Cyber attacks on the site. What is it and how to protect yourself from them?
A malware attack is the introduction of malicious software to infiltrate and execute unauthorized commands in the victim’s system without her knowledge.
The targets of such an attack may be different:
stealing customer information for sale as a lead source;
obtaining system information for personal gain;
disabling a website to stop business;
placing the stolen data of the victim in the public domain.
Usually cyberattacks are carried out by disgruntled dismissed employees, competing enterprises or cyberterrorist groups.
In this article, we will explain how cyberattacks work, explain the importance of prioritizing protection against attacks, and explain how to restore systems after an attack.
How do malicious attacks work?
A cyberattack occurs because an attacker places his malicious code on the Internet and tries to infect as many sites as possible.
Types of malicious attacks
Malware attacks can manifest themselves in the form of viruses, worms, Trojans, adware or ransomware.
As a rule, malware can be divided into 2 categories:
Programs whose purpose is to disrupt the operation of system processes.
To do this, a cybercriminal can overload system resources to prevent their completion.
Also, a hacker can infiltrate the system code and add an “extra step” to a specific system process so that he can intercept data on the way.
Most malware falls into this category, and it is easy to recover from them.
Programs whose purpose is the complete destruction of system processes.
Data in a vulnerable system may be deleted or damaged beyond repair, for example, if a Viper attack occurred.
After the threat is identified and removed, the damage still remains.
The only way to fully recover from an attack of this type is to restore the system from a backup.
Signs of a malware attack
There are several important factors indicating that your site has been hacked by malware.
When visiting your site, the browser redirects to unfamiliar or advertising sites;
Downloads on your web pages are initiated automatically;
Your site is blocked by search engines;
Customers complain about fraud with payment cards after buying in your online store;
There is spam or unwanted advertising on the site;
Phishing pages are hosted on your domain ;
There are new errors and warnings in the control panel of the site;
The ad blocker rejects ads due to malware or unwanted software.
If your website shows any of these signs, you should investigate as soon as possible to reduce the risk and reduce the damage.
How do I find out that a website has been subjected to a cyber attack?
Some malware attacks are obvious and are accompanied by an advertisement that suddenly appears in the site header, or a hacker’s message that the site has been hacked.
However, most malware attacks are designed to hide and live inside the system. Because of this, malware may not manifest at all.
Even if there are no signs of infection on the site, it is recommended to scan regularly for possible intrusions.
There are two effective ways to scan a website or web application for malware:
Remote site scanning. This is the fastest way to scan your website’s environment for malware, as the system surface interacts with it to detect any obvious signs of an attack.
Scanning the server. It works slower than remote scanning, but more thoroughly. Every file in the system is checked to find any malware hiding in the code.
Since many types of malware are hiding on the server and may not be detected, this is especially useful for detecting malicious PHP scripts, phishing, and website backdoors.
How to respond to malware
If malware is detected in the system, it is necessary to immediately take measures to eliminate it in order to minimize damage. In addition, special attention should be paid to preventing future attacks.
It is not enough to simply remove malware. It is necessary to install reliable means of protection to prevent re-infection.
Earlier we talked about plugins to improve the security of sites on WordPress, which runs more than a third of sites on the Internet.
How to prevent attacks on the site
There are a number of key steps to prevent cyber attacks:
Use strong, unique passwords for each account;
Use the principle of least privilege ;
Always update the website and CMS with the latest fixes;
Use a web application firewall to protect against brute force attacks, bots and DDoS attacks.
Regularly scan the site for indicators of compromise (Indicator of Compromise, IOC);
Do not store the site in environments with other websites that have write access to each other.
Always use multi-factor or two-factor authentication in the admin panel.