In a recent CNN article, they reported an increase in cyber crime and hacking. As an IT company, we have also seen this trend recently as more and more companies are calling us to help when their site gets hacked. As more and more countries gain technical infrastructure but are not getting high quality IT jobs, hackers around the world are starting to use hacking websites as a status symbol, similar to graffiti. The idea being, if you can climb the tallest building and put your graffiti on it, you become more known. Hacking into websites is being used as tool by these individuals almost as a resume. In light of this increase, we have come up with 5 recommendations any company can do to prevent hacking, even if they do not have a strong IT team:
1. Make sure your usernames and passwords are updated.
Often when we work with a client and ask for the password to their host or website, they’ve usually left it as the default administrator combo or something generic like their office building number or
initials. Having weak passwords to your host or website, sets you up for an enormous vulnerability to hackers. Usually with just a quick automated request, a hacker is able to obtain the password. A helpful tip is to change your username for your administrative account if you have a content management system. You can change the username from administrator to something different, like your company name, for example Switchbox_Admin. This small change in and of itself can create a significant barrier for hackers to get into your website because they don’t assume this type of modification has been made.
2. Make sure your web host is backing up your website.
If your website changes constantly, for instance if you have an e-commerce site or if you have a huge amount of content you update regularly, we strongly recommend that you work with your host to create a daily backup. If your website is not changing that frequently, you may want to consider a weekly backup so that if your website does get hacked, your IT department could easily restore a version from a day or a week ago. Usually, having a quick turnaround is enough to deter hackers from attempting to hack your website again because they realize it isn’t a valuable use of their time to hack a website that can easily be restored within a short period of time. Hackers make a point to target websites that can be easily hacked and stay down for as long as possible.
3. Run an online automated scan to see if there are potential vulnerabilities.
Having an IT person is useful for this point as sometimes these online systems can become very confusing. Scans are almost always going to find some items at the low warning level and some of these items can be costly and they are not always going to be required to fix. Having someone help you decipher what is and isn’t worth fixing is beneficial to your time and money. That being said, most scans do offer solutions and sometimes the results can be as easy as making a strong administrator password or turning off a particular setting on your web host. Running a scan and understanding your vulnerabilities is crucial to prevention of your website being hacked.
4.Put all of your hosting information in one location.
If your website does get hacked and you need help, one of the first things you will need to do is provide the name of your hosting company, your username/password and wherever your domain name is registered. Very often we receive calls from clients who are having an issue but without that information, we are unable to solve their problem. They may then spend several days tracking down this information and that becomes several days their website remains vulnerable to whoever hacked it. Having this information beforehand, gives you a timely head to start to resolve your problem quickly.
5. Have a team you feel confident about today that can help you if your website gets hacked tomorrow.
When your site is hacked and down, the last thing you want is to spend your time calling varies companies for bids to fix your problem. You also don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’re forced to rely on a company due to a time constraint who doesn’t have the expertise necessary to resolve your problem. Asking the question ahead of time ‘if our website does get hacked, would you be comfortable fixing it for us’ ensures you know who to rely on prior to having an issue. Having a company or team that you feel confident about prior to a hacking will ensure time and efficiency in the event your website does get hacked.
In a time when Cyber crimes and hacking are on an incline, we’re sure these 5 steps could help towards preventing your website from being hacked.
If you’re looking for a good IT company to help navigate solutions like this and see the problems before they originate, give us a call, we would love to talk to you.