Chris Parker: Digital Security for Entrepreneurs with What Is My IP Address

Are you staying safe online? is the premier website for helping people get details on an IP address.

Chris Parker created WhatIsMyIPaddress in 2000. It is the number one website worldwide for looking up an IP address. The website has more than six million visitors monthly.

WhatIsMyIPAddress provides useful information to people online and strives to help site viewers stay safe online.

Other than IP addresses, the website offers a large variety of IP-related tools and helpful articles.

They send updates, tips, and article links to their subscribers, so they remain in the know at all times.

“When you control your IP address, you control your internet experience and online safety.” – Chris

Learn more about how WhatIsMyIPAddress can help you stay safe and updated online by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on  Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to the thoughtful entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of up my We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. Right, with us right now, we actually have Chris Parker. Chris Parker is the founder of what is my IP Which, you know, it's kind of funny when when we were getting connected, and I looked at my calendar, usually there's a spot where it says, well, what's your website address? And so I saw that there and my first thought was, okay, someone's just being funny. They don't want to share their real website at dress. And they're like, No, no, this is actually the guy who started what is my IP address? Calm? What year was that? By the way? Chris? It was January, January 2000. So almost 20 years ago. Amazing. Amazing. So. So I imagine you had just a simple, what did you

did? What was the very first iteration of the website? Did you design something that would just display that information? Then the the very first iteration of the website was one line of code. Yeah, on the server that just showed the IP address. There was no, there were no banner ads, there was no content. It was just a number and whatever the default font was in the corner of the screen,

was that we're using like PERL script or Java, not JavaScript at the time. php, not that what were you using? Classic ASP running on, like an empty server box that was sitting next to my desk at home? Oh my gosh, no. No kidding. So you and I, before we started the I hit record on our conversation. So I was developing websites in the late 90s as well. So we're talking about what you had to do to buy a domain name back then it was very expensive compared to what it is today. But I would imagine over the years, you've had some pretty decent traffic on the site.

Yeah, it's it's ramped up to I think last month, I hit a record of about 7 million visits.

Yeah. So can I ask and you don't have to give me exact numbers, but what kind of adsense revenue Do you get on that kind of traffic?

I don't know the AdSense number off the top of my head because they use a use a fully managed solution. So it kind of blends a bunch of things together, right?

But display revenue is is mid six fixture mid to high six figures a year on the website. Nice. That's a nice little, you know, it's wonderful. If you can spot a trend, and position it yourself in front of that trends, I was Matter of fact, I was just on the phone, we're just doing a call with someone who's positioned themselves very, very well in the cannabis hemp CBD world, and they've got over a million followers now. Wow, I said, Look, you know, with more and more states changing their laws over the next 10 years or so, you know, as long as you don't screw that up, I think you're going to be in a pretty good position. Yeah, I mean, even having a million followers right now, that's not that's not too bad for today. But anyway, so you've, you've made good on that. And so one thing, Chris, that you do a lot of work on, I'd really love to have kind of a quick little mini lesson. And we're going to talk about digital security for entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurs that I'd love to talk about would be people that are generally running their business off of their laptop. They're using hotspots and They've got, you know, they've got personal data on their laptop itself, they likely subscribe to a lot of different services maybe to run an e commerce website or membership site. Maybe they're an agency or a freelancer. And so I'd love to go through some items that I think every entrepreneur should concern themselves with, as they are starting and or running their business. So we if we could start, I think the, I think is kind of a no brainer. Can you talk about why having a VPN is kind of important today?

Yeah, I think these days VPN are becoming more and more important, and probably to take a step back. For people who don't know what a VPN is. It's a service that routes your internet traffic, it encrypts it and routes it through their servers. So the network that you're on, can't see the data unencrypted. And it goes off to a server and wherever you choose for it to be, you know, these days people are really concerned about, well, is my ISP selling my surfing habits? Are they monitoring what websites I'm going to, particularly as freelancers are becoming more international, there are countries that block traffic from certain sites or block access. If you want to use Facebook, you're not really going to be able to access Facebook in China without using a VPN. And so there's a lot of things that, well, we don't want traffic from these countries coming to our web surfaces. So we're only going to allow traffic from us users. And so by using a VPN, even if you're offshore from the US and allows you to write your traffic to a server in the US, encrypted protected and you can get access to the sites and services that you might need to use, but also with the addition of that layer security.

So what is this again, so if we're talking about So a VPN is going to help you to be a little more have a little bit more anonymity with your ISP. It's going to allow you to access sites that maybe geographically, you wouldn't be able to access. Does a VPN do anything to protect you from bad actors out there?

in various ways, it can help you from bad actors. A lot of the VPN service providers are now starting to build in malware protection, anti virus protection, ad blockers, kind of reducing the number of vectors that you would normally encounter. You know, you can block access to sites that might infect you with malware. So if you've got an email and you clicked on it, it's not going to keep you from getting the email. And you should be careful about what you're clicking on, obviously, but it can help mitigate some of those issues of it.

