Website Security, Beer, and How to Protect Yourself from an Attack

July 31st, 2014 · From the Organizers

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A Note from BBC14 Sponsor, Sucuri

A couple of weeks ago, the Sucuri team was at HostingCon. We rubbed elbows with the people who bring your websites to the world and spoke at length with them about the importance of website security. The most interesting conversation we had over the week was with a small business owner on vacation with his family.  Like the bloggers attending the upcoming Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego, this man loved beer.  And so do we.  And so the conversation began…

Our new friend asked us what we, website security tech guys sitting at the bar drinking Lagunitas IPA, were doing in Miami.  We relayed that we run a firm focused on making websites safe.  Our friend responded, “That’s just for big websites, right?” That’s when the conversation got really interesting.

Our new friend (he owned an auto body shop) knew about the data breaches at the big retailers like Target and then went on to tell us:

 But I’m not worried, because I have a really simple website and just ask people to fill out a form so we can contact them later.

It was at this point, sipping on California beer in Miami, that we knew we had a new obligation in the world of internet security communications: Sucuri needed to translate the language of website security so that website owners everywhere understood it’s importance.  We use our blog to break security news and to educate the community about the latest malware removal techniques we are pioneering, but have put together an additional security primer for the everyday blogger, website enthusiast and small business owner.  This security primer is useful for everyone at the Beer Bloggers Conference – please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Question: Is my small website a target? Answer: Yes and always

  • A big company, like Target, is a high-value target because a hacker network could make a large amount of money by bypassing their security. However, this is a high-risk strategy. Target is big enough that they have security analysts who work to keep that from happening.
  • Alternatively, a hacker could automate an attack against 1,000 small websites with website operators and owners who know very little about security and while those 1,000 websites may not have much traffic on a per-website basis, they have lots of traffic when aggregated together. Once a network of websites is in place, the hacker can relatively easily begin to monetize his work.
  • Almost every employee at Sucuri has their own, much smaller, website, and each of us also monitors and protects our site because we know that they’re prime targets for hackers and the reason for that is that most website owners aren’t also security experts.

Going back to our auto body shop friend, it isn’t hard to imagine a time when a hacker quickly phishes his form page to redirect information away from the site and harm potential customers, and the scary thing is that the website owner wouldn’t even know about it until someone alerted them to the problem. If that ever happens, and his site is blacklisted by Google, it will be amazing how quickly website security becomes the most important thing in his life.

But I don’t take credit cards. Why am I at risk?

It is true that the moment your website begins taking credit card payments, you might as well raise your hand and tell attackers, “My website is now a target.” However,

the real truth is that every website, big and small, is always a target

The crux of the problem is that attackers can make money in many different ways. They may be redirecting your traffic to auto loan or porn sites or they may poison your search engine results with pharmaceutical listings. They can add phishing pages to your site in an attempt to get your customers or visitors to give them personally identifiable information or credit card information and in all of these situations, they’re taking advantage of the work you’ve put in to drive traffic. If you’re not protecting yourself from attack then there are two factors, one economic and the other psychological, that you need to be aware of, because in many ways a website attack is much more devastating for a small business or website than for a large one.

  • First, you need to be sure that your site can sustain a loss in traffic or a loss in credit card transactions for a month or two months or six months, while the malware is in effect. When you don’t have a lot of traffic to lose in the first place and your website is hacked, it could take a very long time for those people who were scared away to come back. So, while Neiman Marcus can certainly sustain a data breach, you may be at a greater risk, relatively.
  • The second reason it’s more devastating is psychological. Unlike a big corporation, a lot of small business owners and bloggers feel a personal connection with their customers and readers. When you get hacked, you put them at risk and it feels terrible because you feel personally responsible for whatever pain or hassle you cause to these customers and readers.

How can you protect yourself?

The best way to protect your website is by layering different levels of protection that can be broken down into four logical steps.

