By Bryan McNee at

ATM Makers Warn of 'Jackpotting' Hacks on U.S. Machines

(Reuters) - Diebold Nixdorf Inc and NCR Corp, two of the world's largest ATM makers, have warned that cyber criminals are targeting U.S. cash machines with tools that force them to spit out cash in hacking schemes known as "jackpotting."

The two ATM makers did not identify any victims or say how much money had been lost. Jackpotting has been rising worldwide in recent years, though it is unclear how much cash has been stolen because victims and police often do not disclose details.

The attacks were reported earlier on Saturday by the security news website Krebs on Security, which said they had begun last year in Mexico.

The companies confirmed to Reuters on Saturday they had sent out the alerts to clients.

NCR said in a Friday alert that the cases were the first confirmed "jackpotting" losses in the United States. It said its equipment had not been targeted in the recent attacks, but that it was still a concern for the entire ATM industry.

"This should be treated by all ATM deployers as a call to action to take appropriate steps to protect their ATMs against these forms of attack," the alert said.

Diebold Nixdorf said in a separate Friday alert that U.S. authorities had warned the company that hackers were targeting one of its ATM models, known as Opteva, which went out of production several years ago.

A confidential U.S. Secret Service alert sent to banks said the hackers targeted stand-alone ATMs typically located in pharmacies, big box retailers and drive-thru ATMs, Krebs on Security reported.

 

Diebold Nixdorf's alert described steps that criminals had used to compromise ATMs. They include gaining physical access, replacing the hard drive and using an industrial endoscope to depress an internal button required to reset the device.

Reuters was unable to obtain a copy of the Secret Service report and an agency representative declined comment. Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation could not immediately be reached.

Russian cyber security firm Group IB has reported that cyber criminals remotely attacked cash machines in more than a dozen countries across Europe in 2016. Similar attacks were also reported that year in Thailand and Taiwan.

source: fox business

By Bryan McNee at

Microsoft tackles Windows 10 Privacy Concerns With New Data Collection Viewer

Microsoft tackles Windows 10 privacy concerns with new data collection viewer

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A lot more transparency is on the way

Starting this week, Windows 10 testers will be able to access a new Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer. The viewer includes an overview of data being sent to Microsoft’s servers by Windows 10. Microsoft collects a bunch of anonymous Windows 10 data from users to help improve the operating system and make product decisions. The new viewer is similar to something like Wireshark, and it lets Windows 10 users decrypt data that is sent encrypted to Microsoft’s servers.

ANY WINDOWS 10 USER WILL BE ABLE TO DIG INTO THE DATA

The diagnostic data includes device connectivity, peripherals, configuration options, performance data, movie consumption, installed apps, and a lot more. Windows 10 users who want this granular level of detail will be able to filter it and inspect the contents. It’s a lot more transparent than Microsoft publishing documents and hoping to ease concerns.

The viewer will be available to Windows Insiders first, and Microsoft is promising to include it in the next major update to Windows 10. Codenamed Redstone 4, we don’t currently have a name for the next update but it’s expected to be available in the spring. Microsoft is also updating its online privacy dashboard to provide a clearer activity history page, and the ability in the future to export and delete data, or view and manage media consumption data.

All of these privacy improvements are clearly a response to growing concerns around Windows 10 data collection. Microsoft’s Windows 10 privacy headache has been an ongoing issue for more than two years. Microsoft has addressed a number of complaints previously, but some misleading stories suggested Windows 10 has a built-in keylogger, while others have focused on unfounded concerns about gaming and ad-supported versions of Solitaire. Microsoft is now being transparent as possible, and it’s clearly hoping that the new data collection viewer will silence any remaining concerns.

Source: The Verge

By Bryan McNee at

By Bryan McNee at

What you need to know about SEO in 2018

Those involved in the SEO world know how complex and ever-changing the industry can be. With over 200 ranking factors and the constant updates of the algorithm, keeping up with SEO trends is mandatory.

One thing never changes, though: providing the best possible experience for users. In 2018, quality content will certainly remain in focus, but there are other novelties in SEO practices that come with changes in user behavior and evolution in technology.  Take a look at a few of those things to look out for in the new year:

Google is switching to a mobile-first index

Today, we are witnessing a shift from desktop to mobile when it comes to the preferable way to surf the web. Nearly 60% of searches now come from mobile devices, and Google has finally decided to roll out the mobile-first index update. This means the algorithm will primarily use the content your site offers in the mobile view for ranking it in the SERP.

Mobile-first index was mentioned for the first time in 2016 on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, where the team shared recommended practices. Without any doubt, this will be a big historical change in the way websites are indexed.

Having a mobile responsive website is becoming an imperative, as well as having a structured markup for both desktop and mobile version. Webmasters do not need to make changes to their canonical links. Adding and verifying a mobile version of your site to the Search Console is also advisable.    

Voice search will continue to rise

Virtual assistants such as Google Now, Cortana, and Siri have shortened the path between users and the answers they need. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced that voice searches make up to 20% of mobile queries, which puts new challenges in front of SEO experts. Forecasts say this type of search has a growth tendency, so optimizing for Google Voice Search is a good idea.