You know, I, one of our other clients is involved in helping companies keep malware out of their network. The number one entry way by like a long shot is user behavior, clicking on bad links, because it's so easy for someone in a LinkedIn message to send, hey, you know, click here, here's a photo, click here. Here's a PDF free PDF that you can download. And it's going through like a bitly link or one of those things and so you have no idea what that is that you're clicking on. And bam, that's all it takes.

Yep, yep. And And at this point, you know, most anti virus software computers is is almost kind of reactive, the latest exploits. Even if you've got good antivirus, you're probably not protected from bad behavior.

No, no. And so what his company does is actually it basically tests the employees and it's basically finding all the latest trickiest stuff out there and just basically just trying to fool you know, spot for Employees on a regular basis so that they can find behavior holes in the security which anyway, so So how about connecting to hotspots is what's what's good best practices for that if you spend most of your time and co working spaces and on companies public Wi Fi, is what should we be doing there?

I would definitely be looking at using a VPN service. There's also if you're particularly concerned, and I think when you're using things like mom and pop restaurant Wi Fi is and coffee shop Wi Fi is not maintained by you know, Starbucks is probably a little bit safer because it's maintained by a company that has it people but you know, mom's bagel shop, it's mom, she doesn't know anything about it. She just told her if you want more customers, you know, turn on your guest Wi Fi so she did it. Kind of the latest the more recent trend of those who are particularly more security conscious There's hardware VPN. So basically, you're not connecting up your laptop to mom's bagel Wi Fi, you're connecting them to your hardware device. It's usually like a hockey puck size device. And then that device turns around and connects out to moms. Moms, you know, bagel Wi Fi. So you've got that extra layer of security because it's one thing to make sure that your traffic is encrypted. But your your computer is still potentially exposed on the network when you're using one of these hardware VPN,

really, so you can just like plug this in your USB or something like that.

Even better, they're mostly battery these days. It's a hockey puck. You know, maybe the size of your fist, you could charge from it usually allows, you know, five to five to seven users. So if you're a family traveling, it's also good for that sort of thing. If you're a family traveling and you're going to the hotel Wi Fi, you just connect up the hockey puck to the hotel Wi Fi and you don't have to reprogram the kids x box you don't have to reprogram anybody's wife or anyone's iPads. They're all just used to connecting up to this VPN hockey puck.

I like this. You know, I'm kind of looking around and I'm not really finding this. Chris, can you can you help me with any brand names?

probably know that. Yeah, the probably the most well known one is ki ZOKEZELKEZ.

To ease Oh,

keys. Oh, he's all like that. I'm sorry. EZL

Yeah, look at that. So, but it looks like 199 or under. Okay. I like this. This is this is brilliant. So then every so you're Okay, I got it. So your device connecting to the keys. Oh, keys, oh, then is kind of this, this middleman between you and the rest of the world? Correct. So you now have a physical hardware firewall. Getting your laptop from the network, in addition to the security benefits of having a VPN. Now, that's pretty cool. I'm going to add that to my wish list. Thank you. So how about dealing with clients personal information on our computers? What what are some good best practices for that.

So most modern operating systems now allow you to encrypt your operating system, sometimes sometimes it requires it from that first install other ones, you can, you can turn it on after the fact. But that at least allows you if your laptop gets stolen, that without your password, they're not going to be able to just take the hard drive out and plug it into their computer and read the data. I mean, data breaches these days are, I don't know more frequent than coffee shop visits, can't keep up with the data breaches. But if you do things like making sure that you're encrypting your machine, making sure you're checking for viruses on a regular basis, watching When doing that's probably going to be your best bet, keeping your, your client data secure if it's on your local machine,

what about Mac users? Sometimes us Mac users get a little egotistical and thinking that we're immune from

such, you know, such things. One of the things that I've historically loved about Max and maybe this will even concern you a little bit less these days. Is that what I had a Mac that would fail? I could take the hard drive out and just stick it another machine and turn it on and continue on as normal.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Basically means if someone has that hard drive, they've got all your data.

Yeah, back Hello.

I think they called us file vault that you turn it on your hard drives encrypted. If you don't, if you don't log into your computer, nothing's coming off of it. You have to realize that you need to be doing backups then offsite remote backups. Because if you you know your hard drive crashes and you want to take it down to the local hard drive repair data recovery place. Guess what they're going to, hey, guess what we uncovered a whole bunch of encrypted stuff. But you can't access it because you don't have that physical machine anymore. Sorry. Know, if it's private data, that's a good thing, because you don't want people getting access to it. But you need to make sure that when you need to, to regain access to it, you can and off site backups are great for that. Yeah. So how about like running transactions done our site? So if I'm using woo commerce, if I'm using Shopify, I'm processing through stripe or something like that? I mean, are there any other concerns I should have? Or do Can I just trust that my third party providers are going to do their job to keep my clients personal data safe, they'll do as good as they can do and to assume that they'll never be breached is a bad idea. You should kind of always assume that you're very We're going to get breached and data is going to get out there. But I think probably the more likely vector for most small businesses is their own website gets compromised, that they haven't they haven't kept their WordPress up to date, or they're using plugins that just aren't secure. And that becomes a vector for someone to come in. And I think they will do virtual a skimmer. So all the credit card transactions are still happening, but they're just skimming off the credit card numbers, the security authorizations, and they're basically able to get all the credit card numbers that you're using, along with all the authentication information for

Yeah, so WordPress in particular, I mean, let's just kind of review some best practices for that. So number one, keep your WordPress site up to date. That's going to be helpful. Your plugins as well keep those up to date. Is there any way to know if you you know, let's say you have an old plugin? Is there any way to know that it's vulnerable now?

