Is Your WordPress Installation at Risk? 3 Ways to Tell

It is common that you would sit back and breathe a sigh of relief when you finally launch or upgrade your WordPress website. However, unless you have taken care of providing your site with the best possible WordPress security, that sigh will often turn into one of dismay.

The Price of Popularity

As the world’s most popular website builder and platform, WordPress has millions of followers and fans. Precisely because it is so popular, WordPress is also a favorite target of hackers. These individuals and groups spend their time looking for known vulnerabilities in WordPress websites and this should make WordPress security a top priority for all website owners.

Fortunately, there are a number of practical steps you can take to ensure provide proper WordPress security for the most common problems. To properly address your site’s security issues, there are three areas where you can take proactive steps that will minimize your risks. Failing to do so means you are increasing your probability of being hacked by robot spiders. These three areas include:

  1. Not replacing standard defaults and parameters. As a free program, and with the availability of free themes and plugins, there are a number of standard defaults that are favorite and frequent targets of hackers. These include the log in page, the admin user setup and passwords, and URL parameters. If you have not reset these defaults with custom code, it is important to do so immediately. These are relatively simple fixes that add an important first line of defense against active hacking.
  2. Ignoring available updates. In the ongoing battle against hackers and malware, WordPress security is frequently updated to address security holes and problems. The world of hackers quickly communicates any newly discovered weaknesses, and it is vital to eliminate them with the updates WordPress and others will provide. This includes taking action with basic WordPress updates as well as for plugins, widgets and themes.
  3. Relying on a free theme and plugins. If your site is an important part of your business, it is generally a good idea to upgrade to a paid theme from a reputable vendor to provide a higher level of security. Likewise, any plugins you use should come from the WordPress Plugin directory and be current. Many free themes and plugins are actually used to place malware on your site and to provide easily exploitable security leaks. Plugins that are no longer actively developed are likely compromised from a security perspective. Take the time to select your theme and plugin vendors carefully and ensure your theme is properly installed. Once you have installed them, you should regularly check for updates for both the theme and all plugins and download them.

You shouldn’t be intimidated by the issue of security, nor should you allow yourself to be complacent about it. You can find reliable WordPress security firms to help with your security issues if you don’t have your own webmaster or IT resources. Of course, vet anyone you use carefully, as some hackers pose online as security experts just to get access to your site. You can often get solid referrals from your business contacts or your trusted online communities.

One important step for your WordPress security is to engage such a third-party resource to evaluate your site from a risk perspective. A qualified individual will look at all the items discussed above and a number of other areas. They know the common weaknesses and will quickly find any you might have. You can then implement any recommended changes and modifications.  If you want to TEST the level of security on your current WordPress website, visit https://www.core4secured.com for a free “Quick Scan”.

How to Pick a GREAT Hosting Company, Focused on WordPress.

WordPress has, in recent years, become a top choice among business owners for enhancing the effectiveness of their online presence. Opting for a managed WordPress account has also become quite popular, as businesses have realized the value of outsourcing their hosting services to experienced professionals. Knowing how to choose the best candidate to manage a WordPress account, however, is often a difficult task in the face of a mushrooming industry.

WordPress Web Hosting

Since there are a multitude of options available, it is well worth learning some criteria by which to identify a superior hosting service. Some of the most basic, but crucial, factors to look for include:

  • A company that has dedicated itself to WordPress alone. Being focused on one thing can help them excel.
  • A quick-response, 24/7 support team
  • Rapid WordPress deployment
  • A server that is focused on the website alone, and not cluttered with an email accounts
  • Quick restoration of back-ups, should they temporarily fail, and full visibility on how many back-ups are kept on file and how many days they will last
  • Top-tier malware scanning
  • Support for the latest versions of PHP and MySQL scripts
  • A content delivery network (CDN), which quickly optimizes your content based on geographic locations
  • The ability to provide you a full-orbed development area

The best WordPress Web hosts will offer you all of the above, and more. It is always possible to skimp, but the best policy to remember is: “You pay for what you get, so pay a bit more.” It is well worth paying a little extra to get fully reliable WordPress management.

