Website Security: Combatting common threats

The rapid growth of e-commerce and digital business platforms presents both opportunities and vulnerabilities. In 2022, as online businesses expanded, cyberattacks increased by 38% compared to 2021, highlighting the critical importance of robust digital security measures. By adopting effective website security strategies, you can create a safer environment, enabling your website and brand to thrive without the constant threat of cyber threats looming overhead.

6 common website security threats and suggestions of how you can tackle them

  1. Malware Infections

    Malicious software can infect your website, leading to data breaches or system damage. You can combat this threat by regularly scanning your website for malware using security plugins and keeping all software, including plugins and themes, updated to the latest versions.

  2. Brute Force Attacks

    Hackers attempt to gain unauthorised access to your website by trying multiple username and password combinations until they find the correct one. You can prevent brute force attacks by enforcing strong passwords, limiting login attempts, and implementing two-factor authentication.

  3. DDoS Attacks

    Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks overwhelm your website with traffic, causing it to become inaccessible to legitimate users. Mitigate DDoS attacks by using a reliable hosting provider with DDoS protection, implementing rate limiting to manage traffic, and using content delivery networks (CDNs) to distribute traffic.

  4. SQL Injection

    Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in your website’s database to insert malicious code or steal sensitive information. Protect against SQL injection attacks by using prepared statements or parameterised queries in your code, validating user input, and using web application firewalls (WAFs) to filter out malicious requests.

  5. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

    XSS attacks inject malicious scripts into your web pages, which can steal user data or hijack sessions. Prevent XSS attacks by sanitising user input, encoding output to prevent script execution, and using security headers like Content Security Policy (CSP) to mitigate risks.

  6. Phishing Attacks

    Phishing attacks trick users into providing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial details, through fake websites or emails. Combat phishing attacks by educating users about phishing techniques, implementing email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and using HTTPS to encrypt communication between users and your website.

By staying informed about these common threats and implementing effective security measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of your website falling victim to cyberattacks.

Every website should have a good website security policy

A good website security policy should include simple principles to help protect your website from various threats. Here are some key principles to consider:

  1. Regular Updates

    Ensure that all software, including your CMS (e.g., WordPress), plugins, themes, and server software, are kept up to date with the latest security patches and updates.

  2. Strong Passwords

    Enforce the use of strong, unique passwords for all user accounts, including admin accounts. Encourage regular password changes and consider implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) for an added layer of security.

  3. User Permissions

    Limit access to sensitive areas of your website by assigning appropriate user roles and permissions. Only grant access to those who require it for their specific roles or tasks.

  4. Data Encryption

    Implement HTTPS encryption to protect data transmitted between your website and users’ browsers. This helps prevent eavesdropping and data interception by malicious actors.

  5. Regular Backups

    Perform regular backups of your website’s files and databases to ensure that you can quickly restore your website in the event of a security incident or data loss.

  6. Website Security Plugins

    Utilise security plugins or tools to actively monitor your website for malware, vulnerabilities, and suspicious activity. These tools can help detect and mitigate security threats in real-time.

  7. User Education

    Educate users, including website administrators and content editors, about common security risks and best practices for maintaining a secure website. Provide training on topics such as identifying phishing attempts, recognising malware, and practicing safe browsing habits.

  8. Incident Response Plan

    Develop an incident response plan outlining procedures for responding to security incidents, such as data breaches or website compromises. Clearly define roles and responsibilities, escalation procedures, and steps for containing and mitigating the impact of security incidents.

If you need advice about setting up a robust website security policy, feel free to get in touch to chat about how we can help you with this (or anything else).