Most WordPress website owners realize security is a serious issue once it’s too late. Even though WordPress is secure, there are various malicious bots and hackers that like to target WordPress websites because they know website owners are lackluster when it comes to security.
However, with a little preparation and common sense, you can reduce your chances of getting hacked and keep your website secure.
Have a Strong Username & Password
Don’t choose “admin” as your WordPress username since it’s one of the most commonly attempted usernames in all automated hack attempts. If you’re still using admin as your username, the hackers are already one step ahead of you and will have no problem getting into your site sooner or later.
Changing the admin username is an easy process. Go to Users –> Add New User.
Fill out all the information, choosing a more complex username and a strong password that includes lower-case letters, upper-case letters, numbers, and characters. Change the new user’s role to Administrator.
Then logout of your website and log in with your new username and password. Go back to Users –> All Users, find your old user with the admin username, tick the checkbox next to it and select Delete from the drop-down menu. Click on Apply. On the next screen, make sure to attribute all the content to your new user and then click Confirm Deletion.
Keep all software up to date including the operating system
Software isn’t perfect. It’s bad enough that bugs in the code occasionally make a program crash. What’s worse is that cyber criminals are constantly seeking flaws in operating systems and other software, vulnerabilities that will let them steal your passwords, install malware, and otherwise give you grief. For these reasons it is vitally important that you install the recommended updates. Recommended updates can also address non-critical problems and also make your computer and network perform better.
Install antivirus and malware protection
This will protect against viruses and malware that can come from emails, files on disks or downloads from the internet. Make sure to use the very latest version of your antivirus or security suite. The bad guys are always inventing new tricks to try to correct your Computer and network. If you’re using an old security tool you won’t have the new fixes. If you make certain to keep these essential programs up to date, you should stay safe from most known threats.
By 2017, one in two firms will no longer provide devices for use by their employees. Under deliberate or default “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies, an increasing number of employees are using their own phones and computers in the workplace rather than hardware owned by their employer.In a 2013 study conducted by Dell, 59% of IT Decision makers said they would be at a competitive disadvantage if they didn’t embrace a BYOD policy. And the companies at the forefront of the movement? Startups of course.
But is BYOD as great as it sounds? Start up companies are among the most financially savvy businesses, always looking for ways to stretch a small budget. At first glance, asking employees to purchase their own devices seems like an easy way to save company funds, while improving staff morale (19% of firms believe BYOD improves employee satisfaction) and offering other benefits.
We’ve all heard of the most recent cyber attacks; Ashley Madison, David Jones and K-mart to name a few. What many people haven’t heard is that in 2014, 60% of targeted attacks hit small and medium businesses1.
So why don’t we hear about the smaller scale incidents? In Australia, it’s not mandatory to report cyber attacks. To avoid reputational tarnish, customer dissatisfaction and the chance of repeat attack, it’s no surprise that most businesses choose to stay quiet.
Not only does being a small or medium business make you a greater target, the consequence is also greater than that of a large enterprise. According to research from the Ponemon Institute2, the cost of a cyber attack costs SMEs $755 per capita, more than double the $282 per capita that larger organisations get struck with. And according to a different study3, 60% of small organisations go out of business within 6 months of a data breach.
Identity theft is increasing on a global scale, with financial information and client records considered foundational data for cyber criminals that indulge in this practice, whether for strict financial gain or use in fraudulent transactions. The normal practice is that harvested data is used to create other accounts (such as bank, email or other) or indeed continue using existing accounts but changing passwords to prevent legitimate access.
Small to medium enterprises obviously store both financial and health information and are prime targets for hackers. In August 2014. These criminals do not care about your business information but focus more on your personal details such as date of birth, address, etc., using them for services or credit applications.
Australia has had its fair share of data breaches. In 2012, ransomware (software that locks down a computer until a ‘ransom’ is paid using an untraceable digital currency such as Bitcoin) was used to compromise the operations of a Gold Coast medical centre.
Luckily, with a little knowledge and some forward planning, you can protect your medical practice from most of these data breaches. I say most, as even large enterprises are successfully breached by highly skilled hackers on occasion and few servers can continue operation if thousands of hackers launch a simultaneous attack.
Ever seen your hipster mate on Facebook gush about how talented Justin Bieber is? We’ve often laughed at friends who’ve had their social account hacked as part of a harmless prank. But is this a symptom of a wider problem? Perhaps there are many of us who are leaving our social media accounts vulnerable to much more sinister attacks on our privacy and security.
Melbourne based SEO agency Optimising conducted a recent survey to attempt to find out how educated Aussies are when it comes to protecting their online social profiles. The team surveyed 853 adults across the country earlier in 2015 and asked respondents whether their profiles were public or private, if they’d had their data or personal information shared against their will, as well as their knowledge of some common privacy related technologies.
The brave new world of increased mobility means work is an activity rather than a destination. Employees can work from anywhere in the world using mobile devices: they can even choose, manage, and use their own devices in many cases.
This carries enormous benefits to businesses as employees become more productive and available. However, it also creates risk because these devices and the data that resides on them may not be adequately secured, so sensitive company information may be compromised. Organisations must take measures to protect business information on mobile devices.
Using mobile devices comes with new concerns around securing and protecting company data, especially when it comes to storing and transmitting information. When employees use mobile devices, they often also use public cloud services like Google and Dropbox to store documents and information – and these are often beyond the visibility and control of the IT department. As a result, businesses need to consider ways to ensure maximum security for mobile workers that access, share and collaborate on work and documents over mobile devices.
The Australian Federal Government this week launched the annual Stay Smart Online Week. In conjunction they have released the Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide. Business owners can use this guide to ensure they are following safe online practices, and have sufficient security in place to protect sensitive data from a potential breach.
This comes at a time when businesses, organisations and government departments are increasingly being subject to data breaches on a regular basis. Yet in what is a growing concern, there appears to be little consensus about what entities should do once a breach is discovered.
Defining a data breach is an exercise in itself. At its core, it refers to an unauthorised access of information on a computer or network. Hacking is the most common example, however the guidelines below apply not just to data breaches but to instances of online bullying, defamation, threats and similar problems in the digital space.
So who should you call when you want to investigate a data breach? The straight answer is that it all depends on what you want to achieve.
Every business, whether large or small, needs to have a customer-facing website these days, and in the past twelve months Australians spent $17.5 billion on online retail sales. In fact, according to Avast Software, online shopping is Australia’s number one online activity, social media, banking and emailing…before we get down to adult content, illegal torrent sites and checking the weather forecasts, which are also in the top ten.
While this level of online activity is great for commerce in Australia, it also brings with it a host of problems – potentially very damaging ones. Companies and web developers know that a website needs security, but many business owners do not understand the depth of online threats that exist, and the ever-evolving complexity of attacks.
Regardless of whether a website sells directly to the public, or simply exists as a tool to host marketing information and contact details, an attack can be disastrous to business credibility and continuity. Imagine a client happily selling from the web one minute, then having to contact an entire customer base and explain that their security has been compromised. Payment details may have fallen into the hands of criminals, a foreign entity may be blackmailing the company or perhaps there has been a malicious attack and sales can’t continue as the online inventory is down.
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