WordPress Security

When you ask yourself what to look for in WordPress hosting, you should not think only of functionality. Without adequate security measures, all of your data could be stolen at the click of a button. Paradoxically, the more plugins and functions installed, the greater the danger of data theft, and yet, without functionality, there is no reason to have a WordPress account.

A good WordPress host will know how to minimize the risk of hacker attacks. While nothing online is ever 100% secure, professional hosting services have experienced personnel and advanced software and hardware that can maximally protect your data.

Some of the ways in which WordPress hosting can enhance your online security include:

  • Refraining from installing more plugins than needed and eliminating any you are not using or do not plan to use in the near future. There is no reason to give hackers extra targets to shoot at when you are not gaining any benefit from the risk.
  • Testing all plugins and other functions before actually using them. By investing in a staging website, you will be able to test coding and overall security before implementation.
  • Running security audits on all new WordPress customizations. If your customized content and tools change rapidly, however, you can schedule regular security audits every few months instead of doing it before implementing each adjustment.
  • Paying attention to the security importance of backup systems. If your backup system is on the same server, or worse yet the same Web directory, hackers could steal your information. This is because search engine directory indexing sometimes automatically exposes same-server backup files to public view.
  • Hire a proven company who can worry about security for you.

Conclusion

There is much to consider when selecting a WordPress Web hosting service, including the company’s expertise in WordPress functionality, security, and customer service. As the success of your business partly depends on making a wise Web-host choice, you should take the time to research each company and compare them based on the criteria above.  If you have questions, call us today!

5 Vital WordPress Security Facts

If it can happen to Target Corp. and the director of the CIA it can happen to you.

Hackers, it seems, are hiding everywhere. They’re in the shadows of the Internet, overseas in Russia and maybe even sitting in your local neighborhood coffee shop, sipping lattes and looking for vulnerabilities on websites far and wide.

Don’t let them get into yours.

Maximizing WordPress security is part art, part science and always important. Here’s a look at five vital WordPress security facts that just might help you make your site a lot more secure:

Fact One: Passwords are your first line of protection

One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve WordPress security is to improve your passwords. If you’re familiar with “newpassword1,” “newpassword2” and “newpassword3,” you’ve got a major problem.

Passwords are the first line of protection against people with nefarious intentions. Make sure your passwords are at least 10 characters long, include capital letters and special symbols–and change them often.

Fact Two: Updates are important

Yes, it gets annoying having to constantly install updates. Yes, it can be frightening to update your site and have to worry about breaking the theme. Yes, it’s easy to understand why some people think the seemingly constant barrage of WordPress updates is just a clever ploy to produce Google News search results. And yes, updates are important.

WordPress does not release updates just for fun or to make online headlines. The company releases them to fix bugs, improve website function and fix security issues. All are good reasons to make sure you make the most of them. If you don’t imagine how annoying it’s going to be to fix all the problems the hackers cause (which can include messing around with your theme).

Fact Three: Malware is malicious

This isn’t an earth-shaking fact; everyone knows that malware is malicious. But it is certainly worth repeating because it’s a good reminder that you need to constantly be monitoring your site for malware.

Work with a vendor that knows how to do deep dives into your file structure and doesn’t just focus on your site’s vulnerabilities. Keep a constant eye out for malware, and then when you find it make sure you do something about it. Monitoring for malware is the first in a two-step process. The second step is cleaning up the malware once you find it.

Fact Four: WordPress security is an ongoing effort

Your WordPress website is just like your kitchen–the cleaner it is, the better it’s going to be for everyone. When dishes are piled up in the kitchen it creates chaos and clutter, and it’s only a matter of time before something spills or breaks. The same is true for your WordPress website. The longer you let old themes and plugins that you are not using anymore sit around, the more susceptible your site is to security breaches. If you are serious about WordPress security, you’ll be serious about keeping your WordPress site squeaky clean.

