Avoiding Hackers and Viruses: 5 Ways to Keep Your Website Secure

Believe it or not from the smallest corporations to even the big shots, website security or lack thereof, is an issue that is becoming more and more critical with the whirlwind that technology has now become.

Not only does the work of a hacker or a vandal severely disrupt ongoing online activities, it can be significantly embarrassing to the company as a whole. This is exactly what happened to La Vie Céleste, an anti-aging skin care line, when they learned that their website had become the target of a Malware attack (see full story here) . La Vie Céleste was fortunate that they were able to find StopTheHacker to  help them resolve the issue within hours, but deterring this type of action before it hits is essential to avoid disruption to your business and possible damage to your customers. This is precisely why it is extremely important for any website to incorporate some imperative strategies that will help in reducing, if not completely eradicating, the problems that website security pose.

Here are simple steps, some compliments of the folks at StopTheHacker, that you can take to avoid being hacked or infected with Malware:

  1. Strong Passwords: It all starts with the very basics. Don’t be so easy or laid back in creating a password because that is only going to make it that much more convenient for your account to be hacked. As the folks at StopTheHacker point out, the hacker isn’t going to be a complete novice and chances are that whoever is attempting to break in to your system will rely on ‘brute force hacking’ in which millions of character combinations are made to decipher the password. It also helps to regularly change your password, on a monthly basis for example. Every inch of effort on your part counts!
  2. Firewall Protection: Undoubtedly, utilizing firewalls is a crucial step in ensuring website security. To prevent unauthorized entries on to your server, a firewall is necessary to ensure bad information is blocked from infiltrating the system. A lot of companies hire specialists to set up string firewalls. In addition, it helps to keep the companies’ Web servers separate from the rest of the network to steer clear of break-ins.
  3. Malware Alert: You may have heard of this terminology before and if you have then you should know very well that if it manages to get on to your website, you’re in for trouble. Malware can get on to your server through a myriad of ways ranging from poor choice of passwords to unprotected permissions settings and using software that involves third party add-ons that only make it easier for sensitive information to be interpreted and misused. To avoid this, StopTheHacker suggests that you run spyware removal programs on a regular basis.
  4. Data Backup: The fact is that no matter what precautions you take, risk always exists. In order to deal with this, it only makes sense to back up all your data beforehand! Make sure you know exactly what to back up. All information that is required to get the website running to as it was initially is what is needed. Also, it should be noted that the backup should be kept off the site or on a different server. Website backup services can be offered by your hosting services or you can use third party plugins for Joomla, WordPress or other CMS powered websites. Here’s are some popular backup plugins for Joomla, WordPress and regular websites:

5. Limited User Access: Access to the server should be granted only to those who need it and even then each user’s activities should be carefully monitored and controlled. Be sure to never disclose the administrator password and instead, issue unique passwords to each user for their roles.


These simple yet effective steps can go a long way in creating a safe and secure working environment. Always remember to keep your work up and running, you will need to push yourself to do whatever you can to guarantee complete security for your website.

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Farhan Niazi is an experienced web developer with a passion for blogging. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand and is currently working for McCarrison Hayes as their Chief Information Officer. He is the founder of SMB Tech Guide and writes for several blogs and magazines including Two's Company, Stirring Media and TMR Direct. Follow him on Twitter.

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