Great Question! In the past month, we’ve had over 15,000 attack attempts on our website! Yes, you read that right – fifteen thousand hack attempts. Most of them come from the Russian Federation, with Ukraine running a close second. Some months ago, the “winner” was China, but they seem to be slacking off. Why all these attempts? You’ve read about the security breaches in banks, stores, internet providers. You’ve see the hack attacks on major websites, and the recent WannaCry ransomware problem. Well, most of them start with breaches on sites like this, where the perpetrator gains access through flaws in a website or its related software, and then secretly starts sending out links and spam messages to the world. Last year, our site was hacked and was doing just that. From what I could tell, these were marketing spam messages. Our web service provider shut down all of our outbound email service (without telling us), so for a long time, the system was not sending out notices to members.
We instituted several provisions to protect our site, one of which is something called a “captcha.” This is a security software that asks users to do some kind of visual task. We’ve all run in to these before – sometimes you have to make a visual identification (pick all the pictures with road signs, mountains, etc), or type in a series of letters. In our case, the math Captcha is one of the more secure options. Since most of the attacks are done by other computers, they cannot log in to our site because they cannot “read” the problem that is presented. You can, so you are able to get in.