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Category Archive: Web Security

Know PHP? We need you!

Posted by    |   June 8th, 2010   |   No responses

We at Insight Designs are glad to report that we're expanding our staff. We're looking for a PHP programmer who can work full-time in our downtown Boulder office. If you're interested in the job opening, please send your resume along with links to five PHP/MySQL projects you've completed to: Spread the word!
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Take the Time to Protect Your Computer – NOW

Posted by    |   November 12th, 2009   |   No responses

I spend a lot time on the internet, and according to a recent study, you do too.  We all know that surfing the web presents security risks, but we do it anyway - and do it a lot.  There's no getting around it; the web is just so darn useful.  I've never actively done much when it comes to taking security measures, and somehow I got away with it for a long time.  But after a recent brush with a virus on my home PC, I decided to educate myself on how to better protect myself. Now, these steps won't turn your computer into the Chuck Norris of virus protection, but they certainly won't hurt to follow.  They're just a few simple tips I found helpful when safeguarding my own computer. 1.  Install Antivirus Software This seems like an obvious one, but believe it or not, I didn't have any when I got the virus.  You know that warning Norton gives you every 30 days saying your antivirus needs to be activated?  There's a reason they're so insistent.  Just because you don't  often see the program actively doing anything, it doesn't mean that it's not working hard in the background.  Many browsers these days constantly have conversations with your antivirus software.  Any time a download is queued up - with or without your knowledge - the browser double-checks with the antivirus that it doesn't contain any harmful files. Don't think you have to pay a yearly subscription fee to get good protection, either; there are plenty of free antiviruses out there.  Granted, some might excel over others at one aspect of protection but not another, so doubling-up is not a bad idea (they're free, after all).  Most of the programs should include a feature that schedules automatic weekly or monthly system checks that crawl through your entire hard drive ("set it, and forget it!" as Ron would say), so be sure to set that up. Check out this site for reviews of some of the better free antivirus programs. 2.  Use a Secure Browser By that, I really mean that you should use Firefox, and always the latest version.  It's already the most commonly used browser today, but if you still need a reason to make the switch, the security benefits it offers should do the trick. Firefox is one of those browsers I mentioned that talks to your antivirus.  Its built-in malware protection is the same technology developed and used by Google.  It keeps an eye on your plug-ins and disables them if they install or update insecurely.  The list goes on. 3.  Update Keep your computer and all of its software current with the latest patches and updates.  Viruses often slip in through vulnerable areas of your software or operating system, and developers try to stay one step ahead by finding these holes and patching them before they're exploited. 4.  Keep an Eye Our for Anything Fishy In the past, I've been pretty haphazard when it comes to clicking on links and downloading files, but that's certainly not a model to follow.  Our antivirus programs should have our back while we're surfing insecure sites, but the risk is never worth it.  The best antivirus is truly your own intuition. Stick to reputable sites, especially when entering sensitive info such as credit card and Social Security numbers. (Firefox can help you with this, too.  Just click on the favicon next to the address bar to get info on the site you're visiting.)  Stay away from downloading music and software illegally.  Hackers love planting bugs in torrents because people willingly and blindly download them onto their computers, and the sites distributing them can't be counted on to keep you safe. Also, beware of emails from people you don't know.  Email is one of the most common ways for viruses to be spread, so always use your antivirus to scan any attachments before downloading them.  Phishing scams also proliferate through email, so if your bank or anybody else asks you to enter sensitive info after clicking a link, make sure that link goes to wher
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Congrats to our client Applied Trust on winning the Apex Award

Posted by    |   June 10th, 2009   |   No responses

One of our newest clients, Boulder-based Applied Trust Engineering, Inc., was awarded the 2009 Apex Award for Distinguished Professional Services last night during a ceremony also known as the "academy awards of Colorado technology." Applied Trust provides IT security and network/systems infrastructure consulting services in the areas of security, performance and availability. The award -- given by CSIA, Colorado's Technology Association -- recognizes the company whose professional services enable its customers to conduct their businesses more effectively and efficiently. Huge kudos to Trent Hein, Ned McClain and the rest of the Applied Trust team (which includes former Insight Designs summer intern Zack Sanders)! We're proud to work with such an esteemed bunch! Our connection to Applied Trust? This spring, we designed and implemented their new custom website using a Joomla backend. Be sure to check it out.
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Protecting Your Name

Posted by    |   April 30th, 2009   |   No responses

A friend recently turned me on to this site - - where you can check your username availability at scores of social networking sites. It's super simple. Just go to the site and type in your business name, domain name (i.e. insightdesigns - without the www or .com), or personal name (i.e. bethkrodel - no space between first and last names), then click the "chk" button. The site then checks 72 of the most popular social networking sites (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and MySpace) to see if anyone is already using that username. For some of you, it might just be interesting to see who else is using your name. For others who care about controlling, promoting and protecting your online identity, it's probably worth going through the hassle of registering your branded name across all social media sites. (For example, we at Insight Designs wouldn't want someone else posting questionable videos on YouTube under our name or making derogatory comments on Twitter under our sig. You probably wouldn't want that either.) My friend Jerry Nordstrom, CMO of San Diego-based Lead Discovery, says not registering your name with social media sites today is "akin to not registering related domain names for your business in the 90's." The cool difference is that in this case the registration is free (meaning the social networking sites don't charge you to sign up as a user). And if you don't have the time to do the registration work yourself, there's a site - - that will fill out the registration form on 120 social media sites with your username and information for $64.95. One drawback -- extra email. Whether you do the registration yourself or you pay a service like to do it for you, you'll get emails from almost all of the social media sites. Be sure to go onto each site and edit your preferences to ensure that you're only getting the emails you want.
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Beware of Domain Renewal Notices

Posted by    |   December 1st, 2008   |   No responses

It's called Domain Name Slamming - Don't let it happen to you. Domain name slamming is the popular term for a fraudulent practice where scammers try to trick you into transferring your domain name to a different registrar. Many of our clients have us register their domain name for them as part of the website development process. Others come to us with their own registered domains. In either case, the specified "owner" of the domain is always the client or business owner. Scammers usually contact the domain owner with a professional looking email (or a hard copy letter) telling them that their domain name is set to expire soon (which is likely true). There's usually a link to click to renew the domain. What they don't mention is that when you click the link, you are agreeing to transfer your domain name from its existing registrar to theirs. Once you click the link, you've initiated the transfer. In other words - you've got a slew of problems. Your domain name is no longer pointed at your website server, which means you've got no website on the internet, no email and in most cases, it's a logistical nightmare getting your domain name back. This is not a new problem, but we continue to see people get duped and thought it would be great to spread the word - even if it's just a reminder. If you are one of our clients and you've chosen to let us register your domain, we'll take care of renewing it for you (we'll always ask you first). So if you get one of these bogus emails, don't respond to it. If you're not sure who controls your domain, it's a good idea to find out so that you can identify potential scams.
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