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The Shell Shock Vulnerability

Written by Sean Valant

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

The bad guys are unfortunately at it again. Today the Internet lit up with news of a new vulnerability, officially named “CVE-2014-6271,” but more widely-known as “Shell Shock,” a reference to the environment exploited, known as a shell.. The shell in question is called BASH, itself an acronym for Bourne Again SHell. Nearly all Linux servers in the world have BASH installed; it is the most common shell in use today. A shell itself is what is used to interact with the operating system via command line.

Before we proceed, you should know that all HostGator servers have been patched as of this writing. We identified the issue very early-on and developed the necessary solution for our environment. We are, of course, continuing to monitor the situation and will react appropriately should the need arise.

As with any security or vulnerability risk, it is important to reiterate the importance of practicing good security to the extent of your ability as an end user. Always use secure passwords (you know the drill: upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters), always keep any third-party scripts (such as WordPress, Joomla, etc.) up-to-date, and always uses the latest version of any software that you utilize… because the truth is that often software is updated strictly for security patch purposes.

Should the need arise, we will update this blog post accordingly. Otherwise, stay safe out there on the Interwebs!

Twitter Email List Targeting

Written by Kyler Patterson

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Target On Twitter With Email
 
For those of you who have been using social media advertising, you may know that Facebook has allowed for email list targeting for some time now. This feature is great because you can strictly target those users in your email list. Companies can even use their existing client lists to target them on Facebook for customer promotions and increasing customer value. Now, Twitter has entered the game with the option to upload lists to target with ads.
 

Why Email Targeting?

With email targeting, you can direct ads straight to those who you believe are the best for your promotion. For example, you have a list of customers who bought Product A and you’re having a sale on Product B that is a really good complementary item for Product A. Instead of emailing everyone on this list, you can run a campaign on Twitter to let them know about the sale. Or you can have an integrated campaign to email them and promote to them on Twitter.
 

Is It Just Email Targeting?

No. You can create a targeted audience with different types of lists. Email is usually what most businesses have from their clients. Not all request phone numbers. You can create lists with the following information:

  • Email
  • Phone Numbers
  • Twitter User Names
  • Twitter User IDs
  • Mobile Advertising IDs

 

How To Create A Targeted Audience

Creating a targeted audience with Twitter is pretty simple. First you will need to have a list generated from your CRM or email software. Then you will just need to follow these steps.
 

1. Click Tools on your Twitter Ads navigation bar. Then select Audience Manager.

twitter-audience-maker

 

2. Click “Create Audience” on the upper right side of the UI.

Audience Manager on Twitter

Here is a picture of the @HostGator audience manager. These are small lists for a specific purpose.

 

Target-Twitter-Audience

3. Give your list a name, then choose the type of list you are uploading. Remember that it will need to be a .csv or .txt file.

 
 
 
 

4. Select the type of audience you’re uploading

 
 
 
 

5. Upload your file

 
 
 
 
 

Things To Consider

Read the Twitter Ads Terms of Service. You don’t want your account banned for doing something you shouldn’t be doing.
 
Update your privacy policy about customer information being used for advertising if it isn’t already in there.
 
Separate your lists. Perhaps I just like granularity, but I like to see that we have 10k emails and 5k phone numbers that converted to targeted Twitter users. It was interesting to see.
 
On that same note, use multiple lists! Sometimes the email your customer gives isn’t the one they used for Twitter but the phone number is. You don’t want to miss out on being able to target them. For our lists, cell phone numbers matched up more than home phone numbers.
 
Don’t expect to launch a campaign immediately after uploading the list. It can take several hours for Twitter to match the contents on the list with users. I tend to upload my list before I go home for the day so that I can start the campaign the next day.
 
Match rate will be lower than Facebook custom audiences. With the same list, Facebook matched 4,400 users and Twitter only matched approximately 1,100.
 
Audience matches of less than 500 will be listed as too small and you will not be able to advertise to them.
 
That’s it about Twitter email list and audience targeting. Please feel free to ask any questions or express concerns in the comments below!

Google Authorship Dead In 2014?

Written by Kyler Patterson

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

authorship-featured
If you’ve searched for anything on Google in the last month or so (who hasn’t?), you may have noticed slight changes in the results. First, the author pictures next to the results conspicuously disappeared. Then, videos started to vanish for most results (except those of YouTube and other sources where video is a primary source of content). Now, author names have disappeared. According to John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Analytics team, Authorship has indeed been removed from your search results.

Is Google Authorship Dead

A few months ago, the same search would have displayed the associated Google+ profile picture and related information, as shown in the image below from our prior Authorship blog post:

What Authorship Looked Like

 

Now the posts are stripped down to provide you the content that you’re looking for without the fluff.

 

Why Was Authorship Removed?

If you ever set up authorship, then you know it was not the easiest process to start with. There were several steps involved, including an update your site’s code to add the markup. If you were using a CMS like WordPress, the markup wasn’t too hard, but HTML sites were a little harder to modify. Since the entire ordeal wasn’t an easy 1-2 step process, it had a low adoption rate.

