As the digital landscape rapidly evolves, website security has become an increasingly critical concern for businesses of all sizes.
With 68 percent of business leaders feeling their cybersecurity risks are increasing, according to a recent Accenture study, it’s essential for companies to understand the basics of website security in order to protect themselves from cybercrime threats.
Unfortunately?♀️, the costs associated with cybercrime have grown significantly over the past decade and are projected to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.
Do you know what it takes to keep your website safe?
In this blog post, we will cover the basics.
You need to know these things to secure your online business and have peace of mind.
- Website security involves implementing various measures that prevent unauthorized access and keep sensitive information secure.
- These measures include authentication protocols such as passwords, two-factor authentication, biometric recognition, and encryption; monitoring for suspicious activity; mitigating vulnerabilities in core software components; and regularly patching the site to keep up with security updates.
- Ensure your hosting partner offers robust security features
- Employ good cyber hygiene practices such as using unique passwords across accounts, backing up data, and regularly scanning the site for malware or vulnerabilities.
What is Website Security?
This is a crucial aspect of website management, as it helps protect websites from malicious attacks that can lead to data breaches, identity theft, and other forms of digital crime.
Website security involves implementing various measures that prevent unauthorized access and keep sensitive information secure.
It is what you do to prevent unauthorized access to your site.
What are the Benefits of Website Security?
As you can guess, there are several benefits associated with website security.
And that’s what makes it worthwhile for any business to invest in.
a. Improved customer trust
One of the main benefits of secure websites is increased customer trust.
According to GlobalSign.com, 85% of web users state they wouldn’t buy through a website where they weren’t certain their data was being transferred securely.
When customers know that their personal information is kept safe on a particular website, they are more likely to use it instead of going elsewhere.
As such, a secure site helps you build customer loyalty and ensure they keep returning for more purchases.
Additionally, a secure site, ensures that customers’ payment details remain confidential and minimize risk from potential fraud or theft.
b. Improved search engine rankings.
Yes, good ‘ol Google?!
Google and other major search engines tend to favor websites that are secure, as these provide a better user experience for visitors.
This means that by investing in website security measures, businesses can improve their ranking on SERPs (search engine result pages) – helping them gain more organic traffic from potential customers who may be searching online.
In fact, the Google Chrome browser warns users before entering an insecure website?.
c. Protect your online business
Last but not least, having good web security helps protect your business against malicious attacks or data breaches which could have disastrous consequences if not dealt with promptly and correctly.
See, by taking the necessary steps to ensure your site is protected you’ll reduce the possibility of experiencing serious financial losses due to cybercrime activities such as phishing scams or malware infections.
Main Concepts of Website Security
Now, let’s get right to website security basics.
a. Web Server Security
Your site safety starts with web server security.
A web server is a computer that stores and serves the files that make up a website to users who request them.
So, without strong web server security measures, websites are vulnerable to attack and exploitation by malicious actors.
Secure configuration is the first step toward a secure web server.
Configuring web servers correctly includes disabling unnecessary services and modules, setting up access control lists (ACLs) to manage user access, and hardening operating-system configurations.
At the same time, securing communications between clients and the web server can be achieved through the use of encryption protocols such as SSL/TLS or SSH.
Keeping systems updated with the latest software patch releases is another important way to maintain secure web servers.
b. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an essential technology for protecting the data exchanged between a website and its user.
It ensures that only the intended recipient of the data can access it, keeping hackers from intercepting and stealing sensitive information.
Well, SSL uses encryption to scramble data before sending it over the internet, making it much harder for malicious users to gain access.
When you are visiting a secure website, look for HTTPS in the URL bar – this indicates that SSL is being used.
In fact, many browsers will show a padlock icon or green address bar when SSL is enabled on a website.
The use of these security measures helps ensure that any personal information entered on the site remains confidential and secure while in transit.
c. Data Encryption
Data encryption is another major component of website security.
It refers to the process of encoding information so that it can only be accessed by authorized individuals.
Like SSL, encrypting data ensures that if a hacker were to gain access to sensitive information, they would not be able to read it or use it in any way without the proper decryption key.
Now, there are several different types of encryption algorithms that can be used.
And the most secure method uses 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) which provides strong protection against unauthorized access and tampering.
