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Yearly Archives: 2015

/2015

Gone Phishing?

Being proactive with on-line security has always been important but with website attacks increasing in frequency, taking steps to safeguard your Keeping Your Details Safewebsite should no longer be viewed as an ‘optional extra’.

Customers need to feel secure and protected when accessing your website, making purchases or submitting sensitive information on-line and the rise in cyber-crime and on-line theft has resulted in effective internet security becoming more important than it has ever been.

Taking Website Security Seriously

With hackers across the globe employing increasingly advanced techniques designed to compromise websites for their own benefit, doing everything possible to stay one step ahead is now the only sensible option for anyone who takes the security of their website seriously.

Whilst there is a chance that your website may escape the attention of hackers, the indiscriminate nature of many attacks just goes to prove that burying your head in regards to on-line safety is never a sensible option and in the article below we will outline exactly why this is the case.

Is My Website Safe?

Let’s be honest here, if the CIA’s website fell victim to hackers, it is safe to say that no website is 100% safe! Authorised Personnel Only

Please click here to see an animated infographic which highlights just how many high profile and respected websites have become victims of hackers over the past few years.

However, as the hackers’ methods of breaking into websites have become more advanced, the good news is that so have the methods of defending these attacks.

Please Note – You can also keep up to date with recorded data breaches via the Comparitech website by clicking here.

Are Some Websites More Vulnerable Than Others?

Some of the most recent statistics available highlight the fact that “WordPress is used by 60.8% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This accounts for 23.5% of all websites.”

For more on this, please visit – http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress/all/all

For this reason alone, it should come as no surprise that WordPress sites are often targeted by hackers but this does not mean that WordPress Content Management Systemswebsites are the only regular target.

Websites designed using:

  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Magento
  • + many others

Being particularly prone to attack, the likelihood that nearly all hosted websites are likely to see some sort of malicious attempt to disrupt their service at some point is very high.

How Do Hackers Attack?

Hackers are skilled at identifying common vulnerabilities related to any platform which can be exploited if software is not kept up to date and now have a number of different methods of attacking websites to gain the information that they require.

Below we have highlighted 3 of the most common:

Threat No. 1 – Phishing

Many people have heard the term ‘phishing’ before but do you know what it actually means though and if so, are you aware of the dangers posed by a phishing scam?

Essentially, the purpose of a phishing attack is to steal a person’s login and password details so that the hacker can take control of the victim’s social network, email and on-line bank accounts.

The image below shows just how much the information which can be taken via a website hack can be worth.

How Much Is Your Data Worth

What Makes This Method So Effective?

A recent article highlighted the fact that up to 70% of internet users still use the same password for most, if not all, of their on-line accounts, and this is Keeping Credit Card Details Safewhat makes phishing so effective.

Once the hacker has gained the required login details, they will have the ability to access multiple private accounts and manipulate them for their own good.

The types of information hackers try to obtain via a phishing attack often include credit card numbers, passwords, account numbers and many other types of personal information.

Common Phishing Attacks

A person can attempt to extract valuable information from an unassuming individual in many different ways. A few are listed below:

  • Emails
  • Text Messages
  • Instant Messages
  • Telephone Calls
  • Pop-Ups

How Can it Infect My Site?

If hackers can gain access to your website, they can create new areas or pages on your existing site designed to fool users into providing their personal details.

Employing up to date online security measures are essential to ensure that this does not happen.

Threat No. 2 – Malware

Malware (or malicious software to give its full name) is used to attack a person’s computer in order to spread a bug onto other people’s devices and Malware-Attacksprofiles. Malware also has the ability to infect a computer and turn it into a botnet, which means the hacker will gain the ability to control the computer and use it to send malware to others.

Malware can be extremely dangerous due to the fact that it can often be very stealthy, working away in the background without the knowledge of the user for an extended period of time stealing information.

How Can it Infect My Site?

