If you own a website, you’ll know there are few things more terrifying than the idea you’ll log on one day to find the content of your website erased or replaced by hackers. It’d be like coming home to find a family of strangers living in your house.
Although this is a reality many website owners face, there are steps you can take to minimize the chance of this happening to you.
We’re assuming you are already backing up your files regularly, and if you’re not, start immediately! Hopefully, you’ve got a trusty web hosting provider, like those featured on MangoMatter. Those are the two fundamentals.
After sorting out the basics, follow our 7 steps to protect your website from hackers.
1. Keep Platforms & Scripts Up to Date
It cannot be underestimated how important it is to website security to make sure all platforms and scripts are up-to-date; but it is so often overlooked.
Many of these tools are created as open source software, meaning that all the code is publicly available – so a fine target for a hacker. Make sure that any additional scripts you’ve used on your website are the most recent models you can currently use. This makes you a less attractive target than someone using older scripts.
2. Install Security Plugins
After updating everything, look at installing plugins that actively protect against hackers.
Free plugins like iThemes Security and Bulletproof Security, specifically for WordPress, work to specifically address all the weaknesses that make your web hosting platform susceptible to hackers, and then foil hacking attempts.
A tool like SiteLock runs tests every day to make sure any loopholes that endanger your website are closed, and runs checks every day to make sure your website is as protected as it can be.
3. Use HTTPS
As consumers, most of us won’t make any financial transactions on a website without seeing ‘https’ in their browser bar. If you run an online store, or handle the sensitive data of anyone who visits your website, you’ll really need to pay for an SSL certificate.
The cost is minute, but the additional layer of security it offers for your website and your customer’s data is truly priceless.
4. Use Parameterized Queries
Time and time again, website owners fail to adequately protect themselves from SQL injections.
Any a web form or URL parameter that allows outside users to submit info is vulnerable to a SQL injection. If your parameters are too open, a savvy hacker can put their own code in, and then hack your database.
The simplest way to protect from this is by using parametrized queries. Make sure all your code is specific enough to your website, to stop any would-be hackers before they get the chance.
5. Use CSP
Another favorite of hackers is the cross-site scripting attack. This is when hackers sneak a malicious Java code onto your pages, which then infect the pages of visitors to your website.
As with protecting your website from SQL injections, make sure that any input features on your website won’t allow anything extra from their specified permissions – otherwise you make yourself vulnerable to inputs of malicious code.
A Content Security Policy (CSP) makes sure that no malicious scripts can gain prominence on your website, and are a handy tool for busting hackers.
6. Have the Most Secure Passwords Possible
Did you know, even now, the password people most favor is 123456? Although that seems absolutely baffling in this age of cyber-attacks, it’s true. Even if their passwords are a little more advanced, many people are still leaving themselves vulnerable with inadequate passwords.
Make sure all your passwords are as secure as possible by using a password generator. If you have trouble remembering a random sequence of letters and numbers, use a tool to store them. This should greatly improve the security of your website.
7. Hide Admin Pages
A surefire way of inviting a hacking attack is by leaving admin pages indexed on Google. These allow hackers a view of the ‘backdoor’ – which means they now have another way in.
Remove all admin pages for search engine listings to best protect your website.