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Cyber security concept for small business owner

BigPxl’s Brief Guide to Keeping Your Website Secure

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No business owner wants to deal with a cyber-attack or cybersecurity breach.

All companies, including privately owned businesses, need high-traffic websites to stay competitive in today’s market. One hacker or piece of malware could take down your website or do even more damage in a short period of time. Increased website security measures can reduce the likelihood of getting hacked, and an experienced digital marketing agency like BigPxl can help you boost your security.

But first, let’s talk about the reasons why a hacker would attack your website.

What Do Hackers Gain From Attacking You?

This question may have self-evident answers for some companies. A bank’s online presence will surely attract hackers simply because there is a lot of money that changes hands every day. An online attack could give a cybercriminal access to bank accounts and money. Small business owners might find it more difficult to understand why they, of all people, find themselves on hackers’ radar.

Most hacks, however, are automated.

Cybercriminals create bots to scan search engines to find vulnerable websites. Once a weakness is found, harmful programs can attempt to compromise your data. BigPxl keeps your website security in mind with all we do because we know that these bots go after insecure websites. They attack as many websites as they can for a few simple reasons that we cover below.

Blackhat Search Engine Optimization

Hackers often use automated bots to infiltrate websites to get the affected sites to increase the visibility of the hacker’s site on search engine results pages (SERPs). They embed links—sometimes visible, sometimes not—to siphon traffic from your site to their own. In this way, they use your positive organic ranking in their favor. This gives a hacker more traffic and allows them to sell more of their products or to trick people into giving away information by filling out false contact forms.

Protecting yourself from the competition represents one reason to enable robust site security measures, such as an SSL certificate, CAPTCHA measures, and authentication processes.

Shutdown Another Website

When a hacker accesses your website and, potentially, your computer, they can then control your website or computer without you even realizing it. Hackers can collect a large group of computers into what we in the industry refer to as a botnet. Your website or desktop becomes a foot soldier that follows the orders of the hacker. When a cybercriminal gets a large enough botnet, they can send the entire botnet to a website. This traffic overwhelms the server and crashes the website that’s under attack.

Once the website crashes, your link to your target audience no longer exists. It may take days or weeks to get your website back up. Meanwhile, you lose valuable time, money, and revenue.

Steal Information

Let’s say you sell a product online or offer a way for your customers to purchase your services through your website. At BigPxl, we consider this not only a perfectly reasonable idea but also a lucrative one. A hacker, however, sees this aspect of your website as an opportunity to steal your customers’ personal and financial information. If they gain access to your site, hackers can make pages designed to look like a checkout form. Customers unknowingly give their information, and now hackers have access to their credit card information.

Hackers stealing your customers’ information can become a nightmare to resolve, particularly when you have multiple financial institutions involved and the bad public relations of dealing with negative reviews and angry customers.

Cyber security protection

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Don’t worry. It isn’t all doom and gloom out there for your online presence. Hackers need a weakness to exploit before they can wreak havoc on your website and your customers. If you protect yourself by engaging in best safety practices, you can keep yourself protected from online hackers. Let’s go over some of the simple steps you can take toward securing your website.

Update Your Plugins & Software

Cybercriminals can and will exploit any bugs or faults in the coding of your website’s software and third-party plugins. If you use a content management system, you should check for updates at least weekly. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, CraftCMS, and other well-known CMS systems regularly provide patches or updates for their software to help protect you from cyber-attacks.

Keep Your Passwords Secure

This simple but effective security measure is easy to perform. You can find password generators and programs that randomly change your password for you while allowing you to use a master key password that never changes. If you write your own passwords, make sure you use at least 12 characters and a mix of numbers, symbols, and both uppercase and lowercase letters. BigPxl recommends 1Pass if you have many passwords you need to keep locked away and safe from cybercriminals. (We use this one ourselves.)

Change Your Admin Folders’ Names

Sometimes your web server gets hacked, and bots scan for folders that contain administrative information. Since most of these attacks are automated, bots will look for easy titles such as “admin” or “login.” Give these folders names that are less likely to indicate the important information they contained. Consider animal or human names, names of everyday objects, or just random numerals in a row.

Protect Yourself With BigPxl

Ultimately, your protection depends on vigilance and an attentive eye for detail. Not every small business owner has the resources, time, and expertise to keep up-to-date on all the latest security necessities. BigPxl can take care of your web presence for you. We will go the extra mile to ensure your website and web properties remain secured and protected. Should an attack occur, we quickly resolve all issues and get you back online, back on track, and back to running smoothly.

If you would like more information on website security or want to know more about our services, contact BigPxl today. We offer web design, SEO, paid advertising, and more as part of our comprehensive slate of digital marketing services.

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