“How to Secure a website” is not a term but a challenging task for any site holder or developer.
Being a site developer, if you have reviewed all aspects of the website during the site development yet not secured it then, you are welcoming threats on your server. In this rising cybercrime era, no website can ignore this vital part of a website.
This guide will focus on website security, its importance, and tips to secure a company’s website.
What is Website Security?
Website security, aka Cybersecurity, is divided into three segments: Detect, Prevent, Respond. The motto behind website security is to secure your website or web application allowing detection, prevention, and responding to known cyber threats. Cybercrime now becomes a daily buzz in the web world. Websites are prone to cyber threats.
Let us focus on few concepts that revolve around website security.
Types of Threats:
Multiple types of threats can cause damage to a website’s reputation. We can enlist on a few well-known threats: MiTM attack, SQL injection attack, DDoS attack, Cross-Site Scripting, IP Spoofing Attack, Malicious code injection, Data sniffing, phishing, password and data breach, Buffer Overflow, Memory Corruption.
Many companies follow security practices by maintaining specific standards. Black Box testing, fuzzing tool, password cracking tool, web application firewall, and vulnerability scanner are technical solutions to secure your website.
These techniques are useful in threat testing, solution building, and threat prevention. You can see how a firewall protects against malicious traffic.
It is essential to have a robust security plan in an organization. The security plan should include practices like malware scanning and removal, security monitoring, spam monitoring, DDoS mitigation, web application firewall, Content Delivery Network, blacklist monitoring, and removal.
Why Website Security is Important?
After discussing what website security entails and its different aspects, we would like to jump to the importance of a website security. After that, we’ll get to how to secure a website from future threats.
When an organization has website security enabled, it protects website visitors from data hacking, phishing tricks, session hijacking, unknown and malicious redirections, SEO spamming. A visitor will move away from the website if there is no website security or any data breach has happened on it.
Very well-planned security helps to bring traffic on the website as enhances the confidence level of visitors to deal with the website.
If you spend more time on coffee than on IT security, you will be hacked. What’s more, you deserve to be hacked.”
Richard Clarke, White House Cybersecurity Advisor, 1992-2003
A recent report shows 94 attacks were recorded per day with 52% more volume attacks in the 2020 year. The research states that 1 out of 100 websites is infected with malware. There are 12.8 Million websites are infected globally.
The facts prove that it is worth spending on website security that could cost you lesser than a cyber-attack.
Plug-ins & Themes:
WordPress is not a new name in the IT industry as it is the first preference of any site developer. But, do you know that WordPress sites are three times more infected than any other websites. Even plug-ins and themes used in WordPress have SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting, and CSRF vulnerability.
Google has taken the initiative to make the web world secure by enabling ‘HTTPS Everywhere.’ If the website is not running on HTTPS instead of HTTP, it will show visitors a nasty warning. It forces visitors to move away from the website. As per Google’s announcement, it sent 45 million notifications to website holders whose websites have a potential issue with the website, impacting their search appearance.
Many of these sites have spam issues out of these websites that could lead to a data breach or damage their site security.
One of the main reasons to have website security is brand reputation. Strong security assures visitors and customers that a site holder has put their data security on a priority. Moreover, a website’s reputation will get enhanced as customers will have faith in their data security while dealing with your website.
The below quote shows that how a cyber-attack can damage the reputation of a website and could cost you thousands of dollars.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.”
Stéphane Nappo, Global Chief Information Security Officer at Société Générale International Banking
How to Secure a Website? – 9 Tips
Knowing how to secure your website is critical to your business’s growth.
Many organizations still think that spending a single penny on cybersecurity is not so important. However, employees in the work environment do not focus on sharing on social media, email etiquette, file sharing, accessing network or server. All these irregularities or lack of awareness could welcome data breaches.
The question in everyone’s mind is to avoid a disastrous situation before it strikes your website. We have listed working website security tips that can protect your website from hackers.
Let us understand stepwise.
Update your Website’s Software:
Improve website performance and user’s experience by updating site’s software. This will help you to spread your marketing message as a positive user experience will attract users to stay longer on the website.
The user experience includes quality of image, frequent updates, readability, easy site crawling, and readiness of required information. Moreover, the site will have stability, reliability, and quickness that gives customers a good impression.
