Every 39 seconds a website is attacked. Some of them will have effective website security and their firewalls will indicate that an attack was attempted. However, many won’t have effective website security checks to ward off a cyberattack. Even small websites or static websites are attractive to hackers because of the opportunities they afford hackers to use ‘clean reputation’ sites for nefarious purposes.
What is website security?
Website security is the set of actions to protect websites, data and users from cyberattacks. Website security checks must prevent malware that might quietly sneak in and sit undetected while it infects your website and connected systems. An effective website security is an ongoing process that needs SSL certification, web application firewalls and regular software updates.
Why cybercriminals hack business websites?
A business website is usually more vulnerable as it has minimal website protection. This is a juicy target for cybercriminals for these reasons
- Smaller websites usually have a clean reputation that can be used by hackers
- Hackers can access the website’s server to host their phishing pages
- They can divert website traffic to their spam sites
- Get business/visitor data that can be used or sold
- Use your website to attack other websites on the same server
- Demand ransom from a business to restore their access
1. A Site’s clean reputation is valuable to hackers
Hackers are like parasites; they are looking for a healthy host. Your business site might not collect credit card information or collect user information and it might not have much traffic coming to it either. But what it has is a clean reputation i.e. it would never have been blacklisted. This is what makes it attractive to hackers to run their own programs.
If search engines detect malware, in your code, your site will be flagged and visitors will be warned. Your business website will need to hire a cybersecurity expert, spend money and time to clean up but by then your online reputation and user trust will have suffered.
Your site could be removed from search engine results and it will be flagged as a “dangerous site to visit” if search engines find malware when they crawl your site.
2. Use your site server to host their pages
Phishing pages will copy valid screens of other sites such as a banking site. Users rarely look at the URL and are duped into believing they are on a legitimate login screen. They end up sharing their user account details that will be used by hackers to login to their accounts.
It can take on an average, 196 days to identify that there is a data breach.
3. Divert traffic from your site through spammy links
Search engines like Google consider you as a legitimate website. Hackers will access your server and host pages with spammy link. This will link to dodgy pages like escort services, porn or seemingly valid money offers etc. Your website will be one of the many 1000s of similarly hacked websites all adding up to considerable backlinks and traffic to another site. This will drive up their ranking on search results on Google.
4. Hackers make money from stolen user data
Your site might not have user payment information but even email ids are enough for hackers to go after you. Attackers that are able to breach a major website can often be able to harvest data of millions of users. They will then inventory it and sell the data on the dark web in bundles of thousands. This is like a menu list with different rates for different kind of information. Healthcare data is especially valuable.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can be used by hackers themselves or sold for credit card fraud or online purchases and loans. Email ID lists have a number of buyers among shady marketers who specialise in spam campaigns.
GDPR compliance caused Google to pay $50 million in 2019 as a fine for a data breach that compromised user data.
5. Chain reaction attack using security holes in your website
Often, cyber criminals use the security holes in a smaller website to get to other websites on the same server. Your company than becomes responsible for the malware that spreads from your website to others, including your customers. You can end up liable for any loss they may have suffered.
6. Demand ransom by taking over your website
Attackers often use cross-site scripting to inject malicious code into a victim website. What this does is that the code is executed whenever a user loads the website on their browser. If it is a site administrator who loads the site then the code will be executed with the administrator’s access privileges and this could lead to a site take over by the attacker.
Did you know that 35% of global websites is built on WordPress. These sites have the highest vulnerability because of the code quality of third-party plug-ins.
After a cyberattack, the cost of cleaning up
Recovering from a cyberattack is very costly. 25% of small businesses that have been attacked have had to close down. This is because the cost of recovery is about $2.2 million for SMBs and which is why they might go under. Yet many businesses do not put in cybersecurity measures beforehand. The essential methods how to secure a website begin with having an SSL certificate for a website. A secure site is indicated by Https and a locked icon in your website address. The other measures that must be included in your cybersecurity are anti-malware software and regular data backups and software upgrades.
58% of website attacks are on small businesses.
iTech India has been providing customized software solutions since 2003. As usual, if you have any questions on website protection including protecting your online properties, we are glad to help you out. Contact us today to know more.