Hacking is real. The sad reality is that many people who got hacked never imagined it would happen to them. Unfortunately, it can happen to you and me. The least we can do is to make our websites secure.
But why and how? What will hackers gain from our blogs?
Today, I will give you a clear picture of the hacking industry concerning what we do as bloggers. I will also show you several tips about website security and the importance of maintaining a secure website.
Why Do Hackers Attack Websites?
Hackers have different purposes. Regardless, if you make it easy for them to succeed, you will suffer losses. Below are some reasons why hackers penetrate websites.
1. They want to steal information
Hackers want to steal your information so they can use it to create a false identity. Concerning this, they also want to steal the information of your users or customers.
An excellent example of user information is your list of emails—these are the email addresses of people who subscribed to your list. Once the hackers have this information, they will sell it. In some cases, they will find new victims from this list.
2. They want to hijack your operations
Hijacking is a process where they gain access to your website and change information for their benefit. They do not let you know that you were hacked.
It happens to affiliate marketers. What the hackers do is replace the affiliate links of the blogger with their affiliate links. The hacker earns a commission if a user clicks on the link, not the blogger.
The hackers will replace the PayPal email address in the payment processing app or plug-in. As a result, the hacker gets paid when the customer orders, but not the blogger. This can also happen to bloggers who have an online course or charge money.
3. They want you to pay a ransom
The third most common reason for hacking a site is ransom. Once a hacker penetrates your admin dashboard, he will install malware or ransomware.
This ransomware will shut down your site, and only the hacker can restore it. If you want your site to be back operational, you have to pay the hacker money.
4. They want you to lose credibility
The last reason, the rarest, is that the hacker wants you to lose credibility. They will upload all sorts of offensive materials on your website, so your followers will dislike you.
Tips On How to Secure a Website and Maintain It That Way
Now that you know why hackers do what they do let us talk about protecting your website and, ultimately, yourself.
1. Use strong passwords
Strong passwords are your primary defense against hacking. Today, many hackers use brute force to penetrate systems. They have complex programs and algorithms that can “guess” your website.
Use at least eight characters for your password. Make it a combination of small and capital letters, numbers, and special symbols.
2. Get SSL
Secure Socket Layer is an encryption methodology. What it does is encode any information that passes through your website. Then, only the system of your web servers can decrypt the data.
Most hosting services offer free SSL. However, there are better versions of it. The basic SSL should be enough to secure your site. However, if you are operating a business that earns thousands of dollars, you are better off buying a high-grade SSL.
High-grade SSL systems can cost about $200 per year, which should not be a lot of money if you earn thousands from your blog.
3. Use 2-Factor Authentication
Another thing you can do to secure your website is 2-factor Authentication. It is not for your users and readers but for you.
2-factor Authentication means you have to enter your password and then provide another security code before you can access the website’s admin dashboard.
Here are some of the common second-factor methods:
- Code is sent to you via SMS/text message
- Code is sent to your registered email address
- Code is a security question that you set up when you created the site
2-factor Authentication makes it hard for a hacker to log in to your account. It is not likely for the hacker to have access to your phone.
4. Update Software and Plug-Ins
Whether you are using WordPress or another web-building platform, you must update the apps you install. Many apps or plug-ins have vulnerabilities, and hackers take advantage of this.
Software developers are aware of these vulnerabilities. As such, they release versions of the plug-ins. You must control these updates—do them as soon as the new release is available.
5. Back Up Your Website
My last tip is to back up your website. A vast majority of web-builder software providers offer a backup method in the cloud.
There are free and paid ways to ack up our website, but it is always best to get the free one, so you do not have to spend extra.
Many hosting services also include a website backup. However, they do not offer backup at the same interval. Some provide a free daily backup, and some once a month only.
When you back up your site, you have your data intact. If a hacker crashes your site, you can always rest it and use the backup to restore everything—as if nothing happened.
Summary: The Importance of Maintaining a Secure Website
Website security is essential, but it is one of the most minor priorities of bloggers. What I noticed is that bloggers do not disregard the importance of security. Instead, they do not know what to do because security is complicated.
Luckily, security is a concern of big companies. As such, you do not really have to do many complicated things to make your website safe. All it takes is to update your plug-ins or use a secure password.