Not Your Usual WordPress Themes Roundup

published on March 27, 2014

Multipurpose WordPress Themes are great for creating all types of websites but sometimes it’s more convenient and it saves a lot of time to use a ready-made theme that’s specific to your website requirements. Here are a few WordPress themes that are more than just your usual WordPress theme designs. Check them out:

Joglo – Woocommerce Real Estate Theme

Joglo Premium WordPress Theme is a modern real estate theme especially built for the real estate business. This WooCommerce enabled premium theme makes it easy to run an online realty company that can handle transactions like offering property for sale or home/apartment renting service. It has a sleek and dynamic design packed with features and functions like: Advanced Search where customers can easily browse any property filtered according to price, location, type or some other category or tag; Agents page listing agents names, description, and contact information; Responsive and custom layout; Property page with a contact form; and, Property detail page with map

Advocator: Professional Nonprofit Organizations

Advocator Premium WordPress Theme is primarily designed for non-profit, charity, organization, or advocacy related websites that aim to be interactive with their audience. This theme boasts of professional level accessibility and performance having been built using the Foundation 5 framework by Zurb. Key features include: audience can engage with you on mobile devices with ease, you can accept donations seamlessly, you can add Events for your organization, you can collect emails using Mailchimp, and if you’re a developer, you can customize super fast and efficiently.

Frisieur – WordPress Theme for Hairdressers

Frisieur Premium WordPress Theme is a fully responsive theme designed for hairdressers, hair salons, stylists, makeup artists, and similar professionals you need to set appointments with. This theme includes features and functions like: Working Appointment form, Approximate time with timepicker (compatible with two time types), Opening hours table, Google Map with geolocalization, and Working Contact Form, – elements necessary to booking clients online.

Pump – Responsive Wedding & Multi-purpose Theme

Pump Premium WordPress Theme is a Wedding Event & Multipurpose WordPress Theme all rolled into one. This super simple and yet fully functional responsive theme has endless possibilities not only for Weddings and events but even for business, corporate, or portfolio applications. This theme can grow with its users and convert into something else and adjust as the couple’s needs and interests evolve. It is also WooCommerce, BuddyPress, bbPress, and WPML ready.

WooCommerce Supermarket Theme – GoMarket

Woocommerce GoMarket Premium WordPress is a complete shopping solution for eCommerce owners. This theme includes 6 pre-designed stores making it easy to set up the store of your dreams. It features a
combination of Vertical Menu and Main Mega Menu to help customers navigate through the site easily.


Opt In Plugins for WordPress

published on March 21, 2014

Placing a strategic call to action on your website such as subscribe, register, download, purchase, etc. can make a difference in your conversion statistics. Make it easy for your audience to perform the CTAs you want them to with these opt in plugins for WordPress.

Magic Action Box

Magic Action Box is an easy to use but powerful lead generation plugin that lets you create a focused and high converting feature box in minutes. It let’s you display professional looking opt-in forms and feature boxes in your WordPress site. This plugin makes it easy to create powerful calls to actions and helps users to focus on one thing while presenting the CTAs in sleek professional looking action boxes without the need of a designer. This plugin also integrates with Gravity Forms to build complex, powerful and beautiful contact forms in just minutes.

OptinSkin

OptinSkin allows you to add eye-catching opt-in forms and social share boxes to your blog easily. One great feature of this plugin is the ability to split-test all the elements of your opt-in form (buttons, color, text, covers, images, etc. to find out which one visitors respond to the most. Another feature worth noting is the the Fade feature which allows the form to fade into your content – a great way to address ad blindness. This plugin also works with all major email marketing services and easily integrates with any of them. You also have the option to earn through your opt-in box by enabling an (optional) affiliate link. OptinSkin can be used on multiple websites you own without purchasing additinal copies.

Email Pickup

Email Pickup allow you create simple and powerful landing pages with email capture form. This is handy when you promote your products, for “Coming soon” pages, and for creating multiple subscribers lists for your newsletters. You can easily add forms to pages and posts using a special button or using a shortcode. This plugin also integrates with INinbox.

