Handy Tips for Keeping Your WordPress Site (and Things) Safe During the Holidays

It's that time of year again, folks! The holidays are here, and the world is full of people who want to take advantage of the opportunity to spend quality time with their loved ones. But before you get too excited about everything you're going to do this holiday season, it's important to remember that there are some things you should remember. In particular, you should always keep your website safe from hacking during the holidays.

Handy Tips for Keeping Your WordPress Site (and Things) Safe During the Holidays

Why? Firstly, the holiday season often brings an increase in cyber attacks. With the increased online activity and potential for vulnerabilities, it is crucial to ensure that your website is protected against possible hacking attempts. This can prevent unauthorized access to your website and the sensitive information it may contain, such as customer data and financial information.

Secondly, a successful hacking attempt can significantly damage your business. If your website is hacked, it can lose customer data, financial information, and intellectual property. This can have significant financial implications and damage your reputation and trust with customers.Additionally, if your website is hacked, it may be taken down or redirected to a malicious site, resulting in lost sales and customer dissatisfaction. Keeping your website safe from hacking can prevent these damaging consequences and protect your business.

Thirdly, a hacked website can be difficult and time-consuming to recover from. If your website is hacked, it can take significant effort and resources to clean up the damage and restore it to its original state. This can result in lost time and revenue and additional costs for cybersecurity experts and damage control. By keeping your website safe from hacking, you can avoid the time and resources required for recovery and focus on running your business. Additionally, a hacked website can have negative SEO implications, as search engines may penalize a website that has been hacked or redirects to a malicious site. Keeping your website safe from hacking can protect your reputation and customer trust and avoid negative SEO implications.

Here are a few more tips on how to keep up with the seasonal demand for your WordPress site!

Require strong passwords

The first step to keeping your site secure during the holidays is to require strong passwords for everyone who accesses it. It would help if you used a password manager to easily create and store different passwords without remembering them all yourself. A strong password should be at least 8 characters long, with at least one upper-case letter and one lowercase letter (and numbers). It should also include both uppercase letters AND lowercase letters, as well as numbers! This makes it harder for hackers—who might try guessing common words from their list of popular passwords—to guess your actual password just by looking at the letters that make up each part of it.

Track Mentions Of Your Brand

Google Alerts is a free service that tracks your brand or name and sends you an email when it finds new mentions. This is an excellent tool if you're interested in keeping tabs on how the internet is talking about your organization. Google Alerts can be used for free, but if you want to get more out of it (and save yourself some time), premium versions are also available.

Limit back-end access

While this might streamline the process and make it easier for you to hit your goals during the busy season, it also opens your site up to security risks. Because it's so tempting to give access to a few trusted colleagues, you need to ensure they understand how important data security is and why they shouldn't ask for access to your site.

Update your plugins and themes

If you're an avid WordPress user, there's no better way to show gratitude than by updating your site during this period! Why?

Firstly, it ensures the security of your website. With the increased online activity and potential for cyber attacks during the holiday season, it is crucial to keep your WordPress up to date with the latest security patches and updates to protect against any potential threats. This can prevent unauthorized access to your website and the sensitive information it may contain, such as customer data and financial information.

Secondly, updating your WordPress can improve the performance of your website. The holiday season often brings an influx of traffic and sales to websites, and it is essential to have a website that can handle the demand and provide a smooth user experience. Updating your WordPress, plugins, and themes can help ensure that your website can drive increased traffic and provide a seamless user experience, improving customer satisfaction and conversions.

Thirdly, updates often come with new features and functionalities that can enhance the user experience and improve user engagement. For example, new WordPress updates may include improved navigation, enhanced design options, and tools for managing and analyzing data. Additionally, updates to plugins and themes can provide new functionality and customization options for your website. These new features and improvements can help to keep your website fresh and engaging, which can help to retain and attract customers. By keeping your WordPress, plugins, and themes up to date, you can avoid these issues and ensure that your website runs smoothly during the holiday season. For the best WordPress security plugins and themes, click here!

Install an Anti-Malware tool

This is one of the most important things you can do to protect your computer from digital threats. Have you ever received a message that your computer will be shut down in 5 minutes if you don't pay a ransom? Or that you need to call a phone number for tech support? You're probably the target of ransomware, and your computer is infected with malware. Malware includes viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, spyware, and more. A good anti-malware tool can detect and eliminate them before they infect your computer.

Monitor Your Traffic Like a Hawk

Whether you get a ton of site traffic or just a trickle, watching your website's search engine traffic like a hawk during the holiday season is essential. Customers are more likely to make impulse purchases when they think tons of other people are buying - so it's vital to keep an eye on the trends to see if holiday sales are going well. Google Analytics (most hosting programs have this built-in) makes it easy to check your site traffic any time you want.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Handy Tips for Keeping Your WordPress Site (and Things) Safe During the Holidays