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Internet Security: How to Avoid Hacks to Your Website and Data

A recent global cyber crackdown resulted in the arrest of nearly 100 hackers involved in some type of cyber crime. With the growing concern of internet security, it’s more important than ever for businesses to make sure their systems are as secure as possible to prevent any malware attempts or other cyber attacks. Target learned that the hard way last year when they missed malware warning signs, and over 40 million of their customers’ credit card information was stolen in the biggest retail hack in U.S. History.

The following practical tips will help your business protect itself from online threats.

Internal Networks

  • Keep your operating system, browser, anti-virus and other critical software up to date. Security updates and patches are available for free from most major companies.
  • Install security software to monitor systems for potential threats and a firewall to block attacks. Assign a team of specialists to monitor systems for changes in the security environment and to periodically review web server access logs.
  • Keep contact numbers for your ISP's emergency management team. You will need to contact them in order to prevent the attack from reaching your network's perimeter in the first place.


  • Never click on links in emails. If you do think the email is legitimate, whether from a third party retailer or primary retailer, go to the site and log on directly. Whatever notification or service offering was referenced in the email, if valid, will be available using your regular log on session.
  • Never open email attachments from merchants. Retailers do not usually send emails with attachments. Turn off the option in your email hosts settings to automatically download attachments.
  • Verify the authenticity of requests from companies or individuals by contacting them directly. If you are asked to provide personal information via email, you can independently contact the company directly to verify this request rather than providing it when solicited.


  • Set secure passwords and don't share them with anyone. Avoid using common words, phrases, or personal information and update regularly. Be creative and make your passwords strong by using random combination of letters, number and symbols that have no connection to you or your family.
  • Pay close attention to website URLs. Malicious websites sometimes use a variation in common spelling or a different domain to deceive unsuspecting computer users.

Want even more tips for keeping your business secure? Visit StaySafeOnline.org for the latest information on how to protect your business, employees and customers from online attacks, data loss and other threats.

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