Holly Jolly Roundup

Holly Jolly Roundup
Happy Holidays from the Reclaim Hosting team!

News from December 2023

How can it be the end of the year already? 2023 has been huge for Reclaim in so many ways – just for starters, it was our tenth anniversary this past summer! We're hoping that as your year winds down, you can take some time to reflect, relax, and get hyped for 2024.

A reflective, relaxed and soon to be hyped, Emmet Otter

Monthly Announcements

February Workshop - DoOO & WPMS 101

It's crazy to think that it's almost 2024 already, and even crazier to think that our Domain of One's Own/WordPress Multisite 101 admin workshop is almost around the corner. We'll be holding this workshop over two days on February 21st and 22nd, 2024.

Image of a black VHS tape with green web and Domain of One's own written on label
Domain of One's Own and WPMS Workshop February 21st and 22nd

Day 1 will be all things DoOO, while Day 2 will be WPMS-focused, so that you can attend either day (or both!) depending on what's most useful to you. We'll cover both concrete, technical details of how the systems work, and dive into admin topics about how to make best use of the platform and plan for future success. We're going to have a rockin' good time, and we hope you'll join us. For registration details, just head on over to the Events Calendar.

January Community Chat - Your Campus in the Cloud

Okay, technically this announcement is a tiny bit of a spoiler – in January, Reclaim will be talking more about .EDU websites and the infrastructure that goes into them. We've talked about it before, months and months ago, and we're bringing it back.

Image of a dark rain clpud and a bright blue sky cloud with a floating campus in the cloud
What does your Campus in the Cloud look like?

Now here at Reclaim, we're big fans of WordPress and love ourselves a good old multi-region failover setup. But this is a Community Chat, and we want to hear from you. What platform does your school use to manage its top-level .edu site? What are the benefits and drawbacks? If you could build it anew, what would you look for? Join us on Wednesday, January 17th, 2024 at 12pm ET to talk about how your campus uses the cloud. (P.S. – you can RSVP on the events calendar!)

Reclaim Karaoke!

Let's get festive with a little Reclaim Karaoke that will be happening December 22nd (today!) from 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM ET. Join us for some songs and laughs at ReclaimTV or listen in on Reclaim Radio.

Sing and laugh with us today, December 22nd, from 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM ET

New Staff Blog!

You know us – always blogging. We've got a lot of news to share! And while the Roundup is great, it only comes out once a month, so we've set up a staff blog at Reclaim the Blog to share announcements as they come up. Case in point, the next two announcements (our "News from Infrastructure" segments) were posted there hot off the presses. If you'd like to get those real-time updates, you can head on over there and subscribe.

Image of man in business suit in an office setting drinking coffee and blogging
"I'm blogging right now, take a message"

News from Infrastructure: Phishing Scam Reported

The threat intelligence team at WordFence Security discovered an on-going phishing campaign targeting WordPress users, which is fairly widespread already (their original blog post available here). More details, including indicators your account has been compromised, are also available in our post here.

Don't fall hook, line, and sinker for the recent WordPress phishing scam

We recommend checking about the above blog posts since they provide details on identifying and preventing potential compromises. However, a quick summary: the phishing is masquerading as a legitimate email from the WordPress Team. It advertises a patch for a critical CVE (CVE-2023-45124). However, this CVE does not exist and if clicked, the user is taken to a fraudulent plugin page on en-gb-wordpress.org and instructed to install it. If you believe your account was compromised or you were affected by this campaign already, please notify us immediately at support@reclaimhosting.com.

News from Infrastructure: Addressing Vulnerable Plugins

Wordfence Security also recently reported that over 100 WordPress plugins are impacted by shortcode-related vulnerabilities. Several patches have been pushed out already, and while we've been making an effort to apply them across our infrastructure, we do need your help in ensuring your sites and their themes/plugins are up to date. Patched software is one of the best means of protecting yourself from malicious actors.

These specific vulnerabilities do require that an attacker has already gained access to your site and the account they're using has some level of permissions to make changes to the site (the contributor role or higher). So it's worth checking if any new and suspicious accounts have been created. If you notice any, please immediately reach out to our support team.

For existing accounts, we ask that you use strong passwords and 2FA to ensure they are secure. Consider using a password manager like Bitwarden or 1Password to make managing all of that much easier.

In Case Ya Missed It

As always, this month has been busy. Between weekly streams, radio, and a robust flex course, we're roaring out of 2023 like a lion!

This month saw the premiere of our highly anticipated flex course, Open Publishing Ecosystems. Taylor and Amanda had been planning this one for quite a while and were stoked that they got to present it to the community, as well as secure some impressive experts in the featured open publishing tools. They kicked off the course with the Markdown authoring and collaboration tool in Session 1, Hedgedoc, then had the privilege of bringing in Manifold contributor Jojo Karlin for Session 2, Docsify-This creator Paul Hibbitts for Session 3, and HAX lead developer Bryan Ollendyke for the finale Session 4.

