In this article, we discuss the potential security threats to your website and provide some measures you can put in place to prevent them.

Cyber security attacks continue to be a pressing issue in a progressively technological environment. Whether you own a small or large business, your website is at great risk from increasingly sophisticated hackers. However, many smaller businesses do not consider themselves targets – which couldn’t be further from the truth. According to research by consulting firm Keiser Corporation, 65 percent of cyber-attacks are aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Why? They often lack the right infrastructure to keep themselves protected. So, we’ve put together a comprehensive website security guide to help.

Potential Web Attacks

With so many potential threats, it is beneficial to educate yourself on the types of attacks that typically target websites. Some of the most common ones are briefly explained below.

Phishing and Whaling
Phishing is predominantly used to entice people to give away their personal information. This can range from credit card data to security passwords. Phishing criminals pose as a reputable company in order to trick the recipient into handing over their personal information. Protect yourself from phishing scams with these security tips.
Whereas phishing refers to a criminal targeting large groups of the general public, whaling targets company executives in senior positions. Whaling focuses on influential individuals – the whales – within an organisation and gain high-level access to sensitive information – potentially a much bigger reward.
Ransomware
Hackers use ransomware to gain control of a computer and deny user access until their demands are met. They will usually request money in exchange for returning access. In the context of website security, server-side ransomware works the same. The difference is that the hacker denies access to the company’s website rather than a physical computer.
Read more about the effect of Ransomware on businesses.
Spam
Everyone with an email has encountered spam at one point or another. It is also a major issue if you own a website. It’s normally sent through contact forms or added to comment sections.
While you can overcome spam messages through contact forms with effective company policies, spam comments often include a link that contains malware, which can affect your site visitors. Moreover, Google can detect malicious URLs on your website, and this can negatively impact your SEO ranking.
If you have comments enabled be sure to regularly monitor them and promptly remove any suspicious-looking ones.
DDoS Attacks
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is used to attack websites and servers. The hacker attempts to overload the target with fake traffic using deceptive IP addresses to shut the website or server down, rendering it inoperable. The subsequent commotion that occurs while trying to get everything back up and running promptly increases the risk of being infected with malware.
Discover leading strategies to fight against DDoS attacks.

How to Protect Your Website

You can greatly enhance your website security by implementing a range of solutions that are tailored to your business and website. Some of these are provided in more detail below.

1. Change Passwords

This may seem an extremely obvious step, though few abide by it. Firstly, having the same password across multiple platforms is a mistake in and of itself. Your website should have a unique password that is unrelated to any other password you use. This is because hackers can use software that is designed to crack user passwords – especially weak ones that can be deciphered in a matter of seconds.
Always generate a unique password for your website and then consistently update it a few times a year. A combination of letters, numbers and special characters in addition to two-factor authentication will help to keep your site safe from the growing number of threats.
2. HTTPS Protocol
The HTTPS protocol is designed to validate your website. It shows your website visitors that they are engaging with the correct server and that hackers cannot interfere with the site’s content. Without HTTPS in place, cyber criminals can easily gain access to user login information and passwords.
Sites with HTTPS protocol rank higher in search engine results as they are deemed significantly safer for users. It also reassures website visitors that your business is legitimate.
3. Web Hosting
Using an external web hosting service can help improve your website’s security. Learn as much as possible about the security measures that are in place before you settle on a web host. Is the provider reputable? Do they have or work with high-calibre security experts?
We would recommend browsing Hosting.co.uk to find the best hosting plan for your website.
4. Security Plugins
Security plugins add an extra level of safety for your website. They help to combat malicious bots, hacking attempts and malware infections. Checking for vulnerabilities and then implementing the latest security practices to can help to plug any backdoors. As always do your due diligence first. If you use WordPress, the following article on the best WordPress plugins can point you in the right direction.
5. Back-Up Your Website
If your website becomes compromised, a full backup is invaluable. It will save you a lot of time, money and agony in a worst-case scenario. Daily backups are particularly useful because it means you only lose a day’s worth of work at most should any untoward activity occur. You can install backup plugins, which often come integrated with security features to ensure you don’t lose anything from your site due to a cyber-attack.
6. Limit User Access
Limiting the number of people that have access to your website will reduce the chances of human error. Cyber security attacks can often be the product of an employee’s mistake. As such, you should only give backend access to those members of the team who need it. Assigning different admin roles and unique login credentials for each user in addition to this is also a good practice. It limits the amount of damage by enabling you to trace any issues back to the responsible individual.

Shore Up Your Website’s Security Defences

Cyber criminals are constantly working to find ways to breach your site’s defences and gain access to your sensitive data. Without the correct website security measures in place, you are at a much greater risk of an attack. By following the easy steps above you will diminish this risk and keep your business and customer data safe.