Everything that you need to know about website security

We are living in turbulent times in which security, including cyber security, is in the spotlight. With so much news about websites and accounts being hacked or going offline, it is necessary to take time and pay attention to the security of our websites and guarantee both the business interests and the protection of users

Many companies think that the security of their websites is not a major cause for concern because they are considered very small and new in the market compared to the giants that we all know and therefore lack interest in being attacked. But, precisely because of this belief, the reality is that small and medium-sized websites and start-up e-commerce are more vulnerable to security problems than large companies. 

In this article we will share with you the types of risk to which the security of your website is exposed and how to avoid them.

Why is security so important for your website and e-commerce?

Security should be the most important feature of your website and e-commerce. Without the right protection, online businesses expose themselves, their brands and their customers to suffer fraud or identity theft; as well as experiencing huge loss by credit card details leaking in case of attack. 

As mentioned before, cybercriminals expect that small businesses and e-commerce sites rely on a weak or even non-existent security net.   

Cybersecurity is all about protecting the interest of both your business and customers online. 

How might your website be attacked? 

Structured Query Language: They are one of the most common attacks out there, using rogue commands to gain unauthorised access to sensitive data stored on the database. 

SQL is a standard coding language used to access databases. Data retrieval and record removal are some of the commands that users can execute, as well as database manipulation.   

To protect your website, there are three main SQL injections that you should watch out for.

  • Out-of-band SQL injections: It relies on your website’s server’s capacity to create DNS or HTTP requests, which ultimately transfers the data to the attacking party. It can only be triggered while some of the features are enabled on the server that your web application uses. 
  • In-band SQL injections: it is one of the most common SQL injection attacks since they are as simple as efficient. It uses the language that you are implementing to communicate with your database and display sensitive information or even gain administrative rights. 
  • Inferential SQL injections: also known as blind SQLi. The attackers aim to understand how the server is structured by sending data packets to your server and observe its behaviour and how it responds. 
  • Malware Injections: It includes all the possible messes that you can imagine, such as viruses, ransomware, spyware and worms. They intend to steal customer information, infect any website visitors, erase data or hold your website hostage.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): Not only one of the most common but also, one of the most annoying security attacks that your business might face. Executed to pursue the same goals, they present technical differences.
  • DoS attacks: by flooding and spamming your website with illegitimate traffic, they will intent to shut down your e-commerce website. It will make your site impossible to access. 
  • DDoS attacks: This attack is triggered by using multiple devices and botnets. Intending to clog up your traffic, botnets operate as a group of computers and are typically infected with malware to cause further damage to your e-Commerce website.
  • Brute force tactics: Considered the last resource to attack, they use a botnet to figure out the administrator details of your website. The best ways to combat brute force attacks are with captcha challenges, two-factor authorization on your website, and complex passwords. We also highly recommend you to encourage password changes every three months or so.
  • Cross-Site scripting (XSS): its purpose is to execute malicious, harmful scripts into a web browser by injecting the code into a legitimate web page. This type of attack can be very effective when used with forums, message boards or any webpage with a user's comments option. 

The aim is to execute malicious, harmful scripts into a web browser by injecting the code into a legitimate web page. 

Also, an XSS attack may deface your website. The may change your content, or may not even be seen at all if the attacking party uses an XSS attack to redirect any traffic your site receives to instead go to another website.

Tips to protect your website from attacks

Now that we know some of the main security issues that your website can experience, let’s go through some tips that can help you out:

Pick a secure Web hosting service and e-commerce platform. Make sure that you get a secure platform and a web host to achieve optimal protection. Find a combination of both of them that can offer full protection from the most common threats. 

Get an SSL certificate: an SSL certificate is a big ally to encrypt the data between your website and your user’s web browser so any sensitive data will be impossible to read by anyone except you two. 

Moreover, An SSL certification is mandatory for all e-commerce websites under the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard.

Every merchant or e-Commerce-based business must comply with the PCI Security Standards. They’re in a place to guarantee that businesses take action to protect consumers from identity theft and fraud.

Keep your website updated and patched: New updates on website software come out all the time - and often, they include crucial security patches that you should be aware of. 

Leave payment and data processing to the experts: The best way to not lose any customer data is not having any! Avoid collecting any of your customers’ private data on your website if it’s not necessary.

When it comes to payments, use third-party, encrypted checkout tunnels to process them - this is a standard procedure for the e-Commerce sites. Most popular payment gateways are completely secure and are not known for leaking any sensitive user data.

Integrate a website application firewall:  Take the security of your e-commerce website to the next level. It will protect your website from XSS, SQL injections, and forgery requests. Moreover, it will also keep your website safe from any hacking attempts, including brute force attempts. Finally, it will help you reduce the risk of suffering from DoS or DDoS attacks.

Monitor what you download and integrate: We know that it is very exciting to be able to download and integrate plugins, tools, apps and more directly to your website. However, always be aware of what you’re downloading and using. Some hackers will use these add-ons to implant malicious protocols on your website.

Perform regular SQL checks: Depending on the platform that you rely on, there are a large number of software options that can support you to monitor and protect your website from these injections. You also count on free site scanners that will perform the same tasks, but make sure to read reviews and only download from trusted vendors. 

Set the scanner of your choice to run daily checks on your website’s security. In this way, if there are any vulnerabilities, they can be detected and secured before someone takes advantage of them.

Backup your website data as often as possible: Backing up your e-Commerce website won’t stop any security threats you may face, but it will help to minimise or reduce the damage done. This is the best strategy that you can follow to protect information from being lost, corrupted, or held hostage. 

One of the best business practices is to take the time and back-up your website as often as possible. Don’t forget to backup your website everytime that you do an update. Idyllically, you should be backing up the website once every three days, but the recommendation is to back it up once a day.

Conclusions

  • Don’t underestimate the risk of your website based on the size or starting time of your business.
  • It is crucial to get to know the most important security issues that our website could face to find the right solutions. 
  • Find and understand the biggest vulnerabilities of your e-commerce site to implement the most effective security measures. 
  • Don’t forget that your company’s security (business wise) is as important as your customers’ security.  
  • Keep updated about the new security solutions in the market. 

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