With cyber attacks happening left and right, website owners need to step up their game and protect their sites from malicious hackers. Website security is all about using technical measures and best practices to prevent unauthorized access, data breaches, and other cyber attacks.
Having top-notch website security is crucial for safeguarding user info, keeping your brand rep intact, and avoiding major safety breaches.
So, in this article, we'll be taking a look at some strategies you can use to make your website a safe haven on the Internet.
Website reliability is a crucial aspect of website management that cannot be ignored. As the Internet becomes more integrated into our daily lives, online threats such as hacking, malware, and phishing attacks continue to grow.
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It's worth realizing the importance of website security and the steps you can take to protect your online presence before any trouble happens.
Why Is It Worth Investing in Site Security?
- One of the most significant reasons to invest in website reliability is to safeguard sensitive information. Hackers and cybercriminals target websites that collect personal and financial data. In 2020, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center received over 791,000 complaints of suspected Internet crimes, amounting to losses of over $4.2 billion. A security breach can lead to reputational damage, loss of business, legal action, and costly fines.
- Another reason for website security is to maintain the trust of your customers. A reliable website that utilizes encryption and authentication protocols instills confidence in customers. A 2020 study by Accenture found that 68% of customers are willing to spend more money with a company they trust.
Moreover, website security is critical for search engine optimization (SEO). Google takes website security seriously. Sites with SSL/TLS certificates, which encrypt data and provide reliable communication between the website and the user, are favored by Google's algorithms.
In 2020, Google announced that its Chrome browser would display a "Not Secure" warning on websites without SSL/TLS certificates, affecting over 80% of all websites.
The current state of cyber attacks is complex and constantly evolving. Cybercrime has become a global industry, with attackers using increasingly sophisticated methods to target individuals, businesses, and governments.
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problem. Attackers took advantage of the widespread shift to remote work and increased online activity:
- One of the most significant trends in recent years is the rise of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim's data, rendering it inaccessible until a ransom is paid. The frequency and severity of ransomware attacks have increased, with high-profile attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS, and Kaseya making headlines in 2021.
- Another dismal trend is the exploitation of supply chain vulnerabilities. Attackers target third-party vendors or software providers to gain access to their clients' systems. For example, the SolarWinds attack in 2020, believed to be orchestrated by Russian state-sponsored hackers, compromised the networks of several U.S. government agencies and numerous private companies.
- Social engineering attacks, such as phishing and spear-phishing, also remain prevalent. These attacks use psychological manipulation to trick users into divulging sensitive information or downloading malware. With more people working remotely, attackers have increased their focus on exploiting human vulnerabilities through social engineering tactics.
Large businesses may have more difficulty protecting their customers' data. However, for example, Aliexpress, a huge online retail service with 8.8 million customers a day, handles data protection perfectly and is a reliable platform. And third-party services that facilitate the work of sellers on this marketplace cannot get private user information from the site.
However, the threat landscape is not limited to large-scale attacks. Small and medium-sized businesses are also at risk. Cybercriminals target them as low-hanging fruit.
According to a 2021 report by Verizon, 36% of data breaches involved small businesses.
Hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in websites. Conducting a website security audit is an essential step in protecting your website and your users' data from potential attacks.
Conducting a website security audit
Conducting a website security audit is an essential step in ensuring that your website remains secure against cyber threats. The audit involves a thorough review of your website's infrastructure, applications, and access controls to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.
Let’s explore the steps involved in conducting a website reliability audit and provide some tips to help you along the way:
- Use automated tools to scan for vulnerabilities. There are several tools available for this purpose: Nessus, OpenVAS, and Qualys. These tools will scan your website for outdated software versions or misconfigured servers and provide you with a report of any issues found.
- Review user access controls. This includes examining user permissions and password policies to ensure that they are in line with best practices. For example, all user accounts should have unique and strong passwords, while administrative accounts should have additional measures, such as two-factor authentication.
- Conduct a code review. This involves examining the code for vulnerabilities such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. Code reviews can be done manually or using automated tools such as CodeSonar, Veracode, or Checkmarx.
- Prioritize vulnerabilities based on severity. Once vulnerabilities have been identified, it's critical to prioritize them based on severity and the likelihood of exploitation. High-risk vulnerabilities should be addressed immediately.
We would also advise resorting to payment consulting if you conduct payment transactions on the website. This will increase user security.
Fixing any issues found in the audit
According to a recent report by IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. That's a loss of a significant amount of money that could have been prevented by conducting regular website reliability audits. By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities proactively, you can reduce the risk of a security breach and protect your website and users' data.
Fixing vulnerabilities may involve:
- Updating software;
- Configuring servers;
- Rewriting application code;
- Redesigning user access controls;
- Implementing additional security measures, such as firewalls or intrusion detection systems.
Keeping your website software and systems up-to-date is critical for ensuring its security. Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities in outdated software and systems to exploit, and failure to keep them updated can lead to devastating consequences.
The importance of updating software regularly
Keeping your software updated is crucial for maintaining the reliability of your site.
Updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that have been discovered by the software's developers or security researchers.
Failure to update software regularly is one of the leading causes of data breaches, making it crucial to stay on top of software updates to avoid becoming a victim of a cyber attack.
Keeping your systems and servers up-to-date
Just like software, it's important to keep your systems and servers up-to-date to prevent troubles. Outdated operating systems and server software are often targeted by hackers because they are known to have flaws that can be exploited.
