Have you ever wondered why your site goes off line spontaneously, or why your website is riddled with adverts selling pharmaceutical drugs? The chance is, your website has been hacked.
You may even read news about high profile companies having millions of credit card details stolen, along with millions of usernames and passwords; you may be thinking, “My business is safe because we are not big”.
When small businesses consider their website and its security, their attitude is usually along the lines, “Why would anybody attack us? We are a small business”. More often than not, the company will ‘set and forget’ their website hoping people will see it once search engines have indexed it. However, hackers are becoming increasingly efficient in finding small business websites with security flaws.
Unfortunately, the number of small business deciding to maintain their own websites is increasing, therefore, the number of small business websites that will be attacked is going to be greater. Hackers do not just use your website as a target, it also becomes a platform for other attacks and hackers, often leading to bigger exploits and hacks on other websites.
1. Your reputation on the line?
Being hacked can host a multitude of problems for you and your business. The obvious one is your reputation. Your search engine position is crucial for your business because it means you have a greater chance of being found. However, if search engines such as Google and Yahoo! see your website contains malicious content, or has been hacked, then your small business website will be blacklisted, and it could take years to fully regain that ‘top-spot’ in the search rankings.
2. Your website is valuable to hackers, regardless of the size
As I explained briefly in one of the opening paragraphs, your website will not only become a target, it will become a platform for other attacks to route through. Even if you do not store sensitive data such as credit cards, the username and passwords of your users will contribute to databases of hacked information. Hackers use these databases to increase their chances of breaching other websites.
3. It’s all fun and games (mostly)
A published item on CNET shows that over 50% of hackers do it for fun, and not for monetary gain. This is a huge problem for small businesses, because it means the hackers are not going to give up. They are passionate about it, and keeps them occupied.
You may wish to visit the CNET website. They have an interesting article on hacker motivation.
4. Hackers are becoming more knowledgeable
With ever increasing number of people taking to the internet, hackers are finding more things to exploit. Cisco’s 2014 Annual Security Report described the hacking of legitimate websites as a “high-efficiency infection strategy”. Once a site has been infected, the spread of this ‘virtual disease’ is hard to contain, and means your site can be turned into an attack platform. This gives hackers reign over what devices to attack, what viruses to distribute, and even gives them the freedom to choose when to initiate the attack for maximum effect.
5. Outdated and vulnerable
New vulnerabilities threaten your businesses website on a daily basis. The lack of updates along with vulnerable code is the most frequent reason why your website has been hacked. With nearly 25% of the internet using content management systems, it is easy to understand why so many websites are vulnerable to hackers — once one vulnerability for that CMS (content management system) has been found, the hackers will go after all other websites using the same version of that CMS.
You now have a brief outline of the problem, and may consider the need for external assistance. HostNinja may be able to offer you a solution. Please click here to contact them for more information.