Protecting your website from hackers

Your skin’s not the only thing you need to think about protecting this summer. With the increase in cybercrime over recent years it’s never been a better time to get your website’s security in check.

It’s a common misconception that only eCommerce websites and others that handle highly sensitive data need to be protected against hackers. While you may not think your website has anything to be hacked for, small business websites like yours are compromised all the time.

The majority of website security breaches are not made to steal data or to deface websites, but more commonly to serve files of an illegal nature or as an outlet for spam. Here are three tips to help keep you and your site safe online.

  1. Keep software up to date

One of the most important steps to protecting your website against hackers is ensuring all software is kept up to date. This applies to the server operating system, as well as any software that may be running on your site (such as your CMS and any additional plugins you may have installed).

While sometimes annoying and inconvenient, software providers will only push out updates when necessary, so it’s important that you run them as soon as they are released. If the reason behind an update is to patch a security vulnerability, delaying your update will expose you to potential attacks in the interim period.


Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/ninja-data-security-pc-computer-1507457/

  1. Use HTTPS

As a consumer, you probably already know to look for the little green padlock in your browser when a website asks for sensitive info such as credit/debit card details.


Image source: https://www.paypal.com/gb/webapps/mpp/merchant

Websites that have this, or ‘https://’ before the URL instead of ‘http://’, use something called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to establish a secure link between a web server and browser. This means any data that passes through will be encrypted (converted into a code which only authorised parties can decipher).

If you have an online store, or any part of your website requires visitors to provide sensitive information, you must invest in an SSL certificate. While it will come at a cost to you, the level of security, credibility and reassurance SSL offers your customers makes it worthwhile.

  1. Make sure your passwords are secure

This one seems obvious, but it’s so important.

It’s tempting just to use your cat’s name, your nan’s birthday or some other password you know will be easy to remember. But did you know that the most common password is still 123456? You have to do much better than that.

We would recommend using a password generator to help you figure out a truly secure password. Make sure it is long (8 or more characters) and includes a mix of letters (upper and lower case) and numbers. Maybe even throw the odd special character in there for good measure. Steer clear of passwords that could be easy to guess, like your mother’s maiden name, and never use the same password for more than one application.

If you’re not the only one with access to your website, make sure everyone else involved follows the above rules and has similarly secure passwords – it only takes one weak password within your team to make your entire website vulnerable.

For more tips on protecting your website from hackers, contact a specialist such as MA Design (Web Design, Cheltenham).

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