Hack-Proof Your Web Site

Cyber villian, Maxus, hacked through CD Universe’s Web site and stole thousands of credit card numbers. Although hackers often target the big buys like Microsoft, experts say that small- and medium-sized businesses are at risk and usually are not as security-savvy.

While increased Web site security may sound like a huge undertaking; it doesn’t have to be. Simple solutions include changing passwords to be a little more challenging (use a combination of numbers and letters) and moving sensitive customer information from your site as soon as possible.

The more involved security fixes deal with software. Hackers know that software loopholes are the entry into your Web site or database. Software manufacturers issue “patches” every day that will help safeguard your computers and Web site. Be sure to check with software manufacturers regularly to learn about important patches.

If you are entrusting your Web site to an outside host, be sure to ask vital questions about security. Some hosting companies have little to no security and others make it part of their mission statement. You deserve to know about your Web provider’s track record. Ask your provider about the company’s latest security audit.

Finally, be sure to use a firewall. About 70 percent of companies use firewalls incorrectly. This means that even though they have one, they are as susceptible to risk as if they didn’t have one at all. A review of firewalls can be found in the January issue of International Computer Security Association’s Information Security Magazine. The association’s site also includes a buyer’s guide and installation tips. The primary thing to remember with firewalls is to turn off all the features you don’t use.

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