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Author: Will Chatham

Will Chatham is the Security Assessment Engineer for Arbor Networks. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. He started as a web developer, moved into Linux system administration, and ultimately found his place as a security professional. Having most recently conquered the OSCP certification, Will continues to hack his way into various things in an effort to make them more secure.

Keeping Your Website Safe from Hackers: A Few Considerations

If you are thinking about making money off your website, you will need to ensure that you have ticked all the boxes and your protection is up to date. What would happen if your site suddenly went offline or got redirected to another page? Would your business survive? Chances are that it wouldn’t. Below you will find a few tips on how to manage your site’s security and protect your intellectual property at the same time.

WordPress Vulnerabilities

WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform, and you can even build eCommerce sites on it. However, you will have to ensure that your host does everything possible to keep your site secure. Check the uptime before you would sign up for a package, and find out whether there are regular server backups on your page. Installing WordPress security alone might not prevent hacking alone, so you should look for advanced plugins and software.

Backups

It is crucial that you generate automatic backups for your site. Most hosts will allow you to do that and save a copy to a cloud account or even your computer. Backups will allow you to restore the site whenever there is a problem, and it is recommended that you do this every time you install a major software update or move to a different host.

Spam Protection

Spam protection is only working if you set it up properly. On WordPress Askimet is the most popular solution, but it is not a hundred percent accurate, if you are on the free package. You can also use OWASP Attack Surface Detector to check your applications, too. Make sure that you are setting your comments to be awaiting moderation all the time, so you don’t get your site hacked or flooded with fake comments. Another thing to consider would be to monitor your website traffic, so you can check where visitors are coming from. If most of them are from Asia, and you are in the Western world, you can suspect that hackers are trying to gain access to your account.

Keeping It In House

The best way to fix your site is to do it yourself, so nobody else has access to the infrastructure and the content. You might want to check your blog posts on CopyScape from time to time, to be sure that nobody took it and used it. This would have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. You might set up a VPN network at https://vpncoffee.com/ to keep your site shielded.

Setting Up Temporary Passwords

Whenever you use a contractor for working on your website, or to fix an issue, you will need to give them a separate temporary password that you can control. You don’t want a disgruntled contractor to break your site because you had a disagreement. Remove the account as soon as the work is finished, to keep your data secure.

Your website is your virtual business and shop front, so you have to protect it as much as you would protect your physical business.

The Tech Tips That Will Save Your Business Money

Being able to do things easier, quicker and better helps to streamline your business and save some money. This is where technology can be really useful. Thanks to different tools and applications, you can help to improve your business, speed up processes and get better results from your employees.

Knowing what’s out there and the difference it can make will help you achieve some amazing results. Take a look at these useful tech tips that will transform your business and help you save money.

Save on your travel costs with video conferencing

While traveling for work can sometimes have its benefits, there are several negative elements to business travel, with time and cost being two of them. If you have employees who regularly travel for meetings, why not encourage them to try video conferencing instead?

There are many benefits that come with video conferencing, but the benefit of having your staff in the office instead of out on the road will help increase productivity. You will also soon start noticing the difference in cost and the greener benefits it will bring to your business.

Use cloud storage for added security at a lower cost

When you’re relying on servers and internal memory to keep your company’s data safe, there’s always a danger that things could fail. More and more businesses are switching to cloud working instead as a way to get instant access to files and data, as well as making sure that they are all safely stored. Cloud computing is a great way to cut costs for your business, and allows you to benefit from having better access to software subscriptions over paying hefty costs for a program.

Cloud working will speed up your work, allowing your employees to do more, while also spending less.

Benefit from online tools that will grow your business

Today’s consumers want to be able to do things quickly and hassle-free, and in most cases, this means using online tools. Being able to make bookings online and managing account and payment info from your website is an appealing prospect to your clients or customers, and could drive your business forward.

Acumatica Rental demonstrates the ways that having an online platform can grow businesses, providing a low-cost option that’s worth the ROI. If you’re not already offering your services online, then it’s time you got started. Don’t forget to market your new services so that your customers can take advantage of them.

