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Protection from Critical WordPress XSS Vulnerability

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Earlier today a zero-day XSS vulnerability was discovered, and it appears to affect all versions of WordPress. This vulnerability resulted in a critical security update release and it is recommended to update your WordPress site immediately.

The CloudAccess.net Abuse Team learned of the vulnerability shortly after its release. Within 2 hours, our team had crafted security measures at the server level in an effort to thwart this particular attack vector. The action taken by our team will likely result in less infected sites on the CloudAccess.net network and ultimately less affected clients.

The CloudAccess.net Platform is built specifically for hosting WordPress and Joomla websites. The well-being of these sites is our top priority and we take these types of vulnerabilities very seriously. As the Joomla and WordPress communities continue to harden the applications, CloudAccess.net will continue to evaluate each application's security at the server level.

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What to Expect in Joomla! 3.4

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With the release of Joomla 3.4 just around the corner, you might be wondering what new features this release will bring. Well, wonder no more. I installed the Beta 2 version and took a look around. This blog contains a list of new features you can expect in the next version of Joomla. Please bear in mind that since 3.4 is still in beta testing, the final look and feel of these features may change for the stable release, but they shouldn’t change much.

Release Dates

First, let’s take a look at the release dates.

  • February 10, 2015 - 3.4 Release Candidate
  • February 17th, 2015 - 3.4 Stable Release

Beta 2 came out on February 3rd, and these release dates may change depending on the bugs that are found. In just a few days we’ll have a release candidate and, hopefully, a stable release a week after that.

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What you Need to Know About Joomla 2.5 End of Life and Upgrading to Joomla 3

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You may be aware that Joomla 2.5 has reached the end of life (EOL) stage in its release cycle. This blog contains some information about the history of the Joomla release cycle, a timeline for upgrading to Joomla 3 and links to tools you can use to help upgrade when you’re ready.

Joomla Release Cycle History

In the past, Joomla released minor and major releases, which they called short and long term releases. Joomla 2.5, for example, was a long term release, and the 1.6 and 1.7 versions were it's preceeding short term releases. When version 3 became available, Joomla adopted an improved release cycle ensuring longer support for major versions. There are no longer short term and long term releases. Instead, releases are referred to as being “supported”, “current”, “legacy” or “stable”. Learn more about the Joomla release and support cycle.

Millions of Joomla 2.5 Users

The Joomla Project will no longer release any official patches for Joomla 2.5. That being said, at the time of this post, there are currently millions of Joomla 2.5 sites on the web. This even includes a portion of the Joomla.org family of websites. For those reasons, we are confident that a patch would be created should any major issues arise in the immediate future. We would be willing to contribute to a patch which would be applied to all Joomla 2.5 sites on the CloudAccess.net Platform.

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Introducing CloudBase 3 - A Free Template for Joomla 3

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We’re proud to introduce CloudBase 3 - a free and versatile template with a contemporary design perfect for developing any type of Joomla 3 website. We created the CloudBase 3 after the overwhelming demand to a new version of the incredibly popular CloudBase 2 available for Joomla 2.5 sites. Since 2.5 is set to reach it’s end-of-life very soon, we figure that right now is the perfect time to release CloudBase 3.

Attend a Free CloudBase 3 Webinar

You’re invited to attend a free webinar to learn how to use over 60 customizable style options, a variety of module positions, the flexible template layout and much, much more!

     

When: Monday, January 5, 2015 - 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. EST

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Wicked Webmaster's Workshop: A Twisted Toolbox

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Whether you’re building sites for friends once in a while or generating an income, being organized and taking the time to understand all the tools available to you is worth it. This blog contains a few suggestions for creating your own webmaster’s toolbox. Many times, just like with Joomla and WordPress, you’ll only need a web browser because many useful applications are online and if you find the right mix of applications there will be more than enough features to get the job done.

Starting at Square One: Selecting a Web Browser

As you develop websites, it’s always best to conduct cross-browser testing, but chances are strong that you’ll settle on one browser where you do most of your work. Windows users typically start out with Internet Explorer and eventually move onto something else like Mozilla Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome. Mac users will find Safari included with the MacOS, and Linux users will usually find Mozilla Firefox with the default install. The web browser you use most often is up to you, so get something you are familiar and comfortable with.

Communication & Collaboration are Key

The next thing we should talk about is talking. Having a discussion about a project over the phone or in a meeting with the mandatory cup of coffee is great, but that won’t get you very far if you’re not taking notes and creating a tangible plan. The good news is that there are many collaboration tools (both commercial and noncommercial) that are web based and available through a mobile or desktop application.

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Free Domain Names & Special Offers from CloudAccess.net

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Free offers from CloudAccess.net just keep coming this month. We're excited to announce that through end of 2014 we’re offering free .org domain names, passing some incredible savings along to our clients. If you’re in the market for more of a fun domain name, we’re also offering discounted .rocks domain names. We’ve helped thousands of clients register domain names and we’d love to add your free .org or your discounted .rocks domain name to our network.

