Remember back when the internet was such a novelty that Hollywood could produce a movie, like 1995’s Hackers, which invited us all to cheer on the rollerblading, anti-establishment protagonists as they fight the system by guessing people’s passwords? We’ve come a long way from that super-stylized portrayal of the internet, but unfortunately hackers (the real ones) have too.
Nowadays, hacking is so commonplace that nobody thinks it’s cool or counterculture; it’s become a frustrating and serious threat to your business, causing headaches and even hurting your profits. One essential aspect of IT support for Orange County businesses is mitigating the threat of hackers.
What’s the worst that could happen?
When your site gets hacked, you can experience a loss of visitors, and annoyingly, a loss of time while you work to get it back up and running. But the consequences don’t stop there. Costly hacks like this can hurt your SEO rankings, and could even get you blacklisted on certain anti-virus software sites.
If you use your site for eCommerce, the risk is more acute. If a hacker takes down your website, you can experience a real loss in sales, and possibly visitor identity theft, which can result in a ruined reputation for your brand, in addition to loss in revenue.
What exactly do hackers do?
Some of the most common types of hacking for small businesses are as follows:
- Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS attacks, where your network is paralyzed by a flood of data sent simultaneously from many individual computers. Attackers may try to get you to pay a ransom to prevent the DDoS attack from occurring.
- SQL Injection, where hackers inject malicious code in web form and submit it to the website. Data on your website’s backend can then be manipulated or deleted.
- Social engineering hacks, where a user is manipulated into divulging private information by a hacker posing as a business partner. This one is surprisingly common, as it exploits one of your network’s biggest vulnerabilities—humans.
Hacks are a continual threat, but there are many ways to mitigate the risks. Here are a few:
- Strong Passwords—you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. A weak password is the easiest opening into your network. Most humans have difficulty remembering the recommended mixed passwords of letters, numbers, and symbols, but the added security is worth it. If you’ve got a ton of passwords, and find yourself forgetting them constantly, try using a password manager.
- Keep things updated—Make sure your browsers, operating system, and, of course, antivirus software are updated and you’re using the latest versions. If your site is hosted on a CMS platform like WordPress, make sure you update software, plugins, and themes to the latest version to take advantage of the latest, and most secure platform.
- Mind public networks—don’t get in the habit of doing extensive hosting and admin work on your website at coffee shops or airports. These public places can never be fully safe. If you’re in a pinch and have to access your admin panels, use a VPN to protect yourself from any nearby hackers.
These few precautions, truth be told, are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re in need of a secure network, having IT support in Orange County can be the difference between the company that gets hacked, and the company that is safe.