The Rise of Hackers

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Cybercrime and its potential impact

As if there isn’t enough to worry about in this timeframe of human existence, hackers seem to be having a considerable amount of additional time to wreak havoc on websites.

Hackers created over 65 million new malware in the first quarter of 2019 alone. A Kaspersky report states that its platform identified 24,610,126 “unique malicious objects” in 2019, a 14% increase over 2018. On average 30,000 new websites are hacked every day.

Here are some additional ‘not so fun facts and statistics’ when it comes to cybercrime (you can read the full article here):

  • 95% of breached records came from only 3 industries in 2016 (government, retail and technology)
  • There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds
  • 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses
  • Since COVID-19, the US FBI reported a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes
  • Approximately $6 trillion is expected to be spent globally on cybersecurity by 2021
  • 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error
  • Most companies take nearly 6 months to detect a data breach

Why do hackers hack?

It is often hard to understand the motivations behind hacking attempts, but it’s a global ‘industry’ that is not set to disappear any time soon. Some hack for income, demanding fees for reinstating the site (which is not guaranteed) or selling the information to the black market. 

Others just do it for the satisfaction of including successful hacks to their growing list of bragging rights.

Possible other reasons

Mining of sensitive information

Does your website have a payment gateway, or a newsletter sign-up or contact form? Payment card data and personal information are hot commodities for hackers – who will sell the information to various bidders. 

Stealing Intellectual Property

Businesses often use websites to file their intellectual property. Websites can contain surprising details, like company documents, sales leads and portals for vendors or clients. Don’t think this only happens to large organisations. 

A data breach could cause great damage, including reputation damage, compromised customer data or losing your competitive edge, which could ultimately lead to a loss in income.

Malware

If you think you are safe because you do not offer a payment facility or store important information or that your business is too small to catch the attention of a hacker – think again. During 2018, small business breaches accounted for 43% of the hacking victims.

This is because a hacker can host malware such as ransomware and crypto mining which can then be spread around the internet, with your website as the host. A compromised web server can also be used in hacking campaigns, with malicious attacks against other organisations originating from your web server.

This is why we recommend hosting with Pathfind Media on our dedicated server with Xneelo (only our clients are on this server, and most of our clients have managed websites, so we know exactly ‘who your neighbours are’ (you can read more about our hosting options here).

To Learn (from your mistakes)

Whatever your opinion of them, hackers are a resourceful bunch and they like to continue their ‘learning’ by discovering new vulnerabilities or practicing their skills in a real-world environment. This makes small businesses ideal, since they usually have little to no security. Once an attacker compromises your website, there is no telling what they may do.

Take heart! All is not lost (yet)

In addition to running monthly maintenance checks for our WordPress clients (as part of our maintenance package), we recommend a Wordfence Premium Firewall to all our clients (especially when we detect more than usual unwanted activity or hacking attempts during human checking).

What does Wordfence Premium offer?

  • It runs malware scans on a scheduled basis automatically or on a manual basis if you suspect that hackers have implanted malware.
  • The scan includes a variety of other checks, including blacklist checks.
  • It offers brute force protection, to prevent a user or bot from pinging your website too many times, and thus crashing your server.
  • Two-factor authentication, to ensure authentic traffic can get through to your website.
  • Country blocking, and IP address blocking.
  • Protection against aggressive web crawlers.

3 Key Ways Wordfence Premium Protects your WordPress Website

Making sure your website does not crack or get hacked
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Premium Support

Wordfence premium allows you to contact their support staff directly if you suspect the worst and your website is under siege.

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Protection in Real-time

With Wordfence premium your Firewall rules and Scan malware signatures are updated in real time, providing you with immediate protection against new threats and immediate detection of new malware and vulnerabilities.

Blocking specific countries and IP's

Through the Wordfence dashboard, you can perform certain tasks like blocking visitors from specific countries or IP addresses from accessing your website.

At only R150/month (versus the potential long-term damage of being hacked), we think it is well worth investing in this additional, robust security application.

Want to go ahead?

Pathfind Media

We are an award-winning boutique web design agency with an international footprint, based in Durbanville, Cape Town. We believe that adapting and keeping up with the fast pace in the digital arena is key to innovation in an ever-changing industry.

We’d love to chat!