In today’s age, be it businesses, freelancers, or companies, all of us have been absorbed by the online forum. Earlier, we were under threat only from having records or files being stolen; it is now largely about online hacks as well. For someone who is reliant on their website for business, the theft of data or hacking of the website is not any different from key records being stolen from people’s safes. Thus, protecting websites has become as important as protecting the money and documents in our lockers. It is easy for any hacker to hack an unprotected website and take away valuable information that could be turned against the business in multiple ways.
Following are a few hacks that can help you from hackers as well as Google penalties.
1. Set up a search console
Setting up a search console is similar to keeping an alarm bell at the locker or entry points. The search console will send you notifications in the case of any improper activities on your website. These activities include:
- The website being attacked by malware
- Pages not being indexed
- Server connectivity issues
When any malicious activity, like hacking of the website is noticed by Google it notifies the webmaster or owner through Search Console.
2. Back up regularly
What’s better than having a copy of the information and content that is valuable to you. But, what’s more important is having an updated version at all times. Most people backup their website content but do not go ahead and do it on a regular basis. Having an updated version can help you in more than one ways than one if your website is hacked. Once a website is hacked, if you have the data backed-up it is easier to restore the website to the point before getting hacked. It also does not allow people to blackmail you for the possession of your data as you already have a copy. All in all, backing up regularly can do a lot more than we think it can.
3. Use HTTPS
This is primary, you cannot have a website without securing it with the help of an HTTPS server. The HTTPS server encrypts all data that is sent from your website. This makes it extremely difficult for hackers to intercept your data and hack the website. With Google advocating the use of HTTPS servers, one must require a second invitation to get onboard. Additionally, it can also bring in more light on your SEO rankings. Switching from HTTP to HTTPS is not quite an expensive affair either. You must start by obtaining the SSL certificate to be authorized for the use of HTTPS.
4. Single access, secure passwords
Keeping single access to the back-end of your website is another way of reducing the chances of a breach. While you can set up different admin accounts to make changes to the website, you must limit the access. This is because the admin access is one of the easiest ways for hackers to get their hands on information. Similarly, along with limiting the number of accounts and access points, you must also set complex passwords. Make it a secure password with capital letters, lowercase letters, numerics and symbols. Additionally, you must not use the same password for all your website logins. You must have different passwords for different websites as well as different accounts on your website.
Bonus tip: Change your passwords regularly on a particular date so that it becomes a routine as well as reduces the chances of one forgetting to change the password.
5. Keep your software and antivirus up to date
There could security issues if you do not focus on updating your software and antivirus regularly. Updating the antivirus and software on a regular basis can help in patching up the security issues. If there are cracks in your security, they can be exploited by hackers quite easily. These cracks can give access to sensitive data; this can be easily avoided if the cracks are patched up by updating the software. You must also ensure that all the operating systems are up to date as well and that they are still supported by the manufacturer. Using an outdated operating system can also get you in trouble like a data breach, increased vulnerability, and eventually, loss of functionality.
6. Hide directories
Going directly into the admin directories can give the hackers a direct access to your website. You must also change the login names from easy, predictable names like “admin”, “login”, or “administrator.” These hackers use scripts and run a scan on the directories, which allows them to gain access. Most of the Content Management Systems (CMS) will allow you to change your login details as well as folder names. Rely on the usage of unique names, thereby making it difficult for hackers to enter your website or even find it through scans. Similarly, you can go the extra mile by using robot.txt files and disabling directory listings.
7. Perform regular check-ups
Along with backing up regularly, it is also important to indulge in routine checkups of your website and system. Keep an eye out for software updates, operating system updates and even antivirus updates. Do not leave any cracks open to be exploited by hackers. In some situations, hackers might need more than a day or two to get a grip of your data. Performing a routine check can make you aware of the improper action and can enable you to halt the breach.