Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a federal data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.

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About Will Chatham

Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a federal data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.

Getting Technophobes Into Tech: How It Can Enhance Your Life

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that technology is a good thing. If there’s someone in your life who thinks that the world’s moving a bit too fast for their liking and who won’t stop complaining about it, here are a few things to point out…

Health

There’s very little that’s helping the world more than the huge advances in medicine that technology is enabling scientists to make. Aside from crucial breakthroughs in drugs that treat diseases ranging from cancer to HIV, technology is also helping the daily runnings of the medical services, from the ways that doctors can check for patients’ vital signs to the ways that doctors’ surgeries are being run. Being able to make an appointment and order your prescriptions online can be a serious help for anyone who might find it hard to use phones and who need to access medicine and healthcare. There are also huge strides being made in the way that people can be treated for conditions like brain injuries and strokes – new treatments and therapies are being developed all the time that make huge differences to people’s lives. Finally, surgeries are being done by machines more and moreso these days – keyhole surgeries can help to dramatically cut down the amount of time that people need to recover from having surgery and can also cut down on human errors that are made.

Transport

Pretty much every major city’s transport hub relies on technology, whether that’s passing messages from station to station about track closures on metros and undergrounds, putting out announcements about lost children over loudspeakers, or much more futuristic ideas that are being developed with high speed railways and self-driving cars. Not only does technology used in the world of travel make it a whole lot more convenient for people in their everyday lives with it comes to high speed travel and commuting, but self driving cars are also extremely safe and will mean that car crashes because of driver error will be at an absolute minimum – the future looks bright and a whole lot more safe.

Careers

The future of industry is a lot more exciting because of the progress that’s being made in the world of technology. This generation have jobs that their parents could never have dreamed would exist – and they’re forging excellent and important careers out of them as well. Knowing how to code is one of the best things that any young person can learn, so it’s important that their parents, even if they don’t totally understand the tech industry, supports the young people in their family to learn about and to understand computers and tech. It’s much easier to start a business than it ever has been before, thanks to the internet – you can work remotely easily which means that you can work flexibly. This is great not only for young people but also for those with families – and for people trying to break into their chosen industries who aren’t able to afford to live near a big city. Being able to work with just a laptop and a steady internet connection means that the world of work is starting to open up and become a lot more accessible.

Education

Advances in technology are enabling teachers to deliver lessons that are interesting and fun, which in turn motivates students and encourages them to learn. Devices like interactive whiteboards mean that you can show movies in class, which is extremely helpful in subjects like English and History, and they also mean that students can come up and interact with what a teacher has drawn on the board – although this could also happen with chalk boards and white boards, interactive whiteboards mean that large shapes can be moved around and students are much more interested in what’s happening. Technology can also enable schools to run more smoothly – registration systems that run throughout an entire school mean that teachers can see whether their students should be in their classes or not, meaning that if there’s an emergency it’s easier to account for all the students.

Entertainment

The world of entertainment has been dramatically changed by the advent of technology. Youtubers and vloggers have become some of the most popular and famous people around – they’re the ones who are influencing young people as well as actors and pop stars. One of the best thing about vloggers is that they’re able to create their own platforms, meaning that really great content can get its voice heard when it otherwise might not be able to. It can be very difficult for people to break into the mainstream media these days, but YouTube as a platform is getting bigger and bigger – a lot of people watch less TV and fewer movies, choosing to watch content that has been created by people online instead. This means that brands are starting to think about completely new and exciting ways of advertising. Other forms of entertainment have also been revolutionised with transformative tech – we have better speakers, we have better screens, and it’s also possible to immerse ourselves in the virtual reality systems that everyone will be using to game in the future.

Fundraising

When something terrible happens, the world goes into mourning, and technology can help us connect to people on social media sites who feel the same way that we do – who are mourning for Bowie, who are afraid for loved ones after terrorist attacks, who want to get more and more involved in politics as so many people are doing these days. Not only can technology provide emotional support for us but it can also be a valuable source of information – a lot of the time, traditional news sources are behind Twitter and social media with what they’re saying. Finally, social media makes it easier for us to donate for charity with sites like JustGiving – it’s a lot easier to put money towards a disaster relief fund with your credit card online than it was in the old days when you had to send money off to charity instead.

How To Keep Your Kids away From Drugs

Most parents can feel rather fearful of facing the dreaded teenage stage. As this stage is saddled with hormonal behaviour, erratic mood swings and a real tendency for rebellion there really is no wonder this stage of bringing up children is often riddled with anxiety. Your children getting mixed up with drugs and alcohol is obviously one of the biggest worries about this stage of adolescence so if you are heading towards this chapter with your children then read on for our essential tips on how to keep your kids away from the temptation of dangerous experimentation.

