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Seeking vulnerabilities is the best protection, experts say

Edinburgh council was target of a cyberattack yesterday, and the details of more than 13,000 email addresses were stolen. The council was quick to issue a warning (opens in new tab) to all those who have an account with the authority, saying they might experience an increase in spam and phishing.

It said: "We are taking this incident very seriously. We have made sure that our service providers have reinforced the security of our website and we will continue to monitor security regularly."

“Vulnerabilities in websites are incredibly common, even amongst the largest brands, and cyber-attacks like these have become an everyday occurrence. Many businesses are still unaware of online business risks, or have delayed taking appropriate action, which is unfortunate for them and their users,” said Matt Johansen, Director Security Services and Research at WhiteHat Security.

“According to our 2015 website security statistics report 86 per cent of 30,000 websites have at least one serious vulnerability where an attacker could compromise the system and cause serious commercial or reputation damage. And to add insult to injury, it takes an average of 193 days to remediate the vulnerabilities that are fixed ­ not to mention the 39 per cent of flaws that are never closed.”

The best way to protect yourself against hackers is to be proactive about your website’s security, he concludes:

“It’s vital that businesses understand their own true security posture better than the cyber-criminals. The best way to do that is constantly check for and report website vulnerabilities proactively before disaster strikes."

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.