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What is Website Security? Benefits | Tools | Measures

Parveen Bhandari | 31 Oct 2022

Website Security Benefits | Tools | Measures

What is Website Security?

Website Security is a way of protecting the websites and web application from being hacked or any unauthorized access, done by creating an extra layer of a protection measure and protocol that helps in mitigating the attacks. It is not a simple task, and to secure websites and applications then security comprises a lot of factors that go into web security and web protection, like up to date regarding new threats and how to mitigate them and monitor the traffic.

In today's Digital World, the Internet revolutionized, and everyone is shifting business online. People are proving their presence on the Internet to reach as many people as possible and increase revenue. According to Netcraft, as of September 2014, there were over 1 billion websites on the web, and present statics show around 2 billion sites are on the Internet which means it will become necessary in the upcoming years. The sites increasing day by day, but lots of people do not care about the security initially, and such sites are prone to lots of vulnerabilities, which gives hackers or attackers a chance to compromise the data. 

The major reasons behind adversaries hacking the websites are:

  • Site Visitors Exploitation
  • Stealing information stored on the server
  • Tricking crawlers and bots
  • Abusing server resources 
Application security describes the security measures at the application level that secures the data or the code from being stolen. Taken from Article, The Application Security – Vulnerabilities Checklist | Tools | Strategy

How to secure the Website?

The approach to it depends on how organizations adopted security, and other factors like their network type, and software, but the core strategy is somewhat similar.

these are the basic requirements  for end-to-end website security

Web Application Firewalls (WAF)

Web application firewalls (WAF) are an essential security control used by the security team to protect Web applications and sites against various attacks, and known vulnerabilities. Customize it, after customizing WAF is also able to prevent SQL injection attacks, XSS attacks, buffer overflows, and session hijacking. All these features may not be available or performed on traditional network firewall systems. It's categorized as Network-based, Host-based, and Cloud-hosted WAFs.Deployed in front of web applications, it analyzes bi-directional web-based (HTTP) traffic - detecting and blocking anything malicious.

SSL Certificate 

Whenever a browser or server attempts to connect to a website secured with SSL. The browser/server requests for identification. Then a copy of the SSL certificate is sent by the webserver to the browser/server. The browser/server checks to see whether it should trust the SSL certificate or not. And according to it sends messages to the webserver. If the certificate looks good, the web server sends back a digitally signed acknowledgment for starting an SSL encrypted session. Now the exchange of data proceeds in the encrypted ways between the browser/server and the webserver.

A Website Scanner

A cyber attack costs more the longer it takes to be found, so time becomes an essential factor in safeguarding the website. A website scanner looks for malware, vulnerabilities, and other security issues so that organizations can moderate them appropriately. 
Safety headers will defend our internet site from a few not unusual place assaults like XSS, code injection, clickjacking, etc. Click to explore about, HTTP Security Headers and XSS Attacks

What are the most common Website Security Vulnerabilities and Threats?

There can be several attacks an attacker performs on websites but below are some typical attacks happening on today's sites -
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) - These attacks malicious scripts are injected into otherwise harmless and trusted websites
  • SQL Injection (SQLi) - It is a code injection technique that can destroy a database It is one of the most common web hacking techniques. It is the placement of malicious code in SQL statements, via web page input.
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) - An attack that forces an end user to execute undesired actions on a web application in which they are currently authenticated.
  • Broken Authentication & Session Management - If the functions related to authentication and session management are not implemented correctly, allowing attackers to jeopardize passwords, keys, or session tokens, or exploit other implementation flaws. 
  • Bad Bots - scrape data from sites without permission to reuse it and gain a competitive edge. The terrible ones undertake criminal activities, such as fraud and outright theft.
  • DDoS attacks -  Visitors can lose accessibility to the website with DDoS Attacks, as they make the site slow or crash the site entirely. 
  • Malware - Short for "malicious software," it is malware is a prevalent threat to steal sensitive customer data, distribute spam, and allow cybercriminals to access the site.
  • Vulnerability exploits - By accessing the website's weak points, Cybercriminals can access a site and the data stored on it.
  • Defacement - This attack replaces your website's content with a cybercriminal's malicious content.
  • Blacklisting - The website may be removed from search engine results and flagged with a warning that turns visitors away if search engines find malware.
Security analytics is divided into four sectors; users will predict attacks and prevent them before something serious. Click to explore about, Challenges and Solutions of Cyber Security Analytics

What are the benefits of Securing Websites?

