Many organizations invest heavily in their website, paying setup fees, hosting fees, SEO optimization, etc. But do companies know what security issues might be lurking beneath the surface of their website? To prevent businesses from having their investments wasted due to poor security planning, Anthony Green, CTO of cybersecurity firm FoxTech, explains what business owners can do to protect the security of their most great asset online.
An unsecured website is like an unlocked door for a hacker. Through a website hack, cybercriminals can steal sensitive customer data and use it to demand ransom from companies, insert backlinks to fraudulent sites, launch phishing attacks to trick customers into making fake payments or earning money by selling data on the dark web. They can also launch a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack to render the site unusable, preventing sales and damaging customer trust.
Many business owners think that as long as their site isn’t constantly crashing or being spammed by bots, they don’t have to worry about cybersecurity. Unfortunately, even a calm website on the surface can hide an array of security issues. If an organization has never studied the strength of their website’s security, chances are it needs to be improved.
How do hackers gain access to a website?
Cybercriminals can access a website and its data in different ways. They often target the different types of software a site uses to run, from web servers and content management systems like WordPress, to database servers and their operating systems. Web hosting providers can also fall victim to attacks, with a successful breach giving the hacker access to all of the websites they host. Brute force password attacks can also be used.
Surprisingly, it’s also not uncommon for organizations to unknowingly have entire customer databases exposed to the internet. So sometimes a hacker doesn’t have to work hard at all to gain access to sensitive information. Businesses can access a free initial report of their Internet-connected assets using FoxTech’s CyberRisk Assessment Tool.
While investing in vulnerability monitoring and reacting quickly to new threats is the best way to continuously protect your website, most companies can make big improvements just by implementing a few simple security strategies. At FoxTech, we are committed to helping businesses improve their cybersecurity. Here are our Top five tips to protect your website from hacking:
Always install software updates
A common method hackers use to gain access to a website is to exploit vulnerabilities in the software a site uses to stay operational. Software vendors frequently analyze weaknesses in their system and create fixes, which are rolled out to users via software updates. By always installing these updates promptly, you can ensure that your site won’t be exploited by hackers targeting those using old software with unpatched vulnerabilities. You must install updates on all your software, including security plugins, web servers and CMS.
Enable two-factor authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your site means that even if a hacker has gained access to your passwords or those of your user, they will not be able to log in without entering a code sent to the user. device linked to this account. This is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to protect accounts associated with your site from a data breach. If you’re working on a WordPress site, popular 2FA tools include SecSign and the Google Authenticator plugin. Organizations can also strengthen their protection against password attacks by following the advice of the National Center for Cybersecurity on updating password policies.
Make sure your security products are configured correctly
Security products, such as anti-virus software and firewalls, are designed to find and block hacking attempts. However, if you simply install these products and then leave them alone, you are wasting your money. Any security product must be properly configured and monitored or it won’t provide the comprehensive protection you expect. Companies that lack the in-house capability to perform these tasks can be reassured that hiring a third-party cybersecurity consulting firm to properly configure all products should be relatively low cost.
Be picky about your host server
Choosing the wrong web host could wreak havoc on your website. It may be tempting to go with a cheap web host, but the low price comes at a cost. These providers often have glaring flaws in their security measures, making them and the websites they host vulnerable to attack. Although trusted web hosts have a higher price, they offer strong server security. Look for a host that provides real-time analysis and monitoring and alerts you immediately if it detects any issues.
Create regular backups
If your security measures are not up to scratch, creating regular backups will not prevent a hacker from gaining first access to your site. However, that means you have the power to cut them off at the source. Once armed with a recent backup of your site, all you need to do in the event of a breach is delete the hacked site and reload your backup. Of course, prevention is better than cure, and you should never bring your site back online without resolving the security issues that caused the hack. But, that said, having backups will give you confidence that you can stop a hacker in their tracks, without having to rebuild your site from scratch.
Don’t wait to think about security until you have a problem – it’s never too early to start protecting your greatest asset online.
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