WEBSITE SECURITY - HOW TO PROTECT YOUR WEBSITE FROM EXTERNAL THREATS?
Website security is a definition of measures taken to prevent cyber-attacks on your website. In this sense, website security is an ongoing process and an important part of website management.
How to make your website more secure?
Your website is inevitably at constant risk, which can scare you, but it’s just a simple reality. Every day, more than 50,000 websites around the world can be compromised due to security risks.
You certainly can’t think of it this way, “it certainly won’t happen to me,” but the fact is that there are more companies with this mindset than should. They think criminals have bigger targets and there is no reason to attack their website. But this is certainly not the case. In fact, almost half of cybercrimes is committed against small businesses.
About 54% of companies around the world have experienced at least one attack in the last year. However, only 38% of them have prepared for and coped with these attacks.
You can’t expect a miracle that one day cybercriminals will just stop attacking your website. Therefore, you also need to take the first steps immediately to make your website more effective.
Website security can be a complex and constantly evolving field. In this guide, we talk about how website owners can reduce risks and apply security principles to the features of their website. Before you get started, it’s important to remember that website security is never a “do-it-all” solution, but instead encourages you to think of it as an ongoing process that requires constant assessments to reduce overall risk.
By applying a systematic approach to the website, we can think of it as a tree with several circles, moving from the outside to the innermost, and thinking of each circle as a separate layer of protection.
All of this should inspire everyone to improve the security of their website in 2020.
Frequent website security threats?
There is not only this one and only way in which your website will fall victim to a potential attack and your website security will also be compromised. Before proceeding, you should get a brief overview of the main security threats to your website. These are the things you want to avoid and be prepared for when you take the most important security measures.
Usually, spam presents us as something that bothers us. We all occasionally receive spam emails in our inbox, or we may see a pop-up window when we surf on the Internet.
Comment spam is extremely common on websites. Robots can fill sections of your website with page links to build backlinks.
While these types of comments can be annoying to you and don’t look good on your page, they may not always be harmful to your page. Although some of these links may contain malware that can be frustrating to your visitors when they click on them.
Going even further, Google can often detect some malicious URLs and remove your homepage altogether. This can completely destroy your SEO results.
- Viruses and Malware
For those who don’t know it yet, malware means malicious malware. If so, then the definition of malware and viruses is actually exactly the same. Malware is without a doubt the biggest threat to your website, as 230,000+ samples of malware are created every day.
Here are the main types of malware that occur in the cyber world:
⦁ Memory dumper/memory scraper
⦁ Remote administrator tool (RAT)
⦁ Keystroke logger
⦁ Remote admin
⦁ Password utility
⦁ Privilege escalation
⦁ Reverse shell
As you can see, malware can come in many different forms. This is also the reason why it is such a big threat to your website.
These types of viruses are often used to access your private data or use server resources. Criminals also use malware to make money from advertisements or to gain unauthorized access to your website.
Malware puts you and your website visitors at great risk. Some visitors to your website may accidentally click on a link on your page, which may result in some malicious files being downloaded to your device. It is your job to prevent this and ensure the security of the website.
- WHOIS Domain Registration
Buying a domain is like buying real estate. The company selling the property must be aware of who they are selling it to and how they can contact buyers. All this is made visible to the public.
All this also applies to the purchase of a website. Depending on the country you are currently in, you are required to provide information about yourself that is stored in WHOIS data. In addition to your personal information, it also contains information about your URL name server.
Cybercriminals also use this information to understand which server you are currently using. They can use it to maliciously access your web server.
- DDOS Attacks
DDoS attacks deny users access to specific pages on a website. Basically, this means that criminals use fake IP addresses to overload server traffic, which ultimately leads to a website running down the network.
Now, however, the host has to work again to set up the server so that its performance there is fast enough, which again leaves the server vulnerable to malware at the same time.
- Search Engine Blacklists
This in itself does not pose a threat to the security of your website, but if your website is not properly secured, it can affect your SEO.
As mentioned briefly before – if search engines detect something malicious on your website, your SEO will suffer as well.
When many users report that your website is either spam or insecure, you may at some point find yourself on a search engine blacklist that is extremely difficult for you to get rid of.
How to keep your website secure?
Now that you are familiar with the most well-known security threats, it is time to avoid them.
You certainly can’t expect your website to be secured right away. If you have not made some updates to this security, it is most likely vulnerable to various attacks. These are also the steps you should take to improve the security of your website.
- Use HTTPS protocols
If your website does not currently use the HTTPS protocol, it should be at the forefront of your priorities. Ultimately, it tells website visitors that they are connected to the correct server and that nothing else can harm the content they are viewing.
Without the HTTPS protocol, cybercriminals can exchange information on a page to collect confidential information about visitors to your website – such as usernames and passwords used to access the website.
The HTTPS protocol also improves your position on the results page.
It also provides peace of mind for people visiting your website. When they visit your website, they see something like this:
This will show you that your website is secure and reliable. Now compare a website that doesn’t use the HTTPS protocol. However, the URL of such a website should look like this:
By making your website secure, you can go even further by linking the HTTPS protocol and an SSL certificate. This is especially required by e-commerce sites that use sensitive information such as credit card numbers, names and addresses.
