Have you ever visited a favorite blog only to find content that was alarmingly uncharacteristic of the site? Or perhaps you got security warnings that never occurred before. Maybe you were prompted to enter sensitive information that the website had no business asking for. This could have been because the blog was hacked and hijacked by unscrupulous parties looking to take advantage of trusted relationships with long-term visitors. It happens all too frequently and if you want to protect your own blog from this kind of mayhem, there are steps you should take in addition to the average firewall-antivirus-antispyware measures that you already have in place. Here are some smart moves to consider when it comes to thwarting would-be hackers.
- Rotating passwords. Passwords are an important part of protecting your online assets, so don’t phone it in with the six-character minimum. Take the time to create passwords that will pose a problem for hackers (several characters, including capital letters, numbers, and symbols) and then change it on a regular basis to ward off repeat attempts. You should also have several levels of passwords so that if a hacker somehow makes it into one area of your blog a virtually floodgate will stop him from accessing everything.
- Limited logins. Another great way to keep hackers at bay is by programming in a feature that limits user login attempts. For example, anyone who tries to enter a password for a particular user name more than three times will cause the account to freeze until administrative action can be taken to unlock it.
- Multiple admin accounts. The first thing a hacker is bound to do upon gaining access to an administrative account is change the password to lock out the real owner (that would be you). If you want to avoid this unwelcome scenario, all you have to do is create two or more admin accounts so that you can regain control of your blog and oust the interloper.
- Notifications. As a failsafe you should always build in an instant notification feature that alerts you via email or text when changes are made to your blog. This will let you know if unauthorized activity is occurring so that you can nip it in the bud. Although it won’t necessarily stop a hacker from getting in, this function will hopefully permit you to put a stop to the unwanted entry before any major damage can be done. Just in case, though, you might also want to keep daily backups of your content.
- Appropriate behavior. While it can be tempting to pen inflammatory posts as a way to get people talking about your blog and bring in looky-loo readership, the truth is that you’re inviting trouble when you start poking a sleeping bear. Provoking a thoughtful reaction is one thing, but inciting readers to violent reactions is another entirely (especially if it prompts them to hack your blog in retaliation). Even the best screen protectors won’t stop a speeding bullet from blowing out your monitor, and no amount of firewall and encryption will halt a truly determined hacker. So behave responsibly and don’t give anyone a reason to lay siege to your blog.