Benefits of secure websites, it's not a one-way means of securing sites for both user and owner benefit.
  • Improve Google ranking and SEO. - The Search engines value the trust, which affects the website's ranking on the search engines. Now, why does that matter, your potential customer is searching for the products, solutions, and services. 
  • Protect user's information - A secure website allows the user's information to be encrypted. Thus if it got into the hands of an attacker or unintended recipient, it would be readable. 
  • Avoid Litigation - Having a website that protects customer information can help you avoid legal battles after a security breach. It's becoming an increasingly more critical issue for businesses that have operations on the Internet.
  • Increased ROI - If customers trust a website, they believe the vendor. It proves the vendor is concerned about the customer's safety which in turn helps in sales. For example, if the customer knows a transaction is safe, he is bound to make more transactions. 
  • Increase website legitimacy - When customers know and trust the company's official and authentic site, and it is not a fake site to perform phishing. Besides, regular or potential customers will have greater confidence to interact.

How to adopt Website Security?

The adaptation differs from the organization to organization, below are some fundamental strategies to implement the security for the website -
  • Plan or draw a roadmap for security policies and mitigation strategies.
  • Analyze an organization's security flows and hire a security team.
  • Keep an eye on the level of access provides to each user.

Adoption Practices

  • Always review the code.
  • Keep software up-to-date.
  • Use HTTPS.
  • Separate the automation and nonautomation steps and perform accordingly.

Enabling Monitoring

  • Analyze network traffic.
  • Implement a web application Firewall.
  • Use vulnerabilities scanner and anti-virus tools.

Setting Up Recovery

  • Regularly keep backup of websites' data.
  • Always plan for recovery from any disaster, and build a strategy for this.
Artificial Intelligence for Cyber Security is the new wave in Security. Taken from Article, The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security

What are the best practices for Website Security?

Security is not a small thing, especially in websites or web applications. Security varies from organization to organization, but some security standards must, and these standards implemented and highlighted by the OWASP. Security nowadays is being handled by Artificial Intelligence. The involvement of AI keeps organizations ready for the worst. 

The primary goal is to fulfill the fundamental purpose of security, i.e. Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. 

Create a Web Application Security Blueprint

Sit down with your IT security team to develop a detailed, actionable web application security plan. It should outline your organization's goals. - I hope to maintain adequate web application security without knowing precisely which applications your company uses.

Perform an inventory of your Web Applications

Unless you know what applications and websites your organization use. You will not be able to make amends to your website security. This list will be used in the next step. 

Prioritize your Web Applications and Vulnerabilities

Prioritize apps and websites you want to focus on first unless you have this ready, the struggle to make any meaningful progress will continue. Organizations can divide the apps into three types. 

  • Significant Applications - These are externally facing and have sensitive information. These are more vulnerable to attacks from hackers. 
  • Severe Applications - They could be external or internal and also may contain some sensitive information 
  • Regular Applications - They have very less exposure. But they should be included in tests down the road.

Organizations work through the list of web applications before testing them and decide on which vulnerabilities are worth eliminating.

A hybrid cloud service platform. It supports a wide variety of operating systems, computing languages, architectures, resources, applications, and computers. Click to explore about, Azure Security Services at Glance

Backup your Site

Having a backup of your site is crucial in case the worst happens. A backup allows you to get your site up and to run as quickly as possible if your website was hacked or if an update has gone wrong

Regularly Scan Your Site for Malware 

Scan your site for malware regularly. With various tools and skilled resources, organizations can protect themselves by scanning their applications on a regular basis  

Conduct web application security awareness training

Educating employees can help the organization be ready and spot vulnerabilities themselves. In reality, bringing everyone up to speed on web security is a terrific way to get everyone in on the act of finding and eliminating vulnerabilities.

Introduce a Bounty Program 

Involve the community to help find security risks and report them, offering a "bounty" for the same. 

What are the best Website Security Tools?

Security or Vulnerabilities scanners tools -
  • Sucuri -It is one of the free website malware and security scanners most common. You may do a fast malware search, blacklist status, SPAM injection, and defacements.
  • Quttera - It scans your website for malicious files, suspicious files, potentially suspicious files, PhishTank, Safe Browsing, and Malware domain list.
  • Detectify - The Detectify Domain and Web Application Protection Software, actively funded by ethical hackers, offers automatic protection and asset tracking. 
  • UpGuard Web Scan is an external risk assessment tool that uses publicly available information to grade.
  • SiteGuarding helps scan your domain for malware, website blacklisting, injected spam, and defacement. 

Holistic Approach to Website Security

In the world of digital, every brand is available on a search engine in the form of a website. Also, the sudden growth of e-commerce websites has compelled companies to tighten their website security due to unlimited daily transactions. Hence, website security has become a necessity in today's world. To learn more, you are advised to look into the below steps: