It is very important that you keep your website secure.  If you are using an open source software, it vital you apply all security patches and keep your software and plug-ins up to date.  If you do not, most likely your website will become a victim for hackers.  You should also apply an SSL certificate to your website.  This protects your website by making it difficult for hackers to hack it.  Google announced last year that security was of utmost importance to them and they will give preference to websites that use https, i.e., have SSL.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a protocol that creates a secure connection between a client and the server over which information is sent. SSL works by using a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data. The first key is a private or secret key, that is only known to the recipient of the message. The second key is a public key, known to everyone.

If a url says https instead of http then it uses SSL. A valid SSL Certificate is an assurance that information you share on the site will be encrypted.

According to Google “You should always protect your websites with HTTPS, even if  you do not save sensitive communications. HTTPS provides critical security and data integrity both for your websites and for the people that entrust your websites with their personal information. HTTPS helps prevent intruders from tampering with the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers. Intruders include intentionally malicious attackers, and legitimate but intrusive companies, such as ISPs or hotels that inject ads into pages. Intruders exploit unprotected communications to trick your users into giving up sensitive information or installing malware, or to insert their own advertisements into your resources. For example, some third-parties inject advertisements into websites that potentially break user experiences and create security vulnerabilities. Intruders exploit every unprotected resource that travels between your websites and your users. Images, cookies, scripts, HTML… they’re all exploitable. Intrusions can occur at any point in the network, including a user’s machine, a Wi-Fi hotspot, or a compromised ISP, just to name a few.”  Read article here

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Article Author: This article was provided by Patty Frito, a graphic and web designer in Fairfax, Northern Virginia.