I am concerned about my site being hacked. How do I prevent this?


What does being hacked mean?

What exactly does the word hacking or hack mean? Why would someone or something want to hack my small business website?

The word hack is often used in a number of ways, depending on what is being hacked. For this article we are going to focus on what it means in relation to a website. Someone (a person) or something (a bot or computer program) attempts to gain unauthorised access (breaking in) to your website with a view to do something with it (stealing data, using the computer’s resources) for something other than what it was originally intended to do.

Why would someone hack my small business website?

Often the answer is related to money. I won’t go into the different types of money or the idea that there is not enough - there is approximately US $37 trillion in circulation so there is more than enough. Hackers extend the effort because it can be an easy way to make money. Almost all attacks (hacking attempts) are automated. The reason behind the attacks runs from harmless to severe.

In the former, someone might just be trying to see if they can. Usually this is the domain of pranksters. If the attempt is successful what usually happens is that the homepage is defaced with no real harm being done.

In the latter, the website might be used as a springboard to infecting other websites so that the computing power of the server can be used for spam. Spam is a numbers game which is why there is so much of it. The website could be infiltrated with links trying to boost dubious and dodgy sites in Google so they come up higher in the search results. At its worst, the hacker could set up the website so it tries to install software on unsuspecting future website visitors with a view to extorting money.

Purchasing domain names carefully is a very important aspect of owning a website. Having a website is an important part of running a business. Make sure you are the rightful registered owner of your domain name.

What can I do to stop my site from being hacked?

All websites are vulnerable when it comes to being hacked. WordPress based websites are often targeted more than other sites because of how popular WordPress is. In a similar way to how Windows based computers are targeted due to the number of computers running Windows. Tech Warrior uses WordPress to build all versions of its Small Business Websites product. There are some guidelines for ensuring your website, WordPress or otherwise, stays safe and secure from hacking attempts.

We suggest following these three steps to make sure your website is protected against hacking.

  1. Choose a good hosting provider
  2. Change the default username and password
  3. Keep your website software up to date

Choose a good hosting provider

Not all website hosting providers are created equally. Cheap hosting providers often provide the bare minimum. You could be vulnerable to a hacking attempt if the hosting is not properly or securely set-up.

Change the default username and password

If you use a content management system or web builder like WordPress, make sure you change the default login name and choose a strong password. Often hackers will take a chance and try using the login name and password as their first and easiest entry point.

Keep your website software up to date

Out of date software and in the case of WordPress, plugins, are also an easy entry point for hackers. Keeping software up to date ensures that any bugs or holes that could be exploited by an attacker or hacker are minimised.

Do your part

At Tech Warrior we have a Website Armour product that keeps the website software, WordPress, and the plugins up to date. In addition it checks for viruses and other nasty bugs. It also comes with offsite backups as a further layer of security.

When it comes to keeping your website safe from hacking, nothing is 100 percent attack proof. There are often stories in the news that cover hacking attempts and security breaches. The best you can do is ensure that you follow some best practices as outlined above and ensure that you do your part.

If you define yourself by how you differ from the competition, you’re probably in trouble.
—Omar Hamoui

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