Fireside21 Web Security

We have received a number of calls and emails from clients about last night’s hacker attack on Congressional web sites. First of all, no Fireside21 client web sites were impacted by this attack.

I don’t know for sure exactly how these sites got hacked—I would just be speculating without conducting an audit of server logs. I do want to take this opportunity to re-assure our clients of things we do at Fireside21 to protect our client’s web site and constituent data.

Our system is safer for several reasons:

  1. Our web servers run the latest software and have anti-hacking protection built-in.
  2. We write our own software and adhere to the best practices for handing anonymous input.
  3. All our administrative functions are limited to the house network, which means hackers have to breach the house firewall before they can even try to access our admin servers.
  4. All administrative logins are encrypted with the same technology used by banks and online stores.
  5. We lock accounts that enter too many bad passwords, making it hard for hackers to try and guess your password.

One thing I recommend for everyone is to be careful with your usernames and passwords. Pick a complex password, change it often, and don’t let anyone know what it is!


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The Fireside21 team would like to welcome @bridg_eeee to our ranks! http://t.co/vQrmIs51

It appears we had some formatting issues- Thanks @NealKirby!

Welcome to Fireside21, @KennyAmes! http://t.co/RH01Ftc5

Just launched a completely redesigned website for @MacTXPress! Check it out: http://t.co/dQG2cHOh

Just launched a completely redesigned website for @TomLatham! Check it out: http://t.co/OYJ8AfAD

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21 Tips: Encouraging Dialogue With Your Constituents Should be Priority #1

This is the twenty-first in our series of 21 Tips for Email Outreach.

Never lose sight of who you are working for: your constituents. These tips are aimed at helping you get the best results out of your email outreach, and it’s critical to remember the real measure of your success. Take a moment to step back and ask, “Is our outreach engaging our constituents? Is it serving their interests? Is it helping us represent them better?”

If the answer is YES, hit Send!

21 Tips: Always Test Your Emails in a Variety of Inboxes

This is the twentieth in our series of 21 Tips for Email Outreach.

Not all email readers are alike. Emails that look perfect in your Gmail account might be slightly askew in Outlook. That’s why it’s always a good idea to test your emails in a variety of email inboxes and make sure the formatting is what you expected. (Hint: pay special attention to Outlook 2007!). Not to mention, it will give you another chance to check for typos.

21 Tips: Capture New Constituent Email Addresses and Opt-ins Over the Phone

This is the nineteenth in our series of 21 Tips for Email Outreach.

Take advantage of constituents’ phone calls to get their email addresses and subscribe them to your newsletter. If you can convert them into email communicators, your phone lines will be that much quieter the next time a major debate rolls through Congress.

It might go something like this: “Thank you for your call today. The Congressman/Congresswoman likes to keep in touch with constituents by email, as well. Would you be interested in receiving his/her email updates?”

21 Tips: Give Them More if They Want it

This is the eighteenth in our series of 21 Tips for Email Outreach.

People today are flooded with information, their inboxes are crammed, and as a result they’ve learned to parse that information. Your constituents read emails differently than a letter from grandma; their eyes flit over the headlines and pick out only what interests them, ignoring the rest.

This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to write less, but your email outreach will be much more effective if you use headers to structure your content and give them they option to read more if they want it. Summarize your main points and provide links to the articles. Once they’re on your website, they’re more likely to click around and see what else you have to say.