If you’re a regular Business in Blue Jeans reader, then you may have noticed that our website has been up and down quite a few times in the last few months. I wanted to transparently explain what’s been going on and why, and also give you a few tips to protect your website from the myriad of threats out there.
What’s Been Going On and Why
Our web host is a popular host and as such, it seems they have been targeted by hackers – a lot. And when you add the targeted attacks on the web host to the daily barrage of spam referral traffic that we receive (equal to the amount of authentic traffic, according to our analytics), and the fact that the entire suite of Business in Blue Jeans sites is comprised of WordPress sites, and you have a recipe for trouble.
In fact, you may have seen something like this recently, when trying to visit the Business in Blue Jeans sites:
“Malware (for “malicious software”) is any program or file that is harmful to a computer user. Thus, malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and also spyware, programming that gathers information about a computer user without permission.” (from http://searchmidmarketsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/malware)
How might one get malware?
It can happen overnight and it can happen in an instant. Malware can come through email, it can come through spam referral traffic, it can come through your web site, or via your web host.
Step #1: Reconsider WordPress
Got you there, didn’t I? I can code HTML and CSS with the best of them, but I adore WordPress, because it makes my life so darned easy. I can have a site up, running, and looking pretty slick within minutes with WordPress. And it’s the #1 platform our clients request when they want us to develop their websites.
But if you’re going to use WordPress, you’d better be prepared for the maintenance (or your web developer has to be). The most important thing you need to know about WordPress is that many of its features run in add-on modules called “plugins.” And plugins often come with security holes. If you (or your web developer) are not prepared to be constantly vigilant about keeping your plugins and WordPress versions up to date, and selecting plugins that have been created by developers who are keeping the security holes closed, then WordPress might not be the ideal platform for your web site.
Step #2:Manage Spam Referral Traffic
Malware is insidious – and you never know where it’s hiding. One of the places it can strike is through spam referral traffic, which I wrote an entire article about recently). Spam referral attacks can drop malware in a variety of ways. The most common ones I see are through comment spam and clicks.
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