Hackers love Slackers

02 October, 2016

One of the most commonly used security vulnerabilities on the web today is outdated software - be that the Adobe flash player you keep ignoring every time you start your browser, or the version of WordPress your personal blog is running on.

Most websites today run on some type of open-source, or openly-available platform - WordPress, Joomla, Magento, any online shopping cart, etc. And these software platforms typically have plugins or modules created by other 3rd-Party developers that you or your web developers may have used. Keeping all of these various platforms and plugins and modules up to date can be time consuming or costly, and those dedicated to breaking into others systems use this to their advantage.

Keeping any online software you use up to date should be just as important as locking your house when you leave for the weekend. If you haven't already, enable automatic updates if your platform allows it (or ask your developer), and update any plugin, modules, etc as soon as possible. We recommend hiring someone, or utilizing a paid-for service to maintain updates as well - if your developer offers this service, take them up on it - plus if anything ever does happen, they will be there to help get you back up and running as soon as possible.

If it's too late and you believe your site is compromised; feel free to reach out to us - we deal in number of content management and e-commerce platforms; and if we can't help you, we'll point you in the right direction.

In today's web-based world, it is pertinent you keep all of your software as up to date as possible. For further reading, and some info on the most-hacked plugins and platforms, we recommend reading Scuri's 2016 Q1 Report.

 

Abstractions Pittsburgh

30 August, 2016

The O2DCA Development team was lucky enough to score some tickets to the first-ever Abstractions conference in downtown Pittsburgh earlier this month. It was the first event of it's kind here in Pittsburgh; bringing together designers, developers, project managers, security analysts, infrastructure specialists, and more into one 3-day event. At any one time there were 3-5 talks going on simultaneously, and our team split up to soak in as much as possible.

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Rooftop Outdoor Lounge at Abstractions
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A Talk at Abstractions 2016

We saw talks from Mark Sherman, Bradley Holt, Phil Dougherty, Richard Stallman, Brad Frost, and more that covered issues ranging from "Risks in the Software Supply Chain" to "Creating Conversational Interfaces" - as well getting to play with some real-life demonstrations. All-in-all it was a great three days where we were able to increase our breadth of knowledge, socialize with industry leaders, and sharpen our skills.

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Another Speaker at Abstractions 2016
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The mezzanine in between talks

I personally want to thank the event coordinators and Pittsburgh's Code & Supply Co for organizing such an impactful event here in our local tech community. The team and myself look forward to integrating what we've learned into upcoming projects, and creating even better, more efficient solutions.

Google Removes 'Mobile Friendly' Tag, and Introduces new Abusive Pop-Ups Detection

24 August, 2016

Google Announced Yesterday two important changes to it's mobile ranking algorithm. The first piece being that the 'Mobile-friendly' label will be removed from search results on mobile devices. Their logic being that over 85% of sites returned in their results are now mobile-friendly, and removing this de-clutters the interface. Keep in mind, however, that this 'mobile-friendly' flag will still be used in determining your sites ranking in returned results. You can still measure your site's mobile performance in your Google Webmaster Tools.

 
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Example of the Mobile-Friendly Label
 

The second announcement, and arguably the more important of the two, is that Google will begin penalizing mobile sites that use intrusive interstitials on January 10th 2017. What is an 'interstitials' you ask? According to Wikipedia, an Interstital is:

"A page displayed before or after expected content on the page"

Google expands this to include pop-advertisements, a well as a number of other intrusive 'alerts' you most likely have encountered while browsing the web from your phone. You can find examples of acceptable and unacceptable interstitials on Google's blog post if you would like to know more. If your site uses any of the techniques outlined, you have until the end of the year to correct the problem, or face being potentially ranked lower in search results returning your site or it's sub-pages.

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