8 min read 08/09/2022

4 Common Website Security Hacks You Should Know About

Websites are digital intermediaries between businesses and their audiences. Ideally, every website should be fortified with digital protections, accompanied by continued security support.

Unfortunately, online privacy is being progressively undermined by enterprising hackers using novel means to siphon private user or company data.

Twitter’s enormous data breach in July 2022 is a cautionary tale, telling us that it does not pay to be security-complacent. Even FFANG companies deemed too big to fall are susceptible to the vicissitudes of the “grey web”.

Thus, security is the number one deliverable every website must pledge to its users. Potential data or privacy breaches threaten to invalidate your brand’s legitimacy and authority; it reflects a house in complete disarray. Expect trust, respect and admiration for your business to gradually fade away.

As a web development agency, our team has pulled together our years of experience in dealing with websites to collate the most popular methods we’ve since that online criminals engage in to compromise website security.

Today, we’ll discuss four common cybersecurity breaches we’ve encountered, how they can negatively impact your business’s operations and measures to prevent and manage them.

1. Malware

Malware is a generic category for any intrusive software synthesised to harm computers, websites or servers such as viruses, worms, trojan viruses, spyware, adware and ransomware. With 70% of all breaches attributed to Malware, this tried-and-true virus is still rampant.

While all forms of Malware are harmful to websites or business operations, some are comparatively more dangerous than others.

For example, if a virus was to infect a website due to an outdated piece of code or vulnerability within the site’s infrastructure, it could result in the website going offline or being defaced.

Alternatively, spyware viruses can surveil transactions on your website in plain sight, misappropriating your users’ card payment details. In serious circumstances, hackers can disclose your users’ physical addresses on the internet, posing a grave threat to their welfare and safety.

Solution: Verify Any Files/Links Received

Malware often comes delivered in an unassuming and conspicuous package. In business settings, they are typically distributed in the form of hyperlinks or files attached to emails or text messages.

Should your suspicion be aroused, we highly recommend users question the validity of such files, verifying their provenance before opening them. Bogus links are often accompanied by copy bursting with typos and grammatical errors, followed by a poor imitation of colleagues/external vendors you recognise or understand.

2. Phishing Emails

Phishing Emails are an upcoming niche amongst talented hackers. Simply put, Phishing Emails entail misleading victims into disclosing important information by masquerading as an authoritative figure or someone you know or recognise.

Information such as confidential company data and personal identifiers are the primary motivations behind such operations.

While there are similarities between how Phishing Emails and Malware are disseminated, Phishing Emails require the clinical assessment of the sender’s behaviours — how he/she writes and talks. This practice bolsters the email’s illusion of authenticity, boosting its likelihood of success.

The email’s structure is also intentionally designed to imitate reputable organisations, inhabited by official-looking collateral and corporate signatures.

For instance, a Phishing Email can skillfully deceive companies into disclosing their banking details, impersonating the financial institutions that manage their finances. Con-artists can then transfer their hard-earned funds into their bank accounts.

Solution: Cautiously Assess Every Email

If the suspicious email had been allegedly sent by a colleague, analyse the formal structure of the email. Are there any irregularities in writing — uncanny prose, irregular greetings etc.? Are there apparent inconsistencies between your colleague’s actual email address and the impersonator’s? What about their domain names?

Moreover, you should scrutinise the dubious email’s written content. Are there apparent spelling mistakes or grammatical errors? Is the email requesting immediate access to sensitive information? Is the nature of the email too good to be true (promising a reward etc.)?

Always stringently qualify each email against this fixed set of criteria before concluding.

3. Password Guessing

Password Guessing is a no-frills way to access private data and information. Also known as brute-force attacks, hackers submit variations of common passwords and passphrases, hoping to access your website.

With the pervasive proliferation of applications and platforms, business owners fall into the trap of using one password for multiple accounts, let alone an uncomplicated one (think qwerty123). Passwords commonly inspired by personal identifiers such as birthdays, names and physical addresses further compromise their already nebulous security.

Once a user gains access to your website’s backend, they can easily delete/modify and change any of the public-facing pages on your website.

Solution: Complex Passwords And Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

Password-holders are guilty of constructing passwords that are too brief and simple to identify. Naturally, the solution would be to perform the opposite!

Thus, strong passwords should consist of a minimum of 16 characters, comprising a random assemblage of unconnected words (preferably 3-4). 

Another foolproof means to strengthen your website’s security is to set up Two Factor Authentication (2FA).

In layman’s terms, 2FA offers two layers of security, requiring users to authenticate their identities twice. A successful login only occurs after verifying your identity on both fronts.

The first layer requires your run-of-the-mill username and password. However, the second layer requests that you verify your identity with something you possess, such as a digital token on a smart device.

Even if a third party were to acquire your login details, he/she can’t bypass the second security wall without physically owning the token required.

If you run a WordPress website design, we encourage taking steps to set up 2FA to protect your website from brute force attacks. Alternatively, our team of developers specialise in providing web agency consulting services, where we can assist with configuring 2FA on your website.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware is the most debilitating and disruptive hack that any malicious agent could deploy. Firstly, a hacker attempts to breach your company’s servers through the hacks discussed above.

Information deemed valuable to the business is then deliberately encrypted, denying you exclusive access to crucial folders or files. Only by forking out an exorbitant ransom will these scammers release the information held “hostage”.

The result is a company that can’t provide or produce its core products and/or services.

Unfortunately, ransomware encryption is impervious to standard decryption tools. Consequently, businesses are indebted to the hackers to whom they fall prey. Transacting with them is the only foreseeable pathway to a resolution. 

While there are no sure-fire ways to manage and triage ransomware cases, it is 100% possible to prevent the pre-requisite breach from ever occurring.

Follow the steps discussed above unfalteringly, and protect yourself from likely web security violations.

Hacking is Rapidly Evolving

Hand holding a smartphone infected with viruses and malware, cybersecurity concept brisbane web agency

Hacking is a rapidly evolving space, with more and more people becoming increasingly resourceful, with every scam or hack appearing more convincing than the next. While our recommendations are indeed helpful to combat their ever-growing presence, our list is by no means exhaustive.

In reality, there are so many different factors to consider when it comes to web security. For the average person, it can be overwhelming for someone without an IT background; that’s why engaging the support of a web development agency will help you stay on top of the security and give you piece of mind that it’s being managed appropriately.

We Value Your Web Security

We are a Brisbane web agency with a decade of website building experience, and we can fortify or build you a website with fortress-like impregnability. 

Our comprehensive web package ensures your website is securely hosted on highly-reliable cloud architecture, protecting it against well-known or unconventional threats.

By implementing the best web security conventions, your website data is always handled with the utmost care, shielded from the prying eyes of online criminals.

More importantly, our web care package includes 24/7 active monitoring and proactive software patching. Vesanique will hastily isolate any suspicious activity or emerging threats and pursue the appropriate corrective actions.

Finance Your Security With The Federal Government’s Help

Upgrading your cybersecurity systems falls under the purview of the Federal Government’s “Small Business Technology and Investment Boost” (SBTAIB), offering small-to-medium businesses a significant tax write-off worth up to $300,000. Revisit our previous article on the SBTAIB to find out more.

Ready To Take The Next Steps? 

A business’s objective is to deliver a product or a service without fault, and a secure web environment enables it to do so undisturbed online. Allow us to provide you with a safe web environment to cultivate your brand’s reputation as we slowly secure the online parameters of your business.

Book a meeting with us, and let’s chat about we can help bolster your web security. 

View Project