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Is Your Company Vulnerable to DNS Attack?

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Here at Bure Valley Group, we are working more and more with exciting new tech startups including cybersecurity firms. It has brought an important subject to our attention: DNS attacks.

In this article, we’re going to briefly explain what DNS is, and how holes in your DNS security can leave your business and other web assets vulnerable to malicious online threats.

What is DNS?

DNS is one of the foundational architectural pieces of the internet. It is like a phonebook, which your smartphone or desktop computer uses to find websites you search for.

The name of this phonebook is called “DNS”, or domain name system. You use DNS to search for websites using their names, such as bbc.co.uk. Your web browser, however, will find the website by looking past this website name and finding its internet protocol (IP) address.

How hackers attack the DNS architecture

Clearly, DNS is one of the most important pillars of the internet. It is therefore quite alarming that lots of businesses – small and large, old and new – neglect to solidify their defences against DDoS attacks.

DDoS stands for “distributed denial of service”, and it’s a type of attack used by hackers to shut down your website. They do this by overloading your systems, pinging your IP address continuously in order to overwhelm it and shut it down.

Signs of DDoS on your website

Of course, if your website suddenly shuts down it could be due to any number of reasons. Perhaps someone has inadvertently turned something off in your hosting settings, for instance. However, if your company website is down and you are receiving “denial of service” messages, then that could be a sign of a DDoS attack.

To be more certain that you have been attacked, watch your network and website traffic. If you see your website go from a steady stream of traffic and completely functional, to a sudden spike in traffic and shut down, then that’s almost certainly a sign of DDoS.

DDoS Tactics

Although DNS attacks all essentially use the same objective – overloading your company website to make it crash – there are a number of strategies they use to achieve this.

One way they do this is to compromise your DNS servers, by changing the information in your nameservers. This happens when someone manages to break into your hosting provider account, perhaps by exploiting a weakness in the system.

Another approach used by hackers is use of a botnet, which they rent by the hour to launch an overload attack. Finally, cache poisoning is another common approach. Here, the hacker puts incorrect information into your server’s cache. This means that information requests from your server (i.e. people using a browser to access your company website) will receive the false information instead of the correct data you want to deliver to them.

How to prevent DDoS attacks

Obviously, a DNS attack is not something you want to happen to your company website. So what are some of the preemptive steps to can take to reduce the threat?

#1 Focus on your resolver

You should consider restricting access to your resolver only to specific people within the organisation. This helps prevent the cache from being accessed and poisoned by malicious users outside of your company. Make sure your resolver is both protected and private.

#2 Configuration

If you configure your DNS software to make your outgoing requests variable, then it makes it much hard for hackers to penetrate your systems with a false response. Speak to your IT provider about whether/how to do this.

#3 Watch Your Nameservers

Your nameservers are vitally important, as they point your domain name towards your hosting space. Any unhelpful or malicious tinkering here can easily pull the rug out from underneath the feet of your website. So, make it a habit to set up notifications concerning any changes to them.

#4 Clear the Cache

Every now and then, it is a good idea to clear the cache on both local and wide area networks. Think of it like defragging your hard drive on your personal desktop computer. It benefits your systems to do it periodically.

#5 Different Servers

Beyond using an up-to-date firewall, another good idea is to consider hosting your web assets on different servers. In the event that you experience a DDoS attack, the other server(s) can take over whilst the attack is warded off.

What to do in the event of DDoS

If you believe your website experiencing a DDoS attack, then you need to call your IT security team immediately. Speaking with your internet service provider (ISP) can help you identify any potential attacks, and implement an appropriate defensive strategy to fight off the DDoS attack.

Do not try and resolve the problem yourself. It is always a good idea to work alongside an experienced, qualified IT professional to identify the issue quickly and act fast in response.

Waste To Energy – A booming Industry of Technologies!

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Waste to energy is the process of producing thermal energy from the rubbish we throw out. Most wastes to energy processes produce electricity or heat energy directly through combustion.

