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St Louis Website Design Joomla Wordpress and Drupal

St Louis Website Design Joomla Wordpress and Drupal search engine marketing st louis

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by | 17 Oct 14 

At its iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus launch event on 9 September, Apple also debuted what it called "an entirely new category of service": a mobile payments system called Apple Pay. In this article we answer the biggest questions UK readers will be asking about Apple Pay: how it works, when it will launch in the UK, which retailers, banks and credit card providers support the service and how secure it's likely to be. Summary: Apple introduces the iPhone 6, the Apple Watch, and Apple Pay Apple Pay

 

FAQs: What is Apple Pay? Ah, a softball to start with, eh? Good stuff. Apple Pay is the new mobile payment service that Apple launched alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It's basically designed to let you pay for things with your iPhone (or Apple Watch or iPad, in a more limited way). Sorry, it will "change the way you pay for things forever". Apple Pay FAQs: Sounds great! Er, how does Apple Pay work, though? Touch ID is key. If the shop you're in supports Apple Pay (more on that later), they will have a little sensor by the till. You put your iPhone on the sensor, put your finger on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to identify yourself, and that's it.

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Wi-Fi Security Protect your identity and sensitive data at public Wi-Fi hotspots with Hotspot Shield VPN Encrypts your network traffic data Provides Wi-Fi security at hotels, airports, coffee shops, etc. Gives you private and anonymous browsing Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android The Importance of Wi-Fi Security The availability of Wi-Fi hotspots at public places such as coffee shops, airports, and hotels has made it more convenient for us to access the Internet when we are away from the office or home. Unfortunately, the convenience comes with a huge risk as most public Wi-Fi hotspots do not encrypt the data transmitted through their networks. This means that sensitive information such as your email passwords, bank account information, and credit card information are available for the hackers to steal and use against you. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are perfect places for predators and hackers to perpetrate their cybercrimes.

 

If they happen to get a hold of your personal information, you could very well be the next victim of identity theft! Password-protected home Wi-Fi networks though somewhat safer are also highly vulnerable to sophisticated hackers. Why Use Hotspot Shield VPN to Protect Yourself from Hackers Despite the risks, Wi-Fi security is possible. The best way to keep your device secure on any network and in any location is to use a personal VPN such as Hotspot Shield VPN. Our VPN solution uses advanced VPN technology to encrypt your network traffic, enabling you to connect to a website via HTTPS. What this means is that your sensitive data, including passwords, credit card details, instant messages, and financial transactions are encrypted just like on a banking site. Therefore, hackers, spammers and ISPs are not able to track, monitor or intercept your web activities if you install and run Hotspot Shield VPN on your device. Wi-Fi security becomes even more critical if you are a frequent traveler or student who needs to use Wi-Fi connections at hotels, airports, coffee shops or university campuses to access the Internet. Hotspot Shield VPN is available as an ad-supported free VPN service or a paid premium VPN service. Additional Benefits of Using Hotspot Shield VPN Hotspot Shield VPN is a versatile security software that provides these additional benefits: Anonymous surfing – Surf the web anonymously and prevent tracking of your browsing history. Malware protection – Get protected from over 3.5 million malware, infected, phishing, and spam sites. Unblocking websites – Hotspot Shield enables you to access websites from anywhere, including popular sites such as YouTube, Hulu, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, and online gaming sites.

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WordPress sites are a massive draw for hackers By Dan Raywood

Published 3 days ago

According to research by Imperva, WordPress websites were attacked 24.1 percent more often than websites running on all other CMS platforms combined. WordPress websites suffer 60 percent more XSS incidents than all other CMS platforms, and the research found that while WordPress is more likely to suffer fewer numbers of incidents for each attack type, it also suffers a higher traffic volume for each attack type. . Almost 75 million websites work on the WordPress content management system (CMS) and it seems that WordPress might be a victim of its own popularity. "We believe that popularity and a hacker’s focus go hand-in-hand," Imperva said in its report. "When an application or a platform becomes popular, hackers realize that the ROI from hacking into these platforms or applications will be fruitful, so they spend more time researching and exploiting these applications, either to steal data from them, or to use the hacked systems as zombies in a botnet". The research also found that 48.1 percent of all attack campaigns target retail applications, while websites that have log-in functionality, and hence contain consumer spe

cific information, suffer 59 percent of all attacks, and 63 percent of all SQL Injection attacks. Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer at Imperva, said: "Looking at other sources of attacks, we were also interested to find that infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers are on the rise as attacker infrastructure. For example, 20 percent of all known vulnerability exploitation attempts have originated from Amazon Web Services. They aren’t alone; with this phenomenon on the rise, other IaaS providers have to worry about their servers being compromised. Attackers don’t discriminate when it comes to where a data center lives". Ilia Kolochenko, CEO and founder of High-Tech Bridge, said: "For upwards of a decade, the major CMS platforms such as Joomla and WordPress have been deeply researched by both black and white hat hackers (some well-known CMS even changed names during their development). Today it would be fair to say that the vast majority of data breaches are directly or indirectly related to vulnerable web applications and compromised websites". Dan Raywood is editor of The IT Security Guru Published under license from ITProPortal.com, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

The Low-Down on Chip-and-PIN Cards

When Europeans buy something with their chip-and-PIN card, they insert the card in a machine like this one, then type in their PIN.
By Rick Steves

Europe — and the rest of the world — is adopting a new system for credit and debit cards. While handy for locals, these chip-and-PIN cards are causing a few headaches for American visitors: Some machines that are designed to accept chip-and-PIN cards simply don’t accept US credit cards. This news is causing some anxiety among American travelers, but really: Don’t worry. While I’ve been inconvenienced a few times with automated machines that wouldn’t accept my card, it’s never caused me any serious trouble. Here’s the scoop:

Today, outside the US, the majority of all cards are chip cards. These “smartcards” come with an embedded security chip (in addition to the magnetic stripe found on American-style cards). To make a purchase with a chip-and-PIN card, the cardholder inserts the card into a slot in the payment machine, then enters a PIN (like using a debit card in the US) while the card stays in the slot. The chip inside the card authorizes the transaction; the cardholder doesn’t sign a receipt.

My readers tell me their American-style cards have been rejected by some automated payment machines in Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. This is especially common with machines at train and subway stations, toll roads, parking garages, luggage lockers, bike-rental kiosks, and self-serve gas pumps. For example, after a long flight into Charles de Gaulle Airport, you find you can’t use your credit card at the ticket machine for the train into Paris. Or, while driving in rural Switzerland on a Sunday afternoon, you discover that the automated gas station only accepts chip-and-PIN cards.

In most of these situations, a cashier is nearby who can process your magnetic-stripe card manually by swiping it and having you sign the receipt the old-fashioned way. Many payment machines take cash; remember you can always use an ATM to withdraw cash with your magnetic-stripe debit card. Other machines might take your US credit card if you also know the card’s PIN — every card has one (request the number from your bank before you leave, and allow time to receive it by mail). In a pinch, you could ask a local if you can pay them cash to run the transaction on their card.

Most hotels, restaurants, and shops that serve Americans will gladly accept your US credit card. During the transaction, they may ask you to type in your PIN rather than sign a receipt. Some clerks in destinations off the beaten track may not be familiar with swiping a credit card; either be ready to give them a quick lesson, or better yet, pay with cash.

In a few cases, you might need to get creative; drivers in particular need to be aware of potential problems when filling up at an automated gas station, entering an unattended parking garage, or exiting a toll road...you might just have to move on to the next gas station or use the “cash only” lane at the toll plaza.

Those who are really concerned can apply for a chip card in the US, but I think this is overkill. Major US banks, such as Chase, Citi, Bank of America, US Bank, and Wells Fargo, are beginning to offer credit cards with chips — but most of these come with a hefty annual fee. Technically, these are "chip-and-signature" cards, for which your signature verifies your identity, not the “chip-and-PIN” cards being used in Europe. While the American cards have chips, they are not configured for all offline transactions (in which the card is securely validated for use without a real-time connection to the bank). The cards will work for most European transactions, such as in Paris Métro or the London Tube stations, but they might not work at an out-of-the-way gas station in Provence, where the gas pump is probably offline. If you really want a chip card, ask your financial institution if it plans to offer one soon, and find out if the card is “chip-and-signature” or “chip-and-PIN.” With either type, be sure you memorize the PIN for your card in case a card reader requires it.

Some credit unions are beginning to roll out true chip-and-PIN cards that work for all transactions, online or offline. One attractive no-fee card is the GlobeTrek Visa, offered by Andrews Federal Credit Union in Maryland (open to all US residents).

In the future, chip cards should become standard issue in the US. Visa and MasterCard have asked US banks and merchants to use chip-based cards by late 2015; those who don't make the switch may have to assume the liability for fraud. There’s been lots of resistance, as the conversion may cost up to $8 billion. But businesses and consumers are feeling the pain as international criminals exploit our antiquated magnetic-stripe technology to hack into and compromise millions of US accounts every year. When your bank next renews your credit card, it’s likely there will be a chip in it.

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Google: More First Page URLs In Search Results Are HTTPS Relative To The URLs On The Web Google at SMX East: While Only 10% Of URLs On The Web Are HTTPS, 30% Of Page One Google Results Have HTTPS URLs Barry Schwartz on October 3, 2014 at 9:21 am 770 More google-lock-ssl-secure-ss-1920 At Search Marketing Expo East, Google’s Gary Illyes presented on an HTTPS panel and shared some very interesting data and history on Google’s HTTPS ranking signal. Page One Search Results More Likely To Contain HTTPS Urls Gary explained that while only 10% of the crawled and discovered URLs on the web are HTTPS URLs, that 30% of the first page search results contain at least one or more HTTPS URLs. So if you are looking at all the queries done on Google, 30% of the first page of the Google search results for each of those queries have at least one HTTPS URL listed in the results. He didn’t know why that was the case but he said it was indeed something Google noticed and wanted to share. Gary Illyes Is To Blame For The HTTPS Signal Gary admitted on stage that bringing HTTPS as a ranking signal was not only his idea but that he implemented it into the algorithm himself. He said that back in March, he brought the idea to the head of search spam, Matt Cutts. Matt Cutts was excited about the idea, so they immediately began working on it and testing it. In July it was ready to go and in August they launched it. Gary said, he was the engineer who coded it into the ranking algorithm. HTTPS Is Still A Small Ranking Signal Gary said the HTTPS signal in the algorithm is still small. It impacts less than 1% of all queries and he would compare it more to the PageSpeed algorithm versus something larger like Panda. Future Changes To HTTPS In Ranking Gary shared a lot of details about some “brainstorm” sessions they had about possible changes they can make to HTTPS as a ranking signal. Let me be clear, he said these are just ideas and most, if not all, are NOT being worked on by Google or even tested. On idea that is being worked on is handling “broken certificates,” i.e. security certificates that do not work at all or other issues with the certificate such as content mismatch errors and if they will lead to a demotion in the rankings or substituting it out for the HTTP version, if possible. Other ideas they have brainstormed but are not working on include looking to see of the e-commerce checkout process is all over HTTPS, if login credentials are done over HTTPS and the cipher strength of the certificate is at a certain level or not. Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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The Bing Translation extension shows its job is complete. Jason Cipriani/CNET

Ever visit a website that's in a foreign language while using Safari on your iOS device? If so, you've already experienced the disappointment of realizing that Safari lacks the ability to translate the page for you.

