Hetzner hack: Top South African web host hit with mega-breach, every client may be exposed – International Business Times UK

Hackers have compromised a major database maintained by Hetzner Ltd, one of the largest data centre and web hosting services in South Africa.

The Johannesburg-based company said on Wednesday (1 November) that a key client portal called “konsoleH” had been accessed by unknown cybercriminals. “We should assume that all our customer data has been exposed,” it said in a lengthy statement 24 hours later.

The company claimed that hackers exploited an SQL injection vulnerability its database.

“There is no way for us to ascertain how the exposed data will be used,” it warned Thursday.

Hetzner said that konsoleH admin passwords were encrypted but it had “proactively updated all FTP passwords because they were stored in plain text.

“We are deleting all plain text versions of the FTP & database passwords. Going forward, they will be encrypted on our systems,” the company said in an FAQ page. For clients, however, it’s too late.

Hetzner said details exposed included all customer details, domain names, FTP passwords and partial bank account details. It stressed no credit card details were stored in the portal.

But it urged all customers to urgently update their account passwords.

The hack impacted both current and previous customers – however it did not elaborate on exactly how many customers were likely exposed in the massive cyberattack. On its website, the company states it provides web hosting services to more than 40,000 customers.

Hetzner did note that those impacted by the hacking would not get compensation. At this stage of the investigation, it is unlikely that the company knows the true scale of the incident.

It said on the FAQ page: “The unfortunate reality is that no company is immune to malicious exploits — our customers have fallen victim, as has Hetzner.

“While Hetzner won’t be compensating customers in monetary terms, we are committed to supporting our customers through this time and have our team working around the clock.”

It added: “We have external forensic investigators on site working round the clock with our team. We understand that this event has shaken your confidence in us. It is our earnest commitment to provide you with a hosting service you can trust.”

Last month, a major database leak hit South Africa which exposed the personal details of millions of citizens. That trove of data was discovered under the name “Master_Deeds”.

Hetzner said the two events were “not related in any way” but noted that the leaked files were indeed stored on a “self-managed server” leased by one of its customers.

“This customer has complete responsibility for all data storage and data access on the server, while Hetzner remains responsible for the hardware and only the hardware – we don’t have access to the data stored on this hardware,” it explained.

The leaked information, as previously reported, contained citizen ID numbers, names, genders, martial statuses, home ownership information, employment details and income data.

Security expert Troy Hunt said the database contained at least 60m records – higher than the estimated population of the country (56m) because it contained entries of people both alive and deceased. The breach was first reported by Tefo Mohapi of tech website iAfrikan.

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FindMyHost Releases November 2017 Editors’ Choice Awards – MyHostNews.com (press release)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Web Hosting Directory and Review site www.FindMyHost.com released the November 2017 Editor’s Choice Awards today. Web Hosting companies strive to provide their customers with the very best service and support. We want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the hosts per category who have excelled in their field. The FindMyHost Editors’ Choice Awards are chosen based on Editor and Consumer Reviews.

Customers who wish to submit positive reviews for the current or past Web Host are free to do so by visiting the customer review section of FindMyHost.com.  By doing so, you nominate your web host for next months Editor’s Choice awards.

We would like to congratulate all the web hosts who participated and in particular the following who received top honors in their field:

About FindMyHost
FindMyHost, Inc. is an online magazine that provides editor reviews, consumer hosting news, interviews discussion forums and more. FindMyHost.com was established in January 2001 to protect web host consumers and web developers from making the wrong choice when choosing a web host. FindMyHost.com showcases a selection of web hosting companies who have undergone their approved host program testing and provides reviews from customers. FindMyHost’s extensive website can be found at www.FindMyHost.com.

Beginners Guide for Startup Owners – Nibletz

startup22-top Beginners Guide for Startup OwnersBeginning a startup is an exciting and life-changing event. For many people, becoming an entrepreneur is a lifelong dream where they can be creative, enterprising, and be their own boss. But before launching your startup, there are certain things you must consider while planning and during the early stages of the business.1. Do some soul-searching

Are you sure you want to do this? While creating a startup is a very rewarding venture, unfortunately a lot of people nowadays are creating startups just so they can quit their regular jobs. Many other people are attracted towards startups after seeing several success stories. Remember that startups do not succeed overnight. A lot of persistence, endurance and courage is needed to survive through the toughest stages of the businesses. Failures are common. You will have less time to yourself or your family, at least in the initial couple of years. But if you keep at it, you will eventually be rewarded for it. So make sure that you have the commitment to keep at it for the long haul.

