Enforce these measures for securing your Drupal website
Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) written in PHP. It provides a complete framework for developers. According to W3Techs, around 2.4% of the world’s websites have adopted Drupal to manage their content. These websites range from blogs to corporate sites and even some government websites. Drupal is the 3rd most widely accepted CMS in the world.
Just like any other major platform out there, there are security dangers on Drupal. However, Drupal is a more secure platform compared to some of its peers. Going by the numbers from CVE Details, researchers have found a low number of vulnerabilities in Drupal compared to its market share. The found vulnerabilities encompass a variety of types, but 41% of these vulnerabilities are cross-site scripting:
Nonetheless, you still need to implement strong security measures. Not only Drupal, but everything that goes into making your website must be protected. But in this blog, we are going to focus only on best practices for Drupal security. Follow the measures below for remarkable Drupal security.
1. UPDATE TO THE LATEST VERSION OF DRUPAL CORE & DRUPAL MODULES
Whether it is your operating system, your antivirus, your browser or Drupal itself, running the latest versions is the least you can and should do. The updates not only bring new features, they also improve security by means of bug fixes and hardening. More often than not, the susceptibilities present in the past versions are eliminated in the newer versions. Be sure you upgrade your modules as well. This is because the modules are often the cause of misery–they’re often developed by independent developers who may not have had time to do thorough security testing.
Therefore, administrators must keep checking the update report at regular intervals and keep updating!!!
2. INSTALL SECURITY MODULES
There are many modules which help you find any loopholes in the website code and fix them. These third-party security modules are checked and verified by the extended Drupal community. Therefore, you can be sure that they won’t cause you any trouble. There are tons of Drupal modules which assist you to fortify web security.
Here are some of the most useful Drupal security modules:
- Password Policy:
Using this module, you can establish a set of rules for passwords. For example, the site admin can enforce the rules demanding one upper case letter, one number, one special character. This module can also help you implement password expiration. Consequently, the user is forced to renew his/her password on regular basis.
- Username Enumeration Prevention:
Sometimes, the attackers try to get access to a website using brute force cracking. In this method, the attacker doesn’t try to crack the code. Instead, he/she tries to guess the username and keeps guessing until valid username isn’t entered. This module stops such attacks by not displaying the error message. This way the attacker won’t be able to figure out if the username exists or not. Thus, failing the brute force attacks.
- Automated Logout:
This module allows the administrator to define a time limit for a session. It means that the user will get logged out automatically if he/she remains inactive for a specific period.
The SpamSpan module allows the user to obfuscate email addresses so that spambots cannot collect them. This way chances of malware and ransomware attacks by spam emails are reduced drastically.
The coder module allows the administrators to verify that the website code meets the Drupal coding standards.
- Secure Pages Hijack Prevention:
This module prevents hijacked sessions from accessing pages that are SSL-enabled, while it allows users to stay logged in while they’re on non-SSL pages.
3. CHOOSE A REPUTABLE HOSTING PROVIDER
First of all, make sure you choose a server that supports Drupal. Drupal works efficiently on most MySQL and PHP supported servers. Choose a reputable hosting provider that implements solid security best practices–even if you have to spend an extra few bucks.
4. DOWNLOAD RELIABLE MODULES
Modules take the capability of Drupal to the next level. However, you should be very mindful before pressing the download button. Make sure that the module has a sizable number of downloads. The chances of a module being insecure are smaller if a module has a good number of downloads (because it’s been seen and tested by more people). Even if some vulnerability is found in the future, it will be solved quickly as it affects a large population. Also look when it was updated the last time. The higher number of updates it has, the better it probably is from a security point of view.
5. ENABLE HTTPS
Be it any website—e-commerce, social media, government, or even a small blog, there always exists a substantial risk of data getting compromised. These attacks have become a common phenomenon nowadays. Every month, we hear news of big data breaches, sometimes due to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. How do you prevent these attacks? Encryption. To secure the connection between the user and the server, you must install an SSL certificate on the server. As a result, cyber criminals won’t be able to intercept and tamper the information transferred back and forth between the server and the client. Apart from the secure connection, SSL certificates also help you fare better in the search engine rankings.
6. BLOCK ACCESS TO YOUR IMPORTANT FILES
Using .htaccess you can restrict access to some of your highly important files such as install.php and upgrade.php. Use the below code to protect your delicate files.
<FileMatch “(authorize|cron|install|updgrade)\.php”> Order deny, allow deny from all Allow from 220.127.116.11 </FileMatch>
7. BACK UP REGULARLY
Last but not least, backup. This practice is often underrated and ignored by many website administrators. If your website gets hacked or you lose its access because of ransomware attack, you can rebuild your Drupal website if you have the data intact. So back up your site regularly.
When it comes to website security, nothing can be guaranteed. One moment it all runs smooth as silk, and you could be staring at your own shadow in the blank screen at the very next moment. Let’s face it — you don’t want it, we don’t want it, nobody wants it — except the culprits. You must do everything in your hands to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you. The aforementioned practices will definitely help you take your Drupal website security to the next level.