5 ways your website can get hacked

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I’d love for someone to hack my website!” said no one, ever.

Murphy’s Law states that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This rule not only applies to taking a shortcut on the way home only to face worse traffic but also applies to website security.

Websites and web applications (such as B2B SaaS-based platforms) often contain hidden vulnerabilities that can be exploited at any time. Most of these vulnerabilities can be avoided, but unfortunately half of companies don’t learn about a compromise until it’s too late, according to a survey by StopBadware.

What follows are surefire steps to get your website or Web application hacked… or you can look at them as things to look out for to protect yourself against a compromise.

  1. PCI Noncompliance

Any and all businesses who accept credit cards as a method of payment need to be PCI compliant in order to protect customer and cardholder data from cyber attacks and fraud. This includes B2B and SaaS-based businesses, who rely on online payment for subscription or service renewals. Failure to become PCI compliant can result in angry customers, lost trust, fines, and at worst, lawsuits. These are all things that businesses can’t afford to lose.

There are many easy-to-use tools to help you become PCI-DSS compliant, by protecting online transactions and creating a safe payment environment for your customers. They can help businesses comply with a simplified questionnaire in minutes and avoid fees with easy reporting tools.

  1. Installing Malicious Web Applications

Don’t you hate when you visit a website, and it’s suddenly plagued by annoying pop-up ads? It’s even worse is when it’s your own website, since it can be a headache trying to find out where they came from. With prospective customers’ attention spans growing shorter and shorter, closing pop ups is that last thing they want to do. So, how do you fix them?

Malicious ads are often caused by installing insecure web applications. Application security testing tools can carefully examine every web application installed on your website, identify critical vulnerabilities such as SQL injection and potential backdoors for hackers, and fix these weak spots for you.

  1. Open Up Your Website to Every Visitor

One of the most popular metrics for measuring website analytics is traffic. Unfortunately, not all website traffic is 100 percemt safe. Similar to having a security guard to check on every visitor that enters your business, you also need a guard to protect your website, because malicious traffic like spam bots and hackers can attack your website and steal sensitive customer data from you.

This is especially important for businesses who provide B2B services via web applications, since a successful DDoS attack could overload your server, and make it inaccessible to customers who rely on your service.

To help protect your data, installing a web application firewall (WAF) is a good start. It provides high-quality services to efficiently block harmful requests and help mitigate cyber attacks at the same time.

  1. Failure to Monitor Your Website on a Daily Basis

When was the last time you updated your web applications, plugins and installs? How long has it been since you scanned your website for vulnerabilities? Failure to monitor your website on a regular basis can make your website a prime cyber attack target.

A good way to help you avoid unpredictable and invisible attacks is by installing a website scanner. Many of these run in the background, provide continuous scanning 24/7, immediately identify vulnerabilities, as well as automatically remove most malware.

  1. Using Weak Passwords

“Your Spouse’s Name,” “12345,” “password,” “abcdefg”…

Have you used any of the above as passwords? If so, it’s time for you to change your password. Don’t feel completely bad though, you’re not alone.

Enforcing strong, alphanumeric password policies for both your customers and employees can help add an extra layer of security to your website. If you want to take your login security even further, consider using multi-factor authentication and CAPTCHAs.

There are of course many other ways that your website can be attacked. If your company has been the victim of a cyber attack, feel free to share your experience below in the comments and what you did to fix it.

Photo via 9to5mac.com

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Neill Feather
Neill Feather is the president of SiteLock, a global business website security services company. Prior to joining SiteLock, Neill was at Johnson & Johnson focusing on technology solutions and insights for sales, marketing, and industry trends. Neill holds B.S. degrees in Statistics & Information Systems and International Business from the Pennsylvania State University. He also holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
Neill Feather

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