Roughly 30,000 websites get hacked every day. And according to some industry experts, as many as 1 in 3 websites are vulnerable to malicious attackers. How safe is yours?
Security breaches can be devastating, and take many forms. Hackers might just want to skim sensitive information off of your website’s database, or have your website redirect to a malware-infested website. But on the more nefarious side, they might manipulate payment systems, or even hold your website hostage for money with ransomware.
Businesses are exploring how hackers gain access to websites, and many developers are shocked to find that they’ve been unwittingly increasing the vulnerabilities of the websites they make.
We’ve detailed a list of the top ways your web design might be helping hackers into your site.
Does your website operate using databases? What are those databases written in? In most cases, the answers are“yes”and “SQL.” SQL is a more advanced language which most developers don’t know… but many hackers do. And one significant thing that hackers use SQL databases to do is gain entry to your website’s more sensitive information. Typically, they can give databases commands, steal or destroy data, and even hijack a website.
Most website frameworks, like WordPress, use databases. And most WordPress websites use standard designation for database information. Turns out, you can often make your website much more secure simply by limiting editing access to databases to specific IP addresses, and changing the designations of database information to something slightly different.
Data Leaks Can Make You a Target
Is there anywhere that your website displays login handles, instead of unique names assigned to hide login information? If so, you’ve just made a hacker’s job significantly easier.
Brute force attacks are hacking attempts in which a hacker tries to gain access to your website though “brute force” by running a script to guess your login information. If your website displays any potential login handle information, then you’ve made their job that much easier. It can be as simple as the author credit on your website, and it practically invites hackers in.
Unverified Code Integration
You might have found a great plug-in that allows your website to do something new and interesting; but is it secure? How often is it updated? Who authored it? Very, very often, website developers will utilize code for plug-ins and web elements which has not been verified for security. Wherever possible, investigate the authors and origins of code you want to implement before integrating them. Minimize the number of plugins you use, and double-check that their authors are maintaining them and releasing security patches.
Building a More Secure Website
Security always starts with you and your habits. First and foremost, ensure that you’re browsing the web safely and actually using the security software you have installed to run regular checkups. When you’re working on your website, ensure that both your computer and your router are running firewalls.
When you’re first developing a website, ensure that it’s on a secure host, and that you’re protecting it with its own firewall and alert software. Try to keep up-to-date on common hacking techniques and ensure that you’re building security into your design. Even simple changes like limiting editing capabilities to specific IP addresses can help protect you against malicious attacks.
Always ensure that your plug-ins, templates, cPanel, and databases are running the most up-to-date versions, as many updates usually come with security patches to correct common weaknesses. And of course, create sensible authentications. Avoid standard login information, like using a handle called “admin,” and create long, difficult passwords and require two-factor authentication.