Common Hacks That Protect Your Website from Cyber Threats

In 2021, cyber security has become as important as ever, with websites recommended to put protection in place to keep out hackers, bugs and other online nasties.

As news emerges of the World Economic Forum preparing to simulate a “cyber attack with COVID-19 characteristics”, having robust online security is now absolutely essential.

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What strategies can we incorporate to protect our businesses online? Dan from Industrial Defender explores.
Preventing serious online attacks. Photo: FGH

Let’s start the discussion of protecting your website from cyber threats with an analogy. Think about your house for a minute. Look at the measures you take to protect yourself. 

The most basic starts with locking up so that no one has access to your house.

You may also have burglar proofing. Other measures include investing in monitoring and surveillance cameras. You may even have a guard dog to help alert you.  

The point is, you realize that security begins with you. The same applies to every minute you are in an online space. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for areas of vulnerability.

Think of it as an open door or window that a burglar can go through. 

They use loopholes to gain access to your website.  Once they are in, they will steal data.  They may even install malware or viruses that can disable your system. 

Our article will share six common hacks that can protect your website from cyber threats.  

CHOOSE A SECURE PLATFORM TO HOST YOUR WEBSITE

You have tons of choices with web hosting providers.

They all come with different offerings and at different price points.  When shopping for the right platform, carefully read what they have to offer.

One of the most important deciding factors should be the level of security.  

Go a step further and install extra security measures. Such include antivirus, anti-malware, and firewalls. Run system scans daily if possible. 

Most website builders have security plugins available. Take the time to determine the best by doing your research and reading customer reviews. 

STRONG PASSWORDS AND MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

A strong password is one of the most obvious yet most challenging to implement safety strategies. The reality is many people struggle with coming up with strong passwords. 

The typical fallback is birthdays, anniversaries, or name combinations. In worst-case scenarios, you may use the same password for multiple accounts.  

A strong password requires a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. Do not share your password with anyone. Avoid writing it down or storing it on your device. 

It is also important to change it regularly.

The aim is to make it as challenging as you possibly can for hackers to crack it.  

A strong password is a good strategy. The next is to implement two-factor or multi-factor authentication. It utilizes additional information like personal identification codes.  

RUN SOFTWARE UPDATES AND BACKUP FILES

Stay on top of threats. Photo: MWL

Developers are always working on improving the software. They will regularly send out updates, and it is important that you run them. It gives you a chance to seal any loopholes and fix any bugs. As more and more viruses get developed, these updates secure your system against these new viruses. 

You’ll benefit from the latest security measures these updates offer.

Avoid disabling automatic updates for your devices. It may be bothersome, especially if you are in the middle of a project.  Yet, the benefits outweigh the temporary inconvenience.  

Backing up files is critical in case hackers get access to your website.

The loss of data can be crippling, especially in the case of e-commerce. Manually backup your files daily or even weekly. The other option is to enable automatic backups so that you never forget.  

INCIDENT REPORTING

 If you use your website for business, start by training your employees on safe internet use. Teach them things like not opening emails from sources they are not sure about. 

They should also avoid clicking on links or attachments until they verify the source.    

Everyone within the organization must learn how to identify threats. Also, they should know what to do in case they encounter one. The NERC CIP compliance policy advises on the importance of incident reporting. It requires putting in place systems to collect data on threats and attacks.

Have systems to respond to such, allowing for a pre-emptive rather than reactive approach.  

Educate yourself on the different types of incident reports. They vary depending on the industry.

If you work with credit card information you need PCI DSS. For healthcare and energy, you need HIPAA and NERC/CIP. Finance and insurance use NYCRR. FISMA/NIST and SOX are for federal/government organisations and public entities respectively. 

Furthermore, one of the things you probably do when online is to look for the HTTPS sign. It is a sign that the site owner has taken the time to provide a safe platform for the audiences. 

Secure socket layer (SSL) allows for data encryption, making it difficult for third parties to monitor your network traffic. Do note, lack of SSL certification can impact your rankings on the search engines.  

BE CAREFUL ABOUT FILE UPLOADS

Some users may want to upload files onto your website. It can expose you to security risks that you would rather avoid altogether. Some files may contain malicious scripts that could introduce viruses or malware. 

Unless it is totally necessary, do not allow just anyone to upload files. Do not even have it as an option to avoid having to deal with such content from your audiences. In some instances, it may not be avoidable.  

You may need information from clients that may require file uploads. In this case, you can do the following:

  • Create whitelist filters highlighting the type of file extensions you can accept.
  • Have systems of verifying file types.
  • Rename folders once you upload them.
    If you don’t, hackers will easily find them using the name they gave the files.
  • Place a limit on file sizes to prevent DDOS attacks.
  • Scan any files before you open them
  • Do not store uploaded files on the webroot. 
    Find an external place to store them so that hackers do not get easy access.  

FINAL THOUGHTS

We have looked at some of the things you can do to protect your website from cyber threats. 

What you do online can make you the strongest or weakest link. 

Hackers look for areas of vulnerabilities that they can exploit. 

Do not make it easy for them by giving them access points.

Choose the right hosting platform and use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication. Install additional security like SSL, antivirus, firewalls, and anti-malware. 

Monitor the online activities of everyone within the organization. Take note of the websites they visit. Some of them may expose you to unnecessary vulnerabilities.

It is also important to discourage the use of public Wi-Fi. Without encryption, anyone can view the data. An alternative is to install a VPN or proxy to provide anonymity and data encryption.  

Keep up with the scans and updates, and remember to back up your files. Finally, continue to educate yourself on the latest threats. Hackers are constantly evolving in sophistication levels.

So it helps to know as much as you can about security while online. 


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1 comments on “Common Hacks That Protect Your Website from Cyber Threats”

  1. Let’s be honest ‘hackers’ or gov intel use the back doors that the developers built the web and web devices with.
    I recommend locking your doors and having a guard dog but this will not stop anyone getting in that wants in…

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