Prior to iOS 8, I kept Google's Chrome app installed on my iPhone with its sole purpose to translate websites. (Granted, I don't visit foreign sites often, but when I do, I like to know what it is I'm looking at.)

With the release of iOS 8, however, Apple has opened up a bit by allowing app developers to create extensions for apps. With these extensions you can share content from nearly anywhere, add editing tools to the Photos app and with an update to the Bing app, you can now translate websites directly in mobile Safari.

All you need to do is download the free Bing app from the App Store.

ios-8-bing-translate-screen.jpg Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

  • After it's installed, launch Safari and tap on the Share button.
  • Swipe left on the bottom row of icons and tap on "More."
  • Slide the switch next to "Bing Translate" to the on position and tap Done.

With the extension enabled, visit a website such as, say, CNET Español. Again, tap on the Share button, then tap on the new Bing Translate icon. A few seconds later, the page magically transitions to your native tongue. By default the app uses the same language your iOS device is set to use, but you can adjust it by launching the proper Bing app.

 

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CNET's Dan Graziano tells you how to squeeze the most juice out of the battery in your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. / Watch Video

About the author

Jason Cipriani has been covering mobile technology news for over five years. His work spans from CNET How To and software review sections to WIRED’s Gadget Lab and Fortune.com.

 

By Ant Hodges, The Web Video Studio ::


If you think of SEO as a separate entity in your online presence you could be making costly mistakes with your website and other marketing techniques. Every aspect of a strong online brand is deeply intertwined with related elements - content obviously plays a major role, but so does the design and development of any given website.

As design trends come and go it's the responsibility of designers and marketers alike to question the impact these style choices have on the page rank of their clients. After all, design trends are temporary, but a strong online presence is something you need to build for the long run.

Parallax design

Of all the latest trends, parallax design has to be the most prevalent right now. You can’t escape parallax scrolling effects right now, but the SEO impact can be drastic. The first parallax sites were little more than single-page websites with all the content presented on an endless homepage. This raises obvious alarm bells from an SEO perspective because you remove the website structures that search engines depend upon for crawling.

Not only that but you end up with a whole website's worth of keywords spread out across a single URL, which is bad news in modern SEO. Not that single-page websites don't have a place - they're fine when a single landing page is needed - but the concept was hijacked as part of a design trend that didn't factor in the search implications.

Parallax has come on a long way in its short time already and a legion of multi-page websites have adopted the scrolling effect to create a more immersive experience on the homepage in particular. Which is fine, but the truth is most parallax designs you come across are poorly executed and many of them have a negative effect on UX - which is another SEO faux pas.

UX design

Yes, that's right. UX design is another major player in your search marketing efforts and it's not because Google loves flashy user interfaces. More importantly, people don't stick around very long when it comes to poor UX and almost none of them will come back for more.

It doesn't matter how compelling your content is or how flawless your keyword research may be, if you don't back it up with an intuitive user experience your hard work is in vein. Which bring us to the golden rule of SEO and everything Web: you're creating for people first, everything else second.

Which means search engines also have to take a back seat. Your only priority should be the individual visiting your client's website at any given time. From a UX point of view this requires a flawless user experience and a design that makes navigation the conversion process irresistibly easy. Make things difficult for people and you can kiss them goodbye - so beware of design trends (like parallax scrolling) if they hurt user experience.

Mobile optimization

First of all, Google has started to flag up certain websites that aren't properly optimized for mobile devices. If you run a separate mobile device and your listings in Google redirect to the mobile homepage by default, the search engine will warn users that your site doesn't work properly on your devices. This is so users who click on a blog post or product page in search results don't end up on a mobile homepage wondering why the hell they haven't gone to the page they clicked on. Fair enough.

Luckily you don't have to worry about the split SEO issue with separate mobile sites anymore because Google has made it simple enough to tie mobile sites with a parent URL. But you are more susceptible to duplicate content when you run separate sites, so take care when it comes to mobile-only sites.

(Image source)

The alternative of course is responsive design and the 'mobile first' philosophy that soon followed. Mobile first is certainly has its merits from a UX point of view - especially with the oncoming flurry of wearable technology and other devices. We're not just designing for desktop and mobile any more people; those days are already behind us. While the key SEO benefit to having a single site for all devices is hugely reduced risk of duplicate content.

Fixed navigation

Fixed navigation has been around for some time now and there has been a lot of debate over the SEO implications of having core links always on display. From a UX perspective, there is a lot to support the use of fixed navigation. After all, a user is only ever a click away from the major parts of a website - without the need to scroll back to the top of the page.

As for SEO, there is nothing to suggest that fixed navigation has a negative impact on search ranking - as long as it is carried out intuitively. One stumbling block is that fixed positioning isn't fully supported on mobile browsers, which can cause problems when it comes to the smaller devices in our lives.

Off-screen navigation

This is where off-screen navigation comes into play and you will often see the 'hamburger' symbol (three horizontal lines) used to show and hide a mobile nav menu. Much like fixed navigations there is nothing to suggest that this approach will directly hurt page rank, however there are UX issues to consider.

First of all you add an extra click to every page users navigate via the main nav, but studies are also starting to show that a surprisingly large number of visitors still don't understand the hamburger symbol indicates an off-screen navigation menu. And guess what happens. These users go elsewhere.

(Image source)

Images, animations and effects

The Web is becoming increasingly visual and users demand a more engaging experience from websites and applications. Technology is also improving, which gives designers and developers more room to experiment with images, animations and effects. However, visuals need to be handled with care.

If you think that all developed countries have great connectivity, you're wrong. Mobile internet in the UK, for example, is far behind leading nations and if your clients have overseas markets things could get even worse. Overloading websites with graphics and flashy effects can make for a terrible mobile experience and considering smartphones are now the main way to access the Web, this can be a costly mistake.

It's not just mobile optimization that can suffer from overdoing the visuals. A common approach to dealing with large amount of content and heavy images use has been to integrate progressive loading and other javascript effects. The trouble is that much of this relies on loading content with Ajax - which might not get indexed by Google. Although, the search engine has made a lot of progress in understanding script, it's a risk you don’t want to take.

Getting back to the objective

None of the above design choice are bad for SEO and they can all be part of an excellent website, if done correctly. The point is that all design choices have an impact on search optimization and this needs to be considered throughout the design process - and later reconsidered after it. The only priority is the user and how effectively they can interact with your client's website and overall online presence.

Which means we all need to step back and keep things in perspective. Designers are not here to create flashy websites that make them feel good, just like writers are not here to use excessive syllables to sound intelligent. We're all on the same team here, with the same goal - and that means pulling together to create the most effective online presence for our clients and their target audience.

This is a means of respecting the customers time, being transparent and staying competitive. While outbound marketing was the only available approach for several years, inbound marketing can be a better option for both B2B parties. This can be achieved via search engine optimization efforts, social media management, link building, blogging and maintaining high quality content. When a business can lure a customer to them with a passive approach, it’s both cost- and time-effective.


Ant Hodges founded The Web Video Studio in 2014 to give video marketers access to professional recording equipment at reduced costs. An expert in SEO marketing Ant has 15 years of marketing under his belt and all the scout badges to prove it. He is also the owner of HodgesNet.co.uk and specializing in training online marketers in all things SEO.

- See more at: file:///Users/scotts-imac/Desktop/Web%20Design%20Trends%20That%20Impact%20SEO%20-%20%27Net%20Features%20-%20Website%20Magazine.html#sthash.OQQBkVTI.dpuf

By Ant Hodges, The Web Video Studio ::


If you think of SEO as a separate entity in your online presence you could be making costly mistakes with your website and other marketing techniques. Every aspect of a strong online brand is deeply intertwined with related elements - content obviously plays a major role, but so does the design and development of any given website.

As design trends come and go it's the responsibility of designers and marketers alike to question the impact these style choices have on the page rank of their clients. After all, design trends are temporary, but a strong online presence is something you need to build for the long run.

Parallax design

Of all the latest trends, parallax design has to be the most prevalent right now. You can’t escape parallax scrolling effects right now, but the SEO impact can be drastic. The first parallax sites were little more than single-page websites with all the content presented on an endless homepage. This raises obvious alarm bells from an SEO perspective because you remove the website structures that search engines depend upon for crawling.

Not only that but you end up with a whole website's worth of keywords spread out across a single URL, which is bad news in modern SEO. Not that single-page websites don't have a place - they're fine when a single landing page is needed - but the concept was hijacked as part of a design trend that didn't factor in the search implications.

Parallax has come on a long way in its short time already and a legion of multi-page websites have adopted the scrolling effect to create a more immersive experience on the homepage in particular. Which is fine, but the truth is most parallax designs you come across are poorly executed and many of them have a negative effect on UX - which is another SEO faux pas.

UX design

Yes, that's right. UX design is another major player in your search marketing efforts and it's not because Google loves flashy user interfaces. More importantly, people don't stick around very long when it comes to poor UX and almost none of them will come back for more.

It doesn't matter how compelling your content is or how flawless your keyword research may be, if you don't back it up with an intuitive user experience your hard work is in vein. Which bring us to the golden rule of SEO and everything Web: you're creating for people first, everything else second.

Which means search engines also have to take a back seat. Your only priority should be the individual visiting your client's website at any given time. From a UX point of view this requires a flawless user experience and a design that makes navigation the conversion process irresistibly easy. Make things difficult for people and you can kiss them goodbye - so beware of design trends (like parallax scrolling) if they hurt user experience.

