Cybersecurity is of utmost importance to anyone who runs a website. With each passing day, we hear of new leaks of information over the internet, including IDs and passwords, top-secret classified government data, credit card information, personal nude photos, and much more.
You might be wondering what all this has to do with your little website that contains nothing worth being hacked. Well, cybercriminals can use your website to send phishing emails or to set up a temporary web server to store illegal files. Plus, practicing cybersecurity gets you a better ranking in search engines and reassures your site’s visitors of their own safety.
Whether your website is for business or personal use, here’s how to make it more secure:
The first step to securing your site is updating the server operating system and every piece of software you run on your website, including CMS, website building platforms, plugins, scripts, VPN, apps, etc. You also need to make sure you choose a web host provider with care as well, with WPOwl being a good choice. Most of these tools are created as open-source software programs, which mean their codes are easily accessible to both developers and malicious hackers. Most cyber attacks are automated as bots are always scanning sites for any exploitation opportunities. Software updates contain security enhancements that can help patch security holes. Remember to clean your site of old, non-updated, or unused software as they can be a gateway to enter your website.
Build Layers of Security around Your Site.
It’s important to have a strong security system to protect your website against cyber attacks. Luckily, there are several free and paid security applications that you can use. For starters, a Web Application Firewall (WAF) can be used to inspect incoming traffic and weed out malicious requests. This offers protection from SQL Injections, spam messages, Cross Site Scripting, brute force attacks, and much more. Just like you can use VPN services to create a secure connection over the internet and browse anonymously, you can also use security plugins to hide the identity of your site’s CMS.
Use a Secure Host.
Using the right web hosting service provider can help reduce vulnerabilities. Most providers focus on constantly protecting their clients and servers from cyber threats. Many hosts now provide their users with security features, including secure socket layer connections (SSL) and a secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) that makes uploading files much safer. Your host should also offer ongoing backup data services and technical support.
Limit File Uploads.
Allowing file uploads will automatically make your site vulnerable. Uploaded files can contain a script that when opened on your server can open up your website. Remove any areas where users can upload files. But, if your site relies on uploads, set up an email for users to send their files instead of uploading them to your site themselves. Alternatively, you can store uploaded files outside the root directory and access them using a script. Your web host should be able to set that up.
Hide Admin Folders .
Another ingenious way for cyber criminals to access your site is to go straight to the source and hack into the admin directories. Hackers can scan all your directories for giveaway names like ‘admin’ or ‘root’ and focus on hacking these folders to gain access to your website. Most popular CMS’s now allow you to rename your admin folders to anything. Use unsuspecting names to make it harder for hackers to locate sensitive folders.
Create Secure Passwords.
Hackers use sophisticated software that often uses brute force to crack passwords. To avoid that, use strong passwords on your admin areas and the server. Also, encourage good password practices to your visitors to protect their accounts. Passwords should be long, at least 10 characters, and use a mix of letters, numerical, and special characters. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords like birthday, 1234, and password. Avoid using one password across multiple platforms and if you are worried about remembering all the different passwords, a password manager can help with that. In addition, passwords should be stored in encrypted formats to make it difficult for hackers to steal them.
Scan for Vulnerabilities.
Performing web security scans on a regular basis can help check for any website and server vulnerabilities. These scans should be done on a schedule or after any changes or additions are made to the web components. There are several free tools one can use to measure how secure their website is. However, they might not be able to detect all possible security flaws; therefore, it’s better to have a professional perform security scans. A professional will provide an in-depth review of the possible vulnerabilities. You can then solve the small issues yourself and leave the complex security measures to the experts.
Even with all the security measures in place, an update can go wrong or you might still be hacked. This isn’t something you’d like to experience, but you also don’t want to be caught off guard. Having backups is vital to recovering the information your site needs to run smoothly. A good backup solution should be off-site, automatic, and have reliable recovery. Backups can be made manually or through the hosting company. That being said, website backups shouldn’t be considered a replacement for a secure website.
Hackers are getting more and more creative with how they plan their attacks. The most powerful tool to minimize cyber attacks on your website is to stay well-informed. Luckily, there are several websites like Reddit that offer information on current threats and the best tools to use to lessen the effects of these attacks. That way, you know what to look out for and put precautions where necessary.