Thursday, 28 January 2021

A Day in the Life of a Security Operations Analyst

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In today’s world of increasing cybercrime and data breaches, every organization needs to place an emphasis on securing its technological assets. This is where the role of a Security Operations Center (SOC) comes into play as this team is dedicated to analyzing and monitoring cyber threats and attacks. A SOC is an amalgamation of multiple teams working together to identify and avoid data breach incidents.

This blog provides vital information to anyone who wants to secure a job in the cybersecurity domain with a focus on the role of a Security Operations Center Analyst and everything that the job entails.

What Is a Security Operations Center Analyst?

A Security Operations Center Analyst is a cybersecurity expert who is part of the SOC team. Their primary responsibility is to monitor and mitigate threats to the organization’s IT infrastructure, evaluate security systems, and assess weaknesses and probable improvements. They undertake real-time log analysis to offer network and data security for an organization. They document all client communication and are expected to work in a team environment while monitoring the wellness and health of security devices in an organization’s network.

What Are the Top SOC Analyst Skills?

The primary role of a Security Operations Center Analyst is to understand the network activity and to defend an organization from malicious attacks. The key SOC Analyst skills are:

◉ Network defenders: The primary skill you need to have is knowledge of the basics of networking, as networks are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks.

◉ Ethical hacking: As this role involves identifying potential threats and exposes the vulnerabilities in the network, you will need to be good at ethical hacking as well.

◉ Timely response to breaches: In order to deter potential attacks, you will have to deal with breach situations and recommend appropriate changes to the current security systems.

◉ Documenting incidents: This is a vital SOC Analyst skill as various incidents could take place in an organization and proper documentation enables you to pass around and escalate the issue within a team. All the records or actions must be well documented as they may be used as evidence during legal procedures.

◉ Computer forensics: You should be aware of computer forensics in order to successfully deter cybercrime. Digital forensics expertise will assist you in the processing, review, and reporting of data. In order to prevent further violations, you may also gather or collect proof of the violation.

Security Operations Analyst Job Description

Security Operations Analysts are termed as “watchdogs and security advisors” by the Prelude Institute as their role is twofold — they keep an eye out for potential threats and they also work towards mitigating future attacks. You will be investigating suspicious activity in the network and suggesting restorative measures by developing security strategies. The job is cumbersome and monotonous at times, as you need to monitor threats thrown up by various security software, which involves a lot of false alarms. However, this is the major responsibility of a Tier 1 Security Operations Center, and the role keeps evolving as the levels increase.

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Security Operations Analyst Salary

In the United States, the average salary of a security operations analyst is $89,066 as of December 2020, but it ranges between $75,605 and $107,079 per annum. The salary range varies depending on various factors that include: certifications, education, years of experience, and additional skills.

Technical Experience Preferred for a Security Operations Center Analyst

For every role in the cybersecurity domain apart from the required skills and expertise, some level of technical experience is also a must. The technical experience required to become a Security Operations Center Analyst is listed below:

◉ Considerable experience in TCP/IP, Linux, IP Routing, and NT.

◉ Complete understanding of regular cybersecurity expressions.

◉ Comprehension of database queries and structures.

◉ Basic comprehension of vulnerabilities, attacks, and basic network services.

◉ Basic knowledge of NDIS platforms in addition to vulnerabilities and exploits.

◉ Basic experience and knowledge of Cisco security agents, ASA, Cisco Pix, or Checkpoint Firewalls.

◉ Basic experience and knowledge of several Intrusion Detection platforms.

◉ Basic knowledge in SSL, VPN, and other encryption methodology.

◉ Basic experience of three or more years as a Network Intrusion Analyst.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Security Operations Center Analyst?

◉ Bachelor’s Degree or an equivalent degree in computer/electrical engineering, computer science, or equivalent work experience in the position.

◉ GIAC, GCIH, GCIA, GCFW, GSEC, GHTO, or similar certifications.

◉ CCNA, CSPFA, CCSP certifications.

In any chosen career path, a certification gives a lot of direction; particularly in a field such as cybersecurity, where a specific certification not only improves the skills of an individual but also adds value to a professional’s hands-on experience. EC-Council’s Certified SOC Analyst (CSA) program is the perfect value add to every professional’s skills and resume. This program provides an individual with extensive knowledge of cybersecurity and its various protocols.


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

A Beginner’s Guide to R Programming

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Does data science and data analysis interest you? Is it a part of your day-to-day task? If yes, then it is possible that you have heard of the programming language R, if you don’t already use it. While it is considered to be one of the more popular statistical programming languages, it is not one that can be mastered overnight, especially without proper training.

Learning R has become a necessity for various professions, including data scientists and analysts. If you’re contemplating a career in these vocations or are seeking to upgrade yourself, you’ll need to understand the basics of the language first. In this blog, we will break down everything you need to know about R programming, from data mining and analysis to statistical computing and graphics.

What Is R Software?

R was initially designed in 1993 by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman as an alternate to the S language. It was made an open-source software in 1995 under the GNU General Public License.

Several large companies such as Google, Uber, Facebook, Airbnb, etc., use the R programming language.

R and its libraries feature an extensive catalog, covering machine learning algorithms, time series analysis, linear regression, statistical inference, and more.

What Is R Package?

When using R, the unit of shareable code is known as the package. This package often bundles together code, tests, documentations, data, and much more, making it easy for it to share with others. Roughly 12,000 R libraries are currently available on the Comprehensive R Archive Network (also known as CRAN), which is a free and open-source resource. R has gained popularity over the years, primarily due to this reason. Moreover, you can also download and use several libraries already available to perform time series analysis or machine learning.

How to Use R with RStudio

While R is a statistical programming language, RStudio helps the user use R language to develop statistical programs.

RStudio is also often referred to as an integrated development environment (IDE). This platform allows you to develop and edit programs in R with ease. Since R can be a tough langage to master, RStudio helps by supporting a large number of statistical packages, higher quality graphics, and giving you the ability to manage your workspace.

Should You Choose R?

Nowadays, most data scientists use R and Python for their data mining and analysis. It is common to find existing solutions to problems you may face on an open-source platform like R.

