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7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks

The procedure for creating a business website is fairly cut and dry. You buy a domain, design the site, optimize it for SEO, and publish content that supports your business goals.

You might not be aware of it, but in the process, you’ve opened the door to a world of Internet vulnerabilities. Cyber-attacks are real and common now, and you should understand your greatest areas of weakness to minimize the risk.

You may not even realize you’ve suffered an online assault right away. An attack can come in the form of a site upload, a spammy email, a link on social media, a brute-force raid, and other incursions.

When you’re hit, the hacker could take credit card information, personal details, sensitive client data, and other critical information that can leave you and your customers defenseless. The average cost when a cyber-attack hits a business is near $38,000.

That’s how much money the victim loses, but it often costs another $10,000 to clean up the damage. Some companies never fully recover from such a massive hack.

Recognizing the vulnerabilities is the first step in attempting to stop such an attack. Here are seven ways your website could be at risk.

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1. System Downtime

7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks - Point 1When your system goes down, you’re not only losing money, but you’re also opening the door to a cyber hack. During the downtime, hackers have easier access to your website.

Downtime can also be an indicator of a hacker’s presence. The attack might look like typical downtime, but someone is actually getting access to sensitive information.

2. SQL Injections

7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks - Point 2An SQL injection is a vulnerability that occurs when an attacker uses application code to enter a database. If the injection is a success, the hacker will be able to access, update, change, or eliminate the data stored in the database.

SQL injections are among the most common of website security vulnerabilities. The best way to prevent such an invasive injection is with SQL server performance tuning, using IT management software like SolarWinds. This will put developers, DBAs, and operations teams on the same page and prevent injection access. WordPress users can take help of Wordfence Security plugin which comes with a comprehensive protection against SQL injection.

Recommended reading: Internet Security Tips - Use VPN to Protect Personal Data from Online Thieves?

3. Security Misconfigurations

7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks - Point 3Security misconfiguration is a term that refers to multiple vulnerabilities, all of which stem from poor maintenance or configuration errors. Websites should have proper security configuration before they deploy the application, application server, web server, frameworks, platform, and database server, but that doesn’t always happen.

If there are problems with configurations, hackers can access the data that these security measures are supposed to guard. If the misconfigurations are serious, you could suffer a complete system compromise.

Ensuring proper configuration every step of the way is the best method of sealing unprotected access points.

Top 6 Cyber Security Tips for Businesses

4. Insecure Direct Object References

7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks - Point 4Every website contains database keys, database records, files, and directories. They’re referred to in web design as internal implementation objects. If a web application connected to any of these internal implementation objects is exposed or referenced, a hacker can manipulate the reference and download the connected data.

To prevent this problem, store your data internally and avoid information passage from the client over CGI parameters. If you must store your data externally, use correct and consistent user authorization.

5. Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks - Point 5An attacker may approach your website with JavaScript tags on input, often on the wings of an SQL injection. The input will enter the site through the user’s browser and try to hijack a user’s session, redirect to malicious sites, access your sensitive data, or deface your website.

It’s often as simple as getting a user to click on a link or attaching cookies to your site. So, avoid returning HTML tags to the client. Converting HTML entities and other methods of sanitization can also be used to scrub the negative script from your site.

6. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks - Point 6A malicious email, program, or website could cause an adverse action on a site where you’re currently authenticated. It will send a forged HTTP request in an effort to change profile information, create a new user on behalf of the admin, change your status, or perform other actions on user profile pages, user account forms, and business transaction pages.

To escape these nasty backdoor activities, set up your system so the user must be present when performing certain actions. Measures like two-factor authentication, CAPTCHA, and unique request tokens can also reduce or eliminate backdoor access.

You may also like: Smartphone Security: How to Avoid Smartphone Hackers.

7. Broken Authentication

7 Ways Your Website is Probably Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks - Point 7Cookies or session IDs created for a valid session will store sensitive information such as passwords and usernames. When a user ends his or her session, the system is supposed to delete this sensitive information and invalidate each cookie.

If through an error in authentication, the cookies fail to delete themselves after the session is closed, the information they contain will be made available on the current system for hackers to collect and use for malicious purposes.

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Accessing control checks, eliminating object references in the URL, and verifying authorization to reference objects can prevent such attacks. Use your framework to implement proper protection for each of your website’s users.

Every site faces some kind of risk. By understanding the problems and seeking a solution, you can protect all the sensitive information kept on your website and kept your operation running smoothly.

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Article Published by Souvik Banerjee

Web Developer & SEO Specialist with 10+ years of experience in Open Source Web Development, specialized in Joomla & WordPress development. He is also the moderator of this blog "RS Web Solutions".

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