On 14th March 2022, several websites belonging to Israel’s government were downed for over an hour due to a massive cyberattack. Site visitors attempting to enter these sites with gov.il extensions could not do so. National Cyber Directorate declared a state of emergency to allow enough time to investigate the extent and impact of the attack. As it occurred, hackers had used a denial of service attack to bombard these websites with junk traffic and render them unavailable for access. See the full story here.
A few works ago, Denso Corporation, A Japanese automotive supplier, was a victim of a pandora ransomware attack, which was the latest in a series of hackers’ attempts to disrupt normal operations for the Toyota supplier. Attackers threatened to spill the beans about the company’s trade secrets, invoices, and email communications.
Lapsus$, a ransomware gang, was the group behind the 190GB data leakage that hit Samsung last month. Before the data leakage happened, Lapsus$ had first teased the public with a screenshot of the C/C++ directive that belonged to the South Korean tech giant.
These are just a few instances showing how dangerous and rampant cyberattacks have become. As the cases of cybercrime surge, so do the related costs. Cybercrime Magazine predicts the damages inflicted by cyberattacks to rise to an annual $10.5 trillion by 2025. Small businesses, large corporations, government websites, and individuals alike are now susceptible to these attacks. However, like everything else, every dark cloud has a silver lining. And the silver lining in our case is that there several tips that could be used to protect networks and websites from these menaces.
What Are The Different Types Of Cyber Attacks on Websites?
- Network Security Attacks
- Wireless Security Attacks
- Malware Attacks
- Social Engineering Attacks
3 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from Cyber Attacks
- Installation of a secure socket layer in your website
- Avoid or restrict file uploading to your website
- Use of website vulnerability scanners
This article walks you through some of these tips.
1. Use SSL Encryption – The first way to prevent website from cyber attack
The SSL certificate is the most fundamental yet vital website security tool every website owner should have. The certificates initiate HTTP to HTTPS migration, which in turn ensures that sensitive data such as tax returns, social security numbers, invoices, health records, etcetera are securely transferred between your site’s database and the users’ browsers. Therefore, the SSL certificate denies unauthorized parties the ability to access data in transit and prevents man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks.
You need to buy an SSL certificate for the utmost security of your website’s data. You should also note that the certificate does more than just encryption. You will reap big SEO rankings, boost your trust, and also play a minor role in boosting your site’s speeds.
2. Watch Out for Phishing Attacks – Most common and fatal cyber attack for website
Attackers use phishing attacks to infiltrate websites with viruses and other forms of malware. Indeed, Phishing attacks have become more rampant recently, with 75% of organizations reporting to have fallen victims to these attacks. According to Statista, financial institutions, social media accounts, webmail, payment websites, and eCommerce are most susceptible to phishing attacks.
The best way to prevent these attacks is to learn how to recognize them. Attackers often leave a trail of suspicious messages that carry downloadable attachments and clickable links. The messages also contain a sense of urgency. Before taking any action, you must first establish the message’s and sender’s authenticity. Failing to do so might invite a host of malware that will crush your network and possibly take you out of business.
3. Use Strong Passwords and 2-Factor Authentication
Passwords attacks are other common attacks that website owners face. Details of the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report show that 81% of successful data breaches leverage weak or stolen passwords. Poor password practices are the major contributor to these attacks. For instance, according to a Google in conjunction with the Harris Poll survey, 13% of people use the same passwords across multiple accounts. Such practices increase the susceptibility of your accounts to cyber attackers.
Adhering to best password practices will help you and your website remain secure. For instance, you will need to create long and complex passwords. The password should be unique to your account and should not have been used elsewhere. You must avoid using easy-to-guess passwords.
But oftentimes, password attacks such as brute force and dictionary attacks will work. As such, boosting your login process by employing two-factor authentication will help you greatly. With 2-FA, even when an attacker succeeds in getting past your password, your account will remain secured by the second authentication factor.
