5 Highly-Efficient Preventative Measures to Avoid Website Hacks

How to Avoid Website Hacks

Imagine months or years of development going through a hacker’s hands and demanding payment to return your website (ransomware attacks), stealing and selling the information outright, or vandalising it for all your customers to see. It’s definitely a scenario no website owner will want to go through.

Site downtimes are a huge loss. Therefore, hack attacks can permanently disable businesses without any warning at all. However, you can avoid website hacks by employing the right preventative measures.

Several Common Website Points of Hack Attacks

Knowledge is half the battle. Understanding the hacker’s attack starting points give you the best opportunity to mount formidable defences. It’s not just the passwords and brute force attacks to guess encrypted passwords that they’ll come from. They’ll also use the following:

SQL Injections

Hackers can use a web form field (such as your newsletter forms) or even a hidden URL parameter to access your SQL database. True enough, modern content management systems such as WordPress use a specialised encryption on administrative URLs. However, these still require regular monitoring.

Attackers can inject structured query language codes (SQL) into your database. This allows them to access un-encrypted website information such as stored logins, passwords, and even manipulate your website’s appearance.

XSS Targeting

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a common practice for web development that uses JavaScript. However, hackers can exploit this to their advantage. Most will target your blog comments section. They will insert a short JavaScript code that acts like an analytic cookie. In doing so, it stores user browser information when they access your website.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS)

Infamous in the last decade because of hacker group attacks across several highly-secure websites, DDoS attacks use dummy IP addresses to refresh access to your website until servers cannot handle the strain. The resulting downtimes can expose website security vulnerabilities hackers can use to their advantage.

5 Practices That Help You Avoid and Secure Your Website From Hacking

Update All Website Software

If your content management system or server indicates your plugins, overall website development system, or other software have updates, it’s better to apply them as soon as possible.

While you might find some bugs with the latest releases, updated software guarantees you have optimal hacker protection. Most developers keep an eye out for vulnerabilities their consistent testing exposes, which makes this essentially important.

Change Passwords Twice a Month

Twice-monthly password change prompts for both admin and customer accounts prevent any hacker from locking in a certain brute force combination. It is now true that even complex password generation combinations are still discoverable through brute force attacks. Furthermore, limit password attempts and use Captcha checks to prevent site downtimes and slow down brute force attempts.

Expiring Log Ins

Even when administrators and customers are using private computers, make sure their logins expire after a set number of minutes of inactivity. In doing so, hackers with possible remote computer access cannot access their accounts and make drastic, destructive changes. 

Use a Powerful Firewall

Capable firewalls reads all information between website servers and the connecting IP address. As a gateway (or guard dog), it will block all hacking attempts, filter unwanted traffic, detect spamming or malicious bot activity, and more.

Delist Administrator Pages

Ask your web developer to avoid search engine indexing of administrative pages such as your WordPress “/wp-admin” URL. In doing so, it makes them more difficult for hackers to find. 

In addition, you can install special security redirect software that will redirect admin page access through manual URL typing if their IP address differs from all pre-approved addresses in a list.

Bonus #1: Use SSL

Secure sockets layers (SSL) prevent hacking by transferring user’s personal information and store this in your encrypted database. This avoids “in-transit” or middle-travel time and prevents hackers from accessing the information because of its fast transition.

Bonus #2: Store File Uploads Elsewhere

File uploads will always be the vulnerability of websites. However, by securing uploads in a folder separate from your main website code and access, you can contain their potentially malicious activity. Most web hosts offer additional layers to contain malicious uploaded information through screening or quarantines.

Bonus #3: Frequent Website Backups

It never hurts to have a website back up every day or every week. In doing so, you can restore your website and database to full functionality even in the event of a successful website hack attack.

Bonus #4: Two-Step Authorisation

Password cycles aren’t bulletproof. Even so, one more challenge to hackers is likely to stop them in their tracks. Two-step authentication requires your users to confirm their use of their login details in accessing the website through their phone or another reference account. Most web hosts can help you set this feature up.

A Well-Maintained Website is a Secure One

Maintaining a website can be a gruelling process. However, the payoff of a secure and hack-free website can give any business a great peace of mind. By following these tips, you’re many steps ahead of any hacker’s attempts to spoil your well-made and highly-performing website.

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Amy King - Impulse Impressions - Website Developer

Amy King

Amy King is the owner of Impulse Impressions. Amy is a website developer and business consultant that is dedicated in providing female entrepreneurs and business owners online solutions to their website and digital marketing needs.