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Cyber attacks are not new, but they may never have happened to you before. The question is, would you know if it did happen… Before it was too late?
The repercussions of being attacked online can be huge. Not only is your own personal and business information at risk of being stolen and used for someone else’s gain, but your customers’ and clients’ personal details may also be exposed.
And nothing breaks a business’s reputation like a data breach. While you definitely can come back from it, you should be taking steps now to minimize the chance of cyber attacks happening in the first place.
Here are our top 5 ways to protect your site from cyber attacks. Implement this advice, and you’ll be as safe as you can be from online criminals.
Most Common Cyber Attack Methods
Cyber attacks can happen in multiple ways. Cybercriminals are smart and continue to find new ways to attack websites, but the majority of online attacks occur because of simple human error.
Phishing emails are the most common ways for cyber attackers to gain information. You’d also be surprised at how often attacks happen due to errors like not changing the admin password or choosing an easily guessable new password.
Here’s a quick overview of the most common types of cyber attacks to be aware of.
- Ransomware: holds your software hostage so you can’t use your own computer until you pay a fee.
- Spyware: software that steals your or your customer’s personal information without you knowing.
- Adware: displays intrusive ads on your screen that block your view and interrupt your workflow.
- Trojan: this is disguised as legitimate software on your computer but can cause damage when installed.
- Phishing: fake emails or messages designed to trick people into giving away important information.
- Password Attack: the attacker uses brute force or keylogger tools to find your password and log into your personal or business profiles.
- Insider Threat: an untrustworthy person within the business who has access to sensitive information.
- Zero-Day Attacks: opportunistic attacks that happen as a response to a network informing users of vulnerabilities.
How to Protect Your Site From Cyberattacks
While it’s important to know how cyber attacks occur, it can be difficult to put measures into place against everything. Thankfully, the steps outlined below can help to protect you against multiple different types of attacks, so even if you aren’t sure how to directly prevent any, they’ll cover you from most attacks.
1. Install a Security Plugin
All website builders have plugins. Some may be known by a different name—for example, Squarespace Extensions—but whatever your website is built in, you should be able to add “extras”.
Search for a security plugin and add it to your site. You can do some research on which plugins have the best reputation so you’re sure you’re choosing something worthwhile.
One of the best things about plugins is that once they’re installed and activated, you don’t need to do anything more. There’s no need for technical know-how. All you need to do is figure out where to download plugins for your particular site, find one you like, and enable it.
2. Update Often
Most updates include security patches that cover any potential security hazards discovered in the previous versions. That goes for software, plugins, themes, and anything else you use on your website.
If you’re running an older version of any of these things, you could be susceptible to opportunistic attacks. As time passes, small “holes” are discovered in software, which could potentially be weak spots for attacks.
Updates are designed to patch these holes up and keep you safe. So if you haven’t got the latest version, you’re still sitting with holes that attackers could get through. Enable automatic update alerts so you never find yourself behind and unprotected.
3. Install an SSL Security Certificate
This is a global security standard, but not all websites have an SSL certificate installed. An SSL certificate creates an encrypted link between the web server and the browser so your reader knows that their information—membership passwords, credit card details, etc—is safe when they’re on your site.
This covers you but it also makes you safer in the eyes of your readers. When they see that little padlock icon in the top corner, they’ll feel more at ease to browse your site and make purchases, knowing that their information is secure.
Another advantage to having an SSL certificate is that Google tends to rank these websites above those that don’t have one.
4. Use a Spam Comments Filter or Plugin
If you have a blog, comments are a great way to engage readers. But you’ll be susceptible to incessant, annoying spam comments, and attackers can also use your blog comments to attack your site.
As if silly comments aren’t bad enough, Google penalizes your site if there’s spam, and your readers may also lose trust in you if your comments section is filled with junk.
Thankfully, this is another problem that can be easily remedied by installing an anti-spam plugin. Whatever website builder and hosting provider you use, you should be able to find an anti-spam plugin that does a good job.
5. Be Selective About Who You Share Details With
If you’re a one-person business, chances are nobody else has login details for your site. This is the best way to stay secure, but in some cases, you’ll need to grant access to others, whether they’re business partners or contributors to your website.
Be extra careful to who you hand out login details. Ensure that you trust the person implicitly before allowing them access to your website, and it’s still wise to keep an eye on what they’re doing and filter any files that they’re uploading to make sure everything is safe.
It’s well worth taking the time and implementing these steps to protect your site from cyber attacks. Online attacks are sneaky and can hit you hard when you least expect it. If you’re completely unprotected, the effects can be devastating, to the point of shutting down your business in some cases.
This is something you can’t afford to neglect or leave until later. Protect yourself, your website, your information, and other people’s information before you get hit. These steps are simple to implement but could save your site’s life one day!
Guest article written by: Paul Wheeler is a web design specialist who runs an agency dedicated to helping small business owners optimize their most important asset—their website. He shares information, comparisons, and detailed reviews over at Reviews for Website Hosting.