Be There

Just making yourself available, at what can be an extremely difficult and confusing time in a child’s life, is absolutely the most important thing that you can do. This transitionary period that teenage children are going through can be an isolating time for kids, with all the changing hormones so it is really important that as parents you are making yourselves a safe and consistent support network.

Teenagers usually react much better to advise and are much more open to parental guidance, when they look for it themselves. Teenagers can be overwhelmed by being constantly bombarded with advice, guidelines and restrictions, endless rules and of course, as they see it, continual nagging.

Therefore many parents, dealing with teenagers have found that a calmer approach to teenage behaviour can be rewarded by teenagers being more open and honest as a result. Because parents are acting calmers, teenagers feel safer to confide in them so make sure you give them their time to discuss the issues that are on their mind.

Giving your teenage children time and space to learn from their own mistakes will allow them to feel that they are making their own rules and establishing their own routines (within reason). This will then let them feel that they are entering into an adult relationship with you, which works to motivate and encourage them to act more responsibly and maturely.

Alcohol & Drugs

We all need to face facts that most teenagers are going to experiment with alcohol at some point in their adolescent. Therefore it is less about complete prevention and more about educating them. Teaching your children how to approach alcohol in a responsible way can help to prevent problems, dangerous situations and even, the worst case scenario the need for a quality team of defense lawyers if your child ever ends up in a drink or drug related situation or accident..

A tried and tested way to try and prevent children from going down the wrong avenue when it comes to drugs and alchohol is to encourage them to spend their time doing other things. Children will always want to do the things that they are told they can’t do, so instead of telling them what they can’t do, distract them with other more interesting things they can do to stay active and interested in other hobbies and interests. Be active with your kids and offer ideas of fantastic things they can do with their friends and even offer to be their taxi service to make it even easier for them to stay on track and enjoy the right things.

Best Gifts To Get Your Gamer Son or Daughter Outside This Summer

Video games are constantly increasing in complexity and beauty, and for that reason many young players stay chained to their desktops or game consoles, sacrificing fun memories being made outside. This isn’t to say video games are a waste of time. They’re increasingly serving up memorable experiences dripping with narrative complexity, and have been proven to increase critical thinking skills and reaction times.

However, with such a beautiful summer upon us, it can feel like a shame if your son or daughter doesn’t spend as much time outside with their friends, crafting new memories and friends as you once did, before silicon chips were such a ubiquitous invention.

However, for the tech-savvy child brought up on video games, providing them with a birthday or special gift that will encourage them to go outside is difficult. Here are a few significant gifts that are likely to forget they ever owned a video games console. At least for the time being.

Drones

Purchasing a drone for your child is an excellent choice. With a wide array of applications and sporting genuinely fun user interactions, drones could be just the ticket to get a child outside who loves technology. Flying the drone around is a game in itself, and can be fitted with a camera to create some amazing panoramic or bird’s eye shots. There are many drones out there, so choosing one of the best drones under 300 dollars requires you do plenty of research before buying.

Who knows? This time next year your child could be joining one of the blossoming drone racing championships. Yes, they do exist!

Camera

If a drone camera seems like a little out there, why not try purchasing your child a regular camera, or relatively cheap SLR? You can find these well-maintained and used from some online retailers or auction houses like eBay. This camera will allow your child to fall in love with the discipline of photography because any time spent outside is further time spent inside correcting and uploading the photos too.

These disciplines have many similarities to video games, as does any discipline. You’re imprinting your stamp upon the world and navigating it in a way you see fit. Refining the photograph is a perfectionist hobby, but it’s also open to a wide range of experimentation. This is something that the best video games share. Frame the hobby in these terms, and your gamer child is sure to shuffle outside their bedroom and rediscover their love for the outside world.

E-Reader

Would you like to develop a love of reading in your child? Want to see them hang out in the garden more? Consider purchasing them an e-reader. If they like fantasy video games, filling the reader with fantasy fiction novels can help them make that initial step to lounging outside on a deck chair, and getting excited over a plethora of amazing stories to consume.

Notice how these gifts are all focused on technology? This is because variant technology is an excellent way to stimulate those who have developed an affinity for online or digital fun. Being smart here will pay significant dividends. When your child has a remarkable tan at the end of this summer, you’ll be happy you made an effort.

