Securing Wordpress

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Security, Wordpress


Security is a big issue these days, not only in the real world but also in the online world. Unfortunately, some people have nothing better to do than hack other peoples websites and blogs. I for one am a victim of such an attack. So, what can we do to avoid spam attacks and website exploits? Locking down your website/blog is the answer. Here are the things I’ve done so far to harden up my blog:

1. Upgrade to the latest Wordpress Version- Holes and exploits are always being discovered in Wordpress so it is wise to have the latest version with the exploits patched up.

2. Use a complicated password and change it often- Hackers will sometime attempt to do a brute force attack to gain your log in details to exploit your blog. Changing your password regularly can avoid such attacks. To further stop this kind of attack, install the Login LockDown plugin for Wordpress, which will block an IP address after attempting to login to your blog within 5 minutes.

3. Set correct file and folder permissions- Setting file and directory permissions is important as you don’t want to give access to unauthorized people. Chmod values should be: 755 for directories, 644 for plugins and core WP PHP files, and 666 for my active theme files. Tutorial.

4. WordPress Exploit Scanner- This plugin will search for any suspicious activity on your server. Good too to run occasionally.

5. Make regular backups- The more regular the better, because if something does come up, you’ll be able to restore your blog within minutes. I now backup my blog every couple of days. Make it a habit.

So far I haven’t been compromised using the above steps, and am hoping for it to stay that way :D . If you have any suggestions or questions, just leave a comment.

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No Script Everyone Should Have It

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: FireFox, Security, Tips

No Script

NoScript, by Informaction is plug-in that allows you to disable unwanted Java script, Java and more on unwanted websites. This means malicious codes on websites have no way of running on your computer. Also, you can prevent video playback on sites that run using java script. And because it uses a white-list to allow sites, it means you customize it as much as you like. So to sum it up, this plug-in means:

  • No worries of malicious code running.
  • Prevent video from running, thus saving you bandwidth.
  • Has a white-list to allow sites.
  • And it’s FREE!

You can get it here: No Script
Your Anti-virus software will really appreciate it :) .

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Part 3: Backup Strategies

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Security

backup operations
There are various ways of transferring data to your backup medium(s). Each operation has its pros and cons. Let’s explore them and by the end, you should be able to conclude which strategy is best for you.

Basic Copy Operation (drag-and-drop in the OS file manager)
• Good for small backups, which don’t need to be copied regularly.
• Everything that is copied should be bit-to-bit as the original
• Restoring to a particular point in time could be time consuming and also impossible if the file is constantly overwritten.A Full Backup
• The earlier backup can be restored and minimal data is lost.
• Files can easily be found and restored to a particular point in time.
• If data is to be saved regularly, the storage space requirements will add up to be huge compared to the other options.
An Incremental Backup Strategy
• An incremental backup strategy is the most space efficient strategy because it only copies the changed files since the full backup.
• If one of the incremental backups is damaged, the data from the later backups are useless.
• To find one particular file, you either need a good backup management tool or work will be difficult and there is risk of errors occurring.
• To restore a complete data set, the latest full backup and all the incremental backups are required, making it the most time consuming backup option.
A Differential Backup Strategy
• If a differential backup is damaged, you can restore the previous backup and lose minimal data.
• For the recovery, you need only two backup data sets: the differential backup from the desired date and the latest full backup.
• Requires less storage space than a full backup operation but more than an incremental operation.

Creating Multiple Backup Sets

• If a backup set goes bad, simply use the other set, making this option the most reliable.
• Restoring data will depend on the backup operation used.
• Requires the most storage space out of all the backup strategies.

Encrypting the Backup Data

• Encrypting the data will not affect storage space, but will defiantly make it more secure.
• Encrypting the backup will have no effect on redundancy.
• Restoring data from a certain point of time can be harder if proper software is not used because the date could be encrypted.

Reading from the above option, you should be able to work out which backup operation is best for you. For example, if you’re running a small business that deals with a small amount of document data, a full backup operation would be recommended due to the nature of the small file sizes. We’ll continue our series with part 4 being which software to use. Stay tuned!

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Retrieve Data From Broken Laptop

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Security, Tips

Most people today have a laptop. Whether it’s for business or school home work, they all share one thing in common; they risk hard disk failure.  A lot of people instantly think that there is no hope in seeing their data again. This wouldn’t be an issue if they had a recent backup. But not everyone does a full backup. So for those of you who fall in to this category, read on.

There are different routes into tackling this problem. Because there are so many factors involved, we’re going to assume the hard disk is still functional to a basic operation level. If the hard disk has had a fatal crash, a lot more work and money is involved.

Dismantling the laptop, disconnect the hard disk and remove it. If you’re not sure how to dismantle it, punch in Google “how to dismantle laptop”. We want to be able to access the data on the desktop, so you’ll want to use a SATA to USB cable OR an IDE to USB cable, depending on the connector of the drive. You’ll need a 12 volt source for the hard disk which can be obtained from a molex power cable in the PC. Plug it all in in, and boot the PC. Take a browse in my computer and you should see the laptop hard disk listed. Copy over all the files and information that is needed to the desktop. Depending on the situation, you may want to format the hard disk, re-install the OS, and re-use the hard disk. If the hard disk is aging or you suspect a mechanical fault, buying a new laptop hard disk wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Just make sure you choose the right connector (IDE or SATA). In new laptops SATA will be the most likely connector as IDE connectivity is an aging technology.

