Category Archives: Security

Keeping users safe online.

Burn After Reading: Private Messages Made Simple

Email and texting are great modern conveniences, but they were never intended to be secret. Nowadays, with hackers dumping stolen messages on the Web and the government recording everything, these methods are decidedly risky for sending any information that must remain truly confidential. In fact, email was designed to be like an electronic equivalent of a postcard that can be read anywhere along the way by anyone who comes across it. Encryption with software, despite many forms being compromised by the NSA and others, is still held up by Edward Snowden and many security experts as the best means of securing private communications. But to do it right is hard, requiring preparation and a kind of discipline. If there were only some simple way of harnessing current available technology to permit an easy exchange of private information between individuals… And indeed there is. Southwest Cyberport presents Burn After Reading, free for anyone’s use. Burn After Reading is a secure private message dead-drop. It cleverly uses the same Internet technology already built into everyone’s Web browsers that enables safe purchasing online to allow private communications between two parties. All you need do is visit the Burn After Reading page and write your message into the field. You can have it send a link to the message for you, or you can send the link the page generates yourself in your own email to the other party. Either way, once the person … Continue reading

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Stop Worrying About Your WordPress Site

Here at SWCP, we love WordPress, the planet’s most popular and versatile open-source blogging and Content Management System. This very blog is a WordPress site, our Basic Web-Hosting package is tailored to support WordPress websites, and we even hold frequent WordPress meet-ups and working sessions at our Ideas & Coffee coworking suite next door. So, when news recently came of a serious bug potentially affecting all out-of-date WordPress sites, we were deeply concerned. This latest security threat, a “critical unpatched 0-day vulnerability affecting WordPress’ comment mechanisms“, should not be ignored. It would allow an attacker to manipulate post comments to infect visitors with malware, spam, or even install backdoors on your site. The first thing to do is to disable comments, check to make sure no bad actors have commented or become members and eliminate them. Then you should immediately backup and upgrade the WordPress platform to version 4.2.1, which is now patched. If you already updated to 4.2.1 a while ago, you may have to do so again. For someone who is not technically-minded, or just wants a simple, safe platform on which to do their thing, this can be asking a lot. Though the process of updating has become much easier over the years, many people still put off site updates as long as possible, unfortunately all-too-often not until the site breaks or is compromised. Site maintenance is nowhere near as fun as posting, after all, and to … Continue reading

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Beware Pop-up Survey Scams

Pop-up ads are generally merely annoying, but some can actually pose a threat. Of course, it’s the worst that try the hardest to make themselves look legitimate and helpful. You might find yourself faced with one that purports to be a survey of Internet services. And it looks quite official, even down to the legalese text on the bottom, and offers valuable gifts for a few minutes of your time. And above all, it looks totally innocuous, with easy, objective, multiple-choice questions. What could be the harm in that? Plenty, though you might not realize it for awhile. Filling in the form can leave your computer infected, maybe just with more annoying adware, or something more serious. But any adware is a breach in your privacy defenses, and other nasties you may run into while browsing can make the gap worse. Now, this “survey” may be for a site you visit, or even your ISP,  which is why we’re issuing this warning. We’re seeing more reports of our members being asked to rate Southwest Cyberport. Some customers, wishing to give SWCP a good word or help us improve, have gone ahead and filled out the form, to their regret. The only party that got a favor from it were the scammers. The best response is the same for all pop-ups: ignore it, close the window without clicking anything. If you think you might have been infected see here for steps … Continue reading

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