Digital Marketing Web Design

Web Security – A guide to protect your website

Website protection can be complicated or even baffling especially in an ever-changing environment

Before we begin, it’s important to remember that protection is never a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, consider it a continual mechanism that necessitates constant evaluation to minimise overall risk.

Website protection refers to the safeguards put in place to protect a website from cyberattacks.

With several levels of safety all falling together to form one piece if we take a systemic approach to it. We ought to take a comprehensive approach to website security and use a defence-in-depth policy.

This workshop is intended to provide website owners with a consistent roadmap for reducing risk and implementing security principles on their sites.

Why You need Web Security?

There are about 1.84 billion websites till march 2021 & A survey says more than 70% of online practitioners are worried about a cyberattack on a client’s website.

Nobody wants their website to be compromised, so website security is crucial. Having a stable website is just as important as using a website host for someone’s online presence. A website will lose up to 98% of its traffic if it is compromised and blacklisted. Getting an insecure website is almost as horrible as not having one at all, if not worse. Client data breaches, for example, will result in litigation, large fines, and a tarnished image.

Why Are Websites Hacked?

When it comes to hacking websites, there are a few key objectives:

– Taking advantage of site users.

– Taking advantage of data saved upon on server.

– To mislead or manipulate the Bots and crawlers also termed as black-hat SEO.

– Trying to take advantage of server tools.

– Hooliganism Refers to spoiling the surface or appearance of websites.

– Automated threats are common on the internet because they can perform a large number of routine tasks at a minimal cost. It frequently entails abusing existing flaws to affect a vast number of pages, often without the site owner’s knowledge.

Because of their scope and easier access, they are often more frequent than hand-picked targeted attacks.

– Another one is the Content Management System (CMS)  a software interface that enables users with minimal technical skills and resources to create and maintain websites such as WordPress, Magento, Joomla or Drupal.

Although these systems also offer security patches, the use of third-party highly configurable modules – such as extensions or themes – exposes vulnerabilities that are easily exploited by opportunity attackers.

Types Of threats & vulnerabilities

  • SQL Injections

Malicious code is injected into an insecure SQL query in this kind of attacks. They focus on an intruder inserting a specially designed request into the database response received by the website.

An effective attack would modify the database query to return the information requested by the attacker rather than the information required by the website. SQL injections can change or apply harmful data to a database.

  • Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attack

Injecting malicious client-side scripts into a website and using the website as a dissemination tool is what cross-site scripting attacks are all about.

The risk of XSS is that it helps an attacker upload content into a website and change how it is viewed, causing the victim’s browser to run the attacker’s code while the page is loaded. If a system administrator who is logging in loads the code, the script will be run under their level of privilege, which could lead to a site invasion.

  • Credential Brute Force Attacks

One of the most popular tactics used to hack websites is gaining access to the admin region, control panel, or even the SFTP server. The method is straightforward; the attackers simply write a script that tries a variety of usernames and passwords before it finds one that fits.

Once access is given, attackers may engage in a wide range of malicious practices, including spam campaigns, cryptocurrency mining, and credit card theft.

  • Malware Infections and Attacks on Websites

After gaining unauthorised access to a website by exploiting any of the previous security flaws, attackers can:

– Shoot up the website with SEO spam.

– To hold access, add a backdoor.

– Takedown guest records or credit card details.

– Run exploits on the server to raise the amount of access. Use the devices of visitors to mine cryptocurrencies

– Scripts for command and control of botnets are stored here. Show obnoxious advertisements and guide visitors to fake sites

– Malicious downloads are hosted on your server.

– Make threats on other websites.

DoS/DDoS Attacks –

A secretive internet attack is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. It’s designed to take down or slow down the intended website by overwhelming the network, server, or application with false traffic.

DDoS attacks are a challenge that website owners should be aware of and they are an essential part of the protection environment. When a DDoS attack is launched against a resource-intensive endpoint that is insecure, even a small amount of traffic is enough to make the attack effective.

Ecommerce Website Security & PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) spell out the guidelines for online shop operators. These provisions help ensure that the cardholder data you receive as an online retailer is adequately secured.

