Online security is becoming an ever-increasing issue for all blog users. As the internet continues to grow so does the rate of cyber crime and blogs are becoming a prime target for these online criminals. Many bloggers believe that, because they use ready-made platforms, they are exempt from the responsibility of their sites security but this is far from the truth. Keeping your blog secure is a multi-faceted task that lies completely on the head of the administrator. These top security mistakes are five of the most common reasons that blog users face disaster at the hands of a cyber attack.
Mistake Blogger Do – Weak Passwords
It can’t be said enough: weak passwords are a major threat to online security. This refers to both the password you use to log into your admin panel and the passwords that subscribers use to log into your site. Creating strong, varied passwords and encouraging your users to do the same is an essential first step to guaranteeing your blog’s security.
A strong password includes things such as:
- A mandatory password length (e.g. 6-12 characters)
- Capital letters, numbers and punctuation
- Avoiding common words like “password” or “dog”
- Not using birth dates or personal information
Doing this means it’s harder for malicious hackers to crack passwords and gain access to your blog.
Another element of password security to consider is password storage. All personal data should be encrypted and passwords are no difference. If you don’t know what salting your passwords is or how to do it then now is the time to learn!
Mistake Blogger Do – Not using a VPN
This is another simple step that can drastically increase your online security. Many bloggers update and check their blogs whilst on the move and using public WiFi and this is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in handy. Public WiFi can make you extremely vulnerable to cyber criminals as your data is flying around unprotected for anyone to see. By installing a VPN, you create a private connection between you and the VPN server before connecting to the internet. This private connection encrypts your data and allows you to use the internet anonymously.
As well as benefitting your security, a VPN can also help with
- Unblocking certain websites for research while overseas
- Securing you from government surveillance programmes
- Protecting you from malware
There are so many reasons why a VPN is an essential security tool for bloggers that it can be completely harmful for those who don’t use one.
Mistake Blogger Do – Wrong Plug-ins
Many blogging platforms offer security plug-ins to help bloggers boost their online safety. Although this may seem like an obvious and easy step to take there’s a catch: not all plug-ins are made equal. Some have been designed specifically to contain security holes to allow easy access to your blog and some are even just malware themselves. Installing the wrong plug-in could be a devastating mistake to make for any blogger. Fortunately, there are many forums and websites that keep you up-to-date on the best plug-ins for you.
Some of the most popular plug-ins for WordPress include:
Each plug-in comes with slightly different features and is offered for a different price so be sure to do your research, decide the best for your needs and protect your blog before it’s too late.
Mistake Blogger Do – Not Updating
This is about everything: your plug-ins, your blog platform, your antivirus software, even your computer operating system – it all needs regular updating! This is due to the fact that the online world is ever-growing and ever-changing. A programme that may have been fool-proof and impenetrable when it was first released will not always stay that way. New hacks are being developed constantly and security holes – once found – and quickly targeted and exploited. Similarly, newer versions of programmes sometimes contain security solutions for old problems or cyber attacks that have later been remedied. Although it may seem tedious and time-wasting to constantly be updating every element of your blogging set-up, it will save you far more time in the long run than having your blog’s security penetrated and experiencing a malicious hack.
Mistake Blogger Do – Back Up, Back Up, Back Up!
This one can’t be said enough: back up! You may feel like your security is so successful that there’s no need to take this step or that work on the internet is not so sensitive to being wiped as work on hard drives but this is not the case. Backing up your blog is an essential and unquestionable step to take. No matter how hard you try, no security set up is perfect and if you do lose your blog to something as simple as an anomaly on the server then it would be devastating to have to start from scratch.
You can easily and quickly backup your blog using
- Cloud Storage
- External Hard drive
It is recommended to use both of these systems to store your data as both come with their own potential risks. Cloud storage is notoriously vulnerable and a two-stage attack on your blog data, although unlikely, is not impossible. External hard drives have much more physical vulnerabilities and are liable to corrupt when dropped or handled too roughly. To make sure you never fully lose your blog data, it’s best to use both of these systems for storage to be extra safe.
Although many bloggers overlook the importance of internet security these simple mistakes could mean the end of your blogging experience. However, each of them can be overcome with such a simple step so there’s no excuse not to protect yourself. If have you have any more tips of on to improve the safety of your blog then be sure to comment below.
About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a cyber security expert and technology blogger who enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. For some great tips on how you can protect yourself online, follow Cassie on Twitter.