As technology evolves, so do hackers and their deadly attacks. They are unpredictable in the online world and their attacks keep getting more sophisticated.
Hackers use different methods to target a website or a server to either steal sensitive information or use the server resources to spam or do other malicious activities. Of course, the effects of such an attack can be devastating, and the worst part is when they use your server resources to perform different illegal activities.
In this article, I will list the top 6 website security issues that you should be aware of.
1. Code Injection
Websites that lack some sort of form validation are prone to code injection. This occurs when a code is injected into a computer program or a web application with the intention of changing the course of execution, to gain access to an organization’s resources. These types of code injections can be disastrous. They can range from totally destroying a website to stealing valuable user information.
In 2013, hackers managed to steal over $100,000 from an ISP that is based in California, so staying safe from code injection is a must. To protect your website from this type of attack, you need to prevent any untrusted input such as invalid characters from getting to your SQL database.
2. SQL Injection
SQL injection is a code injection technique that is used to manipulate a website’s database. This form of attack is used by hackers to target dynamic CMS databases such as WordPress to steal data and other valuable information.
SQL injection is also the most common type of application layer attack techniques that is used today. This type of attack affects web applications that are improperly coded and allows the hacker to inject SQL commands into any login form, which allows them an easy access to the data that is held within your database.
3. Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
XSS is a type of security vulnerability that is found in web applications, in which a hacker injects a client-side-script into trusted webpages or URLs that allows them to steal sensitive user data or any other data.
XSS can also allow an attacker to manipulate a web page and shows it as if it’s a login screen to the visitors. An example of this attack was discovered to affect WordPress 4.2 comments, which enabled the attackers to compromise a site using the comments.
To check for XSS vulnerability, you can use a Web Vulnerability Scanner. Web Vulnerability Scanner scans your website and checks whether it’s XSS vulnerable or not. It will tell you which URLs or scripts are vulnerable to these attacks so that you can fix it. WVS will also check for any SQL injections or any other web vulnerability.
4. Brute-force attack
Brute-force attacks work by guessing your username and password until it finds the right combination. Weak passwords can easily be guessed by this attack, that’s why it’s strongly recommended to use strong/hard to guess passwords.
To protect yourself from this attack is easy; you can simply block IP addresses that are taking too much server resources or you can use multi-factor authentication, and don’t forget to use strong passwords.
5. Denial of Service Attack (DoS)
The most notorious kinds of attacks are the DoS attacks. Simply because any hacker can bombard the victims website with millions of requests, that causes the server to crash. DoS attacks are not hacking attacks, but they are simply used to take down a website. This of course makes the website go offline and it requires manual intervention from the webmaster to bring it back online.
Moreover, an attacker can also send you spam email messages to attack your email account. Since your email account is supplied by a free service such as Outlook, you are given a limited quota, which limits your account to a certain amount of data that you can send. By spamming your email messages, an attacker can consume your entire quota, preventing you from receiving any more messages. Imagine you open your email account one day and you see thousands of spam messages.
6. Unencrypted Protocols
Any protocol that is unencrypted can allow an attacker to steal valuable information from your users. Thus, it’s always preferred and recommended to use the standard security encryption technology called “Secure Sockets Layer” or SSL for short, whenever there’s personal information being exchanged between your website and the database.
SSL works by providing a secure channel between two machines that is operating over the internet or an internal network. This protocol is used when a browser needs to connect to a web server securely over the internet without the spying eyes of the hackers.
– How to protect your website
- If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) such as Joomla or WordPress, then subscribe to their blogs, read their latest articles and always keep your CMS up to date.
- Keep all of your third party plugins up to date.
- Remember, any forms that enable users to upload anything could be a potential threat. These threats will enable an attacker to have full access to your database. So pay attention to what your users are uploading and scan these files before you approve it.
- Install security plugins for your CMS and keep them up to date. Make sure you know how to configure it properly to maximize its defense.
- If you built your own CMS/website that has an admin login form, then don’t use the default admin name, eg: instead of “adminlogin.php”, why not call it “something.php” etc.
- Test your website for any vulnerability. Use the free trial of Web Vulnerability Scanner to test your website.
- Make sure you are using strong passwords and never share them with anyone. Keep these passwords in a safe place. It’s advisable not to store them on your computer just in case your computer gets hacked.
Do you have more tips on how to protect your website? Share them with us. If you found this article useful then please share it.