WordPress Cybersecurity Alert: Massive Attack Targeting WordPress Websites

“The most aggressive campaign we have seen to date”

Early Tuesday morning, WordFence, a WordPress cybersecurity service, posted an alert of a massive brute force attack campaign that was mounting by the second. By the time the world started waking up, the campaign had peaked at 14 million attacks per hour. This means that this WordPress cybersecurity breach is, according to WordFence, “the most aggressive brute force attack in WordPress history.”

In a brute force attack, automated software is used to generate a vast number of consecutive guesses for certain data (in this case, passwords). So far, the vast majority of attempts have been unsuccessful, but the scope of this particular attack sets it apart from the rest.

What to do

If you already have RLM’s OverSite™ website maintenance, there is no need to worry—we have already made the necessary updates for you.

If you do not have OverSite or a similar web patch and update service, it is important to quickly make the following changes.

  1. Update your password to something more complex. The password generator tool on the “Your Profile” screen is a great resource. Don’t use any password that you have used before on WordPress.
  2. If you have an admin-level account that has the default username “admin”, change it.
  3. Delete any unused accounts, especially unused admin accounts. The less “doorways” you have to your website, the lower the chance of an unauthorized entry.

Understanding WordPress Cybersecurity

As we continue to watch this attack unfold, it’s important to spread the word so that other web owners can take action. Be sure to spread the news via social media and similar channels, and investigate firewalls and other security measures which can strengthen your security. Finally, consider investing in a regular website maintenance service. When your site is regularly patched and updated, your risk for a cyberattack significantly decreases.

A note: WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world, and supports more than 60 million websites. WordPress cybersecurity breaches of this kind are usually due to poor website management, not the platform itself.

If you would like to discuss the status of your website, please feel free to give us a call.

Nielsen Media Consumption Updates

It’s long been predicted that TV and radio will lose a Darwinian battle to subscription on demand services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc.

The recent Nielsen Q1 2016 Total Audience Report indicates the media evolution trend is continuing, however broadcast—that’s TV and radio combined—is still the most powerful medium. For now.

TV and radio may not dominate the universe the way they once did, and statistics show they continue to lose share. But the chart below confirms their staying power as a resource to reach an audience. If you’re seeking to build awareness with the Boomer generation — who also have the deepest pockets — live TV still holds a 53% share of time spent. Combine TV and AM/FM radio (not streaming services), and you’re looking at 70% of a Boomer’s daily media consumption. Conversely, if your targets are 18-34, you’d best be paying attention to reaching them digitally and by subscription video on demand (SVOD). In fact, the average time per day spent on digital devices in this age group grew 74% in the last 2 years. But still, live television and radio claim a 46% share for the younger generation.

Somehow, AM/FM radio still hangs in there at 17%, though its audience skews older. 18-34 year olds spend an average of 10:19 minutes per day listening to radio, while 50-64 year olds top the average at 15:09.

So what does this mean for your strategic planning and your media commitments?

Broadcast is still a powerful tool to build awareness.That awareness gets translated to better engagement when customers seek your brand in digital mediums. But it’s more important than ever to be well informed, and to aim carefully before you fire off precious media dollars, because the landscape is shifting constantly.

The Bottom Line

When things get complex, applying the fundamentals of understanding how, when and where to reach your customers and prospects is more important than ever.

RLM Fast Forward: Social Media Edition

Welcome to the first installment of the RLM Fast Forward – our look at the latest trending topics and articles in the world of marketing that we think are worthy of forwarding to our colleagues and clients.  This edition will focus on the fast-changing world of social media as we highlight 5 recent articles that caught our eye.

