Hacks Are On The Rise In Australia

All Business Owners now have to start educating themselves about security risks and data protection.

There are so many elements to the overall topic of cyber security, most of which is very technical and not the most interesting of reads to most of us. To keep it real for you we will start touching on important security news and keep our customers as up to date as possible.

What happens if my website gets hacked? – in short, complete chaos!

At Searchsmart we keep uncovering security issues for several of our client’s websites. We found that some would go offline while others would redirect to pharma sites or embed client-side malware. Others would silently send mass-email out without a single change to the public website. Hacking is so widespread that it is hard to pinpoint the exact same type of hack on every site. If a clients website gets compromised they usually contact us at Searchsmart to fix the issues in which as a small digital agency, we are limited in our capacity to take on all that extra work, especially if the hack numbers are high. This problem would also blow out our customers in waiting for their new website builds or amendments, which is hardly fair. Searchsmart has had to look at this risk factor to their agency and bring on a third party to assist with getting websites cleaned and back online quickly. After researching solutions and different approaches, Searchsmart landed with Sucuri because of its website firewall which runs on top of the website, on any server and in any environment.

Prior to implementing the Sucuri Firewall, many of the sites Searchsmart hosts would undergo hundreds, if not thousands, of different bot attacks on a weekly basis. These attacks ranged from DDoS, to brute force login attempts, to xmlrpc, or even direct plugin access. Previously Searchsmart used security plugins inside of WordPress and found they were not robust enough to handle all vectors of attacks; attacks can come through channels that plugins simply can’t cover. Although investment in security partners went up, Searchsmart realised they had to make the change to better protect their client websites, and only recommend and offer the best security product on the market.

Sucuri Hacked Website Report 2017

In the report when analysing WordPress websites, it is interesting to see that there has been an increase in hacks from 2016 to 2017. The warning to WordPress website owners really is to be aware and to secure your website now, if it has been done for you already. It is better to detect and protect than let things slide until you do ‘get hacked’, which nobody in their right mind would ever want to happen to them. The processes and costs involved to clean an infected website would cost hundreds and thousands of dollars due to the hours and tasks involved.

There are many tasks involved when rectifying and reinstating a compromised website. One of the most major time-consuming tasks is applying for your website to be removed from Blacklists.

What are Blacklists?

For example; when a website has been flagged by a blacklist authority (such as Google), the results are devastating. Blacklisting can affect how visitors access your website, how it ranks in search engine result pages (SERP) and how adversely it can affect communication mediums like email.

Google alone blacklists 10,000 websites every day. With over 100 blacklisting authorities, that means a lot of websites are being blocked for serving malicious content. When a website is blacklisted, it loses nearly 95% of organic traffic, causing serious risks to your business and its brand.

Maintaining your website integrity and reputation is a big responsibility. Blacklisting authorities feel the same way about protecting their users. They will quickly flag your website if they have evidence that it could be harmful. Most often a malicious payload is hidden on your website that could possibly infect visitors, including executable files, trojan horses, phishing schemes, Pharma hacks, and information scrapers. Most of the time, the website owner is not aware that they’ve been hacked until it is too late.

Don’t leave it too late to secure YOUR website. Speak with Searchsmart today for a free security risk assessment.

Are You Drowning In Passwords?

Ever since the Internet was introduced to the public in the ’90s, users around the world have faced the “password problem.” With a growing number of online accounts to manage on multiple devices, users continue to choose the convenience of using the same, easy-to-remember passwords on all of their accounts rather than following better security practices of using strong, unique passwords on all of their accounts. And we get it! We have so many passwords to try and remember or write down somewhere secure it can seriously hurt your head at times.

Being proactive about your digital security is important and it is time we all take seriously. Think about it – we wouldn’t use the same key for our house, car, mailbox and safe, so why would anyone use the same password for every online account?

Password managers like Dashlane help users create, use, and store passwords for all of their online accounts. It eliminates the hassle of not only memorising passwords but accessing them as well. Many password managers allow you to access your passwords on multiple devices, will automatically log into online accounts, and will fill out account registration forms with ease.

Try Dashlane’s Password Generator tool to create strong passwords. You can specify the password’s length and choose to include numbers, letters, and symbols. Password Generator will also indicate the strength of the password so you can rest assured that your password is virtually un-hackable.

I personally couldn’t live without Dashlane, I have been using it to store my 200+ passwords for years, and have made my life so much easier. Put a stop to reusing the same passwords and further secure your programs and platforms against cyber hacking attacks. Dashlane is a free tool and you may find out more HERE.

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