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How to Avoid Being Targeted by Hackers

Google has recently been publishing a series of articles for website owners with tips and techniques to avoid their websites being hacked. This is because they say that they’ve seen a 180% increase in the number of sites getting hacked over the past year. Therefore if you publish anything online, one of your top priorities should be security, as getting hacked can negatively affect your online reputation and result in loss of critical and private data.

First launched in 2014, Google’s ‘#NoHacked’ campaign aims to educate webmasters about ways to avoid, or identify hacking attacks on their website, and to keep data and account secure. A recent series of blog articles on its Webmaster Central Blog, has added more content to support this campaign.

Some of the key recommendations made by Google have been:

  • Ensure that all your website’s software is up-to-date: one of the most common ways for a hacker to compromise your site is through insecure software on your site. Be sure to periodically check the site for any outdated software, especially updates that patch security holes. If you use a Content Management System (CMS), or any plug-ins or add-ons on the site, make sure to keep these tools updated with new releases – this is particularly important for WordPress sites, which are a primary target for out-of-date software.
  • Strengthen your account security: creating a password that’s difficult to guess or crack is essential to protecting the site. For example, a password might contain a mixture of letters, numbers, symbols, or be a pass-phrase. Password length is important. The longer your password, the harder it will be to guess.
  • Research how your hosting provider handles security issues: Your hosting provider’s policy for security and cleaning up hacked sites is in an important factor to consider when choosing one. If you use a hosting provider, contact them to see if they offer on-demand support to clean up site-specific problems, or a managed administrator services option, to update software. You can also check online reviews to see if they have a track record of helping users with compromised sites clean up their hacked content.
  • Use Google tools to stay informed of potential hacked content on your site: having a Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) account can be useful to receive notifications from Google about malware or other issues on your website. It’s important to have tools that can help you pro-actively monitor your site. The sooner a compromise is discovered; the sooner work can begin on fixing the site. You can also set up Google Alerts on the site to notify you if there are any suspicious results for it.

Website security is a fundamentally critical issue for any online business, so taking heed of these points could make the difference to avoiding, or surviving a hack-attack. Check out the blog articles from Google and check what security processes you have in control for your site.

If you want to know more about how a website security plan could help to protect your online business, contact us now for more details.