We all saw that how Osama’s death video malware was spreading on Facebook recently and created lot of trouble for the social network users. It’s sad to see that how anti-social elements are trying to socialize in their own manner! Anyway, I’m fully aware of such nasty tricks, so thankfully I didn’t become a victim, moreover, I keep myself safe with the help of fantastic software utilities by some fantastic individuals & companies! Let me share that how I keep myself safe from malicious websites and then I’ll share that how as a blogger/webmaster you should take the responsibility to keep your visitors safe.
Tools to keep yourself safe from malicious websites
1. Internet security softwares – There are some amazing internet security software both paid & free that are doing a fantastic job in keeping the users safe. I personally use Comodo’s free internet security software – even though it’s free – it’s got much more features and has better detection rate than even most popular paid internet security softwares! It’s got antivirus, antimalware, firewall, sandbox technology and what not, I recommend it to everyone.
2. Secure DNS solutions – OpenDNS, Comodo’s secure DNS are some of those services that deserve all the respect in the world! By just making small changes in your internet connection’s DNS settings, you can do tons of good to yourself! These services have a database of malicious and phishing websites and will automatically block them even if you happen to click on a dangerous link. I prefer Comodo’s secure DNS.
3. Web of Trust – Web of Trust is another such service that alerts you about the site’s reputation and the dangers associated with it. Facebook partnered with them, to alert it’s users for bad & dangerous links after it was raided by “social anti-social elements”. They have a plugin for major browsers which alerts users for bad links. It’s a must have for everyone!
4. McAfee SiteAdvisor – I’d be honest, I used to love Siteadvisor like anything, I still love it as it saves me from going to unreliable links and even shows the website’s reputation in search engine and thus allowing me to avoid possibly dangerous websites (It’s very much similar to Web Of Trust). However, now McAfee also install it’s toolbar and changes the search engine – that’s something it didn’t do earlier and I loved that way. Anyway, you can disable those things – so it still has my respect. It integrates well with major browsers and can be a great savior as you can see that which link can be dangerous even before you click it.
5. Sandboxie – Even though Comodo offers sandbox technology, I prefer to use Sandboxie. It’s a free tool that runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer. Check out the Sandboxie’s website to know more about this fantastic concept! Again, it’s a must have!
These tools keep my pretty much safe from most of the threats and I’m thankful to the wonderful developers who’ve made them.
Be a responsible blogger and secure your WordPress now!
As a user, I was safe however as a webmaster, the incident got me thinking that how blogs and websites can also be targeted by malware & virus makers, not that they haven’t done in the past, however – this is where I see it growing even more and a much faster rate! There is a flurry of automated comment submitting softwares in the market, any malware maker can host the malware on a website and then submit the comments with that malicious link on thousands of blogs in a matter of minutes and an ignorant blogger/webmaster can approve the comment which may result in the following -
- Infect website/blog readers’ computers.
- Reduce site’s ranking in Google – Google doesn’t like site that promote malware!
- Bad reputation of website amongst visitors.
These are some points that no blogger would like to see happening to them. I certainly wouldn’t want this happening to me either. So, I decided to find a tool that would alert me of a malicious link before I approve any comment or which scans the links in the comments & posts and gives a report so that I can take corrective measures against those links. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one!
Then it hit me that why are security companies not making such a tool? Tools like Web of Trust, Siteadvisor, OpenDNS, Comodo’s secure DNS depend a lot on community’s feedback, they certainly are useful and keep people safe, however it takes some time before the community gets to know of a newly created malicious website, what if you visit those sites before they are marked as unsafe? Wouldn’t it be cool if the security companies made a tool, that integrates with famous content management systems like WordPress & Drupal and shows the reputation of outgoing links to the visitor before hand? Not only this will be a win-win situation for bloggers, webmasters & readers; it’ll be a win-win situation for the antivirus company as well -
- Tons of free data about links. This will only strengthen their commercial offerings! They can directly block dangerous links for their software users.
- Free marketing – If not for the data, they can at least get the free marketing about their company! If they’ll show reputation of the link then they can always show the following message below it – “Link’s safety checked by XYZ Security Tool“. As a webmaster, I wouldn’t mind such a message, as it’ll strengthen my reputation amongst my readers that I care for them!
I’d given up looking for the tool and had started hoping that some security company will come up with such a tool that’ll show me link security report and will also show the reputation of out going links to my readers. And well, then I came across BitDefender’s Antispam! It’s almost the tool that I was expecting and that too from a popular and reputed security company!
Why Bitdefender Antispam when I’ve got Akismet?
That’s the first question that came in mind when I read the plugin’s name, however I was super happy to find out that it’s almost doing the same thing that I was thinking about, it’s just that it doesn’t take the advantage of free marketing & doesn’t scan the links in the posts. Bitdefender has made this essentially an anti-spam plugin, however I think it’ll gain the edge over Akismet as it will also check if the links are malicious or are phishing sites. The plugin is in beta and doesn’t appeal in terms of usability at all, however I’m still running it for few weeks to see how well it performs in terms of detecting the spam! Of course, I’ll be sharing my experience in the next blog post. Installation instructions for Bitdefender Antispam. Will I suggest the plugin now? Like other security tools that I’ve recommended, I won’t recommend this for now – it certainly needs a face-lift! However, I’m sure by the time it’ll be out of Beta, it should be one of your anti-spam solutions.
Secure WordPress to avoid stupid hacks & avoid becoming owner of a malicious website!
There have been lot of posts written about as to how one can secure WordPress, I’ve covered this topic as much as I could. The guides that we’ve included will not be the ultimate solution for making the site un-hackable, however by following them you’ll save yourself from automated attacks and newbie hackers who try and hack websites for fun. Please follow these links to make your WordPress secure -
- WordPress Security for free
- Hardening WordPress
- WordPress Security Whitepaper
- “Security check” series on Blog Design Studio.
I hope that other security companies take inspiration from Bitdefender and well my marketing tip and come up with such powerful tools for webmasters. This way together we’ll be able to make internet a bit safe! After all, we’ll be able to block them at source itself! And I hope that if you’ve not taken steps to secure your WordPress installation, then you would do them right after you share this post on social networks ;)