Top Security Mistakes Bloggers Need to Stop Making in 2016
Internet security has been an ever-growing concern for bloggers over the last few years. Cybercrime is on a constant rise, and now, even the smallest personal blogs are at real risk of contracting malware or being infiltrated by hackers. Unfortunately, this increase in attacks has been heavily facilitated by blog owners failing to take the necessary precautions to protect their site and leaving their data—and the data of their users—vulnerable to malicious hackers. It’s understandable that many bloggers find internet security an overwhelming topic, but as we move into 2016, it’s becoming more important than ever to take responsibility, and the necessary steps, to ensure the security of your blog. Here are five of the most common mistakes to avoid making in 2016!
Not Taking It Seriously
This is perhaps the worst, and most common, mistake that bloggers will continue to make in 2016. Many people believe that because their blog does not have a very wide reach, they won’t be targeted and are therefore exempt from having to worry about online safety, but this is far from the case. Similarly, the reliance on built-in security features gives bloggers the false belief that the responsibility lies with their platform providers rather than themselves.
Neither of these facts could be further from the truth. All bloggers are at a substantial risk, and not taking it seriously could result in losing your blog completely, notably harming your online reputation or even leave you the victim of identity theft. Commitment to your blog’s security is by far the greatest way, and the best first step, to ensure that you and your website are protected and will not fall victim to a detrimental cyberattack.
Neglecting Password Security
Passwords are becoming an increasingly prevalent feature in our everyday lives as increasingly more sites and accounts require mandatory logins for access, meaning it’s understandable that so many of us have started to see them as a daily nuisance. Too many people are guilty of creating a set password structure that they re-use every time they have to set up a new account.
However, choosing convenience over security has, and will continue to, result in detrimental consequences. Choosing simple passwords and recycling them means that they are extremely easy to intercept, and once a hacker has one, they subsequently have access to all your accounts. This is one of the main ways bloggers contract fatal malware or hacks. As we enter 2016, ensure that the password for your blog administration account is complex and unique, and create password requirements for all subscribers.
Good requirements include:
- Mandatory minimum length – over 6 characters is recommended
- Use of capital letters, punctuation and numbers
- Avoiding common words and phrases, such as “password” or “cat”
- Not using personal information, such as birthdays or phone numbers
Failing to Do the Research
The internet is flooded with information about internet security; however, not all of it is trustworthy. Similarly, many blogging platforms offer a range of security plugins that will drastically improve your blogs safety; however, with the good comes the bad. There are many plugins that have been developed maliciously, are actually malware themselves, or have intentionally been created with security holes to make it easy for hackers to access the websites of naïve blog users who believe they have protected themselves.
Luckily, all it takes is a bit of research into the best and the most trustworthy, and this problem can be avoided.However, many bloggers fail to do this. A quick Google search and skim of the first article you come across will not suffice, so be sure you spend a good chunk of time looking at the options and advice out there and creating the best security system that is best for you.
Not Staying Up to Date
Another key mistake that bloggers regularly make, and that will no doubt continue to be a problem throughout 2016, is failing to update their software. This refers to any browser, plugin, security program and even the computer operating system you are running and is due to the fact that out-of-date software does not guarantee the same security as it did when it was first released. This is because cybercrime is constantly developing and new security holes, malware, and hacking techniques are being created and exploited.
Very often, updates contain fixes to address newly discovered cyber attacks and remedy security holes that had not been noticed in earlier releases of the programs. Many bloggers and internet users, in general, feel that updating is time-consuming and tedious, and while this may be true in the short term, it will undoubtedly save you the time you will lose in the long run if your blog does fall victim to an attack.
Leaving Themselves Unprotected
A lot of the time, when thinking about security, bloggers tend to keep quite a narrow focus and target only the blog itself. However, when blogging, all elements of the blogging process act as potential points of vulnerability where an infiltration can occur, meaning it’s equally important to protect your computer as it is to protect the website itself. There are plenty of steps you can take to ensure the computer, with which you most regularly administrate your blog, is protected.
- There are two types of firewalls that provide you with different types of protection. A network layer firewall works within your computer and monitors the traffic very generally; whereas an application layer firewall works specifically with your apps and can filter traffic with narrower, targeted commands. Both are useful to help protect your blog.
- Anti-virus Software. There are many different versions of this software on the market, so finding the best version for your machine requires a bit of research, but once purchased, it will significantly protect you and your blog from malware.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is essential for protecting your internet connection, particularly when administrating your blog on the go and using public WiFi. This application connects you to the internet via the VPNs server, which encrypts your data and allows you to access the web anonymously and out of view of prying eyes.
Security mistakes for bloggers are very common, and 2016 will be no different. However, for blog users committed to improving their online safety in the New Year, identifying these five points and taking the steps to overcome them is a great way to secure you and your blog. If you have any more mistakes that you think should be added to the list, and advice to avoid making them, then be sure to comment below.