You might think your website doesn’t have anything worth being hacked for. Nevertheless, numerous websites—nearly 30,000 new websites on average are compromised every day, according to Forbes.
Often, websites aren’t hacked to steal your data or mess with your layout, but to set up a temporary web server for distributing illegal files or to use your server as an email relay for spam. Other ways of abusing compromised websites include using your server to mine Bitcoins or as a part of a botnet. There are also chances of being hit by ransomware.
Typically, hacking is performed using automated scripts written to scour the internet to exploit known website security issues in software. Here are the top five ways to prevent your website from getting hacked.
1. Keep Your Software Up To Date
The most obvious and easy step you can take to prevent your website from getting hacked is by making sure all software is up to date. This applies to both the server operating system and any other software solution you might be running on your websites, such as forum or CMS. If security holes are present in the software, hackers will quickly try to abuse them.
If you use a managed hosting solution, you don’t have to worry much about applying security updates for your operating system, as the hosting company themselves will take care of it.
On the other hand, if you use third-party software on your websites like forum or CMS, make sure you apply security patches. Most vendors do have a mailing list or RSS feed that details website security issues. Umbraco, WordPress, and many other CMSes will notify you of any system updates as soon as you log in.
Often, developers use tools such as Composer, npm, or RubyGems to manage their software dependencies and security vulnerabilities. Always make sure your dependencies are up to date, and you use tools like Gemnasium to receive automatic notifications every time vulnerability is announced in one of your components.
2. Look Out For SQL Injection
When a hacker uses a web form field or URL parameter to gain access to or manipulate your database, it is known as SQL injection. If you use a standard Transact SQL, rogue code can unknowingly be inserted into your query that can then be used to change tables, retrieve information, and delete data.
This is the reason why top sportsbooks invest in ultimate online security for protection. To prevent mishaps and make your website secure, always use parameterized queries. A majority of web languages have this feature, and it can seamlessly be implemented.
3. Protect Against XSS Attacks
This is particularly an issue with modern web applications where pages are built primarily using user content, which often generates HTML that’s then interpreted by front-end frameworks, such as Ember and Angular. These frameworks offer various XSS protections by mixing server and client rendering to create new and more complicated attack avenues.
The key here is to focus on how your user-generated content can escape and get interpreted by the browser. This is similar to protecting your website against SQL injection. When generating HTML, use functions that explicitly make the changes you are looking for. For example, use element.textContent and element.setAttribute rather than element.innerHTML.
4. Beware Of Error Messages
Always be careful about the amount of information you give away in your error messages. The key is to offer only minimal errors to your users to make sure they don’t leak secrets present on your servers—for example, API keys or database passwords. Don’t provide full exception details, either, as it will make complicated attacks like SQL injection much easier to execute. Let the detailed errors in your server logs, and present the users only the information they require.
5. Validate On Either Side
Ensure you perform validation both on the browser and the server-side. The browser will catch minor failures like when mandatory fields are empty or enter text into a number only field. However, they can be bypassed. So, you will have to check for such validation, and in-depth validation on the server-side as failing to do so will lead to malicious code or scripting code being incorporated into your database.