One of the biggest false beliefs circulated in the internet ownership and website security community is that “your site is not a big one, so there’s nothing worth being hacked for”. This particular belief has always led to dismay, because to the site owner’s surprise, he/she gets hacked and may lose everything. In fact, this popular belief may actually be propagated by hackers, because it creates laxity in the web owners, keeping their guards down and making their defenses exploitable. The truth is that websites get hacked all the time, size and function do not matter at all.
Majority of security breaches are not necessarily attempts to steal your data or deface your website, but are devious attempts at turning your server into an email relay for spam or to a temporary web server, usually to serve illegal files. In this article we will try to give you some tips on how to protect your website from hackers.As terrible as this may seem, keeping these people at bay is very possible and all requirements for this are of extreme importance. There are a few fundamental actions you can take to keep your site out of sight to these website vandals and make sure it takes a lot of hard work for hackers to find your website.
Update Everything You Have
Whether you’ve created a DIY site on a third party turnkey platform or chose to build from scratch with your development team, as a site owner, you must make sure that every piece of software run by you is up to date. CMS providers like Joomla, Ilk and WordPress stay on constant guard, continuously scouring for holes to plug in their systems and hit the internet with regular patches and updates to ensure that their software is impervious to attacks. Make sure you run these updates and always have the most recent version supporting your site at all times.
If your site uses third party plug-ins, you should stay updated with information about their updates and make sure all are implemented in a timely fashion. Lots of sites often make the mistake of including plug-ins that fall into disuse with time. Ensure that you do regular cleanups, wipe out all unused, old and non-updated plug-ins, they pose the threat of being a gateway for hackers to exploit and wreck your site.
Reinforce Security Around Your Site
Just as you install antivirus on your desktop before browsing the web and securely lock your doors before leaving your house, you should also install a security system to be your site’s first line of defense against malicious attacks by hackers. This first line of defense is always a web application firewall. These are designed to inspect incoming traffic, identify and sift out malicious requests, protecting your website from SPAM, cross site scripting, brute force attacks and other high level threats. You can take a look at website antivirus we offer.
A few years ago, web application firewalls were solely hardware appliances but quite recently, a few providers of Security-As-a-Service (SecAaS) have begun to use cloud hosting technology to water down the prices of security solutions. As a result of this, all website owners can now rent a cloud based web application firewall without costly security appliances or even a dedicated hosting server. Better yet, you won’t need a course in website security or hire security experts to utilize these services.
With a huge amount of websites getting hacked every year, it has become obvious that hosting providers cannot efficiently handle all website security threats and the rise of cloud based web application firewalls is quickly filling its void.
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure communications protocol that transfers sensitive information between a web site and a web server. Moving your website to this protocol definitely means adding an encryption Transport Layer Security (TLS) or a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to your HTTP ensuring extra security from hackers for yours and your users’ data.
Although HTTPS is necessary for all online transactions, the ratio of sites that run on HTTP outnumbers them 100’s: 1. Currently, adding a secure protocol layer won’t only guarantee security, it will help search ranking as GOOGLE has recently announced that HTTPS will be taken as a ranking factor.
Use Strong Passwords And Change Them Regularly
Brute force attacks work mainly by guessing username/password combinations. These have been reported to be on an alarming rise in the last two years as thousands of attacks are detected every day across the web. Brute force and dictionary attacks can be effectively eliminated by using strong passwords. Strong passwords aren’t just important for only email and financial transactions; they are even doubly important for your website server, admin and database passwords.
What makes up a strong password? A strong password should be a combination of alphanumeric characters, upper and lower case letters and symbols and should be at least 12 characters long. A combination like this can prevent brute force attacks.
Passwords should also not be the same for all website logins. Change your passwords regularly to ensure breach-proof security and store users’ data in an encrypted form. This way, if your security is breached, there’s no way your attackers can steal your users’ information.
Conceal Your Admin Directories
One of the easiest ways hackers access your site’s data is by heading straight into your admin directories.
The scripts used by hackers scan directories on your web server looking for names like, ‘admin’, ‘login’ or ‘access’ etc. then focus all their energy on accessing these files to compromise your website security. Most popular CMS’s give you total control over names of your directories; a great idea would be to rename your admin folders. Pick names that would make these folders inconspicuous and communicate it only to your webmasters. This method can greatly reduce the risk of a potential breach.
One fact that every business owner knows and understands is that, “your reputation is everything”, therefore no cost can be too much as long as it secures your website and safeguards your reputation.