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The last thing you want after you’ve spent weeks developing the perfect website is to have that site attacked by malicious individuals trying to get their hands on your data.


Think your website is safe? Think again. 



Cyber Attacks



Source: Pixabay.com


Around 50,000 websites get hacked each day. On top of that, cybercriminals are constantly finding new and more convenient ways to breach the walls that companies have built to protect themselves. 



While it’s tempting to think that the problem will never happen to you, it’s much safer to prepare for the worst. 


After all, cybercriminals can target anyone—from huge corporations to tiny freelancer sites, so minimizing and mitigating the risk of a cyber attack is a priority for everyone.


You Must Understand the Threat First


Websites are attacked in multiple ways, which means that you need a security strategy that’s comprehensive if you want to survive. Three of the most common threats include:



  • Malware and viruses: Malware is one of the biggest threats to your business today. Around 230,000 malware samples are created each day. The right security standards help to defend you against malicious software. 

  • DDoS attacks: This form of attack denies entry to users trying to visit your website. The hacker uses spoof IP addresses to overload your site with traffic, taking the site offline. A reliable host can help to protect you from DDoS.

  • Gaps in your software: Any software on your site needs to be kept up to date. When a plugin or software solution is updated, it comes with patches for potential security issues. Updating your software keeps you defended from the latest attacks


There are many more vectors of attack through unreliable hosting or lack of security solutions, so making sure your website is safe requires much more than having a firewall and encryption.


Choose a Safe Web Hosting Plan


If your web hosting provider offers security as part of your server package, then you’ll benefit from a higher level of protection for your website. 


Now that malware, viruses, and DDoS attacks are everywhere, it pays to choose a hosting provider that can support you with high-quality firewalls and virus protection


Remember, while shared hosting solutions can offer reasonably effective security features, the best support will usually come from a private hosting package. 


Depending on the size of your website, and the amount of data that you access and process each day, you may need something more secure than a shared hosting solution. 


After all, as the name implies, if one server is attacked in a shared hosting environment, all businesses on that server can be affected.


Consider Two-Factor Authentication


Due diligence in the cybersecurity world isn’t something that belongs exclusively to your web hosting provider. 


You’ll also need to make sure that your employees are taking steps to protect themselves, and your business. 


Penetration Testing


source: Pexels


According to the Verizon data breach report conducted in 2018, 81% of the breaches in the study were caused by stolen credentials. 


Many data breaches are caused by criminals who have been able to guess a password or gain access to an account. 


Two-factor authentication can help with this. Essentially, it means that your site requires two methods to prove a user’s identity before granting access. 


This means that if someone figures out your password, they still can’t get into your account, because they don’t have the second “authentication” factor.


Limit Public Wi-Fi Usage


Another major issue that’s becoming more common in the modern world is public Wi-Fi usage. Remote workers assume that it’s safe to log into public Wi-Fi when they’re in a coffee shop or coworking space. 


However, unsecured Wi-Fi instantly opens their computers up to the prying eyes of hackers and criminals who can get their credentials and hijack your site or steal customer data this way. 


A good solution is to ensure everyone who has the authority to log in to your site uses a Virtual Private Network. A VPN gives users private internet access and encrypted connections



That means that you can privately browse the internet and complete work, wherever you are. 


VPNs are excellent for both remote workers and everyday staff members that want to keep their browsing private. 


It’s worth noting here that you need to do your research first before you decide which VPN you are accessing.


Try Spyware Protection Software


Remember, there are plenty of tools that you can implement on your computers, servers, and websites that will help to protect you in today’s digital landscape. 


For instance, you can implement spyware tools that instantly make you aware whenever someone tries to access your website or your system using malicious code or software. 


Tools like Malwarebytes offer anti-virus protection, as well as defense solutions that help businesses of all sizes to deal with things like hackers, ransomware, and malware. 


Just make sure that you read the reviews of the software that you’re thinking of using carefully before you install it. Not all tools are as valuable as they seem. 


Don’t Forget Social Media


We share a significant amount of data on our social networks day in and out. While there are ways to establish some level of privacy, it’s important to remember that nothing we share can ever be completely erased from the Internet


From identity theft to acquiring ransomware fodder, social networks are a gold mine for anyone inclined to take down your site.


Our sharing habits make it easy for hackers to find information and use it to their advantage. For example, you use the same email to log in into your social media accounts and your website admin page. You play a game or connect an app, and just like that, your email can be distributed beyond your control.


Alternatively, hackers can access your browsing history or brand interactions. This, in combination with easily finding your contact data, gives them the recipe for perfectly personalized phishing scams.


Take time to consider what you are posting on social media and if it could possibly be used against you. Don’t make yourself an easy prey for ransomware attacks.


Penetration Testing


If you run a website that regularly processes sensitive data, like payment info on an eCommerce site, this might be a wise step to take.


The goal of penetration testing is to simulate attacks and identify vulnerable spots on your site. While there are platforms and software that help you do this yourself, consider whether hiring a professional would be a better solution. 


Penetration Testing


source: Pexels


Security professionals are familiar with every trick in the book and can provide you with actionable steps for improving your security level. 


Hiring a professional may mean some more money out of your pocket upfront. However, if your entire business and brand image are at stake, not making sure your site is bullet proof could result in devastating consequences for your business.


Back-Up Your Site


Finally, while it’s important to always be looking for ways to protect yourself from cyber-attacks, it’s also worth being prepared for the worst. 


Attackers often attempt to lock business owners out of their website and communication systems to extort money from them. This is a strategy called “Ransomware”. If the owner doesn’t pay the ransom, they will lose access. If they do, there’s no guarantee they will get their site back either. 


You can stop yourself from falling victim to ransomware attacks, or other issues that might lock you out from the site, by simply backing up your website. 


If someone does manage to lock you out of your website, or your website is down because there’s a hosting issue, you can simply shut down that site and start again with your backup


Not only will backing up your website take the power out of the hands of the criminal, but it will ensure that you’re ready for any issues that may come your way. 


Protect Yourself!


If you haven’t taken the appropriate steps to protect yourself from the threats of the modern digital environment, you’re putting your entire company at risk. 


Choose a reliable hosting provider and be up to date on the latest cyber threats and security practices. 


While it’s impossible to predict and prevent every possible attack, you can make life harder for the criminals that try to disrupt your business. 


The steps above will make sure that your site is as secure as possible as your organization grows. 


Heather Redding is a content manager for rent, hailing from Aurora. She loves to geek out writing about wearables, IoT and other hot tech trends. When she finds the time to detach from her keyboard, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.


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