Ever since the industrial revolution, waste has been a huge environmental issue worldwide. It includes any materials that we decide we no longer need and throw out in the trash.  Electrical waste alone, consisting of old computer equipment, TV’s, stereos and kitchen appliances equates to almost 50 million tonnes a year. It doesn’t end there, in the UK alone, according to recent statistics we throw out 7.2 million tonnes of food, almost 500 million plastic bags, 83 square kilometers of wrapping paper and each baby gets through enough disposable nappies to weigh the same as a family car – to name just a few.

We generated 202.8 million tonnes of waste in the United Kingdom in 2017, but we can turn that trash into treasure by transforming it into energy.

So, what types of waste can be transformed into energy? Obviously both liquid and solid materials can be used, but some can be hazardous. Water used to clean industries as well as wash water, grease trap cleaning, sewage, triple interceptor (at a service or gas station) and many more are some examples of liquid waste. On the other hand, solid waste is any rubbish we make at our homes, offices or anyplace where we throw away into ´the bin. Examples of this can be cardboard and packaging, used tyres, general garbage, scrap metal, food and plastics.

Hazardous wastes are discarded materials with properties that make them potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can include things such as chemicals, heavy metals, or substances generated as by-products during commercial manufacturing processes, as well as discarded household products like paint thinners, cleaning fluids, and old batteries.

Turning Waste into Energy – Methods!

The rubbish we are producing every day can be turned into something good. Such as electricity, heat or fuel. The solids can be converted into gas to produce energy.

Incineration is the most common technology for WTE. After collection the waste is blasted in the incinerator at a high temperature, this is called thermal treatment. The heat generated will then be used to create energy.

 

Depolymerization also a common process but a little more technical – the human body uses depolymerization when digesting food. For example, processing protein. However, in this case it is referred to as TDP (Thermal Depolymerization) which uses super-heated water to produce fuels. The process of thermal decomposition is also called Hydrous Pyrolysis, using high heat and pressure on waste products such as biomass and plastic, to create light crude oil, which is then used to create energy.

Pyrolysis

This process is widely used in the industrial process to create energy from waste. This is like Hydrous Pyrolysis. Unlike Hydrous Pyrolysis, Pyrolysis process uses organic or agricultural waste from industries.

Gasification

This a developing process to create energy from waste. In this process, carbonaceous substances are converted into carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and a small amount of hydrogen at a high temperature in the presence of oxygen. In this process, Synthesis gas is generated which is a good means of alternate energy. Synthesis gas is then used to produce electricity and heat.

Plasma arc gasification

In this process, a plasma torch is used to ionize gas which is generated from compressing the waste. Syn-gas  or Synthesis gas then used to produce electricity.

 

The methods of turning waste into energy is an emerging and innovative development of technologies aimed to create a better and sustainable environment. Waste to energy technology is developing day by day and we can save our ecosystem by adopting this technology. It can also solve the energy problem of the world.

Though the scale of energy generation using waste to energy method is still small right now, it can be a great energy solution in the near future.

 

Lowering Emissions in the UK! Fact or Fiction?

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As of this morning, the MP´s in the United Kingdom are moving towards a ban on Diesel and Petrol cars by 2032. “Phasing-out diesel and petrol cars will benefit the climate, help solve the air pollution crisis and improve quality of life for everyone” Read more about that here.

In order to effectively address global warming, we must significantly reduce the amount of emissions we are putting into the atmosphere.

The good news is that we have the technology and practical solutions at hand to accomplish it.

As individuals, we can help by taking action to reduce our personal carbon emissions. But to fully address the threat of global warming, we must demand action from our elected leaders to support and implement a comprehensive set of climate solutions:

 

So what are our leaders and leaders globally doing about this, and what Solutions out there are “actually working”? below we take a closer look at ways to reduce emissions.

#Electric Vehicles

We keep hearing lots of renewed chatter about how electric cars are about to take off in popularity. But for us, the fundamental question remains unanswered: do they really produce fewer emissions when you take into account that they run on electricity produced, in large part, through the burning of fossil fuels?

