Malware for Websites: How they can impact your site and how to steer away from the threat

We dedicated our previous post to the importance of SSL certification and why it is essential for your customers to trust you. Did you know that only 44% of the traffic that comes to your website comprises of humans?  The remaining 56% are bots, impersonators, hacking tools, scrapers and spammers. Hosting Facts.

Automated traffic is not all bad. Google and several other search engines along with many SEO and website-related tools all use bots to dive into your website to get information automatically, which would otherwise cost organizations dearly in time and money.

But, there are bots that hackers and spammers use to hack into your website, steal user information and put your business reputation at the stake.

Back in the May 2016 LinkedIn’s security got compromised and hackers hacked into 117 million LinkedIn accounts.

Businesses are spending more and more on cyber security, but at the other end of the spectrum, malwares are designed to be better and stronger too. Currently, around 3,500 new bits of malware contaminate more than 30,000 sites consistently.

How bad can malware hurt me?

It depends on how hard it hits you. But, here are some of the problems you will face regardless of the category of the malware that corrupts your website.

  • It can hurt your Google rankings

Google uses 200+ signals to rank a website against a keyword and few of these include your website content, website load time, and more. In most cases malware will increase your page load time and sometimes even take your entire website down which will hurt user experience.

  • Bad user experience

If you are a business that is just planning to manage online reputation to increase business sales, one thing you cannot afford is bad user experience.

If any malware hits your website, it will not only hurt user experience but user security can also be at stake.

  • Hurts your reputation

While bad user experience means people will leave your website, getting users’ files and computer data corrupted by malware means users won’t just leave your site with no intention of ever coming back, but will also warn others to stay away. This is bound to hurt your business goals in the short and the long run.

I am sure you don’t want to compromise your website’s reputation, or hurt your business due to this. Which is why, in this post, I am going to discuss things you can do to stay safe from malware hits, hacker attacks and similar other forceful intrusions on your website to ensure that your users get the best experience possible.

Choose your hosting server wisely:

This sounds like a common suggestion but many websites that get compromised, underestimate this vital fact.

In order to secure the personal information of your users, as well as your reputation as a business, you need to invest in a hosting server that takes cyber security very seriously, and is equipped with the right tools and skills to fight with malwares and other hacking attacks.

Here are a few things you should check when choosing your hosting service.

  • Track record

This one is easy. When shortlisting companies, one of the many things you should check is their track record. How old are they in the business, how reliable they are, their downtime issues and the like.

For instance, Appliedi has been in business for more than a decade, and their unique 7 point security approach keeps websites online and protected round the clock.

 

  • Equipment and uptime

I understand it’s a bit technical and difficult to understand for a layman, but you have to dive into it and find out the kind of equipment your hosting server uses and how frequently they face unscheduled downtimes.

If you find out that a certain server’s downtime is higher than it should be, you should  definitely  avoid  this particular service provider and see other options.

  • Backups

I will give this one to you very straight.  If your hosting provider does not offer backups, find someone else who does or you will regret your decision soon than late.

  • Customer support

This one is also very important. If you are going for a hosting company with a track record of poor customer service or if their customer service staff is outsourced then this is an alarming sign. It is advisable for you to reconsider your choice before you open your wallet for them.

  • Software

It is important for you to know if your host has updated the latest software on its server. If the software is not updated, it poses a huge risk of a possible security lapse for your website.

Once you have considered a hosting company for your site that says yes to all the above checks, then you are in the safe hands.

Use 3rd part malware scanner

You may have chosen your host after thorough research, but 100% accuracy is not a realistic expectation.

This is why I advise you to go for 3rd part malware scanner that not only alerts you when malware hits your website, but also cleans it swiftly.

Once a malware is injected in a site, it can hurt user experience and can possibly affect visitors’ community and information.

In my opinion, open source CMS platforms like WordPress are easy to compromise especially if you are using outdated and under rated plugins. Here is a complete guide about how you can secure your website when using WordPress as your website CMS.

There are a number of  malware scanners available in the market. Just do a quick Google search  and carefully choose the one that best fits your need.

Download the most trusted software/plugins

This is an important point especially for those who are using some kind of CMS on their websites. According to stats by hosting facts, WordPress is powering 25% of all the websites in the world, and this makes this point even more important.

Malwares and hackers are able to get into your website by finding  loopholes.

In CMS like WordPress and Joomla where you download plugins and then forget about them, this sometimes builds a doorway for hackers and malwares to come in.

The key here is to carefully download the plugins and only keep those that are active and in working condition. Delete all the rest that you think are unimportant for you and your business.

 

There are an infinite number of ways to keep your site safe from malware, but the above-mentioned ones are few methods which are applicable on all kinds of websites.

If you spend some time thoroughly  researching things before taking decisions,  you could   save your reputation and build good levels of trust with your customers, and also have a marked edge from the competition.

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