Effective Ways for Website Protection?
Website protection is central to business survival and growth, as has been amply highlighted by data from across the globe. For instance, 43% of data breach victims are small businesses, out of which 69% are forced to shut down within 6 months of the attack. Even as a growing number of business owners are showing concern about website protection, there are still many who believe that their websites are somehow secure against these vicious attacks or that a simple vulnerability scanner is a sufficient security. This lackadaisical approach to web application security combined with the increasing lethality and sophistication of attacks is causing the number of attacks to keep rising.
The losses permeating from cyberattacks are massive – USD 3.92 million on an average. Simple yet effective steps (which will be discussed in this article) towards website protection can immensely fortify web application security and save businesses from these hefty costs.
9 Ways To Protect Your Website From Attackers
1. Robust and Evolving Security Strategy
A cybersecurity strategy that is comprehensive, proactive, and well-thought is an important starting point for strengthening web security. Given that the threat landscape is fast-developing, new vulnerabilities are identified frequently and the risks facing a website are changing rapidly, there is no one best security solution or strategy. So, staying updated on the latest in security and continuously tuning the strategy is essential.
2. Security from Web Development Stages
Vulnerabilities are often caused in the website owing to insecure coding practices, choice of frameworks with known vulnerabilities and security misconfigurations, and the use of insecure themes, plugins, and so on. So, web security must be established at the web development stage by choosing secure frameworks, coding practices, and components, conducting security-focused testing throughout, and adopting a security-focused mindset.
3. Update Everything
Everything on the website, right from the software and third-party components used to the plugins, libraries, and so on, must be updated as critical patches are contained in updates. Vulnerabilities are fixed by these critical patches and so, must not be ignored. Components that are outdated or do not receive updates must be cleaned out from the website as they provide important gateways for attacks.
4. Strong Access Control
A wide range of attacks, such as brute force attacks, can be prevented by strengthening the access control.
- Multi-factor authentication and a strong password policy are a must.
- The users must be categorized into specific roles (owner, admin, public, group, etc.) and be accorded access rules based on trust. The principle of least privilege must be followed.
- Admin directories must not be accessible to every user.
- Login attempts must be minimized.
- Automatic logout/ session expiry must be enforced.
- File Uploads must be extremely restrictive and files thus, uploaded must not be provided direct access to the website. They must be stored in an external location, parsed, and securely delivered to the browser.
5. Install SSL
SSL is used to ensure that data, especially sensitive and confidential data, in transit between the host (server/ firewall) and client (browser) is encrypted. When a website is secured by an SSL Certificate, HTTPS automatically appears in the URL, invoking trust in the user.
6. Input Sanitization/ Validation
A range of social engineering attacks, XSS attacks, XXE attacks, etc. can be prevented by ensuring that the user inputs in comments, feedback, and other user-input forms are validated. Special characters must be whitelisted. The entry of codes in these user-input fields must not be allowed.
7. Continuous Website Scanning Using An Intelligent Vulnerability Scanner
An effective way to ensure that the website is protected is through continuous scanning (every day and on-demand) using intelligent, automated website vulnerability scanner. Known vulnerabilities are effectively identified through such a scanning tool. When the scanner is part of a larger security solution, the identified vulnerabilities can be secured.
8. Deploy a Web Application Firewall to front your applications
A Web application firewall can have policies that can be put in place to block out users, or for specific modules allow only specific types of request/users. It can be an effective place to quickly deploy risk mitigation steps based on the evolving threat landscape and dynamic nature of the application.
The following features are a must in a Web application firewall:
- Ability to update and deploy rules based on the current risk of the application identified by application security assessment
- Have 24×7 security experts specializing in WAF signatures and providing management capabilities to update WAF rules and configuration based on application context
- Common signatures that can block common attacks such as DDoS and Bot attacks independent of the application risks identified by security assessment
- Ensure the solution provides support and guarantees of no false-positive backed with SLA and penalty clauses
- Integrates with or also provide a Web site acceleration module to ensure there is no trade-off between security and performance
9. Onboarding a Comprehensive and Robust Security Solution
The following features are a must in a security solution:
- An intelligent, automated website vulnerability scanner.
- Effective false positive management
- Robust, Holistic, and Managed WAF that monitors traffic, instantly blocks bad traffic, and virtually patches vulnerabilities until fixed.
- Regular security audits and pen-tests to identify business logic flaws and to fortify security.
- The expertise of certified security professionals to customize security for the needs and context of the business.
- Security Analytics
For effective website protection, businesses must always be one step ahead of attackers. Simple and effective measures for heightened security and strategic investments in robust, intelligent, and managed web application security solutions like AppTrana are ways in which several millions of dollars in penalties, restoration costs, and reputational losses can be saved.