Some businesses owners think that they are 100% safe from cyber-attacks and don’t need a website security guide to enhance their sites. Statistics show that over 50,000 websites are hacked daily. This means that your site is also at risk. More so, 43% of these cyber crimes target small businesses.
On top of this, 54% of corporate websites reported some form of cyber-attack in 2018, and only 38% of the businesses can handle a cyber-attack. For this reason, you need to take drastic measures to improve your website security.
Today we bring you a comprehensive website security guide to help you enhance site security in 2019 and beyond.
Common Website Security Threats
Cyber criminals have multiple of ways of infiltrating your website, and in this section we look at the common threats that they use today.
Viruses and Malware
There are approximately 230,000 malware samples created every day. The viruses and malware come in different sizes and shapes, and are mostly used to access data or use server resources.
Hackers will also install malware on your website to earn money using affiliate links or ads by changing your website permissions. These actions poses a threat to your website, as well as to the site visitors.
Hackers spam your website in an attempt to build backlinks by using bots to hammer the comments section of your posts. More often than not, the links lead to other sites that have malware, and once a user clicks on them, they download malware that harms their devices.
Worse still, Google crawlers can detect malicious links in your website and you could be penalised for hosting spam. Such penalties will greatly hurt your SEO ranking.
Search Engine Blacklists
In a Web security impact on SEO report, 74% of the websites were hacked for reasons linked to SEO. If site visitors report your website for being unsafe or having spam, you could be added to the search engine blacklist, and it is nearly impossible to come off that list.
DDoS attacks deny users access to your website. The hacker uses a spoof IP address to overload your server with traffic, which consequently takes the website offline.
The web host will have to scramble to get the server running again, and this leaves the server vulnerable to malware.
WHOIS Domain Registration
When buying a domain, you are required to disclose personal information that is recorded on WHOIS data. This data also includes information about your URL name servers.
Cyber criminals can use this information to pinpoint the location of your host server and use it as a gateway to access your web server.
How to Keep Your Website Safe
In this second section of this website security guide, we will look at how you can keep your website safe.
Choose a Safe Web Hosting Plan
Essentially, a web hosting company should add security protocols on their servers, which can be beneficial to your website. However, this is not always the case, especially with the low-priced shared hosting plans.
If one of the sites is hacked, it could pose a security risk to your website. This makes it necessary that you look for web a hosting service that has robust security protocol on their servers.
Update Your Software
Software upgrades come with security improvements and bug fixes. Hackers use bots that continuously scan your website software for vulnerabilities.
Failure to update your software will reveal the vulnerabilities, and you will be hacked before you know it. For example, 2017 had the worst ransomware attack that crippled over 200,000 victims.
Start Using HTTPS Protocol
The HTTPS protocol tells your site visitors that they are dealing with a secure server and nothing or no one can intercept the content that they are viewing or sending out.
Search engines also show preference to websites using the HTTPS protocol in search results. If you are not using this protocol, the browser will add a “Not Secure” prefix to your URL, and this will affect your website’s credibility and authority.
If you run an e-commerce website, you should combine HTTPS with an SSL certificate. It is a necessary combination since your customers will be entering sensitive information such as credit card numbers, addresses, and names. However, non-ecommerce websites could also benefit from the added layer of security.
Change Your Password
Most people have the one password for all online accounts. If you have an account in a hacked website, the hackers can access your login details, and change the administrative settings on your website.
Surprisingly, 25% of the passwords can be cracked in 3 seconds and 53% in two hours using John the Ripper. Hackers with more advanced software can make a connection and hack you in less time.
This makes it necessary that you change your password often or use tools such as 1Password to generate long and secure passwords that incorporate special characters uppers and lower case letters, which make your password nearly impossible to crack.
On top of this, you need to choose a web host that uses two-factor authentication to protect your password and entry into the website.
Secure the Devices You Use To Login to Your Website
Hackers have devised a new kind of malware that adds malicious files to your website by stealing FTP logins. It is an easy process where the hacker targets your devices as a gateway to your website. You should add antivirus software especially if you are constantly downloading files on the device that you use to log into your website. You should also scan your devices for malware regularly.
Limit User Access
Studies show that 95% of cyber-attacks are due to human error. The best way to avoid this is to limit the number of people who have access to your website. Ideally, you should implement the principle of least authority or least privilege to reduce the number of people that can make an error that leads to a cyber-attack.
You should also avoid having multiple people using the same login credentials, as this will not give them any sense of accountability.
Back Up Your Website
In many scenarios, prevention is better than cure, and if your website is hacked, you should be able to bounce back if you had backed it up. A tool like BackupBuddy can help you backup your website, and you will not lose anything in case of a cyber-attack. The trick is having a strict backing up schedule.
Cybercriminals have automated hacking and are using bots to identify vulnerabilities in websites. This will call for you to adjust the default settings on all software you use especially your CMS. More so, you should use tools to help you monitor the security on your website.
We hope that this website security guide has opened your eyes to the things you should do to secure your website. Contact us today for professional web design services that include the addition of robust security protocols to prevent any security breaches.