Trust No One: Retired FBI agent reveals how site was hacked; but quickly restored using UpdraftPlus

As an organisation that is dedicated to backing up WordPress sites all over the world, one of the best parts of the job is when we receive emails and messages letting us know about the issues and problems people have faced, and how UpdraftPlus has saved them from losing everything they have spent years working on.

One such instance that was reported to us recently concerned the website of retired FBI agent Jerri Williams. Having served 26 years as a Special Agent with the FBI, Jerri is now a successful author of several books and creator of the “FBI Retired Case File Review” podcast.

Jerri’s website is a hugely important point of contact that allows her to communicate and share her work with listeners and readers, so it must have come as something of a shock when it was recently hacked. As someone who has spent her professional career dealing with scams and schemers, this malicious act of sabotage could have potentially destroyed everything she had put years of work into. After initially reaching out to us via our Twitter account, Jerri was kind enough to share the details of not just her incredibly interesting past career, but also the events surround the hack of her website and the aftermath.

Hi Jerri, please could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I’m a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster. I’ve been showcasing my crime novels and podcast on my website since January of 2016. Because I have a website that prominently features the FBI, I assumed that at some point someone might be challenged to hack my site.

To prevent that nightmare, I purchased UpdraftPlus, just in case.

Can you tell us the nature of your website and what happened regarding the hack?

On the morning of the hack, I received a message from a regular listener saying that he couldn’t access the podcast and blog carousel on my website. He thought I might have been hacked. I went to my site and everything looked fine, until I tried to click on an episode or post. I was sent to a strange sales support page. I don’t remember what is was, because Norton security service immediately sent me a warning and blocked the site, noting it did so to prevent an intrusion and computer attack. For a few minutes I went into panic mode and then I remembered I had installed UpdraftPlus.

I quickly accessed my website dashboard, located the UpdraftPlus backups in the the settings menu, and clicked the button to restore my files to the most recent backup before the hack.

How long did it take for you to restore your site using UpdraftPlus and was the process straightforward and easy to do?

The process to restore my site was straightforward and easy to do. After I clicked on the restore button I was up and running again in less than 30 minutes. The next thing I did was change my website account password.

What advice would you give to other website owners who may be at risk (such as backup and security)?

Having UpdraftPlus is like having an insurance policy for your website. You hope nothing will ever happen, but if it does, you’re safe. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. The one thing I would have done differently is I wish I had been backing up my website every week instead of every other week. I had to manually recreate a week and a half worth of work because the backup preceded my most recently posted show notes and blog posts. I’ve changed the frequency so, if it happens again, I will have a more recent backup to restore.

 

As Jerri’s story shows, anyone and any kind site can potentially be targeted. Without adequate security, protection and backups, years of work could be lost. We were happy to hear that in this case there were no lasting issues, but often sadly this is not the case.

With 2 million+ active installs, UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular and trusted WordPress backup plugins currently on the market. Download and install your copy today.

The post Trust No One: Retired FBI agent reveals how site was hacked; but quickly restored using UpdraftPlus appeared first on UpdraftPlus. UpdraftPlus – Backup, restore and migration plugin for WordPress.

How restoring a WordPress website can be more difficult than you think

A website’s security, continued success and even its very existence is of fundamental importance for a site owner. What happens when you need to restore a site due to damage that can be caused by any number of factors, but then discover the data you thought was being backed-up and stored safely doesn’t actually exist? Sometimes the best case scenario can be only having a woefully out of date site that does not contain your most recent changes, data and information. The worst case scenario is that you encounter the ultimate site restore horror story and discover you do not have any backups at all!

That won’t happen to you though right? Everyone probably thinks this as they have taken steps to prevent such a scenario and

That won’t happen to you though right? Everyone probably thinks this as they have taken steps to prevent such a scenario and protect them from any potential misfortune. We’ve all heard a story of someone who installed something as simple as a WordPress update, which then crashed the site and took any chance of a restore with it. Often these scenarios can cost tens of thousand of dollars in lost business, valuable time and a loss of reputation while site owners attempt to rebuild a shattered site.

As was seen in a recent article, the hosting service A2 endured major issues related to a security breach that resulted in a shut-down of all Windows services. A malware attack resulted in A2 coming to the decision that the only way to recover the corrupted data it hosted was to do a full restore from the site backups. In theory, this should have caused very few problems as full and incremental backups should be taken regularly to ensure the most recent version of the website is always available for a restore.

Unfortunately it seems that in many cases, A2 were only able to restore from old versions of customer sites, which were very different from the latest and most recent versions their customers were anticipating.

