As attacks increase and become smarter on the web, site owners and visitors need to understand the risks of using the web in this current generation. In this article, we’ll go over the types of sensitive data hackers can get on the web and the best methods to prevent it from both sides. One of the main reasons hackers hack websites is to obtain and abuse site resources. If you use WordPress, additional tips are also provided in our recent article. Why Are WordPress Websites Targeted By Hackers?
The impact of the theft of sensitive information
An attacker can obtain a wide range of information from someone on the web. From credit cards to passwords, the list of sensitive data obtained can be staggering. Hackers can exploit this information using it for their entertainment. Identity theft in today’s world is no joke. The types of attacks capable of recovering this information can be one of the following:
- Phishing campaigns
- SQL Injections
- Access control
- XSS attacks
- Man-in-the-middle attack (MitM)
- Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
- Session hijacking
- DC skimming
- Directory traversal
- brute force attack
The main purpose behind SEO spam to be injected into a website is to support their spam sites for profit. This type of spam is supposed to redirect visitors to their sites instead. It also has a big impact on any type of site in terms of traffic and activity.
It is one of the most common types of website infections faced by website administrators.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
These types of attacks take sites offline for different reasons. It can be politically, financially, personally motivated or just for fun. By the way, this can also apply to degradation types of infections. DDoS attacks are essentially multiple devices (the Internet of Things, also known as IoT) or botnets targeting a site’s web server to overwhelm with fake traffic.
In-car download attacks
When hackers have the ability to inject malicious code into a site, they can take advantage of this by deploying malicious file downloads to a customer’s operating system without their knowledge. These include some of the following:
- Botnet Toolkits
- The middle man (MitM tools)
- Data transfer
What are the tips for securing sensitive data on the Internet?
First of all, you need to make sure that all connections are secure. How do you create a secure connection for your website? You can do this by making sure admin login panels are unpredictable (IE using /wp-admin by default or “admin” as username.) Enabling 2FA and CAPTCHA will also always beneficial. Every account on your website must follow the Principle of least privilege. Ensuring that every password is strong and generated will also ensure that if your password is obtained, a hacker cannot use it elsewhere. Keeping these generated passwords in a password generator will also help you track them all.
So what’s the safest way to store sensitive information? An SSL certificate will always be important not only for the site owner but also for the site visitor. Ensuring that customer data in transit is encrypted is crucial online these days. However, an SSL is not the end of everything. Since it only protects data in transit, it does not protect the data when it finally arrives on site, unlike a Web Application Firewall (WAF).
Scanning the site for malware and backing it up regularly is also important. Keeping up to date with the latest versions of software, themes, and plugins will also help avoid infection. If you’re not sure if an update breaks the site, keeping it as a prior backup will also help.
There are certainly a variety of options that a hacker can take advantage of depending on their intentions and motivations against said target. With this in mind, it is important to take proactive measures to avoid the impact on the reputation of your business. As a site visitor/consumer, you also need to be more careful about the sites you access with respect to your identity and privacy.
If you think you have been the victim of one of these attacks, do not hesitate to clean it up ASAP. Persistent infections have the potential to not infect other sites within the same hosting environment, but are also detrimental to the site’s search engine rankings. Our Incident Response team is here to help if this is the case, providing 24/7 coverage when a malware removal request is submitted.