Keeping the Hackers Out – the Basics
Hackers are the enemy of the online world, and can destroy everything you’ve worked on with the click of a button. Whether it’s an entire website of content, or accessing and destroying your client database, a breach of your website is a horrible blow to your hard work and can often feel like a very personal attack.
Protecting your website from hackers is one of the most important investments you can make into your online security, and not all of them require a tech-whizz – some of them you can employ right now. So, without further ado, read on for our top ways that you can keep the hackers out.
We talk a lot about plugins – some can help improve your SEO and some may make your developers life easier. Security plugins do a different job; actively preventing hackers from breaking into your website.
Content management systems are designed with a number of built-in plugins that do just this, and each one addresses the most vulnerable areas of security on the different platforms; whether you use WordPress, Magento or Joomla.
Another thing you can do to further tighten your online security is look into SiteLock, which acts as a daily monitor across your website; identifying everything from a virus to active attempts to break in to the site. Picture the online version of a burly bouncer on the door of a nightclub – that’s SiteLock, and it’s well worth the time spent on installing it.
If you’re inputting personal information into a website, for example payment details during an online transaction, chances are you know to look for the green padlock at the beginning of the website address in the browser bar. Next to the green padlock you will see the letters HTTPS – these five letters show you that the website is safe from hackers, and that you can safely input your personal details without risk of theft.
Historically it has always been important for ecommerce websites to hold an SSL certificate, because it secures the transfer of important and private information and ensures the safety if your website visitor’s data. Since July 2018 however, Google has taken to informing website visitors of every site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate, no matter what your website provides or does.
If you want your visitors – and Google – to trust your brand and your website, investing in a SSL certificate is a valuable investment as it will ensure your site is ranked highly on Google and will make visitors feel safe when visiting your site.
Keep your content management system up to date
This applies to everything from content management system to your plugins, apps and any additional scripts employed to create your website. If any of these are left outdated for too long, the chances of a hacker being able to find a way in increase greatly.
Checking that your website is up to date is easy enough on WordPress, by checking directly through the dashboard. Employed as a way to keep you informed of any important changes or updates required, the dashboard will instantly tell you if the version you’re running is up to date.
Keep your passwords new and unique
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as recalling the name of a favourite pet. Passwords are there for a reason, and setting something that’s super easy to remember is very likely going to lead the hackers straight to you.
When choosing a password, make it long and use a mixture of letters, characters and numbers to create something that really is unique.
And it’s not just you. If you work within a team who all have access to your website, making sure they all have strong and secure passwords is just as important as your own. After all, the website is your business and something as simple as a bad password can allow hackers in to quite literally destroy your business and livelihood.
Don’t take the chance!
One of the worst things that a website hacker can do is erase all of your work – particularly if it isn’t backed up or if you were relying on the idea that what goes online will stay online forever.
Making sure you have a recent back-up of everything you do, therefore, is key to limiting the damage a hacker can do if they do get in. An automatic backup service will enable you to do this without even having to think about it.
There are a handful more ways in which you can secure your website from hackers, but these require a more technical skillset and understanding of how the backend of websites work.
For now we suggest employing the above techniques in order to keep your site safe from hacker harm, and will explore the more technical tips in a future post.