WordPress Attacks

Distributed attacks on WordPress installations

In the last two weeks, the number of attacks on Word Press installations has increased exponentially.  At the root of this issue is the software’s handling of login attempts.  When a user tries to log in, the server processes that login check with a few database queries and log writes.  Unfortunately, out of the box the software will enable someone to attempt a password repeatedly without issue.  When this is done by several computers on one location at once, it’s only a matter of time until one of two things happens”

  • The password is guessed
  • The server crashes

In the first situation, the compromised installation is recruited into the effort, infected with a password-guessing script and folded into the distributed attack on other installations.  In the second, websites located on the affected server are either down or extremely slow.  With over 90,000 infected machines taking part in the attack and the startling number of WordPress installations on the internet today, you can see why this is such a problem!


A good password goes a long way

Good passwords are key.  As you’ve no doubt noticed, passwords have gotten considerably more complex over the years.  Few services will allow you to sign up with a simple 6-8 character letters-and-numbers password nowadays.  That said, a good password rarely contains real words.  Other things to consider including:
  • Capital and lower case letters
  • Punctuation
  • Numbers

Consider abbreviating a sentence you can remember.  For example, “My dog’s name is Sampson, and he was born in 2001!” could easily become: ” MdniSahwbi2k1!”  Though not perfect, this password is much more difficult to crack than something like “Sampson2001”  We can change a password for you during normal business hours.  Simply give us a call!

What is being done to protect my account?

Throughout the weekend, we took steps to integrate additional layers of protection to all WordPress accounts.  Initially, we loaded a simple plugin to all WordPress installations which limits the amount of times a single IP address can guess an incorrect password for a given account.  After a certain number of tries, that IP address is temporarily banned.  This drastically affects the ability of these attacks to guess and compromise new accounts.  None of our installations have been compromised.

We are taking additional steps to further improve security and ensure that this issue poses as little effect as possible to our customers.  We will be sending out a mailing shortly with additional information.

Feel free to direct any questions to our Facebook or Support email address.  Thank you.

Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Conference: Mobile followup

For those attending our Doing Mobile Right seminar at the Mid-Atlantic Conference in Baltimore, MD (as well as those who missed it) we are publishing a followup with direct links to many of the utilities we discussed during our seminar.

As we covered, all mobile sites are not created equal.  A good mobile website is more than just a simple webpage.  It adapts to fit devices viewing it, offering special features when available without alienating those with older technology.  Put another way, although it’s much cheaper to offer a one size fits all approach to mobile websites, you are doing yourself and your guests a disservice.  Why should users on a tablet be forced to see the same tiny graphics meant for the optimal experience on an early, low-resolution display smartphone?

ready.mobi offers a fantastic service, allowing you to plug in a link to any mobile website to get a great deal of data.  The utility will give you an in depth analysis of your mobile website, offering up suggestions on improving the experience as well as a simple numerical rating.

User Agent Switcher (Firefox | Chrome) allows you to impersonate various devices, from Blackberries to iPhones and many others, all from your desktop computer.  This easy to use plugin installs quick and easily to Firefox or Chrome web browsers, allowing you to see exactly how your mobile site displays on various devices.

We’ll provide additional links and information as trends continue to evolve.  Remember that all mobile devices are not created equal, and the pool of traffic visiting your website is becoming increasingly likely to come from a tablet or smartphone.

Don’t be fooled by solicitations for DNS Services!

In the past two months, we’ve seen a distinct rise in the number of  customers receiving solicitations from DNS Services in Vancouver, WA.  These solicitations are misleading in that they present themselves more as an invoice than a sales pitch.  Typically they will identify you, your business and us by listing information on the nameservers we use to keep your website and email traffic flowing.  You’ll see something like:

  • NS1.EW3D.NET
  • NS2.EW3D.COM

Rest assured that these are not legitimate.  This company has a hefty stack of complaints on the site RipOffReport.  If you’d like to read more, a simple Google search for “DNS Services” will yield a mountain of information.

How did these people get my information?

As you likely know, your domain name — mybedandbreakfast.com — is secured with a yearly registration.  This registration includes your business contact information, and it is visible to the public.  The regulations governing use of this information dictate that it cannot be used for these sorts of marketing purposes, but this is a difficult cause to litigate.  Further, it is up to the registrars to take on the cause.

In the interim, you do have options.  Most registrars offer a private registration which makes this information invisible to the public, replacing it with a generic contact which can be used to contact you if the cause is legitimate.  While we will happily help you activate this service, we recommend against it.  Search engines do use the information on your domain name as a part of ranking your website returns.  As you know, every little bit helps!

New: Link your booking engine from your mobile website!

2012 has been a good year.  After a few delays, we were excited to bring InnsMobile and all that it offers to the PAII national and Mid-Atlantic regional innkeeping shows.  In addition to bringing the most competitive mobile product available on the market to innkeepers throughout the country, we were able to get a lot of great feedback.  You asked, and we’ve listened.

Add online reservations to your mobile website!

After much deliberation, we threw the switch.  InnsMobile users may now activate their online reservations link on their mobile site.  To do this, simply log into your account, visit the Create/Edit My Listing page, and then select your homepage for editing.  About halfway down the page, you’ll see the following:


Do note that if you’re fortunate enough to have a booking engine with mobile capabilities, you may want to ensure that you do not need to use a separate web address for the mobile version.  For more on booking engines and the dangers of using a non mobile-friendly booking engine with your mobile website, click here.

Content Management System (CMS) video

We’ve just published a video featuring some basics of using our content management system.  Whether you’re a current user or simply interested in how the software works, be sure to check it out!

Got mobile? InnsMobile is here!

EW3D is excited to present InnsMobile!

