Talking about things

If your new Year’s resolution is to build a website


Opportune theft is everywhere

Somewhere in the Ukraine there’s a team of hackers who seem to spend all their time trying to break into our website.  It feels like there is, anyway, because for months I’ve been banning Ukraine IPs from the site.

In reality, this Ukrainian hacker is probably a lone IT guy, with a single computer and a great algorithm, but boy do we get a lot of attempted logins from there.  So many it sometimes feels like it’s big business to them.

There are other problem spots that pop up from time to time.  One in China, one in India, one in Brazil, one in the US.  But the Ukraine site (same city, different IPs) just keeps coming.

It’s funny, but until I installed a security program on our website I didn’t realise how often people tried to hack us.

New year’s resolutions

This time next week it will be 2016, and many of us will have made new year resolutions. One year mine was to set up a website.

This year, other people will have the same goal.

Websites (with blogs) are a tad old hat by now. Most people Facebook or Twitter or use one of the multitude of social media outlets out there.  Me, I still love my blog best.  It suits the way I work.

Enough people will start up their own blog to make this particular post useful.  And if it stops a single person being hacked, well, I’ll be pleased to help.

So let’s say you’re someone like me—a writer—and you want to set up a blog or a website.  What can you do to keep the opportune thieves out?

How do you discourage the hackers?

I’m not going to tell you how to protect your site totally, but here are a three simple tips to make it a harder to hack your system.

Tip 1: Strong password

The first one, and the most obvious, is to choose a strong password.  Google ‘strong password’ on the internet and you’ll find out what a strong password is.

And yes, I know they can be hard to remember, but you can train yourself to remember them by turning off the ‘remember this password’ feature and typing in the password every day for a month. I guarantee it will stick eventually.

Tip 2: Don’t use ‘admin’ as a user name

Many programs give you a default login name of ‘admin’.  Don’t use this. Choose something else. 90% of all attempts to hack into your website will do it by using ‘admin’ as the user.  Don’t make it easy for them.

Tip 3: Don’t use the name that is displayed on your posts as the username

Your experienced hacker does try other names on occasion.  Do you know which names they try?  Those displayed on your blog posts. Thus, if you ensure the username doesn’t match the name displayed you’re making it a lot harder for them to log in.

It’s like burglary. You’ll never stop the determined thief with his lock picks and his bag of tools.  But you can stop the opportune thieves—those who see the door open, or the handbag ready to snatch.

There are other things you can do, of course, but these three simple tricks will go a long way to help make your website secure.

Go for it

If your new year’s resolution is to build a website, then go for it.  It’s a lot of fun.

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