What if you get to know that all of your work is altered or entirely wiped out by a nefarious hacker? Terrifying, isn’t it? You worked hard for your website and seeing it defaced is no less than a nightmare for you.
But you may argue that your site neither has credit card information nor secret classified government data. Then why a hacker will want to target your innocuous little blog or website.
Well, website security breaches are not always about stealing your data or messing with your website layout. The hackers can try to use your server as an email relay for spam, or to serve files of an illegal nature or to mine for Bitcoins. Your nondescript website can be turned into a malicious spy bot in just a matter of minutes.
Fortunately, there are ways to secure your website from hackers. Here are 10 simple tips to safeguard your website.
Make Sure Every Software You Run Is Up To Date
CMS providers usually release regular patches and updates in an attempt to plug any holes in their systems. Keeping your software updated will keep your site less vulnerable to attacks. If any third party plugins are used by your site, make sure to keep track of these updates.
Clean out the unused, old and non-updated plugins that act as sitting ducks for hackers. It can be a gateway for malicious programs or hackers to enter into your site and wreak havoc on it.
Create Layers of Security around Your Site
With hundreds of websites being hacked every year, it’s essential to add security layers to your site unless you want to be a target for online vandals.
A Web Application Firewall acts as a first line of defense against hacking attacks by inspecting incoming traffic and weeding out malicious requests. Adding such security to your website will protect your site from SPAM, brute force attacks, SQL Injections, Cross Site Scripting, and other threats.
Move Your Website to the HTTPS Protocol
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS is responsible for transferring sensitive information between a website and a web server. This secure communications protocol adds an encryption layer of TLS or SSL to your HTT. Thus, it makes your data extra secure from hacking attempts.
Watch Out For XSS Attacks
The best way to defend against an XSS attack is to use an advanced SDL, or security development lifecycle. SDL can limit the number of coding errors in your web application. Another way to guard against XSS attacks is to make your users re-enter passwords before accessing the specific pages on your website.
Use Strong Passwords
This is a no-brainer. The hackers keep guessing username password combinations to hack your website. The best way to defeat them is to use a strong password for your website server, admin and database. Include a combination of alphanumeric characters, symbols, upper and lower case characters to your password and make sure it is at least 12 characters long.
Also, don’t forget to change your password regularly and store your password in encrypted form to keep your site doubly secure. This way, the attackers will not get their hands on actual user passwords even if there is a security breach.
Secure Admin Directories
Admin directories can act as a rabbit hole to your site security. Hackers can gain access to your important data on the website by hacking into your admin directories. The brutal force can easily scan all the directories on your web server using scripts and look for giveaway names like ‘admin’ or ‘login’ etc.
Then they attempt to enter into these folders to compromise your website’s security. So, always choose innocuous sounding names for your admin folders instead of obvious ones to reduce the possibility of a potential breach.
Guard against SQL injection
Attackers gain access to the database or manipulate data using a web form field or URL parameter. They insert rogue code into your standard Transact SQL query that could alter tables, fetch information or delete data. Implementing parameterized queries is easier and the best way to prevent this.
Disable Form Auto-Fill
If you have enabled the auto-fill option for any form on your website, your site can be vulnerable to attacks from any device that has logged into the website. You prefer the auto-fill option, but there can be serious consequences for such action. The hackers can use the browser auto fill to steal personal details.
Remember, it takes only a single click for hackers to access the passwords and usernames from auto-fill forms on a compromised website.
Prevent Direct Access to Any Uploaded Files
No matter how thoroughly you check your files, bugs can still enter into your system and allow a hacker to get unlimited access to your site’s data. So, it is advised to prevent direct access to any uploaded files.
Store the uploaded files outside the root directory and use a script to access them only when required. A web hosting service can probably help you to set this up.
Apart from taking the crucial actions to safeguard your site from hackers, you must stay prepared for the worst. If the hackers somehow manage to manipulate the site, you will end up losing your important data.
So, it is essential to keep your data protected and stored correctly. Keep a backup of your important files on various locations just in case the absolute worst happens.
Securing your site is essential as it not only compromises the users’ data, but it can also blacklist your site by Google and other search engines. If you don’t want your site to be a victim of such attacks, pay attention to the safety of your website.
Now that you have some effective tips to protect your site against hackers under your sleeve take actions to keep your site safe in the long run.