Update! (March 9, 2016): John Stevens at Hosting Facts wrote me a nice email. He wrote an article about how to secure your WordPress site/blog. It’s a step-by-step guide for beginners and advanced users. Check it out here.
Even in 2013 I still think of the Internet as a frontier town in the days of the Wild West. Full of promise but also a dangerous place to be. Back in those days there were horse thieves, gunslingers and other unsavory folk. Well, today we still have them. They’re not stealing as many horses though. They prey on people who aren’t familiar with the basics of security. People know not trust email attachments from strangers, use anti-virus software and not to click suspicious links. There are other ways that these unsavory individuals can compromise your security. In this post I’m going to fill you in on the basic concepts of computer and Internet security.
Shall We Play a Game?
There are people who enjoy breaking into computer systems. They do not care about the repercussions They’re the bad guys; commonly referred to as “black hat”. Then there are those who professionally try to break and improve the security of a system. They want it to become more secure and will offer ways to improve the security. They’re the good guys; the “white hats”.
WordPress Security Resources
Do you use WordPress to manage your blog content? As of the time of this writing the latest version of WordPress is 3.5.1. You’ll want to keep that up to date. Here are 3 more resources:
Comprehensive article on keeping WordPress secure.
- Video Presentation – “Lock it Up”
Learn how to keep your WordPress-powered website secure from hackers and exploits. Brad Williams from WebDevStudios.com shows examples of hacked sites, shares tips and plugins for keeping WordPress secure, and talks about his experiences with WordPress and security.
- WordPress Plugin Rated 4.8 out of 5 Stars – Better WP Security
Better WP Security takes the best WordPress security features and techniques and combines them in a single plugin thereby ensuring that as many security holes as possible are patched without having to worry about conflicting features or the possibility of missing anything on your site.
Best Meds and Healthcare Products Online
That was the subject of a spam email I received. Spam can also be sent to your blog. Have you ever seen a comment like this on one of your posts?
“Spot on with this write-up, I genuinely think this website requirements a lot more consideration. I’ll probably be again to read far more, thanks for that information.
nfl throwback jerseys”
There’s a link to “nfl throwback jerseys” put in there from a spammer (withheld from this post). Akismet can protect you from these spammer comments. It’s free, works with WordPress and other software too.
One Password to Rule Them All
Remember the days of having just one password? Nowadays anyone who’s online has more than they can shake a stick at. How do you keep track of them all? Coming up with strong passwords on the fly can become tedious. Using 1Password will save you time and keep your passwords synchronized across any device.
Practice Safe Computing
The way people transfer files has transitioned from floppy disks to thumb drives to online storage lockers like Dropbox. You don’t have to worry about swapping an infected floppy disk anymore. Make sure you have a lightweight anti-virus program and keep it up to date. New viruses are discovered all the time and you’ll want to be able of of removing them all.
That Wooden Horse Looks Suspicious
Malware is a term for malicious software. It’s software designed to access your files, delete them or otherwise wreak havoc. You should be aware of the different kinds of malware in order to protect yourself.
Viruses — Some viruses are playful, some are deadly. There’s one that methodically changes every icon in your computer to a Simpsons icon. There are some that can wipe every single file on your computer. Keeping an up-to-date backup is one way to avoid disaster. You can backup online, to an external hard drive or to a thumbdrive.
Trojan Horse — A Trojan is secretly installed on your computer. You won’t know it’s there. Some of its’ capabilities:
- Controlling your computer remotely
- Downloading or uploading files
- Crashing your computer
Keystroke Logger — This program can keep a log file of anything you type into your computer. It will sit there collecting passwords, emails, IM conversations and all sorts of information. The person who put it there will return in a month to collect. You won’t even know he’s been there.
As the Internet becomes more popular it’s important that everyone is familiar with security. Armed with this knowledge you’ll be able to protect your ranch from a horse thief, a gunslinger or a password thief.
Do you have a story about Internet security? Share it in a comment below.
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