Website Hacking – you’ve seen it in the movies or read about it in the news, but did you ever think it can happen to you too? If you are a small business owner and have a website, you should think about it seriously. Not only large corporations get hacked, but also smaller enterprises, and sometimes you may not even realise it has happened.
Malicious hackers continue to wage on business networks and systems, as their aim is to extract data to sell on the black market. Keep on reading to find out more about this issue and how you can protect your site from website hacking.
It can happen to anyone
Two of the best-known website hacks in recent years are Ashley Madison and Ebay. In July 2015, the website enabling extramarital affairs was hacked and the group behind the data breach threatened to release usernames and information if Ashley Madison was not closed immediately. As a result, many users feared they would be publicly shamed. And you don’t even have to use this type of website to be at risk – a similar incident has happened to EBay as well, in May 2014, when its corporate network was hacked and the database storing user passwords was compromised. Users had to change their passwords to make sure their financial information stood safe.
Do you think you’re too small to be in danger of website hacking? Think again, as you may have reasons to worry too – in the last years, more and more web security experts have begun to state that no business is too small to be hacked. Small businesses are actually easier to attack and more than half of all online attacks target small and midsize businesses. Some possible scenarios involving website hacking and a small business include:
- Having your company files encrypted and being asked for a ransom to get your data unlocked (Ransomware)
- Having your company website shut down
- Being lured to a fake website where you are asked to type your log-in credentials. Next, hackers use credentials to steal financial information from you or access the networks of larger companies with whom you do business
- Being fooled to click on a link or document and to install software that captures keystrokes on your computer
- A criminal posing as a senior member of the firm, usually by hacking their email account, and determining someone with financial authority to make a payment
Risk factors of website hacking
Most times, websites get hacked because of poor access control, software vulnerabilities, and third-party integrations. Another risk factor for small businesses is that their staff is less trained and digital-savvy, and they can easily become victims of malicious email campaigns or infected attachments. Just making sure your password is not 12345 is not enough to protect you from malicious attacks. Even if your budget is limited, you should allocate resources for data security or else one day you can expect a very unpleasant surprise.
Simple tips to protect your website
You don’t necessarily need to hire a security expert today, although calling to the service of one from time to time is highly recommended; you can start by implementing these simple tips:
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly
Your children’s birthdays are easier to remember, but many people can have access to this type of information. Choose instead a password that combines various letters and numbers, upper and lower case, and symbols. Replace your password with a new one on a regular basis.
- Keep software updated
Denying software updates because they interrupt your work? Next time hit “Yes” because old software not only has less advanced features, but it can be more vulnerable to online attacks.
- Install security plugins
Even if you are using a very secure platform, like WordPress, you may not be fully protected. Security plugins provide multiple tools such as blacklist monitoring or security activity auditing which can make a huge difference the moment when a hacker tries to attack your website.
- Lock down your directory and file permissions
If you are keeping important information on your computer, remember to lock down your directory and file permissions. If a hacker gains access to your computer, they can use the information from your files to create even more damage.
- Train your employees
Sometimes all it takes to be hacked is having a neglectful person in your staff clicking on a file attachment and the next thing you know is that your website is gone. People do such mistakes more often than you think and training employees on security matters is vital for the well-being of your business.
VMA have security contacts that can help if your website has been hacked or you believe your system has been compromised please contact us, our team are happy to help!