Moreover, an updated version of software assures about latest patched plug-ins, themes, latest features, updated security patches. Overall, it optimizes the website’s functionality. So, if you’re searching how to make your website secure, this is a first steps to follow.
Beef up your Passwords:
Remember the year 2013 to 2016 where hackers had targeted Yahoo’s servers and stolen millions of passwords? After that, Yahoo has forced all users to change their passwords.
Even Yahoo has guidelines for passwords that encourage beefing up passwords regularly. Few practices of beefing up a password include:
- Keep a long password
- Keep a complicated Password on a mobile device
- Avoid reusing passwords
- Use a password manager
- Avoid personal information
- Avoid Repeated Characters
- Keep Password updating
Migrate to HTTPS:
HTTP is now an obsolete protocol, and it is now replaced with HTTPS- a more secure version. Google’s transparency report shows that till Jan 2021, 95% of websites were running on HTTPS globally. Browsers and search engines also prefer HTTPS. HTTPS means a website is secured with an SSL certificate.
The information that travels between the two ends (client and server) remains encrypted and keeps data away from data sniffing activities.
Customers would like to visit encrypted websites where their data remains safe. It turns out to be a profitable deal for a website as more traffic volume can be expected soon.
Countries like Indonesia, India, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Germany, etc. that carries large volume of encrypted traffic to Google is also worth considering the number.
Restrict Access to Your Site:
It is quite necessary to restrict site access as it opens the door of accidental data exposure.
An organization should allow limited access to employees based on their work profile; for example, an accountant does not require access to all company’s data and files. Even an employee can misuse given privilege intentionally.
A report from IBM states that 23% of data breaches happen due to negligence of employees that caused a data breach.
Take Extra Precautions when Uploading or Downloading Files within your Site:
Organizations allowing remote work, and file-sharing has become a critical issue. If there is no restriction on uploading file, an attacker could take advantage of this situation.
For example, if the file is uploaded with the same extension and name, it could overwrite the old file, and an attacker can use the overwritten file to initiate a server-side attack. If the file contains malicious content then, it can be used to control the server. It can cause damage to the firm’s reputation.
Constantly Monitor your Site and Back it UP:
Website monitoring will give an insight into the site’s stability and its downtime. Use of monitoring tools can give you peace of mind and offers effective site monitoring. When you get a downtime alert, you can control it and try to back it up online. During downtime situation, you can give a message about website’s downtime and show that you are working on it for restoration. With website monitoring, you will know the website loading speed, which is crucial in search ranking. At present, HTTPS sites are faster than regular HTTP sites.
Back up of data stored on a server is quite necessary in case of any unwanted data breach. If you are using a backup service, it will daily encrypt (if required) and back up your data on a hard disk or external device. You can restore your data even in case of any breach.
Use Content Security Policy (CSP):
CSP (Content Security Policy) is extra defense against XSS attack. CSP allows only specific data that a web application can work on. You can use the CSP directive in HTTP response headers to filter the type of data that should be allowed.
CSP directs browsers about the trusted data and the data, which should be blocked. Modern content security policy uses the latest script coding that comes with additional security.
Observe the PCI DSS:
PCI DSS requirement refers to a security standard created to secure the payment card system. PCI DSS includes requirements like
- Enable firewall on the system
- Password configuration
- Encrypt card data travelling across a public network
- Apply latest patches to the system
- Limited cardholder data access to business
- Enable logging and its management
- Execute vulnerability scan and penetration testing
- Risk assessment
- Update antivirus software
Install a Web Application Firewall:
Continuing on our tips of how to secure a website, we have found last weapon – Firewall.
A web application firewall filters out HTTP application attacks by examining HTTP traffic, as well filters other threats that can cause harm to the website. Web Application Firewall secures against SQL injection, cross-site scripting, malicious files.
Such a firewall deeply scrutinizes the response and the request from HTTP traffic and prevents threats from accessing the server.
One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”
Arnold H. Glasow, Author & Businessman
From this guide, you’ve learned how to secure a website, and now it’s time to apply these tips carefully.
Hopefully you’ve learned how to secure a website, and have found it’s not as hard as you first thought.
Website security is an insightful practice and engenders a culture. With the change in approach and thinking, we can do extremely well in website security. Above discussed website security tips can bring down the chances of a data breach and would be useful to organizations.
It indeed requires many aspects to be considered along with a systematic security plan. So, if you want to make your site secure and do not want to lose customers then, you should secure your website today.
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