There are many ways that you can also share and present your work using R. Often, you will find it hosted on open-source platforms that allow you to export the document in a variety of formats such as HTML, PDF/Latex, Word, Presentation, PDF beamer, etc.

Your main focus as a data analyst is to use a programming language that can help you compute and communicate your discovery.

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Things to Know Before You Start Learning R

Here are some of the things that you need to know before you start learning R:

◉ R is built to be used as a statistical computing software.

◉ It runs on nearly every platform including Mac, Windows, and Linux.

◉ R helps make data visualization easier and powerful.

◉ Over the years, R has managed to gain much popularity, which is only growing by the day.

◉ Learning R language can help increase your chances of getting a job.

Although learning how to write R programs will not turn into a job straight away, it is a skill that most data scientists must be able to perform in their daily role. However, if you are applying for the role of a software developer or application security engineer, knowing the basics of R can help you stand out from the crowd.

Start Your R Journey with CodeRed

Now that you’ve become acquainted with the R programming language, it’s time to dive deep and learn how to use it your line of your work or future employment. A short-term course is the best way forward since it offers flexibility and teaches you exactly what you need to know. A popular choice is CodeRed’s Introduction to R Programming course, which takes you through the fundamental programming concepts in R.

After learning the basics, you will learn how you can organize, modify, and clean data frames in R. Creating data visualizations that showcase data insights will be next. At the end of the course, you will be able to finish statistics and hypothesis testing to become a data analysis expert.


Sunday, 24 January 2021

What Is Cyber Threat Intelligence? All You Need to Know

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In today’s digital day and age, when everything is connected, keeping company assets safe and secure is of the highest priority. With a slew of cyber threats lurking at every corner of the digital highway, being proactive rather than being reactive is the call of the hour. This is where cyber threat intelligence steps in.

What is Cyber Threat Intelligence

Cyber threat intelligence enables an organization to identify and analyze potential threats to its systems. In a nutshell, cyber threat intelligence analysis is all about going through mountains of data to pinpoint problems/vulnerabilities and deploying effective solutions to remedy these issues. The role of a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst is to use the latest tools & techniques to analyze threats, while using historical knowledge to create appropriate countermeasures.

Types of Cyber Threats

There is no one reason for a cyberattack. The motives range from money and daring to hacktivism and state-sponsored cyberwarfare. Having said that, cyber threat intelligence analysis can be employed on most cyber threats. These include:

◉ Malware

One of the most prevalent forms of attack vectors is a malware attack. Malware is a term that is used to describe hostile software, such as viruses, ransomware, worms, spyware, etc. These malicious software are designed to infiltrate targeted networks via clicks on dubious web links or emails.

◉ Phishing

Phishing entails fraudulent emails masked as authentic ones, wherein the attacker’s goal is to glean personal information from unsuspecting users. This information includes login credentials, credit card details, etc.


Also known as denial-of-service attack, the DOS method is deigned to overwhelm networks, servers, and systems with traffic. This leads to excessive use of resources and bandwidth, thereby denying access to the systems or websites to authentic users.

◉ Zero-day exploit

A zero-day exploit is a vulnerability in a network or system that though declared is yet to be patched. An attacker can leverage the zero-day exploit and infiltrate the system between the time of the announced vulnerability and the launch of a patch.

Types of Cyber Threat Intelligence

Although cyber threat intelligence encapsulates an overall understanding of potential cyber threats, the methodology differs from scenario to scenario. Let’s take a look at the types of cyber threat intelligence analysis used across domains.

◉ Strategic threat intelligence

This threat intelligence model gives an overview of the collective threat landscape to an organization. Strategic threat intelligence is aimed at high-level management and decision makers to take the necessary steps to reinforce the company’s cybersecurity planning. This model relies on easy-to-understand threat intelligence reports based on whitepapers, research reports, and policy documents issued by government organizations and think tanks.

◉ Tactical threat intelligence

Tactical threat intelligence focuses on the attacker rather than the attacks. This cyber threat intelligence model works on the principle of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of an attacker. The goal of tactical threat intelligence is to enable a cyber threat intelligence analyst to understand how an attacker might carry out a cyberattack on the organization       and what steps to deploy to mitigate the damages. This model is inclusive of technical documentation that is used by system administrators and system architects to strengthen their cybersecurity strategies.

◉ Operational threat intelligence

This cyber threat intelligence model is all about analyzing the nature, motive, and the attack vectors used in a cyberattack. Operational threat intelligence focuses on the vulnerabilities exploited and the attacker’s command and control structure. Also referred to as technical threat intelligence, this model helps defenders learn from earlier attacks and formulate more robust cybersecurity strategies for the future.

Cyber Threat Intelligence Lifecycle

Now that we’ve covered what cyber threat intelligence is and the types of threat intelligence used in cyber defense, let’s now look at the life cycle or the phases involved in the cyber threat intelligence process. The threat intelligence life cycle involves the processes that enable cyber defense professionals to make sense of raw data and turn it into actual intelligence.

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1. Planning: The first step towards gaining actionable cyber threat intelligence is to gain a clear understanding of your threat intelligence aims. These objectives are ascertained based on your target audience, i.e., whether the cumulated threat intelligence is for the resident ‘Blue Team’ or the executive management, who can take the final call on your organization’s cybersecurity protocols.

2. Gathering raw data: This step is all about data mining in the context of previously encountered cyberattacks as well as from open sources. The cyber threat intelligence analysis focuses on the internal network logs and earlier incident responses to create a clear picture of how the attack unfolded. This information gathering process also makes use of the dark web and technical resources, as well as the open/deep web.

3. Data processing: This process involves the distillation of unfiltered data into information that’s sorted and easy to understand. Filtration of the raw data is the key to finalize the previous step and acts as a stepping stone towards understanding the threats towards an organization.

4. Analysis: This step is where the distilled raw data is processed to make sense of it all. The analysis process looks for security lapses and helps the cybersecurity teams understand the data as per the planning stage.

5. Information dispersal: One of the crucial stages of the cyber threat intelligence life cycle, the information distribution step entails sending the collected intelligence to the right people at the right level of hierarchy at the right time.

6. Feedback: The final stage of the cyber intelligence lifecycle, the feedback phase is the culmination of the above 5 steps, thus complementing the first two stages with an assessment of the validity of the consolidated threat intelligence.