Fact Five: WordPress security doesn’t have to be complicated

If the idea of focusing on WordPress security makes you uneasy, don’t worry because you are not alone. A lot of people who aren’t necessarily IT professionals are positively perplexed by website security. The good news is that protecting your WordPress website doesn’t have to be vexing.

All you need to do is stay vigilant, partner with the right professionals and make sure you pay attention to the five facts listed here. If you do, your website should remain safe and secure from all the ne’er-do-wells hiding in the shadows of the Internet.

Is it Really Critical to Upgrade WordPress? 5 Things You Need to Know

WordPress has quickly become a go-to choice for a self-hosted website content management system. Easy to install and simple to learn, while still enabling users to integrate the latest technologies of the Web through plugins, themes and customization, WordPress can be the perfect solution for many websites. However, once it is installed, it can be tempting for many website owners to simply leave it alone, ignoring prompts for upgrades. Unfortunately, the old adage of “If it’s isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” does not apply to WordPress installations. Here are 5 things that you need to know now about upgrading WordPress:

Is it Really Critical to Upgrade WordPress? 5 Things You Need to Know

  1. The most important reason to upgrade your WordPress installation is the security aspect. Weaknesses and loopholes in the code are constantly being sought out and exploited by malicious hackers. This is especially concerning if your site collects any personal information from visitors or processes any purchases. The only way to keep your site as secure as possible is to install upgrades as soon as they come out to patch potential vulnerabilities.
  2.  Upgrading WordPress ensures that your site is compatible with current versions of plugins and themes, preventing crashes due to clashing code. With the speed with which technology is advancing, this attention to compatibility issues in advance can save you from lost data, site downtime and expensive repairs down the road. Left unchecked too long, your site will inevitably run into these issues, making constant, gentle maintenance the best route to take.
  3. Without upgrading, you’ll also find yourself missing out on the latest features and functionalities being introduced, which can easily give your competition an edge over you. Working with dated tools is giving yourself a handicap in the world of business, so keeping up with the latest trends are important if you want to stay relevant and offer your site’s visitors the best experience possible.
  4. Even if it does not expose you to a security threat, no code is perfect, with bugs continually discovered in older versions of WordPress. New updates constantly work to repair these bugs, and clean up known issues. Even if a bug seems to not affect you, if it has been identified as an issue, there’s always a possibility that it can be triggered in the future. It’s best to save yourself the worry, and stick to the new versions.
  5. Finally, upgrading WordPress ensures that your website’s performance will not be inhibited by outdated code and design. As new technologies and techniques are developed to boost page speed and loading times, device compatibility, page size and more, WordPress is adjusted to accommodate the latest improvements. Skipping upgrades can leave you using out-dated technology, which can not only leave you with an inferior website, but also affect your search engine ranking, as site performance is a key influence on this. Save your Google ranking, and start paying attention to your upgrades.

Neglecting WordPress upgrades can leave your website vulnerable, out-dated, and at risk, and by the time something breaks, it can require far more work to fix it than it would to simply maintain things in the first place. In the worst case scenarios, it can mean that content on your site is permanently lost or confidential information is leaked. It’s far better to save yourself the stress and consequences down the road, and start keeping up to date with your upgrades now!

Why Should My WordPress Security Be Hardened?

There’s no denying the massive popularity of WordPress. Today, this behemoth powers nearly 75 million websites around the world. Individuals and brands continually choose WordPress over its competitors due to the platform’s developer-friendly content management system, user-intuitive controls, and seamless plugin integrations. Websites powered with WordPress can do virtually anything a designer can code in. Unfortunately, such mass appeal and use also has its downsides, as this popularity has also attracted the attention of hackers and digital criminals.

