Website Security Practices
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Top 10 Website Security Practices for 2021

Website security is vital because hackers target at least 500,00 websites every day. These numbers are alarming because nearly every business has an internet presence. Attacks on businesses of all sizes are possible. Small businesses are the target of approximately 43% of attacks. Hackers can target anyone, from site owners to large corporations.

Websites can contain sensitive information. Websites can contain sensitive information such as email addresses, names and credit card numbers. Most information compliance regulations today enforce privacy protection.

These regulations can be met by implementing best practices in website security. Companies need to be familiar with the best techniques for improving the security of their website. It is crucial to understand the risks and threats to website availability, integrity and confidentiality.

Common security threats to websites

1. DDoS Attacks

The most common threat to website security is the Distributed Dilution of Service (DDoS). These attacks are carried out by hackers who spoof IP addresses to overload traffic on a targeted website. These attacks block legitimate users from accessing website resources and deny them essential services.

DDoS attacks are used by hackers to overwhelm the target website with traffic. This causes the website to crash or become very slow due to the increased traffic.

In 2018, the Bank of Spain was hit with a DDoS attack. The bank’s website was taken offline as a result.

2. Malware and viruses

Malware can be a malicious program. Malware programs are the greatest threat to a website’s security.

Every day, at least 230,000 malware samples are created by cyber adversaries. Malware can also be distributed via drive-by or malware-laden advertisements.

Malware can be used to do many evil things. Certain types of malware can remotely monitor all activities on websites. It may also steal passwords and other user information. Both the website owner as well as the user are at risk from malware.

The malware can be spread to web servers and individual computers.

3. Spam

To lure people, fraudsters post spam messages to a website. Spam messages don’t always harm websites. They can be irritating and pose security issues for users.

Hackers may send spam messages to users disguised as offers or promotions, for example. Users who click on the spam messages will be directed to external links by curious users. Spams may also contain malware that users can download immediately after clicking.

4. Registering for a WHOIS Domain

Website owners must register their website with a specific domain name. Domain owners must provide personal information to identify their domain. This information is stored in the WHOIS databases. Website owners must provide additional information beyond the personal information. For example, URL nameservers that are associated with the website.

Hackers and insiders could use the information to locate the server used to store website information. Once the server is located, it can be used to access and compromise the webserver.

5. Blacklists of search engine sites

Search engines such as Google and Bing blacklist sites that do not have security measures.

Blacklisting does not mean that the site is a security risk. The site’s search engine optimizations are lower and it might not show up in a search results.

This can have a severe impact on the website’s services. Blacklisting can result in lower sales and traffic for businesses that rely on their website to sell products or services via eCommerce.

Recent research indicated that the SEO rankings of at most 74% attacked websites have been negatively affected. Businesses must implement best practices for website security to ensure their site’s SEO rankings.

Top Practices to Increase Website Security

Any business can be affected by security threats to its website. Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated, faster, and more intense. Companies need to be more focused on when a cyber-attack can affect their websites, rather than “if it will occur”.

Multiple attacks can be made against an unsecure website, which could compromise the integrity of the company and expose the user’s privacy and security.

These are the most efficient practices you can observe right now.

1. Increase website security by using HTTPS protocols

All website owners should prioritize HTTPS protocol.

It is vital to ensure secure communication between a server and client. Additionally, it improves the security standard for all websites.

It first assures visitors that all communications made through the website are secure. The HTTPS protocol tells website visitors that information they view or request from the webserver can’t be intercepted or altered by third parties.

Google Chrome, a web browser, can identify and mark websites that do not have HTTPS security protocols. A notification is sent to the visitor whenever they access the website. Visitors may be reluctant to access the website if it is not secure. This could discourage visitors to the site, resulting in fewer interactions with customers online.

The HTTPS security also prevents hackers access to any code used in the development of the website. Hackers can sometimes modify the website code without HTTP security in order to access and monitor all information that visitors give while using the website. This information could include credit card information, usernames and passwords, as well as date of births.

An HTTPS protocol can be used to improve a website’s SEO rankings. Google, a search engine, uses HTTPS security to rank websites higher in search results.

A Secure Socket Layer certificate (SSL), can be added to the HTTPS security measures. SSL certificates encrypt all communications between a server or website user. It does not stop hackers from spreading malware or executing attacks. It encrypts information to make it impossible for hackers to access in the event that an attack succeeds.