Mobile optimization

First of all, Google has started to flag up certain websites that aren't properly optimized for mobile devices. If you run a separate mobile device and your listings in Google redirect to the mobile homepage by default, the search engine will warn users that your site doesn't work properly on your devices. This is so users who click on a blog post or product page in search results don't end up on a mobile homepage wondering why the hell they haven't gone to the page they clicked on. Fair enough.

Luckily you don't have to worry about the split SEO issue with separate mobile sites anymore because Google has made it simple enough to tie mobile sites with a parent URL. But you are more susceptible to duplicate content when you run separate sites, so take care when it comes to mobile-only sites.

- See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2014/10/02/web-design-trends-that-impact-seo.aspx#sthash.uerQLK6i.dpuf

Getting a Positive ROI in Your Sights

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Posted on 03.24.2014

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In the game known as target marketing, the winners aim for the R.O.I Bullseye!

When advertising, do the networks you market with cater to your business and your industry? Google Adwords and Bing Adcenter are great “catch-all” solutions but are their audiences really interested in what you do? Is your niche and vertical one that performs well on those networks? Either a small subset of that audience is interested in you, or there are many similar businesses advertising on the network which creates intense competition and drives up bid prices. In both of those scenarios, you, as a business, are spending big bucks for little return. Marketing is a game of optimization and improving your ROI (Return on Investment) and this is where smaller, more specialized advertising networks shine.

A great example of an independent ad network is 7Search.com. For the purpose of this article, we gave their customer service team a call and they were more than happy to share what verticals perform well on their network of publishers (and their keyword bid prices reflect that!). To name a few standout verticals, Gaming, Health, and Finance verticals consistently perform well. If you fit into any of those categories (or verticals), the network is without a doubt worth a look. Even if you don’t, give 7Search and similar networks a shout to see how well your business would do with them. The effort of researching these smaller players is worth it to make your advertising dollars go farther!

Look at your keywords on their network and the traffic each keyword generates. Once you have that data in front of you, it should be a pretty simple decision. Taking a look at the Gaming vertical, you can find prospering niches in online casinos, poker, and slot games. Tackling the Health vertical? Then aim for weight loss. Keywords such as nutrisystem, tenuate, phentermine, and diet pills are keeping this niche competitive. Also within Health, you have male enhancement keywords ranking high with Cialis and Viagra leading the keyword way. Check into Cash, payday loans, forex trading, plus auto/car insurance are the niches driving traffic in the Finance vertical. Whether you’re new to 7Search or if you’re a seasoned online marketer, once you’ve defined your industry and figured out where you fit, you’re much more empowered to make correct marketing decisions with the freedom to choose what works for you rather than relying on “catch all” solutions.

The key to improving your ROI is to know where you fit. Choose the correct keywords and use the right ad copy to attract your customers to your website. The larger the pool of potential customers, the more that you will attract! That’s why marketing with networks that are more active in your vertical is so advantageous. Once you have your vertical and niche targeted and in your sights, zero in on the bullseye and then go for it!

Make your advertising dollars go further and improve your ROI. Explore your options. Give a smaller network like 7search a try. They have been in the game for 15 years because they do a great job servicing their clients. A network like that is just as global, and just as world-wide as any other, and for the right verticals and niches within those verticals, a great path to a positive ROI.

- See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/sponsored/archive/2014/03/24/hitting-the-r-o-i-bullseye.aspx#sthash.qgUvTFAb.dpuf

In the game known as target marketing, the winners aim for the R.O.I Bullseye!

When advertising, do the networks you market with cater to your business and your industry? Google Adwords and Bing Adcenter are great “catch-all” solutions but are their audiences really interested in what you do? Is your niche and vertical one that performs well on those networks? Either a small subset of that audience is interested in you, or there are many similar businesses advertising on the network which creates intense competition and drives up bid prices. In both of those scenarios, you, as a business, are spending big bucks for little return. Marketing is a game of optimization and improving your ROI (Return on Investment) and this is where smaller, more specialized advertising networks shine.

A great example of an independent ad network is 7Search.com. For the purpose of this article, we gave their customer service team a call and they were more than happy to share what verticals perform well on their network of publishers (and their keyword bid prices reflect that!). To name a few standout verticals, Gaming, Health, and Finance verticals consistently perform well. If you fit into any of those categories (or verticals), the network is without a doubt worth a look. Even if you don’t, give 7Search and similar networks a shout to see how well your business would do with them. The effort of researching these smaller players is worth it to make your advertising dollars go farther!

Look at your keywords on their network and the traffic each keyword generates. Once you have that data in front of you, it should be a pretty simple decision. Taking a look at the Gaming vertical, you can find prospering niches in online casinos, poker, and slot games. Tackling the Health vertical? Then aim for weight loss. Keywords such as nutrisystem, tenuate, phentermine, and diet pills are keeping this niche competitive. Also within Health, you have male enhancement keywords ranking high with Cialis and Viagra leading the keyword way. Check into Cash, payday loans, forex trading, plus auto/car insurance are the niches driving traffic in the Finance vertical. Whether you’re new to 7Search or if you’re a seasoned online marketer, once you’ve defined your industry and figured out where you fit, you’re much more empowered to make correct marketing decisions with the freedom to choose what works for you rather than relying on “catch all” solutions.

The key to improving your ROI is to know where you fit. Choose the correct keywords and use the right ad copy to attract your customers to your website. The larger the pool of potential customers, the more that you will attract! That’s why marketing with networks that are more active in your vertical is so advantageous. Once you have your vertical and niche targeted and in your sights, zero in on the bullseye and then go for it!

Make your advertising dollars go further and improve your ROI. Explore your options. Give a smaller network like 7search a try. They have been in the game for 15 years because they do a great job servicing their clients. A network like that is just as global, and just as world-wide as any other, and for the right verticals and niches within those verticals, a great path to a positive ROI.

- See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/sponsored/archive/2014/03/24/hitting-the-r-o-i-bullseye.aspx#sthash.qgUvTFAb.dpuf

In the game known as target marketing, the winners aim for the R.O.I Bullseye!

When advertising, do the networks you market with cater to your business and your industry? Google Adwords and Bing Adcenter are great “catch-all” solutions but are their audiences really interested in what you do? Is your niche and vertical one that performs well on those networks? Either a small subset of that audience is interested in you, or there are many similar businesses advertising on the network which creates intense competition and drives up bid prices. In both of those scenarios, you, as a business, are spending big bucks for little return. Marketing is a game of optimization and improving your ROI (Return on Investment) and this is where smaller, more specialized advertising networks shine.

A great example of an independent ad network is 7Search.com. For the purpose of this article, we gave their customer service team a call and they were more than happy to share what verticals perform well on their network of publishers (and their keyword bid prices reflect that!). To name a few standout verticals, Gaming, Health, and Finance verticals consistently perform well. If you fit into any of those categories (or verticals), the network is without a doubt worth a look. Even if you don’t, give 7Search and similar networks a shout to see how well your business would do with them. The effort of researching these smaller players is worth it to make your advertising dollars go farther!

Look at your keywords on their network and the traffic each keyword generates. Once you have that data in front of you, it should be a pretty simple decision. Taking a look at the Gaming vertical, you can find prospering niches in online casinos, poker, and slot games. Tackling the Health vertical? Then aim for weight loss. Keywords such as nutrisystem, tenuate, phentermine, and diet pills are keeping this niche competitive. Also within Health, you have male enhancement keywords ranking high with Cialis and Viagra leading the keyword way. Check into Cash, payday loans, forex trading, plus auto/car insurance are the niches driving traffic in the Finance vertical. Whether you’re new to 7Search or if you’re a seasoned online marketer, once you’ve defined your industry and figured out where you fit, you’re much more empowered to make correct marketing decisions with the freedom to choose what works for you rather than relying on “catch all” solutions.

The key to improving your ROI is to know where you fit. Choose the correct keywords and use the right ad copy to attract your customers to your website. The larger the pool of potential customers, the more that you will attract! That’s why marketing with networks that are more active in your vertical is so advantageous. Once you have your vertical and niche targeted and in your sights, zero in on the bullseye and then go for it!

Make your advertising dollars go further and improve your ROI. Explore your options. Give a smaller network like 7search a try. They have been in the game for 15 years because they do a great job servicing their clients. A network like that is just as global, and just as world-wide as any other, and for the right verticals and niches within those verticals, a great path to a positive ROI.

- See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/sponsored/archive/2014/03/24/hitting-the-r-o-i-bullseye.aspx#sthash.qgUvTFAb.dpuf

In the game known as target marketing, the winners aim for the R.O.I Bullseye!

When advertising, do the networks you market with cater to your business and your industry? Google Adwords and Bing Adcenter are great “catch-all” solutions but are their audiences really interested in what you do? Is your niche and vertical one that performs well on those networks? Either a small subset of that audience is interested in you, or there are many similar businesses advertising on the network which creates intense competition and drives up bid prices. In both of those scenarios, you, as a business, are spending big bucks for little return. Marketing is a game of optimization and improving your ROI (Return on Investment) and this is where smaller, more specialized advertising networks shine.

A great example of an independent ad network is 7Search.com. For the purpose of this article, we gave their customer service team a call and they were more than happy to share what verticals perform well on their network of publishers (and their keyword bid prices reflect that!). To name a few standout verticals, Gaming, Health, and Finance verticals consistently perform well. If you fit into any of those categories (or verticals), the network is without a doubt worth a look. Even if you don’t, give 7Search and similar networks a shout to see how well your business would do with them. The effort of researching these smaller players is worth it to make your advertising dollars go farther!

Look at your keywords on their network and the traffic each keyword generates. Once you have that data in front of you, it should be a pretty simple decision. Taking a look at the Gaming vertical, you can find prospering niches in online casinos, poker, and slot games. Tackling the Health vertical? Then aim for weight loss. Keywords such as nutrisystem, tenuate, phentermine, and diet pills are keeping this niche competitive. Also within Health, you have male enhancement keywords ranking high with Cialis and Viagra leading the keyword way. Check into Cash, payday loans, forex trading, plus auto/car insurance are the niches driving traffic in the Finance vertical. Whether you’re new to 7Search or if you’re a seasoned online marketer, once you’ve defined your industry and figured out where you fit, you’re much more empowered to make correct marketing decisions with the freedom to choose what works for you rather than relying on “catch all” solutions.

