A small business blog can be an important communication tool and marketing platform, which is why protecting it from hackers is crucial. Hackers are constantly shifting their attack targets, and a growing number consider company blogs an easy way to enter and exploit small business networks.
Because blogs rely on a variety of software modules, themes, and plug-ins, they could offer a variety of access points for hackers intent on gaining access to a company’s servers. In response, a number of security best practices and plug-ins have been developed to help counter the growing threats that hackers and online criminals can pose to business blogs.
One of the most common security threats is the installation of malicious software that automatically installs itself on the computers of visitors to the blog. Once downloaded, the software attempts to harvest personal information or to relay spam through the infected computers.
Malicious software installed on the blogging platform can attempt to conduct similar exploits on a network, or alternatively to PCs that connect to the network.
As with many security vulnerabilities, the best advice for protecting a company blog involves updating the blogging platform and backing up content:
- Update Software Consistently - Blogging software providers such as WordPress and others routinely provide software updates that address security vulnerabilities or add new features. If an update is available, you should quickly back up your blog content and install the update to reduce the risk and susceptibility to an attack.
- Backup Regularly - If the blog is compromised by hackers, you’ll need a recent backup to restore any data that may have been lost during the attack. Or, alternatively you would have to replace the content if the blogging platform must be reinstalled.
- Check Permissions - Administrative permissions should be restricted to only those people who need to have it. Preventing users from changing your site template or database settings can close many of the previously identified security vulnerabilities. Similarly, if your blog doesn’t have registered users, you can turn off the registration functions to reduce entry points into the blog’s content database.
- Moderate Blog Comments - Comments offer a well-worn path for spammers trying to entice users to visit sites hosting malicious software. Comments add to the interaction your site is trying to foster, but can also provide a vector for spammers and hackers if you allow comments to appear on your site automatically. Blogging software platforms allow you to moderate post comments and only allow the legitimate ones to appear on the site.
- Consider Security Plug-Ins - Several plug-ins have been developed to hide or rename critical database files, making them harder for hackers to discover and exploit.
- Check Registered Users - If you do allow site visitors to register and comment, check the database for users who don’t seem legitimate. They could be hackers. Similarly, if a registered user hasn’t been active on the site for a while, it’s usually a good idea to delete the account.
- WordPress Specific Measures First delete the default username of “admin” and create a unique username. Utilize a strong password rather than just a single word or numbers. Install a plugin that enables login attempts to be limited and always be sure to log out when you are done using the platform.
These measures and paying attention to your blog’s traffic patterns will be helpful in identifying unusual activity and reducing the risk of a blog being victimized by hackers or online criminals.