How to Protect Your Website From Cyberattacks

How to Prevent Cyberattacks on your website

Written by JVF Solutions

JVF Solutions is your premier source for all things online. From responsive websites to digital marketing services to online marketing strategy, we've got you covered.

November 1, 2023

As business owners, we all know how important it is to have a website that showcases our products and services, attracts customers, and generates revenue. However, there are several areas related to websites that are often overlooked. One big one is security. Do you know how secure your website is?  Is your site open to attacks? Are people attacking your website right now?

We manage dozens of websites so we review hundreds of security reports each year. From brute force attempts to crack a password to exploiting a vulnerability in a plug-in, some of our websites thwart thousands of attempted attacks each month. Why would someone try to hack a website for a small business? It could be to infect visitors’ computers with a virus, host illegal content, steal data, hold the owner for ransom, or many other reasons.

Experts estimate between 4000 and 8000 attempted cyberattacks each day. These attacks can target any website, regardless of its size or industry. That’s why website security is essential for every small business.

There are many benefits of having a secure website, such as:

  • Protecting your customers’ personal and financial information.
  • Protecting your business reputation and customer trust.
  • Avoiding financial losses due to data breaches, legal fees, and fines.
  • Preventing malware attacks from spreading to your other systems.
  • Improving your website’s performance and SEO ranking.

So how can you secure your website and protect your business? Here are some simple steps that you can take:

Install an SSL certificate on your website.

An SSL certificate encrypts the data that is transferred between your website and its users, making it unreadable to hackers. A SSL certificate also shows a padlock icon and a “https” prefix in your website’s address bar, indicating that your website is secure and trustworthy. We created a video that takes a deeper dive into what SSL is and how it works:

 

Strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.

You should use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication for your website’s admin panel and user accounts. A strong password should be at least 12 characters long, include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and be different from other passwords that you use. The below chart shows you how effective different password options are.

How safe is your password?

Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code or a device confirmation in addition to the password. So even if someone steals your password, they’d need access to your phone, email, or authentication app to get the security code to access the website.

Everyone uses their own account

While we’re talking about access, it’s important to be able to manage and audit who is doing what on your website. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you should consider having multiple accounts for your website. On WordPress, we recommend two accounts: an admin account for making changes to the website’s design & components, and an editor account for making minor updates and creating blog posts. If you have someone maintaining your website, it’s a best practice to give that person their own account with the appropriate level of access. We also recommend using a new account to give people (such as consultants or support) temporary access. When they’re done, you can remove it.

If you have a team, then it’s also important to give everyone their own separate account with the appropriate level of access. Often, teams will use the same admin account but this leads to two potential problems. First, having admin access means they could accidentally (or on purpose) break something on the website. Second, if there is a problem, there’s no audit trail of who did what as all the logs will show the same user.

Update your website’s software, plugins, and themes regularly.

This is one that many people miss. Outdated software can have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain access to your website. You should always install the latest versions of your website’s core software, plugins, and themes as soon as they are available. We often bring on maintenance clients that have plug-ins that haven’t been updated in years. Many of them have what’s considered “critical security vulnerability” which means that an attacker can easily exploit the site. That’s why we run several security scans each week for all of our clients. We’re aware as soon as there’s a problem and we can address it.

Install anti-malware software on your website.

Anti-malware software helps prevent, detect, and remove malicious software that hackers can use to infect your website. Again, we run scans several times a week so we’re alerted right away whenever there’s a vulnerability.

Back up your website’s data regularly.

A backup is a copy of your website’s data that you can restore in case of an emergency, such as a cyberattack. We recommend backing up your website at least once per week, or more frequently if you make frequent changes to your website. All of our hosting plans include nightly backups and we ensure all of our clients, whether they host with us or not, have some backup plan in place.

Install a web application firewall (WAF) on your website.

A WAF is software that monitors and filters the traffic between your website and its users, blocking any malicious requests or attacks. A WAF can also protect your website from common cyberattacks such as DDoS (distributed denial of service), SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and brute force attacks. Again, some of our clients see thousands of attacks each month that are avoided thanks to having an effective WAF.

Wrapping up.

These are just some of the best practices we recommend for securing your website and protecting your business. However, website security is not a one-time task – it’s an ongoing process. You should always be vigilant about the security of your website and make sure you’re being proactive to prevent any potential threats. One test we recommend is SSL Lab’s SSL test which shows how secure your website’s server is. Try it with your website.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to schedule a 30-minute no-cost, no-obligation consultation with us. We can help you put together a plan to ensure that your website is secure.

You May Also Like…

WordPress 6.5: What to Expect

WordPress 6.5: What to Expect

WordPress 6.5 will be the first major release of 2024. It's currently scheduled to be launched on March 26th, but that...

0 Comments

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This