You might be thinking that hackers won’t mess with your website because it’s insignificant to them. This kind of thinking is what hackers want you to believe. More than stealing data and deleting your content, some hackers will use your website’s server as an email forwarder for spam messages or even set up a temporary web server to distribute illegal files.
Most hacks happen because there’s an exploitable security issue in your system. Don’t become a victim of one of these hacks, keep your website safe by following these tips.
Clear Your Cookies
Cookies are files that are placed by websites you visit to track your online behavior. Have you experienced logging into a site and you’re surprised to see that your credentials are already there? That’s how computer cookies work.
There are two kinds of cookies:
Session cookies - These are cookies that are temporary and will be erased after your session. The next time you open the website, you’ll be counted as a unique visitor again.
Persistent cookies - These are semi-permanent and will stay on your computer until you clear your cookies.
Cookies aren’t bad for your website. They help speed up browsing sessions and provide convenience. What puts you at risk is when your cookies are stolen. This file can give hackers access to your website and other sensitive information. Make it a habit to clear your cookies.
Keep Everything Updated
Whether you’ve built the website from the ground up or used a platform like Wordpress, keeping everything updated helps to keep the hackers away.
You should make sure that your server’s operating system is updated if you’re hosting your website. If you’re using a hosting platform, they should be able to take care of all this for you. However, if you have plugins installed, be sure that you apply security patches to them as soon as they become available. These plugin vendors will usually send an email if they see any security issues and issue a notice to patch. If you notice a plugin that hasn’t been updated for a while, it’s a tell-tale sign that it’s a vulnerability that hackers can exploit so, better remove them.
It seems evident that updates should be applied religiously, but you’ll be surprised to know that a lot of people take security patches and updates for granted.
HTTPS means Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. This communications protocol ensures that you’re transferring sensitive information safely from a web server and a website. When you use HTTPS for your site, you’re adding an encryption layer to your HTTP. When this happens, your data and your visitor’s data are kept extra secured and away from prying eyes.
Additionally, using HTTPS helps your website rank better in search engines like Google. Until recently, most websites that don’t handle transactions are in HTTP, but when Google announced that it’s going to take into account website security as a ranking factor, the use of HTTPS among websites made more sense.
Use A Web Application Firewall
A web application firewall (WAF) reads all data that passes through it. A WAF could either be hardware or software based.
A hardware-based WAF is usually expensive and recommended for enterprise-level customers. For casual website owners, they can opt for cloud-based WAF. These are typically offered by Security-as-a-service (SECaaS) providers to help minimize cost.
Online WAF are plug-and-play which means you can install them quickly and will require a monthly subscription fee. To give you an overview of how this service works — the WAF is placed in front of your website server. It will act as a filter to prevent malicious and harmful traffic from entering your site.
This is just in case something does happen to your website; you’re able to recuperate from it without incurring a significant loss. Make it habit to have a back-up of everything. Keep an offline back-up as well in case your on-site back-ups get compromised.
Everyone thinks that hacks won’t happen to them or that their website is already secured. Nothing is for sure, the technology that these hackers use gets sophisticated every day. Potential entry points could be addressed by deploying a security patch or updating your software. Make your website secure by adding an extra layer of protection and back up as much as you can. These tips may not make your website 100% impenetrable, but it will make it less appealing for people with bad intentions.
Clark Bailey loves writing topics about technology. He understands how important technology is, especially for businesses which is why he has been submitting articles to Web Safety Advice for years. Clark’s articles are suited for different types of readers - from people who don’t know anything about technology, from people who are already experts in the niche. Clark makes sure that his articles are relatable and helpful to all readers. During his spare time, Clark loves to go fishing with his friends.