According to a 2018 report by Small Business Trends, it’s estimated that an average of 44 websites attack happens on a daily basis, which loosely translates into over 15,000 attacks annually.
With the rising popularity of online shopping, more and more customers are giving out loads of personal information including credit cards, phone numbers, emails, and home addresses, all of which are stored in the website database. Cybercriminals, on the other hand, have honed the art of stealing this personal data either for monetary or malicious purposes.
This leaves business owners running websites between a rock and a hard surface ensuring website security compliance and keeping the cyber attackers at bay.
In this article, we are going to focus on 3 common and significant website security issues to keep tabs on, including measures to mitigate them.
What is Website Security?
It’s an action/s taken by the website owner to ensure that any data stored in their web database isn’t illegally accessed by cybercriminals.
The first step in website security starts by checking for possible loopholes and malware using a website vulnerability scanner software. This software scans for trojans, backdoor hacks, and redirect hacks, consequently notifying the web owner on any issues.
Cyber attacks can be a costly affair to clean-up, damaging to your brand’s reputation, and even scare away customers from coming back.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to prevent that. Below are 3 top website security issues and how to address them.
Cyber criminal have perfected the art of creating malicious malware using strong encryption to harm systems. And since malware is a broad term, it ranges from adware to viruses that exploit the vulnerabilities of both the computer hardware and websites. Once a malware attacks a website, sensitive data that include customer information is exposed. And given the encrypted nature of malware, it’s almost impossible to detect such attacks.
According to a research by Varonis, 60% of the total cyber attacks in 2018 were malware oriented.
There are two common types of malware:
- Defacement: it completely alters the appearance of your website to display message relays that feature the hacker’s name.
- Malicious redirect: Just as the name suggests, redirect malware redirects your website visitors to another website. They can also make particular website sections completely inaccessible to the users.
To reinforce your website’s security, ensure everything from the system, plugins and themes are up to date, especially if you are using Content Management Systems like WordPress. Additionally, you can also conduct a website security check using scanning software to detect and get rid of any threats.
SQL injection is a website security weakness whereby malicious SQL statements are injected into user input fields. As a result, the attackers are able to manipulate website database security, steal customers’ information, modify data and delete data, or even full take over of the website.
The good thing about SQL injections is that they can be prevented. Here are the 2 best ways to do it;
Using Prepared Statements
Using prepared statements is a situation where the SQL Command utilizes a pre-determined parameter as opposed to directly inserting values into the command. As a result, the entire website’s backend is prevented from running any malicious or suspicious queries that could be harmful to the database.
Using Stored Procedures
They are set of SQL procedures that are stored in the website’s database and acts as an extra security layer. They can be used to access and modify data in a relational database, without being attached or tied to a specific object.
A stored procedure supports your security in terms of data access controls by allowing end users to enter or modify data but limits their rights to write procedures. It also helps preserve the integrity of your data since there is consistency in how the information is entered in the website.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting materializes when harmful scripts are injected in user input fields of a website to execute code.
Some of the effects of CSS include:
- Session hijacking which includes distribution of spam content to unsuspecting visitors.
- Stealing session data such as login credentials by the attackers.
Best Website Security Software
If you are looking to conduct secure your website, there are two types of website security evaluation scanners to use.
They allow you to automate the scanning process instead of doing it manually. As such, you are able to continuously monitor the security of your website, receive reports, alerts you on the apparent threats, and give you a detailed mitigation report.
Open Source Scanners
These programs can be downloaded and deployed on demand to perform security scans. The only downside of these scanners is that they are limited in terms of functionalities compared to their commercial counterparts.
Here are some of the best website scanning tools in 2019.
This is a high-performance website security scanner that is built using the Ruby framework and compatible with all modern applications. Arachni helps website owners
XssPy is a python based Cross Site Scripting websites security scanner used by large organizations like Microsoft, Motorolla, Stanford, Informatica, etc.
As opposed to just scanning the home page, this tool checks all the websites’ links as well as the subdomain, meaning nothing is left out.
W3af is an open source vulnerability scanner powered by Python. It’s capable of unearthing more than 200 security issues including OWASP top 10.
It also allows you to inject payloads to website headers, URL, query string, cookies, post-data, etc.
If you are looking to detect web server, plugins and web misconfigurations, this is your go-to software. Nikto performs comprehensive tests against more than 6500 risk items making it one of the best. Moreover, it’s versatile enough to support HTTP proxy and SSL with NTLM authentication, etc.
As a business, website protection should be treated as a priority. This is because there are multiple security issues on the internet especially with the emergence of crypto mining malware, IoT botnets, and many other threats.
As such, planning ahead and constantly remaining vigilant using different website security grade tools remains critically important in averting any unforeseen circumstances.
If you have been wondering how to secure website, the above-mentioned set of tools and software will help you keep up with the changing threat landscape.