If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that the internet really isn’t a very secure place to store information. It seems as though every day we get to hear about some new cyber threat, or another major corporation that has recently been hacked. And for every news-worthy online attack, there are hundreds of thousands of cases of petty identity theft targeted at average computer users.
Because of this, when we come upon web forms asking us to enter in our personal information, we tend to panic just a little bit. How can we be sure that these forms are secure? This is a major concern not only for internet users, but also for web builders themselves. After all, if users can’t trust the sites that they visit, then the site owners aren’t going to be able to meet their own goals. So, here are a few ways that businesses and individuals can make sure that their web forms are safe, secure, and worthy of trust.
1. Use data encryption
One of the most common and useful ways to protect your web form is through data encryption. Data encryption uses mathematical calculations and advanced algorithmic schemes to change readable text into something called “ciphertext.” Ciphertext appears as unreadable gibberish when viewed by anyone without a special digital key.
Those who have the key, however, can easily use it to decrypt the data. When using web forms, data encryption is an absolute must, so that user information cannot be intercepted and stolen.
2. Rely on SSL
SSL helps establish a secure link between a server and a client, allowing sensitive information such as credit card numbers and personal data to be exchanged safely. SSL uses digital certificates that verify users on both ends, making it very difficult for outside parties to intercept and decode transmitted data. Unfortunately, if the certificates themselves are stolen, then any information being sent is in danger. Security can be strengthened by using multiple certificates. Likewise, a higher bit SSL will offer a higher number of possible combinations, in case a hacker attempts a “brute force” attack on your network.
Also read: Common Security Risks With Cloud Computing
3. Include CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA is a security measure meant to deter automated spam programs. It does this by showing an image of random, distorted letters against a background color gradient. It then asks that the user identify the letters in order for their identity as a living human being be authenticated. Spam programs are unable to read CAPTCHA, and thus cannot proceed.
Of course, these security measures are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to earning your users’ trust. Most people who come across web forms aren’t going to be interested in hearing a lot of technobabble about SSL and CAPTCHA; they’re going to be more concerned with what other users have experienced. This is why it is so important to make sure that your web forms are properly encrypted. One bad experience can not only end up costing you a lot of money, but it can also lose you your client’s trust—which is much more difficult to get back.