Startups #nofilter had the pleasure to sit down with Miriam Schwab, Founder & CEO of a truly unique startup called Strattic. Though not yet live, Strattic is aiming to revolutionize WordPress and it’s (glaring) security flaws. Miriam breaks down the login (or lack thereof) science, and how Strattic plans to avoid hackers entirely:
1) Most startup company names are geeky or unintelligible. You’ve achieved the rare instance of coolness and brevity. How did you come up with Strattic? And after you came up with the name, did you momentarily curb your excitement until after you probably checked Go Daddy?
Domain name first! That’s my branding strategy. So my thinking with Strattic went like this:
Words: static, strata, strategy
Then I started thinking of variations and immediately checking their domain status. I actually wrote my findings down as I went along, so lucky you – here they are in their raw format!
“staticwp.website – might be too newfangled for users
Statify is a WordPress stats plugin
Fanstatic is a Python resource
Statisfy is a business
Staterrific is available. Not amazing though.
exstattic.com is available! And xstattic.com!
strattic.com is available – like stratisphere…and it’s a unique name so that’s good for trademarking. And “stratic” means “Of or pertaining to the order of strata, or to their deposition” which is really suitable because it’s about layers, like this solution!”
2) Strattic promises to turn your WordPress website into a non-hackable static website. How can you promise that the site can’t be hacked? Give us your secret, in yeoman terms.
Dynamic websites are relatively easy to hack because they have login pages, and/or unpatched software. These are wide open backdoors for hackers.
Static sites have neither. The only way to hack a static site is to somehow gain access to the server itself, which is possible, but much more difficult. Hackers often search for the low hanging fruit when it comes to victims, so if a site is hard to hack, they are likely to move on to greener pastures, i.e. the millions of vulnerable websites waiting for them on the web.
3) Dumb but serious question of the day: Can’t I just create a super duper complicated password for my WordPress login and most likely avoid hacking?
Not a dumb question! If you have a complicated password, you may be safe. But too many people don’t have good passwords. Also, if you have any plugins on your site, or you haven’t yet updated your site with the latest security update, your site is vulnerable in other doors. Here’s a crazy stat: at any given time, 70% of the world’s top websites are vulnerable due to known vulnerabilities! The Panama Papers data breach, which was the largest data breach ever, was possible due to an outdated WordPress plugin running on the Mossack Fonseca website. Ouch.
4) Are you nervous that some of your homepage text (“You know why hackers can’t login to Strattic sites? Because they don’t have any login area. Take that, evil hackers.”) might be considered taunting to hackers, and if so, might make you a target?
I’m really really (really) nervous that we’re dangling a carrot in front of hackers with our claims. But on the other hand, this is one of our major selling points, so how can we not say it? Security is therefore our priority, in order to mitigate this threat.
5) Have you had any contact with WordPress in regard to your product? Do you think they’d be interested in checking it out?
WordPress isn’t exactly an entity, but if you mean Automattic, the company behind WordPress, then no. We likely will, but aren’t ready to at this time.
6) What’s it like going from one accelerator (Siftech) to another (Mass Challenge)? Are you actively seeking funding?
I gained a lot from Siftech, but like all good things it was going to come to an end. When I saw that MassChallenge was accepting applications, it seemed like a great opportunity for a few reasons: 1) I’d get to continue having the accelerator environment once Siftech was over; 2) MassChallenge has a huge global network, which I thought could be helpful to us; 3) MassChallenge is a type of validation, which I thought could help us take things to the next level.
So far I see that each accelerator has its pros and cons, and I guess that’s a reason to join more than one – they each offer value in their own way, and some are more suited for different stages than others.
7) Any regrets so far with Strattic?
I strongly believe in Strattic’s potential, and I don’t regret pursuing it, and being in Strattic and MassChallenge has worked out great. I am having more trouble than usual balancing work and family, and I miss spending more time with my kids. Thank God for Shabbat.
8) For Fun: WordPress vs Blogger used to be a legitimate argument, right? How come Blogger seems to have fallen by the wayside, and do you think they can make a comeback?
It’s for the same reason that Google beat Yahoo: Blogger was the first to offer free online blogging, but stopped innovating. Never stop innovating.
9) For Fun: Any thoughts on Verizon’s purchase of Yahoo? What do you think Verizon has planned? And sidenote, how often if ever do you go to a Yahoo site? (I for one read their sports section every day).
This purchase is kind of like Aol’s web property purchases (like TechCrunch and HuffPo): I guess there’s some kind of value to having a relatively high traffic site, and some companies make that their strategy. But I really don’t understand what that strategy is. If they can’t be profitable, how is that valuable? And how will Verizon change that? I imagine we’ll see a lot of these sites get shut down in the future.
10) For Fun: What website do you go to when you need to check if your internet is working?
Ynet! And if I’m not sure whether a site is down or the problem is on my or the client’s end, I use this useful tool: http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/.
11) One quick piece of advice for Startups #nofilter?
Join an accelerator! It increases your startup’s resources and visibility by 1000%. It gives you access to smart people who can help you, keeps you up to date on events and opportunities for startups, gives you access to press, and more. Also, the other startups in your cohort become your friends and “partners,” and the knowledge you share with each other is incredibly valuable. You don’t have to be alone!