Courtesy of WordPress, almost anyone can now have a website. Today, according to internet live stats, there are over 1.8 million websites. For both small scale and large scale businesses, websites are a great asset. Having a business website is the first step in the success journey of any business. Websites create traffic and strengthen the brand image, which is essential in converting mere website visitors into long term customers.
As much as it looks easy to set up a website, there is more to it than just having it. If not designed and managed properly, a website could be the weakest link to your business that could cause you many problems. Designing an appropriate website and maintaining it could be very hard, especially for small enterprises that do not have the required resources to hire IT personnel. There exist a lot of website security issues that you are likely to encounter. This article touches on five major website security issues that could cause serious harm to your website. Knowing these issues will make you know how to address them properly.
- SQL Injections
SQL injections have become very popular. According to a 2019 Akamai report, SQL injection represents almost two-thirds of all web application attacks. SQL injection is a website vulnerability that allows a hacker to tamper with the SQL queries an application makes to its database. Hackers will rely on a crafted request that they add to the message sent by a website to the database. A successful SQL injection attack will tamper with the database query to return the data information that the hacker desires and not that which the website expected. A hacker could even add a malicious link or information, modify or delete the information to his liking. A hacker will also retrieve and see the data, which, under normal circumstances, the attacker would not view.
The impact of a successful SQL injection on your website can be very distressing. An attacker could access your sensitive data such as your login credentials, credit card, debit card information, financial records, and other financial data. The attack could also damage your reputation and also lead to regulatory fines.
An SQL injection can, therefore, seriously hurt your business. This is why it is crucial to know how to identify an SQL injection attack and know how to prevent the attack. You can read here to know how best to prevent an SQL injection attack.
Malware attacks have become so popular. Attackers are now creating malicious software and directing them to websites. Malware attacks are a major threat to website security and can damage the reputation of your business. I advise you to stay one step ahead of cyber attackers by knowing how malware could affect your website, the forms of malware that an attacker could use, and the preventive measures which you should install to protect your business and your website from malware attacks.
A malware attack can change the visual appearance of your website (defacement). When this happens, your website visitors will immediately turn away. Malware could also hide advertisements on your websites, making your website visitors see the ad. The ad could also contain malicious links, which could cause harm to your website visitors. A website that becomes a victim of a malware attack can be flagged off with warning messages and could also be blacklisted by search engines. When this happens, your website content will no longer appear on the search engine results pages.
The best approach to protecting yourself from malware attacks will be by preventing vulnerabilities. You should always install software updates promptly and use vulnerability scanners to detect the weak spots that could expose your website to malware attacks.
- Cross-site Scripting
Cross-site scripting, which is popularly referred to as XSS attack, is a type of website vulnerability that will allow a hacker to compromise a web application by injecting a malicious code. Cross-site scripting is slightly different from SQL injections in such a way that, whereas SQL injections directly target the application, cross-site scripting usually targets the users of the web application.
A successful XSS attack can have dire consequences on the reputation of your business. You might end up losing your customers and revenues. In worst case scenarios, an XSS attack will leave your accounts compromised. It will also activate Trojan horse programs. A hacker will also alter your website’s content, which might mislead users into surrendering their private information to malicious hackers.
- Brute Force Attacks
One critical website issue which you should pay keen attention to is the issue of passwords. Passwords are a critical line of defense that every website owner should take note of. Users need to create strong and unique passwords and follow the best password practices. Hackers are always trying their best to access your passwords, which will give them a direct ticket to your accounts.
One of the techniques a hacker will use to break through your passwords is brute force attacks. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report, 5% of confirmed data breaches that occurred in 2017 resulted from brute force attacks. A brute force attack is where an attacker uses trial and error to try and figure out your login credentials or encryption keys. A determined hacker will use all the possible combinations to try and guess your password. Although an old method of attack, it is still effective in getting past user accounts. A hacker will stage a brute force attack to access your accounts, collect your important data and valuables, spread malware infections to your system, hijack your system to run his/her malicious activities, or ruin your reputation, your website, or business at large. Website owners should make sure that they create strong passwords that are capable of withstanding brute force attacks.
- Data Breaches
A data breach is another common website issue that should be taken with a lot of concern. It is where a hacker accesses data or information without the authority of the owner. As technology advances, more and more data has found its way online, and hackers are taking advantage of this trend. They will lay their traps to discover loopholes, allowing them to access information. Data breaches have increased in the recent past and so have the cost of a cyber-breach.
Hackers are exploiting system vulnerabilities to try and access data from websites. The consequences for such a scenario can be so severe. Proper measures should be taken to protect your websites and its resources from data breaches. One thing has proved effective in doing so- the SSL certificate. SSL certificates will encrypt data, making it hard for a hacker to access it. To ensure data safety, you should start thinking about installing an SSL certificate on your website. SSL certificates come at different prices. However, as far as data encryption is concerned, even the cheapest SSL certificate could be as effective as the most expensive one.
Having a website is a good thing. A website plays a very significant role in the well-being of any business. All business owners should make sure that they have a website. It does not just stop at having a website. Today, with the advancement in technology, the world is witnessing more and more website security issues that you need to know of. This article has explained five major website security issues that can hurt your business and which you need to be aware of.
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