Yesterday we learnt that Apple have been targeted by the same hackers that infiltrated Facebook last month. On the face of it, most of us will probably find the attack slightly amusing as a) hasn’t resulted in any stolen data and b) every now and again it’s nice to see companies such as Apple get knocked down a peg as they have the upper hand on everyone the rest of the time.
What this does present is a powerful message to the rest of us about how unsecure the internet can be. If the likes of Apple, who naturally have some of the best software developers on the planet, can get hacked, where does that leave the rest of us?
Fortunately, most hackers of this level are going to probe around larger organisations. Although it would be much better if hackers didn’t exist at all, it does mean the rest of us are an unlikely target from such advanced threats. However, it shouldn’t stop us being vigilant – every profession (yes, hacking is actually a profession for some people) has different types of people working within them with varying levels of skill. The hackers that went after Apple apparently worked in a large team to get where they did yet there are still plenty of individuals, part time hackers and even hobbyist out there that could be a potential threat.
These recent hacking attempts actually on employees laptops though so how does this tie in with website hacking? Well, essentially it doesn’t directly however the principle is the same. Hackers will find any tiny security flaw in a piece of software which they will then exploit to gain entry – in Apples case, it wasn’t actually the software itself but a third party program called Java.
In terms of websites, this shows two very important things. The first is that no matter how well built or secure your system is, there are going to be potential ways it can be hacked. The second is that it’s not always your software you have to worry about but what you’ve attached to it. We use WordPress for the majority of our brochure websites and although there is an extensive (and very useful) plug-in library with a plethora of additional features, these provide much easier entry points than the software itself due to how they’re developed and sometimes, are even the access point themselves.
The issue then becomes “what preventative steps can we take to minimise the chances of our website being hacked”. Keeping software up to date will ensure the latest security measures are deployed to stop hackers. We only ever note the functionality changes to platforms however, developers will spend just as much time fixing any holes in the software as they do making it look pretty. Likewise, keep an eye on who has your admin details and where you store them. It sounds obvious but we don’t want to make a hacker’s job even easier… Take regular backups of your website too so you have a restore point if it does get hacked; don’t let it be moment of hindsight once it’s already been infiltrated. Finally, investigate any third party software or plug-ins you’d like to run on your website. If you’re unsure, get a development team to check through it or even better, have one built for you.
If you’d like to find out more about protecting your website, are having problems with an existing website, or would just like to find out more about website design why not get in touch? Call us today on 01284 706842 or email firstname.lastname@example.org