Press Release (ePRNews.com) - REDLANDS, Calif. - Feb 16, 2021 - Since 2002, the U.S. based support team at MyUnlimitedWP has developed an extensive history with a diverse collection of clients. With their unique perspective, MyUnlimitedWP has some insights about recent WordPress updates. Business owners should pay attention, as some of these events have had a huge impact on online businesses around the globe.
“WordPress evolves frequently and it can be a lot for people to manage if they don’t have the knowledge or experience to do it quickly and effectively,” says Joseph Kibler, President and CEO of MyUnlimitedWP. “There are some recurring things that business owners should be aware of, especially when it comes to security and hosting environments. But having the right partner can ultimately make the process simple.”
Google launches Web Stories for WordPress plugin and ‘Web Creators’ Community
Stories have exploded in popularity, providing a rich, full-screen, tap-driven experience that echoes just about every social media platform. Stories dazzle users with snappy, bite-size animations and interactive prompts that have quickly proven their ability and effectiveness in keeping users engaged. They have become more mainstream since introduced by Snapchat in 2013, and have been adopted by other major platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn. While social media stories are typically only available in closed formats — requiring you download a specific app and follow specific content creators to see — web stories are open, easily shareable and even appear on Google Images!
Within the plugin, users are greeted with a familiar, yet intuitive, WYSIWYG interface. Advanced customization tools provide users the ability to create and publish stunning content right within WordPress. The Web Stories to WordPress plugin offers users image editing capabilities including: image masking, gradient editing, saved colors & styles, and many more.
According to the Google blog, they’ve also collaborated with both Unsplash and Coverr to provide users with access to high-quality stock photo and video libraries, straight from the editor.
Fully designed templates along with the ease of drag-and-drop functionality help users get started faster. Google intends to develop and add more templates, stock media integrations, and additional features in the future.
The Web Stories for WordPress plugin is open source, and according to Google, it “welcomes contributions from the community, whether directly to the code or requesting product features and enhancements.”
The Google Web Creators community was designed to provide tools, guidance, and inspiration for content creators or “anyone who places their content on the open web,” according to Google. The community will feature notable content creators to provide tips, tricks and resources for those looking how to grow and be successful in producing great content.
Visit the Google Web Creators YouTube Channel to learn more.
WordPress 5.5.1 Fixes Millions of Broken Sites
WordPress is, by a wide margin, the most popular content management system; according to their website, they power 39.5% of all websites in 2021, up from 35% of sites in 2020. So when update 5.5 rolled out and negatively impacted millions of websites, WordPress moved quickly to fix the issue.
Plugin and theme developers were given a deadline of March 2021 to fix the issues and update accordingly; failure to update the code will result in repeated failures.
The WordPress team added, “The plan is to remove this fallback code in two major versions, so this will be deleted in WordPress 5.7. This gives plugin and theme developers ample time to remove the conflicting code and switch to using wp.i18n.”
WordPress also provided a spreadsheet with a complete list of affected themes and plugins, available here.
The full list of themes affected by WordPress v5.5 is available here: Part 1, Part 2.
Hackers are Exploiting a Critical Flaw Affecting Over 350,000 WordPress Sites
Hackers are exploiting a security breach allowing them to execute commands and other malicious scripts on WordPress sites. The culprit is File Manager, a WordPress plugin with over 700,000 active installations. The exploit has since been patched but hundreds of thousands of users may still be affected.
The File Manager WordPress plugin allows users to manipulate files — copy/paste, upload/download, edit/delete — directly from the WordPress backend. For administrators, the plugin facilitates the management of files on sites running the WordPress CMS.
Among the first to report the exploit was NinTechNet, a website security firm based in Bangkok, Thailand. According to an email from Jerome Bruandet, NinTechNet’s CEO, “one interesting thing we noticed is that attackers were injecting some code to password-protect the access to the vulnerable file (connector.minimal.php) so that other groups of hackers could not exploit the vulnerability on the sites that were already infected.”
According to WordPress, approximately 52% of installations are vulnerable to attack, meaning over 350,000 websites are still at risk.
Versions 6.0 through 6.8 of the plugin are affected by this exploit; users utilizing this plugin are encouraged to update to v6.9 as soon as possible to avoid any security risks.
