There are tools to help protect your website from online threats, however a backup of your data is also crucial protection.

Your website may be one of your organisation’s biggest assets. For this reason, it is a good idea to put some thought into how to protect it from online dangers.

Here, we will cover:

Protecting your website from hackers

Your organisation’s website faces a range of security risks from other people, generally ‘hackers’ (more specifically, ‘black hat hackers’).

Black hat hackers may try to directly access your computer and steal or modify your files while it is connected to the internet. They may also try to leave malware in your website to infect visitors and eavesdrop on your communications (for example, through the use of  keystroke logging).

White hat hackers’ vs ‘black hat hackers’

When people talk about hackers, they are usually referring to people who use their technical ability to break into computer systems, with malicious intent.

Technically, though, the term ‘hacker’ simply refers to people who use or access computer programs or systems in ways that are different from the manner intended by the creator of that program or the organisation using that program.

This is why we have the terms ‘white hat hacker’ and ‘black hat hacker’.

‘White hat hacker’ is a term used to describe someone who just wants to test their technical skills and knowledge, and may share their results with the organisation they hack so it can improve its processes.

On the other hand, ‘black hat hacker’ is a term used to describe someone who uses their skills for antisocial or criminal purposes.

Digital Tip  Talk to your developer

If you are working with a developer to create your website, it is a good idea to talk about online security during the process.

Securing your website

It is important that businesses and organisations try to make sure that their websites are not used to pass on threats to their visitors. This can occur when a hacker alters the coding of the website to include malicious code, known as ‘drive by downloading’. For more information, see this article on drive by downloads on cybersecurity company Imperva’s website.

There are commercial services available that will scan a website on a regular basis to check for malware and vulnerabilities. There are also a number of companies that provide a service that will scan your system for malware prior to issuing a trust seal to reassure your users.

These services include:

external linkGeoTrust SSL certificates
external linkInstant SSL
external linkVeriSign Trust Seal

In addition to this, most IT security software now includes services for rating websites you are visiting. These services should advise you if the website has known vulnerabilities, or has been reported for illegal activities

Digital Tip  Talk to your internet service provider about security

Some internet services providers (ISPs) have more advanced security features than others. Get in touch with your ISP if you would like to find out what measures they are taking to protect your organisation’s computers from online threats.


Backing up your website

Regularly backing up your website can help you recover more quickly from any viruses, malicious hackers, hardware failures or damage to hosting servers. For more information, see ‘Backing up data’.

DigitalIQ tips

Other resources

The Australian Government provides a number of free resources which may help you keep your website and online presence safe:

linkStay Smart Online
. This website provides vast amounts of free and up-to-date information about online security.

linkOnline Alert Service. This resource alerts you about the latest online and network threats, like viruses, malware and scams.