Seemingly every few weeks or so, another national news story tells the tale of a company that has fell victim to web hacking.
As a business owner, it's understandably concerning to hear these stories. Not only because the breach may have impacted you personally but because you also worry about the safety and security of your company’s website — and all the sensitive data it contains.
Fortunately, there are several tangible steps you can take that will help improve your website security strategy. But first, let’s start by looking at some of the more common web-hacking techniques that cybercriminals employ.
Phishing and Viruses and DoS…Oh My!While most people know what phishing is, it sadly remains a somewhat effective method used by criminals to access your personal and financial information. This is because hackers know what types of emails you typically open. As such, hackers will create emails that look legitimate and like they're coming from a bank or vendor. Instead, these messages will contain links that, when accessed, will take you to a phony website designed to steal proprietary information.
Viruses are another common method that hackers use. In particular, they will try to access your business website and deposit malware or infected code that will corrupt your files. A denial-of-service, or DoS attack, is another common tactic in which "legitimate users are unable to access information systems, devices, or other network resources due to the actions of a malicious cyber threat actor."
As a business owner, it's imperative that you stay ahead of these malicious hackers by doing everything in your power to improve your cybersecurity, including the following:
1. Stop Malware in its TracksIncluding anti-malware software in your company’s website security tools is exceptionally important. Look for programs that will detect and remove malware and offer real-time protection. This means the program will be on the job 24/7/365 — not just during scheduled scan times.
2. Add a Web Application FirewallAnother effective way to improve your website security is with the help of a web application firewall, or WAF. If you're wondering, “What is a web application firewall, and how can it help my site?” think of it as a virtual wall that figuratively surrounds your website and web applications — much like an enormous stone wall would protect an ancient castle.
When researching a website firewall, look to companies that offer innovative and affordable web application firewall solutions, including the ability to only allow the “good” visitors in and reject others, like bad bots and a number of majorly malicious cyber threats.
3. Don't Forget Security CertificatesTo make your website as secure as possible, consider installing secure socket layer (SSL) certificates. This will ensure a secure connection between your company’s site and the browsers your customers use when visiting your website.
An SSL certificate can encrypt the data between your website and your customers’ servers. This step ensures that a hacker cannot read credit card information, passwords, and other private data. An SSL certificate will also verify your site is authentic, which, in turn, reduces the chances of a DoS occurring.