As for streams, Pilot and Taylor couldn't help but continue to gush over the OPE flex course in their stream Highlights from the Open Publishing Ecosystems Flex Course. We also did an ephemeral Reclaim Radio stream guest starring the one and only Lauren Hanks.

Time for us all to take a breath until the new year... when we'll be back at it with oodles of things you won't want to miss, like our upcoming stream schedule:

  • Festive Karaoke... TODAY!
  • Welcome back from the holidays!... Friday, Jan 05
  • Obsidian... Friday, Jan 12
  • ReclaimEDU... Friday, Jan 19
  • Edgeport, Industrial DNS, and Security... Friday, Jan 26

ALL streams are on Reclaim TV at 10 am ET!

Recent Blog Posts

As mentioned above, Reclaim the Blog is a brand-new space where the entire Reclaim team will be sharing relevant news and announcements regularly, posts such as Noah's "New Phishing Campaign" and Chris's "Just A Ton Of Vulnerable Plugins," are just a taste of some the updates you'll receive.

It's also a space to find out more about our ongoing events, such as Amanda's post about the recently wrapped up Open Publishing Ecosystems flex course highlighting four open publishing tools easily installed on Reclaim Hosting.

Image from Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever featuring the crew standing in front of the portal"

And then there's Jim's Star Trek-inspired post dream of an always up world for websites, "the Site on the Edgeport of Forever Uptime," which talks about running Reclaim Hosting's main website on a high-availability, multi-region server setup using the DNS/Security service Edgeport.

For something different, in "This is Not a Game" Noah shares his passion for the 1998 exploration game "LSD: The Dream Emulator." This experimental art game was only released in Japan and has developed a cult following in the seedy world of PlayStation emulator bootlegs :)

Bizarro screenshot from the underground game "LSD: The Dream Emulator"

And this post followed yet another game-related post "The Quest to Interact" about the experience of exploring the game engine Unigine, which Noah describes as follows :

I am not a fan of Unity after the whole fiasco with them, and while Unreal is powerful I wanted something slimmed down where I didn’t have to worry about visual scripting (blueprints) and could just start coding. With Unigine, I found exactly what I was looking for!

Unigine might be a useful tool for building out Oblivion University! Speaking of which, Oblivion University has arrived, and we wanted to highlight Michael Branson Smith's articulate post "Why Oblivion University" that thoughtfully contextualizes the why and how of the brilliant Dr. Oblivion chatbot---the omnipresent "tutor" for the upcoming AI106 course happening this Spring at the University of Mary Washington. Jim wrote a bit about the fleshy contours of this upcoming class/experiment in "AI106: Long Live the New Flesh." #4life

Image of a classroom with a TV and stereo cart with the hed of Dr. Oblivion on the screen. Their is also a card on the TV telling you to type your mesage for help on the card
Oblivion University: Ask Dr Oblivion anything! https://oblivion.university

Finally, Taylor provided a quick follow-up on an older how-to post showing you how to create a "Stream Deck Button to Start or Stop OBS Virtual Camera." A good tip for all you wanna-be streamers getting ready to like and subscribe.

Support Documentation

As we're winding down the year, you may be thinking about some "spring" cleaning! We've got all you need to know about account management and cleanup!

Whether you need to notify users about upcoming maintenance or remove accounts from the server, we've got the process covered in our Account Cleanup documentation section for Domain of One's Own Admins.

Cleaning is fun!

Staff Picks

Kicking things off this month is Goutam with the Multiple Themes plugin for WordPress. This plugin lets you use different themes in different places on the same site, based on a bunch of different criteria, like by page, by specific URL, by query, and more!

Chris shares SimpleLogin, an email alias service from the folks behind Proton Mail. Email aliases can be super handy to sign up for services or accounts when you don't want them to know your real email address, and can help you fight back against Spam and Phishing attacks!

Noah has been checking out BookStack, which is a self-hosted, open-source Wiki tool that focuses on ease of use and sports a simple and clean design. We don't have an installer for this one yet, but it should be easy to run on Reclaim Cloud using Docker, or by using the Ubuntu install script!

Finally, Taylor wants to share a festive command that you can paste into your friendly neighborhood POSIX-compliant shell. macOS or Linux will work here, or open up cPanel or Reclaim Cloud and use the Terminal tool:

curl https://jadin.me/files/snow.sh | bash

And that's all for this year, folks! Happy Holidays, and let's kick 2024 off in style together!

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Dr. Brian Oblivion