Last Week’s Cyber Attack on DynDNS and What this Means for You

Last week, DynDNS – a major DNS provider was hit with a large Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack. As a result major websites like Twitter, Spotify, Etsy and many other sites were knocked offline.

What is a DDoS attack?

The goal of a DDoS attack is to overwhelm a server or servers so that they no longer work and essentially, shut down. An attack is typically started by a cluster of servers that targets and sends out multiple requests by bots to a server or group of servers in order to shut down the operations on the targeted servers.

What does this mean for you?

By now, I am sure you are wondering what all of this means for you. Is your website or online banking site vulnerable to these kinds of attacks?

First, you need to know that all services hosted online are vulnerable to attacks.

Second, we here at CU*Answers do not use public DNS services like DynDNS because we have our own DNS infrastructure. So, while this means that we were mostly safe from the cyber attacks from last week, it doesn’t mean that we are completely invulnerable to this kind of thing.

We mitigate these risks by doing the following:

  • All our servers are housed in SSAE16 Certified Data Centers
  • Our servers are secured by using the latest standard server-hardening techniques and security software
  • We take a proactive approach to server management. Therefore, our servers are heavily monitored 24/7. Additionally, we take care to make sure that our servers are updated regularly

As cyber attacks become more sophisticated, we are consistently adapting our security procedures to be able to prevent and stop any threats.

Is Your WordPress Website Secure? It is With Us!

WordPress

In the previous article we posted from Credit Union Times that addressed whether or not WordPress websites are secure, they noted the following:

“At its core, WordPress is extremely secure (see wordpress.org/about/security). In fact, when compared to competitors, WordPress is probably the most secure content management system on earth. While the popularity of WordPress does mean more people are trying to hack it, WordPress has been remarkably successful at resisting attacks. If you study the history of WordPress security, you’ll see that WordPress software is NOT the security issue you should be worried about (source: managewp.com/is-wordpress-secure). The security threat you should be worried about is yourself. WordPress users are the security issue, not WordPress.”

They made a list of best practices to follow for making your WordPress website secure and here’s how we have responded:

Keep Your Website Updated

We do this automatically! As part of our hosting platform, we schedule regular weekly updates to the WordPress core software and plugins. It is why we specialize in WordPress!

Host Your WordPress Website on Secure Servers

We’re not the cheapest hosting option around and we know that. But we’ve built hosting architecture and network security specifically for Credit Unions!

Create Unique Usernames and Passwords

Each website account is created with unique usernames and passwords. We wouldn’t trust it any other way.

Limit Login Attempts & Use a Premium WordPress Security Plugin

Our number one goal is to keep your website secure, which is why we have installed and configured the Wordfence security plugin on all of our sites.  Wordfence helps manage login attempts and auto-bans unknown users who try to attempt access to the site by dispensing brute force attacks.

Use Trusted Third-Party Plugins Only

We properly vet each and every third-party plugin that is installed on all of our credit unions’ websites. We don’t as a rule, install or activate untested or low-scoring plugins.

Did you know that out-of-date plugins can pose a potential security risk?

This is why we issue regular plugin updates along with the WordPress core software. This ensures that your plugins are always up to date and helps keep your site safe from hacking attempts.

Back up Your Website Every Day

All of our credit union websites are on a regular back-up schedule. We believe in having a solid disaster recovery plan in place for life’s unexpected occurrences.

In addition to all of these great recommendations from Credit Union Times, we also go above and beyond this:

  • 24-hour automated monitoring
  • Proactive server management
  • Layered levels of security at the network level, the server level, and the application level
  • All websites are hosted on servers that are housed in a SSAE16 Certified Data Center
  • Soon to be announced free SSL certificates for any sites hosted with us
  • As an added bonus, the leader of the Web Services team has written a book on WordPress Design, Development and best practices!

We understand the unique needs of our clients and strive to always be pushing forward with the latest best practices in website security, design and development.

 

 

Is WordPress Secure for Credit Union Websites?

WordPress

From Credit Union Times:

WordPress is the most popular content management system on the planet: 27% of all websites are built on WordPress. But does WordPress have security issues? Let’s talk about website security and eight practices to make WordPress secure for a credit union website.

People often judge a credit union by its website. Your website is your biggest branch and most frequent touch point with members. If your website gets hacked, relationships will be compromised. For these reasons, choosing a secure content management system is extremely important.

There are many CMS alternatives. At the forefront of these alternatives is WordPress because it’s 10 times more popular than any other CMS on the planet (source: w3techs.com). Compared to other CMSs, WordPress has the most plugins, themes and developers, as well as the largest community of users helping users. But does the popularity of WordPress come at a price? Does popularity also mean more hackers and vulnerabilities?

Read More »

Online Security Checklists

Newspaper Headline Extra Extra!

We just posted this article over on CU*Secure.org, but it applies to our Web Services crowd too, especially the Password and Browser Security Checklists.

Check out Lifehacker’s Online Security Checklists for some best practices.