Lately we’ve been hearing about hackers and the damage that they are reeking everywhere. Interestingly Nigerian blogs have become the easy target of hackers nowadays. Last week, a popular entertainment site thenetng was hacked. Today, another popular Nigerian blog owned by Ladun Liadi was hacked. Ladun’s blog was just restored, however the question lingers, who next. While you wait for and pray that you will not be seen or ever come to the minds of this cyber activists, here are a few points that you should put in mind in trying to secure your site.
1. Not all hackers are evil:
There are people known as ethical hackers that are employed by organizations to help them find loopholes in their systems and find ways of blocking them. Hackers usually just show that you are as vulnerable as every other person is and they show you how vulnerable you can be. Therefore, hackers try to prove to you that you need to secure your site more.
2. Upgrade your OS:
What I mean by OS is the framework that your blog is built upon. Most bloggers use content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or Blogger to set up their sites. These CMSes usually have their areas of strengths and weaknesses, hence organizations developing them usually make new, more stable versions that are more secured. Ensure that your framework is always updated. If you are using WordPress, you should using 3.5.1 version and If you’re using Joomla, you should be on at least Joomla 2.5 and be looking towards 3.
3. Update your plugins and widgets:
Blogs like Ladun’s use widgets while blogs like thenetng use plugins. Some of these plugins act as doorways for hackers to use to penetrate your site. Update plugins and delete plugins that you do not need. All emphasis on DO NOT NEED. Some plugins are not properly developed and can expose your site.
4. Your Password Combination:
Always change your passwords after a season, and use alphanumeric combinations (letters and numbers) with funny characters (*&%%$#) to make your password hard to crack.
5. Install a spyware checker on your system:
Sometimes, spywares get installed on your system through some sites or software and they can be used to monitor your processes and passwords. Always ensure that you have a spyware checker installed to help clean any malware that may be used to expose your private information.
6. Wear a cyber condom:
Whenever you are browsing from public wireless hotspots, always try to browse securely. Public hotspots are liable to hacks and avoid using your credit card information on these networks. Protect yourself first.
7. Backup your sites:
My blog has been hacked before. And what saved me was that I had it backed up so there was no issue bringing back the site. If you are unable to bring back your hacked site, you might lose your data forever if you never backed up. Always back up your site.
8. Use reliable hosts
This applies to blogs with paid hosts not free Blogger blogs. Some hosts use outdated scripts making your sites susceptible to hacking. About 10 of my sites were hacked at the same time while I was using a certain Nigerian host and I will not mention their name. However, I moved a couple of blogs out of there and left a few with them.
9. Do not panic
You are not the first to be hacked and neither will you be the last. It happens. Sepp Blatter and FIFA’s Twitter accounts were hacked this week. Facebook gets hacked. It is a regular thing. Stay calm and ask for help if you’re not a technical person.
10. Inform your readers
Find a way of getting across to your readers and customers and letting them know that you’ve been hacked and how you are working towards restoring the site.