Do you need a network security checklist?
Today’s guest author presents a cyber security plan with 11 components of cyber security to keep you safe from hackers in 2020.
Although he titles his post, “Eleven Tips for Online Security That Every Blogger Should Know 100%,” these components of cyber security will help everyone– bloggers, business people, and anyone else who doesn’t want their online security compromised.
Eleven Tips For Online Security That Every Blogger Should Know 100%
This post was contributed.
Blogging might be a lot of fun and a great business option, but it does open you up to some cyber security concerns.
Bloggers can be a real target for hackers, whether they’re aiming to take down your site or take over your Twitter. As a blogger, you need to take your web security seriously to keep your blog and your social channels safe. Here’s how you can protect yourself effectively online as a blogger.
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11 Components of Cyber Security
- Stay informed. Online security is always changing, as hackers come up with new ways to attack websites, and new viruses are created. If you stay informed, you know what you should be defending against and how best to protect your blog. Read web security blogs, and stay up to date on the best online privacy techniques.
- Use strong passwords. Both your blog and all your social media accounts to need have strong, hard to crack passwords. Don’t use anything too easy to guess, like your birthday or the names of any pets of children. An easy way to create difficult passwords is to use a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters. Choose a favorite song lyric that you can remember, and take the first letter of each word. Add a meaningful number and a special character and you have a pretty secure password. You can also use online tools to generate strong passwords. You should change your passwords every three months. If you think your password has been guessed, change it immediately.
- If you’re a WordPress user, you need to keep your plugins and themes up to date. These site additions can provide an easy way for hackers to get in. WordPress releases regular updates for its platform, which include security updates, but these updates don’t cover any plugins you use. Only use reliable plugins from trustworthy creators. Look for plugins that are updated regularly, and always install any updates to keep any chinks in your armor secure.
- Change your username. On most blogging platforms, the automatic username for the administrator profile is ‘admin’. Hackers know this, and if you leave this the same, they already have your log-in information and only need to crack your password. Change your username to something less easy to guess. Don’t just use your name. Instead add some numbers or special characters or use something a childhood nickname which isn’t common knowledge, or combine your first name and middle name to create something new that you can remember.
- Backup your blog regularly. Having a backup is a safety net that you can use to save your blog if you accidentally delete something or if a hacker takes it down. Set up an automatic backup, so you don’t need to remember it, or choose a set day of the week to backup manually. For extra security, save your backup in the cloud or email it to yourself, so you still have it even if your computer goes down too.
- Be careful when you use public WiFi. If you use WiFi in places like coffee shops, cafes or the library, you need to pay close attention to what you’re using. It’s a common hacker trick to set up their own open WiFi connection and name it something like ‘Starbucks WiFi’. This tricks users into logging on, where the hacker can then see everything they do online, including any passwords for blogs. Avoid this happening by paying attention before you log on. Most public WiFi is behind a password, so don’t trust networks that let you straight online. Check with a staff member what their WiFi is called, and make sure you need a password to get online.
- Use a secure, trustworthy web host. Don’t just choose a web host which is cheap. You should look for a host with good reviews, who release regular updates. You’re looking for a host with frequent software updates as this shows they’re always updating their security to keep your site safe from breaches. A larger host will have more resources to spend on security, both in terms of time and staff expertise. You need strong security hardware, as well as firewalls and intrusion detection. Ideally, use a host who builds specifically for your choice of a blogging platform.
- Beware of malware from advertising. If you monetize your blog through an advertising network, make sure you use a large network that you know is trustworthy. Some ad networks are used to distribute malware through advertisements. Stay away from anything other than the established networks.
- Beware of phishing scams. Remember your online security basics; no legitimate company will ask you for your password or any credit card information. Phishing attempts are usually random, but with a popular blog, you do run the risk of being targeted by a spear phishing campaign, which comes after you specifically. Use an email address that is purely for responses to your blog. That way it will be immediately obvious that an email about account issues is a scam. Stay alert, and never click on any suspicious links in emails.
- Be on the lookout for hacking attempts. Most web security breaches are just crimes of opportunity and are often automated. There are some tools you can use to look out for breaches on your site. Google Search Console will send you alerts if it detects any hacking attempts. There are also online tools to scan for vulnerabilities on your site, or for any large scale breaches that your email address has been included in.
- Know what to do if you are hacked. If you are the victim of a breach, try not to panic. The faster you respond, the more chance you have of minimizing the damage and the amount of data lost. There are several commercial tools online to clean your site, depending on the platform you use. If you have been hacked, keep a close eye on your social media and any bank accounts connected to your blog, just in case the breach reaches further. Stay alert and keep your data safe.
Readers, please share these important components of cyber security.
I look forward to your views in the comments section. Can you think of any additional ways to protect your data?
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