PCI enforcement laws apply if you exchange data online, in writing, or on the phone with any person who has access to the data.

Ecommerce websites need to do everything possible to ensure that cardholder data is properly encrypted through HTTPS as it travels from the browser to the webserver. It can also be safely stored on the cloud and forwarded to any third-party payment processing providers in the same way.

Cardholder data that must be protected under PCI DSS is defined as the full primary account number (PAN), but it can also take the form of one of the following:

– Expiration date

– Service code

– PIN code

– CVV digits

– Full magnetic stripe data

– Cardholder name

*Security Framework

Developing a protection system, irrespective of the size of your business will help you lessen the risk.

This system would include establishing an “intelligence culture,” with scheduled assessments assisting in keeping it clear and timely.

All five roles identify, protect, detect, respond & recover will be discussed in greater depth, as well as the steps that should be taken.

Identify: This stage involves documenting and reviewing both asset inventory and management. If you’ve compiled a list of your website properties, you can begin auditing and defending each one.

The following subcategories can be subdivided into asset inventory and management:

  • web properties,
  • web servers and infrastructure,
  • plugins, extensions, themes, and modules,
  • third-party integrations and services,
  • access points/nodes.

Protect: Three main Protective Technologies are: –

  • Cloud-Based Firewall
  • Application-level Firewall

Server application /Hardening

Using a web browser firewall to secure your website is one of the most effective ways to do so. Taking the time to consider security processes, software, and settings would affect the security of your website.

Detect: Continuous Monitoring -Continuous monitoring is a term that refers to using software to track and alert you to any problems with your website (assets).

Can be Subcategories into: –

  • Server Level monitoring
  • application-level monitoring
  • user access monitoring

Change & integrity Monitoring

Respond: Analysis and mitigation form part of the response group. A response strategy must be in effect in the event of an incident. Having a response plan in place before a compromising incident would do wonders for you. We never know what malware we are going to discover during the remediation period. In shared server environments, certain problems will easily spread and infect other websites.

  • Deploy incident response team
  • Develop an incident response report
  • Mitigate effects on an event

According to NIST, the incident management process is divided into four phases:

Preparation & Planning – Before an event happens, we ensure that we have all the appropriate equipment and services.

Hosting providers play an important part in this process by maintaining the security of applications, servers, and networks. It is also crucial to make sure the site developer or technical team is ready to deal with a security breach.

Detection & Analysis – Even though there are a variety of assault tactics, we should be able to tackle any event.

The identification process can be difficult depending on the problem and purpose.

In some instances, there is no indication that a loophole has been created, ready for the intruder to use for malicious purposes. As a result, implementing protocols to protect the confidentiality of your file system is strongly recommended.

Containment, Eradication & Recovery – This process must respond to the type of problem that has been discovered on the website, as well as pre-determined tactics depending on the attack.

Post-Incident Activities – The Incident Response Team should present a report outlining what happened, what interventions were taken, and how effective intervention was during this process. We should think about what happened, learn from it, and take steps to avoid similar problems in the future.

In addition, if you are using a web application firewall (WAF), look at the current setup and see if any changes need to be made.

Remember that, while WAFs aid in compliance with many Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), they are not a magic solution. Other factors, particularly the human factor, may affect your market.

The subsequent acts should be based on the following suggestions:

  • To limit visibility, use the GET or POST methods to restrict global access to your platform (or specific areas).
  • To ensure that read/write access is set properly, update directory and file permissions.
  • Update or uninstall any obsolete apps, themes, or plugins.
  • With a strict password policy, reset the passwords right away.
  • Whenever practicable, use 2FA/MFA to provide an extra layer of authentication.

Recover: After a thorough review of all phases in the case of an incident, recovery plans will begin. Recover also refers to providing a contingency plan in case any of the previous phases failed, such as in the event of a ransomware attack.

This procedure may also entail scheduling a meeting with the security provider to discuss how to strengthen vulnerable areas. They are well-positioned to have advice about what should be done.

