Tales of A Cybercriminal’s Treasure: A Guide to Website Security [Infographic]

An A-list yacht party being captured by pirates is a great analogy to explain how a website might be compromised by cybercriminals. The more flashy the yacht party, the more likely it is to be spotted by pirates looking for treasures. In the same vein, the more complex the website composition, such as plugins and features, the higher the chances of a cyberattack. Here we see a group of celebrities partying away, oblivious that pirates have identified the yacht as a potential target. Naturally, the pirates board and steal their valuable possessions. This is similar to how website owners are often unaware of the risks their websites pose, and how attackers may exploit these risks to destroy their websites.

In Q3 2017, SiteLock revealed websites which use plugins and link to social media accounts are at increased risk. Websites with 6-10 plugins were twice as likely to be victims of compromise compared to sites with no plugins. Additionally, websites linking to social media were 3.6 times more likely to be compromised.

Plugins increase what is called an “attack surface,” because they add new code and features to the application. While this code increases the features and functionality of a website, it can also increase the number of vulnerabilities, and therefore opportunities for attackers. When linking to social media, the increased visibility increases a site’s chances of being noticed and targeted.

Digital marketers and website owners should take the following steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks and prevent website vulnerabilities:
  • Complete application updates as soon as they’re available. Updates include themes, plugins, and core applications, such as WordPress and Joomla!. To simplify this process, take advantage of solutions that automate patching to ensure your site stays secure at all times.
  • Utilize a file-based website malware scanner and remediation product. Automatic daily malware scans with malware removal capabilities are the fastest way to detect a breach or compromise and mitigate the possible damage.
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