Daily Buzz: WordPress’ Big Spam Problem

Black-hat marketers are taking advantage of the weaknesses in WordPress to inject links into old content on numerous sites. Also: why you should cultivate a curious team.

Using a site built on WordPress? Make sure you’re keeping security in mind—because your content might be in danger of a spam attack.

A recent BuzzFeed News article describes how networks of hackers are attacking sites large and small—including of political figures and celebrities—in an effort to promote content for a maximum position in Google.

“Websites of all types and sizes, and especially those that use the open-source version of WordPress, are hacked to inject links to manipulate search engine results,” authors Craig Silverman and Dean Sterling Jones write.

Often, these black-hat exploits take advantage of WordPress’ wide use and common design to break into sites and inject links into old content. Speaking to the authors, Dan Walmsley of the first-party WordPress security tool Jetpack noted that the platform’s high popularity was a key factor in encouraging the exploits.

“WordPress has world-class SEO built in to the platform and [is] extensible via plugins, which of course is one reason that it’s so successful, but also makes it an attractive target for link farming and other forms of SEO arbitrage,” Walmsley told the outlet.

If you’re using a site based on WordPress, keeping it up to date and using highly secure passwords is imperative, while alternative content management approaches such as JAMstack could help mitigate such security concerns in the future.

The Case for Building a Curious Team

If you want to build a successful team, build it around curious people, argues meeting designer and facilitator Adrian Segar on Conferences That Work, because those who are inquisitive are often better equipped to handle tough work problems.

“People who can effectively work on wicked problems—problems that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize are in high demand,” he says. “That’s because such problems involve high stakes, and significant organizational or societal consequences. They don’t succumb to the standard problem solving methods we’ve used for millennia.”

Other Links of Note

Not that you need the prompt, but … a case for wearing ugly holiday sweaters at the office this Friday, from Inc.

Looking for conference design inspiration? BizBash shares how to incorporate Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year, Classic Blue.

“Per my last email” doesn’t encourage a response to your follow-up emails. Fast Company outlines the tone and phrasing more likely to get a reply.

(OrnRin/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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