15 Best Practices for Protecting Your Website from Malware and Cyber-Hacking

Many companies struggle to protect their websites against cyber-threats as hackers become more sophisticated, more frequent, and more effective. These statistics are not misleading:

Every day, over 360,000 malicious files are discovered
* In 2017, there were 1,188,728,338 attacks on computers
Cybercrime is predicted to cause damage to $6 trillion in business losses by 2021
* The global spending on cyber security is expected to exceed $1 trillion between 2017-2021

These staggering figures clearly show why organisations must make website security a top priority. There are many types of cyber-attacks that can be used to infect your computer with malicious software. Every IT department must be aware of the following risks: Trojan programs, viruses, malicious program, suspicious packers and malicious tools. If these cyber-attacks are successful, which is quite often, the following may occur:

* Website defacement: Unwanted content on your website
* Websites are taken offline (your website goes down).
* Data is stolen from websites and financial systems.
* Data encrypted and held for ransom (ransomware attacks)
* Server misuse – Relay webmail spam to serve illegal files
* Server misuse – Part of a distributed attack on denial of services
* Servers misused to mine Bitcoin, etc.

Although some attacks pose only minor threats, such as slow websites, others can have serious repercussions like the theft of sensitive data or website collapse due to ransomware. To protect your company from cyber-hacking and malware, here are 15 best practices for IT departments.

1. Make sure your software is up-to-date

It is crucial to keep your operating system, general apps, and website security software up-to-date with the most recent patches and definitions. If you have a website hosted by third parties, ensure that they are trustworthy and keep their software current.

2. Protect against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.

By injecting malicious JavaScript into your code, hackers can steal login and password cookies. Protect your pages with firewalls and protections from active JavaScript injections.

3. Protect against SQL attacks.

Parameterized queries are better than standard Transact SQL to protect your site from hackers who inject malicious code.

4. Double validation

You can protect your subscribers by requiring both server-side and browser validation. Double validation will prevent malicious scripts from being inserted through data fields.

5. Do not allow file uploads to your website.

Many businesses require that users upload files and images to their servers. Hackers can upload malicious content to your website, which poses significant security risks. You can remove executable permissions from files and provide another way for users of information and images to share them.

6. Keep your firewall strong.

You can use a firewall to restrict access from outside only to ports 80 & 443.

7. Maintain a separate database server.

To better protect your digital assets, keep separate webservers and data servers.

8. Use Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) to implement your protocol.

An SSL certificate will ensure that your website is protected and secure. SSL certificates establish trust by creating a secure, encrypted connection to your website. This will help protect your website from malicious servers.

9. Establish a password policy.

Adopt strict password policies and make sure they are adhered to. All users should be made aware of the importance and value of strong passwords. These standards should be enforced for all passwords.

* Minimum 8 characters in length
* A minimum of one capital letter, one number and one special character
* Avoid using words that are not in the dictionary
* A longer password will make your website more secure.

10. Use security tools to protect your website.

For internet security, website security tools are crucial. There are many choices, both paid and free. In addition to software, there are also Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models that offer comprehensive website security tools.

11. Create a hack response plan.

Sometimes security systems can be evaded despite all efforts to protect them. You will need to create a plan for responding that includes server backups, audit logs, and contact information for your IT support staff.

12. Install a backend activity log.

To trace the entry point for a malware attack, make sure you log login attempts, page changes, coding changes, and plugin updates.

13. Keep a backup plan in place.

It is important to back up your data regularly depending on how often it is updated. It is best to have backups available daily, weekly, and monthly. Make a disaster recovery plan that is appropriate for your company’s size and type. You will be able to quickly retrieve the original backup if you have a cloud-based solution.

14. Your staff should be trained.

It is vital that all employees are trained in the company’s policies and procedures to protect your website and data from cyber-attacks. One employee can create a breach by clicking on a malicious file. Make sure everyone is familiar with the plan and has a copy.

15. Secure your vendors and partners.

You may have data that your business shares with vendors and partners. Another potential source of security breaches is this. To protect your website’s data and partners, make sure they follow your web security best practice guidelines. You can either do this yourself or subscribe to software security firms that offer this service.

Nefarious malware can quickly bring down even the most powerful computer systems. Do not delay in implementing these security strategies. Cyber insurance can be a great investment to help protect your company in case of a serious breach. Cyber attacks and hacking can be prevented from your website and make your business more secure.

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