Hopefully this never happens to your business, but take it from someone who has had her websites hacked more than once, as well as my email marketing account and just last week my hosting account, it’s a HUGE headache when it happens.
The first time I was hacked the issue was due to a security breach with my hosting company. (We’ve since changed hosting companies.) However, sometimes despite the best security, hackers find a way to hijack your domain or the company who is hosting your website or database.
Your website could be completely destroyed as mine was the first time a hacker found it. Another hacker experience was when my email database was infiltrated, and the hackers sent a spammy email to everyone on my list.
And last week, my hosting account was affected, and emails were sent out, fortunately not to any of my contacts, but we are now suffering the penalties of being a spammer and are dealing with moving all my websites to a private server.
Can you imagine how terrible it would be to have to redo your website from scratch? It’s an expensive headache, and also embarrassing to have a website that passes out viruses. And it’s no picnic to have spam distributed to your database.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the possibility of these issues happening. You can sleep easier at night when you have a backup of your website, and have a hacker proofed firewall and hosting account.
Implement these suggestions to prevent your business from being hacked:
- Be sure your passwords are made up of numbers and letters so it isn’t easy for others to guess. If you use something simple, such as your name, a hacker may be able to figure it out pretty easily. The same goes for your user name, don’t use the default “admin”. And change them frequently.
- Be VERY cautious of who you outsource to. Savvy programmers can put codes, spyware and other undesirable scripts on your website without you knowing.
- Don’t email your passwords to contractors
- Use a dedicated or at least a virtual server for hosting your website, and install their email autoresponders. This increases deliverability of your email marketing campaigns and puts you more in control. When big hosting companies are targeted, their customers who are on their shared servers all pay the price.
- Don’t use free plugins, themes, templates, etc that you find online. Often these “free tools” contain viruses and spyware. Only purchase website software from reputable sources.
- Login to your website frequently and watch for new security upgrades, and implement the latest updates as soon as possible. Using outdated versions of WordPress can leave chinks in your security armor that gives hackers easier access.
- Install security and anti-virus plugins that will make it more difficult to gain access to your site. Some plugins will notify you if there are attempts to guess your password as well.
These simple tips can protect your business from being hacked. Even if a determined hacker gains access to your sites, when you have everything backed up it will be a cinch to restore your site if you’ve taken the appropriate measures to have everything backed up.