How to Hack-Proof Your Blog or Website in 3 Steps
It’s always a pleasure to be featured, so my thanks to techehow.com for featuring this article. When you finish here, especially if you don’t yet have your own webpage, check out their article on “How to Choose The Right Web Hosting Service.” It might just save you some time and money.
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What was once considered a mere supplement of a successful business is now for many the very core of operations. Your website may be where most of your sales take place, where public relations are handled or where your clients receive support and service. Your blog may be the business itself, in that you convey ideas and concepts to a wide audience on a regular basis.
Nothing hurts your business like getting hacked. Losses from a hack can be devastating; in a few moments, you can lose transactions, customer information, product inventory and public confidence. Your page may even become the source of malware, directly harming any who visit.
Don’t wait to pick up the pieces. Follow these simple steps to avoid being the victim of a hack and become a member of the secure community.
1. Protect Access
Access to your blog or website is the first and easiest avenue to protect. It may also be the most important. With your username and password, a hacker can do essentially anything they want with your page. Most all of your data is easily accessed from the administrator login.
Start off by using access details that are secure and unique. Usernames, like your password, should be unique; if they’re associated with an email address, make sure that email address is unique to your website. The password should be complex enough that no one can simply guess it and long enough to make cracking it unlikely. Go with at least 8 characters, mixing uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
For additional security, require a two-step authentication. This requires entering a code texted to a separate device—such as your smartphone—any time you login from a new location. In this way, even if your details are stolen, no one will be able to access the account without also possessing the secondary login tool.
2. Update Software and Plugins
If your page uses plugins, you need to verify that they are coming from a trusted source and are up to date. Any forms of scripting or software you use that haven’t been updated in awhile can be easy points of access for a hacker to work their way into your system. Coding is typically updated for exactly that reason: vulnerabilities are discovered over time.
If possible, limit the number of services your page uses. While loading up on a ton of cool looking plugins might seem like a good idea as you’re designing, it can put your page at risk. The more you add, the more things you’ll need to monitor and secure.
Bugs in select versions can also reduce the usability of your webpage. Problems can occur in themes as well, so you may need to periodically check that what was working yesterday is still working today. Consider visiting your page from a different device to see how it works, as you may discover differences outside of your controlled environment.
3. Seek Third Party Assistance
Nobody wants to hand over the keys to their business, and neither should you. But there are times when the problem is beyond your own expertise, and you may need the assistance of an expert.
If you’re looking for an inclusive solution, consider the services offered by companies such as Symantec. This kind of security company offers inclusive programs that can search for scripting vulnerabilities, seek updates for programs that are out of date and deal with external threats attempting to infiltrate your system.
If you’re more of a “do-it-yourself” type, you’ll need the right kinds of security software. Be sure your primary devices have the basics installed, such as anti-malware programs (for removing viruses), a firewall (for detecting and preventing network intrusions) and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) (for securing and encrypting your connection to prevent hacks). You’ll need the combination to secure yourself from threats to your machines that can leak over to your pages.
The next steps become a bit more technical. You’ll want to test for different types of vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection and Cross Site Scripting (XSS). If you’re interested in learning about SQL injection and how to test for it, there’s a detailed guide here. A similar guide can be founded for XSS on the same page.
Because of the complexity and time involved in running your own tests, a professional service is recommended, but the learning is certainly of value if you have the time. Whichever you decide to go with will likely depend on how much background you have in coding and the size of your page. Your personal blog probably isn’t going to want to spend a lot on security consulting.
Be aware that not all “hacks” occur because of vulnerabilities on your website or in your devices. On its own, your page might be fairly secure given the steps you’ve taken, but it means little if your own habits get in the way. Use caution when you’re using the web, as plenty of scams exist to steal the information you worked so hard to secure.
If you have employees, know that they’ll need to be educated on everything you’ve learned. A few simple mistakes on their part can put the whole operation in jeopardy, so be careful who and what you’re giving out access to.
Beyond that, good luck. There’s no telling what security breaches lie in the future, so stay vigilant, and stay secure.