Category Archives: Security

What Meltdown and Spectre Mean For You

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last week or so, you’ve probably noticed a lot of hoopla about two new security vulnerabilities that affect almost every computer on the planet. Terrifyingly named Meltdown and Spectre, the two affect every processor chip made since 1995. That means your phone, the server your website lives on, the cloud computers you use to store your data, the old laptop you’re using for a media server, they are all affected.

Since these vulnerabilities involve hardware issues and not software ones, the solution has been much more difficult to implement and large swaths of the tech community have been secretly involved in trying to come up with patches over the last few months since Google researchers (and others) first privately disclosed them.

But solutions have been created, and many of them are beginning to roll out this week. So what does this mean for you? Stick around and we’ll go through it. Continue reading

4 Ways to Reduce WordPress Spam

spamIn the beginning the online universe was formless and void. Then lo, the internet was created and it was good. But as the digital gods rested after their glorious endeavor, sneaky little spammers crept into every shadow and crevice they could find and began inflicting us all with a constant stream of garbage.

Honestly, fighting spam can feel like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. You block off one path, and they immediately find another. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to block them, right? Constant vigilance!

Luckily, WordPress has a number of good ways to make life difficult for spammers, so let’s go through a few, and hopefully we can stop those discount Viagra emails you’ve been getting. Continue reading

Why Your Website Needs SSL, Right Now!

SSL. If you’ve dipped your toes into the web design & development world at all in the last few years, you’ve probably heard these three letters bandied about. But what do they mean, and why should you care?!

In a word, security. Web security has become increasingly important these days, what with those young whippersnapper hackers and their shenanigans. Get off my lawn (shakes fist)!!

But seriously, that’s what SSL is all about — keeping hackers and other malicious individuals off of your digital lawn.

So let’s get into SSL in more detail, so you know exactly what I’m talking about and why you need it. Continue reading

How Are You Still Not Using A Password Manager!!??

password managerA few years ago, we posted about the super, ultra, mega necessity of using a password manager. Since then, the world has become an even more dangerous place for us, cyber-attacks larger and more frequent, and the number of vulnerable access points in our lives more prevalent.

And yet I still run into people on a regular basis who don’t use one. Who are still using the same short probably-already-hacked password for every account that they own. So let’s try this again, shall we?! All together now, YOU NEED TO BE USING A PASSWORD MANAGER!!!!! Did I put enough exclamation points at the end of that to get my message across? I hope so.

You see, I want you to be safe. I want you to be happy. I want you to be snuggled up in a warm blanket of security and peace of mind. And unless you use a password manager, when it comes to your online security, you won’t be.

So let’s take another look at the available password managers out there worth choosing from, since things have changed and updated since the last post, and when we’re done you can all pinky swear that you’ll pick one and use it. K? K. Continue reading

8 Simple Steps to Keep Your WordPress Site Secure

padlock-597495_640-cropIt’s ironic that securing a WordPress website is called “hardening.” The process is a bit  like adding more stones and rocks to bolster a fortress. But, remembering all the details of WordPress security is so much “harder” (and so much more important to keeping hackers away) than a rock wall!

Sure, you could stick your head in the ground like an ostrich and make-believe that small business owners aren’t worth hacking. However, as we mentioned in a previous post, we live “…in the age of big box security leaks, NSA snooping, easily lost mobile devices chock full of personal data and hackers that are increasingly targeting smaller targets.” And since WordPress is pretty soft on defense, it’s seriously important to step up and combat the attacks.

That’s why it’s worth repeatedly telling you about how to best protect your WordPress site. Especially when these 8 simple steps can help even the most technically challenged secure their website. Continue reading

Why You Need to Be Using a Password Manager, Period

16870840125_cf8e0fd94e_oYou need to be using a password manager. There, I said it. “But, but….,” you say. NO! YOU NEED TO BE USING A PASSWORD MANAGER!! I don’t care that your system of sticky notes and napkins has served you for years. I don’t care that you don’t have that many passwords to remember (yeah, right). I don’t care that you always use the same password for everything. Actually, I take that back, I do care about that. STOP USING THE SAME PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING!! There is a better alternative and it’s called a password manager. You need to be using one.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what a password manager is —  it’s simple, a password manager is a piece of software that generates, securely stores and gives you access to your passwords, wherever you might be.

Here, then, is some info and tips on how to choose the best password manager for you. Continue reading

Referrer Spam — What It Is and How to Stop It

road-sign-464655_640Those of us who live in the light often forget that the internet is like any dense concentration of people — it has a seedy underbelly. Sure, we hear about the latest hacks of government and corporate servers, but there’s little we can personally do about those intrusions, so we shrug it off and go about our daily lives.

But what about the less nefarious, yet still damaging minor crooks of the web? They often fly under the radar, ruining our lives in tiny increments rather than gigantic swaths of destruction. For the small business or solo blogger trying to make it in this world, one particularly annoying breed of this type — the referrer spammer — has begun to proliferate to the point that it is beginning to cause people serious damage. Continue reading