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Security: This nasty surprise could be waiting for retailers when they open up again

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers’ point-of-sale and merchant systems have remained dormant behind closed doors. As businesses begin to reopen their physical stores, hackers could be ready to pounce.

Retailers have been warned to prepare for a wave of cyberattacks as they reopen to the public as hackers look to take advantage of on-premise systems that have remained unpatched during COVID-19 lockdowns.

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While many businesses have been able to continue trading online during the pandemic, the vast majority of bricks-and-mortar stores were forced to close early on in line with government restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. During this time, point-of-sale (POS) and point-of-interaction (POI) technology, such as payment terminals and connected PCs, as well as other systems used to complete transactions with customers, have remained dormant.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In its latest report, Shopping Spree: Cybercriminals Target Retail as Stores Reopen to the Public, cybersecurity intelligence platform IntSights warns that these vulnerabilities could be exploited by cybercriminals as the retail market undergoes a post-lockdown reawakening. 

This will require dusting off existing idle systems and revisiting maintenance plans to make sure POS and POI are patched and fitted with up-to-date security controls. Charity Wright, cyber threat intelligence analyst at IntSights, told TechRepublic that employers likely wouldn’t have security at the forefront of their minds as they rushed to get shops open and employees back to work.

“Most of the big retailers have been in business in some way,” Wright said. “A lot of them have been maintaining their online payment processors, but not necessarily their physical terminals in the stores.

“A lot of retailers, when they come back online, they’re going to be focused on business processes and getting employees back to work. They’re not necessarily thinking, ‘maybe I need to update Windows on my computer terminal’, or update POS terminal firmware.”

In retail, where surges in online transactions during the pandemic have forced retailers to quickly transform their ecommerce capabilities, hackers have shifted their focus to make the most of this opportunity.

This includes changing-up well-known types of attacks by using them in different ways, such as exploiting credit cards within a different type of merchant platform, and targeting parts of retailers’ systems that might otherwise slip through the cracks.

We’ve already seen new forms of attacks on retailers take place during the pandemic. In late June, researchers at security software firm Malwarebytes identified a new web-skimming attack , whereby cybercriminals concealed malware on ecommerce sites that would steal information typed into the payment input fields, including customers’ names, address and card details.

A similar attack was found to have targeted Magento-based ecommerce sites in May, this one using a skimming technique that used JavaScript code to create a fake payment form within the PayPal checkout option. Once selected, the skimmer stole information entered by the victim and sent it hack to the host.

SEE: SSL certificate best practices policy (TechRepublic Premium)

As physical stores begin to reopen, businesses face fresh threats from hackers looking to exploit unpatched software. “As soon as they turn on those POS systems and PCs that they’re using to manage their business, they need to focus on security patching and updates, first and foremost,” Wright said.

“If they don’t know how to do that themselves – say, if they’re a small business – they need to contact the manufacturer or whoever manages that software. Go to the websites of the software developers and the websites of the manufacturers and see what kind of updates and security protocols they advise.”

Smaller merchants are particularly vulnerable, said Wright. “Small businesses are one of the most vulnerable in the retail industry because they tend to use payment systems like PayPal or Square, something with a credit-card scanner,” she explained.

“There may be sensitive passwords and credentials on their actual computers for those types of accounts, to login to their PayPal account.”

It’s not just payment information at risk, either: “Most retailers are using a PC with some kind of sales software on it, and often times HR software as well,” Wright added.

Also see

Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/security-this-nasty-surprise-could-be-waiting-for-retailers-when-they-open-up-again/#ftag=RSS56d97e7

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13 Robust Newsletter Plugins for WordPress

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WordPress is a highly customizable content management system. With the right plugins, it can be a robust email marketing platform to create a newsletter and build a list of subscribers.

Here is a list of newsletter plugins for WordPress. There are plugins to design and publish newsletters, manage subscribers, track campaigns, and build subscriber lists using opt-in and lead generation tools.

