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When it comes to building a website, ensuring its security should be your top priority. With the increasing number of websites worldwide, the risk of cyber attacks has also grown significantly. In fact, attacks on websites in the United States alone have risen by nearly 400% since 2020, with the FBI reporting up to 4,000 cyber attacks per day. By 2023, it is estimated that global DDoS attacks will exceed 15.4 million. These alarming statistics highlight the importance of securing your website and safeguarding both your data and that of your users. In this article, we will explore the topic of website security, discussing various measures you can take to protect your website and your business.
Understanding Website Security:
Website security involves protecting your website from malicious online attackers who aim to gain unauthorized access, manipulate, or steal your site's content and data. It also includes safeguarding the personal data and privacy of your website users. Whether you're an individual or a business with a website, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity basics to ensure your website remains safe from potential attacks. It's essential to trust that your website and its data are secure, especially given the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks. By choosing the right website builder, you can prioritize security and focus on growing your business.
Common Website Attacks:
There are various methods that attackers use to breach a website's security. Let's take a look at some commonly occurring attacks and the potential threats they pose:
1. SQL Injections:
SQL injections involve using search query language to gain control of a database and extract sensitive information. These attacks can also alter or delete data within a database and retrieve passwords or user information. SQL attacks are the most common web attacks, with an estimated 6.2 billion attempted injections between January 2020 and June 2021. Such attacks can impact your website's functionality and result in the loss of sensitive user data, potentially leading to further breaches on other platforms.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects computers and blocks access to files, systems, software, and applications. Hackers demand a ransom, and upon payment, the affected files are decrypted, and the ransomware is removed. In 2021, numerous organizations, including public hospitals, government bodies, and large corporations, fell victim to ransomware attacks. Phishing emails containing malicious links were often the entry point for these attacks. Ransomware attacks have been on the rise, with a 62% year-on-year increase reported by the FBI in the first half of 2021.
3. Cross-site Scripting (XSS):
4. Credential Reuse:
When user credentials are stolen from a website, they can be used to access other sites where the same credentials are applicable. This poses a significant threat to website security, as users commonly reuse their credentials across multiple platforms. Breaching just one site can result in unauthorized access to other websites as well.
5. DoS/DDoS Attacks:
Denial of Service (DoS) attacks aim to disrupt a website's functionality and usability. One common form is the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, where a bot generates a massive volume of fake traffic from multiple sources to overload the server. DoS attacks cause server timeouts, rendering the targeted
Impacts of Website Security Breaches
Cyber attacks can have severe and long-lasting effects on your website's functionality and performance. In the short term, they can hinder traffic growth and conversions. In the long term, they can harm your brand identity and reputation. Some significant consequences of security breaches include:
Users need to trust that their data is secure to feel confident using your website and becoming repeat customers. Malicious attacks resulting in the loss of customer credentials and sensitive information will undoubtedly impact how your website and business are perceived. This, in turn, affects your brand reputation and customer service.
Search Engine Blacklisting:
Security breaches can lead to search engine blacklisting, where search engines like Google identify malware or malicious code on a website and restrict its visibility in search results. This can result in a dramatic drop in website traffic and hinder customer acquisition and retention.
Security attacks can suspend essential site services such as login, signups, and shopping functions. This makes it difficult for users to interact with your website. Dealing with the aftermath of a security breach, including removing malware and fixing issues, can be costly and time-consuming.
Improving Your Website Security
Ensuring your website's security begins with selecting the right website builder. Choose a builder that prioritizes website security, allowing you to focus on managing your site. Here are seven steps both you and your website builder should take to protect your website:
Core Platform and 3rd Party Updates:
Opt for a platform that is monitored 24/7 and promptly addresses vulnerabilities by making updates. Relying less on third-party apps and using a website builder with built-in features reduces the risk of site security breaches.
A secure website should include SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocols, identifiable by the "https" at the beginning of the domain name in the site's URL. SSL encrypts communication between the website and server, preventing hackers from intercepting or modifying transmitted information. SSL protocols should be standard for all new websites, especially those involved in online transactions. Choose a webdesigner like Phuketians that offers advanced SSL protocols, such as TLS 1.2, to protect your data and your customers' data according to industry standards.
By following these measures and partnering with a reliable website builder, you can significantly enhance your website's security and protect your business from potential cyber threats.