While WordPress is adept at blocking a vast majority of would-be hackers, the staggering amount of websites running WordPress means that even the most minute vulnerability or security flaw is likely to impact thousands, if not millions of users and brands around the world. And such vulnerabilities are constantly evolving as users forget to update third-party plugins that aren’t monitored by WordPress’s tech team.

This is why the addition of a simple security plugin, no matter how flexible or robust it claims to be, just can’t cut it against the vast majority of evolving attacks, and in some cases may even open a backdoor to a future hacker. This is why when we talk about security, we don’t focus on installing and using standard plugins, but rather about how you can harden WordPress to make your security impenetrable.

Here are a few of the things you should check to harden WordPress:

  • A secured site starts with a secured server.  Choose a server that offers the best in terms of security, stability, and reliable methods for safe backup and swift recovery.
  • Keep your computer clean.  A computer rife with virtual infections should never be used to log into a server or WordPress site. Keep your operating system and software constantly updated to protect against security issues arising from spyware, malware, and other viruses.
  • Harden WordPress with updates.  Just as with your operating system, it’s important to keep updated with the latest WordPress version. That’s because each regular update is done to address the new security concerns that have arisen. While it’s WordPress’s responsibility to keep abreast and resolve potential security issues, it’s the responsibility of the user to follow through with these updates.
  • Establish a strong password.  It’s integral to use a strong and unique password that will be hard for both humans and bots to crack, and to make it difficult for any brute force attack. However, what most people generally know as a secure password is wrong. Frequently, websites will ask you to create an eight-character password using at least one lowercase, one uppercase, a number, and a symbol (ie. C@tch@22). However, while this is great at protecting against human attempts, it’s not so adept at escaping robotic and cracking software attempts as such ‘mangling tricks’ have been in play for more than a decade. Long enough for hackers to plan ahead. Instead, use a combination of at least four random words (ie. markerwindowleftpenguin). The higher number of characters and randomness of the words will make it hard for both humans and bots to guess at. To better understand how this helps harden WordPress and other secured access, check out this comic by XKCD.

For more help on how to harden WordPress, you might consider calling in the experts at Core4Secured.com. Our experienced technicians are adept at keeping your site safe while simultaneously increasing website traffic via redesigning and updating your websites.

Just read a few of our client testimonials to learn why businesses throughout a variety of industry sectors choose us when it comes to keeping their WordPress site secure. Contact us to learn what we can do for you.

 

The Importance of Keeping WordPress Up to Date!

WordPress is one of the most popular blog and website content platforms in the world, but its popularity has a downside that has recently been revealed. Even though WordPress is simple to use and provides an extraordinary number of powerful features, it has become a major target for hackers. WordPress security is of the utmost importance for anyone who uses the software, and the best protection against security breaches is keeping the platform updated.

Fortunately, we offer a “WordPress updates Security Package” and we can quickly and reliably do regular updates and security checks for WordPress by our team of experienced professionals.

The Need for WordPress Updates

Studies show that of the 30,000 websites that are infected with malware every day, 87 percent run on the WordPress platform, and many of the attacks are made directly through the front door. It is estimated that a seasoned hacker can crack the average WordPress administrator password in less than 10 minutes.

Most webmasters never worry about hackers and malware installations on their WordPress websites because the problem is not directly in front of their eyes. However, an infected website can be difficult to detect until it is too late. Securing your WordPress website is a task best left to experienced professionals who know how to discover security vulnerabilities and prevent them from being exploited.

How WordPress Updates Can Save Your Website

WordPress is an open-source software platform, but it is professionally maintained by teams of volunteers and, in some instances, paid programmers. When vulnerabilities are discovered in the software, these teams work diligently to plug the holes and make a fixed version of the software available to the public. However, with each version, notes are also released that detail exactly what was fixed, and hackers can use these notes to target websites running older versions of WordPress.

