Securing Your Website in 2019May 1, 2019 No Comments
Featured article by Ken Lynch, Enterprise Software Expert
Attacks on websites have been a norm since the advent of the internet. Regrettably, this trend is not expected to slow down considering that hackers have become more aggressive now, more than ever.
Even bad news, especially to small business owners, is that hackers are indiscriminate. They can attack just about any website that contains unpatched vulnerabilities. This means that whether you’re a startup, a mid-sized business or a large enterprise, you can be hit next.
Potential Security Issues Linked to Unknown or Unmaintained WordPress Plugins
It is estimated that the WordPress CMS platform accounts for at least 25 percent of websites globally. The sheer number of sites anchored in this platform makes them popular targets for hackers. Further reports indicate that most of the WordPress security vulnerabilities are a result of what most people love about this popular CMS platform – its extensibility.
In truth, most WordPress themes and plugins are made available without a pre-release security audit. The fact that these plugins are released with unknown vulnerabilities put WordPress sites at an increased risk of cyber-attacks. The following are the potential security issues that can arise from using unknown or unmaintained WordPress Plugins:
- SQL injection attacks
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks
- Sensitive data exposure
- Cross-site request forgery
- Unvalidated redirects and forwards
- Security misconfiguration
- Broken authentication
- Missing function level access control
- Insecure direct object references
Why Securing your Website is Important
A successful attack on your business website could result in some undesirable consequences. One of them is that a site gets blacklisted by search engines. As soon as a website is compromised, search engines are usually the first to take notice, and their immediate course of action is to blacklist the attacked website. Google, for instance, blacklists thousands of attacked sites every day.
Once blacklisted, a website happens to lose just about all its organic traffic. This can result in severe damage to sales and revenue as new customers cannot be able to find your website through their search engine. What’s more, is that the process of clearing the record can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor and traffic levels may never return to previously levels.
Another way in which a successful attack on your business website can harm your business is that it puts your business reputation at stake. If potential customers happen to catch a virus or some form of malware after visiting your site, you run the risk that they may never return to your website ever again.
What’s more, is that web browsers often warn visitors before they enter an infected website. This warning is enough to scare potential customers away. People will be less likely to take your business if they are not confident that you will keep their data safe. Reports indicate that two-thirds of customers wouldn’t return to a company after it has had a data breach.
In addition to being blacklisted and ending up with a damaged reputation, you may have to deal with customer lawsuits, third-party lawsuits, card brand fines, government fines, etc. You may have to bear the cost of replacing credit cards, paying compensations for what your customers have lost, as well as audits and investigation costs.
To retain good standing in the digital era, securing your website is without a doubt an essential step in your business’ risk management and data security routine. That preventative action will prove to be much more valuable than recovery and will help establish a solid foundation to grow your business.
Why Getting PCI DSS Compliant Is Important
If your business handles online payments, you must take measures to ensure that the valuable information about your customers does not end up in the wrong hands. One of these measures is getting PCI DSS compliance.
The whole purpose of the PCI DSS is to safeguard card data from cyber thieves. The standard essentially has specific rules for different businesses, depending on various factors, including the type of business, size of the company, methods of storing card data, etcetera.
The PCI DSS gives a baseline of security requirements that enable businesses to know where to begin on their security program. By following the standard provided for by PCI DSS, you will avoid the severe repercussions that arise from data breaches. In other words, getting PCI DSS compliance will:
- Secure your business data
- Protect your customers’ information
- Safeguard your business reputation
- Boost your customers’ confidence
- Avoid lawsuits and fines
- Prevent the costs of a data breach
Keeping it Secure
Becoming PCI DSS compliant shows your esteemed customers that you are serious about your website’s security and that you are taking every precaution to safeguard their payment data. It gives you and them some peace of mind. So, take the time to ensure that your business is complying with the PSS DSS standard if you haven’t done so already. In doing so, you are safeguarding your business, your employees, your customers, and your brand.
You can avoid costly downtime and reputation issues by ensuring your WordPress site is only running reputable plugins/themes and regularly updating to the most recent WP version to avoid being caught by exploits hackers use to compromise WordPress sites that can affect your customers and bottom-line.
Ken Lynch is an enterprise software startup veteran, who has always been fascinated about what drives workers to work and how to make work more engaging. Ken founded Reciprocity to pursue just that. He has propelled Reciprocity’s success with this mission-based goal of engaging employees with the governance, risk, and compliance goals of their company in order to create more socially minded corporate citizens. Ken earned his BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT. Learn more at ReciprocityLabs.com.SECURITY