Website Security

What is website security or cybersecurity?

The formal definition of website security is “the act/practice of protecting websites from unauthorized access, use, modification, destruction, or disruption”. Cybersecurity aims to prevent many threats that can severely impact your business. A security breach can result in lost revenue, remediation costs, damage to your brand reputation, and significant fines for failing to protect personal data according to the GDPR.

In addition to ensuring that your website is secure, you must have processes to quickly repair and restore your website after a cyberattack to ensure business continuity, especially if you sell services or products online.

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Common website security threats

Brute force attack

A brute force attack is a trial-and-error method used to crack passwords by guessing all possible passwords until the correct one is identified. These attacks are typically carried out by scripts or bots that target a website’s login page.

Clickjacking

Clickjacking is a malicious technique that tricks users into clicking on something different from what they perceive. This can potentially reveal confidential information or allow attackers to take control of their computers.

Compromised credentials

A vulnerable login procedure can lead to credential exposure, allowing attackers to steal data, access accounts on your website, and potentially bring down your entire network.

Credential stuffing

Credential stuffing is an attack in which hackers use known login credentials to gain unauthorized access to other accounts. This attack exploits individuals who use the same username and password combinations for multiple purposes.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS)

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to overload a server by flooding it with fake requests to render it incapable of responding to legitimate client requests.

DNS cache poisoning or spoofing

DNS cache poisoning or spoofing happens when an attacker inserts false information into a DNS cache. This causes DNS queries to respond incorrectly, directing users to the wrong websites.

Machine‑in‑the‑middle (MITM) attack

A machine-in-the-middle (MITM) attack occurs when an attacker intercepts unencrypted data, such as login credentials, personal information, or payment details, that travels between your website’s server and browser.

Subdomain takeover

A subdomain takeover happens when an attacker gains control of a subdomain. This usually occurs when the subdomain has a CNAME in the DNS, but no host provides content. The attacker takes over the subdomain by providing their virtual host and hosting their content.

Watering hole attack

A watering hole attack happens when an attacker guesses or observes which websites an organization frequently uses and infects one or more of them with malware. As a result, some members of the targeted group will become infected.

How to protect your website

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Creating your website on your own may leave it vulnerable to cyberattacks. While visually appealing, it is crucial to have a professional evaluate and implement technical measures and use specialized tools to detect and mitigate risks.

Ensuring website security is an ongoing process. It is essential to frequently update WordPress and any plugins used. However, malfunctions may occur during the automatic update process. Disabling automatic updates can leave your website vulnerable. Therefore, I strongly recommend a website care plan to ensure your website is always well-maintained and secure.

Even if you do everything correctly, your website may still be vulnerable to hacking due to bugs, plugin vulnerabilities, or security breaches. This is because plugins are developed by third parties. Furthermore, hackers continually discover new ways to attack websites as technology advances. In the event of an attack, despite all precautions, it is crucial to have processes in place to quickly restore your website from the most recent backup and identify vulnerabilities to prevent future occurrences.

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