Tag Archive | "Security Vulnerabilities"

Common Social Media Security Issues

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Common Social Media Security Issues

Social media is great for both marketers and consumers, as it allows them to share information rapidly in the online world. But there are also a few security vulnerabilities that networks need to address quickly and users need to be aware of.


Ever been in a Facebook group and seen a “spammy” type post made by a member that seemed completely unrelated to the topic? Usually, these are advertisements for clothing and accessories. Sometimes, hacked accounts are used to post spam either manually or more often through the help of automated tools. Sometimes, rogue apps are used which will then make posts on the user’s behalf to their friends walls as well as to groups that they belong to.


Facebook isn’t the only site that has had problems. In June, a security expert has reported a XSS (cross site scripting) vulnerability on the popular social blogging service called Tumblr. It allowed a malicious user to insert code into a post that would then execute scripts or HTML when loaded by another user. This made it possible to load external sites without the user clicking on them, facilitating spam type posts, or allowing for the delivery of malware. Tumblr has since addressed the issue and closed the security hole.


Facebook has taken steps to step up its security and prevent common types of spam, as evidenced by them removing millions of fake accounts a few weeks ago. Action to remove some of the rogue apps has also been taken, helping make the social network a safer place. However, these security threats aren’t expected to be completely gone anytime soon.


There are things that users need to be aware of to protect themselves. The first thing is that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. There is NO app which lets you see who visited your profile, there has never been, nor will they probably ever be one. Therefore, if you install an app that claims to do this on your Facebook profile, it is a rogue app that will simply end up spamming your and your friends news feeds with unwanted advertisements. Also, there are no giveaways of high priced products. Apple will not give you a free iPhone just because you installed a certain app on your profile. You will also not receive free Beats by Dr. Dre headphones simply because you liked a certain page, but you’ll simply end up receiving spam.


Keeping your PC secure is also another way to counter many threats like cross site scripting. As much of the malicious code is executed by Java, disabling it in your browser add ons is a good idea. If you ever need to visit a legitimate site that has a Java applet (these are getting rare anyways), you can manually re-enable it at that time. Installing an anti-malware program like AVG Free that scans all web sites that you visit is also a good idea to stay safe online.


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Protecting Your Online Business: More Ways to Keep Your Site Safe

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Protecting Your Online Business: More Ways to Keep Your Site Safe

Choosing your web hosting wisely and maintaining backup copies of your website data are obviously two very effective ways of keeping your business safe online. But they’re far from the only things that you can do to protect your business. Here are some more tips on how to keep your website safe and your online business running.

  • Maintain secure passwords

This may seem like something really obvious, but many hacking attacks weren’t done by sophisticated methods, but rather through an attacker guessing the password to a hosting account or content management system admin panel. Choose a secure password that is a combination of letters and numbers. Also, never use the same password for your website than what you would use on other sites, such as forums and membership websites.

  • Familiarize yourself with security features

If you use a content management system such as WordPress or Drupal, be sure that you’re familiar with its security features. This applies to the main system as well as any plugins or themes that you use. Be sure to keep any software or scripts running on your website updated to the latest version, as software updates not only contain functionality improvements, but they can also contain patches which will block security vulnerabilities that have been discovered by the users. Of course if you notice any security issue with a piece of software you use on your site, be sure to report it to its creators so that it can be fixed as fast as possible.

  • Take action to prevent spam on your site

Most content management systems have built in tools which automatically detects spam and either deletes it or places it in pending status so that you can review any comments or posts manually to determine whether they’re legitimate. If you run a small site with a limited number of user generated content, you can also opt to have all posts moderated manually and approved by you. This may not be an option for a forum where users expect their posts to appear right away, but it can be good for blog comments or reviews, for example.

  • Keep an eye on all your sites

This means monitoring your sites every day to detect any changes that could have been made to it. Watch out for elements that could indicate an attack, such as a sudden increase in traffic, or many invalid login attempts. Also keep an eye on all your advertising and affiliate accounts. This can help you catch hijacking attempts of your affiliate links if you discover a sudden drop in sales or clicks coming from your website. While there are many systems in place to prevent intrusions, nothing beats having an actual human person keep an eye on the site, so that immediate action can be taken in case something is going wrong.

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Creating Your Membership Site: Some Other Things You Need

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Creating Your Membership Site: Some Other Things You Need

Besides quality web hosting, there are certain other things that you would need in order to run your membership site. These are: a content management system and a payment gateway. Once again, you need to make the right choice when selecting these two, as they will be very important to running your site. Here is a closer examination on how to choose them:


  • Content management system


Basically, it will be the software that resides on your server and will be powering your entire membership site. This will allow you to add content and manage your site. There are hundreds of different membership site systems out there. Some are commercial, while others are open source systems. The best way to select a good content management system would be to first read some information about this. You can find this in many webmaster and internet marketing forums such as Digital Point and the Warrior Forum.


Basically, some points that you should compare the various systems on are:


  • Security – Is this system vulnerable to any kinds of malicious attacks and are there any known security vulnerabilities affecting it?
  • Functionality – Does the system give you all the features that you would need to manage your site well. Is it able to be fully integrated with payment systems? This will allow members to be given access right away after they join.
  • Flexibility – Are there any limitations on how much content and what kind of content you can add to your site? Is there a maximum number of users you can add?


  • A Payment System


This will allow your membership site to take payment from members and can be fully integrated with your content management system in order to activate accounts as well as deactivate those that did not renew their membership.


The payment system that you use will process credit card payments and allow you to receive the proceeds of your membership site subscriptions. The most common payment processing system available right now is of course PayPal. Many membership site owners use it because of its popularity and the fact that it offers many API features that can integrate very well with the majority of content management systems out there. PayPal also supports recurring payments, meaning that your subscribers will not have to pay manually every month. Rather, they will be charged automatically unless they themselves cancel their subscription to your site.


Although PayPal is the most popular system right now, there are other payment processors available too. Some examples are MoneyBookers and Plimus. It is also recommended that you use more than one payment processor, in case someone has problems using one. Creating a business account is free and integrating multiple payment processors is not that difficult, all you would need to do is to add the right code to your membership site. This could also be convenient for users, as for example someone might not have money in their PayPal account but might have some in their MoneyBookers account and would want to use that to join your site rather than paying with a credit card.


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