You might not think that your website has anything worth being hacked into for, but the truth is that your website could be compromised at any time. The majority of the hacking attempts are not to steal your data or damage your website design layout but are instead to use your server to send out spam emails from your website or to set up a temporary server to serve files of an illegal nature. 

Cybersecurity in South Africa is a growing concern, with websites needing to improve their security due to hackers gaining access to new tools and technologies. You should look into improving your cybersecurity awareness in order to maintain your website safety. Below we discuss some of the top tips to protect your website from hackers and other cybersecurity threats. 

 

Keep Your Software Up-To-Date

 

This might seem like an obvious tip, but keeping your website software up-to-date is one of the most effective ways to protect your website safe from being hacked. This applies to both the server’s operating system as well as your content management system (CMS). If there are any outdated plugins or tools on your website, hackers can easily gain access to your website code. 

If you are making use of a digital marketing company, their teams will usually apply updates for you and will decide which plugins should be applied or not. CMS systems such as WordPress will alert you to any updates that need to be applied, allowing you to keep your website up-to-date and protected from cybersecurity threats. 

 

Shield Yourself Against SQL Injections

 

One of the major threats to your website security is a SQL injection attack, which is when an attacker uses a URL parameter to manipulate your database and gain access to your website. If you are making use of a standard Transact SQL, this makes it easy for attackers to inject what is known as “rogue code” into your query to gain access to your website. 

To prevent this from happening, you can use a parameterised query which is simple to use and is used by most coding or web languages. Shielding your website from SQL injections should be one of the highest priorities for your website security, as it can severely damage your website and can cause issues to its security and even the ranking on Google and other search engines. 

 

Pick Strong Passwords

 

Now, this might sound like a very obvious tip, but it is important to choose strong and complex passwords for your website and email. It is also important to insist that all users (whether it is your staff logging into your website admin area or users logging into a registered account) use complex and strong passwords. This will help to maintain the safety of your overall website. 

Passwords should always be stored as encrypted values, making use of a one-way hashing algorithm such as SHA. This method means that when you are authenticating users, you are only ever comparing encrypted values. If someone does gain access to these encrypted passwords, they will not be able to guess what the numeric or letter values are, making it impossible for hackers to gain access to these passwords. 

 

Hit Up That HTTPS

 

As a consumer, you know that you need to look out for that little green lock next to the website address in the search bar, but you might not be completely sure what it means for the security of your website. The HTTPS means that it is safe for users to provide financial and personal information to the website. 

An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate is vital because it helps with the secure transfer of data between your website and the server. It ensures that no intruders can gain access to your website or to the content and information therein. Without HTTPS and an SSL certificate, hackers can use the information they have stolen in order to imitate registered users. Not only will your website be secure, but it will also perform better in search engine results. 

 

All About Automatic Backups

 

One of the major issues with a website being hacked and damaged is that you will lose all of your data, including the website layout and content. You can remedy this by backing up your website, but more often than not this is not at the top of your priority list. Using automatic backups will ensure that everything important on your website will be backed up. 

While any breach of your website will be damaging, if you have a backup of your current website, it will be much easier to recover it. You should make a habit of backing up your website data manually but you should invest in automatic backups to ensure that it is backed up at regular intervals. 

There are tools that you can use online but you can also ask your digital marketing agency to provide this service for you. If you are interested in improving the safety of your website, why not drop NetMechanic a line today and see how we can help you.