Here at WildSnow.com we are serious about internet security. We spend quite a bit of money and time keeping our server secure, our website is constantly monitored for threats — and we look at security from the point of view of preventing anything that could be a problem for you, our valued reader. Most of our security measures are listed below.
Here are steps you can take to assure yourself our website is free of malware, malvertising, hacks, threats and anything else that could compromise your privacy or security.
1. We are enrolled in Mcafee Secure, they scan WildSnow and you can look at the results here.
2. If you want to know about the security of any website, including WildSnow, you can simply go to Securi.NET and do their free site scan.
3. We go to great lengths on the “back end” of our website and server to prevent security compromises. Examples: we pay for an SSL certificate that enables Wildsnow to function as an “httpS” (green padlock) secure site, we pay top dollar for a website hosting (server) company that is diligent about security, and we do quite a bit of work in keeping all our website software up-to-date with the most current patches and security fixes.
4. All our advertising is either installed directly by us and run from our server, run through an Google service known as “Double Click for Publishers, or provided by a small advertising network called Cliques. In all cases, all advertising is pre-scanned for threats by ourselves and the providers and is secure as is humanly possible. Beyond that, if you want 100% assurance of your security simply run the site scans linked above for total confidence.
(That being said, we should emphasize that when a website link leads you to another website, we have no control whatsoever about security issues on that other website. For defense in that situation, use “safe browsing” settings in your browser as well as enabling such options in your antivirus and malware software. Further, we suggest Google Chrome as having the the most robust defenses.)
5. We have NOT installed Google Analytics. This extension of Google that attempts to do accurate “metrics” of website traffic is not as nefarious as some folks would have you believe. Nonetheless, it takes server resources and has a reputation of attempting to gather as much information about you as possible. So, it is OFF. That said, we do a certain level of gathering numbers regarding our website traffic, but on our side these are totally anonymous and are used almost entirely to simply evaluate how many visitors we get, and from what countries.
6. Adblocking. If you are blocking advertising due to security concerns, as mentioned above we go to extreme measures to insure your privacy and security. What is more, we practice an “ad-lite experience” and conform to the “Acceptable Ads” design and display policies in common agreement, such as:
– No animation.
– No pop-ups.
– Advertising clearly separated from content.
– Avoidance of garish color schemes and profanity.
– Most advertising closely tied to reader interests.
Please know our sole source of income supporting this website is our advertising. We kindly ask you to trust our “ad-friendly” experience and whitelist us in your ad blocker.
7. On your side, you can do quite a few things to enhance your browser security. Here is a short list:
A. Run a quality anti-virus program on your computer and smartphone, with all automatic updates turned on, and regular scans turned on.
B. Learn how to adjust your “cookie” settings in your browser and tweak to desired level of privacy.
C. Install a “privacy cleaner” in both browser and computer, and run periodically.
D. Be aware that the basic design of the World Wide Web is “open.” It was never designed with a high level of security in mind. Thus, for the foreseeable future we should all use the Internet as if all our actions are being recorded and tracked — no matter what website you are on, no matter what “blocking” or “cleaning” software you run. This is reality. WildSnow will never participate intentionally in any of this, but it’s called the “worldwide” web for a reason. We’re not the only website, and we’re probably in the top 99.99% in terms of how little potential we have of violating your privacy.
E. Email is actually where many truly heinous (if not most) security breaches arise. Practice fanatical “email hygiene,” and use 2-factor authentication for your email login. Too many details about that to outline here, but Google can be your friend. Search terms such as “how to practice email security.”
F. Backup backup backup! Keep copies of all your original creative work in a location (cloud, or your garage) that’s separate from where you work. Also consider a backup solution for your computer that essentially “mirrors” your hard drive, so you can easily replace your hard drive in the event your computer is taken down by a hacker or failed drive.
G. Use strong passwords and other basic security measures you can study up on with your friend Google.
Passwords don’t need to be stupidly complex and hard to keyboard, if they’re 12 to 15 characters long, all lowercase, no dictionary words, mix of letters and numbers, that’s secure enough for nearly any everyday use. Also, NEVER reuse a password — every password you create should be unique.
While powerful computers can crack passwords, bear in mind that thousands of tries are required to do so (so long as you constructed a unique password using random characters). In real life, nearly any password login on a website is rate limited. A password cracker that needs thousands of tries is simply not going to function in that situation, and you thus have zero risk provided your password is reasonably constructed.
(Note, however that criminals also steal passwords by obtaining lists of encrypted passwords from website servers, then “cracking” them with powerful computer systems. Longer complex passwords are more difficult to crack in that situation. Thus, it’s true that perhaps critical passwords such as those used for banking should be more complicated. Yet most of your day-to-day passwords are simply not something you need to worry about being compromised in this way.)
If you want smartphone friendly passwords simply use all alpha letters, only make the password a couple of characters longer. Add a few more numeric or alpha characters for things such as banks, but no need to get ridiculous (geeks love passwords such as Aa*&^b*9#_@#4ff7#$%^ but junk like that is totally unnecessary for anything but the CIA). Further, as mentioned above, use two-factor authentication for your email and bank accounts, and anything else highly critical.
Lastly, consider using a password manager so you can have dozens of unique and secure passwords without any problem retrieving them. Lastpass is popular. If using a password manager be aware you have placed all your passwords under one master password. Keep that word long enough, change it often, and use 2-part authentication if possible. (We recommend not storing bank and other critical passwords in password managers unless you’re using 2-factor authentication).