IOT And Other Techy Terms You Need To Know

Working as a business owner, it can be difficult to stay on top of technology. But you need to because technology these days is always at the heart of the company. You might hire people to set up and monitor the tech that you use in your business. But you’ll still need to understand what’s going on when they talk to you about it. So, let’s look at some of the tech terms that it would be useful to know when you’re operating a business. We can start by thinking about the user interface.

User, What Now?

Interface, it sounds like a line from Tron doesn’t it? But it’s not all that complicated. You see there are two parts of any piece of tech. There’s the user side which is like the stage, and then there’s the operating system which is more like behind the curtain. The user interface refers to everything that happens on stage that users can see and that they interact with. So for instance, a user might click on your website and be able to click on a buy button. Now, we know that underneath that buy button there’s lots of little systems and processes working. But, the user only sees the button and any animation that occurs after they press it.

The user interface is important because it’s going to shape customer buying habits and whether or not they will buy multiple times or even once. It’s really just a question of whether the user interface is both attractive and easy to use. Or in some cases, the user interface is changed to make it more, for a lack of a better word addictive. There are even companies that specialise in this type of design.

IOT Or DOA?

If you don’t understand the Iot you could be DOA on the market, particularly as an online company. Iot stands for internet of things. What’s particularly confusing about this term is that it’s particularly broad and abstract. It’s difficult to know exactly what it means so let’s break it down. Internet of things refers to the connectivity of different networks and servers on the internet. For instance, whenever you use a social network such as Facebook, you’ll be interacting with an interface which is part of the Iot. As part of that Iot, there will be a number of alarms and notifications that can be sent as messages to different parts of the network, ensuring that it runs smoothly. To keep everything connected and stay on top you need a response software such as Skyresponse running in the background as part of your Iot. Yes, it sounds confusing, but as a business owner, you just need to know that the Iot is a term referring to your computer network.

CRO And SEO

Lastly, you need to understand both CRO and SEO. Each are important at a certain point in the marketing funnel. SEO alters your site to ensure that it connects well with the search engines and cro means that you alter the site to ensure the best conversion rate. Both, if understood can lead to a high volume of traffic and a lot of customer purchases. That’s exactly what you need if your business is going to be a success.

As you can see then, certain tech terms are important and by having even the basic understanding of them, you won’t just be nodding your head oblivious to what you’re being told when talking to a tech pro.

Speaking at Drupal Camp Asheville

I will be doing a talk on Drupal and Security at this year’s Drupal Camp Asheville. I will cover some security best practices for Drupal developers, how to avoid certain Drupal-specific security gotchas, some lessons learned in keeping Drupal sites secure, and some handy tidbits you can use to prevent the bad people from ruining things.

The times for the various speaker sessions haven’t been announced yet, but stay tuned. I hope to see you all there!

#dcavl

A jQuery 1.x vulnerability exists and no fix is planned

I haven’t seen much talk about this issue around the Internet, so I thought I’d present what I’ve learned for others to be aware of. It mainly has to do with the fact that jQuery 1.x (and 2.x, for that matter) were replaced by 3.x, yet they are still thriving in many, many projects, applications, and websites to this day.

While doing a security review of some code the other day, a retirejs scan informed me that jQuery 1.x contained a Medium vulnerability regarding cross-domain requests in ajax. According to Snyk:

“Affected versions of the package are vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attacks when a cross-domain ajax request is performed without the dataType option causing text/javascript responses to be executed.

Remediation: Upgrade jquery to version 3.0.0 or higher.”

“Upgrading to 3.0.0 or higher seems pretty drastic,” I thought to myself. Well, according to a comment I found on jQuery’s GitHub page, this is actually their stance, and they don’t plan on patching 1.x because it is a ‘breaking change’:

https://github.com/jquery/jquery/issues/2432#issuecomment-290983196

So it would behoove you to upgrade to jQuery 3 if you don’t want to be susceptible to this vulnerability. The magnitude of that may seem rather staggering if you consider all the projects across just about everything (WordPress plugins, Drupal modules, etc etc) that bundle the 1.x version of jQuery, and haven’t updated it in years.

While the vulnerability may not be relevant if you are not making cross-domain ajax calls, this is but one risk that has come to light for which there will be no fix. And it’s not exactly reasonable to assume that developers know they need to avoid that if they intend to use jQuery 1.x.

The longer jQuery 1.x sits in your project, the higher a risk it becomes.

As the impending OWASP Top-10 for 2017 says, “Applications and APIs using components with known
vulnerabilities may undermine application defenses and enable various attacks and impacts.”

Long story short: Keep your bundled libraries up to date!