Apple of Eden, Trojan Horse … Free Hosting

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The allure of unlimited knowledge, succulent taste of the apple, and wily ways of the serpent. These elements amalgamate in the Book Of Genesis to portray Eve as a conniving seductress. The unsuspecting maiden was certainly manipulated, yet her own personal desire was the catalyst to her decision to take that fateful bite.

Have you fallen prey to that same emotional trigger? Man will fall like autumn leaves when he thinks his greatness is still aspiring. Some men, in their pursuit of greatness, see nothing but the prize, and are oblivious to the cost.

The Tragic Tale of the Trojan Horse

The caption of the photo below is a quote from The Aeneid, an epic poem written by Virgil (in Latin) between 29 and 19 BC, not a line from The Iliad, as some believe, which was written by Homer (in Greek) some time around 800 BC. It’s literal translation is, “I fear the Danaans (Greeks), even when they bear gifts.”

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts - Trojan Horse
“Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”

The picture is a familiar image to most. Odysseus, King of Ithaca and a Greek hero during the Trojan War, concocted the diabolical scheme that placed warriors inside the massive statue of a horse. The Trojans, lovers of all things equestrian, accepted the gift and brought it through their gates. The city was burned to the ground that night.

A less well-known part of the story is that Odysseus was one of the original suitors of Helen of Troy, whose abduction from Menelaus of Sparta started the conflict. He lost her to Menelaus in a drawing of straws. Did that chance of fate inspire him to orchestrate the ruthless slaughter of Trojan men, women, and children?

What Motivates Men to Do what They Do?

Eve’s decision in the Garden of Eden was possible because God gave man the ability to choose freely. He also provided a set of guidelines to ensure those choices are the right ones, but many do not follow those rules. In today’s society, religion is viewed as “enforced morality” and criminals are all too often revered.

One example of this is Michael Haefrati, husband of Ruth Haefrati, and co-inventor of the Trojan Horse Virus. During their trial back in 2006, Ruth told the Israeli court that Michael “played a background role” in the development of the virus. He was sentenced to two years. She was sent away for four.

Israeli newspapers characterized the Trojan Horse Virus case as the biggest case of industrial espionage in the country’s history. “No one remembers a case like this in Israel — an affair with such scope of investigation involving technology at this high level,” said Chief Superintendent Rafi Levy, spokesman for the national police force.

Michael lives in New York now, spells his name with a “ph” instead of an “f”, and runs a cyber-security company called “Secured Globe.” He advertises himself as “An inventor and an expert specializing in software development and information security.”

The Evolution of the Cyber Criminal

For all I know, Michael Haefrati was an unsuspecting dupe just following his wife’s direction. His company could be legitimate and the name change something many of our ancestors did to become more “American.”

It’s also possible that Michael and Ruth did not have nefarious plans when they first started working on the Trojan Horse coding. The road to hell is often paved with good intentions. Did they begin as altruists and end up consumed by greed?

At this stage, the story is old news. Regardless of their motives, the Trojan Horse opened a door for a new breed of cyber criminals and provided an espionage tool for corporate pirates, the intelligence community, and law enforcement agencies. It literally changed the world that we live in today.

The evolution of the technology has been publicly visible through social media and news headlines, so consumers across the globe are aware of the dangers and take precautions. It’s a risk to us all, but it’s a wolf that looks like a wolf. The wolf in sheep’s clothing – the FREE product – is what we are far too frequently fooled by.

The Wacky Wicked World of Web Hosting

According to the Bible, there are seven deadly sins: envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath. If you look back at the mistakes you’ve made in your lifetime, there was likely some degree of these defects catalyzing your actions.

An offer of free hosting is a tantalizing proposition, especially for Masonic Lodges, which are frequently struggling financially. There is also a prevalent misconception that the website is a secondary concern. This could not be further from the truth.

The year is 2018. If you don’t have a valid web presence, you will NOT reach the potential prospects who will populate your officer’s line in the next ten years. The “younger” generation isn’t the only demographic searching for fraternal fellowship, but they are our primary target for new candidates.

Free hosting and out-of-the-box websites may seem like a good option, but they come with some serious drawbacks. For instance, the average bandwidth for “Free” is 5 to 10 MB. For the technologically uninitiated, that will give you a site with two or three images, no blog, and a load time of over twenty seconds on a mobile device.

The average user will leave a website that takes more than three seconds to load.

Other issues with Free Web Hosting services are:

  • You cannot add a shopping cart
  • There are no back-up options available
  • Server is generally not secure, so Paypal links are out
  • Adding images, CSS, or Javascript files is not an option
  • No redirects
  • Frequent down time

Remember, you get what you pay for. These are the hazards of free hosting from legitimate hosting companies, and they are usually what is known as “Fremium” services. You start out free, but have to pay when you want to expand your site.

The Parable of the Helpful Brother

The primary goal of the 22nd District Technology Project is to make sure that all six lodges in our district have viable, dynamic websites. Prior to the start of the project, two lodges had existing websites that were built by a “Helpful Brother.”

Tell me if this story sounds familiar …

A lodge is in need of a website and one of your more technically proficient brothers steps forward and says, “I’ll build one for you.” Being an experienced coder, he’s the best man for the job, so the lodge gives him free reign and he creates a masterpiece.

Five years later, the “Helpful Brother” leaves the lodge. Maybe he moves, perhaps he goes on to other life ventures, or maybe he starts a family. He’s gone.

Who will maintain the website?

If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach that man how to catch fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime. I’m grateful to all of the “Helpful Brothers” who have donated “free websites” with “unlimited hosting.” Thank you for your efforts, but please stop.

Web Design and Hosting Options with WordPress

There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.org, which is more for designers and business websites, and WordPress.com, which can be used by anyone with a minimal knowledge of coding or web design.

WordPress.org requires a hosting service. There are a number of them out there, including Bluehost (starts at $48 per year), which I used for many years, and WP Engine (starts at $420 per year), which is a concierge style managed hosting service.

WordPress.com is self hosted, so the headaches of dealing with (or paying for) a hosting company are eliminated. Here’s their pricing:

Hiram’s Edge is on the business plan for $299 per year. I need the extra bandwidth for videos and I’m able to use plug-ins like MailMash (for Constant Contact email marketing) and Yoast (for search engine optimization).

The free version has more space for files and media than most services do, but your url will have .wordpress.com attached to it, so I don’t recommend it. For lodges, the premium option for $99 a year is the best choice.

Make your selection and then watch our video lesson on WordPress.

 

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