One of our biggest fears as business owners is to have our website hacked; it’s a scary thought! Not only does it take down your revenue that can be earned, but it also is a major brand damager when it comes to the customers that visit your website. Luckily, there is a solution to resolve this fear! Here are some areas that will help make sure your website is secure and that it doesn’t get hacked by those ninjas of the digital world.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects data integrity and confidentiality between the user’s computer and the site. Users expect a secure and private online experience when using a website. We encourage you to adopt HTTPS to protect your users’ connections to your website, regardless of the content on the site.
Data sent using HTTPS is secured via Transport Layer Security protocol ( TLS ), which provides three key layers of protection:
Encryption encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. That means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages, or steal their information.
Data integrity data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected.
Authentication proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.
How Do Websites Get Hacked?
While there’s no set way that a website will look after being hacked, there are patterns. And we should tell you now if your site has been hacked, you’ll be in no doubt about it because something will be very wrong. Here are some common ways hacking presents itself:
The hacker will threaten to publish your data and/or withhold access to your site unless a ransom sum is paid.
Gibberish hack. You’ll spot loads of auto-created pages filled with keywords and gibberish to get them to rank on Google for key terms. When clicked on, they’ll redirect to a dodgy site.
Cloaked keywords hack. As above, but slightly more sophisticated – at first glance, these will look like your site’s pages, as only the written content is altered.
Japanese keywords hack. Creates random pages in Japanese full of affiliate links to stores selling fake merchandise.
Malicious code/viruses. If malicious code or a virus is inserted into your site, your site may well go down, or you could not access it. You may find that all your hardware is also affected.
Denial of Service (DoS). Hackers use bots to overload a website with requests and crash the server it’s on.
Phishing. Scammers contact your clients pretending to be part of your business and using your branding in the hope of finding personal information.
FROM THE EXPERT We asked Krys Lambiase, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Endurance International Group (EIG), the parent company of web hosting giants Bluehost and HostGator, to share his insights on website security with our readers and us. You’ll find quotes and tips from Krys throughout this guide – first off, though, Krys reveals the biggest security risks to new websites:
Website owners need to stay on top of updates to WordPress and other CMS’, plugins, and anything else that requires an update. In addition to fixing bugs or glitches, software updates typically include security improvements or patches.
Hackers will always be searching for ways to capitalize on software vulnerabilities.
These days, many cyber-attacks are automated. Criminals use bots to scan vulnerable websites. So, if you’re not staying up to date on the latest software versions, it will be easy for hackers to identify your website before you can do anything about it.” So now you know what a hacked website looks like, it’s time to look at the seven ways to prevent yours from becoming one:
Install security plugins to lock up that website!
If you built your website with a content management system (CMS), you could enhance your website with security plugins that actively prevent website hacking attempts. Each of the main CMS options has security plugins available, many of them for free.
Security plugins for WordPress:
These options address the security vulnerabilities inherent in each platform, foiling additional types of hacking attempts that could threaten your website.
All websites – whether you’re running a CMS-managed site or HTML pages – can benefit from considering SiteLock. SiteLock goes above and beyond simply closing site security loopholes by providing daily monitoring for everything from malware detection to vulnerability identification to active virus scanning and more. If your business relies on its website, SiteLock is definitely an investment worth considering.
Note: Our Managed WordPress hosting plan has SiteLock built-in, along with other features to help secure your site.