Website Hacked! Security & Common Sense
Someone once told me, Common Sense isn't as common as you'd think. That always stuck with me. It reminds me that certain things I take for granted, since designing, maintaining and hosting websites is my day job and I've learned from experience, that a lot of people don't usually think about. Well I'm here to provide some steps on improving your digital security and protect what's yours.
If you've ever managed multiple websites, have ever had a website, or even bank/shop online, you probably have experienced a hacked website, stolen credit card or have been locked out of your email account. It happens, but we can learn from it and hopefully not a lot of damage is done.
I’d like to address 3 areas you can improve your online/digital security and decrease vulnerability. I’d like to preface this with, you can never be 100% secure or protected. Large organizations like Netflix, Banks of America and Facebook have some of the brightest admins and their systems get hacked. However, we can prepare for disasters.
YOUR PCBelieve it or not, this is one of the most overlooked areas of security. Whether you’re on a Mac or Windows computer, you’re vularate to viruses, malware, spyware and other tactic to gain your personal information and password. Always make sure you’re running a good Anti-Virus. I highly recommend Eset’s NOD32 Security Suite and Spybot for malware and spyware protection.
You should also be using a good, safe and fast internet browser like Google Chrome (Please stop using Internet Explorer 7, I promise it's not as secure as you think it is!), coupled with an independent password manager like LastPass. LastPass is great way to have very complex passwords and not have to worry about remembering them. Sign-up. Right Now, stop what you’re doing and go get secure!
YOUR WEBSITEMost likely if you’re reading this, you’re running a CMS (Content Management System) type website like Google Joomla! or WordPress. There’s a lot of security concerns you should be aware of even if you’re client. Always ask your designer or developer for an admin login so you can always check your website for updates. I use a website called Watchful that lets me know if one of my websites needs and update, has a core file changes, went offline, and a lot of other security concerns as it happens.
Uptime is also a way of knowing something might be wrong with your website or web server. By using an online solution like StatusCake, you can be notified by email, text or phone if your site goes down or even if the page changes by monitoring a specific keyword on the home page.
YOUR SERVERYou can have a secure computer and a secure website, but if your web hosting server’s at risk, none of that matters. You see, on some shared web hosting environments, if one website or database is compromised, it can affect every website on the same account or event server. Let’s just say, you get what you pay for.
My clients enjoy never having to worry about their accounts or sites for a couple awesome reasons. My server’s backed-up to a dedicated hard drive daily. The servers have built-in precautions, very advanced firewalls, anti-DDOS technology and full 24/7/265 team of engineers always available to fight whatever comes our way. Any while nothing is foolproof, my clients and I can both rest easy that all data is/will be safe.
I know I was a little vague in the last section. I’ll be honest, a lot of the technology is even beyond my understanding, but I also omitted information for my own security reasons. Sometimes it’s a good idea not to reveal too much.
In closing, I want you to questions your own security practices, your web designers, your hosting company and even mine! Sometimes to protect yourself you have to think like a thief to know what to protect.