Is Your Website Secure?
Because of hackers, the Australian economy loses thousands of dollars annually on recovery costs alone. The number of offshore website security attacks significantly increased since 2005 because of the country’s high use of technology for social media, online government services, and banking. Your business could be next.
Why and How Do Hackers Attack?
Financial gain is one of the goals behind cybercrimes. Hackers mostly commit website security breaches to steal information for profit. A compromised website lets hackers obtain more personal information or mine cryptocurrencies.
There are three common types of cyberattacks: phishing, ransomware and IoT attacks. Phishing steals valuable information like social security numbers and bank account PINs when victims fill out data collection forms on fake websites resembling genuine ones.
Ransomware removes user’s access to their computers’ basic functions and commands. Server-side ransomware deprives business owners of control of their website servers, and access will only be granted again when the business pays the hackers or overrides it.
Meanwhile, common IoT (Internet of Things ) attacks can exploit privacy issues as well as inadequate and unreliable mobile security and interfaces that connect to the internet such as smartphones and tablets. Websites that don’t have the right defensive measures for mobile devices are usually targeted by hackers
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How Do You Secure a Website?
1. Use, Implement and Hash Strong and Secured Passwords
Improved website security starts with passwords, which should have at least eight mixed characters and be tough for others to figure out and remember. It should not refer to any personal information, and you can have it created by a password manager if needed. Your whole team should also use complex passwords to protect their accounts.
Utilize content management systems (CMS) that provide built-in website security features like password strength requirements and more.
Passwords can also be encrypted; you can choose from several reliable password hash algorithms like bcrypt, crypt, PBKDF2, Argon2 and scrypt to limit the damage if someone attempts to hack.
2. Vigilance on Opening Emails
Employees and managers alike should be vigilant in opening emails that may contain phishing traps or viruses that compromise your website security. Other tips include:
- Checking for unfamiliar senders
- Making sure emails don’t contain random attachments
- Avoid over-relying on spam guards
- Remembering that scanned or “clean” attachments can still contain viruses
3. Be Prompt in Installing Software Updates
Software updates protect the website by providing new security patches. Make it a habit to install these updates as soon as they are available to prevent website security breaches. A managed hosting solution should do the trick.
4. Avail a Website Security Hosting Service
Web hosting services improve website security aside from providing technologies and services for your website. Here are some qualifications you can look for in a web hosting service before you build or move your site:
- Ask if they work with experts in the Internet security field.
- Include a backup option.
- Availability of Security as a Service (SECaas)
Remember that rebuilding websites are easier than starting from scratch.
5. Enable HTTPS
For improved website security, you need to run your website under HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), a private and secure network protocol that allows data transfer between a web server and a browser.
HTTPS reassures users that it is safe to give their login and financial information. It requires SSL certificates to run; some web hosting offers them at a minimal cost—if not for free.
6. Lock Down and Secure Folder Permissions
Files on a website or server may contain confidential information that is susceptible to hacking without the right measures. Improving your website security can begin at setting permissions, and you can do so by connecting to your server via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) with:
- Code 755 for folders and directories
- Code 644 for individual files
7. Update Scripts and Website Platforms
8. Invest and Install on Security Plugin
Security plugins further enhance your website security. They ensure that vulnerabilities from up-to-date hosting platforms will not be exploited. They also monitor your site continually for malware and viruses.
You may invest in Bulletproof and iThemes for WordPress-based sites. If you have HTML pages, you can use SiteLock. These products foil additional types of hacking attempts and address each platform’s vulnerabilities.
9. Implement Parameterized Queries
Hackers can compromise your website through Structured Query Language (SQL) injection. This allows hackers to search, modify or steal information from your database. Implementing parameterized queries can prevent it; there are many lessons on how to parameterize queries available online.
10. Utilize CSP
11. Manage your Error Messages
Error messages can show how much information your website can give away. To protect the website, allow minimal error messages to users so they don’t give away database passwords or other sensitive information. Prevent full exception details to make SQL injections easier, show only what your users need and keep the rest in your server logs.
12. Do Deeper Validation
Your browser can only catch simple errors like entering text on numbers-only fields and empty mandatory fields. Implement validation practices on both the browser and server-side.
13. Restrict File Upload
Upload files can be risky because they could contain a malicious script. Relying on the file extension alone is not a guarantee if you want to protect the website because some hackers encode images by adding multiple extensions like “jpg.php” wherein they become executable. To prevent this, you can:
- Rename the file on upload
- Change file permissions to chmod 0666
- Set up a firewall and block all unimportant ports
- Run the database on a different server
- Restrict access to servers
14. Acquire Website Security Tools and Run Regular Checks
The last step is to test your own website security via penetration testing (pen testing) or web monitoring services. Pay attention to the diagnostics reports for possible vulnerabilities and fix these issues immediately.
The Final Word
The above measures cover basic (passwords and opening emails) to the most complicated measures (programming) that you can implement to protect the website you invested in. It also requires strict implementation from hardware, software and even peopleware. After completing as many steps as possible, you might be wondering where you can acquire a website security tool. Schedule an IT Audit with us to further enhance your website security and make sure that your efforts don’t go to waste.
Contact a CHB Leader in Managed IT Support to learn more about IT outsourcing and other IT security solutions for your business.
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