As we approach the crux of the festive sales period we are already seeing signs of increased scamming and spam activity. While internet users have been warned about ignoring, and hopefully reporting such activity, we are set to see yet more people suffer financial hardship over the Christmas and New Year period. Why is the message not getting through?

Despite some very high profile campaigns to make internet users aware of such scams, and the problems which they may bring to them, many still click open emails promising the world and send money for gifts or services which they have never requested. The problems seems to be among those internet users who are maybe a little too trusting and have maybe never seen these often believable emails before.

The vast array of spyware programs which are now in existence, not to mention malicious virus programs, are becoming a real problem for the internet and actually starting to slow down data transfer times. We are also seeing regular reports of bank accounts being wiped out, PayPal accounts being high jacked and general problems with computer use. While you yourself need to be aware of the scams and how to avoid them, you will also gain much respect from your customers by warning them what is happening, what to do and what not to do.

Information is the most valuable currency in business and if you are able to release the news to your customers as soon as possible your will receive a great deal of respect from them. Never stop warning your customers about the growing online threats, let them know that you have all of the angles covered on your site and show them the way ahead. General detail like this is the kind of information which will see your customers coming back to your sites time and time again.

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Beware The Hackers!

Written by Admin in Security

As with any successful industry in the world, online trading has long since been a target for the hackers. Whether they crack you entry codes to gain access, plant spyware or just hit lucky, there are many ways to gain access to webmasters servers. So what can you do to stop it?

There are many simple actions you can take which will reduce the impact and chances of being hacked, including :-

. Change your passwords regularly. This is the most basic of action you can take, but still very effective.

. Check your access logs. Keep an eye on who has actually been accessing your server, because this will highlight any unauthorised access.

. Check that you host has a secure system. Too many of us take for granted the fact that our hosts have the most up to date security systems. This is not always the case, and it is very often the “cheap” hosting packages which can have weaknesses.

. Do not give out your information to anybody – even your host! Many people in the past have answered emails from their “host” which actually turn out to fake emails from would be hackers. There are no circumstances where you should give out your user name or password by email.

When security is mentioned to many webmasters they tend to think of high tech systems cracking codes and expensive security systems installed to stop people gaining access. This is not the case, and there are actually many simple checks and procedures you can use to secure your sites.

Do not be fooled into thinking it will never happen to you, because there is every chance you will come under attack at some stage – you just need to be ready for it!

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There are thousands of sites on the internet which do not quite get finished or need that last little touch to make it a success. Where can you go for that last bit of help, that advice from someone who knows?

In general you really have two main options about where to go for advice :-

· the professionals, who will charge you.
· one of the many webmaster forums on the internet where advice is often free.

Surely for that last touch it would make sense to ask fellow webmasters, and ask them what they think of your idea, your site and how you should finish off your idea. Well, if you want to open yourself right up, and give someone your idea before it is even finished then the “free” option may be the one for you!

However, if you are looking to protect your idea and hit the market with it when you are finished, then you need to look down the professional route. True, it will cost you money, and potentially a large amount depending on what you are after, but it is most definitely worth it.

Imagine you have been working on your site for months, and just about got there when you hit a PHP snag or the alignment of the site is not quite right in Firefox and you need advice. You post your site URL, your ideas and your problem for all of the world to see, and check out for themselves. Bang, next day a site along the exact lines to yours is launched and you have been beaten to the punch, the market is slipping away from you. Think it does n’t happen?

It is common knowledge that many online business people scour the webmaster forums for new ideas, new options and a look at what might be the next popular area. They will check your post, ask you a few questions, but ultimately they will not help you.

If your site is popular you will soon make your money back and more, but if it fails then it will soon die, but at least give it the chance to survive, and play your cards very close to your chest until launch.

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While many people seem to think that every aspect of security will be run by their hosting company, this is not always the case. True, the host will protect you from the more traditional hackers who will “try and break in through the front door”, you still need to keep a close eye on security yourself.

Among the factors which can assist you in increasing the security of your site(s) is :-

· Change your user name and password on regular basis – we all know we should do this, but how many of us actually do?
· Always upload and add new software updates to your existing packages, where applicable. Programs such as VB Bulletin offer regular security fixes, which block unauthorised entry via your forum code, which can ultimately give someone access to your hosting account.
· Always use different user names and passwords for each of your websites – this is one of the more common errors which people make, using the same information throughout all of their websites.
· If an email looks suspicious do not open it – if it is that important, they will email you again. Be very wary of random emails which can often include spyware and other dangerous programs

While these are some of the very simple ways in which you can make life that much harder for anyone looking to gain unauthorised access to your websites / hosting, they can be very effective. Do not take any chances with your security!

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While each day we see news of another virus on the lose, another company having been brought to its knees by hackers, but how much do you know about your site security?

Recent research has shown that the vast number of web hosting customers do not even ask what level of security software their host providers have installed, some do not even know if they are protected. The problem is that many of us are of the opinion that “surely our host runs the latest security software”, when unfortunately this is not always the case.

Such is the competition in the sector that many of the smaller hosting companies have been forced to cut their costs to the bone, allowing them to offer their customers such competitive prices. It would be foolish to even consider a host did not have security high on their agenda, but maybe some of the smaller ones are waiting that little bit longer before buying the latest security software or maybe not upgrading as quickly as they would like to?

So what can you do to ensure your site has the best protection?

There are a number of questions you can ask, and depending upon the answers, you can then decide. Questions you should ask your potential host include :-

· What security software do you use at present?
· When was your security software last upgraded?
· When do you expect to upgrade your security software?
· Have you had any security issues in the recent past?

Using the answers to these questions, and some checking on the internet to see what kind of reputation you host has, you should be able to decide if they are the one for you..

It is essential that you know as much about your host as possible before you sign up, as they will be presenting your site to the world. Any security issues, hacks, or other such events will impact not only on your site, but on the reputation of your site. Would you really go back to a site which was being constantly hacked, and may not be there tomorrow?

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