The worldwide web is a wonderful place. In a few clicks, you can order your groceries, debate politics with relatives on Facebook, or binge the latest Netflix show, but it’s not all rainbows, sunshine and cat videos. Yes, there’s a dark side to the internet, a hidden world where cybercriminals operate, targeting thousands of websites every day.
According to the 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, a business falls for ransomware attacks every 14 SECONDS. 2019 saw some of the decades’ biggest data breaches and hacks, with government agencies, global banks and major software companies falling victim to cybercriminals.
If you’re one of the millions of website owners, it’s crucial to know what the latest cyber security threats are.
If you manage a site, it’s a good chance it’s built on WordPress. Over 30% of websites are built on that platform, making it the most popular CMS in the world, and therefore, a big target for online hackers. This doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. We’re not telling you to shut down your website, put on your tinfoil hat and wait for the cybercriminals to takeover, but it’s important to be realistic and well-informed about the latest website security threats, especially if your website is your major tool for advertising and selling.
3 Cyber Security Threats You Should Know About
1. Stolen Data
In 2017, The Economist named data as the most valuable commodity in the world, making user data a prime target for cybercriminals. So, what are the kinds of business and customer data that can be stolen?
- Login Details: Usernames and passwords are a hot commodity among cybercriminals, who often sell them on the black market. Since many people fall into the habit of reusing passwords, the risk for your users is great.
2. Attack of the Spammers
Spam is more than a folder in your inbox. It’s a big threat to websites too. Targeted spam hacks can be detrimental to websites, creating inefficiencies, roadblocks and damages to your SEO ranking.
SEO spamming is a common technique used by hackers. Exploiting website security gaps, hackers hijack your website’s good SEO rankings, covertly inserting spam keywords and links that redirect them to their own websites.
The problem with these attacks is that they can often go unnoticed, with hackers exploiting your security gaps to post their own ads, pop-ups, and banners.
3. The Holy Grail: Customer Trust
Trust is more than a word that big-shot marketers like to throw around. There is real, honest value in building trust and customer respect. Over 60% of adults in the US say that trust in a brand has a great deal of influence on their decision when making a big purchase.
So what happens when this trust is broken? After a company data breach, many consumers take a break from shopping at that business, and some quit altogether.
Why? Because trust in personal data plays a big role in the customer buying journey.
This isn’t just about your brand reputation or the embarrassment of getting viagra ads plastered over your website (yes, that happens). Website security is the bedrock of customer trust. It’s simple: customers don’t want to give their data or money to someone they think is untrustworthy.
3 Ways to Protect Your Website
1. Run the Latest Version of Your Content Management System
Running the latest version seems like an obvious hack prevention technique, but given the fact that most site owners are running outdated versions, it’s a point that needs to be reminded.
Like any update, a new version comes with the latest features. It also comes with important bug and security fixes, making updates a crucial way to stay one step ahead of hackers.
2. Don’t Forget Plugin Updates
One of the most common ways hackers compromise your website is through outdated plugins. Just like core software, plugins will go through their own updates and versions to fix bugs and cybersecurity threats. So if you lose track of these updates, you’re creating small gaps of vulnerabilities.
Hackers of any site can exploit these tiny gaps outdated plugins create, using them for any number of means; from attacking your server to posting malicious ads. Most content management systems, like WordPress have thousands of plugins available and these updates should be a vital part of your website security maintenance.
3. Get a 24/7 Cybersecurity Team
Consider hiring a professional team to monitor, maintain and safeguard your website security, round the clock for things like:
- The latest WordPress and plugin updates
- 24/7 monitoring for viruses, malware and hackers
- Database optimization to maintain fast load speeds
- Regular backups to protect your valuable data
The advancement of cyber crime means that security plays a vital role in a business’s decisions, be it adding a fancy new feature or big rebuild, but chances are, you’re not a tech security expert. The underbelly of cybercrime is constantly evolving, and regular users can’t be expected to keep up with all the latest trends, techniques and tricks hackers use. There’s no shame in hiring a cybersecurity expert!