Hackers are on the move!
1. The problem
It used to be that once the website was built, that was it, job done, thanks for coming and all the best. This is changing fast. The majority of websites these days are built on Content Management System (CMS) software which allows a business to update the content on their website themselves. Unfortunately these CMS’s are now coming under attack from a dark corner of the web. Recently, there has been a concerted effort by the online hacking community to exploit security holes found in websites that are using older or out of date CMS software. This has seen a huge number of websites globally hacked and their hosting servers exploited by the hackers.
2. What happens
When a website is hacked, the perpetrators can do lots of things – it really depends on their motives and objectives. Some hackers will bring down a website and put up a holding page that promotes them or a cause they support. Others will use the access they get to take over the hosting server and send out spam email en-masse. Effectively your out of date CMS software has the potential to not only affect you but all others using the same server as you. The result of a successful hacking attempt is always business disruption and cost.
3. The importance and benefits of updating your website software.
Businesses need to factor in the cost of regular website updates into the running costs of their website. If your website gets hacked, it could be down for days until it is patched and updated. Additionally, the cost of updating the website after a hacking attempt could be substantial if it hasn’t had regular updates. It all depends on how old the CMS software is at the time.
Security: Like the operating system that drives your computer, keeping your CMS software updated ensures that it is running the latest version of the software which patches and fixes security holes and vulnerabilities that get discovered (security holes affect all software). This also ensures that hackers have reduced ability to compromise your website and the server it is hosted on.
Features: A positive benefit of keping your CMS up to date is that you also get access to new features and better performing website software as they’re released by the developers of the CMS software. Over time, these updates will add significant features to your CMS software.
4. Potential downsides
One of the downsides to updating your CMS software is that any custom written code may require modification to ensure it works on the updated CMS. Unfortunately, it depends on what files change as to how much custom code is affected by an update.
5. The web development industry responds
So, how has the web development community responded to this threat? All companies are different but more and more are offering website support and update plans to their clients. Up to date and patched software is the best way to protect your website and ensure continuity of service. At 96black, we now offer all our clients various website support plans to meet their level of comfort. These include updates to the CMS software. We’re also starting to decline work where a support plan is not put in place – It’s too risky for us and has the potential to affect others. For more information on these plans, please contact us directly and we can talk you through the options.