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April 2013

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Internet attacks are in progress right now...
by Charles Oropallo

We've been extremely busy over the past year and haven't gotten our newsletter out as often as we'd have liked to. We are sending this particular one out to let you know about ongoing attacks on the Internet, the most recent of which have been targeting in particular what are called WordPress sites. We want to explain what this means, what were doing about it to keep your site safe, and what you can do to ensure the same. If you do not know whether you have a WordPress site or not, then the odds are you probably do not have one - or it is maintained by us and we automatically have been doing what's necessary to keep it as safe as possible.

During the past month, many Internet users around the world have reported numerous email and web site problems in varying degrees. CharlesWorks has been handling better than 2,500 web sites served by nearly 50 web servers on varying platforms. In past months we began noticing unusually high incoming traffic across our servers. We determined that the intense traffic was caused by automated programs that were attempting to break in to our web clients' WordPress sites. Such intense traffic demands had the effect of slowing down many of our Windows and Linux servers due to all of the extra traffic. That equated to many calls from our clients about slowdowns and glitches concerning their email and web sites.

Note that this attack was never limited to only CharlesWorks, but it has been targeting WordPress and other users worldwide, across many hosting companies, on a planet wide scale.

On servers that we could do so, we began blocking all attempted connections to some files that were being targeted. This block stopped the malicious connections from breaking in, but, unfortunately, also stopped legitimate users from logging in to manage their WordPress sites as well. This was a temporary, but necessary solution put in place pending a remedy for this situation.

A new fix has been rolled out on many of our servers which blocks the malicious connections, yet allows users to access their site to make updates. This means that if you have a WordPress site, you should now be able to login and make changes. However, once you log in, we recommend that if you have an easy password, that you change it to something very strong (e.g., a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and even special characters like #, $, and &). If you don't know how to change your password, you can find instructions on how to change your password here:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Resetting_Your_Password

We are still keeping a close and active eye on these attacks, as they seem to be very dynamic and will undoubtedly attempt to change their approach to counter implemented defenses. So, you may notice some quirks and fluctuations with your WordPress site until either the attacks have been completely blocked, or they stop altogether.

We thank you for working with us through this. We appreciate your patience and want you to know that thousands of companies world wide like ours are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issues surrounding this.

About Charles

In November 1977, Charles Oropallo authored and implemented a Bulletin Board System (BBS) called Access-80. Such systems were the forerunners to much of what is in use today. It operated on a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I, Level II microcomputer. There were only a handful of such systems online for public use on the entire planet at that time. It provided personal messaging for local computer enthusiasts. It went online in East Greenbush, NY with a 300 baud modem and home brewed auto answering device. Relative speed and technological changes have been immense - today's dialup at its fastest speed is 53,000 bits per second compared to 300 then!

Access-80 was also concurrently placed online in Schenectady, NY. Then, in 1982, Charles moved from the Albany, NY area to Nashua, NH, and so did Access-80. Charles's original Nashua Access-80 setup is shown at http://Access-80.com. Before long Access-80 was concurrently online in Londonderry NH as well as Nashua. Access-80 remained online until 1987.

Charles founded CharlesWorks in June of 1998 in order to provide reliable and affordable hosting solutions. At that time he was only providing Internet connectivity for several personal and organizational websites at very low speed. Over time, Charles's desire to provide reliable (as well as still being affordable) Internet solutions moved CharlesWorks into more commercially oriented markets. Charles still helps individuals get personal sites on the web.


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