Next month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the U.S. I thought this would be a good time to discuss blog security. Since I'm on Blogger with Sling Words, I'll address that particular platform.
Fancy Up Your Blog
Do you know what Third Party Code is? It's all those little pieces of software that make your site pretty and all those gadgets or widgets that allow you to count visitors or place ads on your blog or any of the other things you add to your blog to individualize it.
The important rule to remember when it comes to Third Party Code is never to use anything from a suspicious source. Make sure the website you get the code from is reputable as is shown by badging on the site. Malicious code can entice under the cover of tracking your visitor stats, but it may also be collecting data on you and your visitors in order to sell it to advertisers who will torment you to death at the very least and embed malware on your computer – and your visitors' among other nasty crimes they can commit.
Read the Code
Sure you can read the code. You don't have to be a code slinger to read the code. It's nothing but links embedded with other gobbledygoop. You should be able to spot the link part easily. If you're installing code that's supposed to show nature photographs, you should be able to see the website to which it points. If you see a link that it's pointing to other sites that have nothing to do with nature photos, beware!
Always use the Preview button. Never hit Save until you've previewed what the code does when it will be live on your blog. If you don't like what you see, click Clear Edit.
Of course, a good rule of thumb is to always backup your template before you make ANY changes. You can see how to do this at the Layout/Edit HTML tab. Just click the link that says Download Full Template and save the .XML file on your hard drive. Be sure and give it a name you'll recognize. Then, if worse comes to worst, you can just revert back to your download version. Simply click the Upload button which is also found under the Layout/Edit HTML tab.
Don't take anything for granted when it comes to installing an add-on to your blog. Having your blog hijacked or annihilated by malicious code, unwittingly installed by you, the owner, would be devastating.