The importance of website security is increasing rapidly. By some estimates, about 30 000 to 50 000 websites get hacked every day. And the numbers are just growing daily. That’s why being secure in the online world becomes more and more important every day.
Implementing spam filtering is extremely important for any online-based web organization. Not only does spam filtering help keep garbage out of email inboxes, but it also helps with the quality of life of business emails. Simply, because they run smoothly and are only used for their desired purpose.
Likewise, since email is commonly used as a way to exploit users and their data, spam filtering has grown in importance and relevance. Therefore, organizations must utilize one spam filter or the other. In order to reduce the risk of users clicking on something, they shouldn’t.
And then, in turn, keeping their internal data shielded from a cyber attack. In short, it’s very important and vital to protect your website and the data it holds now. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a very critical situation just by ignoring the key rules of website security for that matter.
The jmexclusives agency and its team are at the forefront of making sure that your website security is as resourceful as possible. That’s why on this page, we offered to discuss the key reasons why website security is important.
Did you know — 56% of all internet traffic is from an automated source. Such as hacking tools, scrapers and spammers, impersonators, and bots. And so, you might think — is my website secure from these tools? Well, here is what to know before you even Consult Us for help.
What Is Website Security?
Website Security is the measures taken to secure a website from cyberattacks. In this sense, website security is an ongoing process and an essential part of managing a website. That said, you can just go ahead and Protect your Site or learn more first below.
Technically, website security is important because nobody wants to have a hacked website. Having a secure website is as vital to someone’s online presence as having a website host. If a website is hacked and blocklisted, for example, it loses up to 98% of its traffic.
Therefore, not having a secure website can be as bad as not having a website at all or even worse. For example, a client data breach can result in lawsuits, heavy fines, and a ruined reputation.
A defense-in-depth strategy for website security looks at the depth of the defense and at the breadth of the attack surface. More so, in order to analyze the tools used across the stack. This approach provides a more accurate picture of today’s website security threat landscape.
We can’t also forget about the statistics, which make website security a compelling topic for any online business — regardless of their size. Here are the key things to consider in addition to having a reliable website security strategy.
1. Hacked websites can target your customers
Malicious software is used to infect websites, gather data and in some cases even hijack computer resources. A site where an attacker has gained access can be used to redirect traffic and infect visitors with malicious software.
It means that if your site is not protected, hackers can use your site to infect your site visitors with malware. There are thousands of different types of malware and thousands of different ways to infect your website, which is mostly all done by automated hacking tools.
What they all have in common, is that the hacked websites are mostly used to retarget your potential customers, your website visitors. Sucuri (a cloud-based firewall provider) said in its report that it saw a total of 170,827,313 attack attempts that were blocked in 2019. A 52% increase from 2018.
2. The hacked website often gets blacklisted
Without using the exact term “blacklist,” Google quarantines at least 10,000 suspicious websites each day. You can recognize the sites by seeing the display message “This site may harm your computer” in the search results.
This will serve as a warning that prompts most users to stay away. Consumers are grateful for the warning — the businesses panic (Forbes). When a website is on the blacklist, the search engine is expelling a site from its list.
When a website is blacklisted, it loses almost 95% of its organic traffic, which can rapidly affect revenue. Usually, a website gets blacklisted when it contains something harmful to the user, for example, malware. If your website is on a blacklist, there are two primary approaches to recovering a hacked site.
Consider the following:
- Do it yourself, if you have the needed knowledge.
- Find a trusted service provider (like jmexclusives) if the technical tasks are outside your skillset.
Be that as it may, cleaning up your site is only the first part of becoming relisted on Google. Before you put your site out there again, be sure you have measures in place to prevent a recurrence.
You may be susceptible to the same cybercriminals who infected your site the first time if you don’t step up your security measures.
3. The number of hacked sites rises rapidly
What they all have in common, is that the hacked websites are mostly used to retarget your potential customers, your website visitors. Another reason why website security is important – to keep your customers safe.