Although an SSL certificate does not necessarily preclude malware attacks, it does establish a connection between the server and the user’s web browser. Even if you are not selling anything on your website, using the HTTPS protocol and adding an SSL certificate is highly recommended.
- Update your software
Every software on your website needs constant updates. You should upgrade WordPress, the plug-ins that come with it, the content management system, and anything else that requires updates.
In addition to the ability to remove viruses and code bugs, software updates come with security updates. While the software you use is probably perfect, cybercriminals are looking for ways to exploit the vulnerability.
Many of the many cyber-attacks run automatically. Criminals use robots to identify which of your pages may be vulnerable. This means that if your updates don’t keep up with the latest software, it’s easy for criminals to find bugs on your pages before you take action.
- Choose a suitable and safe accommodation plan
Logically, if your web hosting provider has its own security on its server, you will reap the same level of protection, but not always.
Using a shared accommodation plan can be frustrating because of the price, but it’s not the safest option for you. As you may have read from the name, you share this server with other websites, which is why it is not as secure a hosting plan as some others.
If some of these other websites are attacked, criminals will gain access to a server that you use. This does not mean that you should not use it, but it is advisable to decide in favor of another option.
There are several accommodation services that will get you on the right track.
- Change your password
Change your password.
Inevitably, a large number of people have the same password for everything they are currently using, and they have been doing so for years.
Hence this problem. Let’s say you are someone who is interested in booking some accommodation. As a result, you have an account on one of the hosting portals that requires your email and password. However, if this password is compromised, criminals will also gain access to your username and password. However, if they find out that you own a particular website, they will probably try to access it through your administrative settings.
Surprisingly, as many as 25% of passwords protecting websites are completely useless, which is why criminals enter these websites within the first three seconds.
That’s why you need to constantly update your password. You can now use a password manager like 1Password to help you create longer passwords that also have special elements and are therefore very difficult to guess.
What’s more, you should now use a web hosting environment that uses two-part verification. This adds another level of security when using a password to protect a website. If your web hosting environment does not offer this option, there are other options for using your personal applications.
- Secure your personal device
Do not allow your personal device to damage your website.
Internetis on liikvel pahavara, mis saadab kodulehtedesse pahatahtlikke faile, näpates samaaegselt FTP logimise andmeid. It is easier for cybercriminals to achieve this by using your devices as payment gateways to your website. That’s why you need to make sure your computer has antivirus software. Are you surprised that anti-virus software is still up-to-date – especially if you’re using different computers or downloading different files. This way, you can inevitably accidentally download some malware without even knowing it yourself.
- Use tools to monitor your security
You cannot manually prevent attacks on your website. Instead, you should focus on the tools and resources that monitor the security of your website for you. Here you will find the best WordPress applications for this purpose.
Applications in this list will add a firewall to your website while fighting malware, spam, and other threats. However, you can also conduct audits that highlight your vulnerabilities so that you can take action to prevent attacks before they even occur.
- Restrict user access
You should not blame yourself here, because almost 95% of cyber-attacks are the result of human error.
The best way to assume all this is to limit the number of people seeking access. Not every company or person should have access to your website.
If you are planning to hire an outside consultant, designer or guest blogger, be sure not to give him or her immediate access to change the settings on your website.
For example, let’s say you forward a project to someone who needs a certain level of access to complete it. According to this principle, you will only grant access to them as long as they reach the end of their tasks. When everything is finished, you will return to your normal activities.
You also need to make sure that users have personal login information for them. If several people use the same username and password, it doesn’t give them much credibility.
- Back up your website
When it comes to the security of your website, you should always expect the worst. You will never want to end up in a situation where your website is compromised. But even if something goes wrong, your life will be much easier if the content of your website is fully backed up.
To do this, try using a plugin like BackUpBuddy to make sure that you do not lose anything from your website as a result of this attack.
It is one of several different WordPress plugins used for this purpose. So check out which solution from this list is best for you.
Some of these backup tools come with built-in security measures to help you prevent attacks.
- Adjust the default content management system settings
As has been said, many modern attacks are automated. Cybercriminals program robots to find websites that have default settings. In this way, they can target websites more widely and gain access using the same type of malware or viruses. Make it all as difficult as possible for them.
However, once you have installed the content management system, make sure that you also make a small change to the settings.
These are all examples of settings that you can change quickly and easily.
- Disable uploading of materials
Uploading files to your website by visitors can be risky because each file may contain a strip of code that poses a risk to your website’s vulnerability, especially if it is being implemented on your server.
In some cases, the nature of your website may require you to upload files. For example, if you want users to add media files about your products when they write something introductory. In this case, you should consider any upload as a potential threat.
You can also set it to save any uploaded files to a folder in another database. This way, you can also create scripts that bring these files to you from a more private place to transfer to your browser. However, it requires some programming and is also quite complicated to set up. However, the best solution is to completely avoid uploading files, or to disable the types of files that can be redirected to your homepage.
Website security must be your top priority. As long as you have not taken any steps to secure your website, it is a constant risk and can be the victim of cyber- attacks.
It is almost impossible to keep any website completely secure, as cybercriminals are always finding new ways to attack websites and obtain information illegally. Fortunately, you can make it harder for them with different security measures.
The fact is that if hacking on your site is made difficult for criminals, they will simply move on to the next pages that have not been subjected to security measures, and you certainly do not want your website to find itself on this list.