We’re proud to have worked with eNom, our parent domain name registrar, for several years now. Because we’ve had such a great relationship with them for so long, eNom is enabling us to make these exclusive offers to CloudAccess.net clients.

Register a Domain Name Now

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Introducing Free Hosting for Joomla and WordPress

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We’re excited to introduce FREE HOSTING for Joomla and WordPress! It’s simple: launch a FULL VERSION of Joomla or WordPress, build your website, and keep it online indefinitely for FREE. This blog explains why a free hosting option is ideal for open source web development tools like Joomla and WordPress and why we’re making this incredible offer.

A Bit of Background

In 2013 we submitted a proposal in response to an RFP to host joomla.com, a free, limited option for Joomla hosting. In this proposal we indicated that we were not in favor of offering a limited version of Joomla. When the contract was awarded to another vendor, we started working hard to turn our unique proposal into a reality. The result is a system where anyone can launch a free and fully functional Joomla or WordPress site and keep it online indefinitely.

Keeping Open Source Open

Many believe that the future of Joomla’s growth is to build a model similar to wordpress.com. In the joomla.com model, users will be able to launch a free version of Joomla without the ability to install 3rd party extensions or templates. We believe, in the spirit of open source, that people should be able to install their choice of extensions and templates. We also believe that limiting Joomla’s functionality is not in the best interest of the Joomla community. We appreciate the Joomla and WordPress communities and we realize that it’s the communities that add the most value when choosing an open source CMS. We truly hope that the joomla.com system encourages growth and awareness of Joomla, but we are fundamentally opposed to the concept.

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Understanding the IPv6 Rollout

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Internet Protocol is the set of rules that governs the exchange of information and the way traffic is routed on the web. Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is the next generation Internet communication protocol that provides an identification and location system for devices, computers and networks and will replace IPv4, the current protocol that has many limitations. This blog shines some light on IPv6 and explains the impact on Internet users and how the CloudAccess.net platform is IPv6 ready.

The Growth of the Internet and the Need for a New Protocol

Originally developed in the 1970s, IPv4 is a cornerstone of the Internet as we know it. It was developed long before anyone could really imagine all of the interconnected devices that we have today. IPv4 allows for approximately 4.3 billion unique IP addresses, which might sound like a lot and certainly was a lot in 1970s standards. Nobody in 1970, however, could have predicted that the Internet would be as popular as it is or that many of us would be walking around with high speed computers in our pockets. With close to 3 billion current Internet users, IPv4 presents some serious limitations.

Essentially, the biggest limitation is that IPv4 is running out of the 32 bit addresses that each computer or device is required to have. An example of a 32 bit IPv4 address:

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Introducing the CloudAccess.net API

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The CloudAccess.net API puts the power of our entire platform directly into the hands of developers. Using the API, your site visitors will be able to launch a custom application directly from your website. The API is ideal for any type of web service provider and can be easily integrated into any site. The best part is that you can expand the services that you offer, attract new clients and earn a recurring monthly revenue stream.

How the API Works

Let’s say you’re a developer and you have a perfectly designed application including a template or theme that displays each of your extensions or plug-ins including your image rotator, carousel, gallery and accordion. Your clients typically have to install an application, purchase your software, install it, enable it, configure it, test it and more. At best, this process is time-consuming and tedious.

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Site Sanitization: Cleaning up a Hacked Website

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We pride ourselves on having an extremely secure platform, but even the most secure hosting providers see hacked websites on a daily basis. Almost always, the goal of the hacker is to steal content, send spam, spread malware or conduct some type of phishing scam. Many times we’ll see a site administrator clean a site only for it to be hacked again a few days later, and then they come to us wanting to know why. We find that some additional steps that can secure a site and fend off attacks are often neglected. This blog explains why sites are hacked, steps for cleaning up a hacked site, and preventative measures that can be taken to secure the site moving forward.

Why sites get hacked

Vulnerable Extensions

There are several reasons a site can be hacked, but the culprit we identify most often is an outdated extension. Updating extensions is critical because hackers can easily identify vulnerabilities in older versions, which are like a wide open back door to the site. If you’re using a Joomla site, it’s best practice to visit the Vulnerable Extensions List frequently. If you see an extension you’re using on this list, download and install the patches immediately. If no patches exist, disable the extension and find something to replace it.

Outdated Applications

Another reason we see sites hacked is because the site itself is an older version of the application, like Joomla 1.5 for example, which is no longer supported with security patches. We provide a managed hosting platform, which means we’ll update versions for you when a new STS (short term support) version becomes available. When a new LTS (long term support) version becomes available, it’s up to site administrators to upgrade on their own. It’s definitely best practice to stay current with the most recent version of your application.

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