4. Train Your Employees
Your staff might be the weakest link that attackers might leverage to get to your website. Attackers might send random messages impersonating certain people within the organization and ask for sensitive files. Untrained employees are more likely to fall into such traps. Additionally, insider attackers might be your biggest threat. Panda Security reports an increase in insider threats by 47% over the past two years.
One of the most effective ways to prevent such attacks is by having a cybersecurity training and development program. From the program, it will be easy to inform your employees about possible attacks and also enlighten them on the best threat prevention measures. The program also provides a great avenue to spell out the consequences of insider threats. With that, you will create secure cyberculture and reduce threats that target your website.
5. Keep Everything Up to Date
In September 2017, Equifax, a credit reporting giant, became a victim of one of the most devastating data breaches. The breach exposed the sensitive information of over 143 million US citizens. Hackers took advantage of a software vulnerability to carry out the Equifax Data Breach. But what was more interesting about this breach is that a fix/update to the security vulnerable had been availed two months before the attack, although Equifax had failed to install the upgrade.
The Equifax data breach should be a great lesson that teaches us about the essence of conducting security updates. Security updates come to address the vulnerabilities in the operating systems and software. Also, the new software versions come with improved security features. One of the best ways to protect our websites from attacks is to install the updates once they are released and tested. The longer you take to install the update, the more vulnerable you become to security threats.
6. Use Firewalls and Antivirus Software
Protecting your website with a firewall is one of the best ways to defend the network from cybersecurity threats. Just like the normal firewall prevents fire from spreading to other parts of the building, the firewall will protect attacks from reaching your website. It does this by filtering traffic and ensuring that only safe traffic reaches your servers.
Antimalware software is also effective in protecting your system from malware attacks such as ransomware viruses and spyware. Remember, website security is an investment worth making, and purchasing these tools will position you better to handle any security threats that face your website.
7. Access Limitations and Controls
As I mentioned, insider threats are on the rise. Your website is no longer vulnerable to external attacks alone. In fact, intrinsic attacks could be more devastating than external attacks. One of the best ways to protect your website and servers from insider threats is by limiting access to sensitive files. Here, you must apply the principle of the least privileges. The principle applies the idea that at any given time, a user, program, or process should only be granted the bare minimum privileges needed to execute and accomplish a task. Users who have no business with servers or data centres should not be allowed to access such resources. Apart from enhancing web security, access limitation also helps with accountability. Therefore, for utmost security, ensure you initiate access limitations.
8. Backup Everything
All the measures explained above do not guarantee your website absolute immunity to the hackers’ wrath. Hackers are clever and will always find new and sophisticated means to reach your website. This is why you must have a contingency plan that promises you continuity in the event of a successful data breach. Creating a reliable data backup and restore plan will help you a lot. These days, cloud storage systems have made things easy. The duplicate data files will be your only hope in case things go south.
1. Conducting website penetration testing regularly and developing cyber security controls
2. Implementing security awareness training
3. Installing spam filters and anti-malware software
4. Deploying Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)
5. Installing endpoint detection & response (EDR)
1. Update your WordPress version, themes, and plugins
2. Use a strong password
3. Use a security plugin
4. Have a backup plan
1. Brute force
2. SQL injection
3. Cross-site scripting
5. DDoS attack
1. Identity theft, fraud, extortion
2. Malware, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, trojans and viruses
3. Stolen hardware, such as laptops or mobile devices
4. Denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks
5. Breach of access
6. Password sniffing
7. System infiltration
8. Website defacement
9. Private and public Web browser exploits
10. Instant messaging abuse
11. Intellectual property (IP) theft or unauthorized access
News reports, studies, and research reports all point out an increase in website security and breach incidents. Website owners now have to be vigilant to protect their websites from threats. This article has explained the eight most reliable ways website owners can use to protect their websites from security breaches. I recommend that you employ multiple mechanisms to boost your security. Finally, note that whereas these tips significantly reduce the impact of threats, they do not wholly eliminate the risks. This is why you need to backup up everything frequently to cushion your website from the impact of a successful data breach.