Is Your Website Really Safe?

hacker trying to get into laptop

Website security is a vital aspect of a web presence, but is often times overlooked. A web attack can cause irreversible damage to businesses’ web presence and reputation. Google is diligent about protecting users from hacked sites, and blacklists roughly 20,000 websites per week for malware and 50,000 for phishing. If a business doesn’t protect their website from being hacked, it is easy to become a blacklisted site. Much like personal identity theft, it is much easier to protect one’s self before this happens, rather than deal with the cleanup after an attack.

Website and cyber attacks are becoming more prominent each day. A common misconception is that businesses think they are “too small” to be a target for hackers. What these businesses don’t know is that hackers use automated tools to identify vulnerable sites. The automated tools don’t discriminate by business size or prominence, they are set to find a weak website, regardless of who owns it.

A hacked website does not only affect the business that the website represents, but it also targets its customers and users. Hackers can deposit malicious software that gathers customers’ personal data, redirects to another website, and infects users computers with malicious software. When a customer realizes your website has infected their computer with malicious software, they are not likely to return to your business.

There are many different motivations for hackers, and it is important to understand their drivers in order to properly protect one’s website. The most common motivations for hackers remains stealing users’ personal information for identity theft and acquiring user’s/customer’s banking information to make fraudulent transactions.

How do you know if your website is safe? There are a few basic best practices that users should follow to decrease their vulnerabilities.

Install a SSL certificate

A SSL certificate allows for secure connections between a web server and browser. A SSL certificate enables the padlock and https protocol on your web address.The certificate secures data transfer, logins, and credit card transactions.

Scan your site for malware often

Many website hosts offer a security check scan to identify potential weaknesses.

WordPress has a built-in security check feature that is offered free of charge. They also offer a paid version that allows users to schedule regular, weekly checks. 

Use a secured host

When choosing a website host, it is vital to ensure the host you select offers network monitoring, a SSL certificate, DDoS protection, and remote backup. Website hosts have varied offerings, so it is important to conduct research before choosing a host. 

Ensure your host, plugins, and theme are updated

Updates to your host, plugins, and theme are created not only to improve the overall look and functionality, but to increase security measures. If you are still using an outdated version of WordPress, for example, you are not being protected by their new or updated security features, and the automated tools that hackers use will target you before someone running an updated version of WordPress.

Protect your admin user directory

Being a website administrator is a big job. The site administrator is not only the

person who typically ensures everything is running properly, but they are responsible for ensuring safe practices and protecting their personal system as to not transfer malware to the site.

In short, it is undoubtedly critical to protect one’s website. There are many different online resources available to check your website’s vulnerabilities, but the greatest security is having a professional’s advice and intervention.

Megan Dailey