WangGuard

WangGuard protects your registration page against sploggers, spam users and unwanted users from gaining access to your website’s resources without the use of complicated captcha. This plugin cleans your database from unwanted users from within the Users panel. This plugin protects the standard WordPress, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress and bbPress 2.0 registration forms. WangGuard is fully compatible with Standard WordPress (non-multisite), WordPress MU, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress (multisite and non-multisite), bbPress 2.0, and plugins like WooCommerce.

Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter plugin gives you the option to send HTML Mails/Newsletters to registered users, commenters, subscribers, and users who contact you. This plugin gives you several options to: setup an email subscription box, send a newsletter to subscribers, add an unsubscribe link in the newsletter, export or import email addresses, send an auto email to new subscribers, and receive admin email notification for every new subscriber who joins.

Hybrid Connect

Hybrid Connect is a powerful plugin that allows you to create and customize your own opt-in form, display it strategically on your website (sidebar, footer, widget, slide-in, squeeze page, pop up forms, video, etc.), and improve your conversions by testing the elements in your opt-in form to produce the best results. Hybrid Connect is easy to use and requires absolutely no technical knowledge or coding skills. Hybrid Connect also features the easiest and most highly customizable opt-in form builder – the Hybrid Connect form builder – to help you create opt-in forms that match your website’s style without any coding knowledge required. This plugin also supports all major auto responder services.


3 Marketing Lessons the Sochi 2014 Olympics Can Teach You

published on March 19, 2014

Ambush marketing occurs when companies take advantage of major events to advertise their products without paying a sponsorship fee, as BrandonGaille.com explains. At the Sochi 2014 Olympics, this advertising strategy was a reoccurring trend. Before you decide if ambush marketing is for you, keep in mind that the usage of it is not condoned. Consider instead how you can use this tactic as inspiration when planning more ethical ways to advertise your company.

Zippo

Who could forget this ambush marketing fiasco? When the torch was blown out by the wind during the Olympics Torch Relay, Zippo conveniently came to the rescue and relit the torch with one of its own lighters. According to Marketing Week, the lighter company made headlines with this carefully planned stroke of luck that was used to improve brand recognition. Zippo managed to stay in the minds of viewers by choosing the olympic’s highlight event to make an appearance.

The Good Guy Way

Being at the right place at the right time could do wonders for your company’s visibility. You can take advantage of this slim possibility by upping your chances. Attend trade show events, get involved with your community, or partner with a charitable organization. Finally, when an opportunity comes by to increase your brand’s awareness, snatch it, but in a respectful way!

Subway

The promoter of “eating fresh” just couldn’t resist the temptation of ambush marketing. Subway’s 30-second plan consisted of a TV ad, Torah Bright and some heavy Sochi Olympic Games association, according to Business Week. Had they been an official sponsor, no one would have blinked an eye. Unfortunately for Subway, mentioning the Olympics in advertising campaigns is a major faux pas if you haven’t paid for the privilege. Sports Business Daily explains, Subway’s deliberate strategy probably came as an unwelcome surprise to McDonald’s, who paid close to $200 million for an eight-year, four Olympics sponsorship deal.

The Good Guy Way

Create associations without stepping on competitor’s toes. As a business owner you’re probably familiar with how the usage of color can influence your brand image. Take this knowledge a step further and make a connection with consumers through their feelings. A word to the wise, be careful not to overdo it with the sadness. You want your viewer to get emotionally attached to you and buy your product without crying his or her eyes out at the sight of your logo.

Starbucks

The well known Starbucks-branded cups began appearing at the Games after a Starbucks was installed in an NBC facility. It is unclear if Starbucks meant this to be an ambush, nevertheless, official sponsors weren’t too thrilled about seeing the green mermaid logo among the crowds. Non-sponsors aren’t allowed to represent their brand at the Sochi Olympics, but since the Starbucks facility was in the Olympics media center, this made it difficult to accuse Starbucks of playing the ambush marketing card.

The Good Guy Way

There’s a reason why restaurant owners choose to be located inside businesses like malls and other major retail outlets. Having an established clientele through another unrelated business is a major convenience for companies that are just starting out. Even if you don’t own a restaurant, you can creatively place your brand in high traffic areas. Banner stands and displays can be easy to strategically place. This should guarantee views by the highest number of people possible. A successful display will encourage impulse sales and customer curiosity.


