Internet users are now tuned to looking for the website security and HTTPS is an easy answer to it. HTTPS offers a padlock symbol in the browsers when users visit any website. The padlock assures the users that they are in a secure place that provides them with a private browsing environment they can trust.
This symbol shows up only if the site has a valid SSL certificate and uses HTTPs for information exchange. HTTP transfers data in clear text which makes it vulnerable to hackers who can snoop on the communication medium to intercept the information being exchanged.
HTTPs (enabled by using SSL Certificate) encrypts the data so it becomes meaningless for cyber-criminals.
Website Vulnerabilities and Threats:
Hackers are always looking for sites that are vulnerable to sabotage them or steal sensitive data. It is crucial to take adequate steps to secure your website against vulnerabilities and threats.
Let us look at some common security vulnerabilities:
- SQL injection attacks introduce malicious code in vulnerable SQL queries.
- The hacker introduces a specifically constructed request in the message sent to the database by the web server.
- The attack alters the database query to expose, modify or delete database entries. In more complex forms, it can also introduce malicious information in the database.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS):
- Cross-site scripting attack introduces malicious client-side scripts in the request made to the website thereby introducing dangerous content into the site.
- The XSS executes when the users visit the website and modifies the site behavior.
- If the code is loaded by the website administrator, the script gets executed with administrator privileges which could potentially end up with the hacker taking over the website.
Credential Brute Force Attacks:
- Credential Brute Force Attacks use scripts to gain access to sensitive website areas like control panel, admin areas and SFTP server by trying various combination of usernames and passwords.
- Once they get access, hackers can launch many malicious activities, such as steal credit cards or run spam campaigns.
Website Malware Infections & Attacks:
- Once the attackers gain unauthorized entry into the website using any of the above mechanisms, they can do a lot of harm.
- Some of the most common forms of damage include SEO spam, backdoor access to sensitive areas, stealing sensitive information, launching attacks on other websites, hosting malicious downloads, showing unwanted ads, redirecting to scamming sites and taking control of visitors’ computers.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks flood the network, application or server with dummy requests taking them down over the time.
- DoS is a non-intrusive attack but once it succeeds in engaging a vulnerable endpoint that is resource-intensive, even a small volume of traffic can take down the entire site.
Boost Your Website Security:
A cyber-attack is not just a technical problem for your IT folks, it is also a huge business concern – it can ruin your reputation and result in lost customers. As a website owner, you cannot downplay the need to boost your site’s security.
Here are some tips for you to consider:
Install A Free SSL Certificate:
Get free SSL certificate from freesslcertificate.org.
You will qualify for a free SSL certificate if you are a non-profit organization.
SSL protects your data transfer from the prying eyes of cyber intruders.
An SSL certificate will not only encrypt the information using HTTPs, but it also offers other advantages such as improving your SEO, boosting conversions and increasing trust in your website visitors.
Perform Regular Updates:
Do not neglect updates for your website software, plugins and themes. These updates not only enhance your site’s features and stability, but they also include security fixes to newly discovered vulnerabilities.
Staying on top of software updates will help you solidify your website security and avoid the painful experience of going through a cyberattack.
Use a Password Manager:
Don’t use the same password on all your accounts, this opens the door to all your logins being vulnerable even if one site gets compromised.
Use password managers like 1Password, Keeper, Dash lane, Sticky Password and LastPass to generate separate random passwords for all your websites and profiles and save them in an encrypted form. Some password managers also offer two-step authentication, providing you with an extra security layer.
Take Regular Backups:
Take backups of your website regularly – you can use services provided by your hosting company, deploy an automated backup application or install plugins for dedicated periodic backups.
If your site crashes, gets hacked or suffers any other damage, your backups will help you get up and running quickly.
Stick to One Site Per Server:
A lot of hosting companies use one server to store data for multiple websites. If something were to go wrong with one site, you could also be vulnerable. Avoid such situations and look for plans where your site gets a dedicated server.
Also, seek hosting providers that store your data in multiple locations so your site can survive blackouts or disasters at a single location.
Ensure GDPR compliance to increase trust in your customers and protect their data.
GDPR compliance requires you to:
- Be capable of deleting all collected user information
- Have an option on forms to seek user permission to collect their information or contact them
- Notify users when cookies are being used on your website
Be Careful with Plugins:
You are likely to use plugins to enhance your website features. However, the more plugins you have, the more vulnerabilities you must deal with.
Keep things simple by following these pointers for plugins use:
- Ensure that any plugins you use follow proper security standards
- Limit the number of plugins
- Keep your plugins updated, so you get security patches in time
Use these tips to enhance your website security and protect your data – not only will it save you the hassle of working through cyberattacks, but it will also enhance trust in your customers, visitors and prospects.