Don't Get Bumped Off the Grid by "Frontier" Hackers
I have just returned from vacation in Alaska and am here to tell you that the real frontier is alive and well. Surprisingly enough to me, there are those who relish living in Alaska off the grid in a "dry cabin" – without water, sewer heat, internet or even generator power.
My photo for this issue is of the Hubbard Glacier which is 6 miles wide and 250 feet tall just above the water line. You can get an idea of scale from the tiny 6+ passenger boat in front by a calved iceberg.
It is this very real independent "frontier-like" spirit that makes Alaska so wonderfully wild and beautiful, but this same spirit lurks malevolently on the Internet. Surfing endlessly using high tech tools, spiders and robots in a cyber world that has no real boundaries are criminals, spammers, and schemers who are looking for easy targets. An unsecured WordPress website and even an html based website can be prey to these savvy attackers.
The best way to stay safe in this frontier environment starts with a super secure password for your FTP access, WordPress logins and hosting account. I do not mean using the most popular password in America which is baseball and putting a 1 behind it. I mean creating a password that is nearly gibberish and may even be hard for you to remember that contains capitals, symbols and numbers. My team likes to spell out passwords but exchange e's for 3's and a's for @'s.
Don't forget that you should have different passwords for different sites so don't use your Facebook password for your FTP access and your WordPress login. I recommend using a password application like one that comes with Norton's Internet Security or using a Word document to track your sites and unique logins to stay sane.
I do consider your best defense when it comes to hacking is to be proactive and to switch up your passwords every three months. As inconvenient as this sounds, getting hacked and having to pay for a clean up and losing business while your site is reworked is costly and even more inconvenient. Stay safe, it can be wilder than Alaska out there on the Internet!
All the Best,
Nancy C. McCord