By Christine Paluf Internet security is one tough nut to crack. With the majority of ticket sales happening online, business owners need to stay...

By Christine Paluf

Internet security is one tough nut to crack. With the majority of ticket sales happening online, business owners need to stay on top of security measures to keep their network safe from hackers.

“Scams have gotten a lot more sophisticated over the last couple years. It’s getting harder and harder for even tech people to tell what’s legit and what’s not,” said IT Manager for TicketNetwork, Steve Boyle.

Credit card transactions and the personal information taken when customers place orders are the tastiest of morsels for those trying to breach a company’s security.

“The number one concern right now is identity theft,” said Assistant Vice-President of ControlScan, Ryan Mead. “There are always new threats out there.”

While individuals may be aware of measures they can use to protect their personal information, for a business, the approach may differ.

“For businesses, credit card fraud may be their biggest security issue,” Boyle said. “Businesses have a different problem in that many have a lot of credit card data, which makes them very attractive for hackers. More sophisticated people are willing to spend a lot more time trying to get into their systems.”

An ounce of prevention in this case may be just the first step in protecting key information from prying eyes and fingertips. Making data unreadable to nethacks is a crucial measure.

“Everything you send over the Internet goes through up to tens of dozens of locations, and at each location someone managing the network there could read everything that’s passing through their network if it’s unencrypted,” Boyle explained. “Anyone doing business online should make sure their Website is using 128-bit SSL encryption for any online transaction.”

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, which is a cryptographic system that codes sensitive data before transfer through the use of a key known only to the user. It prevents hackers from reading the data, as only the person with the key can decode the information.

“SSL is a means of transferring data in a secure manner,” said Chris Olanyk, network specialist for TicketLiquidator.com. “SSL information is sent via a different port than normal, unencrypted Web traffic. By employing the use of encryption you make yourself significantly less of a target to hackers.”

Whether the concern is personal or businesses related, no method is 100-percent fool proof. However there are a number of security measures that can reduce the risk of a security breach.

“Use passwords that are not easy to guess, not dictionary words. Change the passwords frequently, and don’t give it to other people,” Boyle recommended. “Also use good anti-virus and firewall software. And shredding is always good.”

For new businesses, the world of security can be a daunting one. It may be best to enlist the help of a professional in developing a secure site.

“Security can be very complicated, there are lots of little pitfalls,” Boyle said. “Most online merchants setting up a site are best off going with a pre-built solution from an established vendor.”

ControlScan is an Internet security company that offers peace of mind through network solutions.

“We offer identity-theft certification,” Mead explained. “We do in-depth vulnerability scanning of Websites to determine that there’s no real area a hacker can break in and exploit customer information.”

By hiring a professional to keep an eye on the network, risk is reduced, and security is kicked up a notch above the normal firewall solutions.

“There can be over 11,000 vulnerability scans that are updated every 12 hours for the most recent threats. Customers can log in and see in-depth reports on exactly what vulnerabilities are present,” Mead said. “We work with their hosts and Webmasters to help fix those vulnerabilities.”

Despite all precautions, problems do arise. When they do, it’s important to take immediate action.

“If you suspect you might have a problem, get it looked at by a technician as soon as possible,” Boyle cautioned. “They can see if any files were changed or tampered with, or if anything was installed that doesn’t look like it belongs.”

Keep on top of all updates from the manufacturer as soon as they become available, because as fast as technology changes, many hackers have the time to somehow stay ahead.

“It’s important to take a pro-active approach instead of reactive,” said Mead.