The key to improving your ROI is to know where you fit. Choose the correct keywords and use the right ad copy to attract your customers to your website. The larger the pool of potential customers, the more that you will attract! That’s why marketing with networks that are more active in your vertical is so advantageous. Once you have your vertical and niche targeted and in your sights, zero in on the bullseye and then go for it!

Make your advertising dollars go further and improve your ROI. Explore your options. Give a smaller network like 7search a try. They have been in the game for 15 years because they do a great job servicing their clients. A network like that is just as global, and just as world-wide as any other, and for the right verticals and niches within those verticals, a great path to a positive ROI.

- See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/sponsored/archive/2014/03/24/hitting-the-r-o-i-bullseye.aspx#sthash.qgUvTFAb.dpuf

In the game known as target marketing, the winners aim for the R.O.I Bullseye!

When advertising, do the networks you market with cater to your business and your industry? Google Adwords and Bing Adcenter are great “catch-all” solutions but are their audiences really interested in what you do? Is your niche and vertical one that performs well on those networks? Either a small subset of that audience is interested in you, or there are many similar businesses advertising on the network which creates intense competition and drives up bid prices. In both of those scenarios, you, as a business, are spending big bucks for little return. Marketing is a game of optimization and improving your ROI (Return on Investment) and this is where smaller, more specialized advertising networks shine.

A great example of an independent ad network is 7Search.com. For the purpose of this article, we gave their customer service team a call and they were more than happy to share what verticals perform well on their network of publishers (and their keyword bid prices reflect that!). To name a few standout verticals, Gaming, Health, and Finance verticals consistently perform well. If you fit into any of those categories (or verticals), the network is without a doubt worth a look. Even if you don’t, give 7Search and similar networks a shout to see how well your business would do with them. The effort of researching these smaller players is worth it to make your advertising dollars go farther!

Look at your keywords on their network and the traffic each keyword generates. Once you have that data in front of you, it should be a pretty simple decision. Taking a look at the Gaming vertical, you can find prospering niches in online casinos, poker, and slot games. Tackling the Health vertical? Then aim for weight loss. Keywords such as nutrisystem, tenuate, phentermine, and diet pills are keeping this niche competitive. Also within Health, you have male enhancement keywords ranking high with Cialis and Viagra leading the keyword way. Check into Cash, payday loans, forex trading, plus auto/car insurance are the niches driving traffic in the Finance vertical. Whether you’re new to 7Search or if you’re a seasoned online marketer, once you’ve defined your industry and figured out where you fit, you’re much more empowered to make correct marketing decisions with the freedom to choose what works for you rather than relying on “catch all” solutions.

The key to improving your ROI is to know where you fit. Choose the correct keywords and use the right ad copy to attract your customers to your website. The larger the pool of potential customers, the more that you will attract! That’s why marketing with networks that are more active in your vertical is so advantageous. Once you have your vertical and niche targeted and in your sights, zero in on the bullseye and then go for it!

Make your advertising dollars go further and improve your ROI. Explore your options. Give a smaller network like 7search a try. They have been in the game for 15 years because they do a great job servicing their clients. A network like that is just as global, and just as world-wide as any other, and for the right verticals and niches within those verticals, a great path to a positive ROI.

- See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/sponsored/archive/2014/03/24/hitting-the-r-o-i-bullseye.aspx#sthash.qgUvTFAb.dpuf
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Facebook Changes Real-Name Policy After Uproar From Drag Queens

Social-Network Company Apologizes for Crackdown on Pseudonyms

 
 
Updated Oct. 2, 2014 3:31 a.m. ET

Drag queens from left, Lil Miss Hot Mess, Sister Roma and Heklina, take turns speaking about their battle with Facebook during a news conference in San Francisco on Sept. 17. Facebook on Wednesday apologized to drag queens and the transgender community for cracking down on pseudonyms. Associated Press

Facebook Inc. FB +0.47% is changing how it treats people who don't use their real names on the social network, following an uproar over its crackdown on pseudonyms used by drag queens.

Christopher Cox, Facebook's product chief, apologized in a post Wednesday to people affected by the recent sweep. He said hundreds of drag queens who were flagged for violating Facebook's real-name policy will be able to use their stage names on Facebook.

"The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess," he wrote, referring to two vocal critics of the policy.

Facebook's terms of service say people must use the same name "as it would be listed on your credit card, driver's license or student ID."

On their Facebook pages, Sister Roma reacted positively to the apology, while Lil Miss Hot Mess welcomed the move but said she will be happy when her name is changed back. Sister Roma said a protest scheduled for Thursday at San Francisco City Hall will now be a victory rally.

Knowing its users' real identities has been central to Facebook's business model, which involves building detailed profiles of people so it can send them targeted advertisements based on their personalities.

This week, Facebook launched a new advertising service that it says capitalizes on its vast cache of real identities. Facebook called it "people-based" advertising, and said it was superior to other ad services that rely on less-personal data.

Fake or duplicate accounts and names make up a chunk of Facebook's 1.32 billion users, and Facebook has aggressively pursued those it believes aren't being truthful. In some cases, it has forced political dissidents living under authoritarian regimes to use their real names, a move criticized by human-rights advocates.

Mr. Cox's post suggests Facebook may be easing up on the real-name policy. "Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name," he wrote. "There's lots of room for improvement in the reporting and enforcement mechanisms, tools for understanding who's real and who's not, and the customer service for anyone who's affected."

It is unclear whether Facebook's softer stance on names will apply to a wider variety of people like political dissidents, or if it might open the door to more fake accounts, making its ads less effective and possibly hitting the bottom line.

Mr. Cox said in his post that the drag-queen controversy can be traced to a single Facebook user who reported several hundred drag queens to Facebook, claiming the accounts were fake. Mr. Cox said 99% of accounts flagged in that way by other users are "bad actors doing bad things: impersonation, bullying, trolling, domestic violence, scams, hate speech and more."

Because Facebook processes several hundred thousand of these reports each week, it didn't notice the unusually large number of drag queens who had been flagged. In an automated process, the drag queens were asked to provide identification, such as a gym membership, library card or piece of mail.

The outrage over the treatment of drag queens has been credited in part for the surprisingly rapid growth of Ello, a new social network that welcomes fake names and pseudonyms, eschews advertising and promises not to track its users.

"I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we've put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks," Mr. Cox wrote.

Mr. Cox said Facebook was "already underway building better tools for authenticating the Sister Romas of the world," and said the company would provide more "deliberate customer service" to people who are flagged.

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JP Morgan reveals data breach affected 76 million households

Elizabeth Weise, USATODAY 8:04 p.m. EDT October 2, 2014
 
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SAN FRANCISCO — The cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase & Co., first announced in July, compromised information from 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, the company revealed Thursday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact information, including name, address, phone number and e-mail address, as well as internal JPMorgan Chase information about the users, was compromised, the filing said. However the bank said no customer money appears to have been stolen.

JPMorgan said "there is no evidence that account information for such affected customers — account numbers, passwords, user IDs, dates of birth or Social Security numbers — was compromised during this attack."

The attack is one of the largest corporate breaches thus far reported.

More chillingly, a report Thursday in The New York Times said that the hackers were able to gain "the highest level of administrative privilege" on more than 90 of the bank's servers, according to people the newspaper spoke with who were familiar with the forensic investigation of the breach.

That means they "had root" on the servers of one of the largest banks in the world — they "could transfer funds, disclose information, close accounts, and basically do whatever they want to the data," said Jeff Williams, chief technology officer with Contrast Security in Palo Alto, Calif.

In its SEC filing, JPMorgan said as of Oct. 2 it had not "seen any unusual customer fraud related to this incident."

"This is a truly remarkable attack, but not just in its scope — hackers successfully penetrated one of the most secure organizations on this planet and they stole absolutely nothing of value — no money, no Social Security numbers, no passwords," said John Gunn, with Vasco Data Security International in Chicago.

"Persistence like that, with no stolen money, is due to a future planned operation — or that the objective was to identify data that was material in some other aspect," said J.J. Thompson of Rook Security in Indianapolis.

"This could be to track down a person of interest by observing financial transaction locations, to plans future large scale disruption when they know their competitor plans to wire funds to close a deal, or any other odd scenario you could see on (the TV show) 'Blacklist,'" he said.

JPM shares were down 0.89% in after-hours trading.

Whether there really was an attack or not, consumers should beware of "piggyback attacks" in which criminals launch social engineering attacks making use of customer anxiety after reports of a big-name breach.

"The usual advice applies: If you get an e-mail or a call from a JP Morgan rep, feel free to thank them for contacting you and hang up. Customers should always initiate that contact by looking at their credit card or statement for the contact number; you simply can't trust that an incoming call or e-mail is legitimate and not a phishing attempt," said Tod Beardsley, engineering manager with security firm Rapid7.

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MakerBot’s Bre Pettis Launches Bold Machines, A Workshop For 3D-Printed Stuff

Up Close With The Biggest Joystick In The World (That We Know Of)

 

After a slightly surprising move away from a managerial role at MakerBot, former CEO Bre Pettis has finally announced what he’s working on: Bold Machines, an “Innovation Workshop” for MakerBot parent company Stratasys. Designed to be a creative skunkworks for the 3D printing company, Bold Machines will design cool 3D prints, work with artists and inventors, and even make movies. Their first project, a film called Margo, looks to be a corker.

“Our mission is to explore the frontier of 3D printing and partner with innovators to showcase Stratasys, MakerBot, and Solidscape 3D printers,” said Pettis. “We are still at the beginning of the next industrial revolution and I want to push it along by collaborating and creating inspiring projects that will break into new industries.”

The workshop is headquartered at MakerBot’s original Dean Street offices in Brooklyn and contains dozens of 3D printers that are busy churning out characters and objects for the film. Pettis said he is still involved with MakerBot and Stratasys from a business side. “I’m still involved, but I’ll be innovating with the other technologies in Stratasys. For example, I’m really excited to work with Solidscape wax 3D printers,” he said.

What is Margo? It’s a feature-length film featuring Bold Machine characters.

 
Margo is a smart young detective. Her parents have gone missing on a space exploration mission. She receives a cryptic message and a key that leads her to discover her parents secret laboratory under the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a cutting edge laboratory full of contraptions, robots, and a jet pack for her dog. She’s going to need all the advanced tech she can get because she’s also just uncovered a sinister plot schemed up by a local business mogul, Mr. Walthersnap, who turns out to be a bad guy.

You can download and print Margo right now if you’re so inclined or keep your eye on Pettis’ beard and look for updates here. The team will release new models weekly as they run up to the completion of the film.

