Skip to main content

Your Blog, And Third Party Accessories

Third party accessories are a big part of many blogs.

As Blogger proceeds to command a larger and larger share of the free online web site market, they encourage (directly or indirectly) the development of third party templates, and accessories. This lets us make our blogs more personal to our desires, and shinier to our egos.

Layouts Blogger is more mature, and commands an ever growing share of Blogger. And so, the the selection of Layouts compatible templates and accessories, again provided by third parties, will grow.

And as the selection grows, so does the possible risk, from installing what's available on our blogs. As I wrote long ago, what better way to hack somebody's blog (or computer) than by conning the victim into installing the hack, on his own?

As we install third party accessories, we need to remain aware of the risks involved, in using non Blogger components.

  • Some accessories may not work as well as Blogger developed and certified products.
  • All accessories may not work together, if developed by different third parties.
  • Some accessories may not work at all.
  • Some accessories, maliciously crafted, may work as designed - but their design may not be to our benefit.
  • Some accessories, maliciously crafted, may attack the computers of our readers. What better way to acquire new victims en masse, than to con a third party into distributing malware without realising it?

Consider the last possibility carefully. It's one thing to unintentionally download and install a hack on your own computer - it's another thing to intentionally install the hack onto your blog, and then onto your readers computers.

Properly designed, a blog installed hack has to only contain code linking the blog to a web site where malware is distributed. Not all malware scanners, either installed on the computer or run from a web site, will detect the blog based component that merely redirects the victim to a malicious web site.

However, we are currently seeing reports of some malware scanners which do validate, on a page by page basis, against all links on the page.

Spread malware onto your computer, and you answer only to yourself. Help spread malware onto your readers computers, and you won't even know all of the people to whom you should answer.

In some cases, your readers won't know that you were the one who contributed to their problems - but you'll still be responsible. Your readers may not blame you for their troubles - but your blog will still suffer from less activity, because your readers are busy carrying their computers to the nearest tech shoppe, and paying for malware removal services, instead of reading your posts.

And should you choose to install a third party accessory or template on your blog, make sure that it's properly chosen and installed. And carefully control the install process.

And finally, keep track of what you install, after it's been installed and tested. Some accessories will work fine immediately when installed, and will fail later - giving your readers unwanted content, when they try to read your blog.


Popular posts from this blog

Embedded Comments And Main Page View

The option to display comments, embedded below the post, was made a blog option relatively recently. This was a long requested feature - and many bloggers added it to their blogs, as soon as the option was presented to us. Some blog owners like this feature so much, that they request it to be visible when the blog is opened, in main page view. I would like all comments, and the comment form, to be shown underneath the relevant post, automatically, for everyone to read without clicking on the number of comments link. And this is not how embedded comments work.

What's The URL Of My Blog?

We see the plea for help, periodically I need the URL of my blog, so I can give it to my friends. Help! Who's buried in Grant's Tomb, after all? No Chuck, be polite. OK, OK. The title of this blog is "The Real Blogger Status", and the title of this post is "What's The URL Of My Blog?".

With Following, Anonymous Followers Can't Be Blocked

As people become used to Blogger Following as just another tool to connect people, they start to think about the implications . And we see questions like How do I block someone who's been following my blog secretly? I couldn't see her in my Followers list (hence I couldn't use the "Block this user" link), but I have looked at her profile and could see that she's Following my blog. Following, when you look at the bottom line, is no more than a feed subscription and an icon (possibly) displayed on your blog, and linking back to the profile of the Follower in question. If someone Follows your blog anonymously, all that they get is a subscription to the blog feed. If you publish a feed from your blog, and if the feed is open to anybody (which, right now, is the case ), then it's open to everybody. If someone wants to use Following to subscribe to the feed, you can't stop this. You can't block it before, or after, the fact. You can't Block w