Hiding the author name in WordPress

Following on from the previous article about not making the admin account easy to spot we can apply the same train of thought to a WordPress blog. The majority of blogs on this site have a single author (this blog included). That means it’s safe to assume that the author of all the articles is the user who has admin rights to the blog.

WordPress used to force people to manually add code to the functions.php file, which is attached to every theme, however they must have noticed a lot of people doing it as they’ve now added a nifty toggle switch on the site which you can use to hide the author’s name. Heres how to find it:

  1. Once logged in to WordPress select “My Site” then “Customize”.
    Hiding the author name on blogposts
    Hiding the author name on blogposts

    2. Select “Content Options”.

    3. Untick the “Display author” box.

 

Display author checkbox

Your posts should now have a blank space where the author used to be shown:

no-author
Author info hidden

Little tips/tricks like these won’t stop any determined attacker, but remember. The longer someone has to spend getting access to somewhere, the more likely they are to give up before getting what they want.

 

Compact Camera

What is EXIF data?

EXIF stands for “Exchangeable Image File Format” and is extra data that is attached to any photo taken with a modern camera or smart phone. The data isn’t visible by looking at the picture itself but requires extra software to read it.

It mostly contains information about the camera/phone used to take the photo and what settings were used such as shutter speed, date, exposure mode. The data is useful to photographers who need to know how a specific picture was generated.

How do I see it?

If using Windows you can right click on a photograph and select “Properties”, the “Details” tab should then show you the EXIF data from the photo:

EXIF Data viewable from Windows
EXIF Data viewable from Windows

There are also various free pieces of software which can be downloaded to show you the data. The top one from Google is Panda IEXIF2:

Panda Iexif 2 screenshot of Meta Data
Panda Iexif 2 screenshot of Meta Data

There are also online services which allow you to upload a photo and check the EXIF data available:

Why should I care?

The majority of the data is harmless. Most people shouldn’t be concerned about strangers finding out what generation iPhone they own by  looking up the details of a photo they have posted. The concerns arise when the photo is taken by a device connected to GPS as the users coordinates are then stored within the photo.

If the GPS EXIF data is available, someone can find out where in the world a photograph was taken.This can be very valuable data to someone trying to find out more information about you or your online identity.

If a stranger knows your name is John they have very little chance of finding you in real life, however if they know you are John who visits the same Costa coffee in a specific London street every Monday and posts a photo online they have a much better chance of finding out more.

How can I protect myself?

Luckily in 2016 most social media sites automatically remove EXIF data when you upload a photo. A quick check confirms that Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all remove the GPS data when it is uploaded.

If you are posting to a site which doesn’t strip the data you have the option to manually remove it yourself first.

Windows Exif data remove properties and personal information
Windows Exif data remove properties and personal information

The easiest way to do this in Windows is to right click on the file, select “properties”and under the “details” tab select ” choose “Remove Properties and Personal information”

There are also free online tools for removing the data before you share your photo:

The Previously Mentioned Panda IEXIF2 has a feature to remove the data, however it is part of the premium version of their software.

 

First blog post

This blog is started to help inform people about the masses of information that is being stored online about them and their lives. There are countless stores of personal details about your Internet activities and not everyone is aware that they exist, or more importantly, how to get rid of them.

If you’ve got a job interview coming up and want to make sure potential employers don’t see anything that might harm your job prospects or are just someone who wants to keep their private life private this blog aims to build up a collections of guides for how to find out what the Internet knows about you and how to remove it.Private Property