First Look at Twenty Twenty-One, WordPress’s Upcoming Default Theme
Twenty Twenty-One is the new default theme with WordPress 5.6. In keeping consistent with the minimalist theme, Twenty Twenty-One offers users a clean, professional layout designed to elevate your personal or business website.
Twenty Twenty-One comes prepackaged with WordPress 5.6, released December 8, 2020.
As the default WordPress theme moving forward into the new year, Twenty Twenty-One offers the latest in terms of development trends and ease of editing. Default WordPress themes follow WordPress coding standards, so that means that it’s a great starting off point for beginners wanting to learn best practices, as well as the ins and outs of WordPress theme development.
A greater emphasis is placed on WordPress blocks, aka Gutenberg blocks, to provide a more engaging visual experience for website visitors. Introduced with WordPress 5.5, Twenty Twenty-One incorporates a new set of block patterns, providing users the ability to easily create complex layouts without too much hassle. Blocks provide a high degree of flexibility to designers, allowing them to integrate a wide variety of content types onto the website, like columns, widgets, embeds, and several more.
At the time of writing, the following block patterns are included to give users a wide range of customization to really create something unique:
● Large Text
● Links Area
● Media and text article title
● Overlapping images
● Two images showcase
● Overlapping images and text
● Portfolio list
● Contact information
Twenty Twenty-One also supports dark mode, which can be switched on or off via a toggle button. While not a critical feature, the popularity of dark mode has increased in recent years, with popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter joining the fray and integrating their own dark mode functionality.
WordPress Sites Attacked in Their Millions
Millions of WordPress sites are being probed and hacked due to the recent exploits in both File Manager (mentioned earlier) and WordPress sites using Epsilon Framework themes.
Defiant, WordPress’ security specialists and the company behind the Wordfence web firewall, reports that since the initial File Manager exploit was discovered, hackers have been probing additional websites looking for installations of vulnerable versions of the plugin.
Regarding the File Manager exploit, Ram Gall, Threat Analyst at Defiant, says that Defiant blocked attacks from over 1.7 million sites in just a few days after the attacks were first reported. Those 1.7 million websites were using the Wordfence web firewall, meaning the true damage caused by the attacks has the potential to be much greater than we realize.
As WordPress powers nearly 39% of all websites on the internet, the true scale of the damage is still unknown with potentially hundreds of millions of websites compromised.
On the vulnerability with Epsilon Framework themes, Gall said, “On November 17, 2020, our Threat Intelligence team noticed a large-scale wave of attacks against recently reported Function Injection vulnerabilities in themes using the Epsilon Framework, which we estimate are installed on over 150,000 sites. So far today, we have seen a surge of more than 7.5 million attacks against more than 1.5 million sites targeting these vulnerabilities, coming from over 18,000 IP addresses.”
According to the Wordfence team the following versions of the Epsilon Framework themes are still vulnerable:
● Shapely v1.2.7
● NewsMag v2.4.1
● Activello v1.4.0
● Illdy v2.1.4
● Allegiant v1.2.2
● Newspaper X v1.3.1
● Pixova Lite v2.0.5
● Brilliance v1.2.7
● MedZone Lite v1.2.4
● Regina Lite v2.0.4
● Transcend v1.1.8
● Affluent v1.1.0
● Bonkers v1.0.4
● Antreas v1.0.2
● NatureMag Lite v1.0.5
Users running these themes on their websites are encouraged to update to a patched version of the theme if available, or switch to a different theme completely; many third-party security plugins are also available and can help offer an additional layer of security.
As you can see, managing a WordPress website involves a lot of work, research, and keeping up to date to ensure smooth and secure operations for your business and clients. With COVID continuing to impact the business community, MyUnlimitedWP makes it easy for companies to outsource their web management needs so that business leaders can keep their organization running, and leave the maintenance and upkeep of the website to the experts.
For a monthly subscription, MyUnlimitedWP helps their clients navigate the dynamic and always changing world of WordPress websites. Their service provides a stress-free, quick and easy solution that ensures a perfectly functioning and up-to-date website.
Does it take 10.3 years to make a small change on your WordPress website? Can you recall times when you wanted to tear out your hair in frustration? Or moments of throwing in the towel on technology? Consider those days over, done, finito! We understand. With MyUnlimitedWP, all your basic WordPress website updates and changes get done in as little as 1 business day. And starting at just $99 a month! It really doesn’t get more awesome than that!
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