2. Think out of the box

If you are planning a startup, you are already starting on a strong footing. Customers today expect responsive, flexible and attentive service from businesses. Small businesses and startups are better organised to provide this level of service than large traditional organizations. But you have to make sure that you offer a novel product or service to address a need that has not been addressed by the big players.

3. Have a business plan

Having a rock solid business plan is essential for success. Stakes are very high even for small startups so very few businesses can afford to fail. Therefore, a good business plan that covers every aspect of your business is essential. Not only will it provide a backup plan and a strategy to respond to business failure, but will make it easier for you to get loans or venture funding.

4. Get your business registered

Registering your statup is important and also quite simple thanks to many agents who will do this for a reasonable fee as well as online portals that allow you to sidestep all the bureaucratic red tape. Registering your business makes it easier for you to seek financing and legal support.

5. Set up a finance function

Regardless of the size of your business, keep your books in order from day one. Every transaction should be recorded in a journal (you don’t need professional software at this stage). File all your receipts and make sure you follow all accounting requirements of your state or country. Hiring an experienced accountant can make a huge difference to ensuring that your accounts are complete and your tax liabilities are all cleared.

6. Focus on quality

Customers are increasingly conscious about quality. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that customers demand quality before anything. You don’t need to have huge economies of scale or millions to spend on marketing in order to become successful. As long as you can maintain an acceptable standard of quality, you will be able to gain the trust of your customers and increase their loyalty over time.

7. Staffing

Initially, your startup team will likely include you, a family member or a close friend. But over time, you will need more people. Plan for a diverse team with strong specialised skills. Have policies in place to create a positive and healthy workplace. Have policies for work-life balance, offer opportunities for exercise; you may even get THC test for your staff. Make sure you offer them a competitive salary for their skills and experience.

8. IT resources

Today, all startups have a strong online presence. You need to subscribe to a reliable web host who will manage your website and all online data. You may even hire an SEO expert who will assume responsibility for driving online traffic to your website. Make sure you update your website regularly to attain high search rankings and generate online sales.

9. Market yourself

There is so much competition out there that in order to survive you must market yourself continuously. Thanks to technology, there are many easy ways to market your business to potential customers. Traditional media is expensive, but cheaper alternatives like email marketing, Facebook advertising, Youtube videos and SEO marketing can be conducted by very small businesses.

10. Plan continuously

Running a startup means you will face new challenges every day. Be prepared to face these exciting challenges since these will help you to identify new opportunities for expanding your business. You will need to modify plans all the time as your business encounters new realities of doing business. At the same time, be watchful for threats from competitors as well as loopholes within your own processes and systems.

The year cloud hosting goes mainstream – 2018 – Information Age

cloud hosting

‘Large companies will allocate 34% of their IT budgets to hosting and cloud services in 2017 — up from 28% this year’

Conventional Hosting is Broken

Pragmatists will say we don’t need cloud hosting, quoting the adage, ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,’ but this doesn’t apply because traditional hosting models have always had problems.

Shared Hosting

With shared hosting, you get what you pay for. If your monthly payments are the typical $3 per month, you get a server that has hundreds of websites on it and a share of processing power that can just about cope with three simultaneous users on your site. Shared hosting is cheap, but that is its sole advantage.

As soon as your site starts to impact negatively on other shared hosting accounts on the same server, your web host will ask you to ‘upgrade’ to a VPS account.

VPS Hosting

Hosting on a virtual private server (VPS) is a compromise. It is cheaper than a dedicated server but gives your site a guaranteed share of CPU and other server resources.

In VPS hosting a physical server is divided using software into a number of virtual private servers. If aanyoneof the websites on the physical server crashes or is hacked, it can affect every VPS on that server.

Dedicated Server Hosting

With a dedicated server, you are your own boss, but it comes at a high price. You can also install whatever software you choose on your dedicated hosting server and have the complete server to yourself, and your sites will not be affected by high traffic levels on others’ sites.