7 Bestselling Unusual Themes for WordPress

published on March 19, 2014

There are some things that are truly unique and outstanding that they can’t help but stand out and rise to the top of the heap. Here are some of the best selling WordPress themes that owe their popularity to a unique niche that they fill.

X Theme

Dubbed as Themeforest’s most popular new product, this theme presents itself as the ultimate WordPress theme. The claim’s validity is backed by real world results and real time feedback from its satisfied users who have experienced the endless customization options available to its owners. While it offers a lot to those who want to dabble into the “nuts and bolts” of the theme, X also offers strong solutions for those who just want to get something up and running on their sites in no time. The theme has 3 predefined stacks that can be easily tweaked to give newbies and non-techies a “made by a professional” look for their websites. X offers features that have set the standard and raised the bar as far as WordPress themes go. Not surprising considering the experts who have given their inputs in the development of the theme not to mention the developer’s open ears to customer feedback. It is also not surprising that many already consider this as the last WordPress theme they will ever need.

Directory

This unique theme allows you to easily set-up an online directory portal listing categorized items of any type. You can have a directory of shops, websites, companies and more. This may be accomplished conveniently with from a frontend like admin panel giving you a more user friendly set-up experience. Visitors will find Directory a convenient reference resource as it delivers information in a concise, convenient manner. Entries are displayed as pins on a google map of the locale of interest. Alternatively visitors may search from a search box or browse off a category of entries. Directory comes with a lot of ad spaces so you can cash in on the traffic your content generates. This theme is integrated with Paypal so administering payments from advertisers and listed establishments isn’t a hassle. With more than 6000 satisfied users, Directory is considered the Best selling directory portal theme on themeforest.

Gymbase

This theme has been around for quite a while but remains a bestseller in its own right because of its special qualities. First and foremost it’s a Gym theme – unique and not like the rest. It addresses a viable niche market – the health and fitness market – where gym owners can easily create a website that can service players in this industry. Some of the useful features the theme has include: a timetable plugin included that allows members and visitors to plan the classes they will attend, Gymbase also displays the pricing for classes, features that allow updates for its members regarding upcoming classes, an easy to use admin panel equipped with a color picker to help you create your own custom look, and everything else you need to run a health and fitness website.

Academy

Designed to be a learning management solution for educational or training institutions to maximize the power and reach of the internet, Academy enables you to sell and share knowledge online. This theme gives you the platform to deliver classes and lessons to interested parties. Academy allows you to upload media content and documents as well as to encode quizzes and tests to check for your subscribers competency. You are also able to check the progress of your students, monitor the courses they take, as well as, administer payments. This theme is integrated with WooCommerce. Academy is an invaluable tool especially today, as more and more people turn to e-learning as a means of acquiring new skills and education.

Fundify

Fundify is the first WordPress theme designed for crowdfunding. This enables you to have a websites in the likes of Indiegogo and Kickstarter where parties can setup campaigns to raise funds for causes they support. Fundify allows you to setup campaigns for a fixed amount of money where supporters are only billed if the minimum target amount of the campaign is reached. Alternatively, the theme also enables flexible campaigns where whatever amount pledged is collected. Fundify also allows you to administer rewards to those who support your causes. The theme integrates with Paypal and easy digital downloads which makes it convenient for supporters to finance causes and advocacies that appeal to them.

Knowhow

With knowledge and information being an important commodity nowadays, it is not surprising to find a knowledge base theme in this list. What makes Knowhow special is that it enables you to setup your own knowledge base with ease and convenience while maintaining the privacy and control of information not available on public Wikis. You can list your content in the form of an FAQ. Knowhow also allows users to search by question or by topic which makes searching more convenient. Not your ordinary WordPress theme.

Jobify

Globalization and the internet have made the job market more competitive. Jobseekers have a need to display their resumes online so they can get the best jobs available. In a similar fashion, employers need to get the best talent available. Jobify is a job exchange solution used by top companies like dropbox to acquire the best talent globally. Employers can subscribe to your site for posting privileges. Jobseekers can post their resumes in response to job postings. This theme integrates with WooCommerce and Contact forms plugins to give you the best in payment and input management.


