Information technology is a critical part of every enterprise in today’s world.  While your training and experience may be in marketing, finance, legal or any other executive specialty your ability to be successful in today’s world requires that you utilize the Internet, social media and mobile effectively and efficiently.

The most recent obstacle that clients have been calling us about is how to deal with the attacks on WordPress sites that take them over and make them slaves in DDoS attacks on other sites.  The other issue we are hearing from clients on is the troubling news of the Heartbleed virus and its impact.

I’ll post again soon with a more robust discussion on the background of DDoS attacks and the Heartbleed virus but today I want to describe some basic steps users can take to protect their businesses.

All of the noise on the internet is on target, but also somewhat blown out of proportion.  Follow the simple steps below and you can ensure that your business is protected.

1) For a basic list of popular sites and whether they were affected, click here.

2) If you want to check a site to ensure it has been fixed for Heartbleed, click here.

3) Change passwords for the sites on these lists that you use to ensure any compromised information has been changed.

We also recommend a few basic techniques you should always use to protect yourself and the tools/sites you use including:

1) Always change your passwords a minimum of once every 3 months.  If you have trouble remembering them, use a tool such as LastPass or IPassword

2) When setting passwords, always use strong passwords (a minimum of mixed case and one special character and/or number)

3) For home networks, make sure you’ve changed your router configuration….more than 70% of today’s home routers have default user ids and passwords which can be easily used to compromise your home networks.

4) For your computer and especially your mobile devices, make sure you have the screen save/password set for the shortest inactivity period possible.  Please remember your phone is a homing device, recorder, and camera at the same time.   Hacking apps exist which allow nefarious individuals to turn your phone into a device to track you.

Vigilance is your most important ally in protecting yourself against the effects of hacker attacks.  Another aspect of protection is choosing software solutions carefully with an eye toward vulnerabilities that arise from decisions you make.  I’ll post again soon on this topic as well but for today the steps above should be undertaken immediately to protect your business.