  1. Awareness of the problem
  2. Understand the symptoms of attacks
  3. Take steps to fix the root problem (malware) of attacks
  4. Protect your website with a firewall

It’s by design that each step above flows into the next. As you move down the rabbit hole of security, what becomes clear is that attacks are always evolving and that it would be a full-time job to keep up with it (in fact, it’s our full time job). As you can see, the first step is awareness. Be aware that there are people out there who would take advantage of your website. Second, learn a little bit about the symptoms of attack. Have customers recently complained that they’ve been redirected off of your site when clicking links? Have readers complained that they’ve seen a strange form when clicking a link? If so, then take steps to root out problems, such as running your site through our SiteCheck security scan. Better yet, just remove all doubt and protect your website by shielding it with our CloudProxy Firewall.

Every website we protect is one more website towards our goal of making the web a safer place and that’s something we can all be in favor of.

Have questions about your website and security?  We look forward to talking with you.  Give us a shout out:  Austin Marshburn, Director, Sucuri Marketing:   Austin@sucuri.net | 617.758.9114

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BBC14 Pre-Conference Excursion to L.A. – Hop on Board!

July 30th, 2014 · From the Organizers

images-1The upcoming Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego is August 22-24, 2014.  Registration is filling up and we look forward to a full conference, great content programming, and, of course, all the excellent beers!

Pre-Conference excursions are a great way to get to know the beer scene outside the regular conference agenda.  These smaller groups allow the opportunity to meet the brewmasters and their teams in smaller, more intimate settings.  The 2014 BBC Pre-Conference, happening on Thursday, August 21, is taking a trip through the craft beer scene in Los Angeles.  Haven’t signed up for the excursion, yet?  There are a few spots available to hop on board.  Details of the pre-conference excursion include:

BBC14 Pre-Conference Excursion – Thursday, August 21

This pre-conference excursion starts in Los Angeles and ends at the BBC14 conference hotel, the Marriott Mission Valley Hotel, which offers the same conference discount the night before and after the conference begins/ends.  There are still a few rooms available at the blogger discounted rate – hurray!  But hurry up…they will sell out of these discounted room.

We are providing transportation for this excursion and have a pick-up at LAX at 1:45 pm on Thursday. Haven’t booked your flight, yet?  Consider flying into LAX and out of SAN.  Please make sure your flight arrives in time to board the pre-con bus at 1:45 pm.  Already committed to flying into San Diego?  No problem.  You can take the Amtrak or Grayhound north.

If you will already be in Los Angeles, just meet us at the Golden Road Brewery at 3 p.m. We have partnered with super-cool transportation service, Uber, for BBC14 – conference goers get $20 off each of their first two Uber rides.  Score!  Uber operates via an app, available for iOs, Android and Blackberry users:  sign up on the BBC14 Uber Link OR download the app and enter the promo code BBC14.  They have Black Cars, SUVs, and their low cost option, uberX is 40% cheaper than a regular taxi service! Self-drivers can also just meet us at Golden Road Brewery at 3 p.m.  Please be mindful we will be sampling beer all afternoon and evening – please plan accordingly for safe, sober driving.

We will email all excursion guests prior to the excursion with information about exactly where to meet us at LAX and any other details.  Be on the lookout for blog posts in the next 2 weeks from the breweries we are visiting on the tour!  They are excited to welcome BBC14 beer bloggers and we look forward to learning about the bustling beer scene in Los Angeles!

TO REGISTER

Jumping at the bit to sign up for the BBC14 pre-con excursion?  We don’t blame you!  The Pre-Conference Excursion is open only to registered attendees of the conference. The cost is $40 for Citizen Beer Bloggers and $80 for both Industry Bloggers and Non-Blogger Participants. Use this link to sign up for the excursion if you are ALREADY registered for the conference.  If you haven’t signed up for the conference yet, please click here to register AND sign up for the pre-conference festivities.

 

 

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BBC14 Saturday Dinner with Stone Brewing Co.

July 24th, 2014 · From the Organizers

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Stone Brewing Co., founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, and named “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine in 2008 and 2009, is a 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference Grand Sponsor.  They are hosting the BBC14 Saturday dinner on August 23 at the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens – Liberty Station, its expansive new brewery-restaurant in the heart of Point Loma’s Liberty Station development.

2014 BBC guests will be whisked from the conference hotel to these architectural award-winning environs to enjoy masterfully prepared food and beer pairings.  Stone Co. founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner will be joined by the brewing team and assorted members of Team Stone at the Saturday Beer Bloggers dinner.  Specialty beer samplings at the dinner span  Stone’s entire beer portfolio including everyday mainstays, barrel-aged brews, and ales created on-site.  An overview of the beers made by Stone Brewing Co. can be accessed via their List of Beers.