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It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results Google has completely dropped all authorship functionality from the search results and webmaster tools. Eric Enge on August 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm 14.8k More end-over-finished-typewriter-ss-1920 After three years the great Google Authorship experiment has come to an end … at least for now. Today John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced in a Google+ post that Google will stop showing authorship results in Google Search, and will no longer be tracking data from content using rel=author markup. This in-depth article, which I’ve jointly co-written with Mark Traphagen, will cover the announcement of the end of Authorship, the history of Authorship, a study conducted by Stone Temple Consulting that confirms one of the stated reasons for cessation of the program, and some thoughts about the future of author authority in search. authorship-ends-experiment-ss-800 Authorship’s Gradual Slide Toward Extinction The cessation of the Authorship program comes after two major reductions of Authorship rich snippets over the past eight months. In December 2013 Google reduced the amount of author photo snippets shown per query, as Google’s webspam head Matt Cutts had promised would happen in his keynote at Pubcon that October. Starting in December, only some Authorship results were accompanied by an author photo, while all others had just a byline. Then at the end of June 2014 Google removed all author photos from global search, leaving just bylines for any qualified authorship results. At that time, John Mueller in a Google+ post stated that the photos were removed because Google was moving toward unifying the user experience between desktop and mobile search, and author photos did not work well with the limited screen space and bandwidth of mobile. He also remarked that Google was seeing no significant difference in “click behavior” between search pages with or without author photos. A Brief History of Google Authorship The roots of the Authorship project go back to Google’s Agent Rank patent of 2007. As explained by Bill Slawski, an expert on Google’s patents, the Agent Rank patent described a system for connecting multiple pieces of content with a digital signature representing one or more “agents” (authors). Such identification could then be used to score the agent based on various trust and authority signals pointing at the agent’s content, and that score could be used to influence search rankings. Agent Rank remained a theoretical idea without a practical means of application, until the adoption by Google of the schema.org standards for structured markup. In a blog post in June 2011, Google announced that it would begin to support authorship markup. The company encouraged webmasters to begin marking up content on their sites with the rel=”author” and rel=”me” tags, connecting each piece of content to an author profile. The final puzzle piece for Authorship to be truly useful to Google fell into place with the unveiling of Google+ at the end of June 2011. Google+ profiles could now serve as Google’s universal identity platform for connecting authors with their content. google-matt-cutts-othar-hansson Hansson and Cutts In a YouTube video published in August of that year, Matt Cutts and then head of the Authorship project Othar Hansson gave explicit instructions on how authors should connect their content with their Google+ profiles, noted that doing so could cause one’s profile photo to show in search results, and for the first time mentioned that — at some future time — data from Authorship could be used as a ranking factor. Over the next three years, Authorship in search went through many changes that we won’t detail here (although Ann Smarty has compiled a complete history of those changes). On repeated occasions, though, Matt Cutts and other Google spokespeople reiterated a long-term commitment by Google to the concept of author authority. Why Has Google Ended the Authorship Program? Over its entire history Google has repeatedly demonstrated that nothing it creates is sacred or immortal. The list of Google products and services that were introduced only to be unceremoniously discontinued later would fill a small phone book. The primary reason behind this shuffle of products is Google’s unswerving commitment to testing. Every product, and every change or innovation within each product, is constantly tested and evaluated. Anything that the data show as not meeting Google’s goals, not having sufficient user adoption, or not providing significant user value, will get the axe. John Mueller told my co-author Mark that test data collected from three years of Google Authorship convinced Google that showing Authorship results in search was not returning enough value compared to the resources it took to process the data. Mueller gave two specific areas in which the Authorship experiment fell short of expectations: 1. Low adoption rates by authors and webmasters. As our study data later in this article will confirm, participation in authorship markup was spotty at best, and almost non-existent in many verticals. Even when sites attempted to participate, they often did it incorrectly. In addition, most non-tech-savvy site owners or authors felt the markup and linking were too complex, and so were unlikely to try to implement it. Because of these problems, beginning in early 2012, Google started attempting to auto-attribute authorship in some cases where there was no or improper markup, or no link from an author profile. In a November 2012 study of a Forbes list of 50 Most Influential Social Media Marketers, Mark found that only 30% used authorship markup on their own blogs, but of those without any markup, 34% were still getting an Authorship rich snippet in search. This is similar to data found in a study performed by Eric which is further detailed below. However, Google’s attempts at auto-attribution of authors led to many well-publicized cases of mis-attribution, such as Truman Capote being shown as the author of a New York Times article 28 years after his death. Clearly, Google’s hopes of being able to identify the web’s authors, connect them with their content, and then evaluate their trust and authority levels as possible ranking factors was in trouble if it was going to depend on the cooperation of non-Google people. 2. Low value to searchers. In his announcement of the elimination of author photos from global search in late June of this year, John Mueller stated that Google was seeing little difference in “click behavior” on search result pages with Authorship snippets compared to those without. This came as a shock (accompanied in many cases with outright disbelief) to those who had always believed that author snippets brought higher click-through rates. Mueller repeated in his conversation with Mark about today’s change that Google’s data showed users were not getting sufficient value from Authorship snippets. While he did not elaborate on what he meant by “value” we might speculate that this could mean that overall, in aggregate, user behavior on a search page did not seem to be affected by the presence of author snippets. Perhaps over time users had become used to seeing them and they lost their novelty. It is interesting to note that (as of the time of this posting) author photos continue to appear for Google+ content from people a searcher has in his or her Google network (Google+ circles or Gmail contacts) when the searcher is logged in to her or his Google+ account (personalized search). When asked, Mueller said he had no knowledge of any plans to stop showing those types of results. However, some users have reported to Mark that they are no longer seeing them. We will watch this development and update here if it looks like Google is indeed removing author photos from personalized results as well. Authorship Photos in Personalized Searchj If Google does continue to show author photos in some personalized results, it would seem to indicate that Google data is showing that when content is from someone with whom the searcher has some personal association, a rich snippet actually does provide value to that searcher. More about this in our final section below. Study of Rel=Author Implementations As luck would have it, Stone Temple Consulting was in the process of wrapping up a study on rel=author markup usage. A look at the data illustrates part of the problem that Google faces with an initiative like this one. The bottom line of what we found? Adoption was weak, and accurate implementation among those that attempted to set up rel=author was also bad. If that was not enough, the adoption by authors was also bad. So let’s look at the numbers! Authorship Adoption We sampled 500 authors across 150 different major media web sites. Here is a summary of what we saw for their implementation of authorship tagging in their Google+ profiles: G+ profile implementation Qty % of Total No Profile 241 48% Profile, but No Link to Publishing Site 108 22% Profile, with one or More Links to the Publishing Site 151 30% A whopping 70% of authors made no attempt to connect their authorship with the content they were publishing on major web sites. Of course, this has much to do with how Google attempts to promote these types of initiatives. In short, they don’t. They rely on the organic spread of information throughout the Interweb ecosystem, which is uneven at best. Publisher Adoption 50 of the 150 sites did not have any author pages at all, and more than 3/4 of these provided no more than the author’s name for attribution. For the remaining batch, some of them would allow authors to include links with their attribution at the bottom of the article, but the great majority of these authors did not take advantage of the opportunity. For today’s post, we also took 20 of the sites that had author pages, and analyzed in detail their success in implementing authorship: 13 of the 20 sites attempted to implement authorship markup (65%) 10 of these 13 attempts had errors (77%) 12 of the 13 attempts received rich snippets in the Google SERPs (92%) The implementation style for authorship was all over the map. We found malformed tags, authorship implemented on site, but no link to the author’s G+ profile, conflicting tags reporting multiple people as the author for a given article, and one situation where an article had 2 named authors, but only the 2nd named author linked to their G+ profile, and Google gave the 2nd author credit for that article. Seven of the 20 sites did not attempt to implement authorship markup (35%) Two of these seven received rich snippets in the Google SERPs (28%) In the two cases where Google provided the rich snippets even though there was no markup, the authors did link to the site from the Contributor To section of their G+ profile. Summarizing the Study In short, proper adoption of rel=author markup was extremely low. Google clearly went to extreme efforts to try and make the connection between author and publisher, even in the face of many challenges. From a broader perspective, this tells us quite a bit about the difficulties of obtaining data from publishers. It’s hard, and the quality of the information you will get is quite low. Summary Google has stated many times over the past three years its interest in understanding author authority. It’s hard to forget executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s powerful statements on the topic: Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance. Eric Schmidt in The New Digital Age However, this has proved to be a very tough problem to solve. The desire to get at this data is there, but the current approach simply did not work. As we noted above, this is one of the two big reasons why this initiative is being abandoned. The other problem identified by John Mueller is equally important. The approach of including some form of rich snippet, be it a photo, or a simple byline, was not providing value to end users in the SERPs. Google is always relentlessly testing search quality, and there are no sacred cows. If Google is not seeing end users valuing something they try out, it will go. We also can’t ignore the impact of the processing power used for this effort. We all like to think that Google has infinite processing power. It doesn’t. If it did have such power, it would use optical character recognition to read text in images, image processing techniques to recognize pictures, speech to text technology to transcribe every video it encounters online, and it would crawl every page on the web every day, and so forth. But it doesn’t. What this tells us is that Google has to make conscious decisions on how it spends its processing power — it must be budgeted wisely. As of this moment, the Authorship initiative as we have known it has not been deemed worthy of the budget it was consuming. The rise of mobile may have played a role in this outcome as well. When John Mueller says staffers don’t see a significant difference in click behavior in the SERPs as a result of Authorship rich snippets, remember that about half of Google’s traffic comes from mobile devices now. Chewing up valuable screen real estate for this type of markup on a mobile device may simply be a bad idea. So is authorship gone forever? Our guess is that it probably is not. The concept is a good one. We buy into the notion that some people are smarter about certain topics than others. The current attempts at figuring this out have failed, not the concept. As Google moves forward in its commitment to semantic search, it has to develop ways to identify entities such as authors with a high degree of confidence apart from human actions such as markup. Recent announcements about Google’s Knowledge Vault project would seem to reinforce that Google is moving steadily in that direction. So this may be how it approaches detection. If, and when, it makes use of such data, what will it look like? Don’t be surprised if the impact is too subtle to be easily noticed. We will probably not see author photos in the results ever again. Could we see some form of Author Rank? Possibly, but it may come in a highly personalized form or get blended in with many other factors that make its detection virtually impossible. So goodbye for now, Authorship. You were a grand and glorious experiment, and we will miss you — but we look forward to something even better for Authorship in the future. This article was co-authored by Eric Enge and Mark Traphagen. Postscript: See our follow-up story, Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not. Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here. Related Articles Google Removes Author Photos From Search: Why And What Does It Mean? Google Drops Profile Photos, Google+ Circle Count From Authorship In Search Results Google Quietly Removes Author Stats From Google Webmaster Tools Labs Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not Channel: SEO Google: Authorship Google: SEO Google: User Interface Google: Web Search Google: Webmaster Central Top News (Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.) Sponsored About The Author Eric Enge

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Google Authorship May Be Dead, But Author Rank Is Not

Google Authorship and Author Rank aren't the same thing. Here's why Google Authorship can die yet Author Rank lives on.

on August 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm

google-authorship-content-writing-ss-1920

Google ended its three-year experiment with Google Authorship yesterday, but the use of Author Rank to improve search results will continue. Wait — you can have Author Rank without Google Authorship? And just what is Google Authorship versus Author Rank? Come along, because they are different things — and Author Rank lives on.

