Maintaining a website can be scary work. Dealing with malware, content generation, and balancing the budget all create a list of headaches. We’d like to thank Money Gossips for featuring this post and for hosting a list of other great articles. If you’ve been thinking about investing in real estate, they’ve got a great post about it here.
When an audience shows up to your website, are you confident they’re safe? Are you truly certain they won’t end up with malware or encounter some kind of spam? These are questions you should always be asking yourself as you monitor and continue to grow your website and business.
Maintaining a website certainly isn’t easy. Producing content on a regular basis, maintaining a good rapport with customers and making sure people keep visiting can keep you plenty busy. Yet even if your page’s content is good, poor security can tarnish your online reputation quickly and completely.
Scan Your Page’s Code
If your website uses fields (such as for comments or newsletter signups), it could be vulnerable to scripting attacks. Cross Site Scripting (XSS), SQL Injection or other nefarious coding sequences can put both you and your visitors at risk. Due to threats like these, you need to be constantly vigilant to keep your website safe.
If you’re really tech savvy, you might be able to go through the coding yourself to look for vulnerabilities. For most users that simply isn’t an option. The time involved and the expertise required is more than one can typically ask for.
That’s why there are services such as Acunetix. These services can be used to scan your website for vulnerabilities and cut down the amount of time needed to spend dealing with security issues. They can be a little pricy, with subscriptions ranging for a few hundred dollars a year to a few thousand dollars a year, so use your discretion. That being said, security services are absolutely worth it for large and growing websites.
In general, the more popular your page is, the more worthwhile automatic services become. Smaller pages just starting out aren’t likely to be targeted for malicious coding because there simply isn’t a big enough audience to bother with. While you should check for issues, you should focus on other security and growth priorities.
Protect Your Visitors by Protecting Yourself
Aside from scanning your website’s code, the next best thing you can do to safeguard your visitors is to protect yourself. There are a few different ways to handle that as there are a few different ways your pages and accounts can become compromised. Some of the things you should do are:
- Utilize good security software and services
- Use good passwords and avoid account sharing
- Learn to identify and avoid scams
Understanding the important pillars of security is important because each aspect plays its own part. Software alone isn’t any good without routines and behaviors. We’ll take a brief look at what each of these pillars mean for you:
Security Software and Services
You’ll find that aside of the services you use for the website, there are some services you want for your devices that you manage your website from. The two most common are security suite (or anti-virus) software and a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The former can often be obtained for free while the latter essentially always has a subscription fee (if you want anything usable).
As anti-virus software goes, its ok stick with simple user-only versions of software such as Avast, AVG, or Panda Free Anti-virus. As your business continues to grow, so too will its security concerns, and that’s when you’ll want to switch to a better version of the aforementioned software. Professional versions typically can handle more complex security threats. As your page becomes more valuable, it justifies the cost more.
A VPN will help secure your connection as you visit and edit your pages with new content. By using a VPN such as Buffered VPN, you’ll be accessing the internet via an encrypted connection which will not only keep hackers from intercepting your data at home but anywhere with an unprotected network as well. Chances are you’ll be needing to use those networks to keep on top of managing your website.
Any holes in your software can lead to the theft of sensitive information regarding either your website or your readers. No matter what information is stolen, you can rest assured that it would be used against you.
Another area that can pose a serious risk to your users is your overall account security. When an outside party gains access to your page’s administrator account, they can change just about anything. That includes posting things on your behalf that you would never say or linking to unsafe webpages.
Accounts are usually “hacked” by one of two methods: either you acquire malware that steals your account (something you can deal with using the above software), or your login information is brute forced. That usually means your username and password are easy to guess or crack.
Using a complex password helps. You’ll want something that contains a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters. You’ll also want to make sure it lacks words from the dictionary or your public profiles.
Your login details should be separate from other accounts as well. If for some reason another account becomes compromised, you wouldn’t want the damage spreading to other accounts because you used the same login information.
For added security, consider two-factor authentication if it’s available. This would make logging in require a secondary password generated by another device (usually your smartphone) to add another layer of security even if your password is stolen.
The last of the security measures is easier said than done. By their very nature scams are designed to fool you. Avoiding scams means you need to be smarter and more perceptive than the scammers. It means being vigilant in everything you do online.
Fortunately for you, the vast majority of scams follow relatively similar scripts. The English is often partially broken. Their requests tend to be unusual and any offers are often something “too good to be true.” Scammers tend to request personal details or want you to visit links that seem dubious at best.
The worst is the phishing scam. Fake websites are created that closely resemble popular pages (such as Facebook or Twitter) and ask for you to “login.” Sometimes they want you to provide more than your username and password. If someone wants your financial information, by very careful.
Be skeptical when you’re online. If you can avoid scams, you can make your own pages safer by avoiding account and identity theft.
Be Your Own Police
As you can imagine, the safety of your page’s visitors largely comes down to how well you manage your page and yourself. So long as you are vigilant, you can rest easy knowing customers and other visitors will be safe on your webpages.
Just be sure you keep tabs on their activities too. Remember that your comments section is a great place to interact with visitors, but it’s also a great place for spam and bad hyperlinks. No one else can protect your page better than you!
Are you still concerned about the safety of your page’s visitors? Are you using any of the techniques described above? Do you have any additional thoughts? If so, please leave a comment below.
About the Author: Isa spends a great deal of time blogging about internet security and how it impacts users of the net on both ends. She hopes that your website will remain safe for years to come.