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Whether you build websites for your own businesses or for your clients, you understand better than most people how our collaborative lifestyles are based on the way we use technology to connect with each other at home, work, and everywhere else. By making your websites as strong on the backside as they are beautiful on the inside, you contribute to this scenario.
However, in order to do this, you must first understand why smart, simple, and secure websites should be the norm rather than the exception.
The Black Hats Of The Modern Age
The Wild West had its outlaws, mavericks who flaunted social laws and tyrannized innocent people out of envy, greed, malice, or some other twisted, dark purpose. In Western movies, they were often shown wearing a black hat, which became the filmmaker’s code for “bad guys.” Today, the new Wild West is the Internet, and it has its fair share of black hat cybercriminals.
With the heady days of the evolution of the personal computer revolution now officially over; everything new is only a refinement of the breakthroughs pioneered by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Steve Jobs and Steve jobs and Steve Wozniak, and many others. Unfortunately, we are now in a murkier, more dangerous era.
Cyber attacks have accelerated across all platforms. Worse still, cybercriminals are getting better at refining and improving malware.
Some crimeware like ransomeware, automatic transfer systems, and the Black Hole Exploit Kit have become devastatingly effective. We have to divest ourselves of the simple notion that hackers are high school students or social outcasts in third world countries with too much time on their hands. Today, hackers are more likely to be a new form of mafia. They are often professional gangs who pursue their devious purpose with the same ruthless discipline and attention to detail as the villains in James Bond movies. They are actually so good at what they do that in many instances traditional security software has been no match for them. For example, the new generations of advanced persistent threats swarming through the Internet easily escapes detection and like Ninjas exploit security loopholes in networks and websites.
What Can You Do?
The quality of Internet Security varies from one vendor to another, making it difficult to decide what security features are important and what type of security software to buy.
Internet security software company Trend Micro suggests that good software has at least three fundamental characteristics:
First, it offers excellent protection. How well does the software block threats to websites and hard-drives? Protection should be smart. It should work in real time, function intelligently, and have numerous layers of defense.
Second, it is easy to use. How easy is the software to use? If it is hard to install, change settings, and otherwise use the software, then it will be quickly be abandoned by impatient users. If it is easy to manage it will have a clear purpose, will be simple to deploy, and it will not be a drain on system resources.
Third, it provides effective scanning. How effective is the software at scanning malware and is it effective in working with security environments, with new technologies, and with new online threat trends.
What Is The Risk?
At this point, you may be wondering if this entire business of Internet security has been exaggerated and that the cybersecurity industry itself is a little paranoid. After all, as a designer, you may only be building simple websites for your own business or working with clients who appear to be unlikely to attract the attention of hackers. That is not how hackers think, and here are some statistics that suggest that everyone is vulnerable and that, in fact, experts in cybersecurity may not be warning us enough:
- About 9.8 million adult users on Facebook had their account hijacked by an unauthorized person, who then either harmed their reputation, or attempted to hassle, menace, or defraud them.
- About 58.2 million users had malware infection that slowed down their computers and compromised its performance. The cost to clean out this malware and fix damage caused by it added up to a staggering $3.9 billion.
- About 9.2 million users were suckered into a “phishing” scheme. Over a 100,000 people lost money from their Visa, PayPal, Chase, or Bank of America after being hoodwinked into giving their personal information to criminal websites masquerading as the websites of these well-known financial institutions.
In order to enjoy the upside of the Internet, like staying connected and accessing useful information, without the downside, like malware wrecking havoc on your devices and websites, you must increase your awareness about the dark side of the Internet. Without a clear understanding of the threats lurking online, it is difficult to take the necessary steps to protect your websites. Experts predict cybercrime in 2015 may be worse.