You probably recognize that familiar morse code for “sos”, the call for help. It also happens to be the caps of my website – Switched-On-Sites. More importantly, SOS stands for the kind of web help I want to provide you with my services. If your web site is in trouble, I’m here to help. So I thought why not make that the new focus of the SOS newsletter!
Starting with this newsletter I’ll be covering the kinds of information that will likely be most helpful to you: website security, social media, SEO, and home tech help and tips. Let me know how you like it or if there is something you’d like me to add.
SOS Security Alerts
Cryptoware Through Malicious Ads
You remember seeing that familiar screenshot on this blog from past alerts about Cryptoware (Ransomware) – that malware that likes to hold your files for ransom until you pay up. Well, a new variant is on the loose, this time called Cryptowall. And it showing up at some famous (and BIG name) sites like Disney, Facebook, The UK’s Guardian and more through malicious ads.
When you click on these infected ads, you are redirected to an infected advertisement site (called a malvertisement) and the malware is then downloaded to your computer. Your files are then encypted with a very strong RSA encryption ( RSA 2048) and you are informed how much (Currently $500 USD) you have to pay to get them decrypted.
As I have warned in the past, prevention is the best cure on this nasty malware – DON’T CLICK THE ADS! How widespread is this malware? According to The Hacker News: 42% of the infections are centered in the US, followed by England and Australia.
Help! My Site’s Been Hacked!
Have you ever been searching for a site, put in some search terms and come up with this little warning: “This site may be hacked”? Well, its not all that unusual given that there are billions of sites on the web and hacking of small business sites has increased. According to Symantec’s Internet Security Report companies with less than 250 employees made up 31% of the targeted hacks in 2012. But many small businesses still do not know about the resources needed to fend off these attacks. And often times, you may not even know you have been hacked until you are told by a customer who goes to search for your site and finds Google’s “hack flag” warning. When that happens, its time to identify the type of attack, do clean up and remedial security protection for the site and appeal to Google for the flag to be removed so that your organic searches are not compromised. As with all things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is something I can help you with here at Switched-On-Sites. I specialize in the security concerns of your small but growing business! Give me a call if you need help setting up your site security or need a hack fixed.
SOS Featured Social Media Tips
How to turn it off: Facebook is using your browsing history for ads
You know by now how deeply the NSA surveillance of ordinary citizens is, but did you know how closely Facebook is watching every web site you go to? Well, lets review a small paragraph in Facebook’s famous ever-changing TOS (Terms of Service) :
We and our affiliates, third parties, and other partners (“partners”) use these technologies for security purposes and to deliver products, services and advertisements, as well as to understand how these products, services and advertisements are used. With these technologies, a website or application can store information on your browser or device and later read that information back.
How are they doing that? Well, those famous social media sharing buttons we put on your sites. Or even with Oauth that allows you to login to other sites using your Facebook credentials. That’s how. It’s a double-edged sword. It gives you and I the exposure we want for our sites and it makes logging in a lot easier than creating umpteen accounts all the time, but its also collecting browsing data about other personal things like your geographical location, personal demographics, medical information, online shopping habits , anything a third party website might collect from you and storing this in their databases.
So if you don’t want Facebook to use your browser info to target ads toward you (shades of Minority Report!) then you can go to the Digital Alliance Website and opt out of interest-based ads. It won’t stop them from collecting the information for other purposes, but it will stop them from using it to target ads.
You can also start using Duck Duck Go for browsing and while there at the Digital Alliance Website opt out of Google, Yahoo and other large sites tracking you for ads as well
Are 301 Redirects Helping Your SEO?
At some point, you’re going to want or need to move your website. Site migrations involve a great deal of planning to make sure nothing physical is lost during the transfer and traffic loss is kept to a minimum. But there is one other consideration and that’s maintaining your link equity (ranking power) in the best way which up till now has involved using 301 redirects. But 2 weeks ago, Google updated their site move documentation to recommend 302 redirects when it addressed separate smartphone URLs to Desktop URLs . Why?
As you may know, 301 redirects are permanent. And in this particular scenario, you may want to change those redirects in the future.
Home Tech SOS
Low Tech Cord Management
Tired of tracing wires back to their source? Stop pulling the wrong plug! Here’s a great idea for cord management from PinTriedIT.com: