Why and How to Secure Your Website from Getting Hacked
Why secure your website from getting hacked?
Every web application that is newly deployed in the market comes with its own set of security loopholes that further creates a potential access to the database of organisations such as yours. This is the reason why each passing day we hear news of brand new leaks of personal information such as credit card details, email ids, passwords or classified government data over the internet. And this isn’t the end either (in case you are thinking), other ways to abuse include-
- Server Disruption Attacks that are done to render a website useless. A popular form is DDoS which seizes control over botnet (a network of computers) and use them to ping a certain web server resulting in site overloading and ultimately shutting down.
- Website Vandalism, as the name suggests, is another form of attack that is done to vandalise a particular site in order to deface it or sometimes just for fun.
- Vulnerability Scanning though is used to identify security weaknesses but is also used by hackers to infiltrate this security tactic in order to gain unauthorized access.
- Unauthorized Code Execution is primarily used to infect a user with malware (sometimes ransomware) in order to take control of his/her computer by executing a certain code or commands.
But what if you are not the head of any corporation or anyone significant for that matter. What if you are just running an innocent blog site or a website that doesn’t carry any top-secret information or credit card information. Will the hackers leave you alone? Well, unfortunately, no. There are still a number of ways hackers can abuse your little website.
For e.g. apart from getting into your website and destroying or manipulating the important information available on the database, hackers can inject malicious links to your content. Not only this, your site can be used by hackers in botnet DDoS attacks to hijack the hosting server. Also, your non-descript website can easily be turned into a malicious spy bot that can be used to send user sensitive data, and all this will happen right under your nose.
How to secure your website from getting hacked?
Don’t worry though, this is not Dante’s version of Hell where you have to abandon all hope while entering the online world. There are plenty of ways available that can help keep your website safe irrespective of whether you run a multinational corporation or a small blogging site. The key here lies in the proper implementation of the following security measures.
Choose HTTPS over HTTP
HTTP which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol is an application layer protocol where the data being transferred is sent in plain text that can be easily manipulated if one manages to intercept the connection. However, the extra ‘S’ that you see in HTTPS stands for Secure and it uses two separate protocols known as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) to transfer the encrypted information via a safe tunnel to its destination, hence a much safer choice.
Authentication and Password
The standard authentication process to confirm the user’s identity involves providing a valid ID and password combination only. Sadly, hackers know their way around surpassing this single step authentication process. That’s why banks and big corporations generally use RSA SecurID (a device generating a random combination of digits) as an added security measure. But in case you are not any of the above, a simple biometric device that scans fingerprints can be a good option to safeguard you against most security threats.
Authorization is basically a way of determining whether the client has the required permission to access a file or use a resource or not. Now there are many benefits associated with permissions, benefits such as preventing the users from accessing accounts that isn’t theirs, restricting free accounts from availing premium features and internal accounts having access to only what they need.
A Tip: Use OpenID Connect which is an OAuth-based mechanism for delegated authorization.
Update Web Scripts Regularly
Make it a habit to upgrade your platforms and web scripts as soon as they are available in the market regardless of how small they may seem. It is of utmost importance because many of these tools are created for an open-source software which makes their codes easily available to hackers as well who, in turn, lookout for security loopholes that let them exploit the script’s weakness in order to take control of your site.
In the end, it all comes down to how proactively you act. A much better option than cleaning up after a compromise would be to build in a secure website right from the start. Because often times I have seen site owners start working on their websites when there isn’t much left to work on. Never forget this age-old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”