While losing information on your site/business from just a few days or even a week ago might be bad enough, some A2 customers were faced with the prospect of having a restored site that was several months out of date. It is easy to imagine the embarrassment and issues this caused businesses that rely solely on their site to make sales. A loss of reputation and an outdated site would have been a best case scenario for many though, as some were even faced with the loss of their entire site due to the lack of security and updates in place.

This isn’t an isolated case limited to A2 however. While in a previous job, Marc Lacroix (a member of our team) experienced a situation where a client had a website with an older version of PHP hosted on an old server. The client was encouraged to contact their hosting company to find out if they could upgrade to PHP 7, to which the hosting company obliged and transferred the site to a new server, with the latest version of PHP.

When checking the website afterwards, it was noticed the content were no just old and out of date, but also had parts missing. It was discovered that the latest update for the site was dated from 2 months earlier, with no sign of all the changes that had been made since then. It remains a mystery why the hosting company used a 2 month old backup instead of migrating the live site directly. Thankfully the site owner had made a fresh backup with UpdraftPlus, which was quickly uploaded and restored. Problem solved!

While many customers depend on their hosting services to make regular backups and deal with security, the examples above clearly show that there is a massive need to take control of your own backups after investing so much time and money in your website.

That is why UpdraftPlus is the leading WordPress backup software and is used by companies and individuals all over the world. Should the very worst happen and your site gets completely wiped due to a hack or malware, you can rest easy knowing that you can fully restore your site simply and easily with UpdraftPlus.

Download UpdraftPlus today

The post How restoring a WordPress website can be more difficult than you think appeared first on UpdraftPlus. UpdraftPlus – Backup, restore and migration plugin for WordPress.

Keyy is for sale – we’re looking for its new owners

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever been a customer of Keyy and we hope you are all continuing to enjoy the product.

The team here at UpdraftPlus loves Keyy, however we’re currently looking to sell this side of the business to someone who has the vision to invest in the product and grow the business.

We have chosen to sell Keyy as we’ve decided to re-focus on our bigger products, and Keyy is quite small by comparison.

If you or anyone you know is interested in buying this WordPress plugin and app business, then we’ll consider any offer. Please leave a comment below if you would like more information about sales.*

Please be assured that we’d like to see Keyy thrive in the future, and we will be keen to find a buyer who will commit to this. The Keyy website is still open for new customers and renewals. We will give users at least 1 month’s notice of a new buyer before it changes hands, and we or the new owners will commit to honour any license subscription period you have purchased.

We will keep everyone informed of any updates as and when they become available.

* Current subscription sales were $5.3k in the financial year ending March 2019 and there are 1000+ active installs – however, Clef, the product which inspired Keyy before it was sun-setted, achieved active installs of over 1 million with good PR and a series of deals with hosts. Running costs are trivial, so there’s potential for any entrepreneurs willing to invest in partnerships, promotion and developing the software.

The post Keyy is for sale – we’re looking for its new owners appeared first on UpdraftPlus. UpdraftPlus – Backup, restore and migration plugin for WordPress.

The role of HTTPS in SEO and the increasing significance of SSL for better ranking

If you’ve ever done any kind of search on how to improve your SEO and website rankings then you have probably stumbled upon the “HTTP vs HTTPS” argument. Digital marketers and website owners often want to know if switching to HTTPS will help their website’s SEO.

Worry not, because we are going to tell you everything you need to know about HTTPS, its role in SEO and how it affects your overall search engine rankings.

Let’s get started

First things first, what does HTTPS actually stand for?

HTTPS = Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure

HTTPS sites work by including an SSL 2048-bit key that protects users’ connection to the site through encryption and authentication. When an SSL certificate is installed on a website’s server, it activates a padlock (visible in the address bar) which allows secure connections between a website and a browser.

If your website doesn’t have HTTPS then a user’s connection is not secure and their information is constantly at risk of being leaked.

A secure website protects a user’s information by securing it in three different layers.

  • Encryption: Helps keep the user’s activity hidden so it can not be tracked.
  • Data Integrity: Keeps the files from being corrupted or manipulated during transfers.
  • Authentication: Protects against attacks to build user trust.

But how do these factors impact SEO and rankings?

Impact of HTTPS on SEO

The big question is:

What’s the actual impact of HTTPS on SEO and rankings?

Karen Paulsen from consumersbase.com stated, “You never know the inner workings of Google’s algorithms, but there’s ample evidence to support the claim that HTTPS is crucial for better search rankings.

Here’s how HTTPS affects each aspect of your website.

Rankings

Back in 2015, Google announced that the ranking of two similar sites could be decided in a tie-breaking situation by which one had HTTPS. If you and your competitor have the same quality signals for your search results, then Google may use the HTTPS as a deciding factor for which sites is ranked higher. So if your website does not use HTTPS while your competitor’s website does, then Google will probably rank their search results higher than yours.

