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Corporate Network Viruses & Disaster Recovery Implementation

In Uncategorized on July 17, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Corporate Network Viruses & Disaster Recovery Implementation

When dealing with viruses or any variety of malware in a live business environment, proactivity is the key for success. However, infections are almost inevitable, and even a minor instance of corporate network infection can be devastating. Organizations that rely on 24/7 availability of their IT resources need a documented Disaster Recovery (DR) plan that coordinates their resources to fight infections and restore services with minimal downtime, while simultaneously ensuring data integrity.

An overall plan requires non-technical upper management and internal communications departments to relay information at the appropriate times to employees, business partners, customers, and the public. This article focuses on the standards that let you know when the infecting virus or Trojan is neutralized, and systems can be restored to production safely.

Immediate Response

As some point in the course of operating a network on the Internet, your organization’s infrastructure very likely will become infected. As soon as an infection is identified, the incident-response team must swing into action, quarantining affected systems or files, and then remediating any problems caused by the infection.


The IT department may learn of the infection through an alert from a security monitoring tool, such as a desktop firewall or antivirus software and active users on the network. The software will indicate that it has encountered a file, email message, connection, connection attempt, or other activity that is suspicious and bears closer scrutiny.

Identification of the infection also may come from Help Desk calls complaining of unexpected behavior on desktop or laptop PCs. It usually takes more than one call before people realize what’s happening; unfortunately, this lag time gives the infection time to propagate through the network, compromise hosts, steal or corrupt data, and build its footprint.


After the infection has been verified, the next step is to quarantine all infected hosts, limiting the ability of the attacker to spread, transmit data outbound, or receive instructions from command-and-control servers managing a potential bot network. Depending on how far and wide the infection has spread, the quarantine may need to include hosts, subnets, or entire domains. It’s possible that restricting the flow of the virus may require disconnecting the entire network from the Internet, at least temporarily. The infected organization must avoid two risks:

  • The attacker may alter, destroy, or transmit the organization’s data off-network.
  • The infected network may serve as a jumping-off point for the infection to affect other networks.

Simultaneously, the staff must log all witnessed behavior and symptoms of the infection. Post this info on the walls of the incident command room to ensure that all known information is shared among staff investigating and fighting the infection. Given the speed of virus propagation and the fact that viruses can lie dormant for varying periods of time, the data-gathering process must continue while you’re quarantining hosts and disinfecting machines.


Remediation is the process of cleaning the infected hosts or mitigating all witnessed behavior and symptoms of the infection. A host is deemed “clean” if any of the following statements are true:

  • A means of deleting the infecting virus, Trojan, or other malware is known, and reinfection has been prevented.
  • The host can be compared to a clean image, and data integrity is maintained.
  • The host can be rebuilt from a clean image.

These options may not always be available in the heart of an infection, especially in the case of zero-day attacks or infections from “unpopular” viruses against which signatures are not actively being developed.

IT team may want to stay offline until every infected host has been thoroughly cleaned or rebuilt even if this process takes a week or longer. However, in many organizations such a loss of computing resources may simply be intolerable. On the other hand, businesses certainly shouldn’t operate with an active virus on the network. You need a “middle ground” that allows for resuming operations while disinfection activities are underway. The following section describes such a system.

Mitigation and Countermeasures

With mitigation, security countermeasures are in place to block or deny each witnessed action and behavior of the infection this is where the running list of the infection’s activity is taken into consideration. For example, let’s assume that the following is a listing of witnessed actions and behaviors of the infection:

  • Changes to normal operations:
    1. Windows Explorer breaks
    2. Unexpected reboots
    3. Regular and frequent reboots
    4. Machines shut down upon initial infection
    5. Changes to log settings
  • System configuration changes:
    1. Windows Registry settings edited
    2. New user accounts created
  • Software installed on host:
    1. Keystroke logger
    2. Spyware
  • Files created on infected hosts:
    1. “Password” text file seen on infected hosts
    2. Filenames corresponding to the name of the virus
  • Unusual communication attempts:
    1. Attempted FTP connections from infected machines to multiple unrecognized addresses
    2. SMB connections to and between PC shares originated by infected hosts to potentially clean hosts (potential means of virus propagation).

