All posts tagged: switched-on-sites

How Does Twitter Help My Website?


Clients always ask me two things when it comes to Twitter:

  • Can I have Twitter on my website? and
  • How does Twitter actually help my website?

Twitter (along with Facebook) are the two must have social media these days for your website.  You can add YouTube or Linkedin or Instagram as well as a number of other social media outlets.  These can be very valuable in reaching targeted audiences for a specific purpose. But Twitter and Facebook are the two giants with the biggest potential for social media reach and a good way to help build up traffic to your site.

A Twitter account is fairly straight forward to set up. Maintaining Twitter so that it pays off for you comes in two flavors: manual tweets (which are time consuming) and hooking up your website updates to automatically post to Twitter.  I recommend clients do a hybrid of the two.

How does Twitter actually help my website?

The payoff of using Twitter in combination with your website comes in both the directional flow of the information and the way you can measure your objectives.   I wrote a blog post about how important it is that you control your information and not let social media control it.  Make your social media work for you: its easy to post directly to Facebook or Twitter – but that doesn’t get those people to your web site to read your article or buy your book or product or sign up for your newsletter.  So post to Twitter from your website. That way, you have a greater chance of getting that Call To Action button clicked.   You can also better track your website’s analytics performance this way.

Even better, Twitter has its own internal metrics that allow you to measure useful objectives like…

  • Brand awareness
  • Audience reach
  • Customer engagement
  • Brand sentiment
  • Traffic: Social media to website
  • Event awareness

How can you do that?  A very helpful article by Lauren Dugan from Social Times tells us that these metrics can be seen from the following:

  • Account growth
  • Retweets
  • Favorites
  • Replies
  • Mentions
  • Clicks on URLs (traffic)
  • Clicks on your Profile
  • Clicks on #HashTags

Even better, you can access many of these analytics right from within Twitter itself.  Take a look…










There are also paid analytics options for twitter but this will get you started!

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The SOS Newsletter: Help for your web stuff – August 2014



August has come and gone and its back to school for many.  Malware seems to be in the rise.  What can you do if you find malware on your Facebook account?  How can you decrypt your files being held for ransom by malware?  In this newsletter you can learn how to handle both successfully.  What’s the best malware protection out there?  We’ll take a look at the ratings   And my home tech tip is a car hackability chart!

SOS Security Support

 DecryptDecrypt Those Ransomed Files for Free with DecyptoLocker

We’ve talked about CryptoLocker before (Ransomware) – that malware that likes to hold your files for ransom until you pay up.  There are several variants out there but one in particular, CryptoLocker, has now got a fix: DecryptoLocker  provided by FireEye and FoxIT.

When you provide the site with your email address (which will not be given out or sold) and an encrypted file, they will email you a master decryption key to be used along with their recovery program.

They advise that you don’t give them any files of a sensitive or personal nature.  And each infected system will need its own master decryption key.



What’s the Best Malware Protection For My Computer?

In a recent test done by the independant Anti-virus research group, AV-TEST 
Malwarebytes came out on top as the best malware protection with a score of 100% in total system repair!   They beat out even paid security programs like Bit Defender, F-Secure and Kaspersky.  While Malwarebytes doesn’t include anti-virus support and protection, it says a lot for a FREE security program.

How did the FREE anti-virus programs fare?  AVAST! and AVG came out on top ahead of MSSE.  But read the report for yourself


SOS Featured Social Media Security Support

FacebookStrange “likes” and Posts Showing Up On Your Account? You May Have Malware

When you have a malware infection from Facebook it can show up as strange “likes” to many pages or comments or postings you didn’t make or a sudden surge in following a lot of people on Facebook. One particular malware that’s been recently re-spotted on Facebook this August is the “Color Changer” app.   According to Information Week:

Cheetah Mobile found that this iteration of the scam stems from an apparent vulnerability in Facebook’s app page. This vulnerability lets hackers implant viruses and malicious code into Facebook-based applications, which direct users to phishing sites, it said.

The latest version of the scam works in two ways. First, it asks users who click the link to view a color changer tutorial video. If users view the video, it steals their Facebook access tokens, which gives the hackers temporary access to the user’s Facebook friends, Cheetah Mobile said.

What should you do if you suspect malware on your Facebook account?  Go to the “Apps” tab and remove it.  Then the following steps apply to any and all other malware scenarios on Facebook.

  1. Change your password
  2. Scan your computer.  Use a couple of anti virus programs (internal and external)* and a Malware scan
  3. If you are using Chrome, use a browser-specific scan.
  4. Make sure you are using the latest browser version.  If not, Upgrade!
  5. Remove suspicious browser-add ons
  6. Review your recent account activity and delete anything you did not post.

Facebook provides the links to some scanners and you can review the steps there.  *While I normally recommend MSSE (Microsoft Security Essentials), I’m recommending a switch to a combination of Avast! or AVG and Malwarebytes for now (as far as FREE Anti-virus goes) PAID Anti-virus such as Bit-Defender, F-Secure, and Kaspersky will give you stronger anti-virus protection .  If you continue to use MSSE, please use it in combination with Malwarebytes.