Are You Ready For WordPress 3.9?

published on March 18, 2014

Andrew Nacin, lead developer of the WordPress Web Publishing Platform, recently announced the release of the first beta of WordPress 3.9 and it is available for testing in anticipation of its release in April 2014. Here are some of the goodies added:

  • Widget Management -For those of you who have discovered the ease and beauty of the WordPress Customizer, you are in for a treat. WordPress 3.9 introduces the Widget Customizer. This new features allows you to edit, rearrange, and even add new widgets LIVE in the preview pane. This feature can be activated using the Widget Customizer plugin (still currently being developed). This plugin allows you to edit widgets and preview changes in the Theme Customizer, with a control for each widget form in sections added for each sidebar rendered in the preview. No more blind editing.
  • Updated TinyMCE – the software powering the visual editor, to the latest version. Expect cleaner markup and the new paste handling — if you paste in a block of text from Microsoft Word, for example, it will no longer come out terrible. This one is exciting.
  • Galleries now receive a live preview in the editor. Upload some photos and insert a gallery to see this in action
  • Drag-and-drop images directly onto the editor to upload them.
  • Improved editing images in post. Easier to make changes to an image (edit, crop, rotate) after you insert it into a post.
  • WP 3.8?s beautiful new theme browsing experience brought to the theme installer.
  • New audio/video playlists.

Just a few more weeks and this version will be out. If you can’t wait that long, sign up to be a tester and get a headstart from the rest. You can download the beta version for free on the WordPress dev site. Happy testing!



Nick Roach’s Elegant Themes Review

published on March 11, 2014

Elegant Themes - Updated Review for 2014

Updated: March 11, 2014 – 2014 is nearing the middle of the year, and now is a good time to update one of our most popular articles here on Blogging Experiment. For several years we have been singing the praises of Elegant Themes, and 2014 is shaping up to be no different. In a day and age where companies and websites come and go, Elegant Themes has not only stood the test of time, they have continued to innovate by creating massive value for their over 250,000 customers! In the following article, we’d like to give you a detailed overview of just why we call Elegant Themes the Best Deal in WordPress!

After all, having the right WordPress Theme is crucial to your websites’ success. It’s kind of like the study that showed how people looking to buy a home can make up their mind within 8 seconds of walking in the door whether they like it or not – by not giving your visitors the right first impression (your design) – you’re literally inviting them to hit the back button.

The Dilemma

As a blogger your focus should be on content. Blog design is important, but when you think about it, do people go to Craigslist because it looks pretty? Absolutely not. They use it because they’re the best in the field.

Since we’re not all Craigslists, we must merge the design and content aspects together in as seamless a manner as possible. You want to have a nice looking design, but you most likely are not strong in design itself (much less coding that pretty design). You want a unique, impressive look that conveys professionalism and passion about your craft, but you’re probably not an expert at usability (how “usuable” your site is to visitors). And finally, you want to do all this in the cheapest, most cost effictive way possible (nothing wrong with that).

Elegant Themes

Have you ever spent any length of time browsing around countless free wordpress theme sites only to be left feeling unsatisfied? Does it seem like most of the free themes are … well … free for a reason? Where are all the best wordpress themes? After going through these motions for a period of time, I decided to take a look at some premium wordpress themes to see if they were really that much better than the free ones. Shortly thereafter, I discovered Nick Roach’s Elegant Themes, and that changed everything for me.

I knew I could hire a web designer to create a nice looking website as I’ve done countless times in the past. But at $800 to $3500/pop, designers can be expensive. I was interested in finding a nice looking design that I could learn to tweak and modify myself to make it more personalized and customized to my liking.

As a website and blog developer, I am frequently developing new sites, and aside from the content itself, I want each design to be unique and professional. Enter ElegantThemes.

Elegant Themes Premium WordPress Theme Club

Forget $200 to $500 like many other premium theme clubs, for $69…YES, $69 – members get unlimited access and unlimited use to all of Nicks’ premium WordPress Themes. To date there are 80+ elegant WordPress Themes.

I’m going to get out of the way and let Nick’s design speak for itself. As you will see, these are top notch designs that would normally run you several thousand dollars a piece (I’ve researched hiring a good WordPress theme designer, and that is the going rate – typically the floor of their going rate).

