Malware is a type of malicious software designed to gain unauthorized access to your website—and attacks are more common than you might think. Malware attacks stem from bots scanning websites for exploitable vulnerabilities. Websites endure an estimated 94 attacks per day averaging out to one attack per 15 minutes. About 12.8 million sites worldwide are infected at any given time.

How to prevent malware from infecting websites built with CMS

Wondering how to prevent malware attacks? The answer depends on how your site is built.

Websites built with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are prone to certain vulnerabilities. When planning how to prevent malware attacks, one easy step is removing all unnecessary or unused plugins, themes, and admins from your site. That means deleting them entirely instead of merely disabling them— because more add-ons mean more exploitable entry points.

Another key step in how to prevent malware attacks is only downloading add-ons from reputable and well-reviewed sources—then maintaining your site’s active add-ons to ensure they are regularly updated. Plugins, themes, and other add-ons that have not received the most current security updates are common entry points for malware.

Lastly, when determining how to prevent malware attacks, it is important to exercise what cybersecurity professionals call “the Principle of Least Privilege.” That means restricting admin access to as few users as possible. The more people you grant admin access, the greater the chance of a bad actor causing widespread damage should one of their bots guess a user’s password.

How to prevent malware from infecting custom-built websites

Custom-built websites are generally more secure than websites built with a CMS, since portions of the site are not readily available as open-source download. But that does not mean they do not have vulnerabilities making them susceptible to a malicious attack.

Custom-built site owners do not receive alerts telling them that their software is out of date and updates are available. Owners of custom-built websites typically rely on a developer to administer site updates. It is up to the site owner to partner with trustworthy admins who are proactive in preventing malware attacks. Their developer will need to stay up to date on security risks as they review and revise the code they have written.

For this reason, site owners should avoid cost-cutting when hiring a developer to build their custom website. Think of the money spent on a good developer as an investment in the security and longevity of your site.  If you cut costs during the development phase, you will only end up paying the price later on after bad actors inevitably exploit vulnerabilities in poor code.

Be proactive when deciding how to prevent malware infection

Whether your site is custom-built or powered by a CMS, it is going to carry security risks that need to be closely monitored. When determining how to prevent malware attacks, it helps to be proactive. In addition to the tips listed above, products like automated security scans and web applications firewalls (WAFs) are great tools that can help prevent harmful malware from corrupting your site. Think you might be infected with malware? Contact us today to speak with a security specialist and discover how we can help you and your website.