There is nothing more devastating for website or blog owners than seeing all of their work wiped out by hackers.
Hacker attacks are a serious concern especially if our business depends on our presence on the Web.
Many of us work hard on establishing our brand by creating our websites or paying a lot of money to buy them.
All of that hard work can disappear overnight if it’s not well-protected.
Furthermore, it’s not only about our website going down, but it’s also that sometimes our confidential information is at risk.
If it falls into the wrong hands, it can negatively impact our businesses, personal lives, and even future endeavors.
Therefore, in addition to backing up our files regularly, it is also crucial to take other steps to protect our internet property.
We understand the serious implications of hacker attacks; hence, we’ve put up this comprehensive guide.
Following the presented safety measures in this article will hopefully prevent negative outcomes in the future.
Methods to Secure Our Blog or a Website:
1. Fight Against SQL Injections
Most websites out there are usually the victims of SQL injection attacks. Therefore, this is the hack against which we should take the most precaution.
If our URL parameter or web form allows outside users to supply information, our website might be prone to becoming a victim of such an attack.
Basically, hackers will insert a code that will give them access to our database.
As we mentioned before, our confidential information might be put at risk, and this is one of the ways it surely will.
There are multiple ways that we can try to prevent SQL injection attacks.
However, the most crucial method is to use parameterized queries.
Using them will ensure that our code has strict parameters and thus leaves no space for hackers to attack.
2. Use the Content Security Policy (CSP) against XSS Attacks
One of the most ingenious ways in which hackers accomplish their goals are the XSS attacks.
Therefore, we should always make sure that we protect our website against this type of attacks.
We can do that in a way similar to using parameterized queries for SQL injections.
Basically, every code on our website that we use for fields and functions should be very strict in terms of what’s allowed for input and what isn’t.
Content Security Policy or CSP is a valuable asset in protection against XSS attacks.
It allows us to name the domains that the browser will consider as reliable sources of executable scripts.
With the implementation of CSP, the attackers’ scripts will have a hard time working properly even if they get injected on our page.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Even though we’re constantly advised to use strong passwords with many characters, capital letters, and numbers, we usually choose easier words or phrases that we’re sure we’ll remember.
That is one of the most dangerous things that we can do because many successful hacker attacks are done or start with a simple login.
But who would spend a serious amount time trying to guess our password, right?
Well, people who desperately want something that we have — our clients’ personal information, for example.
Just because we wouldn’t do it, doesn’t mean that someone else also wouldn’t.
Hackers are highly trained in doing things like that, and they know exactly what software would help them speed up the process.
If our passwords are based on keywords such as birthdays, family names, pet names, or even logical phrases like a favorite movie or food, they can easily be cracked.
All a hacker has to do is to access personal information by other means.
For example, thanks to social media a lot of private information is available to most people these days.
Therefore, we must make sure that everyone who has access to our website gets a strong password.
We can make strong passwords out of random letters, numbers, and even special characters.
There are also online password generators that can come up with one instead of us.
4. Don’t Tell Too Much in Error Messages
Giving away information in error messages is one of the most common traps that websites usually fall into.
In order to avoid users’ backlash or too many questions, websites tend to explain everything in detail in their error messages.
As a result, they become easy prey for SSL injections and other types of attacks.
They often accidentally leak important information such as database passwords and API keys in those messages.
Therefore, our error messages must have minimum content.
Everything should be on a need-to-know basis. Furthermore, giving out full exception details can also be dangerous.
We should keep detailed error reports only in our server logs, and thus be the only ones who can access them.
Almost all websites today provide contact information.
Therefore, if a user wants to know more about the problem, they should get in touch with us and voice their concerns.
That way we’ll be able to explain the situation to them without jeopardizing the overall security of our website.
5. Keep Everything Updated
It might be self-evident that keeping our software and website platform up to date is of utmost importance; however, that’s usually another item on the list of things we tend to overlook.
We can’t stress this enough — if we want to protect our website from hackers, our scripts, plugins, and add-ons need to be up to date.
Many tools that we use for our website are in fact open-source software.
As such, their codes are easily accessible. Failing to update them regularly opens up the doors for hackers looking for security vulnerabilities.
We don’t have to point out that, if they do find weaknesses, they will take advantage of them.
If we’re using third-party CMS software like WordPress on our website, we must ensure that we apply security patches as soon as they are available.
Most of these CMSs will notify us of available updates as soon as we log in, while others have mailing lists or RSS feeds that tell about security issues on our website.
On the other hand, if we’re lucky to use a hosting system that is managed, then updating usually falls on the shoulders of the hosting company.
On the other hand, it’s always advisable to check if everything’s alright from time to time.
Relying completely on someone else to take care of your basic security measures is never a good idea.
However, the managed host will probably apply security updates on a regular basis.
6. Implementation of HTTPS Is a Must
HTTPS is the most widely used security protocol on the Internet.
It is there to ensure that we, as users, are connecting to the expected server and that hackers or anyone else can’t intercept or change the content that we see during the exchange.
However, hackers usually steal them from login forms. Hence, they can pose as users, completely take over the login sessions, and gain access to all sorts of confidential information.
That is incredibly dangerous both for us and our users, especially if our website has a payment section which requires credit card information.
HTTPS is a number one protection against these attacks.
An HTTPS rides over the SSL security protocol — without it, it is basically the not-so-secure HTTP.
Investing in an SSL certificate is vital because it further enhances the encryption.
It is also worth mentioning that search engines may rank our website lower in search results if it doesn’t have an SSL certificate.
7. Don’t Forget To Validate
Validation is very important, and what’s more, it should be done on both the server and the browser side.
Namely, browsers can experience certain failures due to the mandatory fields that are left empty.
Sometimes they can even accept text in the field that should accept only numbers.
In those cases, hackers can easily insert malicious code into our database.
That’s why we must always make sure to check for validation.
Hackers attack websites more often these days, even though the security measures are higher.
If a website contains valuable information, it will surely become a target for hackers. Losing overnight everything we‘ve worked so hard for is devastating.
That’s why we must always invest time and resources to constantly improve our security measures.
Unfortunately, most of us tend to overlook the little things, such as password strength, that may eventually lead to our website’s demise.
That’s why we wanted to present the solutions that maybe you were not aware of.
Furthermore, we also wanted to emphasize the importance of usual security measures that we sometimes don’t pay attention to, like updating our platform.
Hopefully, this article will help many to understand the importance of implementing the aforementioned security measures.
However, it’s also vital to spread awareness of this matter in order to have safe Internet experience.