A study was made that stated that there is an attack every 39 seconds on average on the web and the non-secure usernames and passwords that are being used give attackers more chance of success. Just to be clear – an attack does not always mean something is hacked.
For example, we see thousands of attacks targeted at the websites we protect every day. In 2018 Google has sent over 45 million notifications to registered website owners through Search Console. Whilst, alerting them to possible problems with their websites that could affect their appearance in a search.
Also, they sent 6 million manual action messages to webmasters about practices that were against Google webmaster guidelines too. Along with information on how to resolve the issues. And Google took action on nearly 90,000 user reports of search spam.
4. Business reputation loss and drop in revenue
There are over 1.5 billion websites on the world wide web today. And people rely on search engines when they want to reach information on those sites. Therefore, search engine optimization is more important than ever.
In that case, it’s necessary for every webmaster to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it can provide for every business. Google and other search engines (for who you typically don’t want to be on the naughty list) warn your customers and restrict them from entering your website.
Lately, Google, for example, has stepped up the game even more. Starting from July 2018, every website without SSL (HTTPS) is marked as insecure. And, therefore, it receives an SEO penalty. As a result, this makes it harder for your company to reach new customers.
5. Website reputation loss in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Google has released new details about its spam-fighting efforts. Whilst, revealing that more than 80% of hacked sites have been detected and removed from search results. (source: Search Engine Journal). But, the reality is that, because of a hacked website, a customer often loses trust.
And, therefore, it will lead to a company reputation loss, which for e-commerce can often mean an end of the business. When talking about website security and CMS security the infections are also rising actively. For example, WordPress continues to be the leading infected website CMS.
On average, about 50K websites get hacked every day. In reality, the majority of these 50K sites are legitimate small businesses. But they are unwittingly distributing malicious code for cybercriminals. When your site is hacked and added to different blacklists, the potential customer cannot reach the products or services being offered.
Anyways, if a potential customer visits your site and gets warned or infected, there is an extremely low chance that the customer will ever visit your site again.
How to Secure a Website
The best thing to prepare for website security threats is by learning from mistakes. For instance, website clean-up is more expensive than protection. As a website owner discovering that your website has been hacked, the first thing to do is to search “How to clean up a hacked site”.
Yes! Of course, you will find a lot of blog posts and articles about it. But they will all eventually recommend you the same thing — have a professional to do it for you. Performing a WordPress malware removal in a way that you can be sure that it’s clean is not an easy task.
That’s why a service like this can cost over $150 per site and even then — depending on the service provider, you can’t be sure if the site was properly cleaned or not. The latest research by Acunetix reveals that around 84% of websites contain vulnerabilities.
Meaning, all of them are prone to be infected at any time. The process of a malware clean-up of a website is more about knowing the vulnerabilities and knowing the way of a hacker’s mind.
This is why I always recommend service providers who do manual clean-ups. Bearing in mind, Malware is often hidden from the original files and the database. Thus, attackers put a lot of effort into making sure you won’t be able to remove their backdoors so easily. It’s expensive, indeed!
Not just the malware clean-up service itself, but the lost revenue and reputational damage are what can eat up a lot of time and money to recover from. Below are a few ways to prevent your website from getting hacked.
1. Get An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate
One of the easiest things you can do to protect your website, yourself, and your users, is to install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. You may not realize it, but you come across SSL all the time when you browse the web – it’s the reason for the “s” in “https”, and the padlock in the address bar.
In short, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. You install an SSL certificate on your website, and it encrypts data (such as login details) passing between your site and your visitors. There are different levels of SSL – eCommerce sites processing payment details, for example, should use a more advanced version.
SSL encrypts information passing between your website and your visitors. Google now warns visitors when they’re entering a site without SSL, and even “discriminates” against those sites in its search results. You can learn more about what an SSL certificate is in detail.
It’s especially important to have SSL security if you’re accepting payments through your site, asking for login details, or transferring files. Without it, the data is unprotected, and vulnerable to hackers. The most important thing is to know that your site needs SSL, and how to go about getting it.