What Is the Role of a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst?

As a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, you’ll be tasked to make the best of your technical and cybersecurity knowledge to solve your organization’s threat intelligence concerns. Besides being a pre-emptive force safeguarding the company’s assets, you’ll also handle threat assessment briefings as well as churning actionable and prompt intelligence from a pile of raw data.

Career Prospects for a Threat Intelligence Analyst

Now that you are aware of the practical details of cyber threat intelligence analysis, it’s time to take a good hard look at the career prospects offered by threat intelligence — 9,000+ and counting. Threat intelligence is best suited for:

◉ Ethical hackers

◉ Security analysts, managers, and practitioners

◉ Threat hunters

◉ Security Operations Center (SOC) professionals

◉ Digital forensic professionals and malware analysts

◉ Incident response team members

◉ Mid to high-level security experts with a minimum of two years of experience

EC-Council’s Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst program is designed by intelligence experts and cybersecurity professionals from across the globe. Learn the best techniques and tactics of cyber threat intelligence analysis and become the vanguard to your organization’s cyber defense.


Saturday, 23 January 2021

Cyber Kill Chain: The 7 Important Steps of a Cyberattack

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In modern warfare (20th to 21st century), the kill chain is a critical concept focusing on the entire sequence of an attack. Used by militaries across the globe, especially the U.S armed forces, the kill chain is a five-step process that focuses on:

◉ Target identification

◉ Ascertain force deployment to the target

◉ Attack execution decision

◉ Attack commencement

◉ Target destruction

While the kill chain method is still a vital part of physical attack plans, the advent of the cyber kill chain model gave cybersecurity experts a new framework to understand and tackle cyber threats/attacks with a new perspective.

Piggybacking on the traditional kill chain concept, Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest defense contractors in the U.S., developed the cyber kill chain framework for enhanced cyber defense. The cyber kill chain analysis enables you to break down the different steps of a cyberattack, thus enabling you to protect your assets and counter future attacks. A deep dive into understanding the stages of an attack will help you better identify the attackers and prevent cyberattacks in their respective stages.

The cyber kill chain model is made up of seven steps of an attack process that hackers make use of. Let’s take an in-depth look into these steps.

1. Reconnaissance

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The first phase of any attack in the cyber kill chain, reconnaissance is where the attacker searches for information about the intended target. The information can be gleaned from a variety of sources, such as social networks, interaction with employees (calls and emails), and dumpster diving. The attackers focus on “Who” (individuals with access to classified information) or “Network” (compromised access points, unpatched vulnerabilities, etc.).

Although the recon phase can’t be entirely neutralized, the effects of the reconnaissance phase can be minimized by taking elementary precautions. Employees that might be vulnerable to cyberattacks can minimize their social media footprint by reducing the amount of information shared publicly. An aware workforce can easily detect phishing emails and counter fake calls, thus minimizing sensitive information leaks and protecting the organization’s assets.

2. Weaponization

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The weaponization phase entails the use of a multitude of daily-use internet-connected devices that the attackers weaponize by utilizing a variety of malware to infect and compromise a targeted system or network. Weaponization is an entirely non-contact step, wherein the attackers prepare payloads for the attack using common office tools, such as a Microsoft Word document, Excel or spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and Adobe PDF. The malicious payload is injected into these vectors and distributed via emails or USB drives.

3. Delivery

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As the name suggests, this cyber kill chain phase is where the attackers send the malicious payload to its intended target. While the most common delivery vector is a phishing email, the use of USB drives and websites are also quite prevalent, especially in organizations where the workforce is not aware of cybersecurity. The delivery phase is one where human awareness is much more effective than mere technical safeguards. A well-informed and aware workforce would be quick to identify phishing emails and will avoid the use of USB drives on their work systems.

4. Exploitation

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The exploitation phase triggers the attacker’s malicious code, which is intended to infect the targeted systems. The exploitation step involves the “dropping” or infiltration of the malware on to the target system, which in turn gives command executions to the attacker.

A famous example of this is the Stuxnet virus was planted in the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2010. Once the enrichment process began, Stuxnet wormed its way into the mechanical systems and caused a cascade failure across the enrichment line, bringing the Iranian nuclear program to a grinding halt.

5. Installation

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In this phase, the attacker installs malware on the target system in the form of remote access trojans or backdoors. A successfully installation phase provides the attacker with a persistent presence inside the infiltrated system.

6. Command & Control (C2C)

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The Command & Control (C2C) phase of the cyber kills chain is where the malware or the injected infection calls back home to the attacker to grant control of the compromised system. The potent counterattack to the C2C phase is the “hunting” protocol, where the network defenders scan for suspicious outgoing activities to find the infected systems.

7. Action on Objectives

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The final phase of the cyber kill chain is the attacker’s successful infiltration of the targeted system and completion of the goals, i.e., accessing and exfiltrating critical data from the compromised system/network. The final phase can be countered successfully with the use of strong passwords, user authentication for sensitive data, and login audits.

The cyber kill chain is an essential element of cyber threat intelligence and plays a crucial role in understanding the motives and attack vectors behind a cyberattack. Mastering threat intelligence is the difference between a robust cyber defense and a catastrophic breach of sensitive information leading to massive losses.

Now that you have an overview of the cyber kill chain, it’s time to learn how to implement it in your organization. EC-Council’s Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) program prepares you to become the vanguard of your organization’s cyber defense mechanism. The course provides you with a hands-on threat intelligence curriculum, enabling you to better understand the cyber kill chain and use this framework for top-notch cyber defense strategies.

Friday, 22 January 2021

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Ethical Hacking Course

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According to a forecast by MarketsandMarkets, the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow to USD 248.6 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 10.2% from 2018 to 2023. Cybersecurity Ventures has predicted that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. Gartner predicts that by 2021, the revenue sources of 65% of global infrastructure providers will shift to edge-related services supporting digital touchpoints. Taken together, these statistics reveal a vast requirement for experienced cybersecurity professionals and trained learners in the IT security industry, making this the ideal time to consider a career in cybersecurity.

While there are many entryways into this sector, a certification course will boost your chances to make it big since it proves your credentials to your future employer, many of which mandate certifications as a requirement. To ease your selection process, we have come up with some helpful advice that will make the selection process of the best ethical hacking course ideal for elevating your information security career.