Some of this behavior can be observed by IT personnel, gathered from user report. Other evidence requires research into the virus itself. If files are being written to infected hosts, for example, it’s helpful to track the path in the directory structure where the files are written, as well as the naming convention used for the directories and files, so this information can be used to search other hosts for signs of the same infection.

Once we know what the virus does, we can design, test, deploy, and verify security measures to block these symptoms. For example, the following measures can address the symptoms from the preceding list:

  • Configure and run antivirus software with the latest signatures and rules to block the creation, writing, and execution of all suspected bad files.
  • Run scripts in loops to delete all virus-related files and kill its processes and services.
  • Prevent repopulation of infected files after deletion.
  • Restore Windows Registry settings to correct/default settings.
  • Verify normal operations:
    • Windows Explorer operating normally
    • No unrecognized rebooting
  • Delete unauthorized accounts
  • Prevent further outbound FTP connection attempts to known “bad” IP addresses
  • Change system and domain administrator passwords

Testing and Adjusting the Final Solution

To ensure that countermeasures are working, network connectivity and services can be restored in a deliberate, phased approach, with testing taking place at each stage to ensure that the infection is held in check. For example, we might allow a server to operate disconnected from the network for a period of time, such as three hours or half of a working day, and monitor its behavior. If we see normal behavior we can take the further step of restoring internal connections, such as connecting a mitigated LAN or host to the server again, monitoring operations for evidence of virus activity. All business rules should remain implemented and functioning properly. Also, throughout time, IT should look for signs indicating that the virus is active, or is being blocked. Users should be closely monitored and contacted to ensure data integrity and safe working environment.


Google Compliance & White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2015 at 7:20 pm

What is SEO?

There are a lot of definitions of SEO but let’s face it, organic SEO in 2014 was about getting free traffic from Google, the most popular search engine in the world.

The art of SEO is understanding how people search for things on the Internet, and understanding what type of results Google wants to display to its users during these searches.

It’s Google’s job to make result manipulation extremely difficult, therefore they keep updating their algorithms in the back to make sure people can’t take advantage of loopholes which may exist. So it keeps moving the ‘goalposts’, modifying the ‘rules’ and raising quality standards for pages that compete for top ten rankings.

Google is very secretive about its “Spiders” or in other words the algorithms it uses, and offers sometimes helpful and sometimes vague advice, which some consider misdirection about how to get more from valuable traffic. Google is on record as saying the engine is intent on ‘frustrating’ search engine optimizers’ attempts to improve the amount of high quality traffic to a website using low quality strategies also known as web-spam.

At its core, Google search engine optimization is about keywords and high quality links. It’s about relevance, reputation and most important of all trust. It is about quality of content and visitor satisfaction.

Good Versus Bad SEO:

SEO currently falls into two specific areas, White Hat and Black Hat SEO. The proper way of optimizing any web site is to ensure that white hat techniques are adopted, and followed. Using Black hat techniques can result being banned from search engines, and leaving your site in the corner without ranking.

White hat implies that the company uses best practice methods to achieve high search engine rankings. White Hat SEO companies comply with search engine guidelines. You can learn more about the search engine guidelines if you have a look on google webmasters guidelines and the Penguin 2.0 update specifically.

White Hat SEO companies comply with search engine guidelines. The methods yield better results in the long run and efforts are steady and ongoing.

White Hat SEO companies take the time to research, analyze and subsequently re-write Meta tags, content and may offer a slight redesign of the website and page names.

What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat methods tend to achieve rankings quickly, but are not long-lasting. The methods used by Black Hat SEO webmaster or bloggers go against current search engine guidelines. There are many Internet SEO software companies out there and there are many tools as well with questionable results.

We don’t believe in Black Hat SEO for two main reasons: Black Hat SEO can get your site banned, so watch out! And it also needs hard work and time where you can place this time on White Hat SEO to have long term results. Black Hat SEO methods are the rat race of Web Traffic. There are the hackers or the pirates of our time.

Additionally, Black Hat Companies or bloggers will make promises such as “We guarantee #1 ranking on Google!” Unless their blog is steadily and after Penguin Update on 1st page ranking on google, they are talking rubbish.

