Scam mail varies: “A proposal for a lucrative business”, “Your bank account needs to have its login details updated”, “Your bank account online statement is ready”, “A payment is due to you…” and other. Scammers are relentless in their efforts to trick you in giving them the opportunity to leave malicious code in your device (have you got good anti-malware software to prevent this – refer below)..
A scam that hadn’t been used in a while and is once again doing the rounds is: “Your MailBox is Almost Full”.
You created a website and over the years you have added products, services, articles, plugins and all the rest that goes with keeping a website up and running. You have worked hard and the last thing you want is when you try to access your website… it is simply… “gone”!
It doesn’t exist anymore. You hosting company had “guaranteed” that they would backup your website regularly but when you phone your hosting company they now say that unfortunately they cannot restore your website…
Bad… very bad!
There are various reasons why your website “is no longer there”. It could have been hacked; there could have been a conflict between plugins or the hosting company went out of business… (as improbable as it may seem).
If you have a WordPress website it is ESSENTIAL that you have the following:
There are various security plugins, Wordfence security being one of the very best. The Wordfence security plugin has a free version and a paid version. The free version is, in most cases, all you need for good website security.
The two most important plugins for any website are: a good backup and restore plugin as well as a good security plugin. Don’t try and expand your website until you have them installed and setup.
In my case security from cyber attack is very important as in the past four years I lost two of my websites to hacking and last week I almost lost the entire content in my hard drive. A proper website can take months or even years to create – this means much time and money.
Many of us have heard cases of friends whose websites were hacked and their clients were receiving invoices from the hackers.
Once someone hacks your email he/ she has access to your mailing lists and in some cases to all your computer files as well.
Whenever a hosting company tells you that they will back-up your website – take that statement with a pinch of salt. Yahoo, my hosting company at the time was unable to recover my websites. Also, the back-up I had, was not effective. I will mention about an incredibly effective backup plugin later in this article.
Protect your Computer
Protect your computer from Malware. There are various reputable brands, Malwarebytes being one of the most popular. If you opt for the free version ensure that you do a weekly scan.
Anti-virus: Again there are a couple of good brands Kaspersky being one of the best. A great feature of Kaspersky is the fact that it shows you if a website is not safe to visit. My friend Niren Singh is using AVG Premium and he is very happy with their service.
Use an USB Flash Drive or some other easy, reliable storage solution. Install Cobian backup and have all your computer’s content transferred to your flash drive (or other reliable storage device) automatically and do this regularly.
Protect your email
Activate ‘two-step verification’ for your email account. What this means is that additionally to entering the password you must tap on your smartphone to access your email on your computer.
Change your password regularly. A note from my friend Andrew Gibb: “I’ve learnt that long passwords are strong passwords, that special characters (like: [email protected]#+-_ etc), numbers and mixed case (UpPeR and LoWeR) are important but not as important as longer passwords. Remember if you think that you’re going to forget a password, write it down and store it in a safe place – it’s not often that crooks steal physical documents”.
Protect your WordPress Website
Ensure you have a website that starts with https://. If your website starts with ‘http://’ change to ‘https:// immediately!
On a weekly basis go to your ‘installed plugins’ and update any plugin that needs updating – this takes a few seconds to do.
Install and enable ‘VaultPress’ – the best back-up plugin there is (it only costs US$5/ month) and you will sleep easy. This plugin backs up your entire website every 24 hours and should your website be hacked you can restore your entire website at a touch of a button.
Your Developer/ Local IT Store
Keeping your computer, email and website safe is something you can do yourself. Additionally, keep a friendly relationship with your Developer or the Technical person at your local IT store as they are well-equipped to assist you in an emergency.
At Wordfence we continually look for security vulnerabilities in the third party plugins and themes that are widely used by the WordPress community. In addition to this research, we regularly examine WordPress core and the related wordpress.org systems. Recently we discovered a major vulnerability that could have caused a mass compromise of the majority of WordPress sites.
The vulnerability we describe below may have allowed an attacker to use the WordPress auto-update function, which is turned on by default, to deploy malware to up to 27% of the Web at once.
Choosing the most damaging target to attack
The server api.wordpress.org (or servers) has an important role in the WordPress ecosystem: it releases automatic updates for WordPress websites. Every WordPress installation makes a request to this server about once an hour to check for plugin, theme, or WordPress core updates. The response from this server contains information about any newer versions that may be available, including if the plugin, theme or core needs to be updated automatically. It also includes a URL to download and install the updated software.
Compromising this server could allow an attacker to supply their own URL to download and install software to WordPress websites, automatically. This provides a way for an attacker to mass-compromise WordPress websites through the auto-update mechanism supplied by api.wordpress.org. This is all possible because WordPress itself provides no signature verification of the software being installed. It will trust any URL and any package that is supplied by api.wordpress.org.
WordPress powers approximately 27% of all websites on the Internet. According to the WordPress documentation: “By default, every site has automatic updates enabled for minor core releases and translation files.”. By compromising api.wordpress.org, an attacker could conceivably compromise more than a quarter of the websites worldwide in one stroke.
Below we describe the technical details of a serious security vulnerability that we uncovered earlier this year that could compromise api.wordpress.org. We reported this vulnerability to the WordPress team via HackerOne. They fixed the vulnerability within a few hours of acknowledging the report. They have also awarded Wordfence lead developer Matt Barry a bounty for discovering and reporting it…