Archive Page 4 of 11



Beware the False Prophet!

Having recently doled out some advice on staying safe online I guess it was kind of inevitable that a “security situation” would come my way – one of our computers was infected a few days ago. But in case you’re wondering, the False Prophet I’m referring to is not me!

No, it’s a particularly insidious piece of malware which purports to be looking out for your best interests, in order to con you into installing it. I’m referring to a trojan called “Antivirus 2009″ (also known as AV 2009) which appears to propagate by infecting legitimate websites. Here’s what Google Safe Browsing has to say about it.

antivirus 2009 malware
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WordPress.com statistics plugin

I always recommend using self-hosted WordPress instead of the free version, as you end up having much more control over your site. However, one area in which I’ve always felt a bit cheated with WordPress.org sites is the lack of built-in stats monitoring. I guess this is why most bloggers end up using sites like Google Analytics to keep track of things – myself included.

There are also third-party WordPress plugins available which provide some of this functionality – I wrote about one such statistics plugin a few months back. But a couple of days ago I stumbled across another plugin – that provides the bona fide WordPress.com stats within a WordPress.org blog! Now, this is not a new plugin – it’s been around for a couple of years already by the looks of it – but it’s the first I’d heard of it.
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How to stay safe online

A couple of days ago I had the privilege of speaking to a group of writing students about the joys of blogging. Whilst many of them had never previously come across the concept of blogging and were intrigued by it, it didn’t take long for the question of online safety to come up. I must confess I was initially somewhat taken aback by their concerns, as I personally don’t worry much about getting virused, hacked, or falling victim to an online scam.

But as I pondered the question I realised that the reason I’m pretty relaxed about this stuff now is that over the years I’ve learned how to avoid most of the common pitfalls and recognise and deal with potentially threatening situations when they arise. Here are my top tips for staying safe online:
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WordPress Translation plugin

Following on from my last post about translating your website, Dennis alerted me to the fact that there are WordPress plugins to do this too. Well, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that – I haven’t yet been able to think up a desirable bit of functionality that isn’t contained in a plugin – why should website translation be any different!

Sure enough, a quick search turned up several candidates. The Global Translator plugin looked the best, so I went right ahead and installed it – it’s those bunch of flags near the top of my sidebar.

country flags
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Translate your website

For years the USA has been the powerbase of the internet, dominating both in production and consumption of websites. But while north America is still the region with the highest internet penetration (a measure of internet usage per capita) at around 80%, for raw numbers of internet users, you now have to look no further than Asia, and China in particular. Not only that, but because of its already high penetration, north America doesn’t have much room for growth, whereas Asia, currently at only around 15% penetration, has huge potential for growth (statistics courtesy of Internet World Stats).

website translation
Image courtesy of Hamed Saber
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