Website security check: Tips on how to protect your website from hackers

Computers & TechnologySite Security

  • Author Nick Morgan
  • Published August 29, 2020
  • Word count 767

Without comprehensive and regular website security checks, website security is an element of your cybersecurity that may be compromised frequently. By breaching your site, cybercriminals aren’t only after your sensitive data - they may also use your website as a relay for spam or setup servers to publish illegal files.

Common and easily-fixed website security issues tend to be exploited by cybercriminals whose work is made easy through poor security practices. While there has been a reduction of sites containing severe vulnerabilities in the last five years, this still remains a major issue for businesses - especially smaller startups who might find themselves in over their heads.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from hackers on the internet. Here are a few elements you need to make part of your website security check to keep your site secure.

Keep security software up-to-date

While it may sound obvious, updated software is more critical than ever for your website security. This applies to server operating systems and any other software that you use to run your website.

If you are with a hosting company, there is no need to constantly update your operating system as this would be taken care of by the hosting company.

Software that may be running on your website such as a CMS, however, should have security patches updated regularly to prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in the system.

While there are tools developers use to manage software dependencies, using these tools, alone, could make you vulnerable to missing updates. It’s crucial that you support this with frequent manual checks.

Protection from XSS attacks

XSS attacks, better known as cross-site scripting, involve the use of malicious Javascript, which is run on website browsers to change page content and/or steal information to send back to attackers.

To prevent this, website security checks are crucial in ensuring that users are unable to inject JavaScript content onto your pages.

This becomes a major issue for modern web applications that use front-end HTML to interpret frameworks. While the frameworks provide various XSS protections, the complexity of attacks is increasing.

Attackers are finding more and more open-ended avenues to launch their attacks for which protection exists, but is not always sufficient.

The best way to protect your website from XSS-based attacks is by relying on the XSS defender’s toolbox. This can limit certain JavaScripts that are executed on your page.

Avoid uploading files and use HTTPS

It is a big security risk when you allow users to upload their files onto the website. The problem with this is that files that are uploaded could contain a script, which, when executed, could open up the website completely.

All files that are uploaded to the website should be considered with great suspicion. Ultimately, to protect against this type of attack, you have to prevent the execution of the script even though files are uploaded. Some options are to rename the file upon upload, which prevents the script from being executable and when possible to use HTTPS connections.

HTTPS is a security protocol used to access the internet through improved website security checks. This ensures greater security through one-on-one communication between the host and the client.

Due to the encryption involved, the servers that use HTTPS are considered a lot more reliable and secure.

Leverage penetration testing for your website

Once all the parameters are in place and you have undertaken basic fixes and reviews, it’s time to test your security settings using certain methodologies and tools. One useful way to do so is through penetration testing.

Penetration testing is traditionally conducted across your computer systems, networks, and web applications, all of which can improve the overall security of your website.

This type of analysis often highlights glaring vulnerabilities, with a host of possible errors that need to be addressed and fixed.

Though there are manual means to undertake penetration testing, this is usually left in the hands of more seasoned professionals, who are capable of undertaking the coding that is necessary to manually penetrate a system to test its security.

Nail your website security check

Make no mistake - hackers will exploit all the security gaps on your website. A compromised website is a danger to you and your clients, especially at a time when concerns about secure data and privacy regulations are at an all-time high.

Network security is another integral element of website security checks. Focusing on the most important elements of network security will provide a solid platform on which you can conduct website security checks that leave you and your teams risk-free.

Summary: Explore the basic elements of a comprehensive website security check and what they can do for your teams and operations. Discover insider tips on website security checks

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