You must have at least once seen a hacking attempt on your own or your friend’s site. Hacking can bring in real defame and threat to your site. Even if you think it has no value, you should take measures to protect your website from hackers.
It is because most of the hacking attempts are not just to steal data or deface it; at times, your site can, under real threat, be used as a temporary server to store illegal files or a way for email relay to do spam.
Most of the hacking cases reported are done by automated scripts to search for any possible information that could be used to breach the most commonly known security issues in the software of a website. Here are 8 security tips you must be well aware of to protect your site.
1. Updated Software
Hackers’ first attempt is to breach any security holes in software. Even though this may seem obvious, many people underestimate updating their software regularly. Your server operating system and any software, whether CMS or Forum supporting the website, should be up to date.
Other than that, also keep an eye on the status of antimalware solutions and website security solutions to reduce any chances of hacking. It is also vital for your hosting provider to maintain security by keeping your software updated.
2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks
3. Use HTTPS
Adding HTTPS security to the site would ensure that users do not contact any fraudulent servers. If on your site, the user wants any content like credit card and login pages to be private, it is highly recommended to go for HTTPS.
If HTTPS is not used, hackers might gain access to the cookies that contain sensitive information about a logged-in user or someone who might be using the website. HTTPS can help stop this unfettered access to cookies and help improve the security of the website.
4. SQL Injection Attacks
SQL injection is a website security loophole that allows hackers to access the database using a web form field or URL parameter. With standard Transact SQL, the hacker can inject a rogue code into the query, giving him access to tables and information and manipulating all essential data.
You can easily overcome this by having parameterized queries and avoid using standard Transact SQL. A cherry on the top; many of the web languages come with this feature embedded for easy implementation.
5. Double Validation
Double validation adds an extra layer of security to the site. Validation from both server and browser sides would block any attempt of malicious insertion by data accepting form fields. By this two-level validation, the browser can detect and alert simple unsuccessful attempts by typing numbers in the text field only or leaving any field empty.
Double validation might sound secure but can be bypassed, so it’s best to have server-side validation to ensure malicious data/code does not make its way into the database. Failure to do so can compromise your website.
6. File Uploads
Your website may require users to upload files or images, and hackers could benefit from it by uploading malicious content to your site. The image or file may have malware, and this is why the file uploading option should be given cautiously. To avoid any mishaps, you can remove the executable permissions.
7. Password Policy
Integrate strict password policy as many fail to understand the concept of strong passwords. It is advised to go for passwords with a minimum of eight characters, including special characters, upper and lower case letters, and numerals.
The longer the password would be, the lower the risk for any hacker to breach your website’s security. For storing passwords as a part of user authentication, keep them in encrypted form. To further add protection, use hashing algorithm and salt the hash.
8. Error Messages
You need to be smart while designing error messages; that is the language used in a failed login message. It should not reveal much information and should be generic. The message should not give details about the part of the query which is wrong.
If a hacker attempting an entry with a username and password gets an error message representing which part is wrong, he might be lucky enough to get a successful entry in the subsequent attempts.