Top 5 Tips to Select the Best Ethical Hacking Course

There are various aspects to consider while selecting a program. First and foremost, settle on the field you want to pursue. Once that is fixed, you can look out for certificate programs that align to that career path. Create a checklist of the following points while picking your course.

1. Choose what captures your interest

Ethical hacking is a broad term with several branches. Your interest may range between different phases of ethical hacking, network sniffing, social engineering, IoT hacking, cryptography, or others. You need a course that covers your interests in great detail. You’ll also have to verify the relevancy of the program and when it was last updated. After this, you should begin your search for an ethical hacking training program.

2. Research: Look for perks

Research the cybersecurity subdomains that catch your interest. Connect with experienced cybersecurity professionals on social media forums and ask them about the right ethical hacking certification program. Check out online reviews about the programs that interest you. Market research will provide you with sufficient knowledge on the top cybersecurity courses, along with the market trends that will shape your career path in the future.

A good program should use relevant case studies for easy understanding. While researching for a course, ensure that you go through the course outline and its outcome. Always go with the program that offers industry exposure and work on implementing acquired skills as a part of any organization. The industry prefers professionals who have hands-on experience. Doesn’t matter if you are an expert or a beginner. Practical experience is a must for landing rewarding jobs in the future.

3. Verify the market value of the course

The market value of your cybersecurity certification will give you an extra edge during the job landing process. An aspiring cybersecurity professional should always choose a program that includes the latest technologies like Internet of Things and Blockchain. Check whether organizations like ANSI recognize the training program.

For instance, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is recognized by the United States Army, Airforce, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC). Besides that, it is an NCSC Certified Training. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) considers CEH as one of the baseline programs required to join their Information Assurance (IA) workforce.

4. Mode of training: Choose according to your convenience

If you are a working professional interested in pursuing a cybersecurity course, you’ll likely run into obstacles like fixed office timings or ongoing projects. To counter this issue, you should opt for a flexible learning program, with minimal restraints on timing and location, that best suits your university or work schedule. This way, you can take the course on weekends or while commuting to work or college.

EC-Council offers multiple training options that include self-study, live online, and in-person training.

◉ iLearn(Self-Study): Provided in a streaming video format, iLearn delivers IT security hacking training courses that enable you to learn in a self-paced environment.

◉ iWeek (Live Online): Students who opt for this live training program will get an instructor’s assistance, which can be more

◉ MasterClass: Attendees get the opportunity to learn from different instructors around the world. These classes also provide you with a chance to collaborate with cybersecurity professionals.

◉ Training Partner(In-Person): This option offers in-person training at hundreds of worldwide authorized training centers It gives you the advantage of learning CEH with your peers and gaining practical skills to solve real-world problems.

◉ Education Partner (In-Person or Online): This option offers education courses through EC-Council Academia partnered institutions. The education partner program’s motive is to benefit students enrolled in a college or university.

5. Consider the career prospects

Factors like income, job security, work stress, and training scope get clarified when understanding future market trends. Understanding the latest tools and trends will also create an impression among your employers. Your chosen certification program should prepare you to counter any challenge that you face in the future.

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Begin Your Ethical Hacking Journey with CEH

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to research and finalize the right course for you. When it comes to ethical hacking, EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is one of the most well-respected programs out there. It focuses on the latest tools and techniques that an aspiring cybersecurity professional should know and ensures that the trainee gets hands-on experience while learning in a real-time environment. It offers 3,000 tools and technologies used by threat actors and has around 350 subject matter experts involved in course development.

CEH v11 provides 24 hacking challenges across four levels of complexity that cover 10 attack vectors, including the OWASP Top 10, surrounding various vulnerabilities. It is globally recognized by organizations like Deloitte, IBM, EY, United States Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Veterans Affairs, and more.

Click here to learn more about CEH v11.


Tuesday, 19 January 2021

What Is a Smart Contract in Blockchain?

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Smart contracts are considered one of the most essential tools in blockchain as they enable the transfer of everything right from bitcoin to goods transported across the globe. Smart contracts essentially remove intermediaries from a business contract, thereby streamlining the contractual process.

If you’re on this page, chances are you’re curious about smart contracts and how they can be applied to your business. This blog will help you understand what are smart contracts, how they work, and how you can leverage them using the secure blockchain network to conduct contractual transactions with ease, all while reducing loss of time.

What Is a Smart Contract?

Smart contracts are business automated applications or lines of code which are self-executing and function on a decentralized network like blockchain. This code manages the executions of transactions that are irreversible and trackable. Smart contracts allow trusted agreements and transactions to be undertaken among distinct anonymous parties without needing a legal system, external enforcement, or a central authority. Due to their functionality to remove administrative overhead, smart contracts are one of the best features of blockchain technology. They also make financial transactions transparent, simple, and efficient.

What Does a Smart Contract Do?

Smart contracts streamline a complex transaction process (like a loan or financing) involving several intermediaries. Usually, when more than one party is involved in a transaction, there is a probability of a lack of trust among the participants. Blockchain comes into the picture here as it stores the identity of the dealer. Using this data, the lenders can decide about credit. Post this, a smart contract will be created between the bank, lender, and dealer. The funds get released to the dealer and the repayment is initiated as per the contract. This transaction will get recorded to the blockchain and can be viewed at any time.

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What Are the Types of Smart Contracts?

Smart contracts and protocols can be classified into the following categories:

Smart Legal Contracts

These contracts are the most obvious types of smart contracts. Most smart legal contracts are enforceable legally and include strict legal recourses for scenarios where the parties involved end up not fulfilling their end of the agreement. With clearly defined laws, smart contracts can simplify processes involving strict regulatory oversight like transactions in the real estate and financial market.

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)

DAOs are defined as communities that are present in the blockchain. These communities are defined by the rules set and implemented as code in the smart contracts. Each participant’s activity is subject to these rules, which are enforced and reached at recourse when a break is left to the program. Most smart contracts have these rules, and they work together with policing and managing participants.

Application Logic Contracts (ALCs)

ALCs have application-specific code that works together with other smart programs and contracts on the blockchain. They help in communicating with and verifying communication among devices in the IoT domain. ALCs are important in multi-function smart contracts and always work when managing a program.