How Can You Avoid Working With Black Hat SEO Companies?

  1. If they promise you #1 search engine ranking, don’t walk but run away! Not even Google itself can guarantee a ranking position!
  2. Did the SEO Company contact you? If so, you should question that, in and of itself, since most reputable SEO Companies are too busy to query website owners for SEO work.
  3. Ask someone to refer a good SEO company locally, or interview a company you find on the internet and find out how they operate. Always do your research and don’t trust blindly.
  4. If you don’t know HTML, you can ask someone you know who has experience with HTML to view the source codes on websites that the SEO company has optimized.
  5. If you find tiny text, invisible text or you notice that the page background is the same color as the font, then you stand the chance of having your page banned from Google Search.
  6. Get References!

With Google… It’s All About User Experience!

Web page optimization is about a web page being relevant enough for a query, and being trusted enough to rank for it. It’s about ranking for valuable keywords for the long term, on merit. You can play by ‘white hat’ rules laid down by Google, or you can choose to ignore those and go the ‘black hat spammer’ route. Most SEO tactics still work, for some time, on some level, depending on who’s doing them, and how the campaign is deployed.

Whichever route you take, know that if Google catches you trying to modify your rank using overtly brute force methods, then they will class you a web spammer, and your site will be penalized (normally you won’t rank high for important keywords). These penalties can last years if not addressed, as some penalties expire and some do not.

Google does not want you to try and modify your rank. They would prefer you paid them to do that using Google AdWords. The problem for Google is ranking high in Google organic listings is a real social proof for a business, a way to avoid PPC (Pay Per Click) costs and still, simply, the best way to drive really valuable traffic to a site.

It’s FREE, too, once you’ve met the always increasing criteria it takes to rank top. In 2014, you need to be aware that what works to improve your rank can also get you penalized (faster, and a lot more noticeably). In particular, the Google web spam team is currently waging a PR war on sites that rely on unnatural links and other ‘manipulative’ tactics (and handing out severe penalties if it detects them)  and that’s on top of many algorithms already designed to look for other manipulative tactics (like keyword stuffing).

Google is also making sure it takes longer to see results from black and white hat SEO, and intent on ensuring a flux in its SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) based largely on where the searcher is in the world at the time of the search, and where the business is located near to that searcher. There are some things you cannot directly influence legitimately to improve your rankings, but there is plenty you can do to drive more Google traffic to a web page. Having this in mind, Google has 100s of ranking factors with signals that can change daily to determine how it works out where your page ranks in comparison to other competing pages. You will not ever find them all out. Some ranking factors are on page, on site and some are off page, or off site. Some are based on where you are, or what you have searched for before.

How To Choose The Best SEO Company For Your Business:

Here are ten key questions (and some guideline answers) that you should put to a prospective SEO company plus some questions they should be asking you too.

  • What do you think about my site’s technical structure, on-page and off-page content and link profile? Ask them to make some observations about these three key SEO factors that influence Search Engine visibility in relation to your site, especially link building.
  • What kind of changes will be required to your website and will they be noticeable? You should expect them to talk about on-page and off-page changes. On-page will require the subtle inclusion of the targeted keyword phrases in various locations on each page, off-page will require changes to your meta data such as your title tag and meta descriptions
  • I know that developing an incoming link profile is important, how will you develop additional links to my site? You should be looking for them to talk about quality of links as well as quantity and a balanced link profile including publishing unique insights in your industry on leading websites, guest articles on relevant websites, a small number of high quality free and paid directories, local websites, government or educational institutions, your suppliers etc.
  • Can you show me examples of your work? Don’t bother with references, no one will provide you with a bad one. You just want to see that they can point to current examples of their successes – short competitive keyword phrases such as “computer repairs” rather than “computer repairs for left handed plumbers”
  • What volume of traffic increase is it reasonable to expect and over what time frame? There are a lot of factors to consider here but assuming your site is technically sound and has quality original content you should expect a 50-100% increase in quality traffic within about three months and potentially much more if your site is languishing
  • What keyword phrases do you think should be targeted for my website? Not easy during an initial discussion but they should be able to identify the core keywords for your industry and let you know how competitive the segment is. They should discuss geographic considerations and talk about the “money” keywords such as buy, find, deals, get, compare, best, cheap or luxury
  • How many people on your team? This just allows you to understand whether you are dealing with a small, medium or large SEO firm. Each has it’s strengths and weaknesses. Small or one-person firms can be great but may get busy with other more lucrative clients or they may struggle to keep up with the latest trends. Large firms can be like a sausage factory, churning out SEO in bulk.
  • Who will be working on the assignment? Often you may be speaking to a Business Development person or the company principal. They should be experts and probably are, but once you have signed up, you should expect to be dealing with a qualified SEO expert with at least three years SEO experience
  • How long have you been doing SEO? This is a general fact finding question but you might be surprised at the answers you receive and the way they answer. If it is less than three years, keep shopping around.
  • Amongst all the SEO companies out there, in one minute, why should you choose them? This is giving them the chance for their “elevator pitch”. If they can’t confidently answer this, move on…and you would be surprised how many will stumble at this question.

