Last updated: July 24th, 2014
Online security is important. It warrants more than just a passing mention: malware is on the rise. Spammers, hackers and other cyber thieves are hard at work trying to break into systems and website around the world.
The scary part is it’s getting easier for anyone to learn how to hack. Once upon a time, in order for someone to be able to compromise a site, they needed to understand system vulnerabilities and figure out a way in.
Entrepreneurial hackers are now offering up their services or selling their tools to anyone willing to make the purchase. This has opened the doors to a whole host of threats — and more of them.
In order to be sure your website is protected from attacks, there are a few strategies you should follow to keep hackers at bay.
1) Keep All Software Running The Latest Version
One of the most targeted content management systems is WordPress. By itself, the software is secure. Make sure your theme and all of the plugins you use are up-to-date and from reputable developers. And of course, make sure you update WordPress.
2) Monitor Your Server Bandwidth Graphs
Have you ever heard of DDoS attacks? If your website always seems to go offline or is slow and buggy for no reason, chances are you are dealing with distributed denial of service. This is where an attacker will send high volumes of malicious traffic to your site in order to take it offline. One way to check if suspicious traffic is hitting your site is to look at the bandwidth graphs in your cPanel. If you see large spikes in traffic that make no sense, you’re probably dealing with a denial of service or DDOS attack. In that case, you should block the IP that is sending the traffic, or talk with a mitigation provider to help get your site back online.
3) Use Long, Complex Passwords
This one cannot be said enough. If your password is super easy to remember, it will be easy to crack. Don’t choose a password that can be found in the dictionary. Attackers will use software that will try countless software combinations per second, and often run through the dictionary. This is a brute force attack. The best passwords are longer than eight characters, and include alphanumeric and special characters.
4) Do Not Click Suspicious Links
If you own a blog or website, chances are you’ve seen what a spam comment looks like. Black hats spam blog comments in order to help their search engine ranking. Hackers spam blog comments in order to spread malware. Watch out for suspicious links posted on your site and be sure to not auto-approve comments from anonymous users.
5) Maintain Multiple Backups Of Your Site
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is backup your website, and do it regularly. Don’t leave things to chance. All it takes is one website compromise to ruin all of the work you’ve done. Make sure you routinely take a full backup of your site and store it in multiple places. Do not just leave your backups on your server. If your account is compromised an attacker will usually delete or tamper with files left on the server. Your best bet is to store a backup of your site on your computer, DropBox, or Google Drive.
Don’t leave your online security to chance. If you are proactive in maintaining the security if your website, you become less of an ideal target to hackers. A secure site presents a challenge, and most hackers will simply move on rather than spend time attempting to crack a site that is being monitored.
About Author: Anthony Miller is a cyber security professional that helps educate businesses on the importance of DDoS protection and proactive security.