The biggest risk of not keeping your website software up to date

As a small business, one of the reasons you should consider hiring a website management company is to maintain the integrity of your website. If anyone should hack into your website, your business can be in serious trouble, resulting in a loss of credibility, damage to your reputation, and even loss of income.

There are a number of ways that you can increase the security of your website, one of which is to keep all of the software on your website up to date with regular website maintenance. Whether you’re operating a micro business In Brisbane or a large corporate firm in New York, it’s easy for your website maintenance to fall down the pecking order. Small business owners, in particular, are busy performing a myriad of other tasks, leaving them no time to worry about updating software.

The last problem you need is for your website to be hacked, but it doesn’t stop there! Without a website management company on board to ensure the integrity of your site, the results of being hacked can have ongoing repercussions for a very long time.

Six potential outcomes from your website being hacked

Once someone has maliciously accessed the back end of your website, they can do just about anything and you have no way to stop them until you become aware of the problem — and fix it. The issues that may arise, without your knowledge, include:

  • Spam emails: Hackers can send malicious or pornographic emails to your customers from your business or domain name.
  • Customer data stolen: Without a website management company taking care of your website’s security, customer details can be compromised or even stolen. And this can get even worse: many people use the same password everywhere, so if a hacker finds your customers’ email address and password, they can potentially get into that email account as well, and from there they can get into bank accounts and more.
  • Website defaced: Hackers can literally vandalise your website, deleting, changing or adding to its content. They can take your website offline and they can even steal your website, moving it to another location so that you’re permanently locked out.
  • Software not working: Outdated software can stop working correctly or even interfere with other software, causing you no end of glitches and bugs that need to be fixed. And that’s a sudden up-front cost to you.
  • Browser support: Eventually, outdated software will no longer be supported by browsers, leaving you in the position of having to update your software anyway, but coming from a much worse starting point, so the potential for your site to “break” is significantly increased.
  • Lower rankings in Google: Poor performing websites are ranked lower by search engines such as Google. So if outdated software prevents your website from performing properly, your rankings are sure to drop.

If you’re interested in finding out more about website maintenance by our local team in Brisbane, you can get an instant quote online today.

Why do websites get hacked?

All businesses should be vigilant and proactive about security, whether it be their physical premises, staff, emails, files, or websites. No one wants their website to be hacked, for obvious reasons, however not many businesses do anything to protect them. With nearly 5 billion websites worldwide (and nearly 40,000 hacked every single day), this is not a small problem or low risk. It can easily happen if you don’t put certain actions into place to protect your website from being hacked.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a small hobby website or you work for a large multi-national enterprise; any website can be hacked if it isn’t actively being protected.

So how can your website become a victim of hacking? Well, as an Australian web design company with more than 15 years of experience in this area, we know that there are only three ways that your website can be hacked:

  • By gaining your website or web hosting login details. This could be due to obvious usernames, insecure passwords, or lack of security features.
  • Through software vulnerabilities. This could be due to poorly coded software, or even general technological shortcomings.
  • From third party platforms or applications, such as when you use the same password in multiple places, and one of those accounts is hacked. It’s only one or two more steps for hackers to test out your login details on your website and other online services.

Let’s dig a little deeper into these.

Identifying your login details

Hackers send out “bots” (automated scripts) to try and hack into websites by using brute force attacks to hit the right combinations of login details. This is one of the easiest ways to gain entry into your website and since it is all automated, all the hacker has to do is write the search code and upload it to the Internet. They will also try to hack your web hosting login details.

Software vulnerabilities

Many hacking opportunities come via vulnerabilities in software, allowing attackers to gather information about members, customers, transactions etc. In truth, we have no control over these issues, nor would any other developer anywhere else in the world. These hacking episodes usually take place by exploiting weaknesses in the software’s security and are the responsibility of the software developers to manage. Some attacks can arrive via SQL injections or remote code executions, and if you want to protect your website from these type of attacks, it is best to talk to a local web design company here in Australia, as the solutions require specialist knowledge.

It’s also important to keep your website software up to date, which helps plug any security holes over time. When hackers become aware of previous security issues with certain software, they’ll actively target websites which are still running the old version, making it easy for them to know how to gain access.

Third party platforms or applications

These are a growing problem and many of these attacks come via ad networks, online storage facilities, video hosting platforms and web hosting providers. The solution depends on the cause, but the third party provider has to secure their own sites, as this type of security is outside the capabilities of a website owner.

For the reasons outlined above, we take extra precautions when hosting and developing websites, but without an ongoing security and management plan in place, your site could still be vulnerable.

For help securing your website from hacking, contact us on 07 3333 2932 or get an instant quote online today.