Have a Communication Strategy:

Notify the consumers if any data is at risk. This is especially relevant if the company operates in the European Union, where a data loss must be reported within 72 hours, according to Article 33 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Make use of automated backups:

Whatever you do to protect your website, the possibility will still exist. If the functionality of your website is compromised, you will need a way to restore data easily – not just one, but at least two. In the event of a hardware breakdown or an attack, it is important to provide a local copy of the whole programme as well as an external backup that is not directly attached to the application.

How to Keep Your Website Safe

The significance of website security should not be underestimated. We’ll go into how to secure and defend your website in this segment.   It will assist you in locating the appropriate services for your requirements.

Update Everything –

Every day, obsolete and vulnerable tech compromises many websites.

It is critical to keep the site up to date as soon as a new plugin or CMS version is released. Those patches may simply be security improvements or a fix for a flaw.

Most website attacks are scripted. Bots are actively scouring the web for any potential exploitable opportunities. It is no longer sufficient to upgrade once a month, or even once a week because bots will almost certainly discover a flaw before you do.

Therefore, you can use a website firewall, which will effectively fix the security flaw as soon as new patches are posted.

WP Updates Notifier is a WordPress plugin that you can know if you have a WordPress website. It sends you an email when a plugin or key WordPress update is available.

Have Strong Password

Your security posture plays a big role in having a stable website.

There are several lists of passwords that have been compromised online. Hackers can pair them with word lists from the dictionary and create much bigger lists of possible passwords. It’s only a matter of time before the site gets hacked if the keys you use are on one of those lists.

Best Practices and Strong Passwords

Passwords should not be reused. Use a unique password every time. A password manager can help with this.

Try anything of more than 12 letters. The longer the password, the longer a computer programme would take to break it.

If the passwords include terms that are identified online or in dictionaries, password-cracking software will guess millions of passwords in minutes. It is not random if the password contains real words. It is a sign that your password is not good enough if you can quickly speak it. It is not enough to use character substitution (for example, replacing the letter O with the number 0). There are several password managers available, including LastPass (online) and KeePass 2. (offline). This software store all your passwords in an encrypted file and can create random passwords with a single click.

Password managers make it easier to use secure passwords by eliminating the need to memorise or jot down weaker ones.

One Container Per Site

It can seem ideal to host multiple websites on a single server, particularly if you have an ‘unlimited’ web hosting service. Regrettably, this is one of the most dangerous security practices you might use. A broad attack surface is created when several pages are hosted in the same place.

You should be mindful that cross-site exposure is a normal occurrence. It occurs when a site is adversely impacted by adjacent sites on the same server because of insufficient server separation or account setup.

Permissions and user access should be restricted.

It may also happen that the attackers target your users rather than your website code. Later forensic research can benefit from recording IP addresses and other operation histories.

For example, a significant rise in the number of registered users may mean a problem with the registration process, allowing spammers to flood the site with fake material.

The Principle of Least Privilege

It is based on a principle that attempts to achieve two things one is doing an operation with the bare minimum of privileges on a device and another is granting such privileges  only for the duration of the action

Giving unique functions privileges would limit what they can and cannot do. In an ideal framework, a task will prevent someone from doing an action that is not intended for them.

Once you have created different profiles for each person, you can track their activity by checking logs and learning about their habits, such as when and when they use the website. You can inquire if a person logs in at an unusual hour or from a strange spot.

*Modify the CMS’s Default Settings

Today’s CMS applications (while simple to use) can be risky for end-users in terms of protection. Most website attacks are fully automatic. Many of these attacks depend on users’ default settings to work. This ensures that merely adjusting the default settings while downloading your CMS of choice will prevent a significant number of attacks.

Selection of extension

The extensibility of CMS applications is something that most webmasters appreciate, but it may also be one of their greatest flaws. Mods, add-ons, and enhancements exist that provide almost every feature you might think of. But how do you know which one is free of risk?

Selecting Secure Extensions:

When choosing which extensions to use, keep the following in mind:

  • When was the last time the extension was updated?
  • The extension’s age and the number of installations.
  • Plugins, extensions, and themes can all be downloaded from reputable sources.

