Recently I was talking to a part-time entrepreneur who also taught college courses. During one of her classes she gave the students her website address. Imagine her surprise when students started laughing and carrying on, several asking, “Mrs. Smith, what kind of business do you have?” Her site had been hacked and instead of information about her business, there was pornography on it. Yikes!!
How many months had it been like that? How many prospective clients visited her site and quickly left? How much money was lost?
In this particular case, this happened several years ago. She still has not gotten her website back up. So in her case there was a lot lost…
I’ve also heard of someone’s website getting hacked and the PayPal information changed, so the real person was no longer receiving the money, but the hacker was.
The stories could go on and on…
But there are ways you can protect yourself.
A few months ago, Strategic Virtual Solutions updated usernames to more secure usernames. This is part of the battle. Even though WordPress defaults the username to admin, it’s not wise to keep it! It’s like having the key to your back door under your front door mat. It may not go to that door…but eventually the thieves will work their way around and find their way in.
Use strong passwords. I know it’s nice to be able to remember passwords, but if it’s readable, it makes it easier for hackers and hacking software to figure out. Did you know there’s a repository of common passwords? Sure is… Just Google password dictionaries. I did, and while some of the sites looked pretty techy, I’m confident that those hackers understand the language! Passwords should be a series of letters and numbers and be at least 10 characters (some security experts say 16 characters). You don’t want them to be readable – a word and then series of numbers. Here’s a tip: You can use numbers in place of some letters. Also, you don’t want to use the same password for multiple sites. If the hackers figure it out in one place, they may just try the common places like the social media sites, PayPal, etc. Can you imagine the havoc? You can use a software program like Roboform to save your passwords. I use this and I couldn’t live without it!
Regularly (daily) back up your website. If your site gets hacked, having the backup available will get you up and running again quickly. There are plugins available for this. You also want to make sure you’re storing your backups separately than where your website files are. If someone hacks it, you don’t want them to get to the backups!
Keeping your WordPress site updated is another deterrent. This includes WordPress, the theme, and the plugins.
There are plenty more things you can do to help secure your site…but it’s almost like you need to have someone dedicated to just your site security! And that’s why I recommend WPSiteMonitor. Daily they will back up your website to offsite Cloud storage, do spam and revision cleanup, security updates as needed, WordPress software, theme, and plugin updates as needed, and clean up SQL table overhead (this makes your website run faster). Monthly they do a reporting through Google Analytics on traffic source, audience overview and data content. They also run a security scan once a week and monitor the security alerts.
Whew! And it’s cheaper than hiring another person. At a cost of just $45 a month, how can you not afford to secure your website? Simply email Becky and Marian at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them I sent you!
What things are you doing to protect your online world?