What Google Authorship Was

Google Authorship was primarily Google’s way to allow the authors of content to identify themselves for display purposes. You asserted it by making use of “markup,” code hidden from human view but within web pages. Google extended from this original idea to link it tightly with Google+, as a step to create a Google-controlled system of identifying authors and managing identities.

Those making use of Google Authorship were largely rewarded by having author names and images appear next to stories. That was the big draw, especially when Google suggested that stories with authorship display might draw more clicks. Here’s an example of how it looked:

google-authorship-image

Above, you can see how the listing has both an image of the author plus a byline with the name.

Google ended Google Authorship yesterday. The image support was dropped in June; now the bylines and everything else related to the program are gone. It’s dead.

The markup people have included in their pages won’t hurt anything, Google tells us. It just will be ignored, not used for anything. But before you run to remove it all, keep in mind that such markup might be used by other companies and services. Things like rel=author and rel=me are microformats that may be used by other services (note: originally I wrote these were part of Schema.org, but they’re not — thanks to Aaron Bradley in the comments below)

We’re planning to explore that issue more in a future article, about whether people who invested time now largely wasted adding authorship support should invest more time removing it. Stay tuned.

What Author Rank Is

Separately from Google Authorship is the idea of Author Rank, where if Google knows who authored a story, it might somehow alter the rankings of that story, perhaps give it a boost if authored by someone deemed trustworthy.

Author Rank isn’t actually Google’s term. It’s a term that the SEO community has assigned to the concept in general. It especially got renewed attention after Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt talked about the idea of ranking verified authors higher in search results, in his 2013 book, The New Digital Age:

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

For further background on Author Rank, as well as the context of Schmidt’s quote, see my article from last year: Author Rank, Authorship, Search Rankings & That Eric Schmidt Book Quote.

Author Rank Is Real — And Continues!

Schmidt was just speculating in his book, not describing anything that was actually happening at Google. From Google itself, there was talk several times last year of making use of Author Rank as a way to identify subject experts and somehow boost them in the search results:

That was still all talk. The first real action came in March of this year. After Amit Singhal, the head of Google Search, said that Author Rank still wasn’t being used, the head of Google’s web spam team gave a caveat of where Author Rank was used: for the “In-depth articles” section, when it sometimes appears, of Google’s search results.

Author Rank Without Authorship

Now that Google Authorship is dead, how can Google keep using Author Rank in the limited form it has confirmed? Or is that now dead, too? And does this mean other ways Author Rank might get used are also dead?

Google told us that dropping Google Authorship shouldn’t have an impact on how the In-depth articles section works. Google also said that the dropping of Google Authorship won’t impact its other efforts to explore how authors might get rewarded.

How can all this be, when Google has also said that it’s ignoring authorship markup?

The answer is that Google has other ways to determine who it believes to be the author of a story, if it wants. In particular, Google is likely to look for visible bylines that often appear on news stories. These existed before Google Authorship, and they aren’t going away.

This also means that if you’re really concerned that more Author Rank use is likely to come, think bylines. That’s looking to be the chief alternative way to signal who is the author of a story, now that Google has abandoned its formal system.

I’d also say don’t worry too much about Author Rank. It’s only confirmed for a very limited part of Google Search. Maybe it will grow beyond that. If it does, it’ll be only one of many SEO ranking factors that go into producing Google’s listings. Byline stories as appropriate, but more important, make sure the quality of the stories you author make you proud to be identified as the author of them.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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Massive Home Depot cyber breach happened months ago & company only found about it now

Massive Home Depot cyber breach happened months ago & company only found about it now
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10542402@N06/7702053634/sizes/c/in/photostream/

Home Depot is the latest in a string of U.S. retailers to be broadsided by a brutal hack attack.

But while news of the hack has only surfaced today, the initial breach may have occurred in the spring. The likely culprits are the usual suspects: Eastern European hackers from Ukraine or Russia, according to the lead of the malware intelligence team Adam Kujawa of Malwarebytes.

Kujawa told VentureBeat there is a strong suspicion the perpetrators were linked to the same group responsible for inserting Trojan malware into Point of Sale machines at U.S. retailer Target in December, where over 70 million customers saw their credit cards hit with more than $100 million in fraudulent charges.

The enormity of that breach cost the Target CEO at the time, Gregg Steinhafel, his job.

Incredibly, this newly discovered breach, which is thought to have put millions of Home Depot customers’ credit card data at risk, happened earlier this year. It wasn’t until American and European banks noticed that millions of credit cards appeared on cyber criminal websites like Rescator.cc for sale, which were then traced back to Home Depot, that the colossal hit was uncovered.

Customers at Home Depot’s 2,200 American outlets have been affected, various media reports stated.

Paula Drake, a Home Depot spokeswoman, released a statement to VentureBeat late Tuesday:

“At this point, I can confirm that we’re looking into some unusual activity and we are working with our banking partners and law enforcement to investigate.  Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers.  If we confirm that a breach has occurred, we will make sure customers are notified immediately. Right now, for security reasons, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate further. We will provide further information as soon as possible.”

Drake declined to answer further questions.

Kujawa said Rescator.cc is a known cyber criminal marketplace that traffics in stolen credit cards, boosted PayPal logins, Botnets, drugs, computer ransoms, and even murder-for-hire schemes, among other nefarious offerings, according to Kujawa.

As for the Russian connection, it is, for now, mere speculation, according to Kujawa.

“You can definitely speculate this is related to the POS Target malware breach. It was the banks themselves that discovered the cards for sale and then traced them back to Home Depot,” he said.

The astonishing breach may be the result of intensifying hostilities between Russia and the West that crystalized when the Russian military encircled Ukraine and began arming separatist fighters battling the Crimean government earlier this year. The U.S. and European governments recently initiated a series of hard-hitting sanctions on Russian banks and companies.

Kujawa said it’s possible the Russian government was involved — or at least deliberately disregarded the scam possibly originating from its territory. The U.S. has long suspected that Russia, under autocratic leader Vladimir Putin, is behind cyber breach attacks against Western companies and governments. Putin has long denied it.

“You never really know. The Russian’s have a long history of looking the other way or turning a blind eye to this kind of stuff after getting their cut. It’s very possible the attack was either inspired or orchestrated by Russia,” Kujawa said.

If the attack happened months ago, and Home Depot is only finding out about it now, the company could be in big trouble. At least CEO Frank Blake could see his job on the line. Instead of getting in front of it, apparently, Home Depot is taking the ostrich head-in-the-sand approach.

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Massive Home Depot cyber breach happened months ago & company only found about it now

Massive Home Depot cyber breach happened months ago & company only found about it now
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10542402@N06/7702053634/sizes/c/in/photostream/

Home Depot is the latest in a string of U.S. retailers to be broadsided by a brutal hack attack.

But while news of the hack has only surfaced today, the initial breach may have occurred in the spring. The likely culprits are the usual suspects: Eastern European hackers from Ukraine or Russia, according to the lead of the malware intelligence team Adam Kujawa of Malwarebytes.

Kujawa told VentureBeat there is a strong suspicion the perpetrators were linked to the same group responsible for inserting Trojan malware into Point of Sale machines at U.S. retailer Target in December, where over 70 million customers saw their credit cards hit with more than $100 million in fraudulent charges.

The enormity of that breach cost the Target CEO at the time, Gregg Steinhafel, his job.

Incredibly, this newly discovered breach, which is thought to have put millions of Home Depot customers’ credit card data at risk, happened earlier this year. It wasn’t until American and European banks noticed that millions of credit cards appeared on cyber criminal websites like Rescator.cc for sale, which were then traced back to Home Depot, that the colossal hit was uncovered.

Customers at Home Depot’s 2,200 American outlets have been affected, various media reports stated.

Paula Drake, a Home Depot spokeswoman, released a statement to VentureBeat late Tuesday:

“At this point, I can confirm that we’re looking into some unusual activity and we are working with our banking partners and law enforcement to investigate.  Protecting our customers’ information is something we take extremely seriously, and we are aggressively gathering facts at this point while working to protect customers.  If we confirm that a breach has occurred, we will make sure customers are notified immediately. Right now, for security reasons, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate further. We will provide further information as soon as possible.”

Drake declined to answer further questions.

Kujawa said Rescator.cc is a known cyber criminal marketplace that traffics in stolen credit cards, boosted PayPal logins, Botnets, drugs, computer ransoms, and even murder-for-hire schemes, among other nefarious offerings, according to Kujawa.

As for the Russian connection, it is, for now, mere speculation, according to Kujawa.

“You can definitely speculate this is related to the POS Target malware breach. It was the banks themselves that discovered the cards for sale and then traced them back to Home Depot,” he said.

The astonishing breach may be the result of intensifying hostilities between Russia and the West that crystalized when the Russian military encircled Ukraine and began arming separatist fighters battling the Crimean government earlier this year. The U.S. and European governments recently initiated a series of hard-hitting sanctions on Russian banks and companies.

Kujawa said it’s possible the Russian government was involved — or at least deliberately disregarded the scam possibly originating from its territory. The U.S. has long suspected that Russia, under autocratic leader Vladimir Putin, is behind cyber breach attacks against Western companies and governments. Putin has long denied it.

“You never really know. The Russian’s have a long history of looking the other way or turning a blind eye to this kind of stuff after getting their cut. It’s very possible the attack was either inspired or orchestrated by Russia,” Kujawa said.

