What can be more terrifying than waking up one day to the realization that your website has been completely overridden by hackers? Years’ worth of hard work and effort all wiped off between bedtime and daybreak. Sure nobody wants to go through that kind of pain.
As terrifying as it may seem, businesses – both big and small – still fall victim to hackers from time to time. It is not about size here; even the big platforms fall victim. It is important then that you do everything possible to safeguard your website at all times.
In order to avoid being a victim of a website hack, I will be sharing a handful of tips which can protect your website from the preying hands of hackers. But before delving deeper, we will like to give you an overview of what website security is. We will also be giving you a few instances of website hacks that have occurred in the past.
Website Security Overview
Generally speaking, when we talk about website security, we are referring to the parameters that you put in place to ensure that your website is guarded and not easily penetrated by hackers. These parameters could be in the form of plugins, security protocols, or even something as simple as an update.
The whole idea behind securing your website is to provide a reinforced firewall that cannot be easily broken. A firewall that protects everything you have on your website.
A failure to provide this reinforced protection can lead to large data loss in the least. In other cases, you might even be unable to visit your website at all, or you may be redirected to an entirely different platform. In some cases, the hacker can even demand that you pay a ransom. Whatever the reason is, it is never a pleasant experience having your hard work go into thin air.
For the benefit of the doubt here are a few stats you should know about website hacks:
- There is a hack attempt every 39 seconds.
- According to Forbes, about thirty thousand (30,000) websites are hacked every single day.
- During the first quarter of 2019, about 65 million malware were created.
- A 2020 report from IBM reveals that it takes up to 280 days before an organization finds out its information has been stolen.
- Website hacking increased by six folds in 2020 alone as a result of the Covid pandemic.
These stats sound scary in themselves, however, you should know that unless your website is specifically targeted by hackers, then pulling a few tricks will be enough to keep your website away from the nest of hackers.
As Sucuri documented in its 2019 report, 47% of all global website hacks were successful because the websites had a backdoor. In other words, most hacked websites were vulnerable to attacks even before the hacks were carried out. The report further explained that 56% of all hacked CMS applications were already outdated when they were hacked.
It becomes clearer then, that there are things you can do on your end to ensure that your website is protected.
Let’s dive straight into it.
How To Protect Your Websites From Hackers
We have put together a list of things you should do to protect your website. The things mentioned here can be easily implemented, thus, you should not hesitate to give your website the protection it requires.
1. Install a Firewall
Just as the name implies, a firewall serves the purpose of protecting your website. Firewalls are code scripts that serve as the gateway between your website and the worldwide web. Before any website request is permitted to your platform, a firewall ensures that such request is screened for any suspicious information it might carry.
Firewall further proves useful when you consider the nature of most website hacks. Most times, website hackers make use of automated bots to crawl the web in search of vulnerable websites. Once you have a firewall in place, such bots would be screened, and its request will be promptly denied by the firewall you have in place.
Notably, some website security platforms incorporate website firewall functionality that can secure your website.
2. Update Plugins Regularly
This particularly hits hard for those whose websites are built using WordPress. Since more than 35% of global websites are built using WordPress, talking about plugin as a potential gateway to website hack, and at the same time, a potential solution is important.
Generally, hackers seek to penetrate into a website by finding a backdoor. Usually, hackers exploit popular plugins. They crawl the web for websites that use these plugins but are not yet running on the latest updates.
To protect yourself from falling victim, periodically take the time to check your plugins and ensure that they are up-to-date. Doing this is quite easy, as long as you have access to the backend.
3. Have a Strong Password and Review Periodically
The essence of this cannot be over-emphasized. Most of us already know the benefits of a strong password but we still choose to go with a weaker one that makes our website prone to a security breach.
Strong passwords make it difficult for your website access to be easily breached. It is usually advisable that your password is at least eight characters long and should be a combination of alphabets, numbers and possibly, special characters.
The whole idea is to create a complex combination that cannot be easily guessed and hacked over a few attempts.
In addition to creating a strong password, you should also consider reviewing these passwords from time to time. Whenever you suspect any funny act, you should consider strengthening your password or have an overhaul altogether.
4. Make the Switch from HTTP to HTTPS
Both look similar but the gap is as wide as you can imagine. The extra ‘S’ in HTTPS provides an added layer of security to your website. Normally, information transmission on every website is in two ways – one from a device making a request to a website, and the other is a response from the website to the requesting server.
All information exchanges made on an HTTP website are not protected. It can be easily breached and the details of such exchanges can be deciphered. However, this is not the case for HTTPS.
All information exchanges on a website that implements HTTPS are encrypted. Even when such information is breached, the content that it contains cannot be deciphered. It shows nothing but strings of inconsistent texts that have no meaning.
This is one of the things you should not waste time on. Do it as soon as you can.
5. Install Activity Log
Installing an activity log on your website will help you keep track of everything that happens on it. It typically does not offer any layer of protection but it can come in handy in the detection of suspicious activities. From the activity log, you will be able to keep track of all activities and you can spot irregular requests and connections.
Just as you deem it necessary to update the information on your website at regular intervals, you should also place a high priority on ensuring that your website is duly protected. Applying the tips in this post, will guarantee you a website that is not easily penetrated.
Hope you have learnt how to protect your website from hackers?
Angela Daniel is a freelance writer for hire with a specialization in technology, digital marketing, and eCommerce. She works closely with B2B and B2C companies providing useful and engaging content that converts viewers into customers. Her work has appeared on SecureBlitz Cybersecurity Blog, and other media.