As a fellow blogger, I know that blogging takes time and dedication; for some, blogging is practically a full-time job. Once you get your words onto the page and successfully posted, you really want them to stay there for good. The unfortunate news is that if a hacker (likely in the form of an internet troll) decides to give you some trouble, all of that hard work could be gone in a matter of minutes.
Even if you think you’ve been doing everything right, a hacker can literally come out of nowhere and target your page for their own amusement. To avoid this, there are a few easy and affordable things you can do.
Here are some security tips that will make it less likely for your blog to crumble at the whim of a troll.
5 Security Tips For Bloggers
1. Strengthen Passwords
Not everyone knows the difference between a weak and strong password, but it can make a big difference if you do. Basically, a password is considered weak if it does not contain numbers, both uppercase and lowercase letters, and a symbol or two (when applicable). You also want your password to be more than eight characters long.
Lastly, avoid using any personal information in your passwords such as names, addresses, your username(s), any information connected to your blog, and definitely avoid using your birthdate or social security number. Some of these can be easy guesses for anyone trying to break into your account, especially if they are people who know you personally or, even worse, if they’ve acquired your personal information online due to an unsecure connection (there’s an easy solution to avoid this, so don’t worry!). Also, make sure you change your passwords on a regular basis and don’t re-use the same password over multiple accounts.
2. Protect Your Information
Anyone and everyone who uses the internet should know how to protect their information, and they should do so on a daily basis. Any time you connect to the net with an unsecure connection, you are putting yourself and your computer at risk. Even those who don’t store files on their computer that include personal information can be affected by a hacker; web browsers often save your login information, for example.
If you’ve ever connected to the internet over public Wi-Fi, your information is especially at risk. Hackers can easily access your computer over unsecured Wi-Fi connections that are not password protected. Take a look at Medium.com’s article entitled “Here’s Why Public Wifi is a Public Health Hazard” for an example of what hackers can do in less than half an hour on a public Wi-Fi network.
If the internet users in the article had kept their device connected to a Virtual Private Network, it’s highly unlikely that their information would have been accessed at all. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, encrypts your internet traffic by providing an encrypted connection to an offsite secure server; though it may be located in the same city or country as you because many VPNs offer several different locations to choose from. This encrypted connection will make you appear as if you are located wherever the VPN is.
While you are connected to the VPN, the VPN sends all of the requests that you make over the internet, so your location and IP details are inaccessible. The VPN’s details will be shown in your place. A VPN protects your device while you’re on public Wi-Fi because of the encryption; the encryption is difficult to solve and requires a powerful machine to do so, so no hacker is going to waste their time trying.
An added bonus is that VPNs are not just available for your computer; they are also available for your smartphone and tablet. For more information about VPNs, as well as reviews and where you can find one, check out SecureThoughts.com.
3. Backup Your Files
Another really important tip when it comes to security is to back up your files. When you have your blog backed up, if a hacker does gain access to your site and decides to edit or wipe out all of your posts, you won’t have to worry nearly as much as about replacing the content. It would also be a good idea to store your backed up files on a flash drive and more than one computer; that way if one computer crashes, your files will still be available.
If you’re unsure of how to backup your files, check the “Help” section of your web host’s site. There should be a tutorial provided, and if not, contact customer support for help. They should also be able to help you with information regarding how and where you should be storing these files and how you can restore them if needed.
4. Stay On Top of Updates
Always update your software as soon as there’s an update available. The older your software is, the easier it is for hackers to target you. Software updates typically cover any vulnerability the program or platform might have, making it more secure and less likely to get hacked.
Since not every company alerts you of updates, check your software regularly for the option of an update. You can often find this information on their website, so check there as well.
5. Never Share Your Account Info
To keep your blog protected, never let anyone else log into your account. If it is absolutely necessary that you do let someone else log in, change your password immediately afterward. Also, don’t share your password over the net, even if you are just emailing it to yourself.
If you haven’t already, it would be wise to keep your personal email address separate from the one associated with your blog. Not only will this keep things organized, but it can also keep things more secure because you are less likely to be sharing your blogging email address as often as you are your personal email address.
Now that you have some of the security basics covered, feel free to continue blogging as you have been. Just don’t forget that there are trolls lurking around who feed off of making your day less than pleasant. If you take the proper security measures on a daily basis (such as logging into your VPN), you should be able to fight them off without much effort (or cost!) on your part.