Protect Your Website From Unwanted Intrusion
By Anthony Amaechi
Among the greatest nightmares of website (and business) owners is to wake up one morning and to find out they have been hacked. Depending on the extent of the intrusion, if a website is hacked, confidential information can be stolen, your website’s functionalities altered, or even taken down completely. Unwanted intrusion and hacking are real problems. According to Google, the number of hacked websites increased by more than 30% in 2016. Thankfully, today, the number has decreased due to increased advances in web security. However, this does not mean that your website is safe from hackers or intrusions. In fact, even the websites of corporation that are thought to be safe are still being hacked. Some of them include websites of banks, hospitals, government agencies, large businesses, and churches. Your website is like a piece of online real estate. You need to protect it in the same way as you protect your physical assets. Failure to do so can result in the loss of your investments. For this reason, you need to improve your website’s security. But the question is, “How?” Thankfully, we’ve put together some tips that can help you protect your website from unwanted intrusion. Here are a few important things you need to do.
Keep Your Website Updated Technological advancements happen almost every day. If you fail to keep your website updated to the latest version, then it can easily be compromised. Web hosting companies frequently update their software. They will notify you if new versions of their software are available. Make sure you accept new updates as soon as they are released. Aside from updating your web hosting capabilities, don’t forget about your content management system (CMS). There are various CMS available on the web today. Most popular among them is WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Depending on which CMS you use, make sure to keep this updated as well. Finally, other things you need to keep updated include security patches, plugins, website certificates, and scripts.
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Install Security Plugins Plugins are additional functionalities for your website on top of the default features. There are various plugins and among them include security plugins. Some of these security plugins are free, while others come with paid subscription plan. Be sure to check what each of them offers to know which would be the best choice for you.
Avoid Letting Users Upload Files to Your Website One of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to your website is via uploaded files or contents on your website. As much as possible, you want to limit this. If you need users to upload files to your website, don’t accept just any file types. You can simply limit this options to: ‘.doc’ for documents or ‘.JPG’ for photos. And if you really need to have other file types uploaded to your site from users, it would be best to set up and route this uploads submissions to an external email address and storage. This sends the uploaded files it to the specified storage instead of storing it on your website or server.
Clean Up Your Html Source Code If you are a web developer or designer, you know the importance of having a clean HTML source code. Anyone on the Internet can access your source code and if you are not careful, you can easily divulge important information to the public. To give you an example, some developers routinely add comments in their code to help them remember what that section of code is about. Sometimes comments are left to mark the presence of bugs errors. If a developer forgets to delete these markers or comments, then anyone on the Internet can simply check your website’s source code and take advantage of these lapses. Of course, the easiest way to solve this is to simply avoid leaving important information on your source code. Most business or website owners are not developers. If you are one of them and you simply outsource web development to others, make it a point to let them know the importance of keeping your source code clean.
Use Strong Passwords With hacking as a real threat on the cyberspace, you might think that people would do their best to strengthen their password. However, this is not the case. In spite of warnings, a lot of people still use weak passwords. In fact, one estimates that over 20 million accounts in the world use the most common password, “123456.” If you don’t want to fall prey of hackers and unwanted intruders, you need to use strong passwords. It is not only the admins and servers who should be required to use strong passwords, but also end-users to protect the integrity of every website account. So, what’s a strong password? They are the type of passwords that include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters and symbols. Be sure as well to use a password with at least eight characters. You can also better protect passwords stored in your website by encrypting them.
Set Up Two-Step Authentication Process Aside from having a strong password, activating two-step authentication process would add an extra layer of security measure to your website. Two-step authentication commonly involves sending a 4-8-digit code to an enrolled mobile number or email address of the user. So, after entering the password, the user won’t be able to access his/her account unless the authentication code is entered as well. This dramatically improves the security of your website. Even if a hacker gets your password, it would be difficult for him/her to access your phone and get the authentication code.
Install Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Today, one of the best signs that a website is secure is if an Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate has been install on the website. If you see the HTTPS at the beginning of the URL address of the website, then it means you are on a secure website with a valid SSL certificate installed. It should basically looks like this: https://www.mywebsite.com/ When you see that HTTPS, it means that the website is a secure place to provide personal and financial account details. Having an HTTPS website is both beneficial for you as a business or website owner and to your users. In relation to having an HTTPS website, make sure you also get an SSL certificate. Having an SSL program installed could improve the secure transfer of sensitive information such as credit card details, personal data, and contact info.
Make Web Security Your Top Priority It is important that you take every action to improve your website’s security. Remember that hackers and malicious intruders are always on their feet exploiting every possible loophole in your website. Even the smallest security compromise could be used to destroy your whole system. Make plans to invest in the security for your website. Don’t wait until it is too late. Use intelligent and efficient security features, utilize sound practices, hire experienced and reliable web developers, and keep your website updated. Start improving the security of your website today and position yourself in achieving greater successes in the future.