Many have heard the old cliche, “the haves versus the have-nots”. Fewer may be aware of Steve Gibson's quote on hard drives: “There are two kinds of hard drives, those that have crashed and those that have not crashed yet!” I am proposing a mashup of these two quotes into “The Hacked” and “The Hacked-Nots”…(YET!).
With the latest rash of hacker attacks on WordPress blogs, it reminded me that we can no longer take computer and blog security for granted. When I was a teenager in sunny Florida, the front door at our home was always unlocked. You cannot do that anymore. In these times you need a lock, a deadbolt, alarm system and a big dog! Wake Up folks, the times have changed.For example, in the last 30 days, my family, friends and some business acquaintances have experienced these problems:
- Slow PC's due to malware and junk files – machines that were not usable at all.
- Trojan and keylogger attack over wi-fi at the local book store – Anti-Virus caught 3 trojans, but who knows what data was compromised.
- Crashed hard drive on laptop with critical business files (and backup 6 months old…). This problem will result in a costly data recovery bill and hopefully they will get their data back.
- WordPress Blogs hacked on shared hosting costing tons of lost time and money – and risks of lost sales, compromised data and blacklisting by the search engines.
- Lost iPhone prototype at the local beer garden…(just kidding on that one, nobody would really do THAT!)
With all this in mind, the basic solutions keep rising out of the noise. If you don't remember anything else from this article, please take these to heart:
- Strong Passwords
- Secure your data with strong passwords. Regina Smola of http://WPSecurityLock.com recommends using http://strongpasswordgenerator.com to create passwords that are tough to hack. Choose the 14 character option. Really. You lock your doors now. Lock your data, too.
- Multiple Backups – Back up your data in a least a couple of ways – local external drives as well as an on-line services.I use a combination of local drives and Carbonite. When disaster strikes, and it will, good backups will save your sanity and your business.
- Defensive Toolkit – Keep your anti-malware tool kit up-to-date. There are plenty of tools available like AVG Anti-Virus, Malwarebytes, UnHackMe, Spybot Search and Destroy and others. And as always, keep your operating system and programs at the current patch levels. Set up a routine for anti-virus scans and malware scans and keep your computers safe.
“This ain't Kansas, Toto…”
It's a shame we cannot leave our doors unlocked anymore, but as Walter Cronkite said, “and That's The Way It Is”.
We can no longer ignore these risks. Take security seriously and protect your digital assets. You would not drive without car insurance, don't drive your PC without your data insurance.
Get Secure! Stay Secure!