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Web Site Security: Common Issues

In today’s society, standard homes have a gate and maybe a barbed wired fence to prevent intruders and secure their premises. The same thing goes for websites that want to prevent vulnerability in the face of digital threats.

Website Security

Website security is simply the protective measures and protocols that an organization adopts to protect its data from cyber criminals and other web-based threats. Website security should always be a priority, regardless of the industry or organization size. But protecting websites from cyber criminals and other digital threats is easier said than done.

Common Issues

The first step to securing your website or web application is to understand the common issues you’re bound to face. Here’s a quick peek at the common issues association website security.

  1. SQL Injections

A basic SQL injection attack is a simple illustration of how an attacker inserts malicious SQL code to steal or modify a database’s stored data. SQL (Structured Query Language), is a standardized language used to communicate to databases where to store, retrieve, and use data. It includes everything from customers’ profile information to login details.

An SQL injection attack targets an application’s database to exploit any vulnerabilities that allow a third party to select, add, or retrieve information from the database and in extreme cases delete the database altogether. In an SQL injection attack, a criminal enters code that gives them access to sensitive backend resources of a site. For example, they can enter an SQL query to gain access to users’ login details; if this is done for an admin account, they get access to the whole database for the website. Other SQL injection attacks carried out on a web app, allow them to access data or execute commands on the victim’s device. All these attacks are often carried out by exploiting a server-side vulnerability.

  1. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is an injection attack that exploits a client-side vulnerability in a website or web app. Unlike an SQL injection, the goal of many XSS attacks is often to target other web users by using legitimate or trusted websites as proxies. A cross-site scripting attack allows the criminal to impersonate a victimized user and carry out all the actions that the user can do. When a user visits a legitimate but compromised web page, the malicious code executes in their browser. The bad guy then gets access to the victim’s web session.

  1. Secure Authentication Issues

For starters authentication as regards web security is simply verifying a user’s identity, making sure they are who they claim they are before giving them access to sensitive information on your server. Broken authentication is typically the result of either a breach in web site’s authentication methods or poor session management.

Cyber criminals use phishing techniques or bots to extract passwords or one-time passwords (OTPs) from unsuspecting victims. Poor session management that leads to broken authentication includes using predictable session IDs or having session IDs inactivity expiration.

Note: a session is a period a user logs in and out of a website or web app. It can be closed after a certain period of inactivity or login.

Insecure authentication issues can lead to cyberattacks such as:

Session hijacking — where the criminal takes over a legitimate user’s session so the attacker can do everything the valid user can do during a session.

Session fixation — where a criminal sends a phishing email containing a malicious link that allows them to hijack the user’s session before the user is logged in using the user’s authentic session ID.

Credential Stuffing or Brute Force — where the criminal runs a script that repeatedly tries known username/password combinations.

  1. Sensitive Data Exposure

This is one of the most important web security issues to cover as data security is everything.

The sensitive data you need to protect includes but is not limited to:

  • Personally identifiable information (PII) of employees, customers, and partners

  • Financial information of the organization or customers

  • Trade secrets, intellectual property, and other sensitive company documents

  • Customer and supplier lists

Sensitive data exposure can happen for many reasons, including human error, technical glitches, or criminal activity. But if sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, it can cause significant damage to the organization. Data exposure has serious consequences, from loss of reputation to hefty fines. Sensitive data exposure can result in the following situations:

Sensitive data is published on the web. Criminals might publish the PII or other sensitive data online for others to view and use, often in other cyberattacks.

Sensitive data can be used for ransom. Criminals might threaten to make sensitive information public via publication or encrypt the data to restrict access if the victim doesn’t pay

a ransom. Sensitive data is used by competitors, and trade secrets or product information can be used by competitors for their benefit causing losses to the organization.

Moreover, governments also regulate the privacy of their residents with regulations that can be violated through a data breach.

  1. Security Misconfiguration

This is usually the result of poorly defined and implemented security procedures and settings. These vulnerabilities arise when a developer or administrator makes mistakes when configuring an application, network, or server.

Criminals can exploit misconfiguration vulnerabilities with all kinds of attacks, including everything from brute force attacks to buffer overflows.

Here are some of the major reasons for misconfiguration include:

  • Careless mistakes by developers and administrators.

Sometimes developers or admins make changes to security procedures or software for testing purposes but forget to revert the changes when they’re finished.

  • Not updating software and anti-malware.

Running outdated software that is not upgraded and configured properly, the system could still be vulnerable.

  • Using default usernames and passwords.

Whether you are the administrator or a user, changing the default settings and passwords is crucial. An administrator using “admin” as their username is asking for trouble.

  • Unresolved problems in the cloud.

IBM Security reported that cloud misconfiguration was an initial vector in 15% of data breaches. With an increasing number of people shifting to cloud storage, the importance of cloud security should not be taken lightly.

  • Not carrying out regular audits and documentation.

Sometimes even when everything is configured properly, vulnerabilities appear due to additional devices, changes in the system, and software updates. Regular audits with documented procedures and processes help mitigate this threat as it will help the IT or the admin team ensure that all I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.


Benefits of Website Security

Some benefits of website security include

  • Improved google ranking
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Protecting of user information,
  • Avoidance of legal battles that come with a security breach

Website security is not a one-time job as it requires a routine check which will be tiring for an individual that is why is advisable to give everything that concerns website hosting to a great web host, in this case, Broaddrive Hosting Solutions.

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