Website owners have so much to do to create a successful website, but it’s important to protect web design and domains against common hacker scripts. Website security should be a part of daily audits when hosting a website that contains sensitive data.

Once your website goes live, it’s vulnerable to hack attempts. Hackers run scripts to find common vulnerabilities on random websites. If you don’t make efforts to protect your site and your server, you can find your website hacked. Hacked sites can provide the hacker with data or just give the hacker a way to distribute more malware to your visitors. It’s important that website owners take steps to secure their site to secure not only company data but customer data as well.

Keep Server Software Up-to-Date

Software companies are forced to update applications to keep up with the latest security holes. These updates aren’t useful if you don’t install them on your server. Even the server operating system must be updated periodically. Always keep software up-to-date, so it includes the latest security patches for common vulnerabilities. WordPress is especially important to keep up-to-date. WordPress has several hack scripts written against its platform, and this includes hacks against popular plug-ins. WordPress releases regular updates, and plug-in developers also release patches for the latest scripts.

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Protect Against SQL Injection

SQL injection is one of the most common hack attempts. A SQL injection hack is a type of vulnerability that allows the hacker to execute SQL code. The SQL code is injected using forms or poorly written pages that connect to your database. The result is a data dump of your database’s tables. This includes your database’s list of customers, products, or even personal information. Hackers can even destroy your data by executing deletion code on your tables.

Protect from XSS

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a clever way of injecting code into your database or page execution. XSS uses form submission text boxes or your pages’ query string variables to insert JavaScript into your code. The result can be JavaScript inserted into your database and run internally on employees’ computers. The JavaScript is hidden to the employee, but it executes on internal computers silently as data is gathered and sent to a hacker’s server. The JavaScript can log keystrokes, send data to the hacker or even destroy data. XSS is fast becoming one of the most common hacks next to SQL injection.

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Customize Error Messages

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By default, your server responds with some detailed error messages that can be used by hackers as a “hint” when finding vulnerabilities. PHP is especially dangerous, because it will display user name and password information for certain errors. You catch these errors and display customized messages to end-users to avoid giving hints to hackers. You can also send real messages to administration while still displaying friendly errors to users. Logging errors is accomplished in the code, so administrators see the real errors while your visitors get friendly messages.

Validate User Input

When users enter information, you can use client-side and server-side validation scripts to secure your database and the data. Client-side script is insecure, so you should always incorporate some kind of server-side scripts to validate the data. You use these server-side scripts to protect from XSS and SQL injection.

In addition to these tips, always watch analytical data for your site, especially data that indicates strange behavior from bots and scripts. Some search engines such as Google scan your site for malware, and these scans flag your site for hacks. Google Webmaster Tools tells you if Google found malware on your site. You can also use other scanners to watch for security holes, and get ahead of hackers before they find your vulnerabilities.