Website security has become an essential consideration for site owners around the world. Partly, this is because people are more aware of cybersecurity, data privacy, and data security. People don’t want to shop on an unsecured website. One warning about your website from a web browser can result in a permanent loss of that customer.
The other thing driving website owners to strengthen their website security is the fact that cyber-attacks are on the rise. Initially, cybersecurity was a problem largely limited to websites that were incredibly popular with thousands of views a day, or websites that were run by huge corporations.
However, in the recent past, information has been monetised, and that has driven hackers to attack all websites, meaning every website is now a target. So, it’s crucial that you do everything that you can to secure your website.
Major security threats in recent times
Social hacking or social engineering is emerging as one of the biggest cybersecurity problems. A social engineering attack is an attack on your network that’s made possible by your (or your employees’) negligence.
You could open a suspicious email, have an easy password, click on a malicious link, or in extreme cases, even mention passwords out loud. To this day, social engineering or social hacking remains one of the most effective forms of hacking.
A vulnerability can exist on any part of a network. It can be on applications, software, OS — anywhere, really. Lots of popular software have known backdoors, and if left unresolved, these are exploited by hackers to gain access.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are cyber-attacks that overwhelm your server with requests. Thousands of requests are sent to your server at the same time from multiple computers. The server isn’t able to process all these requests at once and crashes. This brings down your website.
While this is a serious problem, oftentimes, it’s used as a smokescreen to conduct more harmful hacking activities. The idea is that you’re busy trying to get your website online, and you won’t notice the more serious hacking happening in the background. This is because distraction is the modus operandi of hackers. The primary symptom of a DDoS attack is that the server becomes overwhelmed with the requests and fails. the owner will work towards getting the server/website up and running. DDOS attacks are known to get identified quite later.
So initially the server failure gets used as a smokescreen to do further damage without the user realising.
How to improve website security?
Install an SSL certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a certificate that validates, to the customer or the viewer, that you are indeed the owner of the website and the business. It also encrypts all data that customers enter on your website. This means that even if your network is a victim of a MitM(Man in the Middle) attack, the data that they steal will be encrypted and therefore secure.
SSL certificates are also a stamp of security for your website. They appear as a green lock on the left side of your website URL and instead of ‘http//:’, your website will begin with ‘https//:’. Installing an SSL Certificate increases the security of your website, and also increases customer trust.
Use a comprehensive website security tool like Sitelock
Sitelock is a website security tool that’s been designed with small and medium businesses in mind. Sitelock scans your website daily. A scan typically includes using malware detection tools, antivirus software, blacklist monitoring applications, and so on to perform a complete scan of the security situation of your website.
SiteLock also adds a few firewalls, enterprise-level antivirus applications, and malware detection and removal tools to ensure that your website is safe. Finally, it’ll also alert you if an untrusted system is trying to gain access to your network.
Sitelock is great for small and medium-sized businesses because it provides enterprise-level security for a great price.
Update all your applications routinely
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Similarly, a network is only as strong as its weakest network link. One backdoor in an application can allow a hacker to gain access to your network.
Updating your OS and all the applications that are installed is one of the most powerful ways of keeping your network and website secure. Updates often contain important security patches that plug the loopholes in the code. Installing them is crucial.
The best way to approach this is to institute a system for updating all applications. Routinely, all applications and your OS should be updated to the latest version.
Choose your web hosting company with care
It is the web hosting company that owns the server and maintains it. You need to be confident that they are capable of storing your data securely. Leading web hosting companies have a number of firewalls in front of their servers. They also perform routine audits of all their servers and will not allow malicious websites to function on their servers.
These are important factors, especially if you’re sharing server resources with other websites. With web hosting, it’s usually best to stick to the industry leaders who have a proven history of providing safe, fast, and reliable hosting services. Choosing reliable web hosting will be better in the long run as compared to settling for a free web hosting plan.
Change the default settings of your CMS
Most attacks on websites these days are by bots. These are malicious scripts and code written by hackers that can attack a website entirely on their own. The reason that bots are effective is that most websites have the same CMS settings — the default ones. This just makes things very easy for bots.
The best way to deal with this is by changing the default settings for your CMS. For example, you can change your default SSH listening port from port 22 to another number. This effectively thwarts any bot that’s trying to take advantage of that open port.
The number and types of cyber-attacks are only going to go up. In fact, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of attacks has risen sharply. The best way to deal with them is by being prepared and using tools and infrastructure that can help you secure your website.
You can start off by choosing a web hosting company that can actually provide a safe web hosting environment for your website. HostGator is one of the leading names for offering some of the best domain and web hosting solutions. We offer secure web hosting solutions. You can also buy SiteLock security and Comodo SSL on our website. Simply choose the web hosting plan of your choice, buy the necessary SiteLock plan, get a Comodo SSL certificate, and we will help you to seamlessly integrate them all for your website.
Buying web hosting, along with SiteLock and SSL from HostGator allows you to use top-of-the-line security software right from the get-go which will help you ensure that your website is not just fast and reliable, but also completely secure.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to drop a comment below. For more tips on building impactful websites, head to our Website Blog category.