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Website hacks are certainly not a new thing, but these days the threat of being hacked is more prevalent each and every day. With the explosive growth of E-Commerce and the importance that companies (correctly) place on their online presence, hackers are ramping up their game, with even big name companies showing up in the news over high-profile hacks. But there’s no need to fear! The hackers aren’t going away, but there are best practices that can (and should!) be followed to keep yourself safe.
Updates Updates Updates!
Listen, we get it. Nobody likes having to update things, but that’s the first thing you should be doing to keep your website secure. Plugins, themes, and anything else that could present a potential for security breaches need to be kept up to date. Above all, the most important thing to maintain is the CMS installation itself. A number of very popular CMS platforms such as WordPress and Drupal are completely open-source, which means it’s code is available for anyone and everyone to get into, for better or for worse. Because of this, developers are in a constant war against those who try to take advantage of this for nefarious purposes. Whenever vulnerabilities are found, patches are usually pushed out very quickly. If you aren’t installing these patches just as quickly, you’re leaving easy targets for hackers to exploit. Keep in mind that depending on how your website is developed, you may run into compatibility issues and other bugs when updating your CMS, plugins, or themes. For this reason, it is always recommended to have someone with development experience on hand to assist if needed.
Strong Passwords = Stronger Security
Now, this one should be obvious, but it’s so important that we had to include it. One of the first thing a hacker will do is try to break in through the front door by capitalizing on weak logins. For this reason it’s important to ensure that all usernames and passwords are strong and hard to guess. Passwords should be completely random with the max character limit allowable. Best practice is to use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters. For usernames it should be a similar story, making your username something harder to guess than “admin” can go a long way.
Safe and Secure, Inside and Out
Hacks don’t always come from faraway sources over the internet. Sometimes the breach can come from inside, making internal security just as critical as external. Now don’t worry, we aren’t implying your employees and coworkers are scheming to take down your site, but ignoring the threat of internal breaches leaves you open to unexpected attacks. Make sure all employee logins are secure, admin access is restricted to only those who need it, and every device that enters your network is scanned for malicious software.
Stay Alert to Stay Safe
Ok, so you’ve secured your logins, and everything on your site and on your network is up to date, so now everything is safe, right? Unfortunately, security just isn’t as simple as that. Unexpected attackers can slip through unseen cracks even on the most secure sites. Catching these incidences early can be the difference between a slight scare and a complete catastrophe. The same way you go to the doctor for checkups, you should be scanning your sites regularly for malware, phishing, and scamming; the most common symptoms of a hack. We recommend monitoring for malicious files and activity on a daily basis.
Keep a Backup (Or a Bunch of Them) Just to Be Safe
But what if the worst case scenario happens? What if someone managed to not only get into your website, but majorly mess it up? Cases like this are why maintaining a site well includes making regular backups of it. Monthly, or even weekly backups of your website and its content prevent hours of development time and irreparable damage to your company’s reputation by allowing you to roll your website back to a previous and untampered version. In some cases, daily backups may be the most appropriate option if you are updating your website very regularly.
The threat of hackers is a real and dangerous one, but that doesn’t mean you or your company should avoid or abstain from the internet to be protected. Maintaining proper security practices and protocols can help immunize your site from this plague that’s sweeping the internet. That’s why at Socialfix Media, we do it for you! We offer comprehensive website maintenance and protection plans to keep you and your customers safe, and prevent your website from catching the virtual flu. Let’s connect and discuss your website’s cyber-security strategy!