Website Liability: Get Smart on Security

March 21, 2013 by Erin Vezzetti

website SecurityWith ownership comes liability, whether the thing you own is a house, a car, or a website. Yes, as the owner of a website, you assume liability – but it’s not something to fear.

Just as you take steps to keep your wallet, credit cards, and keys safe, you should keep the computers used to update and manage your website free of viruses and other cyber-threats, and manage the security of your site as well.

Here are a few basic tips, learned through bumps & bruises in my years as a web professional, which can help you be a smarter, safer website owner:

Smart Tip #1: Any computer used to maintain your website should be a paragon of security.

Any computer used to access your web files needs to be protected – if they’re not, spyware can track your password entries, infect your web files, and more. If you update your site at the office or on a computer at home, or if you have employees who do it on their desktops or laptops or tablets, take the necessary steps to make sure they are ALL protected. Contact your IT professional about virus protection, spyware, malware, and all-around network security. If you don’t have an IT professional, check out the free versions of SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes, or contact us for a qualified referral.

Smart Tip #2: Keep an eye on “form spam.”

If you have a contact form on your website, you’ve probably received spam messages in your mailbox from your own website asking you to “buy Rolex watches online,” or “shop Pharma supplies.” Maybe they’ve asked you to consider someone with poor grammar for SEO content copywriting services. Or you might receive blank forms with no data submitted – which may seem the most harmless of all – but is actually the most dangerous.

When form spammers are able to get their “crud” through your form, they make it known to other hacker communities that your website is vulnerable. Hackers send malicious code through your contact form – which will come across to you as blank – attempting what the tech people call a “PHP Injection” or a Code Injection. If you have received blank forms, you may already be infected. Call your web professional - or me - if you think this has already happened.

Smart Tip #3: Keep your website version updated!

Upgrades are a regular part of any technology, including websites. A website is just like your computer virus software – it needs to be updated or upgraded regularly to be safe from the newest “bad stuff” that hackers sit around and create all day. Fixing a hacked website can cost more than the original build, not to mention the damage to your reputation, your hosting account, your domain, and your sanity. Talk to your web professional regularly about security and version upgrades for your website. This should be done annually at the least to repair any new vulnerability or “holes” hackers might exploit to ruin your website and your good name.

Summary

The safety of your website is just as critical as the safety of your family, your home, and your credit cards. Steps for protecting your website from hackers and the malice they intend are relatively quick and simple, and best addressed before the damage is done.

 

Get a Free Secure Site Check Today

Call Lucid’s team of web pros for a free security scan on your site 586-254-0095.

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