Your website is one of your business’s most important tools. It draws new customers; informs current customers; gives you a portal to effectively communicate with the world; and helps shape the image of both you and your business.
Each hiccup in your website’s operation can cause you headaches and cost you money. To keep things running smoothly, take a look at the following common security breaches and how to defend against them.
This isn’t DOS with a stutter. DDoS stands for distributed denial of service. This is when a team of malicious computers gang up on your website to flood your website with useless traffic. When this happens, users with a genuine interest in your business cannot use your site because your server is so clogged up.
How to Defend Against It: Choose a web host that gives round the clock defense against DDoS attacks by monitoring your site for unexpected huge spikes in traffic. To find a reliable host, you can check independent reports on HostGator and other hosting services. Such reports give you objective insight into how various webhosts perform in the security arena.
“Malware” refers to a host of nasty computer bugs that can wreck your system and steal sensitive data. When you use a dedicated server for your website, you have primary control over what apps and programs operate on it, which makes you the first line of defense.
How to Defend Against It: Even some programs that on the surface seem completely legit can carry malware, so scan everything before your let it anywhere near your website. Keep a close eye on your website, checking for strange advertisements and other unusual things. To take precautions to an even higher level, test new software on a device that is isolated from your server.
A password breach is what it sounds like—that is, a bad guy gets ahold of your password and uses it to wreak havoc and steal sensitive information.
How to Defend Against It: Even if your web hosting service does not require you to have a 10-character password that contains the atomic numbers of your favorite elements, you should still choose a password that no one would be able to guess. Hence, it’s unwise for you to you names of family members, pets, or your favorite athletes as passwords. Choose a password that to any onlooker would seem like a random combination of letters and numbers.
Also, choose different passwords for accessing differing aspects of your dedicated server. For example, your password for the control panel should differ from the one you use for your FTP accounts.
Keep an eye out for phishing websites, which may look like the real deal at a glance but which aim to steal your important information.
Elevation of Privilege
Watchguard.com explains, “In your network, every application, every user, and every element (routers, firewalls, host systems, etc.) has this notion of “privilege” built in. And privilege has degrees.” A program that elevates its own privileges by doing more than what it has permission to do can tamper with your website, see sensitive information, and bring about general chaos.
How to Defend Against It: Just because you can log into your server as an administrator does not mean you should. If you can do what you need to with a lower level of privilege, you reduce opportunities for malicious programs to go wild with your administrative privileges.
Malvertising is a type of malware, but it deserves a separate mention because it can have a particularly devastating effect. These malicious advertisements, if they rope your website guests into clicking on them, can seriously undermine user confidence in your website.
How to Defend Against It: Noticing the details of your website can go a long way toward catching malware before it causes too much damage. If an ad looks suspicious, run a scan on your site. Also make sure your computer and the computers of your employees who can make changes on the website have active, updated malware protection programs.
Your website is your business’s portal into the world. By protecting it against common security breaches, you guard yourself against lost profits and pulling-your-hair-out frustration.