Security measures are crucial components of any web app development process. If you are a website developer, we bet that you are aware of the security of a web application or website. You must be relaxed thinking that you have your ducks in a row. But are you sure?
Most of the websites today are at risk and this is the reality. Here are the statistics to prove this: almost 50,000 websites are hacked in a day. Also, it is not that hackers only target big companies’ websites and the ‘not much to steal’ mindset of small companies is completely senseless because a report says that 44% of hacking attacks were against small companies’ websites. Hence, it is important to choose the right security measure and the right security provider for your website development.
The website attacks are expected to grow substantially in the upcoming years. Thus, a web developer needs to ensure the security of websites with an increase in DDoS attacks.
Although, a website cannot be 100% secure from cyber-attacks. But, the chances of security threats can be reduced to an extent by following certain security methods. Here is the list of the best website security practices to beef up the security of your website.
- Use SSL Certificates
This is a no-brainer and the very first step to secure your website. You must always use SSL certificates even in your test environments. It doesn’t matter how small or large you have. An SSL certificate is a must.
A website without an SSL certificate is open to man-in-the-middle attacks. Hackers can easily change the information available on the page to collect personal information about site visitors such as login credentials, and other details. An SSL certificate tells your website visitors that they are visiting only your website and there’s no-one in between. It ensures that the data in the forms will be securely transmitted to the server. Google is now rewarding the websites that have HTTPS protocol with a ranking boost.
Moreover, thanks to Let’s Encrypt, you can get your own SSL certificate for free!
To be precise, SSL does not prevent any cyber attack though it encrypts the data transmitted between the server and the client.
- Implement Security Plan During Interim
Even the development of a website for a small organization may take several weeks or maybe months to be completed. When a website is almost developed and going through necessary changes, it is more vulnerable to attacks.
Hence, it is important to always have some protection plans even before the website is completely developed to avoid future problems.
Here’s what web development company can do to develop a secure website:
- You can remove the functionalities that are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. For example, do not keep credit card numbers in plain-text. Either encrypt them or keep their last four digits that too without CVV. There have been numerous database hacking events in the past in which many crucial customer information was hacked.
- Use a firewall system to implement a shield against the most troubling vulnerabilities. A web application firewall (WAF) system will filter and block undesired HTTP traffic and will secure the website against XSS, SQL injection and more.
The web application should be monitored continuously throughout the process of development to ensure that the attack surface does not go beyond a certain threshold. If your website gains more vulnerable points of attack, identify them and fix them before proceeding. You must document such vulnerabilities and the methods to handle them for future reference.
- Test the Configurations Regularly
Test the software and hardware configurations regularly to detect any uncommon behavior. This will help in identifying any security loopholes existing in the system or code. To enhance the security of the web server, the system configurations must be checked regularly.
It will be easy for the IT team to take proper measures to secure the loopholes, push data centers to standardize their processes and streamline the workflow. A well-streamlined process will enable stronger visualizations and help in making quick and agile decisions, keeping the security in mind.
Keep a lookout on security-related news about the configuration that you use. For example, recently a high-level security threat was observed in Intel-based processors. Many hosting companies had to undergo a lot of changes to implement fixes. Make sure that your hosting provider has updated their servers to the latest updates.
- Validate Input Data
Many websites allow users to upload the files or fill up any sort of form. The data submitted or uploaded by the user in any form must be validated so ensure that it does not contain any commands to carry out XSS or SQL injection attacks. Talking about SQL injection, this is one of the most common attacking vectors because many developers do not sanitize their queries before running them in the DB. Make sure you either use an ORM or sanitize the queries yourself before running them.
A strict security check must be conducted to check and validate the type of file uploaded by the user on the website. Validating the uploaded files is important because a hacker can, for example, upload a PHP script through the upload section to access the website directory. Allow only those file types which are absolutely required for the system to run and reject all others.
- Keep Your Software Dependencies Up to Date
Any kind of software such as WordPress (and its plugin) that you are using on your website must be updated to keep your website secure. You must be wondering why it is important to update the website software?
Because the software updates are launched with multiple security fixes along with bug fixing, newer features and performance improvements. Hackers always seek for new loopholes and vulnerabilities in your website. They use bots to scan vulnerable websites and an automated attack takes place. If you do not keep your system & dependencies up to date, it will be easy for hackers to scan your website and attack it.
It has been observed recently that many developers do not keep their dependencies up to date then later suffer the consequences. There’s even a dedicated website to list the common vulnerabilities found in most used platforms and dependencies.
The security of your website must be at the top of your priority list. If you are missing out on any of the security steps then be sure that your website is at risk of being hacked. No one is safe out there on the Internet. Security as an afterthought can cost you a lot suddenly.
Though it is almost impossible to make a website 100% secure because hackers are anyway going to find new ways to hack websites and steal information. But, by implementing the above measures, you can have some peace of mind in terms of security.