*Get a backup to your website

Website backups are critical for restoring the website from a significant vulnerability breach in the case of a hack. A backup can assist in the recovery of lost data, but it cannot be deemed a substitute for providing a website protection solution.

Choosing the Best Backup Solution for Your Website

– They must first be off-site. If your copies are held on the same cloud as your website, they are just as vulnerable to hacking as anything else. Since you want your data to be safe from hackers and hardware malfunction, you should keep your backups off-site.

– Second, backups can be automated. You probably have so many things on your mind that recalling backing up your website is impossible. Use a backup solution that can be set up to fulfil the website’s needs regularly.

– Finally, make sure you can heal quickly. This involves making copies of the backups and checking them to ensure that they work properly. For continuity, you’ll want multiple copies. You can restore data from a point before the hack by doing so.

*Server Configuration Files

Get to know the files that make up the web server’s configuration: The. htaccess file is used by Apache web servers, Nginx servers use Nginx.conf and Microsoft IIS servers use the web.config.

Domain configuration files, which are mostly found in the root page directory, are extremely powerful. They allow you to run server rules, such as guidelines that enhance the protection of your website. Run your website via Site check and press the Website Details tab if you are not sure which web server you’re using.

Here are a few additional best practices to consider for a specific web server:

Prevent Directory Browsing – Prevent unwanted users from reading the contents of any directory on the website.

Prevent image hotlinking – While this is not purely a security feature, it does prevent other websites from viewing images hosted on your server.

Protect sensitive files: You can use guidelines to restrict access to specific files and directories. The database login information is stored in plain text in CMS configuration files, making them one of the most sensitive files on the webserver.

*Install an SSL Certificate

SSL certificates encrypt data in transit between the client and the host (web server or firewall) (web browser). Which ensures that the data is sent to the correct server and is not intercepted.

Some SSL certificates, such as organisation SSL or expanded validity SSL, provide an extra layer of trustworthiness by allowing visitors to see the company’s information and verify that you’re a legitimate company.

But you should know that SSL certificates don’t protect your website from attacks or hacking. SSL certificates encrypt data in transit, but they don’t provide a layer of security to the website.

Install Tools for Scanning and Monitoring

To maintain the application’s credibility, always keep an eye on it. In the case of a violation, alerting systems will increase response time and damage mitigation. How would you know if your website has been hacked if you do not run tests and scans?

It’s important to search for fixes and update them daily to ensure you have the most up-to-date security patches. This is particularly true if you don’t have a webserver firewall to prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited.

*Personal Security Best Practices should be followed.

For website operators, protecting your personal computer is a key element. Your computers can become an infection vector, resulting in a hacked website.

If your website has been hacked, a decent website security guide would recommend searching your device for malware. Malware has been known to spread from an infected computer to other computers through text editors and FTP clients.

Delete all applications that are no longer operational from your computer. This is critical because, like unused plugins and themes on your website, these applications will trigger privacy problems.

If something isn’t installed, it can’t infect your computer as an attack vector, particularly browser extensions. When webmasters log into their admin interfaces, they have direct access to websites. The fewer programmes you have on your computer, the better.

*Consider buying a Website Firewall.

SSL certificates alone are insufficient to deter an intruder from gaining access to sensitive data. An intruder may use a loophole in your web application to eavesdrop on traffic, redirect visitors to fake websites, show false details, keep a website hostage (ransomware), or delete all its data.

Even if your programme is completely patched, an attacker will use DDoS attacks to slow down or shut down your server or network.

Use a Security Service:

Using these free services and software to help secure the websites and make the internet a better place.

Site Check – It is a free malware scanner and website security checker.

  • Google Search Console – Provides security alerts as well as resources for analysing website search traffic and results.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools – Authentication and search engine diagnostics
  • Yandex Webmaster – A web search engine that also sends out security alerts.
  • Unmask parasites – Check pages for secret unauthorised material.
  • Best website security software – Comparative analysis of paid website security providers
  • Best WAF – The best cloud-based network server firewalls are compared.

So, we hope this article will help you with website security Purpose & help You to find the right way of services & tools.



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