We’ve seen several reports this morning of a brute-force attack currently underway against websites running WordPress. According to one source, the frequency of attacks range from 2,000 to 40,000 attempts per minute.
In simple terms, a brute-force attack is a technique hackers use to try different username and password combinations until they are able to successfully log in to a site. Usually these attacks are automated, allowing hundreds or thousands of attempts at once.
Read a more detailed definition of brute-force attacks on Wikipedia.
Such attacks are not unique. Fortunately, securing WordPress against brute-force attacks is relatively easy. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep your site protected:
Use a unique username and strong password. Easy to guess usernames, such as ‘admin’ or ‘webmaster’, should be avoided, and passwords should use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Strong Password Generator is one tool for creating random passwords.
Install security plugins. There are many free WordPress security plugins. Here are a few options:
An alternative to these plugins is to subscribe to Sucuri.net, a premium service offering full-scale security protection and monitoring for your site. It does all that the plugins above do, and more.
Backup frequently. Keeping a recent backup of your website files and database will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the event your site does get hacked.
Keep your WordPress installation and plugins up to date. Updates to the WordPress core and third-party plugins usually fix security vulnerabilities. Keeping your site up to date will make the site less open to exploitation.
If any Skunkworks clients are experiencing issues with your site loading slowly, not loading at all, or worse, please get in touch.
Posted in Security, WordPress Websites | Add a Comment »
One of the benefits of living abroad is being exposed to innovative ideas that are just waiting to be transplanted back to native soils. The question of “why don’t we do this at home?” is enthusiastically answered with “let’s do this at home!”
Living in the United Kingdom (Oxford), I am particularly smitten with one popular advertising tool in these parts that has not yet gathered much traction across the pond. I’m referring to branded bike seat covers.
Like Vancouver, it rains a whole lot in these parts. Also like Vancouver, commuter cycling is a growing movement with support from cities, businesses, and a bike “lifestyle” culture that grows every single year. Irrespective of ideological motivations, commuting by bike just makes practical sense to a large part of the population. Many of those bikes are being locked on outdoor bike racks. Almost every new building offers bike racks near the entrance. This visibility provides a canvas of opportunity for marketing professionals.
Waterproof seat covers are either handed-out as promotional items or applied directly to parked bikes in target neighbourhoods. They come in small carrying pouches. The recipient gets to protect their seat and avoid the unpleasant experience of getting back on a soaking saddle. As any Vancouver bike commuter knows, rain is an unpleasant certainty. The advertiser gets valuable brand awareness opportunities for years to come.
Branded high-visibility backpack covers provide a similar opportunity. Despite a legacy of tweed, high-visibility clothing is ubiquitous in UK cities (even without MEC). Neon/reflective backpack covers are great for both commuter cyclists and pedestrians (including transit commuters). For every marketing dollar you spend, you also help make safer streets for all of us.
OnYerBikeSeat.com is a leading supplier of both bike seat and backpack covers here in the UK. They are London-based, but sell into the North American market. These things are all the rage over here and I’m obviously a big fan. I don’t have any formal relationship with the company, but I do support good ideas.
Why so slow on the take-up Vancouver?
Let me propose some copy to get you started with your seat covers:
VanCity: The more you ride, the more you save. Get on it.
ICBC: Bike safety is a two way street.
Vancouver Police: Remember the rules of the road. Red means stop. Green means ride.
HUB: We are making cycling easier.
BCAA: Broken down? Our emergency roadside assistance covers bikes.
Physiotherapist: We help you get back in the saddle.
Tags: bike, brand awareness, branding, commuter, cycling, promotional items, swag
Posted in Corporate Promotional Items, Marketing Strategy, Things we like | Add a Comment »
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if getting legal advice was as convenient and comfortable as getting a cup of coffee? What if your lawyer was as familiar and accessible as your favourite coffee shop down the block? Could a law firm possibly be a place where people would choose to spend time?
For several years, I have preached a return to Small Law. This comes primarily as a response to Big Law. My version of small law is defined by old fashioned customer service, a sustainable work environment, and an affordable pricing model. Small law tends to work best for traditional retail legal practices such as wills and estates, real estate, immigration, family and personal injury. Here in the UK, smaller street-level solicitor practices are a common sight.
People like coffee. Lawyers especially like coffee. With coffee playing an essential role in the lives of both lawyers and clients, why not a coffee shop law firm?
There are already several proof-of-concepts. In London, you can find The Legal Cafe in Haverstock Hill.
In California, you can find the Legal Grind.
I think this model should offer inspiration to Canadian lawyers. With the demise of Heenan Blaikie, it may be time to consider alternative ways of running a law firm. In particular, it may be time to be more than a law firm. Care for a cookie with your divorce?
Tags: business of law, coffee, retail law
Posted in Law, Things we like | Add a Comment »
To the Top
Law firms are increasingly concerned about their visibility in organic search results. The screen real estate on a page of search results is finite and the value of this visibility can be critical in terms of attracting clients. Achieving a top placement is a mix of science, art, sweat, and luck. Maintaining this placement can be equally difficult.
Without getting caught-up in the technical details about exactly how Google or Bing pick winners, there are two dimensions that justify repeated emphasis:
- the content on your website; and
- the links to your website from other websites.
This formula is how Google gained a dominant position in the market and continues to consistently delivers relevant search results. The actual execution of these details is what allows search engine optimization (SEO) consultants to make a living. Because the details of search algorithms remains secret, most SEO sales tactics will consist of speculation, anecdotal experience, and an insistence on technical tricks. Much like mail-order vitamins, its not that some of these tricks don’t work, its that they are unproven, contain dubious ingredients, and may have long term unintended effects. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: copywriting, Google, links, SEO
Posted in Google, SEM/SEO | Add a Comment »
Show me the Numbers
Whether political parties, spies, or marketers, data is the new black. It was hard to read anything in 2013 without encountering hype regarding how “big data” is revolutionizing [insert anything here]. The reason for all this hype is because its true. The collection of unprecedented amounts of data combined with widely available analytical tools has created a gold rush of opportunities despite vocal warnings from privacy advocates.
In legal marketing, the numbers matter. Law firms will spend money on marketing if they know it makes the firm money. Traditionally, determining a return-on-investment (ROI) for legal marketing was a rather subjective affair. A series of anecdotes would offer the only response to the question “Was it worth it?” The ubiquity of analytics tools has changed this conversation considerably with analytics now forming a core competency of many agencies and marketing professionals.
Google Analytics is the best known analytics platform. It is feature-rich, trustworthy, easy-to-use, integrates with just about everything, and free for almost everyone. Despite the dominance of Google’s product, there are competing proprietary platforms used by very large companies or dedicated products serving specific markets. Not surprisingly, there are several analytics platforms designed specifically for law firms. Most of them integrate call-tracking or lead generation systems. Similarly, many marketing agencies build proprietary systems on top of the data provided by Google Analytics. At Skunkworks, we find that Google Analytics offers more than enough functionality for our clients. We give our clients data straight from the source, without additional repackaging. For a law firm, there are a few core questions that can be answered by analytics. The remainder of this post summarizes these questions. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Analytics, Google, Law firm websites | 1 Comment »