If the attack happened months ago, and Home Depot is only finding out about it now, the company could be in big trouble. At least CEO Frank Blake could see his job on the line. Instead of getting in front of it, apparently, Home Depot is taking the ostrich head-in-the-sand approach.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook review: good for reading, but hardly the best budget tablet

32

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook review: good for reading, but hardly the best budget tablet

There was a time when Barnes & Noble was so big, so dominating, that even Tom Hanks managed to look like a jerk when he played a book-chain executive. But times have changed, and as people began to order their books online -- or even download them -- B&N found itself struggling to keep up. After losing a lot of money last year, the company decided it was time for a change: It vowed to stop making its own tablets, and instead team up with some third-party company to better take on Amazon and its Kindle Fire line. Turns out, that third party was none other than Samsung, and the fruits of their partnership, the $179 Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, is basically a repackaged version of the existing Galaxy Tab 4 7.0. Well, almost, anyway. The 7-inch slate comes pre-loaded with $200 worth of free content, and the core Nook app has been redesigned to the point that it actually offers a better reading experience than the regular Nook Android app. But is that a good enough reason to buy this instead of a Kindle Fire? Or any other Android tablet, for that matter?

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iTunes Festival app arrives on Apple TV for London's month of music

2

Apple's annual month-long concert series in the UK kicks off next week, and to make sure that you're properly equipped to stream the performances, there's a new Apple TV app that'll do just that. Starting Monday, September 1st with deadmau5 and lasting through the end of the month, sets will be beamed to your living room right from the stage of the Roundhouse in London. Of course, should you find yourself away from home, tunes are also available on iPhone, iPad and iPod to catch the latest. While you can peruse the full list of acts here, scheduled artists include Beck, Pharrell Williams, Ryan Adams and Mary J. Blige.

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Fujifilm was one of the first companies to turn compact cameras from "dying category" into "retro-tinged lust object," and its latest model, the X30, is no exception. The redesigned magnesium body still looks sharp, but Fujifilm has added an OLED XGA (2.36 million dots) viewfinder with a blistering 0.005-second lag in place of the last model's optical version. It also has a bigger, higher-res 920K-dot tiltable screen, longer battery life and WiFi connectivity -- which finally brings features like remote smartphone snapping. Core features remain the same, namely the 2/3-inch, 12-megapixel X-Trans II sensor; EXR Processor II; and the 28-112mm-equivalent, f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens. It also has the last model's $600 price tag, which may give some enthusiasts pause -- especially since Sony's stunning, $800 RX100 III is only a short rung up the price ladder.

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A pile of US currency, topped with a mobile phone, reminds us that money talks and can be very persuasive!

Late last year, Square introduced a service called Cash that lets you send money to anyone in the US with just their email address. You could either do so with a regular ol' email app -- simply CC This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in an email to the recipient with the dollar amount in the subject line -- or you could download the Square Cash app to make the process easier. With the latest Cash app update, however, there's a special bonus feature if you decide to use the app to send money -- you'll be able to send money with their phone number as well. Just enter in the number manually or you can let the app access your contacts list. The recipient will then get a text message with a link to download the Cash app if they haven't already, and with just a few steps, they'll get their money. In addition to this new feature, you can now track payments and requests via push notification. Plus you'll now be able to link all of your email addresses and numbers to a Profile account so it's that much easier for folks to send you funds.

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http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/26/netflix-fcc-petition-time-warner-cable-comcast/

Netflix asks FCC to stop Comcast/TWC merger citing 'serious' public harm

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As it promised, Netflix has filed a petition to the FCC demanding that it deny the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner. The 256-page document claims that it would result in "serious public interest harm," and no discernible public benefit -- two red flags for regulatory bodies. Netflix cited several examples of harm already inflicted on it by Comcast or Time Warner Cable. For one, Comcast has used network congestion as an excuse to "shift Netflix traffic to paid interconnections," It also argued that data caps have been used as a tactic to deter consumers from third-party streaming companies like Netflix or Hulu.

Netflix wrote that a merged cable giant would have huge leverage over it and other internet companies. It said Comcast and TWC's claims that there is enough competition in the market are disingenuous, since DSL offerings from AT&T and Verizon are often insufficient for Netflix streaming. It added that TWC and Comcast offer competing paid video-on-demand services over broadband and thus have "incentives to interfere" with third-party companies like Netflix.

Comcast truck

It also noted that it's prohibitively expensive for consumers to switch broadband services, and that even if they wanted to, there are often zero alternatives -- a situation that would worsen with a merger. Finally, it complained about the problem of "terminating networks," or the point at which user data switches from one network to another. It contended that providers can deliberately congest such routes to extract fees -- and in fact, currently have no incentive not to.

There are many more arguments listed in the document (at the source), and many are well known to the US public -- who have become intensely interested in the merger and net neutrality in general. Naturally, Netflix has its own interests (and profits) at heart, and Comcast and TWC may have a rebuttal to its main arguments. But Netflix's legal challenge to the FCC is significant, since it (and its customers) may suffer the most from a merger. It has now joined Dish Network in filing a formal brief along with numerous consumer groups.

Update: Many others, including the Writers Guild of America and Public Knowledge, have chimed in against the proposed merger. Meanwhile, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have assembled a list of organizations writing in support of the merger, and that includes two familiar names in Cisco and TiVo.

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http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/26/interactive-censorship-map/

 

Interactive map shows you where internet censorship is strongest

0

The internet censorship map at a glance

If you're reading this, you probably enjoy open internet access as a matter of course. However, other countries aren't quite so liberal. How do you know where you're truly free? IVPN's new interactive censorship map might just answer that question for you. The site lets you click on a given country to quickly learn about its tendencies to block free speech online, attack critics and shred anonymity. Not surprisingly, very authoritarian governments like China, Cuba and Iran don't score well -- they tend to insist on real names when you post, and will throw you in prison for challenging the internet status quo. Many other countries, like Russia and Venezuela, walk an awkward line between freedom and trying to crush dissent.

The map is far from perfect. There are quite a few gaps, although that's partly dictated by countries that can't or won't offer data (North Korea isn't exactly the sharing type). Also, you may scoff at the nations deemed truly free -- the info comes from 2012, before we knew about Australia's proposed anti-leak measures, American surveillance revelations or the UK's hit-and-miss porn filter. Still, the guide should make it at least a little bit easier to understand where it's safe to speak your mind.

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20 ways to keep your internet identity safe from hackers

