Website security is extremely important

We all read about hacking, we all read about the importance of keeping back-ups and I am sure we all agree how important both of these things are when you are in business. But how many of us fail to apply this in our own business lives?

I suppose it is a bit like many things in life. "It won't happen to me". And it isn't until it happens to you that you realise its importance.

All websites are at risk of being hacked

You may think that your website is just a small local website and nobody will bother to hack you. This is a mistake. Hackers love vulnerabilities and it doesn't matter whether it is a US Government Defence website or the site of Joe Bloggs's business down the road, they just love to hack.

Why do people hack websites?

I am asked this question quite often and my answer is a simple one. This is exactly the same question as "why do people vandalise property?". They do it just because they can and they enjoy damaging other people's property.

Why would they choose my website to hack?

These people run searches on search engines and run programs that look for vulnerabilities in websites. I can see this happening all the time by examining the statistics for Net Quality Web Design's own website.

How much damage can they do?

The potential is for them to completely remove all content on your website. This makes your website irretrievable if you have no back-up of your data. And beware, it really could happen to you?

So how do I protect my website?

There are several ways in which you can do this. The first and most important way is to ensure that passwords used to access your website are secure. If your password is something simple like forest for example (a very common password for people in Nottingham) you are making it so easy for hackers to gain access. If you change it to forest22 it is surprisingly a lot more difficult for them but still quite easy. However, if you mix upper case and lower case letters and add in other symbols, you are increasing the difficulty of hacking by a factor of millions. So for example ForEsT192(*!a would be practically impossible to hack.

Also, if your user name is something like admin, webmaster, root or a common name like john or jane then this also increases your vulnerability. However, the strength of your password is much more important.

Another important thing is something about which you will need to ask your web designer. An old method of creating websites was to use database programs like Access. These tend to be very vulnerable, especially if the stored passwords are not encrypted.

So make sure you have a strong password and check with your web designer that your passwords are stored in the database in an encrypted format. If you also keep regular back-ups of your website you should be able to sleep easily at night.

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