Website Virus Checker and Malware Scanner
Viruses have been around since the earliest days of the internet. Sadly, they show no sign of going away. That's why every business website needs a website virus checker. Here's a quick guide to what they are, how they work, how to choose one, and how to get the most out of one.
The basics of a website virus checker
When people talk about a "website virus checker" what they generally mean is a website vulnerability scanning service. These are offered by a wide range of vendors so they are all somewhat different. Any decent service will, however, offer an anti-malware solution and a website applications firewall. These are the two pillars of website security.
How a website vulnerability scanner works
Anti-malware solutions for websites work in much the same way as anti-malware solutions for servers, regular computers, and mobile devices. When malware is discovered, the cybersecurity companies create a description of it, this is known as a signature. The anti-malware scanner uses these signatures to identify what it should block. It can also use them to treat any malware it finds when it is first installed.
These days, cloud-based anti-malware solutions are generally the preferred option for both websites and hardware. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that it allows for quicker updates. The second is that it pushes the storage and processing requirements onto the vendor’s servers.
Website applications firewalls work along with similar principles to regular firewalls. The main difference is that regular firewalls protect clients from malicious web content, whereas WAFs protect servers from users with malicious intentions.
The other functions of a website vulnerability scanner will depend on the vendor’s offering. They should, however, be clearly explained on the vendor’s website.
How to choose a website vulnerability scanner
It may seem odd, but unless you are already familiar with cybersecurity, your first step should be to familiarize yourself with the main cybersecurity brands. Given the importance of protecting your business website, it’s strongly advisable to stick with established, reputable brands. Leave the “up-and-coming” brands to hobbyists until they prove themselves.
Then look at the ease of use. Again, it may seem strange to make this a priority. It is, however, important, especially for SMBs, which are unlikely to have extensive in-house resources. Basically, the simpler a website vulnerability scanner is to use, the more likely it is that you will not only use it but use it correctly.
After this, you want to check what it scans. Specifically, you want to check if it is effective on mobile sites (as well as ones for desktops). This is a huge point since all business websites now need to be optimized for mobile. You also want to check what content management systems and web technologies it supports.
Last but definitely not least, you want to check how it scans. In other words, how wide a range of threats can it detect and how much information can it give you about them. To make this point a bit clearer, although people use the term “website virus checker”, viruses are just one of many forms of malware doing the rounds of cyberspace.
The more different forms of malware a website vulnerability scanner can block, the safer your website will be. On a similar note, many forms of malware have different versions (rather like legitimate software). Again, therefore, the deeper your website vulnerability scanner can go, the safer your website will be.
Finally, you want to check if a website vulnerability scanner conducts each of its scans in isolation or if it uses the results of scans to inform other scans. The latter is distinctly preferable.
How to get the most out of a website vulnerability scanner
Even the best website vulnerability scanner is not a “silver bullet” for your website security. They are meant to complement robust all-around security measures, not replace them. For example, you still need to implement robust security on all your other hardware, including your mobile devices. This means that they also need an anti-malware solution with an integrated firewall. If you have remote and/or mobile users then a VPN is also highly recommended. It will help to protect users who might have to use insecure internet connections.
You also need to commit to keeping all your software promptly updated. This means not just your website content management system but also any third-party add-ons you use, plus the software you use for other areas of your business. Any of it can compromise your website.
Last but not least, you need to monitor and manage your users carefully. This applies to both external and internal users, particularly admin users.
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