Naturally, you should also ask them how much, for how long and whether there are any long term contractual obligations. You should also ask for a written proposal that clearly states every action and initiative that they will be undertaking.

Important Questions The Best SEO Company Should Ask You…

If they start asking you these kind of questions then you know you are well on the way to choosing your SEO provider.

  1. What are some of the keywords you would like to turn up for?
  2. Who do you see as your major competitors, online and offline?
  3. How old is your URL?
  4. Do you have a Content Management System (CMS) to edit your site content?
  5. Have you conducted any SEO activities before?
  6. Are you using Pay-per-click advertising?
  7. What do you expect from your SEO investment and over what time frame?
  8. Can you provide access to your web stats or Google Analytics account?
  9. Do you have any other URL’s or websites?
  10. What other marketing initiatives do you undertake, online and offline?

A smart SEO representative should also be asking you some questions. This enables them to evaluate you as a client. The very best SEO companies are busy and can afford to be selective when determining how reasonable your expectations are and how easy you will be to work with…SEO requires a partnership between client and provider to get the best results.

The Loan Consultants’ Lifetime Support:
In addition to all the technologies you receive with The Loan Consultants, Inc., you also get lifetime consulting and support for the technological part of your business. We understand your venture is a dynamic and expansive medium, and we are always here to ensure its running smoothly! Read More

Now That The Election Is Over…

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Well, the elections of 2012 are finally behind us and we in the U.S. can now turn on our TV sets again without fear of being swamped by political ads. Throughout the nation, a number of important issues were decided that are sure to have far reaching consequences. Perhaps the most important issue that was decided is that the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly referred to as “Obama-care” will now almost certainly be fully implemented. Whether your side “won” or “lost” on this issue, the goal of this post is to refocus our attention to what the impact of these elections will be on the loan broker industry.

First, let me say that I am not a fan of the new healthcare mandate as I think this will have an overall negative impact on the economy and place an unfair burden on smaller businesses. These are the same companies that employ roughly 70% of the workforce. Most businesses that can afford to pay for employee health care already do it. For the remainder of companies it is simply unaffordable so, a government mandate really is not a solution. The money to pay for the employer’s portion of healthcare premiums still has to come from somewhere. Since most businesses cannot simply raise their prices to compensate for the added healthcare expense, many business owners are going to have to make some tough decisions in the next year. Having said this, it does not mean that there may be some unique opportunities presented to Business Finance Consultants as a result of the new law.

The most obvious industry that will be affected is the U.S. healthcare industry which, when you add up all the companies that are directly or indirectly involved in healthcare, it collectively represents about one-sixth of the U.S. economy. That is a massive industry that is only going to get larger and will surely see increased financing activity. In particular, we anticipate seeing an increase in the number of doctors who want to sell their insurance invoices, as well as equipment leases for clinics, physical therapists and other medical professionals looking to upgrade their equipment.

Another industry that should see new opportunities created for Loan Brokers is in the staffing and temporary personnel sector. Since most businesses will now be required to provide healthcare coverage for their permanent workers, many companies will attempt to circumvent this requirement with the use of temporary employees. Temp services and staffing companies have always been great candidates for factoring deals and the increase in demand for their services should result in increased cash flow needs to pay their temporary workers.