Then there is public key cryptography (PKE), which can also be used for stronger security as this technology requires two keys – one for encrypting the data and another for decrypting it – which makes hacking more difficult.
d. Firewall Management
You can’t learn website security basics without hearing about firewalls.
See, firewalls monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic, allowing administrators to determine which services are available to users on the internet.
Since it helps monitor traffic, admins can protect the website from malicious attacks by blocking certain types of traffic such as spam or unauthorized access.
The most common type of firewall is an application-level gateway firewall (ALG).
This type of firewall looks at packet headers and determines whether they are legitimate requests or attempts at unauthorized access.
ALG firewalls also provide more granular control over web traffic by allowing admins to create rules that specify which types of requests should be allowed or blocked.
If you to maximize security, implement an effective firewall strategy and limit potential damage from cyberattacks.
Common Security Risks and How to Avoid Them
Now that you know about the building blocks of website security, let’s look at what you are protecting against.
Truth is, if you don’t know what the enemy looks like, it’d be hard to win, right?
In the first month of the pandemic, Google blocked 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to the coronavirus.
Malware, short for malicious software, is an umbrella term that refers to any type of code intended to damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.
Sadly, malware can take the form of viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, and spyware.
All these types of malware can have serious consequences for website security if not properly addressed.
- Viruses are one of the most common forms of malware, which self-replicate by attaching themselves to other programs or files in order to spread from computer to computer.
- Worms also have self-replicating capabilities but do so without needing a host file and can spread faster than viruses.
- Trojans are designed with malicious intent but disguised as harmless programs and when downloaded can provide cyber criminals with remote access to a system’s files or networks.
According to GreatHorn, 57 percent of organizations see weekly or daily phishing attempts?.
That’s a lot!
But what is it?
Phishing is a type of cyber attack that attempts to acquire confidential information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details through deceptive emails, text messages and websites.
Attackers often disguise themselves as familiar sources such as banks or organizations in order to trick victims into providing sensitive information.
Like malware, phishing can occur in many forms including malicious links, suspicious attachments, spoofed websites and more.
How do you keep safe?
Make sure your site has secure authentication protocols for logging in, strong password requirements and two-factor authentication processes when possible.
Also, educate your customers about the risks associated with phishing attacks so they can be aware of common red flags like unexpected requests for personal data or unrecognized links or email addresses.
c. Cross-Site Scripting
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability that can allow malicious code to be injected into a website.
These XSS attacks are usually done by exploiting the trust relationship between the user and the server, allowing attackers to execute unauthorized scripts, often malicious ones, in the user’s browser.
They can take many forms, but all involve an attacker sending carefully crafted code to unsuspecting users.
The goal is for this code to be executed in their browser without their knowledge or consent.
Commonly used methods include injecting client-side scripts into webpages or using HTML tags in email messages.
Once these scripts have been executed by an unsuspecting user’s browser, they can access confidential information on websites or perform other malicious activities without detection.
To protect against XSS attacks, sanitize user input before rendering it in the browser.
There are two main ways to do this:
- Define a whitelist of allowed HTML tags and attributes, and escape all other inputs.
- Validate user input using a Content Security Policy (CSP). This policy defines the types of content and scripts that can be loaded in the browser.
Finally, keep all web applications up-to-date with security patches as soon as they are available since many XSS attacks take advantage of known vulnerabilities.
d. SQL Injection
According to the Open Web Application Security Project, this is the third most serious risk (2021).
SQL injection attacks occur when a malicious user inserts code into an input field to gain access to or modify sensitive data stored in a database.
Attackers may also use such an attack to delete or alter existing records and tables, as well as execute remote commands on the system.
To protect against SQL injection attacks, web developers should ensure that all user input is validated and filtered before being sent to a database server using parameterized queries instead of dynamic queries.
Additionally, security best practices such as strong authentication and authorization processes should be implemented for all databases and users accessing them.
Not to forget regular maintenance checks should be conducted on the database servers themselves to check for any vulnerabilities that could lead to successful SQL injection attempts.
Securing a website from potential cyber threats is an important task for any business or individual.
Website security can help protect confidential customer information, intellectual property, and other valuable data.
Knowing the basics of website security can be the difference between having a secure and a vulnerable website.
This article introduces readers to the fundamental concepts of website security and provides tips for establishing a secure online presence.
From learning about different types of threats to exploring ways to monitor your site, this guide will provide readers with an understanding of how they can protect their web presence from malicious actors.