WordPress updates are critical because the information hackers need to attack old versions is being set right at their feet with each new release. Once the website is updated, only hackers who are clever enough to discover new vulnerabilities will be able to break into it.

Professional WordPress Updates Calgary

WordPress updates can be achieved with a minimal amount of work and frustration by hiring a company that does the job for you. For only $30 per month, Core4Secured.com will continually monitor your WordPress website in order to keep it updated and secure. In addition, five days of backups are always kept on file so that you can fully restore your website in the event of a disaster.

The Importance of Monitoring WordPress

According to the April 2013 TechNewsDaily, approximately 90,000 WordPress websites were attacked by hackers. This has brought the need for increased security and monitoring to the forefront of many WordPress website owner’s minds. While no website is safe from potential hackers, WordPress is one of the most popular web hosting services in the world, making it an attractive target for hackers.

Monitoring WordPress

Consistent monitoring is one of the best defenses a website owner can do to ensure the safety of their online presence and business. By monitoring the website, you can react to unauthorized entry to the site quickly and correct any issues caused by the hackers. Every attack leaves a trace, either on the file system as changes to files or in the logs. You can also see if the hacker has installed MalWare or other viruses that are designed to infect users who visit your site.

In truth, most website owners don’t perform either automated or manual checks of their websites. This is because either they don’t have time or they do not know how to monitor their website and identify changes made by someone else. No need to worry, we offer a 24/7 WordPress monitoring service help protect your websites for hackers: WordPress Whiz. We offer constant monitoring of your website as part of their Protection Services package. This service includes monitoring the website’s up-time, identifying MalWare and CORE WordPress file changes, and recognizing bots or individuals trying to gain access to the website through random passwords.

Other Security Measures

Besides monitoring your WordPress website, it is important to continuously update your WordPress website. Updates provided by WordPress are meant to allow your website to run more efficiently as well as to correct any programming that would allow hackers to easily enter your website and make changes. Ideally, you should setup a regular schedule for updating your WordPress website, so you keep your website up to date.

Backing up your website regularly can also add protection to your website. Having a current back-up can help you restore your website quickly in the event a virus or MalWare infects it and dramatically changes the pages or takes it offline.

Whether you are looking for WordPress monitoring Calgary website owners can trust or a complete protection services package, contact Core4Secured at 1-844-536-7400 or click here for more information.

Importance of Securing WordPress

Internet hackers may be many things, but stupid is not one of them. They appreciate the talents of WordPress as much as you do. In fact, its high degree of user popularity has made it one of their favorite targets.

It’s time to do battle with those Internet bandits, and you can do that by implementing the WordPress security updates Calgary professionals know and trust. You need to stay one step ahead of the hackers, and the timely performance of WordPress security updates can head them off at the pass.

Securing the Database

The WordPress database is one of the hackers’ favorite playgrounds. That’s because it contains your site’s most sensitive information. Such security measures as changing the database prefix, either manually or with the help of a plugin, can aid in foiling them.

Permissiveness Will Come Back to Bite You

When performing WordPress security updates Calgary webmasters must be careful never to give full 777 permissions to any directory, folder or file. Keep the least-risky ones at 755 or 750 and assign 644 or 640 to the rest.

Don’t Give Away the Store

To the hacker, your WordPress version is one of the keys to the mint. WordPress 2.6 and later automatically add the version to the WP_head region, thereby making it visible to anyone who cares to look.  You can manually locate and delete the line of code that does this, or you can use intelligent software that performs this chore for you along with the other essential WordPress security updates Calgary experts recommend.

It’s a Bird; It’s a Plane

On the Internet, a strong username and password can be your Superman, and if you think you’re doing well by logging in as “admin” with the name of your Chihuahua for a password, think again. Those are the first things your friendly neighborhood hacker will try. The proper password protection is vital for keeping them at bay, so if your login specs are weak, fix them.

