Today, websites must be protected from spam and cyber threats diligently. Globally, websites are being hacked and compromised daily. As Orlando web designers, we are constantly fighting off hackers . These black hat players are doing their best to breach our website and our client’s websites to steal data.  They attempt to use our client’s servers for false advertising and for other malicious ventures.  These hackers gain access and then set up their own temporary web server to cause chaos.

Stop hackers by keeping software up to date:

The first step in keeping your website secure is to keep your software updated.  Update all plugins and keep the software system current. Keep in mind that plugins get older and they become vulnerable with age. Websites should be re-designed about every two to three years.  This also allow you to take advantage of new bells and whistles that were not available when you created your site a few years ago. Those that use managed hosting services are better off since these hosting services. update the software regularly. We develop many CMS (Content Managed Systems) using the WordPress platform. WordPress is great since it lets us know about available system security updates as we log into the website control panel.

Online form validation:

It is important that you validate all reply/response forms on your website.  There are two types of form validation you should be aware of:

  • Browser validation checks for missing information that is required in a form field or phone numbers that may be typed incorrectly.
  • You should also inspect for unwanted programming being inserted into your form fields (“CAPTCHA” fields).

The importance of complex passwords:

We recommend that you create complex passwords which cannot be hacked.  Using these strong passwords for your server and for y our website admin area will protect the security of your site. Those that use the site should likewise create difficult passwords to protect security. Once you have decided on a password please write it down (preferably) not on the computer but in a safe place.  It is notorious for folks to forget passwords quickly so keep the information handy and do not share the passwords with others.

Allowing a stranger to have access to your site:

Most of us are busy and could use some help in keeping our content updated.  It is very tempting to find article writers online. This can be a slippery slope, You are allowing a stranger to access your blog area and if you have admin rights, it also allows this outsider to have access to the entire website.  They can easily corrupt your site and have full control.  The best rule of thumb is to have the outside help provide an article on a Word Document and send that to you.  Once you receive this you can publish the article yourself. This will solve the problem.

What about those that promise SEO solutions?

There is no going back once you allow access to your site so proceed with caution. There may be those calling you or emailing you with big SEO (search engine optimization) claims about boosting your website to number one on Google.  This is “always” a scam.
No one can control Google’s algorithm and these bad actors are a dime a dozen.  We are also hearing of our clients receiving phone calls from people claiming to be “Google representatives.”  For the record, Google does not call clients.  This is a scam and an attempt to take control of your website. Always be leery of anyone who asks to access your website in any way.  Never allow this.  Only you and your original site developer should have any access to your website.  Do not fall victim to these bad actors.  Stay safe online.  Your website depends upon you being alert and not allowing outsiders to breach your site admin areas.

E-commerce clients & security methods:

Last year there was an uptick in fraud and cyber threats online over the year before.  For our e-commerce clients we always recommend they adhere to all laws and competent avenues to protect clients who visit their sites.  Selling online can be safe as long as the website owner does the things to keep visitors safe.  They should use a secure server space for their site and use secure payment portals which will protect the visitors information as it is gathered.
To safeguard your site visitors and to prevent any fraudulent claims,  make sure you have a privacy policy in place. Be sure to spell out clearly what measures your visitors can take for any complaint. Go above and beyond anytime you have a client who is not satisfied.  A privacy policy and terms of use document will clear up any disagreements when it is written in legal terms.
Thanks for stopping by …. be safe from the storm and hurry back for more next time.
Jean Holland-Rose, Chief Creative Officer
Inside Design Orlando