Cybercrime reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center amounted to 6.9 billion dollars in damage in 2021 (source).

As the threat of cybercrime is quickly rising, protecting your company is more important than ever.

One of the biggest targets of corporate cybercrime is a company’s website. It can be exploited for many different reasons such as stealing sensitive customer information, damaging a business’s reputation, or holding their website data for ransom.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most pressing website security risks that your company should be aware of in today’s world of cyber-attacks.

The Consequences of Ignoring Website Threats

Before we discuss the risks associated with poor website security, let’s talk about the consequences of a website cyberattack.

Financial Impact

There can be many expenses incurred when a cyberattack occurs, so your company should be prepared to handle them if necessary.

The financial costs of a website hack may include, but are not limited to:

  • Professional malware cleaning fees
  • Website repair and re-development
  • Website security audit and review
  • Stolen payment information
  • Software expenses for future protection
  • Public relations support

Consider how a website hack could affect your organization and prepare for the costs associated with it. Proactive prevention of website threats can help minimize these costs.

Downtime and Operations Disruption

Depending on the type of attack, your website could experience significant downtime which will affect your business operations.

While your website is down, you’ll need to find the resources to get it fixed. Meanwhile, your customers may need additional support and your employees may not be able to access important information on your website.

Think about how website downtime would affect your organization and assess what resources you would deploy to address unexpected website downtime.

Sensitive Data Exposure

It’s possible that your website contains sensitive customer data, especially if purchases can be made through your website.

A website hack risks exposure of this sensitive information which can seriously impact your customers and business.

If your customer data is exposed, you’ll want to inform your customers of the event. Not only could your customers be hurt by the data exposure, but they will also lose trust in your company.

Data Deletion and Loss

Some website attacks target your data. This includes deleting data to cause major damage to your company.

A hacker may delete pages, clear settings, disconnect software integrations, and cause other damage to your data that could be difficult to recover.

Therefore, it is crucial to take frequent website file and database backups to an off-site server. Since the information is stored off-site, it provides an additional layer of protection to prevent a hacker from deleting all your data.

10 Most Common Website Security Risks for Your Company

Now that you understand how poor website security can seriously impact your company, let’s discuss the 10 most common website security risks that your company should be paying attention to.

1. Ransomware Attack

A ransomware attack is when malware steals your data and holds it hostage. You won’t be able to retrieve your data until your pay a ransom.

If you experience this attack, you’ll deal with significant website downtime while your data is held hostage. You’ll also suffer financial loss when paying the ransom to retrieve your site.

You’re still at risk of data exposure and loss as well, especially if you do not pay the ransom in a timely manner.

2. Phishing

Phishing is performed through emails where a malicious sender appears to be from a legitimate source.

For example, if someone gets access to your customer list, they may send emails to customers that appear to be coming from your website. They may ask your customers for credit card information or other sensitive information to exploit your customers.

You could also be tricked into revealing your website login information to a hacker, where they can infiltrate you site and cause further damage.

3. Data Breaches

A data breach is when an authorized party gains access to sensitive or private data.

Since your website likely contains sensitive data about your company and its customers, it is a target for data breaches.

Sensitive data could include customer credit card numbers, customer contact information, or information about an unreleased company product.

Review how you’re storing and protecting your sensitive website data to minimize this risk.

4. Malware Infections

A malware infection is one of the most common risks that your website is exposed to. Malware is malicious software that could have many different negative effects on your site. It could implement spam redirects, add spam pages, or log keystrokes to capture passwords.

A strong web application firewall will protect your website from the majority of malware attacks.

5. DDoS Attacks

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is when a hacker attempts to disrupt your website by overwhelming it which a flood of traffic requests.

When this occurs, your website may crash or block legitimate users from accessing your site.

Consider implementing a DDoS prevention tool such as Cloudflare to mitigate these attacks.

6. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross-site scripting, often abbreviated as “XSS”, is an attack where malicious scripts are injected into a website to target the users of that website.

If a website experiences an XSS attack, the visitors of that site could have malicious code executed against them.

7. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

Cross-site request forgery, or “CSRF”, is type of attack that forces a user to take unwanted actions on the website they are using.

For example, your customers could be prompted to enter their credit information or change their password.

If this targets you as an administrator, the hacker could trick you into granting them access to your account.

8. Brute Force Attack

A brute force attack is a well-known type of attack that can easily protect yourself against.

During a brute force attack, a hacker (typically with the help of a bot) will attempt various username and password configurations in an attempt to access your website.

The best way to protect against brute force attacks is by setting strong passwords, enabling a login captcha, and implementing a web application firewall.

9. SQL Injection

A structured query language (SQL) injection is an attack involving your databases.

During an SQL injection, an authorized user is granted access to add, delete, or modify your databases. They may comprise your data or expose sensitive customer information.

10. Vulnerabilities From Outdated Software

Outdated software is the leading cause of malware infections and website hacks.

When new security vulnerabilities are detected, software developers will release new versions of their software to fix flaws in their code. Hackers will start targeting sites that have not yet installed these security patches.

More than 44% of all vulnerable websites had at least one vulnerable software present in the environment (source). Don’t let your website be exposed to this risk!

More than 44% of all vulnerable websites had at least one vulnerable software present in the environment.

How to Reduce Your Exposure to Threats and Vulnerabilities

Although there are many different website security risks, there are plenty of solutions to keep your company’s website protected.

Below, we’ll discuss a few ways to reduce your exposure to website security risks.

Choose a Secure Website Host

Starting with a solid foundation is crucial for powerful website security.

Since your website host manages your entire website infrastructure, you need to make sure they are taking measures to keep your website protected.

We recommend contacting your hosting provider to inquire about their security. Consider switching to a new web host if you don’t feel comfortable with them.

Educate Your Employees and Customers

Uninformed employees or customers are a huge target for cyberattacks involving your website.

It’s important to make your employees and customers aware of the risks of cyberattacks, especially phishing, CSRF, and brute force attacks.

Consider sending a memo to your employees and customers to help them understand and protect against cybercrime by setting wrong passwords and identifying untrusted sources.

Perform Regular Website Audits and Checkups

Your website is at risk if your security systems and practices are not up to par.

Therefore, it’s important to regularly audit and review your overall website security to make sure you’re not exposing yourself to vulnerabilities.

A website security audit can be done by yourself or a professional, depending on the level of depth you’re looking to achieve.

During an audit, you may identify outdated software, incorrect security settings, weak passwords, and other things that put your company’s website at risk.

Utilize a Website Maintenance Company

Many companies do not prioritize website security because they simply don’t have the time or resources to do so.

Luckily, there are affordable options to gain access to experienced website security professionals who will keep your site protected around the clock.

Consider working with a website maintenance company who will offer security protection, as well as services that will keep your website software up to date.

Frequently Asked Questions About Website Security Risks

Companies of all sizes are targeted by cybercriminals for different reasons, however they may specifically look for websites using content management systems (CMS) that are easier to exploit, such as WordPress, Joomla, or Magento.

Since WordPress sites run on many different software integrations (plugins, themes, and WP core), it can be difficult to keep up with the latest security patches from developers.

A manual website security audit can be performed to identify security risks in a website.

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