Cyber Security

13 Killer Ways to Protect a Website from Hackers

protect a website from hackers
Written by Michael Katz

No matter the type of business that you may own, there is no doubt that having an online presence is now a necessity and not just a luxury. The convenience, global reach, and advantages make everyone wants to get on the bandwagon and have an online presence. However, no matter the type of business that you may own, online entrepreneurs are beginning to realize that there is more to being online than meets the eye.

These days, online users and online marketers are exposed to a lot of ills. If you own an e-commerce website, you have to contend with unauthorized access of your content by unscrupulous people and hackers. The same too would go for the owner of educational websites, blogs, and so on. There can be nothing as horrifying as to discover one day that all of your hard works are suddenly no longer there because they have been stolen, altered, or erased by wicked and unscrupulous people.

As a result, it appears to be that every other day, news of their successes continues to be recorded. The need to protect a website from hackers has continued to occupy the minds and discussions of website owners. The losses and damages that arise from the nefarious activities of these hackers can never be really comprehended, but they are very real.

How do we protect a website from hackers?

In order to protect a website from hackers, there is a need to have a website safety check. This would involve weighing the security features and tools on your website, whether is an e-commerce site or otherwise. And you do not have to break the bank to achieve this. There are various cyber security tools that are readily available with which you can regularly use to conduct website security checks. Once you do this frequently you are one step closer.

Another way that can be used to protect a website is the use of online virus scan. There are many of these anti-virus scans that are available. Although a lot of them cost some money, however, they still offer much more protection. They are also far more reliable than the best free antivirus programs out there.

Methods to protect website from hackers

The damages that hackers cause can never be determined in full. This is because their effects continue to be felt long after the act has been discovered. And it appears as though their level and range of attacks are just simply growing in sophistication, growth and reach. The attack on Sony Pictures and the raid of US government employees must stand out in the top 10 hackers feats of all time. But beyond their boldness and growth, hackers can be deterred, stopped, and held at bay. In the article below, I am going to reveal to you some of the methods that anyone can use to protect a website. Basically, it all involves the use of cyber security tools.

  1. Ensure that your site is being backed up by your host – recently a research study revealed that commercial ventures still had gaps that were quite large in their backup plans for data. This places a lot of risk on them for the possibility of the loss of precious information as a result of a virus, hard drive failure, or even a power outage.Anyone might easily recommend the use of an online virus scan and as a result you might just be tempted to download anyone off the Internet. However, it is always safer and better security sense to avoid even the best free antivirus programs. Rather go for a paid version. It is always worth the investment. In essence, you can protect the website by backing it up on a regular basis and/or ensure that your hosting service does so. They should also have a disaster recovery plan in place.
  1. A service for fraud management should be considered – this is especially true because whether you like it or not, fraud actually happens. Ask a lot or merchants who have suffered at the hands of hackers and you would better understand and appreciate this fact. For any e-commerce website owner, the best solution is to ensure that whenever it happens to are not holding the bag.Since there can be nothing like being safe 100 percent, the practical approach being taken by a lot of credit card establishment is to provide chargeback management and fraud management services which is a practical approach to protect website from hackers.
  1. Get your systems patched – another effective way to protect the website from hackers is to patch your systems. In fact, this is one of the most effective cyber security tools. IT experts advocate that immediately a new version is released, it should be patched. These would include third-party codes that are hackers’ favorite targets like Joomla, WordPress, Perl, Python, Java, and even the Web server as well. It would be surprising to discover that most websites that get breached are found to still be running years old versions of ColdFusion or PHP.A lot of the top 10 hackers realize that users are either lazy or just not informed of the inherent risks in this failure to protect. This is why they continually exploit this loophole to their maximum advantages. This is why it is essential that patches are installed on all of your software, whether they are ZenCart, OSCommerce, Xcart, or Web apps, regular patching is a most. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have been on the increase in the range of targets, sophistication, and frequency.

    As a result of this, IT experts have been advocating that in order to better protect website from hackers website owners should turn to managed DNS services and DDoS protection that are cloud-based to get transactional capacity which can take care of proactive mitigation and get rid of the need for huge expenses in expertise, infrastructure, and equipment. They advocate that when websites use the cloud approach they would be able to reduce their operational expenses while getting their defenses hardened against even the most complex and largest of attacks.

