How to Improve your Website Security
Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to hack into websites to access confidential data. Anyone can fall victim to a security breach, from international financial institutions to individuals if appropriate measures aren’t taken against the hackers.
This can lead to serious security issues, such as major online fraud, or malware that can completely disable whole networks, causing chaos for genuine users.
Typical types of attacks on websites include
- Botnet attacks: Botnets are not necessarily malicious and can be used to carry out perfectly legal functions. However, criminals can also use them to disrupt networks and websites by hijacking a computer and using it to carry out automated functions.
- Shellshock attacks: Cyber criminals take advantage of weaknesses in networks to send malware programs to computers. Once they gain control of the computers, the criminals control them remotely, sending malware or spam to other computers.
- Distributed Denial of Service attacks: These are one of the most common website attacks, when cyber criminals use malware programs to hijack a large number of computers. They command the computers to send multiple requests to a single server. Under the abnormally large amount of traffic, the server fails to respond, so legitimate users are then unable to access it.
- Brute force attacks: Criminals use sophisticated programs that automatically generate multiple different login combinations to guess passwords to try and hack into user accounts on specific websites. These attacks are easy to detect, as the multiple login attempts are apparent on the system.
- SSL attacks: Although SSL attacks are relatively rare, they can be hazardous to websites and general cyber security. Attackers use increasingly sophisticated tools to attack encrypted data, exploiting weaknesses in encryption protocols. They can then hack into encrypted systems to retrieve data.
How to prevent cyber attacks
There are a number of relatively simple measures – basic best practices – to help improve website security.
- Keep software up-to-date: Hackers can more easily target security flaws in web software, so make sure your programs are regularly updated to patch security holes.
- Use strong passwords: Sophisticated software using brute force can crack passwords, so make sure yours are complex, with lowercase and uppercase letters, numerals and special characters, and are at least 10 characters long.
- Encrypt login pages: SSL encryption allows personal information, such as credit card details and login credentials, to be transmitted securely. This helps to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive private data.
- Use a secure host: Ensure your website host is aware of threats and backs up your data to a remote server, enabling them to restore your site if it’s hacked.
- Keep your website clean: Delete any files, applications or databases that are no longer in use. Organise your file structure to track changes.
- Back up your data: Back up all your website files regularly in the event your site becomes inaccessible or data is lost.
- Security scans: Check for server and website vulnerabilities and perform regular, scheduled security scans.
- Hire a professional: Some security measures are best handled by an expert, such as a company offering security services who can keep a check on your website.
Security for different website frameworks
Enhance your protection by using website security plugins such as Wordfence, the most downloaded security plugin for WordPress sites. Powered by Threat Defense Feed, the firewall prevents hackers and its Live Traffic function gives users real-time visibility into hack attempts and traffic.
Apache Shiro, a Java security framework, performs authentication, authorisation, cryptography and session management. It authenticates users to verify their identity, carries out access control, uses a Session API in any environment and reacts to events during access control, authentication or during the session’s duration.
Arachni, a high-performance, modular framework, allows for the dynamic nature of web applications. It detects changes that have occurred while travelling through web applications’ cyclomatic complexity paths and adjusts itself accordingly. This means attacks that are otherwise undetectable by non-humans are dealt with seamlessly.
To ensure your website doesn’t fall victim to cyber criminals, make sure you have the most up-to-date security features installed – it could save you a lot of money in the long run.