Trending March 2024 # Fileless Malware: What Is It And How Can You Protect Yourself From It? # Suggested April 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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When you think of a virus infecting a system, you may imagine a scenario where someone opens an infected executable file on their PC. This then plants the malware on the system which can then steal information, commence a cryptojacking attack, or do damage to the filesystem. With antivirus being a key part of people’s computers these days, it’s been tricky to get this sort of attack to play out. Recently, we’ve seen a spike in an interesting method of spreading malware – by not using files at all!

What Is “Fileless Malware?”

Of course, the malware isn’t totally fileless — it has to come from somewhere after all! The idea here is that the malware works without needing a file on the computer’s filesystem. That way it can operate without needing a “home base” that will give its presence away.

If you think about how a traditional antivirus works, you can see why fileless malware takes this interesting path. An antivirus will check all of the files on a computer’s filesystem for anything that might have been infected. Of course, if the malware hasn’t left any traces on the filesystem itself, there’s no way the scanner can pick up on it and remove it. This is fileless malware’s greatest strength; it’s stealthier than other traditional means.

Where Does It Live?

So if the malware isn’t residing on your computer’s filesystem, where is it being stored? The idea behind fileless malware is that it can operate entirely within the PC’s RAM. The RAM is used to store software while it’s running, so malware can sneak into the RAM where it can do its work while skirting detection. It may get into the system using a vulnerability in existing software, such as through a browser plugin, a hole in the operating system’s defenses, or macros in programs such as Word.

How to Avoid It

So now that you know what fileless malware is, how do you avoid being hit by it?

Avoid Untrusted Macros Keep Software Up to Date

Because fileless macros need a security hole to breach a system, it’s a good idea to keep your software updated with the latest security patches. This includes your operating system which can have native processes hijacked by fileless malware.

Use a Good Antivirus

Fileless Foes

While malware is more traditionally spread using an executable, it’s not always the case. Now you know how fileless malware works and how to beat it.

Is fileless malware a big concern for you? Let us know below.

Image credit: Hacker – Hacking – Lupe von Nullen und Einsen – MALWARE – blau

Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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What Is An Xss Attack And What Can You Do About It?

What Is XSS?

The definition is in its name. An XSS attack is executed by modifying a URL in a way that can allow certain scripts to be injected into it. For example, you can make an entirely different website show up within a frame of the URL’s destination.

Look at an example of the modified URL:

How Does XSS Affect You?

XSS can be used in a variety of ways. Some may just post a link on Twitter containing the malicious URL. Twitter does half the work for them by covering up the URL partially. Contextual links within untrustworthy blogs and websites may contain URLs that are masked by the “anchor text” (which is another fancy way of describing text that’s underlined and blue).

XSS can also be used to trace you by installing cookies on your computer without your consent. Gathering this data could allow hackers to better understand a “digital demographic” of the people they are targeting for future malware infections. In such a case, you might not even notice anything going on in your computer or mobile device at all.

How Dangerous Is XSS?

All things considered, XSS isn’t usually very dangerous. It may be annoying, but it won’t present any long term consequences, at least not in the short term. However, beware of combinations between XSS attacks and other sorts of malicious behavior!

For example, let’s say that Facebook is vulnerable to XSS. A hacker can easily inject a fake log-in page to Facebook’s URL. You’d log in successfully (since the fake page can send your credentials to both Facebook and its own database), but the hacker will now have your username and password. This is where the true danger of XSS presents itself.

How To Protect Yourself Against XSS

If you have a website you’re developing yourself, read this cheat sheet. This will protect you and your visitors from XSS. Be sure to mail the cheat sheet to any web developers you know. They’d appreciate it.

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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What The Heck Is A Haboob? Hint: You Can See It From Space.

“Apocalyptic” might as well have been the forecast for Lubbock, Texas, on June 5, 2023.

