Written by Hugo Organista
The internet has become a breeding ground for cyber criminals looking to prey on those who don’t exercise proper cyber protection habits. Stories of identity theft seem to be increasingly common today as mass hacking becomes more popular. The lack of security leaves an open door for someone with bad intentions to take advantage of your confidential information.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a security expert to keep your information private and secure on the web. There are simple, yet effective habits everyone can develop to stay significantly safer and more secure on the internet. Whether it’s keeping your website secure or using a VPN to encrypt your activity, these five security tips can you help stay ahead of a security breach.
1. Use multiple passwords and change them every 90 days
The most effective way to keep passwords secure starts with the user. Hackers know that most users on the internet use the same passwords for most websites, and they often keep using the same password for years before changing them.
To prevent this, users should practice using a different password for every website and ensure that they are changed every 90 days. This will isolate an exploit to only the website where the password has been compromised and minimize impact to the affected user.
The following criteria are suggested when creating a strong password:
- Use 12 to 14 characters
- Use lowercase and uppercase alphabetic characters
- Use at least one number and one symbol
Not sure you can remember your newly created, strong password? There are password managers for that.
2. Use a secure password manager to keep everything in one place
Gone are the days of storing passwords on a spreadsheet or a notebook. Today, a password manager makes things a lot easier by keeping all your credentials in one safe, encrypted place.
Password managers also allow you to access your credentials from anywhere, and some password managers even have a mobile app you can download for instant access. Most popular password managers also include a secure password generator that will automatically create strong, random passwords for you.
Check out these great password managers you can use:
Now, you can either generate or use a strong password without worrying which notepad you used to keep that information handy.
3. Keep your website updated and secure
Website owners should ensure their websites are updated regularly to protect the information of their visitors. This can include making sure the latest updates are installed for website plugins, themes and core files.
Within a WordPress site, you can go to the Updates page to check for the latest releases and perform all available updates at once. For sites built on other platforms, check documentation for directions on performing updates and other recommended security practices.
WordPress websites can take advantage of these security plugins:
No matter the platform, you can add extra security to your website by using a website monitoring tool, such as GoDaddy Website Security, powered by Sucuri. Keep your website malware-free with 24/7 monitoring, comprehensive malware scan, protection and removal, and even a Website Application Firewall (WAF) with the deluxe plan. With this tool in place, you can keep your online presence protected while you get back to doing what you do best — running your business.
4. Use multi-factor authentication
Perhaps one of the most effective security measures is to enable the multi-factor authentication option on websites that offer it. Enabling this will force anyone logging in to provide a one-time use verification code that is sent to the account owner through a text message or a phone call.
This unique code must be entered even after someone logs into the account with the correct username and password to make sure that it is truly the account owner attempting to log in. Without this code, the account will not be accessible and will lock down the account in case of an intrusion.
Multi-factor authentication can be enabled on popular services, such as:
Multi-factor authentication makes it that much more difficult for hackers to access your site. It might seem like an added step in your already busy day, but it’s well worth the extra few seconds to keep your site secure.
5. Use a VPN to secure your connection to the internet
Free public WiFi hotspots are available everywhere now — the airport, coffee shops, restaurants, airplanes, etc. It can be very easy for the wrong person to track your activity while you’re using these free internet connections, including passwords, credit card information, browsing history and Google searches. Your connection to the internet while using these hotspots is unsecured, which means that anything you do can be seen by prying eyes.
For a high level of security, try using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN works by encrypting your connection to the internet and hiding your confidential information. This is highly recommended for those who frequently travel or are on the go and use free hotspot connections.
Check out these awesome VPN services:
The best part is, you can use a VPN on almost all of your internet-connected devices, including your smartphone, to make sure your connection is secure no matter where you are.
Using these five tips, you can keep your website secure. Just remember: security is an ongoing practice. Don’t forget to update your site, changes passwords regularly, and stay use a website security service to stay ahead of the game.
A frequent contributor to the GoDaddy Blog, Hugo Organista is a WordPress web developer and a social media marketing consultant. Hugo has experience in various areas of internet marketing, which he has gained from working with small- to medium-sized clients and running his own online marketing business.
Images via pixabay.com