It is noted daily that about 30,000 websites experience a cyber-attack. Someone will inevitably try to hack it as your website grows. So, in 2021, what are you doing to keep yourself safe?

Site Security Checklist: How to Secure Your Website?

There is always a growing buzz on developing a website. It is all very exciting when you see the visuals and content fill out a design that has prototypes transforming into some functioning pages and by getting closer to going to live. The realities of dealing with the hackers and those with bad intentions require to be addressed amidst the anticipation of flipping the switch.

There are some great names on it when it comes to the list of companies experiencing a cyber-attack. By the hands of these digital criminals, Yahoo, Equifax, and Sony are but a few corporate behemoths. The shakedown of colossal amounts of data and huge corporations are not involved in most of the hacks. The smaller companies and the independent businesses are also at great risks.

The hackers might have targeted several businesses that may have their webspace targeted. Malware, brute force attacks, SQL injections, DDoS attacks are the multitude of threats involved, and they can also make use in stealing the data of the customers along with other sensitive information. Make sure that both you and your customers stay out of their crosshairs and remain safe with the security measures that should be present in the security checklist.

Make sure that your website is safe from the variety of security threats that are out there before you go live, as you need to through this checklist.

#1 Prevent Spam

All people check out these errant marks offering herbal supplements, sketchy links, and other bunk comments by the fake users as it is a bad feeling to write a great blog post is filled with the creative proses and great information only to have it besmirched by the spam comments. And they are like the one scrawling graffiti over a masterpiece painting.

One of the commonest ways that hackers can mess with your website is through bogus comments. It should be a part of any website security checklist for those that allow the user comments by having a plan intact in how to deal with them.

Google crawlers hate them as well, docking important SEO relevance, and not only do the spam comments diminish the trust of people who are visiting your page. Google does not tolerate spam, and it is something that should not be tolerated by your either. To ensure that your page does not become spam free-for-all, take the right security measures.

#2 Protect Your Website From The Attacks of Denial of Service (DDoS) 

With the help of fake requests, DDoS attacks work by pummeling a website. Servers go down, taking the website offline and at times even opening security vulnerabilities for hackers to go in and inject malicious code as they are overwhelmed by this barrage. It can affect your reputation and bottom line when your website goes offline for any period.

With the use of a reputable hosting provider, protection from DDoS attacks starts with this. It is a controlled way to test for vulnerabilities as well as performing diligent and consistent networking monitoring as good hosting companies will do things like regular pen-testing.

#3 Block Brute Force Attacks

Along with the DDoS attacks, Brute force attacks are also mentioned. Brute force attacks are more focused on attempting over and over to crack login credentials or exposing encrypted data though both involve repeated requests on the server.

In order to stop the threats, there are few ways to mitigate them. It can be done by tracking the IP addresses on form submissions and by monitoring them for the repeated attempts. You need to ensure that they are offering a line of defense against these whoever you select for your web hosting provider.

#4 Safeguard From XSS Cross-Site Scripting

XXS cross-site scripting is the other tactic that hackers use to damage and compromise web applications and websites. It can be passed onto people’s computers and proceed to capture their data and private information as it shoves the bad code into unassuming websites.

To abscond one’s information, XSS cross-site scripting might be a sneaky way for the hackers, and yet the solid line of defense against this is Amazon’s Web Services. As you do not have to worry about this potential threat when you host, you get this automatically.

#5 Defend Against SQL Injection

To get access to sensitive information is another little nightmare that hackers would like to use. SQL is what most web server databases are managed. Hackers shoehorning in their own SQL code, inputting it, and gaining access to sensitive data is what is involved in SQL injection.

Between the normal SQL requests and those that are not legitimate, servers fall victims to this type of attack. Using Amazon’s shield can provide a defense against yet another security threat.

#6 Install an SSL Security Certificate

When people go to a website and do not see a lock symbol or HTTPS, people usually tend to freak out. It does not inspire one to navigate any further by getting those anxiety-inducing pop-up messages, warning of potential security risks. It also tends to rank low in Google searches as a website without SSL certificates.

For any type of web page to have installed and should be a standard one, especially for eCommerce websites where users are inputting sensitive information as an SSL certificate is a necessary security measure.

Between a server and someone’s computer, SSL security certificates encrypt data that is going on both ways. Login information, credit cards, and other customer data that has been inputted into forms from being exposed is an SSL encrypted connection.

#7 Backup Your Website And All of Its Data

You need not get it done manually. It is generally offered as a free service by several reputable web hosting services.

The older version of a web design is easily accessible, along with the free version that offers the last two versions and the premium edition offering unlimited access to all of the revisions here. All of the data is backed up automatically along with the older versions of the website.