There is certainly a general assumption that electric cars are “cleaner” than petrol/diesel/hybrid cars, but is this assumption correct? And how is it that electric cars cannot claim to be “emissions free” if they are powered from an energy grid supplied by nuclear power stations burning coal or gas?

Tailpipe emissions for electric cars can be classified legitimately as zero – which is certainly beneficial for an urban environment where local air pollution is a huge problem – but is this pollution simply being displaced meaning that it still ends up in the atmosphere but via the route of a power station’s stack as opposed to the exhaust?

How green are electric cars?

Imagine if we could find a solution to lower emissions on diesel engines without having to go electric??

#Renewable Energy

The renewable power sector is dynamic and always changing rapidly – with falling costs, installations, increasing investment, and several new, innovative business models. But these positive developments tell only part of the story. The global energy transition is only fully underway for the power sector; for other sectors it has barely begun.

Here are 5 interesting facts about renewable energy that will get you thinking.

 

  • Just 1 wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power 1,400 homes.

 

  • Incredibly, as of 2017, China builds 2 wind turbines every hour!

 

  • Renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, now generate almost a third of the UK’s electricity.

 

  • Fossil fuels still get 4 times the subsidy of renewables from G20 nations.

 

  • Renewable Energy creates 5 times more jobs than fossil fuels.

 

The power sector on its own will not deliver the emissions reductions demanded by the Paris climate agreement or the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7). The heating and cooling and transport sectors, which together account for about 80% of global total final energy demand, are lagging behind.
Read more at http://www.ren21.net/status-of-renewables/global-status-report/

#Advances in Diesel Technology

Ocean Shipping

The global shipping industry is bracing for a key regulatory decision that could mark a milestone in reducing maritime pollution but could nearly double fuel costs in a sector already reeling from its worst downturn in decades.

Did you know? Just one of the world’s largest container ships can emit about as much pollution as 50 million cars. Further, the 15 largest ships in the world emit as much nitrogen oxide and sulphur oxide as the world’s 760 million cars.

To combat such pollution, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee will meet in London from Oct. 24th to 28th to decide whether to impose a global cap on SOx emissions from 2020 or 2025 onward, which would see sulphur emissions fall from the current maximum of 3.5% of fuel content to just 0.5%.

Rail

Transport, Energy and Climate policies can play a very significant role in strengthening Europe´s economic security, its competitiveness and its ability to pursue a robust external policy.

We need to move away from imported Fossil Fuels and towards a low-carbon economy whilst also reducing high efficiency standards.

A resilient transport/energy system is crucial to achieving this goal.

Rail, as a low-oil and low-carbon transport mode, can make a vital contribution as the backbone of a sustainable transport system for Europe.

For more information about technologies that are disrupting this sector, please contact us at [email protected]

What is being done to fix the huge problem with global Cyber-crime??

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Given the threat from cyber-crime is increasing, businesses can’t afford to be reactive anymore. To succeed in security, they must look towards improving their cyber security systems, as there is too much at stake. It is not enough to just fork out millions on insurance and security, we need to find a way to prevent an attack from happening in the first place.

Bure Valley Group have been working with several exciting possibilities and ONE is really starting to stand out! More to come on this in due course…

Potential threats are no longer a concern for the IT department alone. “Cyber-crime is now more profitable than the drug trade”

Here are a few interesting statistics,

  • An eye-watering 3.5 million new, cyber security jobs are being created by cyber-criminals worldwide, by 2021. Compare that with one million openings in 2016. That’s an increase of 350 percent in just five years.
  • Just looking at 2017, business have forked out a staggering $86.4 billion in protection efforts alone.
  • Cybercrime will create over $1.5 trillion in profits in 2018
  • Global cybercrime damages predicted to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021
  • The average business increased its spend on IT security this year by 14%

Read More

Looking to Raise Business Funding? Read These 6 Essential Tips

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns or unrealized returns may not reflect actual returns or future performance. All securities involve risk and may result in loss, and startup investing is particularly risky and may result in total loss.

Startups do not need to already have brought in revenue in order to approach investors (although that can be a big help). The key thing is being able to demonstrate to them how you will monetise your company.