Matthew Cappucci, a meteorologist for The Washington Post, found himself face-to-face with the haboob. “Within seconds, it was on me,” Cappucci describes. “I was sandblasted, grains still lodged in my eyes, nose, and ears 18 hours later. I returned to the refuge of my vehicle as 60 to 70 mph winds buffeted what seconds before had been a tranquil, picturesque scene.” Cappucci goes on to recount a slurry of hazards during and after the haboob: flooding, blinding rain, pebbles of hail, and “additional waves of dusty rain (that) deposited a thin veil of grit on my freshly washed truck.”

So what causes these insane blasts of dusty catastrophe? Named after the Arabic word habb, meaning “to blow,” haboobs occur when strong winds sweep up dust, dirt, or other fine particles of earth and loft them into a wall-like front that can be many miles long, up to 5,000 feet tall, and last for minutes to hours. Along the fringes of that front, intense wind and dust whirls or devils can herald the arrival of a haboob, according to the National Audubon’s Field Guide to Weather.

Despite their dangerous nature, these bizarre events can conjure beautiful imagery. Even the American Meteorological Society can’t help but describe haboobs as “visually stunning.” They resemble a brown avalanche (and are sometimes called black blizzards) that can blacken daylight and even be visible from space, in the case of haboobs in North African and Arabian deserts, writes author Cynthia Barnett in Rain: A Natural and Cultural History.

The term originated as a description for the windy sandstorms in central and northern Sudan, especially around Khartoum—which experiences, on average, 24 haboobs annually, according to the American Meteorological Society. But they’re a worldwide phenomenon spanning arid or semiarid regions from the Middle East to the Sahara Desert, central Australia, and Mexico’s Sonoran Desert.

In the United States, they’re most common during thunderstorms in arid areas such as the Southwest, says University of Oklahoma meteorologist Jason Furtado. Though both involve gusts of dust, the terms ‘haboob’ and ‘sandstorm’ can’t be used interchangeably, he says. “Every haboob is a sand storm, but not every sandstorm is a haboob,” Furtado says, since haboobs by definition are the byproduct of a thunderstorm, whereas sand or dust storms can happen anytime strong winds pick up particles.

Raindrops evaporate when they fall into very dry air, Furtado explains, which causes the air to turn cold and dense—and plummet. That dropping mass of cold air eventually hits the ground, and, like a book dropping onto a dusty tabletop, creates an outward gust that can pick up and carry particles. “If that hits in a dusty, dry area, really intense winds form and move a big wall of dust,” Furtado says.

Broadly speaking, however, humans have experienced sun-occluding sand and dust storms for centuries. “Chinese records speak of sandstorms occurring around A.D. 960, when a yellow dust covered the sky and laid waste to the fields,” writes Leslie Alan Horvitz in The Essential Book of Weather Lore. Modern humans have also witnessed some awe-worthy sandstorms.

In 2000, for example, dust storms carried some 8 million tons of Saharan sand as far west as Puerto Rico. This January, dust storms and 60-mile-per-hour winds swept across eastern Australia. “It was so thick we couldn’t see across the road,” a motel manager told The Daily Telegraph.

The sudden shift in air quality that these weather events create also makes them a hazard to human health, particularly those with underlying conditions. Public health officials often warn of the potential hazards associated with haboobs, and instruct people with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or heart disease to reduce or avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Even still, being inside doesn’t totally protect someone from dust storms, which have been known to penetrate window frames or small cracks in houses and cause respiratory distress in humans and animals, according to the National Audubon’s field guide.

We often under-appreciate the air quality impact of these dust storms, says Ryan Stauffer, a research scientist at the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Though the particles of soil or sand themselves are often naturally occurring, he says, their fine size, of 10 micrometers or less, qualifies them as a pollutant. “That’s small enough that it can get deep in your lungs and cause respiratory issues,” Stauffer says. “The stuff can be quite hazardous actually.”

Researchers have explored other health risks posed by haboobs and dust storms. In the 1930s, thousands died from “dust pneumonia” caused by epic Dust Bowl-era storms, which are also believed to have helped spread measles and other infectious diseases. In 2014, scientists from Arizona, Egypt, and Serbia explored whether a haboob in Phoenix some years earlier had spread soil-dwelling fungi that causes valley fever to highly populated areas. Valley fever can be fatal in extreme cases but more often means months of shortness of breath, exhaustion, and skin rashes.

