WEBSITE SECURITY 101

How can you secure your website against the top 5 worst attacks?

How do you keep your site secure, available, and fast? What dangers are lurking out there?

Exploring Types of Malware

Malware, a blend of “malicious” and “software,” encompasses various programs or codes designed to harm your computer. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of malware can help you understand the threats you may encounter. Here are a few examples:

Virus:
Similar to a biological virus, a computer virus is a malicious code that infiltrates a computer system and self-replicates. It spreads from one device to another, often by deceiving users into running infected programs. Once activated, a virus can significantly impair computer performance, corrupt or overwrite files and programs, or even cause system crashes.
Worms:
Unlike viruses, worms are self-replicating programs that can spread without user initiation. They can steal data and passwords, encrypt files in ransomware attacks, or create “backdoors” for unauthorized control over compromised computers. Worms exploit network vulnerabilities, rapidly infecting multiple systems and posing a significant threat to data security.
Trojan:
Named after the deceptive wooden horse in Ancient Greece, Trojan malware requires user interaction such as clicking on or opening a file. While it doesn’t self-replicate like viruses or worms, Trojan horse malware can give hackers backdoor access, steal data, or damage files, employing tactics of deception and social engineering.
Spyware:
As the name suggests, spyware stealthily infiltrates your computer, clandestinely gathering sensitive information such as passwords and private data. Operating in the background, it surreptitiously transmits this data without your consent, jeopardizing your privacy and overall security.
Ransomware:
This malicious software blocks or encrypts your computer files, demanding a ransom for their release. Failure to comply may result in the exposure or publication of your private data. Often distributed via Trojan horses, ransomware can also spread between computers. It poses a grave threat to individuals and organizations alike, emphasizing the critical need for strong cybersecurity measures.
Bots:
In regular scenarios, bots are automated programs that perform tasks. However, malicious bots can hijack your computer and become part of a “botnet,” executing remote commands for someone else’s agenda. They exploit your computer to spread spam, launch malware attacks, engage in illegal activities like crypto mining, and even contribute to DDoS attacks. (More details on DDoS attacks in the upcoming section).

Other Malicious Threats and Attacks

Beyond malware, websites face a range of security threats.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): These attacks involve hackers inundating a website with an overwhelming volume of automated traffic, often facilitated by bots. This onslaught of traffic can disrupt and bring down the targeted site, severely impacting its availability and functionality

 

Brute Force Attack:
A brute force attack employs an application that systematically tries every possible password combination until it successfully cracks the passwords and gains unauthorized access to systems.
Code Injection:

Code Injection: Malicious data is sent to your site, tricking it into revealing private information or granting unauthorized access.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Hackers exploit vulnerabilities to run their code on your website, accessing sensitive information, defacing the site, or redirecting users to malicious websites.

Zero Day:
Zero Day refers to a vulnerability that is known to a software supplier but remains unpatched. Exploiting these vulnerabilities before a patch is released is known as a zero-day attack.

Search Engine Blacklists

When a website is compromised by malware, it may end up on search engine blacklists, particularly on Google’s radar. Google actively identifies and flags sites that pose potential security threats by spreading malware. Unfortunately, if your site becomes a victim of malware, it might be labeled as suspicious, leading Google to issue warnings or even block user access.

Once you have resolved the malware issue, the next step is to remove your site from Google’s blacklist. You can undertake this process independently or seek assistance from a specialized service. Alternatively, many website security services include built-in blacklist removal as part of their comprehensive plans, providing a convenient solution to address this concern.

Protecting Your Site Against Malware and Other Threats

The most effective approach to safeguarding your site from malware and potential disruptions is to prevent it from infiltrating in the first place. Utilizing regularly updated vulnerability scanners, also known as website scanners, can help identify vulnerabilities and detect suspicious activities. Optimal vulnerability scanning tools are designed to run daily or even more frequently.

Vulnerability scanners can be classified into two types: “Authenticated” and “Unauthenticated.”

Authenticated Vulnerability Scanning:
Authenticated vulnerability scanning, also referred to as “logged-in scanning,” assesses security from an internal perspective. This type of scan helps identify measures to protect assets within the system and minimize potential damage if an attacker were to gain unauthorized access.
Unauthenticated Vulnerability Scanning:

Unauthenticated scanning examines publicly visible information to assess overall cybersecurity strength, providing a general perspective rather than detailed insights. Alerts with recommended actions are generated when issues are detected by the scanner.

Sucuri SiteCheck, owned by GoDaddy, is a reputable and free vulnerability scanner that detects outdated CMSs and server-side languages like PHP. Pentest Tools and Up Guard offer comprehensive information across multiple attack surfaces. Cheap Cool Domains has achieved favorable results with Up Guard.

Not all scanners are equal; SiteLock and Comodo’s cWatch do not come recommended based on in-depth consumer review studies.

Vulnerability scanning should not be confused with penetration testing as they serve different purposes.