Go mobile the easy way

Does your business endorse flexible working? If not, perhaps it’s time you embraced it. With mobile working technology, your employees can work securely and effectively from any location. This allows your teams to enjoy home working as well as other benefits that will help make for a healthy work/life balance. While there are both advantages and disadvantages of flexible working, it is worth considering making the move to help your business embrace more modern ways of working and reflect current workplace trends.

If you want to help get the most out of your employees, consider upgrading your tech and boosting your security systems to put mobile working on the table.

Enable easier collaboration to achieve better results

Collaboration has never been easier than with technology. With the right tools, your teams will be able to work better together, as well as benefit from instant updates to make projects more cohesive and to provide greater results for your business. Whether your employees are all in the same office or spread out across different locations, online collaboration tools help make collaboration much simpler.

If you’re looking for suggestions for the best online collaboration tools to try, take a look at Asana, Podio and Flock. These types of tools can also be used across multiple devices to help workers stay on top of projects wherever they are.

Help employees to be more productive

If you’re hoping to help your workers be more productive, then you should consider some other tech tools that could make it happen. In addition to collaboration tools, online project management tools like Trello can help employees plan their days, manage tasks and provide updates as needed. By enabling better productivity, you can make the most of your resources to achieve bigger things for your business.

Stay on top of your finances

If you run a small business, then it’s likely as the owner that you wear multiple hats, including that of the accountant. This can be difficult, especially if you’re not confident with figures. With online accounting tools, however, you can get a grip of all of your outgoings and make sure you stay up to date with everything. Online accounting tools can also make light work of generating invoices and other tasks, which will help free up your time to focus on the more strategic elements of your business.

Make the most of using freelancers

Many of the tools above have been used successfully by businesses to establish a more ‘digital workforce’. With the right tools in place, employees don’t need to share the same physical office in order to work effectively. For many small businesses, having several full-time employees isn’t always feasible, and using freelancers can help ease the burden without committing to full-time, permanent staff. You can hire freelancers on an ongoing or project basis, and you’ll save money by having them work from home or from their desired location over being physically present in the office.
No matter what the size of your business, there are several ways that technology could help save you money. From cutting your costs to getting the most out of your workers, there are many approaches that have been proven effective for saving your business time and money. While bringing new tools into your business could require some initial investment, you can be sure of making savings in the long-term. Looking at effective ways of using technology in your business could bring some much-needed changes that will help your business achieve success.

How To Gain The Most Profit From Your Website

When you design and build your very own website, you may believe that once it’s all complete and released your hard work is done. As you sit back and wait for your people to start buying your products or services and for the profits to roll in, you’ll probably notice that not that much is going on. Simply creating a site is not enough to attract customers and produce an income, as there are many other tasks you must complete in order to ensure that your website gets enough visitors and then generates money as a result. The following information should act as a guide for the basics, so carry on reading to find out how you can maximize the profits of your website.

Generate Traffic For Your Site

Your website will not be getting many visitors if you don’t take the appropriate steps to generate enough traffic. There are many different ways that you can do this, some of which are very simple and quick to complete. By using specific keywords that are related to your products and services or websites informative purpose, you can increase your potential of ranking higher up on search engines. You can include these keywords in the content on your site, and if this content is written with depth and detail you will increase your chances of gaining more visitors. Harnessing social media to promote your site is a smart and modern way, and is especially good for marketing very niche or unique product or service.

Take Advantage Of Social Media

Social media sites have hundreds of millions of users, and every single one of these is a potential customer, so you’re really missing out if you don’t cash in on the various opportunities these platforms present. You’re able to create a page or profile for your business, and then utilize the various advertising and shopping options. Social media marketing is usually a very fruitful endeavour, as you can reach large groups of specific users that fit perfectly into your target audience. These users then have the option of providing you with instant feedback and opinions on the posts you make, and provide you with helpful insights from several different viewpoints you make not usually get access to. Additionally, you can create a ‘shop’ or ‘visit website’ section so that any interested users can easily make their way straight to your site and potentially make a purchase.