Without further ado, here are some of the premium WordPress themes from Elegant Themes:


Nexus WordPress Theme

Blogex image_nexus

Nexus Features:

  • Magazine style
  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited color schemes
  • Secure and valid code
  • Complete localization
  • Browser compatibility
  • Perpetual updates
  • Unparalleled support
  • ADVANCED: ePanel theme options
  • ADVANCED: shortcode collection
  • ADVANCED: page templates

Example Site(s) using the Nexus Theme (Showcase):

More Information On Nexus From Elegant Themes:

Demo Nexus

 

Vertex WordPress Theme

Blogex image_vertex

Vertex Features:

  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited color schemes
  • Secure and valid code
  • Complete localization
  • Browser compatibility
  • Perpetual updates
  • Unparalleled support
  • ADVANCED: ePanel theme options
  • ADVANCED: shortcode collection
  • ADVANCED: page templates

Example Site(s) using the Vertex Theme (Showcase):

  • Email us if you are using the Vertex Theme, and we’ll list you here.

More Information On Vertex From Elegant Themes:

Demo Vertex

 

Fable WordPress Theme

Blogex image_fable

Fable Features:

  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited color schemes
  • Secure and valid code
  • Complete localization
  • Browser compatibility
  • Perpetual updates
  • Unparalleled support
  • ADVANCED: ePanel theme options
  • ADVANCED: shortcode collection
  • ADVANCED: page templates

Example Site(s) using the Fable Theme (Showcase):

  • Email us if you are using the Fable Theme, and we’ll list you here.

More Information On Fable From Elegant Themes:

Demo Fable

 

Foxy WordPress Theme

Blogex image_foxy

Foxy Features:

  • eCommerce
  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited color schemes
  • Secure and valid code
  • Complete localization
  • Browser compatibility
  • Perpetual updates
  • Unparalleled support
  • ADVANCED: ePanel theme options
  • ADVANCED: shortcode collection
  • ADVANCED: page templates

Example Site(s) using the Foxy Theme (Showcase):

  • Email us if you are using the Foxy Theme, and we’ll list you here.

More Information On Foxy From Elegant Themes:

Demo Foxy

 

Explorable WordPress Theme

Blogex image_explorable

Explorable Features:

  • Location based directory
  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited color schemes
  • Secure and valid code
  • Complete localization
  • Browser compatibility
  • Perpetual updates
  • Unparalleled support
  • ADVANCED: ePanel theme options
  • ADVANCED: shortcode collection
  • ADVANCED: page templates

Example Site(s) using the Explorable Theme (Showcase):

  • Email us if you are using the Explorable Theme, and we’ll list you here.

More Information On Explorable From Elegant Themes:

Demo Explorable

 

StyleShop WordPress Theme

Blogex image_styleshop

StyleShop Features:

  • eCommerce
  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited color schemes
  • Secure and valid code
  • Complete localization
  • Browser compatibility
  • Perpetual updates
  • Unparalleled support
  • ADVANCED: ePanel theme options
  • ADVANCED: shortcode collection
  • ADVANCED: page templates

Example Site(s) using the StyleShop Theme (Showcase):

  • Email us if you are using the StyleShop Theme, and we’ll list you here.

More Information On StyleShop From Elegant Themes:

Demo StyleShop

 

Fusion WordPress Theme

Fusion Theme from ElegantThemes.com

Fusion Features:

  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited color schemes
  • Secure and valid code
  • Complete localization
  • Browser compatibility
  • Perpetual updates
  • Unparalleled support
  • ADVANCED: ePanel theme options
  • ADVANCED: shortcode collection
  • ADVANCED: page templates

Example Site(s) using the Fusion Theme (Showcase):

  • Email us if you are using the Fusion Theme, and we’ll list you here.

More Information On Fusion From Elegant Themes:

(more…)


Do WordPress Version Updates Scare You?

published on March 11, 2014

WordPress updates are always something to look forward to. The aggressive approach to improving and upgrading probably the most popular and widest used CMS platform on the internet has made way for more beautiful and easy to manage websites, filled with functions and features more appropriate for today’s internet user. It’s definitely Kubrick and beyond already.

