Website Security – Part 1

Most of us like to think of our website as a place that good honest users visit to find the latest information, product or service we are offering. Usually, the biggest questions on our minds are:

  • How can I get a better Google ranking?
  • How can I make the site more informative and friendly for visitors?
  • How can I generate more sales?

These are all perfectly valid questions for a website owner. But there is one more that all website owners should consider: Is my website secure?

We all know hackers are out there, but many people don’t understand the technology that allows them to flourish. In many ways, hackers have the upper hand – they have more time, resources and technical knowledge as to how the internet works and how to exploit it.

Hackers come in many forms – ranging from bored kids on a home computer to purveyors of spam and corporate espionage (really). Some hackers simply leave a calling card on your site indicating they have successfully hacked your site. This is like a kid tagging a street sign – annoying, but not much harm. Others are there to ransack your site – destroy databases and delete important documents. Still others don’t want you to know they are there at all – they use your website server for attacks on other servers or sending spam email. And they are out there -1000s of them. From all over the world.

A recent study suggested a new website is visited by a hacker on average within 17 minutes of going live. Another suggests hackers visit a site every few minutes! If the thought frightens you – good! Hacking incidents are always on the rise and you must protect yourself. Still, there is hope. In the next series of articles, I will address various aspects of website security. Knowing what to ask your host and/or developer is a good start in protecting your website assets.