Online Security: 5 Tips For Today
- January 16, 2013 4:00 pm
Here are HostPapa, we’ve seen several unfortunate circumstances surrounding website security... or should we say lack thereof? It’s easy to blame the crafty hackers for your website’s problems. But, and we’re sorry to have to say this, too often it’s the websites running last year’s security updates or the web developers using “password” for their password that are the first to run into security issues.
“Online security” is a phrase that’s thrown around a lot, quite often to sell products and services (some of which you need, others you definitely do not). But learning how to be safe online is not always a matter of knowing what to buy, so much as what to do.
Here are 5 online security tips to get your started:
- The password issue. Please, if you do one thing today, strengthen your passwords. No words, dates, or “123456.” A combination of lowercase and capital letters and numbers (and symbols if permitted) is a must. And…don’t use the same password for everything. For anything.
- Update, update, update. Don’t wait. Your best hope of staying ahead of hackers is to immediately install the latest versions of all your scripts, including WordPress, Joomla!, OpenCart, Drupal, Magento, and Moodle to name but a few.
- Don’t make it easy for hackers to find a way in. What websites are you linking to from yours? Make sure they are all reputable. Eliminate all bad links. Don’t give root access to your website to anyone who doesn’t actually need it. And make sure the email address you use to log in to your control panel isn’t published anywhere on your site.
- Get an SSL certificate. This falls into the category of an online security product you need. An SSL certificate gets you a secure connection and encrypts all the data flowing between your computer/server and those of your customers and visitors. It’s required if you are running an online store or collecting personal information of any kind – including email addresses. It’s a small investment and a worthwhile one for almost every website owner.
- Stay up to date. Read the top tech blogs for the latest news about bugs, vulnerabilities, and how to be safe online. Learn enough about your website to know what’s going on and how to spot code that doesn’t belong (check your log files regularly). Research before you download any plug-in and stay away from anything that might be suspicious.
Here’s the lesson: if your website is secure, most hackers will ignore it and move along to one that offers easier access. A little knowledge about how to be safe online will save you huge headaches.