Marketers have to analyze user intent in order to optimize well for voice searches. Typically, users have four different queries: they seek knowledge (educational content and exact answers), places (“near me” queries and addresses of local businesses), activities (how to’s and other types of guides), and purchase opportunities (online shops of their favorite brands). In order to optimize content for voice searches, you should definitely include a well-structured FAQ on your website so that precise information will easily get indexed and put in front of users. Use relevant long tail keywords (voice searches are often lengthier opposed to text) and optimize your content for conversational language.   

Link building is not going anywhere

study conducted by Stone Temple has proven once again that link building is not going anywhere and it’s not hard to understand why. A good quality backlink profile acts like a signal for Google that your website is a great resource that provides value to readers. But in addition to your standard link building efforts, you should also think about the concept of link earning. Although the difference between the two is subtle, the latter puts user experience in the center of attention.

Link earning is all about focusing on producing engaging content that actually answers the questions users are interested in, which inspires people to organically link to you. So, you are rewarded with a link naturally. If you want to hold a great ranking position, you should focus on building and earning links from reputable domains with high authority. Make sure none of the links pointing to your website come from shady and spammy sites. Disavow bad links.

High quality content + smart keywords will get you far

Smart SEO techniques always come down to creating great content with both users and search engines in mind. To truly stand out in the sea of average content across the web and earn better rankings, you need to create unique, original content that not only educates - but provides a concrete answer that satisfies user intent. That is the only way you will increase your organic visits. Of course, smart usage of keywords will help crawlers index your website easier. Use Google Keyword Planner to map out relevant words and phrases and optimize your content. Reoptimize your old content in accordance to new keyword trends.   

When it comes to content, ensure your text posts are scannable and easily consumable. Add eye-catching visuals, make your website navigation logical, and always keep UX in mind. Dwell time matters: give your site visitors a reason to stick around.

Featured snippets matter more than ever

Marketing and SEO experts such as Bill Slawski, Eric Enge, and Marcus Miller believe the chase for a featured snippet will become the focal point in 2018. If a featured snippet appears on the SERP, it’s far more likely users will click on that link opposed to the listed results below. According to the Ahrefs study, a featured snippet will actually steal clicks from the #1 ranking result. Optimizing for rich snippets or “People Also Ask” boxes pays off, specifically because it instantly grabs the attention of users. This helps you generate more traffic, save money on PPC, and gain more visibility.

You should definitely keep these SEO trends in mind but also commit to white hat techniques only. Everything you do as a webmaster leaves a trace on how your domain is perceived by Google. I have already discussed domain ranking factors, and while agility remains one of the most important skills for an SEO expert, don’t get carried away and forget the crucial basics. Take the holistic approach and you will nail SEO in 2018.

Source: Smart Brief

By Bryan McNee at

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Update for Processor Security Bugs

Microsoft Issues Emergency Windows Update for Processor Security Bugs

Microsoft is issuing a rare out-of-band security update to supported versions of Windows today. The software update is part of a number of fixes that will protect against a newly-discovered processor bug in Intel, AMD, and ARM chipsets. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company will issue a Windows update that will be automatically applied to Windows 10 machines at 5PM ET / 2PM PT today.

The update will also be available for older and supported versions of Windows today, but systems running operating systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8 won’t automatically be updated through Windows Update until next Tuesday. Windows 10 will be automatically updated today.

FIRMWARE UPDATES ALSO REQUIRED

While Microsoft is quickly addressing the issues, the fixes will also rely on firmware updates from Intel, AMD, or other vendors that are rolling out. Some anti-virus vendors will also need to update their software to work correctly with the new patches, as the changes are related to Kernel-level access.

The firmware updates and software patches could cause some systems to run slower. Sources familiar with the situation tell The Verge that Intel processors that are based on Skylake or newer architecture won’t see a significant performance degradation. However, older processors could slow down more significantly due to the firmware and software updates.

Intel says any slow downs will be “workload-dependent,” but the company has not expanded on how this will affect older machines. Microsoft is also planning to update its cloud-based servers with the latest firmware and software patches, and these updates are rolling out now.

The Verge understands that Google is planning to document and disclose the security flaws in processors at 5PM ET today. The exact bug appears to be related to the way that regular apps and programs can discover the contents of protect kernel memory areas. Kernels in operating systems have complete control over the entire system, and connect applications to the processor, memory, and other hardware inside a computer. There appears to be a flaw in modern processors that let attackers bypass kernel access protections so that regular apps can read the contents of kernel memory.

Software vendors like Microsoft and other Linux programmers are protecting against this by separating the kernel's memory away from user processes in what’s being called “Kernel Page Table Isolation.” Linux patches have been rolling out over the past month, and now Windows patches are being made available today.

Microsoft has confirmed the Windows update in a statement:

We're aware of this industry-wide issue and have been working closely with chip manufacturers to develop and test mitigations to protect our customers. We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD. We have not received any information to indicate that these vulnerabilities had been used to attack our customers.

Update, 5:10PM ET: Article updated with Microsoft’s official statement.

Source:  The Verge

By Bryan McNee at

What To Expect From SEO In 2018

What To Expect From SEO In 2018


Source:  Business 2 Community

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