A business website is a lot more than just branding and marketing material. Consider any business website, right from one-page branding websites to the ones with hundreds of pages and support for e-commerce — the user-facing content is only a small part of the complete digital assets that go into a business website. From databases of customer information and product information to repositories of a business’s interactions with customers and vendors, modern business websites are veritable content management solutions, encompassing business-critical data. As a result, cybercriminals have always tried hard to target business websites for wreaking damage. That’s because there’s valuable data to steal or delete, and also because business owners can then be blackmailed to pay up or risk losing the website completely.
Today, a business website faces several kinds of threats. The risks are so real that it’s entirely possible for you to wake up see a “you’ve been hacked” message on your website. So, protection of business websites’ content today is more important than it ever was. The risks are real, the potential damages could even put you out of business, and regulatory compliance rules are increasingly holding website owners responsible for the secure upkeep of customers’ data. So, in this guide, we’ll help you understand some very real risks that your business website is surrounded by so that you can take remedial measures.
Problem: Website admins are unaware of growing threats and new risks
The dynamics of website security are changing. So, for any website owner to be fully prepared for the latest cybersecurity challenges linked to their website, the feasible solution is to follow at least one of the most credible blogs or news websites about hacking and website security. Early detection of potential threats is the first step toward risk mitigation for your website. Whether it’s a mobile app specific threat, or a potential distributed denial of service attack, staying in the know-how of latest risks makes you prepared for all important website security-related decisions.
Problem: Website software is not updated frequently enough
SaaS-based website builders have, to a great extent, solved the problem for website owners, but invariably there are tools and applications involved in the functioning of a website. Updating all these software every time the software service provider shares an upgrade is time-consuming, effort-intensive, hard to track, and often expensive.
This is where the need for strong contracts with website software vendors becomes obvious. Understand the need for software upgrades and patches. Ask the vendor what’s the most convenient option for you to avail these upgrades and security patches. Whereas purely functional upgrades can be skipped if you don’t see any value in the new functionality, security upgrades should never be missed. Hackers are only going to focus on vulnerable websites, and you better ensure it’s not your website.
Problem: SQL Injections
SQL injections is an attack method used specifically for data-driven applications. In such attacks, hackers try to insert malicious codes into an application. This is done by identifying open forms and fields wherein executable code can be injected to effect a negative outcome for the website. The most common example of this is when hackers inject databases with codes that extract information and send it to a target system.
The best, most inexpensive, and easiest to implement solution to this problem is via parameterized queries. This approach can work with any web development language and is very straightforward to implement.
Problem: DoS attacks
A denial of service attack refers to a wide range of attacks that render a website inaccessible for intended users. Hackers do this by overwhelming the servers of the website with a massive number of access requests, consuming all the available bandwidth, and thus preventing genuine users from accessing the website. The duration of a typical denial of service attack could be anywhere between a couple of days and a month.
The best way to protect your website from DoS attacks is to make sure that the firewall settings are strong enough and the firewall itself is upgraded to tackle all kinds of such attacks.
Problem: Revealing too much info in error messages
Going the extra mile to have your website specify technical details of error messages is counter-intuitive. That’s because the routine user would not get any value out of it. On the other hand, hackers will have less work to do if you blare your website’s technical vulnerabilities out aloud.
For instance, on a wrong password message, use verbiage such as “login info incorrect,” instead of “password shouldn’t be less than 8 characters.” The more generic your message, the more secure your website’s vulnerability information. You’d rather risk a genuine user having to spend another minute getting to the right web page than a hacker knowing which vulnerability to target.
Problem: Simplistic passwords
Passwords are not meant to be convenient. Many websites could have avoided being broken into had they realized this and incorporated the lesson into their password policies. Hackers have access to complex computing resources that can churn out combinations of characters super quickly and crack passwords sooner than you’d want to believe.
To make sure you don’t end up losing vital business info or suffering downtime because of a naive user’s qwerty1234 password, implement strong password rules, mandating the use of mixed cases, alphanumeric characters, and long strings. Also, make it necessary for users to change their passwords every 90 days or sooner. Remember, when it comes to website account passwords, inconvenience is a less bitter experience than being hacked.
Your business website is vulnerable. The sooner you can get your head around this reality, the better it will be. The tips discussed in this guide will help you massively reduce the chances of your website suffering from a cyberattack that could take it down.
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