I believe your website is a very important part of your business and your livelihood, just as BusinessEscalate.com is just like that to me. Website hacking is not new and it is a serious problem for both small and big businesses. In 2014 alone, big notable companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Target were hacked. And the worst part, website hacking is not going to stop anytime soon. As technology progresses, the same can be said for trends in hacking and cyber crime.
Because you operate a website, it’s your duty to protect it from possible hacking attempts that can greatly compromise its data. Even if you aren’t an expert in website management, there are plenty of things you can do to enhance and strengthen the protection of your website. These are seven ways to keep hackers and cyber crime at bay!
1. Hide Website Errors: Specifically, if your website operates on a database, you could be significantly at risk. One of the most common techniques that hackers use to glean fragile information about a website is through adding random characters to a URL querystring.
If you’ve ever seen a URL used with your website that appears similarly to “http://www.yourwebsite.com/data.asp?reportID=20,” you should know that hackers can manipulate it (usually by adding bogus characters) to generate an error page. Default error pages supply a lot of fragile information that can be used to harm your website if it ends up in the wrong hands. To stay on the safe side, turn off website errors, or create a custom error page.
2. Block Form Input That Can Put Your Website At Risk: Hackers also use HTML forms to gain access to website back-ends. Hackers can input particular types of information into a basic site form in order to extract information about your website, or they can even inject malware into it. To combat this, you must block any type of input that could negatively manipulate the database. Many website owners use “input validation” in order to achieve this.
3. Add Ample Security To Your Website: Security is just as important for your website as it is for your home or personal computer. If you don’t already have a web application firewall in place, you should do so first. These can either be integrated as hardware appliances, or they can be used via the cloud. Web application firewalls protect against brute force attacks, spam, SQL injections (like those described above), cross site scripting, and more.
4. Utilize The HTTPS Protocol With All Areas of Your Websites: HTTPS is becoming more commonly used by websites across the web, and before long, Google will begin penalizing the search visibility of websites that don’t utilize it. HTTPS forces a secure, encrypted connection, and it is already commonly used for online shopping transactions and confidential information transfers. You should strongly consider using it as a connection requirement for your entire website.
5. Don’t Give Yourself Away: Hackers will spend incredible amounts of time scouring websites for terms that include “admin” or “login.” Once they find vulnerable areas of your site that could contain confidential data, they will make countless attempts to breach them. Your job is to throw hackers off, should they ever pursue your website. Rather than using “admin” or “login” to describe your folders and credentials, use innocuous terminology.
6. Keep Every Element of Your Website Up To Date: Regardless of how your website was designed, you should keep it updated as often as possible. Each plugin, script, application, and piece of code should be regularly modified and updated to enhance security.
7. Lastly, Change Those Passwords: It might seem like a worn out piece of advice, but using strong passwords and changing them frequently will help immensely with keeping hackers at bay. Old, weak passwords are most vulnerable to brute force attacks. Try to ensure that your passwords are all at least 12 characters in length and feature a combination of numbers, alphabet letters, and symbols. Use different passwords for different accounts, and always encrypt the file that contains records of your usernames and passwords.
In closing, make sure you backup your website regularly. So, in the event your website is hacked, you can restore it easily and quickly and be back in business like nothing happened.