Website and web app security, also known as cybersecurity, should be an essential part of your website. It involves protecting your site from attacks and cyber threats by taking necessary actions and setting up security features to protect data available on your website. It’s also a diverse, complex area that is constantly changing and hackers are always finding new ways to navigate through these changes. As a result, you should never stop making updates and taking precautions.
Website security protects your site from malicious software, blacklisting, DDoS attacks, and vulnerability exploits. It protects users from spam, malicious redirects, stolen data, and session hijacking. In this article, we discuss some of the ways to protect your website and web application from hackers.
Keep Your Website Up-To-Date
Ensure that your software is always up to date so as not to miss out on the latest security features. Technology changes daily; new features are being added while others become outdated. If your website is operating on outdated software, it will be easy for hackers to gain access. For this reason, you should always update your server operating system and any website software such as CMS or forum, plugins, and any other scripts you may be using.
If you are using a managed hosting solution, the hosting company will automatically apply the necessary security updates. But for third-party software, make sure you apply any security patches immediately. Although update notifications may vary, make sure you are on the watch for available system updates.
Use Stronger Password and Encryption
When initially setting up a password, it is tempting to use one that is easy to remember in fear of forgetting it or losing it. However, these passwords make it easy for hackers to guess the combination. Make a habit of creating secure passwords, ideally with a mix of special characters, lowercase and uppercase letters, and numbers to make it longer and more unique. Also avoid using predictable passwords that include birthdays, addresses, or even your children’s or pet’s names.
It is important to realize that the same should apply to anyone who has access to your website, as one weak password can create a loophole. Use multifactor authentication for additional security in case of a password breach. For sites where customers provide personal information, it would be best to encrypt information.
Move to HTTPS
If you are using HTTP for your site, it’s high time you move to HTTPS which provides security over the internet. Using HTTPS assures your users that they are always talking to the right server and that it is not easy to intercept, which is especially necessary if they are uploading private information on your site.
To move to HTTPS, you can use Let’s Encrypt, which provides free and automated certificates needed to enable HTTPS. There are a variety of platforms and frameworks to set it up. You can even go the extra mile and set up HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).
Limit File Uploads
Allowing your users to have the privilege of uploading files to your website may lead to malicious activities. It could either lead to someone uploading a malicious file, overwriting existing files, or uploading a large file, which could crash your site.
First, you can prevent direct access to any uploaded files. It would be best to store them outside the root directory and use a script for access. If your website requires users to upload files, take precautions by creating a whitelist of allowed file extensions, enable file type verification, and have a maximum file size. Moreover, make sure you scan all files for malware and automatically rename them upon upload.
Monitor Your Site
When you are closely monitoring your web application and server hosting, you can swiftly detect any security breaches and determine how they happened. Monitor your server logs by enabling notifications in case a file is deleted or modified without your authorization. Monitoring uptime will also enable you to detect issues such as a Denial-of-Service attack on your site. By doing this, you can detect and deal with any anomalies early enough to prevent further damage.
Install Website Security Tools
Install security plugins to enhance your website’s security, especially if it was built using a content management system (CMS). All the leading CMS have security plugins, and many of them are free. By doing so, any security vulnerabilities that are intrinsic in each platform will be catered to and protected from hacking attempts.
Additionally, using SiteLock helps to close site security loopholes by providing regular checkups. It monitors malware detection, vulnerability, identifies active viruses, etc. It also sets up a web application firewall between your website server and the data connection.
Your website’s security will depend entirely on the preventive measures you have taken and how quickly you solve issues. It is a never-ending process that evolves as technology develops. Be ready to invest in security measures and your site will be less vulnerable to attack from hackers.