Website security: What is it good for?

Website attacks and hacks are like the hydra of Greek mythology. Cut off one head, and another one grows in its place. For this reason, there are also many different approaches to website security. As we work alongside you to create your website, website security is always in the forefront of our minds. We work to be sure your website is secure from day one, and every day of its existence.

8 website security strategies:

1. Keep your own computer safe
Internet safety begins at home. If your home or office computer is hacked and passwords stolen or eavesdropped upon, a malicious user can then easily find his way on to your website, not to mention steal other data from your computer or passwords you use on other websites. To keep your computer safe, use an up-to-date virus scan software, firewall, and spyware scanning program. Run the virus and spyware scans regularly, and don't turn the firewall off.

2. Follow safe computing practices

  • If an email looks suspicious, don't click.
  • Even if it doesn't look suspicious, but is purportedly from PayPal, your bank, your credit card company, or anywhere else you have a username and password, don't click on a link in the email to log into the website. Type the website address into your browser's address bar.
  • Use an up-to-date browser. Hint: If you are using Internet Explorer 6, it's (far past) time to upgrade!
  • Keep your computer's operating system software up-to-date.
  • Don't use "peer-to-peer" downloading systems. These are notorious for including all sorts of nasty things along with your favorite TV show, movie, song, or program. Besides that, if you like an artist, you should support him or her by purchasing that person's music, shows, or other products legally instead of pirating them.
  • Use your virus scan program to scan downloaded files before opening them.

3. Limit the risks
If you're going to be selling products or services, the safest way to keep your customers' credit card information safe is to not process it on your website. Use an off-site payment processor like PayPal, Authorize.net, or another credit card processing company whose only job is to process those payments safely and securely for you. If you insist on processing card information via your own website, you'll need to be sure that your site is PCI compliant.

4. Keep the bad guys out with a firewall
Hackers are looking for easy targets. They hammer various websites looking for weaknesses they can exploit. One of the first lines of defense is a firewall. A firewall can tell the difference between normal visitors and visitors who are trying to perform malicious acts on your website. When a firewall detects an abnormal request to your site, it can prevent the request from accomplishing any evil deeds by booting it off the site.

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5. Keep your website's software updated
Most websites run on software such as a content management system, often supplemented with various "extensions," "add-ons," or "plugins." All of these are vulnerable to security issues, so keeping them up-to-date with the latest security patches is vital to your website security strategy.

6. Monitor your website regularly
There are various programs and services that can periodically scan your website to make sure that it is safe, and detect any files that may have changed recently. These changes may be the result of normal website maintenance, like upgrading software, or they may indicate that someone has hacked into your website. We can tell the difference for you, and make sure that any changes to your site are the result of normal maintenance and upgrading procedures.

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7. Use safe passwords
We should all be familiar with this old standby by now. You've almost certainly read a plethora of articles reminding you that passwords like "password," "qwerty," "12345678," and "pa55w0rd" are NOT safe. The longer and more complex your password, the safer it will be against hackers' password-guessing software. Nor should you write your passwords down on a post-it note stuck to your computer. There are various trusted programs that exist to remember your passwords for you, so you only have to remember one master password.

8. Backup your website early and often
As protection against website attacks as well as against server hardware failure, you should have a backup of your website ready to be restored if a problem is detected.

We at Red Earth Design, Inc. can help you implement all of the website security strategies listed above to make your site safe and secure. However, even the most secure site remains vulnerable to hackers.

Wait! Why are you saying these website security precautions might not be enough?

We at Red Earth Design, Inc. believe in being honest and transparent with you. We won't pretend that we have magic beans that can stop every hacker. "Black hat" hackers are always inventing new strategies and tools to break in. Despite our best efforts, and despite all the lines of defense on your own website, your site could still be hacked through a vulnerability that hasn't been detected yet, or even by someone first breaking into a website located on the same server as yours to gain access to your website.

But don't despair! As part of our website security packages, Red Earth Design, Inc. won't charge extra to clean up any hacks that might slip through the net. We'll restore your site to its normal condition as quickly as possible. Rest assured that hacked websites remain a rare occurrence thanks to all the website security measures we put into place. We are constantly perfecting and reviewing our security practices for your website security to keep you safe day in and day out.

Keep your site safe.

Let us handle your security needs.

When you sign up for one of our security packages, you can rest assured that we are watching over your website so you don't have to. Even if the bad guys do manage to slip through, we'll clean up the mess at no extra charge and get your website back on its feet.

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Alisa Cognard

Alisa was one of the first team members to join Red Earth Design, Inc. in early 2004. From data entry, she progressed to MySQL database manipulation and PHP coding. Alisa is responsible for all kinds of odds and ends: installing new websites, adding features to them, programming databases, PHP coding, website troubleshooting, website security, and organizational tasks for Red Earth Design.

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