Under attack

Some people will have noticed that some of the websites that I look after have been under attack this week. Naughty people are trying to gain control of a load of web servers and mine has been one of the many targeted.

What has been happening is that someone has had the great idea of trying to crack as many WordPress sites using a brute force attack. That means setting computers up to try to log in to a site automatically using a computer program to try as many different password combinations as possible. The same technique was a feature in the film War Games of some years ago – the computer in question being the one which controlled US Missiles. My computers have slightly less power.

People do this to gain control of servers so they can do naughty things like use them to send out lots of spam all at once. (Ever wondered where it came from?)

The consequence for my readers this week is that at some times, my websites have been showing up in various security systems (Norton, AVG) as infected and this meant that people couldn’t get access to the sites whilst this protection was in use.

I think I’ve nipped it all in the bud.

For anyone experiencing the same trouble, here’s some of what you can do to help.

  • Change the password combination on your server.
  • Change the password combination on your blog/WordPress installation.
  • Install a plugin like Anti-Malware and use it to scan and remove malicious code that has been injected into your site.
  • Install a plugin like Better WP Security and word through what it recommends. At the very least, make sure you don’t have your administrator account in the name “admin” and use the plugin to lock down your login screen – you can set it to ban an incoming IP address after 10 failed attempts to log in, for example.
  • Don’t panic.

For anyone who isn’t having the same trouble, consider doing the security things anyway.

Love Management – coping with change

The world does seem to be sharply divided sometimes between people who enjoy change and people who are frightened by it.

It is possible that things are not so black and white when you drill down into individual attitudes. Some of us may embrace change sometimes and be threatened by it at others. However, at any given moment, those on either side of a controversy generally seem to be divided by their attitude to change.

I like managing change – it is one of the things that I’ve learned I can offer a congregation. Though there are many things that I’m not good at, being in the thick of things when change is in the air is something that I quite enjoy and I particularly enjoy helping to manage it as best as can happen.

Generally speaking, I think that people cope better with change if they have as good an idea of what is coming as they can have and if feedback mechanisms are in place which will allow the change process to be modified and tweeked along the way. People like to be involved. The more they care about something, the more they want to be involved in decision making. The more they love something, the greater their potential value in making change stick and equally the more obstreperous they will become if they feel that no notice has been taken of their opinions.

Now, along comes Facebook this week with a new design of its basic page – the page that people look at for news about loads of people they are connected to. It was just imposed. No option, the whole Facebook world (and it is the equivalent of something like the third biggest country in the world right now) just had the change imposed without any apparent consultation.

Obvious consequence then occurs. Millions of people up in arms about “their” Facebook being changed, despite the fact that they pay nothing for this service and are not obligated to use it.

They love it, you see, and Facebook doesn’t know how to manage that love.

If you think about the changes they have made to their home page, it makes some kind of sense – they’ve got some very clever programmers to try to deal with how to cope with ever increasing amounts of information which the site is generating. It was one thing to keep up with the information flow when one had 60 contacts on it, but if you have 600, it can be overwhelming. They are trying to help people to get to the information they want most of all and have invented an algorithm to help us do it.

They are probably already working on algorithms for this which people can tweek. However, such things have not been invented yet. This form of information management is cutting edge. It has never been done before.
It isn’t the information management they have got wrong. It is the love management. How do you consult 250 million 750 million people about something that they love dearly and use all the time?

No-one in the world knows how to do such a thing yet, least of all Facebook.

Want to manage change? Think of it as managing the love.

Churches? Go figure.