windows-xp-bliss

Windows XP is Dead

As of today, Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft.

“Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences,” wrote Microsoft in an announcement.

One of the most widely used operating systems of all time and one of the most successful products from Microsoft, it was installed on most computers in homes, offices, and schools. Many systems still use this as their main operating system. While you are still able to run it, the discontinuation of support from Microsoft opens it up to vulnerabilities as time goes on. If possible, updating to a newer operating system is highly advisable.

With the popularity of Windows XP, the “Bliss” default desktop background has risen to become one of the most recognizable photographs in the world.

Thank you Microsoft and Windows XP for over a decade of awesome service!

WordPress Auto Updates

The newest release of WordPress, 3.7 “Basie”, has a few new huge features, the biggest one being automatic updates. This feature allows WordPress to apply maintenance and security updates without the site administrator having to do anything. This is a huge feature that will keep WordPress installs up to date to the most recent release, helping out to keep sites as secure as possible. This is especially helpful for those who have had a website built for them on WordPress and don’t want to or are unable to manage updates like this. This new feature also has improved the update process with new checks and safeguards to make the process more reliable and secure.

Another one of the major updates in this release is stronger password recommendations. When creating a new password in your WordPress site, it gives you a visual measure of how strong your password is. Since your password is your sites first line of defense, a strong and secure password makes it more difficult for someone who shouldn’t be from accessing your account.

 

WordPress Brute-Force Hack

WordPress Target

Source: Cloudflare.com

A few days ago I became aware of an attempt to hack into WordPress sites to create a botnet. Basically what they are doing is finding websites built on WordPress, then trying to Brute-Force login to the site.

After I read that article, I installed a plugin that limits login attempts and locks a user out after ‘X’ amount of attempts. Within an hour of installing it on all of my sites, I noticed failed login attempts. These kept coming in and it appears they are only using the username ‘admin’ to try and gain access. An attack like this is most likely trying the username ‘admin’ alongside the most common passwords that people use.

Matthew Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress, has suggestions for site administrators to get more secure, including not using the username ‘admin’. “Do this and you’ll be ahead of 99% of sites out there and probably never have a problem. Most other advice isn’t great — supposedly this botnet has over 90,000 IP addresses, so an IP limiting or login throttling plugin isn’t going to be great (they could try from a different IP a second for 24 hours).” Mullenweg wrote.

So, if you still use the username ‘admin’, change it immediately, and if you are using a common password, such as ‘1234567’ or ‘qwerty’ change it immediately to something more secure, such as one with letters. howsecureismypassword.net is a great tool to check the strength of your password.

 

New Site Design

After losing the database all other information to my site when switching servers I was left with a blank page. Literally.

This gave me a chance to re-build the site from the ground up. My site design has always focused on simplicity, but this time I wanted to take it to a whole new level. That’s where the new design comes from.

I got really inspired by the bare-bones look of the 37signals Signals vs. Noise blog, which is a great site and displays awesomely on mobile devices.

I built this theme with mobile in mind, letting it resize gracefully depending on which type of device the user is on.

Another thing I did was a large type size. It is significantly larger than any other version of the site, which I feel helps with readability and focusing on the words.

Let me know what you think of the site! I’m pretty excited about it.

Well, I Lost Everything

I was recently in the process of switching servers and apparently during backup, I managed to grab everything except the database for my sites. This means I now have to create it all from scratch. Oh well I guess. It was long overdue.