I am honored, moved, and secretly thrilled by the tremendous increase in comments I’ve received on my blog in recent months. As you know, I’m truly committed to putting my voice out there in a big way, intending to reach hundreds, then thousands and maybe one day even millions with my writing. I am officially no longer hiding the light of my pen under a bushel.

Comments on my blog are valuable to me for many reasons.  First, I consider them evidence from the Universe that by writing so vulnerably I am headed in the right direction. They’re also great because they’re emotionally and intellectually stimulating, and they deepen my connection with individuals in my community.  As a bonus, they may even have long-term monetary value: if I can maintain and grow a consistent community of 200+ commenters per post, publishers will take me seriously when I eventually approach them with my book proposal. (I can’t believe I just wrote that. Okay, it’s out there. Now you know one of my secret dreams.)

Blog magic is certainly happening at connecttwo.com.  My latest post garnered a record-breaking 37 comments. And apparently people are now reading others’ comments and clicking through to the blog posts written by those commenters. Perfect!

Until the moment when… last week a client clicked through to the post of one of my commenters, and her computer became instantly infected by malware on that commenter’s site. My client’s laptop spent two days at the Geek Squad hospital before it was well again. Yikes!

Honestly, it had never before occurred to me that could happen. This particular commenter has a legitimate, successful business. She’s not a spammer. (Thanks to Akismet, I have zero spammers commenting on my blog.)  Unfortunately her site had been one of 50,000 hacked and she’s had a heck of a time righting it.

So I turned to my webmaster/wizard Mary Licanin for help. Immediately (and I do mean immediately – within 10 minutes of when I received the news from my client), she removed the malicious link from my site and ensured that my site had not been infected too. When I asked her how we can further protect my site, she gave specific practical advice.  I’m grateful that with Mary on the connect2 team, all of it has already been implemented and will continue to be handled.  But I’m hoping that other Brilliance-Based Businesswomen with your own websites will also benefit from what I learned.  Here’s a summary:

  • Most malware attacks come from exploits of vulnerabilities in old WordPress installations or database holes
  • Keep your WordPress version, PHP version and database current
  • Stay away from plugins from untrusted sources
  • Avoid installing free themes (they come loaded with code that can be used maliciously)
  • Don’t do the ‘set it and forget it’ thing with your website. It’s a living thing that needs to be nourished and cared for over time so that it can grow and stay healthy
  • Regularly change your password, using a good alphanumeric mix, and make it unique between different accounts. (So if your flickr account, for example, gets hacked because someone broke your password, they don’t have your password for all your sites).

So this week I learned about a new kind of vulnerability.  I hope you learned too.  What steps are you actively taking to protect your business and community technologically?