How to run a safe website

Bangalore, Feb 24 2014: So many of us have web pages of our own -- but we can't afford costly systems to keep them up and running -- safely. But there are things we can do. We bring you some web security hints from Net Security leaders Symantec:

Your website is your window on the world – it’s your shop front, your brand on display and a key route to market and perhaps your most essential sales and marketing tool. And as such it critical to your business: and if something bad were to happen then it would be a disaster your shop could be closed, your reputation tarnished and visitors stopped coming. This is why website security is so important.

1. Website malware: Web servers can be attacked by malware, compromising legitimate websites and using them to infect visitors is an increasingly popular tactic for online criminals: in 2012, Symantec saw a three-fold increase in this type of web attack.

2. Malvertising: Criminals can also sneak malware infections onto legitimate ad-funded sites using malicious advertising or ‘malvertising’. Last year, more than 10 billion ad impressions were compromised in this way.

3. Search engine blacklisting: Google is reported to block 10,000 sites a day. Search engines scan websites for malware and, if they find any on your site, your site could be blacklisted. This means that they stop listing the site, stop sending traffic to it and, depending on a visitor’s browser, they may also display a warning about the infection before the visitor goes to your site, even if they enter the address directly.

Big names like TechCrunch and the New York Times have been blacklisted because they were found to be inadvertently running infected ads.

4. Security warnings and expired certificates: Imagine that you’re a consumer and you’re ready to buy something but as you click on the checkout button, your browser gives you a security warning because of an out of date SSL certificate. The odds that you will complete the transaction are pretty low. Indeed, you’d think twice about coming back to the site in future.

5. Brand impersonation (phishing): Criminals use well-known names and brands to trick people into disclosing confidential information or installing malware. Often, they use fake websites to fool people. A more recent development has been the use of social media to lure people to fake websites where they disclose information, such as social media website passwords, in the hope of some reward such as free vouchers or a free phone.

6. Customer security concerns: With so much criminality and so many security concerns, it’s not surprising that people are wary when using websites and look for reassurance that they are safe. Trust marks, such as the Norton Secured Seal show people that you take security seriously. They also demonstrate that your site is scanned regularly for malware and other vulnerabilities.

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