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WordPress Updates — The Pitfalls

WordPress updates and website maintenanceSo here’s a a great example of why auto­mating updates in WordPress is only smart for non-business web­sites. As I write this, one of the WP plugins pub­lished by Facebook just released an update with invalid code.

Not just a bug — code so wrong that it crashes sites. Code that wouldn’t have passed basic testing.

I’m sure “Facebook for WooCommerce” will be fixed promptly. However, over 900,000 online shops use it. If they were all running auto­matic updates, almost a million shops would be offline right now.

Other WordPress Update Problems

This comes on top of the GADWP fiasco earlier this year, too. In that, ExactMetrics changed the nature of their popular plugin without warning, through an “update”.

Version 6 of the “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP” plugin was “redesigned from the ground up”.… Read the rest 

Can A VPN Improve Small Business Cybersecurity?

Can a VPN improve small business cybersecurityAll busi­nesses today should recognise the importance of having an effective cyber­se­curity policy in place. Data breaches seem to be con­stantly in the news. Whilst those tend to be high-profile cases like TalkTalk and British Airways, small busi­nesses fre­quently suffer data breaches too. In recent years, Virtual Private Networks (“VPNs”) have become quite common for home use — so can a VPN improve small business cybersecurity?

Well, yes — but let’s cover the basics before examining the business benefits of a VPN.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a private network (within the public internet) that enhances your online privacy by:

  • Giving you a tem­porary IP address when you go online
  • Encrypting data transfers between your com­puter and other online resources
  • Wrapping that data inside other data to keep it even more private (called “tun­neling” or “encap­su­lation”)

An IP address is the numeric address of your com­puter on the internet.… Read the rest 

Meltdown & Spectre Simplified

Meltdown & Spectre cybersecurity vulnerabilities

Meltdown & Spectre

So, 2018 has started with dis­closure of two huge cyber­se­curity vul­ner­ab­il­ities, called “Meltdown” and “Spectre”. These are not like most of the “exploits” that hackers use. They affect almost all modern computers.

Sites like MeltdownAttack.com and Defiant.com (pre­vi­ously “WordFence”) have covered the tech details well. So, here’s a sim­plified summary of what non-techies need to know.

Why You Should Care About Meltdown & Spectre

Most vul­ner­ab­il­ities affect software. Meltdown and Spectre affect CPUs — the core com­puter chips — mostly those built by Intel since 1995. So they don’t just affect PCs, or Windows, or Macs, or Linux. They affect com­puters, regardless of what software or oper­ating systems you use. In short — yes, this affects your computer(s) and phone(s).Read the rest 

It’s All About Trust — Increasing Sales With SSL Security

SSL security trust mark“Trust me.” That’s the most vital message any website can convey. Without trust, vis­itors just leave.

However, most folks expect to be trusted, even when they’re wary about trusting others. Whilst that’s fine for dealing with folks in person, web­sites need to plan to build trust. We do that by providing quality content, good service — and “trust marks” like testi­mo­nials, “About” pages, Privacy Policies and other reassurances.

Of course, search engines want to promote quality, trust­worthy sites, so many of these reas­sur­ances can be good for SEO, too. So online, trust doesn’t just enable sales — it act­ively increases sales.

…and Google just changed the game.

Google’s Great SSL Plan

So, as you may know, Google uses hun­dreds of signals to assess the quality and trust­wor­thiness of web­sites.… Read the rest 

Anti-Malware Solutions — 5 Vital Elements

Anti-malware solutions“Malware” covers a huge range of threats including viruses, spyware, ransomware and more. So, anti-malware solu­tions must defend on several fronts. Many include anti-spam and firewall solu­tions too, as these block common malware sources.

Some oper­ating systems are more secure than others, but nothing can be 100% secure. Malware is built to work around any pre­dictable default pro­tec­tions. So, whilst it’s worth keeping built-in anti-malware up to date, you’ll need more.

Essential Anti-Malware Components

So, what fea­tures should you look for in your anti-malware solution? Well, there are five that no system should be without.

1. Anti-Virus

The most obvious requirement is an effective, up-to-date anti-virus system. These mainly handle:

  • Viruses – which need human inter­action to spread
  • Worms – which self-rep­licate. These can take down an entire network of com­puters without much human involvement
  • Trojans – which hide malware inside files and pro­grams that look poten­tially useful

These clas­si­fic­a­tions mostly refer to the delivery method.… Read the rest