More frequent, dangerous heat waves fueled by climate change don’t mix well with sandstorms like haboobs, Furtado says. Grit from haboobs can infiltrate air conditioning vents and cut off access to indoor cooling during the hottest parts of the year. “It can be a big deal,” he says.

These massive dust storms can also destroy the physical landscape by uprooting trees, tumbling power lines, and damaging buildings and homes.

They can also jeopardize the aviation industry in a variety of ways. Scattered sand particles can clog air filtration systems and dull the blades of propellers and turbine engines. In 2011, a mile-high tall, 100-mile-long haboob delayed flights in and out of Arizona’s largest airport, where dust also set off smoke alarms (seven years later, another mile-high haboob in the Phoenix region shut down the Sky Harbor International Airport). Sandstorms also dangerously impair visibility for drivers and pilots. For example, reports from the 1980 Iranian hostage rescue mission “included references to in-flight encounters with haboobs which may have played a direct role” in a Navy helicopter colliding with a C-130 aircraft while dust conditions were heavy.

Haboobs are likely to become a more commonplace global phenomenon due to anthropogenic forces such as overgrazing, deforestation, and depletion of water resources in densely populated arid regions, writes Horvitz. Intense droughts—which are expected to increase as climate change intensifies—exacerbate the problem, Stauffer and other experts say. Last August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted this vicious cycle: Ongoing soil degradation will hasten desertification. As some areas get hotter and drier, reserves of water in the soil evaporate—which means there’s less humidity available to form clouds to cool and moisten the landscape. “It keeps cycling down that path, getting drier and drier,” Furtado says. “It just spirals down.”

Is your head constantly spinning with outlandish, mind-burning questions? If you’ve ever wondered what the universe is made of, what would happen if you fell into a black hole, or even why not everyone can touch their toes, then you should be sure to listen and subscribe to Ask Us Anything, a podcast from the editors of Popular Science. Ask Us Anything hits Apple, Anchor, Spotify, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts every Tuesday and Thursday. Each episode takes a deep dive into a single query we know you’ll want to stick around for.

What Is Telematics Technology And How Can It Make You A Better Driver?

Internet of Things (IoT) technology is wherever today, from the home to the workplace. One of the less natural yet additional energizing utilizations of IoT gadgets is in vehicles. One utilization of this technology, telematics, has seen rising ubiquity in both shopper and business circles–and it’s not difficult to perceive any reason why.

Here are a few ways telematics can help you become a better driver.

1. Highlighting mistakes

This capacity is additionally the hidden thought behind utilization based insurance (UBI), which numerous guarantors have now received. Reformist was quick to offer UBI programs, utilizing GPS technology to give mileage-based limits. Presently, these frameworks are further developed, allowing safety net providers to offer limited rates dependent on how and where you drive.

Also read: No Plan? Sitting Ideal…No Problem! 50+ Cool Websites To Visit

2. Helping you to remember upkeep needs

How you follow up out and about isn’t the lone piece of being a decent driver. Keeping your vehicle in top condition matters, as well, particularly for business armadas that rely upon their trucks making long excursions.

Further developed telematics frameworks can screen motor execution, liquid levels and other upkeep factors, uncovering when you ought to watch out for them.

Vehicles’ support needs once in a while fall along a normal timetable. New vehicles can go anyplace between 7,500 to 10,000 miles between oil changes, however this progressions as they age. Telematics removes the mystery from the condition by showing decisively when a vehicle needs upkeep.

Also read: Top 7 Best ECommerce Tools for Online Business

3. Improving courses

Maybe the most direct way telematics can assist you with being a superior driver is by getting you to your objective quicker. GPS route is apparently the most recognizable telematics use case, and perhaps the most accommodating. As these frameworks become further developed, they can think about more factors when arranging courses, giving the best way to any situation.