Implementing SSL security ensures that user data is protected from attacks such as man in the middle attacks (MITM). SSL certificates are required for websites that handle large amounts of personal data, such as eCommerce platforms.

However, regardless of what services are offered through their sites, all companies must secure their websites with HTTPS and SSL certificates.

2. Regularly update your software

Websites need to be run efficiently using a variety of software tools. These include website plugins, CMSs, and WordPress software.

Website security is dependent on the availability of updated software tools.

Software updates not only fix bugs and glitches that can slow down a website’s performance but also include the most recent security measures and patches. Cyber attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software tools and gain access to a website to launch attacks.

Hackers also use artificial intelligence technologies to automate cyber attacks. This is done by creating intelligent bots which continuously scan websites for vulnerabilities and then execute attacks to exploit them.

Hackers have more opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities if they don’t install the most recent updates. Websites are exposed to greater security risks and can be used to compromise the privacy and security of information and services. Website owners may consider automated software solutions that automatically check for new releases and then install them as soon as possible. Businesses can make sure that their software tools do not contain exploitable flaws by using automated solutions.

3. Use sufficient password management

It is imperative to implement effective password management strategies.

Although passwords are the most convenient way to secure websites, they pose the greatest security risk if they are not properly managed. An analysis showed that 25% passwords could be cracked in less than three seconds. This is why website owners need to take password management seriously.

Anyone can hack passwords with hacking tools such as John the Ripper, even if they don’t have the necessary skills. What are the best password security practices for businesses to improve their website security?

First, it is important to regularly change passwords. To reduce the risk of an adversary cracking passwords, website administrators should change passwords at least once a year. It is important to use strong passwords. Passwords must be difficult enough to not be cracked but simple enough to remember. It can be difficult to remember complicated passwords that contain multiple letters, such as alpha-numerals or special characters. 1Password is a password manager software that helps you remember complex passwords. These tools allow you to create complex passwords, and store them securely for safe use.

A business should not use web hosting companies that use multi-factor authentication.

These authentication schemes add an extra layer of security. While anyone can provide a username and password that is valid, only authorized users can provide the authenticators.

A user may be asked to enter a unique code before they gain access. This is an example of two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a common method that requires users to input a code via SMS. The user must know their username and password, and have access to the phone. This is two-factor authentication, as signing in requires “something that you know” and _something that you have. This prevents employees who have access to passwords from their colleagues from using them in unauthorized activities that could compromise the security of the website.

4. Secure personal devices

While many organizations focus on the best website security practices, they forget that personal devices can also pose a threat to their site’s security.

Hackers frequently target personal computers in order to gain access to a secure website. Cybercriminals can steal FTP logins and use it to upload malicious files and data to a website. Hackers consider it easier to attack websites using personal computers as a portal. It is important to secure personal computers when protecting websites.

Businesses can protect personal computers in a variety of ways. These include anti virus or antimalware products. These products are vital in countering current threats. Some might doubt their viability. They prevent malicious files from being downloaded or installed by users in online communities. They can also identify any malware on an USB stick or hard drive and block it from being accessed. firewalls that adhere to strict firewall rules can block malicious connections from hackers. Website administrators and website owners must ensure the highest level of security.

5. Assure adequate access control

Security programs must have access control in order to be successful. Website protection is no different.

Website owners should set access permissions to allow different users to access the site. Human activities are the most common cause of cyber-attacks. This is why strong access controls are necessary.

This statement was echoed by a recent research study which found 95% cyber-attacks were human-caused. An employee with access rights to a specific area of a website can make mistakes that lead to disastrous attacks. Website owners must implement robust access control mechanisms to mitigate these risks.

Website security is enhanced by access controls that limit the number of people who can cause errors. A business can establish role-based access control policies by identifying which employees are not allowed to access a website. This would limit website access to those who have specific roles.

A content creator would not be allowed to view the coded section of a website. It should only be accessible by a website administrator or developer. This applies to all roles including consultants, external developers, designers, and guest bloggers.

The principle of minimum privilege or least authority is an essential control. This allows employees and outsourced labor to only access the parts they need to complete the task. The principle allows individuals who have a specific need to access the part. This reduces the risk of making an error that could lead to security issues on websites.

6. Modify the default configuration settings

Many companies overlook the importance of changing default security settings.

Cyber attackers frequently create bots to automate scanning vulnerable websites, as previously discussed. These bots can also be used to scan websites using software tools with default security settings.

