Category Archives: Security

Is Your Domain Name Registration Exposing Personal Information?

When you register a domain name, your domain registrar (e.g. register.com, dyn.com, hover.com, etc.) asks for a lot of detailed information. Depending on your business structure, this may include personal information like your home address and phone number.

You might think this information is kept private on your registrar’s secured computers. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Unless you signed up for a domain privatization service, it’s probably open for everyone to see.

Check Right Now If Your Personal Information Is Public

Go to http://who.is and type in your domain name. Do it right now. I’ll wait.

Okay, what did you find? Is your personal phone number and home address listed? If so, I would encourage you to go to your domain registrar and check to see if they offer a service to make your personal information secret or private. There’s usually a minimal charge for this service, but heck, it beats getting your website hacked, or worse, your identity stolen.

Is it Really Much of a Risk?

The more your personal information is public, the easier it is for identity thieves to hack into your accounts. Identity thieves look for seemingly innocuous personal information (e.g. pet’s name, children’s names, year you graduated high school, etc.) to bypass security measures on online accounts.

You know those security questions you have to answer if you forget a password? How much of that info is on your Facebook profile or LinkedIn account? So having your personal phone number and home address gives criminals that much more ammunition against you.

Don’t believe me? Read this story about what happened to Josh Bryant, the co-founder of Droplr.

Need More Help?

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We're also happy to provide assistance directly. Just send an email to dharma@zenpunkwebworks.com.

How to Get Your Website Back Up When Has Been Hacked

You no doubt have heard that Target and Neiman Marcus are among the latest major corporations to get hacked. This should serve as a reminder that getting hacked (whether it’s your website, your email account or your bank account) may be less of an “if” and more of a “when”.

Sure there are things you can do to make this less likely.

  • Use randomly generated passwords stored in a secure password manager.
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Use programs to secure files on your computer.
  • Sanitize input fields and validate the data before using it
  • Keep software up to date (including WordPress, plugins and themes)

But even then it can happen. So then what? What do you do when someone tells you they tried to pull your site up and they got a page saying your site has been hacked?

Back Up Your Site and Get Your Site Back Up

We use the WordPress plugin Backup Buddy. There are a lot of other backup plugins available. We like Backup Buddy because we can schedule regular backups of both the files AND the database. Backup Buddy also makes it easy to get a site back up within minutes.

Another thing you can do is make sure your web host does regular backups, too. Not all do and you shouldn’t count on this as your primary backup, but it’s a good thing to have when you need it.

Don’t Abandon Your Website

When was the last time you looked through your website? Let’s say you run Backup Buddy and keep backups for the last three weeks (you want to set some limits on the number of backups you keep or it can fill up your storage space quickly).

Then you discover your site’s been hacked. So you go to pull up your backups only to learn it was hacked more than a month ago. You might have discovered it in time if you made a habit of stopping by your site every once in a while. Now you’re screwed!

One way to insure this doesn’t happen is to write regular blog posts and look at them. You’re much more likely to avoid not having a valid backup copy.

Need More Help?

If you liked this article, be sure to sign up for your FREE subscription to the Nickel's Worth of Free Advice newsletter where we send helpful articles every Tuesday and Friday. You can either fill out the form on the right side of this page or visit the Nickel's Worth of Free Advice signup page.

We're also happy to provide assistance directly. Just send an email to dharma@zenpunkwebworks.com.