How Does a Smart Contract Work?

A smart contract can work individually, but it can also be implemented along with other smart contracts. They can function interdependently as well. Successful completion of one smart contract can trigger another one and the process keeps going. If implemented properly, entire businesses and organizations can run successfully on smart contracts. This has already begun in various cryptocurrency systems wherein the laws are pre-defined. This allows the network to function independently.

What Are the Benefits of Smart Contracts?

The benefits of smart contracts are very similar to that of a blockchain.

◉ Speed: Smart contracts are digital and automated. It saves time as compared to manual documentation and the scope of errors is also less.

◉ Trust: They operate on pre-determined rules which are encrypted and shared among all the participants. This reduces any probabilities of malpractices and tampering.

◉ Security: Blockchain transactions work on the principles of cryptocurrency and they are encrypted. This makes it exceedingly difficult to hack into the network.

◉ Savings: Smart contracts eliminate the need for intermediaries as the transactions are transparent and do not require any third-party interference.

What Are Smart Contracts Used For?

Due to the ease of its functioning, smart contracts are used for all kinds of transactions across various industries, including:

◉ Insurance companies: Smart contracts can be used for simpler insurance processes like underwriting and payouts. With smart contracts in insurance, no third-party involvement is required, it speeds up the claim processing, and it also lowers the administrative costs.

◉ Health systems: Data is recorded and transferred safely. This makes it secure and does not allow access from third parties.

◉ Governments: Smart contracts can make voting systems completely secure and eliminate the possibilities of fraud.

◉ ICOs: An ICO is a crowdfunding system that uses blockchain technology. You can create a smart contract and a token for it to generate funds.

Smart contracts have enormous potential to capture global markets. It saves a lot of time and money, reduces frauds and delays, and is extremely reliable.

As smart contracts are an application of blockchain, learning about blockchain will provide you with the knowledge you need to succeed in your industry, whether you’re just starting out or looking to upgrade your company’s business model. EC-Council’s blockchain training program teaches you the ins and outs of smart contracts, with an overall focus on practical blockchain knowledge and the skills required to make you job-ready, all packaged within a flexible learning module that caters to your needs.


Saturday, 16 January 2021

What Is Security Operations Management?

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With the increase in the number of cyberattacks, the security teams of organizations must be vigilant at all times. In 2020, 56% of large businesses reported to have handled more than 1,000+ security alerts every day. This alarming number of security alerts has created a problematic situation for the security teams as they are unable to find talented professionals to manage them. Managing these threats manually becomes a challenge and that is where the need for security operations management arises. Security operations management integrates various automation tools with human analysts to monitor and detect threats efficiently.

What Is a Security Operations Center?

A Security Operations Center is a team of skilled IT professionals who are experts in information security. The main responsibility of a SOC team is to detect, analyze, respond, and protect organizations from cyberattacks. The team comprises of security analysts, engineers, and managers.  They are the first line of defense in any organization, functioning around the clock to keep a tab on all activities and mitigate threats.

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Security Operations Job Description – Roles and Responsibilities

Listed below are the various roles and responsibilities of a SOC cybersecurity team.

1. Security analyst: They are at the front lines of the organization as they detect the threat, investigate it, and take timely action. Their job is to ensure that everyone is trained properly and able to perform their tasks efficiently by implementing the correct policies and procedures. They coordinate with the internal IT department and other business units and communicate information about various security measures to be taken care of.

2. Security engineer: A security engineer can be a software or hardware professional who designs information systems while keeping a tab on various security aspects. They are the key players of the system as they develop various tools and methods for the organization to safeguard and prevents them from any probable attacks. They also work on varied tools that aid businesses to respond to attacks if they fall prey to one. A security engineer also documents the procedures, requirements, and protocols.  

3. SOC manager: The SOC manager oversees the entire security operations team. They directly report to the CISO. Their key responsibilities are to supervise the activity of the team members, which involves hiring, training, and the assessment of staff. They develop the necessary processes, assess incident reports, and ensure the smooth implementation of communication protocols in case of a crisis. They are also responsible for creating compliance reports, assistance during audits, and keeping track of the performance of the SOC team members.

4. CISO: The CISO has the final word on the security policies, protocols, and strategies in any organization. They are the ones who chalk out the entire security operations in the organization.

Job Scope for a SOC Cybersecurity Professional

There is a huge demand for SOC analysts in the global market. Jobs are very much available, and the pay scale is lucrative. As per Glassdoor, the average salary of a SOC analyst in the U.S. is $76,410. If this information has piqued your interest in this field, then this is a great career choice.

In any chosen career path, a certification provides a clear direction; particularly in a field such as cybersecurity, where a specific certification not only improves the skills of an individual, but also adds value to a professional’s hands-on experience. At EC-Council, we aim to provide you with the correct platform enhanced with a plethora of cybersecurity certificates. Our accredited SOC Analyst (CSA) program will be the perfect value-add to your abilities and resume. This curriculum hones your talent and makes you the perfect match for a strong SOC team. Extensive knowledge of cybersecurity and different protocols can also be acquired through this training program.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

The Best Guide: Windows Forensics for Beginners

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It is a known fact that the computer is a reliable witness that cannot lie. Furthermore, there are many unfiltered accounts of a suspect’s activity that can be recorded in his or her direct action or word. This is why Windows forensics is used for identifying all the hidden details left after or during an incident. Furthermore, data forensics techniques can be used to search, preserve, and analyze information on computer systems to discover potential evidence for a trial.

Windows forensic analysis plays an important role in both law enforcement investigations and corporate cybersecurity. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Windows forensics for beginners if you want to kickstart your career in data forensics.

What Is Computer Forensics?

Computer forensics is also known as digital forensics or cyber forensics, and it involves the investigation of digital data collected as evidence in criminal cases. Most law enforcement agencies and private firms can fight cybercrime by using Windows forensics tools to track, discover, and extract the digital information needed for a criminal investigation.

Most computer forensics specialists look for hard drives to find deleted or hidden files through file recovery programs and encryption decoding software. Furthermore, they can also gather crucial information from databases, network servers, tablets, smartphones, and other digital devices.

Why Is Digital Forensics Important?