  1. A map for the minefield. Common Small Business Social Media Mistakes to Avoid For small business owners, social media is a playing field that can result in a lot of wasted time and energy if not approached in the right manner.  This article provides great advice addressing some of the most common missteps and how to avoid them as you begin your waltz through the social media minefield.  One of my top picks on the list – Mistake #9, Failing to Establish Social Media Metrics – you must ensure that you have a plan to evaluate your effectiveness.Read more here:
    10 Social Media Mistakes That Small Business Owners Make
  2. Does size really matter? Quality vs Quantity of Followers on Social MediaThis short but insightful podcast ponders the question of quantity versus quality when it comes to your following on social channels. The focus is now shifting from accumulating larger and larger numbers of followers to cultivating a truly engaged and passionate audience that will help amplify your content. The podcast also discusses what does (and does not) make for a potentially valuable, influential follower.Listen to the podcast here (Runtime: 3 minutes 33 secs):
    How Do You Measure Passion? Figuring The Value Of Social Media Followers
  3. Let’s get visual. Tools for Creating Quick Visuals for Social MediaAdding relevant custom images to your social posts can greatly boost engagement.  Content with images get 94% more views than content without images (Source:  jeffbullas.com).  So having the right resources to quickly and effectively develop visual content is critical to social media success. This article is titled 20 Killer Blogging Tools for Customizing Your Content but it is every bit as useful for social media content as it is for blogging. The piece offers a nice list of tools for quickly developing custom images to use in social media posts.  Tools, such as Canva, a free, easy-to-use graphics tool that offers templates specific to several types of social media posts and profile page images.There are some great tools here, however, do proceed with caution. There is potential to do more harm than good if the quality of your graphics is low.  Don’t just unleash any member of your team with this easy-to-use arsenal of graphic weapons or you may suffer injury from some friendly fire.  In other words, these tools can make it very easy for design-illiterate team members to design something that does not reflect well on your brand.  These tools should not be considered a replacement for graphic design expertise but rather a tool to better support your graphically-inclined team members.See the full list of tools here:
    20 Killer Blogging Tools for Customizing Your Content
  4. Tweet first, ask questions later (strike that, reverse it). Creating a Social Media PlanOne of the biggest issues that we see with clients dabbling in social media is that there is no method to the madness.  Sporadic communications with no clear target or objective won’t get you very far on social.  Before jumping in, take an extra second to aim.  It is important to first define who you are talking to, where they are hanging out (what social channels), what message you want to convey, and what action you want your audience to take. This article will help make sure you are asking all the right questions as you formulate your plan to infiltrate the social airwaves.Check out the full article here:
    6 Steps to Create a Bare Bones and Profitable Social Media Plan
  5. Numbers speak louder than words. The Statistical State of Social Media. If you are trying to drum up some support from decision makers to invest in social media or just trying to make some informed decisions for yourself, you may need to call for a little statistical back-up to help make your case.  The impressive stack of stats provided here can help build a better understanding of the current size and opportunity available across the social channels.This article covers a wide span of statistical information related to the current state of social media – for example, 70% of the US population now holds at least one social networking profile!  Social statistics are provided in a variety of areas, including:
    • Current and projected social media usage in the US and worldwide
    • Demographics of social media users
    • Social media metrics and measurement
    • Social media advertising
    • Social media use by large enterprises

    Get more great social stats here:
    47 Superb Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts

Thinking about ramping up your social efforts? Learn more about our social media services or contact us with any questions you may have about how best to tackle social media for your business.

Volkswagen Emission Scandal: A Great Brand Gone Bad

The Volkswagen emission scandal is the latest example of a company that seriously damaged its brand credibility. Can Volkswagen ever recover its customers’ trust? 

Volkswagen managed to seriously damage over 50 years of brand credibility with their stupid “diesel dupe” software scandal. Share value has fallen over 30% since news of the debacle broke. Trust will take years to rebuild. And who knows how many “Was going to buy a VW but now I will not” missed sales are out there. The Volkswagen emission scandal is a prime example of a brand that spent years building customer trust, only to throw is all away. 

The first rule of branding: Do no harm.

A quick perusal of the VW corporate site reveals no brand purpose, mission or vision statement. The only overarching corporate mission is growth. That’s not to say the brand elements don’t exist. But when an organization does not clearly proclaim them internally and externally, it leads to suspicion that they don’t take them too seriously.

When your business focus lacks the foundational grounding of purpose, mission, values and character, employees will take whatever route expediently delivers on the business goals, not what’s good for the long term prosperity of the brand.

As Berthold HuberDeputy Chairman of the Volkswagen Supervisory Board, said: “The test manipulations are a moral and political disaster for Volkswagen. …We can only apologize and ask our customers, the public, the authorities and our investors to give us a chance to make amends.” That chance he’s asking for is going to be very, very expensive.

For the sake of poor brand management, billions have been lost. “We will review all planned investments, and what isn’t absolutely vital will be canceled or delayed,” Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller told workers at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. “And that’s why we will readjust our efficiency program. I will be completely clear: this won’t be painless.”

The Bottom Line:

Branding is first and foremost a risk management tool. Had VW been paying more attention to it, the creation of emissions-cheating software would have gotten no further than a tasteless joke in a lower management meeting. Thousands of customers have been cheated. An asset decades in the making is seriously weakened. Branding is serious risk management for your business. Ignore it at your own peril.

Interested in learning more about brand strategy as a risk management tool? Give us a call