How can I protect myself from hackers if I want to start a blog?

So, you run the publication’s website or maintain your own blog….

So, you run the publication’s website or maintain your own blog. You publish what you think is necessary, and someone may not like it. Potentially, your blog is at risk and can become a target of hacker attacks. To prevent cyber-attacks, you need to be able to protect your site by building up the all-round defense.

Protect? But from what?

You should be able to protect your site from everything that can prevent you from further publishing new posts. For example, from:

  • Blocking access to web pages
  • Infecting a site with viruses
  • Stealing the personal data of readers
  • Spamming

There are a lot more threats. Your site can either become a victim of a targeted attack by cybercriminals or appear a random target among tens of thousands of sites that get hacked by crooks simply because they have unpatched security vulnerabilities. Long gone are the times when website owners (even with not very high traffic volumes) felt safe and learned about hacker attacks only from the news.

OK, the threats are clear. What exactly needs to be protected?

It is critical to protect, for example, passwords for the admin panel of your content management system (CMS). If attackers gain access to the admin console, they can do almost anything with your site. Therefore, passwords are one of the sensitive points that you should protect. Criminals can find your password with the help of various techniques, for example:

To minimize risks, it is necessary to:

  • Use strong passwords
  • Change passwords from all systems and email accounts often
  • Use multi-factor authentication
  • Restrict access to the admin panel based on IP addresses and devices.

OK, passwords protected. What else needs my attention?

It is necessary to keep an eye on the security vulnerabilities of your CMS and other software. Popular CMSs like WordPress always create updates after discovering new security vulnerabilities. These updates should not be neglected; otherwise, hackers will be able to find a loophole and inject malicious code or upload their files onto your hosting account.

The web hosting service where you keep your blog’s files itself may have vulnerabilities if it does not pay enough attention to updating and supporting systems that ensure the operation of your site. Hackers may use poorly protected hosting services to break into sites to redirect readers to third-party pages or infect their computers with viruses. So, selecting reliable and secure hosting services for your blog is one of the best precautions.

Besides, many blog owners become victims of social engineering. It is a collection of cheating methods that hackers resort to in order to gain control of the site. For example, it can be fake calls or messages, similar to requests from your hosting provider, in which you will be asked to provide a password, justifying this by some urgent updates needed to be installed.

Hosting services are also not always protected from social engineering. Attackers can trick the service into deleting your content or account. Therefore, you should make sure that the hosting provider pays enough attention to security issues. To avoid this, you should:

  • Carefully choose hosting services
  • Watch out for all the updates
  • Periodically scan the site for malicious code
  • Make backups

Finally, one does not need to accept sudden requests from “hosting administrators” to send a password or other suspicious attempts to steal personal data.

I often hear about DDoS attacks. Do I need to be afraid of them?

Yes, DDoS attacks can be very dangerous. Moreover, the cheaper your hosting provider is, the more likely it is that it is not protected from DDoS attacks. During DDoS attacks, hackers “bombard” your blog with so many requests that it simply cannot cope with all of them and becomes unavailable to users. To carry out a DDoS attack, cybercriminals use computers or IoT devices infected with viruses. A network of such infected devices is called a botnet.

How to protect from DDoS attacks?

You need to find some kind of external service that can filter out harmful traffic and thus protect your site from DDoS attacks. Such a service is provided, for example, by Cloudflare. It creates something like a backup of your website and sends all user traffic through it. Thus, the attackers do not know exactly where your real site is located. The service will hide its IP address, and hackers simply will not know what exactly they need to attack. 

In addition, Cloudflare algorithms analyze user traffic and only allow safe profiles to the site; potentially malicious requests are rejected. And yet Cloudflare analytics can identify the cause and source of the attack.

What else do you need to know about website security?

The most important thing is to start thinking about protecting your site before problems arise. Preventing a hacker attack is much easier than eliminating its consequences.

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