Spyware or other variations of malware is sometimes found embedded in programs supplied officially by companies, e.g., downloadable from websites, that appear useful or attractive, but may have, for example, additional hidden tracking functionality that gathers marketing statistics.

No. 3 – Spamming

Spamming is when a cyber criminal sends emails designed to make a victim spend money on counterfeit or fake goods. Botnets, such as Rustock, send the majority of spam messages, often advertising pharmaceutical products or security software, which people believe they need to solve a security issue which doesn’t actually exist.

Are Phishing & Spamming Linked?

Phishing and spamming are often linked due to the fact that once a phishing attack has been successful, hackers then have the opportunity to use the details obtained to send e-mails which appear to have come from a legitimate company as they look very official.

It is surprisingly easy to fool unsuspecting people into providing credit card numbers, account information etc in this fashion in hopes of rectifying some nonexistent catastrophic problem with an account.

The sense of urgency and impending doom created by the email sender is done intentionally with the hope of coaxing the recipient into taking immediate action by providing all requested information or face dire consequences.

How Can We Help?

Because of the ever changing and evolving method of attacks, vigilance is the primary weapon against all forms of hacking. Online Security

To help this guard against attacks on your website, we are offering a service which will regularly update all of the plugins/patches and software versions used within your website to ensure that any vulnerabilities which may be targeted by hackers are removed.

We are also offering an emergency restore and removal service (restore the site back and remove the malware/virus).

Contact Us

For more on these services and how they can help you, please contact us on Tel. No. 01883 372488 or via e-mail info@footprint.co.uk at we will be happy to run through your options.

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By | March 9th, 2015|Security|Comments Off on Gone Phishing?

Could Google’s Driverless Cars Be The Future of Travel

Is there any area of our lives that Google don’t want to be a part of?? Not content with dominating the internet search market, Google are now moving ever closer to another goal, the production of self-driving cars.

Google are quoted as saying the following:

“Fully autonomous driving has always been the goal of our project, because we think this could improve road safety and help lots of people who can’t drive.”

“We’re now developing prototypes of vehicles that have been designed from the ground up to drive themselves—just push a button and they’ll take you where you want to go! We’ll use these vehicles to test our software and learn what it will really take to bring this technology into the world.”

Things are now far beyond the planning stage and not only can you see them in action (see below), they have now been given the go ahead for trials in the UK’s roads.

Still Some Way To Go

If the thought of putting your safety in the hands of a driverless car brings you out into a cold sweat, there is no immediate concern due to the fact that the UK Government is predicting 2030 is the very earliest that drivers will begin to become passengers in their own cars.

In the build up to 2030, the technology (which is being developed by a number of different companies) is expected to reach the required level of safety and sophistication which is crucial if drivers are to allow the car to safely drive itself.

Whilst some people have many questions which are still to be answered about this groundbreaking technology, others view the potential opportunity to continue working, talk to friends or entertain themselves on the internet as they are driven around is something that they find very intriguing.

Channel 4 recently explored some of the key questions surrounding this amazing concept.

http://www.channel4.com/news/driverless-cars-autonomous-driving-mobile-robotics-google

What are your views on driverless cars? Good idea, or bad?

 

By | March 6th, 2015|Google|Comments Off on Could Google’s Driverless Cars Be The Future of Travel

Is The Tide Turning?

For many years Google has had an inescapable stranglehold over internet searches. However, could things all be about to change?

Just before Christmas, Mozilla (the team behind the Firefox web browser) made an announcement that could have wide ranging repercussions for Google and beyond.firefox-256

Firefox users conduct over 100 billion searches per year & starting in December Yahoo! was chosen to be the default search choice in the US, under a new 5 year agreement.

Read on to see what they had to say:

“Search is a core part of the online experience for everyone — Firefox users alone search the Web more than 100 billion times per year.”

“Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004. Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.”

“In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence, and positions us to innovate and advance our mission in ways that best serve our users and the Web. In the end, each of the partnership options available to us had strong, improved economic terms reflecting the significant value that Firefox brings to the ecosystem. But one strategy stood out from the rest.”

