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Anti-Hacking Hacks

Thursday, September 01, 2016 12:00 PM

A high tech server room

If you are doing any serious business on the internet, protecting yourself as much as possible should be an integral part of your business plan.

The perception of the hacker as an antisocial recluse, compulsively coding in a dark basement while surrounded by whirring computer fans is largely outdated.

Hacking has become part of the everyday lexicon. Pinterest overflows with life hacks, gardening hacks, home storage solution hacks, and so on. Let's get back to basics, though, and talk about hacking in its traditional form. When it originated in the 15th century, the late Middle English term "hacking" was used to describe the act of using a computer to gain access to another device, file, database, or network. Usually for malicious intent, and sometimes just for fun, hacking is also often used by companies as a method of discovering weaknesses in their own security.

Nerdy 80's HACKERMAN

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The perception of the hacker as an antisocial recluse, compulsively coding in a dark basement while surrounded by whirring computer fans is largely outdated, having been replaced with the image of a hacker as a type of anti-corporate, modern-day hero - an internet rockstar, even. Successful hacks into popular websites like AshleyMadison and LinkedIn are largely publicized - even popularized - by the media. While doing the actual hacking is to some extent glamorized, being on the receiving end of hacking is no different than coming home from work and discovering that your garage has been broken into, and your stuff messed with.

Hacker in a Guy Fawkes mask a la Anonymous

In the last few years, we've noticed a significant increase in hacker activity and attacks to our products and servers. If your website gets a lot of traffic, you should expect a corresponding large amount of bot activity, a percentage of which is, well - hacky. Regardless of the size of your company or web presence, merely existing on the internet makes you vulnerable to hacking. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take in order to better protect your data.

First, take a look at your passwords. It's a common sense tip that many take for granted, yet assessing password strength is one of the simplest and fastest ways to potentially slow an unwanted attack on your privacy. Make sure that your password can't be easily guessed, avoid using a universal password for multiple access points, and remember to share passwords only with authorized, trusted individuals. Second, increase your security through HTTPS and SSL certificates. Web-based databases are especially vulnerable, so if these are any part of your internet presence, consider upgrading your website to HTTPS to increase your level of protection against popular attacks, and as a bonus, to increase your search rankings.

If you are doing any serious business on the internet, protecting yourself as much as possible should be an integral part of your business plan, as hackers can cause damage ranging from database record tampering (including the deletion of entire databases), to identify theft and impersonation as a result of data theft, to vandalized or entirely non-functional websites. Another simple way of ramping up security involves the use of captchas - those sometimes annoying, but nonetheless extremely beneficial challenge-response tests that distinguish humans from bots - to protect all web forms. While they're not one hundred percent reliable, they remain a very effective form of blocking poorly-written, malevolent bots from accessing your website. Finally, talk to a professional developer about the possibility of updating or even rebuilding your website with newer technology. This is particularly important if your current website utilizes an old framework. Ideally, it would be updated or rebuilt with future security risks in mind.

Asia Szkudlarek

Asia Szkudlarek

Asia Szkudlarek is Division 1's word wizard. She's also a project coordinator, environmentalist and wilderness adventure addict. Asia reads law textbooks for fun and is much too verbose, as evident from this short bio. You can find her on Twitter under @oaktober

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