You can go searching for it, it's really hard to know if something out there is vulnerable unless it's broadcast that is vulnerable. You might want to look at things like IWP, white security, they have a couple of security plugins that do audit logging, file transactions. So like if your files start changing and you're not doing it, then I can kind of alert you that there's something going on. On your platform. They're really good for audit logging to make sure that your users who are using your WordPress are actually doing what they say they're doing other than are not installing. You know, you don't have users intentionally installing back doors. Yeah, I think we're under the getting into the biggest problem is they they install plugin, and they test it and they go oh, this is kind of cool, but at some point they go now I don't want to use it, but they don't actually uninstalling it so if it's any plugin that you're not using an install it so you remove that possibility of it becoming an attack vector, and not just deactivate but but but actually uninstalling from

server so the code is not sitting on your machine. Correct. Yeah. And there are some good themes, or I'm sorry, some good plugins that would probably help with some different areas of security as well that aren't baked into WordPress by itself.

Yeah, there's going to be some things that are going to make sure that you've got a good password management that you've got solid password enforcement, things like that. I mean, those those are kind of best practices, regardless of whether it's WordPress, or, or any platform or even any

software as a service that you're using.

This one should be a layup for you talk about passwords for a second.

passwords are a scary, scary thing.

In a way passwords are really cool, and they're in there and they're really bad. In the last, let's see, what are the password breaches that have happened there the account breaches that have happened in the last week or two. We've had Capital One has had a significant breach now that was a password. But there's you know, there's there's 100 million breach almost every week these days. It's particularly scary. There's a great website out there called Have I been Poland? p instead of an O and you type in your email address, and it will tell you every place that your email address has been involved in a data breach. And so if you haven't changed the password for that service, since that data breach happened, you've basically that account has been exposed to hackers and they could be in your account. And any more probably more scary as anywhere else that you're using that username and password combination is now at risk.

Yeah. So looking at one of my common email addresses right now it says Poland on to breach sites. That's

true, but it's only two. Yeah, I mean, I have many I over the years I've used many different email addresses and I tried to recycle them. I also now what do you think of services like one password last pass that sort of thing. Absolutely. Go for it, do it. I think most of them even have a free service plan. But even if you're paying for it, it, it will save you so much time and headache. For businesses, they have plans where you can like within your entity, you can share passwords. So if you have multiple people who need to log into the same account, then they have the ability as employees to do that without having to, you know, distribute that password via email within your office. But I jokingly someone asked me, you know, if you're, if you lost your phone and you had to login to your email, would you know what the password is? Like? I have no idea what my passwords are anymore. They're all manually are all automatically generated by a password manager.

Cheese. I'm looking at one of my old email addresses. Oh, this is so bad. This is 15 breached sites. Oh yeah. that's a pretty popular one, LinkedIn probably.

What's that? Probably on LinkedIn as well.

Yeah. Yep. Hundred and 64 million email addresses and passwords were exposed. Yeah. Oh my gosh, this is this is terrible. So again, have I been postponed and it's PWNED. Yep. Yeah, yeah. Well, again, some, some some good. Some good things for us to review. Listen, Chris, thank you so much for for joining us. Tell me again, of course, you know, people can use what is my IP address? I'm sure they've used it already dozens of times, but what else are you up to?

So I'm in the process of building some new tools out for that site that I'm excited about coming out in the near future, helping to make sure that people are configuring their the DNS for their website correctly, and they're abiding by best practices there. There's a lot of Privacy security, online safety content. And we're have a have a massive pipeline of stuff that's coming out here then in the next couple months. And so we're really excited about really helping people to be safe and secure online with things that are doable. They're not indeed you don't need a, an IT degree to do a lot of these things. And that's the idea is like, what's the practical stuff that 99% of us can do to up level our privacy and security?

Yeah, I love it. So your website, what is my IP address dot com. And then you also have CG, where people can learn about the work that you're doing in person in security. So Chris, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you very much, Josh had a great time. Thanks for listening to the thoughtful entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my slash asked that you got something out of this interview? Would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and text it to a friend or posted on the socials. A few do that tag us with the hashtag up my influence. Each month we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform, and you get crowned king or queen of that social media now what do you win? We're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans totally free. Now. Can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now? Please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. And while you You're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why tomorrow? That's right. seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials, you'll find all the stuff we're doing at up my Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur movement.

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