Is the Internet the New Wild West?
We’ve all witnessed the amazing growth of IT and the internet in particular. Far are the days of searching our home library to find an obscure information on what movie director is also an opera director or what is Rasceta. Also a company with no website almost does not exists and creating a website is easier than ever with CMS ready solutions like WordPress.
Of course, all that positive growth also has a dark side. The number of infections of all kinds that are spreading via websites and applications are on the rise, as this was reported earlier this month – malware presence in the internet rises by 159% in 2014.
But, my site is not interesting to hackers!
Ok, one will conclude that this is an alarming information, but hackers are interested only in more prominent sites that have valuable information, like credit cards and user’s personal information. And yes, in the media big site or platform hacks get a lot of attention – just remember the Sony hack from late 2014.
Still, the majority of the website hacks are of medium and small companies that do not draw that much attention. Why is that? Firstly, these sites tend to have more security vulnerabilities – the installation and its add-ons (WordPress Yoast Plugin Vulnerability, Huge IT Slider WordPress Plugin Vulnerability, etc) are not updated to the latest version, the folder structure is not set with secure permissions etc. And then, there is a LOT of these sites. Finding a way to hack one, means you have a good chance of hacking thousands of others in the same manner. Also, these hacks are not then performed by human hand, but by bots that are crawling the net trying to find the same vulnerability.
All this simply means hackers with different agendas can get really “good results” i.e. hack a large number of sites and use them to spread viruses to people’s phones and computers or even use them as part of a Blackhat SEO service they sell to boost other sites search engine rankings. Worse still, they could even rent your server out to be used by criminals for serving their own illegal content or images. Unfortunately the site’s owners very often don’t even notice what has happened to their site for months (unless it is a website takeover hack). This of course damages their web credibility and in worst case scenarios they get taken down by the hosting provide or blacklisted by Google.
Times are changing
Still, times are changing and the small and medium companies are getting their voices heard. There are more and more reports of almost epidemic hack infections and industry experts are noting that this should be taken more seriously.
So in conclusion – is the internet the new Wild West? No, but all the participants should join forces to prevent it from becoming one.