Newsletter Plugins for WordPress

The Newsletter Plugin is a newsletter and email marketing system for a WordPress site. It features a responsive email drag-and-drop composer, unlimited subscribers with statistics, unlimited emails with tracking, advanced targeting, and more. Add features through premium extensions, such as automated newsletters from blog posts, autoresponders, sophisticated collection and targeting statistics, and advanced integrations. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $65 for all extensions and one year of updates.

The Newsletter Plugin

The Newsletter Plugin

SendPress lets you easily build email newsletters in WordPress. Import post content from your site and schedule newsletter deployments. Create custom templates. Track opens, clicks, and more. SendPress features customizable templates, unlimited subscribers, and single and double opt-in, among other benefits. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $39 per year.

Sumo provides tools to capture email addresses to grow subscribers. Use List Builder to create pop-ups that appear on clicks, timers, articles, and before people leave. Create call-to-action landing pages, customizable scroll boxes, and smart bars to capture subscribers without disrupting their experience. Integrates with major email services and, also, with WooCommerce to create unique offers and discounts along with forms to increase average order value and reduce cart abandonment. Price: Basic is free for up to 10,000 email subscribers per month. Premium plans start at $39 per month.

MailPoet lets you build, schedule, and send newsletters without leaving your WordPress admin. Manage subscribers and subscriber lists. Create automatic emails to send new post notifications. MailPoet includes audience engagement stats and WooCommerce email customizer. Premium version includes tracking, white-labeling, and same-day support. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $13 per month. Premium version is free for fewer than 1,000 subscribers.

MailPoet

MailPoet

Mailchimp for WordPress helps you grow your Mailchimp lists and create better newsletters. Create attractive opt-in forms or integrate with existing forms on your site, such as comment, contact, or checkout forms. Premium add-on includes advanced integration with WooCommerce, email notifications, and detailed reports and statistics. Price: Free. Premium plans start at $59 per year.

Email Subscribers by Icegram lets you collect leads, send automated notification emails, create and send newsletters, and manage it all in one single place. Add images, infographics, links, and content to a newsletter. Insert a subscription box anywhere on your website. Send the newsletters manually or automatically. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $9 per month.

Newsletters by Tribulant Software is a full-featured newsletter plugin for WordPress to manage email subscribers and publish newsletters. It features templates, queue and scheduling, bounced-email management, opt-in embedding, offsite subscription forms, email tracking, autoresponders, and more. Price: Basic is free. Premium plans start at $65 for one website and one year of updates.

Tribulant Software: Newsletters for WordPress

Tribulant Software: Newsletters for WordPress

Bloom is an email opt-in and lead generation plugin for WordPress. Pick from six display types, including pop-ups, fly-ins, and required opt-ins to unlock content. Target or exclude specific posts and pages and display unique forms with unique offers based on visitor location and interaction. Integrates with 19 email-marketing platforms. Price: $89 per year.

OptinMonster is a pop-up builder and marketing plugin to increase your newsletter subscribers. Create custom pop-ups, newsletter opt-in forms, slide-ins pop-ups, announcement bars, and other high converting lead generation forms within minutes. Display personalized messages to new or returning visitors to unlock the highest conversion potential from every website visit. Use A/B split testing and pop-up analytics to make data-driven decisions on what works best. Price: Plans start at $14 per month.

Mailster lets you easily create, manage, and send newsletter campaigns. Track and analyze your campaigns and subscribers. Mailster stores all your subscribers within your WordPress installation. Features autoresponder, real-time analytics, unlimited subscribers and forms, custom segmentation, more than 80 templates, and integrations with dozens of plugins and services. Price: $59 for six months of support.

Mailster

Mailster

Jackmail allows you to create newsletters without leaving your WordPress dashboard and send them with a built-in SMTP server. Create segments in your lists and send personalized campaigns. Jackmail features a drag-and-drop editor, contact manager, detailed statistics, WooCommerce integration, opt-in forms, widgets, 48 templates, and more. Price: Free up to 500 emails. Premium plans start at $69 per month.

Popup Builder is a flexible tool to create and customize a subscription pop-up for your newsletter. Create and manage as many pop-ups as you want. Choose between several themes. Set location, animation effect, and trigger. Send newsletter campaigns right from Popup Builder. Pro version features WooCommerce integration, autoresponders, age restriction pop-up, countdown pop-up, MailChimp pop-up, and advanced targeting. Price: Basic is free. Pro is $31.95 for two websites.

