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Ransomware – Have You Been Attacked & What You Can Do To Protect Your Computer

In view of last week’s events which highlighted the constant risk posed by hackers and cyber-attacks (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39899646), we thought that now was a great time to offer a few tips to help guard against this ever-present risk.

However, before we offer our own tips on tightening your online security, we would like to address the specific threat from the ‘Ransomware’ which crippled many systems last Friday and would like to direct anyone who feels the could potentially have been compromised to read the information from United Hosting below.

“We strongly advise our customers to apply the following security update, released by Microsoft on March 14th this year: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396 , if not having done so already.

Overview of risk

Microsoft have announced a vulnerability in Microsoft Server Message Block 1.0 (SMBv1) server today. This service (SMB) is utilised to present shares, printers and more on a Microsoft Domain network.

This vulnerability exposes core Active directory components to Remote Code Execution from unauthenticated attackers. They would be able to execute any code they wished to potentially gain access to the entire network. The patches Microsoft have provided should be tested installed as a matter of urgency.

Specific Security reports of the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) are below –

Vulnerability titleCVE number
Windows SMB Remote Code Execution VulnerabilityCVE-2017-0143
Windows SMB Remote Code Execution VulnerabilityCVE-2017-0144
Windows SMB Remote Code Execution VulnerabilityCVE-2017-0145
Windows SMB Remote Code Execution VulnerabilityCVE-2017-0146
Windows SMB Remote Code Execution VulnerabilityCVE-2017-0148

The released patches target the SMBv1 service and the way it handles the particular requests that can be used to exploit it.”

How does the virus spread?

One of the key questions regarding this attack is how did it manage to spread so quickly?

There are 3 primary methods of entry for Malware to a computer. These are:

  • Opening attachments or clicking on links in phishing emails
  • Downloading legitimate-looking
  • Visiting a malicious site (particularly if you are using outdated software, browsers etc)

Please Note – If an infected computer is hooked up to a network, the virus can then spread to other connected computers.

Is It Possible To Protect My Computer From The Ransomware Virus?

Many of the users who were affected were still using outdated versions of Windows such as Windows XP which was no longer receiving security updates from Microsoft.

If you are using an older version of Windows, we would recommend upgrading your operating system ASAP.

Microsoft’s current operating system is Windows 10. Two slightly older versions, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, are also still available.

Am I Safe If I Have a More Recent Version of Windows Installed?

Even if you have a more recent version of Windows on your PC, we strongly recommend downloading all of the most recent updates and security software to increase your ability to guard against these threats.

The security patch that Microsoft released in March, named MS17-010, can be found online.

Windows 10, 8.1 and 8 all include Microsoft’s Windows Defender antivirus software as standard and this can be effective against many types of malware and ransomware. If you are still using Windows 7, downloading Microsoft’s free Windows Security Essentials software can be beneficial.

What to do if your computer is infected?

The National Crime Agency (NCA) encourages victims not to pay any ransom and to contact Action Fraud.

Further information and support can be found on the NCSC website.

They also recommend the following steps:

  • Run Windows Update
  • Make sure your antivirus product is up to date and run a scan – if you don’t have one install one of the free trial versions from a reputable vendor
  • If you have not done so before, this is a good time to think about backing important data up – you can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

Contact Us

If you would like to put your website in the hands of a company who will take it forward, please contact Footprint Web Design on Tel. No. 01883 372488 today.

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By | May 16th, 2017|Security|Comments Off on Ransomware – Have You Been Attacked & What You Can Do To Protect Your Computer

The Top 2 Reasons You May Want To Consider Upgrading Your Website To HTTPS

It always pays to leave no stone unturned when it comes to SEO. Whilst there are a huge number of factors taken into account by Google when it comes to determining their website rankings, exploring all options can only help.

There is a groundswell of opinion stating that upgrading your website to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) could prove to be crucial if you are battling rivals for prime keyword positions.

What Are the Benefits of HTTPS?

We’re all used to seeing ‘HTTP’ at the beginning of a URL but was about extra ‘S’? Essentially the S stands for “SSL”, which in turn stands for Secure Sockets Layer.The Top 2 Reasons You May Want To Consider Upgrading Your Website To HTTPS

This extremely useful technology helps to encrypt the connection to a website, providing that extra layer of security making it more difficult for hackers to intercept important data. This can include passwords and payment details.

Below are 2 additional reasons why increasing the security of the site could benefit your business.

Can Be a Key SEO Ranking Factor

When two similar sites have similar SEO values, the inclusion of an SSL certificate could be enough to nudge your website above your competitor.

Whilst no-one knows precisely what Google’s algorithms look for, it is widely believe that it is Google’s goal to offer the best possible user experience. Increased online safety would certainly fall under this umbrella and therefore having a secure site (HTTPS) can help you rank higher on Google.

Mobile Search Boosts

Are you serious about being found online? You can no longer ignore mobile search optimisation. Because many modern browsers and phone applications require HTTPS in order to perform correctly, failure to add this to your website could leave you lagging behind your rivals.

Contact Us

If you would like to put your website in the hands of a company who will take it forward, please contact Footprint Web Design on Tel. No. 01883 372488 today.

