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CISPA, Enough Already

Written by Sean Valant

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

We at HostGator have always vehemently opposed any piece of legislation that contradicts the idea of a free and open Internet.  If you haven’t read our prior blog posts about CISPA and it’s earlier incarnation SOPA, then please do so now in order to bring yourself up to speed:

CISPA Must Die!

SOPA Must Die!

The problem with legislation such as these is not what it appears to do on the front end, rather it’s the back end implications that make it frightening.  Cyber security is serious business, and it is a realm that could use some tightening up.  However, this tightening up cannot come at the expense of your privacy due to a circumvention of existing privacy laws.

Why are we mentioning CISPA now?  Well, it has reared its head once again and is being voted on by the House of Representatives today.  It seems this piece of legislation refuses to die.  Unfortunately, the longer something like this sticks around, the less attention the media at large will pay attention to it.

Truth be told, we’ve outlined in great detail what is wrong with this piece of legislation in our previous blog posts.  We don’t want to be redundant, but we didn’t want to let this day pass without mentioning again this issue that truly affects us all.

Fortunately, President Obama maintains that he would veto this bill were it to pass in the House.  Hopefully, it won’t come to the necessity of a veto.  Let’s put this legislation to sleep, once and for all, and let it not awaken until it has matured into a form that would actually benefit the people as opposed to slowly eroding your right to online privacy.

Global WordPress Brute Force Flood

Written by Sean Valant

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

As I type these words, there is an on-going and highly-distributed, global attack on WordPress installations across virtually every web host in existence.  This attack is well organized and again very, very distributed; we have seen over 90,000 IP addresses involved in this attack.

At this moment, we highly recommend you log into any WordPress installation you have and change the password to something that meets the security requirements specified on the WordPress website.  These requirements are fairly typical of a secure password: upper and lowercase letters, at least eight characters long, and including “special” characters (^%$#&@*).

You have now changed your WordPress password, correct?  Good.

The main force of this attack began last week, then slightly died off, before picking back up again yesterday morning.  No one knows when it will end.  The symptoms of this attack are a very slow backend on your WordPress site, or an inability to log in.  In some instances your site could even intermittently go down for short periods.

We are taking several steps to mitigate this attack throughout our server farm, but in the same breath it is true that in cases like this there is only so much that can actually be done.  The servers most likely to experience service interruptions will be VPS and Dedicated servers hosting high numbers of WordPress installations, due to the incredibly high load this attack has been seen to cause.

If you are hosted on a VPS or Dedicated server and you would like for us to take a more severe, heavy-handed approach to mitigate this attack, we can do this via means such as password-protecting (via .htaccess) all wp-login.php files on the server.  If you would like our assistance with this, please contact us via normal support channels.

Again, this is a global issue affecting all web hosts.  Any further information we could provide at this moment would be purely speculation.  Our hope is that this attack ends soon, but it is a reminder that we must all take account security very seriously.

We will update this blog post when we have further information.

 

**UPDATE**

If you have just a few WordPress sites, you can add the additional layer of security mentioned above, as well as block this attack, by following the instructions outlined in this article from our KnowledgeBase: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/specialized-help/technical/wordpress/wordpress-login-brute-force-attack

HostGator: The Best Host For Bloggers!

Written by Sean Valant

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Blogging.org, a well-respected site in the blogging community, recently conducted a comprehensive survey of 5,600 bloggers in order to determine the “Top 25 Hosting Companies” for bloggers.  HostGator took first place, with 1907 out of 5600 votes; just shy of 900 more votes than 2nd place received.  This is an honor that we at HostGator do not take lightly, and we are very happy to be able to share this news with you.

HostGator Named #1 Best Web Host For Bloggers

The voting criteria was based on which host the aforementioned 5,600 bloggers used and which host they would recommend to their peers.  With over 203 million blogs online today, blogging is an undeniable online presence these days.  There are 31 million bloggers in the US alone, with 43% of the total bloggers using WordPress, including this HostGator blog.

It is worth noting that this survey was completely unbiased and affiliate payouts were not a factor in this survey; it truly is simply the honest opinion of the blogging community.

Please visit http://blogging.org/blog/top-25-hosting-companies/ in order to see a further breakdown of the related statistics as well as the other 24 hosts that made the cut.

Now is the perfect time to start your blog with (or move your existing blog to) HostGator.  Take advantage of our 1-click installs of WordPress and have your blog online today.  Use coupon code BLOG to receive 25% off your first invoice on any new sign-up*!

*this coupon expires on October 9th, 2012.

CISPA Must Die!

Written by Sean Valant

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

We’ve been having a lot of fun with our blog lately, and we promise to continue to do so.  However, we need to address some serious business once again.  Back in December, we posted about SOPA.  That beast has changed forms, returned and is now attacking more forcefully.  CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, aka H.R. 3523) was passed by the United Stated House of Representatives on April 26th, by a vote of 248 to 168.

Ostensibly, CISPA exists to “help the U.S Government investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyber attack.”  However, this wolf in sheep’s clothing also allows complete, unfettered access to your online activities without regard to existing privacy laws, provided the government suspects you of having committed some type of cyber crime.  Criminals should absolutely be investigated, prosecuted and punished if found guilty.  However, the scope of this bill is far too broad to be an effective piece of legislation and lacks any clear parameters as to what would constitute a justifiable suspicion, or when and how the government can monitor your internet browsing information; basically making all of us potential suspects, guilty until proven innocent.

Representative Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and onetime web entrepreneur, stated during the debate that “allowing the military and NSA to spy on Americans on American soil goes against every principle this country was founded on,” and that CISPA would “…waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity.”

The author of CISPA, Representative Mike Rogers (R – Michigan) responded by asking his colleagues to ignore “all the things they’re saying about the bill that are not true.”  That statement itself is curiously representative of the bill and an excellent example of stereotypical politician-speak; it moves towards the desired goal without identifying any parameters or setting any limitations.

The ACLU and Mozilla have both spoken out against CISPA, and the Obama administration has thus far maintained that it would veto the bill, due to it lacking confidentiality and civil liberties safeguards.  However, this fight is not over.  We at HostGator still very much support an Internet whereby free information and the unhindered distribution of said information is an unalienable human right; we do not want to lose this right, signed away as part of a malformed and ultimately counter-productive piece of legislation.

Please contact your Congressional Representative and let them know how you feel on this important issue.  Vote no on CISPA!

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