Blog Security: Becoming a Porn Site for a Day

blog securityOne of the weirdest and most embarrassing threats to your blog’s security is the infamous porn links hack. What happens is that one day your blog becomes flecked with keywords linked to porn sites, and no matter what you blog about it’s a pretty uncomfortable looking sight. In between paragraphs about the newest in baby clothing trends are links to huge men’s… Yeah, you get the idea. At best, it’s humorous. At worst it’s disgusting, humiliating, and a huge waste of your time to remedy. Your site may need to be shut down while you make the fixes and it could take a long time before you find all the offending links.

How can you avoid becoming a target? There are a few central tenants of blog security that will work against this kind of porn insertion (excuse the pun) as well as many other hacks and security threats. This is not a complete list, and you may want to read the security advice from your blog host very closely to get a more thorough set of instructions. But here are the first few steps you should take to avoid expensive downtime and uncomfortable conversations with your blog hosts and your readers.

Stay Updated and Backed Up

If your blog platform is offering updates, take them. Usually a few of the updates are to patch security risks that have been identified recently. Any identified blog security hole will be exploited before it’s fixed, but once you update and the fix is in place, you’re that much more safe from a break-in. Don’t ignore updates, ever.

Back-ups can be just as valuable as updates, if not more valuable. If your blog contains hundreds of pages of text, how will you go through and find all the nasty links? You won’t. Instead, you’ll revert to a back-up from before the hostile takeover and things can go back to normal again quickly. Back-up as often as possible to keep things from getting too far behind.

Hosts and Past Hosts

Moved from an old blog to something newer and flashier? Many bloggers start with a free hosted site from Blogger, WordPress, or Tumblr, only to decide they want a better, more unique url in the future. When you upgrade and update, you’ll probably want to keep up the old blog. But don’t leave it hanging. Make sure you’re doing any updates or back-ups for the old, dead blog as well. And consider getting rid of it eventually, as a dead blog on your new server may pose a security threat that you don’t want to risk.

That said, having a great host is critical to dealing with security problems quickly and efficiently. Some hosts won’t help at all when you’ve been hacked. Others will talk to you about the problems and work out fixes as quickly as possible. The host you choose matters.

Passwords and Protection

You know what people know but don’t do? Protect their passwords. So many hack jobs are done by individuals who simply guess or grab a password that is easy to acquire. You know that your password should be kept privately, hopefully never written down or stored insecurely. You also know that your password should be complex, preferably an alpha-numeric phrase that looks like nonsense to a program. If you use a password like your middle name, you’re asking to get hacked. Come up with something unique for each account, too, because getting hacked in multiple accounts at once will only add insult to injury.  So always pay attention to your blog security.




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