Month: June 2017

rnc data breach web security best practices

The RNC Data Breach: Pitfalls of Neglecting Web Security Best Practices

In a recent security report, researchers revealed an unsecured archive of US voter data collected by Deep Root Analytics, a data firm connected to the Republican National Convention (RNC). The exposed data — which included full names, addresses, and phone numbers of 198 million registered voters — was uncovered by a security researcher in an internet-accessible database with no password protection or any other security measures. The database has been secured at the time of this writing, but it remains unclear how long this data was exposed to the internet.

It may be easy to assume exposures of this nature are an inevitability. After all, a data analytics firm associated with a major political party sounds like a clear target for bad actors. However, the data was discovered by a researcher performing unrelated searches through Amazon’s S3 infrastructure for any unprotected data, not targeted attacks against Deep Root Analytics or even voter data in particular. This fact underscores a critical necessity of the Internet: prioritize the security of your data at all stages of its life cycle. Your data needs to be secure where it’s stored, during network transit, and when it’s in the hands of third parties. This data leak in particular was the result of the RNC failing to properly ensure the security of their data in the hands of a third party contractor.

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WordCamp Europe 2017 Recap

After a year of waiting and months of planning, SiteLock finally landed in Paris, France for our second year at WordCamp Europe! We sponsored the event again this year and were overwhelmed by the attendance of 1,900 people from 79 countries. Not to mention the 1,000 viewers who live-streamed the event, totaling a count of 2,900 WordPress enthusiasts!

For those of you who were at the show, you probably met at least one person in red from the SiteLock crew. From left to right, we sent these handsome folks below (note, I’m the one in the middle!).

SiteLock President Neill Feather, Executive Vice President Tom Serani, and Evangelists Logan Kipp and Adam Warner, and Inside Channel Developer Brandon Goldberg

For those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ve recapped the event with some of our favorite moments below.

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ftc protecting small businesses

New Government Website Highlights Small Business Cybersecurity Risks

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently launched a new website aimed at educating small business owners on the risks of cybercrime and the steps they can take to protect their business.

“Small businesses are critical to our economic strength, building America’s future, and helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace,” said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen. “This innovative new website is a one-stop shop where small businesses can find information to protect themselves from scammers and hackers, as well as resources they can use if they are hit with a cyberattack.”

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Malware

Trending “Fireball” Adware Raises Botnet Concerns

Earlier this week, security researchers reported on a trending adware infection known as Fireball. Sourced to the Chinese marketing firm Rafotech, reports indicate a footprint of more than 250 million infected machines worldwide. While the infection currently appears to only make changes to victims’ browser homepages and search engines, analysis suggests that the software could be remotely leveraged to act as a malware dropper. A malware dropper is a program that can be used to remotely install malicious software onto a victim’s computer or network. This can be performed after any amount of time following the installation of the dropper itself.

If true, it’s possible that infected systems could be made part of a botnet and used to carry out new types of attack over the Internet.

The Fireball adware is being distributed via freeware software installers through a method known as bundling. You’re likely to have seen bundling yourself at some point. Legitimate software developers use bundling as a way to monetize the release of otherwise free software. When you download and install such a program to your computer, you may notice that you’re being asked to install additional, unrelated software, like toolbars or free trials of a different company’s programs. While annoying, most cases of bundling are simply a way for developers to make money while releasing a free product. However, this can also be used to deliver PUA (Potentially Unwanted Applications), like adware, software that can track your behavior online and serve advertisements based on this data.

Because of this, it’s important to remain mindful of the sources of programs you install. Cracked versions of paid products frequently include malicious files that can be used to infect your systems. For website owners, this also applies to pirated versions of software that you might want to install on your website, like premium WordPress plugins and themes. Even if the pirated files are free of malware, they do not typically receive security patches from the original developers, or they could be configured to download a malicious component at a later time. This can open your website to a myriad of vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers to cause further damage to your online reputation.

Another point to consider, in the wake of Fireball’s massive online footprint, is the potential for damage caused by a botnet of this size. Malicious tasks that would be practically impossible for a single machine to perform (bulk hash cracking, login bruteforcing, denial of service attacks, etc.) become trivial when an attacker can utilize a quarter billion machines simultaneously to accomplish their goals. The potential for mobilization on this scale means it’s as important as ever to ensure tight security on all of your systems.

Strong passwords are a good start. Changing passwords regularly is another important step, given the frequency of major data leaks across the internet. By changing your credentials, you render a previously leaked password useless.

Protecting your website from bot traffic is a critical step in preventing malicious activity on your site. SiteLock TrueShield, a web application firewall,  provides effective traffic filtering that can drastically limit the impact of these attacks. Contact a SiteLock Website Security Consultant at 855.378.6200 to find the right security package for your business. We are available 24/7/365 to help.

What is WordPress Multisite and Who Should Use It?

In this post, we’re going to look at the Multisite feature of WordPress. We’ll learn what it is, when to use it, and when not to use it. We’ll also cover a few important best practices to keep in mind when running WordPress Multisite.

When you enable Multisite in WordPress, you have the ability to create a network of individual WordPress sites on a single installation of the software. Enabling, configuring, managing, and growing a WordPress Multisite-powered website is not for novice users, but depending on the goals of your business, it just might be the perfect solution.

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10 WordPress Website Performance Best Practices

If you’re reading this article, it’s almost certainly not the first website performance article you’ve browsed. Let’s be honest, practically everyone has an opinion on the matter and you would probably deforest half the Amazon rainforest if you tried to print each article you’ve come across. Since we all want to save the habitat of the endangered Amazonian Wapuu and skip the conjecture, I’d like to share with you my 10 WordPress website performance best practices that provide gains you can actually measure.

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