This article addresses some of the most common threats to your website security. These are things that you’ll want to be prepared for when layering your security across your platforms.
You’d think spam comments could be filtered out entirely, and there are certainly ways to reduce it across your site. It’s not harmless if you ignore it though. In fact, it can impact your website rank.
Some spam is malicious, and bots are frequently used to spam comment forms with backlinks to another site.
Spam comments can make it harder for readers to engage with your site, and any phishing links posted might contain malware, which can harm your website visitors.
Viruses and Malware
First, let’s define malware. Malware stands for “malicious software,” meaning, malware and viruses are virtually the same thing.
According to AV-Test there are approximately 450,000 new malicious programs created every day. There are many types of malware attacks used across the web and the world from ransomware and backdoors to botnet attacks, and malicious downloads.
These types of viruses are often used to access private data or to deplete server resources. Criminal groups use malware to make money with ads, clicks or hacking your website permissions.
Hackers can introduce malware into your computer infrastructure directly through phishing links to employees, redirecting traffic to a fake website or directly hacking your site.
Best practice is don’t click on links you don’t recognize or trust. Be sure to talk to your employees or contractors who have access to your website or are using company computers about your security policies.
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) is an attempt to disrupt normal traffic to a specific server, service or network by overwhelming the target and surrounding infrastructure.
Multiple compromised devices and computer systems are used as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines and devices can include networked resources (even your smart toaster) and computers on the same network.
DDoS attacks are carried out across networks of devices and internet-connected machines.
These types of attacks take your website offline, or it crashes. Now you’re scrambling to get your server back up and running which leaves it vulnerable to malware or a virus, not to mention a loss of revenue and credibility for your business.
Search Engine Blacklists
If your website is attacked, it has a ripple effect in other areas of your business. Google might downrank your website or diminish your SEO rankings if your site is deemed unsafe or reported.
Here are ways your website could be blacklisted:
- Web page spam: When you use hidden text, redirects and cloaking to rank better in Google search results.
- Paid links spam: The purchase and sale of links that rank you better.
- Rich snippets spam: If you use false or misleading information such as fake reviews to rank.
- Malware: This is when sites are infected with or attacked by malware and provide a harmful user experience.
- Phishing: Websites and pages designed to steal personal information by pretending to be another page, such as a PayPal landing page.
Prevention is the best method to protect your business and your website.
How to Keep Your Website Safe
Use HTTPS, which is a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol that protects communication between the website and server through encryption. This helps prevent hackers from reading or interfering with the information passed from site to server. SSL should be standard on any new site you create but is especially important if you have online transactions and sales through your website.
You can improve your website security by combining HTTPS with an SSL certificate. This is required if you have ecommerce websites, since users are submitting sensitive information such as credit card details, names, and addresses.
Update Your Software & Plug Ins
Ensure your website, plugins and software are all up to date. Additionally, check that your computers and mobile devices are also up to date since there are bugs and glitches which make software vulnerable to attack.
Secure Web Hosting
Choose a web host that is reliable and has good secure web hosting and security tools which will help prevent attacks on your website and services. Ideally, secure hosting should have continual testing, a bug bounty program, and 24/7 monitoring. Other considerations of where you host, whether they are GDPR compliant and adhere to international standards regarding privacy and security.
If you’re running a large ecommerce site or have multiple sites, you’ll likely have people to help manage them, and each will require different degrees of access. Make sure to adjust how much access each person requires to do their job and reevaluate the access quarterly.
Have a security policy in place that applies to all site administrators, which includes their site management tasks and access levels.
Many secure web hosting services provide daily and weekly backup solutions for your sites. If automatic backups are not created, ensure you turn that feature on, and consider making periodic backups of your own to have in case the web hosting service has a major security incident, or there is any type of disruption of service.
Change Default CMS Settings
Part of proper website management and safety in changing from the default Content Management System (CMS) settings. Change your comments and user permissions to assign privileges and roles to each site admin.
Changing these settings along with file permissions makes it more difficult for bots to read and lowers the risk from cyber attacks.
Website security should be a top priority for you and your business.
Take the necessary steps to lower your risk and keep your website secure. Being vigilant and layering your systems and security will set you, your website and business up for success, and help you prevent cyber attacks. It won’t necessarily stop the cyber criminals but it will make your website harder to hack.
Here’s are some key takeaways for your website security:
- Set up SSL on your site
- Update your core software, plugins and servers
- Ensure strong password use across all users
- Implement two-factor authentication for site admins/users
- Backup website daily/weekly
- Use a site scanner to check for irregularities and attempted attacks
- Site monitoring and a secure webhost/server
If you need assistance now, you can book a consultation with us at https://lockdownyourlife.as.me/strategy.
The guidance included in this article do not constitute legal advice and is for educational purposes only.