It comes down to regular software updates, testing and remedying any potential issues. Start with a security policy for your website that can be as simple as a quarterly checklist. Where you make sure you have the latest version of the CMS and scanning for security vulnerabilities with resolutions mapped out.
Find out if there are existing security vulnerabilities
Website security has been a crucial factor when building and supporting websites for years however scanning technology for security issues has made significant strides to make it easier to detect flaws or vulnerabilities. These tools include penetration tests that check for the top 10 OWASP issues. OWASP (Open Worldwide Application Security Project) is a non-profit foundation that works to improve the security of software with an open community dedicated to enabling organizations to conceive, develop, acquire, operate, and maintain applications that can be trusted. Visit owasp.org to learn more.
Here are some key methods you can use to test your website for vulnerabilities:
- Use automated vulnerability scanning services like Detectify or Probely. These tools scan your website for known security issues, such as outdated software versions, misconfigurations, or common vulnerabilities like XSS and SQL injection.
- Consider conducting a manual penetration test or hire a professional penetration tester to simulate real-world attacks on your website. This involves actively exploiting vulnerabilities to identify potential weaknesses. Penetration testing can provide valuable insights into the security of your website but should be performed carefully to avoid causing any damage.
- Have your developer check if your website is properly implementing security headers like Content Security Policy (CSP), HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), and X-XSS-Protection. These headers can help protect against various attacks and vulnerabilities.
- Test your website for cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. Try injecting malicious scripts into input fields and URLs to see if they get executed on the website. This helps identify potential XSS vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.
- Test your website for SQL injection vulnerabilities by attempting to manipulate the website's database through input fields. Inject malicious SQL queries to see if they execute or produce unexpected results.
- Verify the security of your file upload functionality. Attempt to upload malicious files with various extensions and oversized files to check if they are properly validated and restricted. This helps prevent attackers from uploading and executing malicious scripts on your server.
- Test the strength of your website's authentication and session management mechanisms. Check for weaknesses like weak passwords, improper session handling, session fixation, or session hijacking. Consider implementing a password policy along with Multi-factor authentication.
- Examine how your website handles errors and exception handling. Ensure that error messages displayed to users do not reveal sensitive information or provide potential attack vectors.
During all of this it’s advisable to have proper authorization, permissions, and backup plans in place to avoid causing any harm to your website or its users. If you lack expertise in security testing, consider seeking assistance from your developer or specialized security testing service.
Take action to secure your siteSecuring your website is crucial to protect sensitive data, maintain user/member trust, and prevent unauthorized access or malicious activities. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, here are some best practices to make sure your website is rock solid.
- Regularly update your website's software, including the content management system (CMS), plugins, themes, and any other components. Outdated code can have vulnerabilities that attackers may exploit.
- Implement strong passwords for all user accounts and configure the system so your users do the same. Additionally, consider implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security.
- Choose a reputable enterprise cloud hosting provider that prioritizes security like Azure. Ensure they have measures and tools in place to protect against threats, such as DDoS attacks and server vulnerabilities and monitor and log any suspicious activities.
- Perform regular backups of your website's files and database and test the recovery method. Store backups in a secure off-site location to ensure you can restore your website if it is compromised or experiences data loss. Consider Azure for automated backups and recovery for up to the minutes rollbacks.
- Set appropriate file and directory permissions on your web server and media library. Restrict write permissions to the necessary files and directories to prevent unauthorized modification or deletion of critical files.
- Implement strict input validation to prevent common security vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection. Validate and sanitize user inputted form data to ensure it does not contain malicious code.
- Follow secure coding practices to minimize vulnerabilities. Avoid common pitfalls like code injection, insecure direct object references, and insecure file uploads. Regularly audit your codebase for potential security issues.
- Implement a WAF to protect your website from common attacks. A WAF like Cloudflare can help filter out malicious traffic, block suspicious requests, and provide an additional layer of defense.
- Add security monitoring and logging solutions to detect and respond to security incidents promptly. Monitor your website for unusual activities, such as multiple failed login attempts or unauthorized access attempts. WAF’s can help filter out these malicious attempts.
- Create a robust user permission system that restricts access based on user roles and privileges. Ensure editors and users only have access to the features and functions they require to perform their tasks. Check roles and permissions by emulating those logins.
- Provide security awareness training for your staff and website users. Teach them about common security threats, the importance of strong passwords, and how to identify phishing attempts or suspicious activities.
Director and Founder
Inorbital founder and digital solution architect with over 20 years’ experience planning and directing dynamic web presence and web applications for all types of savvy organizations. When not directing Inorbital you can find him actively trying something completely new.