Today, updating your WordPress version is much simpler. It is as easy as clicking a mouse, as it is conveniently done in the confines of your own back end admin panel. Once you see the “There is a new WordPress version available.” Simply click the download or update button and Voila! Update done. However, updates affect different websites in different ways. The possibility that it may break your site exists especially if a lot of customization and coding – plugins, widgets, scripts, and all – has been done to it. Now if you are really into testing and development and really want to push the limits of what abuse WordPress can take, that’s another story. But for the most part, the average WordPress website owner simply wants something that works and will not hinder his business.

There are many opportunities for providing web clients with straight out of the box websites using WordPress themes. This ecosystem has opened up avenues to many WordPress professionals, whether theme developers or service providers, to earn a decent living from it. For the most part, business owners, especially established ones, want to focus on growing their business rather than tinkering with their websites. They will pay professionals to do that and most of the time they want someone to maintain their websites for them. Updates and all.

But what if you are just an average WordPress user who has some but not a lot of WordPress know how? What if you fancy this latest WordPress theme or cool plugin everybody’s raving about and install it? Then suddenly, your website goes haywire because apparently it’s incompatible with the WordPress version you currently have installed.

Here are some tips and tools you can use to make sure you can restore, rebuild, and backup your site before you do any updates.

  • Backup your site before doing any major changes. UpdraftPlus is a quality WordPress plugin that simplifies backups (and restoration). You can backup into the cloud (Amazon S3 (or compatible), Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV and email) and restore with a single click. You can also assign separate schedules for files and database.
  • No time? Try automatic backup with BackWPup Free to save your complete installation including /wp-content/ and push them to an external Backup Service, like Dropbox, S3, FTP and many more, see list below. With a single backup .zip file you are able to easily restore an installation.
  • Take your time. Sometimes the Update Now message on your dashboard can be a little nagging and pressure you into clicking the update button right away. Take time to go through the version numbers, change logs, the new features, compatibility, and the feedback of the community. Don’t be too quick to pull the trigger as it might save you from a lot of headache later on.
  • Disable plugins manually if necessary as some of them might not be compatible with the version you are updating to. This will help you avoid messages or denied access to your site if ever. You can always manually restore these plugins one by one to make sure each one works properly.
  • You may also want to choose to disable update notifications just in case using plugins like Disable All WordPress Updates or No Update Nag. This might come in handy for webmasters to implement so as to avoid clients from updating their WordPress websites by mistake.

Updates don’t have to be scary as long as you can confidently and easily restore your site to its former state before the update. Make sure these backup measures are in place for your peace of mind.


The Influence of Mobile Blogging & E-Commerce: Deterring Security Threats

published on March 10, 2014

Tablets and smartphones are like the digital gateways to a cyber universe where people share information and consumers engage with online businesses. With the single swipe of a tablet and click on a smartphone, you can connect with others, publish content and offer products and services. Digital spaces are the online marketplaces for exchanging products, services, and information, while mobile devices are the keys that provide the 24/7 access. Mobile devices haven’t just changed how we communicate. These technologies have revolutionized how we consume content and engage in commerce.

Mobile-Dependent World

More than 1.2 billion people access the Web from their mobile devices and consume an average of 1.8 hours a day of media from those mobile devices, according to an infographic by AF-Studio.pl and Super Monitoring. Among these mobile users, 80 percent of consumers planned to shop online within the year, as of October 2013. The average American also spends about two hours a day on a mobile device, which equates to about 2,387 days in a lifetime. This means the average person will spend nearly 6.5 years on their iPhone or iPad throughout their life (possibly reading your blog or shopping on your site).

For bloggers and online business owners who want to attract audiences and customers, content needs to be mobile—easily accessible, readily available, and safe. Not only does your blog or e-commerce site need to be mobile-friendly, they need to be free of various security vulnerabilities and risks.