MailOptin is a plugin to build forms, collect leads, register users, and create and send email newsletters. Send event-triggered newsletters, such as new post notifications. Display signup forms, targeted messages, and calls-to-action with pop-ups, forms, a notification bar, and slide-in and sidebar widgets. Use the premium plan to build segmented lists and increase automation with lead-tagging and integrations. Integrates with popular email marketing software providers and customer management platforms. Price: Plans start at $79 per year.

MailOptin

MailOptin

Source: https://www.practicalecommerce.com/11-Newsletter-Plugins-for-WordPress

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SEO How-to, Part 11: Mitigating Risk

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The risk to organic search performance from altering a website usually comes from changes to content, linking structures, or underlying technology. With careful planning and execution, however, you can mitigate the risk from those changes and increase the likelihood of better rankings.

This is the 11th installment in my “SEO How-to” series. Previous installments are:

Changing Content

In “Part 6,” I explained how keyword research could identify potential ranking improvements. But changing content — title tags, body copy, descriptions — based on that research carries a risk. As such, it’s essential to mitigate the risk and improve the chances of a performance increase.

First, identify all the pages that rank for the words and phrases that you’re planning to change. Then create a keyword map by assigning variations on the new keyword theme for each page based on the research.

Avoid radical keyword changes to pages that are already ranking well.

Every page should have a reason for existing — something that no other page says. If it duplicates a keyword theme, perhaps the page isn’t necessary. Consider merging with its equivalent via a 301 redirect.

The level of risk you’re assuming is equal to a page’s traffic from organic search. It’s possible to attempt to optimize a page and lose all the traffic. The reward you’re hoping for is represented by the number of searches per month for the new keywords.

Identifying risk from removing pages is easier. Organic search traffic to those pages will stop. To mitigate, 301 redirect the removed URLs to relevant remaining pages. That will preserve the authority of the deleted pages while strengthening the remaining ones.

Changing Linking Structures

The primary navigation structures across your site — such as in the header and footer — are critical for passing link authority, which helps your pages rank organically. Thus removing links from those navigation structures requires caution bordering on obsession.

It’s difficult to predict how removing a link will affect a page’s performance. It’s best to prepare for the worst case. Identify the traffic and revenue of the destination page. The higher the amounts, the more cautious you must be.

Mitigating that risk can be difficult. It often requires discussing with the staff that seeks the removal — typically user experience, creative, or management teams. Determine why the link needs to change or be removed: Is there a strong business reason? If not, don’t be shy about showing your performance data and keyword research to insist that the link remains.

If the removal is required — after all, sometimes other priorities outweigh organic search — consider ways to overcome.

For example, if user experience data suggests that simpler header navigation could drive a 10-percent increase in sales, perhaps the critical links could be included in a new drop-down menu, thereby simplifying the navigation while preserving the links. Another option is to move the links to the footer.

However, if they must be entirely removed from the header and footer, can the links be inserted in other places, such as related content? You probably wouldn’t save 100 percent of your organic performance, but it should help.

It could also be an excellent time to boost your content marketing efforts to encourage new external links to the pages.

Changing Technology

Technical changes can likewise introduce risk to organic search performance. These include everything from switching ecommerce platforms to the everyday decisions of your developers, such as code upgrades. Even design choices such as where to place text and how to manage it can impact organic search performance.

As with content and linking changes,  it’s important to understand what the technical change will affect.

Some technology impacts the ability of search bots to find, crawl, and index your content. Platforms and code, as examples, can lock bots out of a site — and thus lock the site out of search results.

Examples of these gating technologies include:

  • Links coded without anchor tags, href attributes, and URLs.
  • Links that result in error codes such as a 404 file not found and 500 internal server error.
  • Accidental disallow commands in the robots.txt file.
  • Use of cookies instead of URLs to drive access to country and language versions of the site.

After they crawl your site, search engine bots need to index the pages. All of the text must reside in HTML, not as images, audio, or videos.

