If you operate a website, you need to concern yourself with making it as secure as possible. There are no exceptions to website security – no matter what industry or sector you find yourself in, every website is vulnerable to a potential attack.
All websites are susceptible to being targeted by automated hacking scripts or even manual hacking attempts. Many of these attacks start subtly enough, with a discovery process seeking installed packages and security vulnerabilities just waiting to be taken advantage of.
Once the hacker can get that information, they inject a vulnerability exploit to root out the detected vulnerability. From there, they now have control of your site, and you're at their mercy. So as a website owner and operator, what do you need to do to protect yourself?
Let's take a closer look at six best practices for raising the bar on your website security platform – these will leave you better prepared (or, if you've already been infiltrated, able to respond and recover quickly).
1.) Periodic website backup
This one seems simple, but many website owners still get it wrong. In terms of your site's stored data or anything else you want to be able to access at a moment's notice, you need to periodically back up your data. Failure to do this leaves you especially susceptible to an attack. While having your data wiped may not necessarily be a vulnerability in and of itself (though it certainly can be), it can do plenty of damage to your standard operating procedure.
Let's say you've been the victim of hacking and you're looking to enable a speedy recovery. A hacker has erased all of your files. If you have a backup system in place on your website security platform, all you'd need to do is restore the website from your backup. If you don't? You may end up never recovering all of the lost information, as you'll have to piece it together from either memory or any other disparate place where the information is stored. Remember to perform regular backups so that if the worst does happen, you can return to normal much more quickly.
2.) Periodic website updates for modules
When your site falls victim to a bug, it betrays a problem with the software on which your site is operating. It can lead to major problems with your site's code that can have reverberating impacts, the sum of which you may not be aware of initially.
Website modules can contain crucial software bug fixes. If you keep these up to date, these updates can contain fixes for software bugs that would otherwise debilitate your site.
Rather than letting these security vulnerabilities get exposed by the bug, keeping your site's modules up to date helps shore up your defenses.
3.) Periodic vulnerability scanning
It's never easy to address our shortcomings or weaknesses, but this is one of the best things you can do in terms of your website security. Vulnerabilities are unfortunate and can be difficult to confront or patch up. But they're much harder to confront if you're dealing with them after an attack has occurred. That means you'll want to maintain a proactive posture in understanding where your site is vulnerable. To do this, you should engage in periodic vulnerability scanning. When you test your site for vulnerabilities, you're getting a holistic view of your security stance. Even with periodic vulnerability scanning (which, make no mistake, is a necessity for good cyber hygiene), there are still some 0-day vulnerabilities a scanner may miss on your website security platform.
4.) Periodic external scanning
Sometimes, website visitors may inject malware into your site's pages. Sometimes, this is due to direct hacking, but other times the perpetrator is an otherwise innocent, unwilling participant. Either way, knowing what external sites may be unfriendly to your site's security is critical to its overall health.
By conducting periodic external scans, you can simulate a website visitor to detect any malware present in website pages. That can then produce an alert telling you what the situation is and what actions need to be taken for better security.
5.) Periodic server-side scanning
One of the best ways to know your site's level of security is to possess an intimate knowledge of your internal systems. Are your website source files infected? What about any other of your website pages? By performing server-side scans on a regular basis, you're taking an internal inventory of potential malware infections you may have missed and have yet to notice. It flags a problem you should have already noticed, though as attacks grow more sophisticated, some going unnoticed is understandable. Is it optimal to find out about a malware infection after the fact? Of course not – proactivity is always favorable to reaction. But if you haven't been able to prevent an attack, and you don't know it yet...wouldn't you want to know about it so you can stop the bleeding?
6.) A web application firewall
A web application firewall (WAF) is another must-have tool to ensure greater website security.
When a hacker infiltrates your site, it's always possible they can get past a vulnerability scan. That's not to say vulnerability scans aren't important – they certainly are. But they also aren't 100% perfect.
Taking a multi-factor approach to security (introducing multiple measures to attack your attackers before and after they've hit) is important. With WAF, you can do this.
WAF can help block any attempts hackers make to exploit existing vulnerabilities, keeping your site safe from malware injection.
Protect your data with a website security platform
Look at it from a risk management perspective: all of the tools outlined above, used on their own, will help you limit your risk significantly. But all of them used in conjunction with each other within your website security platform exponentially increase the odds of your site being safe.
Quttera ThreatSign! malware detection and protection platform provides you with cost-effective solutions to keep your website protected and clean from malware.
For more on how ThreatSign! can help you fortify your site's defenses, leaving it able to predict and react to attacks more effectively, reach out to us today!