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Monthly Archives: April 2015

28
Apr
2015

Google Updates Algorithm to include Mobile Ease of Use

by Bill

Google is updating it’s algorithm once again, and some are referring to this update as “mobilegeddon!” It’s a strong statement, but the change is going to have a large impact on search results. The reason for the intense verbiage is that Google is now allowing a site’s mobile usability to strongly influence search results. The new change makes a lot of sense – people are using their mobile devices and tablets to access the internet more than ever these days, and while using a mobile device, people are likely to bounce from a site with poor mobile design.

Google employees say that the new update will affect more results than either Penguin from 2013, or Panda from 2011 – which affected 4% and 12% of results respectively. This change is different than Panda or Penguin, which simply sought to rid the web of spammy link factories and keyword farms. This new algorithm is Google’s attempt to shape the internet in the image it sees fit. However, you can stay ahead of the curve with great hosting to keep your SEO game, and your mobile compatibility, which is now going to be an integral part of SEO, on top.

Dan Sullivan, a respected writer for Search Engine Land, has said that ultimately, this change by Google may not be the best move. It might demote results that are completely valid and relevant for users on a computer, due to a few extra clicks on the site’s mobile version. However, it’s clear that Google wants to push businesses to beef up their mobile game, and this isn’t the first time Google has tried to shape the web business. Google Fiber, the company’s fiber optic network which is now in place in 4 cities, threatened Internet Service Providers and caused them to come out with faster speeds, to keep their businesses relevant.

Overall, this change will encourage site owners to make sure their mobile versions are functioning and easy to use, and like always, with any big Google algorithmic change, site owners must also change with the times, or risk becoming irrelevant. Fortunately National Net servers and support staff are already well acquainted with the needs of mobile traffic and the infrastructure we provide for our clients makes every site you build as mobile friendly as your design and content allow.

 

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16
Apr
2015

Hotel WiFi Is No Vacation For Security Conscious Business Travelers

by Bill

New has recently broke that business travelers at hundreds of hotels have been unwittingly putting their digital security at risk, due largely to the reliance of some hotel chains on routers that have vulnerabilities in surprisingly significant ways. Researchers from the security firm Cylance discovered an attacker may distribute malware to guests; monitor and record data over hotel networks, or most chillingly gain access to a hotel’s keycard systems.

This flaw in security stems allegedly from authentication vulnerability in the firmware of routers made by ANTlabs, a Singapore firm with their products already installed in hotels in the US, Europe and beyond. Cylance security operatives were able to gain direct access to the root file system of ANTlabs devices, allowing them to copy configuration files from the device file system and to write any other file to them, including malware scripts that could be used to infect the computers of Wi-Fi users who logged into these networks.

Researchers announced 277 of the devices in 29 countries are accessible over the internet, along with many more they weren’t able to uncover over the internet because they’re protected behind a firewall – though that would not enhance the security of hotel guests if a hacker was logged into the hotel WiFi network locally.

Justin Clarke, a researcher with Cylance’s new SPEAR (Sophisticated Penetration Exploitation and Research) team, said the devices are often also connected to a hotel’s property management system – serving as the core software that runs reservation systems and maintains guest data profiles. “In cases where an InnGate device stores credentials to the PMS [property management system], an attacker could potentially gain full access to the PMS itself,” explained researchers in a blog post published about the incident.

Beyond the risks to nefarious groups of civilians and hackers who want access to credit cards or other sensitive financial data, these flaws in security also represent another way for governmental agencies to track people and constrain travel. In fact, one of the most famous cases of subverting a hotel’s electronic key system resulted in the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai during 2011. In that case assassins, believed to be Israeli Mossad agents, reprogrammed the door lock of his hotel room and while it still is not known exactly how the attackers compromised that key system – this news of rampant vulnerability across hotel WiFi networks shows plainly that hotel security on a digital level needs to be amped up quite a bit if guests are ever to feel secure in their sleep.

