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Tips for NOT Getting Hacked

Posted on 8.05.2015

Even the savviest Web users and businesses are at risk of a security lapse, as over the past year Google has noticed a 180 percent increase in the number of sites getting hacked.

While this nefarious trend is certainly disconcerting - especially for those making a living on the Web - it's a reminder for anyone who publishes online that one of their top priorities should be security, which is why Google has recently provided some tips on how to avoid being the target of hackers.

While not groundbreaking, Google reminds Web users to set difficult-to-guess passwords (a combination of letters, numbers, symbols) and also to turn on two-factor authentication (both gmail and Facebook offer this, for example). For site owners, solutions from Entrust and Authy (see image) can be added to their digital properties to increase security. 

While two-factor authentication can help protect user and admin login credentials, Google also advises brands to make sure their software systems and plugins are updated regularly and to remove any software or add-ons that are no longer needed. Not only will surplus add-ons slow down a site (which could negatively impact a brand's visibility on the search engines), but they also present unnecessary security risks as hackers can exploit outdated software with security holes.

It's equally important to reduce the number of partners with access to a company's network. It was reported that Target's 2013 hack, for example, was a result of hackers accessing Target through its remotely accessible HVAC system.

To round out the tips for not getting hacked, Google suggests contacting a company's hosting provider to learn how they handle security issues and, finally, to use Google's Search Console so Google can get in touch when it detects any hacked content. Google Alerts is also a way to be notified of any suspicious (or spammy) results from a site.

The result of not taking site security seriously could be a huge loss of revenue, as a brand's reputation will not only take a hit, but companies could also be on the hook to pay back customers and banks. Target, for example, had to reimburse MasterCard up to $19 million for its 2013 data breach.

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