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Protect Your Website from the Growing Threat of Hackers

March 23, 2014

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This could be the year your website gets hacked. A recent threat report from security company Sophos predicts hackers will only be more determined in 2014. Hackers are making their way into corporate and individual cloud systems and there is also a rise in mobile device threats. Keep your system safe with these suggestions:

Use a Secure Web Hosting Service

Don’t go with the least expensive hosting service. Research the reliability of services you are considering. They should have multiple levels of security available. Look for a dependable backup and recovery process. Ask them directly what they are doing to prevent data break ins.

Use Strong Passwords

Your first line of defense is limiting unauthorized entry to your system and data. Enforce strong passwords on all of your applications and wherever you require users to login, suggests PC World. The harder it is for hackers to guess a password, the less likely they will spend any time trying. Their goal is to get in and out quickly. Children and pet names, birthdays and anniversaries, and the favorite software default “admin” are easy for hackers to guess. Where possible, require the use of a randomly generated password of letters, numbers and characters to make it harder to break.

Layers of Protection

If you have a wireless connection in your home of office, turn off the SSID broadcast and use a higher level of security, such as WPA2. This makes it harder to break into your network. Enable firewalls to prevent unauthorized entry to your system should your network be breached. Enable data encryption on all storage devices so hacked data can’t be used. These multiple layers of security will deter hackers from trying too hard to get into your system.

Secure Those Transactions

Wherever you deal with financial transactions or sensitive data on your website, use a secure transaction type such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to authenticate the user and transaction. This is especially important when handling customer credit card information. Keep your SSL certificates current and post the security seal so customers know they are working with a secure connection.

Minimize Data Collection

Reduce the temptation of a breach by not storing sensitive information, recommends CIO. If you don’t have anything they want, hackers will pass you by. Once thought a convenience to customers, storing credit card numbers, verification codes and expiration dates is now a high-risk activity. Purge all data once a transaction has completed successfully. This also helps your customers feel secure about doing business with you online.

Protect Yourself from Fraud

Even the best security procedures can be broken by ambitious hackers. Engage a fraud protection service in case you find your system compromised. Services such as Lifelock will begin watching for signs that your stolen data is being used. They will give you tips on what to watch for and how to manage attempts to break into your financial accounts with the stolen personal information.

Have Your Backups Handy

Some hackers break in to steal information while others maliciously delete or corrupt your data. This can shut down your website and your business indefinitely. Have a strong backup process in place and keep copies of the backups readily available. Get your business back online quickly after a malicious data attack and plug any holes that allowed the hackers to get access in the first place.

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