How to Best Secure Websites

Many websites can be found to be not safe from malicious software and attacks from hackers. Since anyone can design and develop a website, the risk of losing your information is high. But there are steps website developers take when it comes to securing websites.

Making your site resembles opening the way to your premises, with your office and safe open: A large portion of the general population who visit your physical building will never at any point realize that most of your information is there to be found just by strolling in. Every so often, though, you will discover somebody with malicious intent who will stroll in and take your information. That is the reason you need to have locks and secure entryways and safes.

Your site is quite the same, with the exception that you will never observe anybody come in unless you have a monitoring framework set up.

Lately, there has been an increase in web servers and websites being compromised. For example, Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, and others allow entrepreneurs and online marketers to rapidly and proficiently make their own sites. Their exceedingly extensible structures, rich plugins, module, and extension ecosystem, have made it easy to get a site up and to run without years of learning website development or web design. But the likes of JavaScript possess dangerous vulnerabilities that can be taken advantage of. The irony is that without JavaScript, you have a static webpage that is not good enough in today’s web development standards. Many novice web developers are not aware of these.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language that has been widely used since its release in 1995. JavaScript is commonly used in dynamic web pages as a front-end developer to provide extended functionalities such as form submission/validation, interactivity, animations, user activity tracking, and more. To do this, a JavaScript function is embedded in an HTML page, where it can interact with the page’s Document Object Model (DOM) to perform specific functions. JavaScript is not confused with the Java programming language — the languages are both object-oriented, have C-like syntax, and share several names and naming conventions, but are otherwise not related. A standout among the most widely recognized JavaScript security vulnerabilities is Cross-Site Scripting (XSS). Cross-Site Scripting vulnerabilities allow hackers to control sites to return noxious scripts to guests. These vindictive scripts then execute on the customer’s computer in a way controlled by the hacker.

Another regular JavaScript security helplessness is Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF). Cross-Site Request Forgery vulnerabilities all hackers to control programs. This JavaScript security issue can prompt record altering, information robbery, extortion, and that’s just the beginning.

Both Cross-Site Scripting and Cross-Site Request Forgery vulnerabilities exist in the application layer and require that correct development techniques avoid such vulnerabilities.

Many JavaScript security analyzers help test for and remediate vulnerabilities.

Other ways to secure a website include:

Keeping software up to date

It may seem obvious, but ensuring you keep all software up to date is vital in keeping your site secure. This applies to both the server operating system and any software you may be running on your websites, such as a CMS or discussion forum. When website security holes are found in software, hackers are quick to attempt to abuse them.

Sensible User Access

This rule only applies to sites that have multiple logins. Every user must have the appropriate permission they require to do their job; if they require escalated permissions momentarily, grant it, then reduce it once the job is complete. This is a concept known as Least Privileged. For example, if you have a friend that wants to write a guest blog post for you, make sure their account does not have full administrator privileges. Your friend’s account should only be able to create new posts and edit their own posts because there is no need for them to change website settings.

Changing the Default CMS Settings

Today’s CMS websites, although easy to create a website, are horrible from a security perspective. By far, the most common attacks against websites are entirely automated, and many of these attacks rely on the default settings being used. This means that you can avoid many attacks simply by changing the default settings when installing your CMS of choice. For example, some CMS applications are writeable by the user , allowing users to install whatever extensions they want. There are settings that you may want to adjust to control comments, users, and the visibility of your user information. The file permissions are another example of a default setting that can be hardened. Any CMS web designer like a WordPress Designer / Developer will know how to do this.

Extension Selection

One of the beautiful things about today’s CMS applications is their extensibility. What most don’t realize, however is that, that same extensibility is its biggest weakness. There are many plugins, add-ons, and extensions providing virtually any functionality you can imagine. However, the reality is that at times the massive number of extensions can be a double-edged sword. Working with a CMS or WordPress Developer will ensure that only the best plugins and extensions are used on your website.

HTTPS

HTTPS is a protocol used to provide security over the Internet. HTTPS guarantees to users that they’re talking to the server they expect and that nobody else can intercept or change the content they see in transit. If you have anything that your users might want private, it’s highly advisable to use only HTTPS to deliver it. That, of course, means credit card and login pages (and the URLs they submit to) but typically far more of your site too. A login form will often set a cookie, for example, sent with every other request to your site and is used to authenticate those requests. An attacker stealing this would be able to imitate a user and take over their login session perfectly. To defeat these kinds of attacks, you almost always want to use HTTPS for your entire site.

Passwords

Everyone knows they should use strong and complex passwords, but that doesn’t mean they always do. It is crucial to use strong passwords for your server and website admin area and insist on good password practices for all your users. A strong password will help reduce the possibility of a brute force attack and protect the security of their accounts. As much as users may not like it, enforcing password requirements such as a minimum of eight characters, including an uppercase letter and number, will help to protect their information in the long run.

Passwords should always be stored as encrypted values, preferably using a one-way hashing algorithm such as SHA. Using this method means when you are authenticating users, you are only ever comparing encrypted values. It is a good idea for extra website security to salt the passwords, using a new salt per password. If someone is hacking in and stealing your passwords, using hashed passwords could help damage limitations, as decrypting them is impossible.

Error messages

Be careful with how much information you give away in your error messages. Provide only minimal errors to your users to ensure they don’t leak secrets present on your server (e.g., API keys or database passwords). Don’t provide full exception details either, as these can make complex attacks like SQL injection far easier. Keep detailed errors in your server logs, and show users only the information they need.

Backups

Like anything digital or physical, it can be lost. We often don’t back up digital content enough. Making backups of your website is very important, but storing these backups on your web server is a major security risk. These backups invariably contain unpatched versions of your CMS and extensions publicly available, giving hackers easy access to your server.

Its recommended storing your backups on a local server or the cloud separate from where your website resides.

Takeaway on Website Security

Many website admins don’t know how to ensure their site security is up to par or even comprehend the significance of securing their site.

All website admins, site owners can, and ought to, keep their site secure. Invest in your site’s security. Practice and prepare while limiting your dependency on tools. You will most likely be unable to shield yourself from each assault every time. However, when all fails, you can not be blamed for not being ready and prepared.

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