Depending on the type of traffic you receive, the security your blog needs can prevent an interruption to your stream of income and protect your readers from having their information stolen. Most criminals target websites that take payments, generate revenue and store user information, and while e-commerce sites are usually the victims of these attacks, software vulnerabilities can leave your blog open to extortion, fraud and theft just as easily. If you store user account information in a location that can be accessed over the Internet, you should definitely take the appropriate measures to protect it.
Essential Blog Security Tips
If your blog takes payments of any kind, such as donations, deposits or purchases, you must prevent criminals from stealing your users’ account information through cross-site scripting attacks or by accessing your site’s database. Web security experts recommend that you delete user payment information and any other user data you can to prevent it from being stolen. While you may want to keep a list of email addresses for communicating with your readers, bear in mind that these lists are sometimes stolen and used for disreputable marketing. It’s best to store these lists offline on a hard drive or use two-factor authentication for any data stored in your database. Also, you should only keep the credit card numbers you need to issue refunds or charge-backs if requested.
Another simple measure you can take to remove vulnerabilities is to keep your software up to date. For most blogs, installing software updates isn’t necessary, because most blogs use managed Web hosting. Most Web hosts offer several hosting tiers, and this service simply takes care of all the operating system and server maintenance for a price. If you did install the operating system and server stack on your server, then you must install updates yourself because you don’t have managed hosting. Waiting even one day to install updates can leave you open to a zero-day attack that erases your hard drive, floods your blog with spam or gains access to your administrator panel.
Advanced Security for Your Blog
To completely protect your blog against all known forms of malicious activity, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, you can install a Web application firewall (WAF) that scans all traffic going to your blog for suspicious behavior, according to OWASP. This kind of firewall is typically a piece of hardware that you connect between your Ethernet cable and your computer, but if you don’t have physical access to your server, you can install a software WAF instead.
Criminals use software that intelligently implements brute-force algorithms to find weaknesses in online forms, user sign-up pages and Web applications. This software repeatedly enters SQL code into online forms in an attempt to access a website’s database tables, an attack known as SQL injection. XSS attacks steal user information when it is passed from one domain to another, and DDoS attacks, perhaps the nastiest kind of attack, flood your domain with traffic, preventing it from operating normally. Websites often receive ransom notes with instructions to end a DDoS attack.
Related Resource: Botnet
With all the advances in technology, computer scientists don’t always catch the vulnerabilities in the software they develop until criminals have a chance to exploit them. If your website generates a stream of income or stores user information, you should make sure to provide the essential security your blog needs.