How to Avoid Spammers/Hackers During Website Development

The digital world has completely changed how we perceive the physical one, we are now able to connect with people across the world, learn new skills from the comfort of our bedrooms and market our products to a completely unique audience, all the while having every little aspect of our lives streamlined for convenience. Our modern-day lives are better (if not easier) than ever and to hear the older generations refer the way things were in their day has become a joke amongst many. The intricacies of the digital world do, however, carry with them a different kind of threat, the kind of threat that the UK government is funnelling 2.6 billion over the next three years into preventing across its own digital space. Hackers and Spammers cost the world $2,900,000 every minute and are revered as a major threat to the functionality of the world we have come to know. While a full-fledged cyberattack on your website may be unlikely, ensuring that you are well protected during the website development process can help avoid unwanted attention from hackers or scammers. Read on for tips on how to keep your website safe during its development.     

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Make Use of Security Plugins

A certain level of security is present for all websites making use of the HTTPs protocol with an SSL (or TLS) certificate, both of which are required in order to receive private information from users and serves as a secure connection between the server on which your website is placed and the online browser the user is accessing your website through. This is the minimum level of security that should be present on your website. Companies that make use of eCommerce websites or those regularly dealing with confidential information should look to implement security plugins through their CMS (content management system), many of these are free with each CMS having a plug-in tailor-made to work in tandem with each other.

Google also heavily favours websites that are shown to be secure and if your website has adopted HTTPs, SSL and is protected by security plugins, you are likely to get a boost in your SEO rankings. To find out more about the criteria Google uses to rank your website please refer to our ‘Google Search Quality’ blog.  

Choose a Proper Password

Simply by mentioning this, I have likely offended someone, passwords usually serve as the first and sometimes only line of defence between someone who should have access to an account and someone who shouldn’t, and yet more than 23million people still use the password ‘123456’. There are several things you should keep in mind when picking a secure password;

  • Longer is better and with every extra character your password becomes that much more difficult to guess (and remember). The perfect length toes the line between being easily memorable yet difficult to guess.
  • When making an account online you may have been asked to specifically include upper- and lower-case lettering, this is due to the fact that by incorporating both you significantly increase the number of possible combinations. By having several characters in each cap type your password suddenly becomes exponentially more secure.
  • Let’s run with the assumption that the hacker trying to get into your website is a planned attack, if this is the case, they may be aware of your identity and have information on you from the about us page or even your social profiles. Purely because of this you should avoid using things like children or pet names, dates of birth or any other pieces of identifying information within your password.

If you are using multiple admin accounts, please keep in mind that you may need to change all the passwords as only one being compromised can lead to a potential security breach. Password managers are also available to those looking to securely store all of their passwords in one place and are heavily encrypted to prevent hacking attempts.

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Keep Website and Plugins Updated

While this point may sound silly, you may be surprised to find how many websites run out of date plugins or software. Updates usually contain additional security enhancements or aim to remedy vulnerabilities within the previous version, there is a good chance if the update is being offered to you it may be in your best interest to accept it.

The digital world is constantly adapting and as software changes and develops so do the hackers and spammers trying to profit from it, the exploits that are commonplace today would have dismantled even top-level cybersecurity systems several years ago. Where possible make sure your software and plugins are updated to the newest version and endeavour to check for updates regularly.

Enforce Regular Backups  

The ultimate security solution will always be time travel and while it’s unfortunately not a service we offer at Odyssey New Media, we can offer you a regular website backup so that if something were to go wrong you can go back in time to a point where it hasn’t. Regular automatic backups have become a popular choice for businesses heavily investing in their websites due to the simplicity of the process and the peace of mind offered by knowing you can always turn the website back. In order to avoid the potential fallout of a website or network issue, the backups should be stored separately, somewhere such as a hard drive at home or even on the cloud.

A website can be particularly vulnerable during the development process as all the pieces come together, this however can also be the perfect time to instil good cybersecurity habits by making positive change to both the back end of your website and within your own local network. By using all of the aforementioned tips in tandem you ensure that it will be that much harder for hackers or spammers to breach the security of your website and if something does happen to go wrong, you’ve always got the option of winding your website back.

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