Several years ago Tim Neale our CEO attended a local festival and was struck by the community spirit and ethos – as well as the fantastic music. After discovering the festival was entirely run by volunteers as a charity, he decided to get involved. The festival was Rhythms of the World (ROTW) and we have been proud sponsors now for several years.
ROTW is a charity based in Hitchin, celebrating its 25th anniversary year this year. The aims of ROTW are,
Led by volunteers, ROTW is a registered charity that aims to unite diverse communities through music and the arts. We achieve this by organising a range of cultural events, culminating in an annual festival of world music, dance, arts and cuisine in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
Sadly due to financial constraints ROTW was unable to stage the traditional large festival this year. Instead, ROTW is holding 25 exciting fundraising events, in and around Hitchin, to try to secure the future of the festival and the year-round community outreach projects.
For their next fundraising event, ROTW has teamed up with BX Dance and Choir On Fire, two local innovative youth groups, for two amazing performances of dance and music at The Queen Mother Theatre on Friday, June 3rd. First performance starts at 2:30 PM and tickets available from The Queen Mother Theatre.
On Saturday the 4th of June ROTW has organised an amazing day of live music at the family, fun day, Back2Schoolival, being held at Knights Templar Sports Centre, Baldock. Check out the huge range of activities and fun available throughout the day here.
In huge news for Rhythms of the World, they have just announced a special guest performance from Kim Wilde and Rick Wilde during an incredible evening of World Music set in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary’s Church, Hitchin, on Friday 9th of June. You can find full details here
ROTW’s fundraising events continue throughout the summer and they are sure there will be something for everyone to enjoy. If you would like further details, please check out their website events page here.
We are delighted to be involved with ROTW and hope you will be able to join us in supporting ROTW at some of these events.
We wish Rhythms of the World all the best this year. With enough community support, ROTW will be able to hold their traditional large festival of world music next year, and continue their year-round work in the community, bringing music and festival vibes to groups who, for various reasons, may be unable to attend the festival. #GetInvolved.
The Team at Seal Island Media.
The Panama Papers have been headline news for some time now. The recent data leak from Mossack Fonseca totalled 11.5 million documents and has rocked governments worldwide including setting the events in motion for the resignation of the Prime minister of Iceland.
While the overwhelming focus of the media and public attention has been on the possible tax avoidance schemes exposed, there is also some conversation about the security and data protection precautions taken by Mossack Fonseca, or to be more precise, the lack of them.
Sometimes people forget to update their software or they think they are happy with the current version and don’t want to add new features, or that the new version may have bugs that need to be patched. Often they don’t consider the security aspect of the updates. Panama Papers reveal just how devastating a security breach can be.
It seems there were a number of security issues with Mossack Fonseca’s technology that may have contributed to their being hacked, including using a version of WordPress that was 3 months out of date. As reported recently in an article for Wired Magazine,
Mossack Fonseca’s webmail system, which runs on Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access, was last updated in 2009, while its main site runs a version of WordPress that is three months out of date. A further vulnerability makes it possible to easily access files uploaded to the backend of Mossack Fonseca’s site simply by guessing the URL.
After the Panama Papers were released, WordFence compiled a thorough analysis of the Mossack Fonseca Website, here is a useful brief analysis of their findings from Cavendo,
- The Mossack Fonseca WordPress site was built using the Slider Revolution plugin (you know those sliders that everyone wants on their website).
- The plugin wasn’t updated since 2013.
- The plugin had code that wasn’t secure and allows someone with very technical skills to “exploit” the vulnerability.
- Within a couple of minutes, someone could gain “superuser” access to the web server their website is hosted on. If this server is on a network with other computers in their office all of those computers could be accessed through this hack.
Your website is constantly under attack, a large proportion of website traffic is caused by ‘bots’ looking to find a weakness in your security. These automated hacking bots can have devastating consequences for your website, stealing your sensitive data or planting viruses
The scale of the data breach at Mossack Fonseca is truly staggering and should lead us all to consider our security,
The leak includes emails, contracts, scanned documents and transcripts. Broken down by file type, the leak comprises 4.8 million emails, three million database files, 2.1 million PDFs, 1.1 million images, 320,166 text files and 2,242 files in other formats. All the files came organised in folders for the individual shell firms they related to. A full list of companies and people linked to the offshore entities will be published in May 2016.
Here at Seal Island Media our software is updated constantly. A firewall, regular scans for malware and other enhanced security features, reduce the likelihood of your site being hacked. But if it is hacked we will clean it up and restore the site to the last backup.
Avoid the fate of Mossack Fonseca
While it is not certain yet which security lapse allowed Mossack Fonseca to be hacked, the importance of security and updating regularly should be noted.
If you want to reduce your chances of your WordPress site being hacked:
- Use secure passwords
- Update your site regularly
- Install a WordPress firewall
- Only use plugins and themes from trusted sources
- Backup your site regularly in case you are hacked
We hope this blog has been useful. If you would like to talk to us about security for your website you can contact us here or call us on 0800 612 1098
Here at Seal Island Media we have been working behind the scenes to improve our managed WordPress Hosting. If your site is on the Seal Island Media Network then there have been some significant changes over the last couple of months. Combined these improvements will increase your websites performance and reliability.
Managed WordPress hosting
Seal Island Media’s Managed WordPress Hosting service has been designed with busy people in mind. We take care of backups, security and updates so you can concentrate on the important things in your business. Hosting on the Seal Island Media Network has been enhanced in the following ways.
UK based hosting
We have moved the network to servers based in London. Response times for UK visitors will be faster. This will benefit all our present clients.
Dedicated IP address
The network now has a dedicated IP address. We can ensure that you will not be sharing this IP address with any sites which will get the IP blacklisted. Or, if one of our clients acts in a way to get the IP blacklisted we will solve the problem and take action to prevent it from happening again. See our terms of service.
The network now runs entirely on Solid State Drives (SSD), which are hundreds of times faster than hard disk drives. This will increase significantly the speed of your site.
Improved handling of traffic spikes
A new virtualization method known as Linux Containers allow a bigger pool of burstable resources and make your websites faster in case of traffic spikes. So you never need fear your cat pictures going viral again.
There is a new backup system which makes backup creation and recovery lighter, faster and more flexible and thus reduces even further, the time for data restore when needed.
What do I need to do?
Nothing, it is all done. Enjoy.
For those of you hosting in the On-Line Activist Network, we will be upgrading your hosting over the next couple of months.