Article: Rozey Gean

The Small Business Library

April 27, 2000

Are You Protecting Your Clients ?

As an active online shopper, I am always concerned with security issues regarding the treatment and safety of my personal credit card number or online check transactions. As the owner of a web site, I also concern myself with these same issues to help protect any current or future clients.

If you're managing a web site, it's a good idea to know what risks are involved and how to minimize them. A breach of security provides the criminal with an ability to gain access into your system.

Why should you safeguard your data?

  1. You might have a communal site that is for members only; or
  2. You charge an admission fee to access your web site content; or
  3. You're conducting business and collect valuable data from your customers; or
  4. You have a directory with contents that no one else should be able to view.

An Easy Target
I find some very interesting information through my online travels. Some of which, I am certain, the web master did not intend for me to see. While an intentional hack-attack may be common, it's important you realize that an assault need not be malicious to be destructive. Certain information in the wrong hands can become a major disaster!

As a rule, a criminal generally prefers an easy target, and computer criminals are no exception. Believe it or not, hackers actually patrol the Internet looking for systems they can breach. For some, they make it their mission in life.

Prevention Methods
A strong preventative measure can be as simple as making your web site harder to penetrate; or you may choose to remove important information altogether and store it off-line.
Working on the web without some sort of security is a disaster waiting to happen. Oftentimes, it is neglect on the part of the web site owner that provides the hacker with the capability of infiltrating the system. Don't become another online statistic when you can take the necessary steps to secure your web site now. Whether you have programming experience or not, these methods are relatively easy and can be done by anyone.

For example, you can:

  1. Use PASSWORD Protection

    Depending on your needs, it is possible to password protect one or more directories on your web site. Visitors would then need the chosen password in order to access the content of your web pages. If you have access to your own cgi-bin, you can install Perl scripts. If you don't have access to your own CGI-BIN directory, you may want to consider using Java.

  2. Implement Default Pages

    By placing a default home page, (index.htm or index.html) inside each of your web site directories, you are using a simple technique to prevent directory listings from showing in a browser window. This works well for an image directory or an area that holds any client information. By adding some Meta Tag redirection code to your default HTML pages, you can steer would-be-hackers away from important information and lead them to a new destination.

  3. Use A Reliable Host Server

    If you take online orders, make certain your Host provider offers key cryptography techniques for Internet security through the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol. If orders are sent to you by e-mail, find out what type of encryption method is used for passing this vital information to your e-mail box.
    More info can be found at the SSL Info

  4. Safeguard Your Passwords

    I feel silly telling you this but, by keeping your valuable information to yourself, you are protecting yourself in the most basic sense. Never share your passwords or login information with friends or associates. This information in the wrong hands can lead to your downfall in a matter of minutes.

Make no mistake... you ARE vulnerable online.
One of the most important factors in achieving a safe and secure web site is the proper prevention of disaster. By taking the necessary steps to prevent an attack BEFORE it happens, you are creating a safe and secure environment for building client relationships and conducting business.

Copyright 2000, Rozey Gean, All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Rozey Gean is the founder of the web site where writers, publishers, and online entrepreneurs are brought together in an easy-to-use, friendly interface.
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