Website security is an ever changing landscape of challenges.

Keeping Up with Website Security

Websites face more security threats than ever before as cybercriminals seek to target users via the sites they visit.

Keeping up with the latest threats and securing a site is a full time job. It requires far more than simple updates and anti-virus software.

Understanding the challenges of website security is the first step towards blocking malicious attacks on not just your site, but your visitors as well.

Website Attacks are Becoming More Advanced

Hackers are on the lookout for every possible vulnerability in websites. Many now work as groups with sophisticated software designed specifically to seek out and exploit outdated software, flimsy firewalls, unencrypted databases and many other areas of target. It only takes a single point of entry for a hacker to get in and corrupt a site or steal valuable data.

Web hosts, CMS platforms and virus protection suites constantly update to provide protection from the latest threats. The problem is a threat sometimes has to occur before updates are developed to protect against it. Hackers don’t give up easily and the advanced attacks prove that, such as the highly exploited Heartbleed Bug. Securing a site from every possible angle is key to staying ahead of threats.

The switch to the Open Web Platform for many web applications has only further complicated the threat landscape. Hackers see these applications as more high value, making them desirable targets.

Website Visitors Bring Threats With Them

You don’t have to just protect your site from hackers. Often times, visitors download malicious software unknowingly. Hackers then use the software to try and penetrate sites by posing as a legitimate user. This is even more dangerous when you have a membership site. Gaining access to even a single login can be enough for data thieves to take over your databases.

Attacks come from all directions. It’s one of the biggest challenges with website security. It’s no longer enough to protect from one or two areas. Your website needs to be locked down as securely as possible, even from your own visitors, without affecting site performance.

Thousands Of Sites are Affected Daily

It’s easy to think it won’t happen to you. With millions of websites, what are the odds yours will be targeted? Over 30,000 sites are infected daily and 80% of those are legitimate websites and not false URLs. If that’s not concerning enough, the Web Application Security Consortium had discovered 34 types of web security threats designed to compromise a site’s data, site integrity and user data as of 2012 and that number is only growing.

Most Common Types of Website Attacks

Software vulnerabilities and access control are the two major defining categories for web security issues. Three issues are especially dangerous when it comes to software vulnerabilities and include:

  • SQL injection
  • Inclusion vulnerabilities (Local File and Remote Inclusion)
  • Cross-site scripting

SQL Injection
SQL injection attacks are considered one of the worst and most dangerous threats as your database typically contains a goldmine of information. A single data breach can cost over $5.5 million and the business lost as a result, over $3 million. Attackers use a single SQL command string in something as simple as a search box on your site to access vulnerable databases.

Inclusion Vulnerabilities
If a site isn’t coded securely enough, it leaves vulnerable areas for malicious code to be inserted. These inclusion attacks can manipulate internal files or result in remote files being run in place of your own site’s files.

Cross-Site Scripting
Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks are extremely dangerous to your users. Insecure coding is all it takes for hackers to insert a script that encourages your visitors to interact with your site in what appears to be a legitimate way. The result is their systems become infected.

If All Else Fails Use Brute Force
Brute force attacks are the most common form of access control. They’re not discreet, but with a special script, a hacker could gain access to a site by trying various login combinations until they get a match.

Conclusion

Website security isn’t something to take lightly. It’s a major concern for sites of all sizes. Many businesses are hiring website maintenance and security firms to help secure their sites. With the variety of threats, it’s difficult to manage everything on your own. Trusting experts to find loopholes, patch any flaws and install the best possible security software for your site is vital to keeping your site and your users safer.

Not sure how your site stacks up against hackers? Contact FatLab today to see how we can help.

Image: GotCredit