  • by
      • The Observer, Saturday 11 May 2013

We're high up in the Gherkin in the City of London and Garry Sidaway, director of security strategy at Integralis, a firm which advises government agencies, pharmaceutical and financial services multinationals, is giving my computer a security MOT. "You don't have anti-virus software, I see," he says, a trace of mockery in his voice. "That's your first mistake." According to Sidaway, while most of us are much more aware of the risks now ("My mum shreds her documents even if she doesn't know why," he says), we should all be raising the bar. He thinks we Britons are an overly trusting lot. Sitting ducks for an armada of hackers, who are every bit as focused on stealing our data as we are relaxed about storing it. "The criminal gangs know exactly which kind of data they want and where it is likely to be," he explains. "Conversely we're not sure what they're after." So what are they after, I ask? "We are seeing a wide variety of attacks – everything from opportunists trying to extract passwords through phishing [emails which purport to be from legitimate sources and attempt to get us to click on an infected link] to highly organised crime units targeting businesses and government systems in an effort to steal intellectual property and information related to critical infrastructure." The government estimates that the total cost of cybercrime in the UK is £27bn a year. The majority (£21bn) is committed against businesses, which face high levels of intellectual property theft and industrial espionage. Enabled by the sharing culture on social media – and with ever more sophisticated malicious software known as malware at their disposal – cybercriminals have become far more adept at crafting attacks and targeting individuals and organisations. Phishing emails purporting to be from friends, often reflecting our interests – perhaps gleaned from social media sites – or from trusted organisations such as your bank or HM Revenue & Customs encourage us to click on infected links or attachments containing malware. (A recent example of the latter was malware disguised as a security warning from Microsoft's digital crimes unit.) "We have a level of trust in certain organisations and criminals exploit that trust," says Sidaway. Typically, these so-called "man-in-the-middle" attacks install colourfully named Trojans (pieces of malware, essentially) such as Zeus, SpyEye or Citadel on computers, which have the effect of compromising, for example, online banking transactions. "Everything you then do on your compromised laptop is subverted through a hacking site which means when you [communicate] with your bank, you are going through a man in the middle. Initially, man-in-the-middle attacks were passwords used in authentication – the criminal would wait until you had finished to start using the credentials they'd just gathered. This is why banks brought in one-time passwords or codes," he says. "But more recent malware will perform a man-in-the-middle attack to obtain the user's session (a session is created after a user logs in successfully and the browser and the bank's website use this to continue the interaction) and fake the logout requests. Once the user thinks they've logged out, the attacker can make payments using the existing session without the victim seeing any changes to their balance until the next time they log on. This is partly why banks have rolled out card readers to help prevent payments to new payees." He adds: "It's a constant game of cat and mouse." TWENTY COMMANDMENTS: THE DOS AND DON'TS OF ONLINE SAFETY 1. Never click on a link you did not expect to receive The golden rule. The main way criminals infect PCs with malware is by luring users to click on a link or open an attachment. "Sometimes phishing emails contain obvious spelling mistakes and poor grammar and are easy to spot," says Sidaway of Integralis. "However, targeted attacks and well-executed mass mailings can be almost indistinguishable [from genuine emails]." Social media has helped criminals profile individuals, allowing them to be much more easily targeted, he adds. "They can see what you're interested in or what you [post] about and send you crafted messages, inviting you to click on something. Don't." 2. Use different passwords on different sites With individuals typically having anything up to 100 online accounts, the tendency has become to share one or two passwords across accounts or use very simple ones, such as loved ones' names, first pets or favourite sports teams. Indeed, research by Ofcom last month revealed that over half of UK adults (55%) use the same passwords for most, if not all, websites they visit, while one in four (26%) use birthdays or names as passwords. Any word found in the dictionary is easily crackable. Instead, says Sian John, online security consultant at Symantec, have one memorable phrase or a line from a favourite song or poem. For example: "The Observer is a Sunday newspaper" becomes "toiasn". Add numerals and a special character thus: "T0!asn". Now for every site you log on to, add the first and last letter of that site to the start and end of the phrase, so the password for Amazon would be "AT0!asnn". At first glance, unguessable. But for you, still memorable." 3. Never reuse your main email password A hacker who has cracked your main email password has the keys to your [virtual] kingdom. Passwords from the other sites you visit can be reset via your main email account. A criminal can trawl through your emails and find a treasure trove of personal data: from banking to passport details, including your date of birth, all of which enables ID fraud. Identity theft is estimated to cost the UK almost £2bn a year. 4. Use anti-virus software German security institute AV-Test found that in 2010 there were 49m new strains of malware, meaning that anti-virus software manufacturers are engaged in constant game of "whack-a-mole". Sometimes their reaction times are slow – US security firm Imperva tested 40 anti-virus packages and found that the initial detection rate of a new virus was only 5%. Much like flu viruses and vaccine design, it takes the software designers a while to catch up with the hackers. Last year AV-Test published the results of a 22-month study of 27 different anti-virus suites and top-scoring packages were Bitdefender, Kaspersky and F-Secure. Meanwhile, security expert Brian Krebs published the results of a study of 42 packages which showed on average a 25% detection rate of malware – so they are not the entire answer, just a useful part of it. 5. If in doubt, block Just say no to social media invitations (such as Facebook-friend or LinkedIn connection requests) from people you don't know. It's the cyber equivalent of inviting the twitchy guy who looks at you at the bus stop into your home. 6. Think before you tweet and how you share information Again, the principal risk is ID fraud. Trawling for personal details is the modern day equivalent of "dumpster-diving", in which strong-stomached thieves would trawl through bins searching for personal documents, says Symantec's John. "Many of the same people who have learned to shred documents like bank statements will happily post the same information on social media. Once that information is out there, you don't necessarily have control of how other people use it." She suggests a basic rule: "If you aren't willing to stand at Hyde Park Corner and say it, don't put it on social media." 7. If you have a "wipe your phone" feature, you should set it up Features such as Find My iPhone, Android Lost or BlackBerry Protect allow you to remotely to erase all your personal data, should your device be lost or stolen. "Absolutely, set it up," advises Derek Halliday of mobile security specialist Lookout. "In the case where your phone is gone for good, having a wipe feature can protect your information from falling into the wrong hands. Even if you didn't have the foresight to sign up, many wipe your phone features can be implemented after the fact." 8. Only shop online on secure sites Before entering your card details, always ensure that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser, cautions industry advisory body Financial Fraud Action UK. Additionally the beginning of the online retailer's internet address will change from "http" to "https" to indicate a connection is secure. Be wary of sites that change back to http once you've logged on. 9. Don't assume banks will pay you back 20 ways to stop hackers: 'I've been the victim of online credit card fraud' Banks must refund a customer if he or she has been the victim of fraud, unless they can prove that the customer has acted "fraudulently" or been "grossly negligent". Yet as with any case of fraud, the matter is always determined on an individual basis. "Anecdotally, a customer who has been a victim of a phishing scam by unwittingly providing a fraudster with their account details and passwords only to be later defrauded could be refunded," explains Michelle Whiteman, spokesperson for the Payments Council, an industry body. "However, were they to fall victim to the same fraud in the future, after their bank had educated them about how to stay safe, it is possible a subsequent refund won't be so straightforward. Under payment services regulations, the onus is on the payment-service provider to prove that the customer was negligent, not vice versa. Credit card protection is provided under the Consumer Credit Act and offers similar protection." 10. Ignore pop-ups Pop-ups can contain malicious software which can trick a user into verifying something. "[But if and when you do], a download will be performed in the background, which will install malware," says Sidaway. "This is known as a drive-by download. Always ignore pop-ups offering things like site surveys on e-commerce sites, as they are sometimes where the malcode is." 11. Be wary of public Wi-Fi Most Wi-Fi hotspots do not encrypt information and once a piece of data leaves your device headed for a web destination, it is "in the clear" as it transfers through the air on the wireless network, says Symantec's Sian John. "That means any 'packet sniffer' [a program which can intercept data] or malicious individual who is sitting in a public destination with a piece of software that searches for data being transferred on a Wi-Fi network can intercept your unencrypted data. If you choose to bank online on public Wi-Fi, that's very sensitive data you are transferring. We advise either using encryption [software], or only using public Wi-Fi for data which you're happy to be public – and that shouldn't include social network passwords." 12. Run more than one email account 20 ways to stop hackers: 'Help, my Mac keeps getting viruses' Thinking about having one for your bank and other financial accounts, another for shopping and one for social networks. If one account is hacked, you won't find everything compromised. And it helps you spot phishing emails, because if an email appears in your shopping account purporting to come from your bank, for example, you'll immediately know it's a fake. 13. Macs are as vulnerable as PCs Make no mistake, your shiny new MacBook Air can be attacked too. It's true that Macs used to be less of a target, simply because criminals used to go after the largest number of users – ie Windows – but this is changing. "Apple and Microsoft have both added a number of security features which have significantly increased the effectiveness of security on their software," says Sidaway, "but determined attackers are still able to find new ways to exploit users on almost any platform." 14. Don't store your card details on websites Err on the side of caution when asked if you want to store your credit card details for future use. Mass data security breaches (where credit card details are stolen en masse) aren't common, but why take the risk? The extra 90 seconds it takes to key in your details each time is a small price to pay. 15. Add a DNS service to protect other devices A DNS or domain name system service converts a web address (a series of letters) into a machine-readable IP address (a series of numbers). You're probably using your ISP's DNS service by default, but you can opt to subscribe to a service such as OpenDNS or Norton ConnectSafe, which redirect you if you attempt to access a malicious site, says Sian John. "This is helpful for providing some security (and parental control) across all the devices in your home including tablets, TVs and games consoles that do not support security software. But they shouldn't be relied upon as the only line of defence, as they can easily be bypassed." 16. Enable two-step verification If your email or cloud service offers it – Gmail, Dropbox, Apple and Facebook do – take the trouble to set this up. In addition to entering your password, you are also asked to enter a verification code sent via SMS to your phone. In the case of Gmail you only have to enter a fresh code every 30 days or when you log on from a different computer or device. So a hacker might crack your password, but without the unique and temporary verification code should not be able to access your account. 17. Lock your phone and tablet devices Keep it locked, just as you would your front door. Keying in a password or code 40-plus times a day might seem like a hassle but, says Lookout's Derek Halliday, "It's your first line of defence." Next-generation devices, however, are set to employ fingerprint scanning technology as additional security. 18. Be careful on auction sites On these sites in particular, says Symantec's Sian John, exercise vigilance. "Check the seller feedback and if a deal looks too good then it may well be," she says. "Keep your online payment accounts secure by regularly changing your passwords, checking the bank account to which it is linked and consider having a separate bank account or credit card for use on them, to limit any potential fraud still further." 19. Lock down your Facebook account 20 ways to stop hackers: 'What's the problem with sharing my Facebook info with friends of friends?' Facebook regularly updates its timeline and privacy settings, so it is wise to monitor your profile, particularly if the design of Facebook has changed. Firstly, in the privacy settings menu, under "who can see my stuff?" change this to "friends" (be warned: setting this to "friends of friends" means that, according to one Pew study, on average you are sharing information with 156,569 people). Also in privacy, setting "limit old posts" applies friends-only sharing to past as well as future posts. Thirdly, disable the ability of other search engines to link to your timeline. You should also review the activity log, which shows your entire history of posts and allows you to check who can see them. Similarly, you should look at your photo albums and check you're happy with the sharing settings for each album. In the future you may want to consider building "lists" – subsets of friends, such as close friends and family, who you might want to share toddler photographs with, rather than every Tom, Dick and Harriet. Also, remove your home address, phone number, date of birth and any other information that could used to fake your identity. Similarly you might want to delete or edit your "likes" and "groups" – the more hackers know about you, the more convincing a phishing email they can spam you with. Facebook apps often share your data, so delete any you don't use or don't remember installing. Finally, use the "view as" tool to check what the public or even a particular individual can see on your profile, continue to "edit" and adjust to taste. If this all sounds rather tedious, you just might prefer to permanently delete your account. 20. Remember you're human after all While much of the above are technical solutions to prevent you being hacked and scammed, hacking done well is really the skill of tricking human beings, not computers, by preying on their gullibility, taking advantage of our trust, greed or altruistic impulses. Human error is still the most likely reason why you'll get hacked.

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We often spend our time in this space talking about how businesses should use the internet to market themselves, or how a professional web development and marketing company can cut your costs, but we don't give out a lot of tips on how to keep the information that you have safe. Today, we'll give out a few tips on how to make sure that your information stays where it is supposed to, and not in the pockets of hackers and thieves.

  • Tip #1 - STOP USING WINDOWS XP (Or any other outdated software) OK, this seems unnecessary to some people. Why would I move on from XP? Everything in the office works just fine with XP, why should I pay to update? Well, the reason is security. Microsoft has announced that they will no longer support XP, which means no more security updates. While many office managers think "Good, now I don't have to run these updates on all of my employees' computers!", this is actually a huge security issue. Almost every update that runs on your computer is meant for security. Running these helps keep malicious hackers out of your system and information, and helps your IT guy sleep at night. Staying with Windows XP at this point is akin to driving a car with no seatbelt. You can do it, but you're an unsafe fool if you do.
  • Tip #2 - Use better passwords Passwords are the gateway to your system. They're there for YOUR protection, not as an impediment to your day. If you can't learn to remember one complicated password, that you may be in trouble for the rest of your career. Passwords should be at LEAST 10 characters, including capitals, numbers, and symbols. If anyone reading this has "password" as their password, then we need to talk. If you're "admin" "password", then you're most likely already hacked and sending spam from a rootkit in your machine.
  • Tip #3 - If you use a phone, laptop, or tablet for business, it needs a password as well These devices need to be code locked if they have any personal or company information stored on them. Even if you have to put in tour password every time you check your email, that is not good enough. Password locks are designed to keep people from accessing your devices if they are separated from you. They're not a punishment, they are a necessity.
  • Tip #4 - Make sure to change default passwords on everything Your router, modem, laptop, or other device may come with a pre-programmed user name and password, which may make you think it is safe to use these. After all, it's included! However, hackers and thieves know these, and they're the first tries against your system when they try to break in. Leaving the default password is akin to leaving a key in the lock on your front door. Anyone can come in, if they bother to use it.

High Level Studios is a full-service web design and internet marketing company that is small enough to meet with each client individually, and big enough to accomplish any task.  Call today at (314) 423-0189, and visit us at www.highlevelstudios.com today to see how your company can get found faster.

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