Any website on the internet can be the target of attack. Cyber criminals are always on the lookout for easy targets, from small blogs that are virtually unknown to large e-commerce websites. While many think that private information is what these vandals are always after, this is not the case. A big percentage of vandalism is done to pages. Below we are going to discuss 7 of the most common reasons why your website could be the next target, and we will also tell you how to prevent your website from being broken into by removing possible loopholes.
What are the 7 most common things that could lead to your site being hacked?
1. Compromised Personal Computer Security
When your personal computer is hacked, your website’s login credentials could be part of the information that is stolen from it. This means that the hackers can gain access to your website using your credentials. Attacks on your personal computer could originate from infected websites, software, or bots that scan various IP addresses for weak points.
2. Third-Party Access
Many websites use plugins, widgets and other components to add functionality that is otherwise not available on the core platform. These added components can pose a security risk, though. While many developers will always update their components to address discovered exploits, some components are not updated. This makes it easy for CMS systems like Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal to be hacked.
3. Application Vulnerabilities
Some popular platforms could be targets for hackers just for being famous. Hackers would search for vulnerabilities in the software to exploit. Fortunately, the developers of these popular systems like Joomla and WordPress are usually very fast to respond to these threats. Statistics showed that in 2014, a quarter of all websites on the internet were created of WordPress. If a weakness is detected in the CMS, it would mean disaster to millions of businesses and blogs alike.
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4. Indirect Server Hacks
Direct assaults are not the only way hackers can gain access to a website’s pages. Many websites are usually hosted on shared servers meaning that hundreds of sites could be sharing drive space, CPU resources, and memory of one physical server. If any one of these websites becomes compromised, all others on the same server stand a higher risk of being indirectly hacked into. A hack targeted for a hosting company will also put all websites it hosts at risk.
5. Responding to Phishing Email
One of the biggest reminders of why cyber laws need to be enforced is phishing emails. They are designed to trick you into giving up your credentials for various websites. In many cases, hackers take the time and effort to create emails that look exactly like the original and use them to ask for personal details or provide “login”. These links are always linked to false pages that require your information to proceed.
6. Outdated scripts
Scripts are usually used to alter the interface of a website, and control functionality from graphics to database queries. They are, unfortunately, one of the most common methods exploited by hackers. Fortunately, developers always create updates and bug fixes when exploits are developed. This means that a website running old scripts runs a very high chance of being hacked into.
7. Lack of Proper Security
Research by Symantec has shown that on average, small and medium-sized businesses spend more than $188,000 annually to deal with online hacks. More than 60% of the affected companies are forced to shut down because the financial implications to recover from such an attack is more than they can bear. Had there been proper security measures in place to prevent such attacks, many of these companies and businesses could still be in operation today.
Should read: How to Secure your own Domain Name?
How to Keep Your Site Protected
Taking measures and precautions to protect your website from hackers may seem like a mountainous job but in reality, it is not. There are simple measures that you can implement that will greatly reduce chances of you falling victim because many attacks focus on targets that are easy to break and will generally avoid ones that show resilience. Therefore, unless an attack is specifically aimed at your website, hackers will skip it and look for easier targets.
Ways of Reducing Risk
- Use the latest version of CMS software: Old versions of CMS software like WordPress and Joomla stand higher chances of having weak points that could be exploited by hackers. It is, therefore, better to set them for automatic updates if possible.
- Use the latest versions of integrated software: If the version of a web application, widget, or plugin goes more than a year without an update, it would be a wise decision to look for an alternative solution. This is because old scripts are easy to hack into.
- Ensure your firewall and antivirus software are up-to-date: Protecting your personal computer is the first step in protecting your website because it makes it impossible for hackers to gain access to your credentials.
- Use web hosting companies that conduct frequent security updates: Major web hosting companies take lots of care when it comes to security. It is, therefore, best to ensure that the host you have settled for takes security seriously and consequently, performs frequent security updates.
- Avoid direct interaction with unsolicited email: Emails that have links embedded in them could lead to compromised sites. To avoid this, make sure to manually type in addresses of sites you want to visit into your browser. Additionally, legit companies will never ask for your password via email.
- Update scripts and remove installation files: If you are using third-party scripts on your website, always ensure that you are using the latest version. Also, make sure that you delete any setup files after you are done performing an install.
- Never underestimate the importance of your site to a hacker: Never assume that your website is safe just because it is not as well-known as Google or Amazon. It only takes a moment for unsecured websites to get hacked into.
- Make use of security applications on your website: If using WordPress, make good use of security plugins. There are also many online scanning tools you can use for any website. The cost you will incur ensuring your website is safe is minute compared to what you stand to lose when you get hacked into.