Ensuring Website Security
To maintain a secure website, it's crucial to implement multiple layers of protection, and one integral aspect is reliable web hosting. Opting for secure web hosting is essential as it acts as a shield against potential attacks on your website through the server. Additionally, it is vital to regularly assess the security of your cloud hosting to ensure it remains well-prepared for any threats, including DDoS attacks. For a comprehensive comparison between cloud hosting and shared hosting, we invite you to explore our informative guide.
For optimal security, your hosting should undergo continuous testing, employ a bug bounty program, and have round-the-clock monitoring to effectively counter advanced cyber threats. Furthermore, it should comply with GDPR regulations and adhere to international standards regarding online privacy and security.
Establishing Admin Privileges
When managing large websites, it is essential to form a competent team responsible for various aspects. However, it's crucial to carefully consider the level of access required for each website manager. Granting admin access without proper evaluation leaves your site more vulnerable to attacks.
To address this, we recommend implementing a comprehensive security policy that applies to all site admins. This policy should cover important tasks such as selecting secure passwords, handling third-party app downloads, and other site management responsibilities. By ensuring that your entire team prioritizes site security, you can minimize the risk of potential breaches.
Backing Up Your Site
While proactive security measures are crucial, it's equally important to have a backup plan in case of a security breach. Creating separate backups of your website enables quick recovery in case the original site is compromised.
Many web developers in Thailand, including Phuketians, automatically backup all websites, providing you with peace of mind. However, it's advisable to confirm whether your site is automatically backed up by checking with your website builder or developer from the start.
Modifying Default CMS Settings
Leaving your default CMS (content management system) settings unchanged makes your site more susceptible to hacking. It is crucial to customize these settings during the website creation process. For example, adjusting comments and user settings by assigning different privilege roles to site admins enhances security.
By modifying default CMS settings, you make it more challenging for hackers to comprehend your system, thereby reducing the vulnerability to attacks. Automated cyber attacks, often executed by bots, target the default settings of numerous CMS platforms. Changing these settings makes it harder for these bots to access and compromise your platform.
Following Password Best Practices
Regularly changing your site password helps protect against credential attacks. It's crucial to create strong passwords that incorporate a combination of numbers, letters, and characters (remember, longer passwords are safer). Additionally, avoid sharing your password or saving it on your browser. It's important to use different passwords across various sites and ensure that everyone with access to your site understands how to safeguard their login credentials.
Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) is highly recommended as it adds an extra layer of security. MFA involves an additional level of login authentication, such as receiving a push notification on a mobile device, making it more difficult for potential hackers to gain unauthorized access.
Website Security Checklist
To ensure comprehensive website security, consider the following checklist:
Does my site have standard HTTPS encryption?
Are all plugins and add-ons up to date?
Do all users accessing my website have strong passwords?
Have I implemented two or multi-factor authentication for users?
Have I carefully assigned user roles on my site, avoiding unnecessary admin access?
Is my website regularly backed up, either manually or automatically?
Is my server secured?
Is my site regularly scanned for irregularities or attempted attacks?
Do I have processes in place to monitor my site for any suspicious activity?
Website Security FAQ
Why is website security important?
Website security is crucial due to the increasing scale and intensity of cyber attacks, which pose risks to websites, their content, and the sensitive details of eCommerce customers. Without robust security measures, your site may experience downtime, impacting its discoverability and discouraging return visits. Strong website security is vital for business continuity.
How can I determine if my website is secure?
If you built your site using a reliable web designer like Phuketians Web Design Agency, rest assured that it is secure from the moment it goes live. These platforms provide robust security infrastructure, including 24/7 monitoring. If you have concerns about your site's security, consult your website builder or the web developer involved in its creation.
Is website security necessary?
Yes, website security is essential. Even if you believe your website has no valuable assets, hackers may still target it for malicious purposes. Prioritizing security should be one of the initial considerations when setting up a website, and it should remain an ongoing process.
Can I use an insecure website?
While it is possible to use an insecure website, it is not advisable. When visiting an insecure website, your data is transmitted over the internet without encryption, making it susceptible to interception. This puts your passwords, credit card numbers, and personal information at risk. If you must use an insecure website, take precautions such as refraining from entering sensitive information, utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) for encrypted traffic, keeping your antivirus software up to date, and exercising caution when clicking on links.