The implementation of the Obama-care also means a significant expansion of several key government agencies that are responsible to oversee it. In case you weren’t aware of it, virtually every government agency leases their equipment. That means an increased need for everything from vehicles to software will be required to fully implement the new law. While government leases are a bit of a niche market, there are money sources out there that specialize in this type of financing. If you are a Business Finance Consultant with associates who work in local, state or federal government you may want to let them know about your services.

Be sure to log into our Broker Support site for access to our latest money sources that can help you take advantage these opportunities. If you are not a Loan Consultants Affiliate but would like information on how you can enter the exciting and lucrative Loan Broker industry, give us a call at (800)336-3933 or visit us at

Beware of Unlicensed Biz. Opps.

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Recently, I attended an event for my child’s school and, as is normally the case, had the chance to get to know some of the other parents who attended the event. After the normal introductions and small talk the inevitable question came up, “so what do you do for a living?” The couple I was speaking with said they both worked in the medical industry. When I explained that I was a Principal of a Business Opportunity company they replied, “So, is that similar to a franchise?” As I offered a further explanation on the differences between Franchises and Business Opportunities I decided that this might be a viable blog topic.

It occurred to me that at least part of their confusion was the result of so many unlicensed, unregistered and non-compliant companies trying to fly under the business opportunity regulators’ radar. You see, whenever the economy slows down we tend to see a flood of new schemes that pop up, all promising to make you rich. One should never assume that these companies are in legal compliance just because you got their information from a Franchise & Business Opportunity website or magazine. These websites and magazines usually do not ask for copies of licenses or registration paperwork to verify compliance before allowing companies to advertise. The result is a plethora of non-compliant companies that advertise on business opportunity websites. Many of these companies even refer to themselves as a business opportunity in their own sales materials. Then, when you ask them to provide you with the disclosure documents that ALL Business Opportunities are required to provide they say, “We are a ‘training company’ so we don’t have to do that” or “Our state doesn’t require us to give that information.” The fact is the Federal Government requires it, so they MUST provide it!

Regardless of whether they call themselves a “training company” or tell you that they have a “trademarked system”, if that company is providing you with training, support or a system to operate your own company, they are a Business Opportunity by definition and must comply with the rules established by the Federal Trade Commission.

Whether you are a candidate for The Loan Consultants, Inc. or seriously considering some other business opportunity, here are some basic signs to look for that will help you separate legitimate Business Opportunities from scams:

  • They do not provide you with the required FTC disclosure documents.
  • There is no cancellation or rescission period in their contract.
  • They require you to pay their full fee in advance, not just a deposit.
  • They advertise on Business Opportunity websites but their contract doesn’t state they are selling you a Business Opportunity.
  • They claim to be in business longer than they actually have.
  • They won’t show you their contract well in advance of being asked to sign it.
  • They claim that you will earn X number of dollars or offer you a guarantee.
  • Be wary of companies that use “Celebrity Endorsements”.

The Loan Consultants, Inc. is the nations’ oldest and largest Loan Broker business opportunity. 2013 will mark our 30th year of establishing successful affiliates in the Financial Services industry. If you are considering a career as a Mortgage Broker, Business Loan Broker or would like to add a revenue stream to your existing business I would encourage you to contact us and get our FREE information package.

The Loan Consultants, Inc. – Message From The Company President

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm

One of the things I enjoy most about my position with The Loan Consultants is the opportunity to speak with our Brokers operating all throughout the U.S and Canada. Our affiliates come from all walks of life and I always enjoy hearing about their experiences since we helped them get started in the finance industry. Among the most common questions I am asked lately is, “Where do you think we should focus our efforts in 2012?” Rather than continue to answer that question one-on-one, I have decided to make it the subject of this months’ blog post. The answer is… Commercial Real Estate Loans!