2. Make Use Of An Anti-Malware Software
“Anti-malware software” might sound like a lot of jargon, but the good news is that anti-malware software actually does the hard work for you – so you don’t need to worry about any of the technical stuff. And there are plenty of different anti-malware options out there.
Some have free plans – like Bitdefender Antivirus Free – while others you have to pay for, such as SiteLock. SiteLock is used by over 12 million websites. It offers different packages that provide varying levels of protection. This means you can tailor your security to your site’s needs, as well as your budget.
Some of the security services it provides include:
- Web scanning
- Malware detection and removal
- Web application firewall
- Vulnerability patching
- DDoS protection
- PCI compliance
If you don’t know what all this means, that’s okay – that’s what anti-malware software is there for! A good quality website builder or hosting provider should look after your site’s security for you.
Hosting providers often include anti-malware software as part of their plans – some even throw in paid services like SiteLock for free! Other providers include a built-in set of tools – InMotion, for example, includes a security suite on its cheapest plan.
3. Always Make Sure Your Website Is Up To Date
Hereby, we’re not talking about posting the latest gossip or keeping your visitors in the loop with your newest product. This is about the importance of keeping your website’s software up to date.
But, if you use a website builder, you don’t need to worry about this so much. Simply, because most builders will handle software updates and security issues for you. However, if you’re using a platform such as WordPress, you need to be totally on top of things and running updates when necessary.
The good news is, you should be able to set these updates to happen automatically in your dashboard. But, it’s still worth keeping an eye on and making sure everything is running smoothly. Letting your site become outdated can be a fatal blow in terms of security. So, it doesn’t hurt to be vigilant about staying on top of updates.
You need to run updates for your WordPress core software, as well as any plugins you’ve installed. If you don’t, then it can all become outdated and vulnerable to bugs, glitches, and – worst of all – hackers wielding malicious code.
4. Use Strong (Uncrackable) Passwords
Sometimes, Passwords get so familiar that we can forget just how important they are. It’s also very easy to overlook another factor too. That often, your password is all that’s standing between a hacker and your personal information.
Not only are passwords a vitally important step, but they’re also one of the easiest things you can change to increase the security of your website. As an example, you can spend just 20 minutes today making your passwords stronger. And you’ll be on your way to a more secure site.
A survey carried out by the UK’s National Cyber Security Center analyzed the most common passwords used by various web user accounts. More so, that had been breached across the world. They then put together a list of the top 10 most hacked passwords as shown below. So, if you’re using any of the following, it’s time to change it (like, right now)!
Consider the following:
Instead of using easy to guess phrases, there are some things you should do instead.
Consider the following:
- Combine three random, unrelated, but memorable phrases
- Use a randomly generated sequence of characters
- Don’t reuse passwords – use a password manager to keep track of them all
- Make your password long
- Never use personal information in your password – it’s the first thing hackers will try!
There’s a seemingly endless list of password tips out there, and you should combine a few of these tactics to create uncrackable passwords. Once you’ve got your shiny new bulletproof passwords, be careful with them – do not share them around. Even if it’s with your friends, and then, make sure to change them regularly (about once every quarter).
5. Make Sure You Run Regular Site Backups
As a matter of fact, you should never take your site’s security for granted. It’s just like having a safety net beneath you – a good idea when walking a tightrope. In that case, running regular backups of your site just makes sense.
Creating backups of your website ensures that if the worst were to happen, you’d still have a recent version of your site. Particularly, stored safe and sound, and ready to be relaunched. Essentially, a backup is just a copy of your website data. But, it’s more worthy than that!
For one thing, it includes a copy of key site elements– such as files, content, media, and databases. If you have a large or complicated website, you’ll need a larger amount of backup storage too. In order to save all of your data. So, how can you go about backing up your site to keep things running smoothly?
Well, there are multiple ways to backup your website, including:
- First, use a backup service such as CodeGuard or Sucuri, which does the work for you at a price.
