Blogging can be a great career path for those with a talent for writing and those who have something interesting to say on their chosen specialty topics. However, being in the public eye carries certain risks. Not only are you open to trolls and aggressive critics in the comment section, but you also have to worry about a host of cybersecurity threats.
Let’s see what kinds of risks you’re exposing yourself to when blogging and how simple solutions such as using a VPN can help you avoid them.
The risks you are exposed to
Becoming the victim of cyberbullying
The anonymity afforded by the online world can bring out the worst in people, and they’ll often start flame wars, troll others, and even resort to sending death threats. You as a blogger are exposed to these threats much more than the average Joe.
When you disclose your personal data, you put a target on yourself, and people can start spamming you, abuse your comment section, and stalk you on social media. Not to mention all the data-hungry marketers who will fill your inbox with junk mail.
To the average hacker, your blog is just another website waiting to be exploited. If you are unlucky, you may easily become a target, and your website can be brought down, infected with malicious software, or taken away from you. The hackers can even ask you to pay a ransom if you want your blog back.
Hackers can dig out your personal information and use it to damage your reputation. The personal brand that you’ve built over the years, your online persona, and even your real-life connections can be jeopardized by someone posing as you.
Even worse, cybercriminals can steal the data you collected from your audience and sell it on the black market. In this case, you might end up in court, which will cost you dearly, both in terms of reputation and finances.
Stollen Financial Details
Unfortunately, hackers can manipulate the data they mine from your website and other accounts to gain access to your bank accounts. They might even use your data to get a credit card in your name and use it until it is maxed out. Guess who will have to pay that debt?
How to avoid these risks
You should do everything you can to minimize these risks and even completely avoid some of them. Here’s what you can do to increase your security when blogging.
Don’t give out your phone number
To appear more credible, many bloggers disclose their private phone number on their blog and social media profile. Don’t do this. If you feel that you need to leave some type of contact number, you can use a Google Voice number instead. If it is inaccessible in your country, you should get a separate burner phone number that you will use for blogging purposes only.
Don’t use your home address
The same goes for your home address – just don’t disclose it. This will save you from many possible inconveniences in the future. Get a PO box and register your email account with it.
Invest in domain information security
A public domain database is accessible to anyone, and if you didn’t pay for a domain privacy protection service, it’s your home address that’s going to be listed in the database. This service is very cheap, and it can protect you from becoming the victim of bullying.
Secure your website
If you have no experience in website security, contact your hosting provider and ask them to regularly backup your website. Get informed about which antivirus and firewall software they use and feel free to migrate your blog to a provider with better security practices in place.
Use a VPN
The best VPN service providers offer you ultimate protection against hackers. When you use a VPN, all your traffic is encrypted, and more importantly, you remain anonymous online. VPN is a must have if you find yourself using public WiFi and various devices to post on your blog and respond to comments.
Use strong passwords
Finally, make sure to use strong passwords for all your online accounts. Your passwords should contain at least 12 characters and include a few uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
As you can see, you are exposed to all kinds of threats, even if you are doing something as benign as blogging. Hopefully, the tips shared in this article will help you protect yourself online and minimize the risk of becoming a victim of cybercriminals.