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How to protect your website

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Even if you believe that your website is not a target, all websites are subject to hacking. One of the most neglected components of data security is website security. There is no escaping the fact that we have repeatedly heard the word “hackers” and we are aware of the damage they can do to financial institutions, retailers, and other businesses.

The following are possible targets for hackers’ attacks:

•An online store;

•A medium-sized corporate website

•Landing pages or a personal blog;

•Websites with a low security level.

Is there a reason why hackers hack websites? It is obvious why hackers hack:

  • Money. Order can be used to attack your website, and it’s not expensive. With rates starting at $30, a competitor or someone who simply envies your success can hire a hacker to damage your site.
  • Search competition. You may experience attempts to attack your site if you are actively promoting a site in search engines or placing contextual advertising, or the so-called “black SEOs,” to “clear” your place in search results.
  • Development of knowledge and skills. A novice hacker needs to train before attacking the Pentagon server site. Wouldn’t it be easier to use a simple website?

Hackers rarely try to steal data from websites or compromise them. Usually, hackers seek to exploit your server to send spam or to use it to temporarily store files of illegal content.

The types of attacks on websites:

Different attacks can have different results:

DDoS attack

The process works this way: I launch a lot of requests when I visit a site’s page, triggering a reaction on the site server when it runs out of resources to process them.

Simply put, you will see a “white screen” instead of your website.

Site hacking

In such a case, an attacker accesses your site through one means or another. It is possible that the consequences may vary.

Complete or partial removal of a website:

This does not require an explanation.

Placement of malicious code (viruses) on the resource:

In this way, you will cause harm to your site and to your business as a whole by gaining a bad reputation for spreading viruses, which will result in severe consequences from search engine companies and other reputable Internet organizations.

Access confidential information: the database of your online store’s customers, their order statistics, etc.

Making changes to the settings

Alternatively, closing the site from indexing by search engines, in such case, the website may completely disappear from the issuance of GoogleYandex, and other search engines.

SQL injection:

When attacking with SQL injection, the attacker uses a web form field or URL parameter to access or manipulate your database.

When you use standard Transact SQL, it’s possible to seamlessly insert fraudulent code into your query so that it can be used to modify tables, retrieve information, or delete data.

A usage of parameterized queries can prevent this type of hack easily.

What to do?

Make backups of your website. However, no website can be 100% secure, and you should always be prepared for the worst. For this reason, it is important to backup your site regularly; it helps to save time if something goes wrong.

If you set a regular backup for the site your efforts can be saved since your website can be completely restored in just a couple of minutes.

Hide WordPress Version:

Hackers know that older versions are the most vulnerable, and often the problems that exist in older versions are well documented, making them the primary targets of attacks.

To find out which version of WordPress the site is using, just look at the site’s code.

  • Restrict access to the admin panel by IP-address

This excludes access to the management system of your site, even if you have a username and password. Restricting by IP-address allows you to connect to the admin panel only from a particular IP address. Also, get a custom admin panel URL.

What else?

Update software

This may seem obvious, but updating all the software is vital to maintaining the security of your site. And this applies to both the server’s operating system and any software that you run on your website, for example, CMS or a forum. When a security gap is discovered, hackers quickly begin to attempt attacks.

When using third-party software on the site, for example, CMS or a forum, you need to monitor security patches and regularly apply them. Most manufacturers have newsletters or RSS feeds where they report all security issues. WordPressUmbraco, and many other CMS notify you of updates every time you log in.

Check error messages:

Error messages can give a huge amount of information, so you need to review all your messages. Usually, a form for logging has been used on a website, so you should review the message that you will display on the screen for the user in case of an unsuccessful login attempt.

  • You should use stock phrases such as “Wrong username or password” and not indicate exactly what the user was mistaken about.

If a hacker tries to pick up a username, and an error message indicates that this field was correct, then he can concentrate on the next area, which simplifies his task.

Use complex passwords:

It seems that everyone knows that you need to use complex passwords, but for some reason, people forget that it applies to any situation: not only for emails but for admin panel, etc. Still, it is equally important to require your users to use complex passwords for their accounts.

  • SHA algorithm helps to keep passwords in encrypted form. When using this safe method to authorize users, you simply compare the encrypted values.
  • Two factor authentication
  • Did I something forget?

Control files:

If you allow file uploads on your website, it may be really risky; even it is a small picture or changing an avatar. Any uploaded file may contain a script that can be executed on your server. This script usually is a gate to your website.

Opening a file and reading its title or using image size checking functions is not enough. If possible, select a separate server for the database other than the webserver.

In this case, the database server will not be directly accessible from the outside world; only your web server will be able to access it. This means minimizing the risk of data theft.

Finally, remember restricting physical access to your server.

Install SSL certificate:

SSL is a protocol used to ensure security when transferring data between a client and a web server or database over the Internet.

Attackers can listen to a communication channel and, if it’s not safe, intercept the transmitted information and use it to gain access to user accounts and personal information. SSL certification enables you to prevent third parties from intercepting sensitive data.

Use website verification tools:

When you think that you have already done everything possible, it is time to test the security system of your site. The most effective way to do this is to use site verification tools, also known as penetration tests or pen tests.

There are many commercial as well as free products available for this. They work according to a scheme similar to hacker scripts, using all known exploits and trying to hack your site using one of the methods described above, for example, SQL injection.

Some free tools to check your website security

  • Netsparker (free trial available). Suitable for testing for SQL injection and XSS
  • OpenVAS. Positions itself as the most advanced open source security scanner. Suitable for testing for known vulnerabilities.

Automated test results can be intimidating, as they show all kinds of potential threats. An important point is to work primarily on the most critical areas.

I hope our Sakurahost  tips will help you keep your site and the information it contains safe.

Fortunately, many CMSs have enough built-in security tools, but it’s still good to know about the most popular security threats to ensure that you know how to prevent themW