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13
Apr
2015

Microsoft Windows Server Nano May Shrink Linux Cloud Computing Market

by Bill

<img class="alignleft" src="https://cdn-images.nationalnet.com/cloud-computing-sm useful site.jpg” alt=”Cloud Computing” width=”220″ height=”147″ />As cloud computing continues to gain momentum, monolithic brands like Google and Twitter are building out their own massive data networks for online services distributed across thousands of machines. Up to this point the most efficient way for them to execute their software with that many nodes in the hardware network has been to utilize Linux, the open source operating system backed by a technology called “containers.”

The corollary fact from a Microsoft perspective is that means they aren’t using Windows, and for the Redmond giant of the OS industry, that presents a very large problem moving forward.  Unlike Linux Windows has proven to be a poor choice for the kind of massive cloud networks that appear to be the future of modern computing – especially now that Windows NT is defunct. That’s why Microsoft is shifting their efforts and retooling Windows to avoid obsolescence.

First, Microsoft announced it would add Linux-like container technology to Windows and now they have revealed that they are also developing a trimmed down version of there OS named Windows Server Nano, designed to run as a whole new kind of container which would add another new level of system security.

Microsoft Windows Server Nano will compete with Linux CoreOS – representing a major challenge to the competitive advantage Linux presently holds on the future of online services that operate by necessity across hundreds or thousands of distributed network machines (the foundation of the cloud).

Under new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft appears to finally be bending its own product line to the needs of its potential customers, instead of attempting to evangelize an internal vision in the hope of swaying IT professionals toward an MS-centric worldview.

Many businesses now run containers on public cloud computing services like Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud or Microsoft Azure, but the new Microsoft Windows Server Nano would instead allow containers to run on virtual machines, which provides a much needed improvement in cloud data security. Whether Microsoft can chip away at Linux market share remains to be seen, but unlike in years past, at least it now appears Microsoft is willing to build what people want instead of trying to convince them to want something else.

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02
Apr
2015

Google Android Devs Fix Bandwidth Supremacy Defaults

by Bill

Google AndroidThe new software update Android 5.1 fixes an annoying issue that has plagued mobile devices for years. You might recall plenty of times in the past when your phone automatically found a nearby WiFi network to access and connected to it in the background, only to provide a much slower connection than what your cell service was already supplying in that location. Now, an Android phone won’t do that anymore because it just became smart enough to properly prioritize whichever connection is capable of sending the most packets in any given period of time.

There are advantages to WiFi, most notably the lack of a monthly cap on included bandwidth from a phone carrier, so most users leave WiFi on anywhere they go in the hope that a store or other open network nearby will offer faster connections and uncapped data usage. Unfortunately too many of those networks are painfully slow or bugged in some way that causes your browsing to slow to a staggered crawl, even though a phone connection would be many times faster instead. It’s also worth pointing out that carrier networks have grown much more robust in recent years with LTE speeds that can rival many WiFi shared connections open to the public. The manual solution has been for users to selectively turn off their WiFi to improve performance… but not any more.

The Android 5.1 update that began rolling out across the U.S. this week includes a new firmware feature that gives your device the ability to recall which networks you have attempted joining in the past with poor results. The device can then cross-check that list in the future to prioritize networks accordingly, or keep you on the LTE from your mobile carrier when it is actually faster than the available WiFi nearby.

There are a few other fixes in the Android 5.1 update, and most including this one will go unnoticed by many consumers, though their innate sense of satisfaction with their device is likely unwittingly to rise as a direct result. You can also now connect to Bluetooth devices without needing to click through three settings menus, and Quick Settings are finally available from the lock screen directly. Google devs have also enhanced the Android platform’s security, so that a stolen device will remain unusable even if someone resets it until a dealer reauthorizes it with your information after checking a valid ID.

It will take weeks before the myriad of devices that are part of the Android ecosystem are able to be updated, but if your phone or tablet offers you 5.1 as an update it’s a download you should install with a smile.

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