How did the online census fail so miserably?

How did the online census fail so miserably?

There has been much discussion about attacks on our information, attacks on our privacy and how the census site crashed due to people trying to hack into the servers that the site is/was hosted on. It’s quite possible there was no malicious attack on our data at all, rather the volume of traffic all at once simulated an unintentional Denial of Service Attack. So what is a Denial of Service Attack (DDoS)? There are two common types of attacks; Brute Force Distributed Denial of Service And I’m going to try now to turn some of this nerdy language into human speak. Brute Force Attack Imagine a typical house on a suburban street.  There is a little white picket fence, with a little white gate. This suburb is well known to be impulsive buyers and is visited regularly by door to door salesman. A salesman walks up to the door and says ‘Hi I’m Fred, let me in’ and when unsuccessful comes back and says ‘Hi I’m Dave, let me in’ and so on, hoping at some point you’ll recognise him. Getting through the front gate is no problem as it’s only one person trying to get through at a time.  But he cannot get through the front door without being recognised. This is a Brute Force Attack.  These attacks are generally stopped at the door by secure logins and good password security, as well as ‘jailing’ or blocking the originating IP address for a period of time. Distributed Denial of Service Attack Distributed Denial of Service(DDoS) Attacks, are different in the way they operate. If we think back to...
New Feedback Dashboard

New Feedback Dashboard

At OTrain, we are always looking for ways to improve our user experience. As part of this commitment, when we released our last theme, we introduced a short user survey at the bottom of our template, asking the user to rate their experience on that session. User could select a smiling, neutral or negative face to report on their thoughts. This feedback is then fed directly into a purpose built tool to log and manage the feedback. We have been trialing, monitoring and improving this for some time and we are pleased to say we are now ready to release it to our OTrainU clients. When a user selects an image (positive or negative), there is a corresponding score that is created and logged as well. The scores are totalled daily and using a variation on the popular “Net Promoter Score”, a total score is assigned for each day. This daily score is then logged in a coloured dashboard calendar, providing a quick, visual image of your users experience. We have created 4 categories: Red – overall a bad day for user feedback Grey – overall a neutral day for user feedback Blue – overall a good day for user feedback Super Blue – overall an excellent day for your feedback. In addition to the visual overview, Administrators are also able to drill down on a single day and see what individual scores each user has provided. We have been tracking this information for some time, improving the formula and feedback, and in our next upgrade we are making this information available to users with Client Admin permission via...
Is your Learning Management System up to date?

Is your Learning Management System up to date?

Is your LMS up to date? This seems like a pretty obvious question, but what a lot of organisations don’t understand is that owning an LMS is a bit like owning a car.  There is a constant stream of maintenance required to keep everything in tip top shape. I speak with training organisations everyday and one of the constants is how many tell me their Learning Management System doesn’t work like it used to – or worse – doesn’t work at all. In some cases this is because it was never set up correctly.  But in most cases it’s because the LMS has not be maintained. In the world of computer’s it’s a moving feast. Both hardware and software evolve at a rapid pace, and if you’re not keeping up, you’re falling behind. There are lots of reasons why keeping your LMS up to date is critical.  Here is 3 of the biggest. Security Any piece of software has vulnerabilities to hackers and your Learning Management System is no different.  With all the tracking and to-ing and fro-ing between your users session inside the LMS and your server, it may even be worse. When first developed, all known vulnerabilities are closed.  But once in the public domain, people use the software on different systems and in different ways, and new ‘holes’ in the security are identified. Further, full time hackers will spend time trying to break the code – so they can find a new way in. When your software developer learns about a new vulnerability, they will release a ‘patch’ or update which will close the hole.  When...
Choosing a Moodle Hosting Provider

Choosing a Moodle Hosting Provider

There is a lot to consider when choosing a Moodle hosting provider. In its simplest form, your Moodle LMS is actually little more than a number of files and folders. Hosting is simply somewhere to store all those files and folder so that your Moodle Learning Management System is available to your student; typically via the internet. Whilst the computer geeks use words like ‘cloud’ and ‘web’ in reality those files sit on a computer somewhere. That computer is often referred to as a ‘Server’. It is connected to the internet. The computer might be located down the end of the hall, at your IT providers place or residence or in a data centre in Australia or even abroad. The owner of that server (or location) is often referred to as the host. But not all host’s and hosting are created equal. Whilst there are definite differences in the business practices and pricing of the hosts, there are also difference in the type of hosting that is offered. Generally speaking, there are 3 different types of Moodle hosting available. Unfortunately, in most cases, all are simply referred to as “hosting” and it is not until you are well and truly committed that you find out what you really signed up for. Or worse yet, you learn about what you’re missing out on. For the purposes of this article we are going to refer to the 3 types of hosting as: 1. Basic Moodle Hosting 2. Managed Moodle Hosting 3. Supported and Managed Moodle Hosting Basic Moodle Hosting: The first type of hosting is simply providing the ‘computer’ or ‘server’...
Security Matters

Security Matters

Web security is as important as home security yet I am constantly amazed by the lack of respect and poor actions by people when it comes to protecting their passwords and keeping their websites safe. Most people are either too busy, or simply believe “I’m too small, why would anyone want to hack me”. However, what most people don’t understand is the two biggest threats to your organisation are automated bots and your own employees. Today’s ‘hackers’ are rarely people working in dark rooms. More often than not a ‘hack’ is perpetrated by a ‘bot’ or piece of software that trolls the internet looking for open doors. In much the same way Google bots troll your site to work out how high it should rank on the search page, the hacker bots are doing the same thing, but with negative intent in mind. They exploit holes in your software and security. Second is disgruntles employees, who still have access to your resources long after they have left the building. They can log into system and change passwords, update files or steal client files. I’m sure you know someone who’s had their client list or address book taken by a previous employee. Security is important. Not only because a breach can be a significant cost, embarrassment and interruption to your business, but also because more and more we are collecting and storing important and confidential information on our users and clients. The fact we are collecting this information makes us greater targets. Further our software is more connected then ever and vulnerabilities in our network, can often threaten other businesses...

Sneak Peak – OTrain V2.0 – Introducing Tiles

Microsoft had it right! Tiles are the future. Sure the execution of Windows 8 could have been better, but we for one believe Tiles will become an integral part of User Interfaces into the future. Thats why the new V2.0 of the OTrain Learning Management System platform has incorporated “Tiles” for the display and management of hosted courses. These large, colourful blocks easily and readily display course titles and descriptions and provide a clean and simple way for users to find and enter training programs. But dont fear, unlike Microsoft, we’ve also keep a traditional menu bar (coupled with our new command centres) for more traditional navigation. Stay tuned for more sneak peaks and updates OTrain provides a web based learning management system, along with creative studio and learning resources for progressive organisations that want to take thier internal training to the next level. We offer the options of a full service solution, or a BYO model and of course every combination in between. About OTrain OTrain puts training online. With our cloud based Learning Management Solution, and our Studi.O team, OTrain is on a mission to Save the World from Boring Training” OTrain is Simply put, a better way to train. Learn more about OTrain by visiting www.otrain.com.au or calling us on 07 3040...