September 22, 2013

Widgets and codes for blogs: Bloggers beware!

What prompts us to write this quick post? Aren't we supposed to be extremely busy giving the last touches to the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs?

It is just to caution bloggers about harmful widgets and other code that is spreading in the Indian blogosphere. 

During our survey of Hindi blog-world for quality blogs in the last four months, we have come across a number of blogs with malicious code. When we got some such stuff examined by an expert, she told us, the code has come mostly from a widget that promises high popularity for a blog. In some cases, adventurous bloggers have followed instructions given in a website to spruce up their blogs and ended up making their blogs carriers of a harmful code!

What type of code is this and how does it harm?


Harmful code can come in different hues. It can be like a virus - damaging parts of the computer it infects, replicating itself and spreading fast to other devices - or something that tracks the user and steals passwords etc, sells private information to unscrupulous elements, changes behaviour of some programs and so on. Such malicious content does not generally hurt the blog directly. But it does harm the blog in terms of web-reputation and search ranking. It attacks the computer / other device that is used for browsing that blog.

One code that we got dissected in detail spreads from a widget popular among Hindi bloggers. The widget seems to have been used by a popular Hindi blog-aggregator and spread from there. It sits on the infected blog and when someone visits that blog, infects his computer. We, for legal considerations, will not directly name the rogue website but it will be exposed if visitors to Hindi blogs install a strong anti-virus / malware fighter software in their computers and select the option to be notified of malware when it attacks the computer. 

This also takes us to ITB's two earlier posts: one on proper use of widgets in a blog and the second on excellent anti-virus stuff available free on the web. Do visit these posts too and take a decision on what widgets to discard, and what steps to take to protect your [and others'] blog and computer.