The Website Hacking Problem (And What You Can Do to Stop Your Site from Getting Hacked)

Hacking is a significant issue in the online world. Many people have had their personal information or funds stolen by hackers, while some businesses suffered severe damage. Here’s how you can secure your website from this threat.

The number of websites that get hacked every day is quite shocking. It’s been reported that about 30,000 sites succumb to hacking attacks daily, but that’s not even the most alarming number.

In a study done almost 20 years ago, it was revealed that hacking happens as frequent as nearly two attacks per minute. That frequency is undoubtedly higher today, with security breaches happening 67% more often in the past decade.

Hacking presents a significant problem when it comes to one’s personal information, but it can be particularly detrimental for businesses that earn their revenue through their websites.

Hackers can widen the scope of their attacks by using automated tools and leveraging certain vulnerabilities. For example, WordPress websites are often the target for hacking attacks because many plugins leave an open backdoor.

This security hazard keeps increasing as time goes by. In 2019, McAfee detected more than 65 million instances of new malware, while Kaspersky identified 14% more malicious programs online.

Online security has become more important than ever. Failing to address the threat of hacking can lead to personal information becoming compromised and even cause financial losses.

If you want to keep your website as secure as possible, you’ll need to take certain steps to keep your site safe from hacking attacks. In this article, we’ll outline the most effective strategies that could help you stop website hacks.

What Can You Do to Stop Website Hacks?

Tip #1. Update All of the Software You Use

Software updates are something many people either do diligently or ignore completely. But when it comes to cybersecurity, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of updating your software.

The fact is that hackers don’t need a lot of time to discover potential holes in security that often appear with outdated systems. If you have software for forums or CMS on your website, you should keep it up to date to reduce the opportunities for them to hack it.

Your CMS can present a considerable security risk if you use plenty of plugins. The problem with CMS plugins is that many of them are open-source, which means they have an easily-accessible code. Such code provides hackers with more possibilities for attacks and breaches.

Third-party software providers often offer security updates and patches and notify users when new ones are available. That’s why it’s best to ensure such notifications always reach you by subscribing to the vendor’s RSS feed or mailing list. Besides that, you should also regularly perform a manual check for updates.

Tip #2. Install Relevant Security Plugins for Your Website

On the subject of plugins, know that some can contribute to your website’s security.

Whether you’re using WordPress, Magento, Joomla, or another CMS, you’ll likely find several security plugins that can stop hacking attacks. It’s worth noting that most platforms have both free-of-charge and premium options available.

The primary advantage of security plugins is that they’re designed to cover security holes in a particular CMS. Installing such a plugin will likely resolve all common vulnerabilities your platform might have.

In addition to firewalls and protection against brute-force attacks, most security plugins come with options to scan your website for issues and notify you about potential breaches. Some plugins even offer SSL protection and website backups, giving you more tools to repel hackers.

Tip #3. Make Sure Your Hosting Provider Has Good Security Measures in Place

Online security of your website begins with your hosting provider. If security is lacking on that end, there’ll be little you can do to stop hackers from compromising your site.

So, it’s best to check different hosting providers for the security measures they use before deciding on your hosting service. Make sure that your provider of choice has proper FTP security and firewalls in place before placing your website in their care.

If you’ve determined that your provider has poor security, the best course of action would be to switch to a different, safer option.

Migrating your website between providers can be a huge source of frustration, but there’s a way to get it done easily. Automation Agency can help you make the change seamlessly and take care of the entire process without issues.

Shared hosting is another security risk that can make your website more vulnerable to attacks. When several sites share a server, hackers can use one website to access another. This means that your site will only be as safe from attacks as the least secure website on the server.

You could avoid this issue by opting for a dedicated server.

While this service is more expensive, it might be the right choice for websites with plenty of traffic. And if your site also contains sensitive data, this would be the best option.

Tip #4. Be Wary About the Website Themes You Use (Specifically, Where They Come From)

Website themes provide a great way to customise your site and bring it in line with your brand. While you will find numerous themes to choose from – those for WordPress sites number in the thousands – keep in mind that not all themes are created equal in terms of security.

If you use themes from unauthorised sources, you could be opening up your website to malicious online factors. For this reason, you should decide on a theme not only based on its appearance but also safety. You’ll need to do proper research before moving forward.

Luckily, WordPress has theme reviews on its site.

Browsing through these reviews can give you a good idea of a particular theme’s quality and security. You can see how many users installed a theme, check the date of the last update, and read user reviews.

It’s best to avoid themes that are known for compatibility issues and bugs, as well as those with infrequent patches and updates. And when you choose a potential theme for your website, consult with an expert to find out if the theme’s written to the highest standards of coding.

If you take the time to make a well-informed decision, you’ll reduce the chances of your chosen theme becoming a security risk.

Tip #5. Buy an SSL Certificate

SSL is a data encryption method that can protect data as it’s exchanged between a website and its user. When you see a padlock and “https” in a web address, it indicates the website you’re visiting is secured by an SSL certificate.

Websites with SSL certificates are becoming the standard on the internet, especially because large search engines such as Google keep providing more support for such sites. In fact, if you try to visit a website that doesn’t have the certificate, Google will warn you about potential safety hazards. Google search results generally even show fewer sites that lack SSL.

As is the case with other security measures, an SSL certificate will be most beneficial for websites that process payments, logins, or file transfers. In all of those cases, the site might handle sensitive data that should be protected.

When it comes to eCommerce, it’s worth noting that SSL certificates come with different levels of protection and websites handling sales should use the most advanced variant.

While you could get a basic SSL certificate for free from your website builder or hosting provider or even install one yourself, the advanced options come at a price. However, if important data goes through your site, buying an SSL certificate might be the best choice.

Tip #6. Keep Checking Your Error Messages

Error messages can help you determine issues with your website quickly. The more information the message contains, the easier it will be to fix the problem. On the other hand, those helpful error messages can become a security issue if site visitors can see them.

When a hacker has access to your website’s error messages, they can determine potential weak points within the website. It’s why users should only see the bare minimum of information.

You’ll want to keep the error messages informative enough so that website visitors understand any issue that shows up. So, it’s best not to make these messages ambiguous – they should still inform the user about particular steps they’ll need to take.

But if your error messages contain, for example, your API keys, they’re a security risk.

Tip #7. Use Two-Factor Authorisation

Inserting an additional stage for logging in, such as a two-factor authorisation, can be a very effective security measure.

Two-factor authorisation provides secure logins by asking for the usual username and password first. Then, it requires a single-use code to complete the action. This kind of user validation prevents unauthorised persons from accessing the protected data.

It can be very useful if there are several users who need to log into your website from the back end. However, you could set up the same security measure on the front end to protect site visitors who are members of your website.

Protect Your Business from Hacking Attacks

With the level of danger that hacking presents for businesses working online, it’s best to do everything in your power to ensure your website is as secure as possible. The methods listed in this article should help you do just that and allow you to run your business without constant worries about malicious intentions.

Naturally, you’ll want to be sure the solutions you’ve employed are the most effective.

Automation Agency can assist you in getting the hacking protection your website needs. Our Concierge Service even offers a hack fix guarantee. If you want to find out more about boosting your site’s security, feel free to contact us via this link.

About The Author

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.