Many of the WordCamps I present at, I also bring my bestie, Kimberly Castleberry and we’ve noticed a big issue: security. I’m not talking about WordPress security, but security for it’s attendees while using the Internet.
In fact, Kim asked this back at the 2014 WordCamp St. Louis. The venue was Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri. She and I agreed that as much as WordCamps have been bringing on presenters to educate the attendees about WordPress security, they aren’t making sure the venue can provide a secure Internet connection. It’s kind of odd that this was forgotten. Having a secure website isn’t just keeping your site up-to-date, having a web host that does have some security in place, and hardening WordPress, but also protecting how you surf the Internet and your computer’s health.
This is a problem, especially when the venue is college campuses. I’m not gonna lie. When I went to college, and I was owner of several large Yahoo! Clubs (some over 50,000 members and the others in the 20K-30K range), I had been hacked while I was sitting at my computer in my own dorm room. For me, this issue hits home. I have access to information for clients that run high profile websites, and sometimes when I go present at WordCamps, I sometimes have to take a few moments to tend to their support issues.
The scary factor for others is that your personal information could be stolen as you surf. Now, I’m not pointing fingers, but I’ve seen the screens of laptops, tablets, and mobile phones from other WordCamp attendees. Some of them are shopping and some are even working. Oh, and those Automattic employees that come, they are letting things open if they have enough access to areas of WordPress.com and WordPress.org that may become a hacker’s dream…. at least, the wrong hacker. Not all hackers are malicious and I’m not trying to give any ideas, but this is really something to think about.
It’s enough that attendees may want to think about investing in a VPN (Virtual Private Network.) They could, but they shouldn’t have to. While WordCamp organizers do an awesome job of acquiring great venues, asking the venue on how they can provide secure Internet access for the event might be something to think about.
If that isn’t something that can be considered, at least making a huge announcement to their WordCamp communities that they may want to invest into a VPN should be done. It is a HUGE risk to allow a lot of people access to an unsecure Internet hub. It can lead to identity theft and even hacked websites… not a lot of fun.
Have you attended a WordCamp? Has it ever come to mind that your information was wide open for the pickings while attending a WordCamp? If you went to a WordCamp that actually provided secure Internet access, when was it? What are your thoughts on this?