Everyone who is anyone has a blog these days right? Companies trying to themselves sound human, celebrities trying to market products to their fans, and of course every single backpacker in the world, who wants to share their unique experience of getting drunk in Australia, lost in Japan, or robbed in Bangkok.
Why wouldn’t you have a blog. They are a great way of communicating with family and friends, as well as customers and clients. They can be used as a marketing or PR tool, a flexible CV to highlight your many professional successes, or a diary.
But the online world can be a hostile one, and like any other website, blogs need to be kept secure. If you blog is hacked, you run the risk of losing personal data as well as information about those who read your site, and of course your site could be hijacked and used for any manner of nefarious purposes, with the likely victims being your friends, family, or customers.
Why would hacker want to target your blog? Well, it is quite likely if you have your own blog that it was built on WordPress. WordPress is a fantastic tool for building a beautiful looking, user-friendly blog, and whilst you can spend a lot of money on it, it can also be done for free.
But WordPress is not perfect, and one of its most significant deficiencies is its security. Because WordPress has a lot of holes, or vulnerabilities, and those make it an easy target for hackers. Even novice hackers are likely to be able to have success attacking WordPress sites.
It is vital that those who use WordPress are therefore aware of the risks involved. But don’t be discouraged, because there are, of course, a number of different steps you can take to hack-proof your blog in 2016.
Updates: The first step is perhaps the simplest. Make sure all your software is up-to-date. WordPress will roll out updates on a pretty regular basis and the plugins and themes you are using will most likely do the same.
Don’t procrastinate! Be sure to download and install these updates as soon as possible. Many will offer security updates and ensuring they are installed will make sure your site is protected by the maximum level of security possible from the software you are using.
Protect Yourself from Brute Force Attacks: A Brute Force Attack is an attack in which hackers use an automated programme to try and guess your password and access your site. Software can scroll through thousands of possible password combinations in a minute. And as so many of us use simple passwords, they are successful far more often than they should be.
There are some simple steps you can take to counter the risk of these attacks though. Install a limited logins plugin which will limit the number of login attempts that can be made before the site is locked. These can stop an automated system from repeatedly trying thousands of different passwords.
There are also specific Brute Force Protection plugins available. These will also limit login attempts as well as blacklist and whitelist IP Addresses, delay execution after failed login attempts, and issue customised messages. Well worth looking into
Use a VPN: A Virtual Private Network (or VPN) should be an essential tool for all internet users these days, but certainly for those running their own blog. A VPN encrypts all of your online traffic which means everything you do online, including work with your blog, will be encrypted and therefore secure from prying eyes.
But there is more. A VPN will also render you anonymous online, as it reroutes all your traffic via an external server. This adds another layer of privacy and security to your online activity.
There are other reasons to use a VPN, such as accessing geo-restricted content, which can be useful if you are working or travelling overseas. But it is the security benefits which are the key selling point to bloggers.
Use a Password Manager: Lastly, I would strongly recommend using a Password Manager to help secure your blog, and indeed every other online service you use.
Password Managers make remembering passwords easy. They are bits of software, or apps, which stores all your passwords securely and then allow you to access them through a single master password. All you have to remember is that one password (be sure to make it a complex one).
LastPass is one of the most famous names in this market and also one of the best. LastPass can also help you to generate complex and secure passwords which are al accessible via the single master password, which is all you have to remember.
A Password Manager will go some way to protect against Brute Force Attacks, and plenty more besides.