In 2010 mobile devices accounted for 2% of traffic on the internet.  By 2011 that percentage more than doubled, finishing up at 5%.  In 2012 it was projected that this presence would be greater than 10%, but in fact hit 10% in April! 2015 is the predicted culmination point when mobile devices will account for more internet traffic than traditional devices such as computers and laptops.  In other words, mobile is not going away any time soon.

With this added platform comes a new concern for any business that relies on their website for marketing.  In all cases, a simplified and mobile friendly website is recommended.  However not all mobile devices are created alike.  Some can handle media rich content, flash animations and more without a hitch while others cannot.  Do you simply dumb down your mobile site to the point that it will work on older devices without taking advantage of the advanced features available on newer phones?

The answer:  InnsMobile!

InnsMobile is an exciting new product developed and maintained by EW3D.  With our easy to use interface, Innkeepers can log in and create their very own multi-paged website with simple, intuitive interface.  Add specials, photos, pages and more with just a few easy clicks.  Once your site is developed, you need only implement our detection software into your website, and then your new mobile site is live!  InnsMobile is simple enough that you can develop your own site in about an hour, but we do offer a premium service in which we’ll create the site for you within our engine.

The InnsMobile Difference

Unlike a Standard Web 1.0 website, InnsMobile is not static.  Our database detects over 15,000 different devices, such as the Apple iPhone & iPad, Android phones & tablets, Blackberry phones and many more.  Based on the device accessing your website, we deliver a mobile site that can best take advantage of the features available.  Simple, easy to use click-to-call functionality, email to a friend, and more can be found in all mobile sites while GPS-enabled phones can deliver guests right to your front door with only a click.  Because your mobile site is being delivered by our live, dynamic system it will evolve as new devices are released.  And, of course, you maintain the ability to log in and make changes at any time.

Yet Another Benefit to Being an EW3D Customer:

As a valued customer, we’re excited to present you with an exclusive promotional offer.  For a limited time, you can become an InnsMobile Premiere subscriber for only $200 for the first two years.  That’s a 60% savings on premiere accounts and 50% for standard!  This gets you the ability to develop your very own multi-paged mobile website which can be automatically delivered to guests of your website when they visit with a mobile device.  This is a $300 savings over the $250 yearly pricing plan being offered to the public for premiere listings.  Interested?  Visit us at innserver.com to learn more.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest updates, and visit our blog to view recent software patches and download our recent seminar on mobile websites which was delivered at the Mid Atlantic 2012 Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Auto-Redirect is here!

Our recent reveal at the 2012 PAII National Show in Little Rock yielded a lot of valuable feedback from our customers.  By far the most inquired-about item was browser detection.  After all, you already put a lot of money and effort into having your website listed as high as possible on various search engines and directories.  When people on a mobile phone find you in that manner, it’s only natural that you’ll want them to automatically see your mobile website rather than having to look around for an icon to click.

We have your solution.  Current subscribes can log in and navigate to their “Innkeeper Resources” page to find a snippet of code which can be copied and pasted into the header area of your website’s homepage.  If you’re unsure of how to do this, your webmaster will be able to help without issue.  This code can also be fed into our Word Press plugin for full word press sites, making it easy for you to redirect new traffic directly into your mobile website.

Mid-Atlantic Conference 2012 Presentation

Our presentation, InnsMobile:  Going Mobile in 2 Hours, is available for download now.  This is the presentation we gave yesterday at the Mid-Atlantic Conference in Williamsburg, VA.  If you missed the seminar, we highly encourage you to have a look.  There’s a lot of useful information for anyone shopping for a mobile website.  If you’re at the show, be sure to drop by our booth and say hello!

Download:  InnsMobile: Going Mobile in 2 Hours

Changing your mobile website theme

Did you know that InnsMobile offers an ever-growing list of themes to choose from?  Altering the color scheme of your mobile site to better match your regular website can give it a nicer, more customized touch.  Better yet, we’re constantly adding new themes.  To browse our themes, simply log into your account and visit the Update My Listing area.  Manage your homepage.  At the bottom you’ll see a series of links divided into steps.  Step 3, Select a Color Scheme for your Listing, will take you to the theme selection screen.  You’ll see previews, all of which have a selection button beneath them.  Simply click the button beneath the desired theme, and that’s all you need to do!

Do you have a theme request?  Facebook or Email us with your request, and you might just find it as a part of the next content update.

Why shouldn’t I link to my booking engine in my mobile website?

Of all the questions posed to us, this is one of the most frequent.  Fortunately there’s a fairly simple answer.  At this point in time, no booking engine that we are aware of offers a truly mobile friendly user experience.  That’s not to say that popular devices – iPhones, Droids and tablets running on the same operating systems – cannot run several booking engines.  However, they cannot do so reliably.  Some users may experience excessive issues trying to select dates or specify other parameters within a typical reservation form, and information is not displayed in a format meant for mobile devices.

So if it “sort of” works, why not use it?

Part of the InnsMobile mobile website experience is a standardized click-to-call button.  While the functionality to add a similar button through which you can direct clickers to your reservation engine would be a simple feat.  However, until a booking engine can offer a truly mobile platform for visitors, we feel it’s not in your best interests to present it.  The last thing you want is for potential guests to waste half an hour trying to navigate a reservation system on their mobile device only to end up having to call you frustrated and flustered.  Worse, they might not even call at all.

This seems silly.  What are booking engines waiting for?

This is another remark we hear very often, and unfortunately we do not have an answer.  While going mobile is not simple for any major service provider with a need to give customers an online interface, the reality is that mobile is here to stay. Mobile is not a buzz word, and the portion of internet traffic that it represents will only grow.  With that said, it’s imperative that booking engines get with the program.  The only way to make this happen is to contact them!  We strongly encourage you to contact your online booking engine provider today, and request that they make mobile a priority!