Some of the websites I have built use a plugin called Fast Secure Contact Form. It was a very popular form handler highly regarded by users written by Mike Challis. The plugin was sold to a third party in June of this year and the new owner attempted to manipulate the code in the plugin to set up adverts.
Please check ASAP whether the version that is currently in use on your website is version 4.0.56. You can do that by logging in, and going to the Plugins page and look down the list. You will see an entry similar to the one below which includes the version number.
If you have version 4.0.56 you are OK! Don’t panic.
If your site is at an earlier version contact me immediately and I will sort out updating it.
(update: 6:00am 27/9/17 Nobody has reported a problem so far, all sites have upgraded automatically. That was to be expected. If you cannot find Fast Secure Contact form another method is used for forms on your website. Probably Form Manager. You are not affected by this notice.)
Why is this important?
Continue reading Fast Secure Contact Form
Or… the Onion of Discontent
There are many reasons why an internet connection may be slow, some of them will be directly under your control, and others will be under the control of the equipment manufacturers of the devices used that the communications pass through. The extent of which is from the device you are using to the server at the far end of the connection. Various services providers share the responsibility of carrying the traffic. It is a complex picture to reconcile.
Where is the problem?
When trying to establish where a problem exists the first person you call is your service provider (BT, Talk Talk, Virgin etc). They will follow a fixed trouble shooting process which will try to prove that the problem is something you are doing, or have done or is within that part of the network you control. They adopt this approach because if nothing is listed as a fault in your area, then statistically it is most likely to be something at your end.
That will include your router/ hub, your phone wiring, the building materials used in your house, the location of WiFi access points, the list is large. They will not be as direct as that, however those are the implications. Continue reading Is my internet slow?
I have come across two scams this week targeting small regional charities, one about domain registration, I came across several years ago, but it looks like it is still going on. The first is encouraging you to call a premium rate number.
Scam #1 Contact me message
You all have forms on your websites, and you usually get legitimate enquiries on these forms. Do however check the contents in a message and if the only way you can contact someone is via a premium rate number then don’t bother calling. If the content is virtually non existent like this one below, it is encouraging you to call a premium rate number. In this particular case I checked the number through a web search. This individual is sending messages to websites through contact forms. So if 10 people call back then that is £1+ they have made depending on how long they keep you on the phone, you would not know what their premium rate is prior to calling.
If you are not sure, type in the following into a Google Search form: who called me 08712771062 (Obviously substitute the number you wish to check. In this particular case it took me to this page: http://who-called.co.uk/Number/08712771062 if you read the reported cases there, you can see the depth of the scam and other people’s comments.
Normally anyone contacting your organisation will provide more information in the form for you to process and not leave a short message like this.
Scam #2 About your domain name
In many cases I am looking after your domain names, so if you get anything like this send it to me, it is a bit more subtle than the previous one. In general domain names are registered to organisations and that registered information can be located on the internet. So a determined third party can find it and then contact you. This is how the domain scam works: Continue reading Two Scams to be aware of…..
Here it is a bit closer:
I have recommended to quite a few of my clients the benefit of using both an antivirus program and a personal firewall. The products I have used for around 20yrs now are from ESET. I currently use Smart Security.
It simply runs in the background and checks things for you. I frequently use mxtoolbox.com to check out information relating to websites. I went to one just now and in my haste typed in mextoolbox.com (there is an e in there that should not be in there). A sharp hacker has taken out that domain name and used it to hide a virus. It was detected as I opened the webpage.
If you just use a free AV product, this would not have been detected. Many of the charities I work with have no AV, or free AV products. I consider myself to be very careful on the web. But even I can make a mistake.
I recommend Eset Smart Security to protect your Windows computer. You can find out about here: https://www.eset.com/uk/home/smart-security/
As a charity you can get it heavily discounted, and if you buy more than one or multiple licenses then it is even lower cost.
One of the websites I look after was taking content provided by third parties and adding it into the website. I was working my way through some posts when I came across a strange looking link hidden under an innocent looking title.
The editor in this case had just cut and paste everything, and had not tested it. There were two cases, one went to a newsletter mailing website and then was diverted to the actual site. In this case the actual site was simply a holding page, and the fact that the link went to that site via a third party meant it was logged. Of course we do not know what else happened on the way. The link text contained Yurts for Life, but the link was actually going to here:
Which is not going to Yurts for Life. The behaviour of the link when clicked went somewhere, then to somewhere else.
The link was provided in good faith, however if nobody checks these things it can be simply passed down the chain. In this case it is probably completely innocent, however what if it wasn’t? Would you know; the fact you have put this on your site, exposes it to all of your visitors.
Test it when you publish it
Continue reading Obfuscated links – take care