Did you know, over 30,000 websites experience malicious attacks from cyber-criminals and fraudsters daily? It’s said to equate to one attack every 39 seconds. Although there are millions more active websites on the internet, the worst thing to do with your website is to shrug your shoulders and say “it won’t happen to our site”.
It’s that kind of mindset that cyber-criminals prey on. Online fraudsters want an easy life. That’s why the seek out those quick wins to infiltrate fast and steal user data or direct users to their malicious content. It explains why more than two-fifths (43%) of cyber crime is committed against smaller businesses.
The reality is that hackers are not going to stop trying to find new ways of getting an edge and finding weaknesses in websites. That means you need to bring your A-game when it comes to your own website’s security. Consider the four following essential steps to maintaining the safety of your website and the integrity of your brand.
Publishers and content-rich websites should invest in an anti-malvertising solution
If you run a website that contains advertising, the chances are you and your users could be at severe risk of a malvertising attack. Cyber-criminals have begun to infiltrate the digital advertising ecosystem by creating forced redirect ads which direct users immediately to click on links to fraudulent, poor-quality websites teeming with malware that’s ready and waiting to steal your users’ sensitive information.
The hackers seek out unsecured advertising slots on your website and infiltrate it with malicious code, programming the ad to launch a pop-up box overlaying the rest of your site. First and foremost, it prevents websites like yours from earning money from legitimate online ads but secondly it directs users to unsecured, dangerous sites. Consider investing in an anti-malvertising service that can keep those bad ads in-check in real-time.
Ensure your website has an SSL certificate
If you sell goods or services to users online, the chances are your customers will be providing sensitive personal and financial information to your website. That’s why you should ensure your site has a valid Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts a user’s connection to your website, ensuring all communication is distributed in an encrypted channel, away from the prying eyes of cyber-criminals. You should look to pair this with using the HTTPS protocol for your website.
Google views HTTPS protocols as a ranking factor in their search engines, so if you want to appear for competitive, relevant search terms it’s a good idea to do so. HTTPS protocol also helps to ensure a direct connection between your users and your genuine website server, with no chance of fraudsters intercepting data or changing on-page content maliciously.
Keep all website plugins up-to-date
If your website is built using a content management system (CMS) provider like WordPress, it’s vital that you ensure that the core version of WordPress you use is regularly updated along with any plugins you use on-site. Hackers continually look for security vulnerabilities in plugins, taking advantage of websites and webmasters that don’t download the updates for their plugins and platforms that take into account the newest cybersecurity threats. Although WordPress has their own security team which reviews all third-party plugins made available to their webmasters, there is always the risk that one or two will slip through the net. Be vigilant and keep your site updated.
Enforce stricter, tougher login measures
Last but by no means least, something as simple as strengthening your access passwords can act as a deterrent to would-be cyber-attacks. One-in-four passwords can still be hacked by fraudsters within three seconds. That’s despite all the warnings about insecure passwords and using the same password across multiple accounts and services. It take little effort to invest in a password manager service that generates long, cryptographic passwords that are virtually impossible to crack. Combine this with a web host that offer two-factor authentication (2FA) as standard and you are onto a winner for the sake of your brand’s reputation and your users’ satisfaction.