You just spent a significant amount of money on your new website. Now what? You want to keep that website safe from all of the cyber attacks out there, right? What do you do? What types of attacks are out there to be worried about? These are very important questions to ask to protect your investment.
More popular threats that are commonly known are Malware, Spyware, viruses, and Spam. Unless you are in I.T. or live on the web, more than likely, you have never heard of some of these threats listed below. They all typically get lumped into one phrase…”My site has been hacked.” Most people do not know that your site can be compromised by many things, other than some really “angry at the world” kid who just wants to create havoc.
Botnets – These are a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group called “zombies” (clever name as they are lifeless demons with no control but destroy everything). This typically happens without the owner’s knowledge.
Pharming – This is a type of online fraud that directs internet users to a false website that mimics the appearance of a legitimate one, in order to obtain personal information like passwords, account numbers, etc. The user can be completely unaware that this is not the actual site they meant to visit. This can happen even when entering in the correct URL.
Ransomware – This is a type of malware that blocks or limits you from being able to access your site. Typically your login information will stop working or you will no longer be able to access certain pages on your site. Hence the name. This scheme is put in place to hold your site ransom for a payment online. I would typically avoid paying them as this typically ends up in them asking for more money or destroying your site anyway.
Now, on with two of the coolest named online threats.
DDoS Attack – This just sounds scary for starters. DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service and is as scary as the name sounds. The definition is a cyber-attack where the perpetrator seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users, by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of a host connected to the internet. Thank you Wikipedia.
If that definition does not make sense to you, no worries. What it is saying, is that when a perpetrator uses a computer to control and send other computers to a certain website or server over and over again, so quickly that it is too much for the website or server to handle and everything crashes.
Trojan Horse – By far my favorite name on the list but not something you want to hear! It gets its name from the old Trojan Horse tale, where the Greeks left behind a giant wooden horse after appearing to retreat. The Trojans pulled the horse into their gates and that night, men came out of the horse and opened up the gates to the Greek army waiting to get in. This malware works just like that disguised as legitimate software which then tricks unsuspecting users into loading and executing Trojans into their systems. There it can delete your files, record usernames, personal information, and most scary…. even watch you through your web cam. AHHH!
Be sure to ask about ways you can avoid any of these attacks. Do backups of your site as often as you can and make sure you host with a reputable company!