If you do a quick Google search for a specific keyword, you will notice that more than 50% of Google’s first page results feature HTTPS sites. We are not saying that HTTPS alone is enough to get those sites on the first page of Google, but it does play an important role alongside other SEO best practices.

In a study by Backlinko, a moderate correlation between higher search engine rankings and HTTPS was found after a million Google search results were analyzed. Other studies have also found a minor correlation between HTTPS and higher search rankings.

Conversions

When undertaking in depth SEO to get your website to the top of search results, it is fair to assume that should you be at the top of the search results, you could expect to see a higher conversion rate as a result. However, according to GlobalSign survey, more than 80% of users will abandon a purchase if the connection isn’t secure due to the lack of HTTPS.

Given the inherent risks associated with online identity and banking detail theft, most online users are worried about their information being intercepted and misused online, and as such rarely trust websites without secure connections.

Not having HTTPS on your website could potentially drive most of your buyers away. It’s never too late to secure your website and provide your users with a secure platform that they can trust with their personal and sensitive information, without them having to worry about data interception or leaks.

Traffic

As well as offering extra security, the ultimate goal of getting your website to rank higher in search results is to bring in extra traffic, and hopefully customers who feel comfortable making a purchase now that they can see your site has HTTPS.  

People often click sites that are secure while avoiding non-secure ones. Additionally, Google Chrome has started labeling non-HTTPS sites as “Non-Secure”, which definitely gives off warning signals and will drive potential customers away from non-HTTPS websites.

As an internet user and shopper yourself, if you saw a website that had “Non-Secure” next to its name in your browser, would you even visit it, let alone make a purchase on it?

Site Speed

As one of the major signals used by Google to rank websites, a slow site with high load times will result in Google ranking it below faster loading websites, providing they have similar quality signals.

HTTPS websites have been found to be considerably faster when compared to HTTP websites. Check out HTTPvsHTTPS to see how much of a speed difference a secure protocol can make.

Not only does HTTPS make your website secure, increase confidence in customers and directly help your page ranking, we can see from the presented evidence that it can also indirectly improve other SEO aspects, such as site speed.

In Summary

Ultimately, we can see there is considerable evidence that moving your website to HTTPS will help the page rank higher with Google. Not only does HTTPS help improve your website’s overall SEO, but it is also a much more secure system for your website.

Security is one of the most important factors in the digital world today and making the switch from a non-secure HTTP site to a secure HTTPS site not only makes your website secure, but will also help protect your users’ data and sensitive information.

As you may have summarised from this blog, we highly recommend that you switch to HTTPS as soon as possible, not just for the security, but for the potential additional SEO benefits the change could have.

If your website is already using HTTPS, then we recommend that you test it’s security level by using Google’s Qualys Lab tool.

Do you know what’s so great about making the switch?

There’s nothing to lose at all. Making the switch to HTTPS does not cost you anything and will not affect your website in any negative way. So do it right now!

By Sharon Lliff

The post The role of HTTPS in SEO and the increasing significance of SSL for better ranking appeared first on UpdraftPlus. UpdraftPlus – Backup, restore and migration plugin for WordPress.

Keyy is for sale and we’re looking for new owners

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever been a customer of Keyy and we hope you are all continuing to enjoy the product.

The team here at UpdraftPlus loves Keyy, however we’re currently looking to sell this side of the business to someone who has the vision to invest in the product and grow the business.

We have chosen to sell Keyy as we’ve decided to re-focus on our bigger products, and Keyy is quite small by comparison.

If you or anyone you know is interested in buying this WordPress plugin and app business, then we’ll consider any offer. Please leave a comment below if you would like more information about sales.*

Please be assured that we’d like to see Keyy thrive in the future, and we will be keen to find a buyer who will commit to this. The Keyy website is still open for new customers and renewals. We will give users at least 1 month’s notice of a new buyer before it changes hands, and we or the new owners will commit to honour any license subscription period you have purchased.

We will keep everyone informed of any updates as and when they become available.

* Current subscription sales were $5.3k in the financial year ending March 2019 and there are 1000+ active installs – however, Clef, the product which inspired Keyy before it was sun-setted, achieved active installs of over 1 million with good PR and a series of deals with hosts. Running costs are trivial, so there’s potential for any entrepreneurs willing to invest in partnerships, promotion and developing the software.

The post Keyy is for sale and we’re looking for new owners appeared first on UpdraftPlus. UpdraftPlus – Backup, restore and migration plugin for WordPress.