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Website Security – Why it is so freaking important?

April 9th, 2013

It is undeniably known that the Internet has become the greatest place of opportunity, providing individuals and businesses a platform to communicate with the world. Because of this, websites and web applications are rapidly growing and they have been widely used by both individuals and business owners for their various activities such as publishing, sales and marketing.

Moreover, the websites that are used by consumers are considered to be the weakest point of security, since most websites are prone to security risks. Suppose, you are a web hosting provider with more than thousands of hosted websites, then it is necessary for you to eradicate the possibility of attacks that would gain access to user accounts or your network.

The various types of attacks against websites and web applications are as follows:

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): XSS is one of the major problems on websites. Around 80% of websites being vulnerable because of XSS. This attack occurs when an application takes user supplied input strings, typed in forms or search boxes, without validating or encoding. It allows attackers to run a script on the server or client, which can usurp user session, mutilate websites, introduce worms, etc.
  • Malicious File Execution: This attack is susceptible to RFI or Remote File Inclusion. It allows attackers to execute ghastly attacks by including hostile code and data. RFI attacks affect any framework that accepts files or filenames from users and also affects XML and PHP.
  • Failure to Restrict URL Access: Web applications generally protect web pages by preventing the URLs or links display to unauthorized users. Sometimes, the applications may fail to do this process. In this situation, attackers access web pages directly and perform unauthorized operations.
  • Insecure Direct Object Reference: Attackers can manipulate the references to access internal implementation objects, such as files, directories and database records in forms or URLs, which are usually exposed by application developers.
  • Information Leakage and Improper Error Handling: Sometimes applications unexpectedly leak information about their internal workings, configuration or infringe privacy through different types of application problems. Attackers make use of this and steal the secure data and demeanor serious attacks.
  • Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF): This attack forces an authenticated user to send a pre-authenticated request to a web application that led the user to initiate hostile action that benefits the attacker.
  • Injection Flaws: This attack is very common in web applications. It occurs when the input given by a user is interpreted as a part of the query or command and sent to an interpreter. The attacker inserts data that are interpreted as a command that may expose or change data.
  • Broken Authentication and Session Management: Due to unsecured login and logout processes, attackers compromise keys, passwords and authentication tokens, to presume another user’s identity information.
  • Insecure Communications: Web applications may sometimes fail to encrypt network traffic when it is obligatory to secure sensitive communications. This led attackers to conduct attacks such as interception of text HTTP requests and SSL certificate spoofing.
  • Insecure Cryptographic Storage: Web applications infrequently use cryptographic functions that protect credentials and data. Thus, attackers make use of the weakly protected information and conduct other user’s identity theft and other criminal activities such as credit card fraud.

Website security is one of the greatest concerns of most website owners. It is really intricate to completely protect your website. Nevertheless, there are many steps that you can take to make your website as secure as possible and also help you take the necessary actions suppose your website has been hacked.

Fundamentally, it is important to have a secure website for your online success as your visitors, readers and customers feel safe to use your website.

Before hackers attack your website, you just need to find out the security threads and take necessary actions:

  • Always keep your website safe from malware, hackers and other threads.
  • Use strong passwords and keep the passwords secret.
  • Do not let your website get expelled by the leading search engines – Google, Yahoo, etc.
  • Increase the confidence level of visitors with website seal.
  • Use daily scans to check for web-based vulnerabilities.
  • Exploit online dashboard that displays the detailed report of issues that occur.
  • Regularly backup your website.
  • Constantly keep your virus-software updated.
  • Do not download anything or open email attachments if you are not confident in.

Nowadays, several techniques have been used by hackers to compromise a website. However, they use the techniques successfully because of the vulnerabilities in the software that run on your hosting account or your local computer.

Hence, a lot of things are there to keep in mind when you think for a website security:

  • Security: Simply blocking malware and malicious software is not enough to have a secured website. Also, you need to be careful in protecting your website from attacks such as Injection Flaws and Cross-Site Scripting, which can easily attack your website.
  • Performance: The performance features give you the guarantee that your website doesn’t take long loading time.
  • Management: If you have a surge or a dip in your website visitor, then you need to check out whether anything has pretentious your website to cause this.
  • Help: Some companies are there to provide community help, which gives you the support structure that you need to keep your website running fast.

How to prevent the security risks of your website?

 To prevent your website from security risks, you need to use automated scanning and detection tools. Also, make sure that the detection software that you use for this purpose is infallible. Some automated detectors will not find out all the injection vulnerabilities. So, it is necessary for you to perform a complete review on code.

Similarly, manual penetration testing and manual code review have to be done even though you use automated detection. Because, the automated detection tools infrequently fail to detect some XSS vulnerabilities and also some insecure direct object references.

Eventually, there are a number of safeguarding practices that you need to be followed to prevent the security risks of your website. Lack of awareness and alertness of software users and website owners is the main reason for the continuing success of hackers. If you commit yourselves to protect your own data and website, then the website attackers would definitely have a much harder time.

Using website security helps you to keep your website as safe as possible and hence make your customers feel comfortable using your website.

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