How to make your small business blog invincible to hackers
If you have a small business blog, congratulations on embracing the online life! Digital marketing and, more generally, web development for your brand can make a huge impact on your company’s success. But have you ever considered the fact that your blog might be the target of malicious threats and cyber attacks? And do you know what IT support you need to have in place to ensure you stay safe?
From the images you post, to the ads you may choose to run and the platform you use, cyber thieves have several ways to create problems for you. You could have files deleted or corrupted, data stolen or used for nefarious purposes, or links added to your site that you don't want your visitors to be directed towards.
Despite these risks, there are some key steps you can take to make sure you don't fall victim to hackers.
One of the first mistakes many people make is not staying up-to-date with the latest version of their blogging software. Hackers are changing tactics all the time, and blogging platforms must constantly update their software to keep users as safe as possible from potential threats. When you don't update you are leaving yourself open to attack to newly-found viruses or malware.
Create a new admin account
Once your blog is up and running, make yourself the administrator and give yourself a new login and password, deleting off the one you used to create your account. Some cyber attackers will target generic admin accounts, so by creating a brand new one, you are preventing them from accessing your blog and any of your information, files, or data.
Use strong passwords
It's something that is said repeatedly, yet many people still do not pay attention. You must create complex passwords to keep yourself safe. Avoid using the standard children's names, birth dates, or personal information of any sort. Use special characters if you can, and keep it above 10 characters long (the longer the better and 12-14 is generally recommended) to make sure you're as safe as can be.
Install security software
Install security scanning programs to keep you secure. This software will update frequently and automatically, scan for malicious code and tell you if it discovers any issues or potential vulnerabilities. Your blog provider should be able to help with this by giving you a list of recommended software programs or extensions you can use.
Restrict blog access
You need to be careful about who you give access to your blog, and make sure you stay on top of all open accounts. The more users you have, the more open you are to attack. If you have other people posting to your site be aware of the access you have given them and try to limit the access to whatever tasks they perform and nothing more. Always remember to disable accounts when they are no longer in use.
We say it constantly on the blog here, but it can't be emphasised enough. You need to back up your work, files, and programs on a regular basis. Blogging platforms will generally recommend the best backup providers for their software, so check this out before installing. And set reminders to backup frequently. Alternatively, if you don’t want to deal with this yourself, you can outsource your back up to a dedicated IT support provider, like us!
Take care with images
Content is becoming more and more visual, but it is wise to be careful about the pictures you use as it's possible that files obtained from the Internet could contain malicious code. Always use trusted sources, or if you want to use a new source look at the HTML code of your image within your post to make sure there isn't any surplus code attached. Images which have .php or .exe in their code should be treated as extremely suspicious. Typical image files are .jpg .png .tiff .gif.
Check your apps
If you use applications or blog extensions like page counters, animations, comment tools, or slide shows, for example, you need to be extra careful as they could be easy to access for attackers. Only use apps that have been recommended or endorsed by your blogging platform. It would be good practice to also check what other bloggers say about these apps in the reviews, especially if they contain glitches that might cause concern.
Most blogging software providers will allow you to put adverts on your site, which can be a way for you to earn extra money. However, ads are also good targets for cyber thieves and phishing scams. If you've got security scanning software on your blog already, then your ads will be included in scans and therefore you'll be able to pick up on potential malicious code from there. Otherwise, you should check the ad software you are using and what security measures they have in place. Also, ensure you’re always aware of potential threats when using new advertising material.
Looking to start your own small business blog or website? We can help you with the development and maintenance. Talk to the Xenace IT support now for more information.