Website security has become a hot topic of discussion. Unfortunately, cyber crimes are increasing day after day. According to an article on Forbes about how over 30,000 new websites become victims of cyber attacks each day. Forbes published the article in 2013. If the current cybersecurity trends are something to go by, it can be confidently said that that number might have doubled over the years.
Most website owners ignore the essence of website security because they think that their websites do not have anything worth being hacked. You should know that although data is the primary reason why hackers conduct security breaches, some hackers might be out to mess up your site or use your site servers as an email relay for spam. Ransomware attacks might also be major threats. Until you pay the ransom, you will not be able to access your website. What is even interesting is the fact that some hackers hack for fun. They are not motivated by financial gains or data. So, the thought that your website will be of no value to a hacker is a misleading one. Once you are online, you are vulnerable.
Luckily for you, our team of experts has gathered six tips that will help you create a secure site. These website security tips will help you create a perfect security strategy for your website to protect it from hackers and cyber intruders.
- Good Password Hygiene
Here is a fun fact about passwords: At the beginning of the internet age, the most common password was 12345. The password might no longer be popular because it is not safe.
Let us pause here and answer this question: do you think your passwords are strong enough to withstand brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, credential stuffing, and social engineering attacks? Think again. In the first place, what does it mean by strong passwords, and what are some of the ideas of creating strong passwords? Before we proceed, let us have a look at the following great password ideas. You will compare your existing passwords with these ideas. For the sake of your website security, ensure your passwords meet the below guidelines.
- Password length- the longer the password, the stronger it is. Most websites advocate for eight characters, but I recommend that you use ten or more characters.
- Avoid Personal ties- avoid ties to your personal information, such as your name, pet’s name, favourite hobby, or date of birth.
- Blend numbers, letters, symbols, and numbers in random order.
- Avoid using sequential letters and numbers.
- Unique passwords- avoid using similar passwords for multiple accounts. This is a habit for most password users. 59% of people use the same password for multiple accounts. It would be best if you would use a different password for every account.
- Use password Manager Tools- These exceptional password tools will relieve you of the stress of creating and memorizing passwords.
Do the passwords you are using for your website meet these thresholds? If not, then you better update them asap.
In addition to passwords, you should also consider implementing multiple-factor authentication. The 2FA will strengthen your authentication by preventing unauthorized intruders from accessing your website.
- Use an SSL Certificate to Encrypt Data
The SSL certificate is one of the best website security protocols. For maximum site security, you should purchase SSL and install it on your website. The SSL certificate provides a way for you and your web visitors to encrypt data before sending it. SSL encryption prevents third parties from reading data while it’s in transit.
Your website users will have to transmit data to your servers through the internet. Such data might be so sensitive. Sensitive data include social security numbers, debit card details, and financial information. Hackers are looking for such data to use for malicious reasons. Transmitting unencrypted data can cause third parties to intercept the data, manipulate it and use it for identity thefts.
The SSL certificate resolves this issue by offering encryption to data in transit. It will be useless for a hacker to intercept the communication because the hacker will not decipher it. Only the intended recipient will decrypt the communication. Therefore, every secure site should have an SSL certificate. The certificates come at different prices. However, for encryption purposes, you might want to consider the cheap SSL certificate options. The cheapest SSL certificate will offer the same encryption levels as the most expensive one.
- Regular Software Updates
It might look like an obvious thing, but conducting regular software updates is a vital element of website security. Regular updates apply to the server operating system and all the software running on your websites, such as the Content Management system or forum. As you might be aware, hackers are trendy and are evolving each day. Hackers work hard to discover security vulnerabilities that they can leverage to conduct data breaches. Similarly, developers are always keen to patch the vulnerabilities once they come to light.
Once they patch the vulnerability, they will release a new software version that addresses the vulnerability. Installing the updates once they are released can play a significant role in website security. Failing to install an update can invite a whole host of cyber attacks and data vulnerabilities. It would be best if you never gave hackers a chance. Always ensure that you conduct those updates as soon as possible. Better still, you can automate the updates to avoid the hassle involved in having to do them manually.
- Avoid File Uploads
Giving your web visitors the freedom to upload all sorts of files could result in a big security blunder. The risk is that your visitors could easily abuse that privilege and load malicious files carrying dangerous scripts that could result in data breaches when executed on your website servers. Additionally, hackers can take such an opportunity to upload huge files that completely bring down your site or hinders it from operating normally.
If your website has a file upload form, then you must treat all uploads with a lot of caution. It would be best if you do not accept any file uploads on your website. Many enterprises can operate perfectly without having file uploads. If you are such an organization, you better minimize website security risks by not allowing file uploads.
However, some organizations cannot completely do without file uploads. For instance, accounting firms and healthcare websites need to give web visitors a secure way of uploading files. Here are a few tips to allow secure file uploads;
- Specify which type of files you will accept. You can do this by creating an allowlist of allowed files. In doing so, you will be keeping suspicious files from your website.
- Make use of file type verification to prevent renamed and edited files from being uploaded to your website.
- Prevent Distributed Denial of Service attacks by setting up a maximum file size and limits.
- Scan all the files uploaded for malware.
- Store the upload folder out of the webroot. It will prevent hackers from gaining access to your website through the files they uploaded.
- Install Security Plugins
A website build with a Content Management System will enjoy several security plugins that will improve your entire website security posture. Many of these security plugins come at no cost. Let us have a look at some of the security plugins for the top Content Mange System:
WordPress Security Plugins
- BulletProof Security
- WPScan Security
- iThemes Security
- All In One WP Security
- Anti-Malware Security
Magento Security Plugins
- Watchlog Pro
Joomla Security Plugins
These security plugins will help address security threats inherent in each CMS and prevent hacks that might compromise your site security. To have a secure site, ensure that you install and use the security plugins. You must also ensure you update them frequently to improve their functionality constantly.
- Conduct Regular Data Backups
No website security measure or tool guarantees you total safety from data breaches. It is, therefore, essential to plan for the aftermath. Data backups will save you a lot. They will ensure that your business continues operating long after a successful data breach. Conducting data backups is like a post-breach cybersecurity measure. To be on the safe side, always ensure that you perform frequent data backups and store the backup file safely.
Learning the best web security measures will equip you with the basic skills needed to protect your site from hackers. Indeed, website breaches have been on the rise, and it is high time that all website owners rise to the occasion and have adequate measures to protect their websites. This article has explained the fundamental cybersecurity tips that every website owner should know. Ensure you employ them to protect your website from security threats.