Home Tech SOS

Access the ‘Hackability’ of Your Car 

Questions have been raised since 2 hackers successfully hijacked the steering and brakes of both a Ford Escape and a Toyota Prius.  Want to assess the ‘hackability’ of your car?  Try the *chart below from



























*DISCLAIMER: This chart is not considered conclusive or comprehensive.  According to the article:

All the cars’ ratings were based on three factors: The first was the size of their wireless “attack surface”—features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular network connections, keyless entry systems, and even radio-readable tire pressure monitoring systems. Any of those radio connections could potentially be used by a hacker to find a security vulnerability and gain an initial foothold onto a car’s network. Second, they examined the vehicles’ network architecture, how much access those possible footholds offered to more critical systems steering and brakes. And third, Miller and Valasek assessed what they call the cars’ “cyberphysical” features: capabilities like automated braking, parking and lane assist that could transform a few spoofed digital commands into an actual out-of-control car.

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The SOS Newsletter: Help for your web stuff – JULY 2014



July has just whizzed right on by.  Seems like its been packed with a lot of things to do like work, maintaining security on your sites, summer vacations and Client events.  So let’s try to catch the last of July before it runs out on us.

Passwords.  They have to be strong and long to be effective.  And that’s a PAIN!  You know it.  So before we do a lot of other things, let’s get this password thing down so its a lot easier as well as safer for you.  I’m going to give you a couple of sites that will help you create a password without having to think one up.  And then, a PASSWORD MANAGER,  so you don’t have to remember them.  How cool is that?!  Plus, I have a home tech tip that will help you maximize your bandwidth

SOS Security Tips

password_strengthYou didn’t just use “iloveyou” or “monkey” for your password, did you?

In a recent talk by privacy/security expert, Lorrie Faith Craner, it was cited that the 2 most popular passwords are “iloveyou” or “monkey”  and when asked to add punctuation to their password to make it harder to hack, 40% of people chose an exclamation point!  (And we just told the hackers, right? Shhhhhh!)  😉   Lorrie is the director of the Carnegie Mellon Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Board of Directors.  (Love the EFF!) 

Also cited in the talk were the following problems with getting users ( busy folk like you my readers) to choose strong passwords (at least 16 characters) :

  • Even when people are told to choose long passwords or password phrases, they often chose something easy to hack like “passwordpassword” or “baseballbaseball”.
  • Random-word password phrases while long, are not easy for users to remember or use.
  • Pronounceable gibberish passwords like “vadasabi” worked very well and users could remember them.

All good points.  However, the debate – passphrases vs strong passwords (which is better?) – continues. And I, myself, favor long, strong and ugly passwords.  Clint Eastwood passwords; good, bad, and ugly.  There’s no social media hack aspect to them whereas with passphrases there is the possibility of a social hack – especially if you use familiar words any hacker can pick up  by doing a search on you and scanning your social media posts.   Also, there’s a maxim that’s worked well for me for a number of years: If its easy for you to remember, its easy (or will be) for the hacker to hack.

Why all the concern about passwords in the first place?  Because hackers have password cracking software.  That software is now easier and cheaper to get because its being sold as SaaS (software as a service)  And hackers have the computing power now in a single pc to very easily hack your short, easy to remember passwords in a shorter amount of time.  (There are also easy ways now to hack into the computing power of other devices without the user knowing it to multiply the power and speed the hacker has available – but that’s another newsletter. ) That’s why I tell you to make a password at least 16 characters long or longer.  I would add to that: 16 random characters long including punctuation.

That said, the most annoying aspect is making passwords up.  Second annoying thing is remembering them.  So I am providing you two password generators to make the whole thing easier to create.  One is a passphrase generator and the other is a strong password generator.  Both are excellent and easy to use.  Second, so that you don’t have to remember them, I am recommending a password manager so that it will remember your individual passwords for each of your online accounts and all you have to do (once its set up) is remember ONE PASSWORD for everything you have online.  You even get notification if there is a security breach.  How great is that?!

The XK Passphrase Generator (image source)

The Strong Password Generator

Go ahead.  Try them out.  Have a little fun.  Then start converting your current passwords to these new, stronger passwords.  Bookmark these links in your browser.

A Password Manager To Rule Them All

LastPassLogo300Then go to LastPass and get yourself set up so that you only have to remember ONE PASSWORD for all of your online accounts.  (It’s like “One ring to rule them all!” sort of thing)  LastPass is based on a freemium model so you can choose either the free or the premium account.  Another password manager is KeePass.  It’s an open source option but I find that it is not as user-friendly.  It is highly-recommended though.

A note of caution on password managers:  they, too, have their problems.  If you have been keeping up with this newsletter, you know I try to keep you informed of the most current and dangerous hacks.  But hacks at every level of our infrastructure go on all the time.  So password managers are no exception.  The security advantage is that they will keep you in an instant notification loop. They do have a password generator of their own, but I recommend the two above first.

Home Tech SOS

The BEST Wi-Fi SetUp Tip EVER! 

Where should you point your Wi-Fi Router antenna ?  UP!  Right?  Nope.  Here’s a great tip for setting up your wi-fi router antennas for the most optimal coverage from along with WHY it works better!


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MelanieThe SOS Newsletter: Help for your web stuff – JULY 2014
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