FBI warns of increased threat of WordPress Hacking by ISIS.

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This is an image of my personal email, it’s a list of hacking attempts on my WordPress blog!

I’m not a high profile target (I think!) but as you can see I had several attempts to hack into my blog. It’s from a hacker in the Ukraine, as you might imagine I eventually got bored of these constant email and blacklisted the whole of the Ukraine!

If the run of the mill hackers aren’t bad enough the FBI has announced an alert that Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) a.k.a. Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) is hacking into WordPress blogs.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/04/08/fake-isis-hackers-exploiting-wordpress/

Sagittarius provides some great hosting which is very secure, physically and remotely. However the hosting can have all the security in the world but it’s not going to protect you if you don’t take care of your site.

If your blog uses any of the following plugins you might be vulnerable:

  • Gravity Forms – anything lower than 1.8.19 gives full admin access to your entire blog 
  • Pods Plugin 
  • MainWP-Child 
  • WooCommerce 
  • WordPress SEO 
  • WP Super Cache - This is a really bad hack and should be upgraded over version 1.4.4 as it allows admin level access to WordPress via XSS attack. 
  • Slider Revolution

That’s not to say other plugins aren’t vulnerable but the above are known targets the FBI and others raise as the most likely attack points. It’s worth mentioning that the above plugins are known to be the best in the business which is why they are widely used. Which in turn means they are widely targeted in hacking attempts!

Insecure plugins are bad but also any version of Wordpress older than 4.2.1 is natively vulnerable. Without any plugins it allows attackers to use XSS which in laymen’s terms allows the attacker to inject any mark-up they like on to your site.

Such as adverts appearing on site or defacing your blog as a whole. It also allows the attacker to listen for the admin logging in and change the admin password. To one the attacker can use to get or do anything the admin user can do.

So what can you do? Well as you might expect Sagittarius can help with many of these issues.

We can upgrade individual plugins or WordPress itself for you as a one off payment. We offer monthly maintenance plans as well as service level agreements for this type of work.

If that wasn’t helpful enough we have monthly plans which monitors WordPress for malware and hacks as well as blacklisting hackers (like my blog is doing above). As well as malware removal and clean-up for an unlimited number of page. Depending on your specific needs we can do this within 12 hours, 6 hours or 4 hours of attack based on your specific business criteria.

Simply contact your appropriate account manager for information on one or more of these great services. My personal blog is built on WordPress and I still believe it’s a great platform. But given all the threats out there to your business. Can you really afford not to have a retainer to actively monitor and protect your site?

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Richard Brisley
Richard Brisley
Tech Lead
Richard is the longest standing member of the Sagittarius team, he works tirelessly to support the development and side-facing team with problem solving and pitches alike. His skills as a .NET programmer and database administrator have been paramount to the success of Sagittarius and our continued success. 

In 2016 and again in 2019 Richard was recognise in the BIMA 100 awards for his outstanding work in Tech, his passion for digital and his contribution to the industry. 

Richard Brisley

Richard Brisley

19 May 2015 - 5 minute read
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