Telematics frameworks empower others to see a vehicle’s ongoing position, as well. This straightforwardness allows armadas to gauge and impart conveyance times while a similar framework streamlines drivers’ courses. These gadget organizations can decide the best ways to convey things in insignificant time and with negligible fuel utilization.

Also read: The Proven Top 10 No-Code Platforms of 2023

4. Making your vehicle more eco-accommodating

As ecological concerns develop, being an economical driver has gotten more basic. Telematics can help around here, as well, through the optional effects of their different highlights. At the point when your vehicle is in top condition and goes as effectively as could be expected, its natural effect will keep to a base.

Telematics can make Travel Safer, Cleaner, and More Efficient

Regardless of whether you drive professionally or simply in your own life, improving as a driver is an objective everybody ought to have. Better driving and vehicle care practices will make streets more secure, more eco-accommodating and reasonable. There are numerous ways to this objective, however telematics is one of the least demanding and best.

Telematics technology gives straightforwardness and information based dynamic in regions ordinarily brimming with assessments and estimates. These gadgets are improving travel all around for both purchaser and business markets.

Average Check: What It Is And How To Increase It?

The Concept of “Average Check”

In fact, it is the amount by which a customer buys goods or services from you at a time. You can determine the average check of the whole business, and you can use a separate group of goods, branches, or departments of the enterprise. Of course, this requires appropriate financial accounting.

How to Calculate?

The average check per day = earnings per day/number of checks per day.

You can also calculate the average check for a week or a month. However, a one-time calculation does not give an understanding of the state of affairs, it is necessary to analyze the dynamics of the average check. By tracking how this figure changes over the months, you will see seasonality and other factors that affect sales.

Why Do You Need This Indicator?

The average check shows the state of your business. Both on its own and with other indicators, it provides answers to many questions, including:

how solvent your client is;

do you have a sufficient range of goods;

whether the system and sales managers work well;

whether the action you are conducting is effective;

the period of high and low sales season;

from what amount customers should be given discounts or bonuses;

which group of goods or services do customers buy the most.

Here are the top 5 effective ways to increase the average check:

cross-selling + up-selling;

implementation of a loyalty program;

determination of the threshold for free delivery of goods;

formation of sets of goods or services (bundles);

introduction of discount coupons for a limited time.

Cross-selling and Up-selling

It is better to combine these two methods into one category.

Up-selling is an offer to the buyer of a more expensive, refined, the premium analog of a product or service. For example, a more modern model, a well-known brand, a new trendy service, or a dish made of organic products. This method is appropriate if you have a range of goods or services with a wide range of prices.

Cross-selling involves cross-selling when the customer is offered related products and services during the purchase. This method is suitable for any business: online and offline applies to both goods and services. Of course, the range should include these related products.

Most businesses use cross-sell technology. You buy a product, and you are immediately offered to buy something auxiliary to it. A classic example: the phone offers a case, headphones, protective glass, and a power bank. In this case, we do not sell something that a person does not need but help him protect his new phone, conveniently listen to music, and charge it on the go. This is the most organic way to increase the average check.

Data Management In ‘23: What It Is & How Can Ai Improve It?

According to Statista, the total data volume worldwide has been on an increasing trend since 2010 and is expected to keep rising until at least 2025 (see Figure 1).

With this increase in volume comes an increase in the need to determine a way to manage it. Subsequently, a wealth of data management techniques, tools, vendors, and careers, have emerged to support this need.

To better help your business achieve effective data management, it is necessary to first understand what exactly is data management and how it can become beneficial for your organization.

What is Data Management?

Data has a lifecycle that requires careful management from the day it is created until the day it is no longer in use. By managing this data properly, the risks are greatly decreased and the usability and quality of the data are greatly increased. Ultimately these two things together lead to a better and more profitable business no matter the industry or topic.

Some of the biggest focus points in data management include:

1. Data quality

Availability and usability of data for its desired purpose. Maintaining data quality is not a one-time effort, but instead requires regular ‘maintenance’ at logical times in the cycle.

2. Data access

Being able to access and retrieve data from its current location.

