Privacy has been a hot topic this year, especially when it comes to the various online platforms that we use daily. With a major Facebook data breach, new GDPR requirements, Chrome 68’s SSL certificate policy, and more cybersecurity news, it’s become increasingly important for users to be educated. Once a place to explore freely, hackers and viruses now plague the Internet looking for precious data.
I’d like to think there are two sides to cybersecurity. On one side, it’s a company’s responsibility to ensure that their visitors are safe. Popular search engines are making moves towards a safer web with SSL certificate requirements and tracking notifications. Customers now have the option to opt out (or rather, the option was always there, the policies are just more transparent). And why wouldn’t you want your visitors to feel safe? As a website administrator, the goal is to attract as much traffic as possible.
As a user, you also have a responsibility to keep yourself safe. A great motto to “surf” by: Think before you click. That email with the subject line about inheriting a large sum of money…don’t click it. That clickbait about the top 10 reasons magic is real…don’t click it. That ad promising you free dental care…DON’T CLICK IT!
Here’s how you, as a business and a user, can ensure safe surfing for optimal cybersecurity.
Ensure Web Safety as a Business
You might think your business is too small for a cyber attack. Don’t sell yourself short. Small and medium-size business are often targets of cyber attacks because they have little to no security measures in place. Hackers go through smaller business websites to get to the larger companies. No matter what size your business is, you should practice cybersecurity.
Are you one of those people who writes their username and password on a sticky note? Don’t be; use a password manager. A password manager, like 1Password, keeps all of your logins organized and locked away in vaults, accessible through single sign-on capabilities (SSO). We use 1Password to store all of our logins. You can create and share vaults for specific projects, list multiple logins for one project, and manage permissions for your team.
1Password allows you to generate random passwords and saves them so you don’t have to remember anything, and you won’t be taking a risk by using the same password for multiple logins (not safe). All you need to remember is one password to access all of your vaults. And, with the 1Password extension, you can simply right-click on an authentication field and automatically fill it in without having to copy and paste the username and password. The trade-off for memorizing one password, a hacker only needs that one password to access all of your information, so ensure that that password is strong…and secret.
Updates and Backups
Behind every great website is a solid maintenance plan. Your business doesn’t stop at a beautifully designed website, the backend needs attention too. Regular security and CMS updates ensure that your website is running up to par. In addition to updates, routine backups are equally important. Hiccups are inevitable. Sometimes servers go down or glitches send content into the ether. Backups ensure that you can recall data when these things happen.
Since the release of Chrome 68, Google now flags any website that doesn’t have an SSL certificate. Although this doesn’t affect how your website operates, it does notify users that your site is “not secure” in bright red letters (it’s not a good look). An SSL certificate ensures that the connection from your website to the server is safe. So, if users enter personal information, like credit card information or an address, they can rest assured that your website will keep it safe.
There are various levels of SSL certificates. For example, a simple blog may use a basic SSL that let’s users know it’s a safe place. (See that green padlock and the word “Secure” in the address bar?) On the other hand, a site that stores highly confidential information, like a bank, may spend more to highlight the authenticity of their certificate and let users know who’s behind the certificate. These websites will have a green padlock alongside their company’s name in the address bar, like a vanity tag.
Practice Web Safety as a User
Although it’s important for websites to employ security measures, it’s also up to the user to be wary of the information they give and the sites they visit. There are many safety features directly built-in to your browser, they just aren’t that obvious.
Check the Browsers Settings
- Chrome: Settings > Advanced > Privacy and security
- Edge: Settings > Advanced settings
- Firefox: Options > Privacy & Security
- Safari: Preferences > Security and Preferences > Privacy
Here, you can block ads, send Do Not Track requests to websites, manage website permissions, stop malicious downloads, and disable unsafe Flash content.
Double Check Links
Before you click that link, make sure it’s taking you where you want to go. Hover over a hyperlink and notice that the destination link appears in the bottom left-hand corner of your browser window.
Check for an SSL Certificate
Before you go on an online shopping spree, check to see that the website your entering your credit card information on has an SSL certificate. A website with an SSL certificate goes through hypertext transfer protocol via a secure connection (HTTPS). You’ll see a green padlock in the address bar followed by the word “Secure” and/or the business’s name. Click on that distinction and you can see the validity of the certificate, how many cookies are in use, and adjust the settings to manage permissions and block pesky ads.
The Internet is just another landscape in which we explore, communicate, and exchange important information. In a time where users’ privacy is a big concern, everyone can take simple steps towards a safer web. Sevaa Group can help by issuing SSL certificates starting at just $10/month. Furthermore, we’re always available for maintenance, no matter what size your website is. Contact us about how we can help you make your website more user-friendly.