A website being hacked is something you see often in the news these days. However, most smaller businesses assume that this is something that only happens to the ‘big boys’, to the Sonys and Targets of the world (both of whom have been the target of hackers on numerous occasions).
Therefore, smaller businesses worry less that they will fall victim to a potentially disastrous hack – why go after me when there are so many bigger fish in the sea? – and become a little too complacent about defending their own web properties from intruders. And that can be a very big mistake.
The Way Hacking Works Today
When most people think of hackers, they think of Anonymous and their odd masks, or maybe of a small group of mean spirited, but very clever, teens, causing trouble in their basement. However, that is not the way that most modern hackers work at all.
Most hacking and intrusion attempts made against websites are actually almost completely automated and random. The bots and snippets of malicious code being sent out have no way of knowing if they are attacking a small website or a large one. They just have a ‘job’ to do and it really does not matter where. This means, per many experts, smaller concerns are at greater risk because their webmasters are notoriously somewhat lax in the security department.
Easy, But Overlooked, Ways to Protect Your Website from Hackers
You have some form of security plug in or program enabled on the back end of your website. You should be good right? Probably not, as it is often human error that lets the bad bots through the back door. here are some of the most common of those mistakes:
Stop Failing to Install Updates
No matter what platform your website runs on, there will, periodically, be times you are offered updates for various elements of it. This is especially true if you run on an open source platform such as WordPress or Joomla. While making these updates is a bit of a pain – and something easily forgotten – it is crucial that you do so.
Not only are these updates often issued to specifically address some kind of security flaw hackers actively target outdated plug ins and modules as they often offer a very easy way for them to gain access to your site’s back end undetected by any security software.
Make Passwords Longer, Not More Complex
If a hacker is trying to figure out a password, they will usually use an automated tool to do that too. But even clever computer programs can get stuck. And it may surprise you to know it’s longer, not necessarily more complex, passwords that they find much harder to crack.
According to many cyber security experts, a seemingly secure password like ‘&$3FH!dt’ would take a computer about nine hours to crack. ‘Andhereisaretailingcompany’ on the other hand would take them months, if not years, to figure out. And the bonus is that you’ll probably find it much easier to remember too.
Don’t Email Secure Login Details to Anyone
Take a leaf out of a certain former Presidential candidate’s book and learn that emailing secure details – in your case logins and passwords – on any standard email server is a no these days. It’s a highly insecure way to send information and bots are actively set to look out for such things, even if they don’t know what kind of ‘rewards’ can be reaped from using the logins.
Either find a way to let new users set their own password (WordPress now does this by default, which is a fantastic advance) or find a different way to share passwords (like an old fashioned meeting to pass a note).
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