A number of site owners overlook the importance of protecting their sites from nefarious hackers. Just like any brick and mortar store where you install CCTV cameras and hire security personnel to safeguard your business, online e-commerce websites are not that different in terms of web security. They, too, need to be protected.
Many think that their sites are not worth hacking. This idea may be far from the reality of the World Wide Web. Today, some websites are compromised, not to steal data, destroy web designs or deface the company’s website, but to use the company’s server to set up temporary web servers or use the company’s server for relaying spam emails usually to serve illegal files. Some hackers use other company’s servers to mine for Bitcoins or use the servers as part of a botnet. Worse case, there are companies hit by ransomware and haven’t realised it until it’s too late.
With the advent of technological advances occurring at an accelerated pace daily, hacking too has been regularly performed by malicious individuals. Automated scripts used in hacking are written to hunt for potential sites and exploit their web security issues.
So, here are tips on protecting your site from web hackers:
Maintain an updated platform and software
Obviously, securing that all software used for running your website is updated is vital for your site’s security. This applies to any software your site is running on (e.g., forum or CMS) and of course the server operating system. By keeping any platform or script that you have installed updated is one of the best things you can do to secure your site protected. Plus, this only eats up so little of your time. When hackers find security holes in websites, then it’s obvious that they will intentionally abuse them.
For site using CMS such as Umbraco and WordPress, they usually notify their users of any system updates upon login. Also, most vendors detail any web security issues to their RSS feed and mailing list.
Google announced that sites using HTTPS would receive a significant boost in ranking in SERPs. But what is HTTPS? HTTPS is not an unfamiliar term, but this is a protocol that is used to provide security. HTTPS guarantee users are directly talking to their expected server, and no one can intercept the content that the users see during transit.
So, if your site is using HTTPS, not only does it have an SEO benefit, but also you are protecting your client’s sensitive information, such as when they use their credit card or their login pages. You need to defend your site from any attack by only using HTTPS.
3. SQL injections and parameterised queries
SQL injections are the most common website hacks. An SQL injection attack occurs when the attacker uses a URL parameter or a web form field to manipulate or access your database. This specifically happens when you leave field parameters too open, and it will be easy for an attacker to insert rogue codes into your query. This could be used to delete data, change tables, or steal information.
Parameterised queries are put in place as a security measure to prevent this from happening. By using parameterised queries, you ensure that your codes have enough specific parameters wherein an attacker will have no room for inserting rogue codes.
4. Using cross-site scripting (XSS)
Content Security Policy (CSP) is another security tool to prevent any XSS attacks. This tool allows you to specify which domain a particular browser should consider as valid sources of executable scripts so that it will ignore any malicious scripts that would attempt to infect your page or your visitor’s PC.
5. Error messages
When giving away error messages, only provide the minimal errors to users so that sensitive information doesn’t are leaked onto your servers such as database passwords or API keys. Also, avoid providing full exception details because these could make SQL injections easier. Log the errors in detail and only show your users the data they need.
6. Site security tools
You can also test your site security using effective Web Security London tools, which are often referred to as penetration testing or pen testing. Here is a list of free tools you can use:
- Netsparker (Good for testing XSS and SQL injection)
- OpenVAS. (Good for testing known vulnerabilities)
- Xenotix XSS Exploit Framework
These tips, hopefully, will help you in keeping your site and its sensitive information safe.