Guides

How to Secure a Website: A Simple Guide to Website Security

A group of experts has predicted that in 2019, the business website would collapse as they are exposed to cyber-attacks. In 2018 in the US, the cyber-attacks caused a loss of more than 5 billion dollars. Such attacks escalate every year, and someday, it can be your website too. There emerges the need to secure websites and the information within them.

Why is there a need to keep your website secure?

You shouldn’t be confident enough regarding the guidelines you’ve followed to protect your website as already the hackers are pro in this field. Almost every website is prone to such attacks.

You have to make sure that you have adopted every possible way to secure your website. Once the attacker hacks the site, they’ll have access to the users’ personal data, and the owners may lose their sites and money. Thus, you should know how to secure your website.

But you may wonder how you can secure your web and fight against the attackers with a little knowledge about the fast pacing technology.

This is the primary worry of many website owners. And many users place security as their priority. You needn’t be a technical expert to keep your website safe. Just make sure that you abide by the specific guidelines mentioned in this article and best practices on assuring website security.

How your website gets hacked?

Before the website owner dives into the easiest way to secure a website and web browser, he/ she should have clear information like how a hacked site and its web server appear. There are 4 ways for websites to get hacked:-

Feeble or broken access control – 

Access control means the authentication, authorization, and users/visitors’ access to the open-source server, website, systems, networks, etc., and via this.

The site owner can decide the group of eligible people to access their different aspects of the website, sensitive information, and assets. Usually, attackers adopt brute- force techniques like guessing usernames and passwords, trying generic or common passwords, implementing password generating tools, phishing emails.

All websites that are liable to such security issues do not require an HTTPS connection. Hence do not change the password frequently, mainly when an employer is relieved from the service, do not enforce strong passwords, and two factors/multi-factor authentication policy.

Improper applications of security and vulnerabilities misconfiguration- 

Vulnerability to these attacks refers to the deficiency of vital defense factors that hackers can exploit for having unauthorized access by performing illegal activities. By exploiting vulnerabilities, hackers can install malware, sneak or alter data.

Different Vulnerabilities as well as security misconfigurations are most prevalent in operating systems, website application code, content management systems, security plugins, different development frameworks, etc.

Mutual web hosting –  

The risk of getting hacked by the hackers increases a hundred times at the time of the website being hosted with another hosting provider, and if even 1 website encounters a big vulnerability. Such risk may alleviate quickly if your website has not been secured right from the development stage. You can find a compilation of different servers at a particular IP address. It’s the way to find the susceptibility of that vulnerability for getting exploited.

3rd-party interruption/ Services – 

Website security works coherently. E.g., the website security of yours will be better if the security of your 3rd-party service granters is also best. Suppose you have only a small portion on such 3rd-party services, when the vulnerability or website security vincibleness arises in the system or application, then it’ll deteriorate your security system too.

How does a hacked site seem like?

A hacked site will come up with certain things and ways to express themselves. Let’s have a closer look at those ways.

Ransomware 

Most hackers threaten and blackmail the website owners regarding the exposure of data and payment information and retain access to your sites until and unless the owners express willingness to pay a ransom.

Phishing

Phishing is a malicious act performed by the hackers by keeping a false website and sending a fraudulent email to masquerading as a trustworthy entity to acquire essential information of the customers. This information may include the password, user name, credit card data, payment details, and much more as they pretend to be a faction of your organization and business.

Denial of Service (DoS) 

It is a type of cyberattack on the webserver where the perpetrators intend to make a machine or network service/resource unavailable for the user by temporarily disrupting a host’s services connected to the internet.

Gibberish hack 

Hackers intentionally put random folders amidst your way in your website, containing URLs and web addresses with random letters, keywords, numbers, gibberish, error messages, etc. The main focus of the Gibberish attack is to increase the number of website visitors to another website with legitimate use of the website with keywords on search engines like Google.

Japanese keyword hacks 

Hackers using the Japanese keyword hack technique automatically create auto-generated Japanese text to your site in randomly generated directory names. Such pages aim at monetizing with the aid of affiliate links to stores to sell fake brand merchandise and then pop up in Google search.

Malicious code or viruses 

It is a type of harmful computer code or web script that is mainly created to heighten system vulnerabilities, leading to security breaches, information and data theft, back doors, and several potent effects on files and computing systems. If such codes/ viruses are flooded in your site, your system will collapse, and you can’t further access it.

Cloaked keywords hack

The hackers using this technique automatically generate multiple pages with dodgy links, images, etc. Such pages often contain essential template elements from the original site, so at first glance, it may seem like your own website until you notice some altered words.

How to secure a website?

The user needs to follow some of the ways mentioned below for securing websites to know how to secure the website that he/she owns.