In addition to keeping your systems and servers up-to-date, it's also critical to regularly review your configurations to ensure they are set up correctly. This includes disabling unnecessary services, ports, and protocols, as well as configuring your firewalls and intrusion detection systems to protect against known attack vectors.
Ensuring that your third-party applications and plugins are secure
Third-party applications and plugins can be a major security risk if not properly secured. These applications often have access to sensitive data and can introduce vulnerabilities to your website.
Therefore, it's essential to ensure that any third-party applications or plugins used on your website are kept up-to-date and that any known vulnerabilities are addressed promptly.
What is more, the cybersecurity of IoT devices leaves much to be desired and is often ignored. Enabling the separation of IoT devices from pairing with your resource can significantly affect the IoT pricing. But it's worth the investment.
In today's digital age, passwords are more critical than ever in securing our online accounts and sensitive information. Yet, we still see instances where users choose weak and easily guessable passwords that leave their accounts vulnerable to hacking attempts.
Therefore, you should implement strong password policies to ensure your online security.
The importance of strong passwords
Strong passwords are those that are complex, long, and unique. A complex password is one that includes a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. And having a unique password for each account ensures that a single compromised password doesn't lead to a domino effect of hacked accounts.
Hackers often use brute-force attacks, where they use software to generate millions of possible password combinations until they find the correct one. With strong passwords, the time it takes for a brute-force attack to succeed increases significantly, reducing the risk of a successful hacking attempt.
Using a complex password is as important a level of protection as using reverse phone number lookup to shield you from calls from unknown phone numbers.
Enforcing password policies for users
Enforcing password policies for users is crucial in maintaining online security. Password policies should include requirements such as minimum length, the use of special characters, and regular password changes. Password managers can also help users generate strong passwords and store them securely.
Encouraging users to avoid reusing passwords across multiple accounts is also essential. Reusing passwords increases the risk of multiple accounts being compromised if a single password is hacked.
If your site is related to financial transactions, such as money transfers to other countries or the ability to buy BNB in Canada, security should be your first priority. User account passwords play a significant role in achieving this.
Encouraging two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to online accounts. With 2FA, users need to provide two pieces of information to log in.
Even if a hacker manages to steal a user's password, they still require access to their mobile device or another authentication method to log in.
Imagine you wake up one day and find that your website has been hacked, and all your data is lost. It's a nightmare scenario for any website owner, but unfortunately, it's not uncommon. That's where backups come in. They can be a lifesaver in such situations.
The importance of backups
Backups are essentially copies of your website and its data, taken at regular intervals. If your website is compromised, having backups ensures that you can quickly restore it to its previous state.
Backups also protect you against other scenarios, such as accidental data loss or hardware failure.
How often to back up your website
The frequency of your website backups depends on how often your website's content changes. If you have a blog with daily updates, you should back up your website daily.
If your website has static content and infrequent updates, weekly or monthly backups may be sufficient.
It's also essential to back up your website before making significant changes, such as updating plugins or themes. This ensures that you can quickly revert to the previous version if anything goes wrong.
Securely storing backups
Having backups is not enough. You also need to ensure that they are stored securely.
Backups should be stored offsite, in a different location from your website's server. This protects against scenarios such as server failure, where both your website and its backups are lost.
When it comes to website reliability, employees are often the weakest link. All it takes is one employee to click on a malicious link or download a virus-infected file, and your entire website's security can be compromised.
Therefore, train your employees not only to work with scraper API, enterprise automation solutions, accounting programs, but also different advanced website security practices.
Educating employees on website security best practices
Your employees should be taught to identify and avoid:
- Common phishing scams;
- Suspicious emails;
- Suspicious websites.
Moreover, employees should be made aware of the risks of downloading files or software from untrusted sources. The company should have a clear policy on downloading and installing software.
Also, a great practice would be to remove spyware, even if your employees use Apple hardware, which is often considered more resistant to hacker attacks. For this purpose, there are solutions that help to counter malicious software.
Conducting regular training sessions
Conducting regular training sessions on site reliability is essential. Training sessions should be held at least once a year to ensure that employees stay informed and up-to-date on the latest threats.
The training sessions should also cover any updates to the company's security policies and procedures, such as changes to password requirements or updates to the software.
Encouraging employees to report any suspicious activity
Encouraging employees to report any suspicious activity can help prevent security breaches. Employees should be made aware of the company's reporting procedures and who to contact in case of any security concerns.
Reporting suspicious activity can help companies identify and respond to potential threats before they become a more significant issue.
There are numerous security plugins and tools available that can help protect your website. These tools can be used to secure your website against a variety of security threats, including malware, hacking attempts, and brute-force attacks.
Here are some popular security plugins and tools to consider:
- Wordfence. Wordfence is a popular security plugin for WordPress websites that offers firewall protection, malware scanning, and real-time threat monitoring;
- Sucuri. Sucuri is a web security company that provides a suite of security tools for websites, including a website firewall, malware scanning, and DDoS protection;
- Acunetix. Acunetix is a website vulnerability scanner that can help identify and fix potential security vulnerabilities in your website;
- Cloudflare. Cloudflare is a web performance and security company that offers a suite of security tools, including a website firewall, DDoS protection, and SSL encryption.
Website security is of utmost importance in today's digital age. Cyber attacks have become more sophisticated and frequent, and it is essential to implement strategies to protect your website.
By implementing above-mentioned strategies, website owners can ensure the safety and security of their website and its users.
Dmytro Sokhach is an entrepreneur and the 6-Figure Flipper Club member. Founded Admix Global (web agency) that builds websites, makes them profitable, and sells them as business.