#8 Follow ISO 27018 Compliance

ISO 29018 compliance is pretty cool though it is not the most exciting named tech innovations. It does not flow out of the reach of hackers with everything that is in the cloud. To make sure that this technology is safe for everyone to use, keep the user’s personally identifiable information unobtainable by the bad guys; it is mainly a list of measures and protocols.

With the Amazon Web Services shield imparting ISO 27018 compliance to every website that falls under it, any website hosted among the thousands of others gets this layer of protection.

#9 Use HTTP/2

It is quite shocking to consider how much faster it is than the regular old HTTP as some web hosting companies do not offer HTTP/2 hosting. It could only go in one direction at a time, with HTTP/2 opens things up, allowing for information to flow in over both the ways considering the past.

It is exchanged between the server and the client as it decreases the amount of time. It has a multiple in a TCP with the Transmission Control Protocol connection that speeds up the flow of information with the data request that does not just have a single lane to it.

Https is automatically enabled, and it also facilitates a better exchange of data. Google loves HTTP/2 that gives the website that uses it a nice organic boost in SEO given that they have great web content following SEO best practices as we have spoken about Google docking websites for certain things. To give your website an advantage of both security and speed, Webflow has already integrated HTTP/2 integrated into it.

#10 Utilizing A Reliable Form For Online Payments

Whether you are processing credit or debit cards, web payments, or PayPal payments, you want this to be done through trusted providers. The use of APIs from the services like PayPal and Stripe are the two leaders of online payment authentication. It will give you and your customers two-secured ways to pay when it is time to check out.

#11. Password Protect Important Pages

Keeping your admin credential out of the hands of bad actors is tantamount to the safety of the web. The other content, page folders, CMS collections should be password protected even.

It is always given to them by the ones who need direct access permissions. To make sure that your website has this feature, the individual pages and folders are password protected. Over the one who is allowed to get in to bring about the transformations, you will get precise control.

#12 Protect Against SQL Injection

The second and the most important step in protecting yourself against SQL injection attacks is the use of well-implemented stored procedures instead of open queries. By restricting your web application to run stored procedures and attempting to inject the SQL code into your forms, it will usually fail.

As they are stored procedures that only accept certain types of input as it will reject anything not meeting their criteria. Stored procedures can also be running as specific users within the database to restrict access even further. Since it is quite structural, it is recorded to be a best practice in terms of the development and the updates of the website.

#13 Protect Against Denial of Service

With the connections and packets, until they are overloaded and cannot respond to legitimate requests, denial of service of DoS attacks the flood servers. As they use legitimate connectivity lanes, there is no way to absolute prevent these types of attacks as there are measures that you can take to resist them under their occurrence.

The DoS attacks can be prevented to create an issue with the use of a cloud mitigation provider. The huge resources of distributed cloud architecture to offset the load of a DoS attack along with having identification and blocking mechanisms for malicious traffic is done through these solutions. You can set up mitigation in-house operating on similar principles, which is limited to the resources of whatever hardware your solution runs on alternatively.

#14 Regularly Test Configurations

An essential factor when it comes to hardening a server is visibility. There is little hope of keeping a server secure over time without knowing what is going on, as there is little hope to keep a server secure over time. It will give the IT teams a chance to fix security holes before they are exploited with regular tests in configurations against the company policy.

#15 Secure The Web Server Processes

Root or Local System should not be running under the webserver process or service. Most of the web servers will run as a dedicated user with limited privileges as you should double-check what the user it is and what permission the users have on the Linux system.

Chances are Local system is default config and, as such, should be changed before the production to a dedicated service account unless the web server needs to access the domain resources. The user should have file access only to what is required as it should not be an administrator.

It prevents a compromised web server from further compromising on other resources by isolating and restricting the account of the web server users by getting this done.

#16 Use Secure Cookies

Across an SSL connection, secure cookies can only be transmitted across. Between the server and the client, it would be preventing the cookies with potentially sensitive information from being sniffed.

It would allow a third party to intercept a cookie that is sent to a client and impersonate that to the webserver of the client when you fail to use the secure cookies. You should already have ensured sitewide SSL as cookies that will no longer be delivering over an unencrypted connection, especially while making use of the secure cookies.

Concluding Thoughts

To safeguard against the threats to the web servers, there are many other steps that can be taken but, you should be resilient against all of the most common vulnerabilities as there are many other steps. By integrating these practices into developing and operating the duties, companies can build a habit of security furthermore. Companies can therefore track changes and address security issues before they are exploited by testing configurations routinely.

Hitesh Khatwani

Hitesh Khatwani is Sr. PHP Developer at USS LLC. He likes to share tips Codeigniter Development and Laravel Web Development