What Is a Backdoor Attack?

A backdoor attack is a type of malware that gives cybercriminals unauthorized access to a website. Cybercriminals install the malware through unsecured points of entry, such as outdated plug-ins or input fields. Once they enter through the back door, they have access to all of your company’s data, including customers’ personal identifiable information (PII). They can also install spyware, ransomware, or redirect your website for crypto-mining.

As the name suggests, a backdoor attack is stealthy, and hackers often bypass security systems to obtain remote access to sensitive data undetected.

Small and midsize businesses are particularly vulnerable to trojan horses because they tend to have fewer resources to close off built-in backdoors or identify successful attacks. Cybercriminals know that SMBs often lack the budget or security experts to prevent and mitigate attacks. In fact, nearly 50% of all SMBs report being breached at some point.

The Consequences of Backdoor Attacks for Small Businesses

Because small businesses are at a high risk of security breaches, they need to be hyper-aware of threats. Taking proactive measures to secure your website and prevent backdoor attacks is critical if you want to avoid the financial fallout of a successful attack. The average cost of a data breach is $25,000 for SMBs, and that doesn’t include the high price tag associated with repairing a business’s reputation and rebuilding customer trust.

As cybercrime increases, your security measures should, too. Backdoor attacks have increased over the years as well. According to the SiteLock 2022 Website Security report, 32% of infected websites had this type of attack.

The problem is only getting worse as backdoor detection becomes more difficult. Cybercriminals are creating new types of backdoor attacks that can bypass malware scanners without detection. The longer an attack goes undetected, the more it will damage a business.

As cybercrime advances and backdoor attacks become even more prevalent, it’s vital that small businesses pay close attention to their cybersecurity efforts.

How to Prevent Backdoor Attacks

The best line of defense against backdoor malware for any website owner is a website scanner that can mitigate malware, patch vulnerabilities, and alert the administrator of potential security threats.

Because cybercriminals are creating new malware specifically to bypass scanners, you need to ensure your cybersecurity partner performs adequate research to detect and review new types of malware on a regular basis. Your partner should then update the scanner’s signature database with each new iteration it finds.

In addition to a website scanner, you should install a web application firewall to protect the perimeter of your website by keeping bad actors at bay. A WAF differentiates good traffic (like real customers) from bad traffic (like malicious bots) and prevents bad traffic from gaining access to your site.

What to Do If You Suspect a Backdoor Attack

If backdoor malware slips past your security measures, it’s best to mitigate the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible to keep costs and damage to your reputation to a minimum. Take the following steps to close such backdoors:

  1. Review the logs in the website scanner to identify any files that are consistently being removed.
  2. Ask your cybersecurity vendor or IT team to review the site access logs for anything out of the ordinary.
  3. Audit the CMS and uninstall any unused plug-ins, taking care to remove the files from the file manager.
  4. Update all the plug-ins and themes on the website or else reinstall all core files to your CMS. You can download a new copy of your CMS by going to the WordPress or Drupal site and downloading all your files.
  5. Keep an off-site backup of the site that’s confirmed to be free of back doors. If the back door can’t be found after an attack, the only solution may be reverting to a “clean” version of the site.

You will also want to immediately look into hacked website repair services to prevent as much long-term damage as possible.

Prevent Backdoor Website Access

If your small business hasn’t yet taken measures to prevent a backdoor attack, now is the time to do so. As backdoor detection becomes more difficult and cybercrime increases, small business cybersecurity is more important than ever. Make sure you not only have reliable tools such as a website scanner and WAF to stop cybercriminals in their tracks, but also know what to do if an attack does break through your defenses.

See how SiteLock’s comprehensive website security packages can help keep your site protected.

Monique Becenti is a product and channel marketing specialist at SiteLock, a cloud-based website security provider currently protecting more than 12 million websites globally. Monique is passionate about improving the customer experience for all. SiteLock’s combination of dedicated research and developmental efforts, aggressive product road maps, and access to a massive global data set make the company a leading innovator in web security.

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