Websites are the locations that people visit when they venture on to the Internet. They are virtual spaces where masses of people can congregate to communicate, shop, or engage in a host of other activities. Increasingly, many websites are coming under attack from a wide variety of threats which are floating around on the World Wide Web. These dangers include malicious programs that can damage or destroy the information which is stored on the various servers that support them. They also include the hazards posed to the integrity of data and network infrastructure by hackers. The aforementioned threats and a wide range of other potential dangers have pushed the issue of website security to the fore.
It is virtually impossible to establish a defense that is foolproof. However, it is possible to employ a variety of measures and strategies that can significantly reduce the risks posed to the integrity of websites. There are numerous software packages which have been developed by various Internet security outfits to protect these collections of Web pages. The software protection alternative is a viable one for the majority of website administrators. However, the costs associated with the best titles may prove prohibitive to the average individual who maintains a permanent presence online. With that being said, the following are widely considered to be the most effective strategies to combat the modern threats to the security of these spaces:
- Install adequate malware protection
As alluded to above, there are many security software packages which are available that can contribute to the provision of the type of protection that it craved by the managers and administrators of websites. Malware is one of the biggest threats to the security of websites and the information that is shared thereon. Malware refers to a variety of malicious programs such as viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, and a number of like hazards. They can wreak havoc on any site. However, their impact can be particularly devastating on websites that archive sensitive client data. These include those managed by banks and other financial institutions. They can quickly corrupt the information contained in the respective databases in which they are stored. Additionally, they can violate a server’s security protocols and trigger fail-safe provisions such as shutdowns. While such a shutdown will ensure that no further harm is done to the critical information that is made accessible to the public through the website, it can result in serious inconvenience for clients and significant reputation damage for the company in question. In light of these potential realities, effective malware removal and protection mechanisms are critical.
- Ensure that passwords are sufficiently strong
Passwords are required to access virtually every resource that is available on the World Wide Web. If they happen to fall into the wrong hands, they can be used by unscrupulous individuals to open a veritable Pandora’s Box filled with threats to website security. The same potential problems loom as it relates to websites. The administrator of a site is routinely required to modify the architecture and update the content which appears on the collection of Web pages that they are responsible for managing. This access is typically facilitated via a file transfer protocol (FTP) program. Once access is obtained, a variety of tools are placed at the administrator’s disposal that can directly impact the aesthetic, functional, and technical integrity of the website. If these passwords are not sufficiently strong, it is possible for many malicious activities to be perpetrated by anyone who manages to gain unauthorized control over these “back-end” functions.
- Ensure that information transmitted is encrypted
The transmission of data between various servers and computers is fundamental to the operation of the World Wide Web. Ensuring the privacy of these billions of gigabytes of data that speed around the Internet daily is no mean feat. These realities have contributed to data encryption playing an increasingly critical role in the Internet security strategies employed by various entities – but particularly those which handle large volumes of very sensitive information. It is standard practice for the administrators of the various websites out there to rely on the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to provide the data that is transmitted via their sites with an added layer of protection. The generation of an encrypted private channel via which this sensitive information can be transferred over the very public Internet is at the core of this protective mechanism. There are various levels of data encryption that are possible using current technology and the existing protection protocols. They serve as an excellent defense against the infiltration and subversion attempts of hackers.
- Ensure that all the latest security updates are installed
The effectiveness of even the most advanced website security software packages can be undermined due to the fact that an element such as their virus definitions are out of date. A virus scan often proves to be a highly effective activity in the threat mitigation process. If the antiviral software is not able to detect the latest malware to hit the market, it is possible for the website’s functionality to be discretely undermined while the administrator remains oblivious to what is taking place. This frequently transpires because the site’s manager believes that the initial installation of the software is sufficient to provide them with all the protection that they need – not fully appreciating the importance of ongoing updating.
The absolute security of websites is virtually impossible to achieve. However, it is possible to employ a number of measures and strategies to reduce the threats posed to the integrity of the site and the information stored thereon.