Standard settings might not offer the protection and security required to meet the unique requirements of an environment. Programs that use default settings are vulnerable to attack.

Bots can be used by attackers to identify websites with the same default settings so that the malware or virus can be used. Businesses should change the default settings, such as those for content management sites, after deploying a website. You should consider changing the following settings:

  • Controls for the user
  • File permissions
  • Comment settings
  • Information visibility

7. Regular website backups

All security procedures must be prepared for anything.

Companies must always be prepared to fall for an attack. Website attacks can result in its compromise and unavailability. This is something that no company wants to do.

It is not only a good idea to regularly back up a website, but it is also an important measure to protect the privacy and security any information. Website backups include a snapshot of all site components. This allows website owners to preserve and restore important data in the event of a site being attacked.

Themes, plugins and databases are essential components that should be included in a website backup.

Website security is also dependent on backups. Backups allow you to restore a website’s original version in the event of a hack or an update that causes a site to crash.

Website security should include backups. They are easy to implement and they are essential for maintaining integrity, availability, confidentiality, and confidentiality.

Website hosts offer easy ways for organizations to create and manage backups. They can either use the panel provided to customer control to manage the backups, or they can use backup plugins found in tools like WordPress.

8. Use continuous monitoring

Website owners have difficulty identifying malware and viruses because they can hide and are difficult to find. Malware programs are a major threat to website security.

Businesses can detect suspicious activity by performing continuous and constant monitoring.

These are the signs that a website security issue needs to be addressed.

  1. Login information for user accounts is not collected without their consent
  2. Website files can be modified or deleted without consent of the owner.
  3. If the website crashes or freezes repeatedly,
  4. Search engine results that show noticeable changes such as warnings about harmful content or blacklisting are indicated.
  5. Rapid increase or decrease in website traffic

These signs could indicate that a website has been infected. Security personnel can monitor the site’s activities visually by opting for manual monitoring. This can prove ineffective. Some security incidents may go unnoticed because it is impossible for humans to monitor a website 24 hours a day. It is strongly recommended that automated monitoring systems be used.

An automated scanner provides a better security solution because it can monitor a website continuously and allow the site to continue operating normally. This eliminates manual monitoring’s high costs and inefficiencies. Some monitoring tools can be used to detect anomalous behavior and take corrective action.

Numerous services are available to scan websites for vulnerabilities. These services can be useful as they can verify that security precautions have been properly applied.

Every time a website is modified, it is a good idea to run a new vulnerability scan. Website scanners are useful for identifying new vulnerabilities that may be introduced by website changes.

You can use free online security scanners to detect security holes in websites. These scanners scan for vulnerabilities and inform you if your site is vulnerable to cross-site Scripting or SQL injection attacks.

These free scanning services are valuable and highly recommended. These paid tools can perform deeper and more thorough scans.

9. For website security, deploy firewalls

Firewalls are one of the most popular website security measures.

By blocking malicious connections, a firewall protects websites. Companies establish and maintain security rules to address security requirements in the context of their services and the environment.

The firewall rules for an eCommerce platform may differ from the ones for a registration portal. Two types of firewalls are used to increase website security. These firewalls can be used to enhance website security.

Organizations that host their servers use network firewalls. Web hosting providers also use them. Firewalls protect websites by blocking malicious scripts from being sent between web servers within a network.

Web application firewalls, on the other hand are used to protect a particular website. A web application firewall stops malicious scripts accessing a webserver, protecting a website from being compromised. By blocking malicious traffic, a website is secured and the web hosting account’s bandwidth and load time are reduced.

10. Validate all input from users

Validating user input protects against attacks like SQL injection. SQL injection attacks are when a hacker inserts SQL code into an input area on your website. Your website might have an area where users can sign up to create accounts. The hacker will not enter a username, but a code that can be used to trick your website into putting in your database’s contents. This could give the hacker access to your website’s passwords and email addresses as well as any other information that might be stored.

This vulnerability can be easily avoided. To ensure security, the data that users enter into your website’s site must be validated. Validation can be performed at both the client-side or the server-side. Because hackers can bypass client-side validation, server-side validation is safer.

In the early days of the internet, SQL injection attacks were common on many websites. SQL injection attacks were more common in the early days of the internet because websites had less security. These attacks still work, even though they are commonplace today. Websites that do not validate user input are at risk of being hacked.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.