Hope that saves you some hassles.

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Part 2: Backup Media

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Security

Continuing on from part 1, we’ve learnt different backup strategies and identified the pros and cons of each one. The next step is to choose what backup medium to use. What medium should you be using for your backups?

When choosing between different backup media, it is important to note that the various types of media have advantages and disadvantages. Backup media for small computers systems must be fast, reliable, inexpensive and of course, easy to use.

Magnetic Backup Tape
• A tape drive can stream constant data at a faster rate than any other disk drive.
• Data can last up to thirty years if cared for properly.
• Inexpensive for the amount of storage space.
• Smog and rough transport can cause major defects.
• Requires special software, a compatible tape drive and can take much longer to retrieve data than a disk drive.

Optical DVD Media
• DVD burners can write up to 24.93 Mbytes/s, making them a speedy backup medium.
• Can last 10+ years if cared for.
• Media is very cheap
• Extreme heat, scratches to surface, and UV light can cause loss of data
• Requires a DVD burner to write information.

Second Hard disk
• Transfer rate can sustain at 84Mbytes/s.
• Quality hard disks can last up to 1.2 million hours.
• For large backups, hard disks work out very good value.
• Once installed, backing up on a hard disk is a very simple task.
• Data loss can occur if hard disk is dropped or if sharp impact takes place.

Solid-State Flash Memory
• Transfers speeds of up to 480Mbits/s.
• Can last for hundreds of years.
• Flash memory is not vulnerable to magnets and is robust.
• Very simple to use.
• Whilst Solid-state memory is good for small backups, it becomes very expensive when backing up large amounts of data.

After reading about the four media types above, you’ll notice they vary greatly in speed, reliability, resistance to damage, cost, and ease of use. For example, Solid-state flash memory looks extremely good with all of its pros, but once you start getting into large volumes of data, the price per a gigabyte is just not worth it.

In part three, we’ll discuss different backup polices for various scenarios, which will ultimately decide which backup medium is best suited for you.

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Part 1: The Importance of Backups

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Security

This is one of the most common failures today of computer users; they neglect backing up crucial data. Why is society like this? Because everyone expects a computer to work without fail, first time and every time. However a PC is like any other piece of equipment, eventually it will fail. There are various methods of backing up data, some better than others depending on the situation. Let’s take a look at each method.

Always connected – Pros- Backup of the data can be achieved easily just as restoring would be too.

Cons- Backup data will render useless if a natural disaster occurs such as a fire or flood. If the backup medium is a hard disk, the mechanical wear will shorten the life span of the backup. The backup medium can be easily taken physically or digitally.


Storing it near the computer, but inactive – Pros- Backup data cannot be stolen digitally. Data is still relatively easy to access. Less usage means less wear on the drive.

Cons- The backup is still prone to natural disaster.


Storing the (physical) backup off-site – Pros – Much better security than the above two options. The backup medium is safe from natural disaster in the one area.

Cons- The backup location is not as convenient as being always connected or stored next to the computer.


Use no physical media: store the backup to a remote internet site – Pros – It can be the most convenient option if a fast internet connection is used. Information is encrypted and is secure both digitally and physically. The remote location makes it the best choice for disaster resistance.

Cons- The cost of a high speed internet connection.


Most home users today have their backup either always connected or stored near the computer, but inactive. The reason for this is because it’s convenient. Businesses however need a solution where security is top priority. Such that the latter two options from above are a common choice. No doubt any backup is better than not having one at all!

That’s enough for one article. In part 2, we’ll discuss different backup media and which one works best for the job.

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Lockdown your PC

Posted by: pctutorials  :  Category: Security, Tips, Top Software, Windows

No one needs to be told that when your connected to internet, you’re at risk of been attacked or infected. What’s the best way to tackle the problem? What are my choices and how do I go about it? Fortunately, there are many products around to help prevent such an occurrence. Let’s break these products down:

  • Anti-VirusA software program which helps protect a computer against being infected by a virus. A virus is capable of corrupting data and is able to spread to other victims with out the user knowing.
  • Anti-Spyware A software program that is designed to stop spyware from entering the users computer. Spyware is software that is installed by stealth and tracks the users computers activities and private information. It then secretly relays the information back to the publisher.
  • Firewall A firewall can either be hardware or software based and is used to prevent unauthorized access to the users computer. In the physical security analogy, a firewall is equivalent to a door lock on a perimeter door or on a door to a room inside of the building – it permits only authorized users such as those with a key or access card to enter.

There are a lot of companies to choose from, some offering their products as freeware, and others as paid software. One standout in the freeware section is Zone Alarm’s Free Firewall. It covers the basics and works a treat. Windows Defender does an ok job for cleaning out spyware for free and is already installed on Vista machines. And for antivirus software, Bitdefender have their free antivrus software up for grabs.

Whilst all the above software is good, paid software offer more advanced features and support making them much more appealing. Also, you can get packages from vendors which have Anti-virus, Anti-Spyware , and Firewall all in one. Zonealarm Security Suite is an excellence choice and it covers the three primary areas of a Anti-virus, Anti-spyware, and Firewall. And I can say that it does work: ZoneAlarm Security Suite

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