Install SSL 

SSL stands for Secure socket layers. While you gather any kind of sensitive information on your websites, such as user email id and password, you need to be secure.

The effortless way to do so is by installing SSL (HTTPS), ensuring that your data and information are automatically encrypted. After you set up SSL, you have to use HTTPS in place of HTTP. If you access your site by placing HTTPS:// in front of URLs on the web address bar, you’ll find an error because you haven’t yet installed the SSL certificate. Here are five simple steps to set up HTTPS on your website.

Step 1-Host with a dedicated IP address  

SSL certificates want your website to own its dedicated IP address to provide better website security. As many websites share the same IP address, there’s a security scarcity. Still, with a dedicated IP, you’ll be ensured that the traffic going to that IP address will only go to your website and no other websites.

Step 2-Buy certificates

You should have evidence that this IP address is only yours, similar to that of an ID card for your site. Thus, you should create an SSL certificate, which is nothing but a paragraph of letters and numbers that only your site knows, like a lengthy and secure password.

Whenever any user wants access to your site, the password is checked, and if matched, then it automatically verifies that your website is in safe hands and encrypts every data flowing to and from it.

Step 3- Activate the certificate  

Your web host will do this step for you, but if you want to do it by yourself, you have to generate CSR, and it’s convenient to perform within your web hosting control panels such as WHM or cPanel. Get into the SSL/ TLS admin area, select ” Generate an SSL certificate and signing request,” and fill out your domain name.

Step 4- Install the certificates

Before proceeding, consult with your web host as they might fulfill this step for you. Again, if you are doing it yourself, then paste the required certificates into your web host control panel. If you are using WHM or cPanel, select the “Install an SSL certificate” from SSL/ TLS menu.

Step 5 – Update your site to use HTTPS

Now, if you surf https://yoursite.com, then your site will load with no error. Thus you’ve successfully activated and installed your certificate. But you need to ensure that your visitors are accessing your site via HTTPS.

Use anti-malware software

Malware is the collective name given for several malicious software variants that involve ransomware, spyware, and viruses. The malware contains code generated by cyber attackers to cause extensive harm to systems and data/information or to get unauthorized access to your website.

Some of the best anti-malware software are Kaspersky, Panda, F-Secure, Avast antivirus, and Malwarebytes Anti-malware. But this software incurs expenses, and some of which are free are Bitdefender Antivirus Free. Sitelock has widely used anti-malware software used by more than 5 million websites.

A sitelock comes with varying packages offering fluctuating website security levels and places security services like detection and elimination of malware, web scanning, etc.

Make an uncrackable password

The social security number or the password is the primary key to get access to your website. Thus, you must be cautious while choosing so, else the vulnerability to your content and security will speed up. The three prime factors that strengthen your passwords’ security are- using all the letters (both upper and lower cases), randomness, and length.

A password composed of a random combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and characters like Azg#&JmxB@∆ is almost uncrackable and impossible to guess.

Users should avoid using their names, surnames, date of birth, and any other things or personal information regarding their password. The attackers may quickly go for login attempts gathering your information. Also, update your password from time to time to make it more secure and safe.

Don’t help the hackers

Well, you might wonder how you are helping hackers as you’re in no touch with them. But subliminal, the data may slip from your site.

About 92% of malware happens via emails. Here’s how you can avoid such.

Delete suspicious mails as it’s better to kick out spam or suspicious-looking emails without opening them. 

Suppose you receive any emails from your family and colleagues, better consult and confirm before opening links and attachments. Also, be cautious with “save my information for next time” cause next time it might not be you, and if your website gets hacked, then all the information will be in the hands of attackers.

Do not leave your internet connection open if you are in a shared platform like an office, cafe, etc. Often, scammers try to get access to your site by pretending to fix technical errors; you should only leave your data in the hands of verified and trustworthy professionals.

Run regular backups

Ensure that you’ve already created backups for your website so that if it is exposed to cyber-attacks, you will still have access to it and have all the recent data and version of the secured and website ready to get relaunched.

A backup is nothing but a copy of the old and recent data or information stored on the website like databases, folders, files, and many more. If your website is giant and complicated, you need to free up ample data storage space. This is how to secure a website with proper guidelines. Backup services like Codeguard or Sucuri are there to meet your needs at an optimum price.

Also, one should manually set up comments to kick off the trash before they excel. This is also an easy way to protect your website.

Some of the frequently asked questions:

Do website builders provide enough security?

This content management system doesn’t provide strong security to end-users. All one can do is set a stiff password, delete suspicious emails, link. Make sure to follow the guidelines for extended validation mentioned above to secure the website.

What are the significant security risks for the website?

Although a concise description regarding this has been mentioned above regarding security, the hacked site denies data entry in your site, identity theft, information misuse, vulnerability, etc. So, you should keep an eye on your business website from time to time.

Similar Posts