With so much of our lives, and business, taking place on the web, website security is a factor that has been the focus of much attention in the last few years. The rise of hacking and of other security issues that can result in anything, from the website being taken offline for a period of time to data being stolen and the security of both your business and your customers being put in a precarious position.
Luckily, with the advancements in technology, and the way in which websites have been built, there is no reason why your website needs to be a vulnerable aspect of your business. There are many ways that you can ensure that your site stays online and safe from would be intruders.
Why website security matters?
Having a website hacked is simply a common occurrence for anyone who owns or hosts a website. This is despite the belief that some people have that the only websites that get hacked are those owned by well-known brands or those that are selling things.
So since any website is prone to hacking, it is important that you take your security seriously because if you get hacked, it can have serious ramifications on your business and on those who are supporting your business.
Remember, when a website is hacked and either taken offline completely or broken in such a way that the site cannot be used by clients to gather information and make an informed choice about a buy, or just broken to the degree that it is ugly to look at, those who are visiting your website will turn away.
A broken and damaged website can cause people to go to your competitor instead!
The Types of Threats your Website Faces
The list of things that could happen to the website is almost endless, but knowing what the threats are can put you in a better position to prepare for the attack. Not all web threats are the result of a cunning hacker who tries to gain entry into the site, some are just sneaky people intent on stealing your information.
These are some of the most common threats that you are likely to encounter.
- Phishing Attacks
These are without a doubt the most common types of attacks and they can be both immensely annoying and incredibly realistic.
Phishing is all about getting a person to literally give the hacker the information that they are looking for. It could take on the form of a really convincing email or message from your website contact page, requesting banking details or other such information. Because the person contacting you is a really good liar and because they have set up their message in such a way that it looks legit, you can quite easily fall for it and give away your data, only to end up becoming a victim.
Phishing is not necessarily a direct threat to your website, unless said phisher has requested website login details and you have give them away.
Every person with a computer has come across this form of hacking. It consists of the hacker taking control over the device and as such refusing to allow the owner of the computer to do anything. It is frustrating and it is worrying, as those who are hacked using this method will risk having the sensitive information on their computer stolen.
When ransomware attacks a website it is commonly called server-side ransomware which allows the hacker to take over the website server and basically make changes or otherwise do damage to the website via the server. This also means that whatever other websites are being hosted on the server can also be subjected to an attack.
- Internet of Things Vulnerability
The Internet of Things might not sound like a legitimate thing, but it encompasses all of the devices that you have that can use to connect to the web. The biggest issue that you will face with these devices is that they are often not equipped to be fully secure and as such they are vulnerable to attacks which are made all the worse when the devices are all connected, generally by the same email address.
The vulnerability comes from the website that you are accessing, so you can imagine that when you are a website owner, if your site is hacked, you could become a security issues for others.
So what can you do to make your website more secure?
For starters, if you are not the one hosting and updating your website, you should talk to the designer/developer or host and ask them about what is in place to protect your site. They should be able to give you answers and you should be able to ask them any questions.
Beyond leaving it in the hands of others, you can also, consider the following.
- Make sure that you are using secure passwords
The best way to ensure that the password you use is effective is to use a randomised password generator. If you are using Firefox as your browser, as you will see that the browser gives you the option of generating a really strong password, which you can then copy. If you don’t have this option, you can always access an online password generator and then just choose a good one and either write it down or save it for later use.
Secure passwords are not going to be birthdates or pet names!
- Beware of strange emails
Emails are a common tool for hackers and they can be very convincing. These emails can have attachments or links, which when clicked on, will result in your online safety being compromised. So when you receive an email, check the address and the name of the sender. If you have concerns, it can help to Google the address and sender’s name. If the sender is a known hacker, you will probably find a warning online. If you find no information, and you are still not comfortable with the email, don’t open it.
- Use secure hosting and have an SSL certificate in place
All reputable hosting companies as well as any good design company, will be able to offer you both secure hosting as well as an SSL certificate (which is a security certificate). Hosting companies are only in business because they offer a high level of security to those who are hosting with them. These types of companies generally hire the services of high level internet security programmers to ensure that their servers are as protected as possible.
As for the SSL certificate, these are generated by the hosting company and will normally come standard, as a part of the hosting package that you choose. It is up to your designer or developer to add it to your site, and you can see if it is added by looking at your website URL (look for a little lock symbol before the website’s address. This indicates the site has a security certificate.)
If you are looking to improve your website security or if you have any questions regarding the current safety measures on your website, you can give Imaginet a call. We are more than capable of assisting you with all of your questions and concerns.