Almost all websites on the internet can potentially be hacked. Hackers and other cyber criminals constantly keep looking for vulnerabilities they can exploit and hack websites. Hacking attempts are becoming very common these days and websites are hacked to steal money, spread malware, steal confidential data, etc.
Here are a few surefire ways to protect your website.
1. Install an SSL Certificate
SSL certificates will help secure your website and encrypt data transfers between the server and the device. When your site is secured with an SSL certificate, you will see a padlock symbol, which indicates that your website is secure. This symbol will serve as a trust signal to your website visitors. Likewise, your website’s URL will have HTTPS when it is secured with an SSL certificate and if it does not have an SSL certificate, the URL will have HTTP, which indicates that the site is not secure. A website that is not secured will not have the padlock symbol and you will see the text, Not Secure before the URL. You will need to make sure that all the pages of your website are secured.
2. Secure Your Passwords and Update Them Regularly
It is mandatory to create strong passwords to boost website security and prevent hackers from getting their hands on your website. In most cases, weak passwords are the reason behind hacks. Make sure you create unique usernames and passwords for your admin accounts and other accounts. It is also important to update passwords regularly.
If you find it hard to update passwords manually, you can use a password generator to simplify the process. Password generators like LastPass will let you generate strong passwords that are hard to guess. You can choose to generate passwords with letters, numbers, special characters, etc. Keep it a practice to update passwords every two months or every quarter to keep your website secure. Password generators will also store your passwords, so you need not worry about remembering all your passwords.
3. Use SHA256 Encryption
SHA-256 standards are considered secure when compared to the previous standard SHA1 encryption. If your website’s certificate has an SHA-256 fingerprint, you need not worry. But if it has the older SHA1 encryption, you will have to get your certificate reissued with the latest SHA-256 standards. Though SHA1 is no longer being used, you can check your certificate to make sure it uses the secure SHA-256 standards.
4. Keep Software Updated
Every time there is a software update, make sure you do not ignore it and update the software without fail. Hackers generally look for known vulnerabilities in websites and exploit them. Software patches will help keep your website secure by plugging security holes and addressing security vulnerabilities.
Be it plugins, third-party applications, or other software you use in your company, take all update requests seriously and install updates as soon as possible. Software patches will keep your website secure and make sure hackers don’t get their hands on it. Hackers generally target websites with older versions of software that have vulnerabilities.
5. Protect Against SQL Injections
Protecting your website against SQL injection is as important as having secure passwords and keeping your website updated. With most databases being managed by SQL, hackers try to gain access to sensitive information through SQL injection. In this type of attack, hackers add malicious code to a database query, through which they gain access to sensitive data.
Input validation and using parameterized queries are the best ways to prevent SQL injection. Having a web application firewall will also help to protect your website against SQL injection.
6. Use Anti-Malware Software
If you still have not got anti-malware software for your website, it is time to get one. Malware detectors and anti-malware software will make sure your site does not get infected by malware. Hackers can use malware to steal your sensitive customer data, hold your website for ransom, or steal money.
With malware being a critical website security problem, it is mandatory to take the required steps to secure your website against malware infections. Thousands of malicious programs are being discovered every day and this is why we recommend securing your website with anti-malware software.
7. Use Secure Cookies
Cookies that are stored on web browsers are used to identify website users’ sessions. Cookies generally contain sensitive data, so it is crucial to keep them secure. An SSL connection is required to transmit secure cookies and this will prevent cookies with sensitive information from being stolen by cybercriminals in transit between the server and the browser. As cookies are now not delivered over unencrypted connections, it is mandatory to ensure sitewide SSL to use secure cookies.
8. Back Up Your Website
Regular website backups are crucial for website security. Website backup is important as you can restore your website if your website happens to get hacked. Most hosting services like GoDaddy offer website backup services. If your hosting provider offers this service for free, you need not worry about backing up your website manually, as it will automatically be done by the hosting service. If this service is not available, you can manually back up your website at regular intervals. Likewise, if your site runs on WordPress, you can use plugins like VaultPress to automate website backups. Remember also to update these plugins whenever there is an update available.
9. Enable HTTP Strict Transport Security
Enabling HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is the best way to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. This measure will ensure that browsers communicate with websites only over SSL and all HTTP:// requests will automatically be converted to HTTPS:// requests. Failure to implement HSTS is more likely to make your website become a victim of man-in-the-middle attacks where hackers can easily alter the domain name and redirect your website visitors to a fake website that resembles the real site.
We hope this security checklist helped you understand how to secure your website and all your confidential data. Finding the right hosting provider that offers security features to keep your website and your users’ data secure is the best way to make sure your website is secure.