Your Site May Already Be Sick

A workstation that labors under a malware infestation has already laid out the hacker welcome mat. Regular antivirus scans combined with a strong plan for damage control and disaster recovery are jey components of the best WordPress security software.

Don’t Let it Happen to You

If you’re running WordPress, you’re already under attack. Fortunately, we can provide you with WordPress security updates…a service webmasters have come to trust. We perform the needed maintenance for you. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that your website is safe and protected will be, quite literally, priceless.

Check out our Core4Secured Services today!

 

WORDPRESS Vulnerabilities | Are you safe and have you secured your WordPress website?

The WordPress platform is used by millions of bloggers and businesses and has been under massive bruteforce attack over the past week. Some are speculating whether or not this is just the start of something much bigger. So far according to TechNewsDaily, “90,000 WordPress blogs” have been attacked. Click here to read more.

The primary target of entry has been the login panel, specifically those with “admin” as their username. We all know that keeping any default settings is never a good idea. So why do we do it? Are we lazy? Or do we just think it is not going to happen to us?

Regardless of your answer, the events of this week need to wake up all of us. No longer can this be ignored. We need to take responsibility and secure our websites ourselves. Think of the countless hours of work that has been put in that can be demolished in seconds.

Matt Mullenweg, one of PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web and one of the Founders of WordPress, says “almost 3 years ago we released a version of WordPress (3.0) that allowed you to pick a custom username on installation, which largely ended people using “admin” as their default username”. Read the full article here. So what’s happened? Have people forgotten or is it the huge number of new users that may never have been alerted to this problem?
Matt recommends that, “if you still use “admin” as a username on your blog, change it, use a strong password… and of course make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest version of WordPress”.

One of the bigger questions with this weeks botnet kerfuffle has been around motivation. What do the hackers want? TechNewsDaily reports, “the ultimate goal of the botnet is a mystery; having administrative access to a number of blogs is not that useful in and of itself…however, a network of more than 90,000 compromised machines can wreak all sorts of havoc, especially in denial-of-service attacks”.

InformationWeekSecurity who also reported on this story said that, “successfully exploited sites get a backdoor installed that provides attackers with ongoing access to the WordPress site, regardless of whether a user subsequently changes the password guessed by attackers…exploited sites are then used to scan for WordPress installations, and launch the same type of attack against those sites”. Read more here.

They went on to say, “thankfully, a quick solution to the attacks is at hand: ensure no WordPress site uses any of the targeted usernames, which include not just admin and Admin but also “test,” “administrator” and “root”.

What’s really staggering are the number of attacks. Just read the statement below…

The WordPress “admin” attacks aren’t new, but they’ve recently tripled in volume. “We were seeing 30 to 40 thousand attacks per day the last few months. In April 2013, it increased to 77,000 per day on average, reaching more than 100,000 attempts per day in the last few days” said Sucuri CTO Daniel Cid in a blog post. That means that the number of brute force attempts has more than tripled” (InformationWeekSecurity).

We need a solution and we need one fast. Free plugins are just not going to cut it any longer. It’s time to look to the experts and let them help. HostedinCanada.com and Upfrontbydesign.com are WordPress Security Experts and provide a complete protection, from setup through ongoing updates.

Packages include:
– Daily backup
– 24/7 monitoring
– Quarterly PLUGIN Updates
– Bi-annual CORE Updates
– Special rates on any required edits or fixes related to plugin or core updates. (CORE updates are only done if there is a vulnerability/REQUIRED….but are completed every 6 months.)
– Daily SCAN and checks include:

12 standard weaknesses
21 Advanced weaknesses
Blocking hackers from trying to login. (IP’s are AUTOMATICALLY banned)
626 CORE files (we check core WordPress files against wordpress.org for attached files)
More…
Call today if you have questions. To get a FREE Security assessment and report, CLICK HERE!

Dean Wolf
President – 403-730-2040 #207