With more people using the internet than ever before, there are also more cybercriminals looking for ways to exploit the online world. As operators take steps to tighten security, these nefarious individuals look for ways to circumvent them.
As a website owner, there are some fundamental steps you can take to increase protection for yourself and your users. They don’t have to be expensive and they don’t have to be complicated. But when used correctly, they increase safety and trust levels and will ensure your users feel confident using your services. From IP lookup software to tightening passwords, let’s dive into how to make your online business more secure.
2FA is otherwise known as two-factor authentication. When a user logs into your website, typically, they will have to enter a username or email address and a password to gain access. But with 2FA, once they have entered this information, they will have to proceed to a second authentication step. For example, they may receive an SMS with a code they have to input into the website. Alternatively, they may have to confirm with biometrics or click a link via email.
There are various methods of 2FA available for website users, but any technique provides much-needed additional security. The idea is that even if someone has a user’s password, they will not be able to access the account without access to their registered mobile device as well, or in some cases, their biometrics. It is a highly effective method of tightening online security.
IP lookup software
An IP lookup tool such as the one from SEON allows a website owner to understand more about a visitor to their site. This information can then be used to decide whether they are a legitimate visitor and if they pose any risks to security. The tool looks at the IP address and assesses whether it is on any existing IP blacklists. It can also let you know whether the visitor is a bot or can help weed out accounts set up by the same users.
Ideally, the website owner uses this kind of software during the onboarding process, when a user logs in, or at the checkout when they make a purchase. The use of such technology can significantly lower the risk of fraud, identity theft, and account takeover. Each of these are online threats that are on the rise and can pose serious problems for customers and operators.
There are several kinds of spam filters you should consider for your online business. The first kind is used on your email system and prevents unwanted emails from coming into your inbox and roots out any that could be viruses or otherwise malicious threats. Using constantly updated criteria, it looks for certain features and factors within the body of an email or the email address it is coming from and prevents them from reaching you. This can be efficient in preventing phishing, malware, identity theft, and scammers. You can also use spam filters for your website to prevent bots and other nefarious actors from abusing your contact forms. By implementing certain processes, they can identify those that seek to break the rules.
Encryption is a fundamental method of ensuring data privacy in the online sphere. If information is not encrypted, it can be easily intercepted by unauthorized third parties without the knowledge of those involved. When websites use encryption, information is only shared between those who have access to the encryption key, i.e. the user and the website they are visiting.
As a standard, SSL encryption should be used on your website. It facilitates the transfer of information such as usernames, emails, passwords, and card details across the internet. Should someone intercept it, the information is useless as it remains encrypted until it reaches its destination. This is a useful tool when fighting against hackers and should be integrated into any online platform.
Update your plugins
Your website is likely managed through a content management system such as WordPress. This content management system (CMS) will also include lots of plugins that add additional features to your platform. For example, contact forms, payments, social media, and much more. Keeping these plugins up to date, as well as the entire CMS, is necessary to increase security.
Hackers will try to exploit vulnerabilities in your site or system to gain access to data. Updates serve to plug these gaps and to improve the running of the site, making it harder for hackers to exploit. Such updates rarely cost anything, but they must be controlled. Your IT team or webmaster should be able to take care of this with no hassle. Typically, your CMS will have a section on the dashboard where you can check its up-to-date status and see if any updates are pending.
Improve password management
Password weakness is one of the main ways that hackers gain access to networks, systems, and websites. You need to ensure that backend access to your site is secured with extremely strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed. One of the most popular passwords in the world is ‘123456’ and ‘password’. As a website owner, you need to be using a password generator to create strong passwords for all of your team. To help you remember these, you can also use a password manager such as one from Google to store them securely away from prying eyes while making it easier for your staff to remember. If you ensure that all your team tightens their passwords, including their staff email accounts, you will significantly reduce the risk of any hacking attempts or unauthorized access.
There are many other ways you can step up the security on your site, including making sure you have good antivirus software, implementing a captcha, and more. As a site operator, you have the responsibility to ensure that you take the maximum steps to protect your website, yourself, and your users. By following these suggestions and keeping up to date with the situation regarding security and evolving threats, you will significantly reduce your risk of being attacked or exploited by online criminals.