- Secondly, use a web host that includes backups in its plans, like A2 Hosting.
- Some hosts have backup software built-in, or available as add-ons.
- However, these can have limited storage, so I usually recommend not relying on them for all your backup needs.
- Lastly, use a WordPress plugin such as UpdraftPlus or VaultPress.
- WordPress users can simply install their chosen plugin and manage their own backup preferences.
By all means, using a backup service is usually the safest and most reliable way to go. Still, whichever backup method you choose, there are some important things that you should always look for.
Consider the following:
- Off-site Backups:– this keeps your data far away from hackers in a secure, off-site location rather than in a normal server. This also protects your backups from hardware failure.
- Automated Backups:– remember when we said that 95% of security breaches were through human error? Don’t forget to create backups and pay the price – by automating this process you can simply sit back and relax.
- Redundant Backups:– this means your website’s data is stored in not just one, but multiple server locations. Think of it like having backups or your backups!
- Regular Backups:– it’s no good if you’re only running backups once per year. If a hack attack strikes, you’ll be left with an outdated version of your site. You should aim for weekly backups at the very least.
The more frequently you update your website, the more frequent your backups should be. I recommend erring on the side of caution, though – if you come under attack, you’ll never be sorry that you backed up your site too much! You can read more about WordPress Site Backup in a step-by-step.
6. Adjust Your WordPress Discussion Settings
Another great way to secure your website is by manually accepting on-site comments. But, is there a better feeling than hitting publish on your site and then seeing comments start to roll in? It’s proof that people have actually visited your site – and enjoyed it.
Of course, comments are the perfect way to measure engagement. As well as provide social proof to other visitors, connect with other people in your niche, and even take on constructive feedback. We love receiving comments, and you should too! However, there are always those comments that aren’t quite so fun.
Bots, fake accounts, and trolls are ready and waiting with a silly comment or spammy link. At best, it’s annoying – at worst, it can pose a security risk to you and your users. If people can post comments directly to your website, there’s a chance that malicious links might sneak into the comments section.
This is, particularly, dangerous for your website’s visitors, who might click on the link and risk exposing personal data or accidentally install malware.
To combat this, you can change the site’s (WordPress Discussion Settings) access privileges. So that you’ll need to manually approve comments before they appear on your site. Perse, this also gives you the chance to delete any spam comments on time. There are other ways to reduce these malicious links too.
Consider the following:
- Use an anti-spam software or plugin (such as Akismet for WordPress users)
- Ask visitors to register before they can start commenting
- Turn off comments on posts after a month or two
These tactics should keep your comments section a safe, fun, and happy place for both you and your visitors. As well as keep hackers and their malicious links on the outside. You can read and learn more about How to Secure & Protect Your Website in detail.
For any website security suite, it must include a built-in set of tools like Free SSL, Hack protection, Automatic backups, DDoS protection, etc. And for one thing, these are the very basic security features that your site needs. They are also the features you should look for whenever you’re looking at picking a hosting provider.
Good website security starts with a good web host. Whether your provider comes with tools built-in or offers extra freebies such as SiteLock, anti-malware is the best. The software gives you a welcome extra layer of protection.
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When you’re choosing plugins for your WordPress website, be careful about the quality. Plugins can be built by anyone, and poor-quality ones can contain bugs or malicious code. Read reviews, look for trusted developers, and check out the plugin thoroughly before clicking Install.
Did you know that 92.4% of malware is delivered via email? That also makes it the number one method of attack. Meaning, you should always be on the lookout for anything unusual in your inbox. There’s always more tech you can put in place to protect your website.
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But, you mustn’t forget that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. Make sure that you protect your website by being on your guard. And then, be suspicious of texts, emails, or phone calls asking for personal information.
Finally, I hope that the above-revised guide is useful to you or even your web management agents. But, if you’ll need more support, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can help. You can also share your additional thoughts, contributions, suggestions, or questions in our comments section below.
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