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Nov
23

6 Ways Your Site Can Get Hacked (and what to do about each one)

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Nobody ever thinks it’ll happen to them until one day it does – your site gets hacked. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, especially if your site is selling something.

Don’t Get Hacked!

Any site that takes any kind of data from its users is a goldmine for hackers, whether you’re selling something or not. And here are the ways it can happen.

Your Host Is Hacked

If your site’s hosting is shared with other sites, you’re extra vulnerable. If hackers gain access to one site, they can easily gain access to the others. There’s not much you can do about this, but one preventative measure is to research webhosting companies carefully before choosing one to see if they have a history of hacks.

Downloaded Malware

Malware programs are bits of code that do nasty things to your computer. They can install themselves on your hard drive and then give a hacker access to your computer. The best way to avoid this happening is to be extra careful what you download. Always download software from the software’s developer site. Never click on links in emails and make sure you have a good security program with a firewall.

Wireless Networks

It’s really easy for hackers to access your computer on a wireless network. They can simply set up a laptop somewhere with its own connection and intercept whatever data comes through. You can avoid this happening by staying off your site when you’re wireless. If that’s not possible, set up a VPN (virtual private network) that will protect your data and encrypt everything.

Protecting Passwords

Passwords need to be closely protected and changed often. Don’t send them to anyone in an email or in any kind of text form. In fact, don’t share them with anyone. If you need to give someone access to your site, create a temporary password just for them and delete it when they no longer need it. Use a long string of letters and numbers and not something obvious for your passwords. Get into a regular routine of changing them.

Widgets and Plug-ins

Widgets, plug-ins and other add-ons add extra code to your site that make it vulnerable. When that code gets old, it gets easier for hackers to get through. Always install updates when they’re released. These updates patch up the weaknesses of the add-on. You should also get rid of old ones you don’t use anymore.

Software Updates

The same goes for all of the software that you use. Hackers figure out how to exploit its weaknesses and get through it. Updates patch up the program so they can’t.

On the subject of site hacking, here’s one more tip. Back up your content and do it in several places. If you don’t, you can lose all of your content. Back it up on your computer but also at a different physical location.

Toby & Sam Russell

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