Thursday, December 1, 2016

Time to secure your website: Before this happens to you!

So a terrible thing happened while I was away on vacation recently. It was in my final week of travel when a client received an email that his website had some malicious code on it.

The Hack and Warning
The email included examples of what the code looked like and where we could find it.  What made us suspicious was that the email was full of typos and mis-used words.  So it could have been a hoax.  But it wasn't.

The email was from a security company I'd never heard of or worked with. I'm not sure how they knew there was this code on the website, and it might not be polite for me to guess, but as soon as I got back to Canada I checked it out. And sure enough the code was there just like they said and more.

So this happened to our website...
In the meantime, something has been sent to Google and the site had the dreaded red warning over it in so no online visitors would feel safe clicking through to the website. 

The website was essentially down.  Traffic was at a halt and I was on the phone reaching out for help.  With some good advice, we took care of all the malicious code in a couple of days and submitted the site to Google for their approval.  

How We Fixed the Problem
We also added an SSL Certificate and Site Lock scanning to help keep the site safe from other attacks and let the public know it was a secure site.

SSL encrypts the link between a browser and the website's server and tells the browser it's a safe connection. You can usually tell because secure sites show the https:// prefix.  SSL used to be difficult and costly to implement, but now you can do it yourself online affordably.  Click here to get your SSL certificate for your own website.  

Going Live Again
Overall, getting the website to this safe state took about 15 hours and a small investment in the security services.  That was nothing compared to the week it took for the site to be free of the red warning box.  It was quite the process.  If you want to learn more, contact us.

Why You Need SSL in 2017!

In 2017, many website hosts including WordPress will begin requiring that websites can use the https:// prefix, meaning they are secure and certified.
If your website doesn't show https:// (with the s) you should seriously consider adding SSL now. In addition to the encryption, Google also weights SSL as a search engine ranking factor, and we can surmise that that requirement will only increase in the coming months as well.

If you've had a similar experience and want to share, please post it in the comments.   Thanks for helping me to help you:  I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

New Year's Learning Resolutions

There's something refreshing about an incoming year.  Leaving the old, the sad, the tired, behind and moving on to new adventures, exploration and learning!

I came across this book the other day, and am putting it on my reading list for 2015. I've been a fan of Richard Florida since I was fortunate to see him speak in Washington DC quite a few years ago. I've followed his work, and his critics, because I am keenly interested in making our communities, regardless of their size, more welcoming, sustainable, inspiring, and creative.

Florida's latest book, "Atlas of Cities" looks like it has something for everyone!  It is full of infographics, analysis, photos, maps, charts etc.  A dream read for planners, economic developers, communicators, municipal leaders, and consultants.  And if that doesn't excite your holiday reading, it could also be considered to double as a travel book or at the very least, coffee table book!

I am looking forward to the upcoming quiet snowy days and learning something new over the holidays! If you've already got a copy, please share a comment below, or if you have identified other books for your 2015 list, please share those too!

Best wishes to you all for a Happy 2015! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

This just in: My Invitation to the Pencil on Linked In

I must admit, it's a bit intimidating this new thing on Linked in.  Out of the blue, I was invited to be a Publisher on Linked in.

Intimidating because it has the potential to reach 300 million people which comes with an expectation to write something informative and interesting to that broad group of executives, entrepreneurs, and everybody who is ever your potential client.  

So I'm busy thinking of a topic and hoping that they don't revoke my access before I can come up with something.  I'm excited to get started, but need some topics ideas.  Anyone? Leave me a suggestion below, and when it's done, I'll post the link.

Creating a long, blog-like post, works like this:  

From the home button, your status form is at the top. If you have a Pencil in the top right, click it to open the drafting panel for your post.  

Write and design your post and be sure to include a photo and some engaging copy.  Once published, your posts become part of your main personal profile screen, and may also be featured on the LinkedIn Pulse stream for the topic area.  You may also get followers of your Pulse stream, just like all those famous subject matter experts you are probably already following yourself.  

Impressive. Daunting. and just bit intimidating. 

Soon more people will be able to become publishers and have their own Pulse stream of stories, increasing their exposure to millions of people.

Status updates remain unchanged.  So if you don't click the pencil to initiate a blog post, your status update will be visible only to your Linked in network of connections. 

Tell me are you a publisher? Have you made your first post(s)? Have you noticed increased traffic to your personal profile page? Do you have any followers? 
Don't be shy! I want to follow you on Linked in!