Posted on July 22, 2019 at 1:22 PM
They’re in the news and if you’re unlucky, they may even make their way into your website. Indeed, today’s hackers have found new and innovative ways to steal sensitive information from eCommerce customers and wreak general havoc for many innocent websites in the process. While these hackers aren’t going away any time soon, there are some precautions you can take to better your website against their attacks.
Today’s hackers – some of which are actually high-powered computer programs – are trained to take advantage of systematic and human mistakes whenever possible. As such, it is always important to cover obvious vulnerabilities in your website’s file system and passwords. Similarly, it always worthwhile to install and maintain the most capable modern security protocols, be they through plug-ins or provided by your web host.
Improving your website security can be challenging on your own, so consider following these 4 tips in order to bolster your defenses against nefarious digital forces. With these tips in mind, you’ll be better able to upgrade your existing security stance and create a reliable web security system to serve your website for years to come:
Tip #1 – Choose a Trustworthy Hosting Service
First and foremost, proper website security begins from the moment you decide to start a website. Just as shopping for real estate in a prosperous part of town can make a difference for a brick-and-mortar business, your choice of a trustworthy hosting provider can pay dividends when it comes to protecting you from the internet’s most noteworthy threats.
When looking for a reliable web host, be sure to look for certified security protocols among their core features (such as integrated SSL certificates and DDoS protections). Also, be sure to read service reviews from current and former users of that particular service provider. These reviews can often provide some of the post candid insight into a given web host’s security capabilities.
Tip #2 – Install Quality Security Protocols
Along the same lines, you must put in the extra effort to ensure that all of your auxiliary security protocols are up to snuff. At a bare minimum, this means implementing security plug-ins and certificates (such as SSL) that encrypt sensitive user information (such as credit card numbers). This can prevent critical user data from leaking out through interference in your website’s primary information transmissions.
In particular, proper SSL certification can go a long way towards assuring customers that your eCommerce platform is secured. Browser users will be signaled to the presence of an SSL certificate when their browsing bar lights up green and provides the “HTTPS” prefix to your website. This minor signal can go a long way towards building audience trust towards your security posture.
Both CMS and HTML websites alike should consider implementing a broad spectrum security regiment, such as those offered by SiteLock. SiteLock, in particular, specializes in closing newly identified security loopholes and detecting potentially malicious malware – both of which can put your website in severe jeopardy if left unattended.
Tip #3 – Create New Secure Passwords
While every computer security system is bound to show its vulnerabilities in time, human users are constantly prone to making mistakes that leave your website open to intrusion. This can most visibly be seen in terms of password creation, where humans are more likely to create a personally memorable password rather than a security code that is challenging (if not practically impossible) for a brute force computer program to crack.
When it comes to creating fresh passwords, your best bet is to use a specialized password generator that either outputs random strings of letters and number or uses strings of random (though memorable) words to add to a password’s overall entropy. In either case, these generators take advantage of modern research to create secure passwords that aren’t simple decoding.
These complicated passwords can be a hassle to remember, there’s no ignoring that. For this reason, website’s with multiple passwords (for administrative or root access) should make use of a certified password manager as soon as possible. This will provide a second layer of protection for these critical digital keys as well as provide you a method for keeping these new passwords well organized.
Tip #4 – Lock Down your File Permissions
Along the same lines as improving your password protocols, you should also take time to reevaluate and enhance your file permissions systems. Though few average website administrators ever think about them, weaknesses in individual file permissions are among the most prone to use as a backdoor into a website’s larger file system. This can lead to leaking of sensitive user information in many cases.
Depending on the nature of your website, as well as how it is hosted, you’ll need to approach your file permissions using several different techniques. If you possess root level access (such as through a Linux-based system), you can manually modify specific file permission through numeric values (“0” for no permissions, “1” for executing, “2” for write, and “4” for reading).
Websites that use a GUI or other user-friendly file management system often offer advanced settings to toggle these permissions with digging around in the website’s code. Though it may take a while, you should take all the time necessary to individually run through your website’s entire file system to ensure that no outside sources can access or modify important core file without centrally-administered permission.
Website Security Should be a Priority
All in all, there’s a lot more than you could be doing in order to improve your website’s security posture. In many cases, you’ll need to focus on patching the vulnerabilities in your website’s primary operation, both those caused by the system itself and those implemented by its human users.
Perhaps the most important tip for improving your website’s security is… “don’t wait!” Modern internet hackers are ruthless and won’t wait until you’ve improved your security to levy an attack that wrecks your website and exposes your customers’ sensitive information. Make a plan to improve your website’s security portfolio today in order to protect everything you’ve built on your digital domain.