As online business continues to boom, the number of criminals eager to take what doesn’t belong to them also grows. Hacking has become a serious problem with reports of damage done counting in the billions. Part of the problem isn’t just money being diverted; it’s also hackers who like to shut down businesses and other important online portals simply for the thrill. Time spent offline is money lost.
Hackers are often quite up front about their activity. They brag about it on online forums devoted to hacking and cheerfully teach future hackers their secrets. Hacking can come under several guises:
- Malware, in which a program asks for access to your computer and then installs a program designed to take over your system
- Botnets, in which a system of hijacked computers sends out additional takeover programs
- Phishing, in which information is obtained directly from the consumer through misrepresentation
While some hacking is random and just goes after any system that isn’t securely locked down, other attacks are targeted, especially when the victim is a large business, a financial company or a government entity.
Protecting Your Business
Fortunately, you can take a number of measures to protect your business against hacking and other cyber-attacks. These measures don’t even have to be costly in fact, you should be wary of expensive fixes that are marketed directly toward you. This is one of the methods hackers use to gain access to your system.
1. Hire a reputable web hosting company.
While this is probably the most costly option, it is also the most reliable. Once you have a reputable and trustworthy company managing the online portion of your business, you won’t have to think about security again because it will be entirely in the hands of the experts. Make sure you can trust the company, though. Otherwise, you could be letting hackers in right through the front door.
2. Set up a firewall.
This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Firewalls can be hardware or software based. Two good firewall software programs are Symantec and Kaspersky. The programs are easy to download and will give you reminders when it’s time to update.
3. Keep your operating system’s security settings up to date.
Learn more about your computer’s operating system. Visit the website and follow the tutorials or get a book that breaks it down. Keep your security setting high and set up reminders when updates occur. Always install updates as soon as they are ready to prevent a new virus from sneaking in.
4. Keep an eye on your log files.
Log files shouldn’t only be checked in an emergency. Learning how to read your computer’s log files for yourself and then doing so on a regular basis can help you detect a hacker trying to get access, so you can adjust your security settings appropriately. Log analysis software can help you with this. Ask an expert to recommend a program that is compatible with your system.
For the best results, it’s critical to keep a close eye on your security settings, install updates as they become available and don’t become lax or complacent.