We have all heard about it happening to the big guys like Chase, Sony, and Anthem Blue Cross, but have you ever wondered why anyone would want to hack a small company website? What is there to gain, especially if you don’t take credit cards or sell anything online? Recent studies estimate that approximately 30,000 website are hacked EVERY DAY.
Some of the problem lies in the increased use of common website development platforms like WordPress. Today over 27% of all websites are developed using WordPress, which means that hackers can gain a lot by creating a robot to specifically crawl (attack) WordPress sites. The resulting damage can be catastrophic: spam attacks can add thousands of unwanted pages to a single small business site, or inject malware that will target any visitor and prey upon their personal information.
As a first line of defense we install security plug-ins on all our clients’ sites to ward off as many bad players as possible. As with most malware programs, plug-ins alert you to nefarious behavior as it’s happening – you can literally watch thousands of hacking attempts from all over the world in real time. It’s frightening! Also WordPress is constantly working to update and correct any vulnerability they find, which means YOU need to stay vigilant and be aware of all updates. And once you install a WordPress update, you will notice updates from many of your plug-ins. Those will need to be updated as well to keep everything in sync. It’s an endless task, but ignoring maintenance for even a month can mean the difference between a highly functional site and one that can crash at any moment or become riddled with spam. All it takes is a little time off from updating and the door is wide open for any hackers to enter.
Here are some tips to help keep your site safe:
#1 – Make it a habit to go into the backend of your website every few days and check that nothing needs updating; if you find an update alert act quickly.
#2 – Work with your hosting company to see if they offer upgraded services to help combat the problem. Upgrading your hosting may cost you a few more dollars a month, but rebuilding your site is far more costly.
#3 – Purchase a monthly maintenance contract, like the one we offer our clients, to keep your site looking and functioning smoothly. Built into all maintenance contracts are 2 – 3 hours of service time, and any unused time is rolled over to the following month.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is sit around and wait. Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and the problem isn’t going to get any better soon. But you have resources, people and digital solutions to help you fight back.