As stated in Mueller’s post, and speculated by many, Authorship simply did not have any direct impact to an increase in clicks or rankings. A direct quote from the post:

“If you’re curious — in our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience.”
 

Is Authorship Completely Dead?

From search results, it appears to be mostly (though not entirely) gone. As explained by Mueller, search queries will still show relevant posts from your Google+ connections with their information. So if you were connected with an author and searched for information pertaining to them, then you may see something like this:

The Google Authorship Update

Keep in mind, the rel=author markup didn’t just affect search; social media displays this information as well. With Pinterest, you can stand out with rich pins. As you see in the picture below, you will still see the author markup:

Pinterest-Tips-Tricks

 
You can also see it on Twitter with Twitter cards as shown below. If you’re able to edit the author Twitter handle, you’ll also get another spot in the author section.

 

Conclusion

Although authorship has been mostly removed from Google search, it still does serve a purpose and cannot be entirely considered dead.. perhaps undead… zombie(?). You don’t necessarily need to go through the process adding the authorship through Google+ to include the rel=author tag, but who wouldn’t want a good branded back link on a Google product?

What do you think? Is authorship just dead and should never be touched again or will you still be including it on your blog? Let us know in the comments!

How Archive As A Service Lets You Lose Those Information Silos

Written by Natalie Lehrer

Monday, September 15th, 2014

3 Archives

There are a number of things that cloud storage services can do well. They can offer affordable resources, whether you’re starting out or extending from an existing setup. They can make those resources highly reliable and almost infinitely scalable (let’s just say, you’re unlikely to ever bump up against any limits.) And, last but by no means least; they can bring different parts of an organization together. With many enterprises still struggling to break down the barriers that prevent proper information flow, cloud storage services can be a boon for that reason alone. Archive as a Service offers additional “anti-information silo” features that become increasingly important as a company grows.

 

Demonstrating Compliance: Everybody’s Headache

To a greater or lesser degree, every business is bound by regulations and a need to practice and demonstrate compliance with those regulations. If you’re operating as a sole trader, then to start with you’ll need to keep records for taxes. If your business has employees, departments, branch offices, then you can look forward to accounting, health and safety, traceability, consumer protection, medical confidentiality and more, according to the sector in which you operate. Trying to get each department to conform to compliance regulations is a challenge in itself. Trying to check that each one has done its duty can be even more difficult.

 

Cloud Archival as Your Aspirin

The first thing that Archive as a Service does is to federate all those otherwise isolated initiatives to conserve historical and compliance data. As an added bonus, the central storage not only guarantees data is kept safely, but Archive as a Service can also prevent any tampering with or unauthorized destruction of data, whether by accident or by design. By combining cloud archiving with cloud backup services you can extend that protection, store different versions with their individual timestamps and be ready for disaster recovery if required.

 

No More Capital Outlay

Private archival systems can get expensive, fast. They require more and more capacity, as more and more data accumulates and regulations become increasingly demanding. Cloud-based Archive as a Service obviates the need for laying out large hunks of cash. It provides the capacity you need for smaller monthly fees and lets you scale up smoothly, instead of having to buy a complete new archival server each time. More than this however, you can let the service provider do the work on making sure that the systems remain up to date and properly maintained. When you consider that archiving can last for years or decades, not having to worry about hardware refreshes in between can be a big help.

 

Retention Policies, Discovery and Beyond

Archiving is done so that information can be found again if required. But not all information should be archived or kept beyond a certain time limit. Archive as a Service lets you define and apply enterprise-wide policies for how long different types of data are retained and when information can or should be deleted. You can also search across the whole organization, which is important too for any legal requirements to comply with data sharing or discovery. And once you’ve got your different departments all ‘singing from the same song sheet’ for archiving, you can turn your attention to breaking down any other information silos that exist: for example, in your supply chain or leveraging innovative ideas. Archive as a Service maybe the end destination for much of your information, but that doesn’t stop it from being the starting point for a more unified, efficient and effective organization.

 

*****

Author Bio:
Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kulturarvsprojektet/6498637005/in/photolist-aUgdnB-aUghg6-7MD3dV-6zikYQ-8uDviZ-dSNCNT-G7hwY-FeWvD-fmtgQn-2XevxG-Mhc6R-Mhc7n-bH8xmk-5a4ToF-8JPib7-c5eEWw-fApYgF-cmXzG-aUg8cx-Mh1of-Mh1pq-8BFk82-aUg5p6-epa4xw-3nsq5E-jqCNfw-dYsB4V-8uGuMb-Mh1oQ-epa7My-epa5HW-epa8d5-epa5rC-eodUdx-eodTmp-epa6K5-jL2Khe-dYSxB1-Mh1om-4uZkio-EfQVB-aAyYzA-eLz2Kp-3nQM8v-3nVgnY-fvGq3x-6tqxy2-cXkMNS-itgAn2-mhCYtN

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