Globally, around 30,000 websites are hacked daily. Hackers target primarily financial, health care, and retail businesses due to their wide financial and data resources.
Cybercriminals access the information they need by exploiting vulnerabilities on websites. Since there are possible ways a hacker can gain access, they only need to make an effort to discover the loophole.
Businesses of any size need to know that website protection is essential. It secures your customers’ information, builds trust, keeps your reputation, and avoids a financial loss.
In addition, website security also plays a role in search engine ranking.
To help you have the peace of mind you need, we have put together a list so you can secure your website from hackers.
Ways to Secure Your Website
Install an SSL certificate
An SSL certificate secures the transfer of information from a website to the server. When your customers input their credit card number, contact information, etc. it is encrypted as it transfers to your server. That means, no one can spy on the content.
Aside from securing important information, an SSL certificate informs Google and other search engines that your website is secure. So, Google can recommend your website and not show a warning notice to visitors.
SSL certificate is affordable but the protection it gives can go a long way. Furthermore, consumers know how to check if a website is secure. With a lock image and URL that starts with HTTPS, consumers look for those before they know that giving their information is safe.
Update All Plugins, Software, and the Platform
A website can contain various plugins and extensions to enhance the features and provide a good web design. However, these tools can also become a backdoor for hackers. When plugins and extensions receive no updates, it becomes vulnerable to threats.
Some plugins and extensions are created with open-source programs, making the code accessible for alterations. When hackers get access to the code they can check on vulnerabilities present, and then exploit this issue.
To keep your website safe, make sure to update all tools – CMS, apps, software, plugins, extensions, etc.
Most applications or tools will send a notification if they are offering an update. If you don’t want to miss out on any, you can always set them all to auto-updates. But you still have to check them from time to time. Some tools aren’t receiving any updates anymore, so you have to replace them to keep your website safe.
Use an Anti-malware or Antivirus Software
Installing security software like anti-malware or antivirus software can offer a lot of help. It works in the background even when you don’t see them.
There are antivirus software programs that are free, and you can use them. However, they offer limited protection. If you want to maximize the use of your antivirus software, get a paid plan. Most of these software programs offer affordable plans. Take note, this software is for protecting your email and device that can be a source of threat to your website.
If you want to scan your website, you can get security software like SiteLock. It offers web scanning, web application firewall, vulnerability patching, DDoS protection, and more.
Your website host provider should also offer security as part of its package. Check whether your provider is also proactive in protecting your website.
Use Unique and Strong Passwords
Passwords are the first line of defence on all accounts. It prevents anyone from gaining access to the content. But if you use a weak password, it would be easy for hackers to decipher them.
A weak password can only take a few minutes to guess, but complex passwords can take years. Therefore, enforce your organization and your customers to use strong passwords.
Even if users dislike it, implementing password restrictions such as a minimum of eight characters with an uppercase letter and a number will help to protect their data in the long run.
Always save passwords as encrypted values, especially using a one-way hashing algorithm like SHA.
Invest in Automatic Backups
Last year, nearly 500 million attacks were reported by the security provider, SonicWall. That accounts for about 1,748 attempted attacks on each organization.
The alarmingly increasing number of attacks should be an indication to prioritize security.
Ransomware attacks are one of the most common threats debilitating businesses. It locks organizations out of their data, causing them to put a temporary stop to the operation. In addition, retrieving data from ransomware attacks is expensive and it’s not 100% guaranteed.
The best way to combat ransomware is to backup your website. Implementing automatic backups could save you a lot of time and money. If your website and its content are lost, you can simply restore it using your most recent undamaged backup.
Check your CMS if they offer a backup option. You can also add a plugin that can backup your website content just to make sure.
Be Careful When Accepting File Uploads
When anyone has the option to post on your website, they might take advantage of it by loading a dangerous file, overwriting one of your website’s key files, or uploading a file that is so enormous that it takes your entire website down.
The best solution is to not accept any file uploads or click on links added to the reviews or comment section. However, not all websites can eliminate this process.
Some businesses like health care or accountants need to receive files from their customers. So, the best option is to make sure they are secure.
Here are steps you can follow to protect your website when receiving files from clients.
- Specify a list of file types that you can only accept
- Use a file type verification
- Avoid DDoS attacks by accepting only a maximum file size.
- Use a software program to scan all files before opening.
- Rename files once uploaded.
- Move all uploaded files away from the webroot
Protect website from XSS attacks
Here are ways you can keep your website secure from XSS attacks.
- Use SDL
Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) is used when developing a web application. It limits the amount of coding errors and flaws to keep it safe from XSS attacks.
- Right Meta Tags
It reduces the number of forms that hackers can use to inject malicious codes.
- Use Website Vulnerability Scanner
A good vulnerability scanner can check if there are weaknesses or flaws in your website and third-party package.
- Crossing Boundaries Policy
Users need to re-enter login credentials or information before they can access a specific page on your website. The method can be a bit of a burden for your users, but it is an effective strategy to stop XSS attacks.
Prevent Human Errors
Most data breaches are due to human errors. By educating yourself or your employees, you can spot malicious attempts that can cause issues to your website.
Attacks are often delivered through email. Therefore, you have to keep an eye on every message that goes in and out of your email provider.
By learning how to spot if an email is malicious, you can help protect your data and website.
- Check on the sender’s email address
- Never click on links or download attachments
- Avoid connecting to free or public Wi-Fi
- Limit access to your website
- Change default settings like passwords and usernames in all accounts
- Use an antivirus scanner that can also protect your email
- Don’t provide any of your information online
Install Security Plugins
Plugins are tools you can install on your website to enhance a specific feature. There are plenty of security plugins available to protect your website. Some of them are free.
Use Parameterized Queries
If you have a web form or URL parameter that permits other users to submit data, SQL injections can be used. Someone could enter code into the field if you leave it too open, allowing access to your database. Because of the amount of sensitive consumer information in your database, it’s critical to safeguard your site from this.
The usage of parameterized queries is an important and straightforward technique. Using parameterized queries means that your code has sufficiently specified parameters that a hacker can’t interfere with them.
Accept Comments Manually
Comments are an excellent method to track interaction, provide customer reviews to other visitors, interact with individuals in your industry, and even accept constructive criticism.
However, not all comments are pleasant, some of them are from fake accounts or bots. These annoying comments can pose a security risk to your users. They might click on the link and accidentally expose their data.
The best way to prevent this is to manually approve comments. Instead of comments automatically posted on your site, it first needs approval. You can also ask visitors to register before they can leave a comment.
Add a Web Application Firewall
Adding a web application firewall (WAF) to your website is an excellent method to boost its security. When it’s up and running, all traffic to and from your website must pass through the firewall, which blocks security breaches, spammers, bots, and other unwanted visitors.
The majority of powerful WAFs are accessible under a SaaS paradigm. This means you’ll have to pay a monthly charge, but it’s typically well worth it—especially if your hosting company doesn’t have its firewall.
Securing your website is essential to protect you and your customers. Since it contains plenty of valuable information, hackers do like to target and access it. Even though these strategies are not 100% guaranteed, at least they are designed to lessen the chances of losing your data.