Moreover, you need to show how this will be sustainable and scalable, where your business is generating a healthy profit down the line. The message investors want to be convinced by is that your company will grow, and that they will benefit by investing in this growth.

 

#1 Know Your Capital Requirements

Before you approach a potential investor, you need to have a strong grasp of how much funding you require from them – as well as what you will do with it.

This, of course, requires that you do some forecasting. Something that is very difficult to do, and which investors are typically skeptical of. However, despite the unreliability of startup forecasts, investors will want to explore your thinking behind your own forecast.

Just be very careful to explore and ground your assumptions underlying your forecast.

For instance, are you assuming that the price of a key component of your product will remain constant? Given past trends and likely future developments in the market, is that thinking valid? What kind of stress test can your business model endure if the component price goes up?

If your business is currently pre-revenue, make sure you are able to outline a credible estimated time to revenue (i.e. how long it will be before you expect to start making money). Also be sure to project how much of your revenue is expected to be classed as “recurring”.

 

#2 Do Some Networking

Make sure you speak with investors where possible, prior to asking them for money.

Build relationships and have conversations with potential investors. This will help you hone your revenue model, strengthen your value proposition and solidify your startup against potential weaknesses and pitfalls which could undermine or even sink it.

 

#3 Do Some Economics Homework

When you present your funding pitch, will need to show investors how your business will make money, and how it will scale. As a startup business owner, you will must also be confident demonstrating your knowledge of unit economics to prospective investors.

For instance, what if your anticipated cost per acquisition (CPA), and customer lifetime value (LTV)? Do you expect the CPA and LTV to change as you grow?

Most of us will have squirmed watching a program like Dragons Den, where sometimes the business owners pitching do not understand these kinds of terms when asked about them by investors. Don’t let that happen to you.

Cover every angle of your business, and prepare as many angles as possible. Try and put yourself into the mind of an investor. What sorts of questions would you want answering prior to investing in your company?

 

#4 Write Down Some Expected Investor Questions

Following on from this point, it is usually a good idea to actually record the questions you expect prospective investors to ask you. For instance:

  • What is your current / expected cash burn?
  • If I/we granted the funding you’re asking for, how long would this stretch out to?
  • How much involvement, commitment or support do you expect from me/us as investors?
  • Which milestones do you expect to meet with the investment I/we give you?
  • What level of ownership in your company are you prepared to part with?

 

#5 Survey the Landscape

Your prospective investors will want to know that you have firm grasp of your market, and the competition your company and product face.

Make sure you make a comprehensive list of your competitors, and ensure you have a thorough grasp of each of them. At a minimum, do a SWOT analysis for each one.

You will also need an in-depth grasp of your market and sector. Which segment are you operating in, exactly? Which demographics are you going to be selling to, and why would they want your product over alternatives in the market?

 

#6 Prepare Your Pitch

This is the part of fundraising that lots of startup business owners tend to focus on. It’s unsurprising, as public speaking or presenting is one of the scariest things for most people.

Be brave. One of the biggest parts in overcoming your fear is to prepare. If you know what you’re going to say, and have anticipated investors’ questions properly, it’s safe to say that you’re over halfway there with delivering a successful pitch.

Try not to plan to be funny. Just be yourself and lay out what the investors will want to hear.

For instance, if you can demonstrate growth and traction already in your startup, make sure you mention that. Expound on your vision for the next 6-12 months, and outline your goals and milestones within that time-frame.

Make sure the bulk of your time talking about the product – the problems it solves for customers, and the pain points it addresses. After your product, your focus should be on your revenue model – how you will make money, and how long it will take for that to happen.

Going to the Five W’s isn’t a bad idea at all for your pitch:

  • What is your product, and how is it different? What does it cost?
  • Why is your product needed, and why at this moment?
  • Who is your team, and who is the product for?
  • How will you bring your product to market and grow the business? (How).

If it helps, consider taking a course on public speaking to brush up your presenting skills. Do some practice runs of your pitch with friendly investors who will give you honest feedback.