Website Security - Things You Should Know To Secure Your Website!
Usually, when we are browsing the internet, we use the HTTP (hyper text transfer protocol) – the system that facilitates the transfer and reception of data over the web. HTTPS is identical to HTTP in many ways as it follows the same basic protocols. The HTTP or HTTPS client, usually your browser, establishes a connection to the server using a standard port.
HTTP is insecure as it can subject to eavesdropping attacks which can let the attacker gain access to website accounts and any sensitive information. HTTPS is designed in a way to stay protected against such attacks and is considered secure against such attacks.
In case if you are accessing any sensitive site like your bank account or your email – much of the websites offer a connection secured by HTTPS to make sure that your data is safe from any attack.
This is of vital importance for sites where credit cards are used. More importantly, because Google believes HTTP to be secure and that is why they have added it in their Google ranking algorithm as a search parameter.
Google have been busy running tests taking into account whether websites use this secure, encrypted connection as a signal for search ranking, and they have got positive results.
Google encourages all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS as to keep everybody safe on the internet.
As we all know, there are thousands of scam sites out there, and it's imperative that when you are searching on the internet, anyone can get into your business, make sure that your website is secure.
If your site uses financial transactions, then it is crucial for your site to be secured by HTTPS. In many cases, it may be made compulsory by your payment provider.
How does the HTTPS work?
When a user inputs data to a form or page on your website to update their information, HTTPS will protect the personal
information between the user and your site. The data entered in the form is encrypted, and this data cannot be modified or corrupted during the transfer process.
Risks of Shared hosting
When a user has shared hosting, he may not know but, one of his sites has a back door
. If a hacker finds a way in and gains access to a single site on his hosting account, it is easy for the attacker to move from site to site
, destroying everything along the way.
In the case of shared hosting, the “attack surface”; the area available for the attacker is comparatively higher than a non-shared hosting environment.
Obviously, the more pieces of code that are running on your server – the more back doors allow anyone to enter your room. Additionally, if you have more than one website, you get more traffic, which means more log activity, which means there is a very less chance for you to notice if anything is missing.
And as the cost of the host gets low, the number of people, you are sharing the host with, grows and the amount of time, their sites might stay unmaintained and publicly accessible, increases.
Let's have a look at the reasons why your site may not be secure on a shared server:
- Even if only a single site (only if there are more than one) on the server is shared, it provides the attacker with an opportunity to gain access to any other sites hosted on the server.
- A user can buy a hosting from a shared hosting provider and use this new site to gain access to other websites hosted on the same server.
- There is also a disadvantage that being on a shared hosting server, you will not have access to the configuration of the server.
You cannot expect to have privacy in a house shared with a hundred other occupants and their guests, no matter how much you lock up your room.
No website with critical security should be hosted on a server that's also hosting a hundred others, and you should especially never trust them with any important thing like emails.
There are a few necessary security considerations that should be made concerning shared hosting.
- Each user on the server should be completely isolated from other users, and should not be able to access or modify any files of other users.
- A security vulnerability of a website hosted on that server should not be able to impact other users.
- The server should be regularly patched, updated and monitored to address any security issues.
- Each user should have their private database access, and should not be permitted to make changes to the stored records or permissions of other users.
By understanding these methods, severe attacks can be prevented.
The Risk of Using CMS Systems
Because a CMS(Content Management System) gives a user the flexibility to edit your site whenever he wants, the user may think that it's all he wants, But like always, there are two sides of the coin.
The benefits of a CMS may be easily defined, but it's time to look at the coin's other side.
- The user will add cost to his starting projects (themes, plugins, etc.)
- He will add time to the project implementation
- Open Source toolsets come with their headaches
- Open Source toolsets make the site vulnerable to security holes
- The CMS framework may constrain design
- Employees must learn CMS to work with the system
- Limited functionality as compared to other systems
- Everlasting upgrades
Having a CMS means you are tied to someone else's structure, and there will be a limit to your Website's flexibility. The pre-built framework of the CMS are template-based which is always limiting.
A site built without a CMS does not have these flexibility limitations. And, the site will also have a much smaller coded base.
LET IT BE REALISTI
There are Website projects that require a CMS. However, this decision must be made after consulting with the designer of your site rather than you just making it a requirement.
