Somebody is probably trying to Hack your Website Right Now
Many people aren’t aware that hackers may be trying to hack their website right now. Most people develop an image and persona of hackers from movies. The reality is that most hacking attempts are not run by a person sitting in a utilities van outside your business. Most hacking attempts are actually done by programs that randomly target websites and try to guess your password and username by drumming up thousands of guesses over a period of months. Another major misconception is that hackers would not have any reason to hack your website because there is nothing to steal, but that notion opens people up for a variety of cons and covert attacks. Millions of website hacking attempts happen every day and you should have safeguards in place to protect against them.
The Damage it can Cause
There are so many different reasons hackers may want to access your website. The obvious reasons are to collect sensitive information like social security numbers, credit cards, or other personal information that can be sold or used. However, there are many less apparent reasons to gain access to your website, one of these being the con attack. In a con attack a hacker gains access to your website and makes changes so that they can gain your (or your visitors’) trust and use that trust to gain credit card information or other sensitive information. The gambit of possible ways they do this is way beyond the scope of this article but the point is that they do it and make a lot of money in the process. Another less known way hackers will use your site is to host content discretely on your website so that the content can’t be traced back to them. It’s possible to host things on your website that are not visible from links from your webpages. Without any direct links showing on your website you would not be able to find hidden files without going to your file manager on the website server itself. Most website owners don’t have access to this or do not access it very often. If a hacker gains control of your website they may put large files, videos, or images on your website which slows down your server and may even cause it to crash. The things they host on your website can be anything from advertisements and links to other websites to much more heinous content like pornography or even illegal videos or documents. The last thing you need is a government official or group of lawyers knocking on your door asking for an explanation of the illegal content on your website. Finally, even if hackers don’t gain access to your website the hacking attempts themselves take a toll on your hosting server and that slows down your website.
How you can Protect Yourself
Stop the Attack
The first thing you should do is make sure that your hosting provider and website developer are up to date with the current security measures that can be put in place both on your website and on your hosting server. There are many basic security measures that we find that are not in place when we start to work with new clients who have hosted with inexpensive hosting providers or set up websites with unexperienced website developers. Make sure your website developer is providing you with security updates weekly and has configured your server with security modules that stop attacks in their tracks. If you’d like Jonroc to review your websites security we’d be happy to help.
Prevent Attacks from Being Successful
The number one thing you can do is use strong passwords! Passwords with 8 or more characters that include numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols should be a standard in any website security plan. You should never use common user names such as admin, administrator, your first or last name, the name of your website, or other obvious usernames. You should have a different password for every user and every account that you have so that if one account becomes compromised you will not be in danger of other accounts being overtaken.
In addition to strong passwords you should do a security scan of your website monthly to make sure malware or unwanted content has not be added to your website without your knowledge. Google and Bing both offer tools to search for malware, and there are many other security scanning options that you can use to look deeper into your website depending on what platform you are using for your website. If you do have malware on your website it will drastically affect your search rankings in SEO.
It’s About Trust
At Jonroc it’s about trust and you can trust us to have your websites security at the top of mind and under watch. Learn more about Jonroc and see what makes us different than many other website design and development firms. You can also learn more about how we host our websites and why it pays to spend a little bit more on hosting.