Are you dreading a hack attack any moment? With hundreds and thousands of WordPress sites becoming targets of hack attempts each year, the paranoia is justified. To combat this situation, there are several security solutions on the market who promise to protect and preserve your website from malicious bots, hackers and the rest.
But how does one select a good website security solution? What makes a good security plugin?
Normally, if you had to buy a security solution for your website, what you’d do is search for the top security plugins online and probably pick the one that is rated highest. The next thing you do is install the plugin into your site and sit back and take a breath of relief. You feel your site is protected now, right?
But did you know that different security solutions offer different kinds of protection? They all have different approaches to security. A security feature that one security solution offers might not be offered by another. That does not necessarily make the latter a weak security solution. It’s probably offering a different set of features that are equally effective. Some plugins offer a number of security features while others are a specialized player (for instance MalCare is a comprehensive security solution, but Two Factor Authentication secures your logins to your website).
When choosing a security service for your website, we urge you to take note of the things that we are listing below.
Not All Malware Scanner is the Same
Malware scanning is a significant part of any website security service, but the approach to scanning differs. That is to say; some scanners only skim through a website while others dig deep in search of malware.
There are several scanners that rely on signature matching to find malware on a hacked site. These scanners are limited because they are looking for only specific malware whose existence is known. Hackers today are smart, and they have found ways to hide malware in hacked site. They obfuscation codes of known malware so that scanners looking for a specific code is unable to find it. The existence of base64_decode is classic signs of a compromised WordPress website. But today hacks are complex and can have unidentifiable code such as ‘b’.’a’.’s’.’e’.’6’.’4.’
Some scanners like MalCare, go beyond signature matching to find complex and even new malware. It syncs a website’s server to its own and tracks all changes made to the site. When it records an abnormal behavior, it investigates to see if it’s a malware. Moreover, it’s AI-based technology is constantly learning and upgrading its knowledge bank which in turn helps improve the scanner.
Be diligent in choosing a security service. Learn about the technology that power the scanner of security plugin to find out how effective they are.
Not all Firewall Provide the Same Set of Protection
Firewall is one of the most basic security measures that one should take. There are three types of firewall protections available for a WordPress site:
Plugin-based Firewall: The firewall sits on the websites and protects the site from malicious login attempts. Cloud-based Firewall: In this kind of firewall, cloud technology is employed to keep unwanted visitors away from your website. In-Built Firewall: Web hosts offer an inbuilt firewall that helps keep a website safe from security threats.
The protection that this firewall provides differs from one another. For a plugin-based firewall like MalCare, the firewall prevents bad traffic from accessing a site. It monitors a network of websites looking for IP address who are known to cause harm to sites that they tend to visit. The firewall marks these IP addresses and harmful and prevents them from accessing the WordPress site it’s protecting.
The State of False Positives in a Security Solution
Ever heard the story of the boy who cried wolf? By nature, we humans tend to start ignoring false alarms rather quickly.
False positives occur when a scanner wrongfully flags files of a website as malicious, sending website owners into panicky fits. Several WordPress security services are notorious for sending false positives to users. It gets website owners all worked up for no reason. Moreover, this can cause users to ignore an actual alert of a hack risking the safety of a site. Users may fail to take necessary actions to mitigate the situation, and that defeats the whole purpose of using a security service in the first place.
A good website security scanner should be able to confirm the existence of malware before alerting the user. Deep scanners like the one that MalCare offers are developed after analyzing more than 240,000 sites. It uses this collective intelligence to accurately detect the presence of malware in a website.
A Large Number of Features Don’t Mean More Security
Did you know that some 90,978 hack attempts are made every minute?. With scores of WordPress websites being hacked each year, it’s not hard to imagine why there is such a demand for security solutions. Today many security plugins have flooded the market, each one of them competing to become the most popular. In an attempt to stay on the top of the ladder, developers are often forced to bring in more and more features in the shortest possible time. Also, there’s a popular notion that many features guarantee good security.
Security plugins sometimes offer several features and sell a false sense of security to website owners. These features are unnecessary bloats that enable the product to stand out from the crowd. Such products may fail to deliver when the situation demands. What one should really focus on is seeing what sort of security each of the features provide.
Some Security Services Affect Website Performance Negatively
There are some popular security plugins known to negatively impact a website performance. It causes a site to slow down. For instance, scanner running on a website will use the website resources to execute their operations. This can cause your site to become slower. A slow website has a two-fold disadvantage: one, visitors will hit the back button if a site takes more than a few seconds to load. And two, Google hates slow websites and tends to rank them low. Thus you lose your SEO benefits. Chose a scanner that does not affect the site when scanning.
A scanner such as MalCare’s transfers all data from your website to its own server and then runs the scan. Essentially the scanning process takes place on it own server without using any of your website resources. Therefore your site remains unaffected.
One popular notion around WordPress plugins is that running too many could slow down your site. Therefore instead of using security plugins that perform only specific tasks, we’d suggest using a comprehensive tool that offers a ton of good security functionalities.
Check this out if you want to learn more on what makes a good security plugin!