100 Billion USD is the estimated loss that businesses and personal website owners together suffer due to cyber crime.
The struggle is real. Keeping your website or blog safe from hacker’s prying eyes is not easy. Especially for bloggers and hobbyists, staying online is more of a one against thousand army war.
Statistics like these which say that almost 70% of WordPress websites are prone to hacks give nightmares for bloggers.
Why are blogs targeted by hackers?
Bloggers have a fancy to hack into blogs for a plethora of reasons. Some of which are:
- Blogs have a huge follower base to target for spamvertize. Popular blogs with regular traffic once hacked can be used to host spam ads.
- Easy to target since most bloggers are unaware of security measures. Most bloggers set up blogs only for personal purposes or for earning revenue through Google AdSense. They undermine the need for tightened security, thus leaving the doors open for hackers to hack into.
- Often contains email address and contact information or credit card information of users. WordPress, Magento and similar platforms contain sensitive user information which once hacked into can cause severe damage.
Secure Your Blog from Hackers
Setting up Domain Privacy
Domain privacy is an often ignored aspect of blogging. A primary reason for the neglect is the lack of awareness people have about domain privacy options and the pitfalls are causes. While purchasing a domain, ensure to set up domain privacy. It can be easily set up by replacing your user info like address, phone and email contacts with a forwarding service.
Monitor Abnormal Site Activity
Every abnormal activity on the website is the hint of an oncoming cyber attack. Spam comments, unauthorized login attempts, website downtimes, etc. are usual symptoms. The key is to monitor these activities on a regular basis. There are plenty of online tools available for the same like Jetpack, Akismet, etc. which send email alerts when something unusual happens with your website.
Install Security Plugins
Blogging and CMS platforms offer a wide range of security plugins that can be installed and configured to keep your blog safe. Some of the popular WordPress security plugins are Wordfence, Sucuri Malware scanner, iThemes Security; all of which come with malware scanning, vulnerability assessment, site monitoring and similar features for blog security monitoring.
SSL certificates are the primary line of defense for your on blogs. They insulate the data exchange between users and your blog and keep eavesdropping and similar hacking attempts at bay. SSL certificates can also improve your blog’s search engine ranking. In fact, WordPress is already moving towards an SSL encrypted environment in 2017.
Bloggers often tend to make the mistake of compromising their email security which jeopardises their blog’s security. The email id(s) you use for managing the blog must be secured with two-factor authentication and recovery processes. Two-factor authentication ensures that only you are able to log in using a text message, security code or pin received as a text message in your phone.
Bonus Tip: Use strong passwords containing alphanumeric characters that cannot be easily guessed or hacked into.
Update to the Latest Version of Blogging Platform
Blogging platforms keep updating their security patches and software to stay abreast with latest hacking attempts and methods. Using an older or obsolete software version means you are compromising for trending hacking methods. The best foot forward is to update your software, themes and plugins as soon as an update is possible.
Delete Old Data or Better Create a New Account
As the popular saying goes, “the less you have to protect, the less you have to lose.”
Avoid storing sensitive information online. This could include the email addresses of your users, credit card information if any, member databases, details of monetary transactions, etc. If you have an old account which carries such information, it is better to take backup and delete the account or create a new account with credentials. In the worst case scenario, even if a hacking attempt gets through, you won’t have much data to lose.
Additional Reading:- New SEO Optimization Techniques to Promote Your website
Staying Safe in External Networks
Avoid Free Wifis Like Plague
There is nothing called a free lunch, or wifi. Public wireless networks are easy to hack into and have the weakest security that compromises user security. Free WiFi at the airport, malls, etc. might be tempting to use, but remember that a hacker can easily eavesdrop into your information sent across such networks.
Strengthen Your Smartphone Security
With so many mobile apps and extension available for managing your blog on the go, it is easy to fall prey to mobile hacking too. In fact, mobile devices are estimated to be the biggest preys for cyber attacks after desktops. So, it is better to ramp up your smartphone security through in-built provisions like PIN, passwords, pattern locks, etc. Installing anti-virus and malware scanners also help in keeping your smartphone secure from hacking attempts.
Use VPN Services
Virtual Private Networks do what public networks cannot. They create a connect your device to the offsite server through an encrypted connected that cannot be broken by outsiders. Enterprises can invest in setting up their own VPS networks. For bloggers, there are plenty of subscription plans that provided the same protection that are provided to enterprises. VPN connectivity also has several benefits that bloggers writing on sensitive topics can make use of.
The cyber world is full of security issues. Malware and spamware and numerous hacking forms pose continuous information made public on the Internet. It is always a safe bet to protect your blog from such cyber attacks by strengthening its security.
Hopefully, what we have outlined till now will help you ramp your blog’s security to that level where it will remain far away from the prying eyes of hackers. There is still more that you can do to keep your blog safe and sound. Your own platform will have a series of security measures that can be tightened for maximum security.
Have anything more to add related to blog security? We are open for a discussion.