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Help, I’ve Been Hacked! How To Secure Your WordPress Site Against Hackers

Help, I’ve Been Hacked! How To Secure Your WordPress Site Against Hackers

Of the top 1 million websites, WordPress has a 65% share of all Content Management Systems (CMS) being used. There are currently around 64 million WordPress blogs and websites in existence, making it an incredibly attractive target to hackers.

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    Just recently, [pullquote position=”right”]WordPress made headlines when it was the subject of a massive botnet hacking attempt, which managed to compromise 90,000 sites.[/pullquote] It did this with a brute force attack, trying to log in with the standard “admin” username and a list of thousands of potential passwords.

    I myself have been the target of WordPress attacks in the past, but by following these simple steps, I’ve managed to thwart off potential attackers since.

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    • The number one most important thing is to make sure your WordPress version, themes, and plugins are all updated to the latest version. These updates often include bug fixes and patches to secure against attacks. Updating all of these is easy! When you log into WordPress, the admin bar at the top of the screen will alert you if there are any updates available. Simply click on the update button and you can update everything to the latest version in just a few seconds!

    wordpress updates
      • It’s also important to delete any themes and plugins that you’re not using. Every theme and plugin is another potential way that hackers could get into your site. If you’re not using it, get rid of it!
      • Change your default username. The username “admin” should be one of the first things you change. In fact, if you’re doing a new WordPress installation, just choose a different username to begin with. This default username is how 90,000 WordPress blogs were hacked recently. Unfortunately, it’s all to easy to figure out if someone has changed the default username or not. If you want to see, just look at the screenshot below. If you try to log in with the username “admin” and the wrong password, WordPress actually comes back with an error saying, “The password you entered for the username admin is incorrect.” If that username doesn’t exist, WordPress returns a different error: “Invalid username.” I’m not sure why it announces to the whole world which usernames exist and which don’t, but changing from the default username is one of the best things you can do to improve the security of your WordPress installation.

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      wordpress admin login screen
        • You should also change the standard log-in URL from yoursite.com/wp-admin to something else. It amazes me how many BIG websites haven’t even made these simple changes! Give it a try on some of your favourite websites; you’ll be surprised how many haven’t even covered the basics when it comes to security.
        • Set a secure password – don’t use dictionary words. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. This is not unique to WordPress; you should be employing this practice on anything that requires a password, like internet banking or computer passwords.
        • Enable 2-step authentication on your WordPress site. This is pretty straightforward to do and is something you’ve probably seen if you use internet banking. An example is if you try to transfer money, it will send a unique code via SMS to your phone, which you have to enter in addition to your regular password.
        • Remove all default posts, comments, pages, etc. as these indicate that your site might be fairly new and make it a more attractive target.
        • Change the prefix on your database tables from the default “wp_” to something else. As with the default username, this is something you can actually set when first installing WordPress.
        • Hide your WordPress version number. This way, it won’t stand out to hackers if you’re not using the latest version.
        • Back Up! There are plenty of great backup plugins available, and many are free. If the worst happens and you are hacked, you’ll be back up and running in no time.

        Are you ready for some great news? You can implement most of the ideas above and MORE with the click of a button. How? Install the Better WP Security plugin. It even has some advanced features like blocking IP addresses that attempt to log in (incorrectly) too many times, and you can create a blacklist of IPs. I’m surprised how many e-mails I get alerting me that people are trying to either log into my site or trying to access a URL that doesn’t exist (usually the default log-in page at /wp-admin/). You can also use the IP tracer to see where the attempt originated from (most of mine seem to be from Russia or China).

        Do you have a great WordPress security tip? Leave it in the comments below!

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        And if you want to take WordPress to the next level, check out this article: Top WordPress Plugins for the Smart Blogger.

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        Published on September 20, 2018

        11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

        11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

        In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

        Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

        In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

        Minimizing Tabs

        Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

        Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

        Incognito Mode

        Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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        1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
        2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
        3. Download extension New Incognito Window

        This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

        Save Webpages as PDF Files

        Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

        Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

        Open Recently-closed Tabs

        Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

        One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

        The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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        Solve Mathematical Problems

        Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

        For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

        Play Media Files

        Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

        In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

        Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

        With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

        Stay Focus(e)d

        Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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        Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

        With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

        This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

        Grammarly for Editing

        Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

        You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

        Loom

        There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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        There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

        With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

        Chrome Calendar Extension

        No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

        Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

        Final Thoughts

        Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

        Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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