Cloud Hosting vs. Conventional hosting

All conventional hosting has three significant disadvantages:

  • It doesn’t scale. Even with a dedicated server, when you reach the limits of what your machine is capable of, you need to upgrade to a higher spec, which will cost more
  • You are tied into a 12-36 month contract
  • Powerful servers are expensive

How is cloud hosting better in these crucial areas?

Scaling – If you need more processing power for a month, just order more RAM or SSD capacity to cope, and then scale things back. With cloud server hosting making it as simple as moving a slider or two, as shown below.

cloud server

12-Month Contract – You pay for cloud hosting one month at a time. It couldn’t get any more flexible than that. If your user base grows, just add more server capacity; if you have a big promotion running, just upgrade your server until the demand eases off again.

High Cost – Your cloud hosting account resources are ordered one month at a time, so you don’t pay for a high-spec server to only use for three months of the year.

Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider

Check the reviews as your first step in selecting a host. Just as with conventional hosting, reviews from customers are the best way to measure a hosting company’s service.

Forget the biased reviews from affiliates, who rarely declare openly that they will earn a commission if you buy hosting through their link. Instead look for customer satisfaction surveys with large numbers of respondents.

A good company will have a high percentage of repeat customers and impressive scores for customer service.

Decide in advance the features you require. If you don’t need geo-located servers, save money by skipping them. Up-time of 99.9% will be all most businesses need. There are other, cheaper ways of getting fall-over protection than looking for hosting that offers 100% up-time.

Look for extras like short-term discounts, website migration, and free SSL certificates but it is more critical to check actual downtime levels and the length of each outage to get a realistic idea of the package on offer.

The Short Version

With cloud hosting you have the flexibility of a dedicated server for the cost of a VPS hosting account. There is more to manage than with shared hosting, but a good hosting service will provide web guides to help.

Cloud hosting, like other cloud applications, is becoming more widely understood, paving the way for its takeover in the next 12 months.

Minister targeted as ‘dark web host’ fights extradition – The Times

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Eric Eoin Marques is wanted by American authorities to face charges relating to advertising and distributing child sexual abuse imagesPADDY CUMMINS/PCPHOTO

The justice minister should have established why an Irishman described by the FBI as the “largest facilitator of child pornography” was not being prosecuted in Ireland, the High Court has heard.

Eric Eoin Marques, alleged to be the owner and administrator of a site on the dark web known as Freedom Hosting, is wanted by American authorities to face charges relating to advertising and distributing child sexual abuse images.

The charges relate to images on more than a hundred anonymous websites depicting the rape and torture of children. Mr Marques, who has no criminal record, is alleged to have made more than €1 million from the business.

The suspect, 31, who has dual Irish and US citizenship, has been in custody since his arrest in…

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Minister targeted as ‘dark web host’ fights extradition – The Times

Read the full article

Just register a few details.

Eric Eoin Marques is wanted by American authorities to face charges relating to advertising and distributing child sexual abuse imagesPADDY CUMMINS/PCPHOTO

The justice minister should have established why an Irishman described by the FBI as the “largest facilitator of child pornography” was not being prosecuted in Ireland, the High Court has heard.

Eric Eoin Marques, alleged to be the owner and administrator of a site on the dark web known as Freedom Hosting, is wanted by American authorities to face charges relating to advertising and distributing child sexual abuse images.

The charges relate to images on more than a hundred anonymous websites depicting the rape and torture of children. Mr Marques, who has no criminal record, is alleged to have made more than €1 million from the business.

The suspect, 31, who has dual Irish and US citizenship, has been in custody since his arrest in…

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Moving your dental practice? Here’s a guide to cover all your bases – Dentistry IQ

Are you planning to move your dental practice? There are many steps involved, many of which you may not even be aware of. Here is helpful list of things to take care of when you move your practice, from social media, your website, and much, much more.

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ARE YOU GETTING READY TO MOVE YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE TO A NEW LOCATION? What do you need to change on your website? What do you need to prepare for your online ad campaigns? There’s a lot involved in making the move go smoothly and successfully, and much of it you may not even be aware of.

