If your website has ever been taken off line due to malicious malware issues then you know it can be frustrating. “But I didn’t put any malware into my site,” you say. Maybe you didn’t, but someone did.
Malicious malware is not only bad for your site visitors, but it’s also bad for your website. If you get so many reports over a 90-day period, Google will take your site off line and issue a big red warning sign to visitors telling them that your website may harm their computers (forget about search engine optimization issues, it provides a horrible user experience). It could end up costing you traffic as some of those visitors may never come your way again. It’s a danger of the Web. A real danger.
But how do you combat distributors of malicious malware who would use your website as a distribution channel?
For starters, you need to strengthen your passwords, both your web hosting password and your blog software or CMS password. HTML sites can be affected too, but usually not as often as CMSs and blog platforms. In that case, you’ll want to secure some of your folders and make sure that you have a level of security that is appropriate for the folder.
Most malware and malicious links are inserted into a website’s code because the website owner made it easy for them to gain access. Strengthening your passwords will take care of most issues – probably about 70%-80%. But you’ll also want to make sure that you keep your software upgraded to the latest version. If you are using WordPress, for instance, the most recent version is 2.8.3, issued just a few days ago. Older versions of software usually have security loopholes and the older your software the is the more likely that hackers will be able to find those security loopholes.
Finally, make sure you have a strong spam blocker. The stronger the better. Akismet is considered the best of breed and catches about 90% of spam that is targeted toward a website.
If you do those three things, it may not make completely impervious to malware attacks, but it will go a long way to making sure your visitors – and your website – are safe.