October 25

10 comments

TalkTalk falls prey to a cyber attack, my tips to protect your websites

By Angelo

October 25, 2015

protect your website, website security

With TalkTalk recently falling prey to a cyber attack, for anyone that has a website it’s a scary thing to consider. The words “significant and sustained cyberattack” is not something I’d like to even consider happening to my sites.

If you have a website of your own, you undoubtedly know that every day, hackers, bots and the like are trying to access your site via unauthorised means.

My site fell prey to cyber attacks

One of my sites was subject to a huge increase in attacks, which was really unnerving, it continued for days. Clearly it wasn’t in the same league as TalkTalk, but it’s real nonetheless.

Thankfully I have a security plugin called Wordfence installed, which kept me protected. It sends an email when someone logs in (hopefully it’s always you), and if someone or rather an ip address is locked out because of trying to access your site via unauthorised means, it also lets you know.

With this event, my inbox filled up in a matter of hours, so frequent were the attacks, and so varied the ip addresses!

I also have a Content Delivery Network, which adds another layer of protection, and of course, I try to use strong usernames and passwords.

Reading that TalkTalk was hacked, the latest in a string of such stories, Yahoo being the last one I recall a few months back, I thought to jot down some tips that may help you keep your site safe:

My tips to protect your websites are as follows:

  • Don’t use ‘admin’ or ‘administrator’ as your username (this is the first usernames they will use.
  • Don’t use your website’s domain name as your username either (this is also a favourite of ‘theirs’ I’ve found)
  • Use a very strong password (examples are: use special characters, numbers and letters), don’t just use words, break the words up with special characters and numbers so that’s it’s not a word that can be found in a dictionary
  • Install a security plugin (example: Wordfence) and consider using a content delivery network (example: CloudFlare) as level of front end security.
  • Try to make a backup of your site regularly if possible (if all else fails, you won’t lose everything)

Can we do more?

Other than the tips above, I’m not sure what else can be done (other than to get really technical) to stop attacks, it seems it may just be part of owning a website, being out there in the vast expanse of the internet.

 

Conclusion:

If you are thinking of taking the first steps into the online world, perhaps you’re thinking of starting an online business, then please take steps to protect your site from the start. It’s not too difficult to set up, and the plugin Wordfence and CDN Cloudflare I refer to are free to use.

If you are considering an online business, why not take a look here, it may be just what you’re looking for to get started!

I hope these tips have helped you at least consider that your site may not be as secure as you thought, and spurs you to take action and protect your property.

 

 

 

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  1. If you have any tips or pointers I haven’t thought of,
    please do let me know, anything we can do to keep our websites safe is
    something to seriously consider.

  2. Nice! Always looking for tips and tricks to keep my sites safe. I got lazy last year and was hacked… Hard lesson to learn but got the message across.  Fortunately I caught it early and didn’t lose too much. Thanks again, great article,

  3. Funny thing I wrote something along these lines a few days ago Angelo, it is great to see another marketer who takes hacking seriously. We all need to be on our guard every day to ensure these hackers do not impinge on our business!

  4. the level of hacking and cyber-crime has risen drastically in the past 12 months, and most police forces do not have the resources or the knowledge to combat it.

  5. ronin47 That’s actually quite scary, the fact that the bad guys are ahead of the game so to speak. I suppose it’s harder for the police to combat hackers where the hackers don’t need to obey any rules, but the police need to. Thanks for commenting Ronin.

  6. imangelo ronin47 I can’t remember exactly but I think the reported cyber crimes are up by something like 500% – but a large proportion of that will be because people now know how & where to report cyber crime, or what they think is cyber crime (which may be something totally different)

  7. ronin47 imangelo I imagine the actual stats would be 10 times that, but as you say, at least people know there is a cyber crime division to report to, or at least google where to report to. 🙂

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