For more on their official statement, please check out the following link – https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2014/11/19/promoting-choice-and-innovation-on-the-web/

Could This Effect You?

Whilst this change is currently being implemented in the US, the chances of it being introduced in the UK have obviously increased. Would this effect your browsing habits? Is the change a positive one or a negative one?

If you are unsure about the differences between search engines such as Google and Yahoo, stick with us as we will be added an article to the website shortly which will help to shed some light on why this switch may have been made.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please get in touch.

 

 

By | February 25th, 2015|Google, Internet Browser, Yahoo|Comments Off on Is The Tide Turning?

How Many Times Do You Think Google Is Searched Each Year?

If you had to guess, how many times would you imagine that the Google search engine is used each and every day? Despite being notorious for keeping their figures close to their chest, they have confirmed that their search engine is used for at least 3 billion searches per day!

A HUGE Figure!!

In a sighting that rivals the Loch Ness monster in terms of frequency, Google raised their head to confirm that the search figures have remained at the same level as when they How Many Times Do You Think Google Is Searched Each Year?previously released their statistics back in August 2012. It was during this period that, Google revealed it was doing 100 billion searches per month, or 1.2 trillion per year.

The world’s most popular search engine recently confirmed to the Search Engine Land website that it did give Backchannel the 2012 figure — over 100 billion per month, which Google rounds to 3 billion per day — for its story.

Following up, Google have now stated that the number of daily searches still holds true for today. However, they did go on to say that they were reluctant to use the word “over” in relation to how current figures relate to previous as it leaves things open-ended (and by implication, higher).

Google’s Growth in the Search Market

Taking into account Google’s reluctance to speak in terms relative to growth over the past 2 years, it has been left to other sources to speculate.

comScore provides its own third-party estimate of how many searches the major search engines handle. For 2012, comScore had Google doing roughly 110 billion searches per month worldwide – not that far off what Google itself was claiming.

Unfortunately, comScore hasn’t released updated worldwide figures since then. We’re checking on this. But it does release figures for the US each month. That provides a fairly conservative way to benchmark Google’s growth.

Changing Landscape?

With the recent news that Firefox is now using Yahoo as the primary search engine on its web browser, speculation has been rife that Google’s position at the top of the market could be about to come under threat. However, with visitor numbers such as these, it seems very unlikely that a serious threat to Google is anywhere close.

For more on this story, please take a moment to visit the following link – http://searchengineland.com/google-1-trillion-searches-per-year-212940

 

By | February 16th, 2015|Google|Comments Off on How Many Times Do You Think Google Is Searched Each Year?

Be Wary of SEO Companies ‘Guaranteeing’ Results

We understand just how tricky choosing the right SEO firm can be. Unless you are fortunate enough to receive a personal recommendation from someone you trust, taking a leap of faith with any company offering SEO services ranging anywhere from £100s to £1000s per month, is likely to be a nerve-racking experience at the best of times.

Even if you opt for a company which ranks well on Google themselves, how do you know that they will be able to repeat this with your business? How can you be sure that Be Wary of SEO Companies ‘Guaranteeing’ Resultsthey are doing the work that they promised and are not just ripping you off? Perhaps you have had a bad experience in the past and this now causes added anxiety as you begin go through the hiring process again.

As a company that prides itself on our reputation, we would love to be able to guarantee SEO results for our clients. We believe that our clients deserve a guarantee and it would certainly make marketing a little easier! However, we know that these guarantees are simply not possible and we therefore do not offer them.

Looking For Assurance

It is only natural for people to look for some type of assurance before signing up with any company offering products or services. However, because all SEO companies are aware of the general nervousness of many new clients (especially those who are facing a step into the unknown in regards to SEO), in an effort to separate themselves from the pack, some SEO ‘experts’ take it upon themselves to offer a range of services that GUARANTEE results.

Hands up if you have received spam e-mails from companies doing just this? We know that we have!

