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Are Hackers Hacking Your Website?

Do You Want to Stop It Cold?

Would you...

 Would you leave your computer out on the street curb for anyone to use?
Of course not.  Yet your web site is not just on the street curb, it's in thousands of homes and thousands of businesses in countries all over the world.

Normally this is a good thing...  But considering that your web site is also inside of hackers houses and hacker clubs it can get a little scary.

 Hackers use "doorways" into your website...
A hacker can exploit your web based programs in ways that were unanticipated by the software author.  Don't be fooled, many hackers are intelligent and know exactly how to exploit the vulnerabilities of your web site.

These vulnerabilities can lead to...

  • The shut down of YOUR web site,
  • Black listing of YOUR web site by hosting companies,
  • Black listing of the entire server you are located on,
  • Theft of valuable information from YOUR web site,
  • Loss of time for YOU and YOUR business,
  • Bad publicity for YOU and YOUR business,
  • Etc.

Just some of the things they can do include...

  • Send Mail Bombs from YOUR domain
  • Send SPAM from YOUR domain
  • Steal passwords or other sensitive information
  • Etc.
 You ask, "How do I protect myself?"
It's best to take an active role in protecting you and your web site from harm.  The following tips are strongly recommended...
 
Do This! Examples and Explanation
Remove executable software that is just "sitting around." Many hosting companies provide free programs that are either already installed on your account, or you install via a Control Panel.  You may also have at some time installed some web based software.

If you aren't using one of these online programs - TURN THEM OFF!

You can do this by either deleting them if you no longer need them or by "chmoding" via your FTP software all ASP, CGI, PL, etc. to 644 which will prevent a program from running.

If you aren't using some online software, you might also consider downloading the software to your local PC and then deleting the online version, this way you would have a backup in case you needed to use the software in the future.

Change your passwords often. We all know changing passwords can be a pain, but it's one of the best tips we can give to you.

It's better to frequently change your passwords than to one day find your website shut down because a hacker broke in or used some of your online software in a devious manner.

Use firewalls & anti-virus on your local PCs. We can't say it enough how important it is to run firewall software on your local PC.  We also encourage updating your anti-virus software at least twice or more a month.

So many times we have seen passwords stolen because someone had a virus on their local PC.

Some viruses are called "back door" viruses that allow someone to use your computer, while you are online, to perform their hacking attempts elsewhere.  This has the effect of appearing as if you are the one doing the hacking.

Use Firewalls and Update Your Anti-Virus Often - Before It Turns Into a Regret!

Click for our PC based recommended software

Update your online software often. Periodically check for updates for any web based software you have either installed or someone has installed for you.

Always update your online software especially when a security updates is released.

Developed Software VS "Home-Grown" Software. You may want to consider purchasing or using web based software that is continually updated rather than building your own web based software.

As long as the web based software is being continually updated, they are usually adding security updates as well as additional features.

Password protect online folders. Too many times we see online folders that aren't password protected.

Don't rely on the software provider to explain the security risks.  It's best to password protect any folder that has setup files or admin files or log files or etc.

Turn Telnet off. Many web hosts provide Telnet for your account.  If you don't use Telnet, ask your hosting company to turn it off.

It's one tool a hacker has to try and "work" on your site.

Telnet is turned off by default on ActiveWebHost.com servers.

Put CGI / PL / PHP / etc. only in the cgi-bin. Why do most hosting companies only allow programs such as CGI to be ran/executed from within the cgi-bin?  For security reasons from hacking attempts.

If your host allows you to run CGI outside the cgi-bin, it is strongly recommended to keep the CGI within the cgi-bin for your protection.

Place an index.html in every folder. Create a blank index.html file for EVERY folder.  Otherwise, if a hacker finds one of your folders, they can usually see all the other files within that folder via the browser.

So put a blank index.html file in every folder to prevent this basic hacking attempt from happening.

This is especially important for folders like /images /orders /admin etc.

You might also set the html file to redirect them to your home page with the following code between the <head> </head> commands... 

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=http://www.yourdomain.com">

Log 404's 404's are generated when someone tries to visit any page on your website that doesn't exist.  Usually most of these are innocent from people that are coming from search engines to pages that no longer exist.

However, hackers know what pages exist for 1,000's of programs you can install on your web site.

They look for these pages via automated software and their software logs this information for them to come back to your site later to attempt to use the web based programs in ways you haven't anticipated.

You can log 404's via web based software you can install or your host may already provide this information.

ActiveWebHost.com clients can view this information by using their Control Panel under "Stats" and then "Error Log."

This report will also show images that aren't loading, missing files, and is helpful for debugging web based software.

Have a Security Audit You can also find web technicians that will perform a security audit for your web site and your online software looking for updates, finding potential problems, offering suggestions, etc.

We are more than glad to help, why not let our experts check your website security.  Let us hear from you!

Don't be a victim!  Protect Yourself TODAY!

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This information is Copyright 2002-2006 ActiveWebHost.com
Permission is NOT granted for any use by another hosting company.
If you wish to use this article on your website, newsletter, etc.
you MUST obtain permission first.
We will pursue any claims necessary to enforce this copyright.

None of this information is legal advice. Use this information at your own risk.

 
 
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