Why Bloggers Need to Manage Cybersecurity

Why Bloggers Need to Prioritize Cybersecurity

Bloggers aren’t immune to getting hacked; they’re some of the easiest targets on the internet. Few bloggers secure their websites against cybercriminals even on a basic level. For instance, many fail to update their WordPress plugins, which can make hacking a breeze. 

Bloggers need to take information security management seriously. The consequences of losing content in a cyberattack can be devastating. Videos, documents, contracts, and invoices are too important to lose. Even when you have a backup, you don’t want sensitive information to end up in the wrong hands.

Hackers want more than credit card data

The devastation of getting hacked was something blogger Lori McNee never expected, yet it happened to her twice. She learned a valuable lesson the hard way: hackers want more than your bank account and personal information.  After getting hacked, McNee wondered why anyone would hack her art blog. She soon learned that hackers don’t just want credit card information from large corporations – they want server resources. Hackers generally hijack web servers to run phishing schemes. They don’t want to use resources in their own name, so they break into other people’s websites and use their server to automatically send our phishing and spear-phishing emails. The website owner doesn’t usually know they’ve been hacked until their site gets shut down by the host after receiving complaints.

Can you recover from a hack?

Whether you’re hit with ransomware, a data breach, or your resources are hijacked, you need a recovery plan. The best recovery plan involves keeping regular backups of your blog and your database so you can just reinstall if you get hit. Without a recovery plan, you’ll struggle to piece your website back together. It’s time-consuming and expensive to have your website professionally cleaned. It’s much easier to just start over.

A data breach can be costly

Violating a data privacy law can result in massive fines. If you’re found to be in violation of a data privacy law because of a data breach, you’ll face even bigger fines. Some businesses have been fined anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of dollars. If you run a blog, you’re bound by data privacy laws based on the type of data you collect and from whom. For example, if you collect data from UK residents, you’re bound byGDPR regulations. If you collect protected health information (PHI) on behalf of a covered entity, you’re bound by HIPAA regulations. Since there’s no easy way to control who visits your website, it’s wise to comply with GDPR requirements. When it comes to other data regulations, you might be more responsible than you think. For instance, if you’re acting as a webhost and blogger for a small chiropractic office, hosting their website makes you a business associate responsible for following all HIPAA regulations. However, if you’re not hosting their website, you’re not a “covered entity,” and HIPAA regulations don’t apply to you.

One keystroke logger and it’s over

Next to ransomware, another big cybersecurity threat bloggers face is keystroke loggers. If a hacker manages to install one of these on your device, they’ll have full access to everything you type. This will include usernames and passwords for online banking, investment accounts, PayPal and Venmo accounts, and more. The best way to thwart keystroke loggers is to install reputable antivirus software. There are several popular options, but the top applications are Avast and Norton.

If you collect data on your visitors, your reputation is at risk

For bloggers who collect data from visitors, your reputation is at risk if you get hit by a cybersecurity attack that leads to a data breach. You probably don’t need to worry much about downtime. Although visitors will be annoyed, they probably won’t start trashing you on the internet if your website goes down. However, your visitors will be far less forgiving if their personal data ends up in the hands of hackers. Your visitors have the power to destroy your reputation should they decide to post comments about you online. They might even post reviews on sites like Trustpilot and Google My Business if you also run a business. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising, but it works both ways and can help and hurt your reputation.

It’s time to prioritize cybersecurity

Whether your blog is a hobby or your livelihood, it’s time to prioritize cybersecurity. At minimum, keep your website software updated, install all patches as they’re released, and encrypt any personal data you hold in your database. If you use WordPress, this security guide will help. If you run another content management platform, contact a cybersecurity professional to help you secure your blog.

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