With around 30,000 websites hacked every day, all businesses need to take security seriously. If you’ve just created your site using the Boxmode website builder or you are planning to do this, you need to learn how to keep it safe. In this guide, we’ll look at the steps you can take to protect your data and content from hackers.
What Is Website Security?
It’s best to think of website security as an essential part of site maintenance. It is a set of precautions and processes that secure your site from cyberattacks.
What Could Happen If You Don’t Secure Your Site?
Cyberattacks can lead to:
· Serious breaches of personal data, such as your customers’ payment details
· Loss of control over your site (some hackers take over websites and offer to hand back control in exchange for money)
· Website unavailability
· Website defacement
· Major financial losses – The cost of recovering from an incident is so great that 60% of businesses have to close within six months of a cyberattack.
· Damage to your reputation – Even if no critical data is lost during a cyberattack, your customers might not feel able to trust your company if your site is hacked.
· Lawsuits – If a customers’ personal data is leaked or stolen, the customer may be able to sue you.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Attack?
Hackers use a variety of techniques to gain access to a site, sensitive data, or both. Here are just a few:
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks: This term describes a technique hackers use to bring down a website by bombarding the server with access requests until it crashes.
Brute force attacks (aka password guessing attacks): During a brute force attack, hackers try inputting different passwords into a website’s control panel until they find the right combination. They can then gain access to the website.
Ransomware: Hackers sometimes gain control of a site and its files by using malicious software. They then offer to grant the owner access in exchange for cash. If they access a site, perhaps via a brute force attack, a hacker can encourage its visitors to download the software via an innocent-looking link.
Cross-site scripting (XSS): If hackers can insert malicious code into a website, they can then use it to spread malware and viruses online. When visitors land on the infected site, their browser runs the code. Hackers can use XSS to direct visitors to other pages, steal their personal data by reading the cookies in their browsers, and more.
Businesses of every size need to think about website security. Almost half (43%) of cyberattacks are directed at small businesses. Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to secure your website. Follow the tips below to reduce your risk of falling victim to hackers.
10 Tips for Securing Your Site
1. Choose a strong password for your website admin account
Use the Secure Password Generator to create good passwords that will be hard for a hacker to guess. This will help defend your site against brute force attacks.
A password should:
· Be unique; use different passwords for all your accounts and apps.
· Be long; aim for at least eight characters.
· Be free from personal information.
· Contain random strings of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Experts recommend changing your passwords every 3-4 months and never sharing them with anyone. Consider using a password management tool, such as Sticky Password or Dashlane, for an added protection layer.
2. Choose a reputable anti-malware software
A good anti-malware software runs quietly in the background and quickly alerts you to anything suspicious. For example, if hackers have placed malicious code on your site and you’ve accidentally downloaded it to your machine, it will let you know and then resolve the issue.
Popular options include Malwarebytes and Avast Free Antivirus. These and other similar providers offer free or paid subscription services that give uninterrupted protection against cyberattacks. If you are using an all-in-one site builder and hosting platform, you will usually have access to anti-malware software as part of the service.
As for Boxmode, we use Mac OS for all development operations and QA processes. MacOS contains its own built-in firewall that shields our workstations from malicious content. Basically, it prevents hackers from spreading viruses over the Internet or other networks.
In addition, at Boxmode, each developer’s workstation is encrypted and regularly scanned for malware and viruses. We take the safety of our users seriously and strive to provide the highest level of protection.
3. Get a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
When you see a small padlock sign in your address bar in your web browser, you know that the site encrypts visitor data via HTTPS encryption. HTTPS prevents the interception of sensitive information, such as payment details and login information, by third parties.
Google penalizes sites that don’t have SSL certificates in their search engine results pages (SERPS), so SSL is also critical for SEO. Chrome shows a warning when a user tries to access a site without a certificate. Leaving your site unsecured will increase your bounce rate and make your site appear untrustworthy.
If you are using the Boxmode website builder, you don’t have to worry about an SSL certificate for your website. You will have it automatically generated and installed on your website for free.
We understand that users require a safe and private online experience when using our website builder. HTTPS protocol protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the website.
