This guest post is from Kim DeLisle of SecureThoughts.com.
I would like to thank Randy A. Brown for allowing me to contribute to the site! I love his musings on writing and the Bible, and he also writes some really great, practical articles like this one on Creating Amazon Affiliate Links in WordPress. If you haven’t already, make sure you take a look around once you’re done with this article!
Keeping your website secure is one of the top responsibilities of a webmaster. Not only do your security choices affect you (and possibly your livelihood) but also anyone who uses your site.
However, you can’t always be glued to your computer—you’ve got a busy life. Whether you’re out and about traveling, researching or photographing new content, or just at your daughter’s dance recital, how do you make sure that your website is secure when you can’t get to a computer?
Luckily, following basic security guidelines for mobile security, with a few tweaks, is usually enough to keep your website up and running securely. Here’s five apps that you can use from your phone that will help you keep your website safe!
We all know we should be using strong passwords, but how many of us really do? The problem with strong passwords is that if hackers can’t guess them, sometimes we can’t either. Luckily, there’s a solution to that problem: password managers.
1Password is generally regarded to be the best password manager. It’s free (though you will have to pay to use the mobile app) and can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux, in addition to your phone. Pick one super-strong password that you can actually remember (possibly aided with the app’s built-in password generator) and then import the passwords from all of your various accounts. You can also add credit card information for easy input when shopping. 1Password stores the information securely on their cloud, so you can access it from any device. They also have a “watchtower” service, meaning that they will notify you of security news that affects you.
Everybody is running an antivirus program on their computer, but sometimes we forget that it’s just as important on our phones.
Smartphones have unique security needs. Not only are smartphone users often using public Wi-Fi, but the physical item is more likely to get lost or stolen. This app from Bitdefender gives you the kind of malware scanning and virus protection you’d expect on your computer, with additional features specialized for smartphones. For example, if your phone gets lost or stolen, you can lock it, track it, or wipe it over the internet. You can also set passcodes for specific apps, so that if a friend (or someone less trustworthy) picks up your phone, you don’t end up with ridiculous Facebook status updates or an empty bank account.
In addition, it gives you an app auditor, which tells you how your downloaded apps are using your information. A lot of people trust that anything on Google Play is safe for use, but that just isn’t true. Unlike iOS, when you download an app, you either give it all the permissions it asks for or you can’t use it.
This one is in the same genre as Bitdefender’s app, but a little different. Lookout will continuously scan for viruses, malware, adware, and spyware like Bitdefender does, and also will help you find your phone even when it’s on silent.
However, it also has features that Bitdefender’s doesn’t. Not only will it help you locate your phone, including when it’s on silent, but it will save your phone’s location when the battery is low. Additionally, if someone messes with your device, you’ll get an email with a snapped photo and a location. Lastly, this app allows you to back up your contacts.
This tool uses web scraping to monitor websites for malware infections, as well as its availability, load time, Alexa ranking, Google PageRank, blacklisting, the presence of outdated software (currently just for WordPress and Drupal), and reciprocal links.
It checks your website against security databases such as Google Safebrowsing, Norton Safeweb, and Yandex to check for security problems.
Due to its methods, it may not be 100 percent accurate, but in my opinion, it has enough other perks that it’s certainly worth a free download. It was created by an individual, so progress is slow on updates, but they promise exciting updates such as Twitter and Facebook integration soon.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is the best way to really keep your information secure. It’s a subscription service that encrypts all of your data on its way in and out of your devices.
With your mobile device in particular, you probably use a lot of public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN greatly decreases the danger of using public Wi-Fi connections, which can be easily intercepted for the purpose of extracting your personal information. Once a hacker has your account names and passwords (let alone your credit card information!), imagine the kind of damage that could be done and how quickly your website and its information could be compromised.
VPNs have the additional perk of helping you with your privacy. For example, it blocks external services from detecting your location, allowing you to visit websites that may be blocked in your location.
ExpressVPN is probably the best VPN out there, especially if you plan on using it on both your computer and your mobile device (which you should). It works across operating systems and won’t slow down your connection nearly as much as other VPNs will.
What do you think?
Of course, we love to hear from readers. What have you already been doing to protect yourself, your website, and its users? What has been working and not working?
I’m Megan and I work for AgileBits, the makers of 1Password.
I wanted to thank you for taking the time to educate your readers on the importance of online security, and for including 1Password in your discussion!
I do want to clarify a few points about 1Password. 1Password is available as free 30 day trial for Windows and Mac, and can be downloaded from our website. Licenses for the Mac and Windows versions of 1Password are available through the AgileBits Store. We also have free mobile apps available for iOS and Android. Both mobile apps include some Pro features which can be unlocked for a one-time in app purchase.
In this day and age, it is so important that we all use strong and unique passwords for every site that we visit, and password managers can help make it much more convenient to be secure.
Keep sharing the secure word!
Level 60 Support Sorceress at AgileBits
Thanks for that Megan – I’ll definitely be checking that out and also the other services that Kim has listed. Security is a minefield these days and any tools we can use to protect ourselves are good tools as far as I’m concerned!