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5 easy steps to secure your website

Spacenab Entrepreneur
Are you worried that your website contains a lot of sensitive data and its security can be compromised? Or, are you too sure of the fact that your website won’t be hacked because it doesn’t have anything worthy enough for a hacker? You shouldn’t be so sure because hackers don’t always try to steal your data or deface your website, they often do have even bigger plans of which they try to make you a part. Other than stealing of data and other visible issues, hackers often hack websites to turn the servers to their slaves, so that those servers may be used as intermediaries for bigger attacks, or as a relay for email spams, or for launching attacks against other websites. To prevent all of these, here are 5 very easy steps that can be implemented to boost the security of your websites.

1. Update all softwares:  This is one of the simplest and the most important steps to keep your website away from attacks by hackers. While it might look really simple, but this task is really vital and needs attention. Whether it be the server operating system, a content management system, other applications such as forums or business applications, or even browser plugins, all of them should be updated from time-to-time. Software updates come along with security patches which help in fixing the security holes that could have been exploited by a hacker.

2. Use strong passwords:  Yes, we all know that we need to use a bit longer and complex passwords. But how many of us do really follow that? Implementation of strong password policies is one way to add an extra layer of protection to your website. Practices like putting a long password, changing passwords often, using an alphanumeric password with a combination of uppercase, lowercase and special characters, and not using common and guessable passwords like birth-date, spouse’s name, “12345”, “admin” or “password” are good methods of enforcing strict password policies. This would make it almost impossible for the hackers to crack your password. Even a brute force attack will take hundreds of years to crack such a password just eight characters long. I guess it doesn’t require a special mention that passwords should always be encrypted using strong hashing algorithms like SHA, and stored in encrypted formats only.

3. Firewalls and regular scans:  If you need to limit access to the server, you should definitely firewall it. Setting up a firewall will not only help in blocking certain ports, but it will also restrict access to certain IP addresses and services. Along with this, using website scanners regularly will definitely also be a very good idea. There are several tools available in the market to scan websites for malwares and suspicious pieces of code. Performing such scans at regular intervals, and patching your website accordingly would be a great way to ensure the security of the website.

4. Implement SSL protocol:  If you are collecting personal information of customers, if you are asking for credit card information, if your website has a login page, or even if you are sending emails, never forget to implement SSL encryption. This would prevent information from getting into the wrong hands through sniffing. It goes without saying that for FTP transfers, FTPS or, FTP over SSL should be used always. It is easy to use, but definitely safer and more secure than FTP.

5. Use a secure host:  Always choose a host that ensures the security of your website and monitors the server accordingly. Make sure the host runs suPHP. Unlike normal PHP under which scripts can be accessed openly by anyone, suPHP is a tool that restricts running of PHP scripts only to the permission of the owner or others users who have been granted permission explicitly. This would surely reduce the chances of an attack.

This is not the end of everything. More and more security measures can be taken to make your website even more safe and secure. There is no end to the amount of security measures that can be taken, as no system is 100% secure. So, if you aren’t satisfied, the only thing you can do is to keep yourself updated. Reading journals, news, and participating in discussion forums are the best ways to keep yourself updated with the different kinds of vulnerabilities and security issues. You can then use that knowledge to implement various measures to beef up the security of your website and/or your server.

"This article has been written by Spandan Chowdhary from Czar Securities, a company which provides cyber security solutions to websites and individuals. Want to make your web portal secure than ever? Contact Czar."
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