We live in a golden age of evidence where data forensics plays a vital role in solving cases like forgery, homicide, and so on. Furthermore, digital forensics helps to offer more credibility than other types of evidence out there. Most organizations also use Windows forensic artifacts for both incident response and internal employee investigations.

5 Phases of a Computer Forensic Investigation

With the increase in cybercrime, Windows forensics plays an important role in national security, public safety, and law enforcement. A potential criminal’s digital activities can help investigators find digitally stored information about their criminal activity. Some of the steps to follow in a computer forensic investigation are:

Policy and Procedure Development

Windows forensics plays an important role in activities associated with criminal conspiracy, cybercrimes, or any type of digital evidence against a committed crime. This data is usually delicate and highly sensitive, and computer forensics investigators need to know how important it is to handle the data under proper protection to avoid compromising it.

This is why it is imperative to create strict guidelines and procedures that concerned investigators must follow. These procedures comprise detailed instructions for computer forensic investigators about when to perform recovery operations on possible digital evidence, the steps to follow, where to store retrieved data, and ways of documenting the document to ensure the integrity and credibility of the retrieved evidence.

Evidence Assessment

This is an important part of Windows forensics where the investigator can get a clear understanding of the case details. The evidence assessment phase helps to classify the cybercrime at hand. For example, finding pieces of evidence against someone with potential identity theft-related crimes, the computer forensic investigators can then examine the hard drives and other digital archives to get evidence that links him/her to the crime.

It is important for investigators to define the evidence type they are looking for, such as specific platforms and data formats.

Evidence Acquisition

There is a need for rigorous documentation before, during, and after the evidence acquisition phase. This is the phase where you need to document all the details like hardware and software specifications of systems needed for investigation and the system containing the potential evidence. The evidence acquisition phase must be completed carefully and legally because the documented evidence is important in court case proceedings.

Evidence Examination

A computer forensic investigator needs to investigate officially assigned archives and the recently deleted files through specific keywords. The investigators not only look for intentionally hidden encrypted files; they also analyze file names to get details like the date, time, and location that the data was created and downloaded. This then helps the Windows forensics investigator link the connection between uploading files from storage devices to the public network.

Furthermore, at this stage, the investigator works with all the other personnel involved in the case to understand the type of information that can be regarded as evidence.


This is the last phase where the investigator needs to record their activities during the complete investigation. In this step, all the guidelines, procedures, and policies will be followed. This also ensures the authenticity and integrity of the data that is received for evidential reasons.

Popular Computer Forensic Tools

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Some of the most popular Windows forensic tools are stated below.

The Sleuth Kit: This is used for gathering data during incident response or from live systems.

FTK Imager: This is a tool used to create forensic images of the device without damaging the original evidence.

Xplico: This tool can be used on four key components known as IP Decoder, Visualization System, Decoder Manager, and Data Manipulators.

Why Study Computer Forensics?

Windows forensics as a career has become more popular over the years, and is predicted to grow by 17% between 2016-2026, based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because of higher caseloads, it is predicted that state and local governments will hire additional computer forensic science technicians to keep up with the demand. Moreover, Windows forensics is becoming more popular across all fields for identifying computer crimes or protecting data.

Skills Needed for a Career in Computer Forensics

A certified forensic examiner needs to have a wide range of skills to excel in this career. Some of the common skills that a data forensics analyst needs are:

◉ Knowledge of various technology like computer operating systems, malware types, digital storage devices, and computer programming.

◉ Ethical issues regarding data.

◉ Ability to learn new things.

◉ Legal issues regarding data.

◉ Critical thinking.

◉ Problem-solving skills.

◉ Communication skills.

◉ Analytical thinking.

How Can You Learn Forensics?

We are in an age where computers are used as weapons to commit crimes, and the crimes committed through computers are on the rise. This is why organizations need to learn the basics of Windows operating systems and digital forensics, the importance of Windows-based evidence in digital forensics, and to know more about the practical demonstrations of Windows forensics.

With CodeRed’s course (soon to be released), you will be able to identify the types of cases needed for Windows forensics artifacts analysis that can be used as digital evidence. Furthermore, you will learn how to recover, analyze and create a storyline of the way events occurred in Windows-based cyberattacks like network attacks that you can use in internal investigations, criminal or civil litigations, and so on.

At the same time, if you are looking to get certified in digital forensics, you can also take a look at the Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator certification by EC-Council. The course covers hundreds of investigative tools such as EnCase, Access Data FTK, and ProDiscover.


Sunday, 10 January 2021

Why Python Is Important for Security Professionals

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Python programming is one of the most popular languages currently in use. It is a simple object-oriented language that is easy to learn and understand for beginners and skilled developers and is used across different areas from data science to cybersecurity. This blog will focus on Python for information security professionals and explain why it’s essential for their career growth.

Python for Cybersecurity

In contrast to other languages, Python is a simple and understandable language. Python has simple syntax, and new developers or those joining the cybersecurity sector can quickly pick it up. Python is also a favorite among experienced developers since it can incorporate several functionalities. Users can create Python scripts rapidly, and the easy syntax helps cybersecurity professionals to identify and correct errors in the code quickly.

Python follows a clean and well-defined implementation process. It doesn’t leave much space for the device or data to target hackers and attackers. The Python programming language also makes it simple to develop and incorporate new and distinct applications into older components.

Benefits of Python Programming in Cybersecurity

◉ Troubleshooting made simple: Python uses simple code, so it becomes easier for the programmer to troubleshoot errors. The simple design also increases its readability. That makes troubleshooting more comfortable and less time consuming. Python also has an in-built trouble-shooter called PDB that performs all the main functions.

◉ Memory management: Python has a native memory management tool. This advantage allows programmers and other users to worry less about memory management, including caching.

◉ Open source: Python’s design is open source, so anyone is welcome to improve it. It is also easy to download and free of cost. Many web development companies prefer Python.

◉ Easy to learn: It is the most user-friendly and straightforward programming language when compared to Java, C++, and .NET. The syntax of Python is simple when stacked against other languages. It also uses less code.

Why Is Python Essential for Cybersecurity Professionals?

