And while each of us can take steps to make our private data harder to steal (like enabling two-factor authentication when available, securing our passwords, etc.), website owners, developers and marketers face a more difficult task.
We must ensure the safety of visitors and users of our site.
You see, our users and visitors trust us. When they visit our website, they may very well submit a form or install a script or software that your site invites to install.
But what if your site has been hacked and all of these invitations were not sent by you but by the hacker, and all of that information now belongs to them?
What if your loyal customers experience identity theft just because you failed to protect them and their information?
This is where a data breach isn’t just a drawback for you – it’s a reputation crisis and maybe even liability.
And the statistics for cybercrime are truly frightening:
- According to Will have, someone is a victim of identity theft every ten seconds
- Cybercriminality increases 600% due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- In search by Juice, out of 8,000 infected websites, ¾ of them were managed by WordPress.
- Each month, about 4,800 websites are compromised with form hijacking code.
If you’re still not convinced, safety is a ranking signal. This is why Google has forced most websites to switch to HTTPS protocols.
This has been a major crackdown on Google’s part and its commitment to providing its users with safe and reliable sources. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is absolutely essential these days, and Google is much more likely to connect its searchers to HTTPS sites rather than standard HTTP sites.
Source: Digital eagles
Here are some steps you can take to further secure your site (as well as your users’ personal information):
1. Make sure your hosting service is secure.
Many malicious attacks happen through your hosting provider, so make sure your provider takes all necessary steps to keep your site secure.
Do your research.
Read your web host’s reviews, look for something like [hosting-company security], [hosting-company hacked], [hosting-company security], etc.
Check Twitter for something like [hosting-company malware :(] or [hosting-company malware :(]. You may find that customers are suffering from poor hosting security practices.
It is not just the question itself; most hosting companies have experienced at least one data breach at one point or another.
What is more important is how they handled it. Did they respond to their customers? Did they act quickly? Have they worked with their clients to clean up their websites?
Check to see if the hosting company is responsive on Twitter and how willing they are to resolve issues.
2. Verify your site with Google Search Console.
If you just need one more reason to check your site with Google Search Console, here’s one: it’s one of the fastest malware alert systems out there. And it’s also completely free.
Google’s search console is based on the Safe browsing API that alerts site users to possible malware attacks. It is also used by most browsers (including, of course, Google Chrome). Through the API, users are usually notified when they attempt to access an infected website.
Security issues reported by Google to website owners. They are classified into three major groups:
- Malicious and unwanted software: this is what can harm the users of your site by infecting their devices
- Pirated content: when third-party content (usually links) is added to your site
- Social engineering: this type invites users of your site to share their personal information.
Google also provides helpful instructions on how to resolve each of the detected issues. Again, the most valuable aspect of these reports is how quickly they point out issues.
Google will also report on your Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) issues, which indicate possible security vulnerabilities.
Besides the Google search console, many more security analysis tools allow you to find security holes in your configuration and content management platforms.
3. Keep an eye on your bot traffic.
What is bot traffic?
Bot traffic is any non-human traffic to a website or app. In many cases, bot traffic isn’t bad. Bot traffic includes automatic crawlers (like Google’s crawler) and digital assistants (Siri, Alexa, etc.)
It’s a spike in bot traffic that can signal a problem.
This problem can be:
- Start of a DDoS attack (this is when a massive amount of traffic is sent to kill your servers)
- Credentials stuffing (when bots try to guess your backend login details)
- Data scraping (when your content is automatically copied)
These reports are useful because they give you more details to discuss with your developer and / or host. They will tell you what type of bot traffic is increasing and if there is any cause for concern.
Keeping your site secure is one of the most important fundamentals of your online presence. Don’t ignore problems until it’s too late. Use the simple steps above to avoid some issues and create processes to fix security holes quickly and minimize the impact.