Your Website Developer should have a working knowledge of systems other than yours, and must be able to build static sites as well. If you visit a Wordpress shop and ask the developer for a Website, you are going to get... Wordpress!
The Risk of Using Nulled Themes or Plugins
Nulled themes and plugins are scripts not having any author copy protection.
Yes, it's not legal to have a nulled theme or plugin on your site, as you could easily get sued for that if someone realizes that you make money using a nulled script.
The question people commonly ask is: What can someone get if I have a nulled script installed on my site?
Well, the very first thing he can do is to get backlinks from your blog without your permission as you won't even know.
So, if he has a website and he puts his website link somewhere inside your theme, and you are not a PHP expert, it will be hard for you to find this link.
Also if a thousand people install this theme or plugin, he will get 1000+ backlinks on his site.
This person can also have access to your wp-admin and take over your website.
He can upload some ‘virus' to send any info, you input, back to him so that will get your username and password as soon as you log in there for the first time.
One more thing that malicious person can do is to redirect your site pages to spam links, and that could be 100% wrong for your SEO and Google will never put you in search results.
What can be the risks of using nulled themes and plugins in WordPress?
- The Nulled script sometimes sends your admin username and password information to the developer. If he has any wrong intentions, he can completely destroy your blog.
- Backlinks are considered to be very important for SEO. Hackers can use encrypted code for getting a backlink from your blog without your permission.
- Search engines like Google can remove your website from its index as Google hates illegal activities. That is probably the reason why they keep on penalizing blogs and websites. If your blog contains any hacking script, it's a major possibility that Google and other search engines will remove your site from its index permanently.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks are, in which, malicious scripts can be injected into other trusted websites. XSS attacks occur when someone uses an application (usually a web application) to send harmful code, generally a side script for a browser, to a different end-user.
Any flaw that allows these attacks to succeed are quite common and can occur anywhere a web application gets input from the user, it generates the output without even validating it.
Any attacker can use XSS to send a malicious script to a random user. The end users browser has no default way to know that if this script should be trusted or not, and will execute the script.
Since it thinks that the script is from a trusted source, the evil script can access cookies or any other sensitive information collected by the browser and used with the infected site. These infected scripts can even rewrite an HTML page.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks usually occur when:
- The data enters the (Web) application through an untrusted source, that is, most frequently, a web request.
- The data is included in a dynamic content that is sent to a web user, without being validated for harmful content.
Using XSS, the variety of attacks is almost limitless, but they commonly include the transmission of private data, like cookies or any other information to the attacker, by just redirecting the victim user to web content which is controlled by the attacker. Also, performing other harmful operations on the user's machine under the appearance of the vulnerable site.
Cloaking (a form of the doorway page technique) is often used as a spamdexing technique to trick a search engine into granting the required site a higher ranking. Using the same method, it is also used to deceive the ones using the search engine into visiting a site that is significantly different from the description they have provided to the search engine.
Disadvantages of Free Web Hosting Services
Even though there are many sources of risk to information security, they fall into these three categories: People, faculties, and the technology.
The biggest threat to information in any scenario are the people using the information or have access to it. As such, whether through a criminal attack, carelessness, or just ignorance, human beings pose the greatest data security threat.
A free web hosting service is commonly run by the main domain that allows anyone, who wishes, to establish a subdomain on the primary directory.
Premium hosting services provide you with some quality site templates, more versatility, and control over the appearance and the material, the option for you to create and customize your domain name and have an entirely ad-free website for your visitors to enjoy.
Free web hosting services don't provide the best quality of customer service. They won't even offer you any online troubleshooting or support because they don't charge for it. For professional service and support, owning a site is encouraged.
Free web hosting services usually have lower quality coding systems that could run the risk of hurting your online reputation. If your website is vulnerable to crashes or bugs, visitors might avoid your site altogether.
This is just another reason to upgrade to a premium service so that you can own your site.
It is often said that it takes money to make money. If your site is becoming the sole platform for visitors to understand the service you're providing, your brand and the benefits they will have, then you must invest in that goal.
Free web hosting services don't provide you with high-quality functions, and visitors might mistake your brand to be cheap or messy. In that case, consider upgrading to a premium web hosting service.