A website isn’t merely a collection of templates, tools and plugins, but a collective online identity that represents your brand. You may have invested fortunes into it to keep it running and stay it safe against the hacks and malware attacks. The unfortunate side of the story is that most webmasters forget to apply even basic CMS security hacks in order to protect their websites. The blunder later turns into a disaster and results in data theft and website hacking.
7 Ways To Protect Your Website From Hacking
If you have just launched your business website, I am listing here 10 things you should do without skipping to secure your website:
1. Update Themes, Plugins and Widgets:
If you have been using any popular Content Management System since long, you know what I mean. Outdated plugins, software and tools are the main reason behind frequent instances of hacking and websites being compromised. Have a close watch on when a plugin or CMS receives an update. As soon an updated version is available, hit the update button without delay. Hackers create automated bots to scan websites with vulnerabilities. They attack such websites and manage to gain control. This may be disastrous in case your website is involved in financial transactions.
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Be quick at getting updates. As soon notification appears in this regard, update the version. The best part is that these updates come quite frequently as developers understand the gravity of being hacked. They produce updated versions with noose tightening patches. I’ll recommend you to install a plugin (‘WP Updates Notifier’ for example) in order to be in sync with upcoming updates.
2. Install Plugins and Add-ons from Trusted Developers:
For me, the best part with a CMS platform is the availability of thousands of plugins that help me to add much needed functionalityto my website. But not all the plugins in plugin gallery are from trusted sources and free from security loopholes. In many cases, attackers exploit the vulnerabilities found in third party plugins, and then inject malicious code into the files. These codes, then infect the whole website and attackers manage to gain the control on your website.
Therefore, check out the age of the plugin and the number of times it has been installed. Only experienced developers have a better idea about the best security practices.
3. Create Complex, Unique and Unbreakable Passwords:
A strong, unique and complex admin password itself reduces chances of your website being hacked by 50%. A good password is one which is complex, long and unique. When I was new to the internet, I used to use my birthdate, the date I joined the college or sometimes my nickname as my password. Later on I realized that I unknowingly gave hackers an added advantage.
- Make It Random:
- Choose A long One:
- Pick The Unique One:
Password cracking programs can guess several thousand passwords in minutes. They are programmed to break into passwords that are none other than names, date of birth, job joining date or your favorite soccer team. Injected codes are intelligent enough to guess and break passwords that are made using real words and in a certain order. Unless you choose passwords using random words, you’ll be constantly under threat.
Passwords with 12+ characters are deemed the good one. They’re tough to memorize, thus, almost impossible to break into. When every online login system limits the number of failed login attempts, longer passwords stop conmen from guessing them in just a few attempts.
Just to avoid a memorizing bunch of passwords, don’t reuse them for different entities. Keep every single password unique to one. It itself reduces dramatically the instances of websites being compromised. Password of one of your email accounts shouldn’t enable hackers to log into your internet banking accounts. If possible, randomly generate your passwords and note them down in a secret place.
4. User Access and Privileges:
In case you run a multi-author blog or the websites that require multiple logins, you should responsibly handle the job of role assignment to different users. It’s important that users have appropriate permissions to perform their job. Just to recall, with WordPress, you can allow users to register at your website within different roles- admin, author, subscriber and editor. Each of the roles mentioned has own scope of jobs to perform. Administrators of the website may assign users their respective roles, escalate permissions and reduce it once the job is complete.
Then how it helps?
Carefully granted user access will reduce any fallout of compromised accounts. For example, on the websites where guest blogs are published, random authors are allowed to register with a defined set of access. Once logged in, they can only publish a post, edit one that they already published under their account and delete one. They are restricted from accessing or making changes to blog written by an author other than him. This limits the possibility of making unwanted change made by some rouge users. Keeping separate accounts for individual users helps you spot anomalies and compromised accounts.
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5. Change the Default CMS Settings:
WordPress, Joomla or any other CMS platform is installed with a default set of settings. Most of the attacks come through their default settings being used. This simply means that website owners can easily deflect and prevent a large number of attacks just by changing the default settings of CMS being used.
6. Server Configuration Settings:
A bit technical in nature, but monitoring, configuration files can help you improve your website security. A file like ‘web. config’ are some of the very powerful configuration files found in root web directory. These files allow administrators to execute server rules, including directives to enhance web security. Prevent directory browsing to prohibit malicious users from accessing and viewing the content.
7. Install SSL Certificates:
SSL can’t directly help you protect a website from malicious attacks, but encrypts the information transacted over the World Wide Web. It’s useful in the case of ecommerce websites as it protects visitors’ sensitive information and private data in transit.
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So, here is the right kick. These are quick points to ponder that can help you dramatically increase the security of your website. Though, these steps alone won’t guarantee the complete safeguard against the hacks and attacks, they will indeed stop the vast majority of automated attacks, reducing your overall risk.