If you own a website, you need to protect it from prying eyes and malicious hackers who can exploit vulnerabilities to cause financial damage or other harm.
Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to make your site more secure and prevent uninvited guests from accessing it without authorization. These strategies aren’t difficult to implement, but they do require dedication and patience.
Here are five essential steps that any website owner should follow in order to make sure they follow the best practices for website security.
Install HTTPS Everywhere
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and it’s an encrypted version of your site’s HTTP (or Hypertext Transfer Protocol) traffic. This protects communication between you and your visitors’ browsers, preventing snoopers from eavesdropping on your website and hacking your site’s code.
If a hacker tries to intercept your traffic and steal information from visitors, they’ll have nothing but encrypted code to decipher. This is especially important for businesses that handle sensitive information like financial information.
HTTPS Everywhere—a Firefox extension that automatically configures all of your surfing URLs to use HTTPS—is a great first step, but it’s not enough. To fully protect your site, you need to make sure that each page you create uses HTTPS and that you rotate your HTTPS keys. To protect yourself against the increasing number of surveillance-based attacks, you should also use a trusted VPN provider.
Implement Strong Passwords
Passwords are the cornerstone of every security system, and they’re especially important on your website. If someone were to access your site and take control of your server, they’d have full access to all of your account information, including sensitive financial data like usernames and passwords.
For this reason, it’s essential that you use strong passwords for every account you have on your website. A good rule of thumb is to use a minimum of 10 characters, include at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, and one number, and avoid using common phrases like “the password is” or “123456.”
If you’re having trouble choosing a good password, use passwordhacker.com to generate a secure password for you.
Understand The Basics of Encryption
Encryption is the process of converting data into an unintelligible format before transmitting it over the web. It’s a key part of making a secure website, and it’s especially important when it comes to protecting financial data like usernames and passwords.
The two most common types of encryption used on the web are public key encryption and symmetric key encryption.
Public key encryption uses encryption keys that you publish on the web so that anyone can use them to decode the information you send out. You can use this method to send a message to a specific recipient, but nobody else can decode it without your sharing the secret key. The same applies to anyone who wants to read your data; they need your public key to decipher it.
Symmetric key encryption uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt data, which means that you don’t need to store the key on your server or use a public key server. You can keep your key on an isolated computer or in a password-protected file, which makes it harder for someone to steal.
Implement Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) involves combining your password with an additional factor like a mobile phone or a physical token. This makes it exponentially more difficult for someone to hijack your account.
If someone does manage to get into your account, they’ll need the password and the factor to access your account. The most common way to add 2FA to your site is with a mobile app.
This way, you’ll always have your password and have the option of accessing your account from any device. Google, Dropbox, GitHub, and PayPal are just a few of the many popular sites that offer mobile app 2FA.
Keep Up To Date On New Features & Updates
Every website is constantly evolving, and it’s important to keep up with new features and functionality. If your site is out of date, you put yourself at risk of being exploited by hackers. They’ll try to find new vulnerabilities to exploit and use the features you don’t have to give them full access to your site.
Keeping your site updated and patched against known vulnerabilities prevents this. When it comes to keeping your site updated, you have two options: You can do it yourself or hire a developer to do it for you.
Either way, you need to understand how the updates work, what files are affected, and what steps you need to take to install them. This will help keep your site secure and compliant with Google’s policies.