Learn why hackers target bloggers and how to stop them in 2020. Experts predict that the content marketing industry will reach $412 billion a year by 2021. So, it makes sense that each day over 2 million new blogs appear.
Whether you’ve started your blog recently or it’s counting dozens of years, blogging is big business. And that’s why hackers are targeting bloggers more than ever. In this article, discover the threats bloggers face each day and how to overcome them.
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Where Hackers May Strike
Cybercriminals are clever. They wait for data breaches to occur and then exploit leaked information to hack vulnerable users. A few years ago, they attacked both Home Depot and Target. It resulted in the payment details of 90M customers falling into the wrong hands. If it wasn’t bad enough, hackers then used this information to penetrate a massive range of connected accounts.
And it’s only one example of where hackers may strike. Bloggers face the same range of threats as the average internet users. But hackers can also strike directly where bloggers work, for example, on WordPress.
Threats to WordPress
WordPress dominates the content marketing world. There are over 450 million active WordPress sites. They account for almost 20% of all web traffic.
In 2017, hackers targeted 1.5 million WordPress sites in one attack alone. During the attack, they defaced websites, harvested sensitive information, implanted spam, and caused all kinds of havoc. These hacks happen often too. Shortly after this one, experts discovered that 300,000 WordPress sites using a statistics plugin were vulnerable to cyberattacks also.
What’s the issue? All in all, WordPress is secure. But add the extensions, such as plugins, and you get coding flaws that hackers can exploit.
Even if you think your blog isn’t of potential interest to hackers, you’re wrong. Hackers target WordPress because they can:
- Harvest data, including mailing lists and credit card details
- Use WordPress to send spam emails
- Use your website as part of a botnet to launch DDoS attacks on other websites
- Disrupt services
- Create fake landing pages to trick your users
- Make a point
Worst of all, as your blog grows in success and popularity, it will only increase the likelihood of an attack.
How to Stop Cybercriminals
Hackers may be smart and have a wide variety of tools. But they tend to prey on the weak and unprotected. That’s why even by following the simplest cybersecurity practices, you can often secure your blog well enough.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Improve Your Password Security
Brute force attacks are a widespread way hackers target WordPress along with other online accounts. When people use passwords like “password” or “123456,” they make it easy for hackers to get in.. Brute force attacks allow hackers to try thousands of passwords in seconds. And you can bet hackers start with the most common ones. And then run all the words in a dictionary.
But you can enhance your security by using a Chrome password manager (you can get one here). First, it helps you to create random and secure passwords, for example, “7Btsk^F1RpT^yP9/”. Also, you don’t have to worry about remembering it. Password managers encrypt and store all your account passwords in one safe location. You can access them with one password. And it will automatically fill credentials when you log in to your WordPress or other sites.
2. Do Not Add Any Extensions Without Doing Your Homework
Extensions are one of the best features of WordPress. They allow you so much flexibility when it comes to increasing functionality and customizability of your blog.
But not all extensions are equal. Some developers are disreputable. Others make mistakes. It all leaves vulnerabilities in the code that can lead to a cyberattack.
So, before adding an extension to your site, research both the extension and the developer. What are the reviews like? Have they had any security incidents? Taking a few minutes to check out reviews and websites could save you from installing a hazardous extension.
3. Update Everything
Even if you do select a reliable extension, cybercriminals may still find a vulnerability in it. Every company, including WordPress, has to issue patches for this very reason. Make sure your site is always up to date.
You can automate it on WordPress. But you should also check 1-2 times per week, so you don’t miss an urgent update. Likewise, errors may prevent the auto-update cycle from running. So sometimes you can’t count on automation to catch updates before your site becomes dangerously out-of-date.
While you’re at it, update your operating system and apps on your desktop and mobile devices. It will round out your protection.
4. Protect Against DDoS Attacks
DDoS attacks can affect any website. In simple terms, they work by flooding website servers with fake traffic. It knocks your site offline and causes other issues.
As all successful bloggers know, downtime is expensive. It hurts your reputation, your engagement, conversion rates, and more. Take steps to protect against DDoS attacks by:
- Upgrading your hosting services
- Monitoring website traffic
- Enabling country blocking
- Installing protection tools
Since a blogger’s professional life is online, they are at particular risk from hackers. You must learn to identify your weaknesses and protect yourself and your blog.
It’s not challenging to do so. Start by including the listed strategies into your daily routine. They take little time and effort while improving the security of your blog. Simple, quick, and secure — that’s every blogger’s dream!