That’s right, we are predicting that the Real Estate market will finally bottom out this year and that should mean an abundance of deals for our Brokers. Now that I have said this, let me clarify that I am not predicting the market will be like 2006 all over again.  In fact, that is the last thing we want since many of the real estate loans made during that period are the very reason the market collapsed in the first place. Those loans resulted in some areas of the U.S., such as Las Vegas and Phoenix, Arizona, being badly overbuilt during the boom and are probably another 12 months away from recovery.

Still, many markets have shown signs they are bottoming out and others are seeing significant increases in demand. San Jose, California, which is supported by a strong technology based economy in the Silicone Valley, has maintained relatively low unemployment, strong housing demand and high commercial occupancy rates. Along the US/Canadian boarder, new energy exploration has created a booming market in Manitoba and North Dakota. With hundreds of thousands of government workers and contractors in the region, the Northern Virginia/Baltimore/Washington D.C. area has also remained solid.

Despite what you may think, 2011 was a actually decent year for the commercial real estate market but much of the activity was driven by bargain hunters taking advantage of reduced prices and low interest rates. As the global economy continues to improve though, 2012 should see a significant uptick in demand for retail and light industrial space causing many of the “fence sitters” to get back in the market.

In response to this anticipated demand, The Loan Consultants has added several new commercial real estate lenders to our database. Be sure to log into our broker support site and download the most current version.

For More Information Please Visit Us:

Who Are The Loan Consultants?

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm

The Oldest & Largest Loan Broker Affiliate Program!

Since 1983, The Loan Consultants has built a reputation within the financial community that is looked upon with envy and respect. Our goal was to establish an international network of independently owned and operated loan brokerage companies. These affiliated companies would offer highly personalized service and help cut through the red tape that is often involved in securing loans from banks and other lending institutions.

More than a quarter century later, our vision has become a reality. In addition to being the first company to offer this business opportunity, we are the largest with more than 1200 affiliate companies in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom. With a large staff of industry professionals and an operating budget of over $1 million, we stand ready to assist you in achieving your entrepreneurial goals.

If you have a desire to be your own boss and earn executive level income, your timing could not be better. As banks continue to tighten their lending requirements, borrowers are seeking local and professional sources with creative methods of funding to satisfy their financing needs. Here is your chance to cash in on a vast, untapped market with a prestigious Dun and Bradstreet rated company to assist you every step of the way.

Professional Loan Broker Certification Training in Class!

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Professional Loan Broker Certification Training in Class!

When you are accepted into our Network of Affiliates, you will begin attending our 2-day training and lender certification session where you will learn to complete Loan Consultants System. Our training is a masterpiece of adult education that can train anyone, without any prior background in loans or finance. This relaxed training session is the first of our many redundant methods that disclose our entire system and allow you to have backup for any questions that may arise in the operation of your new business.

Daily Affiliate Support & Guidance after Class!
When you leave our 2-day certification training, you will be able to start your business immediately. So what happens when your borrower calls you? We give you 14 telephone scripts for every type of loan and lease that will enable you to speak with any prospective borrower and sound like a seasoned professional. And if you still have questions, our Senior Loan Officers and your numerous Whole Sale Lender Reps will always be there with an answer. Answers are always just a phone call away for our Network of Business Finance Consultants or Certified Loan Brokers. By telephone, e-mail or fax, we are available five days a week for the life of your business at no additional cost. Our unique mentoring concept combines your desire to succeed with the knowledge of a seasoned professional. You are in business for yourself, but never alone!

Most Complete & Experienced Loan Broker Program in the World!

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Most Complete & Experienced Loan Broker Program in the World!

Our accelerated loan broker training program is designed to teach ordinary people without any background in finance, the latest techniques in operating a loan brokerage company. Our certification classes are taught by seasoned professionals with direct experience in the Loan Brokerage industry. Our funding sources require this initial two day training to qualify you to work directly with them as a Business Finance Consultant or Certified Loan Broker.

We Support You For the Life of Your Business!
Loan Consultants, Inc. takes pride in its Business Finance Consultant and Certified Loan Broker programs and particularly in the many fine people it has been our pleasure to help become successful BFC’s and CLB’s. Our responsibility to your success does not stop with the training systems and materials we provide you to operate your business. We consider that just the first half of our job. The second half is to support you for the life of your business!