The factors that can decide whether your website is more or less likely to be hacked are varied. In part they can be due to the nature of your online activities –since certain activities will definitely trigger more attacks than others–, or they can be as a result of pure bad luck. However, one of the things that most has impact on how likely you are to suffer an intrusion is the simple question of how secure your website’s design and systems are.
Since hackers and automated intrusion programs like malware, worms and Trojans are constantly snooping over all corners of the vast internet and worldwide web, almost any website, regardless of its size or nature, has a high likelihood of falling victim to someone for no reason other than that they were an easy target.
This is what we’re going to cover here; your website and how you can design it in a way that does not make it the kind of easy victim for the net’s millions of predators and parasites. The following tips are essential basic security protocols for secure web design. If you want a more robust security policy applied to your site because it’s large and very important, then you might want to consult with digital security companies such as LWGConsulting.com for more complex and expansive procedures.
Let’s get down to some assorted details on design, software and hosting techniques for more robust domain security.
The Very Basics
Before we go into the more design and site function related stuff, we should really cover a few of the most basic and absolutely essential security steps you can take.
For one thing, do not ever share the passwords that let you access your site administration with untrusted third parties. Don’t easily give out your Hosting cpanel login details, your FTP account access or the login information that protects your website’s CMS (WordPress, Concrete 5 etc).
More importantly still, make sure that the passwords you have protecting all of these are strong and that the accounts themselves are never left open on any machine from which you’ve been doing site administration.
Finally, if you’ve got multiple user accounts running for a website and its underlying hosting account, then set up access in such a way that the people who access their own site accounts cannot access your central Root account which administers the data of your entire website.
Now down to design related stuff.
Keep your Code Clean and up to date
One of the more fundamental things you can do to protect your website is to keep your codework clean and neat. This is not only ideal in terms of site security, it also helps when it comes to functionality, repair work and even search engine optimization.
If you’re doing your own coding, then you should take advantage of the excellent free code validation tools offered by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These are designed to make sure your code is compliant with the high standards of W3C and can be found here and here.
Manage the Holes in your CMS (Content Management Software)
Your CMS will almost certainly be WordPress if you’re using one at all, since WP is by far the most popular of all CMS systems and this is for good reason: By using CMS like WordPress,
you’re enormously simplifying the process of creating and modifying your websites design in numerous highly dynamic ways. Using a CMS can be an enormously powerful strategy for easy and deeply effective site design.
However, whichever platform you’re using, there are some very important security protocols you need to keep in mind if you want it to also be secure. For one thing, always make sure that your CMS is running off its absolute latest, most secure version. Each new edition is created specifically to address security leaks in previous editions, so make sure you use it.
Furthermore, once you’ve installed your WordPress or other CMS inside your hosting servers, make sure that all of its internal file permissions within the CMS directory are not overly open. They should be set only to what’s necessary for site functions and addons to work well.
Finally, also inside your hosting server, make sure that your CMS directory is kept as concealed as possible and that not more than a couple of applications or plugins are running from within the same database.
Regularly Update all your Third Party Site Extensions
If you’re running any kind of dynamic modern website, then your site directory will have all sorts of additional extensions and addons installed to it. These could include plugins for Java, addons for Adobe Acrobat Reader or an assortment of specialized shopping cart, payment processing and contact form addons.
All of them, and we mean all of them, should be kept up to date and regularly reinstalled to their latest versions. This is a rule you should follow for the same reason you’d follow it with your entire CMS; because it keeps you using the latest and most secure software code.
If A Hack Does Occur
If you do get hacked, you might not be entirely in the hole quite yet. For one thing, acting quickly to shut off your site, back up your files and change all your passwords will almost certainly save you from further damage. And in a worst case scenario, you can also consider digital forensics technology as a potential tool to save whatever’s been lost.
Stephan Jukic is a freelance writer who generally covers a variety of subjects relating to the latest changes in white hat SEO, mobile technology, marketing tech and digital security. He also loves to read and write about location-free business, portable business management and finance. When not busy writing or consulting on technology and digital security, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico. Connect with Stephan on Google+ and LinkedIn.