Brewmaster and Co-founder, Steve Wagner, relays the Saturday dinner with Stone Brewing Co. affords blogger guests the opportunity to experience:

a heaping slice of Stone culture and hospitality few get to experience…

Stone Brewing Co. represents promoting the culture of great beer and great business – they have averaged 43% year-to-year growth during the past 15 years and have been listed in San Diego Business Journal’s “Top 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies” nine years in a row (2004-2012).  The first keg of Stone Pale Ale was sold on July 26, 1996 to the Pizza Port restaurant in San Diego.  Stone Brewing Co. beers are currently distributed to 41 states (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico) and small amounts are exported to Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Sweden.

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About Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens – Liberty Station    

The Stone Brewing Co. rooftop solar panels produce about 30% of the power for the brewery and restaurant and much of the kitchen waste is composted – some for use in the gardens and Stone Farms, located in North Escondido, CA.  Spent grain that has been used in the brewing process is repurposed as a mulching tool in the garden, as well.  The rest is used by local farmers as livestock feed and as ingredients in local made soaps and dog treats (Stone Bones!).

A big thanks to 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference sponsor, Stone Brewing Co. – we look forward to this great, interactive, and intimate peek into the culture of Stone Brewing Co. on Saturday, August 23!

 

 

 

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And the Winner of the NBWA Best Beer Writing Contest Is…

July 22nd, 2014 · From the Organizers

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The inaugural Best Beer Writing Contest, sponsored by the National Beer Wholesalers Association, has concluded and the winner determined! More than 60 beer bloggers from across the country participated in the Best Beer Writing Contest. They were tasked with writing about the topic: America’s Beer Renaissance: Consumer Choice and Variety in the U.S. Beer Market. While each writer tackled the same subject, each entry offered a unique perspective on the industry based on individual, personal experiences.

Five finalists were chosen by the NBWA from the submissions posted on the Beer Bloggers Conference website based on the following criteria:

  • Strong writing that is both educational and entertaining
  • Unique and insightful point of view
  • Demonstration of a working understanding of the beer business
  • Sharing of real-life examples from the writer’s perspective
  • Incorporation of some form of supporting audiovisual element, such as original photography or video

From among the five finalists – including writers for Growler Fills, The Roaming Pint, Microbrews USA, All the Brews Fit to Pint and 99 Bottles – the winner of the contest was determined by a public vote. Nearly 1,000 votes were cast! The competition to determine the winner was fierce and the five finalists competed neck and neck in the public vote. Drumroll please……

2014 Best Beer Writing Contest Winner

David Bardallis, founder and author of the blog, “All The Brews Fit To Pint” with his submission, “Signs Point to Continued Growth in the U.S. Beer Market – and in Beer Writing.”

Congratulations, David!

As this year’s Best Beer Writing Contest Winner, David is the recipient of waived registration to the Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego this August 22-24, as well as airfare, registration, and lodging for him and a guest at the NBWA’s 77th Annual Convention in New Orleans, LA, from September 28-October 1, 2014. The four finalists in the contest also receive waived registration by the NBWA for their participation in the competition.

Kathleen Joyce, Communications Director for the National Beer Wholesalers Association, noted:

Each contest entry made clear that, without a doubt, it is an exciting time to be a beer lover! The U.S. is truly experiencing a beer industry renaissance. This period of exploration and growth in the beer industry is a direct response to consumers growing in sophistication, brewers and importers working to make products to meet those needs, and independent distributors working with licensed retailers to meet the demands of today’s consumer.

Joyce also thanked all participants in the 2014 Best Beer Writing Contest for helping to educate consumers about all of the great beers available in today’s market.

Congratulations once again to David – we look forward to reading more of your great writing as you report on your experiences interacting with beer distributors and other members of the industry at NBWA’s convention in New Orleans!

About the NBWA

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributors, whose 130,000 employees are part of an effective system that provides tremendous variety to consumers; generates healthy competition; helps brewers and importers of all sizes grow; and balances a robust marketplace with healthy safety. Follow NBWA on Twitter at @NBWABeer or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NBWABeer.

 

 

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