Python is an essential programming language for cybersecurity professionals as it can perform many functions like scanning, packet sniffing, malware analysis, and more. From building video games to testing microchips, it is the best programming language. Many security tools are written in Python, as it is easy to access and understand. Here’s what Python can be used for on a day-to-day basis:

◉ Social media data extraction: Python programming scripts can be used to download data from many social media platforms. WhatsApp and Facebook use modules interfaced with Python.

◉ Flexibility: Python has a straightforward nature; it is easy to develop new applications quickly. It can also create simple modules in Java, C++, and .NET. All this makes it easier to respond to cyber threats.

◉ Packet sniffing: To avoid packet sniffing, create a simple packet sniffer using Python with a socket module. A raw socket gives access to the protocols. It is the socket that sends and receives data in binary, which is in Python.

◉ Network port scanning: In general, Nmap is a tool used to execute network port scanning, but one can easily do it without any third-party tools by using python socket programming.

◉ Quick scripts development: Python helps cybersecurity professionals to develop solutions in the least amount of time with straightforward code. It also makes it easy for cybersecurity professionals to identify errors and quickly solve problems.

◉ Libraries support: Python is the only programming language with a massive library of modules that allows cybersecurity professionals to access penetration testing tools every day.

◉ Productivity & speed: Because of its simple and object-oriented codes, the programmer’s productivity also improves. Python has powerful integrating and unit testing framework abilities to increase application speed.

◉ Highly scalable: Scalability is high in the python language. Its simplicity and flexibility can secure all applications.

◉ Multi-faceted development for cybersecurity: Python is a boon for security professionals as it can perform any task with minimal code in less time. In cybersecurity, Python uses various like encoding and decoding packets, malware analysis, network scanning, port scanning, and much more.

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Now that you’re up to speed on the basics, you might be interested in a more detailed look at Python programming in cybersecurity. EC-Council’s Python Online: From Novice to Program teaches you the Python programming setup and components, working with the Python network recon framework, password cracking, Python spying, and evading antivirus with Python.

You’ll get practical and theoretical-based training through Live exercises via the Cyber Range iLabs. The course is ideal for people new to Python, security professionals, developers, network administrators, and security application developers.


Saturday, 9 January 2021

What Is Ethereum 2.0 and Why Does It Matter?

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Blockchain technology has revolutionized global markets. It has disrupted various sectors like banking, fintech, agriculture, and healthcare. It works on the principles of cryptocurrency, which has made transactions simple and secure. Cryptocurrency in layman’s terms is nothing but digital currency. There were more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies in January 2020. Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency and it functions on a decentralized software platform through which smart contracts and decentralized apps can be built very easily.

If Ethereum kindles your interest and you want to learn more about it, this blog will serve as a trusted handbook and answer all your queries.

What Is Ethereum 2.0?

Ethereum 2.0 is an upgrade to the already existing Ethereum blockchain. It aims to increase the speed, efficiency, and scalability of the Ethereum network, enabling it to address the bottlenecks and increase the number of transactions. The pseudo names for Ethereum 2.0 are Eth2 or Serenity.

Ethereum 2.0 has some fundamental changes in its structure and design as compared to its previous version. The two major changes are “proof of stake” and “sharding.” Let us look at both these terms to understand the functioning of Ethereum 2.0

What Is Proof of Stake?

In a proof of stake consensus mechanism, there are validators instead of miners. Their major role is to propose new blocks, provide computing power, storage, and the bandwidth to validate transactions. The validators are given periodic payouts in ETH. There is a deposit contract of 32 ETH that should be locked in by these validators. It is a type of a security deposit that gets forfeited fully or partially in an event of any malpractice. This method is very effective in curbing malpractices.

What Is Sharding?

Sharding is the process of splitting one blockchain into multiple blockchains known as shards. It makes the entire network more efficient as a single validator does not have to handle the workload alone. Every validator maintains information related to “their” shard. These validators are also shuffled between shards regularly to avoid any kind of manipulation. The Beacon Chain is used for the communication and coordination of the shards.

How Does Ethereum Work?

The validators are the most important aspect of Ethereum 2.0 as they are solely responsible for its infrastructure and maintenance. Every validator has two keys: a signing key and a withdrawal key. A signing key is used to perform “work for the blockchain.” There are three main functions of a validator:

◉ To propose and add blocks to the Beacon Chain or one of the shard chains.

◉ To attest the validity of the beacon and shard chain.

◉ To report malicious behavior by other validators.

Due to these reasons, the signing key must be online 24/7. The withdrawal key performs actions on the funds. It is not necessary for the withdrawal key to be available all the time. However, it needs to be secured as the person has control over all the funds. If you want to become a validator, you need to lock up 32 ETH in the beacon chain. Validators do not work alone. They mostly work in committees wherein groups of minimum 128 validators vote on the head of the blockchain. The votes cast are of different types. They are:

◉ LMD GHOST votes: Attestations are for the head of the blockchain, specifically for the most recent block that the validators have agreed upon.

◉ Casper FFG votes: Attestations are for the checkpoint in the current epoch.

A checkpoint is the most recent block in the first slot of an epoch. Epochs comprise of 32 slots. Once 2 or 3 validators agree upon the most recent checkpoint, it gets justified. Once the previous checkpoint is justified, the last block gets finalized. So, after two epochs one block is finalized.

What Is the Difference Between Ethereum and Ethereum 2.0?

The major difference between Ethereum 2.0 and its counterpart is the consensus mechanism which they use. Ethereum uses proof of work (PoW) mechanism, while Ethereum 2.0 uses proof of stake (PoS) mechanism.

The proof of work mechanism is an energy-intensive process in which complex mathematical puzzles are decoded by miners with the help of computer hardware processing power. This is also used to verify new transactions. Whoever decodes the puzzle first, adds a new transaction which contains the previous transactional records making up the blockchain.

In the proof of stake mechanism, crypto is used to verify a transaction by the transaction validators instead of miners. The validators must propose a depending on the time and amount of crypto they hold. When a majority of validators claim to have seen the block, it is added to the blockchain and they are rewarded for conducting the block proposition successfully. This is how “forging” or “minting” takes place.

PoS is a more energy efficient mechanism as compared to PoW since it uses less computing power to secure a blockchain.

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How Will Ethereum 2.0 Be More Secure?

