What is website security?

October 11, 2018 in Small Business

You’ve launched your website and done all you can to ensure its success, but you may have overlooked a critical component: website security. Cyberattacks cause costly clean-up, damage your reputation, and discourage visitors from coming back. Fortunately, you can prevent it all with effective website security. We’ll discuss the basics of website security and what solutions will help ensure your website isn’t taken down by a cyberattack.

What is website security?

Website security is any action or application taken to ensure website data is not exposed to cybercriminals or to prevent exploitation of websites in any way.

Website security protects your website from:

DDoS attacks. These attacks can slow or crash your site entirely, making it inaccessible to visitors.

Malware. Short for “malicious software,” malware is a very common threat used to steal sensitive customer data, distribute spam, allow cybercriminals to access your site, and more.

Blacklisting. Your site may be removed from search engine results and flagged with a warning that turns visitors away if search engines find malware.

Vulnerability exploits. Cybercriminals can access a site and data stored on it by exploiting weak areas in a site, like an outdated plugin.

Defacement. This attack replaces your website’s content with a cybercriminal’s malicious content.

Website security protects your visitors from:

Stolen data. From email addresses to payment information, cybercriminals frequently go after visitor or customer data stored on a site.

Phishing schemes. Phishing doesn’t just happen in email – some attacks take the form of web pages that look legitimate but are designed to trick the user into providing sensitive information.

Session hijacking. Some cyberattacks can take over a user’s session and force them to take unwanted actions on a site.

Malicious redirects. Certain attacks can redirect visitors from the site they intended to visit to a malicious website.

SEO Spam. Unusual links, pages, and comments can be put on a site to confuse your visitors and drive traffic to malicious websites.

Why do I need website security?

There are four main reasons why every website needs security.

  1. Hosting providers protect the server your website is on, not the website itself. You can think of the website-host relationship like an apartment building: management provides security for the whole building, but it’s up to each occupant to lock their door.
  2. It’s cheaper than a cyberattack. Cyberattacks can cost small businesses as much as $427 per minute of downtime – by contrast, SiteLock customers pay an average of $1-2 per day for website security.
  3. You’ll protect your reputation and retain visitors and/or customers. Studies show that 65 percent of customers who have had their information stolen by a compromised website won’t return to that site – that’s a devastating number of visitors to lose, especially for a small business or website.
  4. Malware and cyberattacks can be hard to spot. Cybercriminals specialize in malware that can discreetly enter a site and stay hidden, so your website might be infected and you may not realize it. Some sneaky malware attacks include backdoors, a type of malware that allows cybercriminals to access a site without the owner’s knowledge, and cryptojacking, which mines websites for cryptocurrency without showing any symptoms. These attacks are increasingly common: in Q2 2018, 43 percent of infected websites had at least one backdoor file, and cryptojacking continues to rise in popularity, doubling from Q1 to Q2 2018. Once cybercriminals secretly enter your website, they can access your data, steal traffic, deploy phishing schemes, and more – and you may never even notice.

What do I need to secure my website?

An SSL certificate

SSL certificates protect the data collected by your website, like emails and credit card numbers, as it is transferred from your site to a server. This is a basic website security measure, but it’s so important that popular browsers and search engines are now labeling sites without SSL as “insecure,” which could make visitors suspicious of your site. Depending on your site, you may be able to get an SSL certificate for free, but be sure to choose the SSL certificate that’s best for your site.

Remember that SSL only protects data in transit, so you’ll need to take further steps for a fully secure website.

A web application firewall (WAF)

A WAF stops automated attacks that commonly target small or lesser-known websites. These attacks are carried out by malicious bots that automatically look for vulnerabilities they can exploit, or cause DDoS attacks that slow or crash your website.

A website scanner

A cyberattack costs more the longer it takes to be found, so time is of the essence when a site experiences an attack. A website scanner looks for malware, vulnerabilities and other security issues so that you can mitigate them appropriately. SiteLock’s scanners not only remove known malware, they also look for threats on a daily basis and let you know the moment anything is found, reducing the amount of damage it can do to your site.

Software updates

Websites hosted on a content management system (CMS) are at a higher risk of compromise due to vulnerabilities and security issues often found in third-party plugins and applications. These can be prevented by installing updates to plugins and core software in a timely manner, as these updates often contain security patches – you can even use an automatic patching solution to make it easier.

Fortunately, there’s a fast and simple way to get what you need to protect your website. SiteLock makes website security easy and affordable with automated solutions that are easy to install and plans that work for your budget. We offer website scanning with automatic malware removal, a WAF and automated patching, and we can help you choose an SSL certificate too. Chat with us or give us a call at 855.378.6200 – our U.S.-based customer support is here to help anytime 24/7/365.

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