3. Data governance

Having data that is aligned with the greater goals of the business. Outlines the processes for determining data owners, their roles and responsibilities, and how they work with data users. Clarifies the role of compliance in data management. For example, due to regulatory limitations, some data can only be analyzed after anonymization and aggregation.

4. Data integration

Different steps and methods for combining different types of data.

5. Master data management (MDM)

Defining, unifying, and managing the data that is essential across an organization.

To learn more about master data management, feel free to read master data management: best practices & real-life examples.

There is a wide range of tools available to support all of the above and more for industries with data volumes that are both small and large. One example of this can be seen with ETL tools, which ‘extract’ incoming data from multiple sources, ‘transform’ it into the required format, and then ‘load’ it into its final destination, often a data warehouse.

To improve data management, businesses can leverage workload automation tools that automate the scheduling and execution of batch processes on different platforms from a single point. This enables better visibility and transparency, optimizes data storage strategies, creates an audit trail of all processes, and provides a single source of truth. Scroll down our data-driven list of workload automation tools to get a comprehensive view of the ecosystem.

Advantages of Effective Data Management

Aside from the intrinsic benefits associated with data management in terms of factors such as cleanliness and availability, there are a growing number of benefits that can be felt across the business.

Better and faster decision making owing to higher quality data and a single version of the truth

Easier achievement of compliance and governance standards

Long-term preservation of data for a longer historical perspective

More efficient sharing and access generally within a web-based or cloud environment

Synchronization of data

Minimized security and fraud risks

New lines of business

An improved customer buying experience

Ease in change management

Better use of internal resources in terms of employees and tangible goods

Improved visibility and transparency

Image source: Avaali

Integrating Data Management in Your Business

Understanding the benefits of data management is a great place to start as it will help you decide from the beginning with a clear mind what benefits you aim to achieve. There are a few additional steps that can be taken to help integrate better data management into your business.

Start by deciding if a more extensive data management process is really right for your business. The best way to do so is by determining whether or not you have a need, pain, or problem that could be solved with data. One such type of problem would be in data governance where there are disruptive forces that can lead to data problems and challenges in demonstrating compliance. Some additional problems that can be solved with data management include:

Information security

IT/systems modernization

Strategic enablement

Consolidation

After determining the problem that requires solving, it is necessary to build a small model to act as proof of concept behind your idea. This should be small, measurable, and controlled, and helps to prove the value of your solution.

Once you have determined a solution to your problem that needs to be solved, the next step will be to get the executive approval that is necessary in order to proceed. The most effective way to do this is to connect a ‘data’ problem to a ‘business’ problem in order to clearly demonstrate the value. Some of the most common challenges incurred include:

Data is seen as an IT issue alone

Overall organizational silos

Unclear ROI

Data management will often require an organizational change in terms of internal team members, plus any consultants or vendors that may play essential roles in not only the integration but ongoing support of processes. Some additional roles that will become involved with data management (and its later analysis) include:

Image source: IBM

By having all of these different tasks and roles in mind from the start, it can be easier to demonstrate the value of data management in addition to creating an effective solution.

The Impact on Data Science and AI

Data science is the field of collecting, modeling, and interpreting data in order to make predictions. Data scientists work with the data using different tools and formats to reach a certain conclusion, and understandably, the data they are working with is key to finding these conclusions. Subsequently, having a well-executed data management solution is key to their success.

AI has largely become recognized as one of the biggest changes that we are part of with the ‘digital transformation’. However, before organizations can get the most from the latest in AI technologies, they must first have an effective BI solution. This is because AI is wholly dependent on the quality of data that it receives, and without proper data management, the quality of BI and related data will make it that much more difficult for AI to do its ‘job’.

These two integral fields in technology and their place in the future demonstrates the need to begin making changes to data processes that will be sustainable for changes to come.

For more on data management

And if you believe your business would benefit from leveraging a data management platform, we have a data-driven list of vendors prepared.

To gain a more comprehensive overview of workload automation, download our whitepaper on the topic:

We will help you choose the best one for your enterprise:

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Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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