  1. PCI scans should be performed regularly – another way to protect a website from hackers, quarterly PCI scans should be performed. This could be done by making use of Trustwave or other similar services which reduce the risks that your website is vulnerable to any of the attempts of top 10 hackers. The fact is that a couple of hours of time spent in development today have the potential to save your entire website and business in the future.
  1. Regular website monitoring should be done by both you and your hosting firm as well – it is necessary that you invest in a real-time tool for analytics. IT experts say that such a cyber security tool is similar to installing security cameras in your business. Cyber security tools like Clicky or Woopra enable you to monitor how your website is being interacted with and navigated by visitors in real time. This would enable you to detect any behavior that is suspicious or fraudulent.With such cyber security tools, you can get to receive alerts in your emails or phones whenever there is website activity that is suspicious, enabling you to quickly act and prevent such behaviors from causing further harm. In addition, it is also necessary that whoever is your website host should be monitoring their own servers for harmful software like viruses, and malware. On the minimum, they must be scanning their systems at least once every day, and detecting and removing viruses and malware.
  1. Tracking numbers should be used for all orders – if you run an e-commerce business and want to protect website from hackers, it is necessary to have tracking numbers for all of the orders that are sent out by you. This is really necessary for retailers who drop ship and it can combat chargeback frauds.
  1. Employees should be given security training – if you want to protect website from hackers, your employees must be made to realize that they must never text or email any sensitive data or reveal private customer information in chat sessions because these communication methods are very insecure.While a website safety check is indispensable, your employees still have to be educated on the policies and laws that can have effects on customer data and get trained on those actions that can keep them safe. Strict policies and protocols that are written must be enforced to make employees to adhere to required security processes.
  1. Have your security layered – one of the most effective ways to protect website from hackers is getting your security layered. The cyber security tools that can be used here would involve firewalls which can stop any hacker before they can get your network breached and access any important details. Another would be to have additional layers of security added to the applications and website like search queries, login boxes, and contact forms. This measure would make sure that your website’s platform is kept safe from application-level attacks like cross-site scripting (XSS) and Structured Query Language (SQL).
  1. Have system alerts for activities that are suspicious established – it is essential to establish an alert system to notify you of transactions which are multiple and suspicious which come from the same IP address or addresses. In addition, if you are the owner of an e-commerce website, establish a similar alert system for multiple orders which are being placed by the same individual making use of orders where the name of the recipient is different from the name of the card holder, phone numbers that are from very different areas from the billing address, and different credit cards.
  1. Strong passwords should be requested – although it is the responsibility of a retailer to maintain safety of customer details on the back-end, their customers can further assist themselves by being required to use a minimum number or characters and numbers or symbols when selecting their passwords. Logins which are more complex and longer make it more difficult for hackers to breach a website from the front-end.
  1. A card and address verification system should be employed – in order to counter the top 10 hackers activities and also protect website from hackers, you have to get an AVS (address verification system) enabled and for credit card transactions require a CVV (card verification value) to reduce charges that are fraudulent.
  1. Sensitive data should never be stored – IT experts these days advocate that there is no need to retain your customers’ records like card verification value (CVV) codes, expiration dates, and credit card numbers. According to the PCI Standards, such an act is strictly forbidden. To protect website from hackers you would need to have your old records purged from your database. Then you should maintain only a little amount of data, just sufficient for refunds and charge-backs. It follows that you would not be hacked and robbed if there is nothing to be stolen by the hackers.
  1. For online checkout a connection that is secure should be used – to protect website from hackers, you have to get your data and Web protected by the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) authentication that is strong. Last year, attacks that were web-based increased by 30 percent. This is why it is necessary to utilize SSL certificates to have the identity of your website and business authenticated and have the data in transit encrypted. This would protect your customers and business from having their important details stolen by hackers. Even better, you can let your customers know of your website’s enhanced safety features by integrating the stronger Extended Validation Secure Sockets Layer (EV SSL), green URL bar, and SSL seal of security.
  1. Select a platform that is secure – whether it is an e-commerce, a membership site, or even a blog, it is necessary that your website is on a platform that makes use of a sophisticated language of programming that is object-oriented. Your administration panel must not be accessible to hackers and should be only available to your internal network which is entirely removed from your servers which are public facing. In addition, you can install a secondary authentication which verifies users of all of your internal networks on Windows and other OS.

In conclusion, just as hackers are never tired of looking for and employing numerous ways to attack your website, you must not rely on just a single or even a few ways to protect website from hackers. As their attacks have increased in range and sophistication, so also should we as owners of websites and web-based businesses should endeavour to seek out and deploy the latest cyber security tools.

Feature Image By medithIT via Flickr

About the author

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a technology and security writer who grew up around technology. From a very early age, he has been in love with computers and follows many of the companies that produce them, hoping to learn more about what makes them tick. When not writing about technology and internet security, he can be found on the pitch with his friends playing a friendly game of football.

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