If you own or manage one or more websites then you will be well aware of the privacy issues that come with being a webmaster. When you have any type of online presence you are potentially exposing yourself or your business to hackers, spammers and identity thieves.

Whilst this sort of risk was once reserved for large multi-nationals it is now something that should be taken seriously by everyone from small business owners to individuals with a personal blog.

The reason is simple – hackers have realised that it is not just multi-nationals that are good targets for online hacking and in fact small business owners and individuals are often far easier to target because they tend to have fewer and less advanced security measures in place.

How can you protect your online properties from these hackers?

Protection starts with knowledge and it is important to understand what your potential exposure is online and what areas hackers are most likely to target.

Domain registration

The first place where you will potentially have sensitive information is within the registration details of your domain – these details are required by all domain providers in order to associate that domain with a person or business entity. This information, if not protected, is easy for hackers to look up and it can be used for social engineering, identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

The easiest way to protect your domain registration information from getting into the wrong hands is to protect your domain with domain privacy. Most domain registrars offer domain privacy as an additional service whilst some providers, such as Internet.bs offer it as standard.

Website contact page

The second place where you will often have personal information is on the contact page of your website. It is always nice to provide your visitors with as much contact information as possible because it makes you seem more approachable and often gives people a sense of trust. This is particularly important if you are running an ecommerce website.

However, this contact information can often be used by hackers as part of a social engineering attack. As such you should always ensure that you put the minimum amount of information on your contact page as required – normally this would include postal address and telephone number.

It is best to avoid the inclusion of email addresses and rather to have a contact form so the destination email address remains hidden.

It is also wise to avoid the use of personal names and job roles, especially on a business website, as this information is very valuable for hackers when it comes to social engineering and whaling.

Website hosting

The third place where information can often be made available to hackers is at the hosting provider. This is something many people don’t realise but in actual fact the hosting company that you run your website from can be a great source of information for hackers and identity thieves.

The best way to protect against this is to use an offshore hosting provider that offers anonymous hosting. When you set your website up using anonymous hosting it means that all of your personal details are held securely by that hosting provider and will never be passed on to anyone, regardless of the circumstances.

This offers the perfect protection from anyone who is trying to mine data from you personally or from your company and helps to protect sensitive information such as the website owner, server location and registration details from hackers, identity thieves and other malicious parties.

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