87 hours, 36 minutes per year!

There is nothing worse for a website owner to be informed by a client that his website is not working, so to prevent this and minimize downtime, you need a hosting/server monitoring service.

There is a wide range of companies offering monitoring services (both free and paid) to meet just about any budget and business need. Here are some of our favorites:

  • BasicState
    They offer a free web site uptime monitor and alert service that checks your website every 15 minutes and will send alerts by email or SMS. You also get a daily uptime report with a 14 day history.
  • UptimeRobot
    You can monitor up to 50 websites every 5 minutes for free, and receive alerts via email, SMS, Twitter, RSS or push notifications for iPhone/iPad.
  • Pingdom
    They offer a free account to monitor one website. It includes 20 SMS alerts.
  • Mon.itor.us
    This free service allows you to monitor 1 website every 30 minutes, and get alerted via IM, SMS, E-mail, or RSS.
  • InternetSeer
    They claim to be the largest website monitoring service and offer a 24x per day free service.

If you get notified by your monitoring service that your website is down, it is important to address the problem immediately and correctly.

An informative website message with an estimate of how long the site will be down, is very useful. This way, both existing and potential clients and visitors are properly informed of the problem, and how soon it will be resolved. Ask for their patience and to please come back. This is good for your personal and business image, and can help to limit financial loss.

Of course, you then have to ensure the unforeseen issue is immediately addressed and resolved without delay. Get professional help, if necessary, like your web-host’s support, or a server administrator.

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