In addition, we constantly monitor users’ websites and take immediate actions in case of any anomalies. Our support team works 24/7.
4. Use the latest versions of your content management system (CMS), plugins, and extensions
Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in outdated plugins and apps, so always download updates and patches as soon as they become available. We recommend that you uninstall and delete anything you no longer use. The fewer opportunities hackers have to access your data, the better. A plugin you don’t use is a security threat.
If you use an all-in-one site builder and hosting solution, this probably won’t be an issue because they will automatically ensure you have the latest updates. Make sure your subscription is up to date. If your account is temporarily suspended, you won’t necessarily have access to vital updates.
5. Back up your website data
Make regular copies of your site’s content so you can restore it quickly if necessary. You don’t have to remind yourself to create a backup. Services like CodeGuard and BackupGuard automatically copy your files and store them on secure servers.
At Boxmode, we are using the fastest backup type for all our services – mirroring. Besides being fast, this method allows us to create clean backups without old or obsolete files. Each Boxmode service has its own backup scheme, which is applied almost daily.
We also store all users’ data in several physical locations to exclude the possibility of losing it. To eliminate software and configuration vulnerabilities, we test the infrastructure using the most advanced technologies, such as the CVE system.
CVE, short for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, is a database of publicly disclosed computer security flaws. This is a system that helps IT professionals make computer software more secure.
6. Moderate comments carefully
If you have a blog, consider implementing a strict moderation policy in the comments section. You could expose your visitors to malicious links and spam if you allow any comments without checking them first. In general, it’s not a good idea to allow visitors to upload files. If you do, check them carefully with antivirus software.
7. Use templates and themes from trusted sources
A quick Google search will point you to thousands of templates and themes, many of which are free. Some of them work as intended and can make web design easier, but many are infected with malicious code that can corrupt your website. For example, such code may redirect your visitors to spammy pages or insert unwanted adverts.
Pick a reputable source such as Themeforest and use an antivirus scanning tool like VirusTotal to check for suspicious files before opening them. Be wary of themes that haven’t been updated for a long time, because they are likely to be vulnerable to attacks.
Consider choosing a reliable website builder like Boxmode that comes with a selection of built-in templates instead of setting up a hosting provider and building a site yourself. You’ll have greater peace of mind knowing that your theme won’t corrupt your site or leave it vulnerable to attacks.
8. Watch out for email scams
Hackers don’t always gain access to a site by attacking it directly. Sometimes they use phishing scams to obtain login information. Skilled hackers create professional-looking pages and emails that seem authentic.
For example, they may send an email in which they claim to be working on behalf of your hosting provider and need your information to fix a technical problem. If you give them your username and password, they can then gain control of your site.
Use your common sense. If you get an email from a sender you don’t recognize, don’t click on its links.
Hackers may also try to impersonate you to gain access to your clients’ personal information. For instance, if they manage to hack into your database and get hold of your email list, they can send your clients emails asking them for sensitive details.
9. Run regular scans using a site checking service
If your website has been hacked, you’ll almost certainly notice, but it’s still a good idea to regularly use a website checking service. Securi has a free security check and malware scanning tool that will alert you to any problems. It checks for viruses, out of date plugins, and any unusual or malicious code.
At Boxmode, we conduct code security audits to eliminate security threats and use various mechanisms to protect websites from DDOS attacks.
It is vital for us that Boxmode is used by reputable business people who share our values. But every free service faces attempts to use it for fraud. To avoid this from happening, we closely monitor the use of our services and ban users who do not comply with our rules.
10. Be careful when granting other people access to your site
Many entrepreneurs hire contractors to add content to their website or manage their e-commerce store. When giving them access, follow the principle of least privilege: give them only the level of access they need to do their job. For example, if they are writing and publishing blog posts, there is probably no need to grant them administrator privileges. When the project or assignment is finished, change their login details. It’s a quick process, but it could save you from a major security violation.
To safeguard your business and reputation, you must take website security seriously. The best defense against hackers is continual vigilance and monitoring. By following the steps in this guide, you’ll keep your site working as it should.