Password Security ImageA door made out of the strongest metal still wouldn’t offer any protection if it was secured with a twist-tie. Likewise, even the most sophisticated online security system can be bypassed in seconds if hackers acquire a user’s password. They’re easy to get when a website is storing passwords in plain text, but that’s a different story.

When people have weak passwords, there’s very little keeping their sensitive information safe. However, when it comes to passwords, many users still choose something that’s easy to remember over something that would be safer. That means hackers and thieves have much less work to do when they try to crack open users’ accounts, resulting in data breaches that put those users and others at risk. Although IT professionals continually stress the importance of choosing a password that is difficult to crack, many users don’t heed the advice.

On the other hand, the most secure passwords have the problem of being extremely difficult for people to remember easily. That’s why so many people use formulas for creating their passwords that make them easier to figure out for hackers. Some people believe that substituting numbers for letters in common words is enough to make a password difficult to guess. Yet substituting a zero for the “o” in “hello” is obvious enough to hackers that it’s practically the same as spelling the word the correct way.

Just this week, in fact, the man that told people to replace numbers for letters said this advice was wrong.

Personally, I use a password manager to handle all my passwords. I use 1Password, but LastPass and KeePass are also good tools. All I need to remember is a strong master password, and 1Password does the rest of the work in keeping my super strong passwords safe.

Having strong passwords for each of the important websites and Internet portals you use regularly is essential today. Use the following checklist when creating a password to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes that lead to weak passwords. This guide also tells you what steps you need to take if you believe your password may have been compromised to protect yourself and your data. A door is only as strong as the lock on it, and your Internet security is only as strong as the password you use to access it.


Presented by MNS Group

Recently, Facebook has made a change for fan/brand pages and page managers can no longer change the images, headlines, and excerpts show when including a link in a post. Instead, they rely on open graph tags.

On one hand, it’s annoying because if you were linking to a page you didn’t control, sometimes you would find yourself needing to adjust the description or excerpt if there wasn’t one. On the other, I think you can see where this editing power could lead people to create and/or propagate, wait for it, “fake  news.”

For those people that manage College and University pages, this is especially frustrating. Most of the time we are sharing links, it is to pages that we control and linking somewhere in our school’s network of websites. Even then, we can’t be sure people have correctly tagged their pages.

This is important because having clear, interesting copy and images on your posts not only affects us when we share our own content, other people share our content too. We want to make sure our content looks great when shown to others as well!

For several years, Facebook has been using “open graph” tags, similar to the meta tags of old, as a guide to use when sharing a post. These OG tags include a post title, URL, description, image, and more. Here’s an example:

<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/arts/international/when-great-minds-dont-think-alike.html" />;
<meta property="og:type" content="article" />;
<meta property="og:title" content="When Great Minds Don’t Think Alike" />;
<meta property="og:description" content="How much does culture influence creative thinking?" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/02/19/arts/international/19iht-btnumbers19A/19iht-btnumbers19A-facebookJumbo-v2.jpg" />

You can set these open graph tags manually in your code. If you use WordPress, most of the SEO plugins including Yoast will set these tags for you and allow you to customize content for them.

One area where this gets tricky is with the featured image. Unless you specify a particular image in your code, the WordPress tools like Yoast use the default image you set in the plugin’s settings.

Facebook and Twitter want large images as your featured images, so make sure they’re at least 200px wide by 200px high. Facebook would love that to be higher. They say in their developer area:

Use images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels for the best display on high resolution devices. At the minimum, you should use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images. Images can be up to 8MB in size.

Time to test your content

Once you’ve got all your open graph tags ready, it’s time to test. Don’t wait to check until you’re ready to post your story or tweet that, um, tweet.

Facebook has a handy debugging tools that will show you what it sees when it scrapes your page and shares it.

When you enter a URL into Facebook’s sharing debugger, you get this back. These are the results for a previous post on this blog about Snapchat.

Example of Facebook Sharing Debugger Output

As you can see, it has a good post title and the correct description. I’m not crazy about that image, though. It’s just grabbed one from the post to share, as I don’t have a default image setup for this blog.

I’m using Yoast SEO on this site, so I can easily change that image. Before I do that, I need to clear Facebook’s cache of my post. To do that, I need to paste my URL into the Batch Invalidator. This will basically retcon Facebook and make them grab a fresh version of my page. You can enter URL’s one by one here, or paste many (hence, the batch in the name.)

I created a custom graphic, added it to Yoast, invalidated my URL, and re-scraped. Now, Facebook shows me this:

Open Graph Example

Yes, that’s an ugly graphic, but I only spent 2 minutes on it. Now, Facebook sees the graphic I intended as opposed to a random image Yoast and/or Facebook selected or my default image.

 

TL/Dr; Yes.

I’ve written about how I’ve somehow managed to get followed by thousands of people I don’t know on Snapchat here. It’s true – my public snaps are viewed between 6 and 8 thousand times each. I’m not exactly sure why this is happening, but it gives me the opportunity to do some experiments with the platform that having a very small following wouldn’t allow.

One of the main things that’s been missing from public snaps is the ability to easily share a link or other call to action. Yes, you can type out a URL as text on a snap, but no user is going to do that. They want to click, or in Snap’s case, swipe up.

Snapchat recently added the ability to add a URL to a particular snap. This is huge for brands, who, to this point,  haven’t had a good way to drive users to any sort of landing page or other shopping/action page using Snapchat. This is a challenge Instagram continues to wrestle with.

Adding a URL for a snap is easy, though the caveat is you can’t have it open, at least that I could find, in a browser other than Snapchat’s built-in OS browser. You can’t, say, open your app or launch a new browser. The user does not have the opportunity to leave the Snapchat app.

My experience putting a URL in a snap

I wrote a post last week about being locked out of Facebook for a time. For the snap itself,  I took a photo of my Facebook page with a link to the blog post itself. It was posted it and I opened up Google Analytics’ live view and waited to see what happened.

In the spirit of honesty, the blog post didn’t exactly light the world on fire before I put it on Snapchat. It had a dozen views the first day (I should work on promoting posts better, lol.)

For the 24 hours my snap was live on my public story, I received a good deal of traffic. Here’s a graph from Google Analytics. Guess what day the snap was live.

Google Analytics Graph of page traffic generated by my Snapchat public story post

I will say that going from 12 pageviews to 310 is a pretty solid increase in engagement. When you consider the audience is mostly random strangers who do not share my interest in higher education marketing and technology, I think that’s pretty good. The bounce rate for the page tells a different story. It was 89% on Thursday, July 7, the day I posted the snap. Brands will hopefully get a bounce rate that’s much better since their fans are most likely not random strangers but people with a connection to the brand. 350 of the visitors were new to my site, and 4 had been there before. Thank you, returning users.

The traffic was constant during the first few hours of the snap going up. At times, there were 10 active users on the page. There were 19 at its maximum while I was monitoring it. Here an additional graph from WP.com stats:

Please don’t laugh at the small traffic this blog gets. 🙂

Going Forward

This is a good move by Snap to allow URLs.  Brands and users should point out to users the need to swipe up to view additional content until users become accustomed to that action.