Black-flies, Mosquitoes, and Hackers – Oh My!

black-flies and mosquitoes

Black-flies, mosquitoes and hackers have a lot in common!

Black-flies and mosquitoes invade New Hampshire every spring, making it hard to enjoy the beauty of the blossoming fields and woodlands. Planting gardens, hiking — even stepping outside to get your newspaper — can quickly become a miserable experience if you’re not prepared.

It’s a New Hampshire fact that going outside without protection during ‘bug season’ sets  you up to come home with lots of itchy bites.

And it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see the similarity between these swarming insect pests and the malicious spammers and hackers that make it so difficult to enjoy — or even feel safe on — the internet. At the very least these bad actors are a nagging annoyance. And at worst they cost thousands upon thousands of lost hours AND lost dollars.

If you haven’t been hacked yet, consider yourself lucky. But don’t get complacent. The best thing you can do is get some tools to protect yourself up-front. And also, put some plans in place, so that you are prepared and know what to do, should a virus or some malware infect your site.

Black-flies and mosquitoes needn’t keep you indoors, and hackers needn’t curtail your activity on the net. With some careful precautions in place (and regularly monitored) you’re doing everything that you can to keep yourself safe and happily productive on the web.

Black-flies and Hackers Needn’t Keep You Indoors!

So here are some practical measures you can take to keep yourself as safe as possible:

Back Up your site frequently. Create a schedule for yourself and then be sure to follow it. Then, if you ever do get hacked, you will be able to restore all or most of what you have lost.

Update your site (and any plugins you use) as soon as updates come on-line. Very often, updates are created specifically to thwart threats or address vulnerabilities that hackers are always working to exploit. So staying up-to-date is a good, basic protection.

Secure your logins. That means using strong passwords and avoiding obvious user names like “admin.”

Run virus scans regularly. You may subscribe to something like Norton. That will check your computer. And whoever hosts your website will have virus scanning capabilities, too. It’s important to do both regularly.

Plugins can help. If you’re on a WordPress platform, it’s a good idea to explore the plugins that are available for monitoring and/or protecting your site.

  • The Sucuri WordPress Plugin is a robust, free plugin (you can upgrade to paid versions) that allows you to monitor activity on your site – things like changes to files, failed login attempts, etc. When we installed this plugin here at The Time Finder we were astounded at the number of times that hacking attempts were made (as measured by failed logins).
  • Wordfence is the other plugin that we have installed here. It’s free, and as with Sucari, you can upgrade to a paid, premium version that offers more features and support. But the free version offers quite a bit on its own, including scans that alert you quickly in the event your site is compromised, a Live Traffic view that gives you real-time visibility into traffic and hack attempts on your website, the ability to check and block hackers’ IP addresses, and lots of additional tools to secure your WordPress site.

When in doubt …  check it out! If you see something that seems suspicious, don’t ignore it. We use Google a lot to check out files and addresses that just don’t seem quite right. There’s a good chance that others have had the same feeling – and you’ll often have your suspicions confirmed with a quick Google search – AND avoid a lot of hassle in the process!

So here’s to your safety on the web, as you avoid the mosquitoes, black-flies, and the hackers!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have no material connection with the brands, topics, or products that are mentioned here, and have not received any compensation for writing this content.

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