It’s Only Make Believe

Sometimes you just have to grab the microphone and sing along! It’s Only Make Believe was never really one of my favorite hits, but I know the words. I know the words by heart, and have sung it on stage.
The key to singing isn’t necessarily liking the song you’re singing.

And that’s the name of this show…

Recently, I clicked on my primary site, DenverWebStudio.com and it came up a blank screen. I pushed through to the backside and sure enough, there was a hacker in the middle of wiping out my site. They’d added a graphic intended to show up in place of my front page, but there was a default page set up, and they couldn’t figure out the name of it. I’m pretty bad about naming my ‘home page’ different than Home, or Home page. So they were stuck trying various pages, instead of just tracking, so their intended graphic was lost in sub-pages, and I was able to delete the file before it showed up on my front page. That mean resetting my site. Nothing I haven’t done before, but I had jobs on the front line, and I wasn’t really ready to rebuild my own primary page right then.

So, I transferred it, and loaded a quick holding page, until I can build the site.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Backups and security are a really BIG deal right now on the internet. And for the most part, I make sure all sites are locked down and secure. In fact, I use a high-security program that I purchased to keep my sites secure. But occasionally, a client will ask me to apply a specific ‘plugin’ on their website… When that happens, I usually test it on one of my affiliate sites, before I load it onto a customer’s site. And more often than not, I also test it for a few days on one of my higher traffic websites. Such was the case with my primary site… I’d tested the plugin on several sites, and hadn’t had any problem with it, but there still seemed to be a red flag going off in my head, so I posted it on my highest traffic site DWS. Ten days later, my site crashed and the hackers went in through – that plugin.

I’ve alerted the people who designed the plugin, and it’s no longer available. We worked on a plan to pull the hacker access to the plugin, but it may not work. Meanwhile, there’s an absolutely AMAZING plugin that’s no longer accessible because a bunch of THUGS hacked into a security flaw.

Security isn’t always what it seems.

I pay for security on my sites, and have top quality security, but that doesn’t secure your site, if you let the wolf in the door through a plugin-porthole.

Most plugins have ratings, and numbers statistics for how often they’re used and where. They have reference points for their level of security, and many other specific details that will help you figure out if they’re “secure” or not, and how to protect yourself if they’re connected to other sites, or relevant to any security risks. Most of the time, those statistics are good. But when they aren’t good, it doesn’t matter, if you get hacked.

A hacker can be anyone who gets into your ‘business,’ but more often than not, a hacker is someone who means HARM to you in one way or another. Generally, the harm intended is destruction of your financial success – via the removal or destruction of your website, your identity, or your connections. Any of these can be harmful to your business.

Who you trust with your details is important.

I always hesitate to keep access to someone else’s passwords, or details for their websites, email accounts, or other specific items, because my having them is one more ‘loose end’ that might be dangerous to their business. Even as a web designer, I believe it’s better to access their sites through my own portholes, than to access through theirs. With very few exceptions I’ve followed that rule relentlessly.

Designated passwords should be STRONG and secure, with the use of various acceptable symbols, letters, and numbers. The shift key is your friend. Figure it out. Use it.

When someone asks for your password, remember to ask them how secure it is, and if they really need it. If they do need it, fine, give them the password. But know their intended use for the password, and how long they’ll need it. I always recommend asking where they store their passwords. Hopefully it’s in a little black book of some sort that they don’t carry around with them. Lock up those passwords, and keep them safe.

You never know who’s Jonesing for your ID.

That security thing — is like a Conway Twitty tune, “It’s only Make Believe…”

Don’t forget it – you need to know your security.

 


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