Managing one’s presence on the internet has become labour intensive in recent years and 2021 was no exception. Following is a summary of the issues I’ve had and how I deal with them.
Although this increases year by year it is becoming easier to recognize. SpamExperts, which I use via my ISP Siteground, is becoming more intelligent to catch spam and I will block certain Top Level Domains to ensure the spam footprint is reduced.
Spamhaus TLDs – any TLD mentioned in this Top 10 I will block, meaning they go into quarantine and not straight into my Inbox
Spamhaus Spam Supporting ISPs – TLDs such as .com one cannot block like so many businesses use it, for example, many have a gmail.com address from which I receive a good portion of spam.
This is a typical month of spam by TLD that I receive, this is data from December 2021.
- .com = 209
- .work = 70
- .cam = 35
- .us = 9
- .org = 1
- .co = 1
- .xxx = 1
There are certain TLDs that are more reliable than others, for example, I never receive spam from .ca (Canada) as I believe it is better regulated than others. For more about .ca domains go to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) website.
The best tool to combat intrusions onto a WordPress site is Wordfence, it is a must. It won’t stop all nefarious activity but is one of the best prevention tools out there.
One of the biggest problems I noticed was attempted logins onto the websites I manage, this is because many administrators will keep the default username or URL on their site. A couple of tips to resolve the issue:
- Never have a username of Admin to log into the site. Change it to something else.
- If there is more than one user that has access to the site limit the number of people who have administrator access.
- Install WordPress plugin WPS Hide Login to change the default URL to the login page to something else, then, hackers will not be able to guess that too easily.
- None of the above will stop all WordPress Form Spam but ensure you can see the IP address of where the email came from, on whatever form tool you use, so you can then block it in Wordfence. This will ensure that spam farm will never reach your site again.
- I was receiving a huge amount of comment spam and as a result, I’ve now turned that feature off. I was disappointed that I had to use this extreme as I did have quite a decent stream of engagement, but I have to consider safety first.
This is becoming horrendously tedious to manage above anything else on the internet.
This is full of fake, anonymous and bot type accounts so I am extremely cautious who I engage with on the platform now. Here are my tips:
If the account falls into the fake/anonymous, has limited profile information and/or few followers look them up on BotSentinel before engaging. If the account is disruptive then walk away from it. BotSentinel is also a good tool to monitor yourself and improve your timeline.
Use lists to put in buckets the groups of accounts you are interested in, use TweetDeck to monitor those lists if necessary, keeping away from the main timeline can relieve a lot of stress.
Cite legitimate sources, like a peer-reviewed science journal, to enhance your credibility on the platform. Thinking you know some facts and referring to them created by a subject matter expert are two very different things.
The majority of my friends don’t actually post on this platform anymore, probably 5% will engage on a regular basis. The majority of posts I see are from technical groups I belong to, and I am thinking I can do without them.
- According to DuckDuckGo, Facebook is the 2nd worst offender in tracking whatever you do around the internet, even if you aren’t logged in. I obtained this figure from the Firefox DuckDuckGo Add-On which will prevent and report on that tracking, it’s a brilliant tool.
- My Facebook footprint has been seriously reduced, I don’t post anything with my photo on there now. Even in closed groups spammers and bad actors often gain access to posting obscene material. Facebook is clearly failing around a whole bunch of privacy and security issues, it’s extremely disappointing.
I follow many arts and culture related accounts, they place a lot of content on Instagram I don’t see elsewhere.
- I have stopped non-friends from commenting on the photos I post there, this facility is in the settings, due to the amount of spam and bad actors posting trash there. I still receive many fake accounts following me but I block and report them immediately.
- The worst part of Instagram is the amount of animal abuse and the companies failure to do anything about it. These accounts will often monetize on that abuse too. Despite reporting them those accounts are still around.
- Some companies have been pinching my photos without my permission. I would expect this from naive individuals but companies should know better. As a result, I am considering placing a limited amount of them on social media and making better use of this blog.
I rarely use these services now, I only have one friend who contacts me on them. In addition to the ones below I also have Telegram and Signal, I don’t have any activity on either of them.
WhatsApp – another Facebook company with problems, the main one for me are fake users attempting to contact me.
Skype – a Microsoft company, despite updating the settings not to be contacted by anyone that isn’t on my friend’s list, they still do. I, of course, just block them, but it is a nuisance to be disturbed by the criminals.
I feel as though I have good tools available to deal with Email and WordPress issues which have become part of my routine.
However, dealing with social media especially with companies who are not handling the situation well is extraordinarily labour intensive. I think it’s worth reducing my footprint there and spending more time developing this blog.