Surely there is nothing wrong with this though. The Post Office guarantee delivery dates on some of their post, your local garage may guarantee that you will get your car back in a full working order by a particular date, so what is wrong with an SEO company guaranteeing to get you exceptional rankings? The problem lies here – there are no SEO companies that work for Google and therefore they have no way of controlling their algorithm and therefore ‘guaranteeing results’.

Why Can’t SEO Guarantees Be Trusted?

A recent article on the Forbes website titled ‘Why the best SEO firms don’t offer guaranteed results’ took a detailed look into why it is not possible to give any of the promises any credibility at all.

The research highlighted 5 reasons which stood out-

  • No. 1 – SEO & Guarantees Have an Abominable History – It is a proven fact that many scams offer guarantees. It therefore stands to reason that you should always be on your guard with any company offering a guaranteed service.
  • No. 2 – Search Engine Rankings are Inherently Unstable – Rankings for a particular keyword frequently vary from one moment to another, from one computer to another and from one location to another. Therefore guaranteeing results is not really possible.
  • No. 3 – Rankings are a Poor Metric for Overall Performance – There are a number of factors which decide the success of an SEO campaign. We will explore this is in a later blog.
  • No . 4 – Guaranteeing Something Which Cannot Be Controlled is Impossible – Whereas some market sectors, such as those mentioned above work in a field in which they can guarantee results, the sheer number of factors and variables involved in SEO ensures that guarantees are impossible.
  • No. 5 – Last and most importantly, Google specifically warns against this practice! – Google’s official statement reads: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google”

The Risks of Trusting a Guarantee

The only way that an SEO company will have any chance of guaranteeing results is by guaranteeing that Google’s algorithm will continue to react in a particular way. If however, Google engineers cannot guarantee that the algorithm will act a particular way in the future (there have been a number of instances where Google representatives have said they saw no issue with a certain tactic only to red flag it later), how can anyone else possibly be in a position to offer this guarantee?

Despite all of the evidence suggesting that the sensible option is to look elsewhere, some people are still prepared to put their trust in someone offering a guarantee of results, particularly if the services available are relatively cheap. After all if you try these for a few months and they don’t work, what have you actually lost? Unfortunately, the truth is that you may have lost a great deal.

Companies that cut corners in an effort to achieve fast results which may initially seem to fulfil the ‘guarantee’ criteria are putting your website at risk.

When someone chooses a low quality SEO firm there are a variety of bad things that may be lurking around the corner, including but not limited to:

  • Losing your investment
  • Losing your time
  • Losing your rankings
  • Possibly even earning a penalty from Google which will take a significant amount of time and money to resolve

How To Hire The Right SEO Firm

When shopping for SEO services, it is absolutely essential that you do your homework. Whilst personal recommendations from people who have good experiences with a particular company will go a long way in the decision making process, the following article highlights some great questions to factor into your decision making process – http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2013/09/23/4-tips-for-hiring-the-right-seo-firm/

Taking the time to explore case studies, speaking to references, and perhaps most importantly of all – gaining a little SEO knowledge of your own, you can take significant steps towards making the best decision for your business.

What Makes Us Different?

Despite veering well away from guaranteeing SEO results, we do not shy away from making our clients a guarantee and this is one that we can and will deliver on month after month.

We guarantee that you will receive a service that delivers to the best of our knowledge, to the best of our ability and most importantly of all, will retain the best interests of your business at heart at all times.

Whilst due to the very nature of SEO, some of the work will be done ‘behind the scenes’ of your website, we work tirelessly to ensure that at the end of each month, much of the work that we do provides tangible results (blogs and citations for example) to ensure that you feel comfortable in the knowledge that you have something to show for your money.

We pride ourselves on being viewed by our clients as an open-book and as such, if you have any questions regarding any of our services, please just give us a call on Tel. No. 01883 372488 and we’ll be happy to run through your options with you.

By | February 6th, 2015|SEO, SEO Results|Comments Off on Be Wary of SEO Companies ‘Guaranteeing’ Results
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