Marketing and digital presence are some of the crucial elements of any business or service. Especially in the digital age, where clients and customers have a more extensive range of service providers, it is important to stay relevant and visible in their minds to thrive in the business. Businesses and corporations focus on maintaining their digital presence through multiple forums and channels. And amongst all, a website is the best identity for the company.
Gone are the days when having a website was considered as “good to have.” Now, it sounds weird if an aspiring startup or established corporations don’t have a website. Your site allows you to introduce your products and services to the customer along with your identity and how it is different from other service providers. The website is your clutter-free space where you can grab your customers’ attention without any distraction and convert the proposition into a sale.
Over the years, websites have become an integral part of a business’ strategy. However, similar to other internet commodities, sites are also exposed to security threats. Websites can be hacked for multiple reasons. Some of the obvious ones are customer data breach, access to sensitive information, or compromising your system framework. However, some might even think that my website has nothing worth to be hacked, but still, website hacking is quite routine. Such websites are hacked to utilize your server for email spamming, Bitcoin mining, or becoming part of a botnet.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand and make efforts to secure and protect your website. Since the majority of websites are designed and hosted on WordPress, the majority of the results will show “how to secure your WordPress site” on searching for protection and security tips for websites. Let’s explore some of the tips to secure and protect the websites.
1. Keep the Software Updated:
One of the obvious yet essential tips to secure your website is to keep the software updated. The software referred here is the web server operating system, and any software you are running on the site like CMS. If the software is not updated, there will be possible security loopholes that can be exploited by hackers.
However, if a hosting solution manages your website, then it will be taken care of by your service provider, and you are not required to worry about the security updates. But if you have installed any other external patches or plugins, they are required to be updated regularly. There are many services available on the internet that can provide you timely notifications of managing such updates.
2. Dodge the SQL Injections:
SQL Injections are the sophisticated attack used as a web form or URL parameter to get access to your database. If you use a standard transact SQL like most of the newbie web developers, it is quite easy to send a deceptive code unknowingly in your query, and that can be used to manipulate tables, delete data or access confidential information. However, this issue can be minimized by using parameterized queries which the majority of the web language features and which is easy to implement.
3. Align Browser and Server Side:
Websites are accessed on the browser front, and all the data and systems are managed at the server-side. It is essential to align and validate both forums as any discrepancy or difference can allow hackers to exploit simple failures. For example, if there are any mandatory “numbers-only” fields and you can add text into it, such server-side failures can be exploited by inserting malicious code that can cause unwanted results on your websites. Such failures can be avoided by checking for alignments and in-depth validations among both fronts.
4. Be Careful with Error Messages:
There is one underrated security threat to the website that possessed under error messages. These are error messages that are crafted to be displayed when an error occurs on the user side. The developers and UX specialists should be mindful of the information to provide in error messages. It is important not to leak information that is confidential and secretive like database passwords or API Keys etc. If such information is compromised, this can be used to devise complex SQL Injection to attack the server. Therefore, only minimal information must be provided, and detailed error reports should be kept in server logs.
5. Strengthen the Password Game:
We all know that passwords are a gateway to critical information access, and passwords must be strongly set. Therefore, those website admin and server access passwords are secure. But another threat lies at the user front, and they must be convinced to set their password complex and strong. Usually, users refrain from doing it as it is considered as a hassle. Hence, such risk can be minimized by imposing password requirements of minimum eight to ten characters, uppercase letters, symbols, numbers, etc., to secure their accounts.
6. File Uploads are Tricky:
One common security trap for the websites can be the allowance to file uploads for the users. No matter how a primary function is expected from such file uploads, any harmless or direct file can contain a malicious script that can expose your website for compromise.
However, there are websites where you need certain file uploads from users to provide the service or value to them. Thus, you cannot merely eliminate or ignore the file upload feature over your website. Therefore, if such a thing is a necessity, then all file uploads must be treated with suspicion. One cannot only rely on the file name, extension, type, and size to gauge its harm or danger as such things can be faked.
These risks can be mitigated by stopping users from being able to execute their files after uploading them on the website. Similarly, all files must be renamed before usage to verify that name and type of the file are genuine.
Website hacking is common these days as the upside and potential of hacks are higher. One breached website can provide valuable data and insights of the business’ and customer information. Therefore, don’t allow security breaches to happen by having less stringent controls and focus on it. Otherwise, you would lose money, sales, and, most importantly, credibility and customer confidence.