Cyber attacks are among today’s biggest security threats and still, many site owners are not sure how to protect themselves.
It seems like websites are deemed to be vulnerable, but the truth is you can improve your security with some common-sense web practices and basic precautions.
When you look at the statistics it’s obvious that malicious cyber attacks have become a fact of life. Governments are exploring different methods to address security on a macro level, but the question still remains – what can you do to safeguard your business on a micro level?
The most important thing is to change your mindset.
This can help prevent even the worst threats. Instead of being afraid of these attacks you need to be confident and prepared for them – it’s the only way to overcome them if they happen.
Online criminals need only find a crack here or a hole there to get inside and compromise your data, which means you need to be one step ahead of them in order to prevent access.
We’re about to show you how to accomplish this.
Recognizing the Patterns
The first step is to learn to make a difference between a sudden surge in organic activity and the initial signs of malicious behavior. It’s easy to get carried away after spotting overall spikes in incoming traffic, but you should closely pay attention if there’s a clear catalyst involved.
If there’s no new product launch, an increase in ad budget, or no recent marketing promotion, this should be regarded as a suspicious activity worth investigating.
So instead of automatically accepting the increase in traffic as a gift from heaven, you should keep a close eye on things in order to understand what you can categorize as a normal activity and what should be a cause for alarm.
Once you detect some suspicious traffic patterns you should dig deeper by tracking IP patterns. Pay close attention to where your visitors and customers are coming from. Determine if spikes in activity are coming from a specific IP or location and check if that location has any relation to your business and marketing activity. You can differentiate the malicious from the organic only after you recognize and understand these patterns.
Finding Your Weak Spots
In order to be one step ahead of online criminals, your employees need to be able to detect suspicious activity. First of all, they need to be up to date on the latest methods used by these criminals and the best way to achieve this is to create real-life scenarios of cyber attacks.
This will enable you to identify areas in need of improvement by getting a clear insight into the most common mistakes.
This is only half of the process, though. Not only humans have weak spots – there could be some in your security policies, too. That’s why you also should consult a third-party specialist to conduct social engineering or facility breach exercises.
Website penetration testing is the most trusted and thorough method to test the security of your information systems by identifying and exploiting weaknesses.
You’ll be able to clearly determine your resilience to malicious penetration attempts since it will profile your business from the perspective of most likely threats.
Extorting money has always been a goal of malware attacks, and with the rise of cryptocurrency, the attackers have realized that locking you out of your computer system or website is a far more profitable extortion method than traditional attack payloads such as password extraction, ad injection, or spamming.
The simplest preparation for this kind of attack lies in the regular backup of your site since it will allow you to revert it to the state it was in prior to the attack.
This simple method is equally effective for any other harmful software – with reliable backups in place there’s where little chance of permanent damage as long as you patch any vulnerabilities which made the attack possible afterward.
Keeping Up with the Latest Versions
The most common mistake website owners make is that they don’t pay enough attention to all the pieces of software (plugins, themes, etc.) that need to be updated. We all know that some updates seem like a drag, but keeping up with the latest versions is crucial for your security in case you need to recover from an incident. There may be updates that seem to offer close to no changes, but missing out on them you could also completely miss out on any new security features or patches which were added after installation.
Although cyber attacks are on the rise, panicking is the worst thing you can do. Nothing can get you back on the track better than a sensible plan for rapid mitigation and recovery.
So pay attention to your traffic patterns, identify your weak spots, and keep in mind that backups and updates are never a waste of time.