How to prepare your website

WEB HOST AND DOMAIN REGISTRAR—You need to notify your website hosting company and the company you registered the domain through. Then update your account to reflect your new billing address. Otherwise, when it comes time to automatically renew your account or website, the charge will fail.                

Hopefully you’ll receive an email warning you of the error. In most cases, however, your site will be taken offline until you update your account. Of course, during that downtime patients won’t be able to access your website. Any money you spend to send visitors to your site during that time (Facebook ads or Google AdWords, for example) will be wasted.

In the worst-case scenario, an unscrupulous company may be able to buy your website’s domain name out from under you.

moving a dental practice

[Native Advertisement]

SCOUR YOUR WEBSITE—Now let’s look at your website. The first things you need to update are your website’s footer and contact page. Next, review the rest of the website’s text to look for mentions of your old address. These may crop up on service pages or in blog posts, for example. Keep a sharp eye out for driving directions and mentions of local landmarks that need to be updated.

moving a dental practice

META DESCRIPTIONS—You do have meta descriptions for all of your site pages, right? Double check these and make sure they do not reference your old address or neighborhood.

SITE GRAPHICS—Finally, review your site’s graphical elements, especially embedded Google maps showing your old address, exterior and interior pictures of your old practice location, and any images that contain text showing an out-of-date address

Update your online profiles and accounts

moving a dental practice

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND SOCIAL MEDIA—Don’t waste the opportunity to turn your social media profiles into lead-generating machines. For someone looking to visit or contact your practice, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding out-of-date information, especially on a social media profile. Make sure your social media profiles, including Facebook & Twitter, include your new address, hours, and contact information.

e-NEWSLETTER—Do you send out a regular e-newsletter to your clients? In the US, the CAN-SPAM Act requires that all e-newsletters and other commercial emails include an accurate physical address. Make sure you update your MailChimp or Constant Contact account.

GOOGLE MAPS AND GOOGLE MY BUSINESS—When your practice moves, make sure Google knows about it. You’ll want the right information to show up on Google maps when patients search for your practice or are looking for a new dentist. This process involves taking and uploading a new photo of the outside of your new office, and requesting a new Google My Business mailer to verify your new address. This might take three to five business days.

GOOGLE ADWORDS—Are you using Google AdWords? In addition to updating your billing information to keep your ads running, don’t forget to update your location targeting, too. Don’t keep spending money on advertisements that send patients where your practice used to be.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND NETWORKS—Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau, a local chamber of commerce, or a professional or trade organization? Contact all of these agencies to update your practice’s address.

Don’t let your SEO efforts go to waste

When planning your move, don’t overlook the effect it may have on your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

UPDATE YOUR DIRECTORY LISTINGS—Many dentists rely on Yelp and other directory websites to reach new patients and improve search rankings. Make sure all of these sites have your correct address and contact information on file.

UPDATE LINKS AROUND THE WEB—Effective SEO efforts include building links to trustworthy sites around the web. If you’ve invested time and money in creating these valuable links, don’t let them go to waste when your practice moves. If any sites mention your old address, contact them with your new address.

FIND NEW LINK OPPORTUNITIES IN YOUR NEW LOCATION—Your move as an opportunity to find new quality links and local directories. Neighborhood associations, local business directories, and city guides are all great places to list your practice. Ask other businesses in your new neighborhood if they know of any local websites that you might have missed.

Other marketing materials

PRINT ADS, BROCHURES, AND OFFLINE MARKETING MATERIALS—Review and update all of your print ads, brochures, and other offline marketing materials. If you run print ads, make sure you know how much lead time each publisher requires to make changes. If you leave brochures or fliers at other local businesses, make sure to collect any that contain out of date information.

BUSINESS CARDS AND EMAIL SIGNATURES—Finally, make sure to print new business cards for you and your team. Don’t forget about your email signature if it contains your practice’s address.

Moving your practice can be stressful, but with a little bit of planning you won’t lose a step when it comes to your digital marketing presence.


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Dan DelMain founded DelMain Analytics, a full-service digital marketing agency, in 2008. Located in Portland, Oregon, he and his team help dentists, lawyers, and other business owners attract an online audience, drive website traffic, and convert visitors into sales. Email him at dan@delmainanalytics.com.