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Protecting Your Online Business: Understanding the Types of Attacks

If you run any type of online business, knowing how to protect yourself from malicious attacks on your site is important. The simple reason behind this is that these attacks can affect your business in a very negative way and cause serious losses. One of the things that you need to do first is to understand the types of attacks that your online business could fall victim to. Here are the most common types:

  • Denial of Service Attacks

A Denial of Service (DOS) attack occurs when attackers flood a website with too many requests so that it goes offline as the server can’t handle the traffic. This has the effect of making your website unavailable.

  • Theft of information

This happens when hackers break into a site and steal sensitive information. This could include the personal information of your clients and members, or the contents of your email messages. This can lead to serious problems for those whose information was compromised as well as a loss of reputation for the business in question.

  • Site defacing

Pretty much a form of vandalism in the online world. A website is hacked and the home page is changed to a different message. Often times it would just be a “Hacked by (insert name here)” message, but can also take different forms. For example, your website could be redirected to another site, or it could be used to deliver malware. This can obviously make you lose revenue and affect the reputation of your business.

  • Affiliate link hijacking

This form of intrusion is a lot more subtle. A site that is compromised will have its affiliate links changed so that all sales go into the account of the hacker rather than yours. This could also be done with hosted pay per click ads, where the ad code on your site is replaced by that of the hacker. Users will not really notice anything too different about the site, but it obviously will make you lose revenue until you realize what is going on.

  • Comment and post spam

This is obviously a serious problem with any site that accepts user generated content, such as blog comments, forum posts or reviews. The spam is either done manually or through the use of automated tools. Usually, this can easily be recognized as the messages posted will look quite nonsensical and have links to websites that are completely unrelated to the context of your site. When done manually, it can be more subtle and be harder to detect. Having a site full of spam comments will reduce the user experience, as a legitimate visitor will have to wade through dozens of spam posts to find anything useful. Having such spam on your website can also affect your SEO and get you penalized by Google.

There are, however numerous ways that you can use to protect yourself from these attacks, which we will see tomorrow.

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