The most important advantage of Ethereum 2.0 is its scalability. Ethereum 2.0 will have shard chains due to which it can conduct up to 10,000 transactions per second whereas Ethereum can support only 30 transactions per second. This also leads to a lot of delays and network congestion which will not be the case in Ethereum 2.0. The implementation of shard chains speeds up the network and can scale more easily as the transactions are handled in parallel chains instead of consecutive ones.

The main idea behind devising an upgrade to the existing Ethereum is to exercise more safety in the entire transaction. Many proof of stake networks have a very small set of validators. This accounts for decreased network security. Ethereum 2.0 requires a large set of validators, approximately 16,384, which makes it more decentralized, secure, and less prone to manipulation.

The Future of Ethereum 2.0

Ethereum is the largest general purpose blockchain in today’s market since its launch in 2015. More than 1,400 Ethereum projects are being built . The upgrade will roll out in three phases: phase 0, 1, and 2.

Phase 0 was launched in December 2020 with the implementation of the Beacon Chain. It stores the registry of validators and deploys the proof of work consensus mechanism.

Phase 1 is anticipated to launch in 2021 and the shard chains will be integrated. 64 shards are expected to launch.

The Ethereum 1.0 chain will become a shard of Eth2 in Step 1.5, and transfers will be enabled, resulting in Eth2 resembling a “perpetual debt- and equity-like bond” and a floating rate, as validators can now freely enter and exit the scheme.

In Phase 2, the shards will become fully functional and compatible with smart contracts. It is scheduled to launch in 2021/22. It will be an upgraded version with added features.

With its added advantages and scalability, Ethereum 2.0 will garner more and more interest from investors in the years ahead.

What Are the Risks Associated with Ethereum 2.0 Participation?

As an ETH holder interested in Eth2 by staking, the key risks you face are:

◉ One-way Beacon Chain transfers and locked funds until Phase 1.5 (unknown timeline). The client app bugs (the software one runs as a validator) can be slashed.

◉ Shutdown of the service provider prior to Step 1.5.

Make your debut as a Certified Blockchain Professional (CBP) through our blockchain certification program as it will help you understand Ethereum and various other aspects of the blockchain world. The training program focuses on the information and skills necessary to keep you abreast of the latest tech trends and industry updates. The best part is that everything is packed in the form of a series of versatile learning modules that helps you define your own learning pace.

Enroll today to become a certified expert in blockchain!


Thursday, 7 January 2021

How to Improve Azure Web Service with Front Door

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The Internet is mostly accessed through web applications these days. Though a lot of companies provide us with rich and interactive native applications, our thumb automatically taps the browser icon if need to search anything on the internet. You need a web application to run everything from a large news website to a local pastry shop to a B2B application to manage your sales channels, because your users are distributed across several locations, and the application helps make your business available.

However, there is always a demand to maximize an application’s performance for your end-users and make sure the application is always-on across attacks. This is why you need an Azure Front Door, as it offers a variety of features to improve your application with its layers of caching, global distribution, acceleration, and failover. Find out everything you need to know about Azure Web Service with the Front Door in this article.

What Is Azure App Service?

The Azure App Service is a fully managed Platform as a Service that can be used to integrate  BizTalk Services, and Mobile Services into a single service while adding new capabilities that enables integration with cloud systems or on-premises. Furthermore, Azure App Service offers users the ability to:

◉ Build engaging iOS, Android, and Windows apps.

◉ Provision and deployment of web and mobile apps in seconds.

◉ Automation of business processes plus a visual design experience.

◉ Integration with Software as a Service (SaaS) applications like OneDrive, Office 365, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and on-premises applications.

Why Use Azure App Service?

Some of the key features of the Azure App Service are:

◉ The Azure App Service supports multiple languages and frameworks. This means support for ASP.NET, Java, Python, PHP, etc. You can also run PowerShell and other scripts as a background service.

◉ It features a managed production environment. This means that the App Service helps to automatically patch and maintain the OS and language frameworks for you while you spend time creating great apps.

◉ You can use App Service for containerization and docker functions. You can dockerize your app and also host a custom Linux or Windows container with an App Service.

◉ Azure Web Service offers DevOps This means you can set up continuous integration and deployment using Azure DevOps, Docker Hub, GitHub, Azure Container Registry, or BitBucket. It also promotes updates by testing and staging environments.

◉ It offers connections to SaaS platforms and on-premises data. You can use App Service to choose from over 50 connectors for SaaS services, enterprise systems, and internet services.

◉ Some of the other Azure Web Service features are global scale with high availability, application templates, security and compliance, Serverless code, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code integration, API and mobile features, etc.

Types of Azure App Services

Azure runs App Services on fully managed virtual machines in either a shared or dedicated mode based on your App Service Plan. There are four types of Azure App Services:

◉ Web App: This is used for hosting web applications and websites (previously Azure Websites).

◉ API App: It is used for hosting the RESTful APIs.

◉ Logic App: It is used for sharing data across clouds, system integration, and business process automation.

◉ Mobile App: It is used to host mobile app backends previously delivered by Azure Mobile Services.

Benefits of Azure Web Service

◉ The deployment slots are free.

◉ It is very easy to deploy to, and it deploys faster than Cloud Services.

◉ It can combine multiple applications together to save money.

◉ It is extendable with site extensions.

◉ It has a built-in A/B testing feature.

Limitations of Azure Web Service

◉ It cannot use all the monitoring tools as you cannot install an agent.

◉ It has limited windows performance counters.

◉ It has no server access.

◉ It has limited VM sizes and specs to choose from.

What Is Azure Front Door?

Azure Front Door is a premium service that gives the application access to networks of edge nodes. With Azure Front Door as a service layer, you can improve your user’s network access performance without modifying the existing application. Furthermore, Azure Front Door offers diverse features like geographic load-balancing.

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You can additionally use Azure Front Door to offload the overhead SSL encryption from your application server onto the Edge Node. Azure Front Door also provides firewall and DDoS protection.

Azure Web Service with Front Door (Coming Soon on CodeRed)

This is one of the best Azure Web Service courses that you can find out there. In this course, you will learn what Azure Web Apps are, how developers can use the Azure web apps to create and deploy the application, and how to scale and secure Azure Web Apps. You will also learn about the high availability of the application hosted on Azure Web Apps with Azure Front Door.