As the threat of cyber attacks and hacking has increased over the past couple of years, the website security industry has undergone some pretty significant developments and changes. Understanding how the industry is changing for the better is important for every webmaster and business owner.
The Growing Threat of Website Mischief
Just because your website hasn’t been compromised in the past doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Website attacks and threats are growing and incident rates are increasing alongside this alarming trend. Just consider the following statistics as published in the 2016 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec.
- In 2015, there were nine “mega-breaches.” The total reported number of exposed identities was roughly 429 million. However, the actual number is much larger. Many companies chose not to reveal the full extent of their breaches. Thus, the actual estimate of breaches was more than half a billion.
- Despite the increased emphasis on website security, vulnerabilities are still found in 75 percent of websites on the internet.
- In 2015, spear-phishing campaigns targeting company employees increased by roughly 55 percent, while ransomware grew by 35 percent.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Cyber threats are growing and it’s imperative that businesses respond by securing their websites and protecting their information.
Three Ways Leading Companies are Responding
While some companies are sitting on the sidelines and refusing to believe the tales of destruction, others are listening intently and applying extra layers of security. Here are some of the things they’re doing:
- SSL Certificates
“Also known as a secure sockets layer, an SSL certificate offers a high level of security for communication and the transfer of information over a network,” SSL Certificate Reviews explains. “This type of security is normally implemented by websites that process payments or accept information that needs to be secure at all times.”
If you process payments or accept customer information, then chances are, you need an SSL certificate. The good news is that they’re fairly cost-effective and, depending on your website host, easy to setup.
- Complex Password Tools
“Everyone knows they should use complex passwords, but that doesn’t mean they always do,” says developer Ruald Gerber. “It is crucial to use strong passwords to your server and website admin area, but equally also important to insist on good password practices for your users to protect the security of their accounts.”
Gerber makes a really good point. While website admins have finally begun to understand the importance of complex passwords, many network users still do a poor job of creating sophisticated passwords. That’s why many companies are turning to password managers and encouraging their employees to use them for added security.
- Server Side Validation
Smart companies make sure their websites are validating information both on the browser and server side. Browsers can catch some things, such as mandatory fields that are left blank. “These can however be bypassed,” Gerber mentions, “and you should make sure you check for these validation and deeper validation server side as failing to do so could lead to malicious code or scripting code being inserted into the database or could cause undesirable results in your website.”
How Will You Respond?
The time for sitting on the sidelines and hoping threats will go away is over. In the coming year, expect cyber attacks rates to increase rather dramatically from where they already are. You can also anticipate hackers getting more and more creative in their pursuit of compromising customer data. The only reasonable response is to double-down and secure your website using the new technology you now have at your fingertips.