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How To Protect Your Website From Cyber Attacks

You cannot deny the role of the internet in this digital world. No business, organization, or individual can grow their online repute without the internet or in simple terms, without a website. Successful digital marketing techniques grow your digital world. But you have to pay the price- the constant cyber threat hanging on your confidentiality. The need to secure a website has increased manifolds. If you want to grow fearlessly without having to worry about cyber activities against your systems or networks, you need to secure them as much as you can.

Securing a website from cyber-attacks is as simple as erasing the wrong sentences from your notebook (but only if you know the right techniques). It involves updating the system components, installing protection software, or training your staff on the potential threats. Creating strong passwords, data encryption, automation and monitoring, SSL certificates, and vulnerability assessment are some of the best practices to protect your website against cyber threats.

In this blog, we will explain the top cyber threats targeted at your computer systems and the best practices to encounter them.

Most Common Cyber Threats Faced by Canadian Companies

Cyber attack is a global issue and like many other countries, Canadian markets are equally endangered to be attacked by malicious hackers. 85% of Canadian organizations faced cyber attacks in the year 2023. Work-from-home opportunities have also surged the cyber risks to about 63% Here are the top cyber attacks cyber markets are facing today.

Phishing

It involves stealing the data and credentials of a website using fraudulent communications that may appear as legitimate and authentic sources. A phishing attack can be a fake email, text message, or a malicious website (appearing as an authorized one). In most cases, it is the result of human error or negligence. Ludovic Rembert (Head of Research at Privacy Canada) said in an article:

“Of all the known cybersecurity risks, this is one of the easiest for talented hackers to deploy, and it can be one of the most damaging to local businesses and their reputation.”

Ransomware

As the name suggests, the attack demands a ransom to restore the stolen data. The software locks and encrypts the computer systems until the ransom is paid. The most recent attack of this type targeted Kaseya in July causing downtime of many companies in Canada, the UK, Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Kenya, and South Africa.

Zero-Day Attacks

Zero-day attack deploys the networks before the vendor becomes aware of it. The same attack hit Ontario’s Health Sciences North(HSN) in 2019. 21 hospitals had to shut down their IT platforms to avoid the spread of the malware.

An image showing one’s and zeros and the word Attack written

Distributed-Denial-of-Service(DDoS) Attack

In April 2018, IT World Canada reported that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had successfully shut down what investigators said was the world’s biggest DDoS-for-hire website. The Toronto-based data center was said to have more than 136,000 registered users who often targeted banks, government institutions, law enforcement units, and victims in the gaming industry. The police said that the website’s popularity stemmed from its ability to offer DDoS-as-a-service, with fees as low as €15, or about $23.44, a month at that time.

Best Ways to Protect Websites from Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks are not limited to large organizations only. Any business or organization storing confidential data, that may be fruitful to hackers, can face cyber activity. Here are the top protections against a cyber attack.

Implement HTTPS

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) is one of the core steps to protect your website against the cyber attack. it encrypts all the data between the user’s browser and your website, protecting it from eavesdropping and tampering during transit. An HTTPS-enabled website is prioritized by search engines, positively impacting your search engine ranking. Ensure that your SSL/TLS certificates are up to date, and consider using services like Let’s Encrypt for a cost-effective and straightforward certificate issuance process.

An image showing various tech related icons and HTTPS prominently written

Web Application Firewall

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) functions as a digital barrier, strategically positioned between your website and potential cyber threats. In contrast to conventional firewalls primarily concerned with network security, a WAF specializes in shielding web applications from a range of online attacks. Through meticulous analysis and filtering of HTTP traffic, it proactively identifies and thwarts malicious activities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other prevalent vulnerabilities.

A robust WAF plays a pivotal role in enhancing the security of your online presence by providing real-time detection and prevention of potential threats. AWAF introduces an extra layer of protection, ensuring the continual security of your web applications, safeguarding your data, and allowing users to interact with your website securely.

Update Software and Plugins

An out-of-date software is a welcome message to a cyber attack. Make sure to update system software and install antivirus regularly to prevent any hostile activity targeted at your systems. An updated website is much more hard for cybercriminals to target. Here are some of the key aspects you should consider while purchasing antiviruses.

  • Choose an antivirus with a quick scan
  • Get the renowned antiviruses
  • Check the compatibility between the antivirus and your computer system
  • Antivirus must scan email and downloaded files as well

Choose the following plugins

For Magento: Amasty, Watchlog Pro, MageFence
For WordPress: Fail2Ban, Sucuri, WordFence, iThemes Security, WPscan

Vulnerabilities in your website’s content management system (CMS) or third-party plugins can be exploited to gain unauthorized access. Regularly update your CMS, plugins, and any other software components to patch known vulnerabilities and strengthen your website’s defenses. Automated updates or notifications from your CMS provider can simplify this process, ensuring that you don’t miss critical security patches.

Regular Security Audits

Thorough assessments of the website’s configurations, code, and server settings are crucial to identify and address potential vulnerabilities on your website. Utilize automated scanning tools to detect common vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and insecure file uploads. Additionally, consider hiring professional penetration testers to simulate cyber attacks and identify weaknesses in your website’s security architecture.

Encrypt your Data

Make sure to encrypt data and sensitive files such as tax returns or financial records. don’t forget to backup vital data and store it on another site. It involves protecting the data-at-rest and data-in-transit.

An image showing a lock icon and the text Data Encryption

Secure Hosting Environment

Your website’s hosting environment plays a critical role in its overall security. Choose a reputable hosting provider that prioritizes security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular server monitoring. Configure access controls to limit permissions only to those necessary for each user or service. Regularly audit and review the security settings of your hosting environment to ensure optimal protection against potential threats.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Consider implementing multi-factor authentication to add a layer of security. MFA requires users to provide a password and a temporary code sent on their mobile devices to deny unauthorized access. Enable two-step verification to prevent simple login to your system. If you cannot remember hard passwords, use some password manager tools to secure all of your passwords in one place.

Once you become a victim of a cyber attack, be ready to face financial theft and customer turnover. Implementing the right strategies at the right time equals your survival rate in the cyber world. Follow to above guidelines to protect your digital assets and grow seamlessly.

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