Guidelines to quarantine your website from security threats


Guidelines to make your website secure

People around the world are struggling as the COVID-19 outbreak threatens the safety and security of so many individuals. These days, we all know how important it is to wear a mask, avoid handshakes, and take proper precautions to keep from getting infected.

Unfortunately, coronavirus isn’t the only threat that businesses need to worry about right now. Malware unleashed by a black hat hacker can shatter a business’s reputation in seconds. If left unnoticed, it can affect all interconnected networks, exposing large amounts of data. Organizations need to establish proper checks to curb attacks and keep their digital space secure. 

Here are five major security guidelines that, when closely followed, can make your website safer and more secure.

Monitor domain expiry

A domain name is the main address an individual or organization chooses as the identity of their website, similar to a sign in front of a store that provides information to interested customers. It is practically impossible to find a website without a domain name. After your domain name has become an integral part of your brand, and people identify your product with it, imagine waking up one day to realize that your domain has expired.  

An expired domain, if attached to other online accounts, can lead to identity theft by exposing every piece of data your organization owns—from your email to social media handles. A small oversight on your end may lead to huge financial loss and challenge your organization’s reputation. With thousands of domains expiring globally on a daily basis, it is important to constantly monitor your domain names for expiration. Implementing a powerful monitoring tool can help you retain your SEO ranking and safeguard your personal data. 

Identify website defacement 

Website defacement is the graffiti of the virtual world, in which someone defaces a website by adding or replacing content or images, or by leaving a message that expresses their views. A hacker may use an SQL injection attack, remote file inclusion (RFI) attack, an attack using web shells, execution of remote files in the target website, or exploitation of vulnerabilities in a co-hosted environment. A recent case of website defacement that even brought a country’s official website to a standstill highlights that any website is at risk. 

Defacement can cause service disruptions, a privacy breach, downtime, and financial losses, and it can tarnish your organization’s reputation. Cyberattacks leave only a short span of time to respond and make mitigation plans. It is crucial that you formulate the proper incident response procedures well ahead of time. Defacement detection tools are the best possible way to monitor any defacement or change in the integrity of your website. A defacement monitor that can check for defacement affecting HTML, as well as linked images, style sheets, and scripts, can keep your website secure. Monitoring infrastructure logs can also help in analyzing malicious activity on your website.

Watch out for SSL certificate expiry

 A valid Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is as critical for an online entity as a license is for someone driving a car. This is clear when you consider the fact that when deciding search engine rankings, Google prioritizes websites that have SSL certificates. SSL is necessary to establish a secure connection between a user's browser and a web server; it’s a must for ensuring secure data transfers, payment transactions, and exchange of any sensitive information. From protecting data, ensuring a better SEO ranking, and meeting the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements, to improving customer trust, SSL can be your trusted companion.  

When a website’s SSL certificate expires, browsers display warning messages when users visit that site, deterring potential customers. The validity of a certificate is important, as one of the important facets of SSL is server authentication, which allows the user's web browser to discover the identity of the server the user is trying to connect to. Monitoring SSL certificate validity, finding revoked certificates using Online Certification Status Protocol (OCSP) checks, and periodically checking if your domain is blacklisted can help you steer clear of the troubles caused by an expired SSL certificate.

IP and domain blacklisting

No one wants to wake up to a notification that their organization’s IPs or domains have been blacklisted. In the digital world, blacklisting is the practice of identifying spammers from the IPs and domains they send emails from, and then blocking them. The blacklisted IPs and domains are compiled into a list for reference by email servers, and emails from those IPs are blocked from being delivered to the recipient. These blacklists are called Domain Name System Blacklists, and they usually follow a guideline or criteria for including IPs and domains. Getting blacklisted multiple times can affect a company’s reputation and brand value. 

A spike in the number of emails sent, an outdated email recipient list, sending out inappropriate content, etc. can put your IPs on a blacklist. The news of getting blacklisted can come to you very late, after your users are aware of it, and the damage it can cause is grave. Perhaps a potential sales follow-up email ends up in the recipient’s spam folder without you knowing about it.  

It is always better to stay away from getting blacklisted by creating your own email lists rather than depending on the third-party lists. You should also update your email recipient list regularly, use contextual and appropriate content, and avoid sending out frequent emails. Checking your IPs and domains against the most popular blacklists can help you stay updated and take timely action to get delisted if you are blacklisted. All this can be done with the help of a powerful real-time blacklist monitor.

Protect your brand reputation

Your brand's reputation conveys the ideals you vouch for to your existing and prospective customers. It is a perception that's built by the choices and activities you have carried out ever since your organization’s inception. A good brand reputation can give you an edge over your competitors, gain the loyalty and trust of your customers, increase your profits, etc. That said, a malware or phishing attack targeting your website can hamper this reputation in no time, taking you back to where you began. 

Ever since the first phishing attack in the mid-1990s, attackers have been on the search for sensitive information like passwords and credit and debit card details, and they often use social engineering techniques to get what they want. Malware can also impact your website, from causing service disruptions to allow hackers to take control of your systems.

When a website is infected, it will be marked as malicious and penalized by search engines. The user will also be provided with a warning message to deter them from accessing the page. Moreover, URLs containing malware or social engineering tactics will be listed in the Google Safe Browsing list, which again will warn customers not to visit your website, leading to a drop in your traffic and SEO ranking. Along with a defacement monitor, start using a brand reputation monitor to keep your website off of the Google Safe Browsing list and secure your digital space.  You can also monitor your website's availability and performance by using our website monitoring tool. 

Prevention is better than cure. Take precautionary measures based on these guidelines, and keep your organization’s websites from getting infected. The safety and security you offer your customers can help you build a loyal base.

So stay safe and secure with Site24x7, an all-in-one monitoring solution!

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