Why Hackers Target Small Business Websites: 5 Tips to Stop them
With the rise of online businesses, so does the hacking community. Many talented people with barbarous intentions from across the world develops systems with one intention in mind, to harm and attack websites and ruin the day for most entrepreneurs.
If you are following the media daily, you will notice only the big companies. These big international companies that hold a lot of information and credit card data are usually targeted by large hacker groups in order to gain media attention. However, these are usually publicity stunts or attacks done for attention, the real victims are usually the small businesses.
Small businesses are constantly targeted by hackers because of their “ease of access”, or in other words, lack of security, as small businesses invest less in security systems thinking they will not be a target due to their size. No matter the size of a business, it can always be a target and potential victim of these hacker groups.
Why do hackers attack websites in the first place?
The main reason hackers target websites are email lists that they can use to eventually spam their promotional materials on. Even if the website does not have an email database, they can also put ads on the landing page potentially scamming people who had prior knowledge that the website was legitimate.
DDoS Attacks are also an interest to many attackers. With the use of botnets, DDoS attacks, or distributed denial-of-service, hackers can disrupt computer systems by flooding them with unwanted traffic and thereby disrupt regular server traffic.
Then there is ransomware, where they can lock the files of a website, or the personal information entered by the users on said website or service and ask for money in order to give them back that information. In recent years, many websites are also used to secretly mine cryptocurrencies due to the recent boom.
How do you stop these hackers?
There are multiple methods you can implement to your website in order to stop these hackers from attacking, or at the very least, make it much more difficult for them to attack it.
1. Add an SSL Certificate
The first and possibly most important thing you can do to protect your website is by adding an SSL Certificate. In simple terms, an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate encrypts the data that is on your website, making it difficult for hackers to read and potentially modify this data in any way they desire. In case of multiple domains,SAN SSL Certificate works the same way a regular SSL Certificate would, allowing you to secure the connection between your websites and its visitors through the browser. The main advantage of using a SAN SSL Certificate is the fact that it secures your multiple domains on a single certificate, saving you money in the process while still offering the same amount of protection.
2. Keep your software up to date.
This means that you should always keep the software of the system up to date, as well as any CMS (Content Management System, such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento and so on) or forum that your website’s software might be running on. These Content Management Systems usually come with their own software packages, usually known as plugins, which have their unique security updates and protection implemented within them. Keeping these up to date can increase cyber security of your website. If you are using a managed hosting service, you do not need to worry as much about this step as these companies usually offer this service within the subscription.
3. Make regular backups of your website
One of the best ways to ensure that, if anything goes wrong, you will not lose any of your data, is to simply create a backup of all the content and services displayed on your website. Constantly backing your website also has other advantages; you can always experiment with different security tools in order to find the best one that fits your needs, without running the risk of losing any important data in the process.
If someone locks the content of your data through ransomware, you will not need to meet their demands, as you can just delete the main database and re-upload the backed-up version.
4. Use complex passwords
Using long and complex passwords can be a hassle, especially since we want quick access to our files and usually run towards easy to remember passwords.
For a password to be effective, it needs to have a minimum of eight characters that include a number and an uppercase letter. These passwords need to be stored as encrypted values. It should be hashed with SHA algorithm.
SHA includes data transformation with a hash function. This algorithm consists bitwise operations, modular additions, and compression functions.
5. Include XSS Protection.
Cyber crime is becoming headache for small and large enterprises day by day and proper security measures with strict inside and external policy framework should be there in a company.
What rights should be assigned to which person should have been defined at time of drafting security policy. Besides, the above tips will surely help small businesses to face against cybercrime or nasty hackers.
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