Know the Security Risks

Know the Security Risks

When website and blogging companies like WordPress initially set up their hosting, security issues simply weren’t anticipated in the way they are now. The Internet has revolutionized communication across the globe, but has that come at a price? At the 2015 World Economic Forum (held in Davos Switzerland), the theme has been Internet security and how to combat the ever-increasingly complex viruses and talented hackers. The attitude towards data privacy is fairly cavalier, with companies sharing huge amounts of information between them. It’s all in the small print when you use the site. If you buy something from one company, another will have your information.

The conversation has changed at the World Economic Forum – the question used to be “How can we prevent security breaches so they don’t happen?”

Now, the question is “How can we manage security breaches when they do happen?”

Potential Password Issues

When you set up a website with a hosting provider like WordPress, you’ll create an account and you’ll need a password, for security. If you have multiple websites, you should create a separate password for each domain you own. Some browsers offer a service that generates passwords for you at random. This is great for security as it makes it impossible for an external user to guess. However, it might be hard for you to remember too! Never base a password on dates or words that are important to you, such as anniversaries, birthdays or the names of loved ones. One idea is to take a famous phrase or the first line of a poem and use the first letter of each word in the phrase. Use a mix of capitals and lower case letters and add in numbers. For example you might choose

“To be or not to be, that is the question”

And your password would look like this:

2BoN2bTiTq

Try not to keep your password information saved on a digital device, and if you do write it down, don’t keep it anywhere near the domain name. Your host will alert you if someone attempts to log into your hosting account from an unfamiliar IP address. You’ll be given instructions from there about changing your password and increasing your website security.

Phishing Attacks

These could occur from anywhere you’ve provided with information. Whether it’s your hosting account or your bank account, you’ll get emails from scammers trying to get your details. These are called phishing scams or phishing attacks. In this case, these emails will look like they’re from your hosting provider. For example, if your hosting is with WordPress, you might receive an email telling you they’re updating the security of your site. But it won’t be from a legitimate WordPress email account. These emails are designed to get you to follow a link from the email to a site that the hacker has made to resemble your host’s website. You will be asked to enter your username and password. By doing this you give the hacker your information and access to your site.

Always check the email address of the sender. If you have any doubts about it, forward it on to your host provider’s technical advisors or customer service. After that, delete the email. If it’s legitimate your hosting provider will let you know.

Site Content

As your site grows, you will add files, databases and scripts to its various directories. For maximum security, make sure you delete any files that you don’t need. If hackers gain access to your site’s root directory, they can do more damage. That’s the key thing to remember; everything, from databases to scripts to files, is information and can be used. Some of this may be sensitive and actually detrimental to your business or reputation when in the wrong hands. So if you’re not using them, remove them. That’s the safest option.

Scripts

Scripts are snippets of code that add functionality to your site and can provide an easy way into your website to hackers. Even when you delete information from the Internet, there’s often an imprint left over and the old version of your site is still searchable, even though you’ve updated it. Make sure you update software from your hosting provider as soon as it is available. Often theses software updates contain better security for your site and they don’t affect how you operate it at all.

Today’s hackers are extremely smart and understand the web’s infrastructure. If you learn the best practice for Internet safety from the beginning, you shouldn’t run into problems.

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