A valuable lesson with new web sites

Over the past few weeks we have been creating a new website – www.numberite.co.uk our new Virtual number site.

All went smoothly and launched a few weeks later than we would have liked but launched well….

Great we had loads of visitor, but wait we had no purchases or follow up calls. What was happening?

We were being bombarded with access attempts from all around the world including Russia, China, India, Africa and the USA. After much head scratching we localised the issue to robots or automated sites crawling over the site to find information. Within 1/2 hour we had installed a WordPress plugin that allows us to prevent unauthorised countries from accessing the site. This stopped the high stats and secured the site.

A further issue was found with unwanted use of our Adword allowance, which again required a large number (100+) negative words and phrases to slow this.

So we learned a lesson that the web is not always a friendly place.

Passwords – Tricks and tips

How many times have you used the same password? do you forget your password and have to reset, then cannot remember the security question? Following are a few tricks and tips.

Rather than trying to remember an obscure or irrelevant password we would recommend using a phrase or quote and using letters from this. We also suggest swapping numbers for letters so instead of an “A” use a “4″ or instead of an “S” use a “5″. Some passwords expect symbols so again use an “@” instead of an “A” or a “?” instead of a “T”.

Phases

We sometimes use phrases to remember numbers, such as Pi ie “How I Wish I Could Calculate Pi”, the number of letters in each word are counted to give 3.141592 .

This can also be used for remembering pin numbers, so the pin 1 4 2 4

Could be “ I Have To Call the hospital” so I has 1 letter, HAVE has 4 letters etc.

Another option we could use the 1st letter of each word in the phrase

The Early Bird Catches The Worm”  so T E B C T W  so a simple 6 letter password with no real meaning. So if you can remember the saying you can workout the password.

But how do you use this for multiple passwords? You can add letters after the 6 letters that relate to the site you are visiting so:

Site www.theguardian.co.uk you could take the first 2 letters T and G and add to the end so you end up with T E B C T W T G an 8 letter password or you could substitute the last 2 letters of your original password T W for T G to give you a new password.

We could also substitute numbers for letters, so you could replace the “B” for an “8″ , so you end up with T E 8 C T W T G a nonsense password but means something to you.

Lastly add a double symbols you like such as a % to the end and you end up with TE8CTWTG%% gobbledygook but a good password.

So to write this safely, you could write The early bird catches the work 8 % . This would remind you to substitute the 8 and add the % twice

Yes all sounds confusing, but good in practice and if you write the saying in your note book would anyone be the wiser? You can use your own memorable phrase..

“My holiday in Spain was very relaxing and rejuvenating”,

I hope this helps and keep on with those passwords and remember not to leave your keys laying around.

 

Keeping safe when browsing #2 – Saving passwords and info within your browser

Following is our suggestions for keeping safe on the web

The Scene.

As everyone these days, you use the internet for shopping and banking, but find the constant request for information, passwords, etc really annoying. But to help your browser remembers these for you, what a life saver.

But oh dear!, your computer dies or worse is lost or stolen, how will you remember all the passwords and login’s. Oh! its OK the password is the same for everything and you always use the same email address.

Oh dear! indeed, we hear this nearly every day and find it sad that so much trust is placed on the computer, although we do not use the same rational we use in everyday life.

Using the same password is the most common issue. I always liken this to using the same key in everything you open. If one key is lost someone can open everything you have. So please use different passwords for everything. There will be a later blog on passwords and tricks to remember.

All browsers ask you if it is OK to save your info on there first use and without exception this is accepted, “..anything for an easy life..” and from now on it continues to do so. The issue here is that the passwords, address, email addresses and other confidential info are not usually encrypted or saved in a way it cannot be recovered. Therefore someone with any IT knowledge, and this can be a 7 year old up, can recover all this info within a few seconds. So your bank account, email address and password can be recovered and used without your knowledge. Your shopping sites can be accessed, those appointments can be uncovered and those subscriptions to magazines etc can be made public.

Another consideration, if your PC is compromised with a virus or spyware your data can be collected easily. So make it as difficult as possible.

Scared yet? no? I have spoken to 20+ clients in the past 2 weeks and on everyone, no there were no exceptions, I was able to confirm that their data was not secure and easily accessible.

So to address a few of these problems with a couple of solutions.

Firstly go un-tick the remember password and any other info. If you search for your browser then ” clear data” you will find plenty of sites and info on clearing data and what tick is required to stop being asked. The same with remembering info such as addresses and personal bits of info.

This will sound a little contradictory about saving info, but we would also recommend using favorites for sites you visit regularly. We have found a number of people searching for sites and clicking the first site on display. They then fall fowl to phishing scams from sites that look like the expected site.

Read my blog on passwords and go and change the password on all those accounts that are the same or have not been changed for years.

If we have raised any concerns or you would like to discuss anything raised above, or would like to take the data challenge please email at support@pcsouthwest.co.uk or phone 01392 361999