Internet and Technology

Running A Secure Site

The problem of maintaining secure site is nearly as old as the Internet itself, but the problem has never been more serious than it is today. Thankfully, more people are aware of the dangers present online, and the concept of online security is a serious industry.

Websites are popular targets for two reasons. First, they’re publicly accessible. An ATM may be full of cash, but you can’t just log in from your home computer. A website, on the other hand, can be accessed worldwide and, using proxies, it is child’s play for a hacker to hide their identity. Proxies, or proxy servers, allow hackers and other dangerous individuals to “hide” their identity and location behind a different IP address. While it may say that the connection is coming from one place, you really have no way to be sure. Because of this, and the general faceless nature of the online world, the Internet is an superb tool for those wishing to maintain their anonymity.

The second reason is that websites have things worth stealing. In addition to the obvious target of credit card information, a website may allow access to user’s names, addresses, social security numbers and other confidential information. This makes identity theft of particular concern to site administrators.

In addition to more serious attacks on your site, you may also have to contend with people trying to access premium sections of your site. If you have a password-protected member’s area, you’ll need some level of security to keep people from accessing your content without paying. While this isn’t nearly as detrimental to your business model as individuals actively stealing customer data, it still sets a bad precedent that may cost you money in the long run.

Like most security systems, Internet security is often just a matter of maintaining good practices; the best lock in the world isn’t worth a thing if you forget to close the door. Similarly, if you want your site to be secure, you’ll need to pay attention to what you’re doing. Having a strong password for the administrator’s account is a great start. Try using a mix of both letters and numbers instead of just using letters. Try to pick something unique and unguessable. It doesn’t matter how good your security is if your password is “password1.” You may also want to consider using both uppercase and lowercase letters. For a truly secure password, avoid using any words found in a dictionary. Some password cracking software works by going through a long word list and applying every possible username/password combination.

Of course, you’re going to need more than a strong password, especially if your site is going to deal with sensitive material such as social security numbers, credit card information or other personal data. There are many security services that will “audit” your website. What this means, essentially, is that the security firm will check your website for malware and viruses, as well as any holes in your security system. Methods for Website Spam Protection and prevention will vary from company to company. Some companies will test the strength of your security by attempting to “hack” your site themselves. If they succeed, they will know where your security vulnerabilities are. Once they know where these holes in your security are located, they can recommend additional security measures that will protect you from similar attacks in the future.