Penetration Testing:
Penetration testing involves authorized simulated attacks to evaluate the overall security of a system. It is a more complex process than a standard website scan and is typically conducted by contracted professionals. Various tests are performed to identify vulnerabilities, and a risk assessment is compiled upon completion of the testing.

While vulnerability scanning and penetration testing help identify weaknesses, actively improving web security against numerous malicious actors is best achieved through robust firewall implementation and security monitoring. Here’s how they work to bolster web security.

Firewall:
A network firewall acts as a gatekeeper, monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic to prevent unauthorized access. It stops suspicious activity from entering your network, enhancing security.

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) provide additional monitoring and security measures. They detect and respond to potential threats, ensuring a robust defense against malicious activity.

Intrusion Detection System:
Intrusion Detection System (IDS) monitors network traffic, comparing it to a database of known threats to detect security violations, malware, and port scanners.
Intrusion Prevention System:

Similar to a firewall, an IPS provides heightened security measures by actively denying entry upon detecting a security threat. It works in conjunction with firewalls to fortify network defense and enhance overall security.

While IDS and IPS complement firewalls, it is important to have a backup plan in place to mitigate potential risks. Website backup plays a crucial role in protecting your site by preserving a clean copy from a time before any malware incidents occurred. Ideally, regular backups, performed daily or at least once per day, are recommended.

However, for convenience and reliability, opting for an automated website backup service is a prudent choice.

What to Do If Your Site Gets Hit by Malware

If your website falls victim to malware and you have a backup, the recovery process is relatively straightforward. Follow the instructions provided by your hosting service, and your website will be restored in no time.

In the unfortunate event that your site wasn’t backed up, there are still options to remove the malware. Auto-removal software can be used for less severe cases, while more potent malware may require manual removal. Opting for a dedicated malware removal service can expedite the process and minimize downtime, allowing your site to regain functionality swiftly. Being prepared with a standby malware removal service ensures prompt recovery and reduces the impact of the incident.

How to Convey Your Customers Your Site Is Safe

To assure your customers that your site is safe, look for the padlock icon in the browser’s address bar when visiting www.cheap-domainregistration.com. This icon indicates that the site is secure. In contrast, websites without the padlock icon may display a message stating “not secure” or something similar. Another indicator of a secure site is the website address itself, which starts with “https”. Websites lacking a current SSL certificate will have an address starting with “HTTP”. SSL certificates, or Secure Sockets Layer certificates, provide more than just a visual reassurance of security. They play a vital role in safeguarding your customers’ data in two significant ways.
Domain Validation
Domain Validation (DV) is a process that verifies the ownership of a website and ensures that the SSL certificate issued belongs to the rightful owner.
Encryption
Encryption is a crucial aspect of SSL certificates as it ensures the secure transmission of data between your website and its visitors. By encrypting the data, even if a hacker intercepts it, they won’t be able to decipher its contents. A secure connection is established before any information is exchanged, and the data remains encrypted until it reaches its intended destination. While it’s evident that websites dealing with sensitive information like credit card details or personal addresses require SSL certificates, other types of sites also benefit from them. This is because Google now prioritizes websites with valid SSL certificates in search rankings. Having an SSL certificate not only enhances web security but also boosts your site’s credibility and legitimacy. Consider it an essential step towards establishing a trustworthy online presence.
 

Acquiring a valid SSL certificate

Obtaining a valid SSL certificate involves working with reputable companies that specialize in issuing and verifying these certificates. These providers, either directly or through resellers, ensure that the identities of individuals and organizations receiving the certificates are verified.

If your hosting provider offers SSL certificates, they can issue one for your website. In some cases, they may also provide installation services for a small fee. Alternatively, you have the option to install the certificate yourself by following a guide or tutorial.

Ensure the safety and trustworthiness of your site

Ensure website security and peace of mind with our comprehensive measures. Daily malware scans proactively detect threats and guarantee prompt removal if any issues arise.

We’re here to help

Our support is the best in the industry. Cheap Cool Domains won’t waste your time with endless email conversations or inferior offshore support. Call our US-based Guides anytime to help you with purchasing advice or technical support.

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FAQ

Malware refers to any software designed with malicious intent, such as viruses, ransomware, spyware, and more. These malicious programs can disrupt the normal functioning of your computer or website, steal sensitive information, or even hold your system hostage.

Utilizing firewalls and vulnerability scanners can provide reliable protection. These tools automatically monitor for any suspicious activities and send alerts if any anomalies are detected. Additionally, opting for security services that offer malware removal ensures quick restoration of your site in the event of an attack or infection. Taking these preventive steps helps maintain the security and integrity of your website.

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that ensures secure communication between a website and its visitors. It encrypts data transmission, indicated by the “https” protocol and a padlock icon, providing a safe browsing experience and protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access.

SSL certificates have two main functions. They authenticate the website’s identity, verifying its legitimacy and building trust with users. Additionally, they encrypt the data transmitted between the website and its visitors, ensuring that sensitive information remains private and protected from unauthorized access. With SSL certificates, users can confidently share personal and financial details, knowing that their data is secure.