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By | May 15th, 2017|Security|Comments Off on The Top 2 Reasons You May Want To Consider Upgrading Your Website To HTTPS

A Few Tips To Help Rise Up The Google Rankings

Whilst there are lots of theories about the factors that Google uses to create its rankings, the truth is that no-one truly knows. However, experience has taught us that a variety of techniques can help us to ensure that our clients get a push up the rankings.

Are You Overlooking These?

Below we have outlined a few aspects of web design and SEO which can often be overlooked but can play a critical in any SEO campaign.

These include but aren’t limited to:

  • Is Your Website Using HTTPS?Google confirmed that it uses HTTPS as a ranking factor. This can be important because any site that uses HTTPS will ensure that all users’ date is encrypted. Therefore improving both the safety and experience of the user.
  • Addition of Fresh Content – It is commonly believe that Google loves the addition of fresh pages to a website. Don’t panic though, whilst it is always a good idea to keep your website fresh and up to date, old pages are very unlikely to be disregarded.
  • Make Sure Your Website Has a Sitemaps– Linking your website to a sitemap and then submitting to Google will let Google know precisely which pages are on your website.
  • Is Your Website The Hare or the Tortoise?– We live in an impatient world! If your website does not load quickly, there is every chance that users will head elsewhere. Google is widely believed to prioritise websites which load quickly, particularly with mobile searches.
  • Do Your Visitors Bounce From Your Website?– It is often the case that a lower bounce rate = higher rankings. The better the experience offered by your website, the more likely that Google will offer better rankings.
  • Keep URLs Short & Sweet– Whilst internet users can be impatient, so can Google! If your long tail URL contains more than 5 words, Google may start to disregard it. Short and to the point is the order of the day!

Contact Us

If you would like to put your website in the hands of a company who will take it forward, please contact Footprint Web Design on Tel. No. 01883 372488 today.

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By | May 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on A Few Tips To Help Rise Up The Google Rankings

How Important is Website Loading Speed?

Is it really possible that the loading speed of a website can impact the number of sales that you make? According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, approximately 50% of all web users expect a website to be loaded and usable within just 2 seconds and will look elsewhere if it hasn’t loaded within 3! Who was it that said patience was a virtue!!??

Perhaps even more concerning was the fact that over 75% of the web shoppers who were quizzed that had problems with web site performance expressed that they were unlikely to return again, with just less than 50% saying that would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.

Are You Missing Out on Sales?

Not only does this mean you may potentially be losing conversions from actual visitors to your site, you may even be losing on potential future custom from their friends and colleagues as well. The How Important is Website Loading Speedend result – missing out on lots of potential sales simply down to something which is taking a few seconds too long.

A Variety of Factors

It is important to note though that the speed at which your site is ready to be used is not purely down to the actually loading speed of your website. Factors such as poor internet connection, outdated equipment etc can also play a crucial role. However, this does not mean that every possible step should not be taken in order to ensure that your site is primed and ready to go.

Please Note – Whilst the speed of your mobile pages currently doesn’t impact your mobile rankings, soon it may, says Gary Illyes of Google.

At Footprint Web Design, we like to go that extra mile to ensure that during the design process, we put everything in place to ensure that your website is primed to load quickly.

By focusing on 3 crucial aspects of web design (plus much more) we will help to ensure that your website is ready to load as quickly as possible for your customers.

  • Correct implementation of Javascript and CSS
  • Image optimisation
  • Cache optimisation

Contact Us

If you would like to know how we can help to improve the loading speed of your website, please contact the Footprint Web Design team today on Tel. No. 01883 372488 and we will be happy to help you.

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By | April 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on How Important is Website Loading Speed?

How To Choose The Right Domain Name

The answer to this is pretty obvious, or is it? Whilst many people instinctively choose their business name as their domain, not all wish to do this. Below we have outlined a couple of areas which we believe you should focus.

Area No. 1 – Keep it Short & Catchy

Snappy domain names help potential customers and also look better on printed media and when used on Social Media channels as they unlikely to be shortened when posted.How To Choose The Right Domain Name

Choosing something short, catchy and relevant is often the best idea for any domain name, simply because they are easy for people to type and just as important, easy for people to remember.

Area No. 2 – Get Straight to the Point

It is always good practice to ensure that your domain name automatically offers potential customers a good idea of what your company actually does without them having to visit your website if possible.

For example, the following domain name http://www.dewdneylandscaping.co.uk makes it immediately clear that this company is a landscaping company.

Top Tip – Whilst some people like to go for something weird and wonderful, it’s important to remember that choosing something too  obscure may actually result in the need for an increased effort and expense when it comes to branding and market to ensure customers know more about your products and services.

Bonus Area – Domain Names Can Be SEO Friendly

If you are looking to target a particular keyword with your SEO efforts, you may be able to factor this into your thinking.

For example, if you are looking to sell windows in Surrey, it could be worth exploring whether the domain name www.windows-surrey.co.uk is still available?

Further Information

If you’d like to speak to us regarding any aspect of web design or SEO, please give us a call on 01883 372488 or contact us via Facebook and we’ll be happy to talk you through your options.

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By | April 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on How To Choose The Right Domain Name
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