Blogging Security Threats

Evernote’s Pocket saves inspirational articles and videos to your tablet for postponed reading. OneNote serves as a writer’s digital notebook for note taking and adding pictures using your phone. The WordPress app edits and publishes blog posts—all from your tablet or laptop that never leaves your side. Bloggers can research, write, post, and share content from anywhere, anytime, and on any type of mobile device. While using the Internet or sharing information on the Web in a public space, you’re always open to security threats. Most obviously, your mobile device can be lost and stolen, exposing your personal content and sensitive information. Security technology company Lookout.com further breaks down mobile security threats into application, Web services and network risks.

  • Downloading a fraudulent app could infect your mobile device with malware, spyware and vulnerable apps. Malware is malicious software that can make unauthorized charges and send unsolicited messages. Spyware steals private data, such as user location and browser history, for identity theft and fraud. Flawed apps can also provide vulnerabilities for an attacker to obtain sensitive information or perform harmful actions.
  • With an Internet connection, your mobile device is susceptible to Web-based threats. A phishing scam is when an email, text or Facebook message includes a fake link to a website to trick you into providing a password or account info. Drive-by downloads will automatically download an application from a Web page, with or without your permission. Unsafe mobile Web browsers can also trigger a browser exploit that installs malicious software or performs harmful actions.
  • Cellular and local wireless networks, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, can be vulnerable to network exploits and Wi-Fi sniffing. An insecure mobile operating system can encounter a network exploit that installs malware. Wi-Fi sniffing is when unencrypted data is sent across the network. A hacker can read this data and use it to their advantage.

Protect your mobile devices from these threats with the following security basics:

  • Never install an app from an unknown source. Disable any “unknown sources” box on your phone to prevent an inadvertent destructive installation.
  • Download apps from Google Play and iTunes. Check ratings, reviews, permissions, updates, and the number of downloads.
  • Monitor identity theft threats. A 2013 Identity Fraud Report by Javelin Strategy & Research found that in 2012, there was an identity theft victim every three seconds in the U.S. (a total of 12.6 million consumers), as Pinow published. Visit secure websites that have an “https://” in the address bar.
  • Be aware of imposter websites and cautious while sharing valuable information. Ensure any data you send is encrypted, and furthermore, monitor your personal information with a reliable identity theft protection service.
  • Ignore unrecognizable emails, texts and messages with links that are scams in disguise.
  • Encrypt your data backups and file syncing to prevent access from third parties.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) while using public Wi-Fi for safe data transmitting.
  • Install an anti-malware and virus protection solution. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile is an Android mobile security app that can detect and eliminate malware, scan for security vulnerabilities, and protect personal data from unauthorized access.

E-commerce Security Threats

Sure, e-commerce sites don’t experience the threat of shoplifting, but online merchants do experience threats of security breaches and data leakages. Whether you run a blog or online business, security risks can dismantle your livelihood. Ilia Kolochenko, CEO at High-Tech Bridge and Help Net Security contributor, identifies three types of attacks: targeted, semi-targeted and untargeted attacks.

  • In a targeted attack, a hacker’s main objective is your e-commerce site and to break into your technical infrastructure.
  • In a semi-targeted attack, you’re one of many vulnerable victims whose Web server is shared by the same host. Hackers are efficient, “compromising the weakest link in the security perimeter,” explains Kolochenko on Net-Security.org. Hackers will even break into a user account on your site and collect credentials in plaintext, subsequently, compromising your security. Thereafter, a hacker could expose confidential customer information and delete databases.
  • In an untargeted attack, a hacker focuses on victims in large quantities. They troll around, crawling Google bots to find Web application software that’s outdated or weak. While hacking into your website and stealing your databases, a hacker may also infect your site with malware.

Explore your website’s security measures to see if there are loopholes and vulnerabilities. Kolochenko recommends the following hacking prevention tips:

  • Replace default or weak passwords with strong and unique passwords that provide trustworthy access to admin panels.
  • Use an updated, open source CMS (e.g. Joomla, WordPress or osCommerce), and check its modules and plugins.
  • Verify any third-party customized codes.
  • Limit access to passwords, site controls and file permissions.
  • Select a reputable and highly qualified Web hosting service with excellent client support and a backup plan.
  • Back up your website and update software. Backing up your website can help with a security investigation if you do get hacked.
  • Contact your Web host and customers if your site gets attacked. Take fast action to repair vulnerabilities and weaknesses.