On October 17, 2017, Google Chrome released an update to begin flagging and penalizing websites that didn’t make the move to HTTPS. Websites collecting user passwords and credit card information without a basic security SSL certificate were marked unsafe due to the risk of exposing pertinent information.
Even simple forms on landing pages are at risk. For example, a phishing page is designed to steal identifying information from unwitting users. It is essential for a website to protect the personal information of their visitors with the proper encryption. There are many ways to secure websites from hackers, obtaining an SSL certificate is just one method.
Simple Ways to Secure Websites From Hackers
Maybe you don’t think your website has any legitimate reason for being hacked but it happens to businesses and individuals every day. In fact, more than 15 percent of Internet users have had their account hijacked, making it vital to use security measures to protect your users and yourself.
Regularly Update Software
Regularly updating your software and platforms is the easiest and best action you can take to secure your website from hackers. Many tools are created as open-source programs, making them susceptible to foul play by hackers with ill intentions. Check for updates on a regular basis, especially since you won’t always receive a notification of an available update for your platform or plug-ins.
Develop Layers of Security
Security plug-ins and Web Application Firewalls (WAF) sort through traffic and identify possible threats to your website. These often come as plug-and-play and are cloud-based. This protects against common attacks such as SQL Injections, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), brute force attacks, and more.
Using parameterized queries protects against SQL Injections by specifying the parameters, leaving no room for hackers to change things. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is another common attack. Protect your website by using Content Security Policy (CSP). CSP allows you to identify whether a domain is safe or not.
Finally, purchase an SSL certificate and make the move to HTTPS from HTTP. Not only is this now a requirement but it protects the sensitive information visitors are providing your website, including credit cards and login information. While an additional layer with HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is available, you must at least set up HTTPS for your website otherwise your website will be penalized.
If you’re going to allow users to upload files to your website then prevent them from executing the files by storing them in a folder located outside of the database or webroot. Another way is to set up your database on an alternative server than your web server. Additionally, limit your existing file permissions to as few individuals as possible to keep your files secure. It may be worth it to hire professional web design firm that is capable of setting this up for your company.
This one is common knowledge but surprisingly many individuals don’t use a strong password. Using a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols to create a good password is one of the easiest ways to secure a website. Make strong passwords a requirement of all users.
Whether you believe it may or may not happen to you, an attack on your website will impact your users’ information and possibly blacklist your website as being infected. Putting preventative measures in place is one of the best ways to secure websites, leaving you with an operational and healthy site in the long run.
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