11 Simple Steps to Improve Your Website Security

11 Simple Steps to Improve Your Website Security

It is essential to learn a few things about cybersecurity as a website owner. If you are not a cybersecurity expert, here are some simple steps, including some cybersecurity terminology that can help you to protect your website from cyber attacks. These small but effective topics will help you to be more secure.

First, you need to know this: hackers use both automated tools and special search engines to find any vulnerable apps and systems. So especially for new vulnerabilities, you have to check your system very quickly and patch it as fast as you can.

Second, cybersecurity is not only about your website's security but also about the safety of your servers, third-party software, mobile apps, mail accounts, and so on. Your systems are as secure as the weakest point, so make sure all your systems are secure.

With that said, let's start on 11 simple steps to improve the security of your website.

 

1. Use up to date software

 

Using updated software will help as hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities in older software versions. Using the latest versions of all of the apps can reduce your risk of being hacked. It is also essential to keep your server-side software up-to-date. Many cyber attacks take advantage of vulnerabilities in older versions of services (like web servers, ftp servers etc.)

 

2. Use a vulnerability scanner

 

Another way to protect your website is using a vulnerability scanner. A vulnerability scanner will test for known vulnerabilities and help you identify and fix any weaknesses in your security posture. You can find lots of paid or free vulnerability scanners to use for your assets.

 

3. Be aware of new attacks

 

The best way to protect your website is to be aware of the different types of cyber attacks that are possible and how to defend against them. In addition, you need to be proactive about cybersecurity and stay up-to-date on the latest threats. You can do this by reading security blogs, attending cybersecurity conferences, and subscribing to newsletters. The more you know about cybersecurity, the better equipped you will be to protect your website.

 

4. Know your data flow

 

Some vulnerabilities are due to logical errors. These vulnerabilities are hard to find by an automated vulnerability scanner. So you need to test for logical vulnerabilities (related to data flow). Let's give an example. One common type of this vulnerability is an insecure direct object reference. This occurs when a hacker gains access to confidential data by manipulating the URL to access specific objects. For example, a hacker might be able to access your users private data by modifying the request data. You can protect against this type of attack by using role-based security and preventing users from accessing sensitive data without authentication.

 

5. Track and test every change in your apps for security

 

Don't overlook cybersecurity in the change management process

Even when you have done everything else right, you are still at risk of being hacked when a small change is made in your app. Change management is critical to cybersecurity, and it must be part of every change procedure. For example, new third-party applications or customizations can introduce cyber vulnerabilities into your code. Be sure to test them for cybersecurity weaknesses before deploying them on your website, and give cybersecurity experts a chance to review any changes that will affect the delivery path of data between systems and users – even if they seem small.

 

6. Never use a guessable password

 

One of the most common ways for hackers to gain access to systems is by guessing the passwords. A weak password can be easily hacked, so you should never use a guessable password. You should also use a different password for each account and change your passwords regularly. Also, force your user to choose a strong password in your apps. Check this password list to find out what type of passwords are used by hackers to access a system. And do not forget there are tons of lists like this.

 

7. Backups, backups, and backups

 

Simple and effective. Always take backups of your apps, databases, or any data that is important to you. Some malware, exploits, or a hacker that access your system can compromise the integrity of your data. And, this may result in losing all data. Backups are so important that if you'll do any of this list, first backup up your data.

 

8. Use the least privilege concept in your apps

 

Using least privilege means that each user of an app only has the permissions they need to do their job and no more. If you follow this model for cybersecurity, cyber attackers will not be able to access any data or systems outside of what they are granted permission to do. Also, this approach minimizes your attack surface.

 

9. Have a penetration testing

 

Penetration testing is the best way to identify cyber vulnerabilities before cyber attackers do. Penetration testing can be performed on both web applications, networks, and hosts. It uses cybersecurity tools to exploit detected vulnerabilities. Also, this will determine how cyber attackers bypass cybersecurity controls of an app or network. Penetration testing services are different from vulnerability scanners. The vulnerability scanners are used to identify cyber vulnerabilities. When you request a penetration testing for your application, you will have penetration testing experts exploit the vulnerabilities to go further and give an exact view of the current risk. If you want to learn more about penetration testing, we explained Penetration Testing in a Nutshell and What Is The Main Goal Of Penetration Testing, you can check out these articles.

 

10. Train your employees on cybersecurity

 

One of the best ways to protect your website is by training your employees on cybersecurity. Employees must be aware of cyber risks and how to protect themselves and the company data. They should also know some best cybersecurity practices related to their job. You can use cybersecurity awareness quizzes to find out what you need to learn or teach.

 

11. Harden your system

 

Hardening means making your system more secure by changing some configurations to reduce its vulnerability. There are many ways to do this, but it usually starts with tightening the security settings of systems and applications. You can also use third-party checkers to check your system settings.

 

Conclusion

 

See, there are lots of things to be done to have more secure websites. Just doing a few things and hoping for the best is not enough. Cyber attackers are getting more sophisticated day by day. You should take cybersecurity seriously and implement all these recommendations to have a more secure website. Don't forget, cybersecurity is not only for big companies. Start small if you need to, but start somewhere.

As SecurityForEveryone we offer vulnerability scanning services, a cyber awareness platform, and cybersecurity bulletins for free. Try for free now.

If you are using WordPress website, you might also be interested in our How to Keep WordPress Websites Secure article.

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