Describe your images in alt attributes. Offer transcripts of audios and videos. And above all, don’t embed text in images without repeating it in HTML or CSS.

Consider an Audit

For more on uncovering technical SEO glitches, see my instructions for a crawl audit in eight steps and an indexation audit in six.

Source: https://www.practicalecommerce.com/SEO-How-to-Part-11-Mitigating-Risk

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ZEEL Named One of the Fastest Growing Companies in the Americas in the…

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“We are truly honored to be recognized by such a venerated news institution as the Financial Times, said Samer Hamadeh, Founder and CEO of Zeel. “The FT not only has a deep understanding of what it takes to build a great business, but also how to meet and overcome the unprecedented challenges posed

Zeel has been recognized as one of the “Fastest Growing Companies” by the Financial Times in its inaugural FT Americas “Fastest Growing Companies” list. The ranking lists the top 500 companies in the Americas that have achieved the highest growth in revenues between 2015 and 2018, with Zeel ranking #173 on the list.

The FT Americas list notably comes at a challenging and uncertain time for the global economy. “We are truly honored to be recognized by such a venerated news institution as the Financial Times, said Samer Hamadeh, Founder and CEO of Zeel. “The FT not only has a deep understanding of what it takes to build a great business, but also how to meet and overcome the unprecedented challenges posed by this pandemic. We have always worked to balance industry-leading technology with the best possible customer experience. This unusual time has given our team the opportunity to truly innovate. The entrepreneurial spirit is never more evident than during times of crisis, so particularly now, we are proud of this recognition from such a prestigious organization.”

The FT list was compiled with Statista, a research company, and ranks entrants from across the Americas by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2015 and 2018. Additional criteria includes independent companies headquartered in one of 20 American countries with revenue of at least $100,000 generated in 2015, at least $1.5m generated in 2018, revenue growth between 2015 and 2018 that was primarily organic (i.e. “internally” stimulated). The technology sector – which includes Zeel –is led in large partby the US and accounts for a quarter of the overall list.

About Zeel

A high-growth Inc. 500 global wellness brand, Zeel created Massage On Demand® in 2012 and was the first company to launch same-day, in-home massage through their award-winning app for iOS and Android. Today, Zeel offers best-in-class wellness services to companies, spas, hotels, and individual customers. Recently surpassing more than 1.5M appointments, Zeel has been named one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur and one of the fastest-growing companies in the country by Inc. Magazine. The Zeel platform is accessed by more than 11,000 licensed massage therapists, assisted stretch professionals, yoga instructors, and mindfulness experts, delivering wellness services to homes and corporate headquarters around the country. Zeel has received special industry recognition for Zeel Hospitality, a software-based staffing solution for hundreds of hotels and spas nationwide. In March 2020, the company launched Zeel Virtual Wellness, offering corporate partners guided stretch, yoga, ergonomics coaching and mindfulness, accessed remotely and led by experienced wellness professionals.

About the Financial Times & Fastest Growing Companies List
The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. It is part of Nikkei, Inc., which provides a broad range of information, news and services for the global community. The FT Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies 2020 is a list of the top 500 companies in the Americas that have achieved the highest growth in revenues between 2015 and 2018. The ranking was created through a complex procedure. Although the search was very extensive, the ranking does not claim to be complete, as some companies did not want to make their figures public or did not participate for other reasons. The project was advertised online and in print, allowing all eligible companies to register via the websites created by Statista and the Financial Times, and additionally promoted through the South American edition of El País. Through research in company databases and other public sources, Statista has identified tens of thousands of companies in the Americas as potential candidates for the FT ranking. These companies were invited to participate in the competition by post, email and telephone. The application phase ran from October 1 2019 to January 31 2020. The submitted revenue figures had to be certified by the CFO, CEO or a member of the executive committee of the company.

Contact

Beth Amorosi

beth.amorosi@zeel.com917-208-7489

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Source: https://www.prweb.com/releases/zeel_named_one_of_the_fastest_growing_companies_in_the_americas_in_the_financial_times_inaugural_list/prweb17310688.htm

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