A watering hole, or water hole, is a website with vulnerabilities that hackers take advantage of to plant malware. The idea is that the malware simply lies in wait until someone visits your website, and if that someone is not using protection, he or she will find their computer or smartphone infected with that malware.
Author: Lauren Papagalos Page 23 of 26
OK, so there’s no such thing. But guess what? It’s still October, which means it’s still National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Close enough, right? That also means there’s still plenty of time to focus on the security housekeeping that’s crucial to the success and survival of your web presence.
Security is like profit – it’s not an option. And that’s even more important to remember if you rely heavily on your website, either to promote your business or to process orders.
When you purchase a new PC, you wouldn’t dream of connecting to the Internet without having an antivirus tool in place. Because it’s fairly common knowledge that the pace of growth and infection of viruses and attacks that affect personal computers is increasing rapidly and they can do serious damage. PC viruses and malware are often looking for personal information, like credit card data, that can be used for criminal and fraudulent activities.
To counteract the PC infection and theft that viruses and malware can cause, anti-virus tools have a sophisticated knowledge base of active threats. And they continuously look out for computers that have out-of-date antivirus software so they can update it automatically to protect PC owners and their computers from new threats as they are discovered.
You probably already know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, right? Of course every month should be cyber security awareness month because these days no business can afford to let its guard down. Not for a moment.
But because businesses and consumers are often too busy to think about security when it matters most, a national celebration was created as a reminder. And we’re celebrating NCSAM by sharing with you some of the most basic security options that are available to any small business.
Does your website have a bouncer, and if not, why not? Think about it. Websites are being probed by hackers millions of times every day, using sophisticated and automated hacking tools looking for any vulnerabilities they can exploit. It’s like having a store on Main Street that’s swarmed with visitors every single day, only you can’t tell which customers are going to pay you and which ones are going to shoplift.
A web application firewall, or WAF, is like a bouncer for your website. It stands between you and the street and determines based on a variety of criteria who gets in and who’s kicked out. It acts as a filter to make sure the visitors to your online store don’t mean you any harm.
If you’re using WordPress to host your website or your blog, I hope you’re aware of the growing security risks and what you need to do to avoid them. Not only is WordPress one of the most popular website platforms for businesses, it’s also one of the most popular amongst hackers. But for very different reasons.
There’s little doubt that WordPress has become one of the most popular website and blogging platforms of all time, with more than 60 million WordPress sites around the globe. But being the best comes with a price and, in the case of WordPress, that means sustaining attacks by hackers. WordPress has become such a big target for hackers that earlier this year a security firm decided to log the number of hack attacks over a period of a few months. The results were eye-opening.
There is a copious amount of evidence to support the notion that concerns over security, privacy, and trust stifle ecommerce, and continue to keep large numbers of consumers from shopping online as much as they’d like to.
The impact is felt even more by small businesses who constantly struggle to persuade consumers that their websites are a safe place to shop and surf. The customer might not always be right, but at least on this call, they are. Most small business websites, just like most small businesses, are inherently insecure. Consumers sense this, and it has become a barrier to trust.
Website security seals are ultimately about improving two things – trust and sales. And without the first, the second won’t follow. Small businesses with little-known brands always have a tough time persuading new customers that they’re a safe place to do business. And not only that orders will be honored and delivered as promised, but that the site itself is safe. That’s because unsafe sites can be a death-knell for customer trust and confidence, and perhaps even for the business.
Even just thinking about protecting your business from all the cyber threats it faces can be daunting. Where do you begin? Do you start with your website, or is it something more basic like having a security plan? Do you train your employees or lock down every computer and let technology do the work? If critical data has to be protected, which data first? Which data most?
It’s this very scenario that creates the biggest security vulnerability for most small businesses. When building an effective security program for your business begins to look like a much bigger mountain to climb, especially as you get closer, you put the project off until another day. And in the meantime, hackers can have a field day.
Who is visiting my website?
There are two basic categories of traffic that visit your website – humans and bots. An invaluable benefit of the TrueShield web application firewall is being able to differentiate, not only between these two basic groups, but also to separate the good bots from the bad. Bots get a bad rap, since most people associate them with cyber attacks. But if it weren’t for the search engines using bots to index your website, your site would never appear in a search and all your SEO efforts would be wasted. These are the good bots, and if your website application firewall is blocking them you could be hurting your online business instead of protecting it. SiteLock ensures that these bots are able to access your site and do their job for you. Knowing more about your visitors also enables you to spend smarter when it comes to marketing dollars, and to provide your advertisers with the most accurate numbers. When it comes to your website traffic (and, well, pretty much everything else in life), knowledge is power.