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    The Importance of a Secure Website in 2020

    If you have an online website, virtual security should be high on your priority list. You are responsible for maintaining the security on your website and keeping your users’ information safe. It is a misconception that small websites are safe because hackers will not bother with them. We will be discussing the importance of keeping your website safe and how to do so.

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    How Does a Website get Hacked?                     

    One of the more common methods that hackers use is breaking past weak access controls. When a website owner sets up the authorization to access their website, they often do not have strong controls in place. This could be something simple such as setting up a generic password without capitals or special characters. Hackers can easily get past straightforward passwords by guessing them or by using a password generator.  It could also occur when the owner does not implement a multi-factor policy to gain access to the website.

    Also Read: How to Give Your Website Credibility.

    Hackers are looking for any information that they can use for nefarious means. This could include collecting customer data and selling it to a third party, stealing credit card information, selling illegal items through your website, and sending spam to you and to your customers.

    Consequences

    Not maintaining website security can have major consequences. If your website gets hacked, it could become blacklisted. This means that search engines will attempt to block your website and communicate to the user that the site is not safe to visit. If your website becomes blacklisted, the vast majority of users will be lost. It is very difficult to remove your website from a blacklist, and it costs valuable time. During this time, you will not be earning money at your regular rate, which can impact your profit margin and set you back for quite a while.     

    Another consequence is related to potential data breaches. When customers learn that their personal or financial information has been compromised, you will lose their loyalty to your company. However, that could be the least of your concerns if you are held liable for the data breach. If lawsuits are filed, merchants can be on the hook for many thousands of dollars.

    How to Prevent Hacking – SSL Certificate

    An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate protects confidential information as it crosses the internet. SSL works by encrypting information so that only the recipient is able to see it. Without an SSL certificate, customers might be tricked into providing their financial information if the website has been hacked. SSL provides a green bar indicating a secure connection. This will provide customers with peace of mind, as they are reassured that their information is safe in your hands.

    To set up an SSL certificate in WordPress, you will first need to purchase one. Most SSL certificates cost between $50-$200 per year. After you purchase your certificate, your web hosting provider will be able to install it for you. Having an SSL certificate is required if your website accepts electronic payments.

    Update Software

    If you are using an unmanaged hosting system, keeping your website software updated is another way to prevent hacking. If there are holes in your software, hackers will find a way to infiltrate your site. Content management systems (CMS) and forum software need to be regularly updated, and your antivirus should always be up to date and scanning for malware.

    Stronger Passwords

    An easy way to keep tighter control over your website is by focusing on your password. Do not use generic passwords that are simple to guess or that are too short. Maintain a password length of at least 8 characters, including capitals, lowercase and special; characters. It is also important to change this password regularly. This is especially true if you have just had an employee leave the organization. It is recommended that you change your passwords every 60-90 days to remain completely secure.

    Try to Avoid Uploads

    When you allow a client to upload a file onto your website, it is posing a security risk. That file could contain malware that will harm your website and allow it to be accessible to hackers. Completely disallowing files or image uploads may not be feasible, depending on what type of business you are operating. One workaround would be for the files to be uploaded, but not directly to your website. They would be stored in a folder outside of the website. However, in this case, you would need a script to grab the files from the folder and deposit them into your website.

    Conclusion

    Having a secure website in this day and age is essential. Hackers are very well-equipped, and they will completely take over your website if it is not adequately protected. Losing control due to hackers will result in a loss of customers and revenue. There are many available methods of securing your website, even more than the ways mentioned above.