Pay Per Click Advertising

PPC (or Pay Per Click) advertising is a great way to generate some extra money from your website. Essentially, an advertiser will pay a site to dedicate a small banner to promoting their own product or service, or include links inside text to generate the host an income each time a user clicks on sai link. Google Ads scripts for PPC professionals are so easy to come by, and they can really help to boost your traffic and provide you with a little extra at the same time. You will be able to help your website rank higher up search results and gain more attention from users across the internet,

Turning Visitors Into Loyal Customers

When you manage to get a good number of visitors on your site, you have to think of good ways to convert them into loyal customers that come again. An easy way of doing this is to add the option on your site for each user to enter their email address in order to subscribe to updates, news and promotions. By getting some contact details, you are establishing a direct line between you and people that take an active interest in your website and business, and you are able to send them marketing material that they receive almost instantly. Supplying links to your website or specific advertised products within the email will increase your traffic drastically, and increase your chances of gaining a sale. There are certain ways of sending mass emails efficiently, so be sure to review them before you let them go.

Hopefully, these tips and tricks can help you gain a greater profit from your website. You may have to put in a little bit of extra work in order to generate traffic and keep your users interested, but it will be worth it when you see how fruitful your online adventure can be. Change your marketing strategies to focus on social media platforms and email contact, as these will further boost your levels of traffic and likelihood of reaching the right people.

Music Updates

It’s been a while since I posted any musical updates here, and I don’t have a ton to share, but I did get a surprise email from the venerable Jason Lowenstein the other day, with a remastered set of Crain’s studio appearance on WMBR in Boston back in 1991 that he had made.

The previous version of this, mastered by Bob Weston, who initially recorded it in the studio late that evening way back when, is still here on my Music downloads page, and it is great, but I thought I’d add Jason’s version for you to download in one fell swoop.

Grab it here.

Enjoy it, and let me know what you think!

http://web.archive.org/web/20131220092546im_/http://crainspeed.com/images/crain2.jpg
Crain, circa 1991. Photo by John Kampschaefer.

Why taking Breaks Can Improve your Mental Clarity as a Programmer

When it comes to programming, it can be stressful. From all of the different things that can go wrong, to even all of the different outlets you’ll need to use, a break is a great way to improve your mental clarity, but why is that? Well, read on to find out.

Improves Relationships

Your relationships matter, and if you feel like your marriage is on the rocks, or you need marriage advice, or advice in general, a break, or even seeing a therapist is really rewarding.  A break as a programmer also communicates to your peers, friends, and loved ones that they matter, and that you care enough about them to want to spend time with them.  Remember, if they know that, they’ll want to spend time with you as well, and it can help you do better too. So yes, taking breaks and checking on others can be beneficial, even if you’re not working out a complex issue.

Help You Handle Issues with a Clear Head

Programming is hard, and whether you’re using Python or another programming language, it can be overwhelming. This can be quite annoying, and sometimes you need a clear head just to deal with it. that’s why, taking a break and making sure that you understand everything with a clear head is important.  You may never know how much this can affect you till you start to do that, and you’ll be amazed at the difference this makes in your life. Sometimes, the reason why you struggle with code is because you don’t have a clear head, and even taking a small break can help with improving that so much more.

Reduces Stress

This works into the previous statement, but programming is a bit stressful. Whether you’re trying to figure out the Kali Linux dockerfile or trying a new code to see how this works, usually it’s tedious, and it can make you feel stressed, anxious, and irritated. This increases the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease if you’re not careful, so stress is something that can happen if you’re not paying enough attention to what you’re doing. A break is a good way to reset your mind and body, so that when you go back, you can find out what to do next.  you’d be surprised at how helpful this can be, since stress is often something that can grow within a person, but they don’t know how to handle it.  But yes, if you feel stressed, sometimes taking a break is good. 

A Break Can Be Anything

When you’re a programmer, you may wonder what type of break you want to take. Well, the answer is simple. It can be practically anything, from a small walk, to even spending time with your family. If you do choose to do the latter, there are a couple sites you can check out for some alternatives, including this one, and also this one. They have a bunch of wonderful activities that can help you get your mind off it, and if you do have a kid, these are some great options for the sites that you can try, and you’ll be amazed at the difference this makes in your own personal adventures, and your connections too.

So yes, take your breaks. Programming is stressful, and there is a lot that has to be done, and a lot that can go wrong. it’s better if you take it easy, and take breaks as needed, since it can help you keep a level head, and also not ruin your vision either.

Irresistible Gifts For Gadget Lovers

We all know someone who loves a good gadget and wants nothing more than to enjoy playing with them in the house or at work. As technology grows and improves over the years we get more and more amazing gadgets to play with and there are so many great options to add to our collection. Today we are taking a look at some of these gadgets and some of the best choices you can buy for a family member or friend this year.

Instax Camera

If you want to enjoy that #instagoals for yourself this year or you know someone who does, the Instax camera is the ULTIMATE trendy gift. The instax camera is a retro looking camera which comes in many colours and allows the user to take a print out pictures instantly. You’ll be able to produce adorable little polaroid pictures to hang on the wall or pin above your desk at work. It’s the ultimate gift for anyone who loves taking photos.

iPad

If you have a family member who loves nothing more than to read and create and browse in their spare time, an iPad can be a great gift as an alternative to reading paper books, sitting at their desktop, ot painting at the table. An iPad is an all-round great computing tool which is wonderful for anyone who wants to work and play on the go. As a side gift you could also get them a 2019 ipad air cover and a keyboard case which they can use when writing.

Wireless Sport Headphones

For anyone who loves to be outdoors and love to stay active, a great gift option could be some sport headphones which they can use and enjoy on the go. If they often go for runs and have been struggling without music, headphones like these can be exactly what they need to make them feel better. There are tonnes of options out there you can you take a look around and see which ones you think will suit your friend the best.

Philips Hue Lights

If your family member has a house and you want to give them a fun and useful gift this year, a great choice would be Philips Hue Lights. These lights can be awesome for the home because with an app on your phone, you can turn on any light in the house within seconds. This is useful if you get home late at night and don’t want to run around trying to find the light switches, and it can also be something which is useful if you forget to turn off your lights after you have set your alarm in the evening.

Amazon Echo

The amazon echo is one of the most fun home hubs you can buy. If you love to listen to music, listen to audiobooks and you sometimes need advice such as recipes and such while in the house, it can be a fun gadget to play with. The echo is a gadget which can be as fun or useful as you want it to be and this is a great choice for anyone who loves to play around with technology.

Raspberry Pi

A raspberry pi is a wonderful gift idea for anyone who is interested in computers and creating their own system. A raspberry pi is a tool which allows the user to make a computer from scratch using a basic operating system, and for the right person it can be a tool for creativity like no other. There are so many different elements and uses which can be utilised with a raspberry pi and it can be a fun gadget for the home or for work.

Quadcopter

There are a lot of gadgets out there in the world which can be used for a number of uses, and if you love filmmaking, a quadcopter might just be the best gadget of all. A quadcopter is a small drone which can fly in the air and be controlled by a small remote. It is something which can be super handy to use and you can set up a camera on the bottom of it to catch some stunning footage. If you ever need a panning shot of a landscape or a beautiful long exposure shot, a quadcopter is the ideal thing for you to use.

Charger Pad

If you have device after device to charge every single day and it always feels like there is a web of cables around the house, a charger pad is the perfect solution. A charger pad needs to be plugged into the wall, however all you have to do is place your phone, tablet or watch on there and it will charge without the need to plug it in!

PS4

Who doesn’t love a good game now and again? If you have a family member or a friend who loves playing games, the PS4 has to be one of the best possible gadgets of all. A stellar game console, the PS4 will allow you to play a mix of racing, RPG, adventure and family games all in the comfort of your living room. You could choose to play something open world such as Assassins Creed Origins, something guides like Call of Duty, or a family game like LEGO Batman. The options are endless and giving this as a gift means that you will always have the ideal options for gifts in the future as new games come out!

Kitchenaid

For anyone who loves to cook and play around with food, the KitchenAid is the best accessory you can have in the kitchen. A KitchenAid has options to make bread, cakes, batters, grind foods, mix and more. It is a one stop kitchen tool and it can make life in the kitchen so much easier, and it comes in so many different colours that no matter what decor the recipient has in their home, you can find one to match their tastes and needs!