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WordPress Security Tips and Hack Defense

Friday, September 15th, 2017

From WordPress core, theme and plugin safety, to user name and password best practices and database backups.

Other topics to consider include:

  • layered security measures like using the .htaccess file to enable or disable features
  • limiting file permissions
  • black listing and white listing IPs
  • disable file editing
  • using HTTPS

WordPress Security
If you run a large commerce site and it gets hacked, you can lose valuable customers and of course, money. Web hosts are likely to suspend accounts that are hacked taking your site offline. You don’t want to waste your time patching up a site after hacks or paying hosting when your site is down.

Why is WordPress so successful?
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system now powering 20% of all websites. It’s success is due to its intuitive interface and the fact that its free and open source. Its features provide endless options for extending functionality through the addition of plugins and the ability to customize your site with themes and widgets. With thousands of paid and free themes and plugins available on the web, the option to create a site that is both functional and uniquely yours is virtually limitless.

Why is WordPress exposed to attack?
These same features are the most common ways that we expose our sites to attack. Because WordPress is open source, anyone can easily explore the core code or search through any of the most popular themes and plugins for hacks. These are items of WordPress that are out of your control.

Your host and WordPress hacks
Unless you pay big money to have your own server for web hosting, you also can’t control the hosting environment your website is run on.

Brute force attack
A brute force attack is also something that is out of your control. While you can’t always stop them, you can put into place measures to limit the damage and make it difficult for someone to successfully hack your site. Even tech giants like Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have had their security breached. No site, WordPress or otherwise, is completely secure. What you must do is recognize where weakness exist and create extra layers of defense to protect your content in the event your site is hacked. Use as many common solutions as possible to help manage the weakening of your site through human error.

A brute force attack can last months and involve thousands of servers world-wide. All hosting providers who offer WordPress are potential targets Hackers use compromised servers and PCs to hack websites’ administrator panels by exploiting hosts with “admin” as account name, and weak passwords which are being resolved through brute force attack methods.

4 Points of Vulnerability
1. host security breaches
2. out of data WordPress core
3. unsafe plugins and themes
4. brute force attacks

Managing your WordPress powered site well is the most valuable security tool available to you.

  • speed
  • options
  • services
  • security
  • backup solutions
  • control
  • server type
  • price point

Choosing WordPress to power your site means WordPress is the foundation of everything on your site. The fact that it is free and open source carries many benefits. But with each update, the exploits of the previous version are made available to the public making previous versions more susceptible to being hacked. Employing backs security through obscurity tactics, you can remove or hide the version number of your WordPress installation from displaying. You can even choose a more simple solution with plugins to hide the version number. This may deter a bot from attaching to your site, but this does not patch holes in older versions of WordPress. Only updating your WordPress installation as newer versions are made available will remove the published exploits.

Updating WordPress is simple (since version 3.7 was released with automatic updates)
In previous versions of WordPress a new version banner would display in your dashboard whenever there is an update available. Now WordPress installs will automatically update to new minor versions without you having to lift a finger. Minor versions are usually for security updates. You will, however, still need to update for to new major versions.

To update WordPress

  1. First things first! Backup your WordPress.
  2. Dashboard
  3. Updates

The biggest threat to your site
The quickest way to compromise your site includes adding poorly, maliciously coded or out of date themes or plugins from untrusted developers or sites. Due to the open source nature of WordPress many themes or plugins are distributed under a GPL or GPN (General Public License) licenses. So its easy for themes and plugins to be forked and redistributed on free WordPress theme and plugin sites with the addition of hidden or malicious code. This code can be as simple as exposing a virus or as serious as exposing your visitors to identity theft.

Before downloading a free theme or plugin:

  1. Research the author and only download from the authors site or the WordPress depository
  2. Ask advise at WordPress.org/support
  3. If you are going to use free trusted plugins or themes, check the version number compatibility listing and verify that the plugin or theme is still being supported and updated. Many themes or plugins are slow to receive updates or are simply abandoned.
  4. If you don’t use it, lose it. If you are not using a theme or plugin, delete it.
  5. Use paid supported themes and plugins (not free).

Experience shows that nearly all WordPress attacks could be defended against and defended by simply using safe, up to date and trusted plugins and themes.

The History of Social Media Since 1994

Friday, September 15th, 2017

The story and history of Social Media
The history of social media is an important milestone for business and websites. Social networking may seem like a fairly new marvel on the Internet with Twitter and Facebook being the two most popular, but in reality, social is not and never was just devised of these two platforms. In fact, Facebook and Twitter were rolled out nearly thirty years after social started on the Internet. It’s true that it was not until 2004 and 2006 when Facebook and Twitter kicked off that social media started to change the world and the way that people communicate online, but the truth is that social media started with email, usenet, the world wide web, blogs and AOL instant messenger. The history of the Internet is the history of social networking.

Social Media History
The phenomena of social networking blossomed in 1994 with the creation of Geocities, which allowed its users to setup websites modeled after certain urban areas. At that time, more than 1,500 web servers were online in 1994 and people were referring to the Internet as the Information Superhighway.

  • In 1971, a government organization called ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) sent the first email.
  • In 1980, Usenet worldwide distributed Internet discussion system was launched and with it, thousands flocked to the message boards to discuss music, science, literature and sports.

These two events signal the dawn of social networking.

What do people do with social media?

  • Posting and sharing
  • Reading and viewing
  • Linking and commenting
  • Interacting with brands
  • Interacting with fan pages
  • Playing games
  • Chatting and messaging

What is social?

  • It’s huge. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populated in the world, behind only China and India.
  • The amount of video uploaded to YouTube every minute is more than 24 hours (double from the year prior).
  • The number of YouTube videos viewed per day is over 2 billion (double from the year prior).
  • The number of images hosted on Flickr is over 4 billion (that is 13 times more than the Library of Congress).
  • The number of companies using LinkedIn to find and attract employees is 95%.
  • The number of marriages last year between people who met through social media is 1 in 6, which is twice as many people who met in bars, clubs and other social events.
  • The average number of tweets per day on Twitter is over 27 million (that is 8 time more than the year prior)..

Who is social?
More than half of the human race is under the age of 30. So if you want to a sense of where the world’s media habits are headed, it makes sense to watch what kids are doing.

Reaching customers
Social media is the best way to reach your most influential customers, and the only way to reach your most cynical ones. Social media is the crack cocaine of the Internet. We want it, we need it, and we go through withdraw when we don’t have it.

The future of business and social
Social media is a way of thinking. It’s not about sales or ads or click-through rates. It’s about pursuing relationships and fostering communities of consumers. Businesses that wish to grow need to rethink their entire business marketing process. Social requires businesses to make plans because with social, customers are in the center and they are in control.

Level the playing field
Social media is dramatically leveling the playing field and connecting us like never before. So, forget your brand. You don’t own it. You can spend all sorts of time and money trying to manufacture public opinion, but ultimately it’s up to the public.

Social media is redefining everything.

  • How we work
  • How we play
  • How we learn
  • How we share
  • How we discover
  • How we create
  • How we complain
  • How we celebrate
  • How we mourn
  • How we applaud
  • How we influence
  • How we collaborate
  • How we investigate
  • How we evaluate

The rules of social media are basically the same as media.

  1. Listen
  2. Engage
  3. Be real
  4. Be respectful
  5. Have fun

Home on the Internet
Social media is the ongoing conversation of the planet. It’s the source of news, and more often that not, social is the home on the Internet. It’s the home page and the place where most people spend time on the Internet. Social media is the mainstream. It moves the media mouthpiece and constantly distributes to the hands of the public.

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