Website hacks CAN happen to you. Protect yourself.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the big Equifax hack. It’s been all over the news for weeks. If you haven’t, there are plenty of great articles out there about what it means for consumers, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Like many of you, I was curious to see if I was one of the 143 million Americans whose information was stolen. Using their “check potential impact” system, I plugged in my info and sure enough, my name came back as at risk.
I never thought it could happen to me. But it did.
“It won’t happen to me.” It’s a thought I can see running through people’s minds every time I talk to them about site security and website hacks. “My business is too small.” “I don’t have anything a hacker would want.” “I don’t collect credit card information.”
The thing is, you DO have something a hacker would want.
Small businesses are the preferred targets for many website hacks, accounting for more than 70 percent of all breaches according to a recent study. And they could be after a number of things.
1. Hackers are after Money
Even if you don’t collect credit card information on your website, hackers are always looking for ways to digitally steal from you – or your customers.
2. Hackers are after Information
They could be searching for information they could use to steal your identity, or attempting to access your valuable client database (remember the Ashley Madison website hack?)
3. Hackers enjoy Vandalism
It’s surprising what these hackers find entertaining. Sure, website vandalism can be politically motivated; but often, it’s just something they do for entertainment. And what’s fun for them can be incredibly destructive for you.
4. Hackers are attempting Code execution
Hackers may be looking to infect websites with malware and malicious code that can take your website down. They look for easy targets – websites without a lot of security – so that they can hack in, plant code, and use YOUR computer into a zombie bot which they can use to hack more computers.
5. Hackers are executing Blackhat SEO
Link building for SEO is a valid marketing tool – when it’s done ethically. Unfortunately, there are unethical hackers out there who will hide links to other, completely unrelated websites to boost that other site’s SEO – at the expense of your own. Sometimes it’s not even hidden – I recently visited the website of a business coach that had some of its pages redirected to a sales page to download pirated copies of Wonder Woman. I’ll bet that business coach thought it could never happen to her, either!
6. Hackers are after Access to another website
Most small businesses use shared hosting plans. That means that many websites are hosted on the same server. If one site on that server is compromised, it opens a gateway to other sites hosted on that same server.
It’s a scary world out there.
So what can you do to protect yourself? You can start by reading our blog post Five Super-Important Tips for WordPress Website Security, which lists five things you can do to help keep yourself, your customers, and your website safe. Implement those things.
And then …
Get on a website maintenance plan.
You don’t have to sign up for one of our SiteCare plans (although I’d love it if